Party and Class

Socialists aim to change the world and have always sought to organize themselves as effectively as possible in order to achieve this goal.

But what sort of organization do we need? These essays show why we need something more than single-issue organizations, movement coalitions, or reformist organizations if we are to achieve real change.

They also dispel the myths about “democratic centralism” and demonstrate that the kind of socialist party that Lenin built had nothing in common with the Stalinist despotism that replaced it.

Includes essays by Tony Cliff, Duncan Hallas, Chris Harman, and Leon Trotsky.

About the author

Tony Cliff was a lifelong organizer within the international socialist movement. His groundbreaking work established the unique interpretation of the Soviet Union as a bureaucratic, state-centered version of capitalism, rather than a workers' state. His many works include State Capitalism in Russia and the volume that follows-up from this book, All Power to the Soviets, about Lenin's political leadership from 1914 to 1917.

Duncan Hallas was born in Manchester, and joined the Trotskyist Workers International League during World War Two. Over the course of his career, he was consistently active in his teachers’ union and elsewhere. During the great upheaval of 1968 he rejoined the International Socialists. From that time on he was a leading member of the organization, a great popularizer of Marxism and an inspired speaker, until ill health forced him out of active politics in 1995. Hallas’s many essays and books include Trotsky’s Marxism, published by Haymarket Books in 2005.

Chris Harman is the author of several books, including A People’s History of the World.

LEON TROTSKY was a key leader of the Russian Revolution. Forced into exile in 1928, Trotsky devoted the rest of his life to fighting the degeneration of the revolution and rise of a new dictatorial regime. Vilified and isolated, he fought an uncompromising battle with the Stalinist bureaucracy, defending the revolutionary and internationalist principles upon which the revolution was based. In 1940, he was murdered by an agent of the Stalinist regime.