Trotsky's "analytical abilities": From personal experience
Louis R Godena
louisgodena at ids.net
Thu Sep 12 21:50:08 MDT 1996
Vladimir Bilenkin does not like my answer to Jeff Booth's suggestion that I
use Trotsky for the "Crisis of Leninism"
>> Jeff, I am not using Trotsky, et al for an analysis of 1985-93 for the
>> same reasons I would not use Edward Bellamy's *Looking Backward* (1887) for
>> a course on the Reagan Administration. Neither writer was especially
>> prescient in his analytical abilities and was, in any case, long dead
>> before the events to be studied occurred.
And gives me an opportunity to revise it:
>Busy as I am now, I'd like to tell about one of my own experiences
>with Trotsky's book, in hope that Louis will reconsider its exclusion
>from his book list.
I have taken the liberty of excising Vladimir's rambling account of his
article in the RCWP's newspaper and the response it received from some
Russian Communists. While I congratulate Vladimir for his efforts, I am
still at a loss as to how it bears the slightest relevance to the topic I am
proposing for "The Crisis of Leninism" Seminar. If he goes back and
re-reads my post (part of which is quoted above), he can readily see that I
was not criticizing Trotsky's ability to analyze, only his ability as a
prophet, soothsayer, or as someone who could be depended upon to reliably
predict the future. Trotsky was none of these. I am interested in the
devolution of the Leninist party norm in the era of the 1980s and 90s.
This is not a Trotsky-Stalin debate, and I don't wish it to become such.
Vladimir closes with a personal innuendo:
>Louis Godena is an educated Marxist. But this is not enough. Many
>were and are educated Marxists ...and also solid bourgeois philistines.
>But Louis is also and above all is a son of the American working class.
Thanks, Vladimir. I don't know if I'm a "solid" anything. I do think
that we as Marxists are better served by contemporary analysis of complex
problems that are thoughtful, honest, and above all, represent "solid"
empirical and analytical methods. When I read something, I always ask
three questions: a) what, that is new, does the author(s) have to say on
the subject? b) does s/he have the story right? c) what in the
author(s)'s methodology or approach can I use in my own work? Is the mark
of a bourgeois philistine. Perhaps.
A poor thing, but my own.
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