Max Shachtman

ILP Audience Hears Shachtman
Speak on Stalinist Barbarism

(21 May 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 24, 14 June 1948, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

We offer the following report of a lecture delivered by Max Shachtman, national chairman of the Workers Party, before an Independent Labor Party audience in London on May 21 as printed in the Socialist Leader, ILP paper, of May 29.


“Nowhere in the world is there so much slave labor as in Russia,” declared Max Shachtman, Chairman of the American Workers Party and editor of the New International, at a meeting arranged by the I.L.P. in London last Friday.

Because the Stalinists use the workers, the speaker went on, the view prevails that Russia is a workers’ State. If this view continues it means the prostration of Socialism.

Stalinism is a new social phenomenon, caused by the inability of the capitalist class to organize society on the old basis, and the inability of the working class, thus far, to re-organize society on a socialist basis.

Marxists have never preached the inevitability of Socialism. They maintained that capitalism must end, and that it would be replaced by Socialism or barbarism. Stalinist barbarism is the penalty being paid by the working class for its failure to take over the helm of society from the bourgeoisie.

Declaring that Marxists must offer the socialist alternative to, capitalism and a democratic alternative to Stalinism, Max Shachtman said he believed that there was a favorable opportunity in Britain for the revolutionary movement. The workers were still fresh, unbeaten, and not demoralized as on the continent of Europe. He hoped devoutly that the Marxist movement in this country would not neglect these opportunities.

Max Shachtman
Marxist Writers’

Last updated on 1 March 2018