Present-Day Revolutionary Movement And Trotzkyism
„Albania Tody“ – Political and Informative Review
Nr. 5 (6) 1972 ; September – October – TIRANA
reprint of the Comintern [ML]
Features of present-day trotzkyism and circumstances of its rebirth. Necessity of the fight against trotzkyism as saboteur of proletarian revolution
The development of the revolutionary movement of the working class in our days, as the 6th Congress of the Party pointed out, necessarily requires a consistent struggle both against the right opportunism of the modern revisionists, which is the main struggle, and against „leftist“ trends and arguments, especially against the dangerous activity of Trotzkyism, which beginning paticularly from the sixties, as current been reactivated. In his report delivered to the 6th Congress comrade Enver Hoxha said: „The various anti-Marxist trends of the Trotzkyites and anarchists have been revived as never before. By penetrating into various mass movements, especially those of the youth and intellectuals, they are seeking to fish in trouble waters with a view to diverting the masses from the right road, and to throw them into dangerous adventures which lead to serious defeats and illusions.“
The Revival of Trotzkyism and its Causes
After the 20th and especially after the 22nd Congress of the CPSU, where the renegade Krushchev launched the savage campaign of anti-Stalinism, Trotzkyism, which had been dealt heavy blows and had lost all influence on the masses, raised its head, resumed its undermining activity on a broad scale, and extended its poisonous roots to many areas and countries of the world. Like mashrooms after a shower, Trotzkyite groups and organisations started to crop up in large numbers in Europe, America and other areas.
At the present time, from the sixties onward, the Trotzkyites have grouped themselves around four main centres:
the „International Secretariat“,
the socalled „Marxist-revolutionary trend of the 4th International“,
the International Committee“ in London, which unites mainly the British, American and Canadian Trotzkyite groups.
The Trotzkyite groups in Western Europe are especially numerous. Thus, for instance, several such groups have appeared in France and are carrying out their pernicious activity: the „Internationalist Communist Party“ (PCI), which is the French branch of the 4th International; the „Internationalist Communist Organisation“ (OCI), a rival faction which does not belong to the 4th International; „Youth Alliance for Socialism“ (AJS), „Marxist-Revolutionary Alliance“ (AMR); „Communist League“ (LC), the „Worker struggle“ group (LO), etc. In Spain, too, several Trotzkyite organisations are active: the „International Communist Party unification“ (POUM), the „Communist Action“ organisation, the „Revolutionary Workers Party“ (POR). In Britain the Trotzkyite organisation known as the „Socialist Labour League“ is active. Various Trotzkyite groupings have also raised their head in many other countries too, such as West Germany, Sweden, Belgium, etc., in Europe, and including Ceylon and Japan in Asia.
What are the causes of the rivival of Trotzkyism at the present time?
The Principal ones are the following:
On the one hand the revival of Trotzkyism is connected with the large scale involvement in the present-day revolutionary movement of other intermediate, petty-bourgeois, strata, including in particular the various petty-bourgeois strata of the city, such as the small merchants, lower and middle white-collar workers, intellectuals and students, etc., who bring with them into the movement the vascillations typical of the petty-bourgeoisie. Precisely these vascillations, this petty-bourgeois instability, inclinations to go from one extreme to another, from anarchism und unbridled adventurism to extreme Right opportunism and defeatism, constitute the favourable ground on which Trotzkyism flourishes and speculates for its own counter-revolutionary aims.
Finally, in the present-day period, when the wave of the revolutionary movement is constantly rising, the bourgeoisie instigates and supports by all ways and means, the extension of Trotzkyism, which taking advantage of the feelings of protest of the broad masses of working people and in particular of the masses of the youth and students against the capitalist order, and of their sincere but spontaneous revolutionary inclinations, seeks to disorientate them with ultra-revolutionary phraseology, to divert them from the true road of the revolution, to throw them into adventures which are not harmful to the bourgeoisie, and to disillusion them. This is the reason why publishing house financed by the bourgeoisie, today distrubute Trotzky`s works and Trotzkyite literature in large quantities.
Some Essential Features of Present-Day Trotzkyism
What characterizes present day Trotzkyism?
The treatment of this problem, even though in summary form is essential in order to understand the essence and role of this anti-Marxist trend in the present-day conditions of the development of the revolutionary movement.
The Trotzkyism of our days is generally based on the anti-Marxist viewpoints, objectives and methods worked out by Trotzky in his time. But it has, and cannot fail to have, some new features and peculiarities dependent on the present-day conditions and circumstances of the development of Trotzkyite activity. What we have to do with here, is the fusion of some already known features with new nuances. The aim of the present paper is not to draw an historical parallel between yesterday`s Trotzkyism and today`s, or to throw into relief the differences between them which might be the object of a special study. Here we shall point out some of the fundamental principal features that characterize the viewpoints and activity of the Trotzkyites in our days, irrespective of whether or not they were also characteristic of the Trotzkyism of the past. Nor shall we enter into a comparative analysis of the numerous Trotzkyite groups and factions which are in permanent feud and polemics with one another, but are united on some fundamental points in their fight against Marxism-Leninism and the revolutionary movement. We may thus speak of some general features of the whole Trotzkyite trend.
From the philosophical viewpoint, present-day Trotzkyism, like that of the past, is characterized by voluntarist, subjectivism which finds expression, among other things, in the failure to take into consideration the objective conditions determining the development of the revolutionary movement on a national and international scale, and the character and motive forces of the revolution in its different stage. The Trotzkyite concepts are also characterized by eclecticism and pragmatism, the lack of stable principles, reliance on entirely opposite concepts, the transition from one extreme to another, uniting with the most various trends for the sake of ephemeral advantages, etc.
From the ideo-political viewpoint, present-day Trotzkyism is characterized above all, by hostility towards revolutionary Marxism-Leninism. This is a general feature of old and new Trotzkyism. At one time it expressed itself in Trotzky`s hostile stand towards Lenin and Leninism. Later on it found its expression in the hostile stands of Trotzky and the Trotzkyites towards Stalin, his ideas, work and leadership. In our time the hostility of Trotzkyism towards Marxism-Leninism is expressed in the fact that the Trotzkyites seek to divert the attention of the revolutionary movement from the fight against modern revisionism and push it into positions of anti-Stalinism. The Trotzkyites present Stalin`s Marxist-Leninist revolutionary line in an entirely false light, describing it as Right opportunism. And while they gloss over or say a few general words about the struggle against revisionism, they have spearheaded the whole fire of their batteries against Stalin and „Stalinism“, accusing hom of betrayal of Leninism and the cause of the revolution and socialism of disorientating the world revolutionary movement, of causing a decline of the revolutionary upsurge in the West, of occupying and exploiting the countries of people`s emocracy after the second world war, etc. (P. Frank „The Fourth International“ ed. Maspero, 1969). They also attack Mao Tse-tung and his ideas, the Communist Party of China and the Chinese revolution (Ibidems, as well as D. Avenas, A. Brossat. „On Anti-Trotzkyism“, ed. Maspero, 1971). On the other hand the Trotzkyites are in full agreement with the modern revisionists on fundamental attitudes. Jointly with the revisionists they attack Stalin and the CP of China, and give their support to the variants of different trends of revisionism. In 1948 the leadership of the Forth International and the trotzkyiteorganisation belonging to it expressed their support for the Yugoslav revisionists and carrioed out a large-scale activity in their favour (P. Frank „The Forth International“). In 1956 they took sides with the Hungarian counterrevolution and expressed their dissatisfaction with Imre Nagy`s „irresolu stand“ (Ibidem). In 1968 the trotzkyites supported the Dubcek revisionists in Czechoslovakia, proclaiming their course to be a revolutionary movement (Ibidem). Likewise, the Trotzkyites join in the demagogy of the Soviet revisionists about „the united front of all the socialist countries against US imperialism“ (Ibidem), deny the process of the restoration of capitalism in the revisionist-ruled countries, etc., (Ibidem). What Lenin once said about Trotzky is completely true of present-day Trotzkyism:
“...He manoeuvres, speculates, poses as a leftist, and helps the rightists as much as he can...“ (Lenin).
The objective of the Trotzkyites is to unite all trends, be they rightist or „leftist“, against revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, described by them as „Stalinism“.
The division of the revolutionary movement of the working class constitutes one of the most characteristic distinctive objectives and features of present-day Trotzkyism. Objectively, the Trotzkyism of our days could be described as a special agency in the service of the bourgeoisie for the division of the labour movement, a division which the Trotzkyites are seeking to raise to a principle, openly expressing themselves against unity in its ranks. One of the leaders and ideologists of present-day Trotzkyism, Pierre Frank, writes: „In fact, what is truly abnormal in the labour movement is monolithism, this `unity`, that strangles every independent political thought in the ranks of the organisations calling themselves Marxist ... Whoever refers to the history of the worker movement sees that this has most frequently been full of struggles of trends and tendencies, in theoretical and political opposition with one another. This was normal, for the progress of revolutionary action and thought cannot be conceived outside an unceasing confrontation of theories, stand and orientations with reality, and the more so in a world which is in a state of uninterrupted uphevals, in which `the new` was and is emerging from day to day“ (P. Frank „Fourth International“, page 60).
Thus, according to him, there can be no question of unity of the worker movement, its normal situation is continuous division (!). It clearly follows from such a concept that the constant division in the very ranks of the Trotzkyite movement, its continuous dismemberment into a large number of groups and factions in uncreasing disarmement with each other, is not only an expression of its weakness and petty-bourgeois nature but also a tactic to sow discord and disintegration in the ranks of the revolutionary movement.
The unprincipled vascillations to the „left“ and right, unity at one time with the extreme Right opportunists and at another with the most extremist and adventurist „leftist“ elements, is also a characteristic feature of the concept and attitudes of the Trotzkyites. Thus, for instance, on the one hand they pursue the socalled policy of „entrism“, i.e. the merger of the Trotzkyite groups with other parties, including the Right social-democratic parties, while on the other hand they furiously attack the policy of antifascist popular fronts, describing it as „opportunist policy of class collaboration“. On the one hand the Trotzkyites praise to the skies the use of random violence, they support and incite the anarchist „leftist“ mobements which lack perspective and a clear revolutionary programme, which bring confusion and disillusion into the revolutionary movement, such as the chaotic revolts of small amed groups or the warfare of guerillas not based on an organized broad political mass movement. Thus, they advocate political adventurism and putchism, while on the other hand they recommend to the worker movement a „strategy“ and „tactics“ in the struggle for socialism, which is identical with the reformist line of the rightwing revisionists (P. Frandk „The Fourth International“ as well as K. Mavrakis „On Trotzkyism“, ed. Maspero, 1971). These vascillations, the eclectic mixture of the most rightist concepts with the most extreme „leftist“ ones are not only an expression of the essentially petty-bourgeois nature of the Trotzkyite movement, but also a way to disintegrate and disorientate the revolutionary movement.
All this shows that the fundamental political characteristic of present-day Trotzkyism is, just as in the past, revolution in words and the undermining and sabotage of the revolutionary movement in practice.
The above-mentioned distinctive features which, irrespective of the shades between the various factions and groups, characterize at the present time the concepts, stands and activity of the Trotzkyite trend, find their concrete expression in the treatment of a series of problems. It is necessary to dwell, even though very briefly, on some of them, in order to see in what directions they distort Marxism-Leninism and in what ways the Trotzkyites try to hoodwink and disorientate the working class and the revolutionary movement in our time.
How the Trotzkyite sabotage the working class revolutionary movement in the present time
The Trotzkyites speculate a great deal on the slogans of the revolution, and publicize in particular the socalled theory of the „permanent revolution“ which they seek to peddle as a creative development of Marxism-Leninism. But what is the essence of their ultra-revolutionary theories and whom do they serve in reality?
The theory of „permanent revolution“ is the denial of the stages of the revolution under the pretext of its uninterrupted development. This was Trotzky`s viewpoint, and is also the viewpoint of the present day Trotzkyites. According to it, in every country, whether in the capitalist metropoles or in the colonial and semi-colonial countries, for the revolution to develop, it cannot be other than a pure proletarian revolution, without any intermediate stages. „The whole revolutionary experience of present- day Vietnam, the Trotzkyites write, - confirms the necessity of combining the anti-imperialist struggle and the necessity for the revolutionaries of the colonial countries, if they want to secure the means to carry through to the end the socalled `national` tasks, to set about the process of a proletarian revolution“ (D. Avenas; A. Brossat „On Trotzkyism“, p. 75).
And further: „... the revolution by stages has definitely failed“, „... at the present time there is no intermediate road between the ruke of capital and the dictatorship of the proletariat“ (ibidem). But raising the question in this way means to ignore the objective factors that condition the character of the revolution in the various stages of its development, it means to narrow the social basis of the revolution in these countries, sowing discord between the social forces which should be united in the revolutionary movement and, in the last analysis, sabotaging it.
To these adventurist arguments of the Trotzkyites, the Marxist-Leninists counterpose the necessity for a concrete analysis of the development of the revolution in every country, without falling into rigid and absolute formulas, and, where objective conditions and circumstances impose it, the combination of revolution by stages and the uninterrupted revolution under the leadership of the working class and its Marxist-Leninist party, as a necessary condition for carrying the anti-imperialist or democratic revolution through to the end and passing on to the socialist revolution.
The Trotzkyite theory of „permanent revolution“ is also the theory of negation of the national movement in the development of the revolutionary movement, the theory of the overestimation of the external factor and negation of the internal factor as decisive in the revolution and, in the last analysis, a theory of the „export“ of the revolution. „The idea that revolutionary movements can be built on a `national` scale or in `regional` isolation, - says one of the programmatic documents of the 4th International, entitled „Current dialectics od world revolution“, - has never been so bankrupt as in the epoch of intercontinental ballistic missiles and voyages to outer space“ (P. Frank „The Fourth International“). While the Trotzkyites D. Avenas and A. Brossat write: „The different countries have reached very different levels of development, but they are all closely connected, they are all interdependent – this is what should be borne in mind, for the last stage of development of the productive forces bars turning back, returning to national boundaries“ (Ibidem). Such a treatment of the question in fact leads to abandoning the revolution in different countries, to waiting for the creation of conditions for the development of the „chain world revolution“ which is impossible because of the uneven economic and political development of capitalism, a factor which the Trotzkyites want to ignore, thereby falling into subjectivism.
By their arguments and stands the Trotzkyites disorientate and divide the motive forces of the present-day revolutionary process. In the colonial and semi-colonial countries, where the working class still constitutes a relatively limited class whereas the peasantry makes up the majority of the population, and thus also the numerically greater force of the revolution, they, by denying the revolution by stages, in fact deny the revolutionary possibilities of the peasantry, they estrange the peasantry and the other intermediate strata from the working class with ultra-leftist slogans. While in the developed capitalist countries, where the working class constitutes the decisive force of every truly revolutionary movement, the present-day Trotzkyites are ever more persistently spreading the view that in these countries the striking forces of the revolution and the real leaders of the revolutionary movement are, allegedly, the young intellectuals, the students and school pupils. This is also clearly shown by the fact that the Trotzkyite trend is spread mainly among the student youth, while its influence on the workers is extremely limited. Thus, on this question the position of the Trotzkyites is similar to that of the bourgeois ideologists of the Marcuse type or of the Right extremist revisionist like Fisher and others. But however developed the student movement may be, it can play a positive and effective role in the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism only if it unites with the revolutionary movement of the working class and places itself under the leadership of the proletariat and of the Marxist-Leninist proletarian party.
While making a great hue and cry with general ultra-revolutionary slogans, the present-day Trotzkyites, when it comes to treating the concrete problems of the development of the working class revolutionary movement, come out with arguments which in essence fully accord with those of the modern revisionists, about „structural reforms“ about the participation of the workers in running the capitalist enterprises, etc.
Thus, the Trotzkyite Mandel says that the struggle for workers` control in the capitalist countries „creates a situation of dual state power“, that the „demand for the power, first in the plant and then throughout the country“. According to Mandel, in May-June 1968 the workers would have achieved victory if they had acted according to the following recommandations:
„Had they been educated during the previous years and months with the spirit of worlers` control they would know what was to be done to elect a committee in every enterprise which would begin with the opening of the account biiks of the employers; calculate themselves the cost of the income and the company-tax on the firms` incomes; establish the right to vote in hiring in and dismissing workers, as well as in every modification of the organization of work; replace the foremen appointed by the boss with elected work mates... The workers should pass queickly from worker control to worker administration. But the interval should be used to denounce before the entire nation in arbitrariness, injustice, confusion and plunder by the employers and to organize local, regional and national congresses of strike committees and worker controled committees which would ensure the workers who had risen in struggle the means of organisation and self-defence necessary to cope with the bourgeois state and the capitalist class as a whole“ (Quoted from K. Mavrakis, „On Trotzkyism“).
And all this, according to the Trotzkyite theories can be done in the conditions of the rule of the bourgeoisie while it is still armed to the teeth, without overthrowing it, without destroying the bourgeois state machine, without establishing the proletarian dictatorship (!). This is the most flagrant opportunist denial of the revolution.
Present-day Trotzkyites and the problem of the vanguard proletarian party
The hostility of the Trotzkyites, both past and present, towards the revolutionary working class movement, is clearly seen in connection with the stand towards the problem of the proletarian party. The Trotzkyite viewpoint on this question could be summed up as follows:
First, according to the Trotzkyites, the existence and leadership of the Marxist-Leninist proletarian party is not absolutely necessary in the struggle for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the triumph of socialism. As the Trotzkyite P. Frank says in his book „The Fourth International“, Trotzky himself forecast in his writings, although as a rare possibility in extraordinary circumstances, that „the revolution could be victorious even under a leadership which is not revolutionary Marxist“, while after the second world war some such cases have allegedly occured (P.Frank „The Fourth International“). It is quite evident that on this question there is no essential difference whatever between the Trotzkyite viepoint and that advocated by the Yugoslav, Italian and other modern revisionists. It is common knowledge that such arguments aim at leaving the working class without a genuine revolutionary leadership and serve only to undermine the revolution and leave the working class in capitalist bondage.
Second, the Trotzkyites are against the undivided leadership of the Marxist-Leninist proletarian party after the seizure of power by the working class and, together with the various rightist bourgeois and revisionist ideologists, advocate the multiparty system in socialism. Here is what the Trotzkyite P. Frank writes in this connection: „In the society of the period of transition to socialism the working class will still remain differentiated for a long period to the extent that different strata will have different viewpoints concerning the relationship between their everyday needs and their longterm interests. Thus, there will be room for different parties in the transitional society, some of a more reformist character, others of a more revolutionary character“ (Ibidem). Thus, it is a question of the existence of several socalled worker parties, which excludes the leadership of a single vanguard party of the working class based on the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism. But in these circumstances the existence of a genuine proletarian dictatorship is impossible, and this enters into the calculations of the Trotzkyites. The very fact that they have waged and continue to wage a frantic campaign against the „Stalinist“ Soviet system, which embodied the fundamental features of the proletarian dictatorship, is the most evident testimony to their unbridled hostility towards the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Third, by advocating „world revolution“ and by underestimating the role of the internal, national, factor in the development of the revolutionary movement, the Trotzkyites consequently also underestimate the role of the proletarian party on a national scale and speak of the necessity for a „world party“. Since there is no „socialism in a single country“, - they say – the instrument of the world revolution cannot be other than a world party“ (P. Frank „The Fourth International“). This in essence means to eliminate the true role of the proletarian party, for the world revolutionary process on the present-day conditions cannot be conceived other than as a development and triumph of the revolution in different countries; therefore on a national scale, under the indispensable and fully responsible leadership of the proletarian party in each country.
Fourth, the Trotzkyites, although in words they proclaim themselves as consistent heirs, and indeed the only ones, of Lenin, in fact are stubborn opponents of the Leninist principles concerning the internal life of the proletarian party. Under the pretext of „democracy“ and „freedom of thought“, they oppose in particular the principle of centralism and unity of thought and action, the iron proletarian discipline in the party, without which the latter remains something amorphous and disorganized, a club for endless discussions, incapable of any kind of effective revolutionary actions, while internal democracy is transformed into a means to disintegrate and liquidate the party. The party of the Leninist type was described by Trotsky in his time as a „barracks regime“ and the Leninist norms as bureaucratic and dictatorial. According to him, the party should be an unprinciples union of all the factions or trends which proclaim themselves socialist or communist (Jean Jaques Marie „Trotzyism“). The present-day Trotzkyites also advocate factionalism and support „freedom of discussion and the right to form trends, without which the base is denied true political activity“ (P. Frank „La Quatrième Internationale“). Also on this question the position of the Trotzkyites is identical with that of the extreme rightwing revisionists of the type of Garaudy and Fisher, or of the „leftist“ groups of the type of the „Manifesto“ who openly (and not in acamouflaged way like the Trotzkyites) oppose the Leninist teachings about the party.
Facts prove that the present-day Trotzkyism is a sworn enemy of the revolutionary movement of the working class and of the peoples and a dangerous weapon in the hands of the bourgeoisie and imperialism to sow confusion in this movement, to devide and undermine it. Therefore, in the present-day conditions the struggle for the exposure and destruction of the Trotzkyite trend is an urgent need for the successful development of the working class revolutionary movement and a current task of all Marxist-Leninists.
This will be a protracted and complex ideological and political struggle to expose the falsity and the true counter-revolutionary character of the Trotzkyite preachings and stands in connection with the various problems of the present-day revolutionary movement. But such a struggle alone would not be sufficient.
The defeat of the Trotzkyite trend is inseparable from the struggle of the Marxist-Leninist parties against modern revisionism, and against Soviet revisionism in the first place, to put an end to the confusion it has caused in the present-day revolutionary movement, which created the conditions for the revival of Trotzkyism, to make clear to the workers and peoples the wide gap separating the revisionists from Marxism-Leninism and genuine socialism, in order thereby to deprive Trotzkyism of the possibility of speculating.
But the decisive condition for a successful struggle against Trotzkyism is the further development of the Marxist-Leninist movement itself, the working out by it in every country of a true programme of revolutionary struggle, the extension and penetration of the Marxist parties among the masses, in order to give them a clear orientation, to liberate from Trotzkyite influences the sincere revolutionary elements misled by Trotskyism.
Comment of the Comintern [ML] to this article: the Albanians started with open struggle against Maoism in 1977-1978.
Agim Popa is known as a true Albanian defender of Marxism-Leninism, a consequent internationalist and supporter of the international Marxist-Leninist Movement, and as well a friend of the true Marxist-Leninist parties all over the world. This article was written in 1972 and deals with the then present-day Trotzyite trend. Since those times the Trotzkyites succeeded to split and to liquidate several former Marxist-Leninist parties, succeeded to creep into the Marxist-Leninist World Movement to paralyse the re-unification on principled base of Marxism-Leninism. Trotzkyism succeeded to develop as
Neo-Trotzkyism: „Anti-Trotzkyism in words, but Trotzkyism in deeds!“.
Trotzkyism casted its skin and this makes it more difficult to unmask this bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideology within the ranks of the Marxist-Leninists. They do not openly critisize the 5 classics of Marxism-Leninism, but behind their mask they do. Their are some Trotzkyites who „defend“ Stalin with their lips to take advantage for attempts of paralyzing, disoriantating and liquidating the Marxist-Leninist movement .
In the General Line of the Comintern [ML] you can find the line of struggle against Trotzkyism summed up in the following excerpt:
Down with Trotzkyism! Long live Marxism-Leninism!