Saturday, 21 August 2010

Socialism from below: Trotsky's revolutionary life

Leon Trotsky died on 21 August 1940, killed by a Stalinist agent. In 1917 he had been second only to Lenin as a leading figure in the Russian revolutionary movement. In October 1917 he was the main organiser of the insurrection which enabled the Russian working class to overthrow the state.

Trotsky was tremendously talented and had many strengths. He wrote, with outstanding perception, across a wide range of topics; he was a powerful orator, important marxist theoretician and immensely capable political organiser. Trotsky also demonstrated great personal commitment and courage in his continued defiance of Stalin, suffering expulsion from his party, exile from his country and the killings of several of his family before finally being assassinated himself.

He adhered to his revolutionary socialist ideas and principles to the end, despite being personally persecuted and politically marginalised, and dedicated himself to keeping alive the authentic tradition of socialism from below and internationalism. He was helped in this by his gift for brilliant clarity of political analysis, and also his fidelity to the ideas which had guided him and his fellow revolutionaries in more favourable times.

Read the rest of my brief introduction to Trotsky (plus an excellent chapter, on the insurrection of October 1917, from his 'Lessons of October') HERE.


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