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Trotskyism or Leninism - Harpal BrarThe Healyite Trotskyites detect Trotsky's line and welcome Gorbachev's Perestroika
The late and unlamented child molester and recipient of funds from a wide variety of sources ranging from the Arab regimes to the CIA for his lifelong devotion to the cause of anti-communism and anti-Sovietism, namely the Trotskyite Gerry Healy of the old and notorious Socialist Labour League (SLL), welcomed Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost as "the political revolution for restoring Bolshevik world revolutionary perspectives." Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and its disintegration, Healy's followers, the Redgrave Trots of the so-called Marxist Party, have gone on to blacken all Soviet development and history by asserting that Lenin had been wrong throughout and that Rosa Luxemburg's denunciation of Lenin as a "sterile overseer" aiming at "blind subordination" to "an intellectual elite hungry for power" through "pitiless centralism" was correct.
With the disappearance of the former socialist states and the coming to power of bourgeois regimes, the Trotskyites are at sixes and sevens as to how to explain away their wretched theory of "anti-bureaucratic political revolution." As a result they are at each other's throats. The other offshoots of Healy's lunatic fringe, the Northites and Torrancites, are in convulsions over this. The Northites simply pass the buck on to Trotsky who, they say, got it wrong for there was nothing left with which to have a revolution:
What was destroyed between 1936 and 1940 was not only the flower of Marxism but its roots.
"It doesn't detract anything from Trotsky's work to say that he simply could not have known, even when he was writing his denunciations of the Moscow Trials, the scale of the bloodbath that was taking place in the USSR."
This can mean one of two things: either that socialism had ceased to exist and capitalism had been restored by the end of the 1930s, in which case, the Northites appear to be arguing Trotsky ought to have then denounced the Soviet regime far more vehemently than he actually did; alternatively it could mean that the workers' state, albeit a 'distorted! one, continued to exist in the USSR but that after the Moscow treason trials there was no 'revolutionary vanguard' left capable of effecting the Trotskyist 'political revolution', and that therefore the 'overthrow of the bureaucracy' could only lead to the establishment of capitalism, to which end the Trotskyists, with their theory of 'political revolution' have worked all these years. In this case, Trotsky was also wrong in advocating his 'political revolution' thereby leading his followers up the blind alley which leads to capitalist restoration. Whichever way one looks at the above Northite quotation, one comes to the conclusion that these gentry are as much at sea in explaining the momentous developments in the USSR as they are at home with Trotskyist gobbledygook.
From the anti-Soviet defeatism, hidden by veritable phrase-mongering and a pretended belief in the chimerical "anti-bureaucratic political revolution", the Northite Trots pass over without any difficulty to the following unreserved and absolute defeatism, characterising the whole period from October 1917 onwards as one of unmitigated disaster:
"We should avoid using phrases that become hackneyed from over-use; but in this case it can truly be said that we have come to the end of an entire historical period that was opened in 1917".
Their rivals, from the Torrance faction of Trots, the Newsline Workers' Revolutionary Party (WRP) rump, do not like the Northite 'explanation' whose utter defeatism greatly embarrasses them. In an attempt to gain some credibility for Trotskyism and overcome doubts even among the Trotskyist rank and file as to whether their guru Trotsky's theory of "political revolution" and his lifetime spent in anti-Soviet activity ever contained an iota of progressive, let alone revolutionary, content, the Torrancites come down, Mandel fashion, in favour of characterising the counter-revolutionary developments in the former USSR and eastern Europe as "revolutionary" in nature. Deriding the Northites, the Torrancites write:
"The comic side of all this is that since the bureaucracy is the 'determining force', if the so-called 'military industrial complex' were to overthrow Yeltsin, reinstating the USSR, then no doubt North would have to declare that the USSR was once again a workers state. He would have to say 'Thank god for the Stalinist bureaucracy.'"
Thus we find one section of Trots (the Northites) blaming Trotsky for not being firm enough in his fulminations against the Soviet Union, thereby misleading his followers into the blind alley of supporting an allegedly workers' state in need of political revolution, when, say the Northites, socialism had already been destroyed and therefore there was nothing left against which to have a revolution. The other section (Torrancites) exonerate themselves from all responsibility for lifelong anti-Soviet and anti-communist activity by pretending that the counter revolution has not taken place at all, that Yeltsin represents the "political revolution", which, in the course of time, will "restore Bolshevism."
Some other Trots
For its part, the Trotskyist rag Socialist Organiser, referred to immediately above, exulted over the victory of the Yeltsin forces thus: "His brave defiance of the Stalinist establishment will help workers to see what the issues are – an opening society, with the beginnings of the rule of law and some degree of democratic self-control, on one side, and stifling ice-age Stalinist dictatorship on the other." (SO Supplement, 20 August 1992).
The 'Militant' Trotskyites were no less despicably shameless in welcoming the Yeltsin counter-revolution: "All over the world workers will see this as people's power reducing the threat of dictatorship to a poorly scripted farce. Every dictator will tremble at the prospect of his own subjects taking such action."
'Workers Power', yet another Trotskyist outfit, being fully cognisant of the "socially counter-revolutionary nature of Yeltsin's programme" and the "spivs and racketeers" who supported him, nevertheless felt obliged to back Yeltsin: "No matter what the socially counter- revolutionary nature of Yeltsin's programme, no matter how many spivs and racketeers joined the barricades to defend the Russian parliament, it would be revolutionary suicide to back the coup-mongers and support the crushing of democratic rights...
"It is far better that the fledgling workers' organisations of the USSR learn to swim against the stream of bureaucratic restorationism than be huddled in the 'breathing space' of the prison cell."
Looking forward with great enthusiasm "to the next stage – the task of rapidly dismantling the instruments of central planning" (Workers Power, September 1991), 'Workers' Power', reducing its counter-revolutionary logic to an absurdity, calls for "workers control of the counter-revolution! – for a "workers Yeltsin" who will not stop half way:
"Revolutionaries share the workers' hatred for all the real and symbolic representatives of their oppression. We support the closing down of the palatial CPSU offices, private shops and sanatoria, the rooting out of the KGB officers. But we put no trust in Yeltsin or the leadership of the main soviets in the chief towns and cities to carry out the destruction of the Stalinist dictatorship.
"We seek at every point to involve the masses independently in the process of the destruction of the CPSU dictatorship...
"The workers must control the process of destruction of the Stalinists through to the end and not let Yeltsin preserve what is useful to him."
Like the Socialist Organiser, it – Workers Power – too was fully aware of the forces supporting Yeltsin. Its on the spot report stated that those manning the Yeltsin barricades "were not for the most part, the most audacious workers and students of Moscow," adding:
"Rather they were in the majority small businessmen, speculators and owners of ['free enterprise'] co-operatives, the traditional base of the [Russian nationalist] 'Democratic Russia' demonstrations, plus a few hundred young enthusiasts. While there have been reports of strike action and mass mobilisations in other parts of the USSR, in Moscow at least the working class played little part in the resistance to the coup".
There are, of course innumerable other Trotskyist groups of which nothing, at all has here been said. It is not, however, either possible or necessary or even desirable to make reference to all of them, for they represent no more than variations on themes already encountered in the brief sketch given above of the major Trotskyist tendencies. What unites them all, however, is that they are all Trotskyists. They are, therefore, all counterrevolutionary to their finger tips – not out of a desire to be so, but because they cannot help being counter-revolutionaries for as long as they follow Trotsky's petty bourgeois, pessimistic and counter revolutionary theory of 'permanent revolution.'