Gerry Foley, a leader in Socialist Action and life-long U.S. revolutionary with vast knowledge of the struggles of oppressed peoples worldwide, died suddenly on April 21 — fittingly, in Chiapas, Mexico. In a statement prepared by Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) International Secretary Guerry Hoddersen, FSP saluted Foley as “a true American internationalist who represented Trotskyism and our class around the world with great devotion.” The statement was read at Foley’s June 10 memorial in New York.
The ideas of Leon Trotsky first came to Foley’s attention while he was in graduate studies at Indiana University in its Russian and East European Institute. He joined the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in the 1960s, but broke with the SWP in the early 1980s when it jettisoned Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution, which also led to the forming of Socialist Action. The SWP’s break with revolutionary internationalism was foreshadowed by its development of a strong orientation to the conservative labor bureaucracy years earlier, analyzed by the FSP in the book Crisis and Leadership.
Fluent in many languages, Foley traveled widely and reported on political upsurges across the globe; his articles were a boon to Marxist analysts whether inside or outside his own organization. His brilliant mind and nonsectarian generosity will be much missed.