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International Socialism, Summer 1983


Leon Trotsky

The interaction between booms, slumps and strikes



First published in International Socialism Journal 2 : 20, Summer 1983, pp. 132–144.
Transcribed by Christian Høgsbjerg.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


HOW ON EARTH can the present downturn in industrial struggle come to an end? This is a question that revolutionary socialists are increasingly having to answer.

It is not, however, an entirely new one. In articles in Socialist Worker and Socialist Review over the last few months we have examined the experience of past revivals in industrial struggle, particularly during the Depression years. Underlying our analysis is the theme of the relatively complex relationship of the economic situation with the level of industrial struggle.

It was a theme originally developed most cogently by Trotsky. His writings on the subject, however, remain little known, generally buried in better known arguments against ultra-leftism.

Of course there are important differences between the 1920s and 1930s on the one hand and the 1980s on the other. We are not yet facing the limited economic revival that Trotsky takes as his starting point in the first and second of the pieces that follow; nor do we face the threat of scores of thousands of Nazi brown-shirts smashing up a socialist or trade union presence on the streets, which forms the background for the third of these pieces. Most important of all, we revolutionaries of the 1980s are an incomparably smaller force than the Communists of the 1920s. There can be no question therefore of automatically transposing Trotsky's recommendation for action to the 1980s.

Nevertheless, much of the analysis of the relationship between the economy and workers' struggle in the passages that follow remains distinctly relevant to present conditions. The first comes from the Report on the World Economic Crisis and the New Tasks of the Communist International, which Trotsky delivered to the Third Congress of the Communist International on 23rd June, 1921.


Crisis, boom and revolution

The reciprocal relation between boom and crisis in economy and the development of revolution is of great interest to us not only from the point of theory but above all practically. Many of you will recall that Marx and Engels wrote in 1851 – when the boom was at its peak – that it was necessary at that time to recognize that the Revolution of 1848 had terminated, or, at any rate, had been interrupted until the next crisis. Engels wrote that while the crisis of 1847 was the mother of revolution, the boom of 1849–51 was the mother of triumphant counter-revolution. It would, however, be very one-sided and utterly false to interpret these judgments in the sense that a crisis invariably engenders revolutionary action while a boom, on the contrary, pacifies the working class. The Revolution of 1848 was not born out of the crisis. The latter merely provided the last impetus. Essentially the revolution grew out of the contradictions between the needs of capitalist development and the fetters of the semi-feudal social and state system. The irresolute and half-way Revolution of 1848 did, however, sweep away the remnants of the regime of guilds and serfdom and thereby extended the framework of capitalist development. Under these conditions and these conditions alone, the boom of 1851 marked the beginning of an entire epoch of capitalist prosperity which lasted till 1873.

In citing Engels it is very dangerous to overlook these basic facts. For it was precisely after 1850, when Marx and Engels made their observations, that there set in not a normal or regular situation, but an era of capitalist Sturm und Drang (storm and stress) for which the soil had been cleared by the Revolution of 1848. This is of decisive importance here. This storm-and-stress era, during which prosperity and the favourable conjuncture were very strong, while the crisis was merely superficial and short-lived – it was precisely this period that ended with revolution. At issue here is not whether an improvement in the conjuncture is possible, but whether the fluctuations of the conjuncture are proceeding along an ascending or descending curve. This is the most important aspect of the whole question.

Can we expect the same effects to follow the economic upswing of 1919–20? Under no circumstances. The extension of the framework of capitalist development was not even involved here. Does this mean that a new commercial-industrial upswing is excluded in the future, and even in the more or less near future? Not at all! I have already said that so long as capitalism remains alive it continues to inhale and exhale. But in the epoch which we have entered – the epoch of retribution for the drain and destruction of wartime, the epoch of levelling out in reverse – upswings can be only of a superficial and primarily speculatory character, while the crises become more and more prolonged and deeper-going.

Historical development has not led to the victorious proletarian dictatorship in Central and Western Europe. But it is the most brazen and at the same time the most stupid lie to attempt to conclude from this, as do the reformists, that the economic equilibrium of the capitalist world has been surreptitiously restored. This is not claimed even by the crassest reactionaries, who are really capable of thinking, for example, Professor Hoetzch. In his review of the year this professor says in effect that the year 1920 did not bring victory to the revolution, but neither did it restore capitalist world economy. It is only an unstable and extremely temporary equilibrium. Mr. Chavenon says: “In France we now see only the possibility of the further ruination of capitalist economy by state finances, currency inflation and open bankruptcy.” I have already tried to show you what this means. I have depicted the acutest crisis which the capitalist world has ever experienced. Three or four weeks ago in the capitalist press, gusts of an approaching improvement could be felt, the approach of an epoch of prosperity. But it is already obvious that this spring breeze was premature. A certain improvement has taken place in the financial situation, i.e., it is no longer as grave as before. In the markets prices have fallen, but this by no means implies a revival of trade. The stock markets are at a standstill, while in production the regression still continues. American metallurgy is operating now only at one-third capacity. In England the last blast furnaces have been shut down. This shows that the curtailment of production continues.

This movement in reverse will not, of course, continue interminably at one and the same tempo. This is absolutely excluded. There must come a breathing spell for the capitalist organism. But from the fact that it will inhale a little fresh air and that a certain improvement will come about, it is still too early to conclude prosperity. A new phase will set in, when they will try to eliminate the contradiction between the basic poverty and the overproduction of fictitious wealth. After which the paroxysms of the economic organism will continue. All this gives us, as has been said, a picture of profound economic depression.

On the basis of this economic depression the bourgeoisie will be compelled to exert stronger and stronger pressure upon the working class. This is already to be seen in the cutting of wages which has started in the full-blooded capitalist countries: in America and in England, and then throughout all of Europe. This leads to great struggles over wages. Our task is to extend these struggles, by basing ourselves on a clear understanding of the economic situation. This is quite obvious. It might be asked whether the great struggles over wages, a classic example of which is the miners’ strike in England, will lead automatically to the world revolution, to the final civil war and the struggle for the conquest of political power. However, it is not Marxist to pose the question in such a way. We have no automatic guarantees of development. But when the crisis is replaced by a transitory favourable conjuncture, what will this signify for our development? Many comrades say that if an improvement takes place in this epoch it would be fatal for our revolution. No, under no circumstances. In general, there is no automatic dependence of the proletarian revolutionary movement upon a crisis. There is only a dialectical interaction. It is essential to understand this.

Let us look at the relations in Russia. The 1905 revolution was defeated. The workers bore great sacrifices. In 1906 and 1907 the last revolutionary flare-ups occurred and by the autumn of 1907 a great world crisis broke out. The signal for it was given by Wall Street’s Black Friday. Throughout 1907 and 1908 and 1909 the most terrible crisis reigned in Russia too. It killed the movement completely, because the workers had suffered so greatly during the struggle that this depression could act only to dishearten them. There were many disputes among us over what would lead to the revolution: a crisis or a favourable conjuncture?

At that time many of us defended the viewpoint that the Russian revolutionary movement could be regenerated only by a favourable economic conjuncture. And that is what took place. In 1910, 1911 and 1912, there was an improvement in our economic situation and a favourable conjuncture which acted to reassemble the demoralized and devitalized workers who had lost their courage. They realized again how important they were in production; and they passed over to an offensive, first in the economic field and later in the political field as well. On the eve of the war the working class had become so consolidated, thanks to this period of prosperity, that it was able to pass to a direct assault. And should we today, in the period of the greatest exhaustion of the working class resulting from the crisis and the continual struggle, fail to gain victory, which is possible, then a change in the conjuncture and a rise in living standards would not have a harmful effect upon the revolution, but would be on the contrary highly propitious. Such a change could prove harmful only in the event that the favourable conjuncture marked the beginning of a long epoch of prosperity. But a long period of prosperity would signify that an expansion of the market had been attained, which is absolutely excluded. For after all, capitalist economy already embraces the terrestrial globe. Europe’s impoverishment and America’s sumptuous renascence on the huge war market corroborate the conclusion that this prosperity cannot be restored through the capitalist development of China, Siberia, South America and other countries, where American capitalism is of course seeking and creating outlet markets but on a scale in no way commensurate to Europe. It follows that we are on the eve of a period of depression; and this is incontestable.

With such a perspective, a mitigation of the crisis would not signify a mortal blow to the revolution but would only enable the working class to gain a breathing spell during which it could undertake to reorganize its ranks in order subsequently to pass over to attack on a firmer basis. This is one of the possibilities. The content of the other possibility is this: that the crisis may turn from acute into chronic, become intensified and endure for many years. All this is not excluded. The possibility remains open in such a situation that the working class would gather its last forces and, having learned from experience, conquer state power in the most important capitalist countries. The only thing excluded is the automatic restoration of capitalist equilibrium on a new foundation and a capitalist upswing in the next few years. This is absolutely impossible under the conditions of modern economic stagnation.


TROTSKY DEVELOPED THIS ARGUMENT in an article published in Pravda at the end of the same year, Flood-tide: the economic conjuncture and the world labour movement. We print below a short extract from Part I of the article and whole of Parts II and III.

Flood-tide: the economic conjuncture
and the world labour movement


The commercial-industrial crisis of 1920 broke out in the spring and summer, as has been said, at a time when the foregoing political and psychological reaction had already set in inside the working class. The crisis unquestionably increased the dissatisfaction among considerable working-class groups, provoking here and there stormy manifestations of dissatisfaction. But after the failure of the 1919 offensive, and with the resulting differentiation that took place, the economic crisis could not by itself any longer restore the necessary unity to the movement, nor cause it to assume the character of a new and more resolute revolutionary assault. This circumstance reinforces our conviction that the effects of a crisis upon the course of the labour movement are not all so unilateral in character as some simplifiers imagine. The political effects of a crisis (not only the extent of its influence but also its direction) are determined by the entire existing political situation and by those events which precede and accompany the crisis, especially the battles, successes or failures of the working class itself prior to the crisis. Under one set of conditions the crisis may give a mighty impulse to the revolutionary activity of the working masses; under a different set of circumstances it may completely paralyse the offensive of the proletariat and, should the crisis endure too long and the workers suffer too many losses, it might weaken extremely not only the offensive but also the defensive potential of the working class.


There are incontestable signs today of a break in the economic conjuncture. Commonplaces to the effect that the present crisis is the final crisis of decay, that it constitutes the basis of the revolutionary epoch, that it can terminate only in the victory of the proletariat – such commonplaces cannot, obviously, replace a concrete analysis of economic development together with all the tactical consequences flowing therefrom. As a matter of fact, the world crisis came to a halt, as has been said, in May of this year. Symptoms of improvement in the conjuncture became revealed first in the consumer-goods industry. Thereupon heavy industry too got under way. Today these are incontrovertible facts which are mirrored by statistics. I shall not adduce these statistics so as not to make it harder for the reader to follow the general line of thought.

Does this mean that the decay of capitalist economic life has halted? That this economy has regained its equilibrium? That the revolutionary epoch is drawing to a close? Not at all. The break in the industrial conjuncture signifies that the decay of capitalist economy and the course of the revolutionary epoch are far more complex than certain simplifiers imagine.

The movement of economic development is characterized by two curves of a different order. The first and basic curve denotes the general growth of the productive forces, circulation of commodities, foreign trade, banking operations, and so on. On the whole, this curve moves upward through the entire development of capitalism. It expresses the fact that society’s productive forces and mankind’s wealth have grown under capitalism. This basic curve, however, rises upward unevenly. There are decades when it rises only by a hair-breadth, then follow other decades when it swings steeply upward, only in order later, during a new epoch, to remain for a long time on one and the same level. In other words, history knows of epochs of swift as well as more gradual growth of the productive forces under capitalism. Thus, by taking the graph of English foreign trade, we can establish without difficulty that it shows only a very slow rise from the end of the eighteenth Century up to the middle of the nineteenth century. Then in a space of twenty-odd years (1851 to 1873) it climbs very swiftly. In the ensuing epoch (1873 to 1894) it remains virtually unchanged, and then resumes the swift upward climb until the war.

If we draw this graph, its uneven upward curvature will give us a schematic picture of the course of capitalist development as a whole, or in one of its aspects.

But we know that capitalist development occurs through the so-called industrial cycles, which comprise a set of consecutive phases of the economic conjuncture: boom, lag, crisis, cessation of crisis, improvement, boom, lag, and so on. Historical survey shows that these cycles follow one another every eight to ten years. If they were placed on the graph, we would get, superimposed on the basic curve which characterizes the general direction of capitalist development, a set of periodic waves moving up and down. Cyclical fluctuations of the conjuncture are inherent in capitalist economy, just as heart beats are inherent in a living organism.

Boom follows crisis, crisis follows boom, but on the whole the curve of capitalism has climbed upward in the course of centuries. Clearly the sum total of booms must have been greater than the sum total of crises. However, the curve of development assumed a different aspect in different epochs. There were epochs of stagnation. The cyclical oscillations did not cease. But since capitalist development as a whole kept climbing, it therefore follows that the crises just about balanced off the booms. During epochs in which the productive forces climbed upward swiftly, the cyclical oscillations continued to alternate. But each boom obviously moved economy a greater distance forward than it was thrown back by each succeeding crisis. The cyclical waves might be compared to the vibrations of a wire string, assuming that the line of economic development bears a resemblance to a string of wire under tension: in reality of course this line is not straight but of a complex curvature.

This internal mechanics of capitalist development through the incessant alternation of crisis and boom suffices to show how incorrect, one-sided and unscientific is the idea that the current crisis must, while becoming increasingly graver, endure until the proletarian dictatorship is established, independently of whether this happens next year, or three years or more from now. Cyclical oscillations, we said in refutation in our report and resolution at the Third World Congress, accompany capitalist society in its youth, in its maturity and its decay, just as the beatings of a heart accompany a man even on his deathbed. No matter what the general conditions may be, however profound might be the economic decay, the commercial-industrial crisis acts to sweep away surplus commodities and productive forces, and to establish a closer correspondence between production and the market, and for these very reasons opens up the possibility of industrial revival.

The tempo, scope, intensity and duration of the revival depend upon the totality of conditions that characterizes the viability of capitalism. Today it can be stated positively (we stated it back in the days of the Third World Congress) that after the crisis has levelled the first barricade, in the shape of exorbitant prices, the incipient industrial revival will, under present world conditions, run up quickly against a number of other barricades: the profoundest disruption of the economic equilibrium between America and Europe, the impoverishment of Central and Eastern Europe, the protracted and profound disorganization of the financial systems, and so forth. In other words, the next industrial boom will in no case be able to restore the conditions for future development in any way comparable to pre-war conditions. On the contrary, it is quite probable that after its very first conquests this boom will collide against the economic trenches dug by the war.

But a boom is a boom. It means a growing demand for goods, expanded production, shrinking unemployment, rising prices and the possibility of higher wages. And, in the given historical circumstances, the boom will not dampen but sharpen the revolutionary struggle of the working class. This flows from all of the foregoing. In all capitalist countries the working-class movement after the war reached its peak and then ended, as we have seen, in a more or less pronounced failure and retreat, and in disunity within the working class itself. With such political and psychological premises, a prolonged crisis, although it would doubtless act to heighten the embitterment of the working masses (especially the unemployed and semi-employed), would nevertheless simultaneously tend to weaken their activity because this activity is intimately bound up with the workers’ consciousness of their irreplaceable role in production.

Prolonged unemployment following an epoch of revolutionary political assaults and retreats does not at all work in favour of the Communist Party. On the contrary the longer the crisis lasts the more it threatens to nourish anarchist moods on one wing and reformist moods on the other. This fact found its expression in the split of the anarcho-syndicalist groupings from the Third International, in a certain consolidation of the Amsterdam International and the Two-and-a-Half International, in the temporary conglomeration of the Serrati-ites, the split of Levi’s group, and so on. [1] In contrast, the industrial revival is bound, first of all, to raise the self-confidence of the working class, undermined by failures and by the disunity in its own ranks; it is bound to fuse the working class together in the factories and plants and heighten the desire for unanimity in militant actions.

We are already observing the beginnings of this process. The working masses feel firmer ground under their feet. They are seeking to fuse their ranks. They keenly sense the split to be an obstacle to action. They are striving not only toward a more unanimous resistance to the offensive of capital resulting from the crisis but also toward preparing a counter-offensive, based on the conditions of industrial revival. The crisis was a period of frustrated hopes and of embitterment, not infrequently impotent embitterment. The boom as it unfolds will provide an outlet in action for these feelings. This is precisely what the resolution of the Third Congress, which we defended, states:

But should the tempo of development slacken, and the current commercial-industrial crisis be superseded by a period of prosperity in a greater or lesser number of countries, this would in no case signify the beginning of an ‘organic’ epoch. So long as capitalism exists, cyclical oscillations are inevitable. These will accompany capitalism in its death agony, just as they accompanied it in its youth and maturity. In case the proletariat should be forced to retire under the onslaught of capitalism in the course of the present crisis, it will immediately resume the offensive as soon as any amelioration in the conjuncture sets in. Its economic offensive, which would in that case inevitably be carried on under the slogan of revenge for all the deceptions of the war period and for all the plunder and abuses of the crisis, will tend to turn into an open civil war, just as the present offensive struggle does.


The capitalist press is beating the drums over the successes of economic ‘rehabilitation’ and the perspectives of a new epoch of capitalist stability. These ecstasies are just as groundless as the complementary fears of the ‘lefts’ who believe that the revolution must grow out of the uninterrupted aggravation of the crisis. In reality, while the coming commercial and industrial prosperity implies economically new riches for the top circles of the bourgeoisie, all the political advantages will accrue to us. The tendencies toward unification within the working class are only an expression of the growing will to action. If the workers are today demanding that for the sake of the struggle against the bourgeoisie the Communists reach an agreement with the Independents and with the Social Democrats, then on the morrow – to the extent that the movement grows in its mass scope – these same workers will become convinced that only the Communist Party offers them leadership in the revolutionary struggle. The first wave of the flood-tide lifts up all the labour organizations, impelling them to arrive at an agreement. But the self-same fate awaits the Social Democrats and the Independents: they will be engulfed one after the other in the next waves of the revolutionary flood-tide.

Does this mean – in contrast to partisans of the theory of the offensive – that it is not the crisis but the coming economic revival which is bound to lead directly to the victory of the proletariat? Such a categorical assertion would be unfounded. We have already shown above that there exists not a mechanical but a complex dialectical interdependence between the economic conjuncture and the character of the class struggle. It suffices for understanding the future that we are entering the period of revival far better armed than we entered the period of crisis. In the most important countries on the European continent we possess powerful Communist parties. The break in the conjuncture undoubtedly opens up before us the possibility of an offensive – not only in the economic field, but also in politics. It is a fruitless occupation to engage now in speculations as to where this offensive will end. It is just beginning, just coming into sight.

A sophist may raise the objection that if we grant that the further industrial revival need not necessarily lead us directly to victory, then a new industrial cycle will obviously take place, signifying another step toward the restoration of capitalist equilibrium. In that case wouldn’t there actually arise the danger of a new epoch of capitalist restoration? To this one might reply as follows: If the Communist Party fails to grow; if the proletariat fails to gain experience; if the proletariat fails to resist in a more and more far-reaching and irreconcilable revolutionary way; if it fails to pass over at the first opportunity from defence to offence, then the mechanics of capitalist development, supplemented by the manoeuvres of the bourgeois state, would doubtless accomplish their work in the long run. Entire countries would be hurled back economically into barbarism; tens of millions of human beings would perish from hunger, with despair in their hearts, and upon their bones some new sort of equilibrium of the capitalist world would be restored. But such a perspective is sheer abstraction. On the way toward this speculative capitalist equilibrium there are many gigantic obstacles: the chaos of the world market, the disruption of currency systems, the sway of militarism, the threat of war, the lack of confidence in the future. The elemental forces of capitalism are seeking avenues of escape amid heaps of obstacles. But these same elemental forces lash the working class and impel it forward. The development of the working class does not cease even when it retreats. For, while losing positions, it accumulates experience and consolidates its party. It marches forward. The working class is one of the conditions of social development, one of the factors of this development, and moreover its most important factor because it embodies the future.

The basic curve of industrial development is searching for upward avenues. Movement is rendered complex by cyclical fluctuations, which in the post-war conditions resemble spasms. It is naturally impossible to foretell at which point of development there will occur such a combination of objective and subjective conditions as will produce a revolutionary overturn. Nor is it possible to foretell whether this will occur in the course of the impending revival, at its beginning, or toward its end, or with the coming of a new cycle. Suffice it for us that the tempo of development does to a considerable measure depend upon us, upon our party, upon its tactics. It is of utmost importance to take into account the new economic turn which can open a new stage of fusing the ranks and in preparing a victorious offensive. For the revolutionary party to understand that which is, already implies in and of itself an abridgement of all time intervals and the moving up of dates.


BOTH THE ARTICLES cited above are products of the same particular historical situation – the need to reorient the Communist International after the defeat of the first post war revolutionary wave. But more than ten years later, in one of his famous pamphlets on Germany, The Only Road (written in the summer of 1932), Trotsky returns to the same theme as the following short extract shows.

The Only Road

We can predict with full assurance that an upward turn in the cycle would give a powerful impetus to the activity of the proletariat at present in decline. At the moment when the factory stops discharging workers and takes on new ones, the self-confidence of the workers is strengthened; they are once again necessary. The compressed springs begin to expand again. Workers always enter into the struggle for the reconquest of lost positions more easily than for the conquest of new ones. And the German workers have lost too much. Neither emergency decrees nor the use of the Reichswehr will be able to liquidate mass strikes which develop on the wave of the upturn. The Bonapartist regime, which is able to maintain itself only through the ‘social truce,’ will be the first victim of the upturn in the cycle.

A growth of strike struggles is already to be observed in various countries (Belgium, Britain, Poland, in part in the United States, but not Germany). An evaluation of the mass strikes now developing, in the light of the worldwide economic cycle, is not an easy task. Statistics are inevitably slow to reveal fluctuations in the business cycle. The revival must become a fact before it can be registered. The workers usually sense the revival of economic life earlier than the statisticians. New orders or even the expectation of new orders, reorganization of enterprises for expansion of production or at least the interruption of the discharge of workers, immediately increase the powers of resistance and the demands of the workers. The defensive strike of the textile workers in Lancashire was unquestionably called forth by a certain upturn in the textile industry. As for the Belgian strike, it is obviously taking place on the basis of the still deepening crisis of the coal mining industry. The transitional and critical character of the present phase of the world economic cycle corresponds to the variety of the economic impulses which are the basis of the most recent strikes. But in general the growth of the mass movement rather tends to indicate the existence of an upward trend which is about to become perceptible. In any case, a real revival of economic activity, even in its first stages, will call forth a broad upsurge of the mass struggle.

The ruling classes of all countries expect miracles from the industrial upswing; the speculation in stocks which has already broken out is a proof of this. If capitalism were really to enter upon the phase of a new prosperity or even of a gradual but persistent rise, this would naturally involve the stabilization of capitalism, accompanied by a weakening of fascism, and a simultaneous reinforcement of reformism. But there is not the least ground for the hope or fear that the economic revival, which in and of itself is inevitable, will be able to overcome the general tendencies of decay in world economy and in European economy in particular. If pre-war capitalism developed under the formula of expanded production of goods, present-day capitalism, with all its cyclical fluctuations, represents an expanded production of misery and of catastrophes. The new economic cycle will entail the inevitable readjustment of forces within the individual countries as well as within the capitalist camp as a whole, predominantly toward America and away from Europe. But within a very short time it will confront the capitalist world with insoluble contradictions and condemn it to new and still more frightful convulsions.

Without the risk of error, we can make the following prognosis: the economic revival will suffice to strengthen the self-confidence of the workers and give a new impetus to their struggle, but it will in no way suffice to give capitalism, and particularly European capitalism, the possibility of rebirth.

The practical conquests which the new cyclical upturn in declining capitalism will open to the workers’ movement will necessarily bear a most limited character. Will German capitalism, at the height of the new revival in economic activity, be able to restore those conditions for the working class which existed before the present crisis? Everything compels us to answer this question in advance with ‘no’. All the more quickly will the awakened mass movement have to strike out along the political road.

Even the very first step of the industrial revival will be most dangerous for Social Democracy. The workers will throw themselves into struggle to win back what they have lost. The leaders of the Social Democracy will again base their hopes on the restoration of the ‘normal’ order. Their main consideration will be the restoration of their fitness to join a coalition government. Leaders and masses will pull in opposite directions. In order to exploit to the limit the new crisis of reformism, the Communists need a correct orientation in the cyclical changes and the preparation sufficiently ahead of time of a practical program of action, beginning first of all with the losses suffered by the workers during the years of crisis. The transition from economic struggles to political ones will constitute an especially suitable moment for the strengthening of the power and influence of the revolutionary proletarian party.


The first two of these pieces are taken from Trotsky’s The First Five Years of the Communist International; the first from volume one, pages 259–63, and the second from volume two, pages 76 and 79–86. The final piece is from International Socialism (first series), no. 38/39, page 59.

1. The Amsterdam International was the social democratic-dominated International Federation of Trade Unions; the Two-and-a-Half International was a temporary grouping of parties which had left the Second, but refused to join the Third International; the Serrati-ites were followers of the Italian Socialist leader Serrati, who initially adhered to the Third International in 1919, but who later in 1921 refused its injunction to expel the reformists from his party; and finally Paul Levi was a Communist who left the German party over the ultra-left March Action in 1921 and rapidly moved through centrism to reformism.

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