Leon Trotsky

AWL North East London discussion series: The revolutionary ideas of Leon Trotsky (session 1)

Date: 

28 September, 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 28 September – Why do we call ourselves Trotskyists?

Workers' Liberty identifies as a Trotskyist organisation, but what does that mean? Does it mean we agree with everything Leon Trotsky wrote? Is it just an easy shorthand, or something more?

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

The Fourth International and Trotsky's Transitional Programme - North London AWL branch meeting

Date: 

25 March, 2008 - 19:30

Location: 

Red Rose, 127 Seven Sisters Road, near Finsbury Park tube (Picc/Victoria)

Description: 

North London's AWL branch meetings are open to all. At the moment we are doing a series on the life and work of Leon Trotsky.

This week the focus is on his “transitional programme”, a method by which to relate immediate struggles in the here and now to the ultimate goal of revolution, by posing demands which implicitly raised questions about power in society and the rule of capitalism.

Reading: The Transitional Programme (the Pathfinder edition with associated articles and transcripts of discussions is particularly useful). http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/tp/index.htm. Short reading: the programme itself, the first seven sections up to and including “‘Business secrets’ and workers’ control of industry”

For more info contact David Broder - 07828 844695/davidthetrot@googlemail.com

Marxist Theory and History: 

Trotsky on the struggle against fascism - North London AWL branch meeting

Date: 

18 March, 2008 - 19:30 to 21:30

Location: 

Red Rose, 127 Seven Sisters Road, near Finsbury Park tube (Picc/Victoria)

Description: 

North London's AWL branch meetings are open to all. At the moment we are doing a series on the life and work of Leon Trotsky. This week the focus is on his writings on the struggle against fascism.

In the 1930s, as the Kremlin-backed German Communist Party ignored the Nazi threat, claiming that fascists were no worse than Social Democrats, Trotsky highlighted the danger fascism posed to all democratic and workers’ organisations and made the case for working-class forces to form a united front against the Nazis.

Suggested reading: The Struggle against Fascism in Germany (or the Bookmarks collection: Racism, Stalinism and the United Front) (1930-1934). Alternatively all of Trotsky’s writings on Germany of this period are collected at http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/germany/index.htm
Short Reading: The United Front for Defense: A Letter to a Social Democratic Worker (1933)

For more info contact David Broder - 07828 844695/davidthetrot@googlemail.com

Issues and Campaigns: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Trotsky on Art and Literature - North London AWL branch meeting

Date: 

4 March, 2008 - 19:30

Location: 

Red Rose, 127 Seven Sisters Road, near Finsbury Park tube (Picc/Victoria)

Description: 

North London's AWL branch meetings are open to all. At the moment we are doing a series on the life and work of Leon Trotsky. This week the focus is on Trotsky's writings on Art and Literature

“Before the proletariat will have passed out of the stage of cultural apprenticeship, it will have ceased to be a proletariat. Let us also not forget that the upper layer of the bourgeoisie passed its cultural apprenticeship under the roof of feudal society; that while still within the womb of feudal society it surpassed the old ruling estates culturally and became the instigator of culture before it came into power. It is different with the proletariat in general and with the Russian proletariat in particular. The proletariat is forced to take power before it has appropriated the fundamental elements of bourgeois culture; it is forced to overthrow bourgeois society by revolutionary violence for the very reason that society does not allow it access to culture. The working-class strives to transform the state apparatus into a powerful pump for quenching the cultural thirst of the masses. This is a task of immeasurable historic importance. But, if one is not to use words lightly, it is not as yet a creation of a special proletarian culture.”

Suggested reading: Literature and Revolution (1924) - http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1924/lit_revo/index.htm.
Short reading: Chapter 6: Proletarian culture and proletarian art.

For more info contact David Broder - 07828 844695/davidthetrot@googlemail.com

Culture and Reviews: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

G is for General Strike

The recent fights sparked by the economic crisis have inspired some sections of the left to make calls for a general strike. It is a slogan the left has used before. But not everyone uses the call in the same way.

The recent fights sparked by the economic crisis have inspired some sections of the left to make calls for a general strike. It is a slogan the left has used before. But not everyone uses the call in the same way.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Why anti-EUism is not left-wing

In the 1930s, when the Stalinised Communist movement responded to the rise of National Socialism in part by competing to out-do its nationalism, Trotsky explained what was wrong with that “national communism”.

Those explanations are relevant today, with such things on the left as the Socialist Party promoting the “left” nationalist “No2EU” project...

In response to the fascist slogan of the “people’s revolution” to win “national liberation” for Germany, the German Communists responded by saying that they too supported these things.

Trotsky's explanations on trying to make the socialist cuckoo-egg flourish in the nationalist nest are still relevant today.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Around the world: 

Permanent revolution needs workers' organisation

Trotsky warned against turning permanent revolution into a “superhistorical master-key” applicable to all societies in all circumstances. He rejected a “theological” conception of permanent revolution. Sadly, since Trotsky’s death in 1940, most would-be Trotskyists have subscribed to the label while hollowing out the perspective.

A review of Michael Löwy, The Politics of Combined and Uneven Development: The Theory of Permanent Revolution (Haymarket 2010)

Culture and Reviews: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Trotsky and permanent revolution

Permanent revolution was one of Leon Trotsky’s outstanding contributions to Marxism. In many respects, to be a Trotskyist is to accept the basics tenets of permanent revolution.

In Russia in 1905 and again in 1917, Trotsky found the empirical grounds for uneven and combined development, which enabled him to grasp the dynamics of the Russian revolution and therefore to draw out the full political conclusions from the analysis.

A review of Richard Day and Daniel Gaido, Witnesses to Permanent Revolution (Haymarket 2011)

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Why we defend bourgeois democracy

The democracy that exists in Britain today was not handed down from above; it was won by centuries of struggle. Marxists insist that this democracy is profoundly limited. We call it “bourgeois democracy”, by which we mean elements of popular self-rule intertwined with and limited by the domination of the distinct minority that owns the means of production.

Why do we defend this democracy against attempts to replace it with military or dictatorial rule? What is it we value in bourgeois democracy?

Marxists insist that “bourgeois democracy” is limited, but we defend this democracy against attempts to replace it with military or dictatorial rule. Leon Trotsky discussed why and how in his writings during the rise of fascism in the early 1930's.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Are Marxists pro-liberty?

Normally I wouldn’t dream of grassing up the publishers of this newspaper to the Labour Party bureaucracy. But after nearly 20 years, even the dimmest witchhunter has probably by now twigged the subterfuge that saw evil clandestine Trot entrists the Socialist Organiser Alliance rebrand themselves as the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.

The name is that bit at odds from the usual unimaginative titles deployed by far-left outfits. What’s more, it has a subtly different political flavour.

Is is true to say that Marxists are fighters for liberty?

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

The Fourth International Is Founded (1938)

[Introductary note: Max Shachtman chaired the founding conference of the Fourth International, in Paris in September 1938. He wrote this brief survey of the events that had preceded the proclaimation of the new International in "Socialist Appeal", the paper the the Socialist Workers Party USA. Even if some of the names are unfamiliar, the political characterizations given in the article will enable the reader to make out the political story Shachtman tells. One of those Shachtman lists, Henk Sneevliet, was shot by the Nazi occupiers of Holland, in 1942.]

Max Shachtman chaired the founding conference of the Fourth International, held in Paris in September 1938, and wrote this brief survey of the events that had preceded the founding of the new International.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

What Is a Marxist Perspective?

What We Are And What We Must Become [SECTION 3]

VULGAR MATERIALISM AND PLATONIC PERSPECTIVES

By Rachel Lever, Phil Semp and Sean Matgamna

A critique of the politics and "Perspectives" of the Militant Tendency [July 1966]

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Gramsci and Trotsky

Gramsci
Both Gramsci and Trotsky emphasised, thought about, and wrote about the question of the revolutionary socialist party much more than other Marxists of their epoch.

In June 1930 Alfonso Leonetti, Paolo Ravazzoli, and Pietro Tresso - three of the eight members of the Executive of the Italian Communist Party - were expelled.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Trotsky on the national question

Two articles by Trotsky on the national question.

One, a critique of the Third Duma (1907-12), concluding: "The bourgeoisie of the dominant national does not want equality of national rights. The bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation is not able to fight for equality of rights. The national question... falls with its entire weight to the proletariat...

Two articles by Trotsky on the national question, one written in 1912 and the other in 1923.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Forum: Crooke vs McCalman on Scotland; Ellis vs Weaver on movies; Fine, Rigby, and Bradley on S Africa; Conway vs Bradley on PR

Download pdf.

Stan Crooke disputes Ian McCalman's support for calls for a Scottish Assembly.

Edward Ellis disputes Belinda Weaver's argument that movie-making has deteriorated.

Bob Fine, Tom Rigby, and Clive Bradley dispute arguments dismissing the COSATU union federation in South Africa in favour of the NACTU federation.

Liam Conway argues that Trotsky's "permanent revolution" idea is more "applicable" today than Clive Bradley allowed for in his article in Workers' Liberty 7.

Click here to download pdf.

Around the world: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

B is for Bolshevism

A complete account of Bolshevism would require many shelves-worth of books. But the term “Bolshevism” and its variants are thrown about with such a mix of enthusiastic and antagonistic abandon that some form of straightforward understanding is very important.

The key element common to Trotsky and the Bolsheviks was the idea that the workers could lead the coming revolution. Events between 1905 and 1917, including the Menshevik attitude to the First World War and their tactics during the subsequent revolution, demonstrated the validity of Bolshevik politics.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Trotsky: "What is a revolutionary situation?"

In a 1931 article, Leon Trotsky discussed what exactly defines a revolutionary situation - a situation where a working-class revolution is possible in the short term - from a general situation of capitalist disarray and mass discontent. Appendix: Lenin on what makes a revolutionary situation, from Left Wing Communism.

In a 1931 article, Leon Trotsky discussed what exactly defines a revolutionary situation - a situation where a working-class revolution is possible in the short term - from a general situation of capitalist disarray and mass discontent.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Forum: Poll tax; Trotsky on Zionism; Hitler, Stalin, and art; and symposium on the nature of the Stalinist states

How not to fight the poll tax; Trotsky on Zionism; Hitler, Stalin, and art. and a symposium on the nature of the Stalinist states.

Click here to download pdf.

Workers' Liberty 14 Forum section

How not to fight the poll tax; Trotsky on Zionism; Hitler, Stalin, and art.

A symposium on the nature of the Stalinist states: Martin Thomas; Stan Crooke; Duncan Chapple, Pete Keenlyside, and others; Sean Matgamna.


The contributions on the nature of the Stalinist states from Martin Thomas and Sean Matgamna are below. The other items from this Forum are currently available only on pdf.
"Deformed capitalist states"

Martin Thomas

Around the world: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Ernest Mandel and post-Trotsky Trotskyism

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

An assessment of the leading thinker of post-Trotsky "orthodox Trotskyism", the "Fourth International".

An assessment of the leading thinker of post-Trotsky "orthodox Trotskyism", the "Fourth International"

Marxist Theory and History: 

Around the world: 

Trotsky and Time

Trotsky

Author: 

SM
Leon Trotsky died 70 years ago...

Pinioned by History's revenging lie,
'Life can be free and fine', old Pero said,
And Koba split his stubborn high old head.
Sprung by the weighted years back to die,
Back through time's dense coils, he dared to test,
To where the King-priest Moctezuma bled;
While masked-up Koba peonised workers, fed
His bloody, blind heart-ripping Lie-born quest.
Time tells, retracts, enweaves, can multiply:
Cortez crossed Time's life's-sedimented sea
Millennia, back to the pharoes. Pero? He

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Culture and Reviews: 

The survivors of Atlantis: Socialism in disarray, part 3

Trotsky

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

SOCIALISM IN DISARRAY, PART 3: THE FATE OF THE BOLSHEVIK REARGUARD

The terror and tragedy of the twentieth century

The twentieth century was full of terror and tragedy, and mass murder on a scale that beggars imagination and even comprehension. It was also in terms of things attempted, the most heroic in the history of humankind.

The fate of the revolutionary socialist rearguard who fought both capitalism and Stalinism in the 20th century.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Jacob Sverdlov, organiser of the Bolshevik party in the Russian Revolution, by Leon Trotsky

Author: 

Leon Trotsky

[Jacob Mikhailovich Sverdlov was born in the city of Nizhni-Novgorod on June 3, 1885. As a boy of ten, Jacob Sverdlov was enrolled in a gymnasium (equivalent to high school) where he studied for five years. At the age of 16, he joined the revolutionary movement.
When the split occurred in the Russian movement in 1903, Sverdlov adhered to the Bolsheviks, in whose ranks he remained until death removed him.

Leon Trotsky in 1925 remembers Jacob Sverdlov, Organiser of the Bolshevik Party in the Russian Revolution

Marxist Theory and History: 

The Bolsheviks, as they were

Author: 

Hal Draper/ Victor Serge/Max Shachtman/Lenin/Trotsky/ Brian Pearce/Karl Radek/ Raya Dunaevskaya/Paul Hampton/ Andrew Hornung/ Sean Matgamna
The Bolsheviks led the greatest revolution in history, but today the mempry of Bolshevism as it really was is still half buried under the lies and myths of both the bourgeoisie and the Stalinists. These pieces present the true picture of Bolshevism and of the Russian Revolution.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Trotsky in life and in history

Author: 

Stuart Jordan

As resistance to the public service cuts grows, and the labour movement reconstitutes, it will have to relearn the lessons of the past. This is no easy task given that much of history of 20th century is written by the anti-working class forces that crushed and defeated our movement — on the one hand the bourgeoisie, on the other the Stalinists.

A review of 'The Lacuna' by Barbara Kingsolver which presents a de-Stalinised portrait of Trotsky.

Culture and Reviews: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

70 Years after Trotsky's death: What does Trotskyism mean today?

60 people attended the meeting held by Workers' Liberty on 21 September to mark the 70th anniversary of Leon Trotsky's assassination. There was a lively debate from the panel and the floor.

60 people attended the meeting held by Workers' Liberty on 21 September to mark the 70th anniversary of Leon Trotsky's assassination.

Marxist Theory and History: 

21 September: Trotsky commemoration meeting

Trotsky
Meeting for the 70th anniversary of Trotsky's death. Speakers include Sean Matgamna, Jill Mountford, John McDonnell, Farooq Tariq, Kim Moody, Yvan Lemaitre.

70 years on: celebrating Leon Trotsky's revolutionary life

Tuesday 21 September, 19:00, Second floor, University of London Union, Malet Street WC1E 7HY

Marxist Theory and History: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Leon Trotsky