Max Shachtman


The Fight For Socialism



This booklet is designed to present the ideas of socialism, as expressed in the principles and the program of the Workers Party. The highest and clearest form which the aspirations of social groups and classes, and even individuals, can find in modern society is the political form. The ingenuity of man has produced no better vehicle for realizing these aspirations than the political party. A political party which bases its claim for support on the superior personal qualities of the man or men who head it, or upon this or that momentary platform, is not worthy of serious consideration. Only those political parties merit support that stand upon clearly-defined, publicly-proclaimed and firmly-defended basic principles, and put forward a program for the organization and reorganization of society. Such a political organization is the Workers Party. Its principles and program are the principles and program of socialism.

In the pages that follow, an attempt has been made to set down these principles and program in the simplest and most popular manner, so that every worker who reads them may be able to understand them without difficulty. The author is not unaware of the fact that such an attempt faces difficulties and even dangers. The difficulties do not lie in the intellectual inferiority which the ruling classes attribute to the working class, to whom this booklet is addressed primarily, but only in the mass of misconceptions, and outright falsification of the ideas of socialism which the ruling classes have systematically cultivated in the minds of the people. The dangers lie only in the fact that an attempt to present the rich and systematized ideas of socialism in a simple and popular way often ends – as the literature of socialism amply testifies! – in a cheap vulgarization and even distortion of these ideas. It is the hope of the author that he has avoided the dangers and overcome the difficulties to a satisfactory extent. Whatever success has been attained here, the author owes in .thankful measure to many of his comrades in the leadership of the Workers Party who were kind enough to read the original manuscript with meticulous care and to make numerous criticisms and suggestions for change and improvement which were finally incorporated into the booklet.

The publisher and the author also wish to thank Edith Harvey for her work in preparing the manuscript for critical reading and publication; and Sally Greene and Eleanor Mason for their scrupulous work in reading proof.

April 1, 1946

Max Shachtman

Marxist Writers’

Last updated on 23.4.2005