Facing Reality - History

History

Facing Reality originated in the Johnson-Forest Tendency led by C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya. It has its origins in the Trotskyist left but regarded the Soviet Union as state capitalist. By 1951, the Johnson-Forest Tendency had left the Trotskyist left to form its own organization known as Correspondence Publishing Committee. C.L.R. James was forced to leave the USA in the early 1950s and Correspondence split. The faction that stayed loyal to C.L.R. James retained the name the Correspondence Publishing Committee and continued to receive advice from James from Britain, while a significant number supported Raya Dunayevskaya and split to form a new group, News and Letters Committees, which publishes a monthly newspaper, News & Letters, that remains in print today.

In 1962, there was a further split as Grace Lee Boggs, James Boggs, Freddy Paine and Lyman Paine abandoned the politics of C.L.R. James for an eclectic politics that was third worldist, while keeping the organization's name. The small number of members that continued to endorse the politics of James took the name Facing Reality, after the 1958 book by James co-written with Grace Lee Boggs and Pierre Chaulieu, a pseudonym for Cornelius Castoriadis, on the Hungarian working class revolt of 1956. Facing Reality was based primarily in Detroit and published a monthly newsletter, Speak Out, as well as pamphlets by James and other leading Facing Reality figures such as Martin Glaberman. They include Negro Americans Take the Lead: A Statement on the Crisis in American Civilization in 1964 and Mao as Dialectician by Martin Glaberman as well as James' Marxism and the Intellectuals in 1963 and Lenin, Trotsky, and the Vanguard Party in 1964. In 1967, four key leading members, C.L.R. James, Martin Glaberman, William Gorman and George Rawick of Facing Reality collaborated to write the pamphlet, The Gathering Forces, a document some such as Kent Worcester have characterized as representing the influence of Maoism even in Facing Reality. Martin Glaberman, however, has disputed this claim in a review of Worcester's book in Against the Current magazine.

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