Alan Woods speaks in the Trotsky Museum in Mexico

On Saturday June 21, Alan Woods, editor of Marxist.com delivered an address in the auditorium of the Trotsky Museum in Coyoacan, Mexico City on the present world situation. The meeting was packed, with over 150 people in a hall that seats only 80. In order to get everyone in, people sat in the passages and the staff of the museum had to open the side doors, where people stood outside, trying to listen.

A view of the auditorium with Alan Woods speaking
On Saturday June 21, Alan Woods, editor of Marxist.com delivered an address in the auditorium of the Trotsky Museum in Coyoacan, Mexico City on the present world situation. The meeting was packed, with over 150 people in a hall that seats only 80. In order to get everyone in, people sat in the passages and the staff of the museum had to open the side doors, where people stood outside, trying to listen.

The audience consisted of workers, trade unionists, students, intellectuals and PRD activists. It was organized by the Mexican Marxist tendency, Militante, which has experienced a serious growth in the last period and is now the biggest and most active group on the Mexican Left.

Alan spoke for one hour in Spanish, giving a broad view of the world situation since the war in Iraq. He dealt with world relations and the economic crisis, and then went on to deal in some detail with the particular crisis in Latin America: "There is not one single stable bourgeois regime from Tierra del Fuego to the Rio Grande", he affirmed. 

Referring to the revolutionary events over the last two and a half years in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela and Argentina, he concluded that the only thing that prevented the workers from taking power was the lack of a revolutionary party and leadership.

There followed a lively discussion, in which many people participated, including trade unionists and veterans of the Mexican workers' movement. There was a lot of discussion on the attitude of Marxists to the trade unions and the PRD.

In his summing up Alan replied to these arguments point by point. He explained that one does not construct a revolutionary party simply by proclaiming it. "If that were the case, then every petty sectarian would be as great as Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky put together". Turning to Esteban Volkov, who was in the audience, Alan said: "Well, Esteban, I don't know why your grandfather and Lenin wrote so much, since it appears that nobody ever reads what they wrote, or if they do, they do not understand a single line!"


Esteban Volkov is the first on the left
Alan quoted Lenin on the unions and also Trotsky, who said that the task of building the party fell into two parts: firstly, the formation of cadres and the elaboration of theory, programme, methods, ideas and traditions. But the second part was more difficult: how do we take these ideas to the mass of the working class?

The fact that the right wing leaders of the "charro" unions were bad and corrupt was no argument against working in these unions, which contain more than five million workers. Lenin explained this a thousand times, and the Communist International, when it was still a genuine Bolshevik International instructed all its members to work in the unions, no matter how right wing and bureaucratic they were.

As for the PRD, Alan said: "I understand that the leaders of the PRD are very bad. You understand it also. But there is just one little problem: millions of Mexican workers and peasants do not understand it yet and will vote for the PRD in the next elections. This is a very concrete question. The leftward moving workers have understood that they must kick out the PRI and the PAN. For them there is no alternative to the PRD." The Marxists must find a road to these workers, and not shut themselves off in little sects.


Alan Woods with Esteban Volkov at Trotsky's tomb
Finally, Alan spoke about the tremendous potential of a socialist Mexico and a socialist Latin America: "This country of yours has everything necessary for creating a prosperous and cultured society. It can be a beautiful garden, and yet under capitalism it has been condemned to an existence of poverty and humiliation. The Mexican bourgeoisie has had nearly one hundred years to show what it can do, and it has failed miserably." 

Only socialism can solve the problems of the people in Mexico, Latin America and the whole world.

Both the speech and the reply were received by those present with tremendous enthusiasm, and the meeting ended with the singing of the International.

New documentary on Trotsky


Being filmed by the documentary crew
As mentioned above, Esteban Volkov, the grandson of Leon Trotsky, was present at the meeting. Although he has never formally joined any Trotskyist group and retains his organisational independence, Esteban has fought all his life to defend the political heritage of Leon Trotsky and has played, and still plays a key role in maintaining the Trotsky Museum. Alan Woods was invited to Mexico by Esteban Volkov in order to participate in the making of a new documentary film about the life and ideas of Leon Trotsky.

The documentary, which is being made by the Argentinean-Mexican director, Adolfo Videla, on behalf of TV-UNAM, will include contributions by Pierre Broue and veteran Mexican Trotskyists, one of whom organised Trotsky's asylum in Mexico. Alan has made an extensive contribution, explaining Trotsky's ideas and role in revolutionary history both in Russia and internationally. 

The documentary should be ready in the Autumn, when it will be shown on Mexican television, but the makers hope that it will find a far wider audience in Mexico and internationally.