The “Government Trotskyists”


SLP (Austrian section of the ISA) called for participation in a rally supporting the government’s COVID policy


By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 20 December 2021,




As we reported in another article, Austria’s political elite called for a mass rally in support of the official pandemic policy. The purpose was to “make a stand” against the huge mass protests during the last weeks which have brought hundreds of thousands of people on the streets – from Vienna to smallest towns in all provinces of the country. All parts of the political establishment supported this rally – called “sea of lights”. This included the President, the Chancellor, all parliamentary parties (except the right-wing populist FPÖ), the church, the trade unions, the official representation of the doctors, and many other organizations. In addition, all media reported very prominently and very supportive about this initiative. However, despite all this huge support, the rally mobilized much less people than the recent protests have done. [1]


While the masses largely ignored this event, some “Trotskyists” did not. The “Sozialistische Linkspartei” (“Socialist Left Party”, SLP) also called to participate in this popular front. (Well, it is not so much popular, but certainly a front!) The SLP is the Austrian section of the ISA, an international self-proclaimed Trotskyist organization which split from Peter Taaffe’s CWI in 2019.


In a public email newsletter sent to all subscribers on 17 December, the SLP wrote:


Dear interested people,


The domestic political situation is currently dominated by protests of opponents of the provisions (i.e. the COVID restrictions, Ed.). You can read a statement about the perspective how we want to oppose this from the left-wing point of view here: (then title of a SLP statement and a link follows, Ed.)


On Sunday 19 December at 18:30 there will be a “sea of lights to show commemoration and solidarity” which shall take place in Vienna at the Ring (the name of the place where the rally took place, Ed.) It is expected that several tens of thousands of people will participate. The SLP will also participate.[2]


It is a shame in itself for self-proclaimed Trotskyists to participate – and to encourage others to do so – in an official demonstration called for by nearly all parties and institutions of the ruling class. And it is even more scandalous if the purpose of such a rally is to show support for the reactionary policy of COVID Counterrevolution – a policy which is characterized by general Lockdowns, Lockdowns for unvaccinated people, Health Pass and mass or even compulsory vaccination of the whole population! [3]


One should note that the SLP is not the worst group among the Lockdown Left. Others – like the Austrian section of the Cliffite SWP/IST or the L5I’s local group – even support the notorious “Zero COVID” campaign. This campaign calls for longer total Lockdowns with a curfew for the whole population and the complete closure of social and economic life (except the so-called essential sectors) “until the virus has been defeated”! [4]


What does the support of a self-proclaimed Trotskyist group for such a demonstration, organized by the conservative-led government and the whole capitalist establishment, reveal? It is another small example for the gigantic shift to the right by large sectors of reformism and centrism which has taken place all over the world as a result of the COVID Counterrevolution. It shows that many of them have become “government socialists” – to use a phrase with which Lenin and Trotsky characterized the social democratic parties supporting their imperialist “fatherland” in World War I. Well, in the case of the SLP/ISA we could also speak about “Government Trotskyists”!


There is an important lesson in this shameful support of a centrist organization for the government’s pro-COVID rally. Many Marxists think that the opportunism of reformist and centrist forces is caused by their adaption to the non-revolutionary consciousness of the masses or to backward elements in such a consciousness. While there is an element of truth in this explanation, it is an incomplete or one-sided idea. In fact, it misses the main point to understand opportunism of the “Marxist” left. These reformists and centrists do not adapt to the masses as such – as you can see the masses, or very large sectors of it, deeply hate the policy of COVID Counterrevolution.


No, the reformists and centrists rather adapt to the bourgeois “public opinion”, the petty-bourgeois liberal middle class and the labor bureaucracy. Being isolated from the masses – no problem for these pseudo-Marxists. Who cares about the plebs! But being isolated from “civil society” and their liberal institutions – the very idea of such petrifies Mr. and Mrs. Opportunist! That would be …, you got it, “sectarianism”!


No one should be under any illusion: “His Majesty's Socialists” exist not only in Britain but in all countries dominated by King Capital!


The RCIT repeats its call to all authentic socialists to break with such a reactionary policy and to join forces in the struggle for democracy and liberation of the working class and the oppressed!


[1] Michael Pröbsting: Where Were the Masses? Austria’s government and political establishment called for a mass rally in support of their COVID policy. It resulted in a major political defeat, 20 December 2021,

[2] [slp-info] Corona-Demos * Pflegeproteste * Veranstaltungen über Berliner Krankenhausbewegung und sozialistische Stadträtin in Seattle, 17.12.2021

[3] The RCIT has analyzed the COVID-19 counterrevolution extensively since its beginning. Starting from 2 February 2020 we have published about 100 pamphlets, essays, articles and statements plus a book which are all compiled at a special sub-page on our website: In particular we refer readers to two RCIT Manifestos: COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive. We are at a turning point in the world situation as the ruling classes provoke a war-like atmosphere in order to legitimize the build-up of chauvinist state-bonapartist regimes, 21 March 2020,; “Green Pass” & Compulsory Vaccinations: A New Stage in the COVID Counterrevolution. Down with the chauvinist-bonapartist police & surveillance state – defend democratic rights! No to health policy in the service of the capitalist monopolies – expand the public health sector under workers and popular control! 29 July 2021,; In addition, we draw attention to our book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. A Marxist analysis and strategy for the revolutionary struggle, RCIT Books, April 2020, Chapter V, See also our very first article on this issue by Almedina Gunić: Coronavirus: "I am not a Virus"... but WE will be the Cure! The chauvinist campaign behind the “Wuhan Coronavirus” hysteria and the revolutionary answer, 2 February 2020, Almedina Gunić and Michael Pröbsting: On Some Ideological Features of the COVID Counterrevolution. Comments on an interesting interview with a German liberal historian, 14 November 2021,; See also a number of Spanish-language articles of our Argentinean comrades: Juan Giglio: La izquierda de la "Big Pharma", dejó de defender las libertades, 1.10.2021,; Juan Giglio: ¿Por qué la izquierda no cuestiona las políticas de la OMS? 8.9.2021,

[4] See e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Austria: Pseudo-Trotskyists Call for a 3-Week Total Lockdown. The Cliffites continue to act as “left-wing” advocates of the COVID Counterrevolution, 19 November 2021,