Against the Trotskyist critique
of the Seventh Congress

Excerpted from an article in the Workers' Advocate Supplement,
vol. 1, #3, May 1, 1985.

. Today the pro-Soviet revisionists, the pro-Chinese revisionists and the Trotskyites are all liquidators. They dress up liberal-labor and reformist politics in communist colors. They oppose the building of the independent movement of the working class and instead try to hitch the revolutionary movement to the left-wing of the Democratic Party and to the labor bureaucrats. They differ among themselves on details and on which liberal politicians or labor bureaucrats to work with, but they share a common overall platform of vulgar liquidationism.

. One of the favorite methods of the liquidators is to justify trailing behind the liberal Democrats or the labor bureaucrats with united front rhetoric. Some of the liquidators rely on wrong traditions from the Seventh Congress of the CI.

. But there are also those liquidators who oppose the Seventh Congress while in fact implementing a similar line. The Trotskyites are an example of such liquidators. Trotskyism is utterly social-democratic and Menshevik in nature, and the American Trotskyites are among the most servile followers of the left-wing of the Democratic Party and of the labor bureaucracy. But they try to cover their treachery by phrasemongering, including their denunciation of "popular fronts" and of the Seventh World Congress of the CI.

. In fact, the Trotskyite theses actually agree with the Seventh Congress on such a fundamental point as support for social-democracy. Of course, by the time the Seventh Congress was held, the Trotskyites had the mud-slinging tactics of simply saying the opposite of everything the CI said, but the basic agreement of the stands of Trotskyism and the Seventh Congress on the role of social-democracy, for example, is clear.

. The anti-Leninist Trotskyite stands on questions related to the Seventh Congress can be divided roughly into four parts.

(1) There are those stands where the Trotskyites agree with the Seventh Congress, despite all their cursing of this congress.

(2) There are those stands where the Trotskyites disagree with the CI both before and after the Seventh Congress. This includes the question of partial demands, the struggle against fascism, national liberation movements, etc.

(3) There are those hypocritical stands of the Trotskyites which have nothing to do with their liquidationist practice, such as their alleged opposition to unity with the bourgeois liberals.

. Let us briefly examine these points.

On common stands of Trotskyism and the Seventh Congress

. First of all, the most basic stand underlying the Seventh Congress was its reversal of the previous Leninist position of the CI on relentless struggle against social-democracy. The Seventh CI prettified social-democracy, held that it would fight militantly against fascism and for the immediate demands of the working class, and that the struggle against fascism should be conducted in such a way as to ensure unity with them.

. This stand towards social-democracy is completely in accord with the basic stand of Trotskyism. Trotsky had cursed the CI bitterly for its struggle against social-democracy in the years prior to the Seventh Congress. Turning truth on its head, he denounced the German communists as responsible for the split in the working class movement in Germany that paralyzed the working class and prevented effective resistance to Hitler's takeover. He had to admit that the social-democratic leaders were on their knees before fascism and the bourgeoisie, but he tried to shrug this off, claiming that the persecution which fascism will let fall on the social-democratic parties and leaders would make them fight. This argument is, of course, exactly in line with Dimitrov's view that the rising danger of fascism changed the nature of social-democracy. And it has nothing to do with the actual practice of social-democracy.

. It should be noted that Trotsky historically opposed the struggle of Lenin and the Bolsheviks against opportunism and denounced Lenin in the most bitter terms for his alleged splitting and factionalist activities. Later he cursed the CI in the same way, this time concentrating on the CI's struggle against social-democracy.

. As well, the Seventh Congress denigrated party-building. It should be noted that Trotskyism is also noted for its anti-party views and practices. From the start, Trotsky cursed the Leninist principles of party-building as creating a "barracks regime". The formless and undisciplined nature of Trotskyism is one of the reasons why it can never offer any serious opposition to the bourgeoisie but can only trail after what is fashionable.

. The Seventh Congress and Trotsky differed on exactly how they conceived party organization. Trotskyism always longed after the social-democratic model, whereas the Seventh Congress, despite introducing liquidationist elements into the communist movement, wished to retain a certain solidity. But it was moving in the direction of the social-democratic party, as the plan for the united parties with social-democracy shows, and in so far as it did this it was narrowing the gap with the Trotskyite conception.

Trotskyite Stands Which Differed from Those of the CI
Both Before and After the Seventh Congress

. Trotskyism is an utterly anti-Leninist trend. Although the various Trotskyite groups, and the writings of Trotsky himself for that matter, are marked by their inconsistency and hodgepodge of views, there are certain basic anti-Leninist features. And various of these features differed from both the Leninist stands of the CI before the Seventh Congress and the particular erroneous stands of the CI after the Seventh Congress, as they comprised particular pet anti-Leninist stands of Trotsky.

. For example, Trotsky made a hash of the Marxist-Leninist teachings on the struggle for partial demands and the minimum program. He attacks "minimum demands" as reformist, as lacking a bridge to the maximum demands, and as essentially obsolete in the present era and replaces them with radical-sounding phrases about "transitional demands" and a "transitional program". In this way he confused both the issue of partial demands and of transitional demands, an issue explained well, by the way, at the Sixth Congress of the CI.

. Trotsky's denigration of partial demands and immediate struggles went against the CI view of utilizing these struggles. It showed he had no idea of what actually constituted reformism. At the same time, Trotsky would then rehabilitate the same demands that he had cursed as mere minimum demands by finding a way to christen them as transitional demands. In this way and others he would find a way to support the particular campaigns of the social-democratic parties who allegedly, despite their reformist mentality, were putting forward transitional demands that were revolutionary in essence.

. Trotskyism's confusion on partial demands in general was paralleled by its confusion on the question of the struggle for democratic rights and the struggle against fascism. The Trotskyites as well have many problems dealing with the national liberation movements and the democratic revolutions of the dependent nations. In their recent practice, they sometimes negate these struggles directly with left phrasemongering, while at other times they glorify various bourgeois nationalist or even outright reactionary regimes as playing a good role.

Trotskyite Hypocrisy to Cover Their Liquidationism

. One of the basic features of Trotsky's political practice and of Trotskyism in general is the overabundant use of left phrasemongering to cover up capitulation to the bourgeoisie or anti-communism.

. For example, the Trotskyites curse "popular frontism" and the Seventh Congress for making concessions to the liberal bourgeoisie. But the examination of the actual practice today of the Trotskyite groups shows that they are themselves on their knees before the liberal bourgeoisie. Some go out of their way to invite liberal politicians to demonstrations and most all of them kowtow to the labor bureaucrats as their way of building a "labor party" (an example of which can be seen in the liberal bourgeois British Labor Party, which almost all Trotskyites buzz around in awe). An interesting example of Trotskyite treachery was the Spartacists, who think nothing of disrupting demonstrations because they are not pure, giving the call to protect the Democratic Party convention of 1984 from alleged right-wing threats.

. This present stand of the Trotskyites is no accident. It was true before too. Since the Trotskyites are advocates of unity with social-democracy and modeled themselves on social-democratic lines, they can not in reality separate themselves from the practice of the social-democratic parties, which is unity with the liberal bourgeoisie. Only by fighting against social-democracy can one free oneself from dependence from the liberals, and the Trotskyites were extremely hostile to such a struggle against social-democracy and used to denounce the CI up and down for it. <>

(WAS) The Workers' Advocate, and Workers' Advocate Supplement, which carried additional materials including many of the longer theoretical articles, were publications of the Marxist-Leninist Party of the US. The MLP, which was founded on Jan. 1, 1980 and dissolved in November 1993, stemmed from the anti-revisionist movement of activists who wanted to push forward the mass struggles and root them in the working class, saw Marxism as an essential guide for the revolutionary struggle, and rejected the sell-out reformism of the official pro-Soviet communist parties. It was opposed to both Soviet revisionism and Trotskyism. Its roots went back in the mass movements of the 1960s, such as the anti-racist, anti-war, student, women's, and workers' movements, and the WA itself was published from 1969 to 1993. The cause of anti-revisionist communism is upheld today by the Communist Voice Organization, and the Communist Voice is a theoretical journal which is a successor to the Workers' Advocate. (Return to text)

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