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Paul Thompson & Guy Lewis

The Revolution Unfinished?

5. Modern Trotskyism

b) (i) Party, class and epoch

A major part of any political theory is its view of the general relationship between party and class. It is linked to its analysis of the context of class struggle and specifically to the nature of the “epoch”.

Modern Trotskyism holds a mechanical and a-historical conception of party and class relations, primarily because it has a partial and abstract understanding of Leninist theory. We will examine the context that gave birth to Leninism, and show how changes in the economic and political relations between capital, state and working class since then must lead to a resituating and reappraisal of that theory. The basic weaknesses of Trotskyism are a result of a failure to do this.

Trotskyism emerged as the defender of the revolutionary, Marxist tradition against Stalinism and the degeneration of the Russian revolution. So its basic belief was the maintenance of the concept of the Leninist party, as the Russian and similar versions worldwide became bureaucratic and reformist. The Leninist conception provided the link to a revolutionary and democratic tradition of organisation. Now, as ever, Trotskyists want to build Leninist parties as the essential prerequisite for proletarian revolution. This view is partially mistaken: not because there are no elements of Lenin’s idea that are relevant today, on the contrary theta are plenty. But rather because Leninism was partly based on the particular Russian and European context, which has now changed. This is not accepted by Trotskyists. For them the needs of 1917 are the same as those of today. This leads to the repetitive, unimaginative and unchanging line on organisation that is manifested by Trotskyist groups today.

A couple of examples:

If only the workers in Paris had remembered the experiences of Paris 1936, of the Italian workers in 1920, if only they had had a revolutionary party, for such a party is the memory of the class. (Tony Cliff of IS [SWP] writing in Socialist Worker)

Or if you prefer further back in history:

The remarkable thing about the audacity of the Paris workers is that the problems they took up in 1871 have not been solved to this day. We know the main reason for this. It does not lie in the immaturity of the objective conditions, nor in the lack of vigour of the mass struggles. It ties in the absence of an adequate revolutionary organisation. (From On Bureaucracy by Ernest Mandel – IMG)

If only things were that simple! If revolutionary organisations are to be the “memories of the class”, they will have to start remembering that the function of a memory is to help differentiate between different periods, objective conditions and political tasks. Trotskyism suffers from a one-dimensional memory. In every situation, as each event in modern history, unfolds – Chile – Portugal – if only there had been a party the cry goes up. But it is not just a question of different conditions creating different organisational needs. Why is there no party uniting the real class vanguards? We may all want a party, but desiring it is not enough.

A certain level of consciousness and experience, the development of the struggle to the level where unification of the working class and its vanguards is taking place, a certain general ripeness of conditions – without these the necessity of the party cannot be turned into reality in most situations. Without some of these conditions the formation of a party tends to be the imposition of an administrative machine at the head of struggles and a working class that is not ready to recognise the legitimacy of the party as its own. Yet the problem is largely unseen by Trotskyism. Trotskyists believe it is necessary to build fully formed democratic centralist parties in any conditions, as the essential basis for further development. They may be small, but an embryo is better than nothing! For instance:-

Even if we were still in the dark days of the 1930s, 40s or 50s in which the strength of the Trotskyist movement was minuscule, this would not in the slightest alter the necessity for a democratic centralist International. (IMG)

The belief that the party or a party is not appropriate to and will not emerge in certain conditions, does not lead us to passivity. Organisational structures and tasks will be geared to specific circumstances. At some stages, organisation needs to be of a more preliminary character, looser and more open, with different relationships to the working class and the struggles that emerge. The role of the organisation would be to help develop the mass struggles and consciousness of the working class to the point at which a party becomes a direct necessity for the mass vanguards. However, it is not merely a question of the “ripeness” of the situation and the level of struggle, it is also a question of what kind of struggle and what kind of working class. Surely the working classes and their struggles of Europe 1917 and Turin 1920 differ from those of Britain 1976 – or Chile 1976 – or Portugal now? Doesn’t this pose the need for a very different relationship, political and organisational, between party and class. For Trotskyists the answer is essentially No! The consciousness and capacity for struggle of the working class has been given firm bounds in Trotskyist theory – its spontaneous, immediate, daily struggle cannot go beyond trade unionism, beyond seeking reforms under capitalism. The categories of Lenin’s time – consciousness, spontaneity, organisation – remain fixed for all time, and transposed on to-every future situation.

Spontaneous struggles of the working class are limited to what is possible within bourgeois society, the revolutionary party leads the working class struggle for the overthrow of the system. (Revolutionary Communist Group, Revolutionary Communist, No.1, p.12)

In other words, for Trotskyists, the party is still the sole provider of politics and consciousness to the working class – the distance between party and class remains wide. We will return to these questions of the nature of modern class struggle later in more detail. Suffice it to say, however, that the fixed analyses of Trotskyism creates a very structural/administrative concept of the need for the party.

One of the central contradictions of the Bolshevik’s revolutionary theory was their understanding of the significance of organisational questions to the formation of the revolutionary party. (RCG, Revolutionary Communist, No.1, p.15)

They argue that out of the unevenness of consciousness, experience and struggle in the working-class and the need for co-ordinated and directed attempts to seize power, which cannot arise spontaneously, arises the necessity for a given organisational structure – a structure of centralised leadership organised in the most democratic way possible. This is absolutely correct. It is also difficult to argue against most of the principles of democratic centralism, in conditions where they are possible and necessary.

But no matter how perfect the structures may be, they don’t tell us much about the content of the relationship between party and c/ass in given periods and situations. It is the nature of the working class and its relation to capital and state in different situations that is our starting point. In other words, even where it is possible, democratic centralism is a secondary organisational question. The key determinant is the conditions of struggle. Unless the more general and “timeless” aspects of Leninist theory of organisation are separated from and put into the context of the conditions of the struggle operating in that period, then our notions of party and class will be as empty.

The Leninist theory of party and class – its limits and contradictions

The context that gave meaning to the Leninist relationship between party and class was Europe of the first part of the 20th century. It is a common mistake for critiques of the “out-datedness” of Lenin to root its context solely in Russia and its special conditions of police state, large peasantry, the all-pervading state power etc. The thrust of the Leninist theory was aimed at breaking the predominance of the European schools of Marxism and substituting an alternative theory of revolution. It is true that it was the Russian conditions that pushed Lenin and the Bolsheviks into rejecting a Marxism which condemned them to wait for the development of capitalism before adopting the methods of socialist revolution. The dominant Marxist theory held that the revolution must go forward by stages, that in so-called underdeveloped countries like Russia, there must be a bourgeois revolution, led by the bourgeoisie, before revolutionaries could start fighting. for socialism. Lenin’s rejection had implications wider than for Russia. It was the weapon to break the reformist gradualism that had come to dominate Western Marxism. In the more advanced industrial countries the characteristic form of Marxism was in mass parties that were loose and open, yet bureaucratically run, and which fought for power primarily in parliament – combined with trade unions that carried out defensive economic struggle. Leninist theory had wider implications because Russia was not the “backward” country that some maintained. It suffered from uneven development, rather than underdevelopment. For combined with the large agricultural sector were some of the most advanced factories and industries in the world, with high concentrations of skilled workers. In the rest of Europe these skilled workers were at the centre of struggle and the revolutionary process – for example, the common cycle of struggle that swept Europe in the early 1900s ... the 1905 Russian revolution, Italy’s first general strike in 1904, mass strikes of miners in the Ruhr etc.

So when Lenin proposed alternative strategies, the impact was felt eventually in other European countries. The dominant Marxist theory was not only no use to the Bolsheviks because it condemned them to a passive and subordinate role to the bourgeoisie: it also condemned them to accept the spontaneous struggle of the workers. Because we are concerned with the specific question of party and class, it is. the latter which we have to examine. Why do we say “condemned” to accept the spontaneous struggle? It is because they were in this time largely limited to economistic trade unionism. In European conditions (as well as in the specific Russian context, where it was constantly necessary to ensure proletarian rather than bourgeois control of the revolutionary process) only by separating and elevating the political struggle over the economic could the question of state power and its seizure be constantly posed. For Lenin this entailed a radical revision of relations between party and class. The form would be the tightly knit, highly centralised vanguard party. A cadre, combat organisation capable of intervening in and directing class struggle, not accepting its limitations as the mass bureaucratic parties in Europe did. The content was that this party of professional revolutionaries would bring political consciousness from outside to the daily industrial struggle, which was usually only spontaneously economic.

The specific features of the Leninist relationship between the party and the working class were dependent, then, on the level of development of relations between working class, capital and state. To explain the historical necessity for the Leninist party-class relationship we have to examine in more detail those other relationships.

Class relations tended to stop the daily struggle of the class at the point of production being spontaneously “political”. With capitalism entering its imperialist phase, allowing new expansionary outlets – the trend towards monopoly was present. But companies were still relatively small and methods of production were mostly structured around the individual machine. This generated a class composition in the workforce which was based on the relationship of the skilled workers to these machines. The state’s function was to provide a politico-legal framework for bourgeois power, generally keeping out of production in any direct sense. This meant that the worker confronted capitalism immediately in a sectional sense: the individual capitalist rather than collective capital and state power – and as a highly skilled producer divided on trade lines, with a tendency to see the problem of power more in terms of “workers’ control” rather than smashing the bourgeois state and installing the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Yet, revolutionary challenges to the system did arise from struggles connected with the factory. Crises were, in particular, provoked by attacks by capital on the skilled workers’ degree of control in work. The struggles over dilution of labour on the Clyde being a good example. In various parts of Europe workers councils, based on the power of skilled workers, played an important part in class confrontations. But the potential for real revolutionary challenge was held back by the type of class struggle likely to arise. The potential was dependent on an outside political force to focus the struggle on the objective of state power The organisation of the skilled workers as producers, even its radical, workers’ council form, tended to obscure the relation to state power, “politics” and party organisation, based as it was on the particular class composition of the workforce in this period. Nowhere is this clearer than in Turin and Italian factory occupations organised by the workers’ councils in 1920. Confident of their ability to run the factories without the capitalists – by staying inside the factories the movement failed to generalise its confrontations and prepare in a specific way at the general, state level to take power, beyond the power to control production.

The Leninist separation between the spheres of trade union and party activity, between economics and politics, flowed from this situation. The party had to politically recompose the class and its vanguard outside the process of spontaneous daily struggle and politically redirect that struggle against a consciously political object – the state.

The roots of the Trotskyist misuse of the Leninist theory of party and class can also be traced to the explanations that Lenin himself gave for the limits placed on the daily spontaneous struggle. Lenin outlined two interwoven but contradictory elements. One stressed the limitations imposed by the conditions of struggle, the relations between class composition, capital and state we have briefly outlined. The other was stress on a theory of the “inevitable limitations” on working class consciousness. Compare two quotes from What is to be Done?:

The economic struggle is the collective struggle of the workers for better terms in the sale of their labour power, for better living conditions and working conditions. This struggle is necessarily a trade union struggle because working conditions vary from trade to trade and the struggle to improve them can only be conducted on the basis of trade organisations.

and the more famous:

The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own efforts, is able only to develop a trade union consciousness. . . The theory of socialism, however, grew out of theories ... elaborated by intellectuals ... the theoretical doctrine of social democracy arose altogether independently of the spontaneous growth of the working class movement.

To pose politcal consciousness as arising not out of, but side by side with, class struggle, as the product of a marxist science developed by party intellectuals, is an idealist formulation. Consciousness cannot be deduced from consciousness, the potentiality for political struggle depends upon the particular conditions struggle arises in. While this view was not dominant in Lenin’s time, it was wrong of him, and more especially later Marxists (especially Trotsky) to universalise these theories and conditions. Firstly, because its rigidity was not even appropriate to that period. Important spontaneous struggle did on occasions develop and had great significance, as Lenin later acknowledged, as in the case of the mass strikes and soviets in Russia in 1905. Secondly, its universalisation has led to consciousness being elevated above conditions of struggle as the determinant of party-class relationships. Hence, it is responsible for the extremely mechanical notions of this relationship which characterises modern Trotskyism. This reverses the real processes at work in struggle. It was the totality of the conditions of struggle that, produced trade unionism as the dominant trend in class conflict and the consequent working class consciousness. This is not to deny the influence, even hegemony, of bourgeois ideology and its influence on trade unionism. Nor is it to pose some notion of spontaneously developing revolutionary consciousness in the working class. In some senses a socialist consciousness always comes “from without” – that is outside any one sphere of experience, whether the factory, the home or the school – and usually only develops in interaction with revolutionary ideas and organisation. But some conditions of struggle encourage struggles to take on a political, i.e. anti-capitalist, basis , which makes in turn for greater potentiality for the development of socialist consciousness. We would argue that these conditions are objectively present in modern relations between working class, capital and state – as experienced in peoples daily lives in the factory, community or college, but more of this later.

It is necessary to restore a materialist emphasis about the form and content of class struggle in line with Marx’s formulation that – “social being determines social consciousness”. Putting consciousness and ideology at the centre of analysis, as the determining factor in the level of struggle, fixes social being in such a rigid way and produces those endless abstract debates about consciousness and spontaneity that have limits for understanding of party-class relationships.

The consequences

The consequences of the Leninist position on party and class were always dangerous, and remain largely unacknowledged by Trotskyist and other groups today, who have a naive faith in the ability of democratic centralism to cure all ills.

The Leninist party does not suffer from the tendency to bureaucratic control because it restricts its membership to those serious and disciplined enough to take political and theoretical issues as their starting point and to subordinate their activities to these. (IS)

It is primarily the static arid manipulative relationship with the working class which are the foundation for organisational degeneration in modern Leninist groups. Party structures on their own are no insurance against bureaucratisation.

In a wider context the idea of revolutionary consciousness as the product of party intellectuals, with the “subjective factor” being solely located in the party can lead to a serious underestimation of the creative self-activity of the masses. This means a permanent danger of an elitist and authoritarian relationship between a Leninist party and the working class. It is important to stress that this :is no automatic process, it dep[ends] on the precise relationship between party acid masses in the struggles of the period. For the Bolsheviks, their ability to be inside the needs and struggles of the masses and translating that into revolutionary strategy and tactics kept the relationship a living dialectic, at least until the post-revolutionary conditions of material and political decay. The same cannot be said for Trotskyist sects mechanically modelled on the Bolshevik party, cut off from the conditions which made the Bolsheviks the revolutionary party of the Russian working class.

The relevance of Leninism

Despite outlining the limitations, the context and the contradictions of the Leninist model of party and class, there are universal lessons and truths contained in it, which are still applicable today. The first is the concept of the vanguard organisation. A vanguard organisation has the capacity to intervene collectively to develop class struggle, unlike either the reformist parties (based on passive individual membership) or anarchist or libertarian “organisations” (which are generally restricted to propaganda, because they see leadership and direction as contradictory to class autonomy). A vanguard organisation is based on grouping together conscious militants as cadres with the education and training to act as members of a combat organisation.

Lenin outlined the reasons that make an interventionist cadre organisation necessary. Essentially they are that the capitalist division of labour generates in any one section of the working class only a partial and fragmented experience of the system and the struggles against it. These differences are reinforced by the varying ideological experiences and cultural backgrounds in the working class. Also, the class struggle on a general and day to day basis lacks continuity, as the crisis expresses itself in an uneven and often isolated way. Therefore a political organisation operates to bring together militants from all sections to totalise experience and generate overall revolutionary perspectives. It links the experience and practice of struggle by bringing militants together, overcoming lack of confidence and isolation and provides consistent education. It should be rooted enough in the masses to enable it to be in the forefront of struggle and provide the necessary leadership.

The second application of Leninism is the role played by the party in arming and leading the proletariat to seize power. Some of the tasks necessary for seizing power under the conditions of modern capitalism have changed, most of which have gone unnoticed by Trotskyism. The state is a larger and more complex set of structures, with different types of political forces operative. In particular, the reformist forces (whether social democracy or the revisionist Communist Parties) are more strongly rooted, with a corresponding weakening of the revolutionary left, due to the experiences of the past half-century. It is problematical whether even in dual power situations, the revolutionary party will become an immediate “majority” amongst the proletariat, on the Bolshevik model. Nevertheless, the period of dual power will be more protracted (albeit with insurrectionary moments) in which the party grows organically with the organs of popular power. All these tendencies reduce the insurrectionary aspects of the traditional revolutionary model of the seizure of power. But the degree of difference can also be exaggerated. It is still a case of re-situating the Leninist model.

There is a current of opinion which sees in the changed nature of society and state and in the existence of soviets and workers’ councils, a lessened role for the party. But this is a bad mistake. We agree with Mandel, when he points out that the crisis does not merely grow from periphery to centre, but is a discontinuous process, that cannot be solved merely by the existence of autonomous working class organs of popular power. These do not homogenise and unify the class nor dissolve differences of ideology and interest overnight, solving all tactical and strategic problems. The centralisation of the revolutionary vanguard in the revolutionary party to “seize the time” is still crucial. Recent events in Portugal emphasise that the process of power does reach crucial moments; turning points in which decisive action is needed – the kind of action (conditioned as it is by highly complex military, political and ideological considerations) which “soviets” by their very nature cannot initiate or direct. It is also necessary to say that this role structures the task of the organisation, even in its embryonic and loose stages.

Trotskyist conceptions of the historical epoch

Trotskyism has also failed to re-situate the Leninist theory of party-class relations because of its analysis of the historical epoch. In practice, this analysis appears as an over-emphasis on the problem of leadership, an exaggerated belief that the lack of correct leadership is the cause of underdevelopment of the class struggle and the failure to seize power. The Trotskyist conception of the epoch has remained static and leads to an undialectical separation of “objective” and “subjective” factors. Take this quote from the Revolutionary Communist Group:

In the Imperialist epoch capitalism suffers from a deep and prolonged crisis which can only be resolved if there exists a revolutionary party capable of winning the mass of the class to its programme. The maintenance of capitalism rests, not on its material foundations, for these are in decay – but on the immaturity and backwardness of the working class and its leadership. The various sharp political turns and alternations of periods of revolutionary advance with periods of reaction, spring not from changes in the economic base, but from impulses of a purely superstructural character. In this epoch the outcome of the crisis rests on the subjective factor the understanding, organisation and determination of the revolutionary party. (Our Tasks and MethodsRevolutionary Communist, No.1, p.5)

In this statement can be seen most of the weaknesses of Trotskyism. Firstly, it is absurd to see an undifferentiated period or “epoch” which stretches from the first quarter of this century to today. To state, as the IMG does, that this “Imperialist stage of capitalism is the epoch of wars, crises and revolutions” as both empirically inadequate and so general as to make it meaningless. If it is to show, as Lenin put it – “the actuality of the revolution” – it saddles the revolutionary movement with a mechanical “law” which, when it doesn’t operate, requires a substitute factor of explanation. In this “epoch”, when capitalism is supposedly finished and stagnant as a productive force, “temporary” factors have to be used to cover the inadequacy of the analysis. These include, for various Trotskyist groups, all or one of, not simply backward leadership, but also a “third technological revolution”, arms spending, the role of the dollar and neo-colonial exploitation.

Without denying the role of these factors, our criticism of Trotskyism is that it will not recognise the profound transformations of capitalism initiated in the 1930s, 40s and 50s under the influence of Keynesian ism etc. Let us make ourselves absolutely clear. We are not capitulating to some form of “revisionism” which denies that capitalism any longer has internal economic contradictions, but we believe that the post-war reforms froze that process and now provide a very different set of problems as these changes collapse into a new crisis.

The changes in the relations between working class, capital and state have decisively altered the terrain of struggle. By using wages as a motor of capitalist development (encouraging consumption and rationalisation of plant etc.), by involving the state directly in economic and social management, by attempting to institutionalise the class struggle through further incorporation of the trade unions: not to mention other processes like re-structuring capital through mergers and new financial and monetary relations between states – the system was given a new lease of life.

Trotskyism fails to recognise the totality and importance of these changes in the “material foundations”, or their effects on class consciousness. We have already documented how Trotsky and his later followers failed to recognise the importance of the New Deal or the post-war Keynesian reforms. They were prevented from doing this by the very nature of their analysis. The nature of Trotsky’s characterisation of the epoch meant that any identification of capitalist development automatically ruled out proletarian revolution. Hence:

If the further development of productive forces was conceivable within the framework of bourgeois society, then revolution would be impossible. But since the further development of the productive forces ... is inconceivable, the basic premise for revolution is given. (Trotsky – The First Five Years of the Communist International, Vol.2, p.4)

This was added to by statements that capitalism could no longer meet the “immediate needs of the masses”, and that “systematic social reforms were impossible”. Given this, any changes in capitalism, while seen by Trotskyists as a concession to reformism, could not be seen as real reforms. That is, as measures which tried to integrate the immediate needs of the masses (for wages and consumption, health care and education etc.) into the functioning of an expanding system with any hope of success. All over Europe working class people were won to accepting these changes, not permanently, but decisively enough to ensure many years of relative social peace.

No matter what imaginative and more serious attempts by the Trotskyist movement were made to analyse post-war developments, they are held within their own theoretical straitjacket They can only see the development or expansion of capitalism (the “booms”) as due to temporary measures or to the weakness of the “subjective factor” of leadership.

At the IMG’s Fusion Conference in 1972 they related the ability of capitalism to regenerate itself as a product of Stalinism giving the breathing space for temporary measures to create a boom situation:

However, the political situation since 1945 has been dominated by the fact that this bureaucracy survived the war and was able to sabotage the revolutionary movement in Western Europe 1944-6. This gave to capitalism the chance to stabilise itself temporarily and to rebuild the shattered economies of Western Europe. A large upward shift occurred in the rate of exploitation, and this provided the initial conditions for the later aspects of technological innovation, armaments production etc. which were to sustain the boom. (Special Conference Supplement, p.2)

It is even shown in the title of Mandel’s recent book, Late Capitalism, to which one observer acidly responded – a system is never late until it is dead.

Trotskyism had ceased to regard the bourgeoisie as able to develop the productive forces and therefore create systematic reforms. In fact, it was able to use both the needs and the desires of the masses and the collaboration of European social democracy and Stalinism to create anew period of stability and expansion. But this does not mean the bourgeoisie became a politically progressive force. It was the strength, actual and potential, of the working class which forced the bourgeoisie to make reforms to develop the system: attempting, for example through the use of wages, to institutionalise class needs and struggle rather than simply negate them as in the 1930s. This only confirms Marx’s often ignored statement that “the working class is the greatest productive force of all.”

In this light, the boom and stability of be system has to be seen in certain ways. The reforms were real, systematic and entailed changes in capital’s material foundations. The crisis was due to the combination of two forces. Firstly, the struggle of the working class for its economic and social needs: for income divorced from productivity and a decent level of social services. This has reinforced the second factor; the competitive crisis that capitalism cannot escape. The crisis is not a question of over-production or demand management, it is a product of the law of value, profitability and the ability of the international working class to accelerate these conditions of decline.

But for Trotskyists their analysis of the epoch has meant, as Hodgson points out:

Unlike Marx, Trotsky did not include social relations and ideas in the economic base, hence his inability to see the working class as a productive force – seeing only the supposedly “neutral” technology, machines etc. However, it must be said some of these concepts were part of the tradition of the 2nd and 3rd Internationals.

This separation of base and superstructure has been exaggerated on a different basis within the Trotskyist tradition and has greatly distorted its ability to see new types of class struggles in new conditions. It is completely wrong to see the nature of class struggle as dependent on “impulses of a purely superstructural character”. The changes in class struggle are, for the most part, a direct result of changes in capital’s material foundations. To take a couple of examples.

Firstly, there have been immense changes in attitudes to work as a product of mechanisation, de-skilling and “massification”, involving both manual and white collar workers. This has made many traditional left attitudes to work out of date. Workers in many industries who spend much of their time fighting the capitalist nature and organisation of work are unresponsive to traditional notions of “workers’ control”. Even the “right to work”, when unconnected to the daily fight against line speeds, work discipline and gradings, can fail to motivate struggles. What is often more important to workers is guaranteed income and jobs, whether “work” is available or not. Like the miner who was asked why he only worked a 4-day week, and replied “because I can’t live on three days’ money”.

Secondly, the role of the state. The direct involvement of the state brings home far more clearly the political nature of struggles. It’s ability to act as “collective capitalist” and shape the direction of the crisis reduces the ability for unemployment etc. to be presented as “natural disasters”. The role of the state in social management also means that it acts as a factor of cohesion between different sectors of struggle – the community, health, education etc. – thus totalising the impact of the crisis and making links between struggles in consciousness and practice more possible; as in present anti-cuts campaigns.

Because these factors go unacknowledged, the effect on Trotskyist theory is for subjectivity to be separated from its objective basis. Class consciousness is seen as separate from the changing structures of capitalism and the relationships it throws up which help determine that consciousness. In practical terms it is Trotskyists’ constant battle cry that the conditions were ripe, but the consciousness was lacking. But this separation is undialectical. If working class consciousness is not mature enough then that is part of the objective situation! Because Trotskyism has not re-analysed the objective conditions, then it can only conclude that the missing factor is consciousness and leadership.

What this separation leads to is the belief that leadership can be transplanted on top of the struggle; whether or not the struggle itself has undergone sufficient transformation and maturation. For Trotskyism, the existence of the party is the condition for development of the subjective factor, the supposed only missing link. So we end up where we started, with the vulgarised and over-estimated notion of leadership. A concept of leadership that bears no relationship to whether or not Trotskyists have the actual capacity to lead the from inside the process of struggle itself.

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Last updated on 13.11.2002