Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History


The problem that dominated the previous issue of our magazine was that of the challenge of imperialist war to the functioning of small revolutionary organisations on a world scale. This issue moves from the general to the particular in that it focuses upon examples selected from two different continents: Europe and Asia. None of the groupings dealt with here led significant sections of the working class of their respective countries. One was never able to attain a centralised organisational and political functioning, whilst the others had to operate under severe conditions of repression.

Facilitated by the assassination of Leon Trotsky, the range of theoretical and political responses of the small Trotskyist groups to the Second World War, whilst covering a diverse spectrum of positions, produced more or less the same results everywhere. All of them responded to the enormous strains with commendable courage and dedication. The lack of striking success was not fundamentally the result of theoretical and political failure, but of their defeat – political, military and often murderous – by bourgeois and Stalinist opponents, in the context of the Allied victory in the Second World War.

Our problem in the 1980s is not that of how to function during global imperialist war, but the key to survival as well as success remains theoretical and political clarity. In the last analysis the crisis of humanity remains that of the conscious factor: the revolutionary leadership of the working class.

Revolutionaries are the memory of the working class, as Trotsky himself reminded us. This number of our journal is addressed to them in the hope that they will find in it some of the materials that will help them restore part of that memory.

Revolutionary History

Updated by ETOL: 5.7.2003