The relationship between the minimum and the maximum programmes is an important one.
Many trotskyists are of the view that the two programmes are bridged by the
transitional programme. Their view is the minimum and maximum demands are bridged by
transitional demands. The system of transitional demands are bridge, so to speak,
between the two programmes.
They argue against certain forms of reformism, stalinism and, what they call, centrism
which, they say, insert a brick wall between the minimum and maximum programmes.
Their view is that the brick wall must be replaced by the transitional programme which
links both programmes together.
Some trotskyists are less clear in their understanding of the relationship between
these three programme. Consequently their understanding of programmatic issues tends
to have, at worst, a confused and, at most, a paradoxical character.
I question this way of posing the matter. Under capitalism in its imperialist form no
separation can be made between three different programmes. There is only one programme
the Communist Programme. The Communist Programme contains what are called minimum and
maximum demands. The Communist Programme is constituted in such a way that all its
demands form an integrated part of a dialectical system of demands. Consequently what
are called minimum or immediate demands bear an integral relationship to all the other
demands whether they are viewed as immediate or maximum demands or slogans. Minimum
demands dialectically dissolve into more advanced demands. The Communist Programme is
a dialectical system of demands whereby each individual demand implies all other
demands. Contained within an individual demand, however minimum it is thought to be,
are all the other demands. All of these other demands are implicit in any individual
demand just as a factory strike by workers contains within it the social revolution.
However social revolution is only implicit in the strike and must be made explicit. In
short for Communists the minimum and maximum programmes dissolve into the Communist
Overall, then, there is no essential difference between the trotskyist programmatic
conception and that of the other political tendencies alluded to in this posting. They
all subscribe to a mechanical undialectical programmatic conception of struggle. The
trotskyists try to disguise this conception by inserting the transitional programme.
However they present this programme, at their best, as having an external mechanical
relation to the other two programmes or, at their worst, as mish mash in which the
relationship between all three programmes takes on a blurred and confused character.
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