The Life and Death of Leon Trotsky
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All parties and leaders make mistakes but the essence of the matter is to learn from them. The Bolsheviks made mistakes, as did Lenin and Trotsky on occasions, very rarely it might be added, but the honesty and unprecedented internal democratic life of the Bolsheviks allowed the ranks sometimes to correct the leadership. He had explicitly named the Socialist Party. Jeremy Corbyn dismissed this as nonsense. As an aside, Corbyn had supported a parliamentary motion in calling on the Russian government to rehabilitate Trotsky!
All of those who were expelled from the Labour Party in the past — Militant supporters and others on the left — should be readmitted into membership of Labour. She asserted that this was illustrated by an article that I had allegedly written. Yet, when challenged, it was clear that no such phrase had been used.
This is likely to be the chosen theme when the th anniversary is celebrated next year. But it remains an incontestable fact that the Russian revolution was carried through democratically and peacefully, or relatively peacefully in the first instance, with only accidental deaths in the storming of the Winter Palace by the revolutionary forces. What subsequent violence ensued resulted from the murderous armed resistance of the dispossessed landlords and capitalists who initiated the civil war, aided by the imperialist powers.
The working class by contrast was incredibly generous. In fact, too much generosity was often shown to its bitter capitalist opponents. For instance, the tsarist Admiral Kolchak was originally arrested for conspiracy against the revolution but was released on the promise that he would not engage in armed attempts to overthrow the revolution. Upon his release he immediately went to organise the counter-revolutionary forces, which resulted in many deaths of workers and peasants.
Without the Bolshevik party — and the worker-cadres assembled in its ranks who were steeled in the battle against the landlord-capitalist tsarist regime — there would not have been a successful Russian revolution.
Life and Death of Leon Trotsky
This against the most ruthless ruling class in history that has concentrated unparalleled economic and state power in its hands! This body has 81 members, consisting of the general secretary and regional secretaries, plus 62 members directly elected by a Citizens Assembly — not in a face-to-face delegate meeting but only online. Superficially, this appears to be super-democratic, but it allows the leadership to pull the strings without the challenge of face-to-face meetings.
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This led to many indignados abstaining in elections, with the capitalist Partido Popular subsequently coming to power in Spain. It remains a fact that the traditional method of organisation deployed by the Bolsheviks, and emulated by the Marxist movement ever since, is the only one through which a successful socialist revolution, led by the working class, has been carried out.
The Bolsheviks reflected the need for control from below. In this way, careerists and opportunists were excluded and only the most devoted and self-sacrificing workers were included in their ranks.
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They deny the right for different trends of opinion to openly and democratically get together, formulate alternative ideas, aspects of the programme, etc, and, if necessary, to fight for these ideas within the structures of common organisations. They arrogate to themselves the arbitrary right to do precisely this because they happen to be in the leadership at any one time.
The Russian revolution was seen as the overture to world revolution. This is underlined in the comments of Trotsky, quoted by Sedova and Serge, that the Russian revolution would not have lasted a year without the support of the working class internationally. Indeed, opposing forces initially gave the Bolsheviks between two weeks and two months before they would be overthrown. It was this that led to the cruel civil war with the terrible suffering meted out to the Russian people by the dispossessed landlords and capitalists backed up by military force.
At its lowest point, the revolution seemed to be hanging by a thread with the area controlled by the Bolsheviks reduced to the two major cities of Moscow and Petrograd in the region around the old province of Muscovy. Stalin feared that, in the event of a political revolution to overthrow the bureaucratic elite, they would be a rallying point.
The Life and Death of Leon Trotsky
Fidel Castro — who actually presided over and led a revolution in Cuba, and could not be compared with the mediocre Stalin — was not the originator of long speeches, the book reveals. At one stage, Stalin spoke for seven hours in a denunciation of Trotsky and the Left Opposition! They reveal that, despite the persecution, imprisonment and sackings of recalcitrant oppositionists — as well as the exiling of Trotsky — there was still significant support for him and the Left Opposition.
As late as there was an estimated 8, oppositionists still in Russia. The least satisfactory aspect of the book is the inclusion by the publishers of hitherto unpublished criticisms by Victor Serge of Trotsky and the Bolsheviks. Regarding Nin, the truth is that Trotsky recognised in many letters and documents his self-sacrificing approach in fighting Stalinism, firstly within the belly of the Stalinist beast in Russia at the time of the persecution of the Left Opposition.
Nin was freed and allowed to leave because of an international campaign in his defence, organised among others by the Trotskyists themselves. Trotsky initially enthusiastically looked towards Nin playing a key role in developing the genuine forces of Spanish Marxism, particularly in Barcelona where he settled after leaving Russia. In this way he passes over a crucial event organically linked to the fate of the Spanish revolution.
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