Against the Current, No. 198, January/
The Menace of Right "Populism"
— The Editors
Nationalism, Patriotism, Hate Crimes
— Malik Miah
Disciplined for Acting with Integrity
— Alan Wald
BDS: Repression and Progress
— David Finkel
Water as a Form of Social Control
— Julia Kassem
GM Closures -- What's Next?
— Dianne Feeley
Europe's Political Turmoil -- Part II
— Peter Drucker
- Berta Cáceres Update
Sard's Permanent War Economy
— Marcel van der Linden
The Strange Career of the Second Amendment -- Part I
— Jennifer Jopp
- The Ongoing Black Struggle
Our Movement, Our Lives
— William Copeland
Still Lonely on the Right
— Angela D. Dillard
Apocalypse of Our Times
— John Woodford
Colorblind Law -- NOT
— Dianne Feeley
A Revolutionary Detroit Memoir
— Dan Georgakas
Class War on New Ground
— Barry Eidlin
The FBI in Ecuador
— Kenneth Kincaid
Breaking the Impasse
— Donald Greenspon
Party for the Revolution
— Michael Principe
- In Memoriam
Nancy Gruber, 1930-2018
— Dianne Feeley
David McReynolds, 1928-2018
— Jason Schulman
“OUR MILITARY ORGANIZATION today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime,” wrote President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his 1956 farewell message,” or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea. Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry.” (Quoted on the cover of The Permanent War Economy by Walter Oakes and T.N. Vance, ed. E. Haberkern, Center for Socialist History, 2008)
From differing vantage points, an American general turned politician and a perceptive Marxist economist noted that the emergence of a “permanent war economy” marked a new and ominous stage in society. Marcel van der Linden’s essay uncovers the development of this theoretical understanding — and who Vance and Oakes actually were.
The relevance of this discussion is only heightened by a glance at the situation today. For one thing, the post-World War II period is regarded by analysts of the “Anthropocene” as the time when human activity has become the dominant factor in environmental destruction and climate change, and war and weapons technology play no small part in this road to ruin.
For another, recall that in the 1950s the U.S. arms budget amounted to some tens of billions of dollars when Eisenhower warned: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
Today’s military budget consumes in excess of $700 billion, and the big twit presently occupying the White House proclaims the advent of a whole new “Space Force.” Vance, the Marxist economist, presumed that such expenditures would already have led to World War III. And for his part, Ike would have had a cow. —David Finkel, for the ATC editors
THE THEORY OF the “Permanent War Economy” has played a rather important role in the debates of the radical left from the late 1940s to the 1980s. C. Wright Mills applied it in his The New Men of Power: America’s Labor Leaders (1948) and in The Causes of World War Three (1958).
The founder of this theory was Edward L. Sard (1913-1999), born Edward Solomon, a brilliant Marxist economist who wanted to remain invisible to a wider public and operated under five different names. Until now his life and work have been shrouded in mystery. The present essay is intended to give some information on Sard’s political biography and the origins of the theory of the Permanent War Economy. His successive pseudonyms will serve as a means of mapping his development.(1)
From 1957, the “permanent arms economy” became a theoretical pillar of the British Socialist Review Group (Duncan Hallas, Seymour Papert, Tony Cliff, and others) and from there it spread to several other parts of the world. It also inspired anti-militarist economists such as Seymour Melman in the 1970s and ’80s.
Frank L. Demby
Edward Sard was born in 1913 in Brooklyn as Edward Solomon, the son of Charles Solomon and Augustina Hess Solomon, two college graduates who worked in education at high schools in New York City. Tina Solomon was a suffragette who in 1909, during her student years at Barnard College, co-founded a sorority. It was chiefly through her influence that Edward and his younger brother Eugene V. (born in 1923 and named after the prominent socialist Eugene V. Debs) received a leftwing education.
Edward was an excellent pupil and also played chess at the highest level. In 1929 he won a scholarship and became a student of economics — at first at Cornell University (1929-33) and then at Columbia University (1934-36).
After the onset of the Great Depression, Solomon became attracted to revolutionary socialism. In 1934 he joined, together with a few fellow students from Columbia, a tiny Trotskyist group, the Organization Committee for a Revolutionary Workers Party of the former Wall Street analyst Max Gould (alias B.J. Field), whom Trotsky characterized as “a bourgeois radical who has acquired the economic views of Marxism.”
Solomon became very active. In January 1935 he began to publish substantial articles in the group’s magazine Labor Front. He also gave talks on “The Paris Commune,” “How Far to Fascism?” and other topics. In the OCRWP he for the first time used his pseudonym Frank L. Demby (sometimes misspelled as Denby).
In 1936, following Trotsky’s advice, the American Workers Party, the largest Trotskyist organization in the United States, decided to enter the Socialist Party of America. They formed a faction around the newspaper Socialist Appeal, strongly supported by many members of the Young People’s Socialist League (YPSL), the SP’s youth affiliate.
B.J. Field refused to make the same so-called French Turn. Solomon and Stanley Plastrick led the opposition inside Field’s group, and amidst growing tensions were “knocked to the floor and beaten about the head” by Field and his associates. After their expulsion they immediately joined the Socialist Appeal group of James P. Cannon and Max Shachtman. Here they were welcomed with open arms.
The “entrism” in the Socialist Party did not last long. Already in 1937 the Trotskyists and their supporters were expelled and at the turn of the year they formed a new organization, the Socialist Workers Party. During these vicissitudes Solomon’s star rose. The Philadelphia YPSL convention in September 1937 had elected him as the national officer responsible for education.
Earlier, in 1936, Solomon graduated at Columbia University with an erudite master’s thesis on “A History of the Labor Theory of Value.” In this work he called the Soviet Union “still a workers’ state” and highlighted the danger of fascism:
“It is commonly thought that fascism is resorted to by the capitalist class solely because there is a threat of a proletarian revolution. The experience in Austria proves conclusively the contrary. The economic necessity for fascism is based on the falling average rate of profits to such a low point that it is necessary to drive the price of labor-power (wages) down below its value. In order to do this, all those organizations which help to sustain wage levels (trade unions, cooperatives, political parties) must be crushed. This is the first act of every fascist government and shows that, while the threat of proletarian revolution may be a secondary factor, capitalism will not resort to fascism unless economically it has to in order to preserve profits, without which capitalism ceases to exist.”
From 1937 Solomon supported himself as a teacher of economics and economic geography at the Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn. Simultaneously he tried to work on a doctoral thesis on an unknown subject, but his many political activities made it impossible to realize this plan.
During the summer months Solomon regularly travelled to Europe. In 1936 he met Trotsky in Norway, and kept corresponding with “the Old Man” thereafter. On his trips he visited Trotskyist sister organizations. In 1937 he went to Switzerland and, with the help of German comrades in exile, also coordinated the production of the English edition of the International Bulletin of the revolutionary youth in Paris.
In that same year he already claimed to have “observed myself most of the sections of the Fourth International movement.” He was also involved in the preparation and aftercare of Trotsky’s tribunal in Coyoacán, April 1937.
In 1938 Solomon went to Europe again. Together with his contemporary Nathan Gould he assisted SWP leader James P. Cannon, who at Trotsky’s urging attempted the unification of several British Trotskyist groups [the Militant Group, the Revolutionary Socialist League (C.L.R. James, Harry Wicks), and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (Edinburgh)]. In August ’38 the three men stayed for two weeks in London and succeeded in bringing about a merger that, however, soon proved to have been cosmetic and shortlived.
After that, Cannon and Gould travelled to Paris for the founding of the Fourth International on September 3, 1938. Solomon stayed in Europe as well, but apparently did not participate in the Parisian event. He visited Trotskyist comrades in France, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and the Netherlands and drew up a report.
In the Socialist Workers Party he held several important positions. But already in 1940 Shachtman’s supporters left the SWP and founded a new Workers Party. By the early ’40s they no longer considered the USSR as a (degenerated) workers’ state, but as a form of Bureaucratic Collectivism. Solomon followed Shachtman and became head of the new Finance Department.
In 1940 or 1941 Edward and Eugene Solomon changed their last name to Sard. Eugene wanted to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but its anti-semitic administration had introduced a Numerus Clausus for Jews. In order to pass the selection procedure he had to adopt a non-Jewish family name. His brother stood by him. They decided to call themselves Sard, following other family members who — in a sardonic mood — had already made this change.
Edward became Edward L. Sard — the initial referred to his wife Doris (“Bobby”) Landau (1920-2007), whom he had met at the YPSL convention of 1938 and married later that year. In 1941 a son (Richard) was born. After the United States had joined the war against Japan and Germany in December of the same year, Sard took up office in the federal administration and moved with his wife and child to Washington.
From December 1942 to August 1943 he belonged to the Office of Price Administration. Next he worked for the War Production Board, first (from August 1943 until October 1944) as editor of the Statistics of War Production — a position that gave him access to “confidential data relating to all phases of the war production program for use by 300 top governmental policy makers.”
Thereafter he was promoted to Chief of the Office of Component Reports, which made him responsible for the “development of supply requirements estimates for critical components for use by [the] Requirements Committee and policy making levels of WPB [War Production Board] and OWMR [Other War Material Requirements]” (from November 1944 until September 1945). Through these activities Sard gained a thorough understanding of the U.S. war economy.
During his “Demby period” Solomon/Sard frequently wrote for Shachtman’s Workers Party weekly Labor Action. His short articles were based on a solid knowledge of the facts and did not shrink from statistical analyses. In 1940 he argued that “The U.S., following the example of Europe, has entered upon an armaments economy,” and that “Wall Street is well aware of the fact that the ‘prosperity’ in this country is based on the war and the continuation of the war.”
Aircraft was fast becoming the “key industry of the war;” its expansion was “absolutely phenomenal, more so than any other industry in the history of American capitalism.” Solomon/Sard pointed out that though corporate profits went up, the purchasing power of the population decreased. Wages were cut through growing inflation. The war economy went together with a rising profit rate and rate of surplus value.
All of this changed the appearance of U.S. capitalism:
Almost 70 per cent of the 1942 fiscal budget will go for war preparations. […] <b>the United States has truly entered upon a long period of war economy.</b> Representatives of the government and the boss press have been thundering at us for the past several months what this will mean to the working population of the country — gasless Sundays, reduction in the use of electricity for the home, no more aluminum pots and pans, etc. But it will mean much more than a few inconveniences in our normal habits of consumption. The burden of the war economy will be thrown onto the backs of those who toil and sweat for a living — that is the real meaning of this war budget.
Increasingly, the large corporations raised additional capital through their own accumulated reserves of surplus capital and undivided profits. Frequently, a large share of profits were not paid to the stockholders, but put aside so the management and the board of directors could do with it what they wanted.
This altered the structure of the capitalist class. Self-financing meant “ the further concentration of control of huge enterprises in fewer and fewer hands” and a growing economic conservatism of the management. “The era of free, competitive capitalism is over. It is not merely dying. It is dead. It cannot be resurrected, no matter how many pious declarations Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill issue.”
The war economy’s profitability made it clear to Sard that the preservation of profits does not necessarily have to result in Fascism, as he had once held in his master’s thesis.
Walter J. Oakes
To my knowledge, the concept of the “permanent war economy” appeared for the first time in a resolution, adopted by the Political Committee of the Workers Party on September 5, 1941, about three months before the United States officially joined World War II. The resolution paid a lot of attention to economic aspects, and partly seems to bear Edward Sard’s stamp.
The text pointed out that the USA — without a declaration of war on Germany — had already become the “arsenal and larder” of England and the other Western allies. Following Nazi-Germany’s example American capitalism was compelling people to substitute guns for butter.
“The production of consumers’ goods is systematically reduced for the benefit of the production of means of destruction. Even where the war boom has increased the nominal purchasing power of the masses, or sections of them, the government intervenes, as in Germany, to cut down or prohibit the purchase of consumers’ goods (restrictions on installment buying, etc.) and to enforce compulsory ‘savings,’ that is, to reduce effectively the standard of living of the masses by turning over part of their earnings to meet the astronomical war budgets of the government. The frantic attempts by this and other means to prevent inflation may, at most, postpone inflation, but in the end will lead to an inflation of monstrously onerous proportions. If such an inflation is to be prevented at all by the bourgeoisie, it can be done only if a <b>permanent war economy</p> is established or if a Fascist regime in this country imposes its ‘regulated economy.’”
For capitalism the Permanent War Economy had become an alternative to Fascism. In both cases the masses would suffer from a violent reduction of living standards.
During the war years Sard elaborated this analysis. He did this in relative isolation, as he became somewhat estranged from the Workers Party. Three elements probably played a role. The Workers Party was nonexistent in Washington. The large majority of its members lived in the New York area, and Sard and his wife were politically almost on their own. Moreover, as a civil servant, Sard had to abstain from politics.
Finally, Sard’s analysis of capitalist development did not accord with the Workers Party’s view; his hypothesis, that capitalism could temporarily revive through a war economy seemed to contradict the proposition of Lenin, Trotsky and others that capitalism was in its death throes since World War I.
The minutes of a Political Committee meeting of April 1946 make Sard’s estrangement from the party clear:
“Frank Demby and party. Secretariat recommends that Comrade Demby be invited to contribute articles to the NI [New International] and LA [Labor Action], that we maintain a literary collaboration in a more or less formal way, viewing him on the basis of his representations as a party sympathizer; that the question does not now arise and that we do not consider in this connection a bid for his becoming a member of the party again. […] Motion: Letter be written to membership on decision on Demby. Carried.”
In this context Sard’s famous article “Toward a Permanent War Economy?” appeared in the first issue of Politics (February 1944), published by Dwight and Nancy Macdonald. Dwight Macdonald had in 1941, after a blinding row, left the Workers Party. Sard’s choice of an ex-Trotskyist’s journal seems to underline his political distance from the Workers Party at the time. The fact that he used a new pen name in Politics (Walter J. Oakes) could perhaps support this claim.
In his article Sard assumed that immediately after the end of World War II the preparations would begin for World War III. “World War III is not only a distinct possibility, it is inevitable as long as the world’s social structure remains one of capitalist imperialism.” Senate Bill 1582 (December 1943) showed that the ruling circles of the United States were anticipating a new “total war of three years’ duration, or of any equivalent emergency.”
The outcome would be a Permanent War Economy. Sard defined: “a war economy exists whenever the government’s expenditures for war (or ‘national defense’) become a legitimate and significant end-purpose of economic activity. The degree of war expenditures required before such activities become significant obviously varies with the size and composition of the national income and the stock of accumulated capital. Nevertheless, the problem is capable of theoretical analysis and statistical measurement.”
According to Sard, the Permanent War Economy represented a new stage of capitalist development. Previously, economic peacetime activities had focused primarily on the production of consumer goods and of capital goods that could be used to produce consumer goods. Henceforth extensive peacetime expenditures for war would be normal.
Sard estimated that the United States would achieve a Permanent War Economy through annual war expenditures between $10 and $20 billion, and that this would profoundly change the inner functioning of U.S. capitalism:
[War] expenditures accomplish the same purpose as public works, but in a manner that is decidedly more effective and more acceptable (from the capitalist point of view). […] War outlays, in fact, have become the modern substitute for pyramids. They do not compete with private industry and they easily permit the employment of all those whom it is considered necessary to employ. True, this type of consumption (waste) of surplus labor brings with it a series of difficult political and economic problems. These, however, appear to be solvable; in any case, they can be postponed. <b>The deluge may come but the next generation, not the present one, will have to face it.</p>”
The up and down of business cycles would be eliminated. Due to growing state intervention capital accumulation would no longer be accompanied by an increasing industrial reserve army, as Marx had thought: “If the Permanent War Economy succeeds in stabilizing the economy at a high level, unemployment will be eliminated, but only through employment in lines that are economically unproductive. Thus capitalist accumulation, instead of bringing about an increase in unemployment, will have as its major consequence a decline in the standard of living.”
The decline in the average standard of living of the workers would in the first instance be relative, but it would soon become absolute, “particularly on a world scale as all nations adapt their internal economies to conform with the requirements of the new order based on an international Permanent War Economy.”
Just as with the resolution of 1941, Sard saw the Permanent War Economy as a capitalist alternative for Fascism; the ruling class would rather “stave off the advent of fascism as long as possible.” But the Permanent War Economy could only be a temporary way out for the bourgeoisie: “It is not my belief that the Permanent War Economy will provide an enduring solution for capitalism. But it can work for the period under consideration.”
Substantial tax increases would become unavoidable, and this would lead to an intensification of “political and class conflict.” In case this would result in explosive situations, the burden of armament could also be shifted on to the working class through deliberate and uncontrolled inflation. That, however, would imply “that the decisive section of the ruling class is determined to establish fascism as soon as possible. I see no evidence, however, to warrant this belief although, of course, there are many similarities between fascism and the Permanent War Economy.”
Sard considered it “more probable that the inflationary sequence is a contender for a prime place on the agenda after World War III than in the Post-World War II period.” Only the labor movement was capable of preventing such a catastrophic outcome, and for that the United States would absolutely need a “labor party, independent of capitalist political machines, and based upon trade unionists.”
With this analysis Sard not only opposed the Keynesians, but also the “Orthodox Marxists (Trotskyists)” who still assumed that the historical alternative was: proletarian revolution or Fascism. Sard’s argument fell indeed on deaf ears with his comrades of the Workers Party.
The Shachtmanites kept believing in the ongoing decline of U.S. capitalism. At their Fourth National Convention (27-31 May 1946) they carried a declaration saying: “All the indications are that for the next period, […] American capitalism will experience an economic boom.” This would be a “temporary prosperity,” and “it is the forerunner of another and inevitable, economic crisis.”
“There is no reason at all for believing that the coming boom is in any sense in the same class as the economic expansion which accompanied the organic ascension of capitalism. It takes place in the framework of the organic decline of capitalist society, in the epoch of proletarian revolution.”
The first five postwar years were a period of insecurity for Sard and his wife Dorothy. The pressures of a new family contributed to this. A second child (Barbara) was born in 1947. Sard’s employment history was one of ongoing change, with a series of posts following each other in quick succession.
Between 1945 and ’50 he worked as a consultant for Fuller Houses, Inc. (Washington), producing airframe dwellings; as a Italy Country Representative of the United Nations Relife and Rehabilitation Agency (Washington); as director of a division of the National Housing Agency (Washington); as director of the World ORT Union in New York; and as Executive Director of the American ORT Federation, likewise in New York.
For a short period he was also unemployed. In 1951 he finally became director of the National Association of House-to-House Installment Companies, Inc., later renamed National Association of Installment Companies. He held this position until his retirement in 1984.
After an interruption of five years Sard began to publish again. As of then he used a third pen name: T.N. Vance. His outlet was again the New International, the journal of the International Socialist League (ISL), since 1949 the successor of the Workers Party. Sard was still a sympathizer, not a member, of this current.
By now the ISL had come to appreciate the idea of a Permanent War Economy; in the 1950s the theory became an essential part of its program. The ISL “Resolution on Situation in the United States” of 1951 declared that the United States had changed into a Permanent War Economy, and that this meant “automatically” also “the development of state power over the economy.”
Three years later a similar resolution said: “The Permanent War Economy continues; all the key social and economic questions are decisively determined by [the] course of the imperialist antagonisms and the preparations for war.”
In a long series of articles Sard elaborated his theory. In a first contribution “After Korea — What?” he described the arms race after World War II. Since 1945 two different kinds of imperialism were facing each other.
On the Russian side was Bureaucratic Collectivism, with nationalized property, slavery and peonage — essentially an “import” imperialism, “based on the economic necessity of acquiring constantly new sources of labor power; both skilled and slave, and of adding to its stock of producer and consumers goods.” On the American side stood an aggressive capitalism, “an ‘export’ imperialism, inexorably driven by the most rapid accumulation of capital in the history of capitalism to export capital in all its forms in ever-increasing quantities.”
This antagonism would not immediately lead to World War III, but it was the cause of a world situation that could be characterized as “neither peace nor war.” In the United States “the phenomenal expansion of the productive forces during World War II” had virtually continued after 1945 — a development that “has not only been contrary to the expectations of the bourgeoisie but also, let us admit, unexpected by most Marxists.”
In a series of six essays in 1951, “The Permanent War Economy,” published in The New International, Sard further explored the nature and impact of the Permanent War Economy. (These have been republished in the collection The Permanent War Economy, Center for Socialist History, 2008: 1-204 — ed.) He praised and criticized the “contributions” and “mistakes” of his precursor Walter J. Oakes, using phrases such as “We do not entirely share Oakes’ conclusion concerning …” — thus further concealing his identity.
Sard’s central thesis remained that the capitalist mode of production, “a system that has long outlived its historical usefulness,” could only survive through ever-increasing state intervention. Basing himself on extensive statistical material he revealed that not only the direct war outlays had become permanently sizeable, but that the indirect war outlays (military aid to other countries, etc.) had grown faster than total output as well.
In addition, the influence of the state grew in other domains as well, such as the control of prices, and it produced “the desired balance between the war and civilian sectors of the economy.” At the same time, the ongoing armament made it possible to reduce unemployment to insignificant levels.
However, the Permanent War Economy as a combination of prosperous capital accumulation and (almost) full employment was not without contradictions. First, during this high stage of capitalism a “new and fundamental law of motion” becomes visible, i.e. a decline of the standards of living.
This was not an absolute decline of living standards, since there was an “indisputable and very sizable increase in personal consumption expenditures.” Sard had in mind a relative decline of the standard of living compared with the increase in total production. Only for the lowest strata of the working class living standards declined absolutely: “They still remained worse off than in 1939.”
Second, increasing state intervention caused a significant growth of the state bureaucracy. The size of the Federal civilian bureaucracy had tripled from 571,000 in 1939 to an estimated 1,568,000 in 1950, while the military bureaucracy had increased in the same period from 342,000 to an estimated 1,500,000.
Armament and bureaucratization implied an increasing consumption of surplus value by the state in the form of increasing taxes. Not only the working classes were burdened, but also the bourgeoisie. Public funding was therefore becoming “a major arena of the class struggle.”
Third, the Permanent War Economy yielded a profit bonanza of fantastic proportions. Sard estimated that the rate of surplus value grew from 92% in 1939 to 123% in 1950, while the average rate of profit for all industry had gone from 25.6% in 1939, via 33.4% in 1944, to 27.7% in 1950.
Fourth, Bonapartist tendencies were developing: the intermarriage between the big bourgeoisie and the upper echelons of the military bureaucracy was a basic characteristic of the Permanent War Economy. In its wake the power of the police (the FBI) grew, and the state intervened more frequently in strikes and labor disputes.
“There is, of course, as yet no bureaucratic-military dictatorship in Washington, although there are possible tendencies in that direction. Nor can the present regime, given the tempo at which world history moves, be classified as temporary.”
Fifth, there was a tendency towards military-economic imperialism. The “almost insatiable appetite” of the Permanent War Economy was rapidly exhausting the natural resources (iron ore, petroleum) within the United States and made American imperialism increasingly dependent on raw materials from foreign sources.
Finally, inflation was becoming unceasing and permanent. “The higher the ratio of war outlays to total output, the greater the degree of inflation. There is no method under capitalism whereby the creation of purchasing power through waste (war) production can be so controlled and absorbed that inflation is eliminated.”
All in all, the Permanent War Economy had provided capitalism with “a temporary respite, while aggravating every phase of the class struggle. […] The historic task of the working class is to put an end to the Permanent War Economy without permitting the bourgeoisie and the Stalinists to unleash World War III.”
The article series on The Permanent War Economy was Sard’s magnum opus. In the years thereafter he continued to publish in the New International until the ISL’s dissolution in 1958. When unemployment in the U.S. increased in the mid-1950s he could easily explain this with a temporarily declining ratio of war outlays during those years.
He had more trouble with the improving standard of living. In 1957 Sard admitted that “the average standard of living of the employed working class is higher today than, let us say, it was two, three or four decades ago,” but, he argued, this trend should be seen as a part of “total misery, the casualties of wartime, both in war and peace, and the psychological impact on want satisfactions in a world that lives under the constant threat of total annihilation.”
Obviously, this was a weak argument; it exposed a vulnerable side of his theory. Unfortunately, Sard did not develop his ideas further, though he gave some hints how this could perhaps be done. He observed for example: “Capitalism has visibly, before our very eyes, outgrown its national framework and must burst this integument asunder in one form or another.”
Through this statement he implicitly brought under dispute the methodological nationalism of his own theory. But that is another chapter.
In 1958 Sard withdrew from politics. He remained a close friend of Max Shachtman (with whom he shared an interest in the cultivation of ornamental plants) until the latter passed away in 1972 — although they disagreed on Shachtman’s conservative turn from the 1960s. Sard became a prize-winning cultivator of bromeliads and, together with his wife, enjoyed trips to Europe and other parts of the world.
Sard’s series of articles of 1951 was published as a book in 1970; his theory was developed further by others, and provoked counter-arguments. But for the rest of his life Sard cloaked himself in the political anonymity he cherished throughout his years of political involvement and writing.
- Reconstructing Sard’s biography was like solving a jigsaw puzzle. Joel Geier and Alan Wald gave me the first clues. Through trial and error I found Eugene V. Sard who introduced me to Edward Sard’s children and daughter-in-law, Barbara Sard (Washington DC), and Richard and Carol Sard (New York City). They helped me enormously. I am also indebted to Sarah Moazeni and her colleagues of the Tamiment Library and the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University; Joanna Rios of the Columbia University Archives; Misha Mitsel of the Jewish Defence Council New York Archives; Frank Meyer of the Arbeiderbevegelsens arkiv og bibliotek, Oslo; and Sven Beckert and Samantha Payne of Harvard University. Bryan D. Palmer, Barbara Sard, Richard Sard and Alan Wald kindly provided critical comments on the first draft of this article. All remaining mistakes and weaknesses are mine, of course. A fuller and annotated version of the article was published in Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory, 46, 1 (2018).
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January-February 2019, ATC 198