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

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.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Introduction: many Trotskyisms

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

More or less everywhere in the world now there are groups of avowed revolutionary socialists — usually, but not invariably, small or very small groups — who are “Trotskyist” or Trotskisant.

They trace their political genealogy back to Leon Trotsky’s politics in the 1920s and 30s, and before that to the Bolshevik party of Lenin and Trotsky which led the Russian workers to power in 1917.

In this issue of Workers’ Liberty we print two key documents about the split of the Fourth International (the Trotskyist movement) into two fundamental political tendencies 70 years ago.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

1939-40: when the Fourth International split into two tendencies.

Author: 

Max Shachtman

The “Report on the Russian question” which follows was a speech delivered by Max Shachtman to the New York membership meeting of the US Trotskyist movement, the Socialist Workers’ Party, on 15 October 1939.

Part 1: the dispute in the party

From the “Report on the Russian question” delivered by Max Shachtman to the New York membership meeting of the US Trotskyist movement, the Socialist Workers’ Party, on 15 October 1939.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

1939-40: when the Fourth International split into two tendencies. Part 2

Author: 

Max Shachtman

Part 2: Russian imperialism.

From the “Report on the Russian question” delivered by Max Shachtman to the New York membership meeting of the US Trotskyist movement, the Socialist Workers’ Party, on 15 October 1939.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

1939-40: when the Fourth International split into two tendencies. Part 3

Author: 

Max Shachtman

Part 3: the bureaucratic conservatism of the Cannon majority

From the “Report on the Russian question” delivered by Max Shachtman to the New York membership meeting of the US Trotskyist movement, the Socialist Workers’ Party, on 15 October 1939.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Trotsky and his critics

Author: 

Max Shachtman

Writing in an academic magazine in 1963, Max Shachtman looked back on the 1939-40 split.

Writing in an academic magazine in 1963, Max Shachtman looked back on the 1939-40 split.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Remember Leon Trotsky!

Author: 

Max Shachtman

By Max Shachtman
It was in the fight against the Moscow Trials that so many many American radical intellectuals learned to understand the modern communist state and movement. Most of them became friendly to the Trotskyists; a few even joined their ranks.

Near the end of his life, having moved away from Trotskyist politics, Max Shachtman pays homage to the great revolutionary leader.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Chronology

October 1917: Russian workers take power.

November 1917 to summer 1921: The Russian workers' state fights for its life in civil war against counter-revolutionaries, peasant revolts, and 14 foreign armies.

1923 to 1927: Trotsky leads the Left Opposition against the rising Stalinist bureaucracy. Trotskyists and dissidents purged from many Communist Parties outside Russia.

December 1927: Defeat of the Left Opposition in Russia. Trotsky's allies Zinoviev and Kamenev capitulate immediately; Trotskyists sent to exile in remote parts of the USSR.

Background dates

Marxist Theory and History: 

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