The AWL basic education programme. The AWL, Trotskyism and the Marxist tradition: sections E1 to E8

Submitted by martin on 10 January, 2008 - 4:50

The AWL, Trotskyism and the Marxist tradition: sections E1 to E8

E. The AWL, Trotskyism and the Marxist tradition
E1. The Russian Revolution.

Was it a real revolution, or just a coup, as conservatives claim? What made it different from other revolutions of the 20th century? How did it happen?

1917: how the workers made a revolution

Hal Draper: An Eye-Witness Account of the Russian Revolution

Also: a timeline.

E2. The Stalinist counter-revolution in the USSR.

How did the Russian revolution degenerate? Was Stalinism the continuation of Bolshevism, or its negation?

1917: how the workers made a revolution.

Also: a timeline.

E3. The Russian Revolution and Marxist theory.

Why does the fate of the Russian revolution not prove that socialism (or revolution) is bound to fail? Why do Marxists argue that socialism can only be built internationally (not in one country alone), and on the basis of the achievements of developed capitalism (not by sheer will on the basis of backward economic conditions)? Given that, what did the Bolsheviks think they were doing when they led a revolution in one country, and that a backward one?

Article, "The Fate of the Russian Revolution".

E4. The Internationals.

Marxists have been active in organising four international associations of socialist and working-class groups: the First International, 1864-72; the Second, 1889-1914; the Third, founded in 1919, destroyed by Stalinism over the 1920s, and openly going over to class-collaboration and counter-revolution in the 1930s; and the Fourth, founded in 1938, but dispersed and decayed from the late 1940s. Why did Marxists seek to organise on this international scale? Why did each International collapse and decay?

A Short History of the Internationals

E5. Why we are Trotskyists.

What are the general, basic ideas of Trotskyism? We argue that "Trotskyism" is only the name given to the continuation of revolutionary working-class politics by the social-democratic and Stalinist distorters of such politics. Why?

What is Trotskyism? by Max Shachtman

E6. The AWL's Trotskyism and "official" Trotskyism today.

Why do we say that the Yugoslav, Chinese, Cuban, Vietnamese, etc. revolutions were not workers' socialist revolutions? What were they? What do we think of the regimes they produced? What did the "mainstream", "official" Trotskyists say about them, and why? Why do we think they were wrong to continue to use Trotsky s formula about the USSR being a "degenerated workers state"? Why do we think our ideas are closer to Trotsky s basic politics?

Marxism? what sort of Marxism? from We Stand For Workers' Liberty

Our traditions: where the AWL comes from.

E7. The AWL.

The AWL's history and tradition from We Stand For Workers' Liberty

E8. Summing up.

Our view of socialism. What's wrong with capitalism? How does it produce its own grave-diggers in the working class? How working-class socialism cuts against "state socialism" and Stalinism. Why the working class needs a revolutionary party. Why that party must be built in a fight to transform the labour movement. Why the working class must break up the capitalist state and create its own workers state. Why revolution is not alien to Britain. Why revolutionary politics demands long-term commitment; why it involves an all-round struggle for consistent democracy and human equality. How the workers took power in Russia in 1917, why they could not sustain that power, why revolutionary politics today must build on the authentic ideals of the Russian revolution, and is as opposed to Stalinism as it is to capitalism.