James P Cannon (1890-1974) was a founding leader of the U.S. Socialist Workers Party and the Fourth International. Active prior to World War I as na organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, Cannon joined the Socialist Party's left wing following the Russian revolution of 1917, becoming a central leader of the Communist Party in th 1920s. He expelled from the CP in 1928 for supporting Leon Trotsky's defense of Leninist policies.
Cannon's articles, letters and speeches printed here recount an important transitional period in the history of what is today the SWP. In 1932-33 the Communist League of America, formed in 1928 by those expelled from the CP, was isolated from the mass movement and went through a debilitating internal fight. In 1933-34 the CLA's prospects improved as workers began to bounce back from the demoralizing effects of the first years of the Great Depression. Out of these struggles, which foreshadowed the rise of the CIO, new forces were attracted to the Communist League.
During the same period, the CLA made a turn away from its initial orientation toward winning the Communist Party back to a Leninist program. In 1933 the CLA, together with communists from other countries opposed to Stalin's course, launched a fight to build a new revolutionary International, including a new communist party in the United States.
This volume tells the story of how revolutionists confronted the challenges and difficulties of this period. Documented here is the 1932-33 faction struggle that threatened to split the CLA - and its succesful resolution with the aid of Trotsky. This volume laos contains Cannon's writings on the CLA's work among Illinois coal miners, New York hotel and garment workers, Minneapolis Teamsters, and in the unemployed movement. This collection concludes with the CLA's fusion with the American Workers Party to form the Workers Party of the United States in December 1934.
- From the back cover