Leon Trotsky

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

WL 3/30

Author: 

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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Marxist Theory and History: 

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")

Marxist Theory and History: 

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The two Trotskyisms

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

This month marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the murder of Leon Trotsky by an agent of the Stalinist USSR’s secret police. Next month, Workers’ Liberty will publish a second volume of documents from the movement which kept alive and developed the revolutionary socialist politics Trotsky fought for. Just before Trotsky’s death, the American Trotskyist organisation split after a dispute triggered by Stalin’s invasion of Poland. The majority was led by James P Cannon, the minority by Max Shachtman.

This month marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the murder of Leon Trotsky by an agent of the Stalinist USSR’s secret police. Next month Workers’ Liberty will publish a second volume of documents from the movement which kept alive and developed the revolutionary socialist politics Trotsky fought for.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

Turin, Gramsci, and Italy’s “red years”

Author: 

Martin Thomas

At Ideas for Freedom 2015, 2-5 July at Birkbeck College, London, Becky Crocker and Martin Thomas will run a workshop on the events in Turin and in the rest of Italy between 1919-20. Here Martin Thomas explains some of that history.

The red years: 1919-20

I

The Russian workers’ revolution of October 1917 and the end of World War 1 in November 1918 were followed by a wave of economic turmoil and working-class radicalisation across Europe, and especially in Italy.

The Russian workers’ revolution of October 1917 and the end of World War 1 in November 1918 were followed by a wave of economic turmoil and working-class radicalisation across Europe, and especially in Italy.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

From permanent revolution to permanent confusion

Author: 

Clive Bradley

Originally published in two parts in Workers' Liberty magazine in 1986-7.

In latter-day Trotskyism the theory of 'permanent revolution' - anti-landlord or anti-colonial revolution being merged with socialist revolution under the leadership of the working class - has become a dogma, used more to obscure the fact of many colonies winning freedom on a capitalist basis than to enlighten.

In many cases the theory of 'permanent revolution' - anti-landlord or anti-colonial revolution being merged with socialist revolution under the leadership of the working class - has become a dogma, used more to obscure than to enlighten.

Marxist Theory and History: 

A workers’ government will seize the banks

Author: 

Martin Thomas

It wasn’t the stars, or geology. It wasn’t ocean currents, or the weather. The world economy was brought crashing down in 2008 by the particular way we have allowed it to be organised.

It was brought down by being organised around the priority of maximum competitive greed and gain of a small exploiting minority.

From the early 1980s to 2008, world capitalism became more and more governed by the drive for quick, fluid gains, measured and coordinated through an increasingly complex and fast-flowing system of world financial markets.

From the early 1980s to 2008, world capitalism became more and more governed by the drive for quick, fluid gains, measured and coordinated through an increasingly complex and fast-flowing system of world financial markets.

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Tasks of Communist Education (1923)

Author: 

Leon Trotsky

It is frequently asserted that the task of communist enlightenment
consists in the education of the new man. These worda
are somewhat too general, too pathetic, and we must be particularly
careful not to permit any formless. humanitarian interpretation
of the conception “new man” or the tasks of communist
education. There is no doubt whatever but that the man
of the future, the citizen of the commune, will be an exceedingly
interesting and attractive creature, and that his psychology

An article by Leon Trotsky, first published in a publication of the pre-Stalinist Communist Party of Great Britain.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Permanent revolution and the Irish left

Author: 

Micheál MacEoin

Workers’ Liberty has recently examined Trotskyist debates on Ireland (Trotskyists debate Ireland WL 3/45). There is another set of relevant debates worth looking about: over how, and if, Trotsky’s theory of “permanent revolution” relates to Ireland.

The first debate took place in 1966-67 in the largely émigré Irish Workers’ Group (IWG). It was an attempt to clear away some of the confusions generated by a mechanical application of the theory to Irish realities.

After the Troubles intensified in 1971, most of the left backed the demand for “Troops Out”. But the slogan was disconnected from any wider political solution to Catholic-Protestant division. “Troops Out” advocated as a cure-all, implied strongly that the only issue at stake was the involvement of British imperialism in Ireland. The existence of one million Protestant Unionists in the north-east of the island was, if not ignored totally, then relegated to an epiphenomenal status. What role did “permanent revolution” play in this set of “anti-imperialist” politics?

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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History of the Trotskyist movement

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

By the eve of Leon Trotsky’s death in August 1940, the American Trotskyist organisation, which was by far the most important group in the Fourth International, had split. Two currents of Trotskyism had begun the process of complete separation, but only begun.

It would take most of a decade before the evolution of two distinct species was complete.

For brevity they can be named after their chief proponents, James P Cannon and Max Shachtman. Trotsky’s political relationship to those two currents is one of the things that will concern us here.

Despite Trotsky’s continuing “defence of the USSR” in late 1939 and 1940, he had taken the giant step of accepting that the USSR, as it was, could be reconceptualised as a new form of exploitative class society.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

Defending the Soviet Union

Author: 

Harry Braverman

From Fourth International, May 1944.

The collection of articles entitled The New Course was Trotsky’s opening gun in the struggle against the Stalinist bureaucracy.

From Fourth International, May 1944.

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