Home Coming: The End of the Trotsky Movement

By Paul Mattick

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(1904 - 1981)

Paul Mattick Sr. (March 13, 1904 – February 7, 1981) was a Marxist political writer and social revolutionary, whose thought can be placed within the council communist and left communist traditions. Throughout his life, Mattick continually criticized Bolshevism, Vladimir Lenin and Leninist organizational methods, describing their political legacy as "serving as a mere ideology to justify the rise of modified capitalist (state-capitalist) systems, which were [...] controlled by way of an authoritarian state". (From: Wikipedia.org.)

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Home Coming

Published: in International Council Correspondence Vol. 1, no.2, October 1934, pp 26-28.
Source: Antonie Pannekoek Archives
Transcribed: by Graham Dyer

A short time back the Militant expressed quite a lot of pity for some of the Lovestone group who were trying to find their way back to the Socialist Party. A few weeks ago, too, they became vehement in complaints against “the treacherous Third International” because it started a United Front from the top with the Socialist Parties, with a proposal of merging the two organizations. “The Stalinists are liquidating the Communist Movement”, cried the Unser Wort, the Trotsky organ in France. “Down with such a merger. It will weaken, not strengthen the revolutionary movement”.

Then came a surprising move: the liquidation of the Trotsky group in France, and the offer of the American Trotskyites to enter the American Workers' Party. Yesterday, the liquidation of independent Communist parties was open betrayal of the revolutionary cause. Today in France, these same people subject themselves to the discipline of the Socialist Party, and in the United States merge with the petty bourgeois American Workers' Party.

These events suit us fine. The common sense displayed by the “leaders” is to be congratulated. It helps clear up the real situation in the labor movement. The revolutionary workers know now by actuality that behind the “revolutionary” slogans nothing else was concealed but the old labor fakery of the Socialist Party. These are times of stress for “Labor's Leaders”. It is dangerous now to hide behind revolutionary slogans. There is the perspective, too, of the eventual destruction of the old labor movement, and with it the income and prestige of “Leaders”. Faced with this common danger, the petty differences between organizations are forgotten; unity on the basis of “status quo” is established, and the professional revolutionists are saved from what they call “The Horrible Reaction of Fascism”. We will be good; no more revolutionary slogans; give us a chance; fascism is not necessary; labor and only labor, under a safe and sane leadership, can oil the troubled sea of economic chaos!

“Comrades”, calls the National Conference of the Communist League of France, “join us in the ranks of the Socialist Party for the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. Without renouncing our past and our ideas, but also without any mental reservations of sectarianism, we speak out what is. It is necessary to enter the Socialist Party, not for the sake of exhibitions nor of experiences, but for serious work under the banner of Marxism”. J.P. Cannon, in the Militant #39, writes: “Prior to the decision of the conference to take this step, the National Committees of the Communist League of America decided by a majority of eight to one, to recommend this course of the French comrades, despite the great dangers and difficulties involved in such a drastic reorientation. We recommended this course with full confidence that they would remain true to their banner and carry it with them into the Socialist Party”.

The above, in plain English, is a command to join the party of social chauvinists; to join with the murderers of Liebknecht and Luxemburg; to join with the Otto Bauers, the Thomases and Vandervelts. The members of the Communist League in France who could not stomach this “reorientation” were expelled. Do the Trotskyites really believe that this “turn” will speed “social convulsions” and lead to a “radicalization of the masses”?; that in this “revolutionary rise” the Socialist Party will fight for the “Fourth International” and for Communism? Is this why they “orientate” from the “wing” of the Communist Party to follow at the “tail” of the Socialist Party? They don't!! The new orientation of the S.P. is based upon the thesis that the Socialist Movement in Austria and Germany fell because it was too revolutionary; that the S.P. must drop its revolutionary slogans, win the middle class, gain power and in that way make fascism impossible. The S.P. is offering to perform the task of the fascists themselves, and in this enterprise finds help from the Third International and its “wings”, which in reality cannot be distinguished from the Noskes and Scheidemanns.

We have said that the old labor movement reaches from Noske to Trotsky. It has departed only temporary. The departure was only a family fight; now they are united again. The “Left Leadership” of the old labor movement have gone over to the petty bourgeoisie. They have come home not to die, but to eat. In order to eat, these fakers offer themselves to the capitalist class as a way out that is better than fascism. In doing so, they become, in the words of Trotsky: “the party of counter-revolutionary despair,” They prove to the workers by these zigzags that they are cheap demagogues, servants of capitalism, enemies of the revolution who live by betrayal. They prove by deeds that this “Bolshevik Leninist kernel” is as moldy and worm-eaten as the other peas in the pod. They prove that the Socialist Party, Communist Party and Left Opposition have always been afflicted with a capitalist ideology. They prove that they are revolutionists in name, constitutionalists in deed. They fight with their flag unfurled, and must be crushed with the capitalist traditions of yesterday. They are fakers again making history, struggling in a feeble effort to ward off the dialectic movement of reality. Meanwhile, the class struggle deepens - real revolutionists must carry on!

It has come to our notice that the Weisbord group, another wing of the Bolsheviks, who have “adhered” to the Trotsky movement internationally while opposing the Left Opposition in America, have repudiated Trotsky and his whole movement on the basis of this new orientation.

From : Marxists.org


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