By Norm Dixon
As in many other places in the world, the left in the United States has gone through a lean period in recent times. Left publications have suffered and in some cases closed down. Socialist organisations, some very longstanding like the Communist Party, have had serious splits and others, like the Socialist Workers Party, have declined rapidly as they have lost their bearings. Basic tenets of the socialist movement are being questioned, some rejected.
So it is encouraging to learn that a new socialist publishing project has been launched in the US dedicated to both revitalising the broader left movement and also building and strengthening a serious Marxist organisation in its own right.
The new magazine, being published six times a year, is based on an existing journal, Independent Politics, produced by the group Activists for Independent Politics. Editors Malik Miah and Joanna Misnik explain in the first new IP that in 1994 a majority of AISP voted to join the socialist group Solidarity.
AISP had participated in the Committees of Correspondence, a large grouping based on disillusioned members of the Communist Party and others seeking left regroupment. Most of AISP's members themselves had left the Socialist Workers Party, or its splinter groups, after its leadership took an increasingly sectarian and erratic path.
Solidarity, formed in 1986, also comes from the Trotskyist tradition in the US. It describes itself as "an independent socialist organisation dedicated to building a broad regroupment of the US left ... [We are] revolutionary socialists who stand for 'socialism from below', the self-organisation of the working class and oppressed peoples. We are feminist, anti-racist, and democratic. We are trying to foster cultural diversity, flexible practice and straightforward socialist politics."
At its convention in 1994, Solidarity voted to make IP a full-fledged project of the organisation. The aim, report Miah and Misnik, "is to make the new IP more exciting and creative. We will report on Solidarity's political activity and its socialist-feminist vision. Our pages will be wide open to contributions on the work and ideas of other progressive and socialist activists here in the US and around the world."
The first edition of the new IP features: an analysis of the 1994 US elections; an article that investigates the strength of Green electoral politics in the US; articles about the current state of trade union politics and the progress of reforming currents within some major unions; news on the campaign against anti-choice terror; articles about Boris Yeltsin's war against Chechnya; and an in-depth look at the role of Loyalist organisations in Ireland.
The editors of IP have made in plain that they want to cooperate with like-minded journals to build a network of activists and leftists who remain committed to fighting to win socialism.
To that end Green Left Weekly and Links magazine have agreed to work with IP. The first fruits of this cooperation are present in the latest IP with an article by Green Left Weekly's Moscow correspondent, Renfrey Clarke, on the Russian people's response to the invasion of Chechnya. IP has also reprinted Green Left Weekly's obituary for SACP leader Joe Slovo. (IP's report on the US government bringing criminal charges against Malcolm X's daughter is reprinted on page 23 of this green left.)
Subscriptions cost US$24 for six issues. Inquiries can be directed to Independent Politics, PO Box 55247, Hayward, CA 94545-0247 (E-mail: email@example.com). IP is available at Resistance Bookshops.