Anyone who believes that the Stalinists who run the Morning Star have repented might want to read their review of Robert Service’s biography of Trotsky (2 December).
According to Roger Fletcher’s review, Trotsky death in Mexico was “bizarre”, rather than a well-documented state assassination carried out by paid agents of the USSR.
He adds that “His associations with declared enemies of Soviet Russia are touched on, as are his deep involvements with Mexican muralists Diego Rivera and wife Frida Kahlo and, much less so, with David Alfaro Siqueiros”. Which declared enemies Fletcher does not specify; Siqueiros of course was the first to attempt to assassinate Trotsky in Mexico.
The tardy piece finishes with a classic bit of Stalinist contortion. Fletcher writes: “Reading through this hefty tome a convincing picture emerges of a volatile and inconsistent pseudo-revolutionary of marked personal vanity, prepared as one contemporary diplomat observed to give ‘his life for the revolution, as long as there were enough people there to see him do it’. The struggles in which he became involved were vital for the future of humanity, notably with the Third Reich, and Trotsky clearly played a negative role.”
Aside from the dismissal of Trotsky’s central role in the 1917 revolution and in its defence during the civil war – which even Service has to acknowledge – the insinuation is that Trotsky was in cahoots with Hitler, a slur from the Moscow Trials/great purges refuted by the Dewey Commission and by countless studies ever since.
And of course then there is the responsibility for Hitler coming to power in 1933. Trotsky advocated a united front between communists and socialists to defeat Hitler. The KPD, under orders from Stalin dubbed the SPD “social fascist” and refused to unite, claiming their turn would come next. Result – the German labour movement smashed. And then of course there was the Hitler-Stalin Pact.
The only purge that is needed is to rid the labour movement of this tankie nonsense.