Trotskyism - Wikipedia
From until Trotsky had a stormy relationship with Lenin, accusing Trotsky's constant goal was to gain control of world Communist. “Lenin is the reflection, the image of the (Russian) working class, not only in its for the paradox that Lenin, guided by his fierce will to achieve his goal, for a long .. of history not yet clarified; the relationship between Marxism and psychology; . A detailed biography of Leon Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronshtein) that includes includes Of the eight children born of this marriage, four survived. According to David Shub: "The main purpose of the drive was to force the Germans to.
Lenin himself occasionally "erred" in his estimation of possible allies among the Mensheviks. In he offered a bloc to Plekhanov and the "pro-Party" Mensheviks. According to Lunacharsky, as late asLenin "dreamed of an alliance with Martov realising how valuable he could be. But how incomparably superior are the mistakes of a dedicated revolutionary to the smug scribblings of the Pharisees who, half a century later, in the comfort of their studies, fight all the old battles over again - and always on the winning side.
The Bolsheviks and Lenin "The years between and form in his [Trotsky's] life a chapter singularly devoid of political achievement…Trotsky does not claim any practical revolutionary achievement to his credit.
- Lenin vs Stalin: Their Showdown Over the Birth of the USSR
- Lenin and Trotsky—What They Really Stood For
- Leon Trotsky (1879 - 1940)
In these years, however, Lenin, assisted by his followers, was forging his party, and men like Zinoviev and Kamenev, Bukharin and, later, Stalin were growing to a stature which enabled them to play leading parts within the party in The "leading part" played by Kamenev, Zinoviev and Stalin in will be dealt with in a later chapter. Suffice it just to recall that Kamenev and Zinoviev voted against the insurrection in Octoberand were denounced by Lenin as "strikebreakers" who should be expelled from the Party!
But let us first deal with the period under consideration. Deutscher's point about the "lack of political achievements" is quite true, but refers not only to Trotsky but to the whole revolutionary movement in the period of reaction.
How did things stand with the Bolsheviks at this time? The onset of reaction produced a serious split in the leadership, in which Lenin found himself in a minority of one. The predominant mood among the Bolsheviks was ultra-left - a refusal to recognise that the revolution was in retreat. This tendency, the polar opposite of Menshevik liquidationism, manifested itself in ''Boycottism", i. Lenin's closest colleagues, Krassin, Bogdanov and Lunacharsky, broke away to the "left".
The latter two fell under the sway of philosophical mysticism, a further reflection of the mood of despair fostered by the reaction.
The endless faction fights which rent the Social Democracy at this time provoked a reaction in the form of conciliationism, of which Trotsky became the main spokesman. Conciliationism had its adherents in all the groups, the Bolsheviks included.
InTrotsky succeeded in securing a meeting of the leaders of all the factions in an attempt to expel both liquidators and the "Boycotters" to keep the Party together: In the summer ofRosa Luxemburg wrote: Throughout the whole period - the whole of the famous "thirteen or fourteen years" - the prevailing view of the Party activists inside Russia was that the whole Bolshevik-Menshevik split was an unnecessary inconvenience, the product of the poisonous atmosphere of emigre squabbles.
The impression fostered by such people as Johnstone and Deutscher of a Bolshevik Party, united solidly behind the ideas of Lenin, marching steadfastly onwards to the October Revolution, is a mockery of history. Lenin himself, even from the earliest period, complains in his letters of the narrow outlook of the so-called "committee men", or Bolshevik agents in Russia.
His complaints become a steady stream of angry protests in the period of against the conduct of his own "supporters" in Russia. Maxim Gorky, who spent this period shuffling around the periphery of Bolshevism, bemoaned in his correspondence with Lenin the "squabbles among the generals" which were "repelling the workers" in Russia. The attitude of the Bolshevik "committee men" to the controversies among the emigres is clearly expressed in a letter which was sent by a Bolshevik supporter in the Caucasus to comrades in Moscow: The attitude of the workers to the first bloc, as far as I know is favourable.
But in general the workers are beginning to look disdainfully at the emigration: That I think is for the best. This contemptuous attitude towards theory, towards the "emigre squabbles", the "storm in a tea cup" was widespread among Bolshevik activists, and provoked heated protests from Lenin, as in the letter, dated Aprilto Orjonikidze, Spandaryan and Stasova: It is a great mistake when people simply dismiss what goes on abroad and 'send it to hell. The upsurge in the workers movement in Russia in gave fresh heart to the Marxists - and to conciliationist tendencies in the Party.
The newly-founded Bolshevik paper Pravda reflected these moods. At the very time when Lenin was waging an all-out battle to separate, once and for all, the revolutionary wing of the Party from the opportunist, the very word 'liquidationism' disappeared from the pages of Pravda. Lenin's own articles were printed in a mutilated form, omitting all polemics against the liquidators; sometimes, they simply disappeared altogether.
Lenin's correspondence with Pravda graphically illustrates the state of affairs in Russia: In a letter, dated Octoberburning with indignation at the failure of Pravda to expose the liquidators, Lenin wrote: Pravda is carrying on now, at election time, like a sleepy old maid. Pravda doesn't know how to fight. It does not attack, it does not persecute either the Cadet or the liquidator.
In the elections ofsix Bolshevik deputies were elected from the workers' curiae. Lenin, from Poland, warned the six against falling under the influence of the Menshevik deputies: The six must come out with a very clear-cut protest, if they are being lorded over…" Instead the Bolshevik deputies formed a "united faction" with the "Siberians", which issued a joint proclamation - printed in Pravda - calling for the unity of all Social-Democrats and the merging of Pravda with the liquidationist journal Luch.
Together with Gorky, four of the Bolshevik deputies put their names forward as contributors to Luch. Lenin was furious; but his protests went unheeded. In a final burst of exasperation Lenin wrote: We will not reply. They must be got rid of…We are exceedingly disturbed by the absence of news about the plan for reorganising the editorial board…Reorganisation, but better still, the complete expulsion of all the old timers, is extremely necessary.
Things are now in a very bad way. The absence of a campaign for unity from below is stupid and despicable…Would you call such people editors? They are not men but pitiful dishrags and they are ruining the cause. Truly, Lenin set about the task of the creation of a "stable, centralised and disciplined Marxist party" at this time.
In order to build it, he was forced on more than one occasion to fight against the very apparatus he had struggled to build. The "Old Bolsheviks" in For a whole historical period - even more than "thirteen or fourteen years" - Lenin had attempted to educate a leadership, to instil into the cadres of Bolshevism the basic ideas, method and programme of Marxism. Above all, he hammered home the need to keep the workers' movement free from the ideological contamination of bourgeois and petty bourgeois democracy.
He emphasised repeatedly the absolute necessity of the movement retaining complete organisational independence from the parties of bourgeois democracy and from the opportunists who attempted to bring the movement under the wing of the bourgeoisie. The absolute correctness of Lenin's stand was revealed inwhen the Mensheviks passed over to the camp of bourgeois democracy. What was the position of the "Old Bolsheviks" - of Kamenev, Zinoviev, Stalin and Lenin's other "faithful followers" in ?
Every single one of them advocate support for the Kerensky Government, unity with the Mensheviks, that is, abandonment of the camp of Marxism for that of vulgar bourgeois democracy. Of all the "Old Bolsheviks", whom Lenin had struggled to educate in the previous period, not one of them stood up to the decisive test of events.
How was it possible for the leaders of the Bolshevik Party, the Party of Lenin, steeled in struggle, with a correct line from its inception into break at the decisive moment and go over to the side of opportunism? From Monty Johnstone, the perplexed reader can expect no answer. Our "impartial", "scientific" historiographer knows of no such events!
The transition from February to October was evidently accomplished, quite painlessly, by the Bolsheviks "growing over" from the democratic revolution to the socialist: In glaring contradiction to everything Lenin had taught throughout the war, Pravda, which was under the editorship of Kamenev and Stalin, advocated the defence of the Bourgeois-democratic republic: This would not be a policy of peace, but a policy of slavery, which would be rejected with disgust by a free people.
Elsewhere Pravda editorials proclaimed: Our slogan is pressure on the Provisional Government with the aim of compelling it [! This relegation to the remote future of the socialist revolution, while posing as "the immediate task" capitulation to bourgeois liberalism and reformism, is, of course, nothing new to the Communist Party leaders of today, for whom it represents the very essence of "Leninism", as enshrined in "the British Road to Socialism" and the policy of the Popular Front.
It was essentially the same policy as that of the Mensheviks, with whom the "Old Bolsheviks" inevitably found themselves in alliance.COUPLE GOALS
How did Lenin, on his return, manage to "mobilise the Bolsheviks for the second stage of the revolution" when all the leading members supported the Provisional Government? Comrade Johnstone, who passes over the entire episode in silence, is evidently loth to go into the mechanics of this wonderful "mobilisation". It would, however, be extremely "unhistorical" on our part not to offer to fill in the details for him.
From abroad, Lenin watched the developments in the Party with alarm. He wrote repeatedly to Petrograd demanding a break with the bourgeoisie and the policy of defencism. On March 6th, he telegraphed through Stockholm: Immediately on his return from exile, Lenin opened up a sharp faction fight against the "Old Bolsheviks".
At a meeting of Bolshevik delegates to the Soviets in AprilLenin spoke bitterly of the capitulationist moods that infected the leadership: The main thing that comes to the fore when you read about Russia and see what goes on here is the victory of defencism, the victory of the traitors to socialism, the deception of the masses by the bourgeoisie… "We cannot allow the slightest concession to defencism in our attitude to the war even under the new government which remains imperialist… "Even our Bolsheviks show some trust in the government.
This can be explained only by the intoxication of the revolution. It is the death of socialism. You comrades have a trusting attitude to the government. If that is so our paths diverge. I prefer to remain in a minority… "Pravda demands of the government that it should renounce annexations. To demand of a government of capitalists that it should renounce annexations is nonsense, a crying mockery of… [a break in the minutes] "From the scientific standpoint this is such gross deception which all the international proletariat, all… [a break in the minutes] It is time to admit our mistakes.
We've had enough of greetings and resolutions; it is time to act. Talk, flattery of the revolutionary people, is the only thing that has ruined all revolutions.
The whole of Marxism teaches us not to succumb to revolutionary phrases, particularly at a time when they have the greatest currency. Was it Trotsky, who was not even in the country at the time? No, Comrade Johnstone, it was Stalin and Kamenev, those "hardened Bolsheviks", those dedicated "Leninists" who played such an "important role within the Party" in !
Three days before this meeting, Stalin had pronounced in favour of accepting the proposal of the Menshevik Tseretelli for unification of the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. His ground for this was that, since both parties agreed on the position of the Manifesto of the Soviet, there were no fundamental differences of principle between the parties. Referring obliquely to this, Lenin issued a sharp warning: This is a betrayal of socialism.
I think it is better to remain alone, like Liebknecht: This is the language Lenin had to resort to in order to "mobilise the Bolshevik Party" for the socialist revolution! After Lenin's tirade, Stalin retired from the stage of public debate heavily compromised by his social-patriotic stand and quietly sidled over to Lenin's position; Kamenev and Zinoviev persisted in their opposition right up to October, when they voted against insurrection and waged a campaign inside and outside the Party against it.
Such was the "important role" played by these "Old Bolsheviks" that, on the eve of the October revolution, Lenin angrily demanded their expulsion from the Party.
Monty Johnstone attacks Trotsky for his conciliationism beforebut forgets to mention that Stalin and Co. Having made the point, however, it is necessary to add that, for all their failings, the "Old Bolsheviks" were genuine revolutionaries. They made a mistake, a fundamental mistake, which, had it not been for the intervention of Lenin and Trotsky would have led to disaster.
Without the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky the Russian Revolution would not have taken place in Either a workers' dictatorship or Kornilovite reaction: Without the struggle waged, in particular by Lenin, with all his immense personal authority, the movement would undoubtedly have fallen beneath the mailed fist of reaction.
Nevertheless, despite their weaknesses and vacillations, Kamenev and Zinoviev were not put on trial, were not accused of being "agents of German imperialism", were not tortured to extract false confessions, were not executed. In the traditions of Bolshevism, traditions of tolerance and sense of proportion, Kamenev and Zinoviev were not only not expelled but even elected to the Central Committee and Politburo, the highest positions of responsibility.
Even after that, they did not always act unerringly, and sometimes made disastrous mistakes: The traditions of Stalinist totalitarianism and those of Bolshevik-Leninism were sundered by a river of blood. Trotsky and the Bolsheviks in We have seen how Monty Johnstone utilises the services of Trotsky's "highly sympathetic but also extremely objective biographer", Isaac Deutscher.
Johnstone frequently has recourse to Deutscher, who at once relieves him of the painful necessity of quoting from Trotsky's own works, and obligingly provides him with the sort of trite, literary commonplaces about Trotsky's psychological and moral attributes which serve him as a useful, if rather rusty, nail upon which to hang his own "thesis" on Trotsky, which now triumphantly emerges: His whole work is a fine piece of impressionist word-painting: Clearly, Monty Johnstone is itching to switch the date of Trotsky's joining the Bolsheviks to sometime after the October Revolution "by sleight of hand"as they say.
But no, such a distortion would be too much even for our Jesuit; reluctantly, Trotsky is made to join "under the impetus of the oncoming October Revolution! In fact Trotsky, formally joined the Bolshevik Party, not when it was on the crest of a revolutionary wave, on the point of seizing power, as Johnstone implies, but, on the contrary, when its fortunes appeared to be at a low ebb in the period of reaction following the "July Days" when Lenin was in hiding and many Bolsheviks were in prison.
Why did Trotsky join the Bolsheviks in ? First and foremost, because there were no political disagreements. The article written by Trotsky in America in March coincided in their line of thought with Lenin's Letters from Afar, written in Switzerland at the same time.
Was this agreement accidental, Comrade Johnstone? To judge from your one-sided presentation of the past polemics between Lenin and Trotsky, no other conclusion is possible. But then, what about the lamentable role played by the "Old Bolsheviks" in this period? These were precisely the men who, in your own words, had "fitted themselves into the ranks" and "submitted to collective discipline" for the previous period; was this also "accidental"?
Lenin, in his last letter to the Congressstates that it was not. Nor was it accidental, Comrade Johnstone, that Lenin's most consistent supporter in his fight against the vacillations of the "Old Bolsheviks" in was none other than Trotsky.
The whole purpose of revolutionary theory, of the building of the revolutionary party, is to carry through a revolution. It is precisely the "storms of revolution", in which the revolutionary movement comes under acute pressure from alien class forces, which puts all theories, men and parties to the decisive test.
The reason why the "Old Bolsheviks" failed this test, the reason why they found themselves hopelessly adrift in the storm of revolution, is precisely because, in the whole of the previous period they had failed to absorb and understand the methods and ideas of Lenin, which were the methods and ideas of revolutionary Marxism.
The "Old Bolsheviks" had been content, in the previous period, to "fit themselves into the ranks", to follow lamely in the footsteps of Lenin, mechanically repeating his ideas, which in their hands turned into meaningless incantations.
The result was that at the decisive moment, when a drastic turn was necessary, they hesitated, "lost their heads", opposed Lenin…and landed in the camp of Menshevism. Trotsky, on the other hand, who had set out on a different course, arrived at the same conclusions which Lenin had reached by another route.
From that moment, all the old disputes were consigned to the rubbish-bin of history…only to be grubbed out again by the Stalinists after Lenin's death in an attempt to oust Trotsky from the leadership. From the moment of Trotsky's arrival in Petrograd in Mayhe spoke and acted in solidarity with the Bolsheviks. Commenting on this, the Bolshevik Raskolnikov recalled that: At any rate, immediately after his first speech in the Soviet, we all looked upon him as one of our party leaders.
No differences existed between the tactical line of Lenin and Trotsky. That fusion, already observable during the war, was completely and definitely achieved from the moment of Trotsky's return to Russia. From his first public speech all of us old Leninists felt that he was ours. On this group, a note to the works of Lenin published in Russia after the revolution states: July] no differences either in principle or in tactics between the Inter-District and the Bolshevik organisations.
Accordingly there are no motives which justify the separate existence of these organisations.
The letter is dated 23rd July, I should like, therefore, to call your attention to the following: We took immediate steps to stop the soldiers from coming out. Zinoviev and Kamenev put themselves in touch with the Bolsheviks, and I with the 'interward' organisation [i. Mezhrayontsi] to which I belong.
When, however, it was learned from the agitators, who arrived from the different wards, that the regiments and factory workers had already decided to come out, and that it was impossible to hold back the crowd until the government crisis was over, all those present agreed that the best thing to do was to direct the demonstration along peaceful lines and to ask the masses to leave their guns at home.
Leaving me out merely emphasises the counter-revolutionary highhandedness that lies behind the attack on Lenin, Zinoviev and Kamenev. In the most difficult days, when the Party was driven underground, when Lenin and Zinoviev were forced to leave for Finland, when Kamenev was in jail and the Bolsheviks subjected to shameless calumnies as "German agents", Trotsky spoke out publicly in their defence, and identified his position with theirs.
Monty Johnstone knows all this. He knows it and, he passes it over in silence. All he has to say on this is that: However, after Trotsky's merger with the Bolsheviks, it was only in his attitude to Lenin that Trotsky always showed a touching and tender yieldingness.
Lenin vs Stalin: Their Showdown Over the Birth of the USSR - HISTORY
With the modesty of all truly great men he acknowledges Lenin's primacy. Amid the appalling turmoil of world events it was Trotsky, the other leader of the Russian revolution, a man by no means inclined to sentimentality who said: Two years later, Lenin pointed out that in "Bolshevism drew to itself all the best elements in the currents of socialist thought that were closest to it.
But most of those elements had already broken with Bolshevism by These lines clearly refer to Trotsky and the Mezhrayontsi. The special attitude of Lenin towards the Mezhrayontsi is revealed by the fact that, at a time when he was urging the toughening-up of the conditions of membership to guard against the influx of unreliable elements, the probationary period was waived for the Mezhrayontsi, who were allowed to count the period of their membership of the Bolsheviks from the time they joined their own group.
This action was tantamount to the agreement of the Bolsheviks with the statement of Trotsky that there were no tactical or political differences between the two groups. The very same Congress at which the Mezhrayontsi joined the Bolshevik Party, the "colossally arrogant" Trotsky was elected to the Central Committee, and he was one of the four names with Lenin, Zinoviev and Kamenev which were announced as having polled the highest number of votes out of The Stalin School of Falsification "It would be unhistorical indeed if, in evaluating Trotsky, we were to ignore his struggle against Bolshevism during the first fourteen years of its existence - or consider the matter closed by quoting a remark that Lenin is alleged on Trotsky's authority - to have made in in the midst of the Revolution and after the latter had been in the Party less than four months to the effect that after he had understood that unity with the Mensheviks was impossible, 'there was no better Bolshevik than Trotsky.
Being himself so particular in his use of sources, he refuses to admit as evidence a remark "allegedly" made by Lenin "on Trotsky's authority". What was this remark and why was it made? At a meeting of the Petrograd Committee on November 14th,Lenin spoke on the danger of conciliationist tendencies in the Party leadership which constituted a threat even after the October Revolution.
On November 14th, eleven days after the successful insurrection, three members of the Central Committee Kamenev, Zinoviev, Nogin resigned in protest against the policies of the Party, and issued an ultimatum demanding the formation of a coalition government including the Mensheviks and the SRs "otherwise the only course that remains is to maintain a purely Bolshevik Government by means of political terror.
In response to a dangerous situation, Lenin advocated the expulsion of the leading miscreants. It was in this situation that Lenin delivered the speech which ends with the words: A homogeneous Bolshevik government.
Trotsky long ago said that a union was impossible. Trotsky understood this, and from that time on there has been no better Bolshevik. Stalin, Kamenev and Zinoviev began a systematic campaign of falsification, designed to belittle Trotsky's role in the revolution and to boost their own.
To do this, they had to invent the legend of "Trotskyism", to drive a wedge between the position of Trotsky and that of Lenin and the "Leninists" i.
The hack historians burrowed through the accumulated rubbish of old polemics which had long been forgotten by those who participated in them: But a serious obstacle in the path of the falsifiers was the October Revolution itself. This obstacle was removed by gradually deleting Trotsky's name from the history books, by re-writing history, and finally by the outright suppression of all, even the most innocuous mention, of Trotsky's role.
Monty Johnstone himself cites a good example of this: It can be stated with certainty that the Party is indebted primarily and principally to Comrade Trotsky for the rapid going over of the garrison to the side of the Soviet and the efficient manner in which the work of the Military Revolutionary Committee was organised.
But there is nothing surprising about it, and Comrade Johnstone's astonishment is entirely feigned. Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin in Gorky, circa The formally independent republics would be incorporated into the Russian Soviet Federation with rights of autonomy. The government bodies of the Russian Federation would become the central institutions of Soviet rule, exercising control over formally autonomous republics.
Ukrainians expressed a preference for the status quo. The Belarusians said they would mimic whatever model the Russians and the Ukrainians developed. Stalin refused to budge and pushed ahead with his plan for autonomization—only to be stopped in his tracks by Lenin, who sided with the Georgians and Ukrainians. As far as he was concerned, the inclusion of the republics into the Russian Federation, especially against the will of their leaders, put the Russians in the position of imperial masters, undermining the idea of the voluntary union of nations—and making them little better than the tsarist empire they had overthrown.
In his mind, the survival of Soviet rule was closely linked with the success of world revolution, which depended on the rise of the working class in Germany, France and Britain, and then on the nationalist movements in China, India and Western colonies in Asia. All republics should have 'separate but equal' status Instead of enlarging the Russian Federation, Lenin proposed creating a Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia.
Stalin, recognizing that an enlarged Russian Federation would create a poor image for the multinational communist state as a community of equals, proposed simply to turn the Russian government bodies into all-Union ones.
As he saw it, there was no need for another level of bureaucracy. For him, the Union was a matter of principle, not expediency. Some way had to be found to accommodate rising non-Russian nationalism.
Lenin falls from view, but battles from his bed But by the time the Congress was called to order, Lenin disappeared from sight. The year-old leader of the Bolsheviks, who had fought tooth and nail for the creation of the Union, stayed put in his Kremlin apartment, a short walk from the Bolshoi Theatre, where the Congress was holding its sessions.
Eight days earlier, on December 12, he had suffered a major stroke and lost control of his right hand and leg. Although Stalin and many of his supporters, such as Ordzhonikidze and Dzerzhinsky, were non-Russians Stalin and Ordzonikidze hailed originally from Georgia, Dzerzhinsky from PolandLenin accused them of Russian chauvinism.
Leon Trotsky - Conservapedia
But the stroke prevented him from taking any decisive steps against them. But they also served a political purpose. Barred from attending the congress and not trusting Stalin to fully implement his line, the paralyzed Lenin resolved to dictate his thoughts on the nationality question in a document to be passed on to the party leadership. Lenin was prepared to replace the Union he had originally proposed with a looser association in which the centralized powers might be limited to defense and international relations alone.
Stalin visiting Lenin in Gorky in