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Johnson-Forest Tendency internal bulletin

Identifier: HLL-2019-020

Scope and Contents

Vol. 1, No. 1, 3-4, 6-12.


  • 1947, July 17-31; August 7, [18], 21; September 4, 11, 18, 25, 29


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

The Johnson-Forest Tendency was a Marxist-Humanist tendency, first of the Workers Party and then of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) founded by C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya. In the late 1930s, a minority faction of the SWP began to reject Trotsky’s definition of the Soviet Union as a “degenerated workers’ state” which warranted “unconditional defense” from Soviet-sympathizing organizations. In 1940, James and Dunayevskaya left the SWP with other members of the minority faction led by Max Shachtman to form the Workers Party. The majority in the Workers Party, led by Shachtman, believed that the class structure of the Soviet Union could be characterized by “bureaucratic collectivism,” whereas a minority led by James and Dunayevskaya, along with Grace Lee Boggs, believed the Soviet Union was capitalist. This dissenting view led the minority to rejoin the SWP in 1947, where the tendency maintained its minority identity by advocating for an emphasis on Marxism within the Trotskyist SWP. The tendency remained in the SWP until 1950 when it left to establish its own organization called Correspondence. The Johnson-Forest Tendency was named after C.L.R. James’s pseudonym, J.R. Johnson, and Raya Dunayevskaya’s pseudonym, Freddie Forest.


Goldner, L. (2004). Introduction to the Johnson-Forest Tendency and the Background to “Facing Reality.” Break Their Haughty Power.

The “Johnson-Forest Tendency.” Marxist Humanism and the “New Left”, Marxist Internet Archive.


.42 Linear Feet

1 box


The collection comprises issues of the internal bulletin of the Johnson-Forest Tendency, a Marxist-Humanist tendency within the Workers Party and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) led by C.L.R. James, Raya Dunayevskaya, and Grace Lee Boggs.


The collection is arranged in one series.

Custodial History

The Johnson-Forest tendency internal bulletin was donated to the Holt Labor Library in San Francisco, California between 1992 and 2019, and were acquired by the Gerth Archives and Special Collections at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in 2019.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Allison Ransom in September 2020.

Johnson-Forest Tendency internal bulletin
Allison Ransom
September 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Holt Labor Library at CSU Dominguez Hills Repository

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