Duncan Hallas

Against the Stream

The Origins of the Fourth Internationalist Movement


First published in International Socialism (1st series), No.53, October-December 1972.
Downloaded from REDS – Die Roten.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The International Socialist organisation derives ultimately from the Fourth Internationalist movement. It recognises the impossibility of purely national “roads to socialism” and the necessity for the recreation of a revolutionary international. Immense difficulties stand in the way. A good deal can be learned about these, and the possibilities of overcoming them, by an assessment of the first great attempt, Trotsky’s struggle to build a revolutionary alternative to Stalinism and Social Democracy from 1933 onwards. The sequel, the political decline and disintegration of the Fourth Internationalist movement, will be discussed in a subsequent article.


The August 4th of the Communist International

An organisation which was not roused by the thunder of fascism and which submits docilely to such outrageous acts of bureaucracy demonstrates thereby that it is dead and cannot be revived ... In all our subsequent work it is necessary to take as our point of departure the historical collapse of the official Communist International

(Trotsky: It is Necessary to Build Communist Parties and an International Anew)

The movement for a Fourth International was born out of a catastrophic defeat for the working class.

In January 1933 Hitler came to power and destroyed, in a matter of weeks, the strongest labour movement in the world. He did so without resistance. The collapse of the world’s biggest social-democratic party was to be expected. It was a continuation of the collapse of the international social democracy on 4 August 1914. The collapse of the German Communist Party, the largest party in the Communist International outside the USSR, was a different matter altogether.

The point was not simply that the party had been defeated. It was that it had not made any attempt to fight. Its extreme verbal radicalism had gone hand in hand with political passivity. Since 1928-29 the German Party, together with all the other Comintern sections, had pursued the ultra-left policies of the so-called “Third Period”, the period of “ascending revolutionary struggles”. In practice this had meant that, at a time when fascism was a real and growing danger, especially in Germany, the social democrats were regarded as the main enemy. “In this situation of growing imperialist contradictions and sharpening of the class struggle”, declared the Tenth Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist Intrnational (ECCI) in 1929: “fascism becomes more and more the dominant method of bourgeois rule. In countries where there are strong social-democratic parties, fascism assumes the particular form of social fascism, which to an ever increasing extent serves the bourgeoisie as an instrument for paralysing the activity of the masses in the struggle against the regime of facist dictatorship.” [1]

It followed that there could be no question of attempting to force the mass social-democratic organisations and the trade unions they controlled into a united front against the fascists. They were themselves social fascists. Indeed, added the Eleventh Plenum the ECU (1931), social democracy “is the most active factor and pacemaker in the development of the capitalist state towards fascism”. [2]

This completely false estimate of the nature of fascism and the assumption that “strong social-democratic parties” and a “regime of fascist dictatorship” could co-exist led to the view that already, before Hitler became Chancellor, Germany was fascist. “In Germany ... the Von Papen-Schleicher Government, with the help of the Reichswehr, the Stahlhelm and the national socialists has established a form of fascist dictatorship ...” [3], proclaimed the Twelth Plenum of the ECCI in 1932.

Against these criminal policies, Trotsky and his handful of supporters had written and argued, with increasing urgency and desperation, over the years. Organised from 1930, as the International Communist League, they regarded themselves as a faction of the Comintern which had been bureaucratically excluded by the Stalinists and which was fighting to reform the regime in the USSR and in the Comintern. They firmly rejected any idea of forming a rival party. “All eyes to the Communist Party. We must explain to it. We must convince it.” [4]

The central theme of all their propaganda is summed up in the title of one of Trotsky’s most famous pamphlets For a Workers United Front Against Fascism. But notwithstanding the brilliance and cogency of Trotsky’s arguments the German Party, with its quarter of a million members and its six million votes (in 1932), held fast to its fatal course. It followed Stalin’s disastrous prescriptions of the “Third Period” and “Social Fascism” to the end, notwithstanding some desperate thirteenth hour manoeuvres. It was smashed without resistance along with the “social fascists”, the Trade Unions and each and every one of the indepehdent political, cultural and social organisations created by the German working class over sixty years.

In 1931 Trotsky had described Germany as “the key to the international situation”. “On the development in which the solution of the German crisis develops will depend not only the fate of Germany itself (and that is already a great deal) but the fate of Europe, the destiny of the entire world, for many years to come.” [5] It was an accurate forecast. The defeat of the German working class transformed world politics. The failure of the Communist Party to even attempt resistance was a blow as heavy as the capitulation of the Social Democracy in 1914. It was 4th of August of the Comintern.



In Search of a New Zimmerwald

Up till now these left socialist organisations have held against our refusal to break with the Comintern-and to build independent parties. This sharp disagreement has now been removed by the march of development ... The Bolshevik-Leninists must enter into open discussion with the revolutionary socialist organisations. As the basis for discussion we shall propose the eleven points adopted by our Pre-Conference.

(Trotsky It is Necessary to Build Communist Parties and an International Anew)

In April 1933 the ECCI Presidium met and declared that “Having heard Comrade Heckert’s report on the situation in Germany, the presidium of the ECCI states that the political line and the organisational policy followed by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany, with Comrade Thaelmann at its head, up to the Hitlerite coup, and at the moment when it occurred, was completely correct.” [6] It further resolved that “Despite fascist terror, the revolutionary surge in Germany will rise; the revolutionary resistance of the masses to fascism is bound to grow. The establishment of the open fascist dictatorship, which is destroying all democratic illusions among the masses and liberating them from social democratic influence, is accelerating the rate of Germany’s advance towards the proletarian revolution.” [7]

This lunatic assessment drive Trotsky to conclude that the Cornintern was now irrevocably bankrupt, that new parties and a new international must be created. For some months longer he resisted the view that reform was no longer possible in the USSR itself. In an article explaining the fundamental change in the line of the left opposition he wrote “With favourable internal and, above all, international conditions, the edifice of the workers’ state can be regenerated on the social foundation of the Soviet Union without a new revolution.” [8] Indeed, this view was an essential component of the conception of the USSR as a degenerated workers’ state’ as that conception had hitherto been understood by Trotskyists. In the summer of 1933 this was a problem for the future. The immediate questions were what forces were available to form the basis of the new international and what was to be its programmatic basis?

The ICL had finally formulated its eleven point programme in February 1933, just after Hitler’s victory. It was essentially still the programme of a faction concerned with the orientation and policies of a much larger organisation. It summed up the experience of the left opposition’s ten year struggle against Stalinism in the USSR and internationally.

The International Left Opposition stands on the ground of the first four congresses of the Comintern. This does not mean that it bows before every letter of its decisions, of which many had a purely temporary character and in individual practical consequences have been refuted by subsequent practice. But in all the essential principals (relation to imperialism and to the bourgeois state; the dictatorship of the proletariat; the relation to the peasantry and to all oppressed nations; soviets; work in the trade unions; parliamentarism; the policy of the united front) remain even today the highest expression of proletarian strategy in the epoch of the general crisis of capitalism.

The Left Opposition rejects the revisionist decisions of the 5th and 6th World Congresses and considers necessary a radical restatement of the programme of the Comintern, in which the gold of Marxism has been rendered completely worthless by the centristic alloy.

In accordance with the spirit and the sense of the decisions of the first four world congresses, and in continuation of these decisions, the Left Opposition sets up the following principals, develops them theoretically and carries them through practically:–

1. The Independence of the Proletarian Party, always and under all conditions; condemnation of the Kuo Min Tang policy of 1924-1928; condemnation of the policy of the Anglo-Russian Committee; condemnation of Stalin’s theory of two-class (worker and peasant) parties and the whole practice based on this theory; condemnation of the policy of the Amsterdam Congress in which the Communist party was dissolved in the pacifist swamp.

2. Recognition of the international and thereby of the Permanent character of the Proletarian Revolution: rejection of the theory of socialism in one country as well as of the policy of national bolshevism which complements it in Germany (platform of National Liberation’).

3. Recognition of the Soviet state as a workers state in spite of the growing degeneration of the bureaucratic regime. Unconditional command that every worker defend the soviet state against imperialism as well as against internal counter-revolution.

4. Condemnation of the economic policy of the Stalinist faction both in its stages of economic opportunism in 1923 and 1928 (struggle against “over industrialisation” and staking all on the kulaks), as well as its stage of economic adventurism in 1928 to 1932 (overstretched tempo of industrialisation, thorough going collectivisation, administrative liquidation of the kulaks as a class). Condemnation of the criminal bureaucratic legend that “the soviet state has already entered into socialism”. Recognition of the necessity of a return to the realistic economic policies of Leninism.

5. Recognition of the necessity of systematic communist work in the proletarian mass organisations, particularly in the reformist trade unions, condemnation of the theory and practice of the Red Trade Union organisation in Germany and similar constructions in the other countries.

6. Rejection of the formula of the “Democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry” as a separate regime distinguished from the dictatorship of the proletariat which carries along the peasant and oppressed masses in general behind it, rejection of the anti-Marxist theory of the peaceful “growing over” of the democratic dictatorship into the socialist one.

7. Recognition of the necessity of mobilising the masses under transitional slogans corresponding to the concrete situation in each country, and particularly under democratic slogans insofar as it is a question of struggle against feudal relations, national oppression or different varieties of open imperialistic dictatorship (fascism, bonapartism, etc.).

8. Recognition of the necessity of a developed united front policy with respect to the mass organisations of the working class, both of trade union and political character, including the social democracy as a party. Condemnation of the ultimatist slogan “only from below”, which in practice means a refusal of the united front and consequently the refusal to create soviets. Condemnation of the opportunistic application of the united front policy as in the Anglo-Russian Committee (bloc with the leaders without the masses and against the masses); double condemnation of the policy of the present German Central Committee, which combines the ultimatist slogan “only from below” with opportunistic practice on the occasion of parliamentary pacts with the leaders of the Social Democracy.

9. Rejection of the theory of social fascism and of the whole – bound up with it, as serving Fascism on the one hand and the Social Democracy on the other.

10. The struggle for the regrouping of the revolutionary forces of the world’s working class under the banner of International Communism. Recognition of the necessity of the creation of a genuine Communist International capable of applying the principles enumerated above.

11. Recognition of party democracy not only in words but also in fact; ruthless condemnation of the Stalinist plebiscitary regime (gagging the will and the thought of the party, the rule of the usurpers, deliberate suppression of information from the party, etc).

The fundamental principles enumerated above, which are of basic importance for the strategy of the proletariat in the present period, place the Left Opposition in a position of irreconcilable hostility to the Stalinist fraction which currently dominates the USSR and the CI. The recognition of these principles on the basis of the decisions of the first four congresses of the Comintern, is an indispensable condition for the acceptance of single organisations, groups and persons into the composition of the International Left Opposition. [9]

The actual strength of the forces at the disposal of the ICL at this stage was tiny. The Spanish group, which had in its ranks the nationally known former CP leaders Nin and Andrade, was operating in a country where a pre-revolutionary situation was developing. But it was soon to defect to unite with the right wing communist group led by Maurin to form the Workers Party of Marxist Unity (POUM) which was to claim 7,000 members by the end of 1935. The price of this amalgamation was the acceptance of the Maurinist position, which was also that of the Comintern, that the coming Spanish revolution was a bourgeois democratic one, that the proletarian revolution was not on the agenda. This finalised the break between Nin and Trotsky which had occurred in 1934 on the issue of entry into the Socialist Party. Trotsky had no choice. The POUM’s perspective was essentially the same as that which had led the Chinese CP to disaster in 1925-27. “A false point of departure during a revolution”, he wrote, “is invariably translated in the course of events into the language of’ defeat.” It was yet another accurate forecast.

The fact remained that the ICL had lost the only European section which was in a position to intervene in a real revolutionary movement in the immediate future. It’s largest section. the Greek Archeo-Marxist organisation which claimed 2,000 members in 1930, was not really Trotskyist and, after a period of denouncing the allegedly “centrist” tendencies of the ICL, broke away to the right. [10]

The most important remaining group, the French, had not more than 200 members, riven by the rival factions of Naville and Molinier and effectively isolated from the working class. There were small groups in Belgium, Britain, Poland and Czechoslovakia and for the rest only emigrés, individuals or tiny coteries.

In Asia the Chinese Trotskyists, dispersed and persecuted by the Kuomintang and the Stalinists alike, could not develop a real organisation in the face of the repression. In the rest of the continent there were at best, a few small groups of intellectuals. The Vietnamese, later to form a fairly large group, were at this stage still emigrés in Paris.

Africa was a blank apart from a group in the Union of South Africa. The available literature does not reflect much activity in South America at this time. Only in the USA was there a real nucleus.

The American Trotskyists were to form for the next twenty n so years, the strongest and most stable component of thç international movement. In 1933 they were still very small In 1931 they had reported only 154 members but they wcrc qualitatively superior to most of the Europeans. Potentially they were a force and were soon to make their first breakthrough in the Minneapolis strikes of 1934.

The numerical weakness was not the only problem. A little earlier Trotsky had noted that the German section had failed to recruit even “ten native factory workers”. [11] of the French sections in the early thirties, Craipeau wrote “The Paris region [of the Ligue Communiste – DM] included a high proportion of responsible communists of long standing, henceforth cut off from their base This predominance of the intellectuals wasn’t surprising. For a rank and file worker the discussions on the Anglo-Soviet Committee or the Kuomintang appeared completely abstract. Their preoccupations were elsewhere.” [12] Even the Americans, who were better off than most in this respect, suffered from “a lot of dilletantish, petty-bourgeois minded people”. [13] Their best known leader, J.P. Cannon, complained

All the people of this type have one common characteristic: they like to discuss things without limit or end.. The New York branch of the Trotskyist movement in those days was just one continuous stew of discussion ... Walled off from the vanguard represented by the Communist movement and without contact with the living mass movement of the workers, we were thrown in upon ourselves and subject to this invasion. [14]

Trotsky was under no illusions that a new international could be created with such forces. Just as Lenin had participated, though critically, in the attempts of left wing social democrats to resume international connections in 1915-16 at Zimmerwald and Kienthal, so now Trotsky oriented the ICL towards the various left social-democratic and centrist groupings that were outside the second and third internationals. In the summer of 1933 the British ILP, recently disaffiliated from the Labour Party, called a conference in Paris to discuss the new situation created by Hitler’s victory. Fourteen parties and groups, including the ICL participated.

On the right was the Norwegian Labour Party (NAP), a mass left social-democratic organisation that was to become, within two years, His Norwegian Majesty’s Government The NAP had affiliated to the Comintern in 1920 and departed from it in 1923. At the other extreme was the German Socialist Workers’ Party (SAP), a left breakaway from the German social democracy that was now, as an emigré organisation, more and more under the influence of ex-members of the right wing of the German Communist Party. Only four of the organisations, the ICL itself, the SAP and two Dutch groups, the RSP and the OSP, could be induced to sign the call for a new international. As Pierre Frank noted, the Paris Conference was regarded as the new Zimmerwald. [15]

However, the broad left current in which this role could have been played did not develop. The parties and groups represented at Paris were soon, apart from the ICL, drawn rightwards as the Comintern began to move out of the “Third Period” and towards the “United Front”. The Paris Declaration of Four, itself by no means a Trotskyist platform in the narrow sense, soon became an embarrassment to its non-Trotskyist sponsors.

The sole positive result of Paris was the fusion of the two Dutch groups to form the Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party (RSAP) of the Netherlands. The dominant figure in this party, which had a small but real working class base, was the veteran communist Heinrich Sneevliet, who had important political differences with Trotsky and who was later to lead his organisation out of the Fourth Internationalist movement in support of the Spanish POUM. The SAP leaders, Walcher, Frölich and Schwab, moved in the same direction even earlier. Nor had Trotsky’s efforts to unite with the Zinovievite splinter groups, notably the Maslow-Fischer German emigré group and the Treint group in France, come to anything. A year after the Paris conference the Trotskyists were as isolated as ever. The attempt to create the nucleus of a new international out of the existing left fragments had failed. A new strategy was required.



The French Turn

Only yesterday Doriot was the leader in the fight for the united front, which he, in his own way, made a reality in Saint-Denis. Tomorrow, in case of an agreement between the two bureaucracies, the masses will see in Doriot an obstacle, a splitter, a saboteur of the united front.

(Trotsky: The League Faced with a Decisive Turn)

The perspective of remaining as a left opposition in the milieu of the rightward moving centrist organisations represented at Paris (and soon, for the most part, to be grouped in the “International Labour Community” (IAG) and later in the “International Committee of Revolutionary Socialist Unity” or London Bureau) offered no hope of a revolutionary international in the near future and might well involve the Trotskyists in the decline and disintegration of the centrist parties. Yet, given the total exclusion from the Comintern, the “IAG” parties were the organisations closest to the Trotskyists and an independent course seemed excluded because of the latter’s weakness.

At a deeper level the problem was that a major long term effect of the German defeat was to create such a massive groundswell for unity amongst conscious working class militants that the call for new parties and a new international, in other words a new split, fell on the stoniest of ground. The Trotskyists had pioneered the call for the workers’ united front against Fascism. But as this call began to gain ground in the Socialist Parties after 1933 and as the Comintern shifted its position, the pioneers found themselves without influence. They now appeared as the splitters.

In February 1934, the Austrian clerical reactionaries had smashed the Social Democratic Party and established a military-clerical police dictatorship with fascist trappings under Dollfuss. Unlike their German counterparts the Austrian Social-Democrats did not surrender without a fight. They very reluctantly resorted to armed force in self-defence and were only crushed after a determined resistance. The February fighting had a profound effect on the remaining Social-Democratic parties. Authentic left Social Democrats began to doubt the possibility of peaceful, parliamentary roads to socialism and to speak about revolution.

That same February the fascist Croix de Feu staged a riot and attack on the French Chamber of Deputies in an attempt to exploit popular indignation at the government corruption, exposed by the Stavisky affair, to bring down the Daladier government and open up the road to a dictatorship. It’s near success provoked a general strike in Paris on 12 February in which Communist Party militants demonstrated alongside the “social fascists”. This action was soon followed by the abandonment of the Third Period’.

For in the face of the fascist offensive the French Communist Party leadership itself, with Moscow’s approval, dropped the theory of “social fascism” and resolved, at the Ivry Conference in June 1934. to press for a pact with the French Socialists (SFIO). The same conference expelled the Communist Mayor of Saint-Denis, Doriot, who had dared to advocate this policy “prematurely”. The new line was not to be accompanied by any democratisation of the now thoroughly stalinised communist parties. In July a pact was signed between the PCF and the SFIO for unity of action against fascism. The two parties agreed to refrain from attacking each other as long as the pact lasted. Soon similar proposals were made to other social-democratic parties. In France the pact produced an upsurge of working class activity and enthusiasm which was to be demonstrated on both the political and industrial fronts in the next few years.

The French Trotskyists were now totally without influence. Their main demand appeared to have been met and, although they sharply attacked the dangerous and unprincipled “mutual amnesty” of criticism between the bureaucracies, they could no longer get a hearing amongst even the most advanced workers. Pierre Frank recalls “the sympathetic response we had met with, [on the united front issue – DH] partly in the CP and much more in the SFIO, which had recruited a substantial number of workers, often former CP members – all this sympathetic response was lost to us”. [16]

In these circumstances Trotsky proposed the then radically new tactic of entry into the SFIO, the “French Turn”. It was not entirely without precedent. He had already advised the pioneer British Trotskyists, the Balham group, to enter the ILP. But they were a new and very small group – their appeal against expulsion to the 1932 CP Congress had only thirteen signatures – and the ILP was then an important section of the “New Zimmerwald” and had broken from the Labour Party to the left. Apparently, he had also advised the handful of Austrian Trotskyists to enter the social-democratic party. But these cases were regarded as exceptional and, in the British case at least, the precedent was not encouraging. The majority of the Communist League of Great Britain rejected the advice of the ICL and a split occurred – the first of the many that were to plague the Fourth Internationalist Movement in Britain.

The “French Turn” proposal provoked opposition in every ICL section, in many cases, if not most, from the majority of the membership. The critics pointed to the first point of the programme, “Independence of the proletarian party, always and under all conditions”, they denounced any “liquidation” into the social democracy, Rosa Luxemburg’s “stinking corpse”, they pointed to the propaganda use the Stalinists would make it and they argued that “the entry into the SFIO means almost automatically the abandonment of the slogan of the Fourth International”. [17]

There was substance in some of the criticisms but the critics could not offer a credible alternative. Given that it was impossible to hope for any reform in the Communist Parties, that the JAG parties were rightward moving centrists (they included the RSAP which straddled both camps), that the Trotskyists were tiny, and that the Fascist threat was a real and present danger, it was essential to seek mass influence in the short term. Independent propaganda groups could not hope to achieve this. Entry into a leftward moving social democracy might do so. The proposal that the “Ligue Cornmuniste” enter the SFIO followed the breakaway of the right-wing “Neo-socialists” led by Marcel Deat (the Roy Jenkins of the day) which had shifted the centre of gravity of the party to the left and this special circumstance played a part in the arguments in the first stage.

There was another consideration. The Trotskyist groups, with partial exceptions, were largely composed of intellectuals and students. “Too many students. Too few workers. The students are occupied too much with themselves, too little with the workers’ movement.” [18] Trotsky wrote in the summer of 1934. It was to be a recurring theme. The SFIO, which in 1934 had 130,000 odd members compared to the PCF’s 30,000 odd, was to some extent a working class milieu. So, to a much greater degree, were the Belgian and British Labour Parties. And to the extent that “salvation ... lies in mobilising the students for the hard labour of recruiting workers” [19] so the special circumstances of the French case receded in importance. The entry tactic was generalised. Even in the USA, where the SP did not remotely resemble a mass organisation, entry was eventually undertaken.

In view of later developments it is perhaps necessary to make it clear that the “entry” tactic was essentially a short term one. The perspective was to rally the best of the leftward moving workers around the revolutionary programme, precipitate a split and found the revolutionary party. The operation clearly required specific programmes, quite different from the ICL programme. The best known of these, Trotsky’s own Programme of Action for France, appeared in 1934. It was the forerunner of the later Transitional Programme.

Trotsky won over his following at the cost of repeated splits. The ideological uniformity of the movement, upon which he had laid such stress, proved no protection against disruption once disputed practical questions had to be resolved.

The “French Turn”, though presented as a purely tactical operation, was in fact a change in strategic orientation. It did not involve the abandonment of the call for a new international, as many critics falsely claimed, but it did inevitably transfer the call from the sphere of action to that of propaganda. In this respect it was no more than a recognition of reality. The Declaration of Four had failed to bring in new forces. Such forces were essential. The “entry” at least held out the promise of gaining them.

It failed. The crucial French case is summarised by Pierre Frank as follows

For an entire initial period, the activity of the Bolshevik- Leninist Group in the SFIO was conducted with remarkable political clarity. This attracted numerous young people, particularly the whole Jeunesses Socialistes tendency, organised under the name Jeunesses Socialistes Revolutionaire, into the organisation’s ranks, thus renewing its membership. On the other hand, our exit from the SFIO while the Popular Front was being organised took place under very unfortunate circumstances, and the split among the Bolshevik-Leninists occurring at that time caused us to lose part of the benefits of the entry. [20]

In fact the Trotskyists were split before the entry, during the entry and after their expulsion from the SFIO following the Mulhouse Congress in 1935. The Naville group (which had opposed entry, split and then entered) and the Molinier group (which had supported entry) henceforward led independent existences as the POI and the PCI respectively, an ephemeral unity being followed by further splits.

Trotsky was to claim in 1935 that “Our section, thanks to the entry has changed from a propaganda group into a revolutionary factor of the first order”. [21] This was undue optimism. Far from becoming a factor of even the second or third order, the movement splintered into quarrelling factions. Even Frank concedes “the fragmentation of the French Trotskyists, which reached such a state that at one point the International declared it could no longer accept responsibility for their actions.” [22]

Of the POI, the “official section”, the resolution On the Tasks of the French Section adopted at the 1938 “World Congress” paints a sorry picture; “amateurism, the lack of a serious party administration, of a normally functioning national treasury, and a Lutte Ouvriere editorship which is stable ... confusion and demoralisation of the rank and file ... inability to recruit new members ... the dues are either not paid at all, or, if they are, it is just by luck”. [23]

A second entry, which of course produced new splits, was undertaken in 1938 into a new centrist organisation, the PSOP, the core of which was the left wing Seine Federation of the SFIO which had broken with the Blum leadership. It failed to change the relationship of forces or to improve the composition of the Trotskyist grouplets.

Pierre Frank claims that in other cases “notably Belgium and the United States, entrism had better results”. In the latter case, at least, the claim is dubious. Following the breakaway of the right wing of the SPUSA to form the Social-Democratic Federation, the leftish “Militant” group became dominant in the party. The Trotskyist group, which had already fused with a “native” left organisation in 1934 to form the Workers’ Party, entered the SP in 1936 after a fierce internal struggle leading to the inevitable split. It was ejected in September 1937, after months of intense factional struggle, having gained “a few hundred people” [24] mostly from the Socialist Youth. However this gain of, largely student, youth was to be wiped out in 1940 when the recruits from the SP formed the bulk of the troops of the Abern-Burnham-Schachtman faction which split away from the main body (SWP) on a confused “anti-leadership” platform and on the Russian question.

The “French Turn”, then, failed in its object – the creation of serious organisations with some influence in the working class movement that could form the basis of a new international.

Yet the failure was not unqualified. Frank’s point about renewal of membership is valid. Nor was the loss of relatively numerous people in the course of the many splits wholly a debit. “Every working class party, every faction passes during its initial stages through a period of pure propaganda”, wrote Trotsky towards the end of 1935. “The period of existence as a Marxist circle ingrafts invariably habits of an abstract approach to the workers movement. He who is unable to step in time over the confines of this circumscribed existence becomes transformed into a conservative sectarian.” [25] Those who had never known anything but small group politics were peculiarly susceptible to this disease. Many opponents of the “French Turn” were infected by it. The sectarians retained the “inner life” of a faction, concentrating on criticising the “centrism” of the Trotskyists and becoming more and more remote from reality. A case which happens to be well documented, that of the Oehler group in the USA, militant opponents of entry, shows them quarrelling furiously over “principled” issues and splitting repeatedly, negotiating new fusions with other minuscule sects, setting up their shadowy “International Contact Commission” and finally disintegrating into a welter of microscopic cliques, each known by its leader, Stammites, Marlenites, Meinovites and the rest, before vanishing into oblivion. [26]

Moreover the failure of the “French Turn” was not mainly due to any errors that could have been avoided by the best possible leadership. Profoundly unfavourable developments in the world situation and the working class movements were the main factors. To understand these it is necessary to return to events in Russia and to the policies of the Communist International.



The Terror and the People’s Front

Every weak, corrupt or ambitious traitor to Socialism within the Soviet Union has been hired to do the foul work of capitalism and fascism. In the forefront of all the wrecking, sabotage and assassination is the Fascist agent Trotsky. But the defences of the Soviet people are strong. Under the leadership of our Bolshevik Comrade Yezhov the spies and wreckers have been exposed before the world and brought to judgement ... We express our full confidence in our brother party of the Soviet Union and its great Comrade Stalin, in Comrade Yezhov’s determination to root out the last remnants of the anti-Soviet conspiracy.

(Report of the C.C. to the 15th Congress of the Communist Party of Great Britain 1938)

On the first of December 1934 S.M. Kirov, Stalinist boss of the Leningrad region, was shot and killed by a young man called Nicolaiev. A fortnight later Zinoviev, Kamenev and other former prominent leaders of the CPSU were arrested. The great purges, in which Stalin was to kill most of the prominent members of all wings of the party, had begun. In the course of the next five years wholesale executions wiped out not only the oppositionists and former oppositionists but also most of the original Stalinist cadre. It is known, from Khrushchev’s speech to the Twentieth Congress, that the majority of the members of the Central Committee elected at the 1934 Congress (the Seventeenth) were arrested and shot and that the majority of the Congress delegates, who of course were Stalinists, were themselves arrested and charged with “counter-revolutionary activity” in the ensuing years. [27]

In the three great “show trials” (1936-38) prominent former party leaders were induced to confess that, on the orders of Trotsky, they had plotted to wreck the economy and to “restore capitalism” with the help of Hitler and the Japanese Emperor. Already in 1931 Stalin had written “Some think that Trotskyism is a school of thought within communism ... It is hardly necessary to point out that such a view of Trotskyism is profoundly mistaken and harmful. Actually, Trotskyism is the spearhead of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, waging the struggle against communism.” [28] Now this was extended to the accusation that Trotsky and his followers were literally agents of the fascists who had to be “exposed” and driven out of the working class movement. A massive campaign of lies was mounted by the Communist Parties, assisted by the numerous “liberal” and social-democratic fellow travellers that they were now acquiring. It was to be kept up for more than twenty years and helped to inoculate tens of thousands of CP militants against marxist criticism of Stalinism and to further isolate the Trotskyists.

As the murderous repression grew inside the USSR and the slander campaign against “Trotsky-fascism” intensified, the Communist Parties moved rapidly to the right. The line of a United Front of workers’ parties against fascism changed into the line of a Peoples Front against war. The seventh (and last) World Congress of the Comintern (1935) called for “The united peoples’ front in the struggle for peace and against the instigators of war. The struggle for peace opens up the greatest opportunities for creating the broadest united front. All those interested in the preservation of peace should be drawn into this united front.” [29]

Amongst those “interested in peace” were, of course, the imperialist victors of 1918, especially the British and French ruling classes. They were now the real pivot of Stalin’s diplomacy, to which the Comintern was simply an auxiliary. The USSR had joined the League of Nations, the instrument of the victorious powers of the first world war, which Lenin – had called “the League of Imperialist Bandits”. For the benefit of the old cadres of the Communist Parties who had, after all, been trained in class politics, revolutionary defeatism and uncompromising hostility to “their own” ruling classes, a new theory was developed. It was the now familiar one that “progressive” states must be supported against “reactionary” states. “Today the situation is not what it was in 1914” declared the ECCI in May 1936. “Now it is not only the working class, the peasantry and all working people who are resolved to maintain peace, but also the oppressed countries and the weak nations whose independence is threatened by war ... In the present phase a number of capitalist States are also concerned to maintain peace. Hence the possibility of creating a broad front of the working class, of all working people, and of entire nations against the danger of imperialist war.” [30]

In May 1935 the Franco-Soviet pact was signed. By July the CP and the SFIO had come to an agreement with the Radical Party, the backbone of French Bourgeois democracy, and in April 1936 the “Front Populaire” of these three parties won a general election on a platform of “collective security” and reform. The CP campaigning on the slogan “For a strong, free and happy France” gained 72 seats and became an essential part of the parliamentary majority of Leon Blum, SFIO leader and Front Populaire Prime Minister. Maurice Thorez, the secretary-general of the PCF, was able to claim “We boldly deprived our enemies of the things they had stolen from us and trampled underfoot. We took back the Marsaillaise and the Tricoleur.” [31]

When the electoral victory of the left was followed by a massive wave of strikes and sit-ins – six million workers were involved in June 1936 – the erstwhile champions of “ascending revolutionary struggles” exerted themselves to contain the movement within narrow limits and to end it on the basis of the “Matignon Agreement” concessions (notably, the 40 hour week, holidays with pay). By the end of the year the Communist Party, now to the right of its social-democratic allies, was calling for the extension of the “Popular Front” into a “French Front” by the incorporation of some right wing conservatives who were, on nationalist grounds, strongly anti-German.

The French Party pioneered these policies because the French alliance was central to Stalin’s foreign policy but they were rapidly adopted by the whole Comintern. When the Spanish revolution erupted in July 1936, in response to Franco’s attempted seizure of power, the Spanish CP, part of the Spanish Popular Front which had won the February elections and taken power, did its utmost to keep the movement within the framework of “democracy”; that is, of capitalism. With the aid of Russian diplomacy, and of course the social democrats, it was successful. “It is absolutely false”, declared Jesus Hernandez, editor of the party’s daily paper, “that the present workers movement has for its object the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship after the war has terminated ... We communists are the first to repudiate this supposition. We are motivated exclusively by a desire to defend the democratic republic.” [32]

In pursuit of this line the Spanish Communist Party and it’s bourgeois allies pushed the policies of the republican government more and more to the right and, in the course of the long drawn out civil war, drove out of the government first the POUM, then the left wing leader of the Spanish Socialist Party. The “defence of the republican order, while respecting property” [33] led to a reign of terror in Republican Spain against the left – symbolised by the murder of Nin and the Barcelona fighting. It was justified by an unprecedented campaign of vilification against all leftish critics as “agents of Hitler and Franco”. Trotsky summarised the Spanish events with grim accuracy: “The republican military commanders were more concerned with crushing social revolution than with scoring victories. The soldiers lost confidence in their commanders, the masses – in the government; the peasants stepped aside, the workers became exhausted, defeat followed defeat, demoralisation grew apace.” [34] Notwithstanding the fact that “the Spanish proletariat stood in the first day of the revolution not below but above the Russian proletariat of 1917 ... By setting itself the task of rescuing the capitalist regime the People’s Front doomed itself to military defeat.” [35]

Yet the extreme right turn of the Comintern did not seriously benefit the Fourth Internationalists. In the first phase popular enthusiasm for unity brought enormous gains to the Communist Parties – the French Party grew from 30,000 in 1934 to 150,000 by the end of 1936 plus 100,000 in the Communist Youth; the Spanish Party grew from under a thousand at the close of the “Third Period” (1934) to 35,000 in February 1936 to 117,000 in July 1937. The recruits were armoured against from the left by the belief that the Trotskyists – and indeed the Centrists – were literally fascist agents.

In the period of the collapse of the People’s Fronts, general demoralisation created an extremely unfavourable atmosphere for revolutionaries. The fact was that Stalin had succeeded, through the Comintern, in shifting the whole working class movement, including the social democracy, far to the right of the 1934 positions. The Trotskyists were swimming against immensely powerful currents. To survive at all, as a revolutionary tendency, was a great achievement in the circumstances. Yet the terrible dilemma, the contrast between ends and means, between the urgency of the need to reverse the defeats and the pathetically weak forces available, was more acute than ever.



The Desperate Gamble

We are not progressing politically. Yes, it is a fact which is an expression of a general decay of the worker’s movements in the last fifteen years ... Our situation now is incomparably more difficult than that of any other organisation at any other time, because we have the terrible betrayal of the Communist International which arose from the betrayal of the Second International. The degeneration of the Third International developed so quickly and so unexpectedly that the same generation which heard its formation now hears us and they say “But we have already heard this once”.

(Trotsky, Fighting Against the Stream)

September 1938. The “New Zimmerwald” is dead. The “French Turn” has failed in its strategic objective. The Spanish revolution is strangled. Fascist and semi-Fascist regimes control most of Europe. A new world war is clearly imminent. in the remaining bourgeois democracies, social patriotism, in its social-democratic and stalinist varieties, completely dominates the workers’ movement. In these desperately difficult circumstances the New International is proclaimed, not as an aspiration, but as a fact.

Why? In 1935 Trotsky had denounced as “a stupid piece of gossip” the idea that “the Trotskyists want to proclaim the Fourth International next Thursday”. [36] Yet a year later he was proposing, precisely, the proclamation of the New International. On that occasion he was unable to persuade his followers. By 1938 he had won them over.

No significant change in the strength and influence of the revolutionary groups had occurred in the interim. In his foreword to the official record of the founding conference of the Fourth International (later called the “First World Congress”) Max Shachtman wrote “The delegates represented directly eleven countries – the United States, France, Great Britain, Germany, The Soviet Union, Italy, Latin America, Poland, Belgium. Holland and Greece.” [37] Of these delegates, Shachtman himself did indeed represent a very small but real party – the American Socialist Workers Party claimed, with some exaggeration, 2,500 members. He was probably the only one in this position. The situation in France has already been noted. The British section was a fusion of sectlets, cobbled together for the Conference by an SWP representative, which was to decline into insignificance in the next few years – the only British group that was to show some viability (the Workers International League) was unrepresented and indeed was denounced as being “on the path of unprincipled clique politics which can only lead them into the mire”. [38] The section in the USSR had been physically exterminated and was “represented” by the Stalinist police spy “Etienne”. Germany and Italy were represented by members of minuscule emigré groups. The Dutch were a splinter from the RSAP youth organisation. The Poles – who opposed the proclamation of the International – had no independent organisation as the Conference resolution on Poland shows, and the Greeks were split between the “United Internationalist Communist Organisation” and the “International Communist League”, neither of which seem to have amounted to much. The Belgian organisation, described by the SWP as “our strongest proletarian section in Europe”, may have had some hundreds of members. Even if all the fragments which Shachtman claims (“there were quite a number of others which for a variety of legal and physical reasons were unable to send delegates”) are added in, the total does not amount to much, little more in fact than existed in 1933.

Pierre Frank’s explanation of the foundation of an “International” without significant sections, without any real base in the working class, amounts to the assertion that this expedient was the only way to preserve the handful of cadres that the movement had acquired. “Why was Trotsky so very insistent on this Question?” Frank writes. “Why did he push it so vigorously, even to the point where the final chapter of his Transitional Programme includes an undisguised polemic against those who were opposed to the proclamation of the Fourth International? It was because, for him the most important consideration was not the numerical size of our forces, nor the readiness of a more or less large sector of the workers to understand our decision; but above and beyond all, it was a question of political perspective and political continuity. Trotsky was acutely aware that the workers movement in general, and our movement in particular, was about to enter an extremely difficult period – the imperialist war – in the course of which we would be subjected to extraordinary pressures by the class enemy and by powerful centrifugal forces. These pressures could very well destroy an organisation as weak as our own. Looking back, in examining what happened in our movement during the war, it can be seen that entering the war period without having proclaimed the founding of the Fourth International would have allowed all the centrifugal forces (which appeared during that time) to operate a hundred times, a thousand times more intensively.” [39]

The explanation, then, relates to the internal cohesion of the Trotskyist organisations and not at all to the objective possibilities in the working class movement. Frank has at least the merit of seeing the problem, unlike many latter day “Trotskyists”, but his arguments will not stand critical examination.

First of all an international Trotskyist organisation, the ICL, had existed since 1930. This was a sufficient guarantee of “political continuity”, insofar as such a thing can be guaranteed by organisational means, and since the proclamation of the “Fourth International” merely meant, in practice, renaming the ICL it is difficult to see what additional resistance to “powerful centrifugal forces” was obtained.

Secondly, the “International” in fact ceased to function with the onset of war. As Frank himself tells us “Shortly before the war the International Secretariat was transferred to America” and “could keep contact with only a few countries in the ‘allied’ camp (and even that with great difficulty)”. [40] In reality the SWP acted as international centre to the degree that one existed.

Thirdly, and most important, it is merely retrospective justification to suggest that Trotsky conceived of “political perspectives and political continuity” apart from developments in the working class movement. That kind of revisionism was a later development. On the contrary, he was above all concerned with the mass movement and he believed that in spite of the failure of the two previous strategies it was possible to create mass organisations. given a programme and a leadership, out of the crisis that the coming war would inevitably produce. “Ten years were necessary for the Third International in order to stamp into the mire their own programme and to transform themselves into a stinking cadaver”, he declared in an article celebrating the Founding Conference. “Ten years! Only ten years! Permit me to finish with a prediction: During the next ten years the programme of the Fourth International will become the guide of millions and these revolutionary millions will know how to storm earth and heaven.” [41]

There is not the slightest shadow of a doubt that, for Trotsky, the idea of an “International” divorced from the workers’ movement was nonsense. There is this much justification for Pierre Frank’s argument. Given that “In the catastrophe of war ... The masses will look for a new orientation, a new direction, and will find them” [42], that just as Lenin had been nearly isolated in 1914 but at the head of a great world movement by 1920, so would the Fourth International become a great world movement; then it was vital to infuse courage and determination into the handful of internationalists. But the proclamation of the New International rested on much more than this. It rested on a concrete political perspective.

This perspective was, as events were to show, faulty in a number of respects. Firstly, Trotsky believed that capitalism had entered its final crisis. Not only did “Mankind’s productive forces stagnate” [43], but “The disintegration of capitalism has reached extreme limits, likewise the disintegration of the old ruling class. The further existence of this system is impossible.” [44] In consequence the reformist workers’ parties could not make any gains for their supporters, “there can be no discussion of systematic social reforms and the raising of the masses living standards; when every serious demand of the proletariat and even every serious demand of the petty-bourgeoisie, inevitably reaches beyond the limits of capitalist property relations and of the bourgeois state.” [45] Trotsky would, no doubt, have conceded that some economic revival was possible on a cyclical basis. He excluded the possibility of a prolonged upward movement such as had given birth to reformism in the decades before the first world war. So did everyone else in the revolutionary movement. In fact an even greater expansion than that of the classic imperialist phase was to follow the Second World War. Reformism got a new lease of life.

Secondly, Trotsky believed that, with the popular front, the Communist Parties had become social-democratic. “Nothing now distinguishes the Communists from the Social-Democrats except the traditional phraseology, which is not difficult to unlearn.” [46] And three years later “The definite passing over of the Comintern to the side of the bourgeois order, its cynically counter-revolutionary role throughout the world, particularly in Spain, France, the United States and other ‘democratic’ countries, created exceptional supplementary difficulties for the world proletariat.” [47] And again “The Comintern policy in Spain and China today – the policy of cringing before the ‘democratic’ and ‘national’ bourgeoisie – demonstrates that the Comintern is likewise incapable of learning anything further or of changing. The bureaucracy which became a reactionary force in the USSR cannot play a revolutionary role in the world arena.” [48]

The reality was to prove more complex, a fact that was to precipitate a fundamental crisis in the Fourth Internationalist movement. Trotsky was pointing to a basic trend but the timescale was much greater than he thought. In the “cold war” after 1948, the Communist Parties did not capitulate to “their own” bourgeoisies. Their loyalty was still to Moscow. Their policies were not revolutionary but neither were they simply “reformist”. They retained a “leftist” position of no loyalty to the bourgeois state which made the creation of a revolutionary alternative extremely difficult. And in one great case, and some lesser ones, Stalinist Parties actually destroyed bourgeois states and replaced them by regimes on the Russian pattern.

The Chinese Revolution of 1949 appeared to put the classic Trotskyist analysis of the Stalinist Parties into question, at any rate for the backward countries. For if it was regarded as a proletarian revolution, it destroyed the basis of the Fourth International’s existence – the essentially counterrevolutionary nature of Stalinism. If, on the other hand, it was in some sense a bourgeois revolution – a “New Deomocracy” as Mao Tse-Tung claimed at the time – it appeared to destroy the theory of permanent revolution. And, whatever view was taken of it, the fact that it occurred at all, refurbished the revolutionary image of Stalinism for a long time.

Thirdly, Trotsky believed that Stalin’s regime in Russia was highly unstable. His analysis led him to the view that “either the bureaucracy, becoming ever more the organ of the world bourgeoisie within the worker’s state, will overthrow the new forms of property and plunge the country back to capitalism; or the working class will crush the bureaucracy and open the way to socialism.” [49] This was not a perspective for decades.

Writing towards the end of 1939 Trotsky had asked critics of his position “Might we not place ourselves in a ludicrous position if we affixed to the Bonapartist oligarchy [i.e., the bureaucracy – DH] the nomenclature of a new ruling class just a few years or even a few months prior to its inglorious downfall?” [50] In fact, thirty-odd years later, the regime still exists. In the interim the bureaucracy has hardly acted as “the organ of the world bourgeoisie”. On the contrary, though fundamentally conservative, it has defended its own interests both against the workers and peasants of Russia and against rival ruling classes. It conquered Eastern Europe and transformed state and society into plausible facsimiles of the Russian original. And again, these events had a profound effect on working class consciousness.

Fourthly, Trotsky adhered firmly both to the theory of permanent revolution and to Lenin’s 1915 analysis of imperialism. Therefore, he believed, the colonial empires which then covered what is now called the “Third World” could be liberated only by struggles led by the working classes. Thus, for example “The Indian bourgeoisie is incapable of leading a revolutionary struggle” [51], which was undoubtedly true, and at the same time “The imperialists [in this case the British rulers of India – DH] can no longer make serious concessions either to their own toiling masses or to the colonies. On the contrary they are compelled to resort to an ever more bestial exploitation.” [52] It followed that the “theory that India’s position will constantly improve, that her liberties will continually be enlarged and that India will gradually become a Dominion on the road of peaceful reforms ... (and) later on perhaps even achieve full independence. This entire perspective is false to the core.” [53] And so with the rest of the colonies. Again the reality was more complex. Again the relatively peaceful liquidation of the colonial empires had a significant effect on working class consciousness.

The foundation of the New International in advance of the recruitment of significant forces rooted in the working classes was a desperate gamble. It was a gamble that could be justified only on the basis of a particular perspective – that outlined in, and indeed summed up in the title of, the programme adopted at the Founding Conference – The Death Agony of Capitalism. There was, of course, serious evidence for each and every one of Trotsky’s arguments. It is also true that the factors which falsified them were interconnected and that a break in the causal chain could have produced very different results. Thus the survival and expansion of Stalin’s regime enormously facilitated the strangling of the European revolutionary movements in 1943-46. This in turn permitted the revival of European capitalism and the onset of the cold war and the permanent arms economy. These, in their turn, made possible the abandonment of the colonial empires without the last ditch, life and death struggle that Trotsky, like Lenin before him, had believed to be inevitable. And so on and so on.

Nevertheless the chain was not broken and when, ten years after 1938, it became possible to hold a “Second World Congress of the Fourth International” the movement remained a collection of small groups. Certainly, the 1948 Congress represented more than that of 1938. Indeed it probably represented more in the working class movement than any of time subsequent “Congresses” of any of the various bodies that now claim the title and/or inheritance of the Fourth International. Yet it represented little enough. A fundamental reappraisal of the situation and of the perspectives of the Transitional Programme was required. The movement, in its majority, proved incapable of rising to this task. The outcome was tragic. Having failed to analyse the mistakes, the movement was doomed not merely to repeat them but to add new and more disastrous ones.

Having failed to advance theoretically, it degenerated, and the various fragments into which it soon splintered came, in most though not all cases, to abandon the fundamental content of Trotskyisrn, whilst preserving its forms, and to adapt to Stalinism, to “structural reform” centrism, to pre-marxian “Third World Socialism”, to Narodnikism; even, in the case of the biggest of the post-World War II sections – the Ceylonese Lanka Sama Samaj Party – to participation in a counterrevolutionary bourgeois government. These sorry developments will be examined in a subsequent article. At this point it is necessary to remind ourselves of the positive achievements. Without the struggle carried on by Trotsky and his followers, under conditions of incredible difficulty, the revolutionary movement of today would be incomparably weaker, organisationally as well as theoretically, than it in fact is. We stand on the shoulders of those pioneers.




1. Degras (Ed.), The Communist International-Documents, Vol.III, p.44.

2. Ibid., p.159.

3. Ibid., p.224.

4. Trotsky, Germany: What Next?, in The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany, p.254.

5. Trotsky. Germany: Key to the International Situation, in The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany, pp.121-2.

6. J. Degras. op. cit., p.257.

7. Ibid., p.262

8. Trotsky, It Is Impossible to Remain in the Same International with Stalin etc., in The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany, p.430.

9. The Fundamental Principles of the International Left Opposition, CLGB 1934.

10. Y. Craipeau. Le Mouvement Trotskiste en France, p.83.

11. I. Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast, p.206.

12. Y. Craipeau, op. cit., p.39.

13. J.P. Cannon, History of American Trotskyism, p.93.

14. op. cit., p. 93.

15. P. Frank, Histoire de la IVe Internationale. This work has recently been serialised in English by Intercontinental Press. As I have used the serialised version, page references are not given. The author tells us that he “has participated hi this ‘long march’ of the Trotskyists for more than forty years, first becoming part of the international leadership of the Trotskyist movement in 1931”. While this is not entirely candid – Frank took part in the breakaway movement led by Raymond Molinier in the thirties – it is true that there are few, if any, better placed to attempt a serious assessment of the struggle to build a revolutionary alternative to Stalinism and Social Democracy since 1933. Unfortunately the book fails to attempt this. It is an uncritical exposition of the views of the Mandel tendency.

16. P. Frank, op. cit.

17. Statement of the Belgian Communist League quoted by Trotsky in Writings 1934-35, p.95.

18. Trotsky, On the Theses “Unity and Youth”; in Writings 1934-35, p.92.

19. Ibid., p.95

20. P. Frank, op. cit. At that time the Trotskyists referred to themselves as “Bolshevik-Leninists”.

21. Trotsky, A New Turn Is Necessary, in Writings 1934-35, p.315.

22. P. Frank, op. cit.

23. On the Tasks of the French Section, in The Founding Conference of the Fourth International, p.96ff.

24. J.P. Cannon, The Stnuggle for a Proletarian Party, p.154.

25. Trotsky, Sectarianism, Centrism and the Fourth International, in Writings 1935-36, p.16.

26. M. Shachtman, Footnote for Historians, in New International, December 1938

27. N.S. Khrushchev, Special Report to the 20th Congress of the CPSU, in The Moscow Trials – An Anthology, p.4ff.

28. J.V. Stalin quoted in Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast, p.171.

29. J. Degras, op. cit., p.375.

30. Ibid., p.390.

31. Ibid., p.384.

32. Quoted in F. Morrow, Revolution and Counter Revolution in Spain, p.34.

33. Statement of the CC of the Spanish CP quoted in Morrow, op. cit., p.35.

34. Trotsky, The Lesson of Spain, p.21.

35. Ibid.

36. Trotsky, Centrist Alchemy or Marxism, in Writings 1934-35, p.274.

37. The Founding Conference of the Fourth International, p.7.

38. Ibid., p.114. The Congress also “finally” excluded the Molinier-Frank group. “It is clearer than ever that the whole question of the PCI and the journal La Commune has no political significance, but is purely and simply the personal question of R. Molinier and his financial affairs ...”, p.108.

39. P. Frank, op. cit.

40. Ibid.

41. Trotsky, On the Founding of the Fourth International, in Writings 1938-39, p.59.

42. Trotsky in a letter to Emrys Hughes in Writings 1938-39, p.147

43. Trotsky, The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International, p.11.

44. Trotsky, The USSR in War, in In Defense of Marxism, p9.

45. Trotsky, The Death Agony of Capitalism etc., p.15.

46. Trotsky, The Comintern’s Liquidation Congress, in Writings 1935-36, p.11.

47. Trotsky, The Death Agony of Capitalism etc., p.13.

48. Ibid., p.52.

49. Ibid., pp.47-48.

50. Trotsky, The USSR in War, in Defense of Marxism, p.17.

51. Trotsky, India Faced with Imperialist War, in Writings 1938-39. p.37.

52. Ibid.

53. Ibid.


Last updated on 19.10.2006