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The Pathfinder tendency is the unofficial name of a group of historically Trotskyist organizations which cooperate politically and organizationally with the Socialist Workers Party of the United States and support its solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and the Communist Party of Cuba.
The current is informally referred to[according to whom?] as the Pathfinder tendency because its members operate Pathfinder Bookstores which sell the products of the SWP's publishing arm, Pathfinder Press. The current is also known as the International Communist League, although this term is not widely used, and can cause confusion with other organizations of the same name. The Communist Leagues, even those in non-English-speaking countries, sell the publication of the SWP, The Militant.
In the 1980s, the Socialist Workers Party and its international supporters within the Fourth International (FI) broke from many of the traditional positions of Trotskyism, including the theory of Permanent Revolution, and embraced positions that marked a political convergence with the Cuban Communist Party and the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional. Upon adopting these new positions, the SWP expelled supporters of the FI from the party, and SWP supporters abroad split from or attempted to take over sections of the FI in various countries. By the late 1980s, this process was completed and national sections of the FI had either been taken over with supporters of the international's mainstream being expelled—this happened with the Revolutionary Workers League in Canada, the Socialist Action League in New Zealand and the SWP in the US—or supporters of the US SWP had split from FI sections and founded their own organisations — as occurred in Australia, Sweden and Britain.
In 1990, the SWP and its supporters formally left the FI. Supporters of the SWP internationally renamed their organisations the Communist League in each country. Since the creation of the Pathfinder tendency, new Communist Leagues have formed to organise previously existing groups of supporters in Iceland and in France (1999).
The Youth sections of the Pathfinder Tendency are increasingly active in the World Federation of Democratic Youth. The Young Socialists of USA, Britain and New Zealand became members of the Federation in 1999.