CrossRoads

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CrossRoads was published by the Oakland, California based Institute for Social and Economic Studies as part of its work to promote dialogue and building new alliances among progressives and leftists. Its goals[1]were to:

  • promote dialogue among activists and scholars on the left about critical issues on the national and international scene in an accessible way;
  • bring diverse Marxist and socialist traditions to bear while exploring new strategies and directions for the progressive political movements;
  • highlight the centrality of anti-racist politics and the movements of people of color to the process of social change in our country.

Peter Camejo

In the early 1980's Peter Camejo was in the process of forming the North Star Network with members of the Bay Area Socialist Organizing Committee. BASOC involved veteran Maoist leaders including Steve Hamilton, who had at one time been a leader of the Progressive Labor Party. Along with former Guardian writer John Trinkl, Camejo and the BASOC leaders sought ways to regroup the left on a nonsectarian basis. The survivors and the North Star Network launched a magazine called CrossRoads that tried to popularize nonsectarian ideas and regroup broad sectors of the left.[2]

Max Elbaum and Line of March

Max Elbaum was a key figue in the CrossRoads enterprise.

In 1976 Elbaum was a founder of a one of the "second wave" new communist groups, the pro-Mao Tse Tung, Line of March

After Line of March disbanded in 1989 the organization's remaining resources were used to help start CrossRoads. Elbaum was managing editor of CrossRoads from 1990 until 1995, when he resigned to start working on his book "Revolution in the Air".

The magazine folded around 1996.

Proyect's version

Louis Proyect first ran into Line of March when he was a member of Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) in the early 80s. They and the Communist Workers Party were the only left groups who worked in CISPES. The CWP, a Maoist sect, was best known for its disastrous confrontation with the KKK in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1979 that left five of their members dead. They had made the mistake of choosing to utilize armed self-defense as a tactic rather than building a mass movement against Klan terror.

In 1984 the CWP, LofM and the CISPES leadership decided to support the Jesse Jackson presidential campaign. For Marxists coming out of the CWP and LofM tradition, voting for Democrats is a tactical question. If there was ever any tactical motivation for voting for a Democrat, Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition might meet all qualifications. Many people, including Proyect, hoped that the Rainbow Coalition could develop into a third party but Jackson was too much of a careerist to make the kinds of tough choices Ralph Nader made. One year after the end of the Jackson campaign, the CWP dissolved itself with a number of its members finding a home in the Democratic Party, including Ron Ashford, a very capable African-American who represented the CWP in CISPES. Today Ashford is a HUD bureaucrat.

The Line of March dissolved in 1989 with some of their former members deciding to work with Peter Camejo on a magazine called CrossRoads. When it finally stopped publishing in 1996, the magazine reflected on its experience:

On the ISES Board [that published Crossroads], members of the Communist Party USA, Democratic Socialists of America, and smaller groups from the Maoist and Trotskyist traditions worked alongside ‘independents’ and former members of Line of March and North Star Network–not in a tactical, single-issue coalition or in organizing a one-shot conference, but on a common, ongoing socialist project. This was almost unprecedented on the U.S. left, and was decisive in institutionalizing CrossRoads non- sectarian character. Even further, the interaction between once-warring activists proved to be substantive, democratic and exciting. People found it politically and intellectually stimulating to get to know one another and tear down previously insurmountable barriers.

Bob Wing was a member of the ISES board and probably had a major role in the editorial policy of CrossRoads. In keeping with the erstwhile attraction LofM members had to the CPUSA, Wing was solidly behind the formation of the Committees of Correspondence in 1992, a Eurocommunist split from the CP. Peter Camejo, who was probably adapting somewhat to the views of the ex-LofM’ers he worked with on Crossroads, joined the CofC and, if I remember correctly, backed the Jackson campaign. I was still not ready to vote for Jackson but did join the CofC. After going to one of their meetings, I resigned. It was filled with people, mostly in their sixties, getting up and talking about the work they were doing in their Democratic Party club. Camejo quit not long afterwards, writing a sharp rebuke of their orientation to the DP.[3]

Key supporters

Among the more illustrious supporters of CrossRoads were Gil Green, Harry Hay, Elizabeth Martinez, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, David McReynolds, Muhammed Ahmad Max Stanford and Peter Camejo.[4]

Personnel

Contributors in the 1993[5]-1996[6] period include;

Editors:

Production:

Design:

Development Director:

Contributing Editors:

Board of Directors Institute for Social and Economic Studies:

References