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The Theoretical and Historical Origins of the Pseudo-left

The Theoretical and Historical Origins of the Pseudo-left

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By David North
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This pamphlet outlines the development and rightward political trajectory of the tendencies collectively referred to as the pseudo-left—forces that today function as apologists for imperialism while claiming the mantle of “socialism.” In this report, delivered to the Second National Congress of the Socialist Equality Party in 2012, David North discusses the struggle to resolve the crisis of working class revolutionary leadership based on the lessons of the history of the Trotskyist movement.

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David North concisely explains in this pamphlet the origins and trajectory of post-modernism, state capitalism, and other pessimistic and anti-Marxist conceptions that have emerged in the “left” milieu in the postwar era. It is an essential reading for those who want to understand the degeneration worldwide of “left-wing” organizations, from SYRIZA in Greece to the New Anti-capitalist Party in France to the International Socialist Organization in the United States.

By beginning with a summation of the capitalist crisis that erupted in 2008, North grounds himself in a historical materialist viewpoint that informs his analysis of the pseudo-left. North contrasts the serious attitude with which the SEP approaches matters of history to that of the pseudo-left, whose rejection of historical discussion forms the basis of their organizational unity. North goes on to trace the roots of these various tendencies back to the 1930s and 40s, paying particular attention to the “state capitalism” of Bruno Rizzi, the postmodernism of Horkheimer and Adorno, and deviations within the Fourth International. Always focusing on the material roots of such pessimistic philosophies, North explains both their objective source and their subsequent evolution to the 21st century.
Author David North
Publisher Socialist Equality Party
Publication Date 2013
Pages 25
Publication Type Pamphlet

David North is the chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site. He is the author of numerous books, articles, and lectures on questions relating to contemporary US and international politics, European and Soviet history, and the history of the Trotskyist movement, including The Crisis of American Democracy; Marxism, History and Socialist Consciousness; Leon Trotsky and the Post-Soviet School of Historical Falsification; and The Heritage We Defend