Tag Archives: Trotskyism

Korea Resilient! Socialism in the DPRK

The following is from Return to the Source

On December 22 of last year, “Fight Back! News, which often reflects the views of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), published an outstanding overview of the DPRK and US imperialism in the Korean Peninsula entitled “Korea Stands Strong: Kim Jong-Il in Context.” The piece did a tremendous job outlining the advances made by Korean socialism and the problems arising from continued Western occupation of the southern half of the Korean nation.

In response to Fight Back!’s thorough analysis, along with two other pieces by the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and the Workers World Party (WWP), David Whitehouse of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) released a hit-piece on Kim Jong-Il and dusted off the typical Cliffite-Trotskyite arguments against actually existing socialism. Published January 12, ‘Socialism in One Dynasty’ rehashes the same anti-communist lines of the ISO that have come to characterize  Trotskyism.

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Trotsky’s struggle against fascism, according to one of his latter-day admirers

The following article is from Lalkar. For more see Harpal Brar’s Bourgeois Democracy and Fascism as well as The Marxist-Leninist’s anti-Trotskyism reading guide:

Finding the lies about, and distortions of, revolutionary leaders of the Soviet Union, the policies of the Soviet Communists, and the actions of that once great state is quite easy; virtually any bourgeois paper, TV programme or internet blog site can be depended on to serve that up. However, it is those who pose as socialists/communists, while peddling this anti-Soviet, anti-communist filth, that are the real danger to the proletariat and its crying need to take the road of understanding Marxist-Leninist ideology and indulging in revolutionary practice.  Finding lies and distortions from these individuals/sects/groups/parties is just as easy as finding them from bourgeois sources.  It is impossible to answer each and every one of these slanders individually; so we have to lump them together for a general response or pick out the odd one to answer in some depth, knowing that much of our answer will apply also to the lies of other renegades and enemies of the proletariat.  This article is of the latter type. 

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Celebrate the Life of Comrade Ho Chi Minh

The following is from the British anti-imperialist and Marxist-Leninist journal, Lalkar:

On the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the birth of Comrade Ho Chi Minh we publish a summary of the heroic struggle he led against Japanese, French and US imperialism.

The culmination of Ho Chi Minh’s life work is wonderfully encapsulated in the words of General Vo Nguyen: Time will pass by, but the Vietnamese people’s victory in the war of resistance against the US will forever enter history as one of the most brilliant exploits, a shining symbol of the triumph of revolutionary heroism and the human mind. It has gone into the world’s history as a great feat-of-arms of the 20th century, an event of international importance and of profound epochal character … Vietnam became the focal point of the fierce struggle between revolutionaries and reactionaries in the world, a place where there was a [battle] between progress and reaction, between justice and injustice in the struggle of humanity for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress.” (‘The anti-US war for national salvation – a great victory of ability and intelligence’, 2005)

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Presentation by Harpal Brar to the Stalin Society on the Comintern and the Chinese Revolution

Here is a  video of a talk by Harpal Brar, Chairman of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) to the Stalin Society on the line of Joseph Stalin and the Communist International regarding the Chinese Revolution. See also Comrade Brar’s article Stalin and the Chinese Revolution.

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Against Trotskyism: A Reading Guide

“The entire edifice of Leninism at the present time is built on lies and falsification and bears within itself the poisonous elements of its own decay” – Leon Trotsky, letter to Chkheidze, 1913.

The question of Trotsky is not merely a historical question. Firstly and most importantly it is a question of political line. There are significant political reasons that Trotskyism has failed to ever lead a successful revolution. It is a fact that Trotsky, on the one hand, and Lenin and Stalin on the other, put forward two very different and opposing lines on almost every major question for the international communist movement. Rejected by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and by the Soviet people as well, Trotsky then turned bitterly to the organization of counter-revolution, both within the Soviet Union and internationally.

To help clearify these important points for the international communist movement, The Marxist-Leninist has put together this reading guide. It has been incorporated into the Marxist-Leninist Study Guide as well. The main texts here are (1) M.J. Olgin’s outstanding study of Trotskyism which deals well with the political differences between Bolshevism and Trotskyism, (2) an article by Nadezhda Krupskaya (the wife of Lenin) on Trotsky’s distortions of the history of the October Revolution, and (3) an eyewitness account by Harry Haywood, the great African American Communist leader, of Trotsky’s ideological defeat by Stalin. Many supplementary texts are provided as well. For more on the contributions of Stalin to the ICM, see Long Live the Universal Contributions of Comrade Joseph Stalin.

“It is the duty of the Party to bury Trotskyism as an ideological trend.” – Joseph Stalin

Beginning and Essential readings

Supplemental readings

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Long Live the Universal Contributions of Comrade Joseph Stalin

December 21, 2009 marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of Comrade Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin and working and oppressed people around the world will celebrate this historic date. To commemorate the birth of this outstanding proletarian revolutionary here are some quotes, followed by some longer articles, highlighting his achievements and contributions to Marxist-Leninist theory and to the cause of socialism. The Marxist-Leninist would encourage those interested to read the 1947 political biography of Stalin published by the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute as well as the other texts below.

For a collection of material on the struggle of the Bolshevik Party against Trotskyism, see Against Trotskyism: A Reading Guide.

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Harry Haywood: Trotsky’s Day in Court

The following examination of Trotskyism by the great African American Marxist-Leninist, Harry Haywood, is from “Trotsky’s Day in Court”, Chapter 6 of Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist (1978), which takes place while Harry Haywood is studying in Moscow at the KUTVA, The University of the Toilers of the East. For a more thorough Marxist-Leninist examination of Trotskyism, read M.J. Olgin’s outstanding 1935 book, Trotskyism: Counter-Revolution in Disguise, which is perhaps the best treatment of the subject:


Trotsky’s Day in Court

Apart from our academic courses, we received our first tutelage in Leninism and the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the heat of the inner-party struggle then raging between Trotsky and the majority of the Central Committee led by Stalin. We KUTVA students were not simply bystanders, but were active participants in the struggle. Most students – and all of our group from the U.S. – were ardent supporters of Stalin and the Central Committee majority. 

It had not always been thus. Otto told me that in 1924, a year before he arrived, a majority of the students in the school had been supporters of Trotsky. Trotsky was making a play for the Party youth, in opposition to the older Bolshevik stalwarts. With his usual demagogy, he claimed that the old leadership was betraying the revolution and had embarked on a course of “Thermidorian reaction.” (1) In this situation, he said, the students and youth were “the Party’s truest barometer.” (2)

But by the time the Black American students arrived, the temporary attraction to Trotsky had been reversed. The issues involved in the struggle with Trotsky were discussed in the school. They involved the destiny of socialism in the Soviet Union. Which way were the Soviet people to go? What was to be the direction of their economic development? Was it possible to build a socialist economic system?  These questions were not only theoretical ones, but were issues of life and death. The economic life of the country would not stand still and wait while they were being debated.  

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Stalin and the Chinese Revolution

stal_nalb3The following presentation was made by Harpal Brar, Chairman of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), to the Stalin Society on 18 October 2009 to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the forthcoming 130th anniversary of the birth of Stalin. It is taken from Chapter 13 of his book, Trotskyism or Leninism? It was again published and is being reprinted here from the November/December 2009 issue of the British anti-imperialist and Marxist-Leninist journal, Lalkar:

Stalin and the Chinese Revolution:
Two lines on the Chinese Revolution - the line of the Comintern and Stalin versus the line of the Trotskyist opposition

In the latter half of the 1920s the Trotskyist opposition (Trotsky, Zinoviev, Radek and Kamenev) accused the ‘Stalinist bureaucracy’ i.e. the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik) [CPSU(B)] and the Comintern of selling the Chinese Revolution and the Chinese communists down the river – of betraying the Chinese Revolution.

This slander has since then been picked up, and repeated thousands of times, by the Trotskyite counter-revolutionaries, revisionist renegades, social democrats, and even by some dubious Marxist-Leninists.  Every attempt is made by this gentry to invent sharp difference of opinion between Stalin and Mao Zedong, between the line of the Comintern, which was the same as that of Stalin and the CPSU(B), on the one hand, and that of Mao Zedong, on the other hand, on the question of the Chinese Revolution.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Freedom Road: Lessons from the RNC

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The following is from the website of Freedom Road Socialist Organization:

Lessons From the RNC:
Mass Mobilization and Militant Actions Advance the Struggle

by Freedom Road Socialist Organization

The Republican National Convention brought many of the biggest war-makers to Minnesota. The people’s movements from across the U.S. responded by organizing four days of demonstrations against the RNC. Freedom Road Socialist Organization prioritized organizing against the RNC and helped build multiple days of protest including the mass anti-war march of 30-35,000 people on September 1st and the “No Peace for the Warmakers” militant march turned civil disobedience on September 4th.

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Socialism or Barbarism? Review of "Another View of Stalin"

This book by Ludo Martens of the Worker’s Party of Belgium, Another View of Stalin (EPO, Antwerp: 1994.), is pretty incredible. For us, working in the United States where anticommunism is so institutionalized, it is an important book. It is a weapon for communists to use in the ideological front.

For a long time I didn’t understand Comrade Stalin. I came from a petit-bourgeois intellectual Marxism, distanced from practice and tied in rather closely to to the humanist/individualist ideologies of the U.S. I read Adorno, Jameson, and Critical Theory. As a young man, a teenager just coming to Marxism, I remember people would say, “but Socialism didn’t work,” and I would reply, with a fine mixture of youthful optimism and naivete, “but it was never really tried!” Any scientific socialist should be able to see such a statement for the utopianism that it is. Later my utopianism became more nuanced and sophisticated as I studied philosophy formally. It was only when I came to Mao Zedong’s writings and the experience of the Chinese Revolution that I could begin to reappraise Stalin, the USSR, and the world communist movement as a whole. Whatever his errors may have been, Mao was a breath of fresh air, so clear and simple, yet sharp as a razor – so practical and useful! And yet Mao was a “Stalinist.” So I had to ask, was Stalin a deviation from “true” Marxism and even from Leninism (and where did that leave Mao?), or was Stalin a genuine Marxist-Leninist? What did this say about socialism, what it is and what it isn’t? What did this say about what socialism could be?

Through a more thorough study of Marxism and of history, I came to see that Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist and that the USSR, at least until the Krushchev years, provided a shining example of what Marxism was when applied. But why did it “fail” and where did that leave us? It was only much later that I came to understand the particulars of the sequence of events and what Mao Zedong calls the “two line struggle,” whereby in the transitional society that socialism is (not what Marx calls a “mode of production” but something between the capitalist and communist modes) contradictions are intensified and class struggle along with it. Nothing is assured just because the proletariat has seized state power.

Fast forward a bit. I attended a recent conference where a lot of Trotskyite groups tabled. On the way to conference, in the van that we had rented for our mobilization, I was talking about Soviet history, about Stalin and his contributions to building socialism, and about the slow death of the Soviet system as the sickness of revisionism tore the USSR apart from Krushchov to through Gorbachav, to Yeltsin and the liquidation of the CPSU and the rise of the oligarchs. Having read Another View of Stalin, it was an easy thing to address such questions as, “What about Lenin’s Will?”, “What about the Purges and Show Trials?”, “What about the Gulag? And the millions killed?” “The lack of democracy?” “The forced collectivization?” “What about Trotsky?” Martens goes into all of this. He addresses the usual criticisms of Stalin, going after their sources, showing how they don’t hold up to any scientific analysis of history, situating them in their actual historical conditions, from which they are so easily and with such cleaverness removed. He exposes the agendas of Stalin’s critics in the most thorough way. But people didn’t understand why all these Trots were around. They were very confusing, and after all, they said all the same things about Stalin that their highschool teachers had been saying all along!

And this brings us to the question of revisionism. Some don’t see why this question of Stalin is so important for Marxist-Leninists today. Stalin is dead, after all, and this isn’t Russia. In the last instance, it comes down to the very essense of Marxism, to historical materialism, to the scientific analysis of social, political and economic change. Had socialism “ever been tried” and did it work? If our answer is yes, then we must come up with a balance sheet of its successes and failures, we must go into the particulars, the local and geopolitical contradictions, the historical milieu. If no, we must discern how socialism in the USSR, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia or China differed from “true” socialism, and how is this “true” socialism to ever be achived given where are and what we know about class society, imperialism, uneven development and so on? The question of Stalin is central to this – the question of the architect of the first Socialist society and leader of the international communist movement for so many crucial decades. To defend Stalin one must have a firm grasp of history. To be a Trotskyite one must only say, “but think of what it would have been like if…” The concern is not with what happened. Trotskyite “theory” doesn’t hold water. And we know, as Mao Zedong has said, the basis of Marxist epistemology, that is the basis of all scientific knowledge, is practice.

A lot of people I know who have read this book on Stalin by Comrade Martens have been stunned by the degree of the lies perpetuated to attack the architect of socialism. It is a common thread that links all of communisms enemies: Imperialists, Fascists, Trotskyites, Revisionists, etc. Comrades like it because it is a weapon. Anti-capitalist fellow-travellers like it because it reaffirms what they have always suspected – that the greatest enemies of capitalism and imperialism are the ones who are most villified by the petit-bourgeois lackeys of international monopoly capital. Today as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) stands on the verge of founding the world’s next socialist state, we see it happening again with the new “biography” of Mao Zedong, which is nothing but propaganda dressed in the trappings of history.

One need not limit oneself to Krushchov’s secret speech to the XXth Congress to find this problem. One can look in philosophy as well. The “Marxist” Humanists, celebrants of the velvet (counter-)revolution like Dunayevskaya (secretary of Trotsky and founder of News & Letters), Kolakowski (“Marxist” revisionist author of the most anti-Marxist philosophical text yet written, the three volume Main Currents of Marxism), and even Alain Badiou (“post-Maoist” methematician and philosopher who calls both the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the Solidarity movement in Poland “obscure events” to study and upon which to refound the leftist project). And we can see where that leads. The humanists are liberals, as Louis Althusser has pointed out in his cleaver syllogism: “All humanists are liberals; Eric Fromm [famed "Marxist Humanist"] is a humanist; Fromm is a liberal.” Kolakowski sings the praises of revisionism to no end, and Badiou’s OP is at best infantile leftist and worst completely reformist. Where does this revisionism lead? In the Soviet Union and the Warsaw States it led to capitalist restoration in its most barbaric form. Humanism restored gangster-liberalism in the Soviet Bloc. It is easy when you start talking about “universal human rights” to forget that this means bourgeois right, and that in the end, “universal human rights”, “Socialism with a human face” and what have you, is a defeat for the working class.

It is odd that when anyone wants to talk about the “true essense” of Marxism, or a “return to Lenin” it is that old renegade Kautsky, the social-democrat who wanted a reformed capitalism, that they dredge up in order to liquidate the CP and liberalize the state and economy. And nobody embodies Kautskyism like Tony Blaire’s Labour Party as they unite with U.S. imperialism to rob the Middle East of all of its resources. Mao Zedong puts it very simply: never forget class struggle.

I am an activist, a militant involved in the daily struggles of the working and oppressed people. I argue for socialism, for Marxism-Leninism. To do this, this book by Comrade Martens is useful, especially with students and young people. So many people see these problems of exploitation, poverty, national oppression, sexism, and so on. They see that they are systemic, but so often it stops there. Because the radical alternative is “Stalinism” so many people settle for an ineffective social-democracy, a vain attempt to reform capitalism, or a cynical pessimism. But this book does well to demonstrate that, situated within its historical context, Communism is a good thing. And, as Lenin would have it, the dictatorship of the proletariat is “a million times more democratic” than anything else we have ever seen.

Stalin, architect of socialism, is a shining example to genuine Marxist-Leninists everywhere.

in unity and struggle,
Comrade Zero

(Another View of Stalin can be purchased from the Stalin Society. For a good discussion on revisionism in the USSR, perhaps one that is a bit more nuanced than Restoration of Capitalism in USSR by Martin Nicolaus that so many Maoists swear by, see Ludo Martens. USSR: The Velvet Counter Revolution. EPO, Brussles: 1991. For more on the role of Stalin, the anti-revisionist movement and a critical evaluation of the role of Mao and the CPC, see also Ludo Martens. “On Certain Aspects of the Struggle Against Revisionism“. PTB, Brussles: March, 1995. [.doc])