Duncan Hallas

Trotsky’s Heritage

On the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the Fourth International

(Autumn 1988)

From International Socialism 2:40, Autumn 1988, pp. 53–64.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

In March 1935 Trotsky, then an exile in France, made this entry in his diary:

Rakovsky was virtually my last contact with the old revolutionary generation. After his capitulation there is nobody left ...

Now nobody remains. For a long time now I have not been able to satisfy my need to exchange ideas and discuss problems ... And still I think that the work in which I am engaged now, despite its insufficient and fragmentary nature, is the most important work of my life – more important than 1917, more important than the period of the Civil War or any other ...

There is now no one except me to carry out the mission of arming a new generation with the revolutionary method over the heads of the leaders of the Second and Third Internationals ... I need at least about five more years of uninterrupted work to ensure the succession. [1]

Rakovsky, a veteran revolutionary internationalist who bad been head of the Ukranian Soviet government after the revolution and a prominent leader of the Left and United Oppositions, had been in exile in Central Asia since late 1927. Old, chronically ill and totally isolated he was induced in March 1934 to declare that he “will give up his struggle and submit to discipline”. [2]

He was the last of the leading members of the left in the USSR to submit to Stalin and his flue evidently affected Trotsky deeply. His sense of isolation, of inability to exchange ideas; that is to discuss informally and to explore possibilities with comrades of experience and independent mind, in no way weakened Trotsky’s indomitable will or his superb self-confidence (“too far-reaching self confidence” Lenin had written in his Testament). Yet it was a serious handicap, one for which Trotsky was in no way responsible and about which he could do nothing, but a serious handicap all the same. His associates now were chiefly young revolutionaries who inevitably stood towards him as pupil towards master. The few exceptions (the Dutch revolutionary Sneevliet for example) were not very close to the Left Opposition tradition and were soon to diverge widely.

“There is now no one except me” was thus not arrogance but a simple, rueful recognition of reality. Trotsky was to have his five years (plus a few months), but they were far from uninterrupted as we shall see.

First, however, look at the magnitude of the claim. His outstanding role in 1917 (he might have added 1905 too), his leading role in the civil war and in the early years of the Comintern, his leadership of the Left Opposition in 1923, of the United Opposition-along with Zinoviev and his associates in 1926-27, his pioneer role in analysing the roots of the degeneration of the regime that emerged from the Russian revolution, all this, he thought, was less important than “the work in which I am engaged now”, the work, that is to say, of his third exile (1929-40).

Nor is that all. Trotsky, an internationalist to the marrow of his bones had already, before his final exile, written a devastating critique of the failures of both the Communist International and the leadership of the German Communist Party (KPD) in the revolutionary crisis of 1923, The Lessons of October. [3] He had also energetically opposed the reliance of the British Communist Party (encouraged by the leadership of the Communist International) on ‘left’ union officials and predicted the disastrous outcome of the General Strike of 1926 and the debacle of the Anglo-Soviet Trades Union Committee [4], had written (and spoken) at length against the subordination of the Chinese Communist Party to the Kuomintang and the whole disastrous course of the Comintern in China [5] and he had produced the classic critique of the Bukharin-Stalin ‘Socialism in One Country’ thesis in The Draft Programme of the Communist international, A Criticism of Fun damentals. [6] All this and many other lesser but valuable contributions before 1929.

Yet Trotsky’s assessment was essentially correct. His last eleven years were indeed the years of his most important contributions. Of course, the distinction is in some ways artificial. But for what had gone before he could not have done what he did, would not have been the man that he was. A great part of his work after 1929 was repetition and development of what had gone before.

However, if one accepts his view that Stalinism internationally was the greatest single disaster that ever affected the workers’ movement – worse than reformist accommodation precisely because it affected the best, most revolutionary and self-sacrificing workers-that it was, in Trotsky’s words “the syphilis of the workers’ movement”, then his judgement is amply justified. Moreover, how many of Trotsky’s writings would be available to us today but for his post-1929 struggle and his creation of a living, organised tradition?

At the beginning of 1929, when he was deported to Turkey, Trotsky’s mood was not so sombre. He accepted that the opposition had been defeated in the USSR (temporarily, he believed) but he looked to the Communist Parties outside the USSR, above all to the KPD, the biggest and most influential, but also to the French (PCE) and, indeed, to any he could influence. He had always rejected (as had Lenin) the notion that these parties could be regarded as mere imitations or satellites of the Russian Party – now Stalin’s apparatus. They had, he believed (rightly), native roots, native strengths and native weaknesses. All his work for the next four and a half years was directed to influencing them. “All eyes to the Communist Party. We must explain to it. We must convince it.” [7]

How to do this? By writing, by polemics of course. He had learned though, through his pre-1917 struggle against Lenin and through his experience in the revolution and in the early years of the Communist International, the importance of cadres, of organisation, and he sought simultaneously, to influence the cadres (especially the leading cadres) of the Coniintern parties and to build up his own cadre. ‘Faction, not party’ was the guiding thread of his activity in these years.

The Comintern, he believed (rightly) then incorporated the cream of the politically conscious working class internationally. Therefore, the handful of people he was able to gather together in 1929-34 were oriented on the Comintern parties. If we look back objectively, emancipating ourselves from the knowledge of what was to follow, then it must be said that he was unquestionably right. Even with the great wisdom of hindsight no better road appears. There were, at the time, those who thought otherwise, especially and most importantly in Germany.

A digression will be useful here. After the debacle of the German October of 1923, the left (a left with ultra-leftist tendencies) had won the leadership of the KPD (April 1924) in spite of the unsuccessful attempts of the Comintern to ‘moderate’ their victory by including some of their opponents in the leadership. This left, however, was both fairly heterogenous and, most important, not very impressed by the Moscow leadership of the Comintern or unduly subservient to it. Therefore for Stalin, Zinoviev and then Bukharin it had to be destroyed. The Germans, however, proved to be stiff-necked. It required three years of manoeuvring (in which Bukharin played a leading role) to split the lefts into various factions, to expel the most intransigent, and to promote the obedient Thaelmann (who had impeccable left credentials, was an impressive speaker and was also incapable of initiative) to the central leading role. [8] By 1928 all this had been achieved and there were five or six ‘leftist’ groups of various sizes and persuasions outside the KPD. Most important was the Leninbund, led by Hugo Urbahns, a veteran of the 1923 rising in Hamburg and a leading left ever since.

Trotsky naturally tried to win the Leninbund (which had several thousand adherents in 1929-30) but was quickly repulsed. Urbahns and his cadre believed that the KPD had to be written off. A new communist party had to be built. They also believed that a counter-revolution had occurred in the USSR (a belief common amongst German left communists too) and that the Russian regime now represented a species of state capitalism. Trotsky would not entertain or compromise with either of these positions or with the generally ultra-leftist yet erratic orientation of Urbahns. He was firmly convinced that the break up of the ‘right-centre block’ in the USSR in the summer and autumn of 1929 (when Stalin and his supporters broke with Bukharin, Rykov, Tomsky etc. and launched the mass collectivisation of agriculture by coercion and industrialisation at breakneck speed) represented a left ‘zigzag’ by the (he thought) basically ‘centrist’ Stalin faction. Indeed, as he wrote in April 1930:

The course of 1928-31 – if we again leave aside the inevitable waverings and backslidings – represents an attempt of the bureaucracy to adapt itself to the proletariat ...

The zigzags of Stalinism show that the bureaucracy is not a class, not an independent historical factor, but an instrument, an executive organ of the classes. The left zigzag is proof that no matter how far the preceding right course had gone, it nevertheless developed on the basis of the dictatorship of the proletariat. [9]

At the same time:

The elements of dual power contained in the apparatus have not disappeared ... They have undoubtedly become even stronger as the plebiscitary degeneration of the apparatus has progressed ... Not only ideological but organisational tentacles of the counter-revolution (i.e., of the bourgeoisie – DH) have penetrated deeply into the organs of the proletarian dictatorship ... [10]

Thus a new shift ‘rightwards’, a ‘Thermidor’, remained a real danger. Against that danger Stalin had to be supported. Thus Trotsky profoundly underestimated the fundamental transformation that was occurring in the USSR in these years and, although he was to modify his views in 1934, the long term effects of this error were to prove enormous.

On the question of attempting to create new Communist Parties Trotsky was eminently realistic. Only the impact of great events could create such a possibility and those events might be by no means favourable. Indeed, within a short time the impact of the world depression and the extraordinarily rapid growth of fascism in Germany highlighted the matter starkly.

In 1931, Trotsky wrote:

Hugo Urbahns, who considers himself a ‘left communist’ declares the German Party bankrupt, politically done for, and proposes to create a new party. If Urbahns were right, it would mean that the victory of the fascists is certain. For, in order to create a new party, years are required ... [11]

In fact the project was, in those years, utterly utopian. The myth of the ‘workers’ fatherland’, the USSR, however rapidly the reality was departing from it, and the gravitational pull of the Comintern Parties, especially the bigger ones, were far, far too powerful. Moreover, those parties were still, in spite of all the Comintern’s blunders, made up of revolutionaries. Even their apparatuses, allowing for an inevitable quota of cynics and bureaucrats, were subjectively revolutionary. To write them off, without the most strenuous and persistent efforts at reform, was, as Trotsky truly said, capitulation under the cover of radical phrases.

A new factor was emerging. To a considerable extent, from the Sixth Congress of the Comintern (August-September 1928) and, most violently, since the tenth Plenum of its Executive (July 1929), the Communist Parties had been pulled sharply to the left, in fact to ultra-left positions (most crucially the rejection of the United Front tactic – just as it was becoming centrally important) although these were to be periodically punctuated by opportunist manoeuvres. Moreover, to ‘explain’ the new term it was discovered that the Social Democrats had now become social-fascists! This was, in Comintern parlance, the so-called ‘Third Period’, that of “ascending revolutionary struggles”.

Trotsky’s criticism of Comintern policy from 1925 onwards had been from the left (Britain, China and so on). Now he appeared as a critic from the right. His splendid polemics The Third Period of the Comintern’s Errors [12] (January 1930) and The Turn in the Communist International and the Situation in Germany [13] (September 1930) are still indispensible reading as models of analysis and tactical prescription.

Naturally, they did not endear him to the ‘lefts’, superficially his most obvious constituency. They also brought to the fore the relationship of the International Left Opposition (the first conference of which took place in Paris in April 1930) to the considerably bigger right oppositional forces, expelled from or seceding from some of the Comintern parties in this period. The right, most important of which was the German KPO led by Heinrich Brandler, Thalheimer, Frölich and Walcher (all prominent KPD leaders up to and including 1923) who had retained a following of thousands, especially union militants, agreed entirely with Trotsky about the absurdities of the ‘Third Period’ and the centrality of the United Front tactic in and after 1929. Were these not natural allies?

Trotsky decisively rejected this notion. As early as March 1929 he had written:

Communist opportunism expresses itself in the urge to re-establish under present day conditions the pre-war Social Democracy. This is to be seen with especial clarity in Germany. Today’s Social-Democracy is infinitely removed from Bebel’s party. But history testifies that Bebel’s party became converted into present day Social-Democracy ... Yet so far as I can see the efforts of Brandler, Thalheimer and their friends are aimed in this direction. [14]

He specified three basic criteria for the cadre he was striving to create: first, the British question and opposition to the line of subordination of the CPGB to the Anglo-Soviet Trades Union Committee:

a classic example of the policy of centrism sliding to the right ... a basic question of European politics. The Stalinist course on this question constitutes the most flagrant , cynical and ruinous violation of the principles of Bolshevism and the theoretical ABC of Marxism ... Whoever has still failed to understand this is not a Marxist, not a revolutionary politician of the proletariat. [15]

Second, the Chinese question.

The study of the problems of the Chinese Revolutions (of 1925-27 – DH) is a necessary condition for the education of the opposition and the ideological demarcation within its ranks. Those elements who have failed to take a clear and precise position on this question reveal thereby a national narrowness which is itself an unmistakable symptom of opportunism. [16]

Finally, the Russian Question.

Because of the conditions created by the October revolution the three classic tendencies in socialism, i) the Marxist tendency, ii) the centrist tendency; and iii) the opportunist tendency, are most clearly and precisely expressed ... So far as I know, Brandler and Thalheimer have all these years considered as absolutely correct the policy of the CPSU on economic questions. [17]

Was this, perhaps a sectarian attitude? Were some thousands (perhaps some tens of thousands or so internationally) rejected, alienated because of an insistence on a ‘narrow’ Trotskyist platform? Not so. The right oppositional groupings were, or rapidly became, rightward moving centrists. Wrong as I believe Trotsky was on the Russian question, he had touched a raw nerve. Brandler, Lovestone (his American counterpart) and the rest professed to believe that Stalin was right about everything in the USSR (up to and including the first great show trial – that of Zinoviev, Kanienev etc. in 1936) and was merely misinformed about the rest of the world. As Trotsky wrote of the KPO at the beginning of 1932:

Their practical goal is self evident ... “If you place me at the head of the party in Germany” says Brandler to Stalin, “on my part shall bind myself to recognising your infallibility in Russian matters, provided you permit me to put through my own policies on German matters.”

Needless to say the rightists would have no truck with the Left Opposition’s criticisms of the Bukharin-Stalin policies in Britain and China. Occasional tactical agreements apart, there was no common basis for unity. This issue is of more than historical significance.

In the next years Trotsky wrote some of his most important contributions to revolutionary theory. If we think of Trotsky’s heritage then a major element, by any reckoning, must be his devastating criticisms of the policies of the Comintern and the KPD in the years of Hitler’s rise to power. For not only are these writings a brilliant exposition of revolutionary tactics, they also represent a genuine deepening of our understanding of living Marxism in theory and practical application alike. To select only one: Germany: What Next? [18] (January 1932) has rarely been equalled and never (in my view) excelled in the whole body of Marxist writing from 1848 onwards. Add to these works that profound analysis of the dynamics of the revolutionary process The History of the Russian Revolution (1932) and our debt to the Trotsky of this period is enormous.

Yet the immediate effect of all this was small. Although various Communist Parties, notably the KPD, did experience various internal crises during the ‘Third Period’ [19], the Moscow line held. There was no struggle for a United Front against the fascists. Hitler came to power without civil war in January 1933.

In 1931 Trotsky had written:

Yes, should the fascists really come to power that would mean not only the physical destruction of the Communist Party, but veritable political bankruptcy for it ... The seizure of power by the fascists would therefore most probably signify the necessity of creating a new revolutionary party, and in all likelihood also a new International. That would be a frightful historical catastrophe. [20]

That catastrophe now had to be faced. Hitler’s victory was not merely a German phenomenon. By August 1940, the time of Trotsky’s murder by a Stalinist killer, Hitler controlled all Europe west of the USSR (and was in alliance with Stalin) and east of Britain. Europe was then a much more important part of the world than it is now. Trotsky’s worst case predictions had been more than fulfilled.

Trotsky did not despair in 1933 – or ever. He sought to re-orient his forces to face the catastrophe, calling now precisely for a new International. What did they amount to? Less than a month after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany a conference of the Left Opposition was held in Paris. According to the report “representatives of oppositionist organisations from ... the USSR, Germany, France, Britain, Belgium, the United States, Greece, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Switzerland” attended. [21] The conference did not seriously discuss the new situation (it had been convened and prepared prior to Hitler’s victory). What concerns us here is what was really represented. The opposition in the USSR had ceased to exist as an organised body. Trotsky had no contact with it after 1932. Repression, the capitulation of most of the leading oppositionists to Stalin’s ‘left course’, the defection of most of the young intransigents to the position that the ‘Thermidor’ had already occurred, had fragmented it. The German section was soon reduced to coteries of emigrés. Of the rest, the French section had about 200 members (and was riven by the struggle between two factions), the Americans had nearly as many (154 were claimed in 1931), the Belgian and British groups were smaller but real, the Italians were emigrés in Paris, the Greeks and the Spaniards were soon to defect and little was to be heard subsequently of the Bulgarians or the Swiss.

In short there was very little, but a ‘window opportunity’ seemed to be opening. In the immediate aftermath of Hitler’s victory a temporarily strong leftist current flowed through various centrist and left reformist organisations and fourteen of them (all European) attended a conference in Paris in the summer of 1933 called by the British ILP to discuss the new situation. The International Left Opposition naturally seized the opportunity to attend. I have written elsewhere at some length about this and the subsequent vicissitudes of Trotsky’s movement to 1940. [22] Here a very brief summary will have to suffice.

Trotsky had reluctantly concluded (in April 1933) that the Comintern was finished as a revolutionary force. Therefore it was necessary to take preliminary steps towards the creation of a new international. The Paris conference was seen, on the analogy of 1915, as a new Zimmerwald, whose left should be rallied around the platform of the opposition (now called the International Communist League). The results fell far short of Trotsky’s hopes but some gains were made out of this orientation (notably in the Netherlands and the USA) but it soon became clear that the centrist currents were being pulled rightwards again. 1933 was the high point of their development, further gains were unlikely in this milieu.

A most important factor in this development was the partial abandonment of the ‘Third Period’, ‘social-fascist’ line of the Comintern. This was marked, most strikingly, by the conclusion of and agreement between the French Party (PCF) and the socialists for joint anti-fascist action (July 1934). Trotsky was not deceived for one moment that this thirteenth hour conversion represented a return to revolutionary politics. On the contrary, he saw it, as a bloc between two apparatuses to stifle a real United Front of struggle. Nevertheless, it called for a new orientation. For the main emphasis of the groups had been on the United Front. This now appeared to be a reality in France. It was necessary to get inside. Given the relationship of forces that could only mean entering one of its components. Hence, given the Stalinist control of the PCF, entry into the much looser socialist party was proposed.

The argument was that the danger of French fascism was imminent (so Trotsky believed), and that the socialist party had a considerable and potentially revolutionary left wing. It was here that the nucleus of the new party in France could be forged. The operation was conceived as a fairly short term one. It was attempted in France and then generalised to those other countries where there were real groups. It failed to produce major results. The Trotskyist organisations remained small and uninfluential. Again, for more detail the reader is referred elsewhere.

What must be stressed here is that the whole situation was becoming rapidly more and more unfavourable. The short lived United Front line of the Comintern quickly gave way to the Popular Front – for ‘the defence of democracy’ in alliance with whatever bourgeois forces could be induced to join. Class politics was out, ‘national defence’, military alliances with the USSR against Hitler (the sole point of the Popular Front from Stalin’s point of view) were the order of the day. The mass working class organisations, Stalinist and social-democratic alike, were pulled sharply to the right, the centrist groups tagging along, protesting but moving the same way a certain distance behind. Most of the allies or half allies of 1933 became hostile to the Trotskyists. These were now more isolated than ever.

There was another factor. More or less simultaneously with the Popular Front line came the terror in the USSR, the wiping out by mass executions and wholesale imprisonments of most of the prominent members of all the former tendencies of the Russian Communist Party including many of Stalin’s own former supporters – and a vast host of others. The three great show trials of former old Bolshevik leaders (1936-38) were the tip of the iceberg in this slaughter, but they served a very important purpose. For the accused were convicted of acting in concert with Trotsky and in the interests of Hitler, to ‘restore capitalism’ in the USSR, dismember the country and serve the interests of fascism and the accused were induced to confess to these crimes.

A torrent of lies and fabrications flowed from the Communist Parties around the world to sustain the absurd charges and to prove (as Stalin put it) that “Trotskyism is the spearhead of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie.” [23] The leaders of the Popular Front socialists (the French and Spanish parties, the British Labour left etc.), with very rare exceptions, would not denounce the monstrous slanders. After all, they were for class collaboration and very much against the class struggle politics for which ‘Trotskyism’ had become a synonym. Trotsky himself was driven from France, found a temporary refuge in Norway and finally in Mexico. None of the major ‘democracies’ would admit him, not Britain, not the USA.

This was the nightmare background to the last great working class upsurge in Europe of the thirties – the Spanish revolution and civil war of 1936-39. That revolution was strangled by the Spanish Popular Front which paved the way for Franco’s victory. The Trotskyist forces in Spain were negligible and quite unable to affect the course of events. From the point of view of the political heritage, however, these years produced Trotsky’s last writings on a major revolutionary process and are of great value. [24]

Towards the end of the thirties, then, the situation for revolutionary marxists was grave. The fascists were gaining victory after victory, the Comintern, founded as the instrument of international proletarian revolution had become a counter-revolutionary force. In 1938 Trotsky had written of “the definite passing over of the Comintern to the side of the bourgeois order, its cynically counter-revolutionary role throughout the ...” [25] And yet the Comintern was bigger and more influential than ever. The various attempts to remedy the strategy of seeking to influence the Communist Parties until 1933, the attempted regroupment with (temporarily) leftward moving centrists in 1933-34, the entry tactic and the attempts to establish independent parties from 1934 onwards, all had failed in a strategic sense – gains (and losses) had been made but nowhere had the relationship of forces been altered.

Trotsky summed up the experience in April 1939:

We are not progressing politically ... We are in a small boat in a tremendous current. There are five or ten boats and one goes down and we say it was bad helmsmanship. But this was not the reason – it was because the current was too strong. It is the most general explanation ... [26]

This is surely true. Whatever errors had been made by the Fourth Internationalist groups, and inevitably, there were errors, had only a trivial effect compared to the overwhelming difficulties of a profoundly adverse situation.

What then had been achieved? A good deal, in spite of everything. The living continuity of the tradition of Marx and Lenin had been maintained, although by very slender forces, and it had been enriched by application to new problems. Trotsky’s heritage, embodied in his writings, is a major and very important part of our political armoury. Now these writings would not, for the most part, have been produced at all but for Trotsky’s extreme tenacity in seeking to create a revolutionary cadre in the struggle to change the course of events. Our own international tendency was born out of that cadre, which, with all its manifold defects, was the only living continuation of the tradition of Lenin.

Of course, the heritage also had negative features, weaknesses, which were to prove of great importance. Three, in ascending order of importance, must be noted.

First, the proclamation of the Fourth International in 1938, proclamation rather than foundation since nothing was changed. No new forces were brought in nor could any reasonably be hoped for in that time of extreme ebb. It simply gave a new and excessively grandiose title to the existing and very weak international Trotskyist current. In itself, this might not seem to be of great importance, yet it helped to generate delusions of grandeur in the ‘International Leadership’ that managed to establish itself in the middle forties and hindered their ability to make realistic assessments of the new post-war situation.

Second, and more important, Trotsky held a very catastrophic view of the immediate prospects for capitalism towards the end of his life “even in the absence of proletarian revolution”. He even committed himself (in 1939) to the proposition that:

The disintegration of capitalism has reached extereme limits, likewise the disintegration of the old ruling class. The further existence of this system is impossible. [27]

This assessment was not grounded in any serious economic analysis and represents a specimen of the ‘automatic breakdown of capitalism’ school of thought which had always been rejected by Lenin and runs counter to the main thrust of Trotsky’s own thinking. His entire record entitles us to believe that he would have abandoned it had he lived longer. Unfortunately he was murdered in 1940 and nearly all his followers took the catastrophic view very seriously. Hence they adopted an entirely false economic (and so political) perspective after the war and, in many cases, persisted in it long after it’s falsity should have been obvious.

Third, and most important, Trotsky’s analysis of the USSR after 1928-29 was quite wrong. The argument is familiar enough to readers of this journal and will not be repeated here. What is important is that the belief that the Stalinist regime was near to collapse (“a few years or even a few months” [28] was his estimate in 1939) coloured the views of his followers so that they were totally unprepared for the expansion of Stalinist states after 1944, both by Russian arms and by indigenous Stalinist Parties in backward countries, becoming disorientated and pulled, in many cases, towards a ‘critical’ support for Stalinist regimes [29] and hence into various other forms of substitutionalism. Here they tended to preserve the forms of Trotsky’s views on the USSR whilst departing more and more from the spirit of his revolutionary marxism, from the working class as the subject of history.

These were serious faults on Trotsky’s part, but it is unreasonable to blame him for all the errors of his disciples. He himself had changed his mind repeatedly in the past in the light of new situations and new circumstances. The fact that, as he wrote in 1935, “there is nobody except me”, nobody, that is of the older generation that had been through Lenin’s school, is a measure of the extreme devastation wrought by Stalinism. Such devastation could not fail to have its effect in imposing a near impossible burden on Trotsky.

He bore that burden to the end. We owe him an immense debt and we can best discharge it by a serious, critical study of his great works on strategy and tactics and the dynamics of revolution.




1. Trotsky’s Diary in Exile 1935, Atheneum (New York 1963), pp.45-47.

2. L. Trotsky, Writings 1933-34. Pathfinder (New York 1972), p.245. In 1938 Rakovsky was put on trial, along with Bukharin and his supporters and others and sentenced to twenty years imprisonment for ‘counter-revolutionary activities’. He was then a sixty-five year old invalid and has not been heard of since. The Supreme Court of the USSR has now ruled that all the accused except one (Yagoda) were entirely innocent of the crimes charged against them. Bukharin has even had his party card (posthumously) restored. Not so Rakovsky, an oppositionist of the left.

3. Lessons of October, Bookmarks (London 1987).

4. Leon Trotsky on Britain, Monad. (New York 1975). Part III gives a convenient selection. A fuller collection is Trotsky’s Writings on Britain, 3 Volumes, New Park (London 1974).

5. Leon Trotsky on China, Monad (New York 1976).

6. The Third International After Lenin, Pioneer (New York 1936). This volume also contains Trotsky’s important Strategy and Tactics in the Imperialist Epoch.

7. L. Trotsky, Germany: What Next? in The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany, Pathfinder (New York 1971), p.254.

8. E.H. Carr, Foundations of a Planned Economy, Volume III, Part II. MacMillan (London 1976), pp.401-418.

9. L. Trotsky, Problems of the Development of the USSR in Writings 1930-31.

10. L. Trotsky, ibid., pp.219-29.

11. L. Trotsky, For a Worker’s United Front Against Fascism in The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany, p.134.

12. In Writings 1930, pp.27-68.

13. In The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany, pp.55-74.

14. L. Trotsky, The Groupings in the Communist Opposition, in Writings 1929, p.81.

15. L. Trotsky, ibid., pp.81-82. Emphasis in the original.

16. L. Trotsky, ibid., p.82.

17. L. Trotsky, ibid., pp.82-83. Emphasis in the original.

18. In The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany, pp.142-254.

19. See, for example, E.H. Carr, The Twilight of the Comintern 1930-35, MacMillan (London 1982) pp.3-82.

20. L. Trotsky, For a Worker’s United Front Against Fascism, in The Struggle etc., p.134. My emphasis.

21. L. Trotsky, Writings 1932-33, p.129.

22. D. Hallas, Against the Stream, International Socialism (First Series), No.53. This article, together with a later one The Fourth International in Decline (IS60), have been reproduced by Bookmarks (1988) under the title The Fourth International.

23. I. Deutscher The Prophet Outcast, Vintage (New York 1963), p.171.

24. L. Trotsky, The Spanish Revolution, Pathfinder (New York 1973).

25. L. Trotsky, The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International, in Documents of the Fourth International, Pathfinder (New York 1973), p.182.

26. L. Trotsky, Fighting against the Stream, in Writings 1938-39, pp.251-53.

27. L. Trotsky, The USSR in War, in In Defence of Marxism, New Park (London, 1971), p.9.

28. L. Trotsky, The USSR in War, p.17.

29. See D. Hallas, The Fourth International in Decline, in The Fourth International, Bookmarks (London 1988).


Last updated on 29.2.2012