The proletarian revolution Trotsky had expected to spread and take hold elsewhere had been stymied. When Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister, and Joachim von Ribbentrop, his German counterpart, signed a Non-Aggression Pact between the two nations on August 23, 1939, Trotsky was scarcely surprised. In Prinkipo, a suburb of Istanbul, Trotsky wrote his autobiography, My Life. Both Marxism and Stalinism propose political and economic methods of achieving the goal of communism, but the means Marx and Stalin believed would best achieve that goal are different. Top image: Leon Trotsky. The next day, Trotsky succumbed to his wounds, dead at the age of 60. Among the papers next to where Trotsky struggled against his assassin was a long, unfinished manuscript, a biography of Stalin he penned to expose his enemy. Present day Trotskyists would undoubtedly be horrified if, as has been suggested in some quarters recently, conscription was re-introduced. With his opponents removed, Stalin enacted the collectivization of agriculture and state-directed industrialization, programs once championed by the Left Opposition, but now brutally implemented with a staggering toll of lives. Trotsky had no doubt Hitler would do so at the earliest opportunity. As Karl Kautsky put it in The Dictatorship of the Proletariat — “The will to Socialism is the first condition for its accomplishment.” (Prominent Trotskyist Ernest Mandel reluctantly admits, in his Leninist Theory of Organisation, that Marx “totally rejected the idea of a vanguard organisation”). This revolution, Trotsky made clear, would resemble the European upheavals of 1830 and 1848 more than the October Revolution. The Bretton Woods conference in summer 1944 saw the global rise of the American Economic Empire—the empire of the dollar. After all, the vanguard always knows best. Its aim was to provide a revolutionary alternative to the Moscow-led Third or Communist International (Comintern). The betrayal of the principles of Red October had reached a new level of treachery. Within the left-wing movement, they were Yet Trotsky fought back vigorously. The warning proved prophetic. Trotskyism was to become the primary theoretical target of Stalinism Trotskyism is the revolutionary Marxism of our time—the political theory derived from the distilled experience of over a century-and-a-half of working-class communism. Only one of the members, Alfred Rosmer, a syndicalist and early supporter of the October Revolution, could be described as a Trotsky supporter. land, factories, mines, shipyards, oilfields), railways, and banks, as well as the planned economy, would remain. He had been a “barely perceptible shadow,” as Trotsky put it. 5 (Revised), 1994]. The wound inflicted was three inches deep. 504-528-1944. George Novak, in his introduction to Trotsky’s pamphlet Stalinism and Bolshevism, makes the claim that Lenin’s Bolshevik party represented the working class “in its striving for equality, democracy and Socialism” while Stalin’s regime merely represented a bureaucracy which … Trotsky imagined a restored involvement of workers in economic policy. Trotsky prevented Mercader from inflicting another, fatal blow and battled for his life until his bodyguards arrived. Trotsky had good reason to utter such things. Trotskyism consists of positions similar to Leninism, but differs with it in one key area: the mass basis of the proletarian state. For eight years, Trotsky traversed what he called a “planet without a visa,” a planet torn apart by the worst economic crisis in the history of capitalism. He vanished and, it is believed, was shot in October 1937. (Engels, in his introduction to Marx’s Civil War in France spoke of the democratic Paris Commune as an example of the dictatorship of the Proletariat). Trotsky was no democrat. The Stalin regime was too despotic and unpopular to weather the storm of total war. From the fictionalized version in Unforgiving Years, the excellent novel by Victor Serge, his one-time comrade, to the 1972 movie, The Assassination of Trotsky, where Richard Burton portrayed him, the lurid details of Trotsky’s death have often commanded more attention than his extraordinary life. Stratification would yield to the reinvigorated aim of “socialist equality.” Youth, in whom Trotsky placed so much hope, “will receive the opportunity to breathe freely, criticize, make mistakes, and grow up.” Among the thousands of victims were the Marxist economic thinker, Isaak Ilich Rubin, and the great historian of the Left and former director of The Marx-Engels Institute, David Ryazanov. This gave him authority over party membership and appointments. During the 1905 Revolution, after the formation of the first soviets (radical councils representing the working masses), Trotsky, only twenty-six at the time, served briefly as Chairman of the St. Petersburg Soviet. In retrospect, it is astonishing just how confident were Trotsky and his supporters like Victor Serge, Isaac Deutscher, and James Cannon in a coming proletarian revolution that would sweep away the Stalin regime. At the age of eighteen, he enthusiastically embraced Marxism. Mark Zborowski, Ukrainian-born and known to Trotsky’s supporters under the false name “Étienne,” soon worked his way into Sedov’s circle. In August, after delays and missteps, he fulfilled his deadly mission. Likely, Stalin himself was responsible for the assassination. Trotsky also witnessed the tremendous setbacks of the early 1920s to revolutionary hopes. 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