[Marxism] Hugo Chavez, Celia Hart, and the future of "Trotskyism"
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Dec 8 12:25:06 MST 2004
The following is a response by Cort Greene to some items from this list
I sent to GreenLeft, and my response.
Letter to GreenLeft list by Cort Greene
Well it is nice to see a discussion taking place about Comrade
Trotsky's works we must realize that this movement towards his ideas
just did not drop from the sky. President Chavez has been reading Ted
Grant and Alan Woods works for awhile now and picked up several books
from us written by Marx, Lenin and Trotsky.While he may not be a Marxist
yet, he is looking at the ideas and the grassroots of the Bolivarian
Revolution are farther down that road also.
Comrade Celia Hart along with us launched this debate not just in Cuba
but worldwide on Trotsky's theories and not just on Permament
Revolution. It has been a long march. We are in the era of Permament
Revolution, their is not when stable regime in all of Latin American
and world wide the capitialist system is in trouble.
Our tendencies roots go back 70 years, we never gave up the ideas of
Marxism like some who have made comments here , not when the Cannonites
used Healy against us and got us kicked of the International, not after
mistake after mistake by Pablo and Mandel on the world stitution after
the war, not even after we help build the Militant Labor and then ego
and nationalism got in the way of those who thought they new best.
We are now in 40 countries and large and respected in some. It is
natural for the ideas of Leon Trotsky to be studied by true
revolutionaries because in the end, he was just a Marxist when Stalin
The world socialist movement was set back by Stalinism and now it
realizing that we need to get back to our roots.We have said this all
Forward to Socialism
Revolution or Death
I certainly agree with Cort that the discussion of Trotsky's ideas
did not simply fall from the sky. Nor, as Cort seems to believe, is it
primarily a product of supporters of the Grant-Woods tendency's
distribution of literature (although that helps) or of its recruitment
to the One True Marx-Lenin-Trotsky-Grant-Woods International. Their
work in support of Venezuela and their identification with the
revolution has been very positive. It points to the POSSIBILITY, among
many other things, of a process of fusion and regroupment of
revolutionists worldwide that can re-absorb the Trotskyist movement into
the mainstream of the revolutionary workers movement worldwide, and can
reabsorb the contributions of Trotsky (as they were absorbed in the
process of the Bolshevik-led revolution in 1917).
For many years, Stalinism and the prevalent identification of
Stalinism with Marxism was the main obstacle to this. But today, the
doors are beginning to swing open in a very clear way, and the main
obstacle to the reabsorption of the "Trotskyist movement" is not a
greatly weakened Stalinism, but the accumulated sectarian
characteristics of the Trotskyist movement.
I think the tendency of Cort Greene to see the developments as
primarily a function and expression of the rise of his current to the
center of things and the inspired guidance that their leaders provide
for revolutionary struggles everywhere is a dangerous illusion. The
Trotskyist movement cannot absorb the new wave of revolutionists coming
forward. It should aim to BE ABSORBED BY THEM. This doesn't require
surrendering your ideas -- those days are gone, thank Fidel and many
others-- but it does mean ending the definition of the revolutionary
movement as defined by Trotskyist ideas, even more the idea that your
current's version of these ideas is the only basis for a revolutionary
movement. Collaboration and discussion among revolutionists of many
origins and experiences as equals should be the orientation, not the
recruitment of all manner of wobbling centrists to your exclusive
You describe Celia Hart as your comrade. Good. She is my
comrade, too. But why? Is it only because she supports certain ideas
of Trotsky that were formerly exiled to the "Trotskyist pale"? Or is it
because she is a revolutionist, a member of Cuba's Communist Party, one
of hundreds of thousands of Cubans who have kept their revolution alive
and basically healthy and on a basically internationalist course for
about 45 years (more than seven times longer than Lenin, Trotsky, and
others were able to do in Russia -- for overwhelmingly objective
reasons, of course).
Do you consider all the Cuban Communists your comrades or just
Celia Hart? But she regards them all as HER comrades! Do you regard
Fidel Castro as a comrade, or just those who have publicly proclaimed
support for Trotsky on important points? Is Raul your comrade? Or are
all the rest just Stalinists or centrists wobbling between the only
"real" contenders in the world class struggle -- Stalinism and
"Trotskyism." In fact, the statements of Celia Hart reflect the 45
year fight of Cuba to maintain its revolution, to reject idealization of
isolation including in the wake of the fall of the Soviet bloc, and
continue to advance a fundamentally internationalist perspective. And
Chavez's statement represents the tendency of the Venezuelan revolution
to converge with and learn from
Cuba's revolutionary experience.
Your tendency to reduce these developments to your tendency's contact
work and aggressive distribution of your books and so forth is way too
narrow -- and actually sectarian, regardless of your current size and
influence. Your course should not be towards hegemony for your current
in Venezuela, Cuba, or on a world scale, but toward the disappearance of
Trotskyism as a distinct current that was forced into existence by the
Stalinist political counterrevolution in the Soviet Union in the 1920s,
which prepared and led to the disintegration of the conquests of the
revolution which was clearly registered by the events of the early 90s.
The perspective of hegemony for "Trotskyism" can only lead to your
consolidation into a weak and useless sect that will have no
class-struggle reason for existence at all.
You have a chance to end up differently and better. Don't blow it.
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