Stalinist aspects of Trotsky

Jj Plant jplant at cix.compulink.co.uk
Mon Jun 17 19:43:00 MDT 1996


In-Reply-To: <960616072033_100423.2040_BHG65-2 at CompuServe.COM>
While reluctant to be baited into a brawl for the
purposes of public entertainment (Chris, have you
absorbed too much of the football mania in London
?) there are a couple of points to be answered in
Chris's posts.

>I read Trotsky's remarks on Kronstadt as pretty
typical of
much of what Trotskyists attack as Stalinism. The
brutal imposition
of force by administrative measures. The stifling
of real
debate by the utter dismissal of political
opponents.

Trotskyists, in my experience, attack Stalin/ism
for betraying the revolution by dealing with
international imperialism in ways which halted
the expansion of the revolution, (making use of
the 'theory' of socialism in one country) and
through the systematic destruction of the
revolutionary party inside Russia. They do not
claim that running an isolated workers state
could be an exercise in liberal administration.
When hard measures are necessary for survival it
would be foolish not to take them.

>Despite the fact that Stalin insisted that
Trotsky was a Menshevik
in disguise, Trotsky was a member of the
Bolshevik wing from
1912 along with Stalin and Lenin. They are close
theoretical and
practical blood relatives.

This is wrong. After the 1912 Congress Trotsky
attempted 'conciliation' between the two wings,
and later organised his own group - the
Mezraoyinitsi (Inter-District Organisation) which
merged into the bolsheviks in 1917. The history
is complex and interesting - one thing you might
read on it is the section in Ticktin (ed) 'The
Ideas of Leon Trotsky'.

>Of course after Lenin's death they fought for
the succession.
Stalin made his pitch as being the more orthodox
and reliable
of Lenin's possible Bolshevik heirs. Trotsky's
pitch was that
he was more in touch with the spirit of the
revolution. But I
suggest (comments please) there was not much
between them.

It might have been better for us all if Trotsky
had made a forceful claim for the leadership
after Lenin's death. He did not. Furthermore, he
went to some pains to contain his disagreements
within the leading bodies of the party, only
turning outwards to the masses when it was
obviously too late. Why he acted in this way is
one of the biggest questions about his life. In
'My Life' he makes much of his illness in
1924-26, and no doubt this played a role, but I
don't see it as a full explanation. He had the
text of Lenin's 'Testament' and the supplementary
note calling for Stalin's removal and he failed
to use it.
_________________________________
jplant at cix.compulink.co.uk



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