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New US Socialist Worker web site

May Day marked the long-awaited launch of the redesigned SocialistWorker.org Web site.

With this wholesale renovation of their site, the American Socialist Worker enters a new era. They plan to begin publishing news and analysis daily on the Web–the kind of articles and features already familiar from the weekly Socialist Worker, but more often, and more of them.

That will mean more on-the-ground reports of struggles, from columnists and commentators, such as John Pilger and Mike Davis, plus more articles from writers of the international left. Socialist Worker’s current contributors–like Sharon Smith, Paul D’Amato, Lee Sustar, Lance Selfa, Elizabeth Schulte, Eric Ruder, Nicole Colson and many others–will get to write more often and in more depth.

The new Web site has been designed to make it easier to find the information and analysis you’re looking for. And you can keep up with what’s new on SocialistWorker.org by subscribing to their regular e-mail alerts: http://socialistworker.org/subscribe/email

1 Com:

Dave Riley | May 05, 2008

The generic post was adopted from Socialist Unity and a thread developed which was rather instructive:

1. this one’s good
http://socialistworker.org/2008/05/02/west-coast-ports-may-day :)

Comment by Jason — 3 May, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

2. Some of the neocons were in the US Socialist Workers party.


Comment by Ed D — 3 May, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

3. so people are fluid moving from the left to the right- Burnham was in the US SWP at the time of Cannon etc. but this site is from the ISO, formerly aligned with the UK SWP, I think.

I’m surprised Andy likes them or may be he’s just entering a new non-sectarian phase :)

Comment by Jason — 3 May, 2008 @ 9:28 pm

#3I I’m surprised Andy likes them or may be he’s just entering a new non-sectarian phase.

No it is the same sectarian phase against the British SWP.

Comment by anticapitalista — 3 May, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

Wrong social workers party Ed, the US SWP has and had no connection with the Cliffites although if memory serves (and I may be wrong) the US ISO which does publish SW over there may have come out of the Shactmanite current at some point.

Comment by George Small — 3 May, 2008 @ 10:31 pm

To make it simple:

They were a “sister” organisation of the brits. Then they fell out with Rees and germain and calinicos about not being anti-capitalist enough a few years ago (go figure) so they were expelled fom the SWP club.

And I’d just like to congratulate all of you for splitting and squabling just when the UK needed a left. You all fucked it up good and proper. I despair.

Comment by bored bored bored — 3 May, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

I think we have just been introduced to the future of socialist publishing. It’s an excellent site and it allows feedback too. Nice work!

Comment by Liam — 3 May, 2008 @ 11:45 pm

1) Yes, it is a nice site, if I do say so as an ISO member. Thanks for the link.

2) The ISO was indeed in the IST until early 2001, when it was expelled essentially over a perspectives disagreement - we did not share the SWP’s rosy assessment of the “anti-capitalist movement” and were therefore labelled hopelessly sectarian. The documents can be found online without too much difficulty.

3) I do hope this post is not only motivated by a sectarian interest in promoting a group which has split with the SWP and nevertheless thrived. Of course, even so I suppose I’ll take what I can get.

Comment by Kalkin — 4 May, 2008 @ 12:10 am


“I do hope this post is not only motivated by a sectarian interest in promoting a group which has split with the SWP and nevertheless thrived. ”

I posted this because someone in the ISO asked me to, sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists. I have always linked in the sidebar to the SW web site, becasue it does give very good coverage of US and international stuff.

Comment by Andy Newman — 4 May, 2008 @ 12:16 am

I realize that may have come off as obnoxious - I’m sorry, I’m not always good at tongue in cheek. I was joking.

Comment by Kalkin — 4 May, 2008 @ 12:22 am

#6 well a few lefties falling out amongst themselves isn’t helpful but the much bigger picture is how we can build a vibrant working class movement that begin to win struggles

I’m confident that it can be done- may be starting small, well I guess you always have to do that, but getting the formula right and moving on up.

e.g. it is very small but support the school strike in Bolton - it has th epotential to be a very important action.

Because of anti-union laws it is framed as a trade dispute about change of employer terms and conditions but of course it is a potential tactic againt something much larger

send messages of support-= they’ll appreaciate it


Comment by Jason — 4 May, 2008 @ 12:33 am

I am the ISO member that asked Socialist Unity if it could announce the new SW site (nope, no conspiracy theory here). We’re trying to get as much help as we can to promote the new site, and I really appreciate SU’s generosity (the antithesis of sectarianism!) for posting the video. Thanks again, Andy.

Comment by Andrew — 4 May, 2008 @ 2:04 am

As for this site’s supposed sectarianism toward the British SWP — it needs to be pointed out that in New Zealand with Socialist Worker leadership in RAM and in Zimbabwe in the face of Mugabe-ism. the IST affiliates are doing cutting edge political work we can all learn from.

In the US the ISO is gaining strength in a very difficulty left milieu and this relaunch is an indication of their confidence and achievement.They also write excellent journalism.

I urge readers here to follow these outfits by monitoring their blogs and journals because there is a lot to be said for stepping out of the crippling schematic engineering promoted by the British SWP –as while the US ISO is out of the IST long time, the other outfits are hardly performing to London protocols(as their disputes with the SWP centre indicate).

From my POV — and I’ve tried, I’ve really tried — I find the UK Socialist Worker journal to be not very useful as a window into British politics or the international struggle. It’s an editorialist mag with news snippets and very little cogent analysis. It also seems to make a point of often ignoring many of the key debates on the left. When it rarely addresses them — out comes an editorial article of a few paragraphs and thats’ it — thats’ all you’ll get. The SWP is oh so right once again by dint of saying so.

It’s not a paper that engages with anyone much at all. It’s What we stand for :101.

To get an idea of how crude the toy cominternism used to function — out there off shore were/are these clones of the British Socialist Worker — same name, same logo, same masthead colours, same journalese…. I think it rather tragic.

The US ISO comrades have fortunately been able to transcend that mould and have created a brilliant and indigenous publishing project that should be envied.

And unlike the WSWS it still mixes it with the real world in hard copy.

In Australia the local Socialist Worker has ceased publication and we wait for a new mag to be published with the newly merged Solidarity — SW has not been published since December 2007. But there was an interesting discussion at their fusion conference that Marcus Strom honed in on:

The comrades voted for the organisation’s monthly publication to have a magazine format, as opposed to that of a newspaper. A debate around whether or not to sell it on stalls was revealing, in that it showed that the new organisation has very little, if any, membership in working class suburbs - stalls were discussed as if they will only occur on campuses and the more gentrified urban areas. It also revealed a liquidationist tendency that was not comfortable selling the publication at all, while another section favoured ploughing on with the same approach to paper sales and recruiting mainly students.

Comment by Dave Riley — 4 May, 2008 @ 5:04 am


i think waht is admirable about the American ISO, and their publications, is that there is a serious attempt to understand the world, and the political environment they are working in.

This means that even though I have a lot of polticial disagreements with them, I still find their analysis very useful.

Of course the DSP in Australia have a similar sincere approach, and Green left Weekly is a first class publication. http://www.greenleft.org.au/

Comment by Andy Newman — 4 May, 2008 @ 10:00 am

It is a great web-site and the ISO is a good stopping point for news and analysis from the US.

The ISO certainly had a better analysis than the SWP before the split - rejecting the stupidities of ’30s in slow motion’and they had a more nuanced and realistic view of the ‘anti-capitalist movement’(where is that now?)that provided a better guide than the mechanical transposition of British perspectives that the SWP seems to insist on. I don’t think they were at Seattle in enough force and the argument that Seattle is a long way away seemed rather weak - the real fault was that they seemed to miss the build-up to Seattle, which was taking place across the country.

But the amazing thing is that the best of ISO practice is so similar (taking into account radically different political terrains and histories) to the best of the SWP’s - building in wider forces (in the ISO case building for Nader and then for the Greens), with their journal especially open to other writers. Just look at the excellent line-ups of outside speakers for Socialism 2008 and M2008. A better SWP would be moving to bring the ISO back into a positive relationship, although it was interesting to note that the account of the split in Respect carried by the ISO’s SW was written by a partisan of the Renewal side.

On a more light-hearted if cynical note for anyone who followed the SWP attempt to encourage an alternative in the US that would situate itself in the ‘anti-capitalist’ movement, only for that group of people and their magazine to break away from the IST, which seemed to leave only Mike Davies to fly the IST flag in the US… it is really good to see Mike Davies being so fullsome in his praise of the ISO web-site and Socialist Worker. Mike Davies shows the way!

Comment by Matthew — 4 May, 2008 @ 11:12 am

Andy makes the main point I think. I can have any number of differences with an outfit — like the US ISO — but they are trying to deal with the real world not impose schemata upon it(other than on Latin America!)

And that has to be reflected in and cannot help being reflected in their publications. I suggested that the English SW was perhaps frightened of some topics and frightened of some debates. To create a quality journal that aggregates a lot of outreach and advocacy you cannot afford that sort of self censorship.

But as I hinted at, it’s also a question of how you deploy your publications and what mileage you seek to get from them. And what both Green Left Weekly and the US Socialist Worker achieve is a level of combination that engages their readerships at many levels.

That doesn’t make them perfect as I think the IST current mags do have a rich tradition of writing very accessible introduction to socialism stuff (and SW does that better than GLW perhaps). But for generating a perspective on politics — comment and reportage — (US)SW and GLW have a lot in common and are way ahead of the pack..

As far as I know the US Socialist Worker has not embraced GLW’s open publishing policy as many others outside the publishing org writes for Green Left Weekly. It is, for instance, John Pilger’s preferred outlet in Australia and like John, Tariq Ali will do public meetings for Green Left.

So it occupies a niche as the recent Climate Change Conference suggests it is much broader than the DSP or the Socialist Alliance periphery and support base.

But I think what both journals do is promote and encourage a high level of politics . That may seem to be a drawback with a lot of pressure to ‘dumb down’ for the sake of a broader working class readership — but the skill is in the mix. But that ‘mix’ has to rely on consistent feedback from those who read and distribute the paper –so the “sellers” have to be as one with the journal as it also represents them.

This I think is something web based projects miss entirely and why the web tends to promotes the circle spirit . There’s no better test of a publication than standing on a street corner selling it and having conversations with those who buy or inquire about it. That has to be its measure. This is why Green Left has the cover and back page style . It’s about street presence — a mini picket.

What Socialist Worker is doing with its relaunch and what Green Left has been trying to do is to straddle the divide between the web and the street. While Green Left may be the most popular political web site in Australia the real world off line still requires a round of regular weekly selling stumps and stalls. Here it’s the only paper on the left that consistently does that.

We sell at mosques, malls, football matches, markets,campuses, events and cinemas….etcetera.So in many contexts you get to judge the paper’s reach and its relevance. Consequently here it is the socialist left’s best asset and in the main, that’s what people identify the ‘left’ with because it has presence — not nearly enough of course– but it’s out there most days of every week.

Comment by Dave Riley — 4 May, 2008 @ 11:13 am

Good post from Dave.

I’m hoping that in Britain there’s the beginning of a realisation amongst a significant secotr of th eleft- including a largish number of SWP and indeed a largish number of Respect Renewal- that we have to begin to build the movement, genuinely engage in united fronts, and have a sober judgment of where it has gone wrong (and not one merely based on blaiming the other side!)

There are problems with the SWP leadership, sure, but I find a lot of SWP members sincere and perfectly easy enough to work with.

Socialist Unity site is a useful resource, though its reputation is as a bit of a bear pit I’m afraid. It would be good if contributors to the discussion on here made a conscious effort to try to overcome thta so the site may be able to live up to its name.

We are entering a period of critical reflection on the left- perhaps. Certainly we can if enough of us argue for this and make it happen. An interesting contribution here from a member of Permanent Revolution- http://www.permanentrevolution.net/?view=entry&entry=2075

Comment by Jason — 4 May, 2008 @ 11:38 am

Dave, you mentioned that the Australian ISO hasn’t put out an issue of SW since December last year, and then we saw the unity conference with the other IS groups. I’m just wondering why it’s taking the new group Solidarity so long to get something out? It’s coming on 4 months since they got together and they still have no web presence. Are there some unresolved issues around their publication, or is it just a matter of limited resources?

Comment by Keith — 4 May, 2008 @ 1:38 pm

I do find it remarkable that in this age of the internet socialist groups do not allow comments on their sites. It smacks of haughtiness and arrogance that these tiny organisations think their pronouncements are above comment.
Is it not this a really telling point about these groups alleged commitment to democracy and openeness that they do not allow it on their own sites?
Who cares about the fancy graphics when they can’t even get this right?
Sure on sites like this, with their obessive nature and general rudeness are pretty off putting - but that too is not uninformative.

Comment by bill j — 4 May, 2008 @ 1:48 pm

#19. The new SW.org site will have a comments and discussion area soon I believe.

Comment by Clive Searle — 4 May, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

Jason at #17 raises the question of where to begin? And I have to go back to the newspaper question in that regard too because it is so often relegated to the status of an archaic mode. Thats’ dead wrong! It collectivizes the politics of the movements and any org that develops out of them. It is a basic and crucial question and Lenin had its measure: you need some medium to aggregate your politics and advance your advocacy while engaging with activists.

One of the handicaps in New Zealand for instance– despite the many regroupment projects that were tried there –was, I think, that none of them developed a newspaper to house the thinking through that was needed.

As for the unified Solidarity in Australia’s failure to publish a journal –yet (as I think it will eventuate)– I don’t know what the delay is. But I think its a mistake not to see that as something urgent. Maybe it was launched on Mayday?

The tragedy is that the ISO fought tooth and nail against GLW becoming the newspaper of the Socialist Alliance and refused from the beginning of that discussion in the SA to begin the process of integrating Socialist Worker into a partnered project as that was the original proposition.

And when the ISO comrades were guaranteed ready access to the pages of GLW to write reports and commentary — after some early experimentation they stopped offering copy (as the other affiliates did also).

And the newspaper question became the cause celebre among these orgs –supposedly the worst example of sectarian imposition that the DSP engineered in alliance with….the vast majority of the SA membership!

Now SW is history — three years on –and so far no other journal has come out under the Solidarity masthead.

But you need to also recognise that the distribution of other left mags here is shallow compared to Green Left Weekly by a large margin indeed. While there is a historical trend for the sales rate to fall (due to many factors both political in regard to the level of radicalization and structural due to the privatisation of public space) GLW reflects a publishing tradition that goes back to 1971.In the open GLW form — the paper has been published for 17 years.

( I should also point out that GLW runs a lot of stuff from the US Socialist Worker too so the paper’s readership is familiar with the US ISO. For example this article on Egypt in the latest GlW. So while the US ISO has formal relations with Socialist Alternative here I gather — GLW is the journal that promotes the ISO’s POV in Australia.I also point out that GLW has organised public meetings for reps from ISO Zimbabwe and makes a point of running their material in its pages (because its the best analysis of the politics there). It also sponsors meetings here of members of the New Zealand Socialist Worker group — just as I interviewed them last week about RAM.

At the moment Socialist Alliance members have a sort of carte blanche (protocol formatted)access to the pages of Green Left Weekly and if theres’ any issues it’s folk like me (and the SA/GLW board)who have to address them. But in five years theres’ only been one editorial dispute.One.

We also now offer an initial short term subscription to GLW as part of new SA memberships.

Comment by Dave Riley — 4 May, 2008 @ 3:46 pm

I was mistaken about Solidarity — the magazine Solidarity has already been published since March and is now in its second edition.

I had not seen it in my travels nor is their website — http://www.solidarity.net.au/ — operational…

Comment by Dave Riley — 5 May, 2008 @ 4:06 am

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