The lessons of Stalinism: Workers' Liberty 3/29

How the Mid-1940s “Orthodox Trotskyists” Saw Stalinism

Published on: Wed, 09/06/2010 - 18:04
Author

Eugene Shays and Dan Shelton

Introduction

Reading the press of the "orthodox" Trotskyist movement from the 1940s inescapably suggests a question: didn't they have access to the serious bourgeois press?

They did, of course. Yet their picture of the world and what was happening in it was gappy, patchy, selective, and vastly distorted by the narrow-focus ideological spectacles they had strapped on themselves.

Where others - including socialists like the Workers' Party of the USA - saw the enormous expansion of a Russian empire in eastern and central Europe, the "orthodox" Trotskyists saw the spreading of a distorted working

What to learn from Stalinism

Published on: Tue, 08/06/2010 - 12:50
Author

Hal Draper

Introduction (2010)

Stalinism dominated and shaped the would-be left for two thirds of the 20th century.

Its consequences still warp and shape much of the would-be left, including organisations that are ostensibly anti-Stalinist. To a surprising extent, the left has still not properly come to terms with the lessons of Stalinism.

This 1953 article by Hal Draper was an attempt to summarise concisely the conclusions which the Independent Socialist League (formerly the Workers' Party: the "Shachtmanites", the heterodox Trotskyists) was drawing from the experience of Stalinism.

When Draper wrote,

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