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WP and WWII

Thanks for your observation, David. As far as I can tell, the official orientation was that WP members should not isolate themselves from the experience of ordinary workers, such as by draft resistance or evasion. Many leading activists were drafted and served--Irving Howe, editor of LABOR ACTION; Manny Geltman, Howe's replacement; and so on.

At the Tamiment Library conference on the history of the WP, there was a special point made about the fact that women ran the WP paper and disproportionately much of the organization, due to the fact that so many men went into the army.

Nathan Gould, a youth leader present at the founding conference of the FI, even volunteered for "Merrill's Marauders," which carried out risky assignments in Burma; he returned without the use of a hand. Abraham Liebeck, a Trotskyist from Chicago, was killed while serving in the medical corps in the Pacific and appears in Saul Bellow's THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH. Some of Irving Sanes' activities in the Philippines are recorded in STANDING FAST, by Harvey Swados.

Of course, many members did not want to serve and some (Geltman and Al Glotzer, at the urging of Shachtman) vainly hoped that informing the military of their revolutionary views might discourage their being called up. Peter Drucker came to the same assessment of the WP policy in his excellent book, MAX SHACHTMAN AND HIS LEFT.

Best wishes,

Alan

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