Trotskyism: Product and agent of counterrevolution

Trotsky gives lesson in Party discipline - fake photoshopped photo

The ICG traces the counter-revolutionary trajectory of Trotskyism.

Submitted by redtwister on December 15, 2005

(Some grammatical corrections have been made to the original.)

Trotsky is often considered as Stalin's enemy. In fact he was Stalin's competitor. Let's explain:

The opposition (that later became trotskyist) appeared in 26-27 as a (quite late) reaction to the counterrevolutionary position of "socialism in one country". But this position of Trotsky only became a theoretical position in so far as Trotsky always defended capitalism in Russia and everywhere else in the world. Trotskyists defended the participation in the so-called "second" world war and in all the following ones. If in '27, Trotsky's reaction to the Canton and Shanghai massacre of the insurrectionary proletarians was correct, in total antagonism with this position, he supported the massacres of the proletarians in Spain and critically supported all the left bourgeoisie initiatives.

Inside the Third International he attacked the Left, calling them "anarchists" or "adventurous", he lead the crushing of the proletarian insurrection in Kronstadt, he imposed the militarisation of labour, and praised the Taylor system (increasing of exploitation of human labour),... In two words: Trotsky always supported the development of capitalism. He never realised/understood the transformation/liquidation of the proletarian organs of 1917 into organs of management of capital. He was blind to the capitalist nature of the relations of production in Russia.

The communist revolution means the destruction of production, value, the abolition of wage labour, total suppression of democracy, be it called popular, direct, liberal or libertarian.

Trotsky foughts against the participation of the communists in the Kuomintang (1923) and against the policy of the Third International which praised the alliance with the Chinese bourgeoisie against the insurrectionary proletarians. Correct! But he did not make a principle out of this position, he did not consider this position as something true always and everywhere, as an important point of the communist programme: anti-frontism.

In 1933, he wanted all the groups of the trotskyist "opposition" to enter the bourgeois social-democrat parties (the same that he condemned in 1920) to make "entryism". That is equivalent to trying to wake up a dead body. We consider entryism is trying to conquer a cadaver from the inside! Trotskyist organisations made entryism inside the organisations created under the Vichy regime in France in order to "organize revolutionary nucleus"!!!

Our criticisms globally concern the critical support to parliament, ministries, elections,... the participation to imperialist conflicts supporting the "weakest" imperialism (Russia, Tito, Ben Bella, Khomeyni, Allende, Ho Chi Min,...) supporting national liberation struggles.

We denounce the theory defending the existence of "degenerated worker States". According to this point of view, in those States, the means of production are "fair", and the means of distribution are "unfair". We consider this as total bullshit! The production determines the essence, the very nature of the distribution and all the ideological forms that justify the later. In Russia as well as everywhere in the world economy is based on the law of value, therefore, what is the difference? Nationalisation? State property? No because it does not attack property. On the one hand, the bourgeois property of the means of production is reinforced and more centralised, on the other hand there is no change in the essence of the relations of production.

We also denounce the theory of the permanent revolution according to which "the accomplishment of democratic tasks in bourgeois backward countries "directly" leads them to the dictatorship of the proletariat which puts the socialist tasks on the agenda." So making the bourgeois revolution would automatically lead to making the proletarian revolution that would put the finishing touches to the bourgeois revolution. That is how the bourgeois revolution could "permanently" give birth to the proletarian revolution, just as if the latter was a simple and more or less mechanical extension, continuation of the first.

Proletarian revolution will destroy democracy, impose the proletarian class power in order to abolish all classes and all powers. The fact that capital always developed by poles of concentration that moved along the centuries does not contradict the fact that it is a worldwide relation of production and that the proletarians have no country to defend, no homeland to die for. National liberation, the "oppressed nations", the "socialist countries" are bourgeois ideologies to prevent class war!

And the last point of the trotskyist theory we denounce: the transitional programme.

For Trotsky there were two programs: a minimum programme (economical demands, immediate interests) and a maximum programme (political demands, historical interests), and between them, there is a bridge: the transitional program, the "preparation to the taking of the power". This transitional program is the basis of the 4th International. It says that the productive forces of humanity have stopped growing and that the objective basis of capital is ready for revolution. What is missing is the subjective factor, i.e: the revolutionary leadership. That is the role of the 4th International. Separation between immediate and historical interests of the proletariat, separation between the "masses" and the "leaders", the bellies and the heads, the oppressed and the imperialist countries, the subjective and the objective conditions, these counterrevolutionary theories serve as a life-guard for capital.

For us the transition between capital and communism will be the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the transitional programme can only be the tasks necessary to dictatorially destroy capital.



16 years 3 months ago

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Submitted by 888 on April 18, 2008

A writing style seemingly deliberately designed to make yourself misunderstood... (e.g. "Trotsky will always defend capitalism in Russia and everywhere else in the world")>


16 years 3 months ago

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Submitted by ffaker on April 24, 2008

I take it the picture has been photoshopped...


16 years ago

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Submitted by piter on July 24, 2008

writing such a poor article is not the best way to criticize Trotsky and trotskism.
there's a lot of innaccuracies in this article.
sure Trotsky's opposition was quite late and innaccurate but it started in 1923 not 1926.
not accurate neither to say that Trotsky supported capitalisme everywhere, his cocneption of proletarian revolution is wrong but that doesn't makes him a supporter of capitalsime, unless you want to reason like tru stalinist and say that "objectively" he is a defender of capitalisme "because" is is not a proper revolutionnary. that's bullshit...
"he supported the massacres of the proletarians in Spain and critically supported all the left bourgeoisie initiatives.
that also is wrong and the author propose no evidence for what he says.
he didn't led the crushing of Cronstadt, he supported the crushing but didn't led it.

the theory of permanent revolution is misunderstood.

the only correct thing in the article is that : "He never realised/understood the transformation/liquidation of the proletarian organs of 1917 into organs of management of capital. He was blind to the capitalist nature of the relations of production in Russia. "

what does destroying democracy means? destroying the state?

Mike Harman

16 years ago

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Submitted by Mike Harman on July 24, 2008

he didn't led the crushing of Cronstadt, he supported the crushing but didn't led it.

He was head of the Red Army at the time wasn't he?


16 years ago

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Submitted by piter on July 25, 2008

he was head of the red army but wasn't in charge of the operation against Kronstadt, he played no active military role in Kronstadt (that's where the innaccuracie is), but of course he supported the repression.

Submitted by Mike Harman on July 25, 2008

Well not just supported it, he ordered it.

I'd also say that the public statements by Trotsky 'shoot them like partridges' 'hair done up like pimps' at that time constitute an active role, albeit not military.


16 years ago

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Submitted by piter on July 26, 2008

these sentences often attributed to Trotsky, are in fact by Zinoviev, who was haed of the regime in Petrograd at the time, it's also him that first described Cronstadt rebellion as a white guard plot. it was Zinoviev who was in charge of the Cronstadt case, so if someone in particular is to blame it is Zinoviev. for that matters. but it's possible that Trotsky wouldn't have done better. but I'm just establishing facts. (and even if Trotsky really ordered, to order is not exactly to lead, but of course it's of no political importance).


14 years 7 months ago

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Submitted by rooieravotr on December 20, 2009

Trotsky bears responsibility for the suppression of Kronstadt, no doubt about that. He himself admits this, proudly in fact, in his "Hue and Cry over Kronstadt". The fact that he did not actually lead the soldiers over the ice towards Kronstadt is of quite marginal importance.

Having said that, I see no need for a picture like the above to accompany this article. Let's criticize Trotsky for his politics (an indeed, for his role against Kronstadt), he deserves it. But there is not need for pictures like that to make a political point, is there? If the truth is on our side, why use photoshopping like that?


9 years 6 months ago

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Submitted by bruciebaby on January 4, 2015

Kronstadt...yawn. Never have so many words been wasted on such a minor historical event but hey there has to be something for anarchists to moan about. After all have they ever led (can they lead anything) a successful revolution? Unlike Trotsky. They have, of course, sold revolutions out.

I've no intention of engaging (again for the umpteenth time) on the counter revolutionary nature of the Kronstadt revolt although it's good for seeing people completely at sea (in the Gulf of Finland) on a host of political and theoretical questions but this "article"? I mean it is illiterate and shouldn't even have been posted. The picture is just insulting.
I like Libcom as it hosts some excellent articles that are well researched, well written and engaging even if I disagree with their content but this is just well....crap.


9 years 6 months ago

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Submitted by jojo on January 4, 2015

Kronstadt wasn't "a minor historical event" at all but one full of lessons for the future (if there is any future that is.) Surely the Kronstadt sailors were protesting what they saw as the usurpation of the proletarian revolution by the Bolshevik Party who had originally done so much to help achieve the proletarian seizure of power; but who were now exercising it themselves in a non-proletarian manner. In fact they were behaving like a bourgeois political party, and running a bourgeois state.

Some will say well this isn't surprising as they were always a power hungry bourgeois clique anyway.

But lets assume they weren't for a moment. In 1917 they advocated "All power to the Soviets" because they saw the soviets as the discovered form through which the working class would control it's dictatorship. They also knew that the working class can't just seize hold of the bourgeois state system and use it as a means to bring about communism. This was the major message of Lenin's "State and Revolution" and of the Paris Commune of course. The working class required and would discover and develop its own kind of rule and its own kind of transitional state.

But there can be tragic gaps between theory and practice. Mistake one. The Bolsheviks set themselves up as rulers of the state - albeit as a temporary measure?- which of course was still a capitalist state. They were waiting for the revolution to emerge elsewhere in Europe. The revolution emerged but was defeated leaving the way open for Stalin.

Mistake two. As holders of state power the Bolsheviks found themselves defending a capitalist state system against workers who were starting to understand that this wasn't what they wanted, wasn't what they fought for, and wasn't going anywhere as far as communism was concerned. The result was one of the greatest tragedies in working class history. A working class political party found itself massacring the very workers who had led the revolution in the first place but who were now led to challenge what had been their own avant garde.

This doesn't mean that the working class has no need of a political party as an expression of its

consciousness; or that the Bolsheviks were always bourgeois or that there was no proletarian revolution in Russia. It does mean though that the party must never substitute itself for the class in any way, and that violence within the working class itself, against itself, must always be avoided.

So the awful events at Kronstadt have vital lessons for us and it shouldn't be a yawn. But apart from that I agree with what bruciebaby says, speciall about the photo.


9 years 6 months ago

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Submitted by Battlescarred on January 4, 2015

A successful revolution ked by Trotsky? What do you mean by success. See these other instances of the counterrevolutionary role of Trotsky himself here at libcom

Serge Forward

9 years 6 months ago

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Submitted by Serge Forward on January 4, 2015

Feeding time at the troll house. I wouldn't bother, Battlescarred and jojo.

Edit... Acherly, DO bother as it's all good stuff.