Most of this article, except for the third section, was written several years ago. Therefore, many examples of WWP's activities are from that time. However, there has been no essential change in the character of their activities since then, so the conclusions on WWP's reformist nature still hold equally well today.
By Jim Rosenbaum
The Workers World Party (WWP) is a non-revolutionary, non-Leninist party. Like the CP, it talks in vague, utopian terms about "socialism." But it portrays this as the consequence of the "fightback." What this means in reality is that it sees socialism as a result of the struggle for reforms, instead of reforms as a by-product of the revolutionary struggle for socialism.
Recently, WWP has given some mention of the "dictatorship of the proletariat." We think that this is not a coincidence, but is a response to exposure of them for totally ignoring this essential point of Marxism. If in addition this reflects pressure on them from members and supporters who are genuinely inclined towards socialist revolution, then this is a good thing.
But let no one be misled into believing that these feints towards Marxism-Leninism reflect a real change in outlook. WWP has generally confined their comments on the dictatorship of the proletariat and the smashing of the bourgeois state to other countries or to general references.
In their issue of 2/17/94, Worker's World had an article entitled: "Bourgeois state must be smashed." It is a review of a pamphlet on South Africa. It even contains some correct general points: "Nowhere has a successful socialist revolution been realized without the total intervention of the masses smashing the old state of the oppressive ruling class and setting up their own state to defend and help consolidate a working-class democracy where the means of production are collectively owned and not based on private property.
"This is the first step to building a true socialist society where racism, poverty and exploitation are wiped out through a continuous process." This statement has some weaknesses, in particular that it ignores the dictatorial functions of the new workers' state in repressing the overthrown capitalists. But even such analysis is never applied to the need for a socialist revolution in the United States.
On 5/4/94, Workers World chair Sam Marcy made a statement to a seminar of international groups in Brussels, Belgium, on the collapse of the USSR. He mentioned: "The inevitability of the dictatorship of the proletariat on a world scale remains valid, despite the defeat in the USSR....
"Should we return to Marx's concept of the class struggle as outlined in the Communist Manifesto? That would also entail and fortify an understanding of the dictatorship of the proletariat as the rule of the workers and oppressed masses."(1)
But these words about the dictatorship of the proletariat and revolutionary class struggle are just phrases to try to appear as orthodox Marxist-Leninists. Marcy in reality has something entirely different in mind. Further on, he calls for "the broadest united front of revolutionary communist groupings, as long as they adhere to the spirit of revolutionary class struggle as generally promoted by Lenin in his writings on admission to the Communist International." Those who are familiar with Workers World's practice and theory should recognize what Marcy really means by "revolutionary class struggle." It is not what was actually promoted by Lenin as steps leading up to the armed revolution to smash the bourgeois state machine and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is rather something quite different, Workers World's favorite theme, the "fightback," whose significance we analyze below.
Why do we say that their references to the dictatorship of the proletariat are a fraud? Because they never apply them to the U.S., as the instrument of the socialist revolution here. And we have not given WWP's weakest references to the dictatorship of the proletariat, but almost all that we could find.
If Workers World was serious about the need for a socialist revolution in the United States, they would put some effort into explaining what is needed to bring this about. How do they see the transfer of power to the working class and the establishment of socialism taking place. Generally, a party that claims to base itself on Marxism-Leninism puts forward its views on these questions in the form of a program. (WWP, which has existed for some 38 years, has certainly had time to do this.) But not only does WWP have no program, it has not even issued any programmatic statements on how the socialist revolution is to be carried out. In this sense the CPUSA is more forthright than WWP - the CPUSA openly repudiates the dictatorship of the proletariat. WWP, on the other hand, repudiates it by its silence.
We are, of course, not talking about a prediction of specific conditions under which a socialist revolution will break out in the U.S. This is something no one can foretell, just as Lenin could not predict beforehand that the socialist revolution in Russia would break out during the first imperialist world war. We are talking simply about what is meant by socialist revolution, what form it must take.
WWP similarly makes no attempt to expose the U.S. state as a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, which the capitalists and their supporters call a "democracy for all." We will give just one example here of WWP's continual evasion of the U.S. as a bourgeois dictatorship. In October of 1993, WWP initiated a rally against Yeltsin after his attack on the Russian Parliament. One speaker criticized Clinton for calling Yeltsin a "democrat," and said that we know what the U.S. rulers mean by "democracy." Was this speaker now going to expose the United States as a democracy for the rich only and a dictatorship over the workers and oppressed? No such thing! The speaker went on to give as an example of the phony nature of U.S.-imposed "democracy" - in Somalia!
Nowhere in WWP's agitation and propaganda will you find a single clear statement exposing democracy in the United States as a dictatorship of the capitalist class, or an explanation of the need to prepare the working class to overthrow it, to smash the bourgeois state machine. Thus all their passing references to the dictatorship of the proletariat are just window dressing. We again warn those genuinely in favor of socialist revolution not to be fooled by this.
WWP Equates Socialist Revolution to a Sum of Reforms
Let us examine WWP's concept of socialist revolution. As we said before, WWP has no program, and one can only search through its agitation and propaganda to find the few places where it lays out a goal of socialism and how it plans to achieve this.
The 11/25/93 issue of Workers World newspaper has an article entitled "WWP conference prepares for coming struggles," describing their 1993 party conference. The article is accompanied by a picture showing a large banner over the stage, which reads "Only Socialist Revolution Can End the Capitalist Crisis of Unemployment, Racism & War!" Fine! One would think that the conference must have discussed the inevitability of these evils under capitalism, the need for socialist revolution and how to prepare for it.
But there was nothing of this sort! According to the article: "The conference indicated the party would intensify international solidarity work especially with socialist Cuba and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. WWP would extend its fight for jobs, for workers' rights and living standard, for health care and against racism, sexism and lesbian/gay oppression at home. And it would continue its internal education to strengthen its membership to combat the ruling class's ideological offensive."
Nowhere is there any connection made between these struggles and the socialist revolution. This is not just the fault of the writer of the article, for WWP never makes such a connection. This is because WWP equates socialism with the fight for reforms. It sees itself as a "party of the fightback," that is (regardless of how individual members may see it), as a party that solely fights for some reforms within the bourgeois order, as if these in themselves would lead to the socialist revolution.
A further example of how WWP degrades socialism to a sum of reforms can be seen from their flyer, "Workers World Party's Proud History of Struggle." A flyer like this shows how they see their past and their tasks for the future. It lays out the reform struggles that WWP has been involved in. It discusses the fight for "community control," the defense of the "socialist camp," and its "support" for anti-imperialist struggles abroad and for "self-determination" of the oppressed within the U.S. It concludes with the statement that they have fought for all sorts of reforms, and that "If you want to fight against capitalism and all its attendant evils, if you believe that people can create a rational, humane society based on meeting people's needs and not on amassing super-profits - if you want to fight for socialism - then Workers World Party is for you!"
We would stray from the main points of this article to examine the content of WWP's "support" for these struggles. We can only note here that it is the task of a party that wants to be a genuine vanguard of the multi-national working class, not merely to "support" the struggles of the working class and the oppressed nations, but to lead them along the path of revolution and socialism. Lenin pointed out, noting that all the opportunists at that time (during World War I) called themselves internationalists: "There is one, and only one, kind of real internationalism, and that is - working whole-heartedly for the development of the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle in one's own country, and supporting (by propaganda, sympathy, and material aid) this struggle, this and only this, line, in every country without exception."(2) Supporting these struggles without using them as part of the main task, to organize the working class and its allies for revolution, is still confining the struggle to one for reforms.
Confining these struggles to reforms within the capitalist order is precisely what WWP does. It does not point out, as genuine Marxist-Leninists must, that all these struggles are directed against a common enemy, the U.S. monopoly capitalist class. It does not use them to organize the working class and the oppressed nationalities, to prepare them for the task of overthrowing the dictatorship of the capitalists as the first step of a socialist revolution. No, it shows in practice that it believes the fight for socialism develops spontaneously from these fights for reforms, and thus sees socialism as a sum of struggles for reforms.
Lenin made clear that in the agitation and propaganda of a genuine Marxist party, one had to clearly point out the primary task of overthrowing the reactionary government. Speaking of one of the main opportunist newspapers of that time, he pointed out "that the Rabocheye Dyelo considered that it was impossible to set the overthrow of the autocracy as the first task of the mass working-class movement, and that it degraded this task (in the interests of the mass movement) to that of a struggle for immediate political demands,"(3) what our opportunists of today call the "fightback." On the contrary, we must show through concrete political exposures that the essence of the U.S. government today is a dictatorship of the rich, which must be overthrown. We live in a country where the democratic revolution occurred over 200 years ago, and the bourgeoisie has since been trying to pass off its dictatorship as "democracy for all." No serious socialist movement can make any ideological advances among the advanced workers without exposing through concrete facts that this "democracy for all" is really a democracy for the rich only, that the so-called "freedoms" are freedoms for the rich, that the state power is a dictatorship of the rich.
WWP and the Democratic Party
WWP is not able to make a clear break with the Democratic Party, which is one of the twin parties of monopoly capitalism. Though they do not follow the CPUSA's practice of supporting all Democratic Party candidates, they do support the more liberal ones. In an article on the U.S. elections on 7/2/92, Workers World spoke of 50-75 representatives as being "progressive" or "not quite as progressive." They supported Jesse Jackson's candidacies for President in the Democratic primaries in 1984 and 1988. They supported David Dinkins for Mayor of New York City in 1989 and in his unsuccessful campaign for re-election in 1993. Even after Dinkins had clearly showed himself to be an ordinary capitalist politician, Workers World still claimed that they were right to support him, although they knew he was a bourgeois. They stated: "The election of David Dinkins as the first African American mayor of the city of New York was a very important progressive victory for the working class and especially the oppressed people in this city in the struggle for bourgeois democratic rights" (Liberation and Marxism, #11, p.5).
But Dinkins continued to pursue the policies of the monopoly capitalist class in their attacks on the working class. He presided over continued and even increased police terror, attacks on homeless people, layoffs of municipal workers, etc. All these measures especially affect Black and Latin workers. Thus as Mayor, Dinkins did nothing to lessen the oppression of African-Americans and other oppressed people in New York City.
This support of liberal Democrats by the opportunists, no matter how much it is hedged with "criticism," aids the deception of the masses of people by the Democratic Party and the monopoly capitalists that this party can somehow serve the working class. Thus Workers World and the others give ideological support to these candidates of the monopolists. The only way to really begin to break the masses away from the Democratic Party is by running our own candidates on a genuinely revolutionary socialist platform.
This support for capitalist candidates is in total opposition to a genuinely socialist line. Stalin clearly exposed the similar opportunist position of the Mensheviks in tsarist Russia, in relation to the bourgeois liberal Cadet party. He said of the Mensheviks "They wrote: we are supporting only the 'progressive steps' of the Cadets, but not the Cadets themselves. Commenting on this we said that it was amusing sophistry, since the Mensheviks voted for the Cadet candidates to the Duma and not only for their 'steps'; they helped to get into the Duma Cadets as such and not only their 'steps;'... Apparently it does not occur to them that any support that Social-Democracy lends a party creates a reputation for that party!" (Muddle..., 1907, in Stalin's Collected Works, Vol. 2, p. 36-37.) The Cadets were in "opposition" to the Black Hundreds, the party of extreme tsarist reaction, which carried out pogroms against Jews and other oppressed peoples in tsarist Russia. But this did not lead the Bolsheviks to support the Cadets "against" the Black Hundreds. Similarly, the intense racism and chauvinism in the U.S. is no reason to support liberal candidates "against" the extreme reactionaries here. Such support undermines the attempts to build the working class into a class-for-itself.
In their work of "international solidarity" WWP constantly relies on Democratic Party politicians. It has taken over the role played by the CP and the Socialist Workers Party (at that time a leading Trotskyite group) in the anti-Vietnam war movement of the 1960s. That is to build a "broad-based movement" under the leadership of the liberal bourgeoisie and reformist petty bourgeoisie. While the CP and the SWP in the 1960s kept the movement under the ordinary Democratic Party politicians, WWP keeps the present day movement under liberal bourgeois politicians like Ramsey Clark. (For those who do not remember, Clark was U.S. Attorney General under Lyndon Johnson, who carried on the war against the Vietnamese people and the crackdown against Black revolutionaries such as the Black Panther Party and others. Clark clearly played a major role in these campaigns. He also figured directly in the efforts to crush the urban insurrections during the 1960s, at one point advising the state governors to call on him if they needed federal troops in their efforts of suppression of the masses. Both he and WWP remain silent about these facts.) WWP has promoted Clark as the leading figure in the fight against the U.S. takeover of Panama in 1989, the war of aggression against Iraq in 1991, in the investigation of the uprising in Chiapas in 1994, etc.
WWP makes similar alliances with Democratic Party politicians on ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba. They uncritically support Rep. Charles Rangel's bill on the embargo, and he was invited to speak at a mass rally in New York City endorsed by WWP, without even noting that Rangel's stated reason for "opposing" the embargo is that he believes it helps Castro. (A revealing article on the views of such liberals was printed it the New York Times on 2/20/94. Entitled "New Calls To Lift Embargo On Cuba," it stated that "these voices are telling the Administration that the best way to undermine Fidel Castro is to increase Western involvement in Cuba. In their view, that means easing or ending the embargo. Supporters of such a move, like the Miami-based Cuban Committee for Democracy and Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of Manhattan, assert that the 32-year-old embargo has failed to achieve its goal of forcing out Mr. Castro or getting him to embrace democracy. Worse, they say, the embargo has hurt the well-being of average Cubans and given Mr. Castro a convenient explanation for why Cuba's economy is in such a sorry state. Representative Rangel, whose bill to end the embargo has 25 co-sponsors, said: 'I have talked with Cuban business people and they tell me, "The embargo is helping Castro." They say, "The Cuban people believe it's the embargo, not Castro, that's causing all their pain."'")
"Money for Jobs..."
WWP's main agitational slogans are "Money for Jobs" (or for Housing, Education, etc.). Although these slogans have a certain militant sound to it, in essence they are fights for certain reforms under capitalism. Workers World refuses to tie these demands to the organization and preparation of the working class for the overthrow of the capitalist order.
These slogans are ones that tail the spontaneous movement. Workers know that they must struggle for any reform that will lead to an improvement of their conditions under capitalism. But what they do not yet know is how these fights are linked to the fight for socialist revolution. Lenin pointed out: "The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc."(4) This is precisely WWP's concept of the "fightback." But Lenin further explains that "the spontaneous development of the working-class movement leads to its becoming subordinated to the bourgeois ideology,... for the spontaneous working-class movement is trade-unionism,... and trade unionism means the ideological enslavement of the workers by the bourgeoisie. Hence our task, the task of Social-Democracy, is to combat spontaneity, to divert the working-class movement from this spontaneous, trade-unionist striving to come under the wing of the bourgeoisie, and to bring it under the wing of revolutionary Social-Democracy."(5) (All Marxists at that time called themselves Social-Democrats, until the complete split with the opportunists and social-chauvinists during World War I and the October Socialist Revolution in Russia, when the revolutionary socialists changed their names to Communist Parties and formed the Third, Communist, International.)
But WWP keeps the workers ideologically enslaved to the bourgeoisie. Take, for example, the "Push Rudy Back" rally in April of 1994 in New York City that WWP endorsed. In the first place, even the call for the rally was a vulgarization typical of the opportunists, who confuse the masses into believing that they are faced with Giuliani's offensive, instead of a capitalist offensive. It is similar to the CP's talk for years about "Reagan/Bush reaction," instead of capitalist reaction.
This rally was attended by hundreds of militant workers, who understood the need to fight the current wave of attacks against the workers, but who mostly knew nothing of socialism. And they learned nothing of socialism from the rally either. WWP did nothing to bring these workers "under the wing of revolutionary Social-Democracy." They left them ideologically and organizationally enslaved to the bourgeoisie and its agents.
The rally was in essence an alliance between WWP and the liberal Democratic Party politicians, representatives of the capitalist class, as well as their allies among the trade union bureaucrats. Both Representative Major Owens from Brooklyn and City Council member Tom Duane from Manhattan spoke. Several members of WWP addressed the rally, mostly as representatives of mass organizations such as the "Job is a Right Campaign." They did nothing to break the workers away from bourgeois ideology in even the mildest way, and just praised the militancy of the movement. One member exclaimed: "It looks like a movement to me. It looks like fightback time!" Only towards the end of the rally, when most of the workers had already left, did one member actually speak as a representative of Workers World. And she too did nothing to develop the socialist consciousness of whatever workers remained, simply calling for increased organization in every workplace and community. This rally was typical of WWP's agitation and propaganda. They thus abandon all tasks of developing revolutionary consciousness, help to build the influence of Democratic Party liberals among the workers and leave them tied to bourgeois ideology.
In consequence of its outlook, Workers World and the mass organizations it supports focus on certain militant-sounding trade union demands. But the way they carry out this agitation is most harmful to the consciousness of the working class. Workers are currently facing increased lay-offs and attacks on their living conditions. This is occurring despite the proclaimed "end" of the depression by the capitalists, who are increasing production with less labor power due to increased technological improvements. The workers need to increase their struggle and unity as a class against the capitalists to fight against these attacks. But these opportunists refuse to organize these struggles as part of the preparation for revolution.
Instead, the "Job is a Right Campaign," which WWP endorses, issued a public leaflet addressed to "Dear President Clinton," calling on him to create jobs. It included such advice as the following:
"An Executive Order Halting Layoffs Would Be a Serious Start
"The only way to ensure jobs is to enact strong measures to control the corporations for the good of society. Last week a judge ordered GM to keep its Willow Run plant open because GM received tax abatements from the town of Ypsilanti based on continued operation. Communities and workers have property rights in these jobs that supersede corporate decisions. You have the authority and power to issue an Executive Order to Fortune 500 corporations ordering them to halt layoffs, recall and hire new workers." (Of course, under real-life capitalism, instead of the fantasy world of the opportunists, the workers have no rights that the corporations and their government are bound to respect. The only real "right" of the capitalists is to maximize their profits. Thus the local judge's order to GM to keep the plant open, which WWP hailed in their paper, was overturned on appeal shortly afterward.)
The way this demand is put forward is sheer utopianism, like the worst "economic reconstruction" proposals raised by the CP. The threat of unemployment is a key factor in the attacks of the capitalists against the workers. To halt layoffs even in a few large factories would necessitate actions such as mass sit-down strikes or even a general strike. Of course, one can force concessions from the capitalists, even in the form of executive orders, bills, etc. But this can not be done just by petitioning the government, but only by mass revolutionary action of the workers in the factories and the unions. One of the key practical tasks of a genuine communist party would be to organize such actions.
The way in which the demand is raised ignores the fact of who holds state power. It ignores the fact that, as Marx long ago pointed out, the state under capitalism is the board of directors of the capitalist class. The only way to actually stop layoffs is through a socialist revolution that will expropriate the capitalists. There is no such thing as capitalism without unemployment. Therefore, to end unemployment, we must fight to get rid of the capitalist system. But this is the key fact that the opportunists want to hide. They try to camouflage their reformist agitation with utopian demands, which can only confuse and demoralize the workers.
The opportunists refuse to link the economic struggle with the revolutionary political struggle, to point out, as Lenin did, that "the most essential, the 'decisive' interests of classes can be satisfied only by radical political changes in general. In particular the fundamental economic interests of the proletariat can be satisfied only by a political revolution that will replace the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie by the dictatorship of the proletariat."(6)
We have gone at some length into the character of the demands put forward by the opportunists. This has been necessary to expose the nature of these organizations. Lenin points out: "The 'economic struggle against the employers and the government' does not in the least require - and therefore such a struggle can never give rise to - an all-Russian centralized organization that will combine in one general onslaught, all and every manifestation of political opposition, protest and indignation, an organization that will consist of professional revolutionaries and be led by the real political leaders of the whole people. This is but natural. The character of any organization is naturally and inevitably determined by the content of its activities."(7)
In the U.S. today, if we are talking about an organization of the "fightback," for reforms within the bourgeois order, there is no need for a Marxist-Leninist party. An organization such as a Job is a Right Campaign or a Workers World Party will do. But if we are talking about an organization of socialist workers to overthrow the current bourgeois dictatorship and establish their own dictatorship over the bourgeoisie, then we need a genuine Marxist-Leninist party, "an organization of revolutionaries who are capable of guiding the whole proletarian struggle for emancipation."
1) Workers World, May 19, 1994.
2) The Tasks of the Proletariat in our Revolution (Draft Platform for the Proletarian Party) in Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 24, p. 75.
3) Lenin, What is to be Done?, Chapter II, Section C (Foreign Language Press, Peking, 1973), p. 36.
4) Ibid., Chapter II, Section A, p. 37.
5) Ibid., Chapter II, Section B, p. 49.
6) Ibid., Chapter II, Section C, p. 57, fn.
7) What is to be Done?, Chapter IV, p. 122.
These days, WWP tries to downplay its Trotskyite history and outlook. This serves it well particularly when it meets with parties and organizations internationally (such as the Cuban CP and the Korean Workers Party) which would not want to be associated with an openly Trotskyite organization. It also confuses many sincere supporters of socialism in the U.S. whose understanding of revolutionary theory is weak and who have not yet fully broken with revisionism. Let us look at WWP's history of Trotskyism and how it is still the base of their outlook today.
WWP was formed in 1959 after a split from the "official" Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party (SWP). At that time, WWP proudly proclaimed their Trotskyite stand. In a polemic they stated: "We are THE Trotskyists. We stand 100% with all the principled positions of Lenin and Trotsky, the most revolutionary communist since Lenin." (Workers World, May, 1959). Their editorial page masthead carried pictures of Trotsky and Lenin (see above), although these were already removed in 1961.
At that time they played the role of "militant Trotskyites," politically somewhat akin to that of the Spartacist League today. They repeated the typical Trotskyite views of the Soviet Union and other countries as "deformed workers' states." They made no difference in principle in their view of these countries during the time of Stalin when they were building socialism and during the time of Khrushchev when they were restoring capitalism. They thus continued the Trotskyite slanders against Stalin as a bureaucrat while coddling up to the revisionists with some mild criticism, saying they were "criticizing Stalinism from the left."
At the same time, WWP tried to appear as genuine Leninists, even occasionally quoting Lenin's statements on the need for a proletarian dictatorship. They criticized both their former comrades of the SWP and the CP "from the left," for capitulating to the pressures of the ruling class during the Cold War by eliminating any discussion of socialism.
In regard to the growing Black Liberation Movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s, WWP talked of the right to self-determination, although in an incomplete and unscientific way (they have never recognized the existence of an African-American Nation in the Black Belt South). They popularized revolutionary nationalist leaders such as Robert Williams and called for Civil Rights Defense Guards in the South. In a manner that would clearly embarrass them today, when they have become some of the loudest supporters of Martin Luther King's role, in their early days they criticized the "ineffective pacifist leadership of Martin Luther King" (Workers World, 9/20/59) and even had an article titled "The Turn-the-other Cheek Philosophy of the Reverend Martin Luther King" (Workers World, 12/18/59).
In regard to the Cuban revolution that had just come to power, they criticized Castro's leadership. Sam Marcy said: "Castro is a militant bourgeois nationalist. He wants to limit imperialist exploitation, not to overthrow it."(1)
WWP's revolutionary rhetoric at that time was an attempt to win over to the side of counter-revolutionary Trotskyism both people who were disgusted with the CP's opportunism as well as militant fighters from the Civil Rights and other mass movements. In particular, WWP tried to influence forces from the Provisional Organizing Committee (POC), which had recently broken with the CP's revisionism but vacillated on the question of Khrushchev's revisionism and his attacks on Stalin.
In contrast to this early period, WWP has adopted ever more openly revisionist views. Internationally, they dropped the Trotskyite nonsense of "deformed workers' states" and gave total support, until their complete downfall, to the revisionist countries which had abandoned socialism. Although they criticized Gorbachev's perestroika, they continued to consider the Soviet Union, and even Russia for the first few years of Yeltsin's regime, as socialist. Today they still consider China, which has become a neo-colony of the imperialists, to be socialist. On the other hand, they totally ignored genuine socialism in Albania under the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist Enver Hoxha, while they praised the revisionist leadership that seized power in Albania after Hoxha's death when these revisionists won a multi-party election in March of 1991.
However, WWP has never renounced its Trotskyite outlook. It continues to raise Trotskyite slanders of Stalin. It still puts works of Trotsky on its literature tables. Its downplaying of its Trotskyite outlook is part of its general downplaying of ideological matters, claiming that these are historical questions that are not important today.
The pamphlet by WWP's Chair Sam Marcy, "Soviet Socialism, Utopian or Scientific," repeats, in a barely disguised form, all the classic Trotskyite positions, in Marcy's usual rambling style. He repeats Trotsky's attack on building "socialism in one country," while trying to falsify this attack as Lenin's view. We deal with this question further in the next section of this article. Further on, Marcy repeats all the slanders of the Trotskyites, the revisionists and the open bourgeois against Stalin and his leadership in the period of socialist construction in the Soviet Union:
"Just as during the lengthy feudal period the bourgeoisie grew up in the crevices of feudal society, so in Soviet society the bourgeoisie accommodated itself to the workers' state and, after the death of Lenin, to the leaders. They fortified their position within the society, now and then offering a challenge of a minor character, until they had become strengthened and went from servility to domination.
"The few years of peace that began in the mid-1920s, a relatively stable period in the capitalist world, sowed illusions of incredible proportions in the USSR. The perspective on world revolution was abandoned in what seemed like an endless period of coexistence.
"The period of stability strengthened the hold of bureaucracy and led to endless repression of both left and right. This quenched much of the revolutionary idealism, not just in society in general but above all among the mass of communists who bore the brunt of indiscriminate repression.
"The rise of bureaucratism and the undemocratic crushing of party discussion and debate opened the door to bourgeois elements who were utterly indifferent to socialist ideology but willing to espouse it in order to ingratiate themselves. All this set in motion a train of developments that has finally led to the undoing of the party and the capture of the government and party apparatus by a social grouping hostile to communism. This inner corrosion was the Achilles heel, which from a subjective point of view strengthened the internal forces of capitalism and led to the great debacle." (Marcy's pamphlet, p. 17.)
And further: "It is necessary first to thoroughly examine the objective situation in order to understand the inner regression, the rise of bureaucratism, the erosion of revolutionary spirit, repression, the forced character of collectivization, the decimation of both right and left tendencies in the party." (Marcy's pamphlet, p. 20.)
Unfortunately we must quote all this counter-revolutionary garbage so that no one can deny WWP's Trotskyite stand. It is worth noting that the Trotskyites have always echoed the charges of the bourgeoisie about "forced collectivization," "indiscriminate repression," etc, charges which Khrushchev also trumpeted in his "secret" speech to the revisionist 20th Congress of the CPSU. These renegades, of both the Trotskyite and revisionist variety, have thus served as ideological supports for the bourgeoisie, furnishing it with weapons for its attacks on socialism.
We can not here go into a refutation of all these slanders. In the next section we deal briefly with the counter-revolutionary history of Trotskyism and refer interested readers to further material on this subject. But we hope that what we have included here is enough for any serious reader to see that WWP, while no longer proudly proclaiming its Trotskyite heritage, has never broken with it.
What is completely absent from Marcy's "historical" account of the developments leading up to Gorbachev's liquidation of even the pretense of socialism and the USSR itself is any mention of the role of Khrushchevite revisionism. Khrushchev's attack on Stalin and his leadership served as a launching pad for his complete theoretical and political repudiation of Marxism-Leninism. At the same notorious 20th Party Congress at which Khrushchev made his "secret" speech, he publicly put forward the path of "peaceful transition to socialism," and the line that the CPSU had become a "party of the whole people" and the USSR a "state of the whole people." This was the theoretical basis for the liquidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and all Eastern European countries except socialist Albania. This whole 30-year period of domination of the Soviet Union by Khrushchev and his followers, before the rise of Gorbachev, is completely missing from Marcy's account. This is because, as we have seen, WWP is the ideological kin of Khrushchev and his like.
Other examples of WWP's Trotskyite stand can be found scattered throughout their literature. One revealing example is the excerpts from Marcy's speech at a WWP meeting on 12/16/93.(2) The speech is another rambling discussion that begins and ends with an analysis of the role of Zhirinovsky in Russia, but it includes a lot of historical discussion on the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s. At several points in the speech, Marcy openly supports Trotsky's slanders against Stalin. (In the 1930s, Marcy himself broke with the then-revolutionary CPUSA to join the counter-revolutionary Trotskyite SWP, apparently because he opposed the Comintern's line about the rise of fascism in Germany.) He said: "I am not unmindful of the policy of the Communist Parties in these countries; not unmindful of the fear of the Communist Party leadership under Stalin of supporting the German revolution; not unmindful of the politics of the Kremlin at the time and how it dealt with the various situations. That is a history of the struggle between the policy of accommodation and conciliation of the Soviet leadership under Stalin versus the revolutionary program of Trotsky."(3)
Marcy also, in the same speech, in typically Trotskyite fashion, lumps together both the reformist Socialist Parties and the revolutionary Communist Parties and calls them both "workers' parties." He says: "In these three capitalist countries [Italy, Spain and Germany - ed.], the working class had learned to use capitalist democracy to defend its own interests to some extent. There were entrenched elected representatives of the workers' parties. They controlled a number of cities and states, were in the legislatures and sometimes in the federal government. Wherever you went in Europe, socialists and communists had some part in the capitalist state."(4)
Of course, this passage repeats once again the typical reformist confusion on the nature of the state. The fact that the CP in Germany had representatives elected to parliament no more means that "communists had some part in the capitalist state" than the fact that the Bolsheviks had deputies elected to the tsarist Duma (nominal parliament) meant that the Bolsheviks had "some part" in the tsarist state. Reformists always confuse an election to office of some workers' representatives with the working class holding state power.
And to compare the role of the Communist Party in pre-fascist Germany, which consistently fought to overthrow the bourgeois democratic dictatorship of the Weimar Republic, to that of the Socialist Party, which for many years administered the Weimar Republic on behalf of the bourgeoisie, its representatives serving as Prime Minister and much of the Cabinet - such a comparison is a monstrous distortion of history.
Marcy, in the same speech, also consistently confuses the nature of the state power ushered in by the Bolshevik revolution. Three times in the speech, Marcy makes statements such as: "The great socialist October Revolution of 1917 opened up the era of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry."(5) Lenin and Stalin clearly pointed out that this was the aim of the proletariat in the bourgeois democratic revolution, while the socialist revolution led to the dictatorship of the proletariat in alliance with the poor peasantry. Lenin, in "Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution," said: "The proletariat must carry to completion the democratic revolution, by allying to itself the mass of the peasantry in order to crush by force the resistance of the autocracy and to paralyze the instability of the bourgeoisie. The proletariat must accomplish the socialist revolution, by allying to itself the mass of the semi-proletarian elements of the population in order to crush by force the resistance of the bourgeoisie and to paralyze the instability of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie."(6) This confusion is another reflection of the fact that Workers World follows the line Trotsky, whose theory of "permanent revolution" continually confused the bourgeois-democratic and socialist stages in the revolution against tsarism.
"The Cuban Revolution: Will Castro Solve the Problems of the Cuban
Workers and Peasants?" in Workers World, March, 1959.
Workers World article, December 30, 1993, titled "The specter
Workers World, ibid., p. 9, col. 2.
Ibid., p. 8, col. 4. Our emphasis C
Ibid., p. 8, col. 1. Our emphasis C
Lenin, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution,
Chapter 12 (FLP, Peking, 1965), pp. 109-110. Stalin makes the same point in The
Foundations of Leninism, Chapter VII, Strategy and Tactics.
As many people who are new to Marxism-Leninism may be unaware of the counter-revolutionary history of Trotskyism, we are including a brief section on this subject here. It is impossible to do more than sketch this history in a few pages. Therefore, we include references to further material at the end of the article.
Leon Trotsky began his career in the Russian socialist movement at the turn of the century. In the struggle between the revolutionary Bolshevik trend and the opportunist Menshevik trend, Trotsky vacillated between the two sides, but in practice on all important questions he sided with the Mensheviks. In particular, Trotsky opposed including in the rules of a party based on democratic centralism the point that a member of a Marxist party must belong to one of the party organizations. He adopted the Menshevik view that the party should be open to anyone who sympathized with its views. Of significance for later struggles, he also opposed treating the peasantry as the main ally of the proletariat in the democratic revolution and opposed the principle of the right to self-determination of oppressed nations.
After the defeat of the revolution of 1905, during a period of extreme tsarist reaction, the Mensheviks wanted to liquidate the illegal organizations of the party. Trotsky, while pretending to be non-factional, in practice supported the Menshevik Liquidators. Lenin wrote in 1909: "Trotsky behaves like a most despicable careerist and factionalist... He pays lip service to the Party, but behaves worse than any other factionalist."(1) Later, in 1912, Trotsky organized the August Bloc, which united all groups and trends opposed to Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
During the period before the October Revolution, Trotsky's hatred for Lenin's outlook was unconcealed. For example, he said in 1913: "The entire edifice of Leninism at the present time is built on lies and falsification and bears within itself the poisonous elements of its own decay." He called Lenin "a professional exploiter of every kind of backwardness in the Russian working-class movement" (Trotsky's letter to Chkeidze). For his part, Lenin in 1914 made a clear characterization of Trotsky's views. He stated: "Trotsky has never yet held a firm position on any important question of Marxism. He always contrives to worm his way into the cracks of any given difference of opinion, and desert one side for the other. At the present moment he is in the company of the Bundists and the liquidators. And these gentlemen do not stand on ceremony where the Party is concerned."(2)
We quote these statements to debunk the lies of the Trotskyites that Trotsky was a working class leader, an "old Bolshevik" and the firm defender of Lenin's views. But Trotsky's influence was always confined to the petty bourgeoisie. He had openly opposed Lenin and the Bolsheviks until just before the October Revolution, and his attacks on Stalin after Lenin's death were just a continuation of his earlier anti-Bolshevik positions.
In August of 1917, that is, just a few months before the revolution, Trotsky, with a small group of followers, applied for admission to the Bolshevik party, claiming that he accepted the Bolshevik program and that his previous disagreements were of only historical importance. Trotsky and his followers were accepted into the party as individuals based on their claim to support the Bolshevik program. This point is important to understand since some of the more abject falsifiers of history among the Trotskyites claim that Trotsky's group "merged with" the Bolsheviks, or even worse, that Lenin came over to Trotsky's views.
Trotsky's struggles with Lenin broke out again repeatedly within the Bolshevik party. In particular, during the Civil War, when the Soviet Union was under attack from the imperialists and their whiteguard allies, Lenin called for a conclusion of a peace with Germany, based on some important territorial concessions, but a peace that was necessary to give a breathing space to the working masses to begin to develop socialism. Trotsky was sent to negotiate an immediate peace with the Germans at Brest-Litovsk. Trotsky, violating the instructions of the Central Committee and the Soviet government, delayed, under the slogan of "neither war nor peace." This delay allowed Germany to grab even more territory from the young Soviet republic and thus the treaty had to be signed under even less favorable terms. This position, of feinting from the 'left' and thus giving cover to the right, is typical of Trotskyism throughout its history.
Another point of disagreement with Lenin was over the role of the trade unions. As the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union expressed it: "Trotsky demanded that the trade unions be immediately 'governmentalized.' He was against the use of persuasion in relations with the working class, and was in favour of introducing military methods in the trade unions.... Instead of methods of persuasion, without which the activities of working-class organizations are inconceivable, the Trotskyites proposed methods of sheer compulsion, of dictation" (p. 252). This position of Trotsky's is especially revealing in relation to the later charge by Trotskyites that Stalin used force against the workers and peasants.
The factional divisions within the Bolshevik party over this and other issues threatened to turn the party into merely a talking shop, just as Trotsky and the Mensheviks had wanted from the earliest days of the party. Lenin had already many times condemned factionalism in the party. Speaking of the corrupting influence of the small commodity producers on the party, Lenin said in "Left-Wing" Communism, An Infantile Disorder: "Repudiation of the Party principle and of Party discipline - that is what the opposition has arrived at. And this is tantamount to completely disarming the proletariat in the interests of the bourgeoisie.... The strictest centralisation and discipline are required within the political party of the proletariat in order to counteract this, in order that the organisational role of the proletariat (and that is its principal role) may be exercised correctly, successfully and victoriously.... Whoever brings about even the slightest weakening of the iron discipline of the party of the proletariat (especially during its dictatorship), is actually aiding the bourgeoisie against the proletariat."(3)
At the 10th Party Congress in March of 1921, the Bolsheviks, under Lenin's leadership, put through a resolution calling for the elimination of factions, and declaring allegiance to a faction as being incompatible with membership in the Bolshevik party. This resolution was adopted, with even Trotsky claiming to support it even though he violated it again immediately afterwards.
But immediately after Lenin's death, Trotsky's opposition to the Bolshevik program broke out again, and even more fiercely than before. One of the main issues was Trotsky's opposition to "socialism in one country." This slogan needs some clarification, since it has been distorted by the Trotskyites to make it seem as if the Bolsheviks after Lenin's death were opposed to internationalism.
The period immediately after the October Revolution in Russia and the end of World War I was one of great revolutionary upsurges on a world scale. A Soviet Republic came to power in Hungary in March of 1919, although it was crushed within five months. There were workers' uprisings in Berlin and throughout Germany, which led to a brief Soviet Republic in the state of Bavaria. But these uprisings were crushed by the social-democratic traitors to the working class, together with the officers of the old German imperial army. Large-scale workers' demonstrations took place throughout much of Europe. The anti-imperialist movement in China and in other oppressed nations took on a mass character. In the United States, there were large demonstrations in favor of Bolshevism and for the withdrawal of the U.S. interventionist troops from Russia. The General Strike in Seattle, Washington, in 1919, was led by a workers' council influenced by the Russian Soviets.
In 1919, the Communist International was formed, made up of new revolutionary communist parties which had just broken from the opportunist socialist parties in each country. However, because most of these revolutionary elements had not gone through the experience of the Bolsheviks of thoroughly criticizing and repudiating opportunism for some time before, these young communist parties were not strong enough to lead the masses in their fight to overthrow bourgeois rule and establish a proletarian dictatorship. The bourgeois state apparatus attacked the young communist movements with full force. In the United States, the Palmer Raids led to the execution, arrest and deportation of communists and other revolutionary elements (particularly the Industrial Workers of the World, IWW). This resulted in a large reduction in strength of the new communist party (from some 60,000 members to 10,000.(4) At the same time, a temporary stabilization of capitalism set in (the bourgeois propagandists in the U.S. call this period the "roaring twenties"), leading to an ebb in the revolutionary movement.
This is the context in which the slogan of "socialism in one country" must be seen. Lenin repeatedly recognized the possibility of the proletariat coming to power first in one country. In 1915, he wrote: "Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone. After expropriating the capitalists and organising their own socialist production, the victorious proletariat of that country will arise against the rest of the world - the capitalist world - attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, stirring uprisings in those countries against the capitalists, and in case of need using even armed force against the exploiting classes and their states."(5)
At that time, socialism remained victorious only in the Soviet Union. What should it do? Trotsky's view was that Soviet Union should risk everything, including the likely downfall of the proletarian dictatorship within the Soviet Union itself, in (at that point) fruitless attempts to bring about a revolution in other countries, particularly in Western Europe. Trotsky believed that Soviet power was doomed if the Soviet Union did not receive immediate aid from a victorious revolution in other, more industrially developed countries. This was a view that, once again, would have led to the defeat of socialism, but under a 'left' cover.
Stalin and the majority of the Bolshevik party believed that the Soviet Union, relying on its own forces, particularly the working class together with the great majority of the peasantry (the poor and middle peasants), could maintain power and develop socialist construction, thus forming a solid base for the world revolutionary movement. Trotsky, however, based his opposition to socialism in one country on his Menshevik views of the reactionary nature of the peasantry. In 1922, after the revolution had been in power for five years, he wrote in his preface to his book The Year 1905, "... precisely in order to ensure its victory, the proletarian vanguard would be forced in the very early stages of its rule to make deep inroads not only into feudal property but into bourgeois property as well. In this it would come into hostile collision not only with all the bourgeois groupings which supported the proletariat during the first stages of its revolutionary struggle, but also with the broad masses of the peasantry with whose assistance it came into power. The contradictions in the position of a workers' government in a backward country with an overwhelmingly peasant population could be solved only on an international scale, in the arena of the world proletarian revolution" (emphases added - ed.).
Trotsky's anti-Bolshevik views were summed up in his theory of "permanent revolution." Already at the time of the 1905 revolution, he had put forth the slogan: "No tsar, but a workers' government." This slogan completely ignored the role of the peasantry in the Russian revolution. Trotsky described his theory in 1906 as follows: "The Russian proletariat, finding itself in possession of power - even if this were only a consequence of a temporary combination of forces in our bourgeois revolution - will meet with organized hostility on the part of world reaction, and with readiness for organized support on the part of the world proletariat. Left to its own forces, the working class of Russia will inevitably be crushed by the counter-revolution the moment the peasantry will turn away from it. Nothing will remain for it but to link up the fate of its political domination, and consequently the fate of the entire Russian revolution, with the fate of a socialist revolution in Europe" (our emphases - ed.).(6)
Here Trotsky again discounts the revolutionary role of the peasantry. In the
previous section, we already showed how Lenin, in Two Tactics of
Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, pointed out the need, in
semi-feudal, autocratic Russia, to first carry though the democratic revolution
to overthrow tsarism, and then, as soon as the forces and conditions allow it,
to carry through the socialist revolution. (Similarly,
in oppressed countries, which contain the vast majority of the world's
population, and in recent decades have been the scene of many of the sharpest
struggles against imperialism, Marxist-Leninists have always seen the need,
which Trotskyites have denied, for a first, national democratic stage of the
revolution on the road to socialist revolution.)
Lenin, in his article Two Lines of the Revolution, written in 1915, attacked Trotsky's theory of "permanent revolution," saying "Trotsky repeats his 'original' theory of 1905 and refuses to think why, for ten years, life has passed by this beautiful theory." And further: "Trotsky is in fact helping the liberal labour politicians in Russia who by the 'repudiation' of the role of the peasantry mean refusal to rouse the peasantry."
We saw that Trotsky was willing to stake the Russian revolution on state support by other proletarian revolutions in Europe, even at a time when such support was not immediately forthcoming. This has led Marxist-Leninists everywhere to deride Trotsky's theory as one of "permanent hopelessness." This outlook of Trotsky's, which made him view the continued success of the Russian revolution as hopeless, is what led him to degenerate from merely holding an erroneous position in the working class movement to outright counter-revolution.
These questions were fully discussed and taken to a vote within the Bolshevik party in the period preceding the 15th Party Congress in 1927. Trotsky's line was solidly defeated by a vote of 724,000 for the Central Committee and 4,000 for the Trotskyite opposition.(7) Trotsky's claims, supported by all the bourgeois ideologues, that he was defeated due to Stalin's repression and cunning, is thus utterly false.
At this point Trotsky moved from waging a factional struggle within the party against the Bolshevik majority led by Stalin, to waging an open counter-revolutionary struggle against the Soviet government. In 1927, on the 10th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, Trotsky and his small group of followers called for the overthrow of the Bolshevik party, of course under the guise that the Bolsheviks under Stalin had renounced internationalism. They appeared at celebrations of the revolution with leaflets denouncing the party majority and its leadership. After that, Trotskyism was denounced as being incompatible with membership in the Bolshevik party. Trotsky himself was expelled and shortly after sent into internal exile. As he still continued to agitate against the Bolsheviks, in 1929 he was expelled from the Soviet Union.
At about the same time, the Bolsheviks had to struggle against an openly
rightist deviation in the party, led by Bukharin. He was against the
collectivization of agriculture and in favor of a slow growth of industry in the
Soviet Union, which would have led to its defeat in any forthcoming imperialist
attack. Stalin and the majority of the party called for a rapid pace of growth,
which was what provided the material basis for the Soviet Union to withstand and
finally defeat the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union a mere dozen years later. The
struggle was echoed in the Communist International at its 6th Congress in 1928.
The right wing forces were defeated, and those that refused to accept the line
of the International left or were expelled from their respective Communist
parties. In the U.S. in particular, the rightist forces were led by Lovestone,
who later became an open agent of the bourgeoisie in the workers' movement. (He
helped lead the AFL-CIO's anti-communist crusades, eventually becoming George Meany's
as Director of the AFL-CIO's
International Affairs Department. There he worked with the State Department and
the CIA to extend their anti-communist work in the trade unions to Latin America
and other areas of the world. (See Harry Haywood Black Bolshevik
(Liberator Press, Chicago, 1978), Chapter 10, esp. pp. 306-7.))
The example of Lovestone should be kept in mind by those who question whether one-time revolutionaries could degenerate so far as to become outright agents of the capitalists, as did Trotsky and Bukharin.
The Trotskyites and Bukharinites united on an international scale, forming an anti-communist movement that spearheaded its attack on the Soviet Union. Their attacks on "forced collectivization" and "mass repression" were in line with the bourgeois, and especially fascist, attacks on the Soviet Union. Trotsky denounced the socialist construction there. In 1933 he wrote a pamphlet entitled Soviet Economy in Danger. Let us remember that this was in the middle of the Great Depression, when the whole capitalist world was undergoing an extreme crisis, leaving tens of millions of workers suffering the effects of unemployment, poverty and starvation. Only the Soviet Union was unaffected and had eliminated unemployment, advancing on the path of socialist industrialization and collectivization. But Trotsky wrote at this time: "The impending crisis of Soviet economy will inevitably, and within the rather near future, crumble the sugary legend [of the possibility of building socialism in one country] and, we have no reason to doubt, will scatter many dead.... The nearest future will bring with it a new confirmation of our correctness" (pp. 4-5).
Trotsky, not believing in his own predictions of the downfall of the Soviet Union, moved to calling for its overthrow, under the guise of attacking the "Stalinist bureaucracy." In his pamphlet The Soviet Union and the Fourth International,(8) he wrote: "After the experiences of the last few years, it would be childish to suppose that the Stalinist bureaucracy can be removed by means of a party or Soviet congress.... No normal 'constitutional' ways remain to remove the ruling clique. The bureaucracy can be compelled to yield power into the hands of the proletarian vanguard [i.e. the Trotskyite counter-revolutionaries - ed.] only by force.... Should it (the apparatus) still attempt to resist, it will then be necessary to apply against it not the measure of civil war, but rather measures of police character.... A major historical test - which may be a war - will determine the relation of forces" (pp. 24-26). This was an open call for counter-revolution, with a 'left' disguise.
While Trotsky was attacking genuine socialism in the Soviet Union, he was reassuring the bourgeoisie and confusing the workers about what socialism would be like in the U.S. In an article published in the reactionary magazine Liberty on March 23, 1935, entitled "If America Should Go Communist," Trotsky put forth the most abject form of utopian socialism. He began by attacking the Soviet Union: "At present most Americans regard communism solely in the light of the experience of the Soviet Union. They fear lest Sovietism in America would produce the same material result as it has brought for the culturally backward peoples of the Soviet Union." He continued by talking about how the revolution in the United States would develop peacefully once the top 5 to 10% of the wealthiest capitalists were removed from power. "Who else will fight against communism? Your corporal's guard of billionaires and multimillionaires? Your Mellons, Morgans, Fords and Rockefellers? They will cease struggling as soon as they fail to find other people to fight for them." He continued: "The same method [of voluntary collectivization] would be used to draw small business and industries into the national organization of industry... these secondary industries could be kept solvent until they were gradually and without compulsion sucked into the socialized business system. Without compulsion! The American soviets would not need to resort to the drastic measures that circumstances have often imposed upon the Russians." And even the 5-10% of top capitalists would not need to be repressed for Trotsky. "It may well be that you will take your unconvinced millionaires and send them to some picturesque island, rent-free for life, where they can do as they please." This island would presumably be in one of the Caribbean colonies or neo-colonies, which would remain under U.S. control under a new form of social-imperialist domination, such as Trotsky's mythical "United States of North, Central and South America" which he proposes in the same article.(9)
Contrast Trotsky's utterances on the peaceful development of the revolution with Lenin's clear position on the nature of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin said: "The transition from capitalism to communism takes an entire historical epoch. Until this epoch is over, the exploiters inevitably cherish the hope of restoration, and this hope turns into attempts at restoration. After their first serious defeat, the overthrown exploiters - who had not expected their overthrow, never believed it possible, never conceded the thought of it - throw themselves with energy grown tenfold, with furious passion and hatred grown a hundred fold, into the battle for the recovery of the 'paradise,' of which they were deprived."(10)
Trotsky's anti-communist ravings against the Soviet Union would have had little affect if they had not been financed and given full support by the international imperialists. (There is interesting additional evidence of this. In the 1930s Sam Darcy, at that time a representative from the CPUSA to the Comintern, traveled back from the Soviet Union to the U.S. through fascist Italy. He noted that while it was impossible to find any works of genuine Marxists openly available, the writings of Trotsky could be easily obtained in bookstores. Also, in Iran under the rule of the U.S.-puppet Shah, it was extremely difficult to get Marxist works, but as the movement to overthrow the Shah got underway in the late 1970s, works of Trotsky could also be easily obtained. In the U.S. today, bookstores, especially those near college campuses, are full of works by Trotsky and his supporters such as Deutscher, but there is a scarcity of genuine Marxist writings, and those of Stalin are hardly to be found (including in bookstores run by the revisionist CPUSA).) Within the Soviet Union, the remnants of the Trotskyite and Bukharinite groups, having decided that it was impossible to win the working masses to their counter-revolutionary line, moved from word to deed. They knew that the only way they could defeat the Bolsheviks was to become spies and saboteurs as agents of the imperialists. Most of their members publicly renounced their former views, and were even accepted back into the Bolshevik party on the basis of their feigned agreement with its program. Kamenev, Zinoviev and Bukharin, as well as many others, made repentant speeches at the 17th Party Congress in January of 1934. Bukharin had already been given the position of editor of the chief government newspaper Pravda. But they pursued a role of assassins and spies. This role was first exposed after the assassination of Kirov, in December of 1934, and was fully exposed in the treason trials of the Trotskyites and Bukharinites in 1936-38.
While these trials have been constantly attacked by the Trotskyites and ordinary bourgeois propagandists as "Stalinist frame-ups," the workers who attended the trials from across the Soviet Union universally accepted the validity of the verdicts and the confessions of the criminals. Even honest bourgeois observers at the trials believed that the Soviet government charges were true. Joseph E. Davies, who was U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union at the time, stated: "I have talked to many, if not all, of the members of the Diplomatic Corps here and, with possibly one exception, they are all of the opinion that the proceedings established clearly the existence of a political plot and conspiracy to overthrow the government." While Davies admits that he was initially skeptical, particularly of the charges of collaboration with fascist Germany and Japan, the fact of fifth column activities in other European countries prior to their invasion by the Nazis convinced him of the correctness of these charges as well. He stated in 1941: "All of these trials, purges, and liquidations, which seemed so violent at the time and shocked the world, are now quite clearly a part of a vigorous and determined effort of the Stalin government to protect itself from not only revolution from within but from attack from without. They went to work thoroughly to clean up and clean out all treasonable elements within the country. All doubts were resolved in favor of the government. There were no Fifth Columnists in Russia in 1941 - they had shot them. The purge had cleansed the country and rid it of treason."(11)
For further material on the history of Trotsky's degeneration from a variety of Menshevism to outright counter-revolution, we refer our readers to the following works:
History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) (International Publishers, New York, 1939)
Joseph Stalin's collection of articles and speeches On the Opposition (Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1974)
M.J. Olgin, Trotskyism, Counter-Revolution in Disguise (Workers Library Publishers, New York, 1935)
Harpal Brar, Trotskyism or Leninism? (London, 1993)
Ludo Martens Another View of Stalin (EPO, Brussels)
Lenin, Letter to Zinoviev, Collected Works. Vol. 34, pp. 399-400.
Lenin The Right of Nations to Self-Determination, in Collected
Works, vol. 20, p. 447-8.
Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 31, pp. 43-45.
See William Z. Foster History of the Communist Party of the United
States (International Publishers, 1952), pp. 174-176.
Lenin, "On the Slogan for a United States of Europe," Collected
Works, Vol. 21, p. 342.
Trotsky Summing Up and Perspectives
History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, p. 285.
Pioneer Publishers, New York, 1934.
Reprinted in Writings of Leon Trotsky (Pathfinder Press, New York,
1971), vol. 7, pp. 73-76. This whole article provides a wealth of material on
Trotsky's reactionary views on the nature of socialism.
The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, "Can
There Be Equality Between Exploited and Exploiters," in Lenin Collected
Works, vol. 28, p. 254.
Joseph E. Davies Mission to Moscow (Pocket Books Inc., New York,
1941) pp. 39, 246.
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