Leon Trotsky

From permanent revolution to permanent confusion

Submitted by AWL on 7 June, 2015 - 12:42 Author: Clive Bradley

Originally published in two parts in Workers' Liberty magazine in 1986-7.

In latter-day Trotskyism the theory of 'permanent revolution' - anti-landlord or anti-colonial revolution being merged with socialist revolution under the leadership of the working class - has become a dogma, used more to obscure the fact of many colonies winning freedom on a capitalist basis than to enlighten.

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A workers’ government will seize the banksAWLTue, 21/04/2015 - 16:48

It wasn’t the stars, or geology. It wasn’t ocean currents, or the weather. The world economy was brought crashing down in 2008 by the particular way we have allowed it to be organised.

It was brought down by being organised around the priority of maximum competitive greed and gain of a small exploiting minority.

From the early 1980s to 2008, world capitalism became more and more governed by the drive for quick, fluid gains, measured and coordinated through an increasingly complex and fast-flowing system of world financial markets.

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Tasks of Communist Education (1923)

Submitted by dalcassian on 12 April, 2015 - 11:41 Author: Leon Trotsky

It is frequently asserted that the task of communist enlightenment
consists in the education of the new man. These worda
are somewhat too general, too pathetic, and we must be particularly
careful not to permit any formless. humanitarian interpretation
of the conception “new man” or the tasks of communist
education. There is no doubt whatever but that the man
of the future, the citizen of the commune, will be an exceedingly
interesting and attractive creature, and that his psychology

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Permanent revolution and the Irish left

Submitted by AWL on 3 February, 2015 - 6:12 Author: Micheál MacEoin

Workers’ Liberty has recently examined Trotskyist debates on Ireland (Trotskyists debate Ireland WL 3/45). There is another set of relevant debates worth looking about: over how, and if, Trotsky’s theory of “permanent revolution” relates to Ireland.

The first debate took place in 1966-67 in the largely émigré Irish Workers’ Group (IWG). It was an attempt to clear away some of the confusions generated by a mechanical application of the theory to Irish realities.

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History of the Trotskyist movement

Submitted by Matthew on 11 December, 2014 - 11:43 Author: Sean Matgamna

By the eve of Leon Trotsky’s death in August 1940, the American Trotskyist organisation, which was by far the most important group in the Fourth International, had split. Two currents of Trotskyism had begun the process of complete separation, but only begun.

It would take most of a decade before the evolution of two distinct species was complete.

For brevity they can be named after their chief proponents, James P Cannon and Max Shachtman. Trotsky’s political relationship to those two currents is one of the things that will concern us here.

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Why we needed a new theory

Submitted by Matthew on 11 December, 2014 - 11:29 Author: Max Shachtman

From New International, August 1944.

Leon Trotsky’s name will be forever linked with the Russian Revolution, not of course as a Russian revolution but as the beginning of the international socialist revolution in Russia.

He fought for this revolution with pen and sword, from his study and from his armoured train in the Red Army. Between the start of his fight, under Tsarism, and its end, under Stalinism, there is a continuous line, the line flowing from Trotsky’s great contribution to Marxism, the theory of the permanent revolution.

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What is Trotskyism?

Submitted by Matthew on 11 December, 2014 - 11:05 Author: Max Shachtman

From The Struggle for the New Course, preface to an edition of Trotsky’s The New Course, 1943

Our criticism of Trotsky’s later theory of the “workers’ state” introduces into it an indispensable correction. Far from “demolishing” Trotskyism, it eliminates from it a distorting element of contradiction and restores its essential inner harmony and continuity. The writer considers himself a follower of Trotsky, as of Lenin before him, and of Marx and Engels in the earlier generation.

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What is Leninism?

Submitted by Matthew on 11 December, 2014 - 10:55 Author: Leon Trotsky

From The New Course, 1923

Leninism cannot be conceived of without theoretical breadth, without a critical analysis of the material bases of the political process. The weapon of Marxian investigation must be constantly sharpened and applied. It is precisely in this that tradition consists, and not in the substitution of a formal reference or of an accidental quotation.

Least of all can Leninism be reconciled with ideological superficialty and theoretical slovenliness.

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Trotsky: "The Lever of a Small Group"

Submitted by AWL on 1 November, 2014 - 5:47 Author: Leon Trotsky

A letter to the British Trotskyists, 2 October 1933. The British Trotskyists were then a small group recently emerged from the Communist Party.

The Independent Labour Party had been the main precursor of the Labour Party, and then, as an affiliated group within the Labour Party, the main bulk of Labour's individual activist base. In 1932, after conflict with the Labour leadership, the ILP disaffiliated. ILP membership, which had stood at 17,000 in 1932, plummeted to just 4,000 in 1935, but there was also left-wing ferment within the ILP.

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