Why I joined the FSP
Chris Faatz
volume 38
issue 5
October 2017

Chris Faatz

In my roughly 35 years on the far left, I’ve been around, in, and interested in a myriad of Trotskyist organizations. It’s been about twenty years since I was able to participate in one, due to various life demands and other exigencies, but my interest has never flagged.

Lately, with the Trump election, the events in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the rise of the right internationally, and the ongoing tragic fragmentation of the forces of the Trotskyist left, which in my opinion represents the best hope for the future of our beleaguered world, it’s become evident that, if one believes in the need for a revolutionary party dedicated to regroupment and a conscious and principled engagement with the tides of contemporary history, it’s time again to take the leap and join a revolutionary organization.

But, why the Freedom Socialist Party?

The answers are many.

Regroupment. I’ve been following the FSP for decades, watching it as it’s consciously pursued regroupment and united front efforts both at home and internationally. It’s come to the table with a clear program and a vision of what a united left might do. It’s never hesitated to call things as it’s seen them, and it’s been generous in its outreach to other groups in an attempt to build something that can truly challenge the behemoth of American imperialism.

Secondly, it’s been very active in building united front efforts in such areas as anti-fascism (remember Bigot Busters?), and outreach to competing groups for joint work in electoral and other arenas. Not always successfully — it’s astonishing how sectarian some of the organizations of the Trotskyist left are — but always in a spirit of hope, openness, and genuine excitement.

Trotskyism. I’m attracted to the FSP because it’s an authentically orthodox Trotskyist organization that puts its money where its mouth is — building a group that doesn’t only give lip service to diversity, but puts it into practice, creating a leadership and membership that is led by women, is multi-national, multi-racial, LGBTQ, differently abled, and rooted in the most oppressed sectors of the working class in the United States.

One of the biggest attractions to me of the FSP is its commitment to Socialist Feminism as a keystone in the foundation of its entire way of being political. Ever since I first read FSP co-founder Clara Fraser thirty-odd years ago, I’ve been attracted to this commitment; it lends a freshness, an enthusiasm, and a sense of aliveness that you just can’t find in other groups, no matter how much they may commit to the “woman question” on a surface level. The proof’s in the pudding, and the FSP has proved its pudding again and again over the decades. The FSP makes it real; it’s their program, and they realize it every day, challenging the status quo on the left and in the mainstream in ways that are totally dizzying and audacious.

Other things I love about the FSP? Their publishing program, their books, their Red Banner Readers, their paper itself — a totally unique enterprise in the often-unreadable swamp of the American left press — and, above all else, their undying sense of humor and celebration. It comes out in everything they do; although they’re deadly serious in their politics, it’s all leavened with a wonderful sense of humor and willingness to celebrate victories and successes and anniversaries in a comradely and enthusiastic manner.

Revolutionary party. It all comes down to this: “The historical crisis of mankind (sic) is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership.” This is as true today as it was when Trotsky wrote it in 1938. It is incumbent on all of us who are committed to a free, socialist, democratic world to come together in a way that can bring that vision to fruition. The FSP has proven itself in more than fifty years of activism that it’s committed to the kind of united front, regroupment politics that can bring us one step closer to that sublime goal.

Why wait? Take the leap — join me in joining the Party of the American Revolution, the Freedom Socialist Party. A great future — and a lot of fun — await you!

Chris Faatz is a 35-year veteran of the book industry, and finished his career with a stint at ILWU organizing Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore. He currently lives in the rural Pacific Northwest. Send feedback to FSnews@mindspring.com.