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Socialist Action collection

Identifier: HLL-2019-008

Scope and Contents

The Socialist Action collection, 1963-2001, undated, bulk 1983-2001, comprises materials reflecting the activities and statuses of Socialist Action. It includes notices and letters sent to members of the National Committee, general members of the organization, and correspondents of note including Jeff Mackler. Socialist Action reports and draft resolutions, as well as reports from various Fourth International-affiliated organizations, such as the Fourth International Tendency and the International Socialist League (Fourth International), are present. The collection also includes Education Bulletins, Information Bulletins, Internal Discussion Bulletins, Internal Information Bulletins, Internal International Information Bulletins, and International Discussion Bulletins. Minutes and reports from the Political Committee, draft world political reports and resolutions, as well as plenum and convention documents are present. The collection also includes various volumes of Socialist Action News , International Viewpoint magazine, The Young Socialist, as well as one Socialist Action pamphlet titled Crisis in the Middle East: the war in Lebanon. Subject files comprising draft reports, newsletters, article photocopies, pamphlets, and congressional records are included as well.


  • 1963-2001, undated
  • Majority of material found within 1983-2001


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical / Historical

Socialist Action is a Trotskyist political party in the United States. The roots were laid for the organization during the early 1980s in the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), when Jack Barnes, Mary Alice Waters, and other SWP leaders began to reject Trotsky’s theory of the permanent revolution in favor of connecting with the Cuban Communist Party and Sandinista National Liberation Front. This revisionist faction also favored the theory of the Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry, which Lenin himself disagreed with, and also shifted from identifying as a “workers government” to considering itself a “workers and farmers government.” Various members of the SWP including Nat Weinstein, Jeff Mackler, Tom Kerry, Lynne Henderson, Frank Lovell, George Breitman, and others, organized an oppositional faction that supported the SWP’s foundational Trotskyist ideas, and formed Socialist Action in 1983. Many members of this oppositional faction were expelled from the SWP and therefore aligned exclusively with Socialist Action, which maintained its membership in the Fourth International and its advocacy of the original Trotskyist ideas of James P. Cannon. Socialist Action has supported the political campaigns of various members for various U.S. political offices. Socialist Action advocates for socialist revolution by way of the Transitional Program, which was introduced at the founding congress of the Fourth International in 1938 and aims to connect the working class with revolutionary ideas through highlighting the inadequacies of capitalism. The organization supports anti-war, labor, anti-racist, and feminist movements, among others. In 2019, 29 members were expelled from the organization on the basis of their dissenting views against the organization’s anti-war platform and formed the organization Socialist Resurgence.


5.8 Linear Feet

16 boxes


The collection contains correspondence, reports, draft resolutions, bulletins, minutes, plenum and convention documents, and subject files related to Socialist Action, a Trotskyist political organization.


The collection is arranged in five series: Series I. Correspondence and reports, 1983-2000, undated; Series II. Bulletins, 1984-2001; Series III. Political Committee Minutes and Plenum Materials, 1984-2001; Series IV. Socialist Action News and Publications, 1963, 1983-2000, undated; Series V. Subject Files, 1964-1971, 1983-1993, undated.

Custodial History

The Socialist Action collection was donated to the Holt Labor Library in San Francisco, California between 2001 and 2019, and were acquired by the Gerth Archives and Special Collections at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in 2019.

Processing Information

Allison Ransom processed the collection and wrote the finding aid in April 2020.

Socialist Action collection
Allison Ransom
March 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Holt Labor Library at CSU Dominguez Hills Repository

University Library South - 5039 (Fifth Floor)
Carson California 90747