Donald Trump’s erratic, dangerous response to the coronavirus crisis has sent an unmistakable message: better thousands die than I lose in November.
Max Elbaum was a member of Students for a Democratic Society and a leader of one of the main new communist movement organizations. He is the author of Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che, a history of the New Communist Movement reissued in 2018 by Verso with a new foreword by Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza.
With Leon Wofsy’s death last month, we lost a scientist and organizer who spent his near-century on earth fighting against racism and war and for free speech — and embarrassing Ronald Reagan to his face at the height of his attacks on student activism in California.
The rank-and-file strategy isn’t enough. We should examine the broad range of working-class organizing strategies and experiences that are today’s socialists’ collective heritage.
Socialists today don’t have to reinvent the wheel — we can learn from the successes and failures of past American radicals, including the New Communist Movement.