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Crisis and Leadership

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  Crisis and Leadership
by Clara Fraser and Richard Fraser

A revolutionary critique of the growth of conservatism and erosion of democracy in the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) due to its accommodation to the union aristocracy, opportunism in the Black movement, and hostility toward women's liberation and radicalized youth. Written by members of the Kirk-Kaye Tendency who later founded the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP), the book also contains founding documents of that uniquely socialist feminist party.

$13.95, 192 pages, ISBN 0-932323-08-1

The story of how and why the Socialist Workers Party abandoned revolutionary Trotskyism is an important chapter in the history of the American Left. The party was the inheritor of the liberating ideas of the Russian Revolution and Leon Trotsky. It spearheaded the momentous 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters strike and was the only U.S. communist organization to oppose internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Yet when the radical 1960s exploded, the SWP was paralyzed by its ties to the most privileged sectors of labor and its ambivalent and wildly contradictory approach to the Black movement, youth, women's liberation, and the anti-Vietnam War movement.

Written in 1965 by partisans of the fight to reorient the party, Crisis and Leadership provides a visionary analysis of economic and political developments, weighs the potential for fascism in the U.S., and offers a hard-hitting indictment of racism and sexism as the chief props of conservatism in the union movement and the American Left. It provides a detailed look at the state of the civil rights movement in the mid-1960s, the explosion of Black radicalism in the North, and the important development of the Freedom Now Party. Though the SWP failed to change course, sacrificing principled leaders such as Murry Weiss and Myra Tanner Weiss, the political critique presented in Crisis and Leadership became the seeds for a new beginning. The authors founded the Freedom Socialist Party, which became the first and only Trotskyist feminist party. Launched in the U.S., the party has adherents in Australia and Canada. It is unique for its high level of activism and commitment to welding the struggles of people of color, women, workers, gays and lesbians, the disabled, and indigenous people into a single movement for fundamental social change.

Today's new generation of organizers against global corporate rule will find the perspectives offered in Crisis and Leadership as fresh and relevant as when first written.