The Vietnam War revealed to many Americans for the first time the predatory foreign policy of their government. It led to a massive movement of protest and a far-ranging critical review of the goals of Washington in earlier conflicts. Members of the Socialist Workers Party, formed in 1938 by the American followers of Leon Trotsky, came to national attention during the Vietnam War as prominent organisers of the giant antiwar demonstrations of the 1960s and early 1970s.
Less well known is the SWP's record as the only significant section of the American left to brand Roosevelt's aims in WWII as imperialist and to seek to build an independent working class opposition to Hitlerite fascism. It is only in recent years that radical historians have begun to recognise the truth of the characterisation of the war made by the SWP in the face of government persecution.
James P. Cannon (1890-1974) was a unique figure in American socialist and communist history. A member of the Industrial Workers of the World from 1911 - 1918, he participated in the socialist antiwar movement during WW I. In 1919 he became a founding leader of the American Communist Party and served on the Presidium of the Communist International in Moscow in 1922 - 23, where he worked with Trotsky, Zinoviev, and other communist leaders. Won to Trotsky's side in 1928 in the dispute with Stalin, Cannon was expelled from the CP and founded the American Trotskyist movement.
This collection of his writings and speeches covers his party's opposition to the war; the assassination of Leon Trotsky in 1940; Cannon's arrest and conviction in 1941, along with seventeen other leaders of the SWP and of the Minneapolis Teamsters union, in the most famous wartime 'sedition' trial; and the internal life of an American Marxist party during the war years.