Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 11, 2014

A relaunch of North Star

Filed under: revolutionary organizing — louisproyect @ 9:15 pm


 Frederick_Douglass_c1860sFrederick Douglass


Bert Cochran

Peter Camejo

The North Star website was named in honor of Peter Camejo who launched the North Star Network in 1981 as part of an effort to regroup the left around a non-sectarian and non-dogmatic approach. He chose that name in honor of Frederick Douglass who published North Star, an abolitionist newspaper, from December 1847 until June 1851.

As someone who worked closely with Peter Camejo on the North Star Network, I had hopes that a website would carry on in that tradition. Because competing demands made on a series of editors rendered that task impossible, the website became dormant. I hope to resurrect it and help reorient it to its original mandate, which like the network of the early 80s, was to regroup the left around a non-sectarian and non-dogmatic approach.

The idea of something like North Star came to me about four years ago as I was nearing retirement at Columbia University. It would not be promoting a “party line” but instead provide a platform for socialists to report on the struggles they are involved with as well as facilitate debates about how to move such struggles forward.

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  1. Bravo! This is a fantastic project.

    Comment by Jonathan Koch — November 11, 2014 @ 9:31 pm

  2. This is nice to see and a surprise as well.

    Obviously getting TNS out of a comma and
    getting a lively functioning site back can’t be just some sort of
    ‘organic’ process of returning to publishing more broadly and then
    presto the readership comes back. It will require much more than that.
    It will require a dramatic ‘event’ and have to be shouted out around the

    The dramatic turn around that saw radical democrats frozen out
    really did destroy the credibility of the site and that has to be
    understood. The destructive outcome was both predictable and predicted.

    What was the refreshing TNS brand is now very damaged goods.

    It is now quite clear that the only thing that was going
    for TNS was what it lost. Real debate and contention.

    The way the loss
    came about IMV was by the editors talking about this or that upset and
    fears or worries in private instead of right out in the open putting up
    ideas and letting 100 bloom right back in their face.

    If there is to be a second go at this then I will be in it and a public discussion is the IMV the best way to go forward. So I will speak out here and prepare an article.

    BTW a specific subject I want to address after the Middle East issues are urgently revisited – to build the sites
    credibility up again (while continuing shocking people in all directions
    as before) – is the huge topic of unemployment. If anyone would like to
    do a little work on this issue or knows someone that is or wants to work
    on the issue then step up. I could use some specifically US help and it
    won’t be vague either for what I consider an important little project. The issue of unemloyment has matured and yet is not being
    ‘done’ well anywhere. As an issue it’s not well understood. It’s
    crucial that it is, so give it some thought if your wondering what you
    might like to work on.

    Comment by patrickm — November 12, 2014 @ 1:54 am

  3. Louis,
    I have been checking in with The North Star periodically, and I am glad you are reviving it.

    Comment by Sheldon — November 12, 2014 @ 2:34 am

  4. I comment on this project and article here: http://trotskyschildren.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-north-star.html

    Comment by Dan King — November 24, 2014 @ 2:46 am

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