Mexico/ Venezuela: Workers' Liberty 3/10

Can Trotsky on Cardenas' Mexico tell us anything about Venezuela and Chávez?

Published on: Sat, 24/03/2007 - 09:58

By Paul Hampton

In Venezuela, Hugo Chávez has nationalised companies in telecom and electricity privatised by previous administrations. Chávez says he wants to form a new Bolivarian socialist party. And he has announced the extension of communal councils and even “workers’ councils” as a means of recasting the state.

These measures and others such as co-management in workplaces deserve to be assessed on their own terms, something we will continue to do in the AWL. However Chávez’s plans are not without precedent and much can be learned from the attitude earlier Marxists took to comparable

Trade Unions in the Epoch of Imperialist Decay

Published on: Mon, 19/03/2007 - 10:11

>[Written April 1940. First published in Fourth International, October 1941 This version is abridged with our emphasis. Full version at]

There is one common feature in the development, or more correctly the degeneration, of modern trade union organisations in the entire world: it is their drawing closely to and growing together with the state power. This process is equally characteristic of the neutral, the Social-Democratic, the Communist and “anarchist” trade unions. This fact alone shows that the tendency towards “growing together” is intrinsic not in this or that doctrine

Nationalised Industry and Workers’ Management

Published on: Mon, 19/03/2007 - 09:53

By Leon Trotsky

[Written in early 1939. First published in Fourth International, August 1946.]

In the industrially backward countries foreign capital plays a decisive role. Hence the relative weakness of the national bourgeoisie in relation to the national proletariat. This creates special conditions of state power. The government veers between foreign and domestic capital, between the weak national bourgeoisie and the relatively powerful proletariat. This gives the government a bonapartist character sui generis of a distinctive character. It raises itself, so to speak, above classes.

Trotsky on Cárdenas

Published on: Mon, 19/03/2007 - 09:41

Trotsky had been expelled from the USSR by Stalin in 1929, and spent the rest of his life trying to find a country which would let him stay. He arrived in Mexico on 9 January 1937. A longstanding Mexican Trotskyist, Manuel Rodríguez, suggested the asylum to his boss, General Francisco Mujica, a member of the Cárdenas cabinet (and his predecessor as governor of Michoacán). For Trotsky it became a life-or-death matter in November 1936, when it looked as though the Norwegian government might hand him over to the USSR.

Thanks to the efforts of other Mexican Trotskyists, such as the muralist Diego

Where do profits come from?

Published on: Mon, 19/03/2007 - 09:40


The basic Marxist analysis of capital is the fundamental groundwork on which modern socialism stands. Marxism explains how capital works; how the workers — free workers, not chattel-slaves, but the legal equals of the richest in capitalist society — are exploited in the process of production. In short, why it is not hype or demagogy, but plain truth, to say that the modern working class is a class of wage-slaves.

The education of the working class about the fundamental mechanics of capital, and the workers’ place in capitalist society, is the basic, the essential, the irreducible

What means this strike?

Published on: Mon, 19/03/2007 - 09:35

By Daniel De Leon

What you now stand in need of, aye, more than of bread, is the knowledge of a few elemental principles of political economy and of sociology. Be not frightened at the words. It is only the capitalist professors who try to make them so difficult of understanding that the very mentioning of them is expected to throw the workingman into a palpitation of the heart. The subjects are easy of understanding.

The first point that a workingman should be clear upon is this: What is the source of the wages he receives; what is the source of the profits his employer lives on? The

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