National Sections of the L5I:

History

Spanish civil war: Trotskyists and the POUM

Andrés Nin, the leader of the POUM until his murder at the hands of Stalinist agents in Spain, was expelled from the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) in 1927. He formed a Spanish section of the International Left Opposition, led by Leon Trotsky.

Between 1930 and February 1933 Trotsky and Nin corresponded about the tasks of the Spanish revolution, which had opened with the fall of King Alphonso and the declaration of the Second Republic in 1930. Over the next eight years the revolution went through many ebbs and flows until the final victory of the counter-revolution at the hands of Franco in March 1939. Read more...

The fate of the Stalinist states

The destruction of the USSR enormously strengthened imperialism’s position on a world scale. But now Washington and the European powers are worried that further de-stabilisation or disintegration within the Confederation of Independent States (CIS) could present them with serious problems, especially if, in the ensuing chaos, nuclear weapons were to get into the hands of unreliable semi-colonial countries, let alone Islamic fundamentalists and “terrorists”. The USA and the EU are certainly not promoting the further disintegration of the Russian Federation or other CIS states like Georgia. Yugoslavia has presented them with a frightening model of what the consequences of this might be. Western leaders speak of the harmful effects of nationalism, and even of the need to violate the national sovereignty of small states with the excuse that they are defending human rights. In reality, this violation takes place to stabilise imperialist interests. Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Haiti and Somalia are clearly very important tests for this doctrine of limited sovereignty. The Caucasus and Central Asia could soon be added to the list. Read more...

Fighting the "enemy within" - Thatcher Major and the Tories

When Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 she had united the Tory party around the goal of breaking the strength of the British trade unions. This, the Thatcherites argued, was essential for the restructuring of industry and the restoration of British capitalism’s profitability. Read more...

Vietnam two decades on, once more the dollar is god

The Vietnamese Communist Party swept victoriously into Saigon nearly twenty years ago. Brought to power in a mass, revolutionary war would the Stalinist regime escape the fate of its Russian and East European backers? Twenty years on the answer is clearly no. Chris Bryant examines the Vietnamese bureaucracy’s journey from anti-imperialist victory to an attempt at capitalist restoration. Read more...

Yeltsin’s October Counter-Revolution

International Secretariat of the LRCI, 7 October 1993

In the days between 21 of September and 5 October the bloody events in Moscow have transformed the political situation. The result of the storming of the White House and Yeltsin’s imposition of draconian emergency powers means that the social counter-revolution has been greatly strengthened. Yeltsin, representing the pro-imperialist, radical restorationist wing of the old bureaucracy and the new bourgeoisie, has taken a giant step towards unifying and concentrating the forces of the state into his hands. Pavel Grachev, Yeltsin’s defence minister, claimed; “The people were tired of dual power and illegality”. In fact, the people have had no say in events and the bloody assault on the constitutional Russian parliament was a massive act of illegality. But he is right that Yeltsin and the restorationists could not carry on in the state of dual powerlessness where parliament and president obstructed each others’ every move. Read more...

Revolutionary capitalists?

Bill Jenkins reviews Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London’s Overseas Traders, 1550–1653 by Robert Brenner, Cambridge University Press 1993 Read more...

Poland stumbles on the road to capitalist restoration

The election of a new government in September will herald an attempt to make a final push to capitalism. Will they succeed? Martin Suchenak weighs up the odds Read more...

Germany 1953 - "We are workers not slaves"

Richard Brenner describes the events of June 1953 when the workers of East Germany launched a mass struggle that ended in a general strike and an uprising against the Stalinist bureaucracy Read more...

“Everything was possible”—May ’68

A quarter of a century after France was rocked by the biggest general strike in European history, Emile Gallet recalls the events and examines the actions of the left Read more...

The 1953 split in the Fourth International

Forty years ago, the Fourth International (FI) was rent by a substantial political debate over perspectives and orientation. A number of important sections (Britain, France, USA) set up the "International Committee of the Fourth International" in November 1953, in opposition to the majority "International Secretariat".

The split still reverberates today. Some of the international organisations which call themselves Trotskyist can claim to be the direct descendants of one or the other side, and virtually all of them have a clear view on the split. The split has become part of the mythology of Trotskyism, presented as a principled defence of "orthodox Trotskyism" against a political deviation led by one man ("Pablo") or as a damaging split which led to the subsequent and lasting weakness of the International. Read more...