Leon Trotsky: Writings in Exile (Get Political)

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Despite being aware of his weakening position, Trotsky's arrogance makes it impossible for him to lead an opposition to Stalin's rule and he is expelled from the party in Because party debate to Service is nothing but a masquerade for individual power politics, he makes little attempt to go into the arguments used to justify these policies.


The result is a superficial retelling of the Russian Revolution. Thankfully, Service's account improves noticeably in the final section, which covers Trotsky's years in exile, from until his assassination in Mexico in During this time Trotsky published his Byulleten oppozitsii and founded the Fourth International. Free from the constraints of government, Trotsky could easily criticize the Stalinist regime for its failures.

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Service is correct to write that such criticism was often self-serving and dishonest. For example, Trotsky condemned Stalin's squelching of inner-party democracy, yet Trotsky had joined Lenin in denouncing factions at the Ninth Party Congress in , and reaffirmed the supremacy of the party over the individual at the 13th Party Congress in Likewise, Trotsky blamed Stalin for the ill-fated union between the Chinese Communist Party and the Guomindang without mentioning his own support for the German Communist Party's failed uprising of Often, Trotsky's suggestions from exile had few connections to reality, such as when he called for a popular uprising against the Stalinist government by the Soviet section of the Fourth International, even though no such section existed , or when he said that Stalin should abandon the policy of "socialism in one country" and spread revolution, without taking into account the violence such a spread would require Service is also right to point out an unresolved contradiction in Trotsky's thinking: namely, if Russia was too backward to sustain socialism on its own, then why had it been right for the Bolsheviks to seize power in the first place ?

Service believes that the arguably less-than-honest nature of Trotsky's political writings, the repressive polices carried out under his direction during the Civil War, and the occasional lack of empathy displayed in his personal life, reveal Trotsky's similarities to Stalin in intentions and practice. Trotsky, Service writes, was "no more likely than Stalin to create a society of humanitarian socialism even though he claimed and assumed that he would" Service may be right, but since he gives such short shrift to Trotsky's theories and even shorter shrift to Stalin's it is difficult to tell.

In any event, this is just as much an un-provable speculation as those Service attacks from people who believed Trotsky could have saved the Soviet Union from Stalinism.

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But because Service omits these details, his Trotsky tells little more than half the story. One finishes Trotsky wondering why Trotsky became a revolutionary and why millions of Russians supported the Bolsheviks during the Civil War. Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Stanton Foundation.

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Department of History. Apparently that wasn't far away enough, so in February , Trotsky was banished from the entire Soviet Union. Over the next seven years, Trotsky lived in Turkey, France, and Norway until he finally arrived in Mexico in Writing prolifically during his exile, Trotsky continued to criticize Stalin. Stalin, on the other hand, named Trotsky as the major conspirator in a fabricated plot to remove Stalin from power. In the first of the treason trials part of Stalin's Great Purge, , 16 of Stalin's rivals were charged with aiding Trotsky in this treasonous plot.

All 16 were found guilty and executed.

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Leon Trotsky

Half Mast: A Novel. Leon Trotsky. Navigation menu. Much of this time he spent writing. When World War I broke out, Trotsky wrote anti-war articles.

Citation Information

Filosofia medievale: Questioni e risposte nelle parole dei filosofi Storia, filosofia e religione Italian Edition? The article contained in this volume is an extraordinary example of first-rate political analysis: acutely perceptive, concise, urgent, and powerfully expressed.

As well as offering a peerlessly astute insight into Nazism, its class basis, the historical forces driving it, and the direction in which it was heading, the article is a model of political writing. As well as probing the problem, Trotsky was clear-sighted about the solution.

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Trotsky - emphatically, repeatedly, insistently - urged the unity of all socialists to defeat the threat of Nazism in Germany. He argued that a united front was more necessary than ever, calling for a coalition of Communists and supporters of the Social Democrats the German equivalent of the Labour Party to mobilise on the streets and through the trade unions.

He was, however, a marginal figure with no political base. His words were ignored, with tragic consequences.

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Communists and Social Democrats were persecuted, and many later killed, once Hitler took power. The negative role played by the Stalinist bureaucracy, through its disastrous foreign policy, was a critical factor in the outcome of events in China. This essay is as good a brief introduction to the Chinese Revolution as you will find anywhere. The whole selection is united by a number of central concerns: recovering the real Bolshevik tradition from massive Stalinist distortion, tracing the rise of Stalinist counter-revolution and its dire consequences internationally, and probing the mechanics and dynamics of revolution.

Alex Snowdon is a Counterfire activist in Newcastle.