David Broder: The renegade from Trotskyism has become a Stalinist


27/10/2017 by socialistfight

By Gerry Downing

Broder-DowningGerry Downing and David Broder: “For Togliatti (and Broder – GD) politics was (and is – GD) the art of government, not revolutionary militancy.” [1]

Back in February 2009, during the Lindsey oil refinery/British jobs for British workers affair A J Byrne wrote an article for Socialist Fight What lies behind the advance of the politics of Stalinism in the British Labour movement? No Vote for Bob Crow’s No2EU Europhobia! It began:

“We will show that the methods and politics of Stalinism have advanced in the British labour movement because of the strengthening of the hold of the TU and Labour bureaucracy over the working class and the progressive capitulation of the ‘far left’ groups to this bureaucracy via the medium of the CBP/Morning Star.” [2]

The central point was on the Lindsay Oil Refinery:

“To give meat to this development we had the chauvinist Lindsay Oil Refinery strikes beginning at the end of January culminating in the 24 February “foreigners out” demonstration. That the Socialist Party could have found themselves on a demonstration led by a Union Jack waving bigot desperately trying to drown out this obscene chant from a labour movement event must have bothered their better members. The SWP initially rejected the chauvinism of Lindsey only to collapse into supporting the SP compromise by hailing SP member’s Keith Gibson leftist programme which everybody, crucially including the Unite bureaucracy led by Simpson, ignored because it did not repudiate the original Bj4Bw demands.” [3]

The line-up repeated itself seven years later in the Brexit referendum and all three, CPB, SP and SWP, the latter again very shamefaced, were Lexiteers. In the meantime, many former Trotskyists and one left Labourite whom I knew personally have not just politically capitulated to Stalinism but became actual Stalinists, far-rightist ones who implicitly advocate the murdering of their Trotskyist and other opponents, in a joking way of course, by endorsing enthusiastically Stalin’s mass murder of all his leftist opponents in the later 1930s and Trotsky himself in 1940. This they appear to think is a form of a revolutionary struggle for socialism.

Socialist Fight’s own Ollie JC became a Maoist in 2016, endorsing Stalin’s Great Purge of the 1937-38 when executions topped 1,000 a day. Bill Paterson, a former member of the Trotskyist Workers Power, posted the following on Facebook in September 2017: “Happy 109th birthday to Enver Hoxha! The man who proved that Tankies can be Trots, too.”

This endorsed Leonid Brezhnev political line against the Albanian Stalinist bureaucrat in a repeat of the infamous From Trotsky to Tito by James Klugmann in 1951. To adopt the dour, arch conservative bureaucrat Brezhnev as a model speaks of a profound degeneration. And to reject the somewhat leftist opposition of Mao, Tito and Hoxha as “Trots” is simply the attitude of cultist idiots. Klugmann’s book included the following outright lies:

I remember vividly how in 1938, passing through Italy on the way to meet the anti-fascist and Communist students of Belgrade University, and spending a few hours in Mussolini’s Milan, the word ‘Communism’ caught my eye on a number of books prominently displayed in a bookshop window. They were newly-translated works of Trotsky.

In Hitler’s Germany, when to be a Communist or Socialist or militant trade unionist or liberal or democrat meant arrest, the concentration camp, and often death and torture, when there was instituted one of the most thoroughgoing ‘purges’ of literature and burning of books that the world has ever known, when Schiller’s Don Carlos, the poems of Heine and the novels of Thomas Mann were banned or burned as ‘subversive’, the writings of Trotsky were widely translated and distributed.

Trotsky’s writings and those of his followers were freely published in the middle and late 1930s by the Hearst press in America. His works on his ‘new kind of Communism’ were published by the Franco press at Salamanca and Burgos. The secret police of the Polish dictatorship were specially educated in Trotskyism in order to facilitate their work of espionage and disruption inside the Polish working-class movement. [4]

Of course, Tito was a Stalinist also and the above assertions presented no proof of what Klugmann claimed, they were just the method Stalinists always use, to lie and lie again and to keep lying and repeat it often enough via paid stooges so it becomes accepted as the truth by the gullible and those who desperately wanted to believe. Of course, once rapprochement was effected with Tito Klugmann’s book was repudiated by Moscow for the fraud it was. The “crimes” of Tito, Mao, and Hoxha, that Bill complains of so bitterly above, was to refuse Stalin’s instructions to cede power to western imperialism leaders Churchill and Roosevelt/Truman as agreed by him in Yalta and Potsdam, thereby putting his relationship with them in jeopardy.  As Churchill wrote:

“On behalf of HM Government, I send you grateful thanks for all the hospitality and friendship extended to British delegation at Crimea Conference…  No previous meeting has shown so clearly the results which can be achieved when the three heads of government meet together with the full intention to face difficulties and solve them. You yourself said that co-operation would be less easy when the unifying bond of fight against a common enemy had been removed.  I am resolved, as I am sure the President and you are resolved that the friendship and co-operation so firmly established shall not fade when victory has been won.” [5]

Others who have become Stalinists in recent times to advance political careers within the trade union bureaucracy include Alex Gordon who has gathered a hard-right Stalinist clique around himself in the RMT. He posted an explicit defence of immigration controls in 2011, out-kipping Nigel Farage:

“It is an iron law of economics that an abundant supply of labour pushes down its cost. It is insulting people’s intelligence to pretend otherwise … Across Europe, it is clear that we are witnessing large movement of capital eastwards as labour heads west. And this is happening in accordance to the principles of the single European market, which allow the ‘free movement of goods, capital, services and labour’, regardless of the social consequences. Single market rules, therefore, truncate all forms of democracy, including rights to fair wages, working conditions, welfare and social protection and collective bargaining. These EU policies can only mean a continuation of mass migration and, ultimately, feed the poison of racism and fascism, the last refuge of the corporate beast in crisis.” [6]


Image result for Togliatti and Gramsci images

The Stalinism of Togliatti and Gramsci

But the central focus of this article is on David Broder and his adulation of Palmiro Togliatti. On the politics and character of Togliatti, we can do no better than to cite Toby Abse, in his rejection of him as any type of a revolutionary and to concur with his conclusion to a very scholarly article written for the What Next? No. 25 Journal in 2003:

As Togliatti’s Stalinism will be discussed throughout the remainder of this paper, I want to take this opportunity to justify my characterisation of Togliatti as a professional politician, rather than a professional revolutionary like Lenin or Trotsky. Togliatti was not, except perhaps for a few years at the beginning of his career under the influence of Gramsci and Bordiga, a genuine revolutionary. The depth of his commitment to revolutionary politics even in those early years is open to question in the light of his behaviour in 1923 in the aftermath of the December 1922 fascist massacre of the Torinese left, a period when Gramsci was in Moscow and Bordiga was in prison. As Bocca asks, rhetorically: “Was he ill from December 1922 to April 1923? “Togliatti’s sister told Bocca that to the delight of their mother, a devout Catholic who had never had any sympathy with her son’s involvement in left-wing politics, Togliatti returned to the family home after the December 1922 massacre, that he was not ill, that he had more or less abandoned political life and that he asked her to go to the university and enquire on his behalf about re-enrolling for his uncompleted philosophy degree. Terracini, left in effective charge of the party, after vainly making a series of private and indirect attempts to get Togliatti to return to an active role in the party, was forced to go to Avanti, the still legal daily of the hated Socialists and request the publication of a ommuniqué announcing that “Comrade Togliatti is invited to get back into direct relations with the Executive Committee of the Party immediately”. Togliatti never really forgave Terracini for this public humiliation and was always eager to use sanctions against him when he opposed the Stalinist line on various questions in later years, most notably expelling him from the party in 1939 for opposing the Nazi-Soviet Pact and only re-admitting him to the party in 1945, rather than 1941. Camilla Ravera, another leading figure in the party in the 1920s, commenting on Togliatti’s behaviour in early 1923, said: “For Togliatti politics was the art of government, not revolutionary militancy.”

To conclude, the depth of Togliatti’s Stalinism has been underestimated by the vast majority of writers sympathetic to the Italian left. The old claims that his involvement in Stalin’s terror was confined to signing the death warrants of the Polish Communists under duress in Moscow or that his career after 1944 was entirely distinct from the path he took between 1926 and 1944 are no longer tenable. Firstly, Togliatti played a leading role in [62] implementing Stalinist policy in Spain, not only dictating the line and often the very words of the speeches of the PCE leaders but also crushing an authentic workers’ and peasants’ revolution, led by anarchists, POUMists and leftwing socialists, by a variety of means that included not just elaborate political intrigues that exploited the divisions in the ranks of other political forces but the importation of NKVD tactics of a hitherto unknown brutality on to the streets of cities such as Barcelona. Secondly, the svolta di Salerno, Togliatti’s famous new strategy annunciated to the Italian Communists in March 1944, was the direct result of orders from Stalin, not the outcome of autonomous reflection. The Spanish and Italian experiences were closely linked for the very notion of a parliamentary road to socialism in Western Europe was first set out by Stalin in his December 1936 letter to Caballero. Togliatti’s loyalty and servility to Stalin did not mean that he was not an extremely intelligent and astonishingly cunning politician who showed an extraordinary grasp of Italian reality in the years after 1944, turning the PCI into a mass party with deep social roots and a degree of electoral support unparalleled amongst Western European Communist Parties. Nor did it mean that he did not seize the opportunities offered by events to achieve some distance from Moscow between 1956 and 1964, although we need to acknowledge that his dislike of Krushchev played an important role here. Togliatti was certainly not a mediocre Stalinist bureaucrat but he was never “Il Migliore”. The Spanish Communists who worked with him in 1936-39 grasped the profound moral emptiness that lay behind his tactical genius and it could be argued that the image conjured up by their descriptions is that of an intelligent psychopath, not the heroic figure of the Spriano-Agosti-Sassoon hagiography. El Campesino portrayed him as “cold, cynical, without nerves and without scruples” and Enrique Castro was reminded of the words of his secretary in Spain: “He is the type of man that would make love to me just as coldly as he would have given orders to shoot me”.  (6a)

[62] (Toby Abse’s original note: Bolloten, Spanish Civil War, op. cit., p.511 – translation of quotation from Juan-Simeon Vidarte, Todos fuimos culpables, Mexico City, 1973, pp.732-33. Moron’s own account in his earlier Politica de ayer y politica de mañana, Mexico City, 1942, whilst not so explicit, tallied in general terms and included the statement: “Senor Irugo, the entire cabinet, the public prosecutor and I knew perfectly well where to find the only person responsible for the abduction of Nin” – translation in Bolloten, Spanish Civil Warop. cit., p.511.

Gramsci’s prominence is due to the outcome of the 1926 Lyons Congress [7] where the centre won almost all the votes in the absence of much of the left, who were unable to attend as a result of fascist controls and lack of Comintern support. Bordiga was not able to attend and Gramsci and Togliatti now took control as the direct agents of Stalin’s Comintern. The main purpose of the Lyons Conference was to defeat the left, Bordiga in particular, and to ‘Bolshevise’ the party, i.e. to reduce it to a mere mouthpiece of Stalin’s bureaucracy in the period of the United Opposition of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev, who fought Stalin’s disastrous policy on China; Chiang Kai-shek, the butcher of the Shanghai Soviet in 1927, was an honorary member of the Presidium of the Comintern on Stalin’s and Bukharin’s invite at that time.

The ‘Bolshevisation’ of the party was accomplished by the adoption of the document, The Construction of the Communist Party as a “Bolshevik” Party part of the Lyons Theses. Thesis 24 correctly explains that:

“The Italian workers have learnt from their experience (1919-20) that where the leadership of a Communist Party, built as the party of the working class and as the party of revolution, is missing, no victorious outcome of the struggle to overthrow the capitalist order is possible,”

But then Thesis 25 asserts:

“The Communist Party needs complete ideological unity in order to be able at all moments to fulfil its function as leader of the working class. Ideological unity is an element of the Party’s strength and political capacity; it is indispensable, to make it into a Bolshevik Party.”

Of course, anyone who knows history the Bolshevik party in 1917 knows that if this rule applied there would have been no October Revolution. Lenin’s April Theses were opposed by the majority of the leadership and he continued his struggle against “complete ideological unity” of Stalin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev until he defeated them and won the argument for the second revolution.

So, we can see where all this is going; oppositions are not to be tolerated, the much-vaunted bureaucratic centralism so common in Stalinism and degenerate Trotskyism has triumphed. Thesis 25 goes on, “However, it did not find in the history of the Italian workers’ movement any vigorous or continuous current of Marxist thought that it could invoke.” In other words, you will have to get your Marxism from Uncle Joe because there is no one to ask in Italy who has a theoretical thought in their heads.

Thesis 26 attacks the ‘rights’ and proclaims that:

“The same pessimism and the same deviations lead to an incorrect interpretation of the nature and historical function of the social-democratic parties at the present time. They lead to forgetting that social-democracy, although it still to a great extent conserves its social base in the proletariat, must so far as its ideology and the political function it fulfils are concerned be considered, not as a right wing of the working-class movement, but as a left wing of the bourgeoisie, and as such must be unmasked in the eyes of the masses” (our emphasis).

This foreshadows the ultra-left lunacy of the third period of social fascism but has not got that far yet. It is NOT an assertion of social democracy as a bourgeois-workers party, they are just another bourgeois party, “although it still to a great extent conserves its social base in the proletariat.”

But the main target of this section, Theses 27 and 28, is the left and Bordiga in particular who is named as the leader of an ultra-left tendency who is opposed to the party line. Of course, we are aware that there is a certain truth in this charge and Lenin held this view of Bordiga. But even if we accept that Bordiga had not altered his views, and Trotsky thought he had, the entire thrust of this is against the left in general who retained some critical theoretical independence. Because of the early illegalization of the Italian party since 1922 Stalinisation. i.e., ‘Bolshevisation’ had not progressed as far in Italy. The majority of the party were still subjective revolutionaries, albeit with some ultra-left tendencies. And it was that subjectively revolutionary base that emerged in Italy from 1944 on and against which Stalin instructed Togliatti to enter into an alliance with the fascist Badoglio. Stalin was a cynical centrist by 1926, not yet the counter-revolutionary of 1944.

The Theses say:

Ultra-leftism was the official ideology of the Italian party in the first period of its existence. It is advocated by comrades who were among the founders of the party and made a very great contribution to its construction after Livorno. There are, therefore, factors which explain how this conception was for a long time deeply rooted in the majority of comrades. It was not so much critically evaluated by them in any thorough-going manner, as it was the consequence of a widespread state of mind. It is thus evident that the leftist danger must be seen as an immediate reality; as an obstacle not only to ideological unification and refinement, but to the party’s political development and the effectiveness of its activity. It must be combated as such, not just through propaganda, but through political action and, if necessary, through organizational measures.

So, some truth here is used to impose a Stalinist line of conformity. It is instructive to examine Gramsci’s line the 1926 situation as outlined in his letter to the Comintern, which Togliatti never delivered as related by Joe Cleffie in International Socialist Review:

Gramsci rose to be the head of the PCI and led the party in its difficult attempt to organise the underground in Fascist Italy. As a leader of an important section in the Comintern he often had to weigh in on issues affecting other sections including the Communist Party of the USSR. One instance of this that resulted in much controversy is a now famous 1926 letter written to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR in which he sided with the rising Stalinist bureaucracy against Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, and other members of the Left Opposition (United Opposition, in fact, not the Left Opposition – GD) who were fighting for democratization of the CP and Russian society.

Gramsci saw this time as a precarious moment in the international Communist movement. He worried that a split in the Russian party would more than likely lead to splits in parties in most countries and would result in a catastrophic setback for the workers’ movement. Unity was of paramount importance. In his letter, he agreed that Trotsky was the main threat to this unity but differed with hard-liners on three main points. One, he was for reintegrating the opposition, whom he regarded as good revolutionaries, not enemies. Two, he thought unity must be won by persuasion, not brute force. And three, he reminded everyone that “Comrades Zinoviev, Trotsky, and Kamenev have contributed powerfully to educating us for the revolution, at times they have corrected us very energetically and severely, they have been our teachers.” He called for a unity that “cannot be mechanical and forced, they must be loyal and expressed out of conviction, not those of an imprisoned or besieged enemy detachment.” [8]

We must suppose Gramsci would have voted for Lenin’s expulsion from the party in 1917 because he did not follow the party line but had the brass neck to oppose, change the wrong line and lead the Russian Revolution. And no problem here with capitulation to bourgeois nationalism in China which led to such disastrous consequence. It must be stressed that Gramsci’s later opposition to the Third Period lunacy from 1928 to 1935 was in line with his continued support for the old Bolshevik line of the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry which Lenin was obliged to defeat with the April Theses to win the party to the second revolution. His adherence to Stalin and Bukharin in 1926 was in conformity with his belief in socialism in one country and absolute opposition to Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution.

Lukács’s capitulation to Stalin in 1928 was on the basis the same belief in the old Bolshevik formula, which was a precursor of the Popular Front rightism from 1935. Lukács admitted his own cowardice and the fact that he was only adhering to the earlier theory of class collaboration, albeit from a centrist and more confused leftist perspective that the working class should lead the bourgeois revolution and not with the outright counter-revolutionary popular frontism from 1935 on with which Togliatti drowned the revolutions in Spain from 1936-39 and Italy from 1944-48 in blood.

Chris Harman, in discussing Gramsci’s weaknesses, analyses his theory that the working class must win hegemony over the working class before it can take power and the distinction he makes between, the ‘war of position’, ‘war of manoeuvre’ distinction:

  1. War of manoeuvre, which involves rapid movement by the rival armies, with thrusts forwards and backwards as each tries to outflank the other and its cities;
  2. War of position, a long drawn out struggle in which the two armies are deadlocked in battle, each hardly able to move forward, like the trench warfare of 1914-18. [9]

He admits:

Gramsci declared his support for the Stalin-Bukharin bloc formed in 1925. He seems to have accepted as part of an international ‘war of position’ the attempt to build ‘socialism in one country’ through making concessions to the peasants. So, he identified Trotsky’s opposition to socialism in one country with an ultra-left rejection of the united front – even though he knew perfectly well that Trotsky was one of the main authors of the tactic of the united front. Gramsci, as we have seen, was very aware and very critical of the suffocating bureaucratism of Stalinism. But his acceptance of the Bukharin-Stalin version (1925-28) of ‘socialism in one country’ prevented him analysing what had gone wrong in Russia.

But Harman thinks that he really was for the socialist revolution although many of his formulations were vague and confused, nevertheless, although he could not come right out and say so in his Prison Notebooks because of the fascist censorship. Gramsci’s ‘war of position’, ‘war of manoeuvre’ was open to any kind of an interpretation. We would suggest that, given his confusion of Stalinism and the imposition of Stalinist norms in the PCI, that he really remained as confused as he was in 1926, in the Lyons conference and when he gat imprisoned later that year. Opposing the blood purges in 1936 (the Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center) in contrast to Togliatti actually participating in them is to his credit although he was in a place where the Stalin could not get at him. And Harman was a Cliffite state capitalist, who had ‘bolshevised’ they own party in 1974 by expelling their left opposition not least on Ireland and were then engaged in a popular front-type organisation, the Anti-Nazi League and so was sympathetic to Gramsci in support of that.

But let us give the last word on Gramsci to an Italian Trotskyist, Paolo Casciola, in his article Alfonso Leonetti: A Turncoat Trotskyist says the following:

As a matter of fact, whereas Trotsky emphasised that the ‘democratic transition’ was only one possible variant of the post-Fascist development – linked to and dependent upon the revolutionary awakening of the working class – Gramsci saw such an event as ‘the most likely one’, and, on this basis, put forward the slogan of a constituent assembly within the framework of a gradualist, Menshevik, Popular Front perspective. It is not by chance that, a few days before his death, Gramsci let the PCd’I know that ‘the Popular Front in Italy is the constituent assembly’. The Stalinist continuity between Gramsci and Togliatti was thus re-established, after the interlude of the ‘Third Period’.

On the other hand, the lack of identity between the views of Trotsky and Gramsci is shown by several other bits of evidence. According to the testimony of Bruno Tosin, whilst opposing the ‘turn of 1930’ not only did Gramsci hold that the party had been right to expel the Trotskyist oppositionists, but in his Prison Notebooks he criticises Trotsky every time he mentions him, ever inclined to legitimise the continuity from Lenin to Stalin. [10]

But what happened to Gramsci’s partner in the 1926 coup that ousted Bordiga and the left from the leadership of the PCI? Here is the story of how Togliatti, on Stalin’s instructions, betrayed the post-WWII revolutionary situation in Italy as recounted by Gerry Downing in Socialist Fight. [11]

David Broder

David Broder, who once did good work on Trotskyist history is a former member the AWL. Despite their claims the AWL is not a Trotskyist group, they are third campist Shachtmanites who are pro-Zionist and pro-imperialist in general. However, they claim the mantle of Trotskyism so their members do read the originals (balanced by third-campists like Max Shachtman and Hal Draper) and therefore some are at least subjective Trotskyists.

Broder left the AWL in 2008 in quite a leftist opposition to their pro-Zionism; Sean Matgamna’s endorsement of a possible Israeli bombing of Iran was the chief issue. He spoke on 1968 in France that year at the age of 20 at the CPGB’s Communist University which I attended. It was a good contribution, as far as I remember.

The history of the heroic war-time Trotskyists in Brest as related by the Militant of the US SWP in 1945 and reposted by the AWL in 2013 gives the direct lie to Klugmann’s lying slanders against Trotskyism:

There was another clandestine organ, L’Humanite, (official organ of the French Communist Party) but all Parisians remember that it was then distributed in the streets with the tacit consent of the occupying forces and besides, officially applied for legal publication (under Nazi occupation). L’Humanite appeared then without a single line against German occupation by virtue of the German-Russian agreement (the Stalin-Hitler pact of August 1939), which it warmly defended. [12]

This brings to mind the infamous Daily Worker editorial of 1 February 1940, commenting on Hitler’s speech a few weeks before and championing the good faith of the Nazi leader:

“Hitler repeated once again his claim that the war was thrust upon him by Britain. Against the historical fact there can be no reply. Britain declared war attempts were made to end the war. But the Soviet German peace overtures were rejected by Britain. All through these months the British and French Governments have had the power to end the war. They have chosen to extend it… War should never have been declared on September 3, there should have been negotiations and peace talks”. [13]

Resuming the quote from the French Trotskyists:

In contrast. La Verite, which had on its masthead “Neither Petain nor Hitler – For a Workers and Peasants Government” violently attacked Nazism, denounced the (Nazi) raiding of goods, appealed for regrouping against fascism on both sides of the demarcation line, etc. To our knowledge. La Verite was the first organ of resistance.

  1. Struggle for Fraternization

We appealed to the German soldiers to turn their arms against their officers and to fraternize with the workers of Europe, at the same time as we appealed to the workers of this country to’ address fraternally the workers dragooned by Hitler into his army, calling upon them to struggle together against fascism and capitalism. This propaganda is that for which L’Humanite reproaches us with most hatred, pretending that we want to “give our hand to the murderers.”

On the contrary, La Verite repeats unceasingly that “we must execute the agents of the Gestapo, the SS, the reactionary officers. It is against them that we must give our hand to the German workers in uniform”. Here, for instance, is one of our most recent posters, in German: “German soldier! Start the struggle immediately-against Hitler, the Nazis, the Gestapo. Start the struggle immediately against all capitalists! Disarm your officers, form your Soldiers’ Councils! Don’t throw your arms away! Give them to us! Struggle with us, your brothers, the French workers! Bring the revolution to Germany and establish the power of the Workers’ and Soldiers’ Councils!”

Thus, in one single case, in October 1943, against our comrades who edited Der Arbeiter in Brittany, 65 of our comrades, of whom 30 were German soldiers, were arrested, deported and murdered. On that occasion four members of our leadership were caught and tortured. But this repression did not prevent our work from continuing. Up to August 1944, we edited several organs in German, namely Unser Wort and Arbeiter Und Soldat, the latter distributed in the barracks, from 5,000 to 10,000 copies. [14]

Image result for van Craipeau Swimming Against the Tide

A book about the French Trotskyists’ activity in the war, by Yvan Craipeau, one of their leaders at the time, was translated into English by David Broder, under the title Swimming Against the Tide, in 2013, showing he was in some way still semi-Trotskyist then, although clearly influenced by council communism, as a review of his blog, The Commune, reveals. [15]

Now Broder is a cynical anti-Trotskyist Stalinist who uses the space afforded to pro-immigration controls reactionaries in the Red London Facebook site to mock and denigrate Trotskyism and Gerry Downing in particular. But he is a ‘serious academic’ and writes ‘serious studies’ for academic journals. The focus of this piece is on his article in New Left Review 107, September-October 2017, Il marxismo occidentale: Come nacque, come morì, come può rinascere, Eastern light on Western Marxism. [16]

He used the following quote from Antonio Giolitti, an Italian politician, and cabinet member, sometimes member of the PCI and the Socialist party, to publicise the work on Facebook:

“Togliatti arriving in Italy from Russia (in 1945) was just like a Christ descending on Earth. He came from Moscow, he had worked in direct contact with Stalin, who had directly appointed him: no one else could boast a similar charisma. He came with the message that he had received from the recognised, beloved leader of the international workers’ movement. There was just too much of a difference in stature between him and all the rest.” – Antonio Giolitti

David Broder commented:

Obviously in my thesis (just handed in) I subjected this to critical evaluation rather than just putting it in a different font size and changing the margins for the sake of emphasis. I focus on the character of that evaluation on the rest of this article.

The superficial character James O’Leary, another Trotskyist renegade of my acquaintance, wallows in the wake of the Broder and the anti-immigrant Stalinists in Red London. He agrees entirely with Broder on Facebook: “That’s genuinely what happened … The grassroots left in Italy in 44/5 scolded its leaders if they were insufficiently reverential about Stalin. The man was a hero in the eyes of the workers.” No mention of where he stood in the eyes of the revolutionary vanguard in Italy at the time.

Let us put all this in some historical context. In the Editorial of Socialist Fight, No. 1 in Winter/Spring 2009 we did this:

“America fought WWII not just to defeat the economic model of Nazi Germany or the state-planned economy of the USSR or that of the colonial empires of old Europe, Britain and France but to overcome all opponents of the free market. They sought to impose their neo-liberal agenda on the whole world after the war, whilst exempting themselves as Britain did in the last globalised economy in the nineteenth century, because theirs was the most powerful and efficient economy based on Taylorism and Fordism and they had the best military. But they encountered problems. The world was bi-polar after WWII because the USSR had triumphed over Nazi Germany and the war had given a powerful impulse to revolutionary forces everywhere.

But Stalinism betrayed these immediate challenges, which reached their high points in Italy, Greece and Vietnam. CPI leader Togliatti issued his infamous instructions from Moscow signalling the Salerno Turn away from the armed partisans in control of almost all the cities of northern Italy, entered the government of the fascist Pietro Badoglio, 2nd Duke of Addis Ababa (he led the invasion of Ethiopia), as minister without portfolio, voted for the Lateran Pacts and betrayed the Italian revolution. Stalin’s percentage agreement consigned Greece to capitalism, the KKE led by Zachariadis chose Stalin and class compromise over Tito and the armed struggle, the Greek Stalinists murdered Titoists and 800 Trotskyists and the Kremlin watched in silent approval as the British and US armies massacred the revolution. Ho Chi Mihn savagely put down the Vietnam revolution, murdered the great Trotskyist leader Tạ Thu Thâu and welcomed back the French troops on the instructions of Stalin. Maurice Thorez in France and Stalinists in eight other European countries entered popular front governments to save capitalism.”

Broder justifies Stalinism’s great betrayal in Italy with his article in New Left Review and makes a bogus distinction between “Western Marxism” and “Eastern Marxism” with no reference whatsoever to genuine Marxism itself. Significantly his article mentions Togliatti 21 times (well the article is substantially in his defence), Lenin gets 14 mentions, Lukács and Bloch 9, Sartre and Mao 7, Stalin and Horkheimer 6, Althusser and Foucault 4, Marcuse 3, Žižek 2, and Heidegger and Nietzsche and others get one mention. Trotsky, the co-leader of the Russian revolution and its unyielding defender until his murder by Stalin’s agent in 1940, one of history’s towering figures politically and ideologically, gets not a single reference.

It is necessary to explain some of the terms Broder uses in the review to understand his mindset. Eastern and Western Marxism are varieties of Stalinism or pro-imperialist academics that conflict with each other, first world Marxist vs second and third world Marxists. Marxism is whatever Stalin, Mao, Ho, and Castro said and did, it bears no relationship to what Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and all other anti-Stalinist Marxists said and did. In fact, he never considers the possibility of any anti-Stalinist Marxists existing. Whatever happened in the USSR, China etc was socialism irrespective of famines that killed millions and great purges that also wiped out millions. The review marks Broder off very clearly as a Stalinist ideologue, and that is obviously his purpose in writing the review.

Who were the Western Marxists in Broder’s view?


Image result for Bloch, Lukács, Benjamin images

He tells us:

The Western variant, Losurdo agrees with other accounts, was born out of a reaction against the slaughter of the First World War, and the magnetism of the revolution in Russia. The outlook of its earliest thinkers—Bloch, Lukács, Benjamin—was, however, from the outset impregnated with a set of themes that went back to the anarchism of Bakunin’s time: notably a hostility to science, associated with capitalism, and to the state of any kind, associated with tyranny.

Of course, none of the three were serious Marxists, the first two were prepared to offer their services to Stalinism to justify his counter-revolution in the USSR; Bloch the Stalinist ‘political philosopher of the GDR’, Lukács, who was condemned by Lenin and capitulated to Stalin in 1928, [17] and the third, Benjamin, who combined German idealism, Romanticism, Western Marxism, and Jewish mysticism.

And now comes that most disgraceful passage in the whole piece. Look at how Broder dismisses the perspectives of world revolution that inspired Lenin and Trotsky to lead the Russian Revolution, the single greatest achievement in human history, to victory,

To these it added a messianic streak of eschatological expectation, inherited from a judeo-christian past, that looked forward to salvation for humanity in communism, conceived as the proximate coming of a classless society in which money and the state would disappear. Such utopian hopes vested in a beleaguered USSR were bound to be disappointed.

“Eschatological expectation!”; Lenin and Trotsky, the real targets of the repulsive comment, whose initial supporters in Europe were apparently religious freak heads with a “messianic streak” (Walter Benjamin?) whose “utopian hopes” never stood a chance. And now, having dismissed the two greatest Marxists of the 20th Century with such contempt, Joe Stalin (Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili), the third-rate nonentity during the great revolution itself, gets the hero treatment:

The Western Marxism they generated, unable to come to terms with the realities of building a state capable of withstanding the pressures of imperialism, was condemned to impotence and involution.

So, Stalin, the gravedigger of the Russian and world revolution had “come to terms with the realities of building a state capable of withstanding the pressures of imperialism” against the utopian idiots Lenin and Trotsky, who were even sillier than the ‘Western Marxists’ who had initially supported them:

In Russia the Bolsheviks were initially infused with still greater political expectancy than Marxists in the West, believing that they were merely erecting a bridgehead for revolution in the advanced industrial societies of Europe, and even briefly experimenting with a barter economy under War Communism. But sobriety soon prevailed, as the hard task of building socialism in one country, with maximum use of scientific knowledge and modern technology, to develop the economy and arm the state against invasion, took over.

Never was the triumph of the brutal Stalinist bureaucracy so delicately put, sobriety (and counter-revolutionary mass murder, he forgot to tell us) soon prevailed. Now, subtly transferring the backwardness of the three non-Marxists to Marxism itself, it had:

“A detestation of nationalism, held responsible for the mutual massacre of the peoples of Europe, an aversion to technology which had enabled killing on an industrial scale, and a simplistic belief that the path to socialism could therefore come from class struggle alone.”

Of course, it was capitalism itself in its modern form of imperialism, since the last quarter of the 19th century, that genuine Marxists detest and not nationalism as such but the imperialist nationalism of the imperialist, oppressor nations. The nationalism of an oppressed nation is progressive for Marxists, provided it is not being used by imperialist powers themselves against the interests of the world working class. Lenin’s prime political stance in this regard was to be defeatist in inter-imperialist wars and to always be for the victory of semi-colonial nations over imperialism. That is an integral part of the struggle for world revolution. Broder avoids this vital distinction and so perpetuates a massive ideological fraud on his readers.

The “aversion to technology” is a reference to the political influence the Nazi Martin Heidegger has on many ‘Western Marxists’, Sartre in the first place, who melded Heidegger’s subjective idealist existentialism to Stalinism and later Maoism.  Heidegger attacked Hitler from the right because modern technology and industry as applied both to production and war were inhuman and we should all return to the rural idyll of the Bavarian Alps to solve our own problems in our own heads and to hell with society. Heidegger remained a Nazi until the Allies dissolved the party with the fall of Berlin in 1945. He never apologised for the Holocaust. If anyone in power took his ‘rural idyll’ notions seriously then it would be necessary to eliminate a far greater number than the 50 – 80 million who died in WWII to restore capitalism’s rate of profit.

Then Broder ridiculously pretends that Lenin began to become a third wordlist after 1916:

Yet during the war, prompted not least by the Easter Rising in Ireland, Lenin came increasingly to emphasize the specifically anti-colonial fronts of world-wide struggle against the Western bourgeoisie, arguing for the impossibility of a ‘pure social revolution’ opposing two unmediated representations of revolution and counter-revolution against each other. Any real revolution would inevitably be more mixed in its causes and components than that.

No, he did not come “increasingly to emphasize the specifically anti-colonial fronts of worldwide struggle against the Western bourgeoisie”. It is an absolute lie to suggest that Lenin ever abandoned the perspective of the socialist revolution domestically in advanced metropolitan countries and the world revolution for the third wordlist peasant revolutions of Stalin, Mao, and Castro.  The “real revolution” that would be “more mixed in its causes” is not evidence that he began to counterpose ‘nationalism’ to the goal of the world revolution. Without Bukharin’s book on imperialism in 1915, Imperialism and World Economy, for which he wrote the introduction, and his own Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism in 1916 he would not have developed the world outlook so blatantly rejected by Broder and understanding to rearm the Bolsheviks to lead the second October revolution and implicitly embrace Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution along the way.

He has another go at this third-worldism later:

But if Marxists in Europe or the United States did recognize the anti-colonial revolt as the greatest event of the twentieth century, how would this affect their own conception of socialism?

But the anti-colonial revolt only ended in a transformation of oppressed nations from colonies into semi-colonies, now dominated by finance capital at a distance and via proxies and stooge rulers and not directly by armies of occupation. But all the better oppressed and subjected for that. With the regular invasions and mass bombings, mainly by the USA to keep them all in order. And therefore, the greatest single event in human history was the Russian Revolution, which “shook the world” and threatened world revolution, not simply a diminution of the profits of imperialists transnationals, which is all peasant revolutions, even those led by Stalinists, can do.

Now for these horrible Western Marxists, and it is clear the unspoken target of his polemic is Leon Trotsky;

Utopian hopes nowhere realized soon collapsed into claims of dystopia, charges of ‘totalitarianism’—epitomizing the divorce of Western Marxists from ongoing historical processes—and complacent basking in assurance of the cultural superiority of their own societies. What they could never grasp was that the objective developments of world history had perforce given priority to anti-imperialist over anti-capitalist struggles, national over class contradictions, even if these fused wherever communist parties gained leadership of the cause.

Stalin represented the “ongoing historical processes” and those claims of ‘totalitarianism’ were where made because the stupid “Utopian hopes nowhere realized” inevitably “soon collapsed into claims of dystopia”. Thus, Broder contemptuously dismisses the Russian Revolution; “given priority to anti-imperialist over anti-capitalist struggles, national over class contradictions”. Despite his reference to the Moscow Trials elsewhere, it is clear that Broder here is endorsing the millions dead in Stalin’s bloody repression of the late 1930s as part of the “ongoing historical processes”. All true socialists should just keep lying about that stuff Broder implies. He is a backward political barbarian with his contemptuous reference to the “cultural superiority” of those repelled by mass murder in the name of socialism. In his account of the first show Trial – the Trial of the Sixteen, Rob Sewell tells us:

At the conclusion of the Trial, Vyshinsky for the prosecution declared: ‘I demand that we shoot the mad dogs – every single one of them!’ Despite the pleas for mercy submitted by the Sixteen – which they were led to believe would be honoured – within a matter of hours they were taken out and shot.

Those who grovelled before the Stalinist dictatorship – throwing all kinds of slanders against their former comrades – could never satisfy Stalin. They would be eliminated after their allotted role was complete. New amalgams were being prepared. New Witch Trials would take place. As Leon Sedov explained: ‘Stalin needs Trotsky’s head – this is his main goal. To achieve it he will launch the most extreme and even more insidious cases.’

With the collapse of Hitler Germany in 1945 and the Nuremberg Trials, which laid bare the Nazi regime and their collaborators, not one word or document was found to prove the slightest connection between Trotsky and the Gestapo. It was not Trotsky who had an agreement with Hitler. It was Stalin who signed a Pact with Hitler in August 1939.

It is fitting to end this article by a quote from Leopold Trepper, the leader of the famous anti-Nazi spy network in Western Europe:

‘But who did protest at the time? Who rose up to voice his outrage? The Trotskyites can lay claim to this honour. Following the example of their leader, who was rewarded for his obstinacy with the end of an ice-axe, they fought Stalinism to the death, and they were the only ones who did.

‘Today, the Trotskyites have a right to accuse those who once howled along with the wolves. Let them not forget, however, that they had the enormous advantage over us of having a coherent political system capable of replacing Stalinism. They had something to cling to in the midst of their profound distress at seeing the revolution betrayed. They did not ‘confess’, for they knew that their confession would serve neither the party nor socialism.’ [18]

Image result for Leopold Trepper   images

And now to develop the false dichotomy he had been making between anti-imperialism and socialist revolution in the metropolitan countries:

What they could never grasp was that the objective developments of world history had perforce given priority to anti-imperialist over anti-capitalist struggles, national over class contradictions, even if these fused wherever communist parties gained leadership of the cause.

And now for the hope in the midst of all that revolutionary pessimism. One man alone stood out as the model for revolution. Not Marx or Engels or Lenin or Trotsky. Oh no, it is the counter-revolutionary Stalinist butcher Palmiro Togliatti:

In Europe, one outstanding figure alone understood the significance of the anti-colonial revolutions. That was Palmiro Togliatti in Italy. By contrast, the record of Western Marxism became one of continuing ignorance, indifference or dismissal of the momentous transformations of the world outside Europe, culminating in the twenty-first century in outright approval of imperialist interventions to set the clock back in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

We repudiated these abject apologists for Stalinism many years ago:

No less controversial than the Warsaw uprising is the Italian Resistance and the revolutionary potential of that movement. Its growth was spectacular and uncontrolled. It was only 4,000 strong in November 1943 when Mussolini fell but it had grown to 250,000 when the Nazi-backed Salò Republic was overthrown in April 1945 (Socialism and Nationalism pp.88-9). Most of northern Italy was then in the hands of the partisans, dominated by the Communist Party (PCI). But Churchill was determined that Italy would not ‘go communist’ and he found powerful allies – the ‘Communists’! In September 1943 the King and Badoglio (one of Mussolini’s Generals) fled to the south, proclaiming themselves the Royal Government, with Allied support. The CCLN, the council of the left parties in Rome, the PCI, PSI and Pd’A, ‘sought to deflect their ‘groups of armed men’ away from any notions of a class war against the backers of Mussolini and towards participation in a national ‘union sacrée’ (ibid. p.92).

However, the CCLN refused to deal with the Royal Government and when Palmiro Togliatti broadcast from Moscow instruction that they ‘must collaborate with an expanded Badoglio government’ the Central Committee seriously considered replacing him as leader of the PCI. But when he returned to Italy on 1 April the deal was consummated, ‘it is the Communist Party, it is working class which must carry the defence of the interests of the nation’ he explained (ibid. p.94). In other words we will hear no more talk of revolution. The expulsions and murders of opposition revolutionaries, mainly Bordegist, from the ranks of the PCI was a grisly business. [19]

Image result for Togliatti and Gramsci images

There are far too many repudiations of Marxism in Broder’s 7,666-word piece to answer them all but we really cannot let a few more go without repudiation. In explaining to parliamentary road to socialism in Italy Broder uses the traditional route:

Yet manifestly the idea that socialist strategy must take different forms in capitalist democracies than in autocratic feudal or semi-colonial states like Russia in 1917 or China in 1949 involved no rejection of political practice. The absence from the book’s pages of Gramsci—who sought systematically to reflect on these differences, and the closeness of whose political and intellectual starting-points to Lukács or Korsch during and after the First World War is well attested—is thus glaring.

Must we point out that the Russian revolution of 1917 was a socialist revolution and the Chinese Revolution of 1949 was a peasant revolution? But Broder rejected both for the parliamentary road to socialism, as Togliatti had done way back in 1923 as Toby Abse has shown above, and Stalin had done openly in 1935.

Contrasted with Western Marxism throughout this is the iconic figure of Togliatti, a Communist leader at once staunchly loyal to the construction of socialism in the Soviet Union, and strategist of a national road to socialism, whom Losurdo implies was a beacon of Eastern Marxism within advanced capitalism itself. The keystone of this construction is the ‘Salerno Turn’ of March–April 1944. In ordering Togliatti to bring the PCI into the Badoglio government, formed after the flight of the King and his ministers from Rome to refuge with Anglo-American forces in the Mezzogiorno, Stalin emphasized the anti-imperialist intentions behind this move. With the country falling into the Western sphere of influence, a ‘strong Italy with a strong army’ would be a thorn in the Americans’ side. Within Party ranks, the move was in part justified on this basis. The unity of Italians was not a concession to the Right, nor was it just a move to strengthen the fight against Nazi Germany. It was also a bid to free Italy of the emerging Western Bloc.

The initial turn may have been Stalin-directed, but the PCI’s ‘national’ policy also expanded into a much wider conception of how an Italian socialism could come about. Indeed, this was Togliatti’s specific contribution to Marxism, and the heart of his political practice. He insisted that the Italian party would not follow the model of 1917, proposing instead a gradual advance of ‘progressive democracy’, relying on broad alliances with other social classes, and—in order for that even to be possible—the weakening of bloc dynamics in Italy.

But it all ended in tears because there was no parliamentary road to socialism, just to Eurocommunism and class collaboration against to working class by Togliatti and his successor, Berlinguer. And, unbelievable Broder acknowledges this and charges Losurdo with remaining silent on the same crimes he is committing himself:

How does Losurdo treat these? He begins his fourth chapter on the ‘triumph and death’ of Western Marxism by presenting Eurocommunism as its end point, the ‘maturation’ of a long process that had begun with the rejection by reformists like Turati of the Russian Revolution. The culmination of Western Marxism, Eurocommunism was now a simple affirmation of the ‘religion of the West: ex Occidente lux et salus!’ After this summary dismissal, a verdict apparently delivering the coup de grâce to the entire canon of Western Marxism, Losurdo abruptly changes the subject. Briefly noting that a long history of constitutionalism distinguished Western European countries from Tsarist Russia or semi-colonies in Asia, he quickly pivots to further reminders of the Orientalist essentialism of Horkheimer, Kautsky, Žižek et al., without a single further reference to Eurocommunism in the rest of the book.

Then the real position comes out on China, which is doing so well in advancing the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics:

In China, Mao sought to avoid the impasse into which the USSR had fallen by mobilizing the masses to break out of the corset of bureaucratic rule, first with the Great Leap Forward and then the Cultural Revolution. Both were failures, generating democratic regression, ethnic chauvinism and a political order reduced to the relationship between a charismatic leader and fanaticized masses.

Image result for the Great Leap Forward and then the Cultural Revolution  images

Millions dead in the idiotic blunders of steel production in village kilns (18 million is the lowest estimate) and the Cultural Revolution (‘only’ 4000,000 dead) but when an internationalist uprising happened in the Shanghai Commune in 1967 it had to be put down as quickly as possible. None of this internationalist socialism appeals to Mao or Border.

What the Reform Era he (Deng) launched would become was a gigantic, unprecedented NEP—the only possible way forward, once the USSR was gone. The PRC had to integrate itself into the world market, if China was not to remain poor and weak. But this was an NEP determined to maintain the political independence and achieve the technological autonomy of the country, to enable China to advance towards a socialist society and alter the balance of world power. Hundreds of millions had been lifted out of poverty by it. Inequalities had also been created, as they were under the NEP, and these required attention if they were not to lead to social polarization and political instability. Vigilance was also needed against attempts by the new rich to convert their wealth into power.

The proposition that China’s billionaires have no political power is just risible. In fact, the entire economy is run in their interests, to enrich them. That is the real meaning of Xi’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Broder then explains who the world is improving under the capitalist system:

Here, laid out more clearly than in Il marxismo occidentale, is Losurdo’s overarching vision—that struggle between nations had for a century been, in Mao’s terms, the principal contradiction of the world capitalist system, struggle between classes a secondary contradiction. This is a coherent position, for which research on global inequality in the neoliberal epoch by Göran Therborn and Branko Milanovic´ provides statistical evidence: inequality between nations has decreased, with the lion’s share of the fall coming from the rise of China, while inequality within nations has increased.

This is just completely incorrect, a massive blunder caused by accepting lying propaganda at face value because it suits Broder. In fact not only is huge inequality growing within China and all nations internationally, it is also growing between the rich and poor nations, between imperialism and the semi-colonial world. Thomas Piketty explains:

“We provide sharp upward revision of official inequality estimates,” says Piketty. “The top 10% income share rose from 27% to 41% of national income between 1978 and 2015, while the bottom 50% share dropped from 27% to 15%.” They add: “Regarding wealth inequality, we have the same basic finding as for income inequality: wealth inequality used to be lower in China than everywhere else, and it is now intermediate between Europe and the USA.” [20]

And BBC News, on 13 October 2016, tell us that, China tops US in numbers of billionaires:

China’s annual rich list has indicated that, once again, the country has more dollar billionaires than the US, and the gap is widening. Property magnate Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda tops the list of 594 billionaires in the country, ahead of 535 billionaires in the US. Alibaba’s Jack Ma was second, with his wealth having risen 41% from last year. [21]

Image result for Property magnate Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda   images “The Wealthiest person in China – Wang Jianlin! Born on the 24th of October 1954 – Wang is a Chinese businessman and philanthropist, and the chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group (Largest real estate developer in China and the world’s largest movie theater operator). How the son of a foot soldier in Mao Zedong’s Communist Revolution grew into the top tier of the global elite. Despite his age, he has a “trim figure” and is someone who enforces “iron discipline” in the workplace, where employees are fined when they violate the company’s conservative dress code.  He now holds a personal net worth of $33.3 billion – October 04, 2016.” Now that really is “socialism with Chinese characteristics”!

And internationally Jason Hickel in The Guardian on 8 April 2016 in an article gives the lie to Broder’s ‘better world being created by the Stalinists’, Global inequality may be much worse than we think:

It’s familiar news by now. Oxfam’s figures have gone viral: the richest 1% now have more wealth than the rest of the world’s population combined. Global inequality is worse than at any time since the 19th century. For most people, this is all they know about global inequality. But Oxfam’s wealth figures don’t quite tell the whole story. What about income inequality? And – more importantly – what about inequalities between countries? If we expand our view beyond the usual metrics, we can learn a lot more about how unequal our world has become.

There are a few ways we can look at this. Probably the most common way to think about global inequality is to measure the gap between the richest and poorest countries in real income per capita. Using data from the Maddison Project, we see that in 1960, at the end of colonialism, people living in the world’s richest country were 33 times richer than people living in the poorest country. That’s quite a substantial gap. But then by 2000, after neoliberal globalisation had run its course, they were a shocking 134 times richer. And that’s not counting extreme outliers, like small oil-rich kingdoms in the Middle East or tiny offshore tax havens. This isn’t convergence. To quote Lant Pritchett, it’s divergence, big time.

If we look at it in absolute terms, it’s just as bad. From 1960 to today, based on the data from the Maddison Project, the absolute gap between the average incomes of people in the richest and poorest countries has grown by 135%. [22]


Let us conclude with a few quotes from Cliff Slaughter, who wrote some good stuff in 1960, although even then his theory of the party and internal democracy was beginning to be dictated to by the control freakery of Gerry Healy:

An apparent touch of flexibility is given to this schematic picture (of Stalinism – GD) by the doctrine that different countries will find their ‘own’ roads to Socialism, learning from the USSR but adapting to their particular national characteristics. This is of course a mechanical caricature of historical materialism. The connection between the struggles of the working class for Socialism in, say, Britain, Russia and Vietnam, is not at all in the greater or lesser degree of similarity of social structure of those countries, but in the organic interdependence of their struggles. Capitalism is an international phenomenon, and the working class is an international force; the USSR is the result of the first break-through of the world revolution, a result distorted by Russia’s particular economic development before and after the October Revolution, and by the impact of imperialism and the fate of the working-class movement since then. Trotsky laid a firm basis for the study of the relation between the Soviet workers’ state and the world working class in his writings between 1928 when ‘Socialism in One Country’ was first theoretically presented, and his death in 1940.

However, Lenin’s conviction that the working class was the leading independent force in the modern era was part of his general view of ‘imperialism’ as the final stage of capitalism. The fundamentals of organization required for a politically independent working class are not in any way specific to Russian conditions. Indeed, the essence of Lenin’s position against the Mensheviks should be much easier to grasp in a country which is highly mechanized, where a large proletariat confronts a bourgeoisie firmly established in power. [23]

Although he gave big and mistaken credence to Gramsci in that article that extract implicitly repudiates his hegemony and other theories.


[1] Toby Abse, What Next? No. 25, 2003, Togliatti: Loyal Servant of Stalin, http://www.whatnextjournal.org.uk/Pages/Back/Wnext25/Togliatti.html

[2] What lies behind the advance of the politics of Stalinism in the British Labour movement? No Vote for Bob Crow’s No2EU Europhobia!  https://socialistfight.com/2017/10/24/the-rise-of-the-politics-of-stalinism-in-the-british-labour-movement/

[3] Ibid.

[4] James Klugmann, From Trotsky To Tito, Chapter Four: Role and Tactics of the Titoites Today, 1951, https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/1951/trotsky-tito/ch04.htm

[5] Winston Churchill, in a telegram dated 17 February 1945, thanking Stalin for his ‘hospitality and friendship’ at the Yalta Conference.

[6] Alex Gordon, president RMT: 9 November 2011, Social Europe is a conhttps://www.communist-party.org.uk/britain/eu/1477-alex-gordon-president-rmt-qsocials-europe-is-a-conq.html

[6a) Tobias Abse, Togliatti: Loyal Servant of Stalin, What Next? No 25,  http://www.whatnextjournal.org.uk/Pages/Back/Wnext25/Togliatti.html

[7] Gramsci; Togliatti, The Italian Situation and the Tasks of the PCI, “The Lyons Theses”, Lyons, January 1926, http://marxism.halkcephesi.net/Antonio%20Gramsci/1926/01/lyon_congress/lyon_thesis.htm

[8] Joe Cleffie, International Socialist Review, issue 98, The political development of Antonio Gramsci, http://isreview.org/issue/98/political-development-antonio-gramsci

[9] Chris Harman, Gramsci versus Eurocommunism, Part Two, (June 1977)


[10] Paolo Casciola, Alfonso Leonetti: A Turncoat Trotskyist, https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol5/no4/casciola.html

[11] Gerry Downing, Trotskyite Economism? No, the methodology of Revolutionary Communism, A reply to Jack Conrad and the CPGB 30/11/2006, Weekly Worker Issue 651, https://socialistfight.com/2015/08/24/trotskyite-economism-no-the-methodology-of-revolutionary-communism/

[12] The Militant, New York, March 3, 1945, Workers Liberty, 28 September, 2013, What the Trotskyists did in Nazi-occupied France, from La Verite, 30 Sep 1944, the paper of the Trotskyist Internationalist Communist Party, http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2013/09/28/what-trotskyists-did-nazi-occupied-france, This was part of an open letter to the President of the National Federation of the French Press in protest against delay in legalising publication of La Verite in liberated France.

[13] https://socialistfight.com/2015/07/12/bill-hunter-trotskyist-1920-2015-obituary/

[14] The Militant, New York, March 3, 1945, What the Trotskyists did in Nazi-occupied France, 28 September 2013 http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2013/09/28/what-trotskyists-did-nazi-occupied-france

[15] Yvan Craipeau, Swimming Against the Tide: Trotskyists in German Occupied France Paperback – 21 Mar 2012, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Swimming-Against-Tide-Trotskyists-Occupied/dp/0850366585

[16] New Left Review 107, September-October 2017, David Broder, review of, Domenico Losurdo, Il marxismo occidentale: Come nacque, come morì, come può rinascere, Eastern Light on Western Marxism, Editori Laterza: Bari 2017, €20, paperback, , https://newleftreview.org/II/107/david-broder-eastern-light-on-western-marxism.

[17] Georg Lukács, “Trotsky I disliked immediately: I thought him a poseur” New Left Review I/68, July-August 1971,  Lukács on his life and work, https://newleftreview.org/I/68/georg-lukacs-lukacs-on-his-life-and-work

[18] Rob Sewell, Socialist Appeal, March 2000, The Moscow Trials, Part One: The Moscow Frame-Up Trials: ‘Shoot the mad dogs!http://www.trotsky.net/trotsky_year/moscow_trials.html

[19] Gerry Downing, Trotskyite Economism? No, the methodology of Revolutionary Communism, A reply to Jack Conrad and the CPGB 30/11/2006, Weekly Worker Issue 651, https://socialistfight.com/2015/08/24/trotskyite-economism-no-the-methodology-of-revolutionary-communism/

[20] Business Insider, Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, Jun. 7, 2017, China’s economy is becoming more like America’s — and not in a good way,  http://uk.businessinsider.com/china-inequality-levels-approaching-americas-2017-6?r=US&IR=T

[21] BBC News, 13 October 2016, China tops US in numbers of billionaires, , http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37640156

[22] Jason Hickel, The Guardian, 8 April 2016, Global inequality may be much worse than we think, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/apr/08/global-inequality-may-be-much-worse-than-we-think

[23] Cliff Slaughter, What is Revolutionary Leadership? From Labour Review, Vol.5 No.3, October-November 1960, pp.93-96 & 105-111. https://socialistfight.com/2013/07/24/cliff-slaughter-what-is-revolutionary-leadership-from-labour-review-vol-5-no-3-october-november-1960-pp-93-96-105-111/


5 thoughts on “David Broder: The renegade from Trotskyism has become a Stalinist

  1. Teddy says:

    Well, you can see the growth of this shocking Stalinist trend in how the CPGB-ML have grown from a handful to having the largest, most organized, contingent at London mayday this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed.The group that welcomed the election of Donald Trump: “Coming as it does in the heels of the Brexit vote in June, Trump’s victory is another blow at the imperialism system and the so-called liberal world order. It should be greeted with enthusiasm by the revolutionary proletariat and progressive humanity everywhere”. Proletarian, Dec 16/Jan 17 Page 19.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chris brennan says:

        My article in Workers Power on the Socialist Party and nationalism stands the test of time.


  2. Ok Chris, post a link.


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