Trotsky, as Taught in Cuba

Daisy Valera

Leon Trotsky. Photo:

Lev Davidovich Bronstein —better known to the world as Leon Trotsky— died on August 21, 1940, in Coyoacan, Mexico.  One could think that the name of this Russian revolutionary would have come to my ears in my contemporary history classes in my first year of high school here in Cuba.

Nevertheless, the name Trotsky was not written in the history book that I carried around when I was 14 and 15.   From the classes of that period I can only remember the figure of Lenin, who was glorified by my teacher.

Like the more than 30 other students in my class, I knew of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin as the primary and practically sole leader of the Great October Socialist Revolution.  The only other memory that I retained of those classes was the day we learned about the causes for the collapse of the USSR; for some reason, many of the students in the room looked at each other as if we had been double-crossed.

The history lessons concluded, as did my high school studies, without me ever learning that there had been a Leon Trotsky.  Only a few days before I began my program at the university —and by pure chance— I heard a song by a Cuban folk singer about how Trotsky had been one of the main figures in the Russian Revolution of 1917.

The name of that revolutionary stuck in my mind, but any information about him was scarce in every place one could go to look him up.  It wasn’t until my third year at the university that the fact that I found myself among a very particular group of people allowed me to discover the full story of a part of history that no one had thought it necessary to reveal to me.

Finally the name of Trotsky stopped being just a name and for me turned into a person who had carried out actions of critical importance for the Russian Revolution.  He had been the principle representative of the St. Petersburg’s soviets (workers’ councils) as well as in the organization of the Red Army.

Perhaps the fact that I had never before known about Trotsky made me become an assiduous reader of most of his works, among which I have to highlight Permanent Revolution (1930) and The Revolution Betrayed (1936).

August 20th will mark 70 years since the fateful attack carried out by a Stalinist clique against a man who exhibited in his deeds and writings a love for the world proletariat.  He was confident that a social structure different from capitalism could free life of all wrongs.

Yet despite everything, this Trotsky still doesn’t appear in Cuban history books.  There’s no mention of the founder of the Fourth International, an organization committed to the struggle against bureaucracy, against those who sought to enrich themselves at the expense of other people’s labor, against those lacking scruples in accentuating the differences between classes in a society that aimed to construct socialism, and against those who did not allow the workers to either participate or decide.

So isn’t it important to reclaim him in the history taught on the island, a person truly committed until the final few days of their life to the non-degeneration of societies that are called socialist.

38 thoughts on “Trotsky, as Taught in Cuba

  • Yes the food coops are the means of struggle for those who wish to avoid the class struggle.

  • but it was stalinists that handed the soviet union and the workers states in eastern europe over to the capitalists , not Trotskyists .All the hostile capitalist regimes you mention are a result of that .

  • The Cuban Stalinist bureaucracy wouldn’t allow the truth to be known, it would’ve triggered a political revolution to deepen the revolutionary conquests, and awaken the Cuban people to the disposable character of the island rulers. Now they are turning to USA to complete the capitalism restoration process just like their ex soviet masters did. Hopefully Leonardo Padura’s “The Man Who Loved Dogs” will help Cubans find about the Stalinist forgeries of history.

  • Fidel Castro himself welcomed the murder of Trotsky when he was released from prison. Cuba is not a socialist nation but a deformed ”workers” state in which the means of production are nationalized, but win-out workers control. The Communist Party of Cuba is a special caste of Cubans with privileges like the old communist parties in Eastern Europe. Old men in their 60’s and 70’s are the guiding force of the nation. Raul Castro himself is 83 years old.

    Like all nations based on post 1956 stalinism, the Cuban bureaucracy censors all information that does not conform to their Marxist-Leninist ( Stalinist ) dogma. Trotsky always rejected Stalin and therefore he was hated by all stalinists. Fidel Castro is a Stalinist, not a classic one like Ever Hoxha, but he was the leader of a centralized bureaucracy that systematic rejects genuine socialism!

    We revolutionary socialists must defend the planned economy against the capitalist reforms which are happening. Raul Castro will start with more deregulation as his bureaucracy will demand more. The Chinese bureaucracy has grown very rich with enough millionaires and billionaires. These class-traitors are the best friends of Raul Castro’s deformed ”workers” state!

  • I think that the disgraceful and slanderous position of the SEP is the reason why distrust of Trotskyists exists to this day. The reflexive and baseless comparison of Stalin’s methods to Cuba discredits those who fail to see what Trotsky was saying or who overextend his critique. To say that Cuba is “middle class” denies the massive workers power in Cuba, global economic realities, the real progress in Cuba in essential spheres of improving the basic quality of life for all, and its undying internationalism. It is the Socialist Workers Party in the US that better represents a correct view of Trotsky (although I am not a member) and fervently SUPPORTS the Cuban revolution AND defends Trotsky’s legacy. Also, Trotsky critiqued many severe problems during Stalin’s rule and his murdering of many revolutionaries, in spite of this, honest Trotskyists still seek to defend worker’s states (even those that they may classify rightly or wrongly as deformed). However, the shameful position that insults real struggles and seeks a sort of revolutionary purity that does not coincide with “concrete conditions” betrays the workers movements and workers’ hope in socialism. Some Trotskyists spend more time attacking Cuba than defending it- and they don’t offer constructive criticism. The International Marxist Tendency is far better than the ISO and others, but I still think that they could defend Cuba and other revolutionary movements more, but they don’t bash them and tend to support them- all the while encouraging a deepening of socialism. They let they critiques known but they do not descend into outright slander as does the ISO or this SEP. Like I said before the SWP in the US (also known as the Communist League) abroad- although not without its problems- is a far better representation of Trotsky and Trotsky’s thought, although I still think that they hurl around the term Stalinist a bit loosely- they have never used it in regards to Cuba and hold up Cuba as a primary example for workers and farmers. They also publish many of Trotsky’s works.

  • Oliver Campbell: I will try to answer your long response a bit later, if and when my time permits. But let me answer one thing right now. You say: “Your reference to the 1928 Program of the Comintern has been scanty. . .” May I point out that I quoted the precise 5 paragraphs from that 1928 Program that deals with the transitional program of the Comintern. This I did so that readers–including you–might judge for themselves. To say that this “has been scanty” is absurd.

    The 5 paragraphs quoted are the textual heart of the Leninist wisdom gleaned from the 1917 experience. They deserve serious study. You ought to thank me for setting them forth–and thank HT for printing them. To not address them, but instead to ease around them with verbose bluster. is a disservice to yourself and to readers.

  • When all is said and done, only one fact is truly relevant. Trotsky and Trotskyists believe firmly that the socialist state–just as Marx and Engels said and maintained all their lives–should concentrate ownership of all instruments of production in its hands. This is what they believe and it cannot be denied.

    This therefore is the bottom line of Trotskyism. Every honest Trotskyist should have the sincerity and the courage to admit it. Trotskyism is state-ism, and we all know how well that has worked out.

    State-ism, regardless of what you call it, is an erroneous notion of true, workable socialism. Ask any Trotskyist if the socialist state should centralize all the instruments of production in its hands. If you can get a straight answer, it will have to be “Yes,” because they have no other plan for a socialist economy.

    But there is another way to constitute a socialist economy. It is modern cooperative socialism, or state co-ownership socialism.

  • Correction: I made a mistake in quoting from Trotsky’s “The Third International After Lenin.” The word “watery” should have been “pedantic.” I relied on long memory and was not able to re-check the source until a while later. Please accept this apology.

  • Trotskism is not good for Cuba! Long live Marxism Leninism! Trotskism are anticommunism.
    All counterrevolutions in the eastern block in Europe was hailed by the Trotskists. What was it ending? To NATO to fanatical anticommunism. The troskites hailed overthrov of socialism in easten Europe.
    Today the capitalist regimes in easten europe are the most hostile towards the cuban revolution.

  • Grady…You comments are either seriously misinformed or deliberately falsifying…

    Anyone who has studied the history of the Marxist movement knows that “demands” predate both the 1928 program of the Communist International, and the “Transitional Program” of the Fourth International…To claim that demands such as full employment, companies opening the books etc. are plagarised is self-evidently absurd…These demands flow from the crisis of the capitalist system and the problems facing the working-class, they cannot be invented out of cloth…

    The crucial question which your postings obscure is the relationship between transitional demands and the strategy of the Marxist movement – World Socialist Revolution. The Second International developed along with national industry in a period of non-revolutionary gradualism. These objective conditions fostered the growth of opportunist conceptions with a minimal program [including demands] increasingly divorced from the maximum program of socialist revolution. The growth of opportunist tendencies ultimately resulted in the transformation of the Second International into an agency of world imperialism, sending workers to the slaughterhous of World War One.

    Your reference to the 1928 Program of the Comintern has been scanty…What was the essential theoretical conception underlying this document? It was the Stalinist program of socialism in one country…In 1917, the Bolsheviks led the Russian working-class in the first shot of the world socialist revolution. Social-democracy strangled revolutionary movements across Europe, leading to the isolation of the revolution in backward Russia. This led to the emergence of a bureaucratic caste whose perspective was “not everything for the world revolution – some for me too!” The consequences of the nationalist conceptions outlined in the draft program were disastrous for the international working-class. Just a year before it was written, tens of thousands of Chinese workers were killed as a result of the disastrous Stalinist-Menshevik “two-stage” theory of revolution which sought accomodation with the bourgeois Guomindang. Five years later, the Nazis came to power without a shot being fired, with the Stalinists advancing the demoralised position “after Hitler us”!!! We still live in the shadow of these tragic defeats…

    The transitional demands outlined by Trotsky flowed from his understanding that the crisis of humanity was essentially the crisis of revolutioary leadership. Revolutionary upheavals could and did take place, but under the dominance of Stalinism and Social-Democracy, the working-class could not win. The demands were [and are] aimed at overcoming the contradiction between the maturity of the objective situation, and the immaturity of working-class consciousness…

    Grady you deny the signifcance of the struggle waged by Trotsky against the Stalinist bureaucracy’s substitution of nationalism for internationalism. Every major betrayal of the working-class in the 20th century [and the victims number in the millions] was a product of nationalism. You talk about the “Cuban experiment” etc. Castro’s recent turn to austerity and the capitalist market testifies to the bankruptcy of his nationalist and essentially anti-working class perspective. There is no solution to the problems facing workers in Cuba within national boundaries. The working-class is an international social force participating in a global economy, and confronting global problems. In this era of globalisation, the logic of nationalism is war.

    I agree with the comments of other posters – the Socialist Equality Party and the International Committee of the Fourth International is the party of Trotsky, Lenin and the international working-class…Whilst the middle-class nationalist Castro is carrying out austerity measures [see ” Cuba’s mass layoffs: The dead-end of Castroism”, our movement is seeking to provide the working-class with the socialist and internationalist perspective required to combat austerity, attacks on democratic rights and war.

    The Socialist Equality Party in the US recently held its first congress, at which it adopted a socialist program for the working-class, including a series of inalienable social rights that must be fought for in a struggle against the capitalist system [The Breakdown of Capitalism and the Fight for Socialism in the United States –…It’s no exageration to state that this document is the Transitional program of the 21st century…

    Finally, the following is an excerpt from a lecture delivered by David North, Chairmen of the World Socialist Website editorial board on the 70th anniversay of the assassination of Trotsky:

    “In conclusion, I would like to address the relevance of Trotsky today. What is Trotsky’s place in history? As a writer, orator, strategist of revolutionary insurrection, military leader and political thinker, Trotsky represents the summit of socialist politics and culture in the 20th century. Before 1917 Trotsky elaborated the strategy of the Russian Revolution. During the years of revolution and civil war, he personified the proletariat’s will to victory. And later, in the face of political defeat and isolation, as a hunted exile, Trotsky rose to still greater political and moral heights—as the implacable opponent of the Stalinist counterrevolution and the strategist of the future world socialist revolution.

    “In a way unequalled by any other figure, Trotsky defined what it meant to be a revolutionary socialist in the 20th century. That Lenin was a towering figure in the history of socialism is beyond dispute. But his life and work are embedded in the Russian Revolution, with all its contradictions. His death in January 1924 came as the reaction against the October Revolution, within the party that he had created, was only beginning to unfold. In the final weeks of his conscious political life, beset with anxiety over the fate of the revolution, Lenin—as documented in his final writings—turned to Trotsky for support. In the struggle against Stalinism, Trotsky’s political work acquired a world historical significance. The Russian Revolution was a great episode in Trotsky’s life—an episode in his struggle for the victory of the international working class. Trotsky personified and represented the world socialist revolution. Moreover, in the fight against Stalinism, Trotsky rescued socialism from the abyss into which it had been dragged by the Kremlin gangsters and their political accomplices.

    “No political tendency that calls itself socialist can define its program, can define its relationship to Marxism today, except through the political conceptions and political struggles developed by Trotsky. The Fourth International, which he founded in 1938, has endured and developed as the political expression of genuine Marxism. Seventy years after his death, Trotsky, the greatest political figure of the last century, remains the most important teacher of socialists in the new century. [Seventy years since the assassination of Leon Trotsky –

  • Dear grok: So that you and others might know what a real “transitional program” is, here is an excerpt from the 1928 program of the Comintern. May I recommend that you copy it for future reference, because it may not be readily available anywhere else.

    . . .
    In determining its line of tactics, each Communist Party must take into account the concrete internal and external situation, the correlation of class forces, the degree of stability and strength of the bourgeoisie, the degree of preparedness of the proletariat, the position taken up by the various intermediate strata in its country, etc. The Party determines its slogans and methods of struggle in accordance with these circumstances, with the view of organizing and mobilizing the masses on the broadest possible scale and on the highest possible level of this struggle.

    When a revolutionary situation is developing, the Party advances certain transitional slogans and partial demands corresponding to the concrete situation; but these demands and slogans must be bent to the revolutionary aim of capturing power and of overthrowing bourgeois capitalist society. The Party must neither stand aloof from the daily needs and struggle of the working class nor confine its activities exclusively to them. The task of the Party is to utilize these minor, every-day needs as a starting point from which to lead the working class to the revolutionary struggle for power.

    In the event of a revolutionary upsurge, if the ruling classes are disorganized, the masses are in a state of revolutionary ferment and the intermediary strata are inclining towards the proletariat, if the masses are ready for action and for sacrifice, the Party of the proletariat is confronted with the task of leading the masses to a direct attack upon the bourgeois state. This it does by carrying on propaganda in favor of increasingly radical transitional slogans (for Soviets, workers’ control of industry, for peasant committees for seizure of the big landed properties, for disarming the bourgeoisie and arming the proletariat, etc.), and by organizing mass action, upon which all branches of the Party agitation and propaganda, including parliamentary activity, must be concentrated. This mass action includes: a combination of strikes and demonstrations; a combination of strikes and armed demonstrations and finally, the general strike conjointly with armed insurrection against the state power of the bourgeoisie. The latter form of struggle, which is the supreme form, must be conducted according to the rules of military science; it presupposes a plan of campaign, offensive fighting operations and unbounded devotion and heroism on the part of the proletariat. An absolutely essential prerequisite for this form of action is the organization of the broad masses into military units, which, by their very form, embrace and set into action the largest possible number of toilers (Councils of Workers’ Deputies, Soldiers’ Councils, etc.), and intensified revolutionary work in the army and navy.

    In passing over to the new and more radical slogans, the Parties must be guided by the fundamental role of the political tactics of Leninism, which call for ability to lead the masses to revolutionary positions in such a manner that the masses may, by their own experience, convince themselves of the correctness of the Party line. Failure to observe this rule must invariably lead to isolation from the masses, to putschism, to the ideological degeneration of communism into “Leftist” dogmatism and to petty-bourgeois “revolutionary” adventurism. No less dangerous is the failure to take advantage of the culminating point in the development of the revolutionary situation, when the Party of the proletariat is called upon to conduct a bold and determined attack upon the enemy. To allow that opportunity to slip by and to fail to start a rebellion at that point, means to allow the initiative to pass to the enemy and to doom the revolution to defeat.
    When there is no revolutionary upsurge, the Communist Parties must advance partial slogans and demands that correspond to the every-day needs of the toilers, linking them up with the fundamental tasks of the Communist International. The Communist Parties must not, however, at such a time, advance transitional slogans that are applicable only to a revolutionary situation (for example, workers’ control of industry, etc.). To advance such slogans when there is no revolutionary situation means to transform them into slogans that favor merging with the system of capitalist organization. Partial demands and slogans generally form an essential part of correct tactics; but certain transitional slogans go inseparably with a revolutionary situation. Repudiation of partial demands and transitional slogans “on principle,” however, is incompatible with the tactical principle of communism, for in effect, such repudiation condemns the Party to inaction and isolates it from the masses. Throughout the entire pre-revolutionary period a most basic part of tactics of the Communist Parties is the tactic of the united front, as a means towards most successful struggle against capital, towards the class mobilization of the masses and the exposure and isolation of the reformist leaders.
    . . .

    grok: This is the program that Trotsky maligned as “watery, thin and bankrupt from beginning to end” from 1928 to 1938. In 1938, after the Stalinized Comintern discarded this program–and this small but brilliant tactical section–Trotsky took the transitional program section and claimed it as the new program of his Fourth International. The problem is that it was originally authored by Lenin and Bukharin, and was submitted to the 1928 Comintern Congress under the signatures of Bukharin and Stalin.

    May I suggest that you and other Trotskyists learn the real history of Trotsky and the transitional program, and take a serious look at what I’ve said previously about them in this article’s comments section. I’m not saying these things or providing this excerpt to humiliate you and others, but to give you all a chance to come up for air and realize the truth. Cheers.

  • > To all of you who consider yourselves Trotskyists, and who have refused to hear
    > what I’ve said about Trotsky and the transitional program: You apparently will
    > continue to concern yourselves with a bureaucratic, tragi-comic soap opera until
    > time runs out for humanity.

    Can you not grasp the petty irrelevancy of this line of thought, Grady Ross Daugherty..? That is it even an indefensible non sequitur should be obvious to even you. Maybe not.

    A transitional program is simply one which recognizes that a socialist movement aiming at state power over the capitalists *must begin with existing capitalist society as we find it* — and move forward, taking that consideration into full account. And of course, specific transitional programs may indeed have their unique (or otherwise) weaknesses or oversights — whether your claims are warranted or not (snigger) in this particular, classic, iconic, representative case.

  • The Fourth International as Trotsky meant it to be was not “against bureaucracy” first and foremost, but against capitalism and imperialism. Trotsky *always* put the interests of the Soviet Union–the Stalinized Soviet Union–first. The struggle against “bureaucracy” is not separate from the class struggle. Read “Lenin’s Final Fight,” published by Pathfinder Press. BTW, in passing, why call yourself a “Trotskyist” instead of a Leninist? Trotsky didn’t.

  • To all of you who consider yourselves Trotskyists, and who have refused to hear what I’ve said about Trotsky and the transitional program: You apparently will continue to concern yourselves with a bureaucratic, tragi-comic soap opera until time runs out for humanity. Too bad! We need you, but you are somewhere else. Enjoy your perennial isolation from the people and from leadership of socialist transformation.

  • Sam from CA: Thanks for your last comment. It’s good to see a Trotskyist who can reason and deal with programmatic issues. But neither you nor grok have said one word about my revelation as to the origin of the “transitional program” as presented to the Comintern in 1928 under the signatures of Buharin and Stalin.

    Neither of you has answered the charge that Trotsky plagiarized this program in 1938 and claimed it as the product of his own genius.

    Sam, if what I said in my first comment is true, it has profound implications for people like you. If you wish to have a copy of the Comintern’s 1928 Program “Strategy and Tactics” section, get my email from HT and I’ll send it along for your research.

    If you are serious, and if you honestly want a transformation to socialism, then look seriously at this origin of the transitional program. Do you have the intellectual courage to do so?

  • Dear Daisy;
    You are on the right track. Today under conditions of the greatest crisis of capitalism since the 1930s the working people all over need to study the perspectives that Trotsky presented in founding the Fourth international. The movement that stands truly for the programme of Trotsky is the Socialist Equality Party( SEP) . I am a member of the Sri Lankan section of our world party. The SEP is quite active in the USA too. Our website is the The world Trotskyist movement is very much living in the form of the Socialist Equality Party
    I am sending some extracts from the below:
    1. 2. Cuba’s mass layoffs: The dead-end of Castroism
    17 September 2010
    This week’s announcement that over half a million Cuban workers are to be thrown out of their jobs in the next six months has laid bare the class character of the Castro regime.
    The brutal measure was made public by the Central de Trabajadores Cuba (CTC), the government-controlled trade union body, which represents not Cuban workers but rather the ruling layers within the state apparatus.
    All of this is being carried out with unconcealed hostility by the ruling elite toward the Cuban working class. This was summed up by Cuban President Raúl Castro, who declared his determination to “erase forever the notion that Cuba is the only country in the world where one can live without working.”
    This is a libel. Cuban workers are as industrious as those of any other country, and are barely paid for their work. But they do not control production, much less the state that rules them, which is dominated by a layer of privileged and corrupt bureaucrats.
    This layer has forged ever closer ties to foreign capitalism, opening up the country to exploitation by Spanish and other European multinationals, as well as firms from China, Brazil, Russia and elsewhere. This foreign capital increasingly dominates key areas of the economy.
    For half a century, petty-bourgeois nationalists in Latin America and their “left” counterparts in much of the rest of the world have claimed that the 1959 Cuban Revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power was “socialist,” and that the regime that issued from it constituted a “workers state.”
    In reality, the Castro regime was the product not of a workers’ revolution, but of a guerrilla movement based in the Cuban petty-bourgeoisie. The Cuban state was not created by the workers, but imposed upon them, right down to the sham union federation that defends the interests of the state and foreign capitalists.
    The Cuban state was one of the most left variants of a large number of bourgeois nationalist regimes that came to power in the oppressed countries in the decades following the Second World War, often proclaiming themselves “anti-imperialist” and “socialist” and carrying out policies of economic nationalization.
    For three decades, the Cuban economy rested heavily on subsidies from the Soviet Union provided as part of a Faustian bargain in which Castro defended the counterrevolutionary policies of the Moscow Stalinist bureaucracy on the world stage. The bureaucracy’s dissolution of the USSR in 1991 threw the Castro regime into an intractable crisis, to which it responded with a turn to foreign capital and a reduction in the living standards of Cuban workers.
    The myth that Castroism represented some new road to socialism was promoted most vociferously by the revisionist Pabloite tendency that attacked the Fourth International. It embraced the Cuban Revolution as a means of abandoning the struggle of the Trotskyist movement to forge the political independence and develop the socialist consciousness of the working class against the domination of the Stalinist and reformist bureaucracies and bourgeois nationalism.
    The promotion of illusions in Castroism and guerrillaism had the most catastrophic consequences in Latin America, where a generation of radicalized youth was separated from the working class and thrown into suicidal “armed struggles” that were drowned in blood by a succession of military dictatorships.
    The liquidation of Trotskyist cadre into these guerrilla movements ensured the continued domination of Stalinist and Peronist bureaucracies and their ability to suffocate and betray the wave of revolutionary struggles that swept the continent.
    Today, the worst crisis of world capitalism in 70 years is creating the conditions for a new eruption of social revolution in Latin America and internationally. It is vital to draw the strategic lessons of the last period of revolutionary upsurge, above all the necessity of building independent revolutionary parties of the working class, based on the program of socialist internationalism.
    The International Committee of the Fourth International is confident that this program will attract the most advanced sections of workers throughout Latin America and provide a revolutionary orientation for the bitter social struggles that will inevitably erupt in Cuba itself.
    Bill Van Auken
    The author also recommends:
    Castroism and the Politics of Petty-Bourgeois Nationalism
    [7 January 1998]

    WSWS : Español
    2.Vigésimoquinto aniversario de la escisión con el Workers Revolutionary

    3.SEP (Sri Lanka) holds funeral for comrade Piyaseeli Wijegunasingha
    14 September 2010
    About 500 people attended the funeral of comrade Piyaseeli Wijegunasingha, a member of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka, on September 6. They included representatives of the sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), SEP members and supporters, family members, former academic colleagues and students at the University of Colombo, intellectuals, film directors and artists…..
    In bringing condolences from the ICFI to the Sri Lankan SEP, David North, chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site and National Chairman of the SEP (US) said that Piyaseeli’s death was “an irreplaceable loss”. “Here we have gathered not only to mourn but to celebrate an extraordinary life, which ended too early… Piyaseeli was active intellectually and politically until the moment she went to the hospital,” North said…
    Virtually every newspaper in Sri Lanka published reports of Piyaseeli’s death, indicating the broad influence and impact of her work. Several carried lengthy articles explaining her views and her role as a critic of art and literature. The national television network, Rupavahini, also reported her death.
    …. to the funeral parlour by an army official on behalf of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse.
    The funeral was held at the Colombo General Cemetery, following a procession from the funeral parlour. Wije Dias, who chaired the funeral proceedings, thanked the representatives of the international Trotskyist movement, SEP members and supporters and others for being present to pay their last respects.
    In his speech, David North referred to an article that Piyaseeli had written in 1983, at the outbreak of the country’s long civil war, replying to Professor Karlo Fonseka from the Colombo Medical College, who had stated that violence had its biological roots in human personality. Piyaseeli had replied: “Violence does not arise, fundamentally, from human personality, but from the contradictions within society, and can only be solved by overthrowing them.”
    North commented: “In fact, she was replying not only to an intellectual opponent in Sri Lanka but to a widespread international tendency, which holds a pessimistic and profoundly reactionary point of view on society and human beings… If violence arises out of the contradictions of human society, then violence can be ended by transforming that society.
    North concluded his speech by stating that Piyaseeli remained “an inspiration to the international working class”.
    Linda Levin, Assistant National Secretary of the SEP (Australia) and Peter Symonds from the SEP (Australia), Athiyan, on behalf of Tamil supporters of the ICFI in France and Germany, and Arun Kumar, an ICFI supporter in India, also attended.
    Bringing condolences from the membership of the Australian section of the ICFI, Linda Levin said that Piyaseeli was part of an extraordinary generation in Sri Lanka that had been won to Trotskyism in the early 1960s: “She became attracted to the great ideals, principles and perspective of revolutionary internationalism, and then committed the rest of her life, through immense political and personal difficulties and challenges, to the struggle for these principles and perspectives within her profession and within the Sri Lankan working class and among the youth.”
    Piyaseeli had concluded the review with a passage written by Leon Trotsky in 1940, just a few weeks before his assassination: “Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full.”
    Levin commented: “These words…are a powerful expression of the sentiments that animated comrade Piyaseeli’s life and work.”
    Kapila Fernando, the convenor of the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) “It was against the reactionary propaganda that ‘socialism is dead’ following the breakdown of the Soviet Union that Piyaseeli fought to defend the program and perspective of socialism.”

    K. Ratnayake, a member of the SEP Political Committee, spoke on behalf of the party and concluded the speeches. “Today we are taking our leave physically of a comrade who dedicated her life to her work as a Marxist art critic and a very firm fighter for the program of world socialist revolution. But her ideas remain.”
    SEP in Sri Lanka stands for a United Socialist republic of South Asia as a part of a World Socialist Republic. The SEP opposed the brutal civil war conducted by the Rajapakse regime.
    The funeral concluded with the singing of the Internationale in the Sinhala language.

    4.18 September 2010
    The following statement has been issued by the International Students for Social Equality, the student organization of the Socialist Equality Party, for the beginning of the fall semester in the US. The ISSE urges all students and young workers who agree with this program to join the ISSE and build a club at your school or campus.
    As the new school semester begins in the United States, students and young people are confronted with the worst economic and social crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
    Everywhere, conditions of life are going backwards. The jobs crisis is dire, with an official unemployment rate of almost 10 percent, and youth unemployment is nearly 15 percent. Poverty is soaring, wages for young workers are abysmal, and students graduate from college, burdened with debt, only to find that there are no jobs to be had.
    Worldwide, youth are among the worst affected by the economic crisis. The number of unemployed young people has reached the highest level in history, with at least 81 million out of work.
    No one in the political establishment has any program to address the mounting social crisis. Instead, after handing trillions to the banks, governments have turned to cutting essential programs on the grounds that there is “no money.”…
    The ISSE stands for a break with the Democratic and Republicans parties. …The basic interests of workers and young people can be achieved only though a radical transformation of social and economic life. Socialism means that the economy should be run democratically, the giant corporations placed under workers’ control, and directed toward the satisfaction of social need, not private profit.
    The ISSE, the student organization of the Socialist Equality Party, seeks to build a movement of young people as part of an independent political mobilization of the entire working class, in every country of the world. The breakdown of capitalism is producing ever-greater social struggles. But it is necessary to fight to provide these struggles with a political leadership and a socialist perspective.
    If you agree with this program, join the ISSE today by visiting If there is an ISSE group in your area, get involved. If not, help start one and build a meeting on your campus. Study the program of the Socialist Equality Party and make the choice to fight for socialism.

    My email is [email protected]

  • Grady-a workable model? The Communist Party should create a series of councils of educated workers, managers and other leaders to manage economic affairs in the community in a transparent, just and fair way. These councils would naturally relate to one another through representatives in a larger legislative body to set basic minimal standards, i.e. wage, universal education, universal rationed necessities, etc. This is closest to what I think Marx had in mind as a long-term program. That’s the whole idea of the state disintegrating into a real democracy.

    Marx had a fluid notion of history, that the economic and political system works in its own time out of the conditions which it sets itself. State socialism exists to create the conditions which allows for community socialism, and ultimately communism to work. But Marx also argues that all systems, ultimately, fail because of their own contradictions until equality is created. State socialism fits into that category, so the only way to reconcile it with Marx’s theory is to understand that Marx saw it as an intermediary. Even your “workable socialism” needs it, insofar as you need the State to redistribute companies back to the workers!

  • Thanks for your sincere article from Turqia!

  • Ms Valera, I want to thank you for your article. I’m Rudolfus Antonius. Living in Indonesia, I am a Protestant priest who hold Marxism and Liberation Theology, and a lecturer in a theological seminary. I am an admirer of Fidel Castro and Cuban Revolution. But I am also, in my limitations, a student of Trotsky’s writings. So I’m glad to know that you have written sympathetically about Trotsky. Ms Valera, I want to ask your permission to translate your article to Bahasa Indonesia and put it on my blog, I will ask my students and friends to read your article and invite them to discuss Trotsky role in socialist struggle. Thanks.

    Comradely yours,
    Rudolfus Antonius

  • Daugherty is well-covered here. No need 2 comment.

    In regard 2 real ’21st Century’ marxist praxis: even despite the failure of stalinism, its ‘2-stage’ class-collaborationist, nationalist, “peaceful coexistence” strategy & its present “social justice” collaborationism with the petit-bourg. Left & most importantly its continuing corrupt strategy of supporting the pro-cap. union leaderships & even social-dem., it is completely true that stalinists everywhere have learned nothing (& forgotten nothing) from any of this sordid history of class betrayal. Many can speak from experience of these people: both the hardened old maneuverers, still taking cynical orders from Moscow & Beijing centers which no longer even exist; as well as the younger joiners who follow & pander to the ludicrous petit-bourg. Left rather than showing the least political sense let alone leadership with any objective strategy.

    The root problem 4 trotskyists has been having 2 struggle against BOTH the bourg. & their stalinist collaborators within the workers’ movmnt. It’s a struggle that was almost impossible 2 win & has led in turn 2 all sorts of political & organizational pathologies among the various trotskyist groups.

    Hewing 2 the proper objective strategy 4 the gaining of workers’ power has apparently been the hardest thing 2 do; but only the trotskyist heirs of 1917 have had the least success there. & this is the strategy that we must ALL follow today: Permanent Rev. Even the cretinous stalinists, with a ‘tradition’ & ‘legacy of Lenin’ which they falsely cling 2. & they will simply not listen nor change their pro-cap. strategies (with Left-sounding rhetoric covering these facts, of course).

    & this begs the question of how a stalinist bureaucracy like the cuban 1 can possibly find the enlightenment & self-sacrifice to Do The Right Thing & liquidate its power into real workers’ & farmers’ councils on the Island.

  • Daisy
    We are young Iranian Trotskyists and were very impressed with your letter. We have translated it into FARSI (main language in Iran) and put it on our weblog in Iran.
    Now many militants in Iran will be reading your important observations. Iranian left have many sympathy towards the revolution in Cuba and observing the developments very closely.
    Thank you for your efforts

  • Here is what I hope may be my last word on this subject, for arguing with you good folks is like arguing with a utility pole: The sun is setting on Marxism and Trotskyism, but it is not setting on socialism. Socialism–authentic, workable socialism–is the only hope for civilization and perhaps human kind. We simply must define it correctly and revitalize the world socialist movement. Best wishes to all.

  • @ Nossky: You deserve an answer to your questions, and I’ll try to give them. They deal with things every transformationary needs to know, whether Marxist or otherwise.

    (1) You ask: “What is wrong with the old hypothesis [of “concentration of all the instruments of production in the hands of the state.”]? I think I answered that, and you repeated the answer in your comment, to wit: “It has worked in some respects, but has consistently brought forth choking bureaucracy, economic dysfunction, one-party political/social absolutism, warping of social culture, and finally collapse–or the threat of collapse–of the socialist state power.”

    If I’m wrong in this assessment, perhaps you or Daisy or someone else more knowledgeable can enlighten us all. It’s my understanding that the Soviet Union and the so-called Soviet Block experienced severe dysfunction due to the core hypothesis of state monopoly socialism, that is, because that hypothesis proved unworkable and self-destructive. It’s only those who are in denial who blame it all on those nasty bureacrats who seem to mushroom everywhere.

    In my view it’s the core hypothesis of Marxism that inevitably calls forth these bureaucrats to run the economy, because when private property and the market are discarded, bureaucracy and bureaucrats seem to be the only way to run the economy, and they always seem to disallow democracy at the workplace, etc., etc.

    (2) You ask what Marxist textbook I got that core hypothesis from. Uh, I got it from the next to the last page of the second chapter of the Communist Manifesto of 1848. It’s there in black and white, if you’d care to read it. But even if it was or wasn’t written there, still every country where a socialist state has been established has used that hypothesis as the core “Marxist economic principle.” If you don’t know this, or if you don’t accept it, then you apparently need more help that I am able to give.

    It is this core hypothesis that makes Raul Castro and the PCC insist that they have “real” socialism in Cuba. Isn’t it?

    If you don’t believe in this hypothesis, if you don’t stand on it with Trotsky and other Marxists, then perhaps you’re not as much of a Marxist or Trotskyist as you think you are.

    (3) But the question you ask that is truly important is: “so what if Trotsky [did] ‘plagiarize’ [the] 1928 Comintern program by Lenin and Bukharin? Well, I explained the importance of this, but let me explain it again briefly. Please try to focus:

    At the 1928 congress of the Comintern in Moscow Trotsky criticized the Strategy and Tactics section of the new, long-awaited program. He said the whole thing was “watery, thin and bankrupt from beginning to end.” (You may read this in The Third International After Lenin by Pathfinder Press.)

    For ten years, Trotsky and the world movement that followed him, fought against the Stalinized Comintern and its program, including the Strategy and Tactics section of it. Well, why wouldn’t they fight against this program . . . it was “watery, thin and bankrupt from beginning to end.”

    Then, in 1938, when the Comintern dumped this program in favor of a new so-called Popular Front program, Trotsky plagiarized the same Strategy and Tactics section he had criticized and fought against for ten years. He secretly took the “transitional tactical part” out of this discarded program and brought it forward under his own name as the program of his world movement. To this day “Trotsky’s Transitional Program” is the fundamental document and program of world Trotskyism and the so-called Fourth International.

    It was outright, unethical, duplicitous plagiarism. What’s wrong with it? If you have to ask, I can’t explain it.

    Why it it important to know this true history of the Trotskyist world program? Among other things it indicates the true personal character of the guy who has been made a god of by all those who still call themselves Trotskyists.

    Even worse than not knowing and not caring about the mendacity of the god Trotsky–who replaces the god Stalin in the bureaucratic pantheon–is not understanding what is wrong in raising a part of the tactical program up into the whole program of the party. You guys don’t have a clue.

    What is wrong with it is that it is what’s called “programmatic opportunism.” This means discarding the difficult task and responsibility of going to the masses and expounding the ultimate strategic program of socialist transformation, in order to raise the masses up to socialist consciousness by the millions. This leaves the masses backward, and we see what this brings today.

    Trotskyism cannot and will not do this difficult work because they’ve raised a small part of the Bolshevik’s tactical program up into the whole program of the party. They literally do not even know what the strategic, so-called “maximum” program of socialism is. The only work this leaves Trotskyists is to battle each other–and other left groups–for division and redivision of already radicalized persons, i.e. busy themselves in a small-business-like competition for the available newspaper sellers and dues-payers.

    @Atilio: I’m not the person to tell you about the monster Stalin. I have no idea why you think I am.

  • @ Grady Ross Daugherty, so what if Trotsky ‘plagiarize’ 1928 Comintern program by Lenin and Bukharin? The question you must answer is WHAT LATER HAPPENED TO THE COMINTERN & BUKHARIN? WHAT LATER HAPPENED TO THE USSR?
    Again you say, “What’s important is development of a new, hopefully workable hypothesis for the further socialist experiment in Cuba. This is what we ought to be discussing and debating.”

    What is wrong with the ‘old’ hypothesis if we may ask?

    You say, “The core Marxian hypothesis is “concentration of all the instruments of production in the hands of the state.” It has been tested in the honest laboratory of history in various countries, including Cuba. It has worked in some respects, but has consistently brought forth choking bureaucracy, economic dysfunction, one-party political/social absolutism, warping of social culture, and finally collapse–or the threat of collapse–of the socialist state power.”

    Which ‘Marxist textbook’, did you get this from if we may ask? To me you sound more like a TRAITOR than like a left/Marxist. More like of ideologically finished Stalinist who are now pro-capitalist restoration agents. TRAITORS.

    The “concentration of all the instruments of production in the hands of the state.” without a workers’ democratic state leads to “choking bureaucracy, economic dysfunction, one-party political/social absolutism”.

    The world has moved on with the death of Stalinism. The working masses globally now want a working model for struggle. you ideas offer no way out. Only the ideas of Marxism offer a way forward. Trotsky’s positions remain relevant in this end.

  • Dear Daisy

    There is probably no figure in the twentieth century about whom so many lies and slanders have been written (and repeated in some of the response to your own article.)

    Given the circumstances in which they were written (exile in Mexico, his son Leon Sedov assassinated as were many of his closest co-thinkers), the final words of Trotsky’s testament have always filled me with tremendous optimism and strength:

    ” For forty-three years of my conscious life I have remained a revolutionist; for forty-two of them I have fought under the banner of Marxism. If I had to begin all over again I would of course try and avoid this or that mistake, but the main course of my life would remain unchanged. I shall die a proletarian revolutionist, a Marxist, a dialectical materialist, and, consequently, an irreconcilable atheist. My faith in the communist future of mankind is not less ardent; indeed it is firmer today, than it was in the days of my youth.

    “Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression, and violence and enjoy it to the full.”

    (Within months of writing these lines, he too was dead, at the hands of the Stalinist agent Ramon Mercader.)

    But Trotsky’s struggle lives on in the party he founded, the Fourth International, today embodied in the ICFI.
    ( )

    with socialist greetings

  • What is important here? Is it whether Trotsky was this or that a century ago?

    What’s important is development of a new, hopefully workable hypothesis for the further socialist experiment in Cuba. This is what we ought to be discussing and debating.

    The core Marxian hypothesis is “concentration of all the instruments of production in the hands of the state.” It has been tested in the honest laboratory of history in various countries, including Cuba. It has worked in some respects, but has consistently brought forth choking bureaucracy, economic dysfunction, one-party political/social absolutism, warping of social culture, and finally collapse–or the threat of collapse–of the socialist state power.

    I have my view of Trotsky and others have theirs, but that guy is not the hot issue. What is the programmatic proposal of those who think Trotsky was this or that? What do Trotskyists put forward as the new, improved hypothesis for the further socialist experiment?

    Marxists keep boasting that they have “scientific socialism” in their pockets. But science is based on the scientific method of hypothesis, experiment, conclusion, new hypothesis if necessary. Yet people are wallowing in century-old personality puppet shows.

    I challenge the exuberant Trotskyists to state their idea for a new, workable economic hypothesis in Cuba. This would not be a mealy-mouthed insistence on democracy in the workplace, because this is not a new hypothesis but moralistic bluster.

    Give us a concrete hypothesis that you propose to replace the core, proven unworkable one dished up in the Communist Manifesto and tested again and again in real life. If you can’t, then at least stop all this nonsense of calling everybody who has different view a Stalinist.

  • Like the more than 30 other students in my class, I knew of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin as the primary and practically sole leader of the Great October Socialist Revolution.  The only other memory that I retained of those classes was the day we learned about the causes for the collapse of the USSR; for some reason, many of the students in the room looked at each other as if we had been double-crossed” : well I have to say well done art. And a lot of the comments that go with this by Daisy Valera seem to feel either that the are going to get out of being double crossed by ignoring the historical record, or feel double crossed in turn by Trotskyism. The disorientation of many by Gorbachev’s battles and attempt to rehabilitate all those who feel victim to the Bureaucracy was followed by those who couldn’t analyse dialectically the coup against his faction. The point here is that an historical figure was hidden from generations of youth. Proselytize this way or that: it is out there. The proletariat, and all those who need the support of that class: the most productive and regenerating class is faced with a crises of immense proportions that threaten the planet ecologically (& masses of people with it to starvation & poverty) , the economy through the contradictions of Capitalism, and intensification of wars, including ‘civil wars’ (indeed a possible world conflagration) through political crises. And the intelligentsia that has to work with the ideas of revolution, dialectical materialism, inherent (and explicit) in the works of these writers and fighters do not find an adequate method elsewhere. Stalinist’s use of the term is exploded by one of the most consistent critiques of these empiricists (positivists) E. Ilyenkov. And he wrote while the Bureaucracy was still in full power. (See AWTW – A World To Win no to Globalisation – website on a review of his life) The revolutionary concept outlined by Marx, Engles, Lenin & Trotsky, and the thousands of others necessary to draw on the study of the being of the world crisis & the resistance & movement of the working classes, indeed the whole of social, and natural being needs method. The double-cross was essentially in the method.

  • Comrades, I have only told you what I know to be true. The problem is that none of you have read the 1928 Comintern program and its chapter on Strategy and Tactics. In this chapter Lenin’s and Bukharin’s summation of the Bolshevik preparation for the conquest of power over the long years, and their experience of transitional mobilization of the masses during the later brief, insurrectionary period is stated brilliantly.

    If you had read it, you would understand what I said about Trotsky’s later plagiarism of it, after deprecating it for ten years as “watery, thin and bankrupt from beginning to end.” (This later may be found in English in The Third International After Lenin by Pathfinder Press.)

    It’s a great problem and a great misfortune that the socialists of today have lost or forgotten the rich history and lessons of the early socialist and communist movements. You of today do not understand what programmatic opportunism is. You do not understand the natural and historical division of the socialist program in to maximum (strategic) and minimum (tactical) sections.

    Those of you who have blustered forth in great indignation at what I’ve written in response to Daisy’s article are merely speaking out of ignorance and cult blindness. But go ahead and continue with your umbrage and don’t even question what you have always accepted on faith. I myself was recruited to Trotskyism in the late 1960s and believed the Trotskyist falsification of history until I wondered about our constant isolation from the masses and found some primary sources.

    For those of you who might be serious, honest revolutionaries I will only suggest that you study what I’ve said herein, because you’ll not find it in any of your Trotskyist dogma tracts. If you can realize the true mendacious personal character of Leon Trotsky, and what it means to raise a tiny section of the tactical program up into the whole program of the party, you will have a chance at groping your way out of the sectarian isolation that is the enduring attribute of Trotskyism.

  • Gladys: tell me something about Joseph Stalin. I’m a Marxist and it is why I’m a Leninist-Trotskist. Tortskism is not an idea o Trotsky, it is the genuine ideas o Marxism…

  • Companera Daisy:

    Greetings from Costa Rica, presently in the grip of a neoliberal government bowing to every wish of the Empire and its agencies like the International Monetary Fund (FMI).
    May I recomend you read Trotsky’s “History of the Russian Revolution”. It ranks as one of the great literary and historical records of its time, and for me ranks with “The Open Veins of Latin America.” as required readings for all those who would aspire to follow in Che’s footsteps.

    Unfortunately you will run into the likes of a Grady Ross Daugherty who will deconstruct and abstract historical events from their context in order to paint an untrue history. His attempt to situate Trotsky alongsideStalin, and his lack of history as to the origins of the transition methodology used by the Comintern, at least for the first Four Congresses, is used to justify his social democratic political orientation. It is an old trick, to slander revolutionaries by amalgam, in order to justify a reformist world view, it is the same Stalinist School of Falsification that not only Trotsky, but hundereds of other scholars have identified with Stalinist methodology.
    For an accurate view of the role which Trotsky, Zinoviev, Bhukarin, Radek and Lenin played in the Communist International, Canadian historian John Riddel has written an extensive history using source documentation, of the first four (non-Stalinized) congresses of the Comintern. He also has a 40 year long relationship with the Cuban revolution and revolutionaries, and would only be to happy to communicate with you. He can be reached at, or just Google socialist voice canada.

    Good luck with your studies.

    En la lucha presente! Socialismo o muerte!

  • @ Grady Ross Daugherty, Trotsky remains a Bolshevik, a major leader of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, a 1st class Marxist, & currently inspires hope in the minds of millions of youth & many looking for a way out of the hell we currently live in.
    The reproduction of dead & unintelligent slanders is quite unfortunate at this day in age.

  • Funny, Lenin’s Testament clearly called for the *removal* of Stalin and he had more to say about his basic character as well. People should read the entire statement for themselves. Go to the Marxists Internet Archive.
    His take on Trotsky was very different from what he wrote about Stalin.
    Where they in stuggle, at times sharply, over many years? That’s no secret. Stalin’s record was too stay silent at all times or back down if he thought it pratical for his future.
    But, Did at any time did Trotsky scab on the Revo as Stalin, Kamenev and Zinoviev did? NO! To be consistet blame the person who without flinching integrated Trotsky into the central leadership immediatly as they converged around the April Thesis.
    Had Trotsky been brought into the Party by Lenin for only his organizational and managerial talents (and they were outstanding, as were his ability to build the Red Army, no small task) then one must think rather little of Lenin’s capabilities and approach with open eyes to every problem. He deserves more credit, as does this dialogue.

  • Dear Jim Monaghan, I like your orientation to constructive, ethical debate in order to pursue a socialist world. Let’s try to hold to that idea in all our discussions. Pedro Campos’s superb article in this same issue defends this way of proceeding within the transformational movement, and I think we all agree that we should debate ideas, not attack those who speak up personally.

    What I was trying to share in my long comment on Trotsky and Trotskyism is that the true history in this regard ought to be brought out and known by all. We can’t have a meaningful discussion if certain basic, relevant facts are not known.

    No one who has been attracted to Trotskyism in the past 7 or 8 decades knows that the “transitional program” was not originated by Trotsky, but by the late Lenin and his comrade Bukharin in the 1928 Comintern program.

    No one knows that Trotsky called the “Strategy and Tactics” section of this program “watery, thin and bankrupt from beginning to end;” and that world Trotskyism spent its first 10 years–from 1928 to 1938–deprecating this section of the Comintern program and struggling against those who supported it.

    No one knows that Trotsky, after the Stalinized Comintern discarded this program and its strategy and tactics section in 1938, plagiarized the transitional part of the discarded tactical section and claimed it as the product of his own genius.

    No one knows that Troksky raised his plagiarized reformulation up into the whole program of “the party,” and that this act is the very definition of opportunism (doing thereby the same thing that Eduard Bernstein did in the late 1800s in the German party, and was recognized as a programmatic opportunist for doing it).

    No one knows that Trotsky–with his transitional program–did therefore what all opportunists did (and still do). He blew the tactical program up into the whole program of the party, discarding the strategic program of socialist transformation under socialist state power and ceasing thereby the building of socialist consciousness among the masses.

    No one knows that Trotsky’s plagiarism and mendacity to those who are are attracted to Trotskyism reveals his true personal character; or that his ultra-left, programmatic opportunism explains the perennial isolation of the world Trotskyist movement from the masses of the people.

    These and many other things from the rich experience of world socialism ought to be brought out for Daisy and every other person who studies the history and aspires to an authentic socialist transformation of society.

    Unfortunately, Trotsky and Trotskyism are offered up as an alternative to the bureaucratic ogre of state monopoly socialism of the former Soviet Union and the present Cuba, when in fact they have nothing to offer and can only disorient those who hope to reform and save Cuban socialism.

    What is needed is not a cult-like shift over to the personality of Trotsky as the true oracle of workable socialism, and a lot of abstract arm-waving for democracy in the workplace. What is needed is an understanding that lack of democracy in the workplace is endemic in the state monopoly hypothesis, and that this hypothesis comes directly from Engels and Marx in the second chapter of the Communist Manifesto.

    What is needed is a clear discussion and decision as to what a new hypothesis for the further socialist experiment in Cuba ought to be.

    Sincere socialists cannot effectively consider the idea of “employee-owned cooperative corporations on the proven Mondragon, Spain plattern, with partial co-ownership by the socialist state, plus a mixture of privately owned small enterprise in the agricultural and service sectors” as the new hypothesis, if they are chasing their tails in the Trotskyist personality cult.

  • Daisy,
    I agree with you that people should be able to find out the full facts so that they can make up their own mind about history.
    Trotsky was a murderer and a thug. Full stop. When you find out more about Trotsky think about the dead bodies after the 1921 Kronstadt rebellion, which challenged the monopoly of Bolshevik rule, where those who dared to oppose Trotsky’s stubbornness were killed or left to die of hunger and cold.
    Trotsky also, even more so than Lenin, proclaimed that governments should control trade unions. He destroyed the only independent voice workers in Russia could have had when it came to the restitution of private capitalism in the 1990s. The man who killed Trotsky was a murderer, but it would have been better if Trotsky had never been born.

  • Remember Celia Hart and a good website by Tennant on Cuban Trotskyism
    On Cuban Trotskyism
    This demonstrates that Guevara was not hostile to Trotskyism and indeed befriended Cuban Trotskyists.
    There are many debates to be had before we can have a Socialist world, Trotsky and Trotskyism have a lot to give in that debate as does the Cuban experience

  • It is interesting, Daisy, that you bring up Trotsky in the same fashion as other Trotskyists of the world. You apparently believe that he represented in Russia what Lenin and the Bolsheviks represented before and during the early years of the revolution up to Lenin’s death in 1924. This was not the case.

    Trotsky struggled against Lenin and the Bolsheviks up until he was drawn into the fall 1917 insurrection by Lenin. Lenin drew in a great many of those who had struggled against him and the Bolsheviks up to that time. Trotsky, in spite of his long-demonstrated political unreliability and hostility to the Bolshevik building of a strong, clandestine party, was apparently a gifted orator and an excellent manager/organizer. He also had a following of many intellectuals and other non-working class elements whom Lenin felt would be valuable for the revolution.

    Lenin put Trotsky into management of the actual insurrection, and later on, of the Red Army’s struggle against the Germans. This until he apparently screwed up the peace negotiations with the Germans and caused a great many unnecessary losses.

    Lenin in his so-called “testament,” knowing that he might soon die from complications of being shot earlier by an SR, later gave Trotsky a back-handed criticism that world Trotskyism puts forward as a compliment and an indication that Trotsky was meant to take over in the event of Lenin’s demise–a falsehood.

    In 1928, four years after Lenin’s death, when the Comintern was finalizing its program for the world communist movement, the draft program that reflected the Bolshevik’s experience in preparing for and making a revolution was presented to the congress under the signatures of Bukharin and Stalin. Bukharin had worked with Lenin on this draft, and somehow Stalin got his name on it, probably by his usual nefarious methods. Trotsky wrote a criticism of the “Strategy and Tactics” section of this draft program, calling it “watery, thin, and bankrupt from the beginning to the end.”

    The tactical section of this program was what was called the “transitional” tactical section,” for those special instances where a communist party found itself in a revolutionary situation and needed to guide the masses to an insurrection. Trotsky classified this transitional program as “watery, thin . . .”

    Ten years later (1936), when the Comintern changed its program to a “popular front” program, in order for the Soviet Union to make a military alliance against Hitler, Trotsky went to the discarded 1928 program, pulled out the tactical transitional part that he had formerly deprecated, reworked it to suit his and his followers’ needs, and claimed it as the product of his own genius.

    To this day Trotsky’s and world Trotskyism’s Fourth International program is based on, get this, “Trotsky’s Transitional Program.”

    In other words, Trotsky and Trotskyism raises a tiny section of the tactical program up into the whole program of the party. This is the very definition of opportunism and reformism. It explains why Trotskyist organizations are always isolated from the masses. It is because they have discarded the ultimate program and vision of socialist reorganization before the masses. Trotskyism therefore do in its own peculiar way what Eduard Bernstein did in the German party and was branded an opportunist.

    This is an indication of the true history of Trotsky and Trotskyism. Their specialty is to recruit radicalizing people in the various countries, cocoon them in ultra-left sectarianism, keep them isolated from the masses and generally to ensure that they can do no damage to the monopoly capitalist system. Trotskyist sect groups are small businesses that squabble with other organization for division and redivision of the constant flow of radicalizing people, especially the radicalizing youth.

    World Trotskyism is presently resurrecting from its coffin in order to continue its traditional substitution of rhetoric and false history for truly transformational socialist activism and program development. It is even trying to insinuate that Che Guevara was virtually a Trotskyist, because Che was for grass-roots worker control–something Trotsky never championed before he lost the power struggle with his fellow bureaucratic thugs.

    Good luck, Daisy, in your studies of Trotsky. But all that glitters is not gold, and you and others should be warey that everything you are being told about Trotsky and Trotskyism may not be the truth. Specifically, the present Trotskyists scream consistently about democracy at the workplace in Cuba, yet do not challenge the fundamental Marxian principle of state monopolization of the land and all the instruments of production.

    In my (and our modern cooperative socialist movement’s) view, Trotsky was one more bureau thug who lost the struggle with other bureau thugs for control of the post-Lenin Bolshevik Party. He has been made into a sort of god, like Engels and Marx, to make a trap for fools. Cheers.

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