Thread: Trotskyism (Study Guide)

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    Default Trotskyism (Study Guide)

    Trotskyism is a rich revolutionary tradition. Coined after its godfather, Leon Trotsky, the tendency has been famous for its militant leaders and dedicated groups. Centered around the promotion of Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution, Trotskyism is vehemently Anti-Stalinist (otherwise known as Marxist-Leninist) and opposes Joseph Stalin’s theory of “Socialism in One Country”.

    The creation of this study guide was difficult. This is because Trotskyism, unlike more monolithic tendencies, has several strikingly different ideological manifestations. In each manifestation there exist, more or less, the basic tenants of Trotskyism yet also unique realms of thoughts which make a single “lumping in” of all such Trotskyist categories impossible.

    It is for this reason I have divided the study guide into several sections. In each section there will be resources on each outlook’s school of thought. Credit for each resource list is given at the beginning of each section.

    This guide may be freely redistributed. Any mistakes which may linger in the texts are not intentional and may be identified so as to be rectified later. If any such mistakes are found please comment below. In addition: if any comrades wish to provide answers for each question among the numerous "Q&A" below feel more than free to do so and I shall credit you appropriately.

    ~ ~ ~

    Core Principals

    Within this section I outline the core principals which make up Trotskyism. These primary points are universal convictions across all Trotskyist convictions. In gathering the resource for this section I extensively utilized The League for the Fifth International’s website. Any ideological cross-over which may or may not be present is unintentional.

    I INTRODUCTORY SERIES

    *My Life: Trotsky's autobiography
    *History of the Russian Revolution by Leon Trotsky

    The Class Struggle and Socialism

    Reading:
    The Communist Manifesto (Marx and Engels).
    Socialism Utopian and Scientific (Engels)

    Questions:
    Q1: What are classes and why are they important for understanding history?
    Q2: How do historical changes take place?
    Q3: In what sense is the modern working class similar to previous oppressed classes and in what sense is it different?
    Q4: Why is the working class the agent or carrier of socialist change?
    Q5: Is socialism the automatic result of the development of capitalism?

    Q6: Can socialist production be organized in some areas or industries within the overall capitalist system and if not, why not?
    Q7: What is the difference between utopian and scientific socialism?


    II Reform or Revolution?

    Reading:
    Reform or Revolution (Rosa Luxemburg)
    Where is Britain Going? esp. chapters 2-5 (Trotsky).

    Questions:
    Q1: How do Marxists answer the argument that historical and political change is mainly gradual?
    Q2: What is a revolution? Why do Marxists believe that revolution is necessary and possible? What is the difference between socialist revolution and earlier types of revolution?
    Q3: Is violence ever justified? Can there be non-violent change? What would be the consequences for the working class if the reformist road were followed to its conclusion? Why are reformist ideas so strong within the working class movement?

    The Revolutionary Party

    Reading:
    The Urgent Tasks of our Movement (Lenin)
    Where to Begin? (Lenin)
    The Organisational Structure of the Communist Parties, the Methods and Context of their work. (Communist International).
    What is to be Done? (Lenin) - especially part I (D), Part II and Part III.
    Theses on Communist Organisation

    Questions:
    Q1: What is a party?

    Q2: Why does the working class need a political party? What is the principal purpose of a revolutionary party?
    Q3: What is ‘spontaneity’?
    Q4: Is the working class spontaneously socialist?
    Q5: Is the job of the party to organize the spontaneous struggle or to divert it?
    Q6: If the working class must be led by a party, how does that conform with Karl Marx’s statement that “the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself”?
    Q7: How should a revolutionary party be organised?

    Q8: What is a ‘professional revolutionary’?
    Q9: What should the obligations of party membership be?
    Q10: What is meant by ‘democratic centralism’?
    Q11: Can democracy and centralism contradict each other?

    The Revolutionary Programme

    Reading:
    The Transitional Programme (Trotsky)
    On the Backwardness of the American Workers (Trotsky)
    Whither France? (Trotsky)
    Once Again, Whither France? (Trotsky)

    Questions:
    Q1: What is a programme? Is it an essential feature of a revolutionary party?
    Q2: What was the ‘minimum maximum programme’?

    Q3: What is a ‘transitional programme’?
    Q4: Does the transitional programme abolish the minimum programme altogether?
    Q5: Are transitional demands ‘unrealistic’? Should demands be raised that are far ahead of the existing consciousness of the masses?

    Q5: Can transitional demands be met within the capitalist system? Do transitional demands apply in non-revolutionary situations?
    Q6: Is the Transitional Programme valid today?


    II Fundamentals of Marxism

    What is Marxism?

    Reading:
    The Three Sources and Component Parts of Marxism (Lenin)
    Karl Marx (Lenin)
    The German Ideology (Part I) (Marx)

    Questions:
    Q1: What are the component elements of Marxism and how do they relate to each other?

    Q2: What is philosophical materialism?
    Q3: What is the dialectic? How do these concepts relate to Karl Marx’s theory of history?
    Q4: Is Marxism more than a method of prediction and perspective?
    Q5: Is Marxism a science? What should we make of Lenin’s statement that Marxism is ‘all-powerful because it is true’?
    Q6: Is Marxism a closed or finished system?
    Q7: Can Marxism be developed to take account of new and changing phenomena, and, if so, how?

    Marxist Political Economy

    Reading:
    On Marx’s Capital (Engels)
    Wages, Prices and Profit (Marx)
    Karl Marx (Lenin) - section on Political Economy
    Anti-Duhring, Part II - Political Economy (Engels)
    Das Kapital
    Karl Marx’s Theory of Crisis (Richard Brenner, Credit Crunch:A Marxist Analysis)

    Questions:
    Q1: Why does Marx begin his analysis with an examination of the commodity?

    Q2: How does he distinguish between the use-value and the exchange value of a commodity?
    Q3: What is the source of value and how can this be proved? What is labour-power?
    Q4: What is exploitation? Are workers paid the true value of their labour-power?
    Q5: What is wrong with the slogan ‘A Fair Day’s Work for a Fair Day’s Pay’? How does capitalism conceal its exploitation of the worker?
    Q6: Can capitalism continue forever?

    Marxism and Philosophy: The Materialist Dialectic.

    Reading:
    The ABC of the Materialist Dialectic, from In Defence of Marxism (Trotsky)
    Anti-Duhring (Engels)
    An Introduction to the Logic of Marxism (George Novak)
    Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy (Engels)

    Questions:
    Q1: What is formal logic? What are its limitations?

    Q2: What are the laws of dialectical logic?
    Q3: Does dialectics abolish formal logic?
    Q4: Give applied examples of the main laws of the dialectic from a) nature, b) politics, c) personal life. Is the dialectic intrinsic to the Marxist method?
    Q5: What is materialism? What is idealism?

    Q6: Can the existence of matter independent of our sense-perceptions be proved - and if so, how?
    Q7: Is it possible to adopt a consistently materialist point of view without the dialectic?
    Q8: Is it possible to adopt a consistently dialectical approach without materialism?
    Q9: What does the Materialist Dialectic tell us about the relationship between human beings and history, the individual and society, the objective and subjective factors in human development and the relationship between the party and the working class?


    The Transition from Capitalism to Communism:

    Reading:
    State and Revolution (Lenin)
    Critique of the Gotha Programme (Marx)
    The Degenerated Revolution - chapter 1, the transition from capitalism to communism (Workers Power/IWG).
    Socialism: The transition to Communism

    Questions:
    Q1: What is a state?

    Q2: What have been the historic reasons for the existence of the state?
    Q3: Is it possible to ‘abolish’ the state? What is meant by the ‘smashing’ of the state?
    Q4: What is meant by the dictatorship of the proletariat?
    Q5: To what extent must capitalist norms persist under the dictatorship of the proletariat?
    Q6: What is a semi-state? can socialist construction be carried out without a semi-state?
    Q7: What are the economic foundations for the withering away of the state?
    Q8: Will there be distinct stages in the development of a communist society?
    Q9: Can the transition to socialism be blocked and reversed and if so, how?

    Marxism and the family:

    Reading:
    The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the state (Engels)
    Marxism and Women’s’ Liberation (LRCI)

    Questions:
    Q1: Can Marxism explain the existence of women’s’ oppression?
    Q2: Does the oppression of women pose a problem that cannot be answered by historical materialism, with its stress on social relations of production and class antagonism?
    Q3: Explain the origins and social roots of the oppression of women, youth and sexual minorities. Why does Engels identify the origins of both the state and the patriarchal family in the break-up of the primitive commune? Does subsequent anthropological work confirm or undermine Engels’ position?
    Q4: Why did the Communist International insist that there is no distinct ‘woman question’ separate from the class struggle as a whole? Do working class men benefit from the oppression of women?
    Q5: Should we support the demand for wages for housework? What are the programmatic errors of the feminists and the ‘economists’ and how can a revolutionary programme against women’s’ oppression be developed today?

    III FUNDAMENTALS OF LENINISM

    [FONT=Calibri]1. [/FONT]Lenin’s critique of economism

    Reading:
    Where to Begin (Lenin)
    What is to be Done? (Lenin)
    Socialism and Black Liberation chapter 4 (Workers Power)

    Questions:
    Q1: What is ‘economism’?
    Q2: What is the significance for Marxists of correctly appraising the relationship between spontaneity and consciousness?
    Q3: What for Lenin is the spontaneously arising ideology of the working class movement?
    Q4: What are the limits of trade union ideas and trade union politics?
    Q5: What did Lenin mean by describing trade unionism as ‘the ideological enslavement of the workers to the bourgeoisie’?
    Q6: If, as Lenin says, ‘class political consciousness must be brought to the workers from without’, how can this accord with Karl Marx’s dictum that ‘the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself’?

    Q6: What is the distinction between propaganda and agitation? What should the role of the socialist intelligentsia be in the revolutionary party?
    Q7: What is there in common between economism and
    i) terrorism, ii) separatism, iii) processism.


    Lenin and the National Question

    Reading:
    The Right of Nations to Self-Determination (Lenin)
    Critical Remarks on the National Question (Lenin)
    Preliminary draft theses on the national and colonial questions (Lenin for second congress of the Communist International)
    Marxism and the National Question (Dave Stockton, Trotskyist International 12)
    Bolsheviks and the National Question (Dave Stockton, Trotskyist International 13)
    On the Sino-Japanese war (Leon Trotsky)

    Questions:
    Q1: Why is the national question a bourgeois question? Why does it have a ‘negative character’ for Marxists (Lenin).
    Q2: Why do Marxists support certain national struggles and not others? What principles govern that support?
    Q3: How can the proletariat fight for national ie bourgeois rights whilst maintaining its class independence?
    Q4: What is a nation?

    Q5: What do Marxists mean by the right of nations to self-determination?
    Q6: When should Marxists support demands for national autonomy and/or independence? Should Marxists ever support separation by nationalities from workers’ states?

    Lenin’s theory of Imperialism.

    Reading:
    Imperialism, highest stage of capitalism (Lenin)
    Imperialism and the decline of capitalism (Michae Proebsting, Credit Crunch: A Marxist Analysis)

    Questions:
    Q1: What for Lenin are the distinguishing features of imperialism as a distinct phase of capitalism? Why does he call it the highest stage?

    Q2: Is imperialism a policy or a system?
    Q3: Does imperialism develop the colonial world or strangle it?
    Q4: Can we speak of ‘imperialism’ today when most of the former colonies have won political independence?
    Q5: What are the political consequences of Lenin’s theory?
    Q6: What is the ‘labour aristocracy’?
    Q7: In what sense does imperialism prepare the world for socialism?

    Lenin and the Struggle against Imperialist war.

    Reading:
    Peace Utopias (Luxemburg)
    The War and Russian Social Democracy (Lenin)
    War and the Fourth International (Trotsky, Writings 1933-34)
    Lenin and Imperialist War (Trotsky - Writings 1938-39)
    Trotsky, Writings 1939-40, pages 321-3, pages 331-8, pages 342-3, pages 344-6.

    Questions:
    Q1: What are the fundamental causes of war in the imperialist epoch?

    Q2: Are Marxists pacifists, and if not, why not?
    Q3: Under what circumstances would Marxists support a war?
    Q4: What is revolutionary defeatism?
    Q5: What is revolutionary defencism?
    Q6: How would the tactics of Marxists in an imperialist country differ, i) in a war against another imperialist country and ii) in a war against a colony or workers’ state?
    Q7: What is the connection between imperialism and reformism?
    Q8: How does the pacifism of reformists differ from the pacifism of workers and youth?
    Q9: Do Marxists support draft evasion or conscientious objection?
    Q10: What is the ‘proletarian military policy’ and is it a development or abandonment of Lenin’s policy? Q11: Do Marxists support the slogan of ‘disarmament’?
    Q12: Do Marxists support conscription?

    IV THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION.

    Bolshevik, Menshevik and Trotskyist concepts of the impending revolution

    Reading:
    Trotsky - an Introduction (Richard Brenner - Chapters 1, 2 and 6)
    Permanent Revolution (Trotsky)
    Three conceptions of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky, Writings 1939-40
    1905 and the Origin of the Theory of Permanent Revolution’ Fifth International Journal Volume 1, Issue 3)
    Lenin, Trotsky and the Permanent Revolution’ (Paul Morris, Trotskyist International no.18)

    Questions:
    Q1: What is a bourgeois revolution?

    Q2: Why were all the factions of the Russian Marxists agreed that the coming revolution would be bourgeois?
    Q3: What were the principal questions that were impelling Tsarist Russia towards revolution?
    Q4: What was the main difference between Lenin and the Mensheviks on the character of the revolution?
    Q5: What did Lenin mean by the ‘democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry?’. Why did Trotsky regard this slogan as inadequate?
    Q6: Did Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution involve underestimating the peasantry or ignoring the bourgeois character of the revolution?

    1905 - The dress rehearsal

    Reading:
    1905 (Trotsky)
    Two tactics of social democracy in the democratic revolution (Lenin)

    Questions:
    Q1: What forces and what illusions were exhausted and weakened in the 1905 revolution?

    Q2: What is the significance of the soviets which emerged in 1905 and can they only arise spontaneously?
    Q3: What was the nature of the Bolsheviks’ initial sectarian error in 1905 and what caused it?
    Q4: What did 1905 show us about the role and significance of the General Strike as a tactic?
    Q5: Should the Petrograd Soviet have launched an armed uprising?
    Q6: Were the Bolsheviks wrong to launch a rising in Moscow, as Plekhanov later claimed?

    1917 - from February to October

    Reading:
    Trotsky - an Introduction (chapter 1)
    The April Theses (Lenin)
    Can the Bolsheviks retain state power? (Lenin)

    Questions:
    Q1: In what sense were the April Theses a break with the ‘Old Bolshevism’?
    Q2: What was dual power?
    Q3: Why did Lenin argue against an insurrection in July?
    Q4: How did the Bolsheviks use the method of the united front as regards the Provisional Government and how important was this in winning over the masses to Bolshevism?
    Q5: What were the implications of the Bolshevik slogans for ‘Constituent Assembly’, ‘Bread, Peace and Land’ and ‘All Power to the Soviets’?
    Q6: What was significant about the Bolsheviks’ response to the Kornilov coup?
    Q7: What are the conditions for the success of an armed insurrection?
    Q8: If Lenin had not returned to Russia in the spring of 1917, would there have been an October Revolution? What does this tell us about the role of the individual and political leadership in history?

    Did Lenin lead to Stalin?

    Reading:
    Stalinism and Bolshevism (Trotsky, Writings 1937)
    Trotsky - an Introduction (chapters 4 and 5)
    Defending the Workers’ Dictatorship
    In Defence of October (Dave Stockton, Trotskyist International 09)

    Questions:
    Q1: Did Lenin’s stress on a centralised and disciplined party lead directly to Stalin’s one-party state?

    Q2: Did the failure of socialist construction in Russia prove the Mensheviks right?
    Q3: Could there have been an alternative, peaceful, parliamentary outcome to the events of 1917?
    Q4: What were the main differences between the regime of the Bolsheviks before and after the rise of Stalin?
    Q5: What should we make of the following measures of the Bolsheviks in power: i) the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, ii) the suppression of other parties, iii) the repression of the Kronstadt rising in 1921, iv) the Ban on Factions in 1921?
    Q6: What measures must the working class adopt to avoid the bureaucratic degeneration of 21st century revolutions?
    Q7: Did Lenin lead to Stalin?

    IV: The Revolutionary Army

    The Military Writings of Leon Trotsky (Vol.1,2,3,4,5)
    Terrorism and Communism

    ~

    Orthodox Trotskyist Traditions

    Ted Grant
    Within the Trotskyist movement there are some factions which hold divergent views on what I refer to as the “core principals”. These sub-tendencies were created out of specific material and social conditions and represent a development which not all Trotskyist strata may codon. In regards to Ted Grant this is shown in his attempts to modernize revolutionary Marxist theory for the modern century; his theory on “Deep Entrism” (which is promoted by the International Marxist Tendency), heavy importance on United Front tactics, and focus on militant labor parties caused controversy within the international Trotskyist movement. The Granite tendency is, most ably, represented by the Committee for a Workers International (C.W.I).

    Unless otherwise noted, for this section I have based my resources from the Socialist Appeal website.

    Level 1: Basic Orientation, Methods, Tradition and History

    Interview With Ted Grant on Militant - Fred Weston
    On the Mass Organizations - Ted Grant
    Where to Begin? - Lenin
    A very short and helpful essay on Marxist tactics. It briefly discusses the function of a party newspaper, in addition to basic tactics that a revolutionary Marxist organization will need to be successful. Correct tactics are of fundamental importance, given that sectarian ultra-leftism and opportunism remain a common problem in our time.
    Our Program - Lenin

    Level 2: Our Tendency's History
    Origins of British Trotskyism - Rob Sewell
    History of British Trotskyism - Ted Grant
    Majority Resolution on Walton Election - By the Taafe Group in Militant
    Minority Resolution on Walton Election - By Opposition led by Ted Grant
    The New Turn: A Threat to Forty Years' Work
    40 Years After Militant's Founding: How It Was Built and How It Was Destroyed - Rob Sewell
    Genesis of Pabloism by the Sparticist League
    The First Ten Years of American Communism by Carl Feingold

    Level 3: Traditions of Our Tendency
    Against Bureaucratic Centralism
    Problems of Work Within the Mass Organizations
    Problems of Entrism - Ted Grant

    Level 4: Principles of Orientation in Our Tendency
    Marxism versus Sectarianism - Alan Woods
    Replies to Luis Oviedo - Alan Woods (Parts Two, Three, Four and Five)

    Level 5: Requirements of Professional Conduct
    On Democratic Centralism and the Regime - Trotsky
    Statement of the PB on the Expulsion from WIL of Healey (1943)

    Level 6: Classical Orientation
    Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder - Lenin
    The Trade-Unions in the Epoch of Imperialist Decay - Leon Trotsky

    Level 7: Lenin, Trotsky, and Bolshevism - Laying the Foundation for Our Methods
    Bolshevism: The Road to Revolution - Alan Woods

    Level 8: Conduct and Clarity Amidst Crisis
    One Step Forward, Two Steps Back - Lenin

    Level 9: Refuting the Slanders
    The Myth of Lenin's Concept of the Party - Hal Draper (Tends to be overly academic at times, but generally helpful nonetheless)

    ~
    Unorthodox ("Third Camp") Trotskyism

    Tony Cliff
    Continuing the trend of ideological development, Tony Cliff pushed several radically different theories on the Stalinist (Marxist-Leninist) camp. Most famously were his writings on Bureaucratic Collectivism, The Permanent Revolution Deflected, and his advancement on Degenerated and Deformed Workers states and State Capitalism, as well as his endorsement of the Permanent Arms Economy, helped form a distinct trend within the Trotskyist world. In addition to this Tony also was prominent in exposing the social roots of reformism.

    The “Cliffite” tendency is represented in modern times by, most notably, International Socialist Tendency. To understand some of their positions see comrade Cliff’s selected works[FONT=&quot][1][/FONT]:

    All that glitters is not gold” (1947)
    State Capitalism in Russia” (1955)
    The Class Nature of Peoples Democracies” (1948)
    Bureaucratic Collectivism-A Critique” (1949)
    Economic Roots of Reformism” (1957)
    Perspectives for the Permanent War Economy” (1957)
    Trotsky On Substitutionism” (1960)
    Incomes Policy, Legislation and Show Stewards” with Colin Barker (1967)
    France: The Struggle Goes On” (1968)
    Lenin” (1975)
    All Power to the Soviets” (1976)
    The Revolution Besieged, 1917-1923” (1978)
    Trotskyism After Trotsky” (1999)
    A World to Win” autobiography (2000)
    Marxism at the Millennium” (2000)
    ~

    League for the Revolutionary Party (Communist Organization for the Fourth International)
    Separate from the "Cliffite" tendency is a break-away Fourth International organization dedicated to re-forging the Fourth International under "unorthodox" lines; heavily dedicated to critiquing Stalinism (Marxism-Leninism"), their prime work concerning such a subject can be found below.

    "The Life and Death of Stalinism"

    ~
    Post-Trotskyism (Marcyism)
    Post-Trotskyism is most often identified as Marcyism (although this isn’t the exclusive case). This sub-tendency of Trotskyism more often than not still embraces some key aspects of orthodox Trotskyism, like transitional demands and the theory of Permanent Revolution, while holding that Trotskyism has its flaws.

    Notable Post-Trostskyist groups include the World Workers Party (WWP), Solidarity as well as the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL).

    Unlike in Orthodox Trotskyism where the view of Stalin’s Russia is that of the victory of counter-revolution, Post-Trotskyists often promote a line which critiques Marxism-Leninism (“Stalinism”) but upholds the accomplishments of the Soviet, and others, state. In relation to the WWP and PSL there is some controversy in Orthodox Trotskyist circles as to their legitimacy as belonging within the Trotskyist tradition at all as they are known to support countries such as North Korea, Vietnam, and China as examples of socialistic perseverance.

    In compiling this section of the guide I have taken resources primary from the WWP but denote when I have linked from other sites.

    China: The Struggle Within” (1973)
    The Class Character of the USSR“ (1977)
    Eurocommunism: New form of reformism” (1977)
    Imperialism and the Crisis in the Socialist Camp” (1979)
    High Tech, Low Pay” (1986)
    Perestroika: A Marxist Critique” (1990)
    Soviet Socialism: Utopian or Scientific?” (1992)
    The Rank and File Strategy: Building A Socialist Movement in the U.S” (2000)-From: Solidarity
    Socialist Organization Today” (2006)-From: Solidarity (US)

    [FONT=&quot][1][/FONT] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ygael_Gluckstein
    Last edited by TheGodlessUtopian; 3rd March 2013 at 23:07.
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    UPDATE: Mistake concerning the ideological orientation of the "Cliffite" and "Grannite" tendency has been rectified thanks to comrade Lucretia. If any other mistakes are found please contact me or comment.
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    I think there should be an advanced reading section for each topic, and Trotsky's autobiography, all five volumes of military works, and 'Terrorism and Communism' should be included in the advanced sections.
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    I think there should be an advanced reading section for each topic, and Trotsky's autobiography, all five volumes of military works, and 'Terrorism and Communism' should be included in the advanced sections.
    I think an advanced section would be wonderful, however, I am unsure of what materials would go in each section as I am not incredibly familiar with such kinds of texts; an experienced Trotskyist oriented comrade would have to be of assistance on this and take the initiative.

    I will update the guide with his autobiography and his military works. Those are an excellent selection.
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    UPDATE: Thread was edited so as to include Trotsky's military writings (all five volumes) in addition to "Terrorism and Communism" and his autobiography.
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    Are we not including Posadas as an unorthodox thinker?
    How are we to unite the proletariat if we cannot even unite ourselves?

    Workers parties of the world, UNITE!

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    Are we not including Posadas as an unorthodox thinker?
    No idea who that is. The guide above is not a end in itself. If you think a theoretician should be included give an overview of his contributions, including where he fit in exactly among the Trotskyist spectrum, along with a list of his relevant works and I will add him if he adds enough to the guide. However, please keep in mind that this is a study guide not a encyclopedia, so the purpose here isn't to list out everyone of nominal fame belonging to [tendency X] but rather to give people the best possible study guide when going into a tendency.
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    Is Cliff Orthodox Trotskyism?
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    Is Cliff Orthodox Trotskyism?
    Would you consider it Unorthodox? If so, why?
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    Two suggestions: I think Trotsky´s History of the Russan Revolution belongs in a study guide on Trotskyism. There isn´t a better volume out there on the russian revolution IMO.

    If marcyism is presented as "post- trotskyism" I think it´s fair to include some Platypus material as well. Platypus has it´s theoretical origins somewhat in Trotskyism but can´t be considered trotskyist by any means. Of course Platypus incidentally represent (the complete) political political flipside to the marcyite orgs.
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    Two suggestions: I think Trotsky´s History of the Russan Revolution belongs in a study guide on Trotskyism. There isn´t a better volume out there on the russian revolution IMO.
    What does it have to do with Trotskyism proper, however? Does it expound upon Trotsky's theories any?

    If marcyism is presented as "post- trotskyism" I think it´s fair to include some Platypus material as well. Platypus has it´s theoretical origins somewhat in Trotskyism but can´t be considered trotskyist by any means. Of course Platypus incidentally represent (the complete) political political flipside to the marcyite orgs.
    As I said a few posts back: if you think a theoretician/tendency should be included then compile a study segment to their history and works along with a description on their beliefs.
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    What does it have to do with Trotskyism proper, however? Does it expound upon Trotsky's theories any?



    As I said a few posts back: if you think a theoretician/tendency should be included then compile a study segment to their history and works along with a description on their beliefs.
    Well for one thing it is so fucking good that it would be a shame to leave it out. It gives a nice perspective on Trotsky's views on history, as well as revolution. I think The Lessons of October should be included somewhere. Also there are a number of excellent pamphlets and articles produced by the Spartacists, including: Why the USSR is not Capitalist; Lenin and the Vanguard Party; The Genesis of Pabloism, and The Stalin School of Falsification, Revisited. I don't think any of these are available as online links, although the IBT has TGP on their website.
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    Well for one thing it is so fucking good that it would be a shame to leave it out. It gives a nice perspective on Trotsky's views on history, as well as revolution. I think The Lessons of October should be included somewhere. Also there are a number of excellent pamphlets and articles produced by the Spartacists, including: Why the USSR is not Capitalist; Lenin and the Vanguard Party; The Genesis of Pabloism, and The Stalin School of Falsification, Revisited. I don't think any of these are available as online links, although the IBT has TGP on their website.
    I'll include the History of the Russian Revolution in the beginning section. However I am hesitant to include materials which the reader cannot immediately study; I suppose there could be a reference section with the links to such documents taking the form of purchasing links (stores) but I am trying to keep the "main material" in free to digest form so as to convenience the user.

    However, I did find the document "The Genesis of Pabolism" on the web. Before I include it on the study guide proper though I need a brief description of its contents along with where it would be inserted (which section).
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    UPDATE: Thread edited so as to include "History of the Russian Revolution".
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    TGU: Could you explain what you mean when you say "Orthodox Trotskyism"?
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    TGU: Could you explain what you mean when you say "Orthodox Trotskyism"?
    Well, depending on who you ask you will find several different answers to this. But to me I always defined "Orthodox Trotskyism" as everything which encompasses the core tenets of Trotskyism without veering off into Marcyite territory. So this is to say international groups like the Committee for a Workers International and more local groups Socialist Action, Socialist Alternative (though both are part of international parties but the idea I am trying to convey is the politics they represent) and others. Whether or not groups like the SWP or Spartacus League can be considered Orthodox or unorthodox is up to debate. And while I am sure there are segments which I am confusing and conflating it is precisely through this discussion I hope a consensus for the purpose of this guide can be reached.
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    If marcyism is presented as "post- trotskyism" I think it´s fair to include some Platypus material as well. Platypus has it´s theoretical origins somewhat in Trotskyism but can´t be considered trotskyist by any means. Of course Platypus incidentally represent (the complete) political political flipside to the marcyite orgs.
    So platypus are a bunch of Shactmanites, bunch of priviledged grad students who follows the path of Shactman.....
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    Well, depending on who you ask you will find several different answers to this. But to me I always defined "Orthodox Trotskyism" as everything which encompasses the core tenets of Trotskyism without veering off into Marcyite territory. So this is to say international groups like the Committee for a Workers International and more local groups Socialist Action, Socialist Alternative (though both are part of international parties but the idea I am trying to convey is the politics they represent) and others. Whether or not groups like the SWP or Spartacus League can be considered Orthodox or unorthodox is up to debate. And while I am sure there are segments which I am confusing and conflating it is precisely through this discussion I hope a consensus for the purpose of this guide can be reached.
    Okay. I'll have to think about that some more. Would it be possible to include the polemic between the Northist SEP and Frank Brenner/Alex Steiner? It largely concerns the SEP's abandonment of dialectics and Trotskyism in general. See Marxism Without Its Head or Heart under the "polemics" section. I think their writings in general greatly contribute to the importance of Marxist theory in the 21st century.
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    socialist organizer is part of the 4th international ICR and as far as I can tell we actually participate in the whole class struggle by organizing things such as student actions, without being sectarian, so as far as I can tell we're "orthodox" (that doesn't even mean anything) Bolshevists, which would imply Trotskyism, seeing as Trotsky carried on the Bolshevik tradition and died for it, leaving behind tons of theory.
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    Okay. I'll have to think about that some more. Would it be possible to include the polemic between the Northist SEP and Frank Brenner/Alex Steiner? It largely concerns the SEP's abandonment of dialectics and Trotskyism in general. See Marxism Without Its Head or Heart under the "polemics" section. I think their writings in general greatly contribute to the importance of Marxist theory in the 21st century.
    I am undecided, to be honest. I am not trying to foster a study guide which acts as a proxy force mitigating the conflict between the untold number of leftist sects (no offense meant). Rather my efforts here are more directed solely to give beginners an understanding of each major Trotskyist trend; the only problem I have with your statement regarding your article suggestion is that it implies your group is pushing forward a line which is more "in touch" with the 21t century when other groups are operating and adapting under similar auspices. I do not deny that your group has, from what I've heard, interesting theory but I am saying that if I should include your suggestion it would be under a new category ("Modern Trotskyism"), a category which is, I believe, objectively false as other Trotskyist groups are also expounding upon their theory for the modern age.

    Once more I must stress that I am attempting to be as objective as possible. I do not claim to have all the definite answers nor am I trying to kindle sectarian sentiments. Simply put I am simply trying to cover all the bases in a manner which is of great help to newcomers.
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    In an semi-related manner several comrades have suggested introducing segments to "Platypus"and "Posadas" into the Unorthodox "Post-Trotskyism" segment. To this I will say that the original reason as to why I included post-trotskyism on this study guide was because it traced its origins to Orthodox Trotskyism while retaining some of its virtues; more to the point I included it because it (Marcyism) was not a large enough tendency to warrant its own study guide-however, since these two aforementioned comrades have introduced these two new figures I think it is appropriate to fashion a new study guide for "Post-Trotskyism"; one which, if comrades create their own segments, I will post up separate from this guide while removing, in this one, any mention of Marcyite, Platypus, and Posadas thinkers (so as to keep the size manageable).
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