The Socialist Equality Party (US) and the World Socialist Web Site held a summer school from August 14 to August 20, 2005, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The school, entitled “Marxism and the Historical Foundations of the Fourth International,” was attended by members of the SEP in the US, along with international delegations from Europe, Australia and Canada. Members of a delegation from Sri Lanka could not come because they were unable to obtain visas from the US embassy.
During the course of the week, participants in the school heard nine lectures on important theoretical and historical problems of the twentieth century. One theme centered on the significance of post-modernism, the Frankfurt school and various forms of anti-Marxism. David North, national secretary of the SEP (US) and chairman of the editorial board of the WSWS, gave a series of lectures focusing on the theoretical foundations of Marxism, the science of perspective and the defense of objective truth in the sphere of social development.
The other speakers were: Nick Beams, national secretary of the SEP (Australia); Bill Van Auken, WSWS writer and presidential candidate for the SEP in the 2004 US elections; David Walsh, arts editor for the WSWS; Peter Schwarz, national secretary for the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit in Germany; and Fred Williams, a member of the SEP and expert on Soviet history.
The lecturers spoke on a broad range of interrelated topics, including the origins of the First World War, the rise of fascism in Germany, the origins and counter-revolutionary character of Stalinism in the Soviet Union, Leon Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution, and an examination of problems of art and culture in the Soviet Union.
In connection with the lectures, participants engaged in a dynamic discussion of the issues raised during the course of the school.
The lectures will be posted in serial form on the World Socialist Web Site, beginning today with the first part of the first lecture by David North, “The Russian Revolution and the unresolved historical problems of the 20th century.”