Trotskyism is Not Leninism
“Among the Russian comrades, there was not one from whom I could learn anything…The errors which I have committed . . always referred to questions that were not fundamental or strategic. . . In all conscientiousness I cannot, in the appreciation of the political situation and of its revolutionary perspectives, accuse myself of any serious errors of judgment” (Trotsky, 184-185).
“At the moment when it seized the power and created the Soviet republic, Bolshevism drew to itself all the best elements in the currents of Socialist thought that were nearest to it'. Can there be even a shadow of doubt that when he spoke so deliberately of the best representatives of the currents closest to Bolshevism, Lenin had foremost in mind what is now called 'historical Trotskyism?' . . Whom else could he have had in mind?” (Trotsky, 353).
Lenin also saw through Trotsky's arrogance:
“Trotsky is very fond of explaining historical events . . in pompous and sonorous phrases, in a manner flattering to Trotsky” (Lenin, SW #4 194).
“What a swine this Trotsky is — Left phrases and a bloc with the Right . . ! He ought to be exposed” (Lenin, CW #35 285).
What is Trotskyism?
To learn about Trotskyism we must firstly learn about Trotsky's activities as described by the former CPUSA leader William Z. Foster:
“Trotsky, whose whole history stamped him as an unstable petty-bourgeois radical and who did not join up with the Bolsheviks until 1917, was a confirmed factionalist and opportunist. Even after he joined the party, he continued his opposition to Lenin on many points. When Lenin was in his final illness, during the autumn of 1923, Trotsky made a bid to capture the leadership of the Communist Party. He gathered together the several small opposition groups then in the party and issued an oppositional program, the 'Declaration of the Fourty-Six'. The substance of this was to accuse the party leadership of gross bureaucracy, to instigate the youth against the party, to pronounce the N.E.P. [the New Economic Program in the Soviet Union which was began by V.I. Lenin. -Author] a complete retreat, to demand freedom to build factional groupings, to condemn the party for the defeat of the German and Hungarian revolutions, and blame the many economic difficulties upon party mismanagement, and to pronounce the Russian Revolution itself in a state of 'Thermidorean degeneration'...” (Foster).
“...the fate of the Revolution in Russia [was] at stake...[and also] the world communist movement. A victory for the Trotsky forces would have been a decisive success for the world reaction” (Foster).
“...Trotsky, who had been expelled from the Soviet Union in 1929, organized abroad the 'Fourth International' in 1933, which was composed of skeleton groups in many countries. Among it's other counter-revolutionary activities, it openly advocated the violent overthrow of the Russian Communist Party leadership and the Soviet government. In Spain, China and elsewhere, Trotskyites were proved to be police spies. [This last sentence was footnoted with a reference to the 'Communist International', January, 1939 -Author]” (Foster).
Trotskyites, of course, will begin screaming from the sidelines of the class struggle against the “evils of Stalinism,” not capitalism, when they read these quotes by the militant former leader of the Communist Party USA. Lenin commented that Trotsky and his allies had formed “a group of intellectuals” ready to join in a “most unprincipled alliance of bourgeois intellectuals against the workers” (Lenin 382, 346). Trotsky disguised his unending struggle against the formation of a Bolshevik party in Russia capable of leading the proletariat and seizing power with arguments that his views on the Party and the progress of revolutionary struggle in Russia were a development of Marxism and the ideas of scientific socialism. Lenin pointed out that Trotsky's tricks were those of a man who knew little of what he spoke:
“Trotsky has never yet held a firm opinion on any important question of Marxism. He always contrives to worm his way into the cracks of any given difference of opinion” (Lenin, CW #17 447-448).
In exposing the Trotskyites, Lenin observed that “they make out all the time that what they 'want' and what are their 'opinions', interpretations, 'views' are the demands of the working-class movement.” This he saw as “one of the greatest, if not the greatest, faults (or crimes against the working class) of the...Trotskyites.” (Lenin, CW #17 382) When we consider the actual objective class forces instead of Trotskyite phrase-mongering, we learn that the Trotskyites attempted to disrupt the united front against fascism and, in this way, they objectively aided world reaction.
“Not for nothing did the founder of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci, when he was in prison and found out that some of the political prisoners were in danger of falling under Trotskyite influence, transmitted his laconic warning through the prison cells: 'Trotsky is the puttana [a vulgar word for a prostitute] of fascism” (Togliatti 210).
As a working class movement, the proletariat must make a consideration of objective class forces and not be swayed by “revolutionary” Trotskyite phrase-mongering that is rightist in essence. Seven key points must be made to contrast Trotskyism and Marxism-Leninism. They are as follows:
1) Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, do not attempt to “jump over” the various stages of revolution. Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, believe that necessary objective conditions must be present before advancing to the socialist revolution. Leon Trotsky advocated “jumping over” the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia and proposed leaping immediately to the proletarian revolution. History confirms that Trotsky's line would have condemned the proletariat to isolation in Russia's bourgeois-democratic revolution and set back the struggle for socialism.
2) Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, join, support, and build the general democratic movements. Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, believe that the struggle for democratic rights under capitalism is important for the working class.
4) Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, are not orientated on “revolutionary wars which export revolution” that do not take into account the objective class relations within a given country. Marxist-Leninists understand that revolutions mature when the class contradictions within a given country are heightened to the point of national crisis and do not believe that revolution can be spread “by red bayonets” from the socialist countries. It must be pointed out that Leon Trotsky advocated provocations which would have proved disastrous to the Soviet Union. Lenin showed that “[Trotsky's] ringing phrases about 'revolutionary war' served as a screen for petty-bourgeois adventurers, who objectively were helping the enemies of the revolution. Addressing the supporters of 'revolutionary war', he announced: '...In your objective role, you are a tool of imperialist provocation. And your subjective 'mentality' is that of a frenzied petty bourgeois.'” (Lenin, CW #27 330).
6) Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, do not swim in the sewer of crude anti-Sovietism and absolute condemnation of the former socialist Soviet Union from 1917-1956. It must be stressed that the history of Trotskyism has been the history of the petty-bourgeois Trotskyite slandering of the former socialist Soviet Union. Throughout the history of socialism, when the anti-communists sought to build up their arguments against socialism, they took to the Trotskyite statements as “undeniable proof” about the “problems” of building socialism. When they wanted to drive a knife into the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and other Communist Parties, they looked to the Trotskyites, who claim the cause of international revolutionary struggle was “betrayed” by the Soviet Union. The anti-communists come in many shades, but their useful puppets are Trotskyites.
Trotskyism is not a scientific system of philosophical, economic and socio-political views like those that make up the world outlook of the working class. It must be asserted that the theory and practice of Trotskyism is diametrically opposed to Marxism-Leninism. Marxism-Leninism is a scientific system of philosophical, economic and socio-political views that make up the world outlook of the working class. It is a science of revolutionary transformation of the world, concerned with the laws that form the development of nature, society, thought and class society. It provides a guide to action to overthrow capitalism. It is the ideology that has had the only proven success to build socialism. It is a living and breathing theory, a theory forged from the experience of the struggle and creative actions of the masses, and an indispensable guide to action.
Trotskyites do not uphold the the scientific theories pounded by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, nor do they hold onto any unity or principles, as can be shown in their political parties which are known and famous throughout the world for forming factions within factions. Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, have never, at any point of history or today, recognized the Trotskyite “Fourth International” as a body of communists.
“The history of the 'Fourth International' was the history of wrangling and squabbles between the ill-assorted Trotskyite groups [….] The 'Fourth International' was knocked together [in the 1930s] on the basis of an ephemeral union of several Trotskyite groups, who had no sort of organizational ties apart from their statement that they belonged to this 'International.' [….] They were recruited, as a rule, from among persons who had been expelled from the Communist parties, or from a variety of adventurers with anti-communist leanings. Every type of renegade, attempting to hide his hatred of the Soviet Union and the Communist parties with a 'left phrase', could find a welcome there. They came predominantly out of the petty-bourgeois and bourgeois intellectual circles as far as their social status was concerned...” (Basmanov).
Comrades who wish to uphold Marxism-Leninism, working class practice and the communist movement must define their attitude against Trotskyism.
Further Revisionism of the Trotskyites
Leon Trotsky was a provocateur who advocated that the Soviet Union “carry the revolution on bayonets” to the capitalist world. Trotsky was extremely adventurist and his advocacy for spreading revolution by foreign intervention would have inevitably been to the detriment of the working class.
“He [Trotsky] considered the Great October Socialist Revolution merely as a jumping-off ground for carrying the war into the capitalist world. In his view, the October Revolution could only influence the march of world history if it could immediately provoke, 'stimulate' and 'push' revolutions [militarily] in the whole world...” (Basmanov).
“...Trotsky also asserted that the Russian proletariat was not ready for revolution, and therefore it would be no great loss if it was unable to sustain a fight with the bourgeoisie. He said: 'A bourgeois victory against us would be a blow to the revolutionary movement in Europe, but it would not be comparable to what took place after the Paris Commune...The European proletariat is more ripe for socialism than we are. Even if we were destroyed, there is not the slightest doubt that there could not be such a historical gap as there was after the Paris Commune'” (Basmanov).
While advocating world revolution and “revolutionary wars,” Trotsky the provocateur was trying to rob the working class movement of its revolutionary bulwark in the Soviet Union.
“Lenin convincingly proved that these views had nothing in common with Marxism, which rejects the 'pushing' of revolutions. Revolutions mature in the first place when class contradictions within a country are exacerbated to the point of national crisis” (Basmanov).
Many people in our nation who may be attracted to communism and Marxism can be unknowingly fooled and misdirected by the numerous Trotskyites. They will be taught to call any revolutionary Marxist-Leninist organization, including ours, “Stalinists” before they retreat from the class struggle. We must try to win over these people with challenges to the Trotskyites on their merits and theories, if they have any. Marxism-Leninism as a working class weapon must destroy all myths propagated by the petty-bourgeois Trotskyites. We must, as a people, expose it for what it is: the puttana of fascism.
“Trotskyism consists of unprincipled maneuvers in various petty-bourgeois strata, and speculation on the weaknesses of the petty-bourgeois section of the revolutionary movement. The history of Trotskyism bears witness to the fact that it has continuously sought help among various strata of the petty bourgeoisie. Like a reckless gambler trying to improve his position by changing his stakes, it has flung itself into the most diverse political combinations, relying on the support of one section of the petty bourgeoisie today, another tomorrow, and a third the day after...”
“...Trotskyism is anti-revolution under the mask of 'Left' phrases. For several decades now Trotskyites have shown how it is possible to support the revolution in words, while actually undermining and hindering its realization.”
“Trotskyism is rather like the limplets that cling to the bottom of a ship and travel with it. Sometimes the limpets can even slow down the speed of the ship. The Trotskyites have always tried to attach themselves to the organized revolutionary movement...”
“...At each stage of this political mimicry, the Trotskyites strained every nerve to delay the development of the world revolutionary process.”
“At first this was apparent in their prophecies that the socialist revolution had no prospects in Russia, later in their opposition to the plan for building socialism in the Soviet Union, later still in their malicious attempts to slander the already existing socialist society and undermine the faith of the revolutionary fighters in the correctness of the strategy and tactics of the Communist Parties.”
“'The bible on their tongues, and malice in their hearts' used to be said earlier of hypocrites and pharisees, who disguised their wicked deeds and vile intentions by alleging that they were moved by the desire to defend the interests of their religion. This is more or less how Trotskyites have behaved and behave now.
“The Trotskyites accompany their disruptive actions in the international revolutionary movement with declarations that this is demanded...by the interests of revolution. Whatever wrong the Trotskyites did—whether the creation of an anti-Bolshevik bloc in the pre-October period [pre-socialist revolution in 1917 Russia], the formation of factions in the Party in the twenties, anti-republican maneuvers in the years of the Civil War in Spain [the Trotskyites didn't support the popular front government which was fighting the fascists], actual co-operation with the forces of fascism on the eve of the Second World War, or provocations in Peru between 1963 and 1966 and in France in 1968—each time anti-revolutionary activity was justified by the allegation that it was carried out to speed the revolution.”
“Present-day Trotskyites try to present themselves in their propaganda as 'consistent followers of Marx'. This trick has obviously been calculated to impress those who know little or nothing about the long-drawn-out struggle which Marxist-Leninists have waged and are waging against the Trotskyites, who are the confirmed enemies of the revolutionary cause” (Basmanov).
Trotskyism seems to take on pseudo-leftist slogans, but in reality has no place in the workers' movement. As a result, Trotskyism has been at no front of revolution like the so-called “Stalinists” in the Third World. This is due to the nature of the parties that tow a Trotskyite line. Very few leadership roles are actually proletarian in nature but in fact are petty-bourgeois or bourgeois intellectuals who naturally impose their views on the proletarians.
“Trotskyism ignores the revolutionary capacities of the working class. Attitude to the working class—the greatest revolutionary force in history—has always been like a watershed, which has made it possible to distinguish between real and false revolutionaries. The true revolutionary raises the proletariat up to class struggle, awakens its revolutionary energy, instills confidence in its forces, and, being himself always in the front ranks, shares with the proletariat the joy of victory and the bitterness of defeat. The false revolutionary, at best, is only capable of paying lip-service to the vanguard role of the proletariat in the anti-imperialist struggle. In practice he is afraid of revolution, and arouses in the working class harmful and dangerous attitudes of distrust in its own strength and an over-estimation of the potential of the class enemy. He belittles successes in the revolutionary struggle, and gloats over misfortunes. His 'left-wing' phrases are intricately interwoven with defeatism.”
“Throughout its history, Trotskyism, this typically false form of revolutionism, has remained true to itself. Every time that the course of world class struggle demanded a concentration of forces from the proletariat, an enhancement of its organisation and unity, the Trotskyites came out with political assessments that demobilised and weakened the working class. They frightened people with the difficulties ahead and talked of inevitable defeat” (Basmanov).
In terms of determining the future of the communist movement and the liberation of the proletariat, in the time of imperialism only Marxism-Leninism has proven successful.
Basmanov, M.I. Contemporary Trotskyism: Its Anti-Revolutionary Nature. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1972. Print.
Foster, William Z. History of the Three Internationals. International Publishers, 1955. Print.
Lenin, V.I. Collected Works, Vol. 17. 382, 346, 447-448. Print.
Lenin, V.I. Collected Works. Vol. 27. 330. Print.
Lenin, V.I. Letter to Alexandra Kollontai. Collected Works Vol. 35. Moscow: 1966. 285. Print.
Lenin, V.I. Violation Of Unity under Cover Of Cries for Unity. Selected Works, Vol. 4. London: 1943. 194. Print.
Togliatti, Palmiro. Selected Articles and Speeches. Vol. 1. Moscow: 1965. 210. Print.
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. New York, NY: 1970. 184-353. Print.