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                 Guest For  FRIDAY JUNE 5,  2009

                              (Originally aired: 02-27-95)


                             ALBERT  GLOTZER

                                       (1909- 1999 R.I.P.)




A Founder of the Trotskyist Movement in the US




Founder: Trotskyist Communist League of America



            Author: "Trotsky: Memoir & Critique"


The program can be viewed in its entirety by clicking the you tube link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q9dkrjLp6M - ALBERT GLOTZER





Albert Glotzer


Albert Glotzer was expelled from the Communist party and its youth organization in 1928 for demanding a discussion of Trotsky’s views and expulsion from the Russian CP and exile to Siberia.

Together with others that were also expelled from the CP, Glotzer founder the Trotskyist Communist League of America in May, 1929. He was mainly responsible for preparing the founding conference in Chicago and also a member of the National Committee and Political Committee, 1930-34.

During this period Trotsky was deported from the Soviet Union and living in Turkey. Glotzer visited Trotsky there for several weeks. (He later visited Trotsky in France, 1934 and in Mexico, 1937). The visit to Turkey was followed by a tour he made of the US and Canada in 1932 on the most important theme of the day: the danger of fascism in Germany and Trotsky’s warning that unless there were a united front of struggle against the Nazis, all would be lost. For the Americans, that period meant putting out their paper, The Militant, three times a week.

A court reporter by occupation, Glotzer was the verbatim court reporter for the John Dewey Commission of Inquiry in Mexico to take testimony of Trotsky on the Moscow Frame-up trials.

Glotzer was a member of the Socialist Party in 1936-37 and one of the founders of the Socialist Workers Party in 1938. During the 30’s Hitler came to power in Germany. The Hitler-Stalin Pact was signed and WWII began with the Nazi invasion of Poland.

During 1938-39, a dispute broke out in the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party in which Glotzer and other leaders of the party, and a minority of members, rejected Trotsky’s view that the Soviet Union was a Workers’ State. Instead they maintained that it was a new totalitarian society and not defensible on the grounds it violated freedom and democracy.

This break with Trotsky led to the formation of the Workers’ Party in 1940 (later renamed Independent Socialist League). Al Glotzer was a founder, member of its National and Political Committees and at various times, editor of Labor Action and The New International, as well as National Secretary of ISL. In 1958 the ISL entered the Socialist Party, which later became Socialist Democrats, USA. He is a long time member of its National.

Retired since 1974, Glotzer resides in New York City. He has also authored several pieces on his long-time associates such as Max Shachtman and Martin Abern, and the book Trotsky, Memoir and Critique in 1990. The personal papers of Albert Glotzer are at Hoover Institution.(S.Ryan)

Global Index  |  Trotsky Encyclopedia Home Page


Albert Glotzer dead at 90

By Fred Mazelis
2 March 1999

Albert Glotzer, a founder of the Trotskyist movement in the US who was the reporter at the historic hearings of the Dewey Commission in Mexico in 1937, died on February 18 at the age of 90. He was the last survivor among the major American participants in the struggles of the Left Opposition and the Fourth International in the 1930s.

Although Glotzer broke with Trotskyism nearly 60 years ago, he remained a valuable witness to the great historical events in which he was a participant. This history always remained vivid for Glotzer. He continued to acknowledge the principled struggle conducted by Trotsky, and the impact of his years in the revolutionary movement left their impact.

For more than a decade Glotzer was at the center of the struggle to build a new revolutionary leadership against Stalinism. Between 1928, when Trotsky was first sent into internal exile and then banished from the Soviet Union, and 1940, the year of Trotsky's assassination by an agent of Stalin, Glotzer was an active and leading member of the revolutionary opposition to Stalinism. During these years he met and worked with Trotsky on three separate occasions.

In October 1931 Glotzer arrived in Turkey, the first of four countries in which the Russian revolutionary leader spent his final years. Glotzer spent six weeks working with Trotsky, having extensive discussions with him on the work of the Left Opposition as well as handling English-language correspondence and assisting with security duties. Trotsky was evidently impressed with the young worker from the United States, recognizing his energy, intelligence and wide knowledge, along with organizational skills and dedication to the cause of the international working class.

In 1934 Glotzer traveled to France, Trotsky's next place of exile. There he prepared for a youth conference which had been proposed by the youth section of the Independent Socialist Party of Holland. The Trotskyists participated as part of the struggle to build a new international after the collapse of the Comintern in the debacle of Hitler's victory.

When the Commission of Inquiry into the Moscow Trials convened in Mexico City in 1937 Glotzer, who had been trained as a professional court reporter, was called on to report and transcribe the testimony at the hearings. This body, initiated by the American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky, became known as the Dewey Commission, after its chairman, the illustrious philosopher and American liberal John Dewey.

Trotsky gave many hours of testimony to the Commission over a period of eight days, painstakingly refuting Stalin's frame-ups, whose main targets were Trotsky himself, along with his son Leon Sedov. Glotzer's work of reporting and transcription made possible the publication of The Case of Leon Trotsky. This volume, along with Not Guilty, the verdict issued in book form by the Commission some months later, had an enormous impact in exposing the Stalinist frame-ups before world public opinion.

Like many others, Albert Glotzer came to the revolutionary movement from an immigrant working class background. He was born in a small village in Byelorussia in 1908, and came to the US with his family when he was four years old. They settled in Chicago, joining his father, who had emigrated earlier. Glotzer and his family were deeply affected by the revolution which took place in his native country in 1917, as well as by the development of social and political struggles in his adopted country. In 1923, at the age of 15, he joined the youth section of the American Communist Party.

It was at this very time that the Russian Revolution, besieged by enemies and increasingly isolated, began to be strangled by a reactionary nationalist bureaucracy which eliminated party democracy and repudiated the struggle for international socialism. Lenin died in 1924. The bureaucracy contributed to defeats of revolutionary struggles in Germany, Britain and China between 1923 and 1927. Stalin tightened his grip on the Soviet party and state apparatus. After Trotsky and his supporters were expelled from the Communist Party and the Communist International, Glotzer joined the American supporters of the Trotskyist opposition, led by James P. Cannon and Max Shachtman.

By the time he was 20 Glotzer had already been expelled from the CP. When he first met Trotsky he was only 22, but he had more political experience behind him than others twice his age.

Glotzer's career as a revolutionary ended in 1940. The outnumbered forces of Marxism had been unable to overcome the combined forces of imperialism and Stalinism. The triumph of Hitler, followed by the massive Stalinist purges and the betrayal of revolutionary struggles in Spain and elsewhere, had ushered in the Second World War. A section of the Trotskyist movement, led by Max Shachtman and including Glotzer, concluded that it was no longer possible to defend the Soviet Union against imperialism. They left the Fourth International and over the next two decades moved sharply to the right, supporting the capitalist West in the Cold War and serving as advisers to the anticommunist bureaucracy of the AFL-CIO. Until the death of Shachtman in 1972, Glotzer was the closest collaborator of this leader of the tendency which moved from Trotskyism to right-wing Social Democracy.

In Trotsky: Memoir & Critique, a book published when he was 80 years old, Glotzer holds Trotsky and Lenin politically responsible for the rise of Stalinism. Despite the unbridgeable political differences separating him from the revolutionary movement, however, his early history exerted a powerful influence and continuing pull on Glotzer. In his late 80s he was eager to describe the experiences of his youth and young adulthood, when he sought to change the world.


Communist League of America

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Communist League of America (Left Opposition) was founded by James P. Cannon, Max Shachtman and Martin Abern in 1928 after their expulsion from the Communist Party USA for Trotskyism. The CLA (LO) was the United States section of Leon Trotsky's International Left Opposition and initially positioned itself as not a rival party to the CPUSA but as a faction of it and the Comintern. The group immediately began publication of The Militant as its regular newspaper.

The group soon became known simply as the Communist League of America. As the CPUSA and the Comintern became increasingly Stalinized the tactic of acting as an external faction of the Communist Party was replaced with plans to create the Fourth International as a new revolutionary international to replace the Third International and to replace the Communist Party with a new mass workers party.

Local leaders associated with the Communist League of America led the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934. The strike paved the way for the organization of over-the-road drivers and the growth of the Teamsters union. It, along with the 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike (led by the Communist Party USA) and the 1934 Toledo Auto-Lite Strike led by the American Workers Party, were important catalysts for the rise of industrial unionism in the 1930s, much of which was organized through the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

In 1934, the CLA merged with A. J. Muste's American Workers Party to form the U.S Workers Party. In 1936, the new party negotiated a fusion with the Socialist Party of America, however, the CLA continued to exist as an independent tendency and continued publishing their own newspaper, Socialist Appeal.

The Trotskyists success in recruiting a large number of members to the Socialist Party's youth wing, the Young People's Socialist League, concerned Norman Thomas to the degree that he decided to expel the CLA from the Socialist Party in 1937. However, the CLA was able to win most members of the YPSL and split them from the Socialist Party.

The enlarged group held a convention on January 1, 1938 to launch the CLA's successor, the Socialist Workers Party. Later that year the Fourth International was formally launched.

External links


                                                                               Friday June 5, 2009

                                 10:30 - 11:30 AM  / (NYC Time)


                 Channel 34 of the Time/Warner & Channel 83 of the RCN 

                       Cable Television Systems in Manhattan, New York.


The Program can now be viewed on the internet at time of cable casting at



                  NOTE: You must adjust viewing to reflect NYC time

                                          & click on channel 34 at site