One of the two main branches of Leninism; developed upon by Leon Trotsky, co-leader of the Russian Revolution and founder of the Red Army. Trotskyists oppose strongly "Stalinism" and its related ideologies. Trotskyists believe in a theory known as Permanent Revolution in opposition to Stalin's "theory of uneven development". Permanent Revolution contains a number of theories. One of these planks is the belief that a socialist revolution can occur in a backward, even feudalist country, by moving from the Tsarist stage to the capitalist-democratic stage to the socialist one using fluid transition instead of defined established stage according to the situations of an individual country, as was the case in Russia. Trotsky also believed that Lenin's pre-1917 idea of the "democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry" needed to be re-worded to emphasize the importance of the proletariat's leadership in such an alliance, because the peasantry were dialectically less capable of leadership. Also, in order to finish a socialist revolution, the revolution would have to be world-wide. This is in sharp contrast to Stalin's idea of "socialism in one country"; Trotsky felt that if a socialist nation-state was isolated, it would soon be destroyed by outside imperialist forces.
Trotsky emphasized the importance of soviets (independent councils of workers) and the idea that a communist society will be a "workers' democracy." After Stalin became leader of the Soviet Union, Trotsky classified the Soviet Union as a "degenerated workers state" and the Soviet Communist Party as "bureaucratic centralist," also declaring the death of the 3rd international, and beginning the 4th international. The Soviet degenerated workers state was more progressive than Western capitalism and therefore worthy of defense against American imperialism; however, another revolution of the workers was necessary to unseat the "Stalinist" bureaucracy, who Trotsky believed would continue to destroy the workers state until it became fully capitalist. Today, the largest world Trotskyist organization is the Fourth International (USFI).
For many decades, the chief Trotskyist group in the US was the Socialist Workers Party. But between 1979-1983, the SWP abandoned Trotskyism for Castroism and most of the Trotskyists were expelled. Today, two of the largest Trotskyist organizations are Solidarity and the Freedom Socialist Party.