home marxism solarpunk art letterboxd

On the Problem of Trotskyism

Originally published on Peace, Land, & Bread on September 21st, 2021. Reposted here since the original website is down

Trotskyism: A Deformed Worker's Ideology; Or, a Reiteration of the Antagonistic History of Trotskyism and Leninism

By Jeff Korolev


Lenin was forced to struggle against Trotsky from roughly 1905 until his death in 1924. After that period, Leninists assumed the mantle of struggle against Trotskyism—a task which we unfortunately must continue today. It continues to be necessary because Trotskyism continues to be a derailing force in the journey towards class consciousness. Because Trotskyism's assertions against Leninism and Leninist projects are based largely on the reframing of anticommunist arguments, they are easily digested by the new socialist. The new socialist can uphold Trotskyism without confronting the bourgeois, anticommunist history they have been taught. Outside of the Bolshevik Party from 1917 until 1924, Trotskyism tends to condemn real world socialist experiments with the same adjectives and the same statistics used by the anticommunist historians. Because of this, Trotskyism's influence is most sabotaging for the new socialist, who has had little time to sufficiently study history. While we would put forward that a dialectical materialist analysis of history often demonstrates the historical correctness of Leninism, time is needed to attain such a position; and, until this time, new socialists are susceptible to a bombardment of Trotskyist sloganeering: "Stalinist, bureaucratic, authoritarian, brutal regimes."

Our usual refutations of Trotskyism tend to assume a breadth of historical knowledge and as such usually attract readership from other Leninists, not potential future Leninists. Conversely, this essay is targeted towards the newer socialist, in an attempt to intervene before Trotskyism can mislead them and allow them to become ossified as ineffective members of the class struggle. While the length is far greater than I had hoped, this piece requires relatively little prior historical knowledge and should not be overly academic—or too jargon- and theory-laden—to read. This work aims to show the reader that Trotskyism evolved separately from Leninism, and that Trotskyism cannot claim to be a continuation of the work of Lenin or the Bolshevik Revolution. This work aims to support that claim by demonstrating that the major themes of Leninism have been consistent from before 1910 until today, and that the major criticisms Lenin had of Trotsky before and after the revolution still describe Trotskyism’s ideological deformations today.

Fig 1. The implied history of Trotskyism

There are two histories that Trotskyists present. The first is their implied history. Adherents of Trotsky imply that Trotskyism is a continuation, with slight improvements, of the "true" Leninism as it existed before the "Stalinist" betrayal. This version of history requires a complete lack of knowledge regarding the period from 1903-1917. Because history shows this implied history is categorically false, as we’ll see, Trotskyists have had to construct another history in line with a cursory understanding of the October Revolution.

Figure 2. The Official History of Trotskyism

Party Work in the Masses

This one is out of print now but its honestly fascinating. It's mostly a collection of letters and essays that Lenin wrote around the time of the revolution and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. Very sad that it's out of print nowadays, I think a lot of organizers would really benefit from reading it.


my name is ajax but like the guy from the iliad not the dish soap

link exchange

[] [] [] [] [] [] [] []


171px × 281px


chefpussy © ajax
design by almost sweet ☂resources