File spoon-archives/marxism-intro.archive/marxism-intro_1997/97-04-23.102, message 18

Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 10:19:37 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: M-INTRO: Hal Draper

Dear Hep:

I'll post this answer to the list, because it may be of interest to more
than one person. I want to preface it by urging everyone who really wants to
get into Marxism to read Hal Draper's _Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution_,
especially the first two volumes: "State and Bureaucracy" and "Classes and
Revolutionary Politics". A good many of the questions asked on this list are
answered there.

I'll try to get you more info from a guy who really knows it all (Ernest
Haberkern), but in the meanwhile, here's a quick breakdown:

Hal Draper was born in 1914 in New York City. In 1928, when he was 14 years
old, he joined the Young Communist League, but didn't stay in long. (I know
this because I was at a small meeting in the early 1960s where he mentioned
it. His wife, to whom he had been married for nearly 30 years and who was
his closest political collaborator, looked at him in amazement. "I didn't
know you'd ever been in the YCL!" "It wasn't worth mentioning.")

He attended New York University and Brooklyn College, and graduated from
Brooklyn in 1934. In 1932 he joined the Student League for Industrial
Democracy, and afterwards became a leader of the Young People's Socialist
League, the youth section of the Socialist Party U.S.A.  (I think its name
may have been "Socialist Party of America" at the time.) In 1934 he was a
founding member of the American Youth Congress and a member of its first
national committee, and helped organize the student anti-war strike that
year. In 1935, he helped organize American Student Union and was a member of
its national committee from the beginning until 1937. Both the American
Youth Congress and the American Student Union became battlegrounds between
the "popular front" politics of the liberals and Communist Party supporters,
and the more radical independent politics espoused by the various socialist
groups to the left of the Communists. He met his wife Anne Draper at this
time. She was a member of the youth group of the U.S. Trotskyists.

There is an account by Draper of the student movement in the 1930s in the
book _As We Saw the Thirties_, edited by Rita James Simon (University of
Illinois Press, 1967).

When the U.S. Trotskyists entered the Socialist Party as part of the
international "French turn" of Trotskyists joining socialist parties, Draper
became a member of the broad left-wing caucus in the S.P. led by the
Trotskyists. He left the Socialist Party in 1937 along with at least 1,000
members and practically the entire youth section to help form the new
Socialist Workers Party. In 1940, he was one of the members who left the SWP
together with Max Schactman, C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya in
opposition to Trotsky's support for the Soviet invasion of Finland that year
and to undemocratic practices inside the SWP. They formed a new group called
the Workers Party (later Independent Socialist League). He was a leader of
the WP and an editor of its newspaper _Labor Action_ and its magazine _The
New International_ from 1940 till 1958, when the (then) ISL dissolved itself
and most of its members entered the Socialist Party.

Anne Draper during this time was a union activist as well as a political
activist. She eventually became West Coast "Union Label Director" (i.e., in
charge of getting non-union goods off store shelves) for the Amalgamated
Clothing Workers Union, and was one of the organizers of the Committee for a
Sane Nuclear Policy (I think that was its name), concentrating on lining up
union opposition first to the nuclear arms race and then to the war in
Vietnam. She also was the main organizer of support groups for the nascent
farm workers movement in the early 1960s.

Hal Draper became a part-time microfilm acquisitions librarian at the
University of California at Berkeley and was a founding member of the
Independent Socialist Club there. He did research on the University and its
role in society (in particular its relationship to the corporations which
funded university research). Some of that is encapsulated in a
widely-distributed pamphlet of the 1960s called "The Mind of Clark Kerr". He
gave a speech on that topic as a forum for the Independent Socialist Club
shortly before the outbreak of the Free Speech Movement. Mario Savio, Jack
Weinberg and other later FSM leaders were in the audience and it helped
crystallize a lot of their attitudes. He also debated Professor Nathan
Glazer on behalf of the FSM before an audience of hundreds during the FSM
itself. Draper's book _The New Student Radicals_ is a good introduction to
the movement of the mid-1960s.

In 1967, he helped to organize the Peace and Freedom Party of California, an
independent socialist party which still has ballot status. After a period of
membership in the International Socialists (forerunner of today's
International Socialist Organization and Solidarity), he formed a group
called the Independent Socialist Committee. He died at the age of 75, so I
guess that would make it 1989.

At 08:43 AM 3/13/97 -0600, Hepzibah-AT-pseud.pseud wrote:
>Anyone know of any good biographical information on Hal Draper? I can't
>find any. this is more appropriate for a newsgroup, I know, but my access
>is poor at the moment.
>     --- from list ---

     --- from list ---


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