2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the political tendency which is now the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. Over the years, this tendency has broken much new ground in socialist ideas, and rediscovered lost histories of the Marxist, Trotskyist tradition, especially that of the “other” American Trotskyists — the group of comrades around Max Shachtman and Hal Draper.
Much of this “Third Camp” literature is available on our website. From Trotskyists newspapers of the 1940s and 50s, to older Marxist classics, to discussion articles on feminism, important national questions, religion and philosophy and resources such as guidelines for Marxist reading groups — it’s all there on our website. But this enormous archive of historical and socialist literature needs to become easier to research and access if it is to be any use to socialist activists today.
Why do socialists activists need this website? Our tendency was founded in a maelstrom of working-class militancy, industrial militancy the like of which none of today’s young activists (or even the creeping-towards-middle-aged activists) have ever seen. The confident combativity of working-class struggle made many more things potentially possible for socialists and the fight for socialism. In the 60s and 70s a big united organisation of Marxists could have been built — an organisation capable of providing the labour movement with a basic socialist education, of propagating a socialist working-class interpretation of current events, and of organising militants in struggle. But that failed to happen for many reasons.
One key reason was the left’s intolerance for discussion, lack of openness to ideas critical about their own existing beliefs, and a sometimes perfunctory attitude to self-education. Our archive, with its range, as well as depth of material, can help build a different kind of socialist culture — one where discussion, debate and self-education are actively promoted across the broader labour movement.
To make our archive of real use to socialists activists we need professional help to make all content fully integrated, searchable by date and subject and optimised for mobile reading. We need to finance a website co-ordinator to ensure our news coverage is up to the minute and shared on social media. To finance this we need your help. Any amount, smaller or larger, will help. We will update on donations in Solidarity and in due course hope to launch a crowd-funding campaign.