- See also Socialist Action (UK).
is a small Trotskyist political party
in the United States
which stands in political solidarity with the reunified Fourth International
. It publishes a monthly newspaper, also named Socialist Action
. Since 2001 SA has recruited a layer of youth, especially in the upper Midwest
. It has around 70 members.
It was founded in 1983
as a regroupment of oppositionists who still defended the ideas of Permanent Revolution
, class independence, and who rejected the SWP's uncritical embrace of "the three giants of the Caribbean (Nicaragua, Cuba, and Grenada)." They were expelled from the Socialist Workers Party
in the so called 'Age Purge' of those loyal to the reunified Fourth International
Since 1992, the organisation has developed strong criticisms of the evolution of the reunified Fourth International. In the 1990s, it supported a left minority tendency in the International that also involved the International Socialist Group. It no longer plays a part in the International, but continues to describe itself as part of the world movement. A group of co-thinkers in Canada left the Fourth International in 1994 to form Socialist Action (Canada). Ballot Access News lists it as a California party with 19 members.
Socialist Action has run candidates for elected office on a number of occasions. It views electoral campaigns as a way to promote socialist politics, as well as to advocate on behalf of issues that the organization is promoting. As a result of legal challenges, Socialist Action and other socialist parties in the US do not have to disclose who the financial supporters of its election campaigns because of demonstrable government harassment of past socialist candidates .
In 2007 Socialist Action was the only Trotskyist group in the United States with an elected official. SA member Adam Ritscher was elected to the Douglas County Board of Supverisors in northern Wisconsin in April 2006, and continues to serve in that office . Other examples of Socialist Action election campaigns are Jeff Mackler's 2006 write-in campaign for U.S. Senate in northern California and Sylvia Weinstein's 1988 campaign for San Francisco Board of Education, in which she won 21,000 votes .
The history of Socialist Action has been one of factionalism and marginality despite the roots the group has within the workers movement. Like its parent the SWP, its history can in many respects be written as a record of the many factional struggles and splits which have wracked the group.
- The first such split was a grouping called Socialist Unity led by Les Evans, Joanna Misnik, Dianne Feeley and others who soon fused with the Workers Power and International Socialists groups to form Solidarity. This grouping had about a third of the 160 members of SA at that time.
- The second split came in 1992 and was led by Alan Benjamin who was then the editor of Socialist Action and had developed sympathies with the Lambertist current of Trotskyism. Failing to win SA as a whole to their politics, about a dozen activists left to form the Socialist Organizer group.
- A little while after this a group of former SWP members who had not been a part of the original split from that group left to form the Association for Independent Socialist Politics. This group of approximately thirty had previously called themselves Group X, in a clear reference to the then trendy Generation X, and had the adherence of many of SA's youth. They were led by Barry Shepherd, Malik Miah and Carl Finamore and went on to join the Committees of Correspondence. This tendency would also eventually join Solidarity.
- Another, very small, tendency within SA in the 1990's was the Trotskyist Continuity Tendency (TCT), whose members left the SWP after the founders of SA. They argued that the former USSR was no longer a degenerated workers state as was the position of SA and the FI to which it is allied. After a year or so they left SA but remained active in the Labor Party and published a magazine Revolutionary Marxism Today until disappearing in the late 1990s.
- In 2001 a grouping based in San Francisco, their national center, left to form the Socialist Workers Organization led by Nat Weinstein and Carole Seligman, once prominent leaders of SA. At the formation of the SWO both it and SA had approximately thirty-five members each.