What distinguishes revolutionaries from Trotskyism?

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Pierre
What distinguishes revolutionaries from Trotskyism?
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: What distinguishes revolutionaries from Trotskyism?. The discussion was initiated by proper_propaganda.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

Pierre
I need an e-hug :(

A very close family member of mine has been a big whig in a Trotskyist organization for all of my life, and most of theirs.

Over the past few weeks, after attempting all my life to engage this person in political discussion, I was finally sucessful...However that sucess quickly turned sour.

Today we were talking about the Chick-Fil-A "LGBT solidarity" protests. It was my position that protesting bigots and bigotry (proletarian, petty bourgeois or otherwise) is not an activity which is exclusively proletarian or revolutionary. It was at this point four things happened; 1) I was accused of being sectarian, 2) I was accused of being an "ultra-left" (laughed at this one), 3) I was accused of not understanding the role of revolutionaries, and 4) I was accused of being on drugs.

After reading this article, I have some idea of how to respond. However, ever the chess player, I'm also anticipating my close family members "next move" in the discussion.  I don't know anything at all about the splits between ISO and the IST. And I've looked but I don't know where to find anything in regards to this issue from the communist left.

Is ISO really different from other Trotskyist organizations? Or are the differences only superficial, in the same way the article suggests most Trotskyist organizations have "changed their tone" after ~1974?

Pierre
Yes, very good points there.

Yes, very good points there. I of course don't view these kinds of debates about issues of the working class as a contest. The chess analogy was a bad one maybe, but I only intended to illustrate the tactfulness and calculation that has been involved in each of our exchanges (even if emotions have somewhat become involved). This person close to me is very knowledgable, in some respects more so than me. And as you pointed out it can be hard to convince someone so clever and well-read.

Thanks for the kind words! Is this the same MH who wrote the reply to the CWO pamphlet? Good work! I wonder, did you ever hear back from the CWO after your reply?

Pierre
I know that SchalkenDN and

I know that SchalkenDN and maybe others were interested in hearing specific points from this debate. Here are some selected quotations. I wonder, how would some of you other "ultra-lefts" (lol) directly reply to this stuff? What would you say?

"no one is begging or asking - we are demanding"

"diasagree that reforms are impossible -- the system is flooded with cash, money, resources robbed from the working class"

"revolution is a process not a lightswitch you turn on"

"there is no formula for...judging which conversations can lead to positive developments"

"no matter how bureaucratic and sclerotic unions are...the basis for other forms of struggle"

"people are not born revolutionaries, they learn in struggle -- and we have to be there alongside them to draw out those lessons, and drawing out the radical conclusions, not standing on the sidelines denouncing them for not yet having 100% pure revolutionary consciousness...."

And finally, here is the Duncan Hallas piece he keeps sending me. I'm considering writing a refutation or response or whatever.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/hallas/works/1973/01/reform.htm

Cheers

- Jamal

jk1921
Responses

proper_propaganda wrote:

I know that SchalkenDN and maybe others were interested in hearing specific points from this debate. Here are some selected quotations. I wonder, how would some of you other "ultra-lefts" (lol) directly reply to this stuff? What would you say?

"no one is begging or asking - we are demanding"

OK, and what has the working class gotten as a result of that over the last 40 years? Really last one hundred years, but last 40 years is more obvious.

"diasagree that reforms are impossible -- the system is flooded with cash, money, resources robbed from the working class"

I think this misunderstands the left communist position on reforms. Its not that certain "reforms" aren't still possible. Its that lasting qualitative reforms that act as a force of development adn transformation for both the working class and the captialist system as a whole are no longer possbile.

"revolution is a process not a lightswitch you turn on"

True.

"there is no formula for...judging which conversations can lead to positive developments"

That's true also.

"no matter how bureaucratic and sclerotic unions are...the basis for other forms of struggle"

I think this is a concretiziation of the feeling that as corrupt and terrible as the unions are (hell, even if they are part of the state) at least in unions workers still feel themselves to be workers in some way. Its the idea that the unions are the last bastion of working class identity. I could be wrong, but I think this sentiment is an overeaction to American conditions.

"people are not born revolutionaries, they learn in struggle -- and we have to be there alongside them to draw out those lessons, and drawing out the radical conclusions, not standing on the sidelines denouncing them for not yet having 100% pure revolutionary consciousness...."

Hmm, this one sounds like a straw-man critique of the caricature of left-communism Lenin developed in "A Infantile Disorder." It might be the only thing this person has ever read on "left-communism." This position is more descriptive of council communism, but even then it isn't totally accurate. The charge just lacks historical veracity.

And finally, here is the Duncan Hallas piece he keeps sending me. I'm considering writing a refutation or response or whatever.

Good luck with that. Hallas is one of the patron saints of the SWP/ISO brand of Trotskyism; he won't fall easily in this person's eyes. But if you really have the desire and time to write it, it would be interesting to see what you come up with.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/hallas/works/1973/01/reform.htm

Cheers

- Jamal

Pierre
Thanks for that response JK.

Thanks for that response JK. If I wrote something about in reply to the Hallas piece--- would it be a waste of time? Or a misallocation at least? Just seems kinda selfish, especially considering the situation right now

jk1921
P_P, anything that helps you

P_P, anything that helps you clarify your thoughts on the issue is certainly useful, but I'd be realistic about what such an effort could accomplish in changing your relative's mind on these issues.

Alf
reforms, reformism, etc

I think the ICC needs to do a lot of work explaining its views on reforms, reformism, etc, which are widely misunderstood, and a collective discussion about it would be very useful. Perhaps we could start a new hread about this - maybe start by offering your thoughts on the Hallas article then others can contribute to the overall outcome

Pierre
JK and Alf, I've taken you

JK and Alf, I've taken you alls advice and started an article. Its turning out quite well. I have one major question though.

Can anyone help clarify for me Trotsky's own position on capitalisms decay? He seems to have said at some point that "capitalism was in its death agony." Yet, the background material from Trotskyists like IS/SWP seem quite openly to disagree with Trotsky here.

This confuses me...

Peter Pan
There is also an interesting

There is also an interesting booklet by the bordiguists on trotskyism. Could be usefull for understanding trotskyism better. Unfortunately, I think it only exists in french. And I wonder if it isn't more about Trotsky and his "specific" theories in his time, and not about the trotskyist current after him.

https://www.sinistra.net/lib/bas/progco/qioi/qioinpibef.html