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Moving Beyond The Religion of Trotskyism
by Semper Indomitus
Saturday Aug 26th, 2006 5:07 AM
Argues that the secular religion built around the cult of Trotsky is detrimental to the progress of the anti-capitalist movement.
Trotskyism is a secular religion of the Left. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels are famous for having considered that the criticism of religion is the precondition for all criticism as it concerns political-economy and social questions. In our days this critical approach must be applied to the various secular Leftist cults: The Cult of Trotsky, The Cult of Che, The Cult of Mao and the Cult of Joe Hill. The anti-capitalist movement must work to extirpate these cults from the movement in order to prevent them from derrailing it in its advance.

As a whole, Trotskyism has failed in the historical field. There was never a ''political revolution'' in the Eastern Bloc. There never has been a ''permanent revolution'' in the neo-colonial world. The ''Transitional Program'' never broke the workers from the social democratic farse in the developed western countries. Keep in mind that Trotskyists have been reformulating THE SAME THEORIES over and over again since the 1930's with no tangible results.

There are no ''socialist parties'' or ''anarchist networks''; only very small groups (of committed people no doubt), who think to themselves and tell each other that they are. The only ''real socialists'' are those who practise socialism, and to be a ''real socialist'' one must first be an anti-capitalist. I am interested in the formulation of a new political syntesis, a new praxis. One that might involve the insights of Marx when applicable - and yes maybe even those of Trotsky, other dissident Marxists like Rosa Luxembourg and Andres Nin and the anarcho-syndicalists. But fundamentally, an anti-capitalist synthesis that proposes what is understood to be ''Libertarian/Democratic Socialism'' and that presents itself to a contemporary post-modern public with a brand new language and a psychology of conceptualisations rooted in current events, struggles and conditions. Not a recapitulation of outdated interpretations of Marx, not a cosmetically refinished representation of the postulates of Trotsky, Che or Anarco-Syndicalism. Rather, a brand new synthesis for our times.

Anyone who states that only they or their party or thir network is ''right'' is WRONG. Anyone who claims full knowledge of absolute truth is a LIAR.

I end with an important quote from Karl Marx:

''Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."

- Karl Marx ''Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right'' (1843)


***

This is an abriged version of a longer article about Leftist secular religions and cults posed here:

http://redsquare2.blogspot.com/
by Semper Indomitus !
Saturday Sep 16th, 2006 5:33 AM
trotsky_grave.jpg
THE FOLLOWING IS A REPLY TO OBJECTIONS MADE TO THIS POSTING MADE BY A MEMBER OF THE SO-CALLED ''LEAGUE FOR A FIFTH INTERNATIONAL''. A TROTSKYIST FOURTH INTERNATIONALIST OUFIT PRETENDING TO BE FIFTH INTERNATIONALIST:

***

Hi Gunnar:

You wrote: ‘’If you in principle rejects our whole concept on philosophical or political grounds, which is my impression from reading some of your material, then do not bother us.’’

I just want to clarify two issues before I reply: (1) my intention in writing your organisation was not to ‘’bother’’ you. Your organisation advertises itself as ‘Fifth Internationalist’, not as Trotskyist, and furthermore it posts its email address on its website and asks the interested to ask questions. I wrote to your organisation with the intention of enquiring about how you viewed anticapitalism. I agree with to the project of a ‘Fifth International’ on philosophical and political grounds. I think it is an idea whose time has come. In case you did not know, your group is not the only one calling itself ‘Fifth Internationalist’. What I am discovering now, as a result of your misive, is that you are saying publicly that you advocate a Fifth while in fact you are still calling for a Fourth on the model set by Trotsky. It could be viewed as arrogant to assume that people would know a priori what you are about. That you disguise your true program could be considered dishonest and misleading. You should state in your website that those on the anticapitalist Fifth internationalist movement who might be critical of Trotsky should not write to you. And yes, I am interested in working with others who are interested in building social movements against capital in context of a Fifth International; but that does not mean that I want to join you – only that I am looking. You are not the only anti-capitalist group around. (2) That a person might disagree with one or another interpretation of Trotsky or his praxis proposals does not make him or her an ‘’anarchist’’ or ‘’anti-marxist’. Trotskyism has no claim on Marx. Like Karl Marx, I am not a ‘Marxist’ and I am certainly not an ‘’anarchist’’; both because I do not agree with the premise of ‘individualist resistance’ and I am clear that there needs to be an approach to social revolutionary transition that involves both politics and economics (i.e. political-economy). In any case, what passes for anarchism in Sweden (the ‘’syndicalists’’) is a milieu of armchair social democrats pretending to be anarchist. I have written extensive criticisms about them in my blog and on pieces for Indymedia. I am on record as not anarchist. I am simply anti-capitalist.

In reply to your points:

You wrote: ‘’We believe that the only truly progressive alternative to capitalism is a socialist revolution led and organised by the working class. We don't believe that a peaceful transformation of capitalism is realistic.’’

I agree.

You wrote: ‘’ We struggle for the working class to arm itself politically with the programme of revolutionary Trotskyism.’’

Then you are not really ‘Fifth Internationalist’. You are still calling for the Fourth. I on the other hand call for the creation of something brand new that is not tainted by the failed politics of the past. We are not living in the 1920s or the 1930s; anti-capitalism for today must be in tune with the social psychology of today and its proposals must reflect the lived day-to-day reality of working class people and the marginalized today. I want a real Fifth International. Good thing you clarified this for me.

We have not even met and we already split! =-)

You wrote: ‘’We are in favour of a Bolshevik style party, soviets and workers militia as tools for revolution.’’

All the different Trotskyist groups say the same thing. As to your version of a Bolshevik Party; assuming that it would establish a dictatorship, like the one Lenin and Trotsky established, would it tolerate dissent from socialists who might want to support the social revolution but that might not agree with everything its politburo dictates? What is your conception of a socialist democracy? Do you allow for the possibility that it might emerge in a form that involved a political language not necessarily associated with the terms sanctioned by Trotsky; what if the workers want to call their institutions something else? Or is it Trotsky’s way or no way?

You wrote: ‘’Internationally we fight within the social forum and anticapitalist movements for a revolutionary programme, criticising reformism and Stalinism.’’

The World Social Forum was long ago co-opted by social-liberals and is funded by corporate interests (notably the Ford Foundation and even Apple Computers); The WSF is in actuality a form of embedded protest. More and more people are realising that it is a farse. In any case I am interested in building social movements that involve ordinary people – not in preaching to the converted. The anti-capitalist movement already has a revolutionary intention implicit in its name. It does not need to be ‘’educated’’ by Trotskyists. My impression is that Trotskyists only penetrate movements to take them over, to sell propaganda or to recruit and not because they are interested in its goals per se. I criticise Social Democratic Reformism, Trotskyism, Anarchism, Syndicalism, and Stalinism from an anticapitalist perspective. I am against all the failed leftist ideologies of the past. I am in favour of a Fifth International that works to facilitate the emergence of socialism as post-capitalism. I agree with those who say that this transition will come as a result of social movements against capital, something like a mass anti-capitalist pro-democracy movement.


You wrote: ‘’We call for a revolutionary youth international, founded by the masses of youth and its organisations, to establish itself and debate the way forward for the youth movement.’’

I agree that youth is key. But I feel the anticapitalist movement needs to involve anyone who is oppressed under capitalism, not just youth, otherwise you run the risk of getting trapped in youth counterculturalism. The Sixties failed.

You wrote: ‘’We also call for the foundation of a Fifth International, by which we mean a global working class party for socialist revolution.’’

If you follow Trotsky you are calling for a Fourth. A Fifth implies something brand new from scratch.

You wrote: ‘’Looking at your blog I wonder if we are the alternative for you? I notice that you regard Trotskyism for example as being a "secular religion", however with little evidence backing this argument.’’

Trotskyists tend to advocate the correctness of Trotsky on faith. The Trotskyists I have come across the Internet and demonstrations seem to assume that Trotsky is infallible and above criticism. You never hear a Trotskyist criticise Trotsky. That is a true mark of the true believer. That is religion. But maybe I am judging you wrong…please tell me what are your criticisms of Trotsky and his Theories? I am sure that as you say that you are not religious about Trotsky you have a few.

You wrote: ’Do you believe that all brands (such as being branded "trotskyist") automatically somehow implies there is a leadership cult?’’

My experience with Trotskyism comes from Internet and demo encounters with people from Ratvisa Socialisterna and with the SWP in Britain. Not only do they have a religious approach to the canon of Trotsky but also they display cult like admiration for their earthly leaders. Alex Callinicos is regarded to be ‘’Mr. Marx’’ and the same is true about the late Ted Grant as it pertains the CWI/RS. The RS is particular combines a Jehovah Witness missionary approach with an extreme bureaucratic opportunism that reeks of sectarian religiosity. The word of Arne Johansson is sacred. I disagreed with him at one of their branch meetings over the issue of the lesbian working class and they asked me to leave for ‘’disrupting’’ them.

You wrote: ‘’We of course do not hesitate to say that we are proud to stand in a tradition, named by Stalin by the way, who we believe have developed and defended revolutionary Marxism against Stalinism and reformism and very difficult circumstances.’’

But then you should not say you are ‘’Fifth Internationalist’’. If you are so proud of the Trotskyist tradition why not call yourself Fourth Internationalist? Why hide behind something you do not want to be? I do not understand you.


You wrote: ‘’But we also have a proud record in not transforming this kind of proudness into a personal cult. Trotsky was of course also a human and made mistakes for example. ‘’

I guess I will never be allowed to find out, since after today you will classify me as ‘’enemy’’.


You wrote: ‘’We can say that and point to this as well as we can point to his record of developing the theory of revolutionary Marxism in many different aspects. We also emphasise the need to build collective revolutionary leadership. If comrades are being "admired" this must only be the result of their actual political merits.’’

Yes. Trotsky contributed to the theoretical wealth of the anti-capitalist tradition of the West. But he was not the only one. He was by no means the only dissident anti-Stalinist in his day. He was simply one of the more prominent. Just another communist among many.

***

I wrote in my blog: ‘’As a whole, Trotskyism has failed in the historical field. There was never a ''political revolution'' in the Eastern Bloc. There never has been a ''permanent revolution'' in the neo-colonial world. The ''Transitional Program'' never broke the workers from the social democratic farse in the developed western countries. Keep in mind that Trotskyists have been reformulating THE SAME THEORIES over and over again since the 1930's with no tangible results.’’

You wrote: ‘’I believe this is little more than demagogy to be frank.’’

The truth hurts.

You wrote: ’’Trotsky himself never said that there must be a political revolution by the working class in the Stalinist states. He said that this was one alternative. The other one was a capitalist restoration.’’

That’s the most elegant apology of Trotsky I’ve ever read! The point I was trying to make was that Trotsky wanted the political revolution in the USSR, and directed his followers to foment it. He supplied them with theories as to how to bring this political revolution about. The theories never panned out. Conclusion: He Failed. Socialism was not restored and the chain of events unleashed by Stalin led to the restoration of capitalism. Trotskyism failed to rescue the USSR from counterrevolution. THAT was my point.

You wrote: ‘’Trotsky was a Marxist and regarded revolutionary action not as something that happens automatically but as something that requires revolutionary leadership, a revolutionary subject (in the same spirit as Marx and Engel’s).’’

Karl Marx said that HE was not a ‘Marxist’. Yes leadership is required, but democratic not personalistic. There have to exist democratic checks on leadership to prevent dictatorship.

You wrote: ‘‘this would have meant a revolutionary left opposition preparing for such an outcome in the Stalinist states. The Trotskyists never claimed to be able to see into the future. To criticise Trotskyists in this way is to demand the impossible in that respect. Secondly, what happened in the USSR and Eastern Europe in the 89/91 revolutions far from proved the Trotskyists wrong. On the contrary Trotsky’s predicaments where verified, of course in a negative way.’’

I am not saying that Trotsky failed to ‘’see into the future’’, but that the ‘revolutionary left opposition’ he advocated never materialised. The Trotskyist movement failed to create it. That you claim the velvet counterrevolution in Eastern Europe as a Theoretical ‘victory’ for Trotskyism is an exercise in doublethink. Whichever way you want to slice it Trotskyism failed to restore socialism in the USSR and Eastern Bloc. Trotskyism failed in the positive where it counts. This is why I say that a real Fifth International needs to start from scratch – from a pure anticapitalism.



You wrote: ‘’Secondly, the critic that a permanent revolution has never happened in the semi-colonial world makes the same mistake. Permanent revolution is not an automatic process (this is an objectivist error however that some centrist trotskyists make).’’

I have never argued that permanent revolution is automatic. I am clear that no revolutionary transformation is. To have a revolutionary transformation the majority have to want it, organise themselves for it and make it happen by mobilisation. This is why I am an advocate of anti-capitalist pro-democracy social movements. What I argued was that the permanent revolution has never happened in the positive (where it counts) in the sixty or so years that Trotskyists have preached it.


You wrote: ‘’What does the theory of the permanent revolution say? Simply that the national bourgeoisie in the semi-colonies do not have the economic or political strength and therefore will as a class to consistently lead an anti-colonial, anti imperialist revolutionary struggle. It falls on the working class to play this role, and also to developed the countries economically. Something that will only really come about if you have a workers revolution that expropriates capital and socialises the economy, fighting to spread the revolution and so on. I think both the anti-colonial struggles in the fifties and sixties, just as todays struggle in for example Indonesia, Argentine, in Bolivia etc confirms that there is no other alternative to this, still valid, analysis.’’

We agree. I note that you admit that the independent revolution of the semi-colonial working class against both comprador burgeoise and imperialism has never happned in the global south. You are still waiting for it after sixty years. What I am sayinfg is that if a theory fails to materialise results (to deliver the goods) then it is time to revise it or drop it. What matters is the positive outcome. That is how the success of a theory is measured in empirical terms. The Theories of Trotsky failed in the laboratory of History. Incidentally, it is not just that the comprador burgeoise in the global south ‘’does not have economic or political strenght’’ to have the will to act against imperialism and capitalism, it is that it as a class benefits from the conditions of semi-colonialist subservience to imperialism.

I am from Latin America (Venezuela) by the way, I can tell you honestly that I have more trust in the social movements that support Lopez Obrador, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales that I would have in any Trotskyist theoretician. Those people are fighting for their lives against imperialism and capitalism.
And before you object; know that I am not ‘Chavista’, ‘PRDista’, or ‘MASista’, or ‘Guevarista’. I am clear that Chavez, Evo, and Obrador are reformists in deeds who utilise anti-capitalist language. What I admire is the movement of the poor and the workers and the marginalised indigenous people that support them, in a crude anticapitalist way but genuine in intention.

You wrote: ‘’The argument that the transitional programme never broke social democratic workers from reformism is not convincing either.’’

It is ‘’not convincing’’ only to people in the Trotskyist orbit. It is to me and to many activists in the anti-capitalist movement.


You wrote: ‘’Something which of course prevented revolutionaries from breaking workers away from reformism was also the non-existence of strong or any revolutionary forces. For example the fourth international only gathered groups of a few thousands internationally in a handful of countries. It then didn't withstand the pressures after the second world war, being isolated from the masses, and degenerated into opportunism towards social democracy and stalinism in the late forties etc. After this the whole method of the transitional programme was practically abolished for decades. ‘’

The non-existence of strong revolutionary forces is a failure. What have the Trotskyists been doing all these years? If the Fourth International failed to gather more than a few thousand supporters that also points to a failure. That is why so many people defected to opportunism and social democracy because the Trotskyist leadership at the time (40s and 50s) failed to do what it was supposed to do.

You wrote: ‘’The League for the Fifth International, a current emerging as a split out of one of the bigger "trotskyist" centrist organisations, the SWP/IST, however started to examine the past mistakes in order to lay the basis for taking up and develop what we believe is a revolutionary trotskyist continuity. During our development as an international tendency we have written at least two programmes, democratically debated and adopted (one in 1991, one in 2003) which tries to develop the transitional programme (not dogmatically repeating the transitional programme developed in 1938).’’

You keep saying that you want to become a Fifth International but then you admit that your programme only recapitulates the failed theories of the Fourth. What I said is true. Trotskyism only recapitulates the same failed theories over and over again. Theories are tested in context of the laboratory of history in the positive, not the negative. To say otherwise would be anti-empirical.


I wrote in my Blog: Anyone who states that only they or their party or thir network is ''right'' is WRONG. Anyone who claims full knowledge of absolute truth is a LIAR.

You wrote: ‘’Now, we don't claim to know everything. We certainly never claimed any absolute truth (this would be entirely unmarxist as we realise that reality is always in a process of change). However, we do believe that it is possible to gain "objetive truth" about for example which tendencies that govern the capitalist system, just as we believe that we can make correct conclusions based a correct analysis of experience. To say otherwise would be to deny the whole method of Marxism. Therefore, without obeying to schematism, determinism, or religious superstition, we do not stand back from saying that we believe that our programme is the programme that best correspond with the reality of global capitalism in the 21st century (and we are not saying it is perfect). And we believe in fact that no other group has been able to create a better programme (or equally good). If so it would be sectarianism not to fuse our forces.’’

No one can claim to know absolute ‘’truth’’. Humans are not and will never be capable of ‘’objectivity’’ because they can never physically disconnect their emotive and instinctive senses. The chimera of ‘’pure logic’’ that liberal positivists aspire to is impossible unless human cease to be human. But yes, you are correct that some truth can be discerned from analysis of processes associated with ceasing to be and becoming as exposed by Marx in his work on Historial Materialism and dialectics. I am willing to agree with Trotsky that ‘’there is no such thing as a moment’’.


Thank you for your time,

M.A.

p.s. I posted your email reply to my questions on Indymedia, in my blog and also on forums on Yahoo!, MSN and USnet, along with the present reply to your reply. If you wish I can forward you links.

by Ex-Trotskyist
Tuesday Sep 26th, 2006 8:22 AM
You wrote: clearly this is not leading forward. However, can't help
myself from adding a few short remarks to this discussion.

No problem. I am always open for discussion.

You wrote: `'No, fighting for a fifth international on a trotskyist
programme doesn't mean that you want to recreate the fourth.''

It does as long you recapitulate the same failed theories. Your
conception of a Fifth International is only cosmetic. I am
interested in something brand new that is in tune with thew actual
concrete reality of our times and not romantic conceptions of
communist activity associated with the 1930's.

You wrote: Where do I "admit that we only want to recapitulate the
theories of the fourth international"?

When you say that you are in favour of a `'trotskyist program''.
Those words mean Fourth Internationalism, not Fifth. As much as you
want to cover it up you cannot hide your true intentions.

You wrote: `'A revolutionary programme for the masses in the 21st
century must of course also be developed to meet the conditions of
today.''

I agree. This is why the Fifth International needs to start from a
fresh brand new basis not associated with the failed theories of the
past.

You wrote: `' We tried to do so in our own programme. Read before
judging. And we do believe that a new fifth international could not
solely be created from scratch, but that it should be founded on a
syntesis of the best traditions of the past four ones.''

I did read your material. It only reinforces my conviction that your
intention is to promote Fourth Internationalism under the cosmetic
disguise of Fifth Internationalism. It is a rule of evolutionary
biology and of politics that failed variables are naturally selected
for extiction. You are trying to prevent the extinction of
Trotskyism by giving it a cosmetic make over. Change a few words
here and there and presto! ; It does not work that way. Trotskyism
does not qualify as a `'best tradition'' in terms of praxis because
its praxis never delivered the intended results in the positive
where it counts.


I wrote: "Fifth implies something brand new from scratch." You
replied: `'Well. If we are only looking at numbers, regardless of
context, with formal logic limiting the essence to aritmetics.''

So you deny reality by hiding behind dialectics. To state the truth
that the theories of Trotsky have never delivered results in the
positive is not an exercise of arithmetics but an acceptance of
concrete reality. Precisely on a dialectic basis the theories of
Trotsky need to be abandoned. The anti-capitalist left needs to
cease to be influenced by Trotsky and it needs to become influenced
by new ideas it develops on its own in its own historical context
(not the 1930s). What is truly anti-Marxist and anti-Dialectic is
Theological Fundamentalism, because it is inherently anti-
historical. Your approach is a medieval escholasticism like that of
Thomas Aquinas. You want to preserve dogma against history.


You wrote: `'I could say, which I believe is more dialectically,
that a fifth int both means a new international "from scratch" and
at the same time a development in political relation to the past
four.''

Any approach that wants to preserve dogma in a theogical fashion
against the verifiable trend in historical development is both anti-
dialectic and anti-empirical. The true dialectic approach views
theory in instrumental terms. For the person that understands
dialectics, theory is a tool that is revised as development takes
place or as it proves itself not effective; If you want to call
me `'revisionist'' no problem. And before you object, know that I am
not a follower of Eduard Bernstein. I do not mean revision to the
right in a social democratic direction but organic revision against
the ongoing historical process of ceasing to be and becoming. There
is no such thing as a moment, and that applies to theory and tactics
as well as to historical analysis. The Fifth International needs to
be founded on new ideas not tainted by the failed ideologies and
dogmas of the past. We do not need any political relation to the
past, we need to get rid of it to allow for new to emerge
unrestricted. I am an anti-conservative. Insofar as you call for
maintaining links to the past you are arguing objective conservatism.

You wrote: `'As marxists we do never start from the beginning unless
we have to (when developing new theory this doesn't mean that the
historical heritage must be set aside all together, unless it
becomes an obstacle and not useful). History has a lot to teach for
the struggles of today and in the future. Otherwise we will most
certainly make the old mistakes again.''

`'Marxism'' is an invention of Marxist ideologues. Marx is on record
as not a `Marxist'. At this point we have to start from the
beginning insofar as the Fifth International is concerned.
Trotskyist dogma is an obstacle that is not useful. The theories of
Trotsky never worked in the positive where it counts. Once more when
you defend the idea of `'the historical heritage'' you are adopting
a conservative approach much like that of an antiquarian or a museum
curator. That is not what Marx would have advocated. Note that
insofar as Trotskyism is a theoretical superstructure built on the
basis of Marx's ideas it is objectively a post-Marx development. The
method of Marx is still useful, but Trotsky is dead weight.

You wrote: ''Trotskys programme from 1938 in itself would not be
able to answer many of questions we face today, deriving from
capitalist globalisation in the last decade. Does that mean we have
to abandon all the points in it all together? We don't think so.''

I do think so, and increasingly so do also many people from
Trotskyist groups that left them in frustration at the bureaucratic
cyniscism, the double think, and the lack of theoretical or tactical
dynamism. I know a few from RS here. There are a few more I've come
across on the net comming out of the now de facto Islamic-
`'Socialist'' British SWP. Apparently Callinicos has instituted a
reign of terror and has ordered a purge of anyone who disagrees with
his interpretations of Marx, Cliff, Trotsky and the Koran. Soon
there will be more ex-Trotskyists than there are Trotskyists. Your
fate ten or twenty years from now will be that of the Left
Communists or the Situationists. Heard about Grandizo Munis or Guy
Debord lately? They where quite big in the 60's.


You wrote: `'Secondly, to argue that trotskyism has been prooven
wrong in the light of the historical experience without giving any
other evidence than "the trotskyism has not achieved what it fought
for, this prove that they are wrong" is not only an empty argument
which makes it impossible to discuss in concrete,''

Your paraphrase does not do justice to what I actually wrote. But,
no it is not an `'empty argument''. You do not like to hear that the
theories of Trotsky failed to deliver because it undermines your
subjective faith in Trotskyism. Religious people do not like to hear
their sacred cows contradicted. You are afraid of facing reality
because you do not want to give up on the psychological safety of
belief in a `'total truth''. The evidence of the failure of
Trotskyism is that none of Trotsky's theories have delivered any
socialist revolutions in the West, never delivered permenent
revolutions in the global south and never delivered political
revolutions in the Eastern Bloc. THAT is what counts. In the sixty
to eighty years that Trotskyist ideologues and activists have been
recapitualting and hustling these theories in Latin America and The
West they never caught on. Furthermore you never truly innovated
them, you only repackage them. The test of the effectiveness of a
tactical theory is in the positive results. The argument of `'proofs
in the negative'' is double think.




You wrote: `'it is also an expression of an over-belief in theory.
As if the one having the right theory could not fail in implementing
it?''

It is Trotskyists who have an over-belief in Theory. This is why
they defend their Theories in a dogmatic fashion. This is why they
never truly innovate (as in revision) and only recapitulate. It is
necessary to have a precise interpretation of current social reality
in order to formulate tactical and estrategic proposals. Theory is
an ongoing effort. In your case you confuse dogma with theory.






You wrote: `'The trotskyists of the thirties and fourties did fail
both to reach out to the masses and in the end they failed the test
of developing the revolutionary programme. We agree. But this, for
us, doesn't mean that the trotskyist tradition must be dismissed per
se in the way that you argue.''

If something does not work, why keep it? You argument is fetichist.
Your defense of `tradition' is conservative.

You wrote: `'The lack of succesfull revolutions in the last 60 years
neither means for us that we must drop the theory of permanent
revolution. We believe that Trotskys theory is being verified by the
present events as well. Look for example at the revolution in Nepal.
Or the tasks deriving from the venezuelan revolution. All these
struggles show the need for the working class to lead the
revolution. The theory of permanent revolution is still valid. If
you don't think so, give me one concrete example on why the theory
is wrong (not only saying that it has not been able to give a
victory in the past decades). `'

Latin America. As much as you want to run away from it, the FACT
that despite the agitations of Trotskyist groups a permanent
revolution has never happened as Trotsky prescribed it is THE proof
that the theory of permanent revolution failed to deliver. You need
to either radically revise it or dump it. Tactical and estrategic
theories are tested by the positive results they deliver. This is a
fundamental premise of military science. It is not an argument that
the theory was `'not deployed'' in the field; because Trotskyists
have been organised in Latin America at least since 1940. The fact
that Trotsky's theories failed to rally the workers in Argentina,
Mexico and Brasil is the reason why revolutionary minded youth in
Latin America became followers of Che as an alternative to Trosky in
the 1960's. Che was openly anti-Trotskyist. The theories of Che also
failed. The guerrilla road only worked two times in Latin America
(Cuba 1959 and Nicaragua 1979), all other times it was tried it
failed. And then although Cuba and Nicaragua did make some anti-
capitalist advances; the post-revolutionary regimes never really
delivered legitimate socialism. Aside from the Cult of Trotsky, the
Cult of Che is something else the Fifth Internationalist Movement
must distance itself from. The process in Venezuela is not
a `'permanent revolution'' in the sense that Trotsky meant it. It is
not a process led by the working class against the comprador
burgeoise and imperialism that in context of establishing the basis
for socialism (workers power, collectivised property forms, land
nationalisation, etc), accomplishes liberal democratic tasks in a
simultaneous manner. Chavez is a left populist nationalist who is
administering a capitalist state and political economy. He has
redistributed incomes from national oil revenues and has established
the misiones as social reform instruments, the constitution of 1999
is better that the previous, etc… but this is nothing
near `'permanent revolution''. The Nicaraguan Sandinistas in 1986
where to the left of Chavez in 2006. As far as Nepal is concerned,
there was some progress against the monarchy in terms of there now
being a parliamentary regime (of sorts), but that is not a permanent
revolution either. The situation in Nepal is even less a `'permanent
revolution'' that in Venezuela.


You write: `'On another issue, I could have written soviet-style
bodies, to clarify that we are not dogmatic about names. But why do
you assume this? However, one of the calls we have raised in
different situation was for social forums in every city to
coordinate action etc.''

In my experience Trotskyists do not agree to validate a working
class initiated movement unless it fits exactly with the theoretical
and linguistic prescriptions Trotsky defined. Social Forums are
dead. If there was a network of social forums it would be taken over
by social democrats and social liberals and then it would be
derrailed. This is what happened with WSF at the global level. The
old anti-globalisation stuff has become ritualised. The Battle of
Seattle and February 15th, 2003 were fun and good but that upsurge
is over. Time to move on.


You wrote: `'You are clearly very sceptic and pessimistic about
trotskyists. If the CWI, the SWP/IST and grantites are the ones you
have met I can understand you to some extent. And yes,
the "trotskyist" tradition also have a number of currents where
personalist cults finds breathing space. But that is another story.
If you are at all interested in the concrete history about the
trotskyist movements degeneration, why it took place and so on, we
have written about the degeneration of the fourth international in a
substansive document to be found at:

http://www.fifthinternational.org/index.php?id=77,418,0,0,1,0

It doesn' deal with the CWI, but anyways. You will find somee
substantial crriticism there of other tendencies playing important
(obstructive) roles in the movement of today.''

I will read it. But I am not interested in a Fourth International. I
am interested in building a Fifth.

You wrote: `'We also published a pamphlet about Trotsky in the
nineties. You can find it here:

http://www.fifthinternational.org/index.php?id=78,426,0,0,1,0 ''

The nineties were over in 2002. Do you have anything 2006?

You wrote: `'Among discussing what we defend from his heritage iit
also discusses Trotskys centrist mistakes, his undialectical
approach to the question of the need for a revolutionary cadre party
(in connection with his opportunism towards the mencheviks) in the
years before the russian revolution.''

I will read it.


You wrote: `'And by the way, the quote from Marx: It is true he said
that he didn't consider himself being a marxist. However, he did so
in a context of defending his name against a weird sectarian French
group of leftists who used this brand for themselves. I believe that
marx in his youth called himself hegelian. But anyways this is not
very important. Trotsky called himself, bolshevik-leninist by the
way.''

Exactly, the weird sectarian groups in our day who like to use the
name of Marx to brand themselves are the Trotskyists. This is why I
emphasise that Marx was not a `Marxist'' whenever I encounter
Trotskyists. My impression is that they never like to be reminded of
this. I am not a follower of Trotsky, I am an anti-capitalist Fifth
Internationalist, so I do not care what Trotsky called himself.



/Gunnar

p.s. Oh yes, some additions. Sorry if you felt branded as an
anarchist by the way.
What does "pure anticapitalism" means?
How do you picture yourself a revolution?
What do you believe is the political tasks facing todays movement,
ie what do you think the social movements should do in order to get
rid of capitalism?

/Gunnar

For answers to these questions you can visit the discussion forum I
participate at. It exists precisely to develop answers to the
questions you raised. Theory is an ongoing activity. It is not the
fabrication of new dogma to replace old dogma.
I look at theory in dialectic terms.


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