The End of Trotskyism?

Yurii Colombo ycolombo at
Sun Sep 17 08:30:40 MDT 1995

>But the utterly false understanding of the world situation held by Cannon in
>1946 is not a matter to be dismissed lightly.  The sad truth is that the
>overwhelming majority of the Fourth International at the time -- including
>Pablo, Healy, Mandel -- had no understanding of the process of capitalist
>restabilization going on.  This disorientation persisted until at least
>1948-49.  Those who grasped reality: Jock Haston and the RCP in England,
>Albert Goldman and Felix Morrow in the U.S., swiftly dropped out of the
>Trotskyist movement.

If you look to my "Begin of Trotskyism (II)" I wrote about these errors (and
every theoric error is a practical error). I'm agree with you. T. Cliff had
a more correct position about this.(Chris are you sure tha a disintegration
of Cliff  group today would be positive for ALL LEFT IN GB? It's a strange
method to fight "the sects"!)
For an European person as me  is very difficult to understand "Legless
veteran" campaign and similars. Your memory notes about the "SWP in '60" are
for me very interesting because I'm younger and not anglosaxon.(I can't read
again your book but I ordered)

>(1)What actually is the role of Marxists in non-revolutionary times?  Surely
>it must be more than "keeping the faith" in little groups.  My view is that
>it is the task of Marxists to defend the working class (in its broadest
>sense, including minorities, women, gays, etc.) as effectively as possible
>under given objective conditions.  Leadership in the working class can only
>be gained through effectiveness NOW.  Workers will not look in the future to
>those who stood by and did not aid them in the past.

I think, in a non-revolutionary times, we must defend the working class in a
broadest sense togheter with 2 others attempts:
1. defending the socialist "historical programm", or in other words,
understand the lessons of the past history of the working class: from the
revolutions of 1848 to the final fall of stalinism in 1989. The programm "in
progress". This is a "vanguardist" problem, the working class at all can't
understand these questions (at least today) because often is class only in
sociological terms. We don't need a "trotskyist" party but a clear
revolutionary position about (for example) the capitalistic state (and the
European CP parties are socialdemocratic at all about this)
2. with real roots in the working class. Many trotskyist organisations
hadn't (and haven't) any roots in the working class. Well LUTTE OUVRIERE IN
FRANCE ( I 'm not militant of this organisation) is an example that the
faith of Trotskyism is not the sectarianism (Every indipendent obserber can
tell you the marvellous LO's work in the working class, on the contrary
please explain the 5,3% in presidential spring 1995 presidential election).

>(2) Considering how much wishful thinking colored Trotskyists' understanding
>of the objective reality in 1946, can we trust Trotskyists to understand
>current reality?  Well lets see.  I will simply state the obvious and we will
>see if we have agreement:
>(a) Capitalism is doing extremely well and socialism is having a Hell of a
>time of it.

What's your opinion about the fall of Berlin's wall? My opinion is positive.
Reopening the History.
>(b) Here in the United States the political climate is conservative.  The
>struggle at the moment is between the right and the middle with the left
>simply not even in the debate.

The european political dialectic isn't far form this: centre-letf and
centre-right. But I  think the situation,after the 1989, can change quickly.
>(c) The working class does face extremely serious problems as the nature of
>the productive process changes, requiring less labor, while a high technology
>sector grows.  Further, world competition is driving down wages, working
>conditions, and increasing joblessness in the older industrial nations.

Marx's prevision about the  death of middle class till now is not scientific
but " a  wishful thinking" as well as Cannon forecasts after the IIWW. In
the most development country of the planet 1/3 of people are middle class .
This situation of course don't help the "clash between captalists and
proletariat". The composition of working class change, and in Italy for
example have over 10%  ofunemployed from '80 onwards. These are problems not
only for Trotskyists, I think!

P.s.: Louis the criticism and study of Cannon is important (when I have time
and money to buy I read the Cannon's books) but for to understand something
of communist movement you may to try read Togliatti. It's Wonderful! Ask to
your CP friends!
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