Truth and Revolution
A History of the Sojourner Truth Organization, 1969-1986
By Michael Staudenmaier
In the 1970s and 1980s, as the movements of the sixties receded from view, the revolutionary left in the United States went through a series of profound political, demographic, and cultural transformations as it struggled to find its footing in a rapidly changing world.
The unorthodox political agenda of the Sojourner Truth Organization represents a small but powerfully resonant thread running through this arc of history. Drawing on detailed archival research and oral interviews, Truth and Revolution skillfully combines social and intellectual history approaches to shed light on both the theory and the practice of STO. Perhaps most famous for its theoretical formulations of white skin privilege, the group also developed a novel analysis of class consciousness that reflected its commitment to an autonomist Marxism. In all the major arenas of its work—factory organizing, anti-imperialist solidarity, anti-nuclear and anti-fascist struggles, among many others—STO combined a strategic assessment of the urgent tasks facing an activist left with a theoretical sophistication that merits sustained attention. Historian Michael Staudenmaier also includes a final chapter linking the legacy of STO directly to the challenges facing twenty-first century radicals.
“Few revolutionary initiatives formed out of the struggles of the 1960s left such a profound intellectual and political legacy as the Sojourner Truth Organization. This deeply researched, balanced, and remarkable history shows how STO’s practice intersected with its ideas, not only in relatively well-known campaigns attacking white-skin privilege but in shopfloor organizing and anti-imperialist solidarity as well.”—David Roediger, author of The Wages of Whiteness and Class, Race, and Marxism
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