Max Shachtman

Germany 1953: Workers rise against Stalinist rule. Workers' Liberty 3/40:

Sixty years ago, in June 1953, workers revolted against Stalinist rule in East Germany. We republish here analysis of the uprising by the “Third Camp” Trotskyists of the Independent Socialist League.

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Workers' Liberty 3/30: The 1939-40 split in the Fourth International

WL 3/30

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Two documents by Max Shachtman

In 1940 the Trotskyist movement split over attitudes to Stalinism. The participation and victory of Stalin's USSR in World War 2 as an imperialist power would make that split a fundamental political dividing-point.

In 1940 the Trotskyist movement split over attitudes to Stalinism. The participation and victory of Stalin's USSR in World War 2 as an imperialist power would make that split a fundamental political dividing-point.

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Forum

Letters and debate from WL27

Where is Labour going? (John Nicholson)
"Immense progress?" (Rob Kent)
Bosnia: not a German plot (Colin Fostor)
Too rosy a picture (Conrad Russell and Petra Peters)
Shachtman and the US military (Ernie Haberken)
Loyalist right, not socialist! (John McAnulty)

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The left and Max Shachtman, part 2: Post Trotsky Trotskyism

Part 2 of the review by Ernest Haberkern of the book 'Max Shachtman and his left: a socialist's odyssey through the American Century', by Peter Drucker

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Stalinism, sepia and sentiment: Sydney Lumet's film about Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. (1984)

SIDNEY Lumet's 'Daniel' is a powerful emotional account of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Communist Party USA members who were victims of a legal Iynching in the early '5Os, and of their children.

A discussion of the politics of Sydney Lumet's film 'Daniel', about Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Communist Party USA members who died in the electric chair in 1953, victims of a legal lynching.

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Stalinism, sepia and sentiment: Sydney Lumet's film about Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. (1984)

SIDNEY Lumet's 'Daniel' is a powerful emotional account of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Communist Party USA members who were victims of a legal Iynching in the early '5Os, and of their children.

A discussion of the politics of Sydney Lumet's film 'Daniel', about Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Communist Party USA members who died in the electric chair in 1953, victims of a legal lynching.

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Shachtman and Draper debate Cuba, 1961

The dispute over attitudes to the "Bay of Pigs" invasion was the first sharp break on a big world-political issue which separated the ageing Max Shachtman from long-time co-thinkers such as Hal Draper and Julius Jacobson.

This pamphlet, published by Draper in May 1961, presents the dispute.

Click here to download pdf (which includes excerpts from the contemporary press not transcribed below, giving factual background on the invasion).

Contents and note

The dispute over attitudes to the "Bay of Pigs" invasion was the first sharp break on a big world-political issue which separated the ageing Max Shachtman from long-time co-thinkers such as Hal Draper and Julius Jacobson.

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In Defense of Revisionism (1946)

The survival and expansion of Russian Stalinism threw all the political compass points of Trotsky's pre-World War "Trotskyism" into seismic confusion. Years of political ferment produced two "Trotskyisms" - Shachtmanites and Cannonites. The tiny Irish Group in this document declared for Shachtman.


The survival and expansion of Russian Stalinism threw all the political compass points of Trotsky's pre-World War "Trotskyism" into seismic confusion. Years of political ferment produced two "Trotskyisms" - Shachtmanites and Cannonites. The tiny Irish Group in this document declared for Shachtman.

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The Irish Trotskyists of the 1940s condemn "Irish only" trade unionism

A leaflet produced by the small Irish Trotskyist group in the mid 1940s, after nationalists split the Irish trade union movement.

A leaflet produced by the small Irish Trotskyist group in the mid 1940s, after nationalists split the Irish trade union movement.

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Max Shachtman and his left

Review of 'Max Shachtman and his left: a socialists odyssey through the "American century"', Peter Drucker, Humanities Press, 1994.

Part one

Review of 'Max Shachtman and his left: a socialists odyssey through the "American century"', Peter Drucker, Humanities Press, 1994.

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We Reds and Religion

God
A succinct summary of the Marxist attitude to religion, and to religion in politics.

[Note: Father Coughlin, the U S “Radio Priest” in the 1930s, was one of the leading fascist agitators in the USA. He was “silenced” by his Church superiors in 1942, after the USA had entered World War Two. The Coughlinites had links with an Irish clerical-fascist outfit, Maria Duce, whose leader Dennis Fahey published an edition of the Tsarist secret police forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. Maria Duce had some influence within the Irish Republican Movement.]

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What does Hal Draper's Marxist “micro-sect” do in the labour movement?

This positive exposition of the role of a Marxist “Fighting Educationalist Group” in the class struggle and in the transformation of existing labour movements, was written against three comrades who left AWL to join Labour Briefing and sank into Labour Party routinism. They were influenced by the polemics of Hal Draper against what he called the “micro-sect” form of organisation.

This positive exposition of the role of a Marxist “Fighting Educationalist Group” in the class struggle and in the transformation of existing labour movements, was written against three comrades who left AWL to join Labour Briefing and sank into Labour Party routinism. They were influenced by the polemics of Hal Draper against what he called the “micro-sect” form of organisation.

Click here for other discussion of Draper's polemics, and links to Draper's texts.

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A journey through the third camp left

In Solidarity 242 (18 April 2012), we began publishing a series of recollections and reflections from activists who had been involved with the “third camp” left in the United States — those “unorthodox” Trotskyists who believed that the Soviet Union was not a “workers’ state” (albeit a “degenerated” one), but an exploitative form of class rule to be as opposed as much as capitalism. They came to be organised under the slogan “neither Washington nor Moscow.”

An autobiographical recollection of involvement with the US "third camp" left in the 1950s and 60s, part of our ongoing symposium.

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1960s and 70s American "third camp" socialist archives now online

The Marxists Internet Archive has uploaded the journals of the Independent Socialist Clubs and the International Socialists, organisations which continued the revolutionary "third camp" socialism of Max Shachtman and Hal Draper.

The Marxists Internet Archive has uploaded the journals of the Independent Socialist Clubs and the International Socialists, organisations which continued the revolutionary "third camp" socialism of Max Shachtman and Hal Draper.

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Blitzkrieg and Revolution (May 1940)

I. IF HITLER WINS – PERSPECTIVE FOR SOCIAL REVOLUTION

As Hitler overruns most of western Europe, what are the perspectives for the working class?

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Blitzkrieg and Revolution (May 1940)

I. IF HITLER WINS – PERSPECTIVE FOR SOCIAL REVOLUTION

As Hitler overruns most of western Europe, what are the perspectives for the working class?

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Socialism the hope of humanity (1944)

A speech by Max Shachtman, candidate of the Workers Party for Mayor of New York City in 1944. It was reproduced as a mass circulation pamphlet.

A speech by Max Shachtman, candidate of the Workers Party for Mayor of New York City in 1944. It was reproduced as a mass circulation pamphlet.


WHAT DO THE SOCIALISTS WANT?

What is socialism? What do the socialists want? The simplest way to find the answer to these questions is to ask yourself: "What do I want? What do the tens of millions like me throughout the world want?"

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Leon Trotsky and the (Shachtman) Workers Party (1946)

The infancy and childhood of the movement was fortunate in having the intellectual leadership of one of the greatest minds of all time, Karl Marx. It was doubly fortunate in having in Marx’s collaborator, Friedrich Engels, a genius in his own right, whose true stature always remained obscured in the public mind as a result of his modest subordination to the towering height of Marx. The period of the formation of the Second International under the sound, experienced guidance of Engels, his last great service to the working class, coincided with the rise of the Marxist movement in Russia.

Leon Trotsky's death at the hands of Stalin’s axe-man left the world movement without a real titan at its head for the first time in its history.

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The fate of the Fourth International: 75 years on

This article was written to mark the 50th anniversary of the Fourth International in 1988.



In September 1938, 30 Trotskyists met in Paris and declared that the 'World Party of Socialist Revolution” was now in existence, the fourth Marxist International, in the direct line of succession from Marx and Lenin.

Living Marxists will cleanse the Trotskyist movement of the encrustations and irrationalities accumulated over the decades of defeat and disorientation...

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75 years ago: the Fourth International is founded after a 15-year fight against Stalinism

Max Shachtman, writing in 1938, surveys the stages of the long struggle against Stalinism which was crystallised in September 1938 by the founding of the Fourth International.

Max Shachtman, writing in 1938, surveys the stages of the long struggle against Stalinism which was crystallised in September 1938 by the founding of the Fourth International. Shachtman, who together with James P Cannon had represented the US Trotskyist organisation there, had chaired the Founding Conference.

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The Fourth International was proclaimed 75 years ago, after a 15-year struggle against Stalinism.

Just as the main body of the
Communist International came
out of the Second International,
so the roots of the Fourth Inter-
national are to be traced to the
beginnings of the crisis in the

Fourth International Emerges From Fight Against Degeneration in the Third International. Congress Climaxes 15 Years Struggle

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Atomic Energy: for Barbarism or Socialism? A Socialist Manifesto From the Dawn of the Nuclear Age

A comprehensive Trotskyist response to the new age which opened with the American atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. It was published in Labor Action, New York, at the end of 1945.

A comprehensive Trotskyist response to the new age which opened with the American atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. It was published in Labor Action, New York, at the end of 1945.


"The impact of the bomb was so terrific that practically all living things, human and animal, were literally seared to death by the tremendous heat and pressure engendered by the blast." - From a Tokyo broadcast describing the result of the atomic bomb dropped by a Superfortress on Hiroshima.

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ATOMIC ENERGY: for Barbarism or Socialism? A Socialist Manifesto From the Dawn of the Atomic Age

"The impact of the bomb was so terrific that prac-
tically all living things, human and animal, were liter-
ally seared to death by the tremendous heat and pres-
sure engendered by the blast."

A manifesto on Socialism and nuclear age published in Labor Action, New York, at the end of 1945.

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The Price of Isolation for the Russian Workers and their Revolution

The world is paying dearly for the isolation of the Russian
Revolution, paying in blood and sweat, and tears and in car-
nage and destruction such as history records nowhere else.

Max Shachtman, writing on the Twenty-fourth Anniversary of the Great Russian Revolution, in Labor Action 17 November 1941

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The Price of Isolation for the Russian Workers and their Revolution

The world is paying dearly for the isolation of the Russian
Revolution, paying in blood and sweat, and tears and in car-
nage and destruction such as history records nowhere else.

Max Shachtman on the Twenty-fourth Anniversary of the Great Russian Revolution

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