[Marxism] Early history of the YSA
ozleft at optushome.com.au
Tue May 3 07:19:23 MDT 2005
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This pamphlet on the early history of the YSA was published in July
1973 by the Workers League, United States affiliate of Gerry Healy's
International Committee for the Reconstruction of the Fourth
International. It was based on a series of articles that had appeared
earlier in 1973 in the Bulletin, newpaper of the Workers League.
It was published under a pseudonym, Guy Williams, and the author was
probably Tim Wohlforth.
The pamphlet is marked by the extravagantly sectarian rhetoric used
by the Healy organisations of that time, which reads pretty strangely
in the year 2005. Some of the points made in the rhetoric may have
some validity, but Gerry Healy approach, enforced rather brutally in
his organisation, of treating all other Trotskyists as revisionists
rather than dealing directly with their ideas, had a damaging effect
in the Trotskyist movemenet.
Nevertheless, discounting the author's anti-Pabloist rhetoric, this
account of the foundation of the Young Socialist Alliance is of
considerable interest. It offers an alternative view to those of
Barry Sheppard in his recently published book, The Party: The
Sixties, a Political Memoir. For more on this see
As is frequently the case, the truth probably lies somewhere between
the accounts of Williams and Sheppard, and taking the two together
provides a pretty good picture of the early history of the YSA.
Both Sheppard's and Williams's accounts are worth reading, making
allowances for the tendency of both writers to put themselves at the
centre of the narrative and to favour the the political views that
they held at the time.
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