socialist movement

The early history of what became Socialist Alternative, and beyond

by John Reimann

Attached is a history of the evolution of the predecessor to Socialist Alternative, what was known as “Labor Militant”. As explained, this was written by this author in the late ’90s or so. My own thinking has changed somewhat, although not in its essentials. This piece is mainly a political critique which, I think, helps explain where some of the left in general went wrong. This writer, himself, helped play a role in some of those mistakes. Hopefully, we can all learn from them.

“Using the methods of Marxism, as encouraged by the CWI, Labor Militant took a different approach: It started by trying to analyze the basic forces at work. What was happening in the US and world economy. What was happening in the struggle between the US and the Soviet Union, etc. From this, we tried to look at what was the consciousness, the thinking, of different sectors of the working class and how events such as economic developments would shape that thinking. In other words, we tried to figure out what were the major forces at work in society and how these forces would interact and based on this how a movement of workers would develop and where it would lead. It was our task to figure out how our tiny forces could best involve itself.

“As the reader will see, some of what we thought turned out to be wrong in important ways. Some of it was right. Much of it had elements of both. However, the method of developing “perspectives” was unique and was fundamentally correct, we believe. With some changes in exactly how we do this, we still follow this method today.”

Note: The article refers to the role of the national Secretary-Treasurer of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers, Tony Mazzocchi. In particular, it refers to the meeting called by AFSCME Local 444 on the issue of a Labor Party at which Mazzocchi spoke. You can see an edited version of that meeting here.

Read entire document: LMV’s history from web site


Categories: socialist movement

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