- Leon Trotsky was a great intellect of the 20th century, one of
the two towering figures of the Russian Revolution. The calumny heaped onto the
head of this revolutionary should be rejected with contempt by all partisans of
the working class.
- Despite this, Trotsky's contribution to the revolutionary
workers' movement did not constitute a qualitative development of the
theoretical categories of Marxism, an extension according to its own logical
laws of development. In this sense therefore, there is no 'Trotskyism' in the
same way there is a 'Leninism'.
- In the struggle against the rising bureaucracy in the Soviet
Union, Trotsky and the left (and later, the united) opposition defended many
positions of orthodox revolutionary Marxism, centrally the need for world
revolution. However, Trotsky made numerous tactical errors in the inner-party
struggle, blunders that contributed to eventual defeat. Crucially, Trotsky
failed to correctly estimate the potential strength of the Stalin centre, based
on the Party apparatus. In this error, he evidenced a tendency to mechanically
collapse political forces into social base. This combined with a certain
technocratism contributed to the eventual political fragmentation of the
opposition, with many capitulating to Stalin after 1928.
- Trotsky's analysis of the degeneration of the Bolshevik Party
and the social consequences of the USSR's isolation contained many brilliant
insights. Yet it must be taken as the product of the provisional working
categories of a brilliant Marxist attempting to understand the laws of motion
of a totally unprecedented social formation in the very process of its
emergence and consolidation.
- Thus, to the very end of his life, Trotsky's thought revealed
development and dynamic tensions within itself. This is true despite a certain
degeneration of his thought conditioned by the intense pressure of Stalinism
and his personal isolation. It is entirely possible that--given the
developmental logic of his ideas before his assassination--Trotsky would have
been able to resolve the contradictions in his analysis positively, to critique
and outgrow his conditional category of 'degenerated workers' state'.
- Trotsky's followers subsequently froze his method and these
provisional categories into dogma. This was evident in the immediate aftermath
of World War II and was a characteristic of both sides in the 1953 split in
Trotskyism. Trotskyism thus emerged--in contrast to the method of Trotsky at
his best - as sterile sectarianism.
- We observe that today Trotskyism in Britain is embodied in
general in two degenerate forms. First, there are the tiny, biblical sects
engaged in squabbles over the letter of Trotsky's work, not his method and its
results in the real world. Second, where Trotskyist groups have attempted to
relate to the mass, they have adapted to social democracy and become
practically indistinguishable from left social democrats.
- The place for all revolutionaries and communists is in a
single revolutionary party. Trotskyists committed to the creation of a mass
revolutionary workers' party should begin immediate discussions with the
Provisional Central Committee with a view to the reunification of Trotskyism
with the Communist Party of Great Britain.
--Notes by Mark Fischer in consultation with PCC members.