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The Internationale Regional Message Board
He was a Bolshevik-Leninist/Old Bolshevik until death. I think the whole Stalin V. Trotsky is irreverent these days.
Here is my thoughts on this debate.
For one the left needs to stay strongly unified and different branches need to all stand in solidarity together in order to fight off the capitalists and the fascists. I think each branch can add its own strengths to to struggle against the oppressors. For example the more reformist minded socialists can push for small changes, such as an increase to the minimum wage, or better working conditions, while more radical elements, i.e. ourselves, can push for more large scale revolutionary change. We all agree that the capitalists have much more power right now, and we ned to fight that. The only way we can achieve this is by working together. We are communists after all, and the most fundamental aspect of communism, is working as a group.
That being said, there has historically been much divide between the different groups, especially between the Marxist-Leninists and the anarchists, dating back all the way to the First International. From the Free Territories of Ukraine, to the Kronstadt Rebellion and especially the Revolution in Catalonia, the M-L betrayed us. So my question to the Marxist-Leninists is how can the anarchists really trust you? I'm not trying to be divisional, but I find it a bit difficult to trust any kind of M-L revolution, because historically the anarchists always have been oppressed.
As for talk about the USSR, and other "communist" states, I would direct you all to this fine essay, written by Emma Goldman
Trotskyism is Leninism and there are no forms Leninism still extant that are not Trotskyist to the very core; Stalinism (so-called Marxism-Leninism) is completely anti-Marxist and anti-Leninist, its policies are a pathetic caricature of Menshevikism (the two-stage theory), pre-Marxian utopian nationalism (socialism in one country), and ultra-leftism (social fascism) brought out by turns and are utterly harmful to the working class.
What is needed for communist thought is to completely and utterly reject the Stalinism and its false theories, which have done some much damage to the movement and the only error made by Trotsky in regard to the 4th International lay waiting to long to break from the corrupt and degenerate 3rd International.
Trotsky was never a Menshevik in any meaningful sense of the word, he initially sided with the minority in the chaos and confusion of the split (for similar yet inverted reasons, Plekhanov was initially a Bolshevik although his political line was Menshevik in character) but quickly distinguished himself from them and was outside both the Bolshevik and Menshevik tendencies until 1917 although he was in the Bolshevik camp on all key questions (the narrowness of certain Bolshevik cadres in 1905 and Trotsky's desire for left unity were the only reasons he didn't join the Bolsheviks earlier). In 1917, Lenin came over to Trotskyist position of the permanent revolution- he arrived at it independently and expressed it in his April Theses- and Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks. From that point onward, as Lenin said, there was "no better Bolshevik". Trotsky defended the basic positions of Bolshevikism until his death- he was murdered by the traitors and revisionists who had buried the true heritage of October under a heap of corpses.
Here's current day. Most still argue that capitalism must be fed, while party communists get around to freeing the workers. So, what I gather from all this nonsense is that we are supposed to wait while capitalism strips one's dignity and destroys the earth and its inhabitants, then once everything has run its course our communist comrades (and their leaders) will vacate the ivory halls of the bourgeois, built from poaching human ingenuity, and join us in the fields and factories. Ha! Yeah, right.
Comrades you are in for a long wait.
Comrades, there's always a space to be mischievous, to be imaginative, to agitate and whatever else makes us laugh, and moves us toward liberation.
This is possible in the west where Marxism is not all that popular. In the third world Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is basically the only theory. The world Communist movement's strongest forces ain't in the west, they are in the third world, and good luck telling them to abandon Marxism-Leninism.
I am always astounded at the level of chauvinism that Trotskyists put out. For some reason you do not believe that the proletariat are capable of making their own choices and decisions on the matter of which direction is better. Not only that, but as soon as the movement deviates from your line you throw the entire movement out as one not worth supporting. This is the greatest betrayal of Trots in the current era, a complete lack of support for international worker states and a complete intransigence on worker self-determination on the matter in favor of the "greater good" of internationalism at all costs.
Marxist Leninism continues to enjoy the world wide support of the proletariat. Why? Because they know that it is the most practical and realistic avenue of advancing class struggle. In the centers of revolution where it is being waged fiecest the combatants are Marxist Leninist, not Trotskyists. What must be rejected more than anything is the dogmatic Trotsky position of condemning every revolution that dosnt follow Trotskys exact beliefs.
We wont even go into Trotskys betrayal of the revolution and collusion with imperialist powers to overthrow worker states. Theres plenty to hate about the man AND the counter revolutionary movement he spawned.
And just so we are clear about Lenin's position of Trotsky, rather than the happy-friend pandered version you hear in the centers of capitalism. Here are some select quotes from Lenin, to Trotsky:
“The younger generation of workers should know exactly whom they are dealing with, when individuals come before them with incredibly pretentious claims, unwilling absolutely to reckon with either the Party decisions, which since 1908 have defined and established our attitude towards liquidationism, or with the experience of the present-day working-class movement in Russia, which has actually brought about the unity of the majority on the basis of full recognition of the aforesaid decisions” (Lenin, CW 20, 330-5).
“I know that there are, of course, sages who think they are very clever and even call themselves Socialists, who assert that power should not have been seized until the revolution had broken out in all countries. They do not suspect that by speaking in this way they are deserting the revolution and going over to the side of the bourgeoisie. To wait until the toiling classes bring about a revolution on an international scale means that everybody should stand stock-still in expectation. That is nonsense” (Lenin CW 23, 9).
“The development of capitalism proceeds extremely unevenly in the various countries. It cannot be otherwise under the commodity production system. From this, it follows irrefutably that Socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois for some time” (Lenin CW 23, 80).
“The wretched squabbling systematically provoked by Lenin, that old hand at the game, that professional exploiter of all that is backward in the Russian labour movement, seems like a senseless obsession. […] The entire edifice of Leninism is built on lies and falsification and bears within itself the poisonous elements of its own decay” (Trotsky, Letter to Nikolay Chkeidze).
“Trotsky concentrated his energies on fighting Lenin, the Bolsheviks. He frankly stated that he saw this as the main purpose of his political activity. The congratulatory postcard to Joffe (1910) is sufficiently widely known; in it Trotsky urged 'a great fight' against Lenin, and threatened that in it 'Lenin will meet his death.'” (Basmanov).
"[a]fter Lenin's death we, nineteen men of the Executive Committee, sat together and anxiously awaited the advice which our leader would give us from the tomb. Lenin's widow had brought us the letter. Stalin read it aloud to us. As he did so, nobody made a sound. When it came to speak of Trotsky, the letter […] said: 'His un-Bolshevik past is not an accident.' All at once Trotsky interrupted the reading and asked: 'What was that?' The sentence was repeated. These were the only words that were spoken during that solemn hour” (Ludwig 364)."
The opportunism of Trotsky and his followers knows no bounds. After his exile, Trotsky began to immediately lay the ground for a century of equating Hitler and Stalin with pronunciations such as: “…the Soviet bureaucracy is similar to every other bureaucracy, especially the fascist” (Trotsky The Revolution Betrayed). But even though it was Trotsky himself who was advocating the destruction if the USSR and championing the colonization of all of Europe by Hitler, to his last breath he claimed that co-called “Stalinism,” a slandering term invented by Trotsky for Marxism-Leninism, the very ideology he claimed to be upholding, was actually complicit with fascism: “Fascism is winning victory after victory and its best ally, the one that is clearing its path throughout the world, is Stalinism” (Trotsky L'appareil, 238).
There is a wide range of evidence that Trotsky and his followers collaborated with fascism and foreign intelligence services for political gain. It would be naive to dismiss the countless examples that show Trotskyites collaborating with rightists. In recent years, much information has come out on the role Trotskyism has played internationally, from their work with the Japanese occupiers in committing acts of espionage against the Chinese Revolution to Trotsky himself working as an FBI informant. The journal Revolutionary Democracy quotes a Professor William Chase about Trotsky’s dealings with the FBI: “By providing the US Consulate with information about common enemies, be they Mexican or American communists or Soviet agents, Trotsky hoped to prove his value to a government that had no desire to grant him a visa” (“Revolutionary Democracy”).
Later, Trotsky accepted an invitation to appear in front of the infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities, a United States government group of witch-hunters linked with fascist figures and Senator Joe McCarthy. He never appeared only because he was denied a visa.
Trotskyites and anti-communists have denied the bloc against the Soviet Union existed and maintain it was merely a ploy for power on Stalin’s part, an excuse to liquidate his political enemies. However, such a bloc in the leadership did exist, which has been proven by the archives of Trotsky’s own correspondence. Scholar J. Arch Getty noted in his book:
“It is clear, then, that Trotsky did have a clandestine organization inside the USSR in this period and that he maintained communication with it. It is equally clear that a united oppositional bloc was formed in 1932. [….] There is also reason to believe that after the decapitation of the bloc through the removal of Zinoviev, Kamenev, Smirnov, and others the organization comprised mainly lower-level less prominent oppositionists: followers of Zinoviev, with whom Trotsky attempted to maintain direct contact” (Getty 121)."
Although Trotsky later denied that he had any communications with former followers in the USSR since his exile in 1929, it is clear that he did. In the first three months of 1932 he sent secret letters to former oppositionists Radek, Sokolnikov, Preobrazhenskii, and others. Although the contents of these letters are unknown, it seems reasonable to believe that they involved an attempt to persuade the addresees to return to opposition.
Trotskyism as an ideology infiltrates the ranks of the working class movement as a willing agent of the ruling class. It is used to the advantage of the enemies of the proletariat as much this day as it was in the past. Trotskyites today still support the same political program as the bourgeoisie. Trotskyites are in fact bourgeois politicians and work for the imperialists—still, they find themselves unable to team up with anyone in America or whichever country they inhabit, so they choose to act like communists and claim the crown of communism.
The Trotskyite stances on the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for example, are identical to those of the American government and right-wing reaction. Right-wingers, from the Tea Party Protestors to John McCain, support the “mass uprisings” in Iran, and so do Trotskyites. Right-wingers despise the Jucheist state of the DPRK, and that's right, so do the Trotskyites. Right-wingers think Stalin was a bloodthirsty dictator and yes, so do the Trotskyites. Two articles by the Trotskyite sect Solidarity should demonstrate this. An article on their website, supposedly on the US imperialist occupation of South Korea and the puppet government there, spends over half the article smearing the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea in the north: “A longer-term result of the Soviet collapse has been the removal of the obstacle of Stalinism” (Sheppard).
Everyone who studies their political line knows no Trotskyist article is ever written without attacking “Stalinism” and the bourgeoisie equally. Here, they express a love for the counterrevolutionary lines of Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Gorbachev and Yeltsin, by saying that the liquidation of socialism in the USSR led to the “removal of an obstacle” for the Trotskyist movement in Korea. In other words, the restoration of capitalism was a good thing. The article, which again is supposedly on the political situation in South Korea, goes on to hail the DPRK as “the worst of Stalinists”
Trotskyism does the work of the bourgeoisie for them and gives them a tool with which to undermine the workers movement, to inspire defeatism and to advance its agenda of crippling workers’ power the world over. Just as Marxist-Leninists rejected the opportunism of the Second International, workers the world over have rejected Trotskyism, seeing it as a vague and hollow theory, with no achievements to its name to back up its lofty rhetoric.
Basmanov, M. Contemporary Trotskyism: Its Anti-Revolutionary Nature. Progress Publishers, 1972. Print.
"Trotskyism Revisited." Revolutionary Democracy 3.2 (1997): n. pag. Web.
Sheppard, Barry. "Korea's New Revolutionaries." Solidarity-us.org. Aug. 2000. Solidarity, Web.
Lenin, V.I. “Disruption of Unity Under Cover of Outcries For Unity.” Collected Works. Vol. 20. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1972. 325-347. Print.
Getty, J. Arch. Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-1938. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985. 28-121. Print.
"Socialism" is a mode of production. It is distinct from capitalism.
There was no socialist state, and the possibility to achieve socialism in a single state in an epoch of economic interdependence is doubtful.
At most you could say that the USSR and the other states which followed in its lead were 'dictatorships of the proletariat', but the case for that isn't very convincing either.
Seeing the heated debate going on between Marxist-Leninist and Trotskyists, I thought that everyone here might appreciate a little distraction from their quarrels in the form of an upcoming holiday: Halloween!
I understand that Halloween is celebrated in a very capitalist manner, yet believe we can still celebrate it in accordance with the principles of socialism.
Any thoughts guys? Even if you disagree, could you at least argue with me long enough so as to preserve "leftist solidarity" and attract attention away from the ugly Trotsky vs. Stalin debate?