Document written for a conference of the Workers' Socialist League (a forerunner of AWL) in 1983. It has been abridged here to remove ephemeral references (and "WSL" has been replaced in the text by "AWL").
Party and class
The following article is Pat’s polemic, which is still very relevant, against Sheila Rowbotham’s 1979 article “The Women’s Movement and Organising for Socialism”, published in the well-known collection, Beyond the Fragments.
EDITORIAL NOTE: Among comrade Trotsky’s archives were found a rough draft and fragmentary notes which we now publish in the form of an unfinished article.
- One: In what sense can we speak of the international significance of the Russian Revolution?
- Two: One of the fundamental conditions of the Bolsheviks' success
- Three: The principal stages in the history of Bolshevism
- Four: In the struggle against what enemies within the working-class movement did Bolshevism grow up and become strong and steeled?
- Five: "Left-wing" communism in Germany: leaders - party - class - masses
- Six: Should revolutionaries work in reactionary trade unions?
- Seven: Should we participate in bourgeois Parliaments?
- Eight: No compromises?
- Nine: "Left-wing" communism in Great Britain
- Ten: Some conclusions
- The split among the German communists
- The Communists and the independents in Germany
- Turati and Co. in Italy
- False Conclusions from Correct Premises
- Note from Wijnkoop, June 30 1920
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Introduction to Trotsky (SM)
"Why does everything come down to Trotsky — what Trotsky said, what he did...?" A comment not long ago from a renegade Marxist, one of those free-spirited, "clever", emancipated ex-Marxists who thought up the "Euston Manifesto". The truth of course is that nothing at all "comes down" to Trotsky — or Marx, or Lenin, or Rosa Luxemburg, or anyone else.
"The party is the highest prize to the young trade unionist who becomes a revolutionist, the apple of his eye. But to the revolutionist who becomes transformed into a trade unionist – we have all seen this happen more than once – the party is no prize at all".
This speech by James P Cannon, from 1953, deals with how revolutionaries relate to trade-union activity and its pressures. It was made in the context of a faction-fight in the American Trotskyist movement, in which a section of the movement's "senior" trade unionists joined with people (led by Bert Cochran) who wanted a "softer" attitude to Stalinism, but is instructive way beyond the immediate references.
"To face reality squarely; not to seek the line of least resistance; to call things by their right names; to speak the truth to the masses, no matter how bitter it may be; not to fear obstacles; to be
In part 4 of his series on “Misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and lies about the AWL” Sean Matgamna gives an overview of the Trotskyist movement from the 1940s to the 1960s.
The Cannonites called themselves “orthodox Trotskyists” (as distinct from the “Pablo revisionists”). That was “orthodox Trotskyism Mark 2”, a subsection of the general post-Trotsky “orthodox Trotskyism”.
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