Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Oct 2 16:02:04 MDT 2000

>Hello Marxism list,
>This my first message to your good list. Very educational and
informational list and list members. Some questions for you:
>1)Why "ism" after name of Trotsky? What contrbution of
>Trotsky to marxist theory/practice like Lenin and Mao?

Trotskyism was an attempt to build international movement grouped around
his core ideas:

1. Permanent Revolution: revolution in colonial or semicolonial countries
must be socialist. This idea was developed by Trotsky in the context of the
Russian class struggle. Unfortunately it has evolved into a kind of empty
formula by Trotskyists in 3rd world countries that leaves no room for
complex situations such as that exists in Venezuela today where a populist
military figure has surrounded himself with Marxist advisers and is
defending the right of his country and other underdeveloped oil producing
countries to receive a fair price.

2. Transitional Program: this was developed as a bridge between "minimal"
and "maximal" demands. However, in the hands of dogmatic Trotskyists (ie.
the vast majority) it has become something of a cookbook of slogans that
are raised with no connection to the living mass movement. For example,
sectarian Trotskyists used to come to antiwar conferences in the 1960s,
made up mostly of students, and urge that they ratify a motion for a Labor
Party (a transitional slogan).

3. Vanguard Party: unfortunately the Trotskyist movement has never really
understood how Lenin's party was really organized. Instead it relies on
Zinoviev's rulebooks which are a recipe for sectarian disaster.

>2)From 3rd world viewpoint, difficult to know why Trotskyism exist in rich
country but very little in poor country? What reason?
>Need clarfication please. Thank you.

Well, its existence in rich countries is rather tenuous nowadays. In the
USA, the main Trotskyist group evolved into a bizarre cult around a leader
who had delusions of grandeur that he would be invited to sit at the same
table as Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro because his newspaper reprinted
their speeches. In Great Britain the main Trotskyist group exploded into a
dozen fragments in the 1970s and 80s after their elderly cult leader went
off the deep end and began forcing himself sexually on young women in the
party. The Trotskyist movement on the continent is in better shape because
it never took itself that seriously. There are hopeful signs that these
comrades might help to catalyze a newer, broader Marxist movement divested
of all the Trotsky paraphernalia. At least that is my fondest hope.

Louis Proyect
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