MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE | TONY CLARK

THE IDEOLOGICAL ROLE OF TROTSKYISM AFTER 1924.

THIS ARTICLE IS DEDICATED TO THE MANY THOUSANDS OF SOVIET COMMUNISTS WHO RALLIED TO SUPPORT J.V. STALIN’S POLICY OF AIMING TO BUILD SOCIALISM IN THE SOVIET UNION, WHICH NECESSITATED A STRUGGLE TO DEFEAT TROTSKYISM IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION AND IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT.

MARXISM-LENINISM regards Trotskyism as a form of pseudo-leftism. Nowhere is this pseudo-leftism more consistently expressed as over the struggle to build socialism in the Soviet Union after revolution was defeated in several countries following World War One, which consequently led to the isolation of the Soviet Republic.

Trotskyism, an ideological tendency born in opposition to Leninism and Bolshevism, was again in opposition to Leninism in 1924, this time in regards to Lenin’s theory relating to the international revolution and socialism. The essence of the struggle during and after 1924 until the expulsion of Trotsky from the CPSU in 1927 is known to all students of the Russian revolution. This essence, without any possibility of refutation can be expressed as the following.

  1. Lenin, in his writings, had postulated the possibility of socialism in several or one country, as part of the international revolutionary process.
     
  2. From 1924 onwards Stalin, after the failure of revolution to spread was forced to defend this aspect of Leninism from ultra-left elements in the communist party.
     
  3. Trotskyism became the principle ideological trend, which came out in opposition to Leninism on the question of socialism in one country as part of the world revolutionary process.

Thus any evaluation of Trotskyism after the death of Lenin in 1924 must be based on an interpretation of Lenin’s perspective and Stalin’s upholding of this perspective in opposition to the pseudo-leftist elements in the Soviet communist party and the international communist movement. To fully understand the ideological role of Trotskyism after 1924, it is necessary to grasp that Trotskyism’s opposition to Leninism led the former to play a counterrevolutionary role in the Soviet Union. This is because it is not possible to say that Trotskyism opposed Leninism on the issue of socialism in one country, but did not play a counterrevolutionary role.

Inspite of the failure of revolutions in other countries, the policy adopted by the CPSU was to build socialism in one country and maintain the Soviet Union as a revolutionary inspiration and centre. Ranged against this policy were the bourgeoisie and their Menshevik servants. Their political role in the Soviet Union was to demoralise the Soviet Communists and working class with the ideology, that socialism could not be built in one country. The aim of the counterrevolution both internally and externally was the restoration of the rule of capital.

For the counterrevolution, undermining the confidence of the communist party and the Soviet working class was the essential element in their strategy. Without recognising this, it is impossible to arrive at an objectively correct view of the role of Trotskyism in the Soviet Union. No one can deny that in opposing Leninism Trotskyism joined with the bourgeois-Menshevik counterrevolution to smash the confidence of the Soviet Communists and working class on the basis that socialism in one country was not possible.

This bourgeois attempt to undermine the confidence of Soviet Communists and workers, had it succeeded would have led, without fail, to the rupture of the worker-peasant alliance, and, consequently, the downfall of working class political power. Therefore, it is clear, from the Marxist-Leninist perspective, that after Trotskyism had transformed itself into a movement for smashing the confidence of Soviet Communists and workers in their efforts to build socialism in the Soviet Union, the defeat of Trotskyism became an imperative necessity. From this standpoint, it is also clear that the struggle against Trotskyism was, in essence, the struggle against the bourgeois counterrevolution, dressed up as a ‘left-wing’ movement.

For Stalin, Trotskyism’s role was to

‘…weaken the determination of the Soviet proletariat to go on building socialism, and therefore to hinder the unleashing of the forces of the international revolution—thereby run counter to the principle of genuine internationalism and the fundamental line of the Communist International’. (J.V. Stalin: The Opposition bloc in the CPSU[B]. in: Works 8; p.230; October 26, 1926)

Trotskyism having joined with the Mensheviks and the bourgeoisie for promoting defeatism in the Soviet communist party and working class in respects to building socialism in the Soviet Union, made it clear that these elements had to be defeated if the Soviet Union was to survive.

The role of Stalin in this process is equally transparent. This role consisted in fighting the efforts of the bourgeoisie, Mensheviks and the Trotskyites to undermine the confidence of Soviet Communists and workers. In this way, Stalin defended the Leninist thesis that socialism was possible in the Soviet Union as part of the world revolutionary process. Stalin’s struggle against Trotskyist defeatism was recognised by communists everywhere. Thus, the international communist movement rallied to support Stalin on the one hand, and isolate Trotsky and his followers on the other.

Tony Clark.