[Marxism] Two new Trotsky biographies

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Fri Oct 23 12:48:22 MDT 2009

Even if Isaac Deutscher was a "Trotskyist", Donald Rayfield is
woefully ignorant if he is unaware that these are not the first
'Trotsky biographies by a non-Trotskyist.'

And Isaac Deutscher was not a "Trotskyist."  Deutscher was an
independent intellectual and revolutionary socialist who disagreed
with Trotsky on such basic issues as the nature of the Soviet Union
and on revolutionary political strategy.

Not that there's any shame if you call your revolutionary socialism
"Trotskyist."  Although i think it was unfortunate that those who
allied with and followed Trotsky as revolutionary socialists came to
accept a milder version of the Stalinist epithet "Trotskyite" as their
primary, even full name.

As a historian, Deutscher wrote from a political level unimaginable to
the likes of Robert Service.  Not only was Deutscher conscious of the
class struggle, he was a working class partisan.  To use one of
Trotsky's favorite words, Deutscher "epigones" like Service can't pass
the 'which side are you on' test.  They rationalize their allegiance
to the capitalist system with character assasination on those who
fight for the working class.


On Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 7:23 AM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

> The Times Literary Supplement, October 21, 2009
> Trotsky at last
> Finally, there is a biography of this dangerous genius written by
> a non-Trotskyist
> Donald Rayfield
> Bertrand M. Patenaude
> The exile and murder of Leon Trotsky
> 352pp. Faber. £20.
> 978 0 571 22875 1
> Robert Service
> A biography
> 600pp. Macmillan. £25.
> 978 1 405 05346 4
 . . .
> Donald Rayfield is Professor of Russian and Georgian at Queen Mary
> College, University of London. His books include Anton Chekhov: A
> Life, 1997, and Stalin and His Hangmen: The tyrant and those who
> killed for him, 2005. He is the editor of A Comprehensive
> Georgian–English Dictionary, 2006.

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