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Posted June 27, 2006
James P. Cannon is perhaps the greatest American revolutionist of the 20th Century. When the history of revolutionary Marxism will be written, his role in preserving the revolutionary ideas of Lenin and joining the fight led by Trotsky against the stalinization of the Communist movement will be regarded as a priceless treasure. Cannon was one of the founding leaders of the American communist party, a militant leader of both the left-wing of the socialist party and an IWW union activist. He sacrifices the perks of leadership of the Communist party and the International Labor Defense to fight for the ideas that Trotsky stood for in 1929 and became the founder and central leader of the movement that became the Socialist Workers Party until his retirement in the early 1960s. Cannon came not only from the generation that learned directly from Lenin, but he was Trotsky's chief collaborator in Trotsky's struggle to build a world revolutionary movement. Indeed Cannons practical books on party-building History of American Trotskyism, The Struggle for a Proletarian Party, Letters from Prison, and Speeches to the Party remain the primer on Leninist party building. It is fitting that this, his last published work, written for a collection of books by revolutionists around the world in 1967, should be an article on the revolutionary party and how to build it why it is needed. Nowhere else is such a concentrated, clear and effective explanation of the need to build a party to lead the struggle of working people delinieated. Like most things Cannon wrote, we find not only his clarity and fullness of explanation, but always a little wit.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.