Left Field Guide

Which groups, organizations and philosophies make up the authoritarian American Left? How are they related to each other? How do they differ? Which publications do these groups distribute? How about their front groups?

Questions like these are asked all the time by people who are new to activism and learning about left and anarchist ideas for the first time. This guide provides a cursory overview of the groups, organizations, and tendencies among the American authoritarian left. This guide does not deal with anti-authoritarian left groups which aren't anarchist.

Liberal Left

Democratic Party - The big party of the liberal left in the USA. Not much difference these days between the Democratic Party and Republican Party. They really are two sides of the same coin. The Democratic Party has gone to the extreme right, when compared to liberal parties around the world. Some analysts have even pointed out that the Democratic Party has moved to the right of most Americans, an observation born out by the recent failure of Joe Lieberman to win any primaries in the 2004 election.

Soft Left

Communist Party USA - Once the biggest communist organization in American history, now the group mostly support the Democrats.

Democratic Socialists of America -

Hard Left - Sectarian Left

International Socialist Organization (ISO) - Trotskyist in orientation, liberal in politics. Members of the ISO campaigned for Ralph Nader in 2000. Formerly affiliated with the SWP in the UK as part of the IST (International Socialist Tendency). Publishes a weekly newspaper called the Socialist Worker and a quarterly journal titled the International Socialist Review. An opportunistic organization that is heavily into recruitment. Involved in the death penalty abolition movement, the anti-globalization movements, the student anti-sweatshop movement, and the recent peace and anti-war movements. Front Groups: Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Campus Antiwar Network.

Refuse and Resist - A youth-oriented organization which focuses on activism and is said to be associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP).

Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) - Maoist in orientation, the RCP traces its lineage back to the 1970s. Publishes the Revolutionary Worker. Front groups: Not In Our Name (NION).

Socialist Workers Party (SWP) - Publishes The Militant newspaper. Not to be confused with the SWP in Britain.

Workers World Party - Stalinist in orientation and practice, "Marcyite" is the official orientation of this small national organization. Notorious for not working well with other groups. Creates front groups and coalitions to promote its agenda and leaders. Publishes the Workers World newspaper.Front Groups: International Action Center, International ANSWER, Mumia 2000, Beat Back Bush, Peoples Video Network, and Iraq Sanctions Challenge.

Libertarian Left

See Infoshop.org's special page on Libertarian Marxism.