The Third International after Lenin

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Trotsky and Trotskyism

Recent email I received from the Communist Party of Great Britain [Marxist-Leninist]:

Last week, the Guardian asked whether Marxism was 'on the rise', and, after worrying about where all this agitation might end, went on to give a massive plug to the Trotskyist SWP's festival of disinformation, held every year in London under the name 'Marxism ----' (insert year here).

A cursory look around the world at any point in the last 100 years would tell you that Marxism never went away. Marxists have led or been involved in every serious anti-capitalist struggle since Marxism came into existence, and, despite temporary reverses, communists still lead vast swathes of the world's poorest people in the life-and-death battle to rid the world of imperialist domination.

Britain's own once powerful communist movement was decimated after the old CPGB gave up on revolution and started telling workers to support the Labour party instead. Today, though, with poverty, unemployment and debt spiralling out of control, and with the economic crisis set to get worse while imperialist wars get bigger and dirtier, it's certainly true that more and more people -- even in this still relatively cushioned imperialist heartland -- are joining the class struggle.

They are finally waking up to the reality that this parasitic system has outlived its usefulness and has a future only in the past. Capitalism and imperialism have nothing to offer the vast masses of the world's people except deeper poverty, more crippling debt slavery, more barbarous wars and more devastating human and environmental waste and destruction.

So it's not surprising that corporate media and politicians are desperate to persuade us that the pro-imperialists of the SWP are the people to join if you want to express opposition to capitalism in Britain. Opportunists and counter-revolutionaries of all kinds will be getting plenty more free advertising in the capitalist press from now on, precisely because they will be as much use to workers in overthrowing capitalism as chocolate is in making a pot to hold tea.


- Trotskyism is a tool of the capitalists ... Leninism is a weapon for the workers! -

Leaflet issued by CPGB-ML, 5 July 2012

I certainly sympathize with the frustrations of anyone about Trotskyism, though I find Trotsky more and more invaluable today.  The law of uneven and combined development is incomprehensible without his contributions, and without that law the current period is incomprehensible.  The UK SWP's endorsement of the Muslim Brotherhood electoral formation in the latest Egyptian elections is the latest case in point: tailing after bourgeois nationalists, or rather kneeling before the accomplished fact of their current power, is one of the worse hangovers not of Trotsky but Michel Pablo and Tony Cliff. 

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