‘Radencommunisme’ (1938): Trotsky and Council Communism

In August 1938 appeared “Radencommunisme”, with the subtitle “Marxist monthly journal for autonomous class movement”, as the theoretical organ of “council communist groups” in the Netherlands. This joint edition by the G.I.C. and the group ‘Proletenstemmen’ (“Proles’ Voices”) envisaged a reorientation of the council communist movement both in terms of a continuing theoretical deepening and of developing a wider presence within proletarian milieus, in view of the emergence of a new worker’s movement, in rupture with the historically obsolete conceptions of syndicalism and the mass party of the old worker’s movement.

From this journal 16 issues were released, before the Nazi-German occupation of the country rendered public political activities impossible in the course of May 1940, and the G.I.C. quasi instantaneously ceased to function, as it was not prepared for clandestine activity.

‘Radencommunisme’ (1938 – 1940)  lists the articles we had occasion to translate or revise in English, starting with its editorial of August 1938.

As a first elaborate contribution, the new journal opened with the first of a two-part article, sharply contrasting the views of Trotsky and his followers (the concept and role of a “Bolshevik-Leninist” vanguard party), to the council communist view on the dictatorship of the workers’ councils: Trotsky and Council Communism (‘Radencommunisme’, 1938).

Iran: Strikes in the Oil and Petrochemical Industries at the Center of new Proletarian Struggles

After the fiasco of the recent presidential elections in Iran (less than 50% of the voters participated), a massive strike wave initiated by ‘contract’ workers in the oil and petrochemical industries has extended throughout the country, persistently resisting the maneuverings and repression of the ‘Islamic Republic’ and resuscitating a widespread solidarity in society.

In the following we document its repercussions in the political milieus laying claim to proletarian internationalism:

  • ‘Left-wing Communism – NOT an infantile disorder’ has opened a special section since last June 30, featuring analyses from internationalist sources, news and background articles: Iran oil strike at the center of a new wave of proletarian struggles. Besides voices from the former milieus, statements by a number of bourgeois (ultra-) left organizations can be consulted there (in provisional translations) as well, next to a number of communiqués by the strike committee in Iran, and some commentaries.

  • Hereafter, on page 2, we present the first statement we have received on the courageous struggle by the precarious workers in Iran, the communiqué by ‘Internationalist Voice’ of June 27, 2021, (regardless our disagreement on ‘peripheral’ capitalism’), summarizing the stakes and demands at its point of departure, and putting forward a first evaluation.

  • The Internationalist Communist Tendency has just published its first article, envisaging  both to inform its readers (at the hand of communiqués from the strike committee) and to draw a critical balance sheet of the strike, its repercussions in the country, and the perspectives this opens up: Iranian Oil and Petrochemical Workers’ Strikes Go On . (28 July, 2021)

Last but not least, we invite our readers to explore the publications we have had occasion to relate on this blog on the situation in the Near and Middle East, and specifically regarding Iran. For our following of proletarian struggles we recommend in particular:

Iran: “Lessons from Strikes, Labour Struggles and internationalist Tasks” (Extracts)  (A balance sheet by ‘Internationalist Voice’,  January 2019)

Theses on the 2018 proletarian struggles in the Near and Middle East and their prospects (An article summary, Fredo Corvo, January 2019)

Impending war Iran-USA, towards a third world war? (Translation from ‘Arbeidersstemmen’, January 2020)

Iran: A New Wave of Strikes and Workers’ Protests and the Need for Workers’ Solidarity (A Communiqué by ‘Internationalist Voice’, August 2020)

The editor

Trotsky and the Kronstadt Uprising of 1921

Provisional Council at the Petropavlovsk, Kronstadt, March 1921

The violently crushed Kronstadt uprising of March 1921, followed by the introduction of the NEP, marked a decisive turn in the consolidation of the state capitalist regime that had come to bearing through the October insurrection in Russia 1917. The struggle for “soviets without the communists” (i.e. without the Bolsheviks) led by the insurgent mariners would be the last attempt by the proletarian masses to reconquer political power over the state, whose grip had been strengthened under pressure of the ‘civil war’ in Russia, with its so-called ‘war-communism’, to the detriment of the councils (soviets). Having achieved a military victory over the “white armies” through an unprecedented militarization, the Bolshevik regime was confronted with a plain catastrophe at the economic level, resulting in mass famines and peasant insurrections, like the Makhnovchina in the South. The Kronstadt uprising was the top of the iceberg of a mass movement that had its counterpart among the industrial proletariat. With its defeat, and the subsequent repression of political life, the backbone of the proletarian mass strike in Russia since 1905 was crushed, sealing off the counter-revolutionary involution of the Bolshevik party in power.

The following chapter from his major work Trotsky – the failed Stalin presents the analysis elaborated by the council communist Willy Huhn at the beginning of the 1950s of the role of the Bolshevik party, its leadership and of Trotsky in particular in these key events, with regards to the later political current of “trotskyism”.

Our translation is followed by a brief editor’s note on some historical inaccuracies by Huhn.

Last updated: April 22, 2021

 

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