Leon Trotsky and the Organizational Principles of the Revolutionary Party (IS Books)

Leon Trotsky and the Organizational Principles of the Revolutionary Party (IS Books)

Paul Le Blanc

Language: English

Pages: 120

ISBN: 1608463966

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This is the first comprehensive examination of Leon Trotsky's view on revolutionary organizational principles, and the dynamic interplay of democratic initiative and principled centralism. Mostly in his own words, these writings are grounded in Trotsky's experience in Russia's revolutionary movement, as a leader of the International Left Opposition and Fourth International.

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bureaucrats with fresh elements closely linked with the life of the collectivity or capable of assuring such a link. And before anything else, the leading posts must be cleared of those who, at the first word of criticism, of objection, or of protest, brandish the thunderbolts of penalties before the critic. The “new course” must begin by making everyone feel that from now on nobody will terrorize the party. (Challenge, 1923-25, pp. 126-27) 2. The bureaucratic mode of functioning Party

discussion of them, and that explains these tasks to the proletariat—this same apparatus checks its policies against the “moods” of the working class in order “to rectify the line on the basis of such checking.” Thus, the line is rectified by the very ones who initiated it—the apparatus…. Of free discussion by the party on all questions, there is no mention whatsoever. And finally, in his version, the question of responsible and leading individuals being subject to election is totally excluded

reformism and revolutionary politics] in the name of facilitating “unity” would mean not only to commit political suicide, but also to cover up, strengthen and nourish all the negative features of bureaucratic centrism, and by that fact alone help the reactionary currents within it against the revolutionary tendencies. (Writings, 1932-33, p.35) Trotsky made similar points about relating to centrist currents in the Social Democracy. A German centrist urged a conciliatory policy toward the

of the movement, you will not win even if you are right a thousand times over. What the Bolshevik-Leninists have always lacked—and particularly in France—are organizers, good treasurers, accurate accounting, and publications that are readable and well proofread.” Trotsky also insisted that party perspectives must be based on “facts throwing light on the real situation and not of general formulas that might be applied equally well to Paris or Honolulu.” In line with this, he urged: It is

extremely important for the education in genuine party patriotism, about the necessity of which Cannon wrote me one time very correctly. (In Defense of Marxism, p. 63) To make a split more difficult, Trotsky suggested that the majority adopt a conciliatory attitude toward the minority. Specifically, it should reaffirm the existing rights of minority factions and should make an extraordinary gesture by prolonging the discussion and then providing a form for making the discussion public: But I

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