Leon Trotsky, 1939
In defense of Marxism

With the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 following the signing of the Stalin-Hitler pact a section of the US Socialist Workers Party led by Max Shachtman and New York University Professor James Burnham capitulated to the pressure of democratic public opinion, rejecting defense of the Soviet Union on the grounds that it could no longer be considered a workers state.

This book documents Trotsky’s intervention in this political struggle, which was of fundamental importance for the Fourth International. Trotsky not only answered the opposition’s political arguments, but strove to uncover the class and methodological roots of their errors. He insisted that despite the enormous crimes of the Stalinist bureaucracy, the USSR remained a workers state, whose nationalized property relations established by the October 1917 revolution must be defended against imperialism.

Further, Trotsky showed that the Burnham-Shachtman faction were being propelled to the right by the logic of their political arguments and their philosophical method, which were rooted in a rejection of dialectical materialism.