Jon Britton 1939-2021

My comrade, co-worker and dear friend died unexpectedly October 5. Without Jon Britton this blog would not have been possible. It’s as simple as that. Jon was much more than editor. To explain, I must tell how I came to know him and how he became my best friend, comrade, and co-worker for 46 years.

I met Jon when we were both members of the U.S. Socialist Workers Party during the 1970s. In those days the SWP was a quite different political organization. It considered itself to be a Trotskyist party, indeed the most Trotskyist party in the world. The road leading me to that 46-year-long friendship began with a problem posed by Leon Trotsky. So the story of how I met Jon begins with how I became an admirer and for many years an ardent follower of Leon Trotsky.

I was in high school when I read Issac Deutscher’s three-volume biography of Trotsky in the Albany, New York, public library. I had no idea who Isaac Deutscher was but I was very interested in current events and the ongoing Cold War from a purely anti-Communist perspective. I was a child of Cold-War America. The worst of McCarthyism had passed, but the witch-hunt atmosphere lingered. I didn’t know that Deutscher considered himself a Marxist. I did not know that Deutscher had once been a member of the Polish Communist Party and then a founder of the Polish Trotskyist Party. In 1938, he broke with Trotsky when he opposed Trotsky’s decision to launch the Fourth International. That organization was, in the mind of Trotsky and his supporters, the revolutionary successor to the Third (Communist) International.

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