Jj Plant jplant at
Sun Jul 23 20:04:00 MDT 1995

In-Reply-To: <Pine.SUN.3.90.950723143138.23371A-100000 at cleo>
There are two distinct stages you need to study.

First, Trotsky's disagreement with Lenin and the Bolsheviks over their
split with the Mensheviks at the RSDLP Congress of 1903. Trotsky opposed
the very formation of the bolshevik party, and for a number of years led
a tendency of "conciliators" which aimed to reunite the socialist
movement, eventually re-uniting his organisation with the bolsheviks only
in early 1917. Thereafter, there was, in Lenin's words "no better
bolshevik" than Trotsky. You can find good accounts of this aspect of
Trotsky's life in his own unfinished book "Stalin", as well as
Deutscher's biography.

Second, following the death of Lenin, in the summer of 1923 the bolshevik
government faced an enormous crisis in the form of a strike wave among
the workers, and associated with it a growth in the influence of left
critics of bolshevism. Trotsky called for a revitalisation of the
bolshevik party, through a re-establishment of the party democracy and
freedom of internal discussion, which had been shut down and eroded under
 the pressures of the war and of the NEP, and also through the pernicious
influence of the bureaucracy. This opened the political war between
Trotsky (and most of the left in the party) and Stalin (supported by the
bureaucracy). Over the following 2 or 3 years Trotsky and his supporters
were stripped of their rights of political expression, and of their
positions in the government and the party.

During this period the political criticisms expressed by the left
opposition grew deeper, in response to events including the general
strike in Britain and the disastrous failure of the workers' rising in
China. Stalin was developing the theory that Russia was capable of
achieving "socialism in one country" and it was clear that the political
differences were beyond reconciliation. Trotsky and others were expelled
on November 14th 1927. You can read the history of this struggle in the
collection "The Challenge of the Left Opposition".

I hope this helps a little. This is obviously a topic on which many
different views can be taken, and I am sure that many participants in
this list will wish to say things differently.

jplant at

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