American Socialist

sol dollinger soldoll at
Mon Oct 2 13:40:35 MDT 2000

Four decades after the dissolution of the American Socialist,  we  witness
The American Socialist  magazine reborn with the synthesis of articles
extracted by Lou Proyect.  The magazine and the leadership of our tendency
was led by Bert Cochran, Harry Braverman and George Clarke.

The selection of articles that Lou has made available to the Marxist List
show that even in the depths of the 50's, the radicals in the United States
could  open a new path of exploration.  Bert Cochran saw further than most
of us but shunned the mantle of the ultimate leader.

I met Bert in 1939-40 fractional fight with Schachtman-Burnham when he was
recalled to New York by Cannon to bolster the majority in the fight. He was
recalled to New York as one of the young guard of leaders to combat
Schactman-Burnham when he was deeply involved in the inner union fractional
battle that threatened to tear the union apart.  Bert's UAW leadership role
was earned when he took several locals from the Cleveland Mechanics
Educational Society of America  into the new CIO industrial union.  I try to
detail his influence In the fractional battle in Not Automatic--Women and
the Left In Forging Auto Workers' union. Perhaps, the shining moment came in
1945-46 General Motors strike when  Bert guided us in Flint, Detroit and Los
Angeles. We had grown in numbers and influence especially in Flint where we
had representation on the city-wide strike committee and  were a major
influence in the strike

How ironic it is, that in the Roots of The Party Crisis, the charge is
leveled against the Cannon group for its failure to write a book about our
work in auto.  At the time the charge made sense in reorienting the movement
but in truth the book could not be written by the New York Party
intellectuals. My book closes the chapter on this charge and explains why
Cannon and his supporters resorted to slander against my wife and me and all
of the auto union fraction.

Cochran, Braverman and Clarke (killed in an auto accident) were the first to
document the changes brought on by the Yugosalv revolution, Eastern Europe
and China over the resistance of Cannon still wrapped in the warp and woof
of anti-Stalinist rhetoric. In the confines of the national committee the
majority slowly and reluctantly gave way.  Our tendency grew as the debates
continued and at this point Cannon wanted to cut his losses with the
expulsion of Cochran , Clarke and Braverman.  Cannon was thwarted when he
could not win a majority. The Minneapolis leaders opposed him on expulsion.
Cannon may have thought in getting rid of the leaders he could retain many
of the other supporters. Dunne and Skoglund knew better and delayed Cannon's
hand until a deal was struck to replace Cannon with Dobbs. It was a scurvy
arrangement.  Dobbs was not suited to run a party as good as he was as a
union leader.  Cochran was an all around political leader with exceptional
union experience.

Free from the deadening hand of Cannon, the editors of the American
Socialist sought new patterns and new politics in the U.S. without
slackening their attention on Europe.  Lou has documented the approach of
the American Socialist and his speech at the weekend conference on American
Trotshyism gives evidence to the success of the new directions taken. Lou
asks the new Socialist groups to read up on the American Socialist and
singles out Solidarity. Others that would benefit are the International

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