| The Left Wing Caucus
represented a left-wing tendency within the Young Socialist League.
Their slogan, "Unity to Left," invited controversy among the less
radical members of the YSL, who believed that they wished to unite with
the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party. Instead, the group urged
the development of a coalition of those who are closest to their
ideology already and are moving to the left.
They also criticize Michael Harrington's depiction of their caucus as a group of Trotskyists while at the same time urging the avoidance of working with reformist groups and parties, such as the Socialist Party and the support of Communists for the Democratic Party.
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Section 1: This edition opens with a discussion of the slogan of the Left-Wing Caucus: "unity to the left." The most important part of this section is devoted to explaining the purpose of the Left-Wing Caucus and railing against the reactionary imperialist blocs and promoting a Third Camp led by the working class. In an open letter to Michael Harrington, the Left-Wing Caucus disputes his characterization of the caucus as a sectarian group urging unity with the Socialist Workers' Party.
Section 2: Shane Mage discusses the exclusion of Stalinist organizations from the Young Socialist League, contending that since Khrushchev's speech concerning Stalin's excesses, their attitude has fundamentally changed. The implications of the hesitant stance of the Right Wing towards the Stalinist groups is that it ignores a potential political windfall. Instead, the movement toward the right will only serve to alienate these potential revolutionaries. Additionally, the treatment of the Gates group comes under scrutiny, and the author expresses the fear that they have not broken enough with the Stalinist tendency. The author denounces Communist support of the Democratic Party and its apologies for Stalinism. The question of United Fronts is discussed further, especially between ex-LYLers and members of the Communist Party. An open letter to two leaders of the Independent Socialist League is included, which implores them to stand against the reformist drift of the "Shachtman-Gates tendency."
Section 3: This section begins with discussion of the Menshevik tendency that, despite the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Revolution, continues to exist among academics, such as Don Harris. While the author does not discount the potential political evolution, he demands evidence before essentially dissolving the movement. S. Aesop, a pseudonym for one of the authors, describes the political situation of leftists through a parable about warring tribes led by a Shaman. Martha Wohlforth seeks to persuade her readers that the very right to strike itself is threatened due to racketeering investigations in the Senate and their potential exploitation. She argues instead that the corruption of unions is a result of the capitalist system, while attacking Labor Action for kowtowing to the labor bureaucracy. Shane Mage discusses the issue of inclusion in the YSL in "Letter to a YSL Comrade," insisting that sectarian divisions need to be overcome to promote independent action of the working class. The Socialist Party comes under scrutiny for its retreat from radical politics and the idea that the left wing is a group of Trotskyist apologists is dismissed.
Section 4: Tim Wohlforth challenges those who support unity with the SP-SDF (Socialist Party-Social Democratic Federation) but seek to maintain independent political thought to write an article to Labor Action and criticize the policies of the SP-SDF. Scott Arden criticizes an article by Comrade Meier which (illogically) complains about the reactionary nature of abstentions. In Letters to the Editor, the editor responds to a claim that the Left Wing Caucus is prejudiced against those who believe in God. The Berkeley Unit of the YSL opened the pages of the Challenge to those who are against unity to ensure a democratic discussion. The edition concludes with an article reprinted from the Reading Labor Advocate, which discusses the views of the SP-SDF on various issues.
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