[Marxism] Review: Invaluable history, important lessons from Barry Sheppard

glparramatta glparramatta at greenleft.org.au
Wed Jun 13 19:34:18 MDT 2012

By Malik Miah

June 12, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- 
I've known Barry Sheppard as a comrade and friend for more than 40 
years. I joined the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA) in 1969 as a high 
school student in Detroit. I joined the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in 
1970 and met Barry at the SWP's national conference that year. I later 
moved to New York in 1971 to join the staff of the YSA's national 
office. I soon became head of the YSA's work among Black youth.

Barry and I first worked closely during the desegregation of Boston 
public schools in 1974-75 when I moved to Boston to head our 
participation in the campaign against the racist opposition. It was then 
I became a member of the SWP's National Committee (NC) and Political 
Committee (PC).

But our closest collaboration began in 1981 when I moved back to New 
York after serving three years as the party's central leader in Chicago 
where I was the district organiser and later a leader of our fraction in 
the United Steel Workers union (USWA). My return to the PC came as I 
began several years of work as one of the SWP's representatives to the 
Fourth International (FI) in Paris, where Barry and I served on the FI's 
main leadership bodies. We made many trips together to attend meetings 
and discussions in the United Secretariat of the FI and in European 
sections of the FI.

I also served as a staff writer and editor of the Militant, the SWP's 
weekly newspaper.

So much of what Barry writes in his second volume on the rise and 
decline of the SWP I know both as a member and leader of the SWP in the 
1970s and 1980s. I was suspended/expelled from the SWP in 1989, over 
differences on trade union policy.

Full article at http://links.org.au/node/2909

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