Trotsky - The Spartacus of the 20th century: Workers' Liberty 3/14

The Trotsky I knew (Extracts from Max Shachtman's "Autobiography")

Published on: Mon, 27/08/2007 - 00:39

Memories of Leon Trotsky by Max Shachtman

Max Shachtman produced these memoirs of Leon Trotsky in the early 1960s

The first time that I saw Trotsky was in Moscow, in 1927, and then only by accident. I had been delegated to Moscow by the American party and by the International Labor Defense Organization for which I was working at the time to attend the meeting of MOPR, which were the Russian initials for International Red Aid of which the ILD was the American section, and to attend for the party the plenary meeting of the executive committee of the Communist International. Actually it was

Who was Leon Trotsky?

Published on: Sun, 26/08/2007 - 09:22
Author

Max Shachtman

Max Shachtman

The disclosure [in Trotsky’s diary of 1935] that Trotsky contemplated taking his own life, or, as he put it himself, reserved the right to determine the time of his death, will startle, perhaps even dismay, many who followed his rich and robust career.

Traditional opinion among revolutionists, especially among Marxists, has always run counter to such an extreme measure — the revolutionist does not have the right to deprive his cause of his services. There have been, it is true, numerous instances, especially in the course of the development of the Bolshevik revolution, where

The assassination of Leon Trotsky

Published on: Wed, 22/08/2007 - 00:39
Author

Natalia Sedova Trotsky

“I can therefore say that I live on this earth not in accordance with the rule but as an exception to the rule.” Trotsky: June 8, 1940.

Night. Darkness. I awaken. Pale patches of light flicker and then disappear. I raise myself ... The sound of shots breaks upon my ears. They are shooting here, in our room. I have always been a light sleeper, and on awakening can quickly orient myself as to what is happening.

Lev Davidovich was a sound sleeper in his younger years. Insomnia beset him for the first time when attacks against the Opposition began in the USSR, when the pages of Pravda began to

The assassination of Leon Trotsky

Published on: Wed, 15/08/2007 - 10:20

Leon Trotsky October 1879 — August 1940 - The Spartacus of the 20th century

Trotsky’s critics

The assassination of Leon Trotsky

Natalia Sedova Trotsky

“I can therefore say that I live on this earth not in accordance with the rule but as an exception to the rule.”

June 8, 1940, Trotsky

Night. Darkness. I awaken. Pale patches of light flicker and then disappear. I raise myself ... The sound of shots breaks upon my ears. They are shooting here, in our room. I have always been a light sleeper, and on awakening can quickly orient myself as to what is happening.

Lev Davidovich was a sound sleeper in

Trotsky and the Red Army in the civil war

Published on: Wed, 15/08/2007 - 10:17

By Larissa Reissner

On August 6 (1918) numerous hastily organised Red regiments fled from Kazan; and the best among them, the class-conscious section, clung to Svyazhsk, halted there and decided to make a stand and fight. By the time the mobs of deserters fleeing from Kazan had almost reached Nizhny Novgorod, the dam erected at Svyazhsk had already halted the Czechoslovaks; and their general who tried to take the railroad bridge across the Volga by storm was killed during the night attack. Thus in the very first clash between the Whites who had just taken Kazan and consequently were stronger

The break with the Communist International

Published on: Wed, 15/08/2007 - 10:16

Jean van Heijenoort was for seven years (1932-9) Trotsky’s secretary. Here he outlines the story of Trotsky’s break with the Communist International and turn towards building a new international. His account of Trotsky’s reasoning on the class nature of the USSR is an important element in the history of post-Lenin revolutionary Marxism.

Our movement has the right to consider itself the representative and the historical standard-bearer of revolutionary socialism. It is at the end of a chain whose links were the Communist League of Marx and Engels, the International Workingmen’s Association

How Trotsky saw himself

Published on: Wed, 15/08/2007 - 10:15

Anatoly V. Lunacharsky

I first met Trotsky in 1905, after the event of January [when the Tsar’s soldiers opened fire on a peaceful demonstration in St Petersburg]. He came to Geneva, I have forgotten whence, and was to speak with me at a big meeting called to discuss that tragedy.

I met him very little in the revolution of 1905. He held himself apart not only from us, but from the Mensheviks. His work was mainly in the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. . . .

I remember how somebody said in the presence of Lenin:

“Khristalev’s [first President of the St Petersburg soviet] star has fallen, and the

Trotsky's habits of work

Published on: Wed, 15/08/2007 - 10:14

By Charles Cornell*

One must understand Trotsky’s passionate devotion to the cause of the oppressed to appreciate the full import of his work. He hated the injustices and indignities forced on man with his whole being. His polemics against political opponents are not at all the brilliant stylistic exercises which his petty-bourgeois critics make them out to be. Nor did he dash them off with the literary glibness which they attribute to him. Trotsky’s powerful and incisive writing merely reflects his ardent convictions in the struggle for the liberation of mankind. The barbs of his sharp pen

Trotsky's critics

Published on: Wed, 15/08/2007 - 10:13

By Jean van Heijenoort

Everything that the liberals have written on Lenin is barren, revealing the limitations of their thinking rather than Lenin’s genius. An even more difficult object study for them is Trotsky.

One of those who has attempted to explain Trotsky is Max Eastman. [The translator of many of Trotsky’s works who knew Trotsky well].

Trotsky ended the introduction to his autobiography with these words: “To understand the causal sequence of events and to find somewhere in the sequence one’s own place that is the first duty of a revolutionary.” This duty Trotsky fulfiled to the utmost

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