Trotsky on Trotsky

Siddharth Chatterjee siddhart at mailbox.syr.edu
Mon Sep 23 11:05:45 MDT 1996



"I came to Russia in February of 1905; the other emigre leaders did not
come until October and November. Among the Russian comrades, there was not
one from whom I could learn anything. On the contrary, I had to assume
the position of teacher myself.... In October, I plunged headlong into
the gigantic whirlpool, which, in a personal sense, was the greatest
test for my powers. Decisions had to be made under fire. I can't help
noting here that those decisions came to me quite obviously.... I
organically felt that my years of apprenticeship were over...in the years
that followed I have been learning as a master learns, and not as a
pupil.... No great work is possible without intuition.... The events of
1905 revealed in me, I believe, this revolutionary intuition, and enabled
me to rely on its assured support during my later life.... In all con-
scientiousness, I cannot, in the appreciation of the political situation,
as a whole and of its revolutionary perspectives, accuse myself of any
serious errors of judgement".

					             Leon Trotsky
                                                   (from "My Life")



Germany had attacked Russia and almost seized Petrograd because of
Trotsky's refusal to sign the Brest-Litovsk peace agreement (inspite of
Lenin's categorical instructions) because Trotsky maintained that such an
agreement would be a betrayal of the international revolution. Afterwards:

"I deem it my duty to say, in this authoritative assembly, that at the
hour when many of us, including myself, were doubtful as to whether it
was admissible for us to sign the Brest-Litovsk peace, only Comrade Lenin
maintained stubbornly, with amazing foresight and against our opposition,
that we had to go through with it... And now we must admit that we were
wrong".

							Leon Trotsky
							October 3, 1918






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