[Marxism] IS Network - Tim Nelson and Paris Thompson: Left Unity and the need for a broad party

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon May 20 12:23:17 MDT 2013

Trotskyist organisations since 1945 have been marked by all the problems 
indicated above, so it would be incorrect to explain them away as 
symptoms of the effects of neoliberalism on the movement. Trotskyist 
parties and sects have tended towards a top-down model of organisation, 
with authoritarian power structures and hierarchies. These have been 
supported by a version of ‘Leninism’, which is a legacy of distortions 
which began when Zinoviev, and later Stalin, implemented a 
bureaucratisation of the Communist parties in the 1920s and 1930s, 
strangling democracy. Although the Trotskyists opposed much of these 
changes, when they established their own organisations they repeated 
many of the same mistakes. This was partly due to their attempts to 
defend themselves as the ‘orthodox’ Leninists, and partly because the 
shift towards an authoritarian party structure began in Russia during 
the civil war, led by Trotsky as much as anyone. The roots of this party 
model aside, the problems that it has are a serious drawback, and hinder 
the growth of the revolutionary left in the current period.


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