Atheism is the negation of religion. Trotskyism is Marxism and Leninism with the negation of “Marxism-Leninism”, i.e., Stalinism. Both atheism and Trotskyism are defined by the fundamental negation of an aspect considered “normal” of the thing of which they are a part of, i.e. theology or Leninism (Marxism in the era of imperialism).
This negation is precisely what makes people uncomfortable, because it is a the negation of what many consider to be a fundamental aspect of the thing, and this is what what defines the ideology in question, i.e., the negation.
But many atheists would consider the ideological negation of religion in the fields of reason and morality a fundamental aspect of these fields, as a necessary negation due to the immorality of religious fundamentalism, the illogic of faith, etc, etc. While some may not agree, this is the view of the atheist, and this position is not taken up without reason (no pun intended).
Similarly, a comparison can be made with Trotskyism. Trotskyists agree with the necessity of Leninism, i.e. Marxism in the age of imperialism, i.e. the contributions to Marxist thought made by Lenin. They defend the genuinely democratic gains of the Russian Revolution. However, the negation is found with Lenin’s successor, Stalin, and all the ideological extensions of Marxism-Leninism after Stalin (Maoism, Hoxhaism, Juche, etc.). It is found with the theory of “socialism in one country” as opposed to “permanent revolution”, and the international character of the socialist revolution.
Furthermore, Trotskyism is a criticism of Marxism-Leninism, it is a fundamental characteristic of Trotskyism as such. Atheism is a criticism of religion, it is a fundamental characteristic of atheism as such. Many theists hate atheism, and many Marxist-Leninists hate Trotskyism for the same reasons: both criticize a larger ideology, of which they are but a negation. Both theists and Marxist-Leninists promote the intentional obfuscation of the ideology that presents itself as a criticism of their own ideology. I.e. “atheists are inherently immoral” or “Trotskyists don’t want people in third world countries to make revolution and they want them to just ‘wait’ for international revolution abroad and suffer under the yoke of imperialism in the mean time”. In reality, of course, nothing could be further from the truth. These are baseless ideological attacks that serve an obvious end: the hostility to criticism and the avoidance of it at all costs.
In the wake of rising religious extremism, fundamentalism in schools, the fact that 40% of Americans think the earth is less than 10,000 years old and don’t believe in evolution, etc, etc, I think it is safe to say that, even as a follower of Liberation Theology, that atheistic criticisms of our society today are warranted. In the wake of the “fall of communism” in 1989-1991, the inherent lack of democracy (the ‘democratic’ aspect of democratic centralism) in the Marxist-Leninist states, the lack of any real substantial negative liberty’s for the people of those country’s, the failure of the universal applicability of the theory of “socialism in one country” (see DPRK’s economy today, or any other Marxist-Leninist autarky in the 20th century), and the overwhelmingly disastrous fall of the Marxist-Leninist world, I think it is safe to say that criticism is warranted.
Trotskyism represents itself as a socially revolutionary criticism of capitalism and imperialism, as well as a politically revolutionary criticism of Stalinism. It is not an attribute of imperialism because it sees imperialism, not Stalinism, as it’s number one enemy. When the USSR fell, Trotskyists united to rally behind and defend the Cuban Revolution, to attack Yeltsin’s counter-revolution in Russia. When the USSR fell, the overwhelming number of genuine Trotskyists were on the side of the working people, against imperialism and the introduction of capitalism in Soviet society (note I say genuine Trotskyists, not organizations like the ISO). It’s hostility towards imperialism and capitalism are inherent, it’s criticism of Stalinism, therefore, is as should be self-evident, a Marxist one.
Trotskyism Today and What Needs To Be Done
In the period between the fall of the USSR and the coming socialist revolution that will inevitably spring from the coming automation revolution, there is the manifestation of a ‘post-ideological’ ideology, an intangible ideology which claims to reject ideology itself. Revolts are happening around the world without any real ideological basis. Post-modernist ideology has made any all encompassing ideology seem superfluous and meaningless, Marxism included. In this desperate atmosphere, the last thing we need is the entire political left consisting of anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninists who have learned virtually nothing from the 20th century, except for the fact that “revising and reforming Stalinism caused the collapse of socialism”, that, and, social-democrats who think that capitalism can merely be reformed or given a “human face”, that we need a “balance of both sides”.
The only way out of this ideological crisis is through a clear, concise, Marxist criticism of the failures of Stalinism, and a radical movement that challenges the framework of global capitalism from a Marxist, yet anti-Stalinist position. We need a revolution, to put it simply. We need a revolution that takes Leninism from ‘The State and Revolution’, not the Leninism that emerged from the conditions of 1920’s Russia. We need a revolution that seeks not merely to rapidly industrialize this or that underdeveloped country, but a revolution in an already advanced capitalist country, one inside the beating heart of world imperialism itself.
Such a revolution, where the prerequisites of democracy and socialism are already in place, makes the bureaucratization of the state, the one-party system, indefinite restriction of negative freedoms in the post-revolutionary period, and the necessity of “strengthening the people’s state power” constantly, etc, superfluous. A revolution in the U.S., for instance, would cause Mexico and Canada to join the new United States of North and South America like “iron filings attracted to a magnet”, as Trotsky put it. International revolution would become a reality, the Marxist theory mentioned in ‘The State and Revolution’ would become a reality, and the state would begin to wither away as it never even began to in the Soviet Union.
To break the chains of this post-ideological age, fierce Marxist criticism of the past is essential. From this criticism, comes revolution, from this revolution, comes a third red scare, the smashing of post-modernism, and inevitably, world socialist revolution. All of this begins with the negation of Marxism-Leninism (Stalinism) from Leninism, i.e. Trotskyism, just as the criticism of religion begins with its negation, i.e. atheism.