Leon Trotsky

We republish Leon Trotsky's 1938 pamphlet, Their Morals and Ours. Written while Trotsky was in exile in Mexico, the pamphlet answers critics of the Russian Revolution, who smeared the Bolsheviks as "amoral". Trotsky argues that morality is not fixed but reflects class interests in society. So-called common sense and "elementary moral precepts" against violence, for example, in reality serve the interests of the ruling class. Revolutionary morality – including the use of violence in

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The following are new translations of excerpts from Trois points c’est tout by Fred Zeller (1912-2003). Zeller, who, at the time, was the secretary of the Seine (Paris) Young Socialists and a sympathiser of the Trotskyist movement in the mid-1930s, visited Trotsky in Norway at the end of October 1935. This was at the time when the Socialist Party leaders were expelling the left from the Young Socialists as well as dissolving the Bolshevik Leninist tendency, whose members had joined

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The following letters, originally in Russian, were only recently found in the police files on Andres Nin in the National Historical Archives in Madrid (Ministerio de gobernación, policía [histórico], h.394). This material represents a significant historical discovery. Most importantly, Trotsky’s correspondence is an important political weapon for today’s revolutionary movement.

Re-visiting the question of the United States of Europe in the wake of the war and the creation of the Soviet Union, Trotsky once again put forward the slogan of a “United States of Europe” in his 1923 article, "Is the Time Ripe for the Slogan: ‘The United States of Europe’" published in Pravda. Again, Trotsky emphasises the revolutionary significance of the demand for the democratic unification of Europe but this time with an even clearer class content, asserting that the demand

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On 21 August 1940, Leon Trotsky, the great revolutionary leader of the October Revolution, died in Mexico, murdered by a Stalinist agent. We publish his autobiography with forewords by In Defence of Marxism editor, Alan Woods, and Trotsky's grandson, Esteban Volkov.

Today is the 73rd anniversary of the brutal assassination of Leon Trotsky by a Stalinist agent. We commemorate this event by publishing the transcription of his address to the N.Y. Hippodrome Meeting. The speech "I Stake My Life!" was delivered by telephone from Mexico City for the opening event of the Dewey Commission on the Moscow Trials.

My high (and still rising) blood pressure is deceiving those near me about my actual condition. I am active and able to work but the outcome is evidently near. These lines will be made public after my death.

Today marks the anniversary of Leon Trotsky’s assassination. Struck down 78 years ago by an ice-pick to the head from a cowardly Stalinist assassin, he soon fell into a coma and died the following day, 21st August 1940. Here we republish an article from the anniversary in 2012, the fight for Trotsky's ideas remain as relevant as ever and we commemorate the life and ideas of this inspiring revolutionary, theoretician and leader.

To mark the 60th anniversary of Trotsky’s death we published a series of articles on our Trotsky.net website in the year 2000, among them this article on capitalist development. The purpose then was to underline the fact that although capitalism was experiencing a boom, the period we had entered was actually one of overall capitalist decline. As we explained in the introduction “Rather than a new upswing, capitalism is heading for a new slump

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"We must not for a minute lose sight of the fact that the power of American capitalism rests more and more upon the foundation of the world economy, with its contradictions and its crises, military and revolutionary. This means that a social crisis in the United States may arrive a good deal sooner than many think, and have a feverish development from the start. Hence the conclusion: it is necessary to prepare." These words of Leon Trotsky seem written for today's situation!

“The tragic experience of Spain is a terrible - perhaps final - warning before still greater events, a warning addressed to all the advanced workers of the world. ‘Revolutions,’ Marx said, ‘are the locomotives of history.’ They move faster than the thought of semi-revolutionary or quarter-revolutionary parties. Whoever lags behind falls under the wheels of the locomotive, and consequently - and this is the chief danger - the locomotive itself is also not infrequently wrecked.”

Trotsky's 'ABC of Materialist Dialectics' is a brilliant short explanation of Marxist philosophy. It was written as part of a defence of Marxism against a middle class revisionist tendency in the American Trotskyist movement in the late 1930s, which attempted to challenge its basic principles. As opposed to pragmatism and empiricism, Trotsky defended dialectical materialism as a richer, fuller, more comprehensive view of society and life in general. Reprinted in 1994 with a ...

Art is important to people. It has always been so from the earliest human societies, when it was indissolubly linked to magic — that is, to the first primitive attempts of men and women to understand and gain control over the world in which they live. However, in class society art is so designed as to exclude the masses, and relegate them to an impoverished existence, not only in a material but in a spiritual sense.

"Art can neither escape the crisis nor partition itself off. Art cannot save itself. It will rot away inevitably as Grecian art rotted beneath the ruins of a culture founded on slavery unless present-day society is able to rebuild itself. This task is essentially revolutionary in character. For these reasons the function of art in our epoch is determined by its relation to the revolution." Leon Trotsky, 1938.

It is hard to believe that the centennial of the Manifesto of the Communist Party is only ten years away! This pamphlet, displaying greater genius than any other in world literature, astounds us even today by its freshness. Its most important sections appear to have been written yesterday. Assuredly, the young authors (Marx was twenty-nine, Engels twenty-seven) were able to look further into the future than anyone before them, and perhaps than anyone since them.

"The revolutionary power gave women the right to abortion, which in conditions of want and family distress, whatever may be said upon this subject by the eunuchs and old maids of both sexes, is one of her most important civil, political and cultural rights"

In 1933 Trotsky dealt with the question of the relevance of democratic demands as the German working class was being crushed by the rise of Hitler. Here we publish an introduction to Trotsky’s article, Fascism and Democratic Slogans (July 1933) together with the original article. Written for an Iranian audience, it explains the need for Marxists to be in the forefront of the struggle for democratic demands, while at the same time explaining that the democratic aspirations of the

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In November 1932, Leon Trotsky delivered a speech in Copenhagen (Denmark). It was the 15th anniversary of the revolution. In defending the October revolution he set the record straight on the real processes that unfolded in Russia 1917, as opposed to the doctored version presented by the Stalinists.

"If one understands by “family” a compulsory union based on marriage contract, the blessing of the church, property rights, and the single passport, then Bolshevism has destroyed this policed family from the roots up."

A letter written to the Italian Trotskyists in 1930 in which Trotsky deals with the question of the Constituent Assembly and the perspectives for Italy at that time. He severely criticises those who attempted to mix the slogan of the Constituent Assembly with that of workers' soviets, and also showed incredible insight into how the process would unfold once the Mussolini regime collapsed.

During the first two months of 1917 Russia was still a Romanov monarchy. Eight months later the Bolsheviks stood at the helm. They were little know to anybody when the year began, and their leaders were still under indictment for state treason when they came to power. You will not find another such sharp turn in history – especially if you remember that it involves a nation of 150 million people. It is clear that the events of 1917, whatever you think of them, deserve study.

"Lenin was prepared for his struggle on an international scale not only by his profound knowledge of Marxism and his experience of the revolutionary party organization in Russia, but also by his intimate acquaintance with the workers’ movement throughout the world."

 

We republish here Trotsky's speech on the occasion of Frunze's death. It was published in lzvestlya on November 13, 1925. Trotsky was at the time the subject of a virulent witch hunt by the rising Stalinist bureaucracy. He had been forced to vacate his post as Commissar of War to Frunze, the choice of the Zinoviev-Kamenev-Stalin triumvirate. Frunze's polltlcal position was close to that of Zinoviev. Nontheless, Trotsky here pays tribute of all the great attributes of

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The essence of Marxism consists in this, that it approaches society concretely, as a subject for objective research, and analyzes human history as one would a colossal laboratory record. Marxism appraises ideology as a subordinate integral element of the material social structure. Marxism examines the class structure of society as a historically conditioned form of the development of the productive forces.

We are reprinting on this 29th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky‘s brief sketch of the great Sverdlov, the incomparable Bolshevik organizer. It is well to acquaint our readers with this heroic figure, who epitomized the type of revolutionist who made possible the 1917 revolution and the subsequent victory over the counter-revolution.

"Lenin is no more, but Leninism endures. The immortal in Lenin, his doctrine, his work, his method, his example, lives in us, lives in the party that he founded, lives in the first workmen’s State whose head he was and which he guided."

This is an essay by Trotsky, taken from Chapter 4 of Literature and Revolution published in 1924, in which he looks at the development of the Futurist trend in art, looking in particular at its Russian variant, but also touching on the Italian.

Originally published by Trotsky in 1924 these essays constitute a significant contribution to the then ongoing debate in the USSR over culture and art in a Workers State. It foreshadowed a later debate over the Stalinist conception of “Socialist Realism” in the later part of the decade. This book was suppressed by the bureaucracy after Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1928.

The aim of Lessons of October was to expose how the faction within the Communist International was politically responsible for the missed opportunity and failure of the German Revolution of 1923, by bringing out the essential lessons of the October Revolution. Here Trotsky's seminal work is presented in full.

That Lenin arrived in Petersburg and had come out against the war and against the Provisional Government at workers’ meetings, I learned from American newspapers at Amherst, a concentration camp for German prisoners in Canada. The interned German sailors began to take an immediate interest in Lenin, whose name they had come across for the first time in the news dispatches. These were all men avidly waiting for the war to end; it would open for them the gates of this prison camp. They

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Lenin is no more. We have lost Lenin. The dark laws that govern the work of the arteries have destroyed his life. Medicine has proved itself powerless to accomplish what was passionately hoped for, what millions of human hearts demanded.

"In the most communist of circles a need has arisen to oppose old practices by new forms, new symbols, not merely in the domain of state life, where this has largely been done, but in the domain of the family."

"As long as woman is chained to her housework, the care of the family, the cooking and sewing, all her chances of participation in social and political life are cut down in the extreme."

"We must remember that different parts of the human consciousness do not change and develop simultaneously and on parallel lines. There is a certain economy in the process. Human psychology is very conservative by nature, and the change due to the demands and the push of life affects in the first place those parts of the mind which are directly concerned in the case."

The capitalist world enters a period of industrial upswing. Booms alternate with depressions – an organic law of capitalist society. The current boom nowise indicates the establishment of equilibrium in the class structure. A crisis frequently helps the growth of anarchist and reformist moods among the workers. The boom will help fuse the working masses.

Comrades, the internal causation and lawfulness of historical development was formulated for the first time by Marxist theory. The theory of Marxism, as Marx himself wrote in the introduction to his work Critique of Political Economy, established approximately the following proposition with regard to revolution: No social system departs from the arena until it has developed the productive forces to the maximum degree attainable under the given system; and no new social

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Today marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Paris Commune, where the working class for the first time in history, took power into its own hands. On this occasion we republish the following classic work by Leon Trotsky about the lessons of the Commune.

This book was written by Leon Trotsky at the height of the Russian Civil War. While it is a polemical response to German social-democrat Karl Kautsky, it is also represents the Bolshevik defense of the extraordinary means the young workers’ republic had to take in order to defend itself from the almost two dozen armies that were on its soil trying to turn back the revolution. We have kept true to the form of the style of English used in this edition of the book, making only some spelling

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A compilation of key works by Leon Trotsky, written between 1904 and the end of April 1917, about the character and tasks of the Russian Revolution.

Leon Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution to Brest-Litovsk was written at the Brest-Litovsk peace conference a mere few months after the Bolsheviks had come to power. It gives an excellent introduction to the history of the Russian Revolution.

What is a peace program? From the viewpoint of the ruling classes or of the parties subservient to them, it is the totality of the demands, the ultimate realization of which must be ensured by the power of militarism.

Leon Trotsky’s pamphlet What Next? published in Petrograd in September 1917.

Any intelligent person (or any fool) knows that to save Russia a merciless struggle with anarchy on the left and counter revolution on the right is essential. This constitutes the essence of the entire programme of IzvestiaDelo NarodaRabochaya Gazeta ... Kerensky’s “historic” speech at the “historic” State Conference amounted to variations on just this

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There were never so many pacifists in the world as now, when in all countries men are killing one another. Every historical epoch has not only its own technique and its own political form, but also a hypocrisy peculiar to itself. Once peoples destroyed each other in the name of the Christian teaching of love of humanity. Now only backward governments call upon Christ. Progressive nations cut each others’ throats in the name of pacifism. Wilson drags America into the war in the name of

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Blood has flowed in the streets of Petrograd. A tragic chapter has been added to the Russian Revolution. Who is to blame? “The Bolsheviks,” says the man in the street, repeating what his newspapers tell him. The sum total of these tragic happenings is exhausted, as far as the bourgeoisie and the time-serving politicians are concerned, in the words: Arrest the ringleaders and disarm the masses. And the object of this action is to establish “revolutionary order”. The Social-Revolutionists

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There have never been so many pacifists as at this moment, when people are slaying each other on all the great highways of our planet. Each epoch has not only its own technology and political forms, but also its own style of hypocrisy. Time was when the nations destroyed each other for the glory of Cist’s teachings and the love of one’s neighbour. Now Cist is invoked only by backward governments. The advanced nations cut each other’s toats under the banners of pacifism a league of

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