Speeches to the Party: The Revolutionary Perspective and the Revolutionary Party

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Overview

Writing in the early 1950s, Cannon discusses how class-conscious workers, in face of the conservatizing pressures of the emerging capitalist expansion and anticommunist witch-hunt, carried out effective union work and political activity to build a communist workers party. He discusses Washington's failure to achieve its goals in the Korean War and why the rulers reined in McCarthyism.

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1973 Trade paperback Illustrated. Fair. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 431 p. Contains: Illustrations.

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More About This Book

Overview

Writing in the early 1950s, Cannon discusses how class-conscious workers, in face of the conservatizing pressures of the emerging capitalist expansion and anticommunist witch-hunt, carried out effective union work and political activity to build a communist workers party. He discusses Washington's failure to achieve its goals in the Korean War and why the rulers reined in McCarthyism.

Index, Annotation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873483216
  • Publisher: Pathfinder Press GA
  • Publication date: 1/1/1973
  • Pages: 511

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2005

    Speeches to the Party: The Revolutionary Perspective and the Revolutionary Party

    James P. Cannon was a longtime socialist who became a central leader of the early U.S. Communist Party inspired by the Russian Revolution. He was ultimately expelled for his leading role in the fight inside the CP to maintain its revolutionary continuity with Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky against the rising Stalinist bureaucracy. Cannon went on to become one of the main collaborators with Trotsky in the fight to rebuild a revolutionary international and a revolutionary party in the U.S.—a party that came to be the Socialist Workers Party. Cannon’s work (Some 22 books and pamphlets kept in print by Pathfinder) are goldmines for awakening workers, farmers, and youth prospecting for the hard-won lessons of building a revolutionary party in the U.S., on whose territory (as the major world capitalist power) the victory of the world-wide struggle for socialism will ultimately be decided. Cannon’s Speeches to the Party documents an important fight that broke out in the SWP under the pressure of the post WWII economic boom along with the McCarthyite witch-hunt during 1952-53. The book’s recounting of what this reactionary turn of events looked and felt like to revolutionary workers—as well as what could still be accomplished by resolute fighters who kept their heads—is worth the cover price alone. Of particular note in this regard is the discussion on the party’s record in opposing the brutal U.S. war against the people of Korea. But Speeches to the Party offers much more. It is a record, through Cannon’s speeches, reports, and correspondence, of a major faction fight that developed inside the SWP as a result of these pressures. Quoting Trotsky, Cannon reminds a party activist frustrated by the “poisonous atmosphere” of the faction fight, that “the most important test of all” for a revolutionist, “is his attitude towards the disputes within his own party.” In this book, Cannon sets an example of how to lead in drawing out all the lessons of what came to be known in the history of the SWP as the “Cochran fight.” His speech “Trade Unionists and Revolutionists,” for example, explains the social pressures that motivated the retreat from revolutionary politics by a section of the party’s trade union membership. In another 1953 speech, “Internationalism and the SWP,” Cannot argues that international collaboration and respect aimed at building up strong and self-confident revolutionary parties capable of competently facing their own ruling class is at the heart of the SWP’s conception of how to build a new revolutionary international. Cannon recounts that he was not 100 percent certain at the start of this fight that the SWP would survive it. Largely as a result of his efforts, a resolute majority formed in the leadership of the party to defeat the Cochran faction’s challenge. Pathfinder’s confidence that the lessons of this fight will continue to be important for class-conscious workers underlies the careful editorial attention to presenting this material that is a hallmark of their respect for new generations of fighters emerging from union battles and other struggles today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2005

    Speeches to the Party: The Revolutionary Perspective and the Revolutionary Party

    James P. Cannon was a longtime socialist who, inspired by the Russian Revolution, became a central leader of the early U.S. Communist Party. He was ultimately expelled for his leading role in the fight inside the CP to maintain its revolutionary continuity with Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky against the rising Stalinist bureaucracy. Cannon went on to become one of the main collaborators with Trotsky in the fight to rebuild a revolutionary international and a revolutionary party in the U.S.¿a party that came to be the Socialist Workers Party. Cannon¿s work (Some 22 books and pamphlets kept in print by Pathfinder) are goldmines for awakening workers, farmers, and youth prospecting for the hard-won lessons of building a revolutionary party in the U.S., on whose territory (as the major world capitalist power) the victory of the world-wide struggle for socialism will ultimately be decided. Cannon¿s Speeches to the Party documents an important fight that broke out in the SWP under the pressure of the post WWII economic boom along with the McCarthyite witch-hunt during 1952-53. The book¿s recounting of what this reactionary turn of events looked and felt like to revolutionary workers¿as well as what could still be accomplished by resolute fighters who kept their heads¿is worth the cover price alone. Of particular note in this regard is the discussion on the party¿s record in opposing the brutal U.S. war against the people of Korea. But Speeches to the Party offers much more. It is a record, through Cannon¿s speeches, reports, and correspondence, of a major faction fight that developed inside the SWP as a result of these pressures. Quoting Trotsky, Cannon reminds a party activist frustrated by the ¿poisonous atmosphere¿ of the faction fight, that ¿the most important test of all¿ for a revolutionist, ¿is his attitude towards the disputes within his own party.¿ In this book, Cannon sets an example of how to lead in drawing out all the lessons of what came to be known in the history of the SWP as the ¿Cochran fight.¿ His speech ¿Trade Unionists and Revolutionists,¿ for example, explains the social pressures that motivated the retreat from revolutionary politics by a section of the party¿s trade union membership. In another 1953 speech, ¿Internationalism and the SWP,¿ Cannot argues that international collaboration and respect aimed at building up strong and self-confident revolutionary parties capable of competently facing their own ruling class is at the heart of the SWP¿s conception of how to build a new revolutionary international. Cannon recounts that he was not 100 percent certain at the start of this fight that the SWP would survive it. Largely as a result of his efforts, a resolute majority formed in the leadership of the party to defeat the Cochran faction¿s challenge. Pathfinder¿s confidence that the lessons of this fight will continue to be important for class-conscious workers underlies the careful editorial attention to presenting this material that is a hallmark of their respect for new generations of fighters emerging from union battles and other struggles today.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2005

    building a revolutionary party in the harshest conditions

    This book contains the speeches and letters of James P Cannon - at the time he was the central leader of the SWP - covering the years 1952-53. It documents and explains the roots of an important internal struggle that developed within the leadership of the SWP. After World War II the SWP had gone through unprecedented growth and influence based on the biggest strike wave in US history. However, the US and British rulers began to take the lead in making preparations for a showdown with the Soviet Union and the young Chinese workers state. At the same time launching a political offensive against the vanguard institutions of the working class in their own countries - the unions. In the US this took the form of a witch hunt centred on driving thousands of radicals and militants out of the trade unions. Under these pressures a minority of the leadership of the SWP, a number of them mass leaders in their own right, lost confidence in the revolutionary capacities of the working class and began to move towards Stalinism. Cannon patiently and tirelessly explains the importance of continuing to build a revolutionary party even in times of prosperity and under the harshest conditions

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