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Title: Entryism  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Militant (Trotskyist group), Trotskyism, Socialist Party (England and Wales), Galician mafia, China Democratic Socialist Party
Collection: Political Terminology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Entryism (also referred to as entrism, occasionally as enterism) is a


  • Socialist entrism 1
    • Trotsky's "French Turn" 1.1
    • Deep entrism/entryism sui generis 1.2
    • Open entrism 1.3
  • Examples by country 2
    • Australia 2.1
    • Canada 2.2
    • Netherlands 2.3
    • New Zealand 2.4
    • United Kingdom 2.5
    • United States 2.6
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Socialist entrism

Trotsky's "French Turn"

The French Turn refers to the classic form of entrism advocated by Leon Trotsky in his essays on "the French Turn". In June 1934, he proposed that the French Trotskyists dissolve their Communist League to join the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) and that it also dissolve its youth section to join more easily with revolutionary elements. The tactic was adopted in August 1934, despite some opposition. The turn successfully raised the group's membership to 300 activists.

Proponents of the tactic advocated that the Trotskyists should enter the social democratic parties to connect with revolutionary socialist currents within them, and steer those currents toward Leninism. However, entry lasted only for a brief period: the leadership of the SFIO started to expel the Trotskyists. The Trotskyists of the Workers Party of the United States also successfully used their entry into the Socialist Party of America to recruit their youth group and other members. Similar tactics were also used by Trotskyist organisations in other countries, including The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Poland. Entrism was used to connect with and recruit leftward-moving political currents inside radical parties.

Since the turn in France, Marxists have used the tactic even if they had different preconceptions of how long the period of entry would last.

  • A "split perspective" is sometimes employed in which the smaller party intends to remain in the larger party for a short period of time with the intention of splitting the organisation and leaving with more members than it began with.
  • The entrist tactic can work successfully, in its own terms, over a long period. For example, it was attempted by the Militant tendency in Britain whose members worked within the Labour Party from the 1950s on and managed to get a controlling influence in the Labour Party Young Socialists and Liverpool Council before being expelled in the 1980s. Many other Trotskyist groups have attempted similar feats but few have gained the influence Militant attained (See Militant's Problems of Entrism pamphlet).

Deep entrism/entryism sui generis

In these types of entrism, entrists engage in a long-term perspective in which they work within an organisation for decades in hopes of gaining influence and a degree of power and perhaps even control of the larger organisation.

In entryism sui generis ("of a special type"), Trotskyists, for example, do not openly argue for the building of a Trotskyist party. "Deep entryism" refers to the long duration.

The tactic is closely identified with Michel Pablo and Gerry Healy, who were leaders of the Fourth International in the late 1940s and 1950s. The "deep entry" tactic was developed as a way for Trotskyists to respond to the Cold War. In countries where there were mass social democratic or communist parties, it was as difficult to be accepted into these parties as Trotskyist currents as to build separate Trotskyist parties. Therefore, Trotskyists were advised to join the mass party.

In Europe, this was the approach used, for example, by Parti des Travailleurs and its predecessors, have successfully entered trade unions and mainstream left-wing parties.

Open entrism

Some political parties, such as the

Examples by country


In Australia, the practice was widespread during the 1950s, where Communists battled against right-wing 'Groupers', for control of Australian trade unions. The Groupers subsequently formed the Democratic Labor Party. Today the practice in Australia is often known as a type of branch stacking.

In recent times RSPCA Australia has been described as being the victims of the practice.[1] The National Farmers' Federation and Animals Australia have each been accused of infiltrating branches of RSPCA Australia in an attempt to promote opposing policies concerning battery hens, intensive pig farming, and the live export of sheep.


Although the term entryism was used little if at all, opponents accused David Orchard and his supporters of attempting to win the leadership of the former Progressive Conservative Party in the late 1990s and early 2000s (decade) with the intention of dramatically changing its policies.

Orchard had made his name as a leading opponent of free trade, which was perhaps the singular signature policy of the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney in the late 1980s and early 1990s. While opponents pointed to this remarkable distance, Orchard and his supporters argued that they represented "traditional" Tory values and economic nationalism that the older Conservative Party, and the Progressive Conservative party before Mulroney, had espoused, namely that of John Diefenbaker.

Opponents of the 2003 merger between the Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance parties also charged Alliance members with infiltration. It was widely speculated that most, if not all of the approximately 25,000 Canadians who swelled the PC Party's membership before the merger vote were Alliance members. They would likely have voted in favour of the merger.

Liberals for Life, a pro-life group allied with the Campaign Life Coalition, was accused of infiltrating the Liberal Party of Canada in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Members of Militant tendency which practiced entryism in the Labour Party and which at its peak was the one of the most successful entryist organizations on record.

After the fall of Social Credit in British Columbia, the British Columbia Liberal Party saw the shift of former Social Credit members into the BC Liberal party. As a result, the new membership saw the party shift much more towards the right on fiscal policy. In this way, entryism led to a complete takeover of the original party by former Social Credit members. This however isn't formal entryism as former Social Credit members did not operate their own organization within the Liberal Party.


The Marxist-Leninist Party of the Netherlands was a fake pro-China communist party in the Netherlands set up by the Dutch secret service BVD to develop contacts with the Chinese government for espionage purposes. It existed from 1968 to the early 1990s.

New Zealand

The country's four small Communist parties the United States.[2][3]

New Zealand's Christian Right also attempted to obtain electoral influence. During the 1987 general election, several conservative Christian groups including the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), Women for Life and the Coalition of Concerned Citizens tried to infiltrate the National Party by running conservative Christian individuals as candidates. These groups also attacked the Labour government's policies towards peace education, sex education, abortion, Maori biculturalism, and the ANZUS alliance. Several CCC supporters contested the 1987 election as National candidates including Rob Wheeler (Mount Albert, Andrew Stanley (Onehunga, and Howard Martin (Papatoetoe). However, these efforts met little electoral success and the Lange government was re-elected for a second term.[4]

During the 1990s, another conservative tendency emerged within the National Party through the establishment of the informal Christian Voice group in 1998. However, it had faded by the mid-2000s when several minor Christian political parties including former National MP Graeme Lee's Christian Democrat Party, Peter Dunne's United Future, and Brian Tamaki's Destiny New Zealand emerged to court the evangelical Christian vote.[5] As a result of these attempts at taking over the party, National quietly centralised its candidate selection procedures.[6][7]

Despite these tensions with moral conservatives, National Party leader Green coalition government. This strategy backfired and contributed to Prime Minister Helen Clark's second re-election.[8] Due to the controversy arising from the Exclusive Brethren's canvassing on behalf of National, Brash's successor Prime Minister John Key explicitly rejected any assistance from the Exclusive Brethren during the 2008 election.[9]

United Kingdom

A long-lasting entry tactic was used by the Socialist Appeal but the majority left to form the Socialist Party (England and Wales).

External links

  1. ^ "A Blind Eye", ABC Four Corners, 21/06/2004
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Colin James, "National," p.491
  10. ^ The Guardian comment, December 9, 2003. "Invasion of the entryists" by George Monbiot. Online at [1] and [2], retrieved on October 25, 2007.
  11. ^ The Times Higher Education Supplement, January 28, 2005. "What's a nice Trot doing in a place like this?" by Chris Bunting. Online at author's website, retrieved on October 25, 2007.
  12. ^


Another example of charges of entryism involving the United States Reform Party involved supporters of Fred Newman and the New Alliance Party joining the Reform Party en masse and gaining some level of control over the New York State affiliate of the Reform Party. Another United States politician, Lyndon LaRouche, has attempted an entryist strategy in the Democratic Party since 1980, but with little success.[12]

United States

The 2015 Labour leadership election in the United Kingdom was the target of a campaign by The Daily Telegraph for Conservative sympathisers to join the Labour party as £3 supporters in order to vote for the hard left candidate Jeremy Corbyn, with a view to rendering the party un-electable. This strategy was labelled 'entryism' by observers.


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