Barry Sheppard's
The Party
The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988
A Political Memoir

Volume 1: The Sixties


Review by A. C. Pollack

Collaborators on the book

Contact Barry


Where to order:

This review appeared April 24, 2005 on the Marxmail list (

By A. C. Pollack

I just finished Barry's book, and I share the enthusiasm expressed by Fred [Feldman] a week or so ago. To a certain extent it reads like an official history, i.e. a book that could have been issued by the Party itself -- assuming, of course, that the Party had maintained its 1973 politics (the year this volume ends). Aside from some fascinating behind-the-scenes asides, it mostly focuses on carrying out the intention stated in its first pages -- to introduce the period and its most important party to young radicalizing people seeking to benefit from that history.

I have no idea what he'll say in Volume II, and while I hope he paints a picture which fits with the FIT [Fourth Internationalist Tendency] documents I've been posting at MIA [Marxist Internet Archive], I'm not holding my breath.

Nonetheless I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone as an example of what a mostly healthy vanguard party did -- and could still -- do.

Website created and maintained by