Archive for the ‘Bernardine Dohrn’ Category
I saw a political cartoon today that has Patrick Henry saying, “Give me liberty or give me civility.” The apparent point being that civility is a limit on liberty. There is a saying that people in the old west tended to be rather polite, because everybody was armed; to the degree that is true, people voluntarily limited the offensiveness of their speech as a matter of prudence. The reality is that anything that governs any action is a limit on liberty, which is why the Founding Fathers held the idea of limited government as a basic tenet of the foundation of our republic.
There is a balance that should be maintained between complete freedom to say and behave in any way a person chooses and in civility and polite behavior. Politeness and civility come from a person’s upbringing and the social culture of society.
When I was a child, in the 1950’s, society was considerably more polite than it is today, not only in speech, but in grooming, dress, and general behavior. Men were careful of their personal appearance, were chivalrous, tipping their hats (everyone wore a hat), stepping aside to allow others to pass on the sidewalk, holding doors for women, children, and the elderly, and watching their language in public.
The big change to this came from the younger members of my generation in the late sixties and seventies. Inspired by left-leaning professors, it started with college students who refused to honor the draft, developed into opposition to the Viet Nam war; running counter to traditional patriotic support of our soldiers during time of war. This bloomed into the hippy era, drug culture, free love, abortion rights, women’s rights, environmentalism, and a general anti-establishment philosophy. They rose up in a mass rebellion against pretty much every social and moral more of the time.
From the close of World War II, the Soviet Union was very actively working to foment this type of unrest through agents and contacts in the American Communist Party, the Socialist Party, labor unions, the universities, and the media. These have elevated extremism to mainstream politics via left wing groups from followers of Alinsky, SDS, Acorn, and various other “community organizations” and radical groups.
The McCarthy hearings of the early fifties identified some of this activity, but concentrated most on the film industry, where they were fairly successful in disarming that propaganda effort. The irony of the Soviet success in placing socialist plants and creating civil unrest was that, while they ended up succeeding beyond their original hope, it did not cause a push for Soviet style communism, but instead a push toward greater liberty; almost, but not quite, an anarchy type of freedom.
There were some very good things that came from all this. Freedom of speech and expression were given a greater emphasis than ever before. Women gained equality in the workplace and a greater say in the political and civic arena. Citizens became openly hostile toward public corruption and cronyism. Industrial pollution and toxic waste has been reduced by probably 90%.
Business has been changed from the type X labor/management conflict model to a more win/win approach. Families have switched from a rigid patriarchal style, to more of a partnership with greater parental involvement with children. All these are examples of the good that came out of this period of unrest.
However, there were almost an equal number of bad things that came from this period; it was a sort of a “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” situation. The polite civility of our parent’s generation didn’t completely disappear, but it was badly damaged and greatly reduced.
The use of slang, poor grammar, and of aggressive, offensive, and threatening language greatly increased. Self-discipline and personal accountability have been replaced with selfish hedonism and victimization. The concept of earning respect was replaced with deserving respect. Our children have been raised to believe that competing is bad, and winning isn’t important; everybody deserves the same reward regardless of personal effort and performance.
Political correctness has created a society unable to address differences between cultures, races, or other social distinctions, while at the same time destroying the concept of the American social “melting pot.” We now have Afro-, Hispano-, Asian-, etc. Americans who believe the culture and values of their homeland or racial group is more important than their identity as Americans. We have inadvertently created a new type of segregation.
So in addition to the many good things, the history of the Baby Boomers and their children has created all kinds of bad fall-out. Examples are extremely high rates of birth out of wedlock, huge numbers of abortions, huge numbers of single parent families, widespread use of drugs, illogical environmental and social laws, great loss of heavy industry, tremendous growth in government and the taxes required to support it, and a less civil, more crude society.
A second irony is the left accusing the right of using violent rhetoric when the use of extreme aggressive violent language, hyperbole, rhetoric , and imagery has been an invention and mainstay of the left; they are now accusing a much more mild right, in particular the Tea Party and talk radio, of abusing freedom of speech with excessive use of violent language. For any liberal to make such an accusation is not only ironic, but also hypocritical.
Personally, I would like for people on all sides of the political spectrum to avoid aggressive language and instead endeavor to express their ideas and opposition with more accuracy and less emotion. I don’t think this will really happen, because the left is steeped in the concept of using every crisis to drive an emotional following to a loud attack on their opposition.
I recently stated that I dislike seeing the Republicans “playing nice” with the Democrats; and I definitely feel that way. I think the Republicans need to respect the right of the Democrats to their opinions, but I also think Republicans need to strongly counter those damaging and anti-American ideas.
Modern politics is more clearly than ever aligned between not just conservative and liberal, but right and wrong. The conservatives are simply right, and the liberals are simply wrong, and there is nothing in that to compromise. I would rather see congress unable to ever pass another law than to pass one more law that will hurt our country.
Former Weather Underground leader worries about ‘armed’ tea parties
A former leader of a ’70s protest group responsible for bombing the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, police stations and other targets is worried that “racist, armed, hostile, crazy-making” tea parties pose an “unspeakable” threat to America.
Bernardine Dohrn, who with her husband William Ayers are leaders of the communist revolutionary Weather Underground, she has been tied to so many acts of protest violence in the ’70s that she was placed on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List and was described by J. Edgar Hoover as the “most dangerous woman in America.”
Her association with Barack Obama notably led to Sarah Palin’s famous comment during the 2008 presidential campaign that Obama had been “palling around with terrorists.”
Dohrn, however, told an Indian news and views website that she’s concerned about a new breed of protesters, the tea partiers, whom she describes as “a hard right emerging, an armed, new hard right with massive control of media.”
“It’s racist, it’s armed, it’s hostile, it’s unspeakable,” she said. “White people armed, demanding an end to this president – it’s very crazy-producing.”
Speaking of the polarization of the nation as evidenced by the tea parties, Dohrn told NewsClick India, “It generates thousands of death threats every day in its wake and hate mail and craziness.”
In the interview, Dohrn speculated, “If the left had a demonstration in Washington against Bush, armed – armed? openly armed? – demonstration of black people in Washington demanding an end to this statist government, imagine! Imagine! There would have been a massive bloodbath.”
Dohrn also addressed her violent past as well as Palin’s famous quote, calling the suggestion that she was a terrorist “a caricature” that “has nothing to do with reality” and “is built on a complete lie.”
She made a point of steadfastly refusing to apologize for her past actions, in fact affirming, “We are radicals today; we think that the real terrorist is the American government – state terrorism unleashed against the world.”
Dohrn’s most notorious activities began when she and Ayers went underground after she was charged with instigating riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 and after several of their fellow Weatherman associates were killed by bombs they were building in a Greenwich Village townhouse. One of those killed was Ayers’ girlfriend at the time, Diana Oughton. The group had been planning to use the bombs at Fort Dix Army Base in New Jersey.
Like Dohrn, Ayers has also refused to apologize for his activities, which include participating in more than 30 bombings during his 11-year reign of underground terror. He says his only regret is not doing more to “bring the war home” to America.
In an article he penned for the New York Times op-ed page ironically published Sept. 11, 2001, he wrote: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”
WND previously reported on the links that appear to connect Ayers and Dohrn to far more violence that they might be comfortable recognizing.
WND also has documented reports from the FBI that Dohrn built and planted the bomb that killed a San Francisco police officer in 1970.
WND reported last year when top law enforcement officers in San Francisco signed a letter accusing Ayers and Dohrn of being directly behind the bombing, but the Obama Justice Department then told them not to comment on the case.
In the interview with NewsClick, Dohrn celebrated the message her activity sends, that a radical protester could be at work in America’s heartland without being caught and that even now she can still be a radical activist as a grandmother and one that is responsible for the flotilla against Isreal..
Manifest Destiny as is practiced today is a term used by the Progressives, Socialists, Elites and Communists that there is a widely held underlying belief among them , that they are the “chosen people,” had a divinely inspired mission to spread the fruits of their beliefs to the less fortunate and unwashed masses.
The idea of an almost religious Manifest Destiny is a common staple in the speeches and newspaper articles of the Progressives. Most of the exponents of Socialism were Democrats.
Critics see the Manifest Destiny rationale as a thinly veiled attempt to put an acceptable face on taking freedom from other peoples. Motives are often described as well-intentioned efforts to improve the lot of backward masses, but in truth the motivators were greed, power and control. The Manifest Destiny crowd are thinly disguised in wonderful names – such as Center for American Freedom.
The American people having derived their origin from many other nations, and the Declaration of National Independence being entirely based on the great principle of human equality and freedom, that we have, in reality, but little connection with anyone trying to take our freedom away. On the contrary, our national birth was the beginning of a new history, the formation and progress of an untried political system, which separates us from the past and connects us with the future as regards the entire development of the natural rights of man, in moral, political, and national life, we may confidently assume that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity with individual freedom.
Learn about this oppressive method and the people in history behind it. Be ready to reject and refute it when Comrade George Soros, Comrade Barak Obama, Comrade Valerie Jarrett and Comrade John Podesta use the Coming Debt Crises to force this system upon you.
Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party. His politics differed sharply from Stalinism, most prominently in opposing Socialism in One Country, which he argued was a break with proletarian internationalism, and in his belief in an authentic dictatorship of the proletariat based on democratic principles, rather than an unaccountable bureaucracy.
Together with Lenin, Trotsky was co-leader of the Russian Revolution and the international Communist movement in 1917 and the following years. Today, numerous groups around the world continue to describe themselves as Trotskyist, although they have developed Trotsky’s ideas in different ways. In the English language, an advocate of Trotsky’s ideas is usually called a “Trotskyist” or, pejoratively, a “Trotskyite” or “Trot”.
American communist organizer James P. Cannon in his 1942 book History of American Trotskyism wrote that “Trotskyism is not a new movement, a new doctrine, but the restoration, the revival of genuine Marxism as it was expounded and practiced in the Russian revolution and in the early days of the Communist International.” However, Trotskyism can be distinguished from other Marxist theories by four key elements.
- Support for the strategy of permanent revolution, in opposition to the Two Stage Theory of his opponent.
- Criticism of the post-1924 leadership of the Soviet Union, analysis of its feature and after 1933, support for political revolution in the Soviet Union and in what Trotskyists term the deformed workers’ states;
- Support for social revolution in the advanced capitalist countries through working class mass action;
- Support for proletarian internationalism. On the political spectrum of Marxism, Trotskyists are considered to be on the left. They supported democratic rights in the USSR, opposed political deals with the imperialist powers, and advocated a spreading of the revolution throughout Europe and the East.
Theory of Permanent Revolution
In 1905, Trotsky formulated a theory that became known as the Trotskyist theory of Permanent Revolution. It may be considered one of the defining characteristics of Trotskyism. Until 1905, Marxism only claimed that a revolution in a European capitalist society would lead to a socialist one. According to the original theory it was impossible for such to occur in more backward countries such as early 20th century Russia. Russia in 1905 was widely considered to have not yet established a capitalist society, but was instead largely feudal with a small, weak and almost powerless capitalist class.
The theory of Permanent Revolution addressed the question of how such feudal regimes were to be overthrown, and how socialism could be established given the lack of economic prerequisites. Trotsky argued that in Russia only the working class could overthrow feudalism and win the support of the peasantry. Furthermore, he argued that the Russian working class would not stop there. They would win its own revolution against the weak capitalist class, establish a workers’ state in Russia, and appeal to the working class in the advanced capitalist countries around the world. As a result, the global working class would to come to Russia’s aid, and socialism could develop worldwide.
The capitalist or bourgeois-democratic revolution
Revolutions in Britain in the 17th Century and in France in 1789 abolished feudalism and established the basic requisites for the development of capitalism. Trotsky argued that these revolutions would not be repeated in Russia.
In Results and Prospects, written in 1906, Trotsky outlines his theory in detail, arguing: “History does not repeat itself. However much one may compare the Russian Revolution with the Great French Revolution, the former can never be transformed into a repetition of the latter.” In the French Revolution of 1789, France experienced what Marxists called a “bourgeois-democratic revolution” – a regime was established wherein the bourgeoisie, overthrew the existing French Feudalistic system. The bourgeoisie then moved towards establishing a regime of democratic parliamentary institutions. However, while democratic rights were extended to the bourgeoisie, they were not generally extended to a universal franchise. The freedom for workers to organize unions or to strike was not achieved without considerable struggle.
Trotsky argues, countries like Russia had no “enlightened, active” revolutionary bourgeoisie which could play the same role, and the working class constituted a very small minority. By the time of the European revolutions of 1848, “the bourgeoisie was already unable to play a comparable role. It did not want and was not able to undertake the revolutionary liquidation of the social system that stood in its path to power.”
Weakness of the capitalists
The theory of Permanent Revolution considers that in many countries, which are thought to have not yet completed their bourgeois-democratic revolution, the capitalist class oppose the creation of any revolutionary situation. They fear stirring the working class into fighting for its own revolutionary aspirations against their exploitation by capitalism. In Russia, the working class, although a small minority in a predominantly peasant based society, were organised in vast factories owned by the capitalist class, and into large working class districts. During the Russian Revolution of 1905, the capitalist class found it necessary to ally with reactionary elements such as the essentially feudal landlords and ultimately the existing Czarist Russian state forces. This was to protect their ownership of their property—factories, banks, etc.– from expropriation by the revolutionary working class.
Therefore, according to the theory of Permanent Revolution, the capitalist classes of economically-backward countries are weak and incapable of carrying through revolutionary change. As a result, they are linked to and rely on the feudal landowners in many ways. Thus, Trotsky argues, because a majority of the branches of industry in Russia were originated under the direct influence of government measures—sometimes with the help of Government subsidies—the capitalist class was again tied to the ruling elite. The capitalist class were subservient to European capital.
Instead, Trotsky argued, only the ‘proletariat’ or working class were capable of achieving the tasks of that ‘bourgeois’ revolution. In 1905, the working class in Russia, a generation brought together in vast factories from the relative isolation of peasant life, saw the result of its labour as a vast collective effort, and the only means of struggling against its oppression in terms of a collective effort also, forming workers councils (soviets), in the course of the revolution of that year. In 1906, Trotsky argued:
The factory system brings the proletariat to the foreground… The proletariat immediately found itself concentrated in tremendous masses, while between these masses and the autocracy there stood a capitalist bourgeoisie, very small in numbers, isolated from the ‘people’, half-foreign, without historical traditions, and inspired only by the greed for gain. – Trotsky, Results and Prospects
The Putilov Factory, for instance, numbered 12,000 workers in 1900, and, according to Trotsky, 36,000 in July 1917.The theory of Permanent Revolution considers that the peasantry as a whole cannot take on this task, because it is dispersed in small holdings throughout the country, and forms a heterogeneous grouping, including the rich peasants who employ rural workers and aspire to landlordism as well as the poor peasants who aspire to own more land. Trotsky argues: “All historical experience… shows that the peasantry are absolutely incapable of taking up an independent political role.”
Trotskyists differ on the extent to which this is true today, but even the most orthodox tend to recognise in the late twentieth century a new development in the revolts of the rural poor, the self-organising struggles of the landless, and many other struggles which in some ways reflect the militant united organised struggles of the working class, and which to various degrees do not bear the marks of class divisions typical of the heroic peasant struggles of previous epochs. However, orthodox Trotskyists today still argue that the town and city based working class struggle is central to the task of a successful socialist revolution, linked to these struggles of the rural poor. They argue that the working class learns of necessity to conduct a collective struggle, for instance in trade unions, arising from its social conditions in the factories and workplaces, and that the collective consciousness it achieves as a result is an essential ingredient of the socialist reconstruction of society.
Although only a small minority in Russian society, the proletariat would lead a revolution to emancipate the peasantry and thus “secure the support of the peasantry” as part of that revolution, on whose support it will rely. But the working class, in order to improve their own conditions, will find it necessary to create a revolution of their own, which would accomplish both the bourgeois revolution and then establish a workers’ state.
Yet, according to classical Marxism, revolution in peasant based countries, such as Russia, prepares the ground ultimately only for a development of capitalism since the liberated peasants become small owners, producers and traders which leads to the growth of commodity markets, from which a new capitalist class emerges. Only fully developed capitalist conditions prepare the basis for socialism.
Trotsky agreed that a new socialist state and economy in a country like Russia would not be able to hold out against the pressures of a hostile capitalist world, as well as the internal pressures of its backward economy. The revolution, Trotsky argued, must quickly spread to capitalist countries, bringing about a socialist revolution which must spread worldwide. This was the position, contrary to that of “Classical Marxism” which by that time had been further illuminated by active life, shared by Trotsky and Lenin and the Bolsheviks until 1924 when Stalin, who along with Kamenev in February 1917 had taken the Menshevik position of first the bourgeois revolution, only to be confronted by Lenin and his famous April Thesis on Lenin’s return to Russia, after the death of Lenin and seeking to consolidate his growing bureaucratic control of the Bolshevik Party began to put forward the slogan of “Socialism in one country”.
In this way the revolution is “permanent”, moving out of necessity first, from the bourgeois revolution to the workers’ revolution, and from there uninterruptedly to European and worldwide revolutions.
Origins of the term
An internationalist outlook of permanent revolution is found in the works of Karl Marx. The term “permanent revolution” is taken from a remark of Marx from his March 1850 Address: “it is our task”, Marx said,
to make the revolution permanent until all the more or less propertied classes have been driven from their ruling positions, until the proletariat has conquered state power and until the association of the proletarians has progressed sufficiently far – not only in one country but in all the leading countries of the world – that competition between the proletarians of these countries ceases and at least the decisive forces of production are concentrated in the hands of the workers. – Marx, Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League
Trotskyism and the 1917 Russian Revolution
During his leadership of the Russian revolution of 1905, Trotsky argued that once it became clear that the Tsar’s army would not come out in support of the workers, it was necessary to retreat before the armed might of the state in as good an order as possible. In 1917, Trotsky was again elected chairman of the Petrograd soviet, but this time soon came to lead the Military Revolutionary Committee which had the allegiance of the Petrograd garrison, and carried through the October 1917 insurrection. Stalin wrote:
All practical work in connection with the organization of the uprising was done under the immediate direction of Comrade Trotsky, the President of the Petrograd Soviet. It can be stated with certainty that the Party is indebted primarily and principally to Comrade Trotsky for the rapid going over of the garrison to the side of the Soviet and the efficient manner in which the work of the Military Revolutionary Committee was organized. – Stalin, Pravda, November 6, 1918
As a result of his role in the Russian Revolution of 1917, the theory of Permanent Revolution was embraced by the young Soviet state until 1924.
The Russian revolution of 1917 was marked by two revolutions: the relatively spontaneous February 1917 revolution, and the 25 October 1917 seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, who had gained the leadership of the Petrograd soviet.
Before the February 1917 Russian revolution, Lenin had formulated a slogan calling for the ‘democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry’, but after the February revolution, through his April theses, Lenin instead called for “all power to the Soviets”. Lenin nevertheless continued to emphasize however (as did Trotsky also) the classical Marxist position that the peasantry formed a basis for the development of capitalism, not socialism.
But also before February 1917, Trotsky had not accepted the importance of a Bolshevik style organisation. Once the February 1917 Russian revolution had broken out Trotsky admitted the importance of a Bolshevik organisation, and joined the Bolsheviks in July 1917. Despite the fact that many, like Stalin, saw Trotsky’s role in the October 1917 Russian revolution as central, Trotsky says that without Lenin and the Bolshevik party the October revolution of 1917 would not have taken place.
As a result, since 1917, Trotskyism as a political theory is fully committed to a Leninist style of democratic centralist party organisation, which Trotskyists argue must not be confused with the party organisation as it later developed under Stalin. Trotsky had previously suggested that Lenin’s method of organisation would lead to a dictatorship, but it is important to emphasise that after 1917 orthodox Trotskyists argue that the loss of democracy in the Soviet Union was caused by the failure of the revolution to successfully spread internationally and the consequent wars, isolation and imperialist intervention, not the Bolshevik style of organisation.
Lenin’s outlook had always been that the Russian revolution would need to stimulate a Socialist revolution in western Europe in order that this European socialist society would then come to the aid of the Russian revolution and enable Russia to advance towards socialism. Lenin stated:
We have stressed in a good many written works, in all our public utterances, and in all our statements in the press that… the socialist revolution can triumph only on two conditions. First, if it is given timely support by a socialist revolution in one or several advanced countries. – Lenin, Speech at Tenth Congress of the RCP(B)
This outlook matched precisely Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution. Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution had foreseen that the working class would not stop at the bourgeois democratic stage of the revolution, but proceed towards a workers’ state, as happened in 1917. The Trotskyist Isaac Deutscher maintains that in 1917, Lenin changed his attitude to Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution and after the October revolution it was adopted by the Bolsheviks.
Lenin was met with initial disbelief in April 1917. Trotsky argues that:
up to the outbreak of the February revolution and for a time after Trotskyism did not mean the idea that it was impossible to build a socialist society within the national boundaries of Russia (which “possibility” was never expressed by anybody up to 1924 and hardly came into anybody’s head). Trotskyism meant the idea that the Russian proletariat might win the power in advance of the Western proletariat, and that in that case it could not confine itself within the limits of a democratic dictatorship but would be compelled to undertake the initial socialist measures. It is not surprising, then, that the April theses of Lenin were condemned as Trotskyist. – Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution
The ‘legend of Trotskyism’
In The Stalin School of Falsification, Trotsky argues that what he calls the “legend of Trotskyism” was formulated by Zinoviev and Kamenev in collaboration with Stalin in 1924, in response to the criticisms Trotsky raised of Politburo policy. Orlando Figes argues that “The urge to silence Trotsky, and all criticism of the Politburo, was in itself a crucial factor in Stalin’s rise to power.”
During 1922–24, Lenin suffered a series of strokes and became increasingly incapacitated. Before his death in 1924, Lenin, while describing Trotsky as “distinguished not only by his exceptional abilities – personally he is, to be sure, the most able man in the present Central Committee”, and also maintaining that “his non-Bolshevik past should not be held against him”, criticized him for “showing excessive preoccupation with the purely administrative side of the work”, and also requested that Stalin be removed from his position of General Secretary, but his notes remained suppressed until 1956. Zinoviev and Kamenev broke with Stalin in 1925 and joined Trotsky in 1926 in what was known as the United Opposition.
In 1926, Stalin allied with Bukharin who then led the campaign against “Trotskyism”. In The Stalin School of Falsification, Trotsky quotes Bukharin’s 1918 pamphlet, From the Collapse of Czarism to the Fall of the Bourgeoisie, which was re-printed by the party publishing house, Proletari, in 1923. In this pamphlet, Bukharin explains and embraces Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution, writing: “The Russian proletariat is confronted more sharply than ever before with the problem of the international revolution … The grand total of relationships which have arisen in Europe leads to this inevitable conclusion. Thus, the permanent revolution in Russia is passing into the European proletarian revolution.” Yet it is common knowledge, Trotsky argues, that three years later, in 1926, “Bukharin was the chief and indeed the sole theoretician of the entire campaign against ‘Trotskyism’, summed up in the struggle against the theory of the permanent revolution.”
Trotsky wrote that the Left Opposition grew in influence throughout the 1920s, attempting to reform the Communist Party. But in 1927 Stalin declared “civil war” against them:
During the first ten years of its struggle, the Left Opposition did not abandon the program of ideological conquest of the party for that of conquest of power against the party. Its slogan was: reform, not revolution. The bureaucracy, however, even in those times, was ready for any revolution in order to defend itself against a democratic reform.
In 1927, when the struggle reached an especially bitter stage, Stalin declared at a session of the Central Committee, addressing himself to the Opposition: “Those cadres can be removed only by civil war!” What was a threat in Stalin’s words became, thanks to a series of defeats of the European proletariat, a historic fact. The road of reform was turned into a road of revolution. – Trotsky, Leon, Revolution Betrayed, p279, Pathfinder (1972)
Defeat of the European working class led to further isolation in Russia, and further suppression of the Opposition. Trotsky argued that the “so-called struggle against ‘Trotskyism’ grew out of the bureaucratic reaction against the October Revolution [of 1917]“. He responded to the one sided civil war with his Letter to the Bureau of Party History, (1927), contrasting what he claimed to be the falsification of history with the official history of just a few years before. He further accused Stalin of derailing the Chinese revolution, and causing the massacre of the Chinese workers:
In the year 1918, Stalin, at the very outset of his campaign against me, found it necessary, as we have already learned, to write the following words:
“All the work of practical organization of the insurrection was carried out under the direct leadership of the Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, comrade Trotsky…” (Stalin, Pravda, Nov. 6, 1918)
With full responsibility for my words, I am now compelled to say that the cruel massacre of the Chinese proletariat and the Chinese Revolution at its three most important turning points, the strengthening of the position of the trade union agents of British imperialism after the General Strike of 1926, and, finally, the general weakening of the position of the Communist International and the Soviet Union, the party owes principally and above all to Stalin. – Trotsky, Leon, The Stalin School of Falsification, p87, Pathfinder (1971)
Trotsky was sent into internal exile and his supporters were jailed. Victor Serge, for instance, first “spent six weeks in a cell” after a visit at midnight, then 85 days in an inner GPU cell, most of it in solitary confinement. He details the jailings of the Left Opposition. The Left Opposition, however, continued to work in secret within the Soviet Union. Trotsky was eventually exiled to Turkey. He moved from there to France, Norway, and finally to Mexico.
After 1928, the various Communist Parties throughout the world expelled Trotskyists from their ranks. Most Trotskyists defend the economic achievements of the planned economy in the Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s, despite the “misleadership” of the soviet bureaucracy, and what they claim to be the loss of democracy. Trotskyists claim that in 1928 inner party democracy, and indeed soviet democracy, which was at the foundation of Bolshevism, had been destroyed within the various Communist Parties. Anyone who disagreed with the party line was labeled a Trotskyist and even a fascist.
In 1937, Stalin again unleashed what Trotskyists say was a political terror against their Left Opposition and many of the remaining ‘Old Bolsheviks‘ (those who had played key roles in the October Revolution in 1917), in the face of increased opposition, particularly in the army.
Degenerated workers’ state
Trotsky developed the theory that the Russian workers’ state had become a “degenerated workers’ state“. Capitalist rule had not been restored, and nationalised industry and economic planning, instituted under Lenin, were still in effect. However, Trotskyists claim that the state was controlled by a bureaucratic caste with interests hostile to those of the working class. Stalinism was a counter-revolutionary force.
Trotsky defended the Soviet Union against attack from foreign powers and against internal counter-revolution, but called for a political revolution within the USSR to bring about his version of socialist democracy: “The bureaucracy can be removed only by a revolutionary force”. He argued that if the working class did not take power away from the “Stalinist” bureaucracy, the bureaucracy would restore capitalism in order to enrich itself. In the view of many Trotskyists, this is exactly what has happened since the beginning of Glasnost and Perestroika in the USSR. Some argue that the adoption of market socialism by the People’s Republic of China has also led to capitalist counter-revolution. Many of Trotsky’s criticisms of Stalinism were described in his book, The Revolution Betrayed.
“Trotskyist” has been used by “Stalinists” to mean a traitor; in the Spanish Civil War, being called a “Trot,” “Trotskyist” or “Trotskyite” by the USSR-supported elements implied that the person was some sort of fascist spy or agent provocateur. For instance, George Orwell, a prominent Anti-Stalinist writer, wrote about this practice in his book Homage to Catalonia and in his essay Spilling the Spanish Beans. In his book Animal Farm, an allegory for the Russian Revolution, he represented Trotsky with the character “Snowball” and Stalin with the character “Napoleon“. Emmanuel Goldstein in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four has also been linked to Trotsky.
In 1937 Trotsky wrote:
To maintain itself, Stalinism is now forced to conduct a direct civil war against Bolshevism, under the name of “Trotskyism,” not only in the USSR but also in Spain. The old Bolshevik Party is dead, but Bolshevism is raising its head everywhere. To deduce Stalinism from Bolshevism or from Marxism is the same as to deduce, in a larger sense, counterrevolution from revolution. – Trotsky, Leon, Stalinism and Bolshevism 1937, in Living Marxism, No. 18, April 1990.
Stalin put out a general call for the assassination of Trotsky and he was finally killed with an ice axe in Mexico in 1940, by Ramon Mercader, a Spanish supporter of Stalin, under direct orders from the GPU.
Founding of the Fourth International
Trotsky founded the International Left Opposition in 1930. It was meant to be an opposition group within the Comintern, but anyone who joined, or was suspected of joining, the ILO, was immediately expelled from the Comintern. The ILO therefore concluded that opposing Stalinism from within the Communist organizations controlled by Stalin’s supporters had become impossible, so new organizations had to be formed. In 1933, the ILO was renamed the International Communist League (ICL), which formed the basis of the Fourth International, founded in Paris in 1938.
Trotsky said that only the Fourth International, basing itself on Lenin’s theory of the vanguard party, could lead the world revolution, and that it would need to be built in opposition to both the capitalists and the Stalinists.
Trotsky argued that the defeat of the German working class and the coming to power of Hitler in 1933 was due in part to the mistakes of the Third Period policy of the Communist International and that the subsequent failure of the Communist Parties to draw the correct lessons from those defeats showed that they were no longer capable of reform, and a new international organisation of the working class must be organised. The Transitional demand tactic had to be a key element.
At the time of the founding of the Fourth International in 1938 Trotskyism was a mass political current in Vietnam, Sri Lanka and slightly later Bolivia. There was also a substantial Trotskyist movement in China which included the founding father of the Chinese Communist movement, Chen Duxiu, amongst its number. Wherever Stalinists gained power, they made it a priority to hunt down Trotskyists and treated them as the worst of enemies.
The Fourth International suffered repression and disruption through the Second World War. Isolated from each other, and faced with political developments quite unlike those anticipated by Trotsky, some Trotskyist organizations decided that the Soviet Union no longer could be called a degenerated workers state and withdrew from the Fourth International. After 1945 Trotskyism was smashed as a mass movement in Vietnam and marginalised in a number of other countries.
The International Secretariat of the Fourth International organised an international conference in 1946, and then World Congresses in 1948 and 1951 to assess the expropriation of the capitalists in Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia, the threat of a Third World War, and the tasks for revolutionaries. The Eastern European Communist-led governments which came into being after World War II without a social revolution were described by a resolution of the 1948 congress as presiding over capitalist economies. By 1951, the Congress had concluded that they had become “deformed workers’ states.” As the Cold War intensified, the FI’s 1951 World Congress adopted theses by Michel Pablo that anticipated an international civil war. Pablo’s followers considered that the Communist Parties, insofar as they were placed under pressure by the real workers’ movement, could escape Stalin’s manipulations and follow a revolutionary orientation.
The 1951 Congress argued that Trotskyists should start to conduct systematic work inside those Communist Parties which were followed by the majority of the working class. However, the ISFI‘s view that the Soviet leadership was counter-revolutionary remained unchanged. The 1951 Congress argued that the Soviet Union took over these countries because of the military and political results of World War II, and instituted nationalized property relations only after its attempts at placating capitalism failed to protect those countries from the threat of incursion by the West.
Pablo began expelling large numbers of people who did not agree with his thesis and who did not want to dissolve their organizations within the Communist Parties. For instance, he expelled the majority of the French section and replaced its leadership. As a result, the opposition to Pablo eventually rose to the surface, with an open letter to Trotskyists of the world, by Socialist Workers Party leader James P. Cannon.
The Fourth International split in 1953 into two public factions. The International Committee of the Fourth International was established by several sections of the International as an alternative centre to the International Secretariat, in which they felt a revisionist faction led by Michel Pablo had taken power. From 1960, a number of ICFI sections started to reunify with the IS. After the 1963 reunification congress which established the reunified Fourth International, the French and British sections maintained the ICFI. Other groups took different paths and originated the present complex map of Trotskyist groupings.
Trotskyism has had some influence in some recent major social upheavals, particularly in Latin America.
The Bolivian Trotskyist party (Partido Obrero Revolucionario, POR) became a mass party in the period of the late 1940s and early 1950s, and together with other groups played a central role during and immediately after the period termed the Bolivian National Revolution.
In Brazil, as an officially recognised platform or faction of the PT until 1992, the Trotskyist Movimento Convergência Socialista (CS), which founded the United Socialist Workers’ Party (PSTU) in 1994, saw a number of its members elected to national, state and local legislative bodies during the 1980s.Today the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL) is described as Trotskyist. Its presidential candidate in the 2006 general elections, Heloísa Helena is termed a Trotskyist who was a member of the Workers Party of Brazil (PT), a legislative deputy in Alagoas and in 1999 was elected to the Federal Senate. Expelled from the PT in December 2003, she helped found PSOL, in which various Trotskyist groups play a prominent role.
During the 1980s in Argentina, the Trotskyist party founded in 1982 by Nahuel Moreno, MAS, (Movimiento al Socialismo, Movement Toward Socialism), claimed to be the “largest Trotskyist party” in the world, before it broke into a number of different fragments in the late 1980s, including the present-day MST, PTS, MAS, IS, PRS, FOS, etc. In 1989 in an electoral front with the Communist Party and Christian nationalists groups, called “Izquierda Unida” (united left), obtained 3,49% of the electorate, representing 580.944 voters. Today the Workers’ Party in Argentina has an electoral base in Salta Province in the far north, particularly in the city of Salta itself, and has become the third political force in the provinces of Tucuman, also in the north, and Santa Cruz, in the south.
Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez declared himself to be a Trotskyist during his swearing in of his cabinet two days before his own inauguration on 10 January 2007.Venezuelan Troskyist organizations do not regard Chávez as a Trotskyist, with some describing him as a bourgeois nationalist and other considering him an honest revolutionary leader who has made major mistakes because he lacks a Marxist analysis.
In Sri Lanka, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) expelled its pro-Moscow wing in 1940, becoming a Trotskyist-led party. It was led by South Asia‘s pioneer Trotskyist, Philip Gunawardena and his colleague NM Perera. In 1942, following the escape of the leaders of the LSSP from a British prison, a unified Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India, Ceylon and Burma (BLPI) was established in India, bringing together the many Trotskyist groups in the subcontinent. The BLPI was active in the Quit India movement as well as the labour movement, capturing the second oldest union in India. Its high point was when it led the strikes which followed the Bombay Mutiny. After the war, the Sri Lanka section split into the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and the Bolshevik Samasamaja Party (BSP). The Indian section of the BLPI later fused with the Congress Socialist Party. In the general election of 1947 the LSSP became the main opposition party, winning 10 seats, the BSP winning a further 5. It joined the Trotskyist Fourth International after fusion with the BSP in 1950, and led a general strike (Hartal) in 1953.
In 1964 a section of the LSSP split to form the LSSP (Revolutionary) and joined the Fourth International after the LSSP proper was expelled. The LSSP (R) later split into factions led by Bala Tampoe and Edmund Samarakkody. The LSSP joined the coalition government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, three of its members, NM Perera, Cholmondely Goonewardena and Anil Moonesinghe, becoming the first Trotskyist cabinet ministers in history.
In France, 10% of the electorate voted in 2002 for parties calling themselves Trotskyist.
In the UK in the 1980s, the entrist Militant tendency won three members of parliament and effective control of Liverpool City Council while in the Labour Party. Described as “Britain’s fifth most important political party” in 1986 it played a prominent role in the 1989–1991 mass anti-poll tax movement which was widely thought to have led to the downfall of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Almost all of the large far left parties in the UK are led by Trotskyists, including the Socialist Workers Party (Britain), the Socialist Party (England and Wales), Respect – The Unity Coalition and the Scottish Socialist Party.
The Socialist Party in Ireland was formed in 1990 by members who had been expelled by the Irish Labour Party’s leader Dick Spring. It has had a sizable amount of support in County Fingal and has an MEP, Joe Higgins, representing Dublin.
In Portugal‘s September 2009 parliamentary election, the Left Bloc won 558.062 votes, which translated into 9,82% of the expressed votes and the election of 16 (out of 230) deputies to the national parliament. Although founded by several leftist tendencies, it still expresses much of the Trotskyist thought upheld and developed by its current leader, Francisco Louçã.
There is a wide range of Trotskyist organisations around the world. These include but are not limited to:
The Fourth International
The Fourth International derives from the 1963 reunification of the two public factions into which Fourth International split in 1953: the International Secretariat of the Fourth International (ISFI) and the ICFI. It is often referred to as the United Secretariat of the Fourth International, the name of its leading committee before 2003. It is widely described as the largest contemporary Trotskyist organisation with sections and sympathizing organizations in over 50 countries. Its best known section has been the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire of France, but today there are also sizeable and influential sections in Portugal, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Pakistan and several other countries.
In many countries its sections work within working-class parties and alliances, in which Trotskyists are a minority.
Committee for a Workers’ International
The Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) was founded in 1974 and now has sections in over 35 countries. Before 1997, most organisations affiliated to the CWI sought to build an entrist Marxist wing within the large social democratic parties. Since the early 1990s it has argued that most social democratic, as indeed socialist parties have moved so far to the right that there is little point trying to work within them. Instead the CWI has adopted a range of tactics, mostly seeking to build independent parties, but in some cases working within other broad working-class parties.
International Socialist Tendency
Internationalist Communist Union
In France, the LCR is rivalled by Lutte Ouvrière. That group is the French section of the Internationalist Communist Union (UCI). UCI has small sections in a handful of other countries. It focuses its activities, whether propaganda or intervention, within the industrial proletariat.
International Marxist Tendency
The founders of the Committee for a Marxist International (CMI) claim they were expelled from the CWI, when the CWI abandoned entryism. The CWI claims they left and no expulsions were carried out. Since 2006, it has been known as the International Marxist Tendency (IMT). CMI/IMT groups continue the policy of entering mainstream social democratic, communist or radical parties.
Learn about this oppressive method and the people in history behind it. Be ready to reject and refute it when Comrade George Soros, Comrade Barak Obama, Comrade Valerie Jarrett and Comrade John Podesta use the Coming Debt Crises to force this system upon you.
- Leader of the domestic terrorist group Weatherman
- Participated in the bombings of New York City police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972
- Delighted in Charles Manson’s infamous murders
- Director of the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University
- Professor at Northwestern University Law School
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1942, Bernardine Dohrn earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 1963, and a J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law four years later.
She is currently an Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University, where she is also Director of the Legal Clinic’s Children and Family Justice Center. Moreover, she sits on important committees and boards of the American Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.
In the 1960s, Dohrn was a leader of the Students for a Democratic Society‘s “Weatherman” faction, which in 1969 went underground to become America’s first terrorist cult. At a 1969 “War Council” in Flint, Michigan, Dohrn gave her most memorable and notorious speech to her followers. Holding her fingers in what became the Weatherman “fork salute,” she said of the bloody murders recently committed by the Manson Family in which the pregnant actress Sharon Tate and a Folgers Coffee heiress and several other inhabitants of a Benedict Canyon mansion were brutally stabbed to death: “Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach! Wild!” The “War Council” ended with a formal declaration of war against “AmeriKKKa,” always spelled with three K’s to signify the United States’ allegedly ineradicable white racism.
Professor Dohrn has said of her Weatherman past, “We rejected terrorism. We were careful not to hurt anybody.” Both assertions are false, however. Weatherman’s twofold agenda was terrorism (which is why Charles Manson was Dohrn’s hero) and war (the organization’s very existence was launched with a formal “declaration of war”), and Dohrn periodically issued “war communiqués” to the public at large. The intention of the group was to shed their “white skin privilege” and launch a violent race war on behalf of Third World People. A Chicago district attorney named Richard Elrod was seriously injured in the Weatherman riot that erupted during the Chicago “Days of Rage” in October 1969, and he was paralyzed for life as a result. Dohrn later led a celebration of Elrod’s paralysis by leading her comrades in a parody of a Bob Dylan song — “Lay, Elrod, Lay.” Moreover, law-enforcement authorities are still investigating a bombing in San Francisco that killed a policeman, for which Professor Dohrn is one of the suspects.
In 1974 Dohrn co-authored — along with Bill Ayers (her future husband), Jeff Jones, and Celia Sojourn — a book titled Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism. This book contained the following statements:
- “We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men … deeply affected by the historic events of our time in the struggle against U.S. imperialism.”
- “Our intention is to disrupt the empire, to incapacitate it, to put pressure on the cracks, to make it hard to carry out its bloody functioning against the people of the world, to join the world struggle, to attack from the inside.”
- “The only path to the final defeat of imperialism and the building of socialism is revolutionary war.”
- “Revolutionary war will be complicated and protracted. It includes mass struggle and clandestine struggle, peaceful and violent, political and economic, cultural and military, where all forms are developed in harmony with the armed struggle.”
- “Without mass struggle there can be no revolution.
Without armed struggle there can be no victory.”
- “We need a revolutionary communist party in order to lead the struggle, give coherence and direction to the fight, seize power and build the new society.”
- “Our job is to tap the discontent seething in many sectors of the population, to find allies everywhere people are hungry or angry, to mobilize poor and working people against imperialism.”
- “Socialism is the total opposite of capitalism/imperialism. It is the rejection of empire and white supremacy. Socialism is the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the eradication of the social system based on profit.”
The title Prairie Fire was an allusion to Mao Zedong‘s observation (in a January 1930 letter) that “a single spark can start a prairie fire.” Dohrn’s book was dedicated to a bevy of violent, America-hating revolutionaries, including Sirhan Sirhan (assassin of Robert F. Kennedy).
Dohrn spent most of the 1970s with her accomplices running from the FBI, which had placed her on its “Ten Most Wanted List.” During this period, she married Bill Ayers. The couple went on to have three children. One is named Malik (the Muslim name of Malcolm X), and another is named Zayd (after Zayd Shakur, a Black Panther who was killed while driving the cop-killer JoAnne Chesimard — a.k.a. Assata Shakur – to a hideout).
Dohrn and Ayers spent the last years of their underground life in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, where they used the aliases Christine Louise Douglas and Anthony J. Lee. In 1980, the couple and their cohorts surrendered to authorities, but all charges against them were subsequently dropped on the grounds that the fugitives had been illegally surveilled. Dohrn did plead guilty, however, to charges of aggravated battery and bail-jumping, for which she received probation.
Shortly after turning themselves in, Dohrn and Ayers adopted Chesa Boudin, son of former Weather Underground members Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, when the parents were arrested for their violent activities with the Black Liberation Army.
Dohrn later served less than a year in prison for refusing to testify against ex-Weatherman Susan Rosenberg in the latter’s trial for armed robbery.
Today Professor Dohrn expresses no real regret over her radical past. Though she has distanced herself from the Manson remark (insinuating falsely that it was a “joke”), her political views are as extreme as ever. On one occasion she justified her past actions, saying, “We organized both against war and racism. We also taught that all human life is equally valid, not just the body count of the United States.”
Professor Dorhn has been a commencement speaker at several university graduations, including California’s prestigious Pitzer College, where in 2004 she told the graduates: “During your student years here, the shredded economy and loss of jobs, the consequences of deregulation and devolution that bankrupted state and local governments, the relentless punishment and imprisoning of over two million people in America, flagrant corporate plunder and criminality, rolling blackouts, the apparently permanent war on terrorism, the shock and awe occupation of Iraq, systematic and degrading detention without trial, torture and extra-judicial assassinations, and the establishment of a crescent of new U.S. military bases across the Middle East and South Asia — all have transformed whatever blissful illusions were harbored as you entered college.”
In November 2007, Dohrn spoke at a 40th anniversary celebration of the Students for a Democratic Society. In her remarks, she praised leftist activists for their long-term efforts aimed at “overthrowing everything hateful about this government and corporate structure that we live in, capitalism itself.” She approvingly cited the late Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assertion that “the greatest purveyor of violence on this earth is my own country.” Dohrn then said, “I think that’s still true today.” She lamented ”the whole structural implications of white supremacy and the ways in which race and class and gender are just so intertwined in the United States.”
In December 2009, Dohrn and Bill Ayers were among the 1,300 American and European activists who traveled to the Egypt-Gaza border to participate in a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel demonstration led by Code Pink.