Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1109/31629

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 November 2020

Book Review: A revolutionary whose ideas couldn't be killed

Trotsky's ideas live on in the CWI

Leon Trotsky, 1931

Leon Trotsky, 1931   (Click to enlarge)

Mark Best, Socialist Party national committee

Eighty years after his assassination, the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) has published a collection of ten essays on the life and ideas of Leon Trotsky. It's a portrait of a lifelong revolutionary, one of the leaders of the Russian Revolution alongside Lenin, who was persecuted, exiled and murdered at the say-so of Stalin. Trotsky was killed because of his struggle for the genuine ideas of Marxism, against the distortions of the Stalinist bureaucracy.

Peter Taaffe, describing the Transitional Programme, writes: "Here unfolds before us in all its richness the application of the method of Marxism to the historical tasks of the workers' movement". These essays are in the same vein. Trotsky engaged with debates and revolutionary struggles, and leaves a wealth of material to be studied and used in the fight for socialism today.

"We cannot select the arena and the conditions for our activity to suit our own likes and dislikes", Trotsky wrote, regarding the trade unions in Britain. This book provides clarity to many contradictory and complex conditions we face today and combines the lessons of Trotsky's works with an analysis of the present time.

Political programme

What programme is necessary to bridge the gulf between the necessity of the socialist transformation of society and the confidence of the working class to lead that transformation? What lessons can be learnt from the fight against German fascism? How should socialists work in trade unions whose leaders will line up with the bosses rather than struggle for socialism? How do socialists relate to movements for national independence?

These questions can only be answered by an analysis of the concrete situation - the mood and movements of class forces, tactical flexibility, and an unwavering confidence in the ability of the working class to run society for itself.

Trotsky in the 1920s and 30s was writing at a time of capitalist crisis and decay. His writings deal with the tempo of events, of revolutions and counter-revolutions, of mass movements, war, and missed opportunities for socialist change.

His analysis of the Soviet Union was that it degenerated into a bloody mockery of socialism, but which still gave a glimpse of something different to capitalism. Without understanding the class nature of the Soviet regime, it would have been impossible to understand the effects that capitalist triumphalism had on mass consciousness after its collapse, or to build support for socialism in Russia and Eastern Europe today.

It was experience of the class struggle, and through debates and discussions in the workers' movement, that Trotsky, Lenin and others developed their ideas and understanding of the importance of the need for a party to fight for these ideas.

Trotsky spent the last years of his life building a new socialist international organisation - the Fourth International from supporters of the International Left Opposition in the Communist International, and workers moving into struggle. This was after reaching the conclusion that a new organisation was needed after the transformation of the Third International into the "border guard" of the Stalinist Soviet Union. He wrote in 1935 that this was "the most important work of my life" - fighting to maintain the thread of the ideas and methods of Marx, Engels and Lenin.

"Political leadership in the crucial moments of historical terms can become just as decisive a factor as is the role of the chief command during the critical moments of war. History is not an automatic process." Trotsky fought for a revolutionary party, armed with a programme to unite the working class in common struggle against the capitalist system.

The CWI stands in this tradition of genuine Marxism against the attempts to bury it by Stalinism, groups that reduce it to a dry dogma with one-sided phrases without grasping the method, and those that abandon a systematic orientation to the working class; impatiently looking for other forces capable of transforming society.


Trotsky a revolutionary whose ideas couldn't be killed

Leon Trotsky - A Revolutionary Whose Ideas Couldn't Be Killed book cover

Leon Trotsky - A Revolutionary Whose Ideas Couldn't Be Killed book cover   (Click to enlarge)

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 11 November 2020:


News

Capitalists vs working class - not in it together

Tory U-turn: Free school meals

Tory U-turn: Furlough extended - not enough to save jobs

Covid and poverty rising - Welsh lockdown ends with little progress

Covid law used against striking workers - for workers' control of safety measures

Schools need union action for safety


US election

After the polarised elections - what way forward?

Trump out! But mass workers' struggle needed

Trump is out - our readers react


Spycops

Spycops inquiry : why the capitalist state feared and continues to fear socialism


Workplace news

Rolls-Royce: Lancashire workers' strike shows the way to fight aerospace cuts and job losses

RMT union AGM votes to defend union democracy

Sainsbury's and Argos: Closures, cuts and soaring sales

Fight the witch-hunt of Corbyn and his supporters


Campaigns

Donate to the Socialism 2020 appeal now!

Solidarity with Manchester students - fight for democratic control of campus safety

Southampton trade unionists demand: "We won't pay for Covid"

Labour movement conference to defend Corbyn and discuss new party

The struggle for a new mass workers' party

Selling the Socialist


Review and readers' opinion

Trotsky's ideas live on in the CWI

The Socialist Inbox

Readers of the Socialist react to effects of lockdown


 

Home   |   The Socialist 11 November 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Trotsky:

triangleTrotsky online rally - watched across the world

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Revolutionary leader Trotsky murdered 80 years ago

triangleYorkshire: Celebrating the life and ideas of Leon Trotsky

triangle80th anniversary of Leon Trotsky's assassination

CWI:

triangleAfter the polarised elections - what way forward?

triangleMembers of Democratic Socialist Movement in Nigeria (a sister organisation of the Socialist Party in England/Wales) on the streets in Abuja during the current protests

triangleSouth Africa: Mass day of action for permanent jobs and a living wage

triangleHorrific murder in Paris: fight intolerance and racism!

Review:

triangleFrom slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed

triangleTwo-metre rule under 'review' - Another case of profit before safety

triangleTV Review BBC Panorama: PPE shortage - how many lives will be lost?

Workers:

trianglePPE contracts: It pays to have friends in high places

triangleStop the Tories putting profit before health

Socialist:

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Are co-ops the answer to capitalist exploitation?

Socialism:

triangleFriedrich Engels: A revolutionary who played a pivotal role in the development of socialism

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

25/11/20

Disability

CripTales: A painful reflection of a system that pits us against each other

25/11/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

25/11/20

Racism

Mangrove: When the black community made a stand against state racism

18/11/20

Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

18/11/20

Obituary

Obituary: Paul Chettle

11/11/20

Trump

Trump is out - our readers react

11/11/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

11/11/20

Trotsky

Trotsky's ideas live on in the CWI

11/11/20

The Socialist

Readers of the Socialist react to effects of lockdown

11/11/20

Schools

Schools need union action for safety

4/11/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

28/10/20

Government

The Socialist Inbox

28/10/20

Miners

Books that inspired me: Germinal

14/10/20

Obituary

Obituary: Raph Parkinson 1958-2020

14/10/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999