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5-session online reading group — James P Cannon Socialism on Trial

July 25, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm AEST

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every 2 weeks that begins at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, repeating until September 19, 2023

This classic work comes out of a highly significant political trial of revolutionary socialists on the eve of World War 2. Eighteen leaders of the Socialist Workers Party and the Minneapolis Teamsters union were found guilty of “conspiring to advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government.” These were the first charges under the notorious Smith Act. The Trotskyists were targeted for their implacable opposition to the imperialist war. With the trial widely publicised, the defendants used the courtroom as a platform to present their socialist program to U.S. workers.

The official court record of lead defendant, James P Cannon, is a clear and accessible explanation of the principles and aims of revolutionary socialism. The result is an inspiring exposition of the Marxist view of capitalism, war and revolution.

This reading group will also discuss the debate that broke out in the movement about the party’s defence strategy. Cannon answers ultra-left critic, Grandizio Munis, carefully teasing out the objectives of the party’s defence policy. In detailing the method, Cannon shows that the approach adopted by the defendants had a proven history in the Marxist movement.

The content of the testimony, the approach to the trial and the way in which Cannon answered critics are rich with lessons for 21st century socialists.

This online reading circle is hosted by the Freedom Socialist Party. All of the material is available online. Register for each session to receive a zoom link. Contact for the discussion questions.

Session #1: An introduction to James P Cannon and the period.
Tuesday, 25 July, 7 pm
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Session #2: The SWP and its core principles
Tuesday, 8 August, 7 pm
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Session #3: Workers Defence guards and No political support to war
Tuesday, 22 August, 7 pm
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Session #4: Cannon answers an ultra-left critic Part 1
Tuesday, 5 September, 7 pm
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Session #5: Cannon answers an ultra-left critic Part 2 and off to prison
Tuesday, 19 September, 7 pm
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July 25, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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