Leon Trotsky

Moscow’s fight against Trotskyism in Spain

Submitted by Matthew on 15 June, 2016 - 12:07 Author: 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.

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Workers’ democracy is the bottom line

Submitted by Matthew on 27 April, 2016 - 10:59 Author: 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.

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Standing against counter-revolution

Submitted by Gemma_S on 12 March, 2016 - 9:01 Author: 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

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Returning to the sources

Submitted by Matthew on 24 February, 2016 - 10:34 Author: 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.

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The world economy since 2008

Submitted by AWL on 4 February, 2016 - 2:00 Author: 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.

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“Unite the workers and bury the religious hatreds”

Submitted by Matthew on 4 February, 2016 - 11:24 Author: 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.

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Orthodox Trotskyism reshaped Trotsky's ideas

Submitted by AWL on 27 January, 2016 - 12:14 Author: Ed Maltby

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!”


Submitted by Jason Schulman on Fri, 06/10/2016 - 18:33

Trotsky's comment that Stalinism differed from fascism -- even German fascism -- "only in its more unbridled savagery" came before the implementation of the Final Solution. By that point I think the "more unbridled" idea lost its truth.

Secondly, slavery in the USSR. This was certainly true in the 1930s. But far less so in later decades. For most of the years of the USSR's existence the relationship of the worker to the Soviet firm was analogous to the serf industrial production of 18th century Russia. Russian workers were "state serfs," not usually slaves (and not wage-workers selling their labor power, either, as "state capitalist" theorists would have it).

Thirdly, while Joseph Carter's theory of bureaucratic collectivism led heterodox Trotskyists to abandon the economism of the orthodox, and to abandon the illusion that the USSR was a "strategic gain" for the global working class, it should be obvious by now that the Stalinist societies did NOT represent a new mode of production which might supplant capitalism and that the ruling elites of these societies were not a "new class." The collapse of the USSR and Eastern European Stalinism discredited ALL of the theories that emerged from the Trotskyist groups (degenerated/deformed workers' states, state capitalism, bureaucratic collectivism).

Was Stalinism -- or at least "late Stalinism" -- more reactionary than capitalism? In some ways yes -- because while capitalism "automatically" leads workers to form unions and political associations, even clandestine ones, Stalinism completely atomizes its workers (which is why socialist revolutions in such societies was never a real possibility). But there were certain material gains for workers in the USSR and Eastern Europe (and China) that have been completely lost in those societies' transitions to capitalism (particularly in Russia, where the transition resulted in utter chaos, a decline in the total population, etc.).

I think the Third Camp position was broadly correct but we should recognize all of these realities.

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The mass psychology of Islamo-fascism

Submitted by Matthew on 2 December, 2015 - 11:04 Author: Eric Lee

This is a regular guest column by Eric Lee of LabourStart.

There can be little doubt that the murderous ideology of Islamic State is a form of fascism. In discussing how the left should react to it, it is therefore necessary to return to our sources, to learn how earlier generations of socialists understood — and fought — fascism.

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Beyond the fragments of the Trotskyist movement

Submitted by AWL on 8 September, 2015 - 6:07 Author: Paul Hampton

Why is the revolutionary left today in such a mess? Why are the politics of the SWP, the Socialist Party, the various Fourth Internationals and most of the splinters, grouplets and fragments so incoherent?

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The two Trotskyisms

Submitted by AWL on 18 August, 2015 - 4:43 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.

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