National Sections of the L5I:

Fourth International

International Left Opposition, 1928-33; forging an international leadership

Battered but unbroken by his fight inside the USSR with Stalin, Trotsky began his foreign exile in 1929 by creating an international opposition (ILO). Dave Stockton reveal the obstacles that had to be overcome by the ILO in building unity around political principle, a trusted international leadership and disciplined practice Read more...

Trotsky and the Fourth International: Turn to the masses

The final split with the Communist International (Comintern) brought home a brutal fact: the International Left Opposition (ILO) was tiny. Read more...

Trotsky and revolutionary unity: The fight for the Fourth International

Dave Stockton surveys Trotsky’s struggle against centrism in the 1930s Read more...

The 1953 split in the Fourth International

Forty years ago, the Fourth International (FI) was rent by a substantial political debate over perspectives and orientation. A number of important sections (Britain, France, USA) set up the "International Committee of the Fourth International" in November 1953, in opposition to the majority "International Secretariat".

The split still reverberates today. Some of the international organisations which call themselves Trotskyist can claim to be the direct descendants of one or the other side, and virtually all of them have a clear view on the split. The split has become part of the mythology of Trotskyism, presented as a principled defence of "orthodox Trotskyism" against a political deviation led by one man ("Pablo") or as a damaging split which led to the subsequent and lasting weakness of the International. Read more...

30 Theses in Defence of Trotskyism

These theses began life in the discussion period in the 1980s in various Trotskyist tendencies and were updated and republished in the early 90s. Read more...

Centrism in its dotage: USFI 1980-1991

Of all the international tendencies claiming to be “the” Fourth International (FI), the United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USFI) has the best claim on at least one score. All the other tendencies (the Lambertists, the Morenoites and the Healyites) are rooted in a national leadership that either left or was expelled from the FI during the period between 1951 and 1963. The USFI can claim an international leadership with a substantial continuity”at the level of personnel” with the young militants grouped around Michel Pablo who carried out the post-war reconstruction of the Inter-national. Read more...

Leon Trotsky - Revolutionary fighter

August 20th 1940 is the day that Ramón Mercader, a Stalinist agent, struck the death blow that killed Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary and founder of the Fourth International. This article, originally to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his death, is written by Dave Stockton Read more...

The Transitional Programme fifty years on

Half a century has passed since the Transitional Programme (TP)1 of Leon Trotsky was written. In those fifty years much has occurred that Trotsky’s programme neither foresaw nor prepared for. Trotsky’s perspectives were based on the premise that ‘Mankind’s productive forces stagnate’.2 Yet, in the metropolitan countries the second imperialist war was followed by an unprecedented economic boom for almost twenty years. In turn this boom created the conditions for the resurgence of social-democratic reformism, a force Trotsky believed would be decisively destroyed in the war. Stalinism too not merely survived but gained a new lease of life through its expansion into eastern Europe and eventually parts of Asia. The condition for these unforeseen developments was the defeat of the revolutionary upsurge that occurred during the war in Europe. The defeat of that upsurge was achieved by counter-revolutionary force in the areas occupied by the Soviet Armed Forces and Allied imperialism. It fell victim to the no less fatal snares of democratic counter-revolution in much of western Europe. Read more...

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