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The Militant, 17 August 1946

Six Years After Trotsky’s Death

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 33, 17 August 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


When Leon Trotsky was assassinated six years ago, the enemies of the Fourth International predicted – and hoped – that Trotskyism would die too. But the movement Trotky built on granite foundations has not only survived – it has grown stronger than ever.

In this country the Socialist Workers Party was compelled because of the reactionary Voorhis Act to disaffiliate from the Fourth International a few months after Trotsky’s death. But it remains true to the Trotskyist program.

During the war the SWP was singled out for persecution by the government, and 18 of its leaders were sent to prison for their revolutionary opinions and activities. The Post Office repeatedly interfered with the mailing rights of The Militant and of the theoretical magazine Fourth International.

Grown Steadily

Despite this, the SWP has grown steadily during this period. Today most of its members are workers, rooted in the trade unions, with ever-widening influence in the basic industries. The Militant has expanded from four to eight pages, and the number of its subscribers has multiplied more than five-times.

Today, on the sixth anniversary of Trotsky’s death, the SWP is engaged in the most ambitious electoral campaign of its history. Running 16 candidates m five states, this campaign is a preliminary step to contesting the Presidential elections in 1948. The SWP is today on the threshold of becoming a mass party of the American working class.

On the international arena, the growth of the Trotskyist movement in most countries was temporarily checked by the repressions and casualties of the war. But today on every continent, there are active and flourishing Trotskyist parties – both the pre-war groups and those created in the midst of the war. The Fourth International in 1946 is stronger than ever before.

On All Continents

In Europe, the Trotskyist movement has sections or strong groups in Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Norway and Spain; in the western hemisphere – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. Among the strongest sections and groups are those in the colonial countries: China, Egypt, India (Ceylon and Burma), IndoChina, Indonesia, Palestine and South Africa. Trotskyists are also active in Australia.

In India, the Bolshevik-Leninist Party, a young section of the Fourth International, was officially launched in May 1942. Despite persecutions and imprisonments by the British colonial despots, the party grew in this sub-continent whose 400,000,000 natives are desperately exploited. This significant advance reflects the mounting revolutionary struggles for colonial liberation.

The Trotskyists are in the vanguard, of the Indo-Chinese struggle for independence from French imperialism. They have also emerged as a force in the Indonesian struggle against the Dutch imperialists. In China, despite the frightful toll taken by Chiang Kai-shek and the Stalinists, the Chinese Trotskyist movement is still alive, and drawing together its forces.

In Egypt a Trotskyist party emerged during the war in 1943. It is active and growing in influence despite mass arrests, imprisonments and the suppression of their paper. Similar Trotskyist parties are participating prominently in the mass struggles in Palestine and Syria.

On the European continent – in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Greece and elsewhere – the Trotskyist cadres were decimated by Hitler’s murder machine and persecuted by the capitalist liberators. But the parties of the Fourth International are making their voices heard throughout the continent. In the recent French elections the Trotskyists polled the relatively large vote of 45,000. The Trotskyists are likewise active in Italy, where the party was formed in the midst of the war.

Stalinist Terror

In Greece, where the fascists murdered many leading Trotskyists, the Stalinists tried to finish the job of destroying the Fourth Internationalist movement by assassinating over 100 of its leaders in the civil war of 1944. In Bulgaria, where the Trotskyists survived the terrible Nazi repressions, the Stalinists have launched a wave of terror which led to the incarceration of the heroic Trotskyist leaders.

In England, as in the U.S., Trotskyist leaders were arrested for their opposition to the imperialist war. But this did not halt the growth of the movement. When Trotsky died, the British party was split in two. During the war it unified and became the Revolutionary Communist Party. It has run candidates in the elections and made significant gains in the unions.

Prodigious Vitality

Proof of the prodigious vitality of the Fourth International was most sharply expressed by the postwar Conference of the Fourth International held in April of this year. Convened under difficult conditions in Belgium, the Conference represented a greater membership and number of sections than at the Founding Conference in 1938. The 1946 Conference rendered more precise and reaffirmed the transitional Program adopted in 1938 under the guidance and leadership of Leon Trotsky.

Thus, six years after the death of Trotsky, the movement he founded, fights on. Its rise and growth on all continents is a reflection of the rising tide of revolution. Trotsky the man is dead, but the mighty program of Trotskyism lives and will conquer.

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Last updated on 26 June 2021