Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

A ‘Trotsky Day’ took place last Saturday in Berlin

Photo: Klassegegenklasse.org “Trotskyism, more than any other political tendency, transports the heritage, the thinking and the strategic perspectives of revolutionary Marxism, the October Revolution and the early third International into the present.” With these words, Florian Wilde, an activist and former member of the leadership of the German Left Party “Die Linke”, praised the ideas […]

Nathaniel Flakin

October 22, 2015
Facebook Twitter Share

Photo: Klassegegenklasse.org

“Trotskyism, more than any other political tendency, transports the heritage, the thinking and the strategic perspectives of revolutionary Marxism, the October Revolution and the early third International into the present.” With these words, Florian Wilde, an activist and former member of the leadership of the German Left Party “Die Linke”, praised the ideas of Leon Trotsky at the beginning of the panel discussion. The Russian revolutionary was murdered 75 years ago in his Mexican exile. The Soviet bureaucracy under Joseph Stalin feared Trotsky, who had been a leading figure of the October Revolution of 1917, more than anything else in the world. For the privileged bureaucrats who had hijacked the revolution, as well as for the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries, the name of Leon Trotsky was a symbol of the proletarian revolution. That is why, 75 years after the murder, his ideas live on.

“Trotsky-Day” took place in Berlin last Saturday, with nearly 100 people in attendance to discuss the ideas of the Russian revolutionary. The Revolutionary Internationalist Organization (RIO) had prepared a full-day program with workshops on different topics: anti-fascism, feminism and permanent revolution. But the perspective was not historical: The question was “what can we learn from Trotsky’s political heritage to build a revolutionary alternative in today’s world?”

Trotskyism had “failed”, Wilde asserted in a deliberately provocative speech at the beginning of the panel discussion. Over the past 75 years, he said, Trotskyist tendencies never became a mass force. Many speakers contradicted this assessment. “What has failed is neo-reformism”, replied Cynthia Lub from Barcelona from the group “Clase contra Clase”: “Recently, we have seen how ‘new’ white hopes of the left, like Syriza in Greece or Podemos in the Spanish State, have failed with their neo-reformist ideas, given the harsh reality of capitalism. Trotskyism offers an alternative to this,” as Lub explained further.

A concrete example of this is the Left and Workers Front (FIT for its Spanish acronym) in Argentina that might receive 5% of the vote in the presidential elections next Sunday. The FIT can reach millions of workers and youth with a clear revolutionary profile – revolutionaries do not need to cling to reformist projects in order to speak with the masses. But the FIT did not appear coming down from the Heavens: The three Trotskyist groups that compose the front have fought to build up a militant base among workers and youth – they use the tribune of parliament to support and advance the struggles of the working class. The PTS, sister organization of RIO, is part of the FIT, and the top candidates for the upcoming election are PTS members. Presidential candidate Nicolás del Caño, who wished “rote Grüße” (“red greetings” in German), and of the vice-presidential candidate Myriam Bregman sent greetings to the assistants through a video.

During the breaks and at the end of the day there were intensive discussions in large and small groups. Vegan food was also served by a group of militants. Exchanges and sharing experiences between veterans, with more than four decades in the revolutionary movement, and very young activists went on until late into the night

It was noteworthy the international composition of the audience: guests came from Turkey, Brazil, Morocco, Greece and many other countries. Many political movements were represented, including the Socialist Alternative (SAV, the German section of the CWI), the Workers Power Group and Revolution (GAM, linked to the League for the Fifth International), Marx21 (Cliffist German group close to the IST), the Berlin youth antifa and Antarsya. There were also workers from a number of large companies, who additionally held a special workshop about Trotsky’s ideas regarding unions.

The ideas of Trotsky still have many enemies today, as demonstrated by a graffiti which was sprayed at the entrance the night before the event: “Long live Comrade Stalin!” in clear reference to the “Trotsky Day”.

The Trotskyist groups represented at the panel discussion all stressed, despite their differences, the need to develop a common response to the central questions of the class struggle. This was particularly evident in the speeches about the so-called “refugee crisis”. Michael Koschitzki (SAV) said: “We need a socialist alternative against the right-wing propaganda, and mass resistance.”

Stefan Schneider (RIO) concluded by emphasizing the need for an alternative based on proletarian internationalism. Lafontaine and Mélenchon argue, under the name “Plan B”, for a “left-wing sovereigntism”, which is nothing more than a return to national capitalism. In contrast, Schneider called for a “Plan I” (I for internationalism) which rejects the false alternative between pro-EU reformism and left sovereigntism in favor of an international proletarian perspective. As part of this Plan I, there will be an international conference in Paris in December which is being organized by RIO and its sister organizations from the Spanish State and France. This conference will try to give answers, in the interest of the international proletariat, to the attacks and crises of the capitalists.

Facebook Twitter Share

Nathaniel Flakin

Nathaniel is a freelance journalist and historian from Berlin. He is on the editorial board of Left Voice and our German sister site Klasse Gegen Klasse. Nathaniel, also known by the nickname Wladek, has written a biography of Martin Monath, a Trotskyist resistance fighter in France during World War II, which has appeared in German, in English, and in French. He is on the autism spectrum.



Protesters gather during a demonstration on Place de la Concorde in Paris on March 17, 2023, the day after the French government pushed a pensions reform using the article 49.3 of the constitution. - French President's government on March 17, 2023 faced no-confidence motions in parliament and intensified protests after imposing a contentious pension reform without a vote in the lower house. Across France, fresh protests erupted in the latest show of popular opposition to the bill since mid-January.

Battle of the Pensions: Toward a Pre-Revolutionary Moment in France

President Macron's use of article 49.3 to push through an unpopular pension reform bill has opened up an enormous political crisis that has changed the character of the mobilizations against the French government. We are entering a "pre-revolutionary moment" that can change the balance of power between the classes in France.

Juan Chingo

March 21, 2023

It is Possible to Win: The Pension Reform Crisis in France

A French socialist reflects on the way forward after Macron invites Article 49.3 to pass pension reform.

Paul Morao

March 20, 2023

France: Macron Bets On His Presidency as Millions Rise Up

A historic two weeks of mobilizations against Macron’s pension reform, with several sectors going into open-ended strikes, and including a spectacular show of solidarity on International Women’s Day. Yet despite the massive turnout, the government pushed through the reform Thursday night, using an antidemocratic maneuver to bypass the National Assembly. Which direction will the movement take? Will it fizzle out in a failed top-down union strategy, or will it generalize the struggle to all sectors from the bottom up?

Antoine Ramboz

March 17, 2023
Demonstrators march during a demonstration, Tuesday, March 7, 2023 in Paris. LEWIS JOLY / AP

French Socialists on the Potential and Strategy of Working-Class Struggle

Juan Chingo and Romaric Godin discuss the working-class struggle in France, its potential, and its weaknesses, as well as the strategic problems that it faces.


20 Years Since the U.S. Invasion of Iraq: A Reflection from a Socialist in the Heart of Imperialism

A Left Voice member and anti-war activist reflects on the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and how he learned to hate U.S. imperialism.

Sam Carliner

March 20, 2023

“We are your economy”: Trans Youth Walkout and Speak Out

The following is a speech by a young trans person as part of an action called for by NYC Youth for Trans Rights.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

March 20, 2023
Three tables full of food, with signs hung above them. One says "The People's Pantry: FREE FOOD." Banners hung from the tables say "Free CUNY" and "Cop Free School Zone"

CUNY Administration Cracks Down on Student and Worker-Run Food Pantry

Students and workers opened "The People's Pantry" seven weeks ago as part of a broader anti-austerity campaign at CUNY, leading to several direct confrontations with the administration.

Olivia Wood

March 19, 2023

Neither NATO Nor Putin: An Anti-war Program for an Anti-war Protest

The following is a flier that Left Voice distributed at the March 18 rally in DC with the anti-war program we believe we must all take up.

Left Voice

March 19, 2023