Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Then and Now: Trotskyism Serves Fascism

First Published: The Call, Vol. 7, No. 30, July 31, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Trotskyism, which became notorious for its alliance with Hitlerism 40 years ago, is still serving as the agent of fascist reaction. Today it has become an outspoken defender of the new Hitlerites, the USSR, and of Soviet aggression.

A revealing example can be found in the recent issue of the Militant (July 21, 1978), organ of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The article, entitled “Maoists Back Imperialist Intervention in Africa,” makes an all-out defense of the Soviet-backed invasion of Zaire and scorns those who expose the appeasers of the USSR.

The article, as expected, is filled with slander and invective against the Communist Party (M-L) and the People’s Republic of China, claiming that they are class collaborators–backers of the neutron bomb, bigger war budgets and other such lies.

Militant writer David Frankel starts out by calling the invasion of Zaire a “rebellion” and defending the USSR and Cuba, who instigated the invasion, as “socialist” countries (albeit “deformed workers’ states”). He saves the accusing finger for France and Belgium for their role following the invasion.

As it turned out, the invasion attempt was crushed by the people of Zaire, who rose up in arms in defense of their national sovereignty. The Zairean government, taking advantage of the contradictions between France, Belgium and the Soviet Union, was able to get some support from the two second world countries, who fear Soviet advances in the region for their own reasons. The invaders, condemned by world public opinion, were isolated and defeated and driven out of the country.

But the Trotskyists saw it differently. Suddenly, when military aid was forthcoming from the lesser imperialists of France and Belgium, the SWP became the outspoken opponent of imperialism. Suddenly, the same Trotskyists who for decades were the bastion of anti-Soviet propaganda (when the Soviet Union was a socialist country) are accusing China and the “Maoists” of being “anti-Soviet” for their opposition to the invasion.

The Trotskyists’ defense of the USSR comes complete with a well-developed theoretical justification for its aggression in Africa. “The Soviet Union,” claims Frankel, “is not a capitalist state. Its economic foundations were established by a workers’ revolution that expropriated the Russian capitalists. That economic foundation survives despite the reactionary policies of the bureaucratic regime, established by Stalin.”

The “proof” offered by the Trotskyists of the Soviet’s “socialist” economic foundation is the fact that ”the USSR has no significant economic investments outside its own borders.” The Soviet Union, therefore, “has no need to intervene around the world to preserve profits from such investments.”

Such a defense would do Brezhnev himself proud. Frankel takes only a little poke at the USSR’s “reactionary policies,” which after all could be attributed to simple mistakes in judgement. The statement is an outright defense of the Soviet imperialists, who are preparing to go to war precisely to snatch away that portion of the world which up to now has been under the domination of the U.S. or other imperialist powers.

The relative weakness of the USSR compared to its superpower rival in the economic sphere is not a sign of its “socialist” character, as Frankel claims. It is instead a warning of the danger of a new world war. The social-imperialists are the more aggressive of the two superpowers precisely because they cannot compete economically with the U.S. and must therefore rely on military aggression.

In fact, it is under the banner of “socialism,” which Frankel waves so enthusiastically, that the Soviet Union marched into Czechoslovakia 10 years ago. And it is this banner under which it is marching today from the African Horn to Angola.

Brezhnev uses the propaganda organ of the revisionists, like the Communist Party U.S.A. and the Trotskyists, to defend his aggression. And their defense is always dressed up in rhetoric which sounds militantly anti-U.S. imperialist.

But the revisionists, with their line of “peaceful transition to socialism,” and the Trotskyists, with their own brand of petty-bourgeois radicalism, have never really struggled against U.S. imperialism. In fact, they have always collaborated with the enemy, from their treachery during the U.S. war against Vietnam and Cambodia to their racist undermining of the Black liberation struggle in this country. The Trotskyites’ latest ravings on Zaire are only the latest in a long history of capitulation to imperialism.

Forty years ago Trotskyism played out a similar role. At that time, too, the world was faced by the danger of war, emanating primarily from the Nazi Axis powers. Many of the Western governments including the U.S., were practicing the policy of appeasement. And, then, as today, this policy encouraged the fascist and hastened world war.

On Sept. 24, 1938, with the Nazi moving on Czechoslovakia, the leading editorial in the Socialist Appeal, a New York Trotskyite paper, declared:

“Czechoslovakia is one of the monstrous national abortions produced by the labors of the infamous Versailles conference... Czechoslovakia’s democracy has never been more than a shabby cloak for the advanced capitalist exploitation…This perspective necessarily entails the firmest revolutionary opposition to the Czechoslovakian bourgeois state, under any and all circumstances.”

In a fashion similar to their present day “anti-capitalist” talk, the Trotskyists throughout Europe and the U.S carried on a full-scale campaign against the defense of small countries from Axis aggression.

They also opposed the collective security plan proposed to the West by the then-socialist USSR. As Ethiopia, Spain, North and Central China, Austria and Czechoslovakia were invaded one after another by Germany, Italy and Japan, Trotsky’s “Fourth International” propagandized that collective security and not the Axis aggression was an “incitement to war.”

Trotsky’s followers directed their main attacks against the communists, who were leading the efforts in each country threatened by the Axis to build a national united front and rally the whole country together in common struggle.

It was under these conditions that Trotsky himself in his pamphlet “The Fourth International and the War” asserted: “The defense of the national State–first of all in Balkanized Europe–is in the full sense of the word a reactionary task.”

The Trotskyists played the role of wreckers and splitters in the French Popular Front movement, in the Spanish Republicans’ struggle against Francoism and in every movement where national unity and international solidarity against fascism was vital.

Trotsky continually warned against the “dangers” involved in a defeat for the Axis powers. “A victory of France, of Great Britain and the Soviet Union .. .over Germany and Japan,” he stated at hearings in Mexico in April 1937, “could signify first a transformation of the Soviet Union into a bourgeois state and the transformation of France into a fascist state, because for a victory over Hitler it is necessary to have a monstrous military machine.. .”

There are hundreds of other examples that can be given, including Trotsky’s own financial backing from the Nazis themselves. The point is to see how the Trotskyists then and now used their “leftist” rhetoric of being “anti-state,” “anti-capitalist” and “anti-Western imperialist” to defend imperialism, fascism and aggression.

Then their reactionary work was couched in anti-“Stalinism,” while today it is anti-̶Maoism.” Its essence was and is anti-Marxism-Leninism.

Today the people and countries of the world are again being threatened with war and aggression. The two superpowers are the main enemies of all the world’s peoples. In opposition to both superpowers, a united front movement is being forged with the third world as its backbone. Genuine Marxist-Leninists like the CPML encourage the forging of this front.

The Trotskyists call this stand “class collaboration” with the U.S. ruling class. But the facts show just the opposite.

The real class fighters against the rule of monopoly capitalism in this country are the very same fighters that stand opposed to aggression and fascism everywhere in the world. They can and must take a clear stand against Soviet imperialism’s aggression in Africa today just as they did against Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938.

The Marxist-Leninists around the world are not phased by the Trotskyites’ charges. They have shown their appetite for class struggle from the streets of Washington, D.C., to the wars for liberation they are leading across the globe.

As for the Trotskyites, they were exposed years ago before the entire international working class movement as agents of fascism and as an alien force to Marxism. Their actions today will expose them once again before a whole new generation of revolutionaries and workers the world over.