The Third Camp, Socialism From Below, and the First Principle of Revolutionary Socialism


1. Max Shachtman, “Crisis in the American Party,” New International (Vol. 6, No. 2, March 1940) 43-51.

2. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Extracts from the New-York Tribune on the Crimean War,” in Blackstock and Hoselitz, eds., The Russian Menace to Europe (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1953), 121-202.

3. Leon Trotsky, “Work, Discipline, Order” (Report to the Moscow City Conference of the Russian Communist Party, March 28, 1918), from The Military Writings of Leon Trotsky (1918).

4. Those interested in how the tradition developed, and dissipated, might read Peter Drucker’s Max Shachtman and His Left (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1994); Julius Jacobson, “The Two Deaths of Max Shachtman,” New Politics (Vol. 10, No. 2, January 1973); and the interviews, articles, and recollections collated in Workers’ Liberty’s symposium on the third-camp left. As for its semi-submersion, until the Marxists Internet Archive digitized and uploaded archives of the Workers Party/ISL newspaper Labor Action in the mid-2010s, the only widely available source of writing from the 1940s first generation of the third-camp tradition was the first volume of Fate of the Russian Revolution, published by Workers’ Liberty in 1998.

5. Hal Draper, “The Two Souls of Socialism,” New Politics (Vol. 5, No.1, Winter 1966), 57-84.

6. Dan Swain, “Socialism From Below,” online at (accessed 05/04/2017).

7. See, for example, Wheeler and Lunghieds., Occupy Everything! Reflections on why it’s kicking off everywhere (London: Minor Compositions, 2012).

8. Sean Matgamna’s The Left in Disarray (London: Phoenix Press/Workers’ Liberty Books, 2017) explores the historical trends described in this section in more detail.

9. See, for example, the essay “Six Theses on Anxiety and Why It Is Effectively Preventing Militancy, and One Possible Strategy for Overcoming It,” written by the Institute for Precarious Consciousnes and especially promoted by the UK-based group Plan C.

10. Joel Kovel, The Enemy of Nature (London: Zed Books, 2007) 241, 257.