National Sections of the L5I:

History

Trotsky, by Pierre Broué: an attempt at a biography

History plays strange tricks. In 1954, one year after the death of Stalin, and at the beginning of a period of so-called “de-Stalinisation”, Isaac Deutscher published the first book in his three volume biography of Trotsky.1 Deutscher’s work, despite its many faults, gave a clear account of Trotsky’s life and struggle, and countered the Stalinist lies which, even today, are still perpetrated about the founder of the Red Army. And now, at a time when reasoned public discussion of Trotsky in the USSR is allowed for the first time in over fifty years, Pierre Broué, Professor of History and long-time member of Pierre Lambert’s Parti Communiste Internationaliste (PCI), has published a massive new biography of Trotsky in French which both rivals and surpasses that of Deutscher. Read more...

Barbaric Trotskyism: a history of Morenoism - Part 1

Part two is online here

Morenoism - Part one; 1941–1978

“I believe that we have made many more mistakes than Trotsky or the Bolsheviks. When I say that ours has been a barbaric Trotskyism it is because I believe it to be the harsh truth and I am not being demagogic.”1

It is little more than a decade since Nahuel Moreno’s Argentinian party (then the PST) declared itself to be “the largest Trotskyist party in the world”. Despite the possible objections to this claim we must accept that the International Workers League (LIT), built around that party, is numerically the largest international “Fourthist” organisation to arise in the semi-colonial world and is the group which has the greatest majority of militants in Latin America. Nowadays the Morenoites maintain that they, along with the Mandelites, are the only two truly international organisations in the “world Trotskyist movement”. In this article we propose to analyse the history and the programmatic ideas of Morenoism from its origin through to the late 1970s. Read more...

David North: The Heritage we renounce

A review of a new history of the Fourth International

The heritage we defend: A contribution to the history of the Fourth International by David North, Labor Publications, Detroit, 539 pp $12.95

Any book that claims to be “a critical Marxist history of the Fourth International” should be worth reading. The only other two books available in English which make a similar claim are The Death Agony of the Fourth International (Workers Power/Irish Workers Group 1983) and Pierre Frank’s The Fourth International (Inklinks 1972). In the event only the Death Agony lives up to its claims. North’s book, like Pierre Frank’s, has more in common with the publications of the Catholic Truth Society—riddled with chop logic, exhortations to the worshippers to keep their faith and a disdainful attitude to the facts of history. Read more...

The Transitional Programme fifty years on

Half a century has passed since the Transitional Programme (TP)1 of Leon Trotsky was written. In those fifty years much has occurred that Trotsky’s programme neither foresaw nor prepared for. Trotsky’s perspectives were based on the premise that ‘Mankind’s productive forces stagnate’.2 Yet, in the metropolitan countries the second imperialist war was followed by an unprecedented economic boom for almost twenty years. In turn this boom created the conditions for the resurgence of social-democratic reformism, a force Trotsky believed would be decisively destroyed in the war. Stalinism too not merely survived but gained a new lease of life through its expansion into eastern Europe and eventually parts of Asia. The condition for these unforeseen developments was the defeat of the revolutionary upsurge that occurred during the war in Europe. The defeat of that upsurge was achieved by counter-revolutionary force in the areas occupied by the Soviet Armed Forces and Allied imperialism. It fell victim to the no less fatal snares of democratic counter-revolution in much of western Europe. Read more...

Founding the Communist International

Proceedings and documents of the First Congress March 1919. Edited by Riddell, Pathfinder 1987, Reviewed by Peter Mason Read more...

Theses on Zionism and Palestine: 1947

We reprint here an English translation of ‘Draft theses on the Jewish Question today’, first published in Fourth International in the January/February 1948 issue. They are dated January 1947 and the available evidence suggests that they were drafted by Ernest Mandel (‘Walter’) and first discussed by the International Secretariat in Paris at its 16 December 1946 meeting. Read more...

Nicaragua under the Sandinistas

The insurrection of 19 July 1979 which finally overthrew the Somoza regime in Nicaragua was an event of enormous importance for revolutionaries world wide. It was the most thorough going democratic revolution in Latin America since the July 26th Movement led by Fidel Castro destroyed the Batista regime in Cuba in 1959. Read more...

The SWP(US) in the ‘American Century’: A Case Study of ‘Orthodoxy’

In 1953 the Fourth International split in two. One of the main protagonists in the split was the Socialist Workers Party of the United States (SWP(US)). In the name of Trotskyist ‘orthodoxy’ it launched the International Committee (IC) as a rival to the ‘revisionist’ International Secretariat (IS) led by Michel Pablo.1 The SWP had been the largest national section when the FI was founded in 1938. Its decision to publicly split the FI had profound repercussions throughout world Trotskyism. Read more...

From words to deeds by Leon Trotsky

Below appears the first published English translation of Trotsky’s article ‘From words to deeds’(1). Seventy years after its appearance in the paper Vpered (Forward) on 28 June 1917 (2) it remains a key document in the history of Trotsky’s convergence with Lenin’s party.

Vpered was the paper of the Inter-District Organisation of United Social Democrats, the so-called Mehraiontsi. This had been founded in 1913 by Yurenev and other members of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) who rejected the discipline of both Bolshevik and Menshevik wings of the party. As Yurenev wrote later: ‘In particular we refused to recognise the Bolshevik conference of 1912 as a conference of the entire RSDLP.’(3) Their initial project was to unify the Bolsheviks and the Left Mensheviks in a party of ‘United Internationalists’. Read more...

Labour Youth against the bureaucracy: 1960-64

Julian Scholefield reviews the history of the Healy group in the Labour party in the 1960s Read more...