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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Trotsky’s criteria for a workers’ state

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Martin Thomas

In a thorough study of Trotsky’s writings about bureaucratism and bureaucracy in Russia from 1917 to 1936, US socialist Thomas Twiss has shown that Trotsky’s conceptions changed as he grappled with the unexpected evolutions of the state.

A review of Thomas M Twiss, Trotsky and the problem of Soviet bureaucracy, Chicago: Haymarket Press, 2015. $36/ £25.99.

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Moscow’s fight against Trotskyism in Spain

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Andrew Coates

Andrew Coates reviews Lions Led By Jackals, Stalinism in the International Brigades by Dale Street.


During Franco’s dictatorship “the defeated in Spain has no public right to historical memory” observed Paul Preston in The Spanish Holocaust (2012). The movement to recover these memories, beginning in the new millennium, continues to expose this past.

A review of Lions Led By Jackals, Stalinism in the International Brigades by Dale Street.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

Workers’ democracy is the bottom line

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Gemma Short

Steve Bloom has written an interesting and thoughtful review of The Two Trotskyisms confront Stalinism (Solidarity 400 and 401). It is interesting to hear from someone who identifies with the Cannon tradition where they feel that tradition went wrong.

To say that the resultant nationalised property has a socialist content is to ignore the agency of the working-class in those countries and suggest that socialism can be brought from without.

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Standing against counter-revolution

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David Finkel

The Two Trotskyisms Confront Stalinism. The fate of the Russian Revolution, Volume 2. Edited and with an introduction by Sean Matgamna. London, UK: Workers’ Liberty, 2015. 790 pages. $30 paperback. Order here.

This review first appeared in Against the Current #182

David Finkel, of the US socialist magazine Against The Current, reviews The Two Trotskyisms Confront Stalinism.

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Returning to the sources

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Andrew Coates

Andrew Coates reviews The Two Trotskyisms confront Stalinism, edited by Sean Matgamna. Part one of the review was printed in Solidarity 394.


The debates in this volume are about the armed foreign policy of the USSR. But behind this is the issue of the nature of that regime.

Some might consider that arguments about the character of the former Soviet Union — whether it was a workers’ state, a degenerated workers’ state, state capitalist, bureaucratic collectivist, a “new class society” — resemble discussion on the Trinity. If some Trotskyists have sunk into religious veneration for Trotsky a more common fault is scholasticism — “proof” of any view by appeal to the authority of quotations from the Old Man, Marx, Engels and Lenin. But when it comes to working out what was wrong with Stalinism, the economic and social framework of the former Soviet Bloc, the several decades of Trotskyist reflection and debate, orthodox and heterodox play an essential part in the effort to develop a socialist alternative today.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

The world economy since 2008

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Martin Thomas

Since the immediate recovery from the great 2008-9 economic crisis, world economic growth has been slow and troubled. Major areas have slipped back into recession. Now a “third leg” of the crisis, or even a new crash, are possibilities for 2016. Martin Thomas surveys the path, the causes and the sequels of the crisis.

Since the immediate recovery from the great 2008-9 economic crisis, world economic growth has been slow and troubled. Major areas have slipped back into recession. Now a “third leg” of the crisis, or even a new crash, are possibilities for 2016.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

“Unite the workers and bury the religious hatreds”

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Michael Johnson

At Workers’ Liberty 2015 summer school, Ideas For Freedom, Michael Johnson summarised on the history of the far left in Northern Ireland. Here we publish his presentation. Marc Mulholland’s speech in the same session was published in Solidarity 386.

At Workers’ Liberty 2015 summer school, Ideas For Freedom, Michael Johnson summarised on the history of the far left in Northern Ireland. Here we publish his presentation.

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Orthodox Trotskyism reshaped Trotsky's ideas

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Ed Maltby
Ed Maltby discusses Paul Le Blanc's review of "The Two Trotskyisms".

Paul Le Blanc’s review of The Two Trotskyisms Confront Stalinism: Fate of the Russian Revolution volume 2 (Solidarity 388) is a thoughtful and detailed piece.

Le Blanc defends The Two Trotskyisms against some on the left who deride the book as pointless obsessing over long-ago spats. He is right to do it: such complaints remind one of Homer Simpson, who, warned that he’s late for English class, sneers “Pff! English, who needs that? I’m never going to England!”

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