The second half of the twentieth century will be known in history as
a period of the most profound revolutionary change. The emergence of
a world socialist system, which has become the chief revolutionary
force of our epoch, the fall of colonial empires and the appearance
of dozens of independent countries in their place, an unprecedented
upsurge of class struggle in developed capitalist countries — all
this has transformed the political climate of the world.
Our age is a time of increasing revolutionary activity among the
widest sections of the people. While in the last century, at one
stage of history or another, the number of participants in
revolutionary action in all the countries might be counted in
thousands, rarely tens of thousands and even more rarely hundreds of
thousands, nowadays hundreds of millions of people take part in the
anti-imperialist movement. Now the battle front against imperialism
extends throughout the world.
"The world is being revolutionised" is a phrase which reflects the
anxiety of the supporters of imperialism, and appears more and more
often in the pages of the capitalist press.
The scientific and technological revolution is not only altering the
economic profile of the countries, it is bringing about serious
changes in the class structure, and increasing the social
polarisation of bourgeois society.
The working class is rapidly increasing in numbers, its organisation
improves and its ability to resist grows.
Social groups that seemed a short time ago to be a long way from any
kind of revolutionary action, are joining in the anti-imperialist
The working intelligentsia is making itself felt as a force to be
reckoned with by the monopolies. More and more of them are joining
the ranks of the hired workers, and their interests are closely
interwoven with those of the working class.
Back in the fifties bourgeois propaganda, with satisfaction rather
than in reproach, spoke of the students as the "silent", "passive"
generation. But now students are demanding democratic reforms in
higher education, guarantees that work will be found for them in
their particular field, and are taking part in the struggle for
social progress and national liberation.
The ruling bourgeoisie is yielding to the working class in the
struggle to win other social strata that has gone on for more than a
hundred years. Imperialism is steadily losing its ability to
mesmerise the masses with its ideals and has no alternative to put
forward against socialism
Yet imperialism remains a serious and dangerous enemy. It uses all
sorts of devices to impede the inevitable development of the
revolutionary process which is transforming society. These include
attempts to create a united front of the reactionary forces of the
whole world, stepping up of ideological sabotage against the
socialist system, new and more refined methods of social demagogy
and the ideological hoodwinking of the workers in capitalist
countries. Where demagogy will not help, imperialism is quick to
resort to force, to police brutality against those who take part in
Ahead lies a hard and complex struggle, class conflict of the
sharpest kind. Victory over imperialism can be brought nearer by co-ordinating
the actions of the working class and all progressive and democratic
forces, and by the closest co-operation between the numerous
anti-imperialist movements and trends
This is all the more essential because the ideological and political
offensive of the supporters of imperialism is now aimed primarily at
splitting the main revolutionary streams of our time — the world
socialist system, the working-class movement in capitalist countries
and the national liberation movement. They also try to set at
loggerheads various sections of the population: non-proletarian
groups with anti-imperialistic inclinations are set against the
working class, the young against the older generation, and working
people who are not members of the Communist parties against
Communists. Imperialism sees temporary salvation in disunity of the
revolutionary forces, and mortal danger in their unity.
In every country where a struggle against the power of capital is
being waged there is no greater problem than the achievement of
united action between workers, peasants and other working people.
The mounting revolutionary mass movement can overthrow the supremacy
of monopolies if all forms of social protest follow a clear-cut
anti-monopoly line and contribute to a united programme of
The solution of this problem is helped by the fact that the new
social strata that are being drawn into the revolutionary conflict
bring with them an enormous supply of energy, and a powerful feeling
of hatred for the capitalist system. They are becoming increasingly
aware of the need to unite with other revolutionary forces.
Of vital importance for the achievement of this aim is the fact that
the anti-monopoly struggle is led by the proletariat, the class that
sees its historic mission in the abolition of every form of
exploitation. It is the proletariat that is coming forward in
capitalist countries as the leading force in social progress.
Direction of the class struggle is an art and a science, and in
mastering them one is helped by a profoundly scientific,
revolutionary world outlook, which crystallises the preceding
experience of liberation movements, and can answer the questions
raised by present-day revolutionary practice. Marxism-Leninism
provides such a world outlook. It guides the activities of the
revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat, the Communist and
Workers' parties. By bringing up to date and perfecting the strategy
and tactics of class struggle, Marxism-Leninism helps the workers to
find the best ways and methods for a revolutionary transformation of
At the beginning of the twentieth century, when Russia entered a
period of the most bitter class conflicts, Lenin urged Marxists to
raise the workers to the level of revolu- tionaries. This Leninist
principle is not only valid but has even acquired a particular
significance today. While spreading the ideas of scientific
communism among the broad proletarian masses and preparing them for
the revolutionary struggle, Communists also intensify their
propaganda work among those non-proletarian sections which are
groping their way towards political life, and among whom
manifestations of social protest are the strongest.
The Communist and Workers' parties are guided in this respect by the
approach Lenin adopted in the conditions of tsarist Russia of having
an action programme that would appeal both to protesting students
and dissatisfied teachers and to discontented believers.
At the same time the Communist and Workers' parties must be able to
resist the various erroneous opinions and ideas which appear both in
the ranks of the working class and among other sections of the
working people. Such opinions are bound to spread when broader
social strata are joining in the revolutionary movement.
Lenin wrote on this point: "If this movement is not measured by the
criterion of some fantastic ideal, but is regarded as the practical
movement of ordinary people, it will be clear that the enlistment of
larger and larger numbers of new 'recruits', the attraction of new
sections of the working people must inevitably be accompanied by
waverings in the sphere of theory and tactics, by repetitions of old
mistakes, by a temporary reversion to antiquated views and
antiquated methods, and so forth. The labour movement of every
country periodically spends a varying amount of energy, attention
and time on the 'training' of recruits.'"
The nineteen sixties saw the emergence of many different theories
denying the revolutionary potential of the working class, and
seeking the motive force of revolution anywhere but in that class.
The non-proletarian strata (the intelli- gentsia, students and
partly peasants in developing countries) are having it drummed into
them that a revolutionary transformation of society can be brought
about without an alliance with the working class.
These pseudo- scientific "theories" have this in common: their
advocates strive to refute the ideas of scientific communism and
foster distrust for the international policy evolved by the
Communist and Workers' parties. Their objective is to prevent the
creation of a single anti- imperialist movement without which
revolutionary victory is unthinkable.
Such theories are particularly dangerous since they encourage
tendencies prejudicial to the cause of the revolu- tion, and start a
long line of false conclusions and wrong actions. The group
isolation peculiar to certain sections of the non-proletarian strata
is presented as "a theoretical credo", while refusal to accept the
proposal of the working class and the Communists to take joint
action becomes a principle of behaviour.
Worse still, currency is given to pernicious and disruptive ideas
that it is possible to be a revolutionary and oppose imperialism
from anti-communist positions. To put it another way, monopoly is
challenged in words, but the actual attack is being launched against
the Communist parties and the international working-class movement.
Trotskyism is particularly active in spreading such views. In the
twenties and thirties Trotskyism was routed, both ideologically and
organisationally, was rejected by the international communist
movement, and for a long time it lingered in the backwaters of
But now, since the fifties and the beginning of the sixties, the
Trotskyites have begun to raise their heads. This has shown itself
in mounting attempts to bring together various ill-assorted groups.
Almost every two or three years Trots- kyites of different
persuasions hold "international" congresses at which they hurriedly
work their way through a variety of motions dealing with revolution,
war and peace. What is the reason for these stirrings of life among
The reason why Trotskyism has become active — however insignificant
and peripheral such activity may be on the world scene — is to be
found in certain peculiarities of the present stage of the
anti-imperialist struggle. The Trotskyites have placed their hopes
on those representatives of the non- proletarian strata of
capitalist and developing countries who are trying to be "Lefter
than the Left" and reject the strategy and tactics of the Communist
Like dried infusoria which revive in a drop of muddy water, the
Trotskyites bestirred themselves at the first signs of
petty-bourgeois "ultra-Left" hostility towards communism. The thing
that has enabled the Trotskyites to refloat their leaky political
boats for a while is "Left" extremism that, having reached the peak
of absurdity and substituting anticommunism and anti-Sovietism for
the struggle against capitalism, has gained some influence among
certain non- proletarian strata.
Using treachery, intrigue and every political dodge, Trotskyite
groups in several capitalist countries (their membership rarely
reaches two figures) have set themselves the task of infiltrating
the "Left radical" movements and trends which arose in the sixties.
They try in every way to fan the ultra-Left tendencies that exist
there, and to drag in the anti-communist principles of their "Fourth
Thus, until recently, a significant number of Trotskyites
entertained great hopes of spreading their ideas in the coun- tries
of Latin America, Asia and Africa. Expecting to acquire supporters
there, they proclaimed the peasantry to be the most radical force of
the present time, and concentrated their efforts on penetrating the
peasant movement and bringing it under their influence. When,
however, they saw that their hopes would not be fulfilled, they
began to seek a new sphere of action.
Since 1968 proposals have been made at Trotskyite con- gresses and
conferences to probe the growing political potential of students,
who, it was claimed, should in the present historical conditions be
considered the most radical force.
It is clear that the attempts of the Trotskyites to attach
themselves to the student movement are not accidental.
The present-day student population is a new generation which was
born and grew up after the Second World War. And many young people,
who naturally have not had time to acquire any sort of serious
political experience, often give themselves up to illusions
regarding the possibility of working out a special programme of
"youth" activities quite apart from the general context of the class
struggle. Besides Communist groups within the student movement,
which is exceedingly variegated from the social point of view, there
are all sorts of currents and trends — from supporters of pure
reformism to advocates of "immediate direct action", who fight an
unceasing ideological war among themselves.
Unlike the older generation, who still remember earlier
anti-revolutionary Trotskyite actions and know the worth of their
ultra-Left phrases, the students have no "immunity" from Trotskyism.
They usually have a distorted understand- ing of Trotskyism,
acquired from the lectures of bourgeois professors, who do not spare
praise for Trotsky and his "teaching" in order to blacken scientific
The Trotskyites have simultaneously increased their ideological
appeals to extremist-minded petty-bourgeois intellectuals,
exploiting their prejudices against the Com- munist parties'
strategic principles and the search for a "third path" of social
development having nothing in common with either capitalism or
contemporary socialist reality.
Lenin, in his day, noted that Trotsky "unites ... all philistines
who do not understand the reasons for the struggle", 1 and this is
just how the successors of Trotsky try to attract people who are
confused by the complexity of the political struggle and do not even
comprehend what they expect from it.
The Trotskyites ferret out every possible approach to petty-
bourgeois intellectuals with extremist leanings, the student
movement, and the Latin American revolutionary guerrillas among whom
there are both peasants and officers with radical sympathies. And
everywhere their function is to split the revolutionary movement and
provoke it to irresponsible adventurism.
Left-wing extremism, as is well known, is sometimes a punishment for
the Right-wing opportunist sins of Social- Democracy. It is no
accident that Trotskyites are also active where the revolutionary
movement is artificially held back by the compromising policy of
Right-wing Social-Democrats. In a number of West European countries
they try to influence those members of Social-Democratic parties and
of the organisations connected with them who are opposed to the
treacherous policy of the social-reformers, but fight shy of the
tactics and strategy of the Communist parties.
The position adopted by the Communist Party of China has played into
the hands of the Trotskyites.
The "congress" of the Paris group of the "Fourth Interna- tional"
held in 1961 openly announced that Maoist efforts to undermine the
international communist movement had created "such opportunities for
Trotskyite activity as there have never been before". And the next
"congress" two years later, which came out in favour of the Maoists'
basic "pro- grammatic" demands, urged Trotskyites "toward bolder and
more aggressive action than ever before".
The theories of both Trotskyites and Maoists certainly have features
in common. The Peking leaders agree with the Trotskyites on many
points: anti-Marxist views on the world revolutionary process and
orientation on the export of revolution; emphasis on war as the only
means for the promotion of world revolution; defeatist appraisals
concern- ing the prospects of building a socialist society;
slanderous outbursts against the Soviet Union; ideas about the pre-
eminence of political directives over the objective laws of social
development; attempts to isolate the national liberation movement,
and setting it up in opposition to other revolutionary streams of
today; slanderous charges of "degeneration", "revisionism" and so on
against Communist parties in a number of countries.
Of course, Maoism is not a version of Trotskyism, but it is an
eclectic petty-bourgeois system which besides elements of
Confucianism, anarchism and petty-bourgeois chauvinism includes a
variety of Trotskyite ideas.
In some ways the Chinese leaders have simply taken over certain
Trotskyite doctrines; in others their views objectively coincide.
Both of them, from their own peculiar positions and for their own
selfish purposes, undermine the struggle against imperialism by
fighting against the Communist parties and Marxism-Leninism.
A great deal of the uproar that the Trotskyites have raised about
their readiness to form a union with the Peking leaders savours of
self-advertisement. The leaders of the "Fourth International" have
tried to squeeze the maximum political advantage out of the
similarity between their opinions and those of the Peking leaders.
And this political game of the Trotskyites misleads certain people
in capitalist countries.
In the Central Committee's report to the 24th Congress of the CPSU
it was pointed out that the Trotskyites quite often gang up with the
factionalist groups created by the Chinese leaders. 1 )
Fishing for new supporters, the latter-day Trotskyites make every
effort to appear in Marxist colours and, while distorting Leninism,
cunningly use its terminology for their disruptive purposes. This
has been part of their strategy for a long time.
The purpose behind the Trotskyite pretence was revealed by that
prominent figure in the world communist movement, Otto Kuusinen, in
an article entitled "Notes on Historical Ex- perience", in which he
wrote: "Trotskyites were masters in the art of political forgery and
in the art of manipulating quotations taken from Lenin. They
understood the strength of the international influence wielded by
the teaching of Lenin, and realised that without at least
lip-service to Leninism it was no use hoping to attract
revolutionary- minded workers to their side.'"
Here again bourgeois propaganda hastens to the rescue of the
As Lenin wrote in 1915, "bourgeois society is continually producing
. . . opportunists who love to call themselves socialists, who
deliberately and systematically deceive the masses with the most
florid and 'radical' words". Today's reality again confirms the
truth of Lenin's words. Anti- communist propaganda constantly
supports ultra-Left tendencies, insofar as they do not constitute a
serious danger to imperialism, but run counter to the general line
taken by the most revolutionary force of our time, the international
communist movement, and hinder the strengthening of the solidarity
of the anti-imperialist fighters.
Sparing no effort to popularise various ultra-Left concep- tions,
bourgeois propaganda presents Trotskyism as a "trend" in the
communist movement, as a "legitimate branch of Marxism", its aim
being to stimulate interest in Trotskyism and its anti-communist
"theoretical" clap-trap. The sponsors of the anti-communist
propaganda campaign give their utmost support to the Trotskyites.
They enable them to pursue their activities legally even in
countries where the forces of democracy are cruelly persecuted and
the Communist parties have been driven underground. Trotskyite
writings are printed by major bourgeois publishing firms. O. V.
Kuusinen, Selected Works (1918-1964), Russ. ed., Moscow, 1966, p.
And although there is no direct admissions, either in the bourgeois
or in the Trotskyite press, that the Trotskyites receive financial
subsidies in some covert way from their "well-wishers", it is
obvious that such help exists. How otherwise could these feeble
groups find the means regularly to publish dozens of journals and
papers, organise "interna- tional congresses", and take part in
The Trotskyites repay their debts. Applauded by bourgeois
propagandists, they slander the Communist parties, and vie with one
another in calumniating socialist countries.
Wherever they can, they try to prevent unity among the ranks of the
revolutionaries. They are best served when there is a split, as in
these conditions they can engage in political manoeuvres and take
advantage of organisational weakness in the revolutionary movement.
The anti-imperialist movement can succeed if it displays vigilance
in face of subversive activities of the Trotskyites. To expose them
means to show the deep gulf that exists between words and deeds.
Claiming to the name of "revolutionaries", they have always done all
they can to hinder the advance of the class struggle.
The Trotskyites are still at the same game today, spinning their
intrigues among the non-proletarian strata. Experience has shown
that those who fall into their political trap are lost to the
revolutionary movement. Even a short term in Trotskyite circles more
often than not leads to political apathy and a loss of interest for
the class struggle. No one can put down revolutionary fervour as
effectively as the Trotskyites with their concepts, Leftist in form
and defeatist in substance.
This is why the Communist and Workers' parties, who have long worked
for a genuinely anti-imperialist movement, wage an irreconcilable
war against Trotskyism. They expose its schemes, and reveal the
mechanics of its disruptive activity. The Communists expose the real
aims pursued by the imperialist press in supporting Trotskyism and
its views, and explain to the masses why so much energy and funds
are directed towards putting new life into Trotskyism.
Communist parties go deeply into the historical experience of the
international working-class movement's struggle against Trotskyism.
Of special interest among the work of Soviet historians are two
books that came out in 1968 and 1969, The Struggle of the
Bolshevik Party Against Trotskyism (1903 — February 1917) and
The Struggle of the Bolshevik Party Against Trotskyism in the
Period After the October Revolution.' The authors employ a great
deal of factual material to illustrate the anti-revolutionary
activities of the Trotskyites and show the struggle Lenin and
the international communist movement waged against Trotskyism
right up to its ideolog- ical and organisational defeat at the
end of the twenties.
Among other works on Trotskyism mention should be made of a book
by a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of
France, Leo Figueres, Trotskyism Is Anti-Leninism, which deals
mainly with the struggle waged by the CPSU against Trotskyism in
the period before the October Revolution and in the first decade
after it. 2 This book also briefly discusses Trotskyism's
attempts to galvanise its activity after its utter ideological
and organisational defeat within the communist movement. The aim
of this present book is to show that the Trotskyites, having
been utterly defeated ideologically and organisationally within
the international communist move- ment, have tried to rebuild
their position and to embark on a new series of
anti-revolutionary campaigns. The task is twofold, first we must
get to the bottom of the views of contemporary Trotskyism on the
world revolutionary process.
Second, the means and methods of Trotskyite disruptive
activity in the contemporary revolutionary movement must
All this should enable us to see the political
character of Trotskyism better, and to understand
its anti-revolutionary essence.