Socialism Reaffirmed is a commentary on my peripatetic readings in socialist theory and beyond, and on prospects for the left local and international. I usually classify myself as a libertarian socialist, which I will explain. The name Socialism Reaffirmed is homage to a British group of the same name founded by Christopher Pallis (aka Maurice Brinton) and friends in 1960 as a split from Gerry Healy's Trotskyist Socialist Labour League. Shortly thereafter Socialism Reaffirmed renamed themselves Solidarity. The primary inspiration for their British group was the French group and journal Socialisme ou Barbarie and its editor Cornelius Castoriadis, which made the same break with French Trotskyism ten years earlier. Castoriadis's original essay Socialisme ou Barbarie, published in Issue 1 of their French journal in March 1949, was translated and reprinted by Solidarity with the title Socialism Reaffirmed as their first pamphlet, and their statement of principles. It still inspires me 65 years later.

Libertarian socialism is a broad category encompassing everything from anarcho-syndicalism and platformism to left communism and groups like Solidarity (UK) and Socialisme ou Barbarie. Visit Wikipedia for a good survey of the 57 varieties. For me, socialism essentially is democratic management of the workplace by the workers, and also society as a whole - perhaps through workers councils, or industrial unions, or communal organizations. We have to experiment. As Marx asserted in the Communist Manifesto “the emancipation of the working class is the task of the workers themselves.” This means the working class does not delegate the socialist transformation to a vanguard party or social democracy. Socialism can only be built from the bottom up through the creative invention of workers and everyday people. Socialist theory and activists can inform these developments.

I have recently retired from 40 years in the printing industry in Philadelphia. I worked in a half dozen plants in those years in pre-press production: camera, film assembly, plate-making in the early years: all computers and automation in the later years. I was active in the Graphic Communications International Union, now part of the Teamsters, as an organizer, shop steward, and member of the local executive board at different times. In the US, it is difficult to stay employed in a unionized manufacturing. I was lucky. Unions are under constant assault, and manufacturing has left the country. I became a socialist in college in the late 1960s during the student revolution. Moving to Philadelphia after graduation, I stumbled upon a local group Philadelphia Solidarity, which was distributing Solidarity (UK) literature in the US. I became a member, and began my journey in the libertarian socialist tradition. We founded the Wooden Shoe Bookstore in Philadelphia in 1976 to sell socialist and anarchist literature. I was busy with the bookstore until 1985, then become busy making a living and raising a family. Several generations have since passed through Wooden Shoe Bookstore, and is still open today at 704 South Street, Philadelphia.

I am currently unaffiliated with any socialist outfit. I am a free spirit. I have special interest in the labor movement, race, and mass incarceration in the US.

Frank Gerould

Brinton, Maurice. “Socialism Reaffirmed.” For Workers' Power: The Selected Writings of Maurice Brinton. Ed. David Goodway. Oakland: AK Press: 2004. pp17-19.

Castoriadis, Cornelius. “Socialism or Barbarism.” Political and Social Writings. Volume 1, 1946-1955: From the Critique of Bureaucracy to the Positive Content of Socialism. Trans. and Ed. David Ames Curtis. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: 1988. pp76-106.


  1. Hello Frank. I didn't realize, until now that you had a blog. I will start paying more attention. BTW: just finished reading "The Prophets Children" by Tim Wohlforth, a book you might find interesting.

  2. I love hearing from my readers. You can subscribe by entering your email- you get new posts emailed direct. I read The Prophets Children many years ago. Do you know Wohlforth? Believe it or not, I have been heavily influenced by certain strains of Trotskyism--IS, the Shachtmanites, the Johnson-Forrest tendency (CLR James, Dunayvskaya, Castoriadis). Trotskyism was a hot house - many little groups that produced lots of intellectual talent, and a huge literature. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful in converting the Stalinist and social democratic left in the US. It is a hard road.