Labour's martyrs: the story of Sacco and Vanzetti

Workers' Liberty 3/53, published as a pull-out in Solidarity 397. The story of the Sacco and Vanzetti case, told by James P Cannon and Max Shachtman, who were leading activists in the defence campaign. Click to download as pdf

US debate: call things by their right names

Part of an ongoing debate: click here for other contributions The latest responses by Martin Thomas and Barrie Hardy in the US debate only demonstrate the confusion of those advocating the lurch towards the Democrats. With little caricature, their argument seems to be: Trump is a fascist, therefore vote Democrat; the DSA is a large milieu, therefore join the Democratic Party. This position compounds a poor assessment of US reality, a misreading of history and a strategy of failure. Workers Liberty pride ourselves on Trotsky dictum: “To face reality squarely; not to seek the line of least...

US police killings still at 100 per month

Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin’s trial for the killing of George Floyd last May opened on 8 March. Even after last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, and with all the attention focused on the police, the number of killings they commit has remained very high. According to, 1,127 people were killed by US police in 2020. In the first two and half months of 2021, the figure was 207. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — but has pleaded not guilty to all. Three other police officers will face...

The USA: politics as a "business" and populism

From Socialist Organiser 194, 30 August 1984. Image above: "Boss Tweed", the leader of the Democratic Party machine in New York City from the 1850s to the 1870s Two sorts of democracy Friedrich Engels, writing in 1891, saw the USA as an example of the limitations of even the best capitalist democracy. At that time the USA did not even have a sizeable permanent state bureaucracy or standing army. Yet Engels saw a radical difference between the USA’s democracy and the workers’ democracy created in the Paris Commune, when the working class took power in Paris for two months in 1871. Nowhere do...

Recognising 21st century fascism

During the time when the left protested the Vietnam war the term "fascist" was thrown about with careless abandon.

Some responses on the USA

Thanks to Paul Hampton for his contributions. I think another comrade will reply on the question of fascism. I'll offer a few comments on the question of the Democrats, following on my previous article on Marxists and Democrats.

Lessons from Texas

As a blizzard of snowstorms tore across Texas in February 2021, many faced energy bills of sixteen thousand dollars for only a few days. And they were the lucky ones. Countless others found themselves without power, having to burn whatever they could to keep warm, having to boil water to sterilise it. While Hell, Michigan was literally freezing over, an earthly hell was created in Texan prisons. Power was lost, toilets overflowed, food and medicine shortages added to the fear prisoners experienced of falling asleep, lest they didn’t awake, ice-cold air flowing through broken windows into their...

Shachtman's mistakes are not our model

For more debate on US politics, see here Martin Thomas (Solidarity 569, 28 October 2020) states that in 1954 “the heterodox Trotskyist Independent Socialist League [ISL] decided to back trade-union candidates… in Democratic primaries; and in the general elections if they won the primaries”. He denies that this turn contributed to their political drift to the right. Instead, it was “‘Sanders campaigning’ on a small scale 60-odd years before the fact”. Similarly, Thomas Carolan, (Solidarity 566, 7 October 2020) wrote: “The experience of Max Shachtman moving to the right once in the Democratic...

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