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International Socialist Review, Spring 1960




From International Socialist Review, Vol.21 No.2, Spring 1960, p.34.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.



Since I took out my trial subscription a few months ago, from one of the Socialist Trailblazers, I have found your magazine to be very thought-provoking and worthy of careful study.

Fairly recently, however, I came across another publication. It was a book defending both the present US government and the Eisenhower Administration, called What We Are For (Harpers, 1959).

I must admit that this latter publication has placed many of my former beliefs in serious doubt, though I have been unable to resolve many questions.

I am a student at Harvard, and I always try to get to the bottom of a question, no matter where this leads me – although, admittedly, this is not always the easiest course. I feel I have to do this, for if I try to push aside an idea without first satisfying myself of its error, it continues to reappear and haunt me.

I would be exceedingly grateful to you if you could analyze that book in the light of true socialism. If you could do this, perhaps I could set my conscience once again at ease.

Thank you very much, and please forgive me for burdening you with this problem. I send my best wishes to you.

D.C.M., Jr.
Newton Center, Mass.


... If the ISR editors have finished chuckling (I think it was “happy” chuckling no less) maybe they will explain why in their editorial they so militantly have seized on the nomenclature “power elite” which is not ours and is intended by its proponents to oppose the Marxist conception about ruling class?

Detroit, Mich.


Upon reading your editorial, I was really shocked by the attitude you had taken. You have committed the tactless error of trying to tear down and insult or disgrace everything (or some of the things) that the American public holds near and dear and feels just and rightly about. Rather than attempting to show him the great advantages which lie in socialism.

Perhaps you should study more closely the now well established Labor party in England. It was established by settling the problems caused by capitalism and never swerved from the policy of the government. Also I can’t understand your loyalty to Soviet Russia; binding yourself to a dictatorship (of the proletariat) seems to me the worst possible blunder, as the situation now is you have given the word socialism a bad connotation, (it might be well if you changed the name completely).

A good topic for another editorial might be along the lines of the worker and automation, or the agricultural situation, etc. At any rate the policy of your magazine seems the most impossible thing I could imagine. Do you know that if you told anybody (common American) you were a socialist or labeled any plan one based on socialism, you might as well have told them you, or it, were anti-American, a spy, a killer, a red and the big bad wolf for that matter? Stop slinging mud and try and do something practical.

Whitestone, N.Y.


Find enclosed twenty-five cents for a copy of your pamphlet Which Way for Labor – Democratic Party or Labor Party? by Murry Weiss.

First, I should like to explain how I obtained a copy of International Socialist Review, Winter 1960 ... The other day a member of our Union came by the store to visit me and he said he had read my letter [to the editor of a local paper] ... and during the visit he told me about this magazine and he gave it to me.

Well when I noticed this advertisement about this pamphlet on a Labor Party it interested me very much because that is the very thing that I want to happen ...

Denver, Colo.


Just a word of praise for the Winter 1960 issue of ISR. As a lover of history, I enjoyed immensely the article on John Brown.

You may like to know that when I finish reading ISR I mail it to a friend in Holland who likes it better than any other socialist publication.

Please send me the book – Eugene V. Debs – the Socialist Movement of His Time – Its Meaning for Today. 25 cents. Stamps enclosed for same.

Louisville, Ky.


... I just want to make a suggestion. You ought to print a subscription blank in every issue of ISR. You have one for a combination deal on page 16 of the Winter 1960 issue, but whether you have a combination offer or not, you should always carry a sub blank, not just to encourage some reader to subscribe but to induce a subscriber to send in a sub for a friend or acquaintance. By the way, do you have any sub forms printed up? You should send a few to the persons already on your list, including myself. I could use a few, and I know I would use a sub blank every time I saw one in the ISR. No harm in trying, anyhow. Think it over.

Midwestern reader
South Dakota


Your last editorial states that

“In Western Europe revolutionary working-class movements were prevented by the Stalinized Communist parties and the reformist Social-Democracy from finishing off capitalism at the end of World War II.”

It seems to me that in order to justify this point of view you must answer the objection of the Communists that such an overturn at the end of the war would have meant the beginning of World War III. Moreover, the US had a monopoly on the Atom bomb at that time.

We cannot irresponsibly call for “revolution everywhere” without considering that we are living in a world situation where revolution might mean the total destruction of all parties.

Brooklyn, N.Y.


I liked Cannon’s article on American radicalism. It was a truthful account of what happened in the thirties. He is dead right in his central point, “The radical movement of the thirties ... has spent itself.” I also go along wth the proposition that “the main forces of the new movement of American Socialist radicalism have to come from a new generation.”

What I’m dubious about is that the organized left today will be capable of attracting this new generation.

Cannon seems to think that the Socialist Workers Party can do this job. But I don’t see any evidence that the SWP is attracting “the upcoming young rebels.” I would like to believe that it was but, as I say, I’m dubious.

Columbus, Ohio

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