Hal Draper

The two Trotskyisms during World War 2: Workers' Liberty 3/48

Submitted by AWL on 10 December, 2014 - 8:15

Tracing the development of "two Trotskyisms" through from the 1940 split to the 1944 polemic between Harry Braverman and Max Shachtman.

Click here to download as pdf or read online.

The pagination in the pdf is correct, but, by a mishap, the pages of the printed version of Workers' Liberty 3/48, as a pull-out in Solidarity 347, are in the wrong order. Our apologies to readers.

Check the printed version with the pdf, or follow this guide:

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Learning from the three Ls

Submitted by Matthew on 11 January, 2017 - 1:36 Author: Hal Draper

It was once a tradition for revolutionary socialists to mark every January by remembering the life and work of Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. In this 1949 article, the US socialist Hal Draper discusses the relevance of the socialism of “3Ls” for the German working class, then under the yoke of imperialist occupation, and for the American working class facing a war-mongering ruling class.

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From Shachtmanite Trotskyism to Anarchism: Exploring the Relationship of a Marxist Tendency to Anarchism

Submitted by AWL on 7 November, 2016 - 9:44 Author: Wayne Price

This article, by the anarchist writer Wayne Price, was published in the journal The Utopian. It explores the relationship between the “Third Camp” Trotskyist tradition, with which Workers' Liberty identifies, and anarchist politics. It is republished with the author's permission. Visit the website of The Utopian here.

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"A clear break with the old politics": interview with Peter Frase of Jacobin

Submitted by Matthew on 12 October, 2016 - 12:51

Peter Frase of the US socialist magazine Jacobin visited the UK from 23 September to 7 October and took part in a tour of Momentum groups and student Labour Clubs to speak about his book Four Futures: Life After Capitalism. He spoke to Martin Thomas and Sacha Ismail.


Submitted by Traven on Fri, 14/10/2016 - 01:37

Correct Jacobin link: https://www.jacobinmag.com/

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Hal Draper on Israel/Palestine (1954)

Submitted by AWL on 2 June, 2016 - 12:36 Author: Hal Draper

In the summer of 1954, the American “third camp” Trotskyist group the Independent Socialist League (ISL) invited Clovis Maksoud, a Lebanese-American Arab nationalist and socialist then studying in London, to publish an article in their newspaper Labor Action setting out “the position of the Arab socialists on Israel”.

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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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This book is really about now

Submitted by AWL on 27 January, 2016 - 12:26 Author: Ed Strauss

Ed Strauss reviews The Two Trotskyisms Confront Stalinism

The book is an amazing textbook. As a young student in the 1950s, I was reading some of the documents which are in the collection, I was coming in at the tail-end of some of these debates; but we had nothing like this.

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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, 10/06/2016 - 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 Leningrad delirium

Submitted by AWL on 13 October, 2015 - 5:54

Among many other things, the new book published by Workers’ Liberty and edited by Sean Matgamna — “The Two Trotskyisms Confront Stalinism” — digs out a dramatic lurch in the “Orthodox” Trotskyist movement in 1941, described in this excerpt.

The “Orthodox” were those who stuck to Trotsky’s formula of the Stalinist USSR being a “degenerated workers’ state” while, in the 1940s, the elements in reality on which Trotsky based that formula were changing dramatically. Along the way, they lurched one way and then another, never properly assessing their mistakes.

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