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Hal Draper, 1930s

Hal Draper (1914-1990) was a Third Camp American socialist activist, Marxist and author, perhaps best known for his role in the Berkeley, California Free Speech Movement. His "Third Camp" focus differed from that of Max Shachtman in its emphasis on the "grass roots" as the "third" alternative to capitalism and bureaucracy domination. According to Draper's analysis, the grass roots represented the potential for "socialism from below" in opposition to capitalism and socialist bureaucracy, which represented the domination from above.

Contents

Biography

Hal Draper's first appearance on the political radar was as an active member of the Young People's Socialist League (YPSL) during the depression, then the youth affiliate of the Socialist Party of America. Draper was an important leader of the Trotskyist "Appeal Tendency" in the YPSL during 1936 and 1937 and was elected the organization's National Secretary at its September 1937 9th Convention, which renounced the social democratic Second International in favor of a new Trotskyist Fourth International.[1] The great majority of the YPSL supported this position and either left or was expelled by the Socialist Party in the fall of that year. Along with his YPSL activity, Draper took part in the founding of the Socialist Workers Party at the end of December 1937.

Draper was an adherent of a faction within the SWP which objected to the internal regime of that party and was developing an analysis of the USSR as a new form of society, neither socialist nor capitalist, in which a new class, the state bureaucracy, held social and state power. In 1940 this faction, led by Max Shachtman, James Burnham, and Martin Abern, split from the SWP to form the Workers Party.

By 1948 the Workers Party believed that the prospects for revolution were receding and that it must transform itself into a propaganda group. Therefore it became the Independent Socialist League and Hal Draper continued as one of its leading writers and functionaries. Based in his native New York, Draper would often write and edit almost the entire contents of issues of the group's paper.

With a shrinking membership (although its youth work was buoyant) the ISL leadership around Shachtman decided that the time had come to join forces with the Socialist Party of America and in 1958 fused into it. Although Draper personally opposed this decision, he submitted to the majority for lack of an alternative orientation.

In 1962, after an ultimatum from Joel Geier (later a leader of the International Socialists), Draper — now resident in Berkeley, California — formed the Independent Socialist Club (ISC) outside the Socialist Party. In 1964 Draper was heavily involved in the Free Speech Movement, an important precursor of that decade's New Left, on the University of California, Berkeley campus. During this time, he was employed by the University as a microfilm acquisitions librarian[1].

In 1968 ISC became the International Socialists as it expanded nationally but in 1971 Draper quit arguing that the group had become a sect.[2] From then onwards he worked as an independent radical scholar, producing a stream of scholarly works on Marxism and the workers' movement.

Hal Draper's brother, Theodore, was a historian of the American Communist movement, the author of an exhaustive two-volume history in the late 1950s. Unlike Hal, Theodore Draper had been active in the Stalinist youth movement in the 1930s before breaking with the Communist Party and abandoning Marxism to become a liberal anti-Communist.

Hal Draper's sister, Dorothy (Dora) Draper married Jacob Rabkin (1905-2003), one of the intellectual founders of US tax law.

Hal Draper died of pneumonia on January 26, 1990 at his home in Berkeley, California.[3]

During his life, Hal Draper was a member of the following organizations:

Writings

Draper's most enduring legacy is likely to be his five volume magnum opus, Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution, a seminal re-evaluation of the whole of Marx's political theory, based on an exhaustive survey of the writings of both Marx and Engels. He saw their political perspective as summarized by the phrase "socialism from below," which he had introduced in his pamphlet The Two Souls of Socialism.

Draper was also the editor of a three volume Marx-Engels Cyclopedia, a reference work detailing the day-to-day activities and writings of the two founders of modern socialism.

In the Introduction to Draper's Berkeley: The New Student Revolt (1965),[4] Mario Savio acknowledges his encouragement and friendship, and cites the influence of his earlier pamphlet The Mind of Clark Kerr (October 1964) on the development of the Free Speech Movement.[5]

Outside his overtly political writings, Draper's most outstanding work is arguably the short story Ms Fnd in a Lbry, a satire of the information age, written in 1961.

In 1982, Draper also published an English translation of the complete works of the 19th Century German poet Heinrich Heine, the fruit of three decades of work conducted alongside his better-known political activity.

  • Out of their own mouths: a documentary study of the new line of the Comintern on war New York : Young People's Socialist League, Greater New York Federation, 1935
  • Are you ready for war? New York : Young People's Socialist League, 1937
  • The truth about Gerald Smith: America's no. 1 fascist San Pedro, Calif: Workers Party, Los Angeles Section, 1945
  • Jim Crow in Los Angeles Los Angeles: Workers Party, 1946
  • ABC of Marxism: outline text for class and self study Los Angeles: Workers Party, 1946
  • Labor, key to a better world Austin, Tex: Young People's Socialist League, 1950-1959?
  • The two souls of socialism: socialism from below v. socialism from above New York : Young People's Socialist League, 1963
  • Joseph Weydemeyer's "Dictatorship of the proletariat". [n.p.] Labor History, 1962
  • Notes on the India-China border war [U.S.? : s.n., 1962
  • Marx and the dictatorship of the proletariat Paris : I.S.E.A, Cahiers de l'Institut de science économique appliquée #129 Série S,; Etudes de marxologie #6 1962
  • Introduction to independent socialism; selected articles from Labor action Berkeley, Independent Socialist Press 1963
  • The mind of Clark Kerr. [Berkeley, Calif.] Independent Socialist Club 1964
  • Independent socialism, a perspective for the left Berkeley, Calif. : Independent Socialist Committee, 1964 Independent Socialist Committee pamphlet #1
  • Third camp; the independent socialist view of war and peace policy Berkeley, Calif. : Independent Socialist Committee, 1965 Independent Socialist Committee pamphlet #2
  • Berkeley: the new student revolt New York : Grove Press, 1965
  • Strike!: the second battle of Berkeley : what happened and how can we win (with others) [Berkeley, Calif.? : s.n., 1966
  • The fight for independence in Vietnam. Berkeley, Calif. Independent Socialist Club 1966
  • Independent socialism and war; articles Berkeley, Calif. Independent Socialist Committee 1966 Independent socialist clippingbooks, #2
  • Zionism, Israel, & the Arabs: the historical background of the Middle East tragedy [Berkeley, Calif. : s.n.] 1967 Independent socialist clippingbooks, #3
  • The first Israel-Arab war, 1948-49 Berkeley : Independent Socialist Clippingbooks, 1967 Independent Socialist Clippingbooks Xerocopy series #X-2
  • The dirt on California; agribusiness and the University [Berkeley, Calif., Independent Socialist Clubs of America, 1968
  • Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: articles in the New American cyclopaedia. Berkeley, Calif. Independent Socialist Press 1969 Independent socialist clippingbooks, #5
  • The Permanent war economy Berkeley, Calif. Independent Socialist Press 1970 Independent socialist clippingbooks, #7
  • Notebook on the Paris Commune; press excerpts & notes.' by Karl Marx Berkeley, Calif. Independent Socialist Press 1971 (editor) Independent socialist clippingbooks, #8
  • Writings on the Paris Commune by Karl Marx New York Monthly Review Press 1971 (editor)
  • The Politics of Ignazio Silone: a controversy around Silone's statement "My political faith" : contributions' (with Ignazio Silone, Lucio Libertini and Irving Howe) Berkeley, Calif. Independent Socialist Press 1974 Independent socialist clippingbooks, #10
  • Karl Marx's theory of revolution Vol. 1 State and bureaucracy New York Monthly Review Press 1977
  • Karl Marx's theory of revolution Vol. 2 The politics of social classes New York Monthly Review Press 1978
  • The complete poems of Heinrich Heine: a modern English version by Heinrich Heine Boston: Suhrkamp/Insel; Oxford: Distributed by Oxford University Press 1982
  • The annotated Communist manifesto Berkeley, CA: Center for Socialist History 1984
  • The adventures of the Communist manifesto Berkeley, CA: Center for Socialist History 1984
  • The Marx-Engels register: a complete bibliography of Marx and Engels' individual writings New York : Schocken Books, 1985
  • The Marx-Engels chronicle: a day-by-day chronology of Marx and Engels' life and activity New York : Schocken Books, 1985
  • The Marx-Engels cyclopedia New York : Schocken Books, 1985-1986
  • Karl Marx's theory of revolution Vol. 3 The "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" New York Monthly Review Press 1986
  • The "dictatorship of the proletariat" from Marx to Lenin New York Monthly Review Press 1987
  • America as overlord: from Yalta to Vietnam Berkeley, CA: Independent Socialist Press 1989 Draper papers, #1
  • Karl Marx's theory of revolution Vol. 4 Critique of other socialisms New York Monthly Review Press 1990
  • Socialism from below Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1992
  • War and revolution: Lenin and the myth of revolutionary defeatism Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1996

Footnotes

  1. ^ See Hal Draper, "Left Wing Carries YPSL Convention: Huge Majority Prevails as Gerrymander Flops," Socialist Appeal [New York], v. 1, no. 5 (September 11, 1937), pp. 2, 5-6.
  2. ^ http://www.marxists.org/archive/draper/1971/alt/alt.htm
  3. ^ New York Times obituary, January 31, 1990. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE3D61038F932A05752C0A966958260
  4. ^ Berkeley: The New Student Revolt. Available online at http://www.marxists.org/archive/draper/1965/berkeley/intro.htm
  5. ^ The Mind of Clark Kerr. Available online at http://marxists.org/archive/draper/1964/10/kerr.htm

External links








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