Leon Trotsky

Workers' Liberty 3/30: The 1939-40 split in the Fourth International

WL 3/30

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Two documents by Max Shachtman

In 1940 the Trotskyist movement split over attitudes to Stalinism. The participation and victory of Stalin's USSR in World War 2 as an imperialist power would make that split a fundamental political dividing-point.

In 1940 the Trotskyist movement split over attitudes to Stalinism. The participation and victory of Stalin's USSR in World War 2 as an imperialist power would make that split a fundamental political dividing-point.

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Workers' Liberty 3/22: Max Shachtman on Isaac Deutscher's "Trotsky"

Can socialism be built through tyranny? Max Shachtman on Isaac Deutscher's "Trotsky". Download as pdf (see "attachment")

Can socialism be built through tyranny? Max Shachtman on Isaac Deutscher's "Trotsky". Download as pdf (see "attachment")

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The political journey to Trotskyism

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Bob Carnegie

I always had a strong underlying humanist bias. I tended not to view things not just from an ideological viewpoint, as was the rule in the SPA [Socialist Party of Australia, a “hardline” pro-USSR split-off from the Communist Party of Australia]. My moral break from authoritarian state-capitalism, or Stalinism, which still infects the Australian left and the Australian trade union movement to a much larger degree than people realise, took a long time. I would say it took from 1979, when I joined the SPA, to the final break in about 1994.

Bob Carnegie described his political itinerary, from young cadre of the Stalinist movement through Maritime Union official to anti-Stalinist revolutionary, in an interview with Workers’ Liberty in October 1999.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Why is the left in disarray?

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Sean Matgamna

The introduction from the book The Left in Disarray, published June 2017.


“Tell the truth and shame the devil”

“To face reality squarely; not to seek the line of least resistance; to call things by their right names; to speak the truth, no matter how bitter it may be; not to fear obstacles; to be true in little things as in big ones; to base one’s programme on the logic of the class struggle; to be bold when the hour for action arrives — these are the rules.” Leon Trotsky

The introduction from a new book about the left by Sean Matgamna.

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Why we need more Bolsheviks today

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Martin Thomas

Few except the most conservative deny the emancipatory grandeur of mass action in the October 1917 Russian revolution. Common, however, is the claim that there was too much “party” in the revolution — the Bolsheviks were too organised, too ruthless, too pushy, and that led to Stalinism. This article seeks to refute that claim.

October 1917 is often described as a “Bolshevik coup”, suggesting that the Bolsheviks took advantage of momentary excitement and disorder to seize an existing machine of power. In fact, in the weeks after October 1917, the Bolshevik government elected by the Soviet congress had essentially no means to implement its policies other than the power and cogency of its political agitation.

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War and the revolution

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Leon Trotsky

Continuing a series of extracts from Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution, this explains how the Provisional Government worked to keep Russia in the First World War.


On 23 March [1917] the United States entered the war. On that day Petrograd was burying the victims of the February revolution. Twenty-five days later — during which time the soviets had gained much experience and self-confidence — occurred the 1 May celebration (1 May according to the Western calendar, 18 April Russian calendar).

This extract from Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution explains how the Provisional Government worked to keep Russia in the First World War.

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The origins of the Petrograd soviet

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Leon Trotsky

Continuing a series of extracts from Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution. Here Trotsky describes the inception and initial political and social character of the Petrograd soviet. For most of 1917 the soviet backed the bourgeois Provisional Government.

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Trotsky describes the inception and initial political and social character of the Petrograd soviet.

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What is the “social strike”?

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Daniel Randall

Recent strikes by “gig economy” workers (e.g. Deliveroo) are profoundly significant. They explode the myth, peddled by some on both left and right, that so-called precarious workers can’t organise, and that the proliferation of those types of work is in the process of rendering labour organising historically redundant.

A fetishisation of novelty can sometimes blind us to the fact that what’s required is not “new kinds of strike action”, or new forms of organisation, but rather a rediscovery and relearning of old lessons, ideas, and strategies, now forgotten or lost.

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The paradox of February

Author: 

Leon Trotsky

Continuing a series of extracts from Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution. On 2 March 1917 a Provisional Government is formed; it has the support of the Petrograd soviet. Trotsky explains why the February revolution ended with a transfer of power to the liberal bourgeoisie.

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Trotsky explains why the February 1917 revolution in Russia ended with a transfer of power to the liberal bourgeoisie.

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