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International Socialism, Summer 1963


Letter to Readers


From International Socialism, No.13, Summer 1963, p.20.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


As a concession to readers’ alarm at not being able to explore the innermost recesses of Cliff’s piece on Permanent Revolution in our last issue, we are publishing herewith an official guide. Insert the following cross-heads: I. Three Concepts of Revolution on page 15, column 2, beginning paragraph 3; II. Mao’s Rise to Power on p.17, col.2, beginning par.1; III. Castro’s Revolution on p.18, col.1, beginning last par.; V. The Intelligentsia on p.19, col.2, beginning last par.; VI. Deflected Permanent Revolution on p.20, col.2, beginning 2 pars. from the end; VII. Conclusions on p.21, col.1, beginning first par.; IV. What Went Wrong with the Theory on p.21, col.1, beginning last par. Then reread in ordinal sequence.

O dear, it seems that we need to explain our last cover as well. Would Dimly Discerned Railmayman Disconsolately Trundling Trolley Under Impassive Gaze of Go-Getting Public-School Boy do? Before saying any more, know that our cover-man Reuben Fior has scaled the heights of Hilton to hang covers 8 and 9 at an exhibition of Design and Art Direction. For intending visitors to that hostelry on Park Lane, Mayfair, London CND badges are de rigueur.

We regret having to cut the Revolutionary Socialist Party’s reply to our frosty Notes in IS 11 and 12 but could not afford to devote fully 8 of our 32 pages to it. We have done our best to reduce the reply carefully and without bias. Nonetheless some readers might still like to write to The Call, 780 Ballimaran, Delhi-6, India for the full text (which appeared in their issue of March this year) or, alternatively, to us for a duplicated version.

It seems that increasing circulation has brought us into contact with Nasty Types That Don’t Pay. There are two things to be said on this. First – don’t be nasty! Second, readers who receive copies in bulk should try to convert regular customers into annual subscribers. It would bring us more and save you time – the time you need to expand sales.

Readers will have noticed that our stagnant editorial pool has been drained and renewed and that we now support a slightly larger living population. Regrettably, Nigel Harris got away. At this moment he is probably somewhere between Baghdad and Kabul on his way to a two-year exile in India and Japan. To all whom it may concern abroad, Nigel Harris may be considered our honorary roving editor, keeper of the ‘hot line’ to Fitzroy Road.

Promises are as dicey for periodicals as predictions for politicians. But we can state with confidence that readers of our next issue or issues will find something to their advantage in Ten Years for the Locust, British Trotskyism 1938 to 1948 by Jim Higgins, and a piece on Victor Serge by Peter Sedgwick, timed to coincide with the publication by Oxford University Press of his translation of Serge’s Memoirs.

A word of explanation on our last NoteDefensism and Defeatism. It was never meant for publication and bears all the hall-marks of its origins in a personal, multi-thousand-word letter from Hal Draper to an American comrade. We have permitted ourselves to do no more than extract the few paragraphs from the whole, not to tamper with them stylistically or in any other way. We make no promises, but one unsatisfied editor may still be heard from in this discussion.

Lyotard writes in connexion with his article:

‘The theoretical position of Socialisme ou Barbarie (22 rue Bellan, Paris 2e, France) can be summarized in the following way: the bureaucracy is not only a new ruling class formed in the East after the degeneration of the Russian Revolution. There is a tendency present in Western Capitalism as well to reduce the worker, the citizen, the consumer or any person who tries to educate or entertain himself, into a mere agent of a system conceived and controlled from above and imposed by a hierarchy of bureaucrats. The “working-class” organizations participate in this acclimatized totalitarianism, or oppose it only to replace it by a more efficient one. But bureaucratization only deepened the crisis of class society and continues to prepare the historical conditions for true socialism; viz. autonomous activity of workers leading to the taking of power by their councils in order to manage production and society. A revolutionary organization must be an instrument for the workers in their struggles and a model of proletarian democracy.’</>

Socialisme ou Barbarie has links with Solidarity in Britain.

Now that we have an International Secretary on our Editorial Board, Ian Birchall. we are able to offer a new service to readers. Those of you who would like information relating to political conditions, tendencies or whatever in countries with which we have contact might find it useful to pick our brains. We shall do our best to help.


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Last updated on 31.10.2006