Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
.... "Howard Mayhew was an example of such a party member," Britton said, explaining that his prestige was earned in union battles, the fight for civil liberties, antiracist, and other struggles, and as a candidate for public office for the party. "This prestige came from serious involvement, activity, and leadership."
Britton pointed out how in the early l950s, in the midst of the postwar prosperity and anticommunist witch-hunt, Mayhew quit his job, with nearly ten years' seniority, to participate in the party's leadership school for six months.
In l954, at the age of 46, he was elected by convention delegates to be an alternate member of the SWP's National Committee. He was elected a regular member at the following convention in l957.
Britton reviewed some of his experiences as a new member of the party in Chicago, noting the serious nature of branch discussions and Mayhew's role in driving through a transition of leadership from older to younger generations.
.... The long years of ebb in workers' militancy, which accompanied the post World War II economic expansion, posed tremendous challenges for the SWP. The party went from more than 1,700 members in the years following the war to a few hundred before significant youth recruitment developed in the early 1960s. During the opening of what would become a long wave of prosperity for U.S. capital in the early 1950s, the pressure to give up on the perspective of revolutionary working-class politics was especially intense.
But the late 1940s and '50s was also a time of revolutionary upsurge internationally, when the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America rose up against the imperialist powers culminating in the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Cuban, revolutions. Washington was handed its first military defeat by the Korean people. These events gave impetus to and became connected with the struggle of Black people in the United States, which began to pick up steam....
....Were we to believe Rosenblum, the lesson of the Arizona copper workers' fight in 1983 is that strikes cannot be won today because of the Republican Party's influence in Washington and the inability of workers to extend solidarity.
....The trade union bureaucracy, the Communist Party, and nearly every other current in the labor movement collaborated with the U.S. government to paint World War II as a "war for democracy," a fiction that remains common currency today. Immediately after World War II, after failing to keep the hot war going, the ruling classes of the United States and Great Britain jointly opened the cold war by equating the bloody crimes of fascism with communism. It was partly on that basis that the witch-hunt was able to register gains in the labor movement, including the seamen's unions, as early as 1946.
Another truth portrayed in the video is that despite services rendered to U.S. imperialism in World War II, the Communist Party took major blows in the postwar witch- hunt. As the film points out, in 1950 more than 2,000 seamen, many of them members of the Communist Party - but also members of the Socialist Workers Party and other union militants -lost their seamen's papers and right to sail at the hands of the U.S. Coast Guard, acting in the service of the employers and their government....
.... Enestvedt's "political confidence in the capacities of the working class were reinforced," stated SWP national secretary Jack Barnes in his letter to the meeting, "by the triumph of the Cuban socialist revolution at the opening of the 1960s, and he closely followed its course over the next 35 years.
"A number of us knew him first as a champion of and educator on the Cuban revolution," Barnes noted, "even before we knew him as a revolutionary farm activist."
In a 1982 letter, John emphasized, "The strong internationalism of Cuba, next door to the world's most powerful imperialist power...is a true contest between what socialism really is offering its working people, as against imperialism's program of mass deprivations and periodic wars, leading to a nuclear burnout of all life."
John embraced the Nicaraguan revolution....