To: "Leo N."
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Malecki)
Subject: Re: COCKROACH! #41
Date sent: Sun, 2 Mar 1997 13:10:47 -0500
I write a magazine called Capital of Nasty. Don't be discouraged by the name, for we cover all sorts of topics. I especially like your magazine, and I've been reading it for a while. Would it be asking too much if you could write for us, something small (like a screen full) of your views, and how you stand with socialism and communism? Could you compare the two? I hope I am not asking too much.
Here is something that might due! And as far as the difference between "Socialism and Communism" it is for me the following. Socialism in a sense will be those transitional societies set up when the workers take power in their own name and take the long road to build a communist society..I will put you on the Cockroach list..
THE TRANSTIONAL PROGRAM..
After Hugh's post on the transitional program i felt almost forced to do a close reading of it once again. it has been awhile since the last time. What is so incredible is how relative it is to today,s situation. As a working class kid it was the Transitional program which first attracted me to the Trotskyists. It was the answer i needed after being raised in a ghetto with working class parents. I was raised on picket lines and the McCarthy era. Later on used a a piece of meat in imperialist colonial warfare both in Cuba and Vietnam. When I first began to wake up it was hardly the Trotskyists i turned too, but direct action, some very adventurist action, directed at taking on imperialism single handidly! Well, it did not work and i wound up in exile first in Europe and later Scandinavia. Here I came into contact with the Transitional Program. A little book (60 pages) which for the first time showed me a way out of the dead end.
Only to find out through futher studies the Stalinists had sabotaged any kind of Bolshevik politics in the workers movement over a whole historical period leading up to today. But i knew that if there was a way out this was it. Unfortunately at this time there were very few workers at least in Europe who adhered to any kind of Trotskyism. In fact it was mostly students and intellectualls in the post war revival around Vietnam and May of 68. Naturally this unbalance has caused a lot of problems and splits in the Trotskist movement. It is much easier for a student to theorize and split here and then there then for a working class kid. In fact it has been very difficult trying to find a way through the maze of intellectuals claiming the banner. But what kept me hanging on was that little book the Transitional Program and Trotskys and Lenins writtings..
In fact if all of those who claim the Trotskyist mantel were to take this document (The transitional Program) as a starting point for and International regroupment it would be a great leap forward in preparation for come what must!
The post war Trotskyists groups have also been effected by much of what has happened. There has been some pretty horrible opportunism, out right betrayal, splits and all the rest. One of the main reasons I believe is the tremendous pressure put on these groups both by events, but also the domination of the Social Democrats and the Stalinists in the Labor movement. And not in the least the physical liqidation of Trotskyist cadre during this historical period.
Many still are sitting in their trenches, others who make the claim of being Trotskyist and who are opportunist to the core and even others who have become old and inbittered or just given up.No group or individual has been left unscarred by all of this.
Therefore i claim that no group or tendency can claim the mantel without a serious International conference taking place for a discussion of the very basics.
In the Trotskyist world there is also a tendency of not seeing what the enormous events in the past years really mean. A tendency of despair, a tendency of trying to find new slick formulas and a tendency to completely disregard events that open up a real opportunity for the future. The most vital is the complete disintegration of the Stalinists and the jump by the Social Democracy in to the camp of the bourgeoisie!
Naturally we have left overs from the Stalinist parties, not in the least the maoists of the ultra left period, but also of the right period. However without state power and Moscow or Peking to hold them up they are dead in the workers movement. There ideas stem from many of the dead end tactics of the now dead Stalinism.
All the various groups and tendencies of Stalinism are in a shambles. The Euro-Communists are becoming Social Democrats. The State Capitalists are trying to reorientate their fundemental counter revolutionary betrayal of any kind of Bolshevik politics. The Anarchists are in a shambles. The Social Democrats are leaping into the arms of the bourgeois.
Today more then ever in the Transitional program and the basic documents of the of the Trotskyist left opposition up until its founding lie the seed of a revolutionary regroupment Internationally under the banner of a reforged Communist International.
All of the present tendencies and groups who do not take this opportunity to go back to the very basics and founding documents of the Fourth International, but continue on their merry way as if nothing has happened the last few years in regards to the Stalinist and Social Democratic traitors of the International Proletariat and do not realize that The transitional program (in its entirety) makes a good ground for an International regroupment of forces claiming the Trotskyist banner would be criminal. In fact more than criminal, a direct betrayal of those in back of us who fought and died for these documents in one of the blackist periods of history.But also a direct betrayal of the International Proletariat that has been beheaded of its Social Democratic and Stalinists leadership in later years and a Revolutionary leadership far longer!
The International Proletariat has no leadership today! Into this space that has opened up would be a good place for a reforged International leadership of Trotskist forces based on the fundemental documents of the movement we derived from!
But it should be based on those documents in their entirety and a leadership and a cadre who are prepared to fight for that program in forming a mass revolutionary vanguard. It can not be a halfway house for those who advocate just parts of the Transitional Program, nor ultra leftists who deny that the program does not go far enough! But a cadre who are prepared to move forward on the concrete basics and the Transitional program in its ENTIRETY. That i,m afraid is the only road forward! That i am prepared to work for. All else is just bullshit!
For the first time since the consolidation of the Stalinists as a counter revolutionary force in the Labor movement, their power is broken! Smashed and disintegrated by its own rotten politics and imperialist pressure. The Social Democrats after this Spectacular event have taken gigantic leaps into the arms of the bougeoisie both on the National level and International level.
For the first time the path is layed wide open for the intervention of the basic politics of the Fourth International. If we miss this chance we are heading for a new and unpresidented period of barbary! But this time we can not blame the Stalinists and the Social Democrats. The blame must be put squarely on the shoulders of those who claim the mantel of Trotskyism!
Finally without a serious International Conference an attempt of regroupment by all parties and groups on the basic fundementals and Transitional Program of Trotsky and the Left Opposition the Proletariat should turn their backs to all of those claiming the mantle, because none of you deserve the right of their history. Besides it is only these documents that can lay a basis for real unity and possibility of moving Forward to the reforging of the Fourth International.