The Fourth International is the World Party of Socialist Revolution. It was founded by Leon Trotsky in 1938 to carry forward the fight for Marxism in opposition to the Stalinist degeneration of the Soviet Union and the Communist (Third) International.
Trotsky had founded the Left Opposition in 1923 to oppose the usurpation of power by a nationalist bureaucracy headed by Joseph Stalin and defend the program of socialist internationalism that had animated the Russian Revolution in 1917. In 1933, with the coming to power of the Nazis, facilitated by the disastrous policies of Stalinism, Trotsky called for the formation of a new (Fourth) International.
In the decades after its founding, revisionist tendencies repeatedly emerged inside the Fourth International, advocating in one form or another the abandonment of its orientation to building a revolutionary party in the working class, and calling instead for an orientation to one or another petty-bourgeois, Stalinist, Social Democratic or bourgeois-nationalist tendency.
The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) was established on November 23, 1953, following a split in the Fourth International between the orthodox Trotskyists, led by James P. Cannon, a founder of the Trotskyist movement in the United States, and an opportunist faction led by Michel Pablo and Ernest Mandel. The ICFI, which publishes the World Socialist Web Site, has upheld the principles of Marxism and is today the sole representative of revolutionary socialism in the world.
On this page, readers will find links to essays, books and topics on the history of the Fourth International. We also encourage our readers to explore the works available in our Library.