On Monday 17 October, the Morning Star published a review of the new edition of Trotsky’s biography of Stalin written by Andrew Murray. While admitting that “this book has literary and historical merit,” Murray states that “it has much less as an actual biography of Stalin”. How does he justify these claims?

As the year draws to an end we would like to remember all those thousands of genuine Communists who perished in Stalin’s camps, butchered simply for defending the ideas of Lenin and Trotsky. Old Bolsheviks like Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin were forced to confess to crimes they had not committed. These famous victims were only the tip of the iceberg. Not remembered are the thousands of Trotskyists who languished in brutal concentration camps. They were brave and defiant to the end. The difference with the Trotskyists was that Stalin’s agents could not get them to confess to false crimes, so they were never brought to trial but just callously executed and buried in the wastes.

This week Wellred Books, the publishing house of the IMT, is for the first time publishing The Revolution Betrayed by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky's masterful analysis of the Soviet Union, written during degeneration in the 1930s, provides both an excellent rebuttal to right-wing critiques of socialism "in practice" and many lessons for the success of future revolutions. We publish here Alan Woods' introduction to the new edition. Order your copy now from Wellred Books.

From a Marxist point of view, the Bolshevik Revolution was the greatest single event in world history. Why? Because here, for the first time, if we exclude the heroic but tragic episode of the Paris Commune, the masses overthrew the old regime and began the great task of the socialist transformation of society.

Ninety years ago, on 21st January 1924, Vladimir Lenin, the great Marxist and leader of the Russian Revolution, died from complications arising from an earlier assassin’s bullet. Ever since then there has been a sustained campaign to slander his name and distort his ideas, ranging from bourgeois historians and apologists to various reformists, liberals and assorted anarchists. Their task has been to discredit Lenin, Marxism and the Russian Revolution in the interests of the “democratic” rule of bankers and capitalists.

Sometimes decades pass and not much happens. At other times more events take place in days than those that occurred in decades. After the collapse of the Soviet Union twenty years ago we were relentlessly told the great political and economic questions had all been settled and that liberal democracy and free-market capitalism had triumphed. Socialism had been consigned to the dustbin of history. The strategists of capital were exultant. The “end of history” was proclaimed by Francis Fukuyama. 

The Moscow Trials, which lasted from 1936 to 1938 will go down as the greatest frame-up in history. Their aim was to liquidate the entire remaining Bolshevik old guard and act as the means by which Stalin could consolidate his power as head of the bureaucratic caste that ruled the Soviet Union. Seventy-five years on, Jim Brookshaw - a former member of the British Communist Party - looks back at what happened and asks: why?

On the 16th November 1927, scarcely ten days after the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution, Adolf Joffe shot himself. At his bedside he left a letter to Leon Trotsky, a translation of which we are publishing today for our readers (1) together with a brief explanatory introduction. These are the words of a genuine Bolshevik and victim of the Stalinist terror.

The early symptoms of bureaucratic degeneration in Russia were already noted by Lenin in the last two years of his politically active life. He spent his last months fighting against these reactionary tendencies, leaving behind a vital heritage of struggle in his last letters and articles. The struggle of the anti-Stalinist Left Opposition, led by Trotsky after Lenin's death, really begins here.

The genuine forces of revolutionary Marxism were neither demoralised nor disillusioned by the collapse of the Soviet Union. The search for an alternate to the present mayhem and drudgery of capitalism will have to rediscover the path of the most scientific of the revolutions of the past.