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International Socialism, Autumn 1968



Letter to Readers


From International Socialism (1st series), No.34, Autumn 1968, p.27.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


International Socialism has over the past two years been through a phase of phenomenal expansion. The numbers in the group of the same name have also increased with growing speed, as has the circulation of our associated paper, Socialist Worker. The penny farthing outfit which sustained both papers and group is quite clearly inadequate for the new tasks. A first sign of the change is that IS is to acquire its own print shop so that Socialist Worker can become a weekly in September. IS itself will also go to the new print shop shortly afterwards. This will permit us a much shorter production time so that we can comment on events more immediately. The speed of change, our own expansion and the momentum which is currently building up make all this absolutely necessary.

It means also that this journal needs to expand the number of people working on it, writing for it, thinking about where it is going. This is the last issue of the ancien regime, and the new order takes over immediately this one has gone to press. The present editor retires (or, at least, that is what it is disarmingly called when ordinary political activity becomes increasingly hectic), and will be replaced by Colin Barker and Chris Harman, assisted by Peter Sedgwick and others. There is some talk of becoming a bimonthly in the New Year, but the plans of the new order have still to be crystallised. The function of the journal must include the role it has already played, but there is much scope now for going beyond this and really becoming the consciousness of a new movement.

Rather than giving over this entire issue to the French May, we are publishing simultaneously a separate supplement. This will include a long analysis of the May events by Tony Cliff and Ian Birchall, and the appropriate conclusions for our own perspective.

We publish in this issue a second review of Michael Kidron’s book, Western Capitalism since the War, and will continue from time to time to publish other reviews. It is only in this way that we can really scrutinise the perspective involved from different standpoints, so increasing our own clarity. This time the review is by Paul Mattick, already known to regular readers of this journal, and the author of Marx and Keynes: the Limits of the Mixed Economy (due to be published in 1969; we hope to arrange distribution in Britain). Lucien Goldmann is also well known on the Marxist Left, and some of his many other works are cited in the introduction to his article. Ian Birchall who translated and introduced the article, has contributed to this journal in the past (cf. notably, IS 27). John Berger is well-known as a superb Marxist art-critic and socialist writer; he is a regular contributor to New Society and, we hope from now, to International Socialism. Laurie Taylor is from Merseyside via London; a psychologist and a sociologist, an active socialist in the York area; he was for a time a naturally delinquent Borstal governor. Ian Taylor is involved in social research in Durham, active socialist, formerly Sheffield and Cambridge, about to move to Glasgow; he contributed to IS 29.

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