Trotskyism since WWII
Louis N Proyect
lnp3 at columbia.edu
Sat Apr 6 12:16:49 MST 1996
Leon Trotsky's heir apparents immediately after WWII are:
United States: (James P. Cannon)
United Kingdom: (tripartite of Ted Grant, Tony Cliff, Gerry Healy)
Europe: Michel Pablo, nominal head of the Fourth International
Latin America: Juan Posadas
Grant, Cliff and Healy split and form their own parties, each one
convinced that they alone have the solution to the burning question of the
"crisis of leadership" in the working-class.
Healy retains ties to the Fourth International; the others go their own
Healy and Cannon have a falling out with Pablo in the 1950's and
form their own Fourth International. They accuse Pablo of adapting to
non-Trotskyist currents (well, bully for Pablo!). It is called the
International Committee. Pablo's outfit is the International Secretariat,
named after the famous race-horse. One of his co-leaders is the noted
Belgian economist Ernest Mandel.
Juan Posadas goes bonkers in the 1950s. Argues that UFOs are
indication of advanced socialist societies in outer space. Advocates
preemptive nuclear strike against the USA by the USSR, so that
socialism can arise out of the nuclear ashes. Nahel Moreno replaces
him as premier Trotskyist in Latin America.
Cannon and Mandel reunite since they reach agreement that a socialist
revolution took place in Cuba. According to them, this shows that
Trotsky rather than Castro was correct. Pablo has gone his own way. Healy
denies that a socialist revolution takes place and declares his own Fourth
International. In subsequent years, he goes bonkers also and is
discovered to have been sexually preying on young females in his
English group. He charges his American follower, Tim Wolforth, with
spying for the CIA.
In the 1970s, American followers of Cannon launch factional struggle
against Mandel and the Europeans because they are supporting a
gurerilla group in Argentina that is non-Trotskyist. They line up with
Moreno, whose group appears similar to the American's. Later on they split.
In the 1980s, the American group declares it is not Trotskyist anymore
and states that it is part of a revolutionary current that includes them,
the Cuban CP and the ANC. They state that this is the only genuine
international communist movement. The only problem is that the Cuban CP has
state power, the ANC soon will, but the American group leads nobody
and has no prospects of doing so.
Meanwhile, somewhere along the line, Moreno has set up his own
Mandel continued to run his own Fourth International until his death
These are the people who announce to the list and to the world that
they are the solution to the crisis of leadership in the working-class.
The basic problem with Trotskyism is that it is much better at defining
"What Should Not be Done" rather than "What is to be Done."
I repeat what I stated earlier. There is nothing holding anybody back.
Anybody can gather together a few hundred adherents, start a newspaper
and declare yourself as the new vanguard. However, this has not led to
success, has it?
One of the reasons I *am not* interested in rehashing the "lessons of the
Popular Front in Spain" on this list with Adolfo or anybody else for that
matter is that Trotsky wrote this at the time of the civil war. Anybody can
open up his book and state, "See here, that is where things went wrong."
This is not what I expect to hear from people who are alleged to be
superior Marxist thinkers. I expect an analysis of the countries they
live in today. If Adolfo speaks mostly about Peru, what else would you
expect? What I would expect from other people is probing analysis of the
class-struggle in their own countries. The 1920s and 1930s are over. We have
to provide leadership for the working-class today, not the working-class of
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