Orthodox Trotskyism
Orthodox Trotskyism is a branch of Trotskyism
Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party of the working-class...

 which aims to adhere more closely to the philosophy, methods and positions of Trotsky and the early Fourth International
Fourth International
The Fourth International is the communist international organisation consisting of followers of Leon Trotsky , with the declared dedicated goal of helping the working class bring about socialism...

, Lenin, and Marx than other Trotskyists.

The first Trotskyist international to describe itself as "Orthodox Trotskyist" was the International Committee of the Fourth International
International Committee of the Fourth International
The International Committee of the Fourth International is the name of two Trotskyist internationals; one with sections named Socialist Equality Party which publishes the World Socialist Web Site and another linked to the Workers Revolutionary Party in Britain.-Foundation:The International...

 (ICFI). Shortly after its formation in 1953, it wrote an open letter
Open letter
An open letter is a letter that is intended to be read by a wide audience, or a letter intended for an individual, but that is nonetheless widely distributed intentionally....

 in which it described the tradition of the Fourth International as Orthodox Trotskyism, and called for Orthodox Trotskyists to rally to the ICFI. "Orthodox Trotskyism" embodied their opposition to the International Secretariat of the Fourth International (ISFI), whose policies they described as "Pabloism". The ICFI claimed that it alone defended the principles of the Fourth International, while the "Pabloites" subordinated the international workers movement
Labour movement
The term labour movement or labor movement is a broad term for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and governments, in particular through the implementation of specific laws governing labour...

 to the bureaucracies or bourgeois leaders.

The subsequent history of Orthodox Trotskyism is essentially that of the ICFI. Its largest section, the American Socialist Workers Party, left to join the "Pabloites" in 1963, eventually breaking with Trotskyism altogether in the 1980s. The Orthodox Trotskyists suffered another split in 1973 between the Socialist Labour League (SLL) of Gerry Healy
Gerry Healy
Thomas Gerard Healy, known as Gerry Healy , was a political activist, a co-founder of the International Committee of the Fourth International, and, according to former prominent U.S. supporter David North, the leader of the Trotskyist movement in Great Britain between 1950 – 1985...

 and the Internationalist Communist Organisation
Internationalist Communist Organisation
The Internationalist Communist Organisation was a Trotskyist political party in France. Its successor is the Internationalist Communist Current of the Workers Party.-Origins:...

 (OCI) of Pierre Lambert
Pierre Lambert
Pierre Lambert was a French Trotskyist leader, who, for many years acted as the central leader of the French Courant Communiste Internationaliste which founded the Parti des Travailleurs.He was born in Paris to a family of Russian Jewish immigrants...

. The official explanation for the split was that the OCI believed that Orthodox Trotskyism should be based on Trotsky's Transitional Programme, while the SLL held that as the Transitional Programme was merely the outcome of Trotsky's application of Marxist dialectics, it was possible and even necessary to revise Trotsky's programme as the objective situation changed.

Today, the surviving ICFI continue to characterise their politics as Orthodox Trotskyism. Other groups have come to Orthodox Trotskyism from different backgrounds, and either like the International Trotskyist Committee believe that the ICFI later degenerated, or like the Liaison Committee of Militants for a Revolutionary Communist International, that the ICFI never represented healthy Orthodox Trotskyism, but that they support the early Fourth International and its approach in a similar manner.

Many Orthodox Trotskyist groups attach particular importance in holding that the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 was a degenerated workers' state
Degenerated workers' state
In Trotskyist political theory the term degenerated workers' state has been used since the 1930s to describe the state of the Soviet Union after Joseph Stalin's consolidation of power in or about 1924...

 and other similar societies are deformed workers' states. However, many other Trotskyist groups which have not described themselves as "Orthodox Trotskyist" also hold this view.

Orthodox Trotskyism has been critiqued by activists from the Third Camp socialist tradition and from the International Socialist Tendency
International Socialist Tendency
The International Socialist Tendency is an international grouping of unorthodox Trotskyist organisations based around the ideas of Tony Cliff, founder of the Socialist Workers Party in Britain...

. Max Shachtman
Max Shachtman
Max Shachtman was an American Marxist theorist. He evolved from being an associate of Leon Trotsky to a social democrat and mentor of senior assistants to AFL-CIO President George Meany.-Beginnings:...

 of the Workers Party
Workers Party (US)
Not to be confused with the modern Marxist-Leninist party, Workers Party, USA.The Workers Party was a Third Camp Trotskyist group in the United States. It was founded in April 1940 by members of the Socialist Workers Party who opposed the Soviet invasion of Finland. They included Max Shachtman,...

was describing the Fourth International as Orthodox Trotskyist by 1948. The IST similarly criticises both the ICFI and the ISFI traditions as Orthodox Trotskyist.
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