What Is Trotskyism?

Leon Trotsky regarded himself as an orthodox Marxist-Leninist or Leninist and advocated the establishment of an avant-garde party that would use all necessary means to impose socialism. During his early involvement in Russian socialist politics, Trotsky with Vladimir Lenin clashed over the organization of revolutionary parties, but such clashes served Stalin well since he portrayed Trotsky as an enemy of Lenin.

But Leon Trotsky’s policy differed from Stalin in that it focused on the support of an international communist revolution rather than the industrial and military foundations of the Soviet Union itself. Trotskyism became synonymous with the betrayal of the Soviet government in the 1930s when Trotsky declared that the Soviet state had degenerated into a socialist state bureaucracy that created a new ruling class that exploited its workers. Trotsky is a critic of what he saw as the degeneration of Soviet regimes and inspired many socialists to continue the work of the international workers’ revolution in opposition to the model of socialism in a country.

Trotsky formulated the theory of the permanent revolution in the wake of 1905 and tried to develop a Marxist theory of revolution. He advocated what he called the permanent revolution and built the Soviet Union into an industrialized military state that could withstand the forces of international capitalism. Trotsky believed that a socialist state could not withstand the pressure of a hostile capitalist world unless other revolutions took root in other countries.

His struggle against Stalin and Stalinism, which is the subject of this article. A fictionalized version in The Unforgiving Years, Victor Serge’s excellent novel about Trotsky’s former comrades, and Richard Burton’s 1972 film The Assassination of Andrei Trotsky, which portrayed him in lurid detail before his death, have attracted more attention than his extraordinary life. Leon Davidovich Bronstein, born in 1879 in a family of Jewish peasants in Ukraine, grew up in a revolutionary movement operating in the ultra-repressive atmosphere of the Russian Empire.

Trotskyism is a Marxist ideology based on the theory of the permanent revolution, formulated by Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), one of the leading theorists of the Russian Bolshevik Party and the lead Russian Revolutionist. Trotsky’s theory of “permanent revolution” was designed to explain why Russia was the weakest link in the world capitalist chain of countries where the first proletarian revolutions emerged and expanded into a strong conceptualization of the socialist revolution, which could only take place if capitalism could not be achieved. Many of Trotsky’s contemporaries argued that Russia was undergoing a capitalist transformation and that they were allied with the bourgeoisie.

Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution was that the economic system should be regarded as a world system and not as a national system. Whether the Russian revolution succeeded depended, from Trotsky’s point of view, on revolutions in other countries, especially in Western Europe. Stalin invented the anti-Marxist theory of socialism building in one country by working through global revolutions to maintain the bureaucratic caste he created.

The anti-Marxist theory of building socialism in a country, instead of working for the world revolution, led the Stalinist Communist Party to enter alliances with capitalist governments, support capitalist wars, enter into peaceful coexistence and betray the uprisings of the oppressed. Stalinism became a counter-revolutionary force acting against socialist revolutions around the world.

As a leading figure in the so-called left-wing opposition in the mid-1920s, Trotsky warned against the bureaucratization of the Soviet regime and feared that the Stalinist socialism policy in a country would mean the abandonment of any attempt to support the world revolution. He was marked by personal arrogance and contempt and acted to secure his power base before it was too late. The culmination of Stalinist terror in the USSR was the USSR’s international campaign against the Trotskyist movement that Healy began in 1937.

Undaunted, Healy enjoyed making the Stalinist ranks droop with innumerable unnamed shifts in the party line that the leadership of the British Communist Party pursued in accordance with Soviet foreign policy needs. The party supported the Moscow trials that followed the cold-blooded murder of Healy’s close comrades.

Healy has never written an autobiographical sketch to our knowledge and we have no written record of his work in the Communist party or the exact circumstances that accompanied his expulsion from the Stalinists and his entry into the Trotskyist movement. The most valuable parts of the book are two separate accounts of Chen’s political development and activities, and a selection of his later writings and letters. These were written by Wang Zheng and Chaolin, the later founder of the movement whose memoirs form a large part of the work. Zheng was one of the first students in 1924 to return to China to work with Chen during the revolution and witnessed a number of his clashes with the Russian advisors tasked with ensuring the CCP’s obedience.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was formed in 1920 as a result of a surge of nationalist opposition to the Chinese imperialist domination triggered by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. One of the two founders, Chen Duxiu, was party chairman until 1927 and became a leading figure in the Trotskyist opposition.

The Trotskyist group called on the Socialists to unite in order to build a new party and give it a socialist program. They pointed out that this was not the intention of the CCF or the Labour leadership to push this motion forward. They cited a statement by CCF president David Lewis that the Labor leadership was considering whether to support or oppose a Labor Party and that such movements should be accepted by progressive groups.

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