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Trotsky and Trotskyism
How Trotskyism was integrated into the left of capital
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The fundamental question that has arisen is how, from one of the main creators of the glorious October Revolution, from the famous orator of the Communist Revolution and from one of the heroes of the Civil War, a counter-revolutionary and anti-communist ideology called Trotskyism was formed. The bitter truth is that Trotsky himself was the original architect of Trotskyism, and integration of Trotskyism into the left of capital began during Trotsky’s lifetime and was completed irreversibly during World War II. It should be noted, however, that Trotsky died as a revolutionary, despite all the mistakes and confusion at the time of his death.
Therefore, Trotsky and Trotskyism belong in two different camps. If Trotsky had not been assassinated, he might have distanced himself from Trotskyism. We have seen that Natalia Trotsky distanced herself from the Trotskyists and did not want to be known for the counter-revolutionary actions of the Trotskyists.
Trotsky, as chairman of the Petrograd Workers’ Councils, played a key role in councils in both 1905 and 1917. It is safe to say that after Lenin, Trotsky was the most important figure in the glorious October Revolution. Nevertheless, although Stalinism was the gravedigger of the October proletarian revolution, Trotsky was instrumental in implementation of the most brutal anti-labour policies, such as the militarization of labour, crushing of the Petrograd strike movement, the Kronstadt uprising, and so on, until he emerged as the opposition in 1923. For a long time, Trotsky was silent in the face of the counter-revolutionary rise, appeasement with power and Stalinism.
Referring to his successes in the Civil War, Trotsky stressed that these experiences could be used on the labour front as well, and that “militarization of labour” for the entire working class could be developed and applied to the reconstruction of Russia. Following the inefficiency of war communism, of which Trotsky was one of the main founders, Trotsky became a staunch supporter of the new economic policy (NEP). He played a major role in approving the ban on factionalism and was a key figure in approving the “United Front” tactic.
Trotsky could not understand the changes in capitalism and consequently could not understand the decline of capitalism. He failed to understand that the form of organization of the working class is determined not by the working class but by growth and development of capitalism. In the growing age of capitalism, trade unions were workers’ organizations, but as capitalism entered its age of decline, trade unions merged into the capitalist state.
Some of Trotsky’s supporters, including Mandel, have argued that Trotsky had a correct Marxist understanding of the transition period (dictatorship of the proletariat), socialism and communism. By referring to Trotsky himself, we have shown that the Trotskyists’ claim is not true and that Trotsky has been confused in this regard.
The Trotskyists claim that Trotsky was a serious critic of the anti-Marxist thesis of “socialism in one country” and fought against it throughout his life. But this is not true, and Trotsky not only has ambiguities in this regard but also occasionally loses his Marxist horizon and appears in the role of defender of “socialism in one country”.
We have shown that Trotsky abandoned the idea of workers’ councils as a proletarian power, in favour of party dictatorship, and he strongly advocated substitutionism, that is, party dictatorship instead of working-class dictatorship. The fact is that party dictatorship is an unconscious privilege of parliamentarism.
During Lenin’s struggle against the dangers of the revolution, Trotsky did not stand by Lenin, and he remained silent and practically appeased the ruling power and Stalin. Trotsky not only obeyed Stalin but also promoted a culture of obedience and appeasement.
For Trotsky, nationalization was tantamount to socialization, so for him, the main task of socialism was not abolition of wage labour but expropriation of the bourgeoisie. It was in this context that, for Trotsky, private property in the hands of private capitalists was characteristic of capitalism, and state ownership was characteristic of socialism. Trotsky was unable to recognize that the bureaucracy he was talking about was a new ruling class with the means of production and, collectively, appropriation of the surplus value of exploitation of the working class. The resulting surplus value was to be divided among the members of the ruling class, the bureaucracy. The whole process was done collectively.
Trotsky saw the basis of Stalinism as the workers’ state. Trotsky considered the gravedigger of the October proletarian revolution, Stalinism, proletarian. The counter-revolutionary, who celebrated his victory over the ruins of the glorious October Revolution, became a stronghold of the counter-revolution and the greatest obstacle to advancement of proletarian positions.
For years, the main focus of the Trotskyist struggle was reform of the international communist, in other words, the struggle and attempts to resurrect the stinking corpse. But the aim of the Communist Left was not to revive the stinking corpse; rather, to form a faction, defend the proletarian and communist positions and fight against the Comintern, which had now become the centre of the counter-revolution.
Until 1934, there was some connection between Trotsky and Trotskyism with the Communist Left, but in that year, the rift and break were finalized. The Communist Left had come to the conclusion that following the merger of the Comintern with the capital camp in 1928, along with the temporary defeat of the proletariat and being defensive of the class struggle, a new party could not be formed on the basis of the proletariat agenda. Because party formation is not voluntary but the product of certain conditions of class struggle, in which existing organizations and groups are unable to meet the need for class struggle, the formation of a world party is going to be on the agenda. The Communist Left stated that what was needed was formation of communist factions, to defend proletarian positions and programmes so that they could form a new party when the conditions for a global class struggle demanded it.
If we look beyond some of the radical rhetoric from the Transitional Programme, the Fourth International Programme (the same minimum programme of the Social Democrats or the Stalinists) can be seen to emerge – the proposal of the National Assembly, the Constituent Assembly, national freedom, land reform, and so on. The transition programme states that workers must be equipped with a democratic programme as the first step. Why did the Bolsheviks, led by Trotsky himself, oppose the Constituent Assembly in Russia in 1917 and believe that all power should be in the hands of the Soviets? Trotsky’s transition programme reflects Trotsky’s departure from Marxism and his return to social democracy.
Trotsky called on the international proletariat to be cannon fodder in defence of the Soviet Union. For five years, the Trotskyists called on workers in all countries to massacre one another in the imperialist war, in World War II and in defence of the Soviet Union. The Trotskyists became good soldiers for bourgeois democracy and Stalinist counter-revolution and turned workers into cannon fodder in imperialist slaughter. As the Trotskyists became soldiers of the bourgeoisie during World War II, the Trotskyists were irreversibly integrated into the bourgeois camp.
The Trotskyists declared that the post-World War II era had changed the prospects of the labour movement; in other words, that the working class was no longer the material force of the social revolution. In the new age, colonial revolutions that would take the form of permanent revolutions would be part of the world revolution. In other words, the material force of the world revolution would not be the working class but the partisans of the colonial revolution.
In the age of imperialist decline, in the age of imperialism, all wars are reactionary; all wars are imperialist, and only social revolution is progressive. The fundamental question that arises is what was the position and orientation of the Trotskyists in the face of the imperialist wars? The Trotskyists, without exception, under the banners of “defending the revolution”, “defending democracy”, “fighting fascism”, “national liberation”, “liberation war” and “the right to self-determination”, etc., in all imperialist wars, have slaughtered workers, treated workers as cannon fodder and dragged the workers to imperialist slaughter.
Treating workers as cannon fodder in imperialist conflicts lies in the genetics of the Trotskyists, in their very DNA. There has never been an imperialist war in which the Trotskyists have not led the workers into imperialist slaughter. Workers’ blood drips from the hands of the Trotskyists.
Today, Trotskyism, after hundreds of splits, has collapsed into sects with conflicting beliefs and positions. These groups are the political apparatus of the left of capital. They are working, not for the emancipation of the working class, but for state capitalism.
Natalia Trotsky, Trotsky’s widow, was one of the Trotskyists who refused to join in with the reactionary and bourgeois actions of the Trotskyists and to be known or considered a Trotskyist in the continuation of Trotskyist counter-revolutionary policies. However, she failed to critique Trotskyism itself, the root cause of the Trotskyist counter-revolutionary positions.
The process of this study showed that the true heirs of communism – the Communist Left (although in absolute isolation and in the most difficult conditions and despite weaknesses and ambiguities in all social events) – were loyal to proletarian positions, presented proletarian horizons, tried to enrich Marxism and have become an important part of the historical memory of the proletariat. Therefore, the Communist Left will be the only possible alternative in the future world revolution.
Table of Contents:
- Trotsky and the Revolution of 1905
- Trotsky in Zimmerwald
- Trotsky and His Role in the October Revolution
- Trotsky and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
- Trotsky and the Treaty of Rapallo
- Trotsky and the Civil War
- Trotsky and War Communism
- Trotsky and the New Economic Policy
- Trotsky and the World Revolution
- Trotsky and the Transition Period
- Trotsky and the Thesis of Socialism in One Country
- Trotsky and Substitutionism
- Trotsky and the Decline of Capitalism
- Lenin’s struggle Against Bureaucracy
- Trotsky and Appeasement with Power
- Trotsky and the Platform 46 People
- Trotsky and the Communist Left
- Trotsky and the Workers’ Opposition
- Trotsky and the Kronstadt Tragedy
- Trotsky and the United Front
- Trotsky and the Last Resistance of the Opposition
- The Break Between Trotsky and the Communist Left
- Trotsky and the Nature of the Soviet Union
- Trotsky and the Political Revolution
- Trotsky and Entrism
- Trotsky and the Rise of Nazism
- Trotskyism and the Events in Spain
- Trotsky and the Formation of the Fourth International
- Trotskyism and the Transitional Program
- Trotskyism and World War II
- Trotskyism and the Concept of Imperialism
- Trotskyism and the Material Force of the Socialist Revolution
- Trotskyism and the Crisis in the Counter-Revolutionary Camp
- Trotskyism and the Imperialist Wars
- Trotskyism and the Trotskyists
- Trotskyism in Iran
- Summary and the Last Word