Struggle begins 26th year of developing proletarian revolutionary literature

 by Tim Hall

(Editorial of the Spring-Summer 2010 issue of Struggle, an anti-establishment literary journal oriented to the working-class struggle.)

Struggle greets its 25th birthday in a world wracked by harsh economic and political crises. Everywhere the rich capitalists are on an onslaught against the livelihoods and the very lives of the working people. Everywhere opportunist misleaders try to hobble the fight-back of the masses. Yet still we see a certain rebirth of mass struggles against the oppressive domination of the rich. Greek workers and students are battling fiercely against the austerity measures with which the European capitalists hope to make the working people pay for their crisis. Mass rebellions have been underway in Thailand, Krygyzstan, India and in Latin America. The Afghan people wage a difficult fight against U.S. imperialism as well as Islamic fundamentalism and other local reactionaries. Recently the Iranian people rose up against the fundamentalist Islamic dictatorship. In Turkey and elsewhere workers mounted massive May Day protests. In the U.S., on March 21 and again on May Day, immigrant workers and their supporters held large rallies and marches. Struggle's birthday, shadowed by oppression, is yet greeted with struggle. There is a search for a way forward. We hope this search will be reflected in rebellious creative literature.

Launched in 1985, for 25 years Struggle has been bringing revolutionary and progressive literature to disgruntled workers, students, professionals and others. Struggle has condemned the racist oppression of African Americans and other people of color and campaigned against the brutal anti-immigrant hysteria. Struggle has opposed sexism and other forms of oppression. Struggle has consistently attacked the imperialism and imperialist wars of the U.S. ruling class. Struggle has pointed sharply at the class domination by the rich monopoly capitalists, represented by both the Republican and Democratic parties, that underlies this variety of evils and attacked the exploitation of the working class in the U.S. and worldwide which finances this system of domination. And Struggle has managed to fire off some salvoes at the sold-out union leaders who help the capitalists control the working class.

Through these oppressive decades Struggle has encouraged writers of all backgrounds and various levels of skill to create vibrant works that contend in different ways against the status quo. As Struggle's editor and an anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist, I have put forward my views in editorials and have featured works that reflect vigorous class-struggle stands, but I have always tried to recognize other strands of genuine opposition to the establishment and have given them a place in the magazine. I oppose both Trotskyism and Stalinist revisionism in the name of a genuine socialism, and I stand against both the Democratic and Republican parties as well as their sold-out union leaders. But writers who do not fully agree with me but who create vigorous rebellious works have found and will find a welcome home in this magazine. Struggle has featured numerous African-American and Latino writers, many women, numerous prisoner-writers over the years and even a number of writers from other countries. Special-feature issues in recent years have considered the Katrina debacle, the immigration issue, and opposition to war and torture. And over the past four or five years Struggle has managed to maintain a web site carrying its main published content plus extra features (go to

On questions of artistic style and technique, Struggle has attempted to be open to a wide variety of approaches. We do not believe that any one style or form can be declared, in and of itself, to be more positive, progressive or class-conscious than others. We have tried to recognize the emergence of artistic experiments or of new content or of both -- in a wide variety of styles, but we have also welcomed use of traditional techniques. We regret that we have not been able to incorporate criticism very often into our content. The magazine is produced on a shoestring, in the free time of the editor who works a physical labor job, so it has been impossible to keep up with the various currents in writing today. We have just soldiered on, spreading and creating works that we hope open new ways of writing and inspire people to rebel.

Before 1993 Struggle was encouraged and partially subsidized by the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA, of which I was a supporter. After this party dissolved, I helped create the Communist Voice Organization, which has carried on and developed the MLP's trend. But since 1993 Struggle has had to support itself financially. This path has had many ups and downs, but each time that I sent a prophecy of doom out to the readers, writers and supporters, they have come through magnificently and the magazine has limped on. Most recently, our supporters responded wonderfully to the appeal that went out with the last issue and the magazine has enough in the bank to come out again and to have a big head start on a further issue. I want to thank all of our readers for this inspiring response. I hope the present issue justifies their efforts.

Struggle has attracted some wider attention lately. While we aim mainly at workers and activists, this new attention from scholars attention is a good thing as it may draw new readers and writers. Barbara Foley, one of the leading authorities on working-class (proletarian) literature writing today, has authored a very generous review of Struggle's efforts so far, focusing on three writers often featured in the magazine -- Gregory Alan Norton, Paris Smith and myself. The review perceptively draws out many important and useful features of our work. It will appear in the online literary journal Reconstruction as part of its special issue on activism. (See Reconstruction at Barbara's review of Struggle, "Proletarian Literature Today," is reprinted below, with the kind permission of its author and the editors of Reconstruction.

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Last changed on October 16, 2010.