“The Dog Days of the Left Opposition”

Max Schachtman and James Cannon, July 1934We republish here, for our organization-wide reading, a chapter from James P. Cannon’s book The History of American Trotskyism, “Dog Days of the Left Opposition.” Originally presented as part of a lecture series to New York Marxists in 1942, this chapter highlights the difficult period that the American Left Oppositionists found themselves in after their expulsion from the Communist Party and their reduction to just a small group of Marxists fighting for the ideas of genuine revolutionary Marxism.

Proletarian Culture and Proletarian Art

For our March 2015 organization-wide reading we are republishing "Proletarian Culture and Proletarian Art," a chapter from Literature and Revolution by Leon Trotsky. This piece covers a discussion that took place in the early 1920s in the Soviet Union on the future of art and culture in a socialist society and whether or not it would be correct to characterize this art and culture as being unique to the proletariat.

A Petty-Bourgeois Opposition in the Socialist Workers Party

trotsky1938For our February 2015 organization-wide reading we are republishing Trotsky's article A Petty-Bourgeois Opposition in the Socialist Workers Party. This piece was written in the midst of an internal political struggle in the Socialist Workers Party in 1939–40 around the class nature of the Soviet Union. In order to take on the ideas of the opposition, Trotsky went back to the philosophy of Marxism, dialectical materialism, the Marxist view of the state, and much more. This article was published later as part of a larger volume about this debate titled In Defense of Marxism, which includes many of Trotsky's final writings before his assassination.

In Defense of Theory—Or Ignorance Never Yet Helped Anybody

Karl Marx and Friedrich EngelsFor our January 2015 organization-wide monthly reading we republish this excellent article by Alan Woods. In Defense of Theory—Or Ignorance Never Yet Helped Anybody highlights the attitude of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky towards theory and its importance in arming the working class and its leadership with a worked out theoretical guide to action in order to transform society. 

 

The "Third Period" of the Comintern's Mistakes

trotsky1938We republish here, for our June, July, and August 2014 organization-wide reading, an "under-the-radar" classic by Leon Trotsky. It was written during the important period that he was building the International Left Opposition. It includes a searing critique of the errors of Stalinism in theory, strategy, and tactics. It also includes many insights into how the working class moves, how Marxists develop perspectives, and much more.