Leon Trotsky, 1938
The Transitional Program: The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International

This is the founding document of the Fourth International, published in September of 1938. It was previously drafted by Trotsky and discussed widely by sections of the Trotskyist movement.

Assessing the historical lessons of the betrayal of the working class by both the Second and Third Internationals, Trotsky outlines the principles upon which to build a new proletarian leadership for the struggles against world imperialism and Stalinism. The strategic task of the upcoming period—“the overcoming of the contradiction between the maturity of the objective revolutionary conditions and the immaturity of the proletariat and its vanguard”—is linked to the program of transitional demands that embodied the experience of the revolutionary movement to this point.