Leon Trotsky

Cliff's state capitalism in perspective

"I will argue that, on the level of Marxist theory, Cliff's position is an inorganic hybrid of post-Trotsky 'degenerated workers' state' theory and 'bureaucratic collectivism', and its implications and perspectives have most of the faults of post-Trotsky degenerated workers' state theory."

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How the Trotskyists fought and died in Stalin's camps

Suzanne Leonhard, once a militant of the Spartakusbund in Germany and a personal friend of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, was forced to flee Hitler’s Germany because of her underground Communist activities. She sought refuge in the USSR.

In October 1936, Stalin’s secret police arrested her and she spent ten years in Stalin’s forced labour camps. On her liberation (living in Western Germany), she wrote a book on her experiences in these camps, One Quarter of My Life. The following extract tells the story of Yelena Ginsburg, one of many Trotskyists who died in Stalin’s jails.

Suzanne Leonhard was forced to flee Hitler’s Germany because of her underground Communist activities. She sought refuge in the USSR where in 1936 Stalin’s secret police arrested her and she spent ten years in a Stalinist prison.

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Antarsya and the united front

The second Conference of Antarsya, the main far-left coalition in Greece outside of Syriza and the Stalinist KKE, took place on 1-2 June.

The second Conference of Antarsya, the main far-left coalition in Greece outside of Syriza and the Stalinist KKE, took place on 1-2 June.

It was marked by increased participation, and involved over 1,000 elected representatives of local and sectoral committees across the country. More than 3,000 militants were involved during the preconference talks.

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Trotsky and the Communist International

A review by Al Glotzer of Trotsky's "First 5 Years of the Communist International", volume one.

The rich and noble history of the Communist International, formed in a period of tremendous class struggles, has yet to be written. Trotsky has contributed a considerable amount of material toward that history and a portion of it is now available in The First Five Years of the Communist International.

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Wellington seafarers and the invasion of Finland

Readers with a knowledge of the history of Trotskyism will know that the USSR’s invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939 marked a turning point for the movement.

It triggered a fierce debate, and eventually a split among the US Trotskyists. What is less well known is that a contemporary parallel development emerged among the Wellington [New Zealand] seafarers.

The USSR’s invasion of Finland in 1939 marked a turning point for the Trotskyist movement.

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One million council homes

A council house building programme can be achieved under capitalism but raises a whole series of questions about how such a demand can be met.

It is time for Trotsky’s transitional programme list of demands and the key demand is the building of one million new council houses over four years.

This demand was put forward by Owen Jones in The Independent recently.

Building one million new council houses over four years answers the question which many workers ask about what a workers’ government would do.

A council house building programme can be achieved under capitalism but raises a whole series of questions about how such a demand can be met.

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Yevgeni Preobrazhensky: ABC and NEP

Yevgeni Preobrazhensky (1886-1937), was a Bolshevik, economist, and one-time member of the Trotskyist Left Opposition against Stalin.

From 1904, Preobrazhensky sided with the Bolshevik faction in the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, becoming a member of its Ural provincial bureau of the Party. During 1917, he was a delegate of the Chita Soviet in south-east Russia, and became a candidate member of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party.

Yevgeni Preobrazhensky (1886-1937), was a Bolshevik, economist and one-time member of the Trotskyist Left Opposition against Stalin.

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How Stalin destroyed communism

70 years ago, on 22 May 1943, Stalin announced the formal shutting-down of the Communist International, the association of revolutionary socialist parties across the world set up after the Russian Revolution.

70 years ago, on 22 May 1943, Stalin announced the formal shutting-down of the Communist International, the association of revolutionary socialist parties across the world set up after the Russian Revolution.

Although Moscow retained close control of the Communist Parties until the 1960s, the shutting-down was a symbolic disavowal of socialist revolution. This is how socialists commented at the time.


He long ago destroyed it as an instrument of socialism!

By Albert Gates (Al Glotzer)

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The anti-imperialist united front

The final part of Paul Hampton’s review article looking at the themes of John Riddell’s book of documents from the early communist movement.


The Fourth Congress adopted a call for an anti-imperialist united front in the colonial and semi-colonial countries, aimed at “the mobilisation of all revolutionary forces” in “an extended, lengthy struggle against world imperialism”.

The final part of a review of John Riddell’s book of documents from the early communist movement.

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What do Socialists say about the United States of Europe?

The economic crisis has rocked the European Union (EU). In Britain, the Tories want a referendum on links with the EU, stoking up nationalism. Early socialist debates about the United States of Europe help us orientate in today’s conditions.

Origins

The economic crisis has rocked the European Union (EU). In Britain, the Tories want a referendum on links with the EU, stoking up nationalism. Early socialist debates about the United States of Europe help us orientate in today’s conditions.

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Trotsky and black liberation

In the first letter that he wrote to the Trotskyists in the
United States, Trotsky, in exile in Prinkipo, posed to the comrades
the Negro question as a vital part of the struggle for

A 1947 article by CLR James in The Militant, the paper of the SWP USA which James had just rejoined.

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The workers' government

This is the third part of a review article looking at the themes of John Riddell’s new book of documents from the early communist movement. This week Paul Hampton discusses the idea of the workers’ government.


Probably the most wide-ranging and rancorous discussion at the Fourth Congress concerned the transitional slogan of a workers’ government.

The third part of a review of John Riddell’s new book of documents from the early communist movement, looking at the idea of the workers’ government. <hr>

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The SWP crisis: What is "democratic centralism"? What is revolutionary leadership?

“We must not forget that even if we are centralists, we are democratic centralists who employ centralism only for the revolutionary cause and not in the name of the ‘prestige’ of the officials. Whoever is acquainted with the history of the Bolshevik Party knows what a broad autonomy the local organizations always enjoyed; they issued their own papers, in which they openly and sharply, whenever they found it necessary, criticized the actions of the Central Committee.

Trotsky on "democratic centralism" and revolutionary leadership

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Grandizo Munis: key ally of Trotsky in Spain

Grandizo Munis (1912-1989) was one of the earliest Spanish Trotskyists.

Born Manuel Fernandez Grandizo in Larena, Estremadura, Munis joined Izquierda Comunista (ICE), the Spanish section of Trotsky’s International Left Opposition at its conference in Liege in Belgium in February 1930.

The majority in ICE, led by Andrés Nin, soon came into conflict with Trotsky over the section’s semi-detached relationship with the rest of the International Left Opposition (ILO) and its positive attitude towards the “Right Oppositionist” Workers’ and Peasants’ Bloc (BOC).

Grandizo Munis (1912-1989) was one of the earliest Spanish Trotskyists.

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Too British? Too Russian? Too German?

At Ideas for Freedom 2012, Paul Hampton from Workers’ Liberty gave an instructive talk on the question “Is Marxism Eurocentric?”

In the 1920s, Trotsky replied to critics of his Whither England? who alleged a lack of knowledge and understanding of British conditions.

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Yakov Sverdlov: “The best type of Bolshevik”

Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov (1885-1919) was a leading Bolshevik organiser and, as chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, was the first de facto president of the Russian Soviet Republic.

It would only be a small exaggeration to say that a biography of Sverdlov is in large measure a history of the birth, development and eventual triumph of the Bolsheviks, so involved was he in every crucial stage in the party's life until 1919.

Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov (1885-1919) was a leading Bolshevik organiser and, as chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, was the first de facto president of the Russian Soviet Republic.

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Pandelis Pouliopoulos: How Greek Trotskyism was born

Pandelis Pouliopoulos (1900-43) was the first general secretary of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and a founder of the Trotskyist movement in Greece.

As a young law student, Pouliopoulos joined the Socialist Labour Party of Greece (SEKE), the forerunner to the KKE, in 1919. The following year he was conscripted to fight in the Greek-Turkish war and was arrested in the final year of the conflict in 1922 for anti-war activity.

The life and work of Pandelis Pouliopoulos.

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Remembering Kote Tsintsadze

Trotsky's memorial to Kote Tsintsadze, a Bolshevik from the age of 17 who joined the Left Opposition in 1923, was jailed by Stalin in 1928 and died in prison in 1930.

Kote Tsintsadze was a Bolshevik from the age of 17 (1904), and joined the Left Opposition in its fight against Stalinist bureaucratism in 1923.

For his principled stand, he was jailed by Stalin in 1928, and died in prison, from tuberculosis, in 1930. Leon Trotsky wrote this memorial to Tsintsadze.


It took altogether extraordinary conditions like tsarism, illegality, prison, and deportation, many years of struggle against the Mensheviks, and especially the experience of three revolutions, to produce fighters like Kote Tsintsadze.

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A left government in Greece? Lessons from Trotsky

Ideas from Trotsky's writings in the 1930s can help Marxists orient in Greece today.

A better model for an approach to Syriza than Greek far-left coalition Antarsya’s approach of outright rejection, declaring the defeat of Syriza predetermined, and giving up on any battle to hold Syriza to its promises, would be Trotsky's proposal for the tasks of Belgian Marxists in relation to the reformist programme of Belgian social-democracy in the mid-30s.

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Four programmes for Euro-crisis

The election results in France and Greece (6 May), and the forced resignation of militantly neo-liberal Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte (23 April), have thrown economic policy in the eurozone into flux.

The election results in France and Greece have thrown economic policy in the eurozone into flux.

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What is Fascism and how do we fight it?

Date: 

27 March, 2012 - 17:00 to 19:00

Location: 

The Pilgrim Pub, 34 Pilgrim Street, L1 9HB Liverpool, United Kingdom

Description: 

The history of Fascism in Europe is taught in school as if it was some kind of one-off, an aberration of mystical, unspeakable evil that will never be repeated.

Hundreds of hours of TV and in classrooms is spent pouring over details; the horrors of the Second World War, ...the concentration camps, and the Holocaust. However in terms of any real explanation for how these events came to happen in a modern, literate, industrialised society, we get little which goes beyond superficial study of the personalities; everything from the childhoods to the sex lives of the leading individuals.

Marxists seek to understand the world and the actions of people in it scientifically. Fascism grew out of a specific historical context: The aftermath of the First World War and the greatest crisis of capitalism in the 20th century.

Join Merseyside Workers’ Liberty for a discussion of how Fascism developed in war-exhausted and crisis-ridden Italy and Germany, how the powerful workers’ movements in those countries were politically disorientated and smashed, and what lessons our movement can draw from that experience in order to fight the likes of the BNP and EDL today...

Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/events/354771374543818/

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"The Treason of the Intellectuals": buy here and contribute to AWL fund drive

"The Treason of the Intellectuals, and other political verse" by Sean Matgamna includes political verse previously published in Solidarity and its forerunners. All proceeds from sales of the book, above printing and dispatch costs, go to the AWL fund drive.

"The Treason of the Intellectuals, and other political verse" by Sean Matgamna includes political verse previously published in Solidarity and its forerunners. All proceeds from sales of the book, above printing and dispatch costs, go to the AWL fund drive.

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AWL North East London discussion series: The revolutionary ideas of Leon Trotsky (session 3)

Date: 

12 October, 2010 - 20:30 to 22:00

Location: 

124 Canonbury Road, Highbury & Islington

Description: 

Facebook event here.

To mark the 70th anniversary of his murder by a Stalinist agent, AWL North East London is hosting a series of discussions about different aspects of Leon Trotsky's revolutionary politics. Debate is welcome. The meetings will take place at 7:30pm every Tuesday (until Tuesday 2 November) and will include a short business/planning session for members of the AWL NE London branch. For more info, email Stuart (stuartjordan32@hotmail.com) or Daniel (skillz_999@hotmail.com).

Tuesday 12 October – Trotsky on syndicalism

During Trotsky's life, syndicalists were very strong in many workers' movements, particularly in America, France and Spain. They believed that trade unions themselves – rather than political parties – could be revolutionary agents. Trotsky referred to syndicalism as “a rough draft of revolutionary communism”; what did he mean?

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AWL North East London discussion series: The revolutionary ideas of Leon Trotsky (session 6)

Date: 

2 November, 2010 - 19:30 to 21:00

Location: 

124 Canonbury Road, Highbury & Islington

Description: 

Facebook event here.

To mark the 70th anniversary of his murder by a Stalinist agent, AWL North East London is hosting a series of discussions about different aspects of Leon Trotsky's revolutionary politics. Debate is welcome. The meetings will take place at 7:30pm every Tuesday (until Tuesday 2 November) and will include a short business/planning session for members of the AWL NE London branch. For more info, email Stuart (stuartjordan32@hotmail.com) or Daniel (skillz_999@hotmail.com).

Tuesday 2 November – Art and revolution

In 1927 Trotsky wrote what remains the definitive contribution to developing a Marxist theory of art. As Stalinist Moscow was churning out grim “socialist realism” and nauseating paintings of heroic peasants and labourers, Trotsky was collaborating with visionary artists such as André Breton to develop a conception of a “free revolutionary art.” We look at his ideas and how the debate between the Stalinist and anti-Stalinist theories of art played out down the decades.

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AWL North East London discussion series: The revolutionary ideas of Leon Trotsky (session 5)

Date: 

26 October, 2010 - 20:30 to 22:00

Location: 

124 Canonbury Road, Highbury & Islington

Description: 

Facebook event here.

To mark the 70th anniversary of his murder by a Stalinist agent, AWL North East London is hosting a series of discussions about different aspects of Leon Trotsky's revolutionary politics. Debate is welcome. The meetings will take place at 7:30pm every Tuesday (until Tuesday 2 November) and will include a short business/planning session for members of the AWL NE London branch. For more info, email Stuart (stuartjordan32@hotmail.com) or Daniel (skillz_999@hotmail.com).

Tuesday 26 October – Trotsky on fascism and how to fight it

Against the treachery of the German SDP and the Stalinist Communist Party, Trotsky argued for a working-class united front to allow German workers to defend themselves against the rise of Hitler and, ultimately, struggle for power. His writing at the time was grimly prophetic; what can it tell us about the anti-fascist movement today?

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AWL North East London discussion series: The revolutionary ideas of Leon Trotsky (session 4)

Date: 

19 October, 2010 - 20:30 to 22:00

Location: 

124 Canonbury Road, Highbury & Islington

Description: 

Facebook event here.

To mark the 70th anniversary of his murder by a Stalinist agent, AWL North East London is hosting a series of discussions about different aspects of Leon Trotsky's revolutionary politics. Debate is welcome. The meetings will take place at 7:30pm every Tuesday (until Tuesday 2 November) and will include a short business/planning session for members of the AWL NE London branch. For more info, email Stuart (stuartjordan32@hotmail.com) or Daniel (skillz_999@hotmail.com).

Tuesday 19 October – the “French Turn”

In 1934, Trotskyists in France began working inside the SFIO (the broad equivalent of the British Labour Party). What can their experience tell us about how Trotskyists can relate to mass labour-movement parties of that kind?

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AWL North East London discussion series: The revolutionary ideas of Leon Trotsky (session 2)

Date: 

5 October, 2010 - 20:30 to 22:00

Location: 

124 Canonbury Road, Highbury & Islington

Description: 

Facebook event here.

To mark the 70th anniversary of his murder by a Stalinist agent, AWL North East London is hosting a series of discussions about different aspects of Leon Trotsky's revolutionary politics. Debate is welcome. The meetings will take place at 7:30pm every Tuesday (until Tuesday 2 November) and will include a short business/planning session for members of the AWL NE London branch. For more info, email Stuart (stuartjordan32@hotmail.com) or Daniel (skillz_999@hotmail.com).

Tuesday 5 October – Permanent Revolution

One of Trotsky's key ideas was his theory of how to immediate struggles for political democracy or national liberation to a revolutionary, working-class struggle to overthrow capitalism. In today's “post-colonial” world, are those ideas still relevant?

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70 years on: celebrating Leon Trotsky's life

Date: 

21 September, 2010 - 20:00 to 23:00

Location: 

Second floor, University of London Union, Malet Street WC1E 7HY

Description: 

70 years on: celebrating Leon Trotsky's revolutionary life

A meeting to celebrate Leon Trotsky's revolutionary life, on the 70th anniversary of his murder, organised by Workers' Liberty

Speakers include:
Sean Matgamna (Workers' Liberty)
Jill Mountford (Workers' Liberty)
John McDonnell MP
Farooq Tariq (Labour Party Pakistan)
Kim Moody (American union activist and author)
Yvan Lemaitre (New Anticapitalist Party, France)

"For 43 years of my conscious life I have been a revolutionary; and for 42 I have fought under the banner of Marxism. If I were to begin all over again, I would try to avoid making this or that mistake, but the main course of my life would remain unchanged. My faith in the communist future of mankind is not less ardent, indeed it is firmer today, than it was in the days of my youth."

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