Workers Party of the U.S., Pioneer Publishers, and Socialist Workers Party, 1935–1938. Item #33
War and the Workers: Workers Party of the U.S., 1935. Wrappers, 5 x 7.5 inches, 47 pp. Near-fine.
Why Did They “Confess”? A Study of the Radek-Piatakov Trial: New York: Pioneer Publishers, 1937. Wrappers, 5.25 x 7.25 inches, 31 pp. Some rubbing and spotting to wrappers. Very good.
The People’s Front: The New Betrayal: New York: Pioneer Publishers, 1937. Wrappers, 5 x 7.5 inches, 64 pp. Toning to wrappers, very good.
How to Fight War: Isolation? Collective Security? Relentless Cass Struggle?: New York: Socialist Workers Party and Young Peoples Socialist League (4th Internationalists), 1938. Wrappers, 5 x 8 inches, 15 pp. Very good.
Let the People Vote on War!: New York: Pioneer Publishers, ca. 1938. Wrappers, 5.25 x 8.5 inches, 14 pp. Previous owner’s stamp to verso of front wrap, very good.
Five pamphlets by James Burnham (1905–1987) published during his Trotskyist years. Prior to Burnham’s participation in the post-war conservative intellectual movement, he was an industrious American Trotskyist who wrote, spoke, organized, and advocated on behalf of the Trotsky-wing of the socialist movement. Like other future conservative leaders, including Whittaker Chambers, Willmoore Kendall, and Richard Weaver, Burnham was early drawn to socialism’s diagnosis of the ills confronting the modern West and its potential to correct those ills. Burnham spent much of the 1930s laboring on behalf of the Trotskyist cause in America and attempting to create an “American approach” to Marxism capable of addressing American, as opposed to European, concerns. In 1933 he coordinated with fellow academic Sidney Hook to organize the American Workers Party, which was led by the Dutch-born pacificist minister A. J. Muste. In 1935 Burnham would align with the Trotskyist wing of the movement and became the personal friend and correspondent of Leon Trotsky. Though Burnham would toil tirelessly on behalf of the movement in the following years, factional infighting ultimately led to his resignation from the Socialist Workers Party (to which he then belonged) in 1940 to form an alternative party called the Workers Party. Shortly thereafter Burnham quit the movement entirely, resigning from the Workers Party in 1940, and struck out in a conservative direction, publishing his influential book The Managerial Revolution: What is Happening in the World in 1941. Each of these five pamphlets was written and published during Burnham’s Trotskyist period, and one of them, War and the Workers (1931), was published under the pseudonym “John West.” They offer a unique view into Burnham’s Trotskyist perspective in the years before his repudiation of socialism—a separation that ultimately marked Burnham’s alignment with the post-war conservative movement and his emergence as one of the twentieth century’s most ardent opponents of global communism.