MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of People



Abern, Martin (1898-1949)

Martin Abern (Abramowitz) was born on December 2, 1898 in Romania. He came to the US at the age of 4, where his family settled in Minneapolis. At 15, A. joined the IWW as well as the YPSL. When the US entered WWI, A. refused the draft and was for that reason expelled from the U of Minn.

He was sent to prison for six months for refusing the draft. Abern joined the Left Wing of the SP, and then the young CP. At age 23, A. became the youngest member of the CP's CC. Shortly thereafter he moved to Chicago and became active in the leadership of the CP's youth movement. He met Max Shachtman when the latter was 19; they worked together in the National Office of the Young Workers League.

Abern attended the Fourth Congress of the Comm. Int., where he was a delegate to the Second Congress of the Young Communist International.

During his membership in the CP from 1923 to 1928, Abern supported JP Cannon in the split of the Foster-Cannon faction. Abern became a leading member of the Cannon faction. When Cannon became National Secretary of the International Labor Defense, Abern became his Assistant National Secretary.

A. was expelled from the CP for Trotskyism in 1928. That year, the Daily Worker referred to the three Trotskyists -- Cannon, Shachtman, and Abern -- as "Three Generals Without an Army."

Together with Maurice Spector of Canada, and others, Cannon, Shachtman, and Abern formed the Communist League of America in Chicago in May of 1929. In 1938, the Trotskyists, having spent a brief time inside the American SP, formed the Socialist Workers Party. Abern served on the National and Political Committees of the SWP until the split of 1940, when he joined Shachtman to form the Workers Party. The main issue in this split was Trotsky's insistence on unconditional defense of Stalin's Soviet Russia. Cannon and a majority of the SWP supported this notion, Shachtman, Abern, Gould, Glotzer, and many others, rejected it.

In the WP, Abern remained in the leadership until his death in 1949. The May 9, 1949 issue of Labor Action, the WP's newspaper, carried an obituary by Max Shachtman that paid tribute to his long-time comrade.


Abhayavardhana, Hector (1919– present)

Party pseudonyms: Suren Morarji, H.A. Vardhan, Surendra.

Born Kandy, Ceylon, son of Hector Wilfred Abeywardena. Educated St. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia; University College, Colombo; and Colombo Law College. Joined Lanka Sama Samaja Party, 1940. Founding member Bolshevik Leninist Party of India. Co-edited (with B. Waidyasekera) a Sinhalese weekly, Kamkaruwa [The Worker], May-November 1941. Relocated to India, 1942. Arrested 1943, deported to Ceylon, returned to India 1944. Worked in BLPI groups in Calcutta, U.P., Bihar, and Bombay, 1942-48. Attended BLPI conference, 1944. Editorial Board, New Spark , 1947-48. Delegate, BLPI conference, 1947. Central Committee, Political Bureau, and General Secretary BLPI, 1947-48. Entered SP with BLPI, 1948. Editor, Socialist Vanguard , 1951-52 and Socialist Appeal , 1951-53. Joined SP (Loyalists), 1952. Joined SP (Lohia), 1956. Editor: Mankind , Maral, The Nation, and Socialist Nation . Chairman, Peoples’ Bank, Sri Lanka, 1970-75. Author: The Saboteur Strategy of the Constructive Program (1945), The August Struggle and its Significance (1947), and Internationalism and Socialism in Asia (1956). Resides in Colombo.

Compiled by Charles Wesley Ervin


Abu Bakr, Mohammed Salim (1913-?)

Joined Lanka Sama Samaja Party, 1936. Elected to Colombo Municipal Council (Dematagoda ward), 1946. Member of Parliament (Polonnaruwa constituency), 1947-60 (??). Elected Deputy Mayor of Colombo, 1950.

Compiled by Charles Wesley Ervin