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antiestablishmentarian
18-08-2010, 11:36 AM
Here's an article on the legacy of Leon Trotsky, the great revolutionary and theoretician, who was killed 70 years ago this month by Ramón Mercador, a stalinist agent.

http://socialistworld.net/doc/4451

TotalMayhem
18-08-2010, 12:26 PM
Leon Trotsky, the great revolutionary and theoretician

Do you mean Leon Trotsky, the homicidal maniac who ordered the sailors of Kronstadt to be shot "like partridges"?

Leon Trotsky - a mass murderer, not the true champion of the working class. (http://www.slate.com/id/2163048)

C. Flower
18-08-2010, 01:57 PM
Thanks for pointing this out antiestablishmentarian.

I understand there is a mass of new documentation about Trotsky that has come out in Russia in the last few years.

That would be the Trotsky who lead the Red Army and also who put down the Kronstadt mutiny, one and the same.

Perhaps this thread can be a slow burner to allow for some more in-depth discussion.

TotalMayhem
18-08-2010, 02:39 PM
who put down the Kronstadt mutiny

A quick recap of that 'mutiny. In 1921 the Sailors of Kronstadt, who played a major role in the revolution of 1917, were demanding the following:


1. Immediate new elections to the Soviets. The present Soviets no longer express the wishes of the workers and peasants. The new elections should be held by secret ballot, and should be preceded by free electoral propaganda.
2. Freedom of speech and of the press for workers and peasants, for the Anarchists, and for the Left Socialist parties.
3. The right of assembly, and freedom for trade union and peasant organisations.
4. The organisation, at the latest on 10 March 1921, of a Conference of non-Party workers, soldiers and sailors of Petrograd, Kronstadt and the Petrograd District.
5. The liberation of all political prisoners of the Socialist parties, and of all imprisoned workers and peasants, soldiers and sailors belonging to working class and peasant organisations.
6. The election of a commission to look into the dossiers of all those detained in prisons and concentration camps.
7. The abolition of all political sections in the armed forces. No political party should have privileges for the propagation of its ideas, or receive State subsidies to this end. In the place of the political sections various cultural groups should be set up, deriving resources from the State.
8. The immediate abolition of the militia detachments set up between towns and countryside.
9. The equalisation of rations for all workers, except those engaged in dangerous or unhealthy jobs.
10. The abolition of Party combat detachments in all military groups. The abolition of Party guards in factories and enterprises. If guards are required, they should be nominated, taking into account the views of the workers.
11. The granting to the peasants of freedom of action on their own soil, and of the right to own cattle, provided they look after them themselves and do not employ hired labour.
12. We request that all military units and officer trainee groups associate themselves with this resolution.
13. We demand that the Press give proper publicity to this resolution.
14. We demand the institution of mobile workers' control groups.
15. We demand that handicraft production be authorised provided it does not utilise wage labour.

For these quite legitimate demands they were crushed. Now putting down a mutiny is one thing, issuing orders that the survivors have "to be shot down like partridges" is quite another. 2168 sailors have been slaughtered in Trotsky’s subsequent massacre.

Sorry to burst some revolutionary bubbles, but the man was a bloodthirsty sicko and his criticism of Stalin utterly hypocritical.

C. Flower
18-08-2010, 03:24 PM
A quick recap of that 'mutiny. In 1921 the Sailors of Kronstadt, who played a major role in the revolution of 1917, were demanding the following:

For these quite legitimate demands they were crushed. Now putting down a mutiny is one thing, issuing orders that the survivors have "to be shot down like partridges" is quite another. 2168 sailors have been slaughtered in Trotsky’s subsequent massacre.

Sorry to burst some revolutionary bubbles, but the man was a bloodthirsty sicko and his criticism of Stalin utterly hypocritical.

You're concern for the morality of the left is touching.
The only reference I can find (apart from unsourced blogging) for your quote has an anarchist in NY using that phrase to Trotsky.
http://books.google.ie/books?id=g4YncZ8MgRsC&pg=PA476&lpg=PA476&dq=Trotsky+shot+down+like+partridges&source=bl&ots=jS0mbWKSIZ&sig=Ue1IVEz2YFcAbnWl--bULdHQu2Q&hl=en&ei=HuxrTO79Gt6U4ga3wOW3Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CDQQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=Trotsky%20shot%20down%20like%20partridges&f=false

TotalMayhem
18-08-2010, 03:53 PM
Trotsky wired this infamous order to Grigory Zinoviev, whom he later tried to blame for the 'repression' (as Trotzky referred to massacre) of the "dandified and well-fed parasites" (as Trotzky referred to the Sailors of Kronstadt).

The same Zinoviev played a major role in Trotsky's political demise.

C. Flower
18-08-2010, 04:00 PM
Trotsky wired this infamous order to Grigory Zinoviev, whom he later tried to blame for 'repression' (as Trotzky referred to massacre) of the "dandified and well-fed parasites" (as Trotzky referred to the Sailors of Kronstadt).

The same Zinoviev played a major role in Trotsky's political demise.

Is that the Zinoviev who wrote the "letter" LOL.

Without a linked source, I can't take that seriously.

There is an enormous amount of fictional material about the Bolsheviks circulating.

Kev Bar
18-08-2010, 04:08 PM
Is that the Zinoviev who wrote the "letter" LOL.

Without a linked source, I can't take that seriously.

There is an enormous amount of fictional material about the Bolsheviks circulating.

Indeed.
But you have to tip your beard to the dalliance with Frida Kahlo.
Great taste from an artisitic p.o.v. Tough on his long suffering Missus.
Stalin devoted a huge amount to rewriting the history of the period and maligning Trotsky.
(Not that the man wasn't a Patton)
Ergo the phrase - well one that i use - 'to get Trotskied' - to get disappeared out of something.

TotalMayhem
18-08-2010, 04:20 PM
Trotsky also said, since he was all innocent and had nothing to do with with the events in Kronstadt: "Whether there were any needless victims I do not know."


Of course it was ridiculous to expect that he [Trostky] would beat his chest and say, "I, too, was but human and made mistakes. I, too, have sinned and have killed my brothers or ordered them to be killed."

from Trotsky Protests Too Much (http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Goldman/Writings/Essays/trotsky.html)

Now here's (http://libcom.org/history/1921-the-kronstadt-rebellion) something that's news to me:


Towards the end of the revolt Trotsky sanctioned the use of chemical warfare against the rebels and if they had not been crushed, a gas attack would have been carried out.

C. Flower
18-08-2010, 04:26 PM
Trotsky also said, since he was all innocent and had nothing to do with with the events in Kronstadt: "Whether there were any needless victims I do not know."

from Trotsky Protests Too Much (http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Goldman/Writings/Essays/trotsky.html)

Now here's (http://libcom.org/history/1921-the-kronstadt-rebellion) something that's news to me:


Now that's more interesting, but Goldman was an enemy of the Bolsheviks and a direct participant in events.


http://www.j-grit.com/radicals-emma-goldman-activist-anarchist.php

TotalMayhem
18-08-2010, 04:27 PM
Is that the Zinoviev who wrote the "letter" LOL.

Without a linked source, I can't take that seriously.

No, it was Trotsky who wrote the "letter" (http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/07/kronstadt2.htm)

Trying to portray himself as some smalltime apparatchik, yet he can't hide his contempt for the victims.

Summerday Sands
18-08-2010, 04:36 PM
No, it was Trotsky who wrote the "letter" (http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/07/kronstadt2.htm)

I think she was referring to the infamous Zinoviev letter that led to the fall of the Labour government in Britain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinoviev_letter

Iolo
18-08-2010, 04:48 PM
Might it be an idea that ANY quotation in a discussion such as this should be clearly identified by checkable source? All I've read of Trotsky makes the 'partridges' notion wholly unbelievable, for all that the Kronstat mutineers were clearly counter-revolutionary when it was still (just) possible to imagine revolutionary success.

C. Flower
18-08-2010, 04:53 PM
When I searched for Trotsky and partridges, Google brought me straight back to this thread :)

There was a reference there somewhere to a US anarchist who said he had accused Trotsky of "wanting to shoot us down like partridges" (the link is in one of my earlier posts). I guess this is the origin of the Chinese whisper.

On Kronstadt, given the very tough conditions in Russia and the extent of external and internal attacks on the revolution, the list of demands looks like a request to stand down social revolution in exchange for a workers co-operative.

Sam Lord
18-08-2010, 05:10 PM
Were there really 10,000 Bolsheviks killed by the Mutineers? I think I read that somewhere once but it seems an extraordinary number....

TotalMayhem
18-08-2010, 05:39 PM
Accidentally edited by Mod. Apologies. no problem.


Were there really 10,000 Bolsheviks killed by the Mutineers? I think I read that somewhere once but it seems an extraordinary number....

that's a fairly accurate account of the Bolshevik losses in the first assault, add to that another 1,000 in the second assault, however, those were killed in battle and died as combatants. The 2,168 sailors were executed in the aftermath.

I once did a paper about the Russian revolution and certainly remember the "shoot them down like partridges" order from back then, and in the late 1970ies we certainly hadn't access to google. :)

C. Flower
18-08-2010, 08:14 PM
I once did a paper about the Russian revolution and certainly remember the "shoot them down like partridges" order from back then, and in the late 1970ies we certainly hadn't access to google....

Well, you have it now. My link shows that it was said according to the published literature by a US anarchist to Trotsky in 1917. You are dredging from unreferenced blogs, or worse, from the 1970s compartment in the back of your mind

Sam Lord
18-08-2010, 08:20 PM
that's a fairly accurate account of the Bolshevik losses in the first assault, add to that another 1,000 in the second assault, however, those soldiers were killed in battle and died as combatants. The 2,168 sailors were executed in the aftermath.


It's just that those who support the mutineers are always critical of the Bolsheviks for being prepared to kill fellow workers yet it appears that those they support had no qualms about killing fellow workers either.

Is it correct that the mutiny was actually crushed by workers within Krondstadt and not by successful assault?



a social revolution? i think you're romanticising about the Bolsheviki, whose idea "all power to the proletariat" it was in the first place, so their demands were rather in accordance with the original aims of the October revolution.


The actual slogan you are thinking of was "all power to the Soviets".

I thought that the mutiny was led by right socialist revolutionaries and this faction never supported the October revolution. The socialist revolutionaries were an odd lot ... many ended up fighting with the whites. It was a socialist revolutionary was shot Lenin.

Sure the mutineers had a radical left sounding program but this served a purpose and I think if you dig deeply enough you will find that someone else was pulling the strings.

In any case the Bolsheviks could not risk the Naval Fortress of Krondstadt falling into the hands of foreign powers .... many of whom as you are aware had a keen interest in overturning the revolution.

Sam Lord
18-08-2010, 08:23 PM
Well, you have it now. My link shows that it was said according to the published literature by a US anarchist to Trotsky in 1917. You are dredging from unreferenced blogs, or worse, from the 1970s compartment in the back of your mind

Where is your link?

TotalMayhem
18-08-2010, 08:35 PM
well, i certainly was not present when this order was given, IIRC the source was material related to Stalin's show trials but it really has been a a long tome ago and since then i have been diagnosed with C.R.S. ;)

Like many of his pals, Leon Trotsky fits the profile of a sociopath and I certainly wouldn't put the alleged atrocities past this guy.

Anyway, i already hate this thread as i have come across a name (in the process of looking up sources) which has revived and old 'obsession' of mine which i thought to have long since overcome. thank you ever so much, antiestablishmentarian. :mad:

C. Flower
18-08-2010, 09:02 PM
The only reference I can find (apart from unsourced blogging) for your quote has an anarchist in NY using that phrase to Trotsky.
http://books.google.ie/books?id=g4YncZ8MgRsC&pg=PA476&lpg=PA476&dq=Trotsky+shot+down+like+partridges&source=bl&ots=jS0mbWKSIZ&sig=Ue1IVEz2YFcAbnWl--bULdHQu2Q&hl=en&ei=HuxrTO79Gt6U4ga3wOW3Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CDQQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=Trotsky%20shot%20down%20like%20partridges&f=false


It was in post no. 5 of this thread and it isn't exactly a friendly source.

TotalMayhem
18-08-2010, 09:40 PM
No, that certainly wasn't it, and it wasn't in English either.

Now, i'm not 100% sure but i think, it might have been this book:

Arbeiterdemokratie oder Parteidiktatur - Dokumente der Weltrevolution (http://www.buchfreund.de/productListing.php?used=1&productId=34697308)

Workers Democracy or Party Dictatorship - Documents of the World Revolution

I have read this book over 3 decades ago in a Swiss school library. i don't know whether there is an English translation or if these documents are available online, but i will see what i can find.

jeez, i HATE this thread. :)

Sam Lord
18-08-2010, 09:45 PM
No, that certainly wasn't it, and it wasn't in English either.

Now, i'm not 100% sure but i think, it might have been this book:

Arbeiterdemokratie oder Parteidiktatur - Dokumente der Weltrevolution (http://www.buchfreund.de/productListing.php?used=1&productId=34697308)

Workers Democracy or Party Dictatorship - Documents of the World Revolution

I have read this book over 3 decades ago in a Swiss school library. i don't know whether there is an English translation or if these documents are available online, but i will see what i can find.

jeez, i HATE this thread. :)



LOL. You are taking the **** now ...

C. Flower
18-08-2010, 09:55 PM
No, that certainly wasn't it, and it wasn't in English either.

Now, i'm not 100% sure but i think, it might have been this book:

Arbeiterdemokratie oder Parteidiktatur - Dokumente der Weltrevolution (http://www.buchfreund.de/productListing.php?used=1&productId=34697308)

Workers Democracy or Party Dictatorship - Documents of the World Revolution

I have read this book over 3 decades ago in a Swiss school library. i don't know whether there is an English translation or if these documents are available online, but i will see what i can find.

jeez, i HATE this thread. :)

German will do just fine.

TotalMayhem
18-08-2010, 10:05 PM
It's just that those who support the mutineers are always critical of the Bolsheviks for being prepared to kill fellow workers yet it appears that those they support had no qualms about killing fellow workers either.

I don't support any mutineers and I'm not talking about killings on a battlefield. I'm talking about the ensuing massacre as a measure of reprisal.


Is it correct that the mutiny was actually crushed by workers within Krondstadt and not by successful assault?


No, that is not correct. The Bolshevik government began its attack on Kronstadt on March 7. Some 60,000 troops under command of Mikhail Tukhachevsky (a Red Army commander) took part in the attack. They took full control of the city on March 19.



In any case the Bolsheviks could not risk the Naval Fortress of Krondstadt falling into the hands of foreign powers .... many of whom as you are aware had a keen interest in overturning the revolution.

Now that is very far fetched. There weren't many ambitious foreign powers left only three years after a devastating World War. Even if this were true, preventing Kronstadt from falling into the hands of such a foreign power is hardly reason enough to justify the atrocities.

Mind you, we're not debating the right or wrongs of the rebellion and whether the Bolsheviks should or should not have suppressed the rebellion, we're talking about the slaughter in the aftermath of the suppression and Leon Trotsky's responsibility.

TotalMayhem
18-08-2010, 10:58 PM
right, we're getting somewhere here.

Kronstadt 1921 — Rebellion, Dritte Revolution oder Konterrevolution ? (http://www.mxks.de/files/SU/1989kbUdssrIII.html)

(Rebellion, Third Revolution or Counterrevolution?)


Noch am selben Tag ließ das Petrograder Verteidigungskomitee vom Flugzeug Flugblätter über Kronstadt abwerfen, in dem der Drohung Nachdruck verliehen wurde: "Wenn ihr nicht nachgebt, wird man euch der Reihe nach wie Rebhühner abschießen."

It's about flyers with an ultimatum, dropped from an airplane over Kronstadt: "If you do not give in, you will be shot like partridges".

How I understand it, this is attributed to either Trotzki, Kamenew, Tuchatschewski or Lebedew, indeed citing the aforementioned book.

Now, if there really were such flyers, chances are that some of them may have indeed survived. If someone's speaking Russian here, he or she may want to to look further into the 'partridge' issue, be my guest, I'm sure Russian language skills would be very helpful. I learned Russian in school all right, for about 6 months (my mother thought it was a good idea at the time, in case the Russians are coming - it was the height of the cold war), and I remember about 3 words, I'm afraid 'partridge' ain't one of them. :)

I did spot something very interesting though on this website:


In der Nacht auf den 5. März traf Trotzki in Petrograd ein.

* Als erste Maßnahme forderte er die Garnison und Bevölkerung Kronstadts ultimativ auf, sich bedingungslos zu ergeben;
* gleichzeitig ordnete Trotzki an, alle Vorbereitungen für eine bewaffnete Aktion zu treffen

In the night of March 5, Trotsky arrived in Petrograd.

Hist first action was the issuance of an ultimatum to the garrison and the citizens of Kronstadt, demanding their unconditional surrender.

At the same time he ordered to begin immediately with preparations for an armed suppression.

Now this clearly contradicts Trotsky's own account of the events, it places him at the scene where he personally took command.

Here is what Trotsky said (http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/07/kronstadt2.htm):


The rebellion broke out during my stay in the Urals. From the Urals I came directly to Moscow for the 10th Congress of the party. The decision to suppress the rebellion by military force, if the fortress could not be induced to surrender, first by peace negotiations, then through an ultimatum – this general decision was adopted with my direct participation. But after the decision was taken, I continued to remain in Moscow and took no part, direct or indirect, in the military operations.

Now something doesn't add up here. And from what i know, there were no peace negotiations either, the attacks on Kronstadt began on March 7, a day or two after Trotzki's arrival.

C. Flower
18-08-2010, 11:43 PM
That's for the birds, Total. Try this - there were new papers released in 1999.
http://www.workersvanguard.org/english/esp/59/kronstadt.html

Sam Lord
19-08-2010, 12:07 AM
The leader of the mutineers .... one seriously dodgy character.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stepan_Maximovich_Petrichenko

I note that that despite all the rhetoric about winning or dying for the workers cause he was not one of those who fought to the bitter end in Krondstadt but somehow managed to make his way to Finland.

Sam Lord
19-08-2010, 12:13 AM
The Independent Soviet Republic of Soldiers and Fortress-Builders of Nargen ....:):)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nargen

I can imagine that the ordinary people of Nargen were just waiting for Petrichenko and his merry band of sailors to descend and make fortress builders out of them. :):)

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 12:52 AM
So, according to Wikipedia, Petrichenko was a dodgy character and therefore the Bolsheviks under Trotsky's command had to slaughter 2,168 sailors after they have surrendered? Maybe to prevent them from fleeing to Finland and help their leader setting up Naissaar II? Although i'm sure the Finns have been very appreciative, that is a bit harsh now, isn't it?

BTW, it was a rebellion or counterrevolution, not a mutiny.

And of course the Bolsheviks had no choice but to suppress this rebellion, but that is not the issue. The issue is the barbaric massacre in the aftermath of the suppression.

Anyway, we may talk all day and night here and getting nowhere, I'll leave you to this thread, you may now celebrate the man, or his assassination ... everyone to their own.

Oh, and you know the difference between Stalin and Trotsky? Stalin you could take for his word: "No Man, No Problem!"

As I said earlier, I came across another name in the course of research during this debate, a far more interesting character. A Jew (like Trotsky, even the name bears a certain resemblance) from Poland who also was a devoted supporter of Stalin (just a generation later) ... for a while. Unlike Trotsky, he lived to tell the tale, the truly amazing tale of saving Stalin's @rse. I just saw 2 new books dealing the man and his organisation, which i have to track down now. :)

C. Flower
19-08-2010, 01:00 AM
So, according to Wikipedia, Petrichenko was a dodgy character and therefore the Bolsheviks under Trotsky's command had to slaughter 2,168 sailors after they have surrendered? Maybe to prevent them from fleeing to Finland and help their leader setting up Naissaar II? Although i'm sure the Finns have been very appreciative, that is a bit harsh now, isn't it?

BTW, it was a rebellion or counterrevolution, not a mutiny.

And of course the Bolsheviks had no choice but to suppress this rebellion, but that is not the issue. The issue is the barbaric massacre in the aftermath of the suppression.

Anyway, we may talk all day and night here and getting nowhere, I'll leave you to this thread, you may now celebrate the man, or his assassination ... everyone to their own.

Oh, and you know the difference between Stalin and Trotsky? Stalin you could take for his word: "No Man, No Problem!"

As I said earlier, I came across another name in the course of research during this debate, a far more interesting character. A Jew (like Trotsky, even the name bears a certain resemblance) from Poland who also was a devoted supporter of Stalin (just a generation later) ... for a while. Unlike Trotsky, he lived to tell the tale, the truly amazing tale of saving Stalin's @rse. I just saw 2 new books dealing the man and his organisation, which i have to track down now. :)

Trotsky a "devoted supporter of Stalin"?

Please.

Sam Lord
19-08-2010, 01:20 AM
So, according to Wikipedia, Petrichenko was a dodgy character and therefore the Bolsheviks under Trotsky's command had to slaughter 2,168 sailors after they have surrendered?



Actually the Wiki link was only to put some flesh on the man. Everything I have read about him stinks ...

With regard to 2,168 ... could you provide some support for that figure as it is considerable higher than most you see tossed around.

Sam Lord
19-08-2010, 01:23 AM
Trotsky a "devoted supporter of Stalin"?

Please.

Ridiculous indeed, Trotsky was only ever a devoted supporter of Trotsky :)

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 01:37 AM
My bad, no he was never in support of Stalin, I should rather say both were Comrades of Stalin.

And now please stop ridiculing a debate: according to your assessment, everything about the man stinks. you're not seriously supporting any justification of the execution of thousands of prisoners with this very vague assessment of yours, now do you?.

as for the figure in question, since you're so fond of Wikipedia, look up the Kronstadt Rebellion, they're saying: 1,200 to 2,168 executed.

Sam Lord
19-08-2010, 02:44 AM
... the execution of thousands of prisoners with this very vague assessment of yours, now do you?.

as for the figure in question, since you're so fond of Wikipedia, look up the Kronstadt Rebellion, they're saying: 1,200 to 2,168 executed.

Why are you going with the higher figure?:)

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 03:16 AM
Because i like it better. :)

But if you feel more comfortable with justifying the slaughter of 1,200 with the smells about Petrichenko, so be it.

Of course, you may adopt Trotsky's contemptuous line:


Whether there were any needless victims I do not know. On this score I trust Dzerzhinsky more than his belated critics. For lack of data I cannot undertake to decide now, a posteriori, who should have been punished and how.

but remember, there was no trial or military tribunal, not even a show trial, just a bloody massacre.

On a more personal note, I got a good chuckle out of Trotsky's testimony of trust in Felix Dzerzhinsky.

Sam Lord
19-08-2010, 05:55 AM
But if you feel more comfortable with justifying the slaughter of 1,200 with the smells about Petrichenko, so be it.



It is not just that he smelled but that he smelled like a counterrevolutionary ... which the mutineers were despite their leftist posturing. They had risen up in arms against the revolutionary government and killed over 10,000 government troops.

You seem obsessed with the execution of 1,200 people but Russia had just come through a civil war in which over 10 million may have died. The Red Army may have lost over 1 million. Over 14 different foreign countries invaded to support the whites and crush the revolution. Terrible deeds were carried out by the whites. They had no courts nor military tribunals believe me ... neither did their foreign backers.

But you would have us believe that the only killers were on the revolutionary side and that Trotsky was somehow worse than the Black Baron Wrangel or the Prime Minister of England or the President of the USA.

It's kinda pathetic, actually.

C. Flower
19-08-2010, 07:38 AM
From the link on post 27


In his July 1938 article on Kronstadt, Trotsky addressed the repeated smear that he personally waded in the blood of the mutineers. Trotsky recalled that he had come to Moscow for the congress and stayed there throughout the Kronstadt events. In fact, Trotsky did leave Moscow for Petrograd for four days beginning on March 5. That day he issued an ultimatum ordering the sailors to surrender unconditionally. He also organized a new command under Mikhail Tukhachevsky for the suppression of the revolt. After Tukhachevsky’s first assault on Kronstadt on March 7-8 failed, Trotsky rushed back to Moscow to rouse the congress delegates. That was the extent of his direct role in putting down the mutiny. Trotsky explained:
“The truth of the matter is that I personally did not participate in the least in the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion, nor in the repressions following the suppression. In my eyes this very fact is of no political significance. I was a member of the government, I considered the quelling of the rebellion necessary and therefore bear responsibility for the suppression....
“How did it happen that I did not go personally to Kronstadt? The reason was of a political nature. The rebellion broke out during the discussion on the so-called ‘trade union’ question. The political work in Kronstadt was wholly in the hands of the Petrograd committee, at the head of which stood Zinoviev. The same Zinoviev was the chief, most untiring, and most passionate leader in the struggle against me in the discussion.”
— Trotsky, “More on the Suppression of Kronstadt,” 6 July 1938
Zinoviev demagogically exploited Trotsky’s wrong position on the trade-union question to inflame sentiment against Trotsky and his allies—among them Baltic Fleet commander F.F. Raskolnikov. On 19 January 1921, Trotsky participated in a public debate on the trade-union dispute before 3,500 Baltic Fleet sailors. “The commanding personnel of the fleet was isolated and terrified,” Trotsky recalled (ibid.). The “dandified and well-fed sailors, Communists in name only” voted by some 90 percent for Zinoviev’s resolution. Trotsky continued:
“The overwhelming majority of the sailor ‘Communists’ who supported Zinoviev’s resolution took part in the rebellion. I considered, and the Political Bureau made no objections, that negotiations with the sailors and, in case of necessity, their pacification, should be placed with those leaders who only yesterday enjoyed the political confidence of these sailors. Otherwise, the Kronstadters would consider the matter as though I had come to take ‘revenge’ upon them for their voting against me during the party discussion.”
— Ibid.
In “The Truth About Kronstadt,” John G. Wright acknowledges that insofar as the Zinovievite fleet commissar Kuzmin and the other local Communist leaders were blind to the full extent of the danger brewing at Kronstadt, they “facilitated the counterrevolutionists’ work of utilizing the objective difficulties to attain their ends.” But Wright stresses that what was at play was the fundamental counterposition of two class camps: “All other questions can be only of a secondary importance. That the Bolsheviks may have committed errors of a general or concrete character cannot alter the fact that they defended the acquisitions of the proletarian revolution against the bourgeois (and petty-bourgeois) reaction” (“The Truth About Kronstadt”).

It should be remembered that these events took place in conditions of near starvation, civil war and counterrevolutionary attack by White forces, backed by outside powers, and that the Bolshevik Revolution effectively brought WW1 to an end. There seems to be evidence of direct links between some at Kronstadt and the Whites.

Trotsky wrote a reply to accusations against his role in relation to Kronstadt, which were part of wider political debates. The above quotes from it.

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 02:52 PM
I didn't say he personally waded in blood or shot anyone. and John G Wright conveniently forgot a few interesting bits from Trotsky's statement which reveal the true nature of Trotsky's character

Wright quotes correctly: "Dandified and well-fed sailors, communists in name only" and then no mentioning of Trotsky comparing the sailors with parasites. What could be the reason for this 'lapse' if not an attempt of whitewashing? Yet another example for this: not a word of peace negotiations. Of course there weren't any (first by peace negotiations ... this general decision was adopted with my direct participation). Trotsky arrived, issued the ultimatum (note: you can only issue an ultimatum when you have the power to enforce it) and then squashed the parasites.

(now if i tried such tactics the nitpickers here would be all over me)

Fact is, the man was a liar, he was at the scene, which allows the conclusion that he was indeed in charge (or do you believe for one second, with Trotsky in Petrograd, a local subaltern like Zinoviev is calling the shots? Zinoviev didn't issue the ultimatum, the man in charge did!), he had a motive (revenge) and most certainly the means (power of command and 60,000 troops).

C. Flower
19-08-2010, 04:39 PM
I didn't say he personally waded in blood or shot anyone. and John G Wright conveniently forgot a few interesting bits from Trotsky's statement which reveal the true nature of Trotsky's character

Wright quotes correctly: "Dandified and well-fed sailors, communists in name only" and then no mentioning of Trotsky comparing the sailors with parasites. What could be the reason for this 'lapse' if not an attempt of whitewashing? Yet another example for this: not a word of peace negotiations. Of course there weren't any (first by peace negotiations ... this general decision was adopted with my direct participation). Trotsky arrived, issued the ultimatum (note: you can only issue an ultimatum when you have the power to enforce it) and then squashed the parasites.

(now if i tried such tactics the nitpickers here would be all over me)

Fact is, the man was a liar, he was at the scene, which allows the conclusion that he was indeed in charge (or do you believe for one second, with Trotsky in Petrograd, a local subaltern like Zinoviev is calling the shots? Zinoviev didn't issue the ultimatum, the man in charge did!), he had a motive (revenge) and most certainly the means (power of command and 60,000 troops).

Sorry, but where is your evidence he was at the scene ?



I personally did not participate in the least in the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion, nor in the repressions following the suppression. In my eyes this very fact is of no political significance. I was a member of the government, I considered the quelling of the rebellion necessary and therefore bear responsibility for the suppression...

His prime responsibility was to defend the Workers State and nobody who knows anything about it would think anyone did more in those years to do that apart from Lenin.

War is brutal and horrible, but the Bolshevik Revolution brought WW1 to a halt.

The total number of casualties in World War I, both military and civilian, were about 37 million: 16 million deaths and 21 million wounded. ...

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 05:03 PM
His prime responsibility was to defend the Workers State

Quite so, yet defending the Workers State with massacres still makes him a mass murderer.


War is brutal and horrible

Even in war certain rules apply, and butchering thousands of prisoners is a crime.


but the Bolshevik Revolution brought WW1 to a halt.

Au contraire, the October revolution prolonged WW1. Germany's peace treaty with the Bolsheviks allowed them to massively reinforce the Western front. And not just with freed up troops: the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk also granted Germany access to one quarter of Russia's industry and nine-tenths of its coal mines. Hence the German support for Lenin.

C. Flower
19-08-2010, 05:12 PM
Quite so, yet defending the Workers State with massacres still makes him a mass murderer.

Even in war certain rules apply, and butchering thousands of prisoners is a crime.

Au contraire, the October revolution prolonged WW1. Germany's peace treaty with the Bolsheviks allowed them to reinforce the Western front. Hence the German support for Lenin.

It sparked mutinies all over Europe.

It would by gross hypocrisy from my point of view to say 16 million dead in mechanised slaughter in the trenches is fine and 2,000 dead in Kronstadt is butchery.

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 05:19 PM
Now you call me a gross hypocrite? Where did I say 16 million dead in mechanised slaughter in the trenches is fine?

You wish to discuss the barbaric events in World War I? Be my guest, but let's do it in a separate thread. Here we're talking about Leon Trotsky and whether he should be remembered as a great visionary thinker and true champion of the proletariat or a sociopath and mass murderer.

And the mutinies you are referring to only sparked a year later, and certainly not because Trotsky was such a cool dude but rather because of the hopeless military situation.

Sam Lord
19-08-2010, 05:46 PM
You wish to discuss the barbaric events in World War I? Be my guest, but let's do it in a separate thread. Here we're talking about Leon Trotsky and whether he should be remembered as a great visionary thinker and true champion of the proletariat or a sociopath and mass murderer.



Well the thread was started about Trotsky. It was you, in your own challenged manner, who decided to turn it into one about him being a mass murderer. I have never really cared much for the man but it has to be said at the end of the day he had much less blood on his hands than most politicians of the 20th Century ... or our own age for that matter.

How should Tony Blair, Bush or Obama be remembered?

C. Flower
19-08-2010, 05:49 PM
Now you call me a gross hypocrite? Where did I say 16 million dead in mechanised slaughter in the trenches is fine?

You wish to discuss the barbaric events in World War I? Be my guest, but let's do it in a separate thread. Here we're talking about Leon Trotsky and whether he should be remembered as a great visionary thinker and true champion of the proletariat or a sociopath and mass murderer.

And the mutinies you are referring to only sparked a year later, and certainly not because Trotsky was such a cool dude but rather because of the hopeless military situation.

Enough straw men in there to feed simonj's donkey for the whole winter :D

Sam Lord
19-08-2010, 05:51 PM
Enough straw men in there to feed simonj's donkey for the whole winter :D

Intellectual honesty is not his strong suit ....

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 06:02 PM
Well the thread was started about Trotsky. It was you, in your own challenged manner, who decided to turn it into one about him being a mass murderer. I have never really cared much for the man but it has to be said at the end of the day he had much less blood on his hands than most politicians of the 20th Century ... or our own age for that matter.

How should Tony Blair, Bush or Obama be remembered?

The thread was started indeed about Trotsky (not Blair, Bush or Obama) and to commemorate a great revolutionary and theoretician.

Well, i beg to differ, i don't think he was that great a revolutionary at all but, of course, you are perfectly entitled to another opinion.

We can compile a list of politicians with the most blood on their hands or how Blair, Bush and Obama should be remembered ... plenty material for new threads.

Sam Lord
19-08-2010, 06:15 PM
The thread was started indeed about Trotsky (not Blair, Bush or Obama) and to commemorate a great revolutionary and theoretician.

Well, i beg to differ, i don't think he was that great a revolutionary at all but, of course, you are perfectly entitled to another opinion.

We can compile a list of politicians with the most blood on their hands or how Blair, Bush and Obama should be remembered ... plenty material for new threads.

I don't think he was a great revolutionary either. Unfortunately, however, you immediately responded to the OP by ridiculously declaring that he was a homicidal maniac .... thus effectively derailing any objective discussion of the man and his legacy.

Fermoy
19-08-2010, 06:26 PM
You're concern for the morality of the left is touching.
The only reference I can find (apart from unsourced blogging) for your quote has an anarchist in NY using that phrase to Trotsky.
http://books.google.ie/books?id=g4YncZ8MgRsC&pg=PA476&lpg=PA476&dq=Trotsky+shot+down+like+partridges&source=bl&ots=jS0mbWKSIZ&sig=Ue1IVEz2YFcAbnWl--bULdHQu2Q&hl=en&ei=HuxrTO79Gt6U4ga3wOW3Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CDQQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=Trotsky%20shot%20down%20like%20partridges&f=false

The anarchist Voline may have borrowed the phrase from Conrad

You think perhaps I am a Royalist? No. If there was anybody in heaven or hell to pray to I would pray for a revolution — a red revolution everywhere.”

“You astonish me,” I said, just to say something.
“No! But there are half a dozen people in the world with whom I would like to settle accounts. One could shoot them like partridges and no questions asked. That’s what revolution would mean to me.”
“It’s a beautifully simple view,” I said.

—Joseph Conrad The Arrow of Gold (mhtml:{38246AE8-5B0C-4732-91AE-D82D4B13905F}mid://00000025/!x-usc:http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/conrad/joseph/c75ar/chapter21.html), 1919

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 06:30 PM
Oh, you and CF played quite a role in the derailing of this thread as well, by dragging the body count of WW I or, lately, Blair, Bush and Obama into the equation.

Trotsky was one of the most controversial and dubious characters in the Russian revolution and I honestly believe, if Stalin hadn't rid the world of him by way of a hired ice pick he would be hardly remembered at all.

You know, sometimes a simple that is one opinion, I beg to differ goes a long way.

C. Flower
19-08-2010, 06:33 PM
The anarchist Voline may have borrowed the phrase from Conrad

Thanks. That seems like enough. Although perhaps, in those partridge-shooting days, everyone said it. Voline claimed that he said it to Trotsky in 1917.


I wonder if he also enjoyed
"The Secret Agent".

I doubt it :)

Sam Lord
19-08-2010, 07:34 PM
Well on the 70th anniversary we might as well quote Lenin:

"Trotsky, on the other hand, represents only his own personal vacillations and nothing more. In 1903 he was a Menshevik; he abandoned Menshevism in 1904, returned to the Mensheviks in 1905 and merely flaunted ultra-revolutionary phrases; in 1906 he left them again; at the end of 1906 he advocated electoral agreements with the Cadets (i.e., he was in fact once more with the Mensheviks); and in the spring of 1907, at the London Congress, he said that he differed from Rosa Luxemburg on "individual shades of ideas rather than on political tendencies". One day Trotsky plagiarizes from the ideological stock-in-trade of one faction; the next day he plagiarizes from that of another, and therefore declares himself to be standing above both factions."

"Trotsky has never yet held a firm opinion on any important question of Marxism. He always contrives to worm his way into the cracks of any given difference of opinion and desert one side for the other. At the present moment he is in the company of the Bundists and the liquidators. And these gentlemen do not stand on ceremony where the Party is concerned."


“It is impossible to argue with Trotsky about principles, for he has no views at all. It is possible and necessary to argue with convinced Liquidators and Otzovists [a group of Bolsheviks demanding the recall from the Duma of the Bolshevik deputies]. With a man who only plays at covering up the mistakes of both of them, one does not argue: one exposes him as a diplomat of the lowest order.” (V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Russian Edition, Vol. XV, pp. 303-304.)

"Trotsky is very fond of using, with the learned air of the expert, pompous and high-sounding phrases to explain historical phenomena in a way that is flattering to Trotsky"

:D

bormotello
19-08-2010, 07:39 PM
It sparked mutinies all over Europe.

It would by gross hypocrisy from my point of view to say 16 million dead in mechanised slaughter in the trenches is fine and 2,000 dead in Kronstadt is butchery.
Kronstadt sailors were main driving force of revolution and they were first betrayed by communists
But I don’t have much sympathy to them, because they deserve it for their bloody killings of officers and their families during October 1917 in Kronstadt

C. Flower
19-08-2010, 07:42 PM
Well on the 70th anniversary we might as well quote Lenin:

"Trotsky, on the other hand, represents only his own personal vacillations and nothing more. In 1903 he was a Menshevik; he abandoned Menshevism in 1904, returned to the Mensheviks in 1905 and merely flaunted ultra-revolutionary phrases; in 1906 he left them again; at the end of 1906 he advocated electoral agreements with the Cadets (i.e., he was in fact once more with the Mensheviks); and in the spring of 1907, at the London Congress, he said that he differed from Rosa Luxemburg on "individual shades of ideas rather than on political tendencies". One day Trotsky plagiarizes from the ideological stock-in-trade of one faction; the next day he plagiarizes from that of another, and therefore declares himself to be standing above both factions."

"Trotsky has never yet held a firm opinion on any important question of Marxism. He always contrives to worm his way into the cracks of any given difference of opinion and desert one side for the other. At the present moment he is in the company of the Bundists and the liquidators. And these gentlemen do not stand on ceremony where the Party is concerned."


“It is impossible to argue with Trotsky about principles, for he has no views at all. It is possible and necessary to argue with convinced Liquidators and Otzovists [a group of Bolsheviks demanding the recall from the Duma of the Bolshevik deputies]. With a man who only plays at covering up the mistakes of both of them, one does not argue: one exposes him as a diplomat of the lowest order.” (V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Russian Edition, Vol. XV, pp. 303-304.)

"Trotsky is very fond of using, with the learned air of the expert, pompous and high-sounding phrases to explain historical phenomena in a way that is flattering to Trotsky"

:D

I notice none of those quotations is dated :) (edit) - or linked.

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 08:21 PM
I notice none of those quotations is dated :) (edit) - or linked.

Try Google Books, Marxism and Nationalism by V.I. Lenin.

You raised another point earlier, about ending WW 1. It was Trotsky after all who tried to stall the negotiations with the Germans in Brest-Litovsk in the faint hope for uprisings in Germany, Austria-Hungary and even in the Entente states. However, a quick advancement of the German troops made it pretty clear, where he and his mates can shove their revolution if they didn't sign.

C. Flower
19-08-2010, 08:25 PM
I'm sure Sam Lord will be glad of your support :)

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 08:34 PM
Maybe I should be glad for Sam Lord's support? :)

After all, Lenin's devastating assessment of Trotsky is telling us what an opportunistic apparatchik he was: no principles or views of his own, only using the revolution as a vehicle for his own ambitions.

C. Flower
19-08-2010, 08:54 PM
Maybe I should be glad for Sam Lord's support? :)

After all, Lenin's devastating assessment of Trotsky is telling us what an opportunistic apparatchik he was: no principles or views of his own, only using the revolution as a vehicle for his own ambitions.

Sam Lord has provided some cherry-picked quotations, without context, date or link. I could respond by cherry picking favourable quotations by Lenin on Trotsky (there are plenty) but don't see the point in engaging in that. I had expected something a bit more objective from him that the old tit for tat.

I don't see any political leaders as icons. There was the most robust debate and disagreement on the Russian left and within the Bolshevik Party during which ideas were honed and the party was built. Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin were all at times on the right or wrong side, as judged by hindsight. (In that order, from left to right, in my view)

Poor Lenin, judging by his "testament", could only give qualified support to either Stalin or Trotsky at the time of his death. His fear and expectation that the party would split into Stalinist and Trotskyist factions was correct.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1932/12/lenin.htm

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 11:07 PM
Poor Lenin, judging by his "testament", could only give qualified support to either Stalin or Trotsky at the time of his death.

Lenin gave support, qualified or otherwise, to neither in his "testament", on the contrary, he wanted Stalin removed from power.

C. Flower
19-08-2010, 11:19 PM
Lenin gave support, qualified or otherwise, to neither in his "testament", on the contrary, he wanted Stalin removed from power.

That's an oversimplification. Lenin didn't want to see a split: he would have tried to keep both Trotsky and Lenin in leadership roles, although his view of Stalin was clearly severely damaged and his he was acutely aware of Trotsky's limitations. The split happened and was enormously damaging.

The reasons for the split lay in the backward, damaged and isolated Russian economy and the fact that it was still a largely peasant subsistence economy. There were more or less impossible choices to be made. It says an enormous amount for the revolution that the workers' state hung on 70 odd years.


Our party rests upon two classes, and for that reason its instability is possible, and if there cannot exist an agreement between those classes its fall is inevitable. In such an event it would be useless to take any measures or in general to discuss the stability of our Central Committee. In such an event no measures would prove capable of preventing a split. But I trust that is too remote a future, and too improbable an event, to talk about. I have in mind stability as a guarantee against a split in the near future, and I intend to examine here a series of considerations of a purely personal character.
I think that the fundamental factor in the matter of stability – from this point of view – is such members of the Central Committee as Stalin and Trotsky. The relation between them constitutes, in my opinion, a big half of the danger of that split, which might be avoided, and the avoidance of which might be promoted, in my opinion, by raising the number of members of the Central Committee to fifty or one hundred.
Comrade Stalin, having become General Secretary, has concentrated an enormous power in his hands; and I am not sure that he always knows how to use that power with sufficient caution. On the other hand, Comrade Trotsky, as was proved by his struggle against the Central Committee in connection with the question of the People’s Commissariat of Ways and Communications, is distinguished not only by his exceptional abilities – personally he is, to be sure, the most able man in the present Central Committee – but also by his too far-reaching self-confidence and a disposition to be too much attracted by the purely administrative side of affairs.


These two qualities of the two most able leaders of the present Central Committee might, quite innocently, lead to a split; if our party does not take measures to prevent it, a split might arise unexpectedly.


I will not further characterize the other members of the Central Committee as to their personal qualities. I will only remind you that the October episode of Zinoviev and Kamenev was not, of course, accidental, but that it ought as little to be used against them personally as the non-Bolshevism of Trotsky.

TotalMayhem
19-08-2010, 11:42 PM
Lenin didn't want to see a split: he would have tried to keep both Trotsky and Lenin in leadership roles

That can only be interpreted as a deathbed delusion. Neither of the two would have tolerated the other in an equal position.

We don't know whether Trotsky ever attempted or conspired to remove Stalin in the days after Lenin's death, but I'm certain he knew well that this would have been his only chance to rise to power, he was no idiot. Stalin simply held the better cards.

C. Flower
20-08-2010, 12:17 AM
That can only be interpreted as a deathbed delusion. Neither of the two would have tolerated the other in an equal position.

We don't know whether Trotsky ever attempted or conspired to remove Stalin in the days after Lenin's death, but I'm certain he knew well that this would have been his only chance to rise to power, he was no idiot. Stalin simply held the better cards.

We know quite a lot about what happened, but Stalin as Gensec had a lot of strings/cards in his hands.

Most splits are messy, but they are more damaging when they're premature and all the issues haven't been thrashed out. I don't think Stalin had too much interest in that - just in consolidating his own position.

TotalMayhem
20-08-2010, 12:27 AM
I don't think Stalin had too much interest in that - just in consolidating his own position.

With characters like Kamenev, Trotsky and Zinoviev only a heartbeat from power? You can bet the farm on that. :D

C. Flower
20-08-2010, 12:33 AM
With characters like Kamenev, Trotsky and Zinoviev only a heartbeat from power? You can bet the farm on that. :D

Exactly :D

TotalMayhem
20-08-2010, 12:48 AM
We did mention Felix Dzershinsky briefly, now here was one contender who certainly had it all, the manners, the education, the ruthlessness, oh, and not to forget that secret police of him. Hadn't he conveniently died so early, Stalin could have found himself in serious trouble.

C. Flower
20-08-2010, 12:51 AM
We did mention Felix Dzershinsky briefly, now here was one contender who certainly had it all, the manners, the education, the ruthlessness, oh, and not to forget that secret police of him. Hadn't he conveniently died so early, Stalin could have found himself in serious trouble.

Stalin made extensive use of Dzershinky's talents.

TotalMayhem
20-08-2010, 12:55 AM
So did Lenin and Trotsky ... and the moment he felt strong enough, he would have struck, that i'm certain of, this fella was not born to be a lackey.

To quote Columbus: "He sets the standard for not to be f***ed with."

Fermoy
20-08-2010, 02:12 AM
. Voline claimed that he said it to Trotsky in 1917.


:)

A claim that he made three decades later :D

Fermoy
20-08-2010, 02:28 AM
... In 1921 the Sailors of Kronstadt, who played a major role in the revolution of 1917, ....
Not so apparently



The first lie is to identify the Kronstadt mutineers of 1921 with the heroic Red sailors of 1917. They had nothing in common. The Kronstadt sailors of 1917 were workers and Bolsheviks. They played a vital role in the October Revolution, together with the workers of nearby Petrograd. But almost the entire Kronstadt garrison volunteered to fight in the ranks of the Red Army during the civil war. They were dispersed to different fronts, from whence most of them never returned. The Kronstadt garrison of 1921 was composed mainly of raw peasant levies from the Black Sea Fleet. A cursory glance at the surnames of the mutineers immediately shows that they were almost all Ukrainians.
http://www.marxist.com/History-old/Trotsky_was_right.html

TotalMayhem
20-08-2010, 02:42 AM
I'd love to have that cursory glance at the surnames, got a list handy? ;)

Anyway, it is fairly normal that the personnel in a military unit has changed after 4 years (even more so in a conscript army such as the Red Army), it is the pride and glory of the regiment that lives on.

And even if they were composed mainly of raw peasant levies from Ukraine, should they have therefore been eradicated (to use one of your favourite terms)?

Fermoy
20-08-2010, 03:41 AM
A quick recap of that 'mutiny. In 1921 the Sailors of Kronstadt, ....


These sailors .....




The Kronstadt Revolt
the Gulyai-Pole Connection


Vyacheslav Azarov
As written by whole generations of Soviet historians, the young Soviet republic was shaken at the beginning of March 1921 by news of a counterrevolutionary mutiny in the very heart of the Revolution – Kronstadt. During the more than 80 years separating us from the Kronstadt Revolt, researchers have come up with dozens of versions of its origins: from a conspiracy of White Guards or the machinations of foreign intelligence agents to a hunger revolt or the cleansing of abuses from communism. Some of these versions were quickly forgotten as they were not compatible with the ideological slant of Soviet historiography. Among these neglected versions is the one to which I am partial. Put forward by A. Pukhov, the first scholar to study the revolt, this version remained unknown to the general public for many years, and then was referred to only in specialized monographs.
Conscripts from the South
The root causes of the Kronstadt Revolt become more intelligible, and the revolt itself acquires quite a different internal meaning, if we turn to S. Kanev, the most important Soviet specialist on the history of anarchism. In his principal work, The October Revolution and the Downfall of Anarchism, he makes the following assertion:


"Among the 25,000 Kronstadt sailors more than 10,000 were conscripts from Ukraine, mainly from the raions [counties] where Makhno's bands were active. These people brought to the sailors' milieu the mood of dissatisfaction of the seredniak [middle peasant] with prodrazverstka [food requisitioning]. These peasants, many of whom had belonged to anarchist detachments, had become infected with Makhnovist ideals."[1] (http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/azarov-kronstadt.htm#1)
This observation, crucial for understanding the Kronstadt events, is confirmed by other sources. For example, S. Uritsky, who took part in suppressing the uprising, wrote with Bolshevik venom:


"The dregs of the Petrograd waterfront, ex-students, Makhnovist and Denikenist prisoners-of-war – these were the main elements which filled the ranks of the Red Army and Navy units of Kronstadt and manned the ships in its harbour." [2] (http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/azarov-kronstadt.htm#2)
And I Sergeyev, chief of the political section of the Southern Military District (Gulf of Finland), recalled that "80% of the Kronstadt sailors of that period were peasants unhappy with prodrazverstka." [3] (http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/azarov-kronstadt.htm#3)
The cause of this situation was first investigated by the above-mentioned A. Pukhov. Throughout 1920 there was a significant shortage of personnel in the Baltic Fleet which was as high as 60%! Only at the end of 1920 did the Fleet receive substantial reinforcements, 80% of whom were peasants. But what sort of peasants were these? In contrast to the normal mobilizations for the Baltic Fleet, which were carried out in the north-western provinces, this replenishment "consisted of conscripted inhabitants of the South Russia and partially of Cossacks from the Kuban region."[4] (http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/azarov-kronstadt.htm#4) Let's clarify that Pukhov is referring to Ukraine here as "South Russia," and subsequently confirms repeatedly that these recruits were Ukrainians.
"Arriving in the Fleet predominately from raions wracked by banditism during the Civil War, from raions where the bands of various batkos were active (Makhno, Struk, Marusya, Angel, Grigoriev...), these young sailors were infected with the mindset of anarcho-banditism."[5] (http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/azarov-kronstadt.htm#5) Let's note that the term "anarcho-banditism" was used by the Bolsheviks mainly to refer to the Makhnovshchina. And then Pukhov notes that a high percentages of the new recruits had been "active participants in partisan or bandit activities in the South in 1918-1920." The more experienced Ukrainian recruits were openly referred to as "Makhnovists." They were formed into four training units – "detachments of junior sailors," after which they were dispersed to the ships and forts of the Gulf of Finland.
The raions which contributed conscripts to the 4th training unit are known. Seventy percent of the 1st regiment were natives of Odessa, Podolsk, and Volinsk provinces; 90% of the 3rd and 4th regiments had been mobilized in Kiev, Chernigov, and Poltava provinces; and the 5th regiment was made up "almost entirely of deserters from Balta uyezd in Odessa province."[6] (http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/azarov-kronstadt.htm#6) Roughly the same sort of composition was found in the remaining training units. Moreover, the 1st detachment was distinguished by a high percentage of Kuban Cossacks. Pukhov states frankly that the new reinforcements made a marked change not only in the composition of the Fleet but in its political attitudes. However the mood of the Fleet had changed even before the latest reinforcements at the end of 1920.
Thus, according to a report of the Political Section of the Baltic Fleet from July 20 1919, "on board the ship [the Andrei Pervozvanny] the staff processed 150 new comrade sailors, including former troops of Grigoriev and Makhno."[7] (http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/azarov-kronstadt.htm#7) We believe this was not the only case. Moreover the battleship Andrei Pervozvanny was moored in Kronstadt harbour at the beginning of the Revolt, being prepared for decommissioning [8] (http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/azarov-kronstadt.htm#8). Massive demobilizing of the Baltic Fleet had still not yet begun. This strongly suggests the presence of former Makhnovists in the ranks of the insurgents. The practice of inserting Makhnovists into the Baltic was well established by the time of the Revolt and the latest wave of Makhnovists encountered earlier waves of Makhnovist conscripts.

http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/azarov-kronstadt.htm

TotalMayhem
20-08-2010, 04:04 AM
Right, so they weren't just sailors but rather makhnovists, or parasites (as Trotsky referred to them), what difference does it make?

Up to 2,168 of these captured sailors/infected raw peasants/anarcho-bandits/makhnovists/human beings/parasites (we should have them pretty much covered now, so that even Trotsky and your good old self could agree) were slaughtered (or eradicated, if you will) in the aftermath of the Kronstadt uprising.

If you find any more such colourful terms, let me know, I will gladly add them to the list above, meanwhile ...

Cut to the chase already. What exactly is your point (besides derailing this thread yet again)?

C. Flower
20-08-2010, 09:09 AM
A claim that he made three decades later :D

Yes, as I said, I think it was probably a common saying at the time.

I don't view it in any way important to the discussion, but Total seemed to be very interested in it.

C. Flower
20-08-2010, 09:15 AM
From Fermoy's previous linked source:


However, the final nail in the coffin for the anti-Bolshevik mythology built up around Kronstadt comes later. According to documents published in these two books new facts emerge about what happened in the town around Kronstadt. During the attack on Kronstadt, the workers of the town moved against the putschists and liberated the town even before the main forces of the Red Army arrived. So in reality what we had was not a workers' and sailors' rebellion against Bolshevism, but a workers' and sailors' Bolshevik uprising against the "rebels"!
In the proclamations of the Kronstadt sailors we see the words that refer to "the men of the White guards that are leading the rebels ". These were not mere words. The real command over the rebels was concentrated not in the Kronstadt soviet, as some naive individuals may think, but in the so-called "Court for the Defence of Kronstadt Fortress". One of its leaders was rear-admiral S.H. Dmitriev (who was executed after the fortress fall), the other was general A. H. Koslovsky, who escaped to Finland. Both of these senior officers were very far from having any kind of sympathy for Socialism "with Bolsheviks" or "without Bolsheviks".

There is also much talk about S. M. Petrechenko - the sailor and anti-Bolshevik leader. What is really interesting is to note that in 1927 this man was recruited by Stalin's GPU and he was one of Stalin's agent until 1944 when he was arrested by the Finnish authorities. The following year he died in a Finnish concentration camp.

So, the real story is that the Kronstadt workers and sailors actually understood the real nature of these rebels far better than any of the later intellectuals who have tried to build up the myth of Kronstadt. The same can be said of the counterrevolutionary forces that were operating in Kronstadt. The former Tsarist prime-minister and finance minister, and in emigration the director of the Russian Bank in Paris, Kokovzev, transferred 225 thousand francs to the Kronstadt rebels. The Russian-Asian bank transferred 200 thousand francs. The French prime-minister, Briand, during the meeting with the former ambassador of Kerensky's government, Malachov, promised "any necessary help to Kronstadt".
As Trotsky explained, the so-called Kronstadt rebellion was not the first petit-bourgeois, anti-Bolshevik movement to take place during both the civil war and the revolution. There were a lot of other movements that were lead by people raising the slogan of "Soviets without Bolsheviks", etc. There were such movements in some factories in the Urals and among the Aries Cossacks. But from these experiences we can see clearly that in the conditions of uncompromising class war this kind of slogan can lead straight into the camp of Mediaeval reaction and barbarism. There cannot be a revolution without a revolutionary party. And again, the ordinary Russian workers and soldiers of the time understood this very well. They understood it far better than some people today, among them even some people on the left.

The fact is that many ordinary members of the Anarchists, Mensheviks, Social-Revolutionaries and others parties took part in the Soviets with the Bolsheviks, but not without them. There was a huge difference between the ordinary rank and file members of these parties and their leaders who were completely anti-Bolshevik in their feelings. In the early 1920s the local Soviet authorities in some Jewish areas of the Ukraine were totally recruited from members of the Bund. Many Anarchists took part in the Revolution and in the Civil War on the side of the Bolsheviks against the White reaction. They also cooperated with the new power until the rise of Stalinism. To this day, those courageous people are considered by some modern anarchists as "traitors". Some people never learn!
We have nothing to fear from the publication of more material from the Soviet archives. We hope that over the next few years more documents will be found in these archives about the long and glorious struggles of the Russian proletariat. They will surely provide more information on the revolutionary traditions of the Russian workers.

Aspro
20-08-2010, 01:28 PM
Excellent link C. Flower. Puts a cap on the constant red herring of Kronstadt and deliberate misunderstanding by those, who like Stalin, attempt to re-write history.
The legacy of Leon Trotsky is monumental and a thorough understanding of his contribution to the world will not be fully understood through the usual heated histrionics and "quote-wars" on political forums.

To me, in tandem with his leadership of the greatest event in modern human history, his most lasting contributions were:

1. The Permanent Revolution
2. Analysis of Stalinism and lifelong battle against it
3. Analysis of Fascism

There is any amount of new detractors from Robert Service to Ian Thatcher et al, who are out at the moment to denigrate Trotsky. If you want their opinion, look them up.

In the 1930's and 40's he and his family and supporters were vilified, imprisoned and murdered. Today revisionist historians and visceral anti-socialists just attempt verbal and literary falsification to assassinate.

If you want to actually understand the man, read what he wrote and understand it from the point of view that in his time and ours, there are and were powerful forces who wanted him silenced.

Make up your own minds:

"My Life" http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/mylife/index.htm
"History of the Russian Revolution"
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/hrr/
"The Revolution Betrayed" http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1936/revbet/

C. Flower
20-08-2010, 01:55 PM
Excellent link C. Flower. Puts a cap on the constant red herring of Kronstadt and deliberate misunderstanding by those, who like Stalin, attempt to re-write history.
The legacy of Leon Trotsky is monumental and a thorough understanding of his contribution to the world will not be fully understood through the usual heated histrionics and "quote-wars" on political forums.

To me, in tandem with his leadership of the greatest event in modern human history, his most lasting contributions were:

1. The Permanent Revolution
2. Analysis of Stalinism and lifelong battle against it
3. Analysis of Fascism

There is any amount of new detractors from Robert Service to Ian Thatcher et al, who are out at the moment to denigrate Trotsky. If you want their opinion, look them up.

In the 1930's and 40's he and his family and supporters were vilified, imprisoned and murdered. Today revisionist historians and visceral anti-socialists just attempt verbal and literary falsification to assassinate.

If you want to actually understand the man, read what he wrote and understand it from the point of view that in his time and ours, there are and were powerful forces who wanted him silenced.

Make up your own minds:

"My Life" http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/mylife/index.htm
"History of the Russian Revolution"
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/hrr/
"The Revolution Betrayed" http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1936/revbet/

Plenty of reading there, Aspro. If someone wanted to read a very short introduction to Trotsky's politics (written by himself, if possible), is there anything you would recommend?

Aspro
20-08-2010, 02:16 PM
Nothing succinct that I know of C. Flower
Perhaps a video debate might be a worthwhile introduction? I know my attention span is getting shorter the older I get ;)
http://socialistworld.net/eng/2010/02/1301.html

C. Flower
20-08-2010, 02:29 PM
Thanks! There's a lot of video of Trotsky - very little with English sub-titles. Surely that would be a worthwhile project to do?

Here's one of him speaking English, about the Moscow Trials.
YouTube- Trotsky's Speech in Mexico (about the Moscow trials)


And this one has a lot of footage of the Revolution and Civil War.

YouTube- Trotsky's speech to the Red Army in the Civil War [subtitles in euskara]

TotalMayhem
20-08-2010, 02:51 PM
I don't view it in any way important to the discussion

Well, I do, as it clearly indicates Trotsky's contempt for anyone opposing Bolshevik ideas. I do have issues with people being called parasites who should be shot down like partridges.

Another point, all those former politburo members Stalin had have killed (and they were quite a lot) were officially rehabilitated and had their names cleared in the Soviet Union after Stalin's death. All but one: Leon Trotsky.

Paul the Red
20-08-2010, 03:04 PM
Well, I do, as it clearly indicates Trotsky's contempt for anyone opposing Bolshevik ideas. I do have issues with people being called parasites who should be shot down like partridges.

Another point, all those former politburo members Stalin had have killed (and they were quite a lot) were officially rehabilitated and had their names cleared in the Soviet Union after Stalin's death. All but one: Leon Trotsky.

"In all mass movements we must make
a basic investigation and analysis of the
number of active supporters, opponents and
neutrals and must not decide problems
subjectively and without basis."
Chairman Mao.

TotalMayhem
20-08-2010, 08:31 PM
When exiled Trotsky arrived in Mexico, he found shelter in the house of Diego Rivera, a painter and communist. As a token of his gratitude, Trotsky (a married man himself) screwed Rivera's wife ... what a [email protected] ;)

I know, I know, the lady in question had quite a reputation herself ... but still.

C. Flower
20-08-2010, 08:58 PM
When exiled Trotsky arrived in Mexico, he found shelter in the house of Diego Rivera, a painter and communist. As a token of his gratitude, Trotsky (a married man himself) screwed Rivera's wife ... what a [email protected] ;)

I know, I know, the lady in question had quite a reputation herself ... but still.

You're very selective TotalM. Diego Rivera himself had other relationships and the couple lived relatively separate lives.

Marx considered bourgeois marriage a form of prostitution :)

Paul the Red
21-08-2010, 09:42 PM
"As long as I breathe I shall fight for the future, that radiant future, in which man, strong and beautiful, will become master of the drifting stream of his history and will direct it towards the boundless horizons of beauty, joy and happiness! "
Vow made by Trotsky as a boy.
A person that said this must have had good in them?.

C. Flower
21-08-2010, 09:55 PM
"As long as I breathe I shall fight for the future, that radiant future, in which man, strong and beautiful, will become master of the drifting stream of his history and will direct it towards the boundless horizons of beauty, joy and happiness! "
Vow made by Trotsky as a boy.
A person that said this must have had good in them?.

Goodness.

I would have been sceptical of aspirational statements by children, but this by Rachel Corrie would make you think twice as she stuck with it.

YouTube- Rachel Corrie 5th Grade Speech I'm here because I care

Paul the Red
21-08-2010, 10:45 PM
Goodness.

I would have been sceptical of aspirational statements by children, but this by Rachel Corrie would make you think twice as she stuck with it.

YouTube- Rachel Corrie 5th Grade Speech I'm here because I care (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK8Z3i3aTq4&feature=related)

Yes the same naivete, as Trotsky, myself and meny more poeple, have in life optimism. ( "As long as i breathe i hope" )

Redstormfront
23-08-2010, 02:41 PM
Do you mean Leon Trotsky, the homicidal maniac who ordered the sailors of Kronstadt to be shot "like partridges"?

Leon Trotsky - a mass murderer, not the true champion of the working class. (http://www.slate.com/id/2163048)

exactly....

RosaLuxembourg
27-08-2010, 09:07 PM
In any case the Bolsheviks could not risk the Naval Fortress of Krondstadt falling into the hands of foreign powers .... many of whom as you are aware had a keen interest in overturning the revolution.

Krondstadt was a tragedy that should never have happened but did largely due to Trotsky's influence.

RosaLuxembourg
27-08-2010, 09:10 PM
exactly....

Its more complex than that but no one can seriously doubt that Trotsky was a psychopath who which ever way you look at it did the revolution much more harm than good.

C. Flower
27-08-2010, 09:49 PM
Yes the same naivete, as Trotsky, myself and meny more poeple, have in life optimism. ( "As long as i breathe i hope" )

Yes. Things are on the way to getting so bad here, that we might discover that again. It's the fear of taking a big step that has everyone paralysed at the moment.

Jolly Red Giant
27-08-2010, 09:52 PM
but no one can seriously doubt that Trotsky was a psychopath who which ever way you look at it did the revolution much more harm than good.
What a crock - Trotsky took a political decision about Kronstadt, whether you agree with it or not - and the revolution wouldn't have survived without him.

Sam Lord
28-08-2010, 04:12 AM
Krondstadt was a tragedy that should never have happened but did largely due to Trotsky's influence.

I'm genuinely interested in your view.

Do you think that those within the fortress had any responsibility for the tragedy?

Iolo
28-08-2010, 01:33 PM
We don't know whether Trotsky ever attempted or conspired to remove Stalin in the days after Lenin's death, but I'm certain he knew well that this would have been his only chance to rise to power, he was no idiot. Stalin simply held the better cards.

No - Trotsky could have taken over quite easily if he'd been prepared to use the army and sink to the level of a Napoleon. He had more self-respect, and more respect for History.

RosaLuxembourg
28-08-2010, 04:41 PM
I'm genuinely interested in your view.

Do you think that those within the fortress had any responsibility for the tragedy?

Yes they do...They completely over played their hand so that it has gone down in history as a rebellion and not a protest.

But they were not agents of Imperialism or whatever else some people like to label them. Its annoying that the same people who are the first to trash the upfront Moscow trials that foreign observers at the time said were all above board are also to first to sling all sorts of slanders against these unfortunate proletarians....But Trots will be trots.

BOZG
28-08-2010, 05:25 PM
Yes they do...They completely over played their hand so that it has gone down in history as a rebellion and not a protest.

But they were not agents of Imperialism or whatever else some people like to label them. Its annoying that the same people who are the first to trash the upfront Moscow trials that foreign observers at the time said were all above board are also to first to sling all sorts of slanders against these unfortunate proletarians....But Trots will be trots.

No genuine Trotskyists has accused the rank-and-file sailors of Kronstadt of being conscious agents of imperialism. They have certainly, and rightly, accused many of the leaders of the rebellion as being agents of imperialism. And there is no doubt that the imperialist armies were keeping a watchful eye on events in Kronstadt hoping to take advantage of any breach in the iron discipline that was necessary to defend the revolution. A successful mutiny in Kronstadt, the most important naval fortress of Petrograd would have most certainly been a breach of that iron discipline, regardless of what the ordinary sailors of the garrisson believed. The clock was ticking, the ice was melting. The Bolsheviks had to make a decision: Allow the Whites to possibly take advantage of the confusion in Kronstadt and give them free run to Petrograd, the heart of the revolution, or take steps to ensure the integrity of Kronstadt at all costs. It wasn't nice but it was necessary. The part must be subordinate to the whole, especially during war, particularly civil war.

As for the slogans, only liberals see slogans in the abstract, removed from their real impact on events. I'm sure in the eyes of the sailors of Kronstadt, they were noble, rational and warranted slogans. But the sailors of Kronstadt were not the revolution. Their interests are subordinate to the defence of the revolution as a whole. It was necessary to look beyond the superficial slogans and demands and assess the class forces and class interests at work.

And for those crying about being "shot like partridges" or rats as I've also seen, I certainly hope I'm not on you side of the barricades in the future. What did you expect the Bolsheviks to do? Invite them over for tea and biscuits. You seem to forget that the Bolsheviks who were sent as negotiators to talk to the sailors were arrested and imprisoned. The ice was melting in Kronstadt and imperialism was waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of, it was necessary to take decisive measures. The Bolsheviks were forced to use force and part of using force is psychological. It is necessary to strike terror into the "enemy". Better to strike fear into their hearts by threats than to shell them into submission. Would you find it more acceptable if they said they were going to pat their back and rub their shoulders?

C. Flower
28-08-2010, 05:35 PM
Yes they do...They completely over played their hand so that it has gone down in history as a rebellion and not a protest.

But they were not agents of Imperialism or whatever else some people like to label them. Its annoying that the same people who are the first to trash the upfront Moscow trials that foreign observers at the time said were all above board are also to first to sling all sorts of slanders against these unfortunate proletarians....But Trots will be trots.

Which accounts of Kronstadt do you consider reliable ?

And which accounts of the Moscow Trials?

TotalMayhem
28-08-2010, 05:48 PM
Well, if you have a quick glance at their demands, do you really believe the Kronstadt Rebellion has been staged by exiled Russian aristocrats, hiring some Ukrainian 'raw peasants' ... with support of the French government? That's nuts.

RosaLuxembourg
28-08-2010, 06:13 PM
Which accounts of Kronstadt do you consider reliable ?

And which accounts of the Moscow Trials?

http://libcom.org/library/kronstadt-21-serge

http://www.marxists.org/archive/serge/1938/04/kronstadt.htm

Victor Serge for all his faults is basically honest.

RosaLuxembourg
28-08-2010, 06:19 PM
And for those crying about being "shot like partridges" or rats as I've also seen, I certainly hope I'm not on you side of the barricades in the future. What did you expect the Bolsheviks to do? Invite them over for tea and biscuits. You seem to forget that the Bolsheviks who were sent as negotiators to talk to the sailors were arrested and imprisoned. The ice was melting in Kronstadt and imperialism was waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of, it was necessary to take decisive measures. The Bolsheviks were forced to use force and part of using force is psychological. It is necessary to strike terror into the "enemy". Better to strike fear into their hearts by threats than to shell them into submission. Would you find it more acceptable if they said they were going to pat their back and rub their shoulders?

Yes. They were not out like the Trotskyites later to bring down the state. And unlike the Trotsky and the Trotskyites later on they were not actually working alongside Imperialists against the USSR.

Iolo
28-08-2010, 06:45 PM
Yes. They were not out like the Trotskyites later to bring down the state. And unlike the Trotsky and the Trotskyites later on they were not actually working alongside Imperialists against the USSR.

Amen, amen, and God save the Czar!

C. Flower
28-08-2010, 07:06 PM
http://libcom.org/library/kronstadt-21-serge

http://www.marxists.org/archive/serge/1938/04/kronstadt.htm

Victor Serge for all his faults is basically honest.

Thanks. I'm reading all the sources people have linked here: it'll take a couple of hours I think.

C. Flower
28-08-2010, 07:10 PM
Amen, amen, and God save the Czar!

Would you have anything to add to my Kronstadt and Moscow Trials reading list ?

TotalMayhem
28-08-2010, 07:33 PM
The Kronstadt Commune (http://www.struggle.ws/russia/mett.html)

and here you'll find some contemporary newspaper articles from Izvestiia of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Sailors, Soldiers and Workers of the town of Kronstadt (http://www.struggle.ws/russia/izvestiia_krons1921.html)

Sam Lord
28-08-2010, 07:35 PM
And which accounts of the Moscow Trials?

With regard to the trials you might find the following book interesting:

The Great Conspiracy. The Secret War Against Soviet Russia

by M. Sayers, A. E. Kahn

http://www.shunpiking.com/books/GC/

Book 3: Russia's Fifth Column covers this period.

I came across it recently while searching online for material relating to Kronstadt. It does not seem to deal with Kronstadt but has a wealth of other information. I would caution you, however, that the writers are not kindly disposed to Monsieur Trotsky and this might affect your digestion ... :):)

Nitrous V12
28-08-2010, 07:40 PM
a happy day!

Sam Lord
28-08-2010, 07:41 PM
The Kronstadt Commune (http://www.struggle.ws/russia/mett.html)

and here you'll find some contemporary newspaper articles from Izvestiia of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Sailors, Soldiers and Workers of the town of Kronstadt (http://www.struggle.ws/russia/izvestiia_krons1921.html)

The anarchist version ... for the record.

Summerday Sands
28-08-2010, 07:47 PM
With regard to the trials you might find the following book interesting:

The Great Conspiracy. The Secret War Against Soviet Russia

by M. Sayers, A. E. Kahn

http://www.shunpiking.com/books/GC/

Book 3: Russia's Fifth Column covers this period.

I came across it recently while searching online for material relating to Kronstadt. It does not seem to deal with Kronstadt but has a wealth of other information. I would caution you, however, that the writers are not kindly disposed to Monsieur Trotsky and this might affect your digestion ... :):)

Have you ever read J.A. Getty? He's regarded as very reliable where the purges are concerned.
Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-1938 Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies: Amazon.co.uk: John Archibald Getty: Books


It's a crime that the charlatan Robert Conquest is still seen as good source. Cold War liar.

BOZG
28-08-2010, 11:13 PM
Yes. They were not out like the Trotskyites later to bring down the state. And unlike the Trotsky and the Trotskyites later on they were not actually working alongside Imperialists against the USSR.

Please tell me more.

BOZG
28-08-2010, 11:15 PM
http://libcom.org/library/kronstadt-21-serge

http://www.marxists.org/archive/serge/1938/04/kronstadt.htm

Victor Serge for all his faults is basically honest.

An important sentence from Victor Serge's article: "Once Kronstadt rebelled, it had to be subdued, no doubt."

RosaLuxembourg
28-08-2010, 11:59 PM
Please tell me more.

Look at the link Sam Lord posted for starters.

C. Flower
29-08-2010, 12:20 AM
I've pulled together all of the links to make them easier to find:

Socialist world on Trotsky Peter Taafe -

http://socialistworld.net/doc/4451

Clive James on Trotsky – mass murderer

http://www.slate.com/id/2163048

Patridge shoot

http://books.google.ie/books?id=g4YncZ8MgRsC&pg=PA476&lpg=PA476&dq=Trotsky+shot+down+like+partridges&source=bl&ots=jS0mbWKSIZ&sig=Ue1IVEz2YFcAbnWl--bULdHQu2Q&hl=en&ei=HuxrTO79Gt6U4ga3wOW3Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CDQQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=Trotsky%20shot%20down%20like%20partridges&f=false

Emma Goldman Trotsky Doth Protest too Much - 1938 -
http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Goldman/Writings/Essays/trotsky.html

http://www.j-grit.com/radicals-emma-goldman-activist-anarchist.php

German account of Kronstadt
http://www.buchfreund.de/productListing.php?used=1&productId=34697308

Izvestia – Kronstadt 1921 – Reports before and during the uprising.
http://www.struggle.ws/russia/mett.html

Leon Trotsky – More on the Suppression of Kronstadt
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/07/kronstadt2.htm

Kronstadt (RL’S link)

http://libcom.org/library/kronstadt-21-serge

Once more – Kronstadt – Victor Serge
http://www.marxists.org/archive/serge/1938/04/kronstadt.htm

The Kronstadt Commune – Ida Mett
http://www.struggle.ws/russia/mett.html

Krondstadt – Third Revolution ?
http://www.mxks.de/files/SU/1989kbUdssrIII.html

A. Kramer and Ted Grant

http://www.marxist.com/History-old/Trotsky_was_right.html

The Kronstadt Revolt (based on early study) - Azarov

http://www.nestormakhno.info/english/azarov-kronstadt.htm

My Life – Trotsky – 1930
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/mylife/index.htm

History of the Russian Revolution – Trotsky
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/hrr/

The Revolution Betrayed - Trotsky – 1936
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1936/revbet/

The Great Conspiracy – the Secret War Against Soviet Russia (Book 3)
http://www.shunpiking.com/books/GC/

J.A. Getty
Origins of the Great Purges
Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-1938 Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies: Amazon.co.uk: John Archibald Getty: Books

Summerday Sands
29-08-2010, 01:03 AM
Lots of stuff dealing with Kronstadt in this thread, very interesting. Has anyone got any other opinions regarding other actions taking by Trotsky?

One that intrigues me was Trotsky's role in the peace treaty with the Germans the in Brest-Litovsk. Lenin & the majority of Russian people wanted an end to the war. Some Bolsheviks, the Left Communists like Bukharin & co wanted to continue the war.

Trotsky who was involved in the peace negotiations advocated a policy of No War/No Peace to me that seems like utter fantasy, keeping Russia in a war whilst hoping that a rising would occur in Germany.

The Bolsheviks had only two options, end the war or fight. I think they did the right thing in ending the war. Any opinions? Was Trotsky's stance right?

TotalMayhem
29-08-2010, 01:24 AM
An important sentence from Victor Serge's article: "Once Kronstadt rebelled, it had to be subdued, no doubt."

Nobody's arguing that. However, nothing can justify the slaughter of more than 2,000 captured survivors in the aftermath.

BOZG
29-08-2010, 01:33 AM
Look at the link Sam Lord posted for starters.

Stalinist rubbish.

Iolo
29-08-2010, 05:33 PM
Would you have anything to add to my Kronstadt and Moscow Trials reading list ?

I'm away from my books. I find Trotsky's own remarks in Hue and Cry Over Kronstadt useful, however, if nobody's already quoted them. This is easily googled.

C. Flower
29-08-2010, 05:45 PM
Winston Churchill, that well known humanitarian and socialist, didn't think highly of him.


Winston Churchill to the Russian ambassador in Britain at the time of the notorious Moscow Trials, which laid the basis for Trotsky’s murder: “I’ve kept an eye on his activities for some time. He’s Russia’s evil genius, and it is a very good thing that Stalin has got even with him.” (from Taafe)

TotalMayhem
29-08-2010, 05:58 PM
I'm away from my books. I find Trotsky's own remarks in Hue and Cry Over Kronstadt useful, however, if nobody's already quoted them. This is easily googled.

Trotsky's own accounts are also easily debunked, as he was lying all the way about his involvement in the events at Kronstadt in Hue and Cry Over Kronstadt. A pathetic attempt to whitewash himself in denial of his responsibility.


I continued to remain in Moscow and took no part, direct or indirect, in the military operations.

He was in St. Petersburg and he issued the ultimatum personally. At the time of the revolt, Trotsky was the People's Commissar for War, i.e. the commander of the Red Army and there he is, telling us, he had 'no part, direct or indirect, in the military operations'. No, Trotsky was there and he certainly was calling the shots.


The decision to suppress the rebellion by military force, if the fortress could not be induced to surrender, first by peace negotiations, then through an ultimatum – this general decision was adopted with my direct participation.

Here's the transcript of the radioed ultimatum:


'The Workers' and Peasants' Government has decided to reassert its authority without delay, both over Kronstadt and over the mutinous battleships, and to put them at the disposal of the Soviet Republic. I therefore order all those who have raised a hand against the Socialist Fatherland, immediately to lay down their weapons. Those who resist will be disarmed and put at the disposal of the Soviet Command. The arrested commissars and other representatives of the Government must be freed immediately. Only those who surrender unconditionally will be able to count on the clemency of the Soviet Republic. I am meanwhile giving orders that everything be prepared to smash the revolt and the rebels by force of arms. The responsibility for the disasters which will effect the civilian population must fall squarely on the heads of the White Guard insurgents.

Signed: Trotsky, President of the Military Revolutionary Council of the Soviet Republic

Not a word of peace negotiations here nor is there any record of such negotiations being held at all.

BOZG
29-08-2010, 08:11 PM
Not a word of peace negotiations here nor is there any record of such negotiations being held at all.

Bolshevik negotiators were sent to Kronstadt. They were arrested.

TotalMayhem
29-08-2010, 08:37 PM
I think not, Trotsky got his mandate, went to Petrograd and immediately issued his ultimatum. He had no intentions for peace negotiation. But that again is not the point (any such negotiation would have been futile and most likely just a waste of time), however, it shows what a hypocritical liar Trotsky was, portraying himself as a peaceful individual, who "stepped aside completely and demonstratively from this affair".

Reminds me of someone else who said, after washing his hands: "I am innocent of the blood".

BOZG
29-08-2010, 08:40 PM
Trotsky's own accounts are also easily debunked, as he was lying all the way about his involvement in the events at Kronstadt in Hue and Cry Over Kronstadt. A pathetic attempt to whitewash himself in denial of his responsibility.



He was in St. Petersburg and he issued the ultimatum personally. At the time of the revolt, Trotsky was the People's Commissar for War, i.e. the commander of the Red Army and there he is, telling us, he had 'no part, direct or indirect, in the military operations'. No, Trotsky was there and he certainly was calling the shots.



Here's the transcript of the radioed ultimatum:



Not a word of peace negotiations here nor is there any record of such negotiations being held at all.

Actually, Trotsky was quite open about the role he played in the decision to suppress Kronstadt. From More on the suppression of Kronstadt: "The decision to suppress the rebellion by military force, if the fortress could not be induced to surrender, first by peace negotiations, then through an ultimatum - this general decision was adopted with my direct participation."

Trotsky never denied that as War Commissar, it was his call. What he denied was that he played a hands on role in the suppression itself or in the subsequent repressions. The Cheka was headed by Dzerzhinsky, not Trotsky.

As for Trotsky being in Petrograd, I'd like to see proof. The Rebellion took place in the middle of the Tenth Party Congress, a significant highlight of which was the Trade Union question debates between Lenin and Trotsky. It's highly unlikely that during such a significant discussion that Trotsky would have left Moscow to go to Petrograd.

TotalMayhem
29-08-2010, 08:43 PM
Not during, but prior to: the 10th Party Congress only started on March 8, Trotsky arrived in Petrograd in the early hours of March 5, the ultimatum was issued in the morning (http://marxistsfr.org/reference/archive/berkman/1922/kronstadt-rebellion/ch5.htm).

And do you really believe for one second that the commander of the armed revolutionary forces would consider a debate over trade unions as his priority when he had to deal elsewhere with an uprising that had the potential to threaten the revolution? Trotsky was not some trade commissar, he was the man in charge of the Red Army.

I believe, even Lenin himself had little time for trade unions with an armed rebellion underway in Kronstadt.

Irish economics
29-08-2010, 09:05 PM
Whatever about his politics Trotsky was a dick.

Diego Rivera took out a mortgage to fortify Trotsky's house and in return T screwed his wife, insulted him and ended their friendship.

This is totally independent of the validity or absurdity of the Trotskyist position.

Its just a comment on the man. He wasnt a sound lad.

C. Flower
29-08-2010, 09:10 PM
Whatever about his politics Trotsky was a dick.

Diego Rivera took out a mortgage to fortify Trotsky's house and in return T screwed his wife, insulted him and ended their friendship.

This is totally independent of the validity or absurdity of the Trotskyist position.

Its just a comment on the man. He wasnt a sound lad.

Hmm. I've read more about/by Kahlo than Rivera. From that it seems that Diego Rivera played around long before. And Diego Rivera connived with the man who murdered Trotsky - a political crime, not a crime passionel.

BOZG
29-08-2010, 09:12 PM
Not during, but prior to: the 10th Party Congress only started on March 8, Trotsky arrived an Petrograd in the late hours of March 5, the ultimatum was issued the very next morning.

And do you really believe for one second that the commander of the armed revolutionary forces would consider a debate over trade unions as his priority when he had to deal elsewhere with an uprising that had the potential to threaten the revolution? Trotsky was not some trade commissar, he was the man in charge of the Red Army.

I believe, even Lenin himself had little time for trade unions with an armed rebellion underway in Kronstadt.

The debate over Trade Unions wasn't a trivial discussion. It was entirely linked to the future path of the revolution and to War Communism. This was also the same Congress during which the NEP was proposed.

I'm waiting to see proof that Trotsky was there on March 5. Even if he was, the suppression didn't take place until March 15 so I fail to see how he could play a direct role in a suppression that didn't take place for another 10 days.

Well, that's the thing. Notwithstanding the importance of Kronstadt to the defence of Petrograd and the revolution itself, it was actually a relatively minor affair. There was no need for the head of the Red Army to personally play a role in commanding the suppression of Kronstadt. There were capable Commanders in the Red Army. Many more sizeable fronts and battles were fought without Trotsky's direct participation.

Irish economics
29-08-2010, 09:21 PM
Hmm. I've read more about/by Kahlo than Rivera. From that it seems that Diego Rivera played around long before. And Diego Rivera connived with the man who murdered Trotsky - a political crime, not a crime passionel.

Are you saying DR may have facilitated the hit on Trotsky?

TotalMayhem
29-08-2010, 09:21 PM
There were capable Commanders in the Red Army.

The first assault ended in a bloody fiasco, so much for them being capable. And the decisive second assault took place long after the Party Congress was over.

Face it, Trotsky was the Big Cheese on site (http://marxistsfr.org/reference/archive/berkman/1922/kronstadt-rebellion/ch5.htm) and his claim that he, the Commissar in charge of the Red Army, had stepped aside completely and demonstratively from this affair is utterly ridiculous.

This would be like Donald Rumsfeld saying: "We adopted the general decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power - first by peaceful negotiations, then by ultimatum - with my direct participation. But after the decision was taken I stepped aside completely and demonstratively from this affair". Sounds quite idiotic, wouldn't you think?

The only two high-ranking officials who weren't at the scene were Lenin and Stalin, the list of names who were in Petrograd at the time reads like a "Who's who" of the early USSR: Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Dzershinsky ... Party Congress or no Party Congress, these guys didn't give a **** about a significant debate over trade unions, and rightly so, they had a much bigger problem at hand.

C. Flower
29-08-2010, 09:36 PM
The first assault ended in a bloody fiasco, so much for them being capable. And the decisive second assault took place long after the Party Congress was over.

Face it, Trotsky was the Big Cheese on site (http://marxistsfr.org/reference/archive/berkman/1922/kronstadt-rebellion/ch5.htm) and his claim that he, the Commissar in charge of the Red Army, had stepped aside completely and demonstratively from this affair is utterly ridiculous.

This would be like Donald Rumsfeld saying: "We adopted the general decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, first by peaceful negotiations, then by ultimatum. After this I stepped aside completely and demonstratively from this affair". Sounds quite idiotic, wouldn't you think?

The only two high-ranking officials who weren't at the scene were Lenin and Stalin, the list of names who were in Petrograd at the time reads like a "Who's who" of the early USSR: Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Dzershinsky ... Party Congress or no Party Congress, these guys didn't give a **** about a significant debate over trade unions, and rightly so, they had a much bigger problem at hand.

I quoted Trotsky somewhere near the beginning of this thread taking full responsibility for Kronstadt.

I think this aspect of his life has been done to death on this thread and is impeding genuine discussion.

C. Flower
29-08-2010, 09:39 PM
Are you saying DR may have facilitated the hit on Trotsky?

Having scouted around what's been written about this, I haven't found the article that persuaded me this was the case and until I do, I'll find him "not guilty".

What I did find though was plenty of substantiation that he was "an implacable philanderer" and in no position to complain about Frida Kahlo's short affair with Trotsky.

http://www.marxist.com/frida-kahlo-tate071005.htm

BOZG
29-08-2010, 09:41 PM
And what is Berkman's source? I'm sorry, a single claim without proof isn't a source. Zinoviev was responsible for Petrograd, Dzerzhinksy for the Cheka. Stands to reason that they would be there. Over 300 delegates were involved in the suppression so it's not suprising that some big names were there.. That doesn't subtract from the importance of the debate, in which the two leaders of each side were Lenin and Trotsky.

And you still haven't contradicted any of Trotsky's claims. He said that he was partial to the decision for the suppression. He has never denied it. What he did deny was that he played a hands on role in the suppression or in the following repressions.

BOZG
29-08-2010, 09:43 PM
What I did find though was plenty of substantiation that he was "an implacable philanderer" and in no position to complain about Frida Kahlo's short affair with Trotsky.

http://www.marxist.com/frida-kahlo-tate071005.htm

And more importantly, who gives a ****? What two consenting people do is, with the exception of their partners, no one else's business!

TotalMayhem
29-08-2010, 09:57 PM
I quoted Trotsky somewhere near the beginning of this thread taking full responsibility for Kronstadt.

Oh, he's taking full responsibility for the decision to suppress the revolt, not arguing that, they'd be funny revolutionaries if they hadn't smashed the revolt. But claiming that he (in his position as Chairman of Revolutionary Military Soviet) had nothing to do with the orders given, the military execution or the ultimatum issued is plain absurd.

And even it his claims were true, the atrocities were committed on his watch, why didn't he have those responsible court-martialed? He even denies knowledge of any unnecessary deaths.

C. Flower
29-08-2010, 10:09 PM
Oh, he's taking full responsibility for the decision to suppress the revolt, not arguing that, they'd be funny revolutionaries if they hadn't smashed the revolt. But claiming that he (in his position as Chairman of Revolutionary Military Soviet) had nothing to do with the orders given, the military execution or the ultimatum issued is plain absurd.

And even it his claims were true, the atrocities were committed on his watch, why didn't he have those responsible court-martialed? He even denies knowledge of any unnecessary deaths.

I read on one of these linked sources an allegation that captured sailors were still being executed three months later.

The situation was severe, it wasn't a tea party. Russia was near starvation and was in civil war conditions. Terrible things are done when people are fighting life and death battles.

TotalMayhem
29-08-2010, 10:54 PM
Terrible things are done when people are fighting life and death battles.

Quite so, but saying "I have stepped aside completely and demonstratively from this affair" is incredible and pathetic. As the Commander in charge of the military you cannot just simply step aside.

OT: Speaking of double standards ... You're defending Trotsky as if he is in no way to blame for what happened in Kronstadt, yet he had issued the ultimatum, he had unleashed his troops, he had the revolt smashed and nobody was ever held responsible for what happened on his watch because the big honcho had conveniently stepped aside. On the other hand you cry blue murder when photos of soldiers - quite happy having survived such a life and death battle - with their captured enemies (not slaughtered, not mutilated, mind you, just captured) emerge.

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 02:00 PM
Not during, but prior to: the 10th Party Congress only started on March 8, Trotsky arrived in Petrograd in the early hours of March 5, the ultimatum was issued in the morning (http://marxistsfr.org/reference/archive/berkman/1922/kronstadt-rebellion/ch5.htm).

And do you really believe for one second that the commander of the armed revolutionary forces would consider a debate over trade unions as his priority when he had to deal elsewhere with an uprising that had the potential to threaten the revolution? Trotsky was not some trade commissar, he was the man in charge of the Red Army.

I believe, even Lenin himself had little time for trade unions with an armed rebellion underway in Kronstadt.

Here's the whole of what Trotsky, writing in 1938, in Mexico, said. Talk to him about it.



IN MY RECENT ARTICLE on Kronstadt I tried to pose the question on a political plane. But many are interested in the problem of personal “responsibility”. Souvarine, who from a sluggish Marxist became an exalted sycophant, asserts in his book on Stalin that in my autobiography I kept consciously silent on the Kronstadt rebellion; there are exploits – he says ironically – of which one does not boast. Ciliga in his book In the Country of the Big Lie recounts that in the suppression of Kronstadt “more than ten thousand seamen” were shot by me (I doubt whether the whole Baltic fleet at that time had that many). Other critics express themselves in this manner: yes, objectively the rebellion had a counter-revolutionary character but why did Trotsky use such merciless repressions in the pacification (and – ?) subsequently?

I have never touched on this question. Not because I had anything to conceal but, on the contrary, precisely because I had nothing to say. The truth of the matter is that I personally did not participate in the least in the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion, nor in the repressions following the suppression. In my eyes this very fact is of no political significance. I was a member of the government, I considered the quelling of the rebellion necessary and therefore bear responsibility for the suppression. Only within these limits have I replied to criticism up to now. But when moralists begin to annoy me personally, accusing me of exceeding cruelty not called forth by circumstance, I consider that I have a right to say: “Messrs, moralists, you are lying a bit.”

The rebellion broke out during my stay in the Urals. From the Urals I came directly to Moscow for the 10th Congress of the party. The decision to suppress the rebellion by military force, if the fortress could not be induced to surrender, first by peace negotiations, then through an ultimatum – this general decision was adopted with my direct participation. But after the decision was taken, I continued to remain in Moscow and took no part, direct or indirect, in the military operations. Concerning the subsequent repressions, they were completely the affair of the Cheka.

How did it happen that I did not go personally to Kronstadt? The reason was of a political nature. The rebellion broke out during the discussion on the so-called “trade union” question. The political work in Kronstadt was wholly in the hands of the Petrograd committee, at the head of which stood Zinoviev. The same Zinoviev was the chief, most untiring and passionate leader in the struggle against me in the discussion. Before my departure for the Urals I was in Petrograd and spoke at a meeting of seamen-communists. The general spirit of the meeting made an extremely unfavorable impression upon me. Dandified and well-fed sailors, communists in name only, produced the impression of parasites in comparison with the workers and Red Army men of that time. On the part of the Petrograd committee the campaign was carried on in an extremely demagogic manner. The commanding personnel of the fleet was isolated and terrified. Zinoviev’s resolution received, probably, 90% of the votes. I recall having said to Zinoviev on this occasion: “Everything is very good here, until it becomes very bad.”

Subsequent to this Zinoviev was with me in the Urals where he received an urgent message that in Kronstadt things were getting “very bad”. The overwhelming majority of the sailor “communists” who supported Zinoviev’s resolution took part in the rebellion. I considered, and the Political Bureau made no objections, that negotiations with the sailors, and in case of necessity, their pacification, should be placed with those leaders who only yesterday enjoyed the political confidence of these sailors. Otherwise, the Kronstadters would consider the matter as though I had come to take “revenge” upon them for their voting against me during the party discussion.

Whether correct or not, in any case it was precisely these considerations which determined my attitude. I stepped aside completely and demonstratively from this affair. Concerning the repressions, as far as I remember, Dzerzhinsky had personal charge of them and Dzerzhinsky could not tolerate anyone’s interference with his functions (and properly so).

Whether there were any needless victims I do not know. On this score I trust Dzerzhinsky more than his belated critics. For lack of data I cannot undertake to decide now, a posteriori, who should have been punished and how. Victor Serge’s conclusions on this score – from third hand – have no value in my eyes. But I am ready to recognize that civil war is no school of humanism. Idealists and pacifists always accused the revolution of “excesses”. But the main point is that “excesses” flow from the very nature of revolution which in itself is but an “excess” of history. Whoever so desires may on this basis reject (in little articles) revolution in general. I do not reject it. In this sense I carry full and complete responsibility for the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion.

Aspro
30-08-2010, 02:28 PM
I believe the key issue here is that Kronstadt is blown out of all proportion and deliberately not understood realistically in the context of a revolution and civil war. The ideological enemies of marxism try to draw a disingenuous line between the actions of the Bolsheviks in the suppression of a counter-revolutionary rebellion to defend the interests of the mass of the Russian working class in the thick of a civil war - and the crimes committed by the Stalinist dictatorship in defence of an elite bureaucracy and their stranglehold on democracy. There is no parallel. There is no equivalence. It is intellectual dishonesty to argue otherwise. If Trotsky was just another murderous dictator-in-waiting who lost out to Stalin's manoeuvres, why did he not just grasp power when he had ample opportunities?

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 02:43 PM
I believe the key issue here is that Kronstadt is blown out of all proportion and deliberately not understood realistically in the context of a revolution and civil war. The ideological enemies of marxism try to draw a disingenuous line between the actions of the Bolsheviks in the suppression of a counter-revolutionary rebellion to defend the interests of the mass of the Russian working class in the thick of a civil war - and the crimes committed by the Stalinist dictatorship in defence of an elite bureaucracy and their stranglehold on democracy. There is no parallel. There is no equivalence. It is intellectual dishonesty to argue otherwise. If Trotsky was just another murderous dictator-in-waiting who lost out to Stalin's manoeuvres, why did he not just grasp power when he had ample opportunities?

I think that's got some truth in it, but I also think that Kronstadt is important because it was an out and out attack on the Bolshevik Party, and on the idea and practice of a revolutionary party operating through democratic centralism.
It's hardly accidental that the Kronstadt demands were focused from displacing the Bolsheviks from representative bodies and "depoliticising" (as though such a thing were possible) the army.

Trotsky doesn't exactly celebrate the reprisals after Kronstadt. The situation was desperate and I think there is a tendency not to appreciate the extent to which Soviet Russia after years of war and then revolution was starving and fighting for survival.

http://www.kolchak.org/history/Siberia/russian_intervention.htm

TotalMayhem
30-08-2010, 03:09 PM
I believe the key issue here is that Kronstadt is blown out of all proportion and deliberately not understood realistically in the context of a revolution and civil war.

I absolutely agree, however, there is that massacre of 2,000 captured sailors, which goes beyond 'suppressing a revolt'. That is the blood in Trotsky's hands. It makes his later criticism of Stalin quite hypocritical. There's not a hint of regret, only denial (not being aware of any 'needless victims') and lies ("I did not go personally to Kronstadt." True, since Kronstadt was in the hand of the rebels it would have been a stupid thing to do, but he did not remain in Moscow and went to Petrograd) and dodging responsibility (by 'stepping aside from the affair', just like that. As the Commissar and Commander in charge of the Red Army? Give me a break) ... all the typical signs of a coward and weak character.

And yes, Stalin certainly was no match for Trotsky's intellect but Stalin was 'street smart'. Trotsky was hoping that Lenin would endorse him over Stalin as his successor, he didn't foresee that Lenin rather have neither of them following him as leader and then Trotsky was banking on the wrong people for support (i.e. fellow Jews Kamenev and Zinoviev who rather sided with Stalin when they had to choose) and that sealed his fate regarding 'grasp power when he had ample opportunities'.

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 03:16 PM
I absolutely agree, however, there is that massacre of 2,000 sailors, which goes beyond 'suppressing a revolt'. That is the blood in Trotsky's hands. It makes his later criticism of Stalin quite hypocritical. There's not a hint of regret, only denial (not being aware of any 'needless victims') and lies ("I did not go personally to Kronstadt." True, since Kronstadt was in the hand of the rebels it would have been a stupid thing to do, but he did not remain in Moscow and went to Petrograd) and dodging responsibility (by 'stepping aside from the affair', just like that. As the Commissar and Commander in charge of the Red Army? Give me a break) ... all the typical signs of a coward and weak character.

And yes, Stalin certainly was no match for Trotsky's intellect but Stalin was 'street smart'. Trotsky was hoping that Lenin would endorse him over Stalin as his successor, he didn't foresee that Lenin rather have neither of them following him as leader and then Trotsky was banking on the wrong people for support (i.e. fellow Jews Kamenev and Zinoviev who rather sided with Stalin when they had to choose) and that sealed his fate regarding 'grasp power when he had ample opportunities'.

This reduction of the whole thing into politicking techniques and personalities is really trivialising.

Russia was a very backward primarily agricultural society, trashed by war and economically strangled by hostile states around it. Stalin found the lowest common denominator, politically, for maintaining some form of a workers state in these conditions. It proved, eventually, unsustainable and has left pretty well everything still to do.

TotalMayhem
30-08-2010, 03:30 PM
This reduction of the whole thing into ... personalities is really trivialising.

If i may remind you, this thread started out as an appraisal of Trotsky, the 'great revolutionary'.

Well, I beg to differ. In my opinion, the guy was a spineless, opportunistic [email protected] and the well-being of the workers and peasants certainly was not a matter 'near and dear' to his heart (if he had one at all). Trotsky is being glorified by those who believe Socialism is the best thing since sliced bread and it was only Stalin who screwed it all up.

Aspro
30-08-2010, 03:55 PM
No Stalin was just the manifestation of everything that screwed it all up. It was the objective situation, the class forces involved, the isolation of Russia. If you can only understand history by the actions of individual players themselves, out of context, you will not understand very much at all.
As for Trotsky being "spineless" - despite every sacrifice made in his life, despite the imprisonment and torture of his family, friends and comrades, he still battled steadfastly to build the Left Opposition worldwide, which path eventually led to his murder. Not the life and actions of a spineless opportunist by most people's reckoning!

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 03:59 PM
If i may remind you, this thread started out as an appraisal of Trotsky, the 'great revolutionary'.

Well, I beg to differ. In my opinion, the guy was a spineless, opportunistic [email protected] and the well-being of the workers and peasants certainly was not a matter 'near and dear' to his heart (if he had one at all). Trotsky is being glorified by those who believe Socialism is the best thing since sliced bread and it was only Stalin who screwed it all up.

Yes, I agree with you, it would be far too easy an option to say that Stalin was a bad man, Trotsky a good one, and that if only Stalin had not played dirty we would have had a Socialist utopia today. Making an icon out of Stalin, Trotsky or Marx isn't any more constructive than making one out of Thatcher or Milton Friedman: it's a semi-religious outlook.

But I don't see that that's what people on this thread have said, so it's a bit of a straw man.

Reduction of history to the personalities of individuals explains nothing, and probably gets the personalities wrong too.

Having said that, whatever else he was, or wasn't, Trotsky was a hands on and effective military leader and redoubtable political opponent and calling him "spineless" way off the mark - more evidence of your dislike of what he stood for politically - Socialism - than of his character.

I don't disagree with having a thread that celebrates an individual historic figure, but that shouldn't mean that he or she is interpreted as some kind of puppet master of events, yanking the strings in accordance with their mood on any particular day.

TotalMayhem
30-08-2010, 04:05 PM
Then how come that anyone sentenced in the Moscow show trials, except Comrade Trotsky, had their sentences posthumously overturned and their names cleared after Stalin's death?

And no, this is not about the dislike of Socialism, it's about the dislike of the glorification of Trotsky.

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 04:06 PM
Then how come that anyone sentenced in the Moscow show trials, except Comrade Trotsky, had their sentences posthumously overturned and their names cleared after Stalin's death?

What's your theory ?

TotalMayhem
30-08-2010, 04:10 PM
I have no theory, it's just a fact that stands out.

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 04:17 PM
I have no theory, it's just a fact that stands out.

It certainly does. Perhaps its got something to do with the fact that there was no Zinovievist movement recruiting in competition with Stalinism. ;)

Aspro
30-08-2010, 04:30 PM
Here's my theory. Trotsky was still the embodiment of an ideological political threat to Russia's ruling stratum in 1988 as 1938. It was not in Gorbachev's interest to encourage any renewed interest in an historical figure of his magnitude. The collapse of the Soviet Union and former Eastern bloc was precipitated by the demands of the populus for democracy, not for capitalism. A democratic revolution to remove the bureaucracy whilst maintaining the planned economy was what Trotsky fought for all the years up to his death. It makes perfect sense to ignore or vilify your most potent adversary from a position of power.

Iolo
30-08-2010, 05:07 PM
If we're getting into embodiments, Trotsky was the embodiment of the Revolution, and still is, whatever mistakes he made in going along with the crappy non-proletarian regime that imposed state capitalism. Everyone but revolutionaries will be trained to hate him, as in old Orwell's nonsense, and you can get a very clear sense of people's real political position by their response to this symbolic figure. Bit like a litmus paper really.

TotalMayhem
30-08-2010, 05:26 PM
No, the embodiment of the Revolution was and still is Lenin.

And neither do I hate Trotsky nor am I 'trained' to do so, the man and his contribution to the to the revolution is rather insignificant. I just do not hold a very high opinion of him. He was a useful and quite intelligent apparatchik with no views of his own, nothing more and certainly no a leader. Lenin was very aware much of that.

And Stalin didn't consider Trotsky a threat, as far as Stalin was concerned, Trotsky's whinging in exile was to no avail in terms of sparking a counter revolution. No, this was personal. Trotsky was sentenced to death (in absentia) and still breathing, Stalin just couldn't have that but thanks to his 'No man, no problem' philosophy, Trotsky is highly overrated to this day.

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 05:37 PM
No, the embodiment of the Revolution was and still is Lenin.

And neither do I hate Trotsky nor am I 'trained' to do so, the man and his contribution to the to the revolution is rather insignificant. I just do not hold a very high opinion of him. He was a useful and quite intelligent apparatchik with no views of his own, nothing more and certainly no a leader. Lenin was very aware much of that.

And Stalin didn't consider Trotsky a threat, as far as Stalin was concerned, Trotsky's whinging in exile was to no avail in terms of sparking a counter revolution. No, this was personal. Trotsky was sentenced to death (in absentia) and still breathing, Stalin just couldn't have that but thanks to his 'No man, no problem' philosophy, Trotsky is highly overrated to this day.

I don't really hold with this "embodiment of" thing, although I get what people mean. Some people are taken as symbol of something bigger than themselves. It doesn't change who they are.

It's way too late to be saying you don't hate Trotsky, the evidence is on the thread.

The rest of your post is just silly.

BOZG
30-08-2010, 05:48 PM
And neither do I hate Trotsky nor am I 'trained' to do so, the man and his contribution to the to the revolution is rather insignificant. I just do not hold a very high opinion of him. He was a useful and quite intelligent apparatchik with no views of his own, nothing more and certainly no a leader. Lenin was very aware much of that.


Remarkable how he was more farsighted than Lenin when he argued for the Permanent Revolution considering that he had no ideas of his own.

TotalMayhem
30-08-2010, 06:35 PM
The rest of your post is just silly.

What's so silly about it? Do you really believe, Trotsky was a threat to Stalin's reign? That Trotsky had a remote chance to overthrow Stalin from exile? C'mon, the assassination was a personal vendetta and nothing else.


Remarkable how he was more farsighted than Lenin when he argued for the Permanent Revolution considering that he had no ideas of his own.

Farsighted? Yeah right. People fight their wars, have their revolution and then go home, get on with their lives and do something useful. And Lenin knew that. FYI, the theory of a Permanent Revolution was certainly not Trotsky's idea.

Only jokers like Trotsky need their "Permanent Revolution" to justify their existence. Reminds me of Eamon Ryan who is permanently 'sending signals' to 'educate the people'. Same freaky mindset.

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 06:41 PM
Farsighted? Yeah right. People fight their wars, have their revolution and then go home, get on with their lives and do something useful. And Lenin knew that.

Only jokers like Trotsky need their "Permanent Revolution" to justify their existence. Reminds me of Eamon Ryan who is permanently 'sending signals' to 'educate the people'. Same freaky mindset.

Why not familiarise yourself with what the term "Permanent Revolution" means before commenting on it ?

TotalMayhem
30-08-2010, 06:47 PM
Why not just leave it at that? No point in debating Trotsky's shortcomings with Trotskyites.

I made my point, if you have a different opinion, fine. But please do accept that there are others who don't share your beliefs.

Summerday Sands
30-08-2010, 06:59 PM
I don't really hold with this "embodiment of" thing, although I get what people mean. Some people are taken as symbol of something bigger than themselves. It doesn't change who they are.

It's way too late to be saying you don't hate Trotsky, the evidence is on the thread.

The rest of your post is just silly.

Yes I agree & people tend to forget about the leaders of the earlier February Revolution, the ordinary workers. There are some great pictures in Rex A. Wades Russian Revolution of ordinary men & women organizing protests, demonstrations & leading the workers. Nameless people who faded into history.

If anyone embodies the revolution then surely they do.

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 07:02 PM
Why not just leave it at that? No point in debating Trotsky's shortcomings with Trotskyites.

I made my point, if you have a different opinion, fine. But please do accept that there are others who don't share your beliefs.

Nothing to do with beliefs and opinions. It's a matter of fact. I only read up what the Theory of Permanent Revolution is about two days ago. It took ten minutes and it wouldn't hurt you to read it before you dismiss it.

TotalMayhem
30-08-2010, 07:07 PM
I've read Marx and Engels ad nauseam (blame it on my upbringing) and i do not agree (but that's not the topic of this thread either). And it certainly wasn't the Great Theoretician Leon Trotsky who came up with that glorious idea.

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 07:12 PM
I've read Marx and Engels ad nauseam (blame it on my upbringing) and i do not agree (but that's not the topic of this thread either). And it certain wasn't the Great Theoretician Leon Trotsky who came up with that glorious idea.

What don't you agree with?

Which idea?

TotalMayhem
30-08-2010, 07:20 PM
What don't you agree with?

Anything Marx and Engels.


Which idea?

The theory of a Permanent Revolution was not Trotzky's idea, as claimed before.

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 07:30 PM
Anything Marx and Engels.


The theory of a Permanent Revolution was not Trotzky's idea, as claimed before.


Who's idea was it ? Where was it first published ?

TotalMayhem
30-08-2010, 07:40 PM
Who's idea was it ?

Marx and Engels coined the term in 1844 in their book 'Die Heilige Familie"


Where was it first published ?

In Frankfurt am Main by Literarische Anstalt (J. Ruetten).

C. Flower
30-08-2010, 07:51 PM
You are very smart, TotalMayhem :)

They did "coin the term" but they didn't develop the theory. The Wikipedia entry is nice and clear.



Summary, and the relation of Marx's theory to Trotsky's
Marx and Engels advocated 'permanent revolution' as the proletarian strategy of maintaining organisational independence along class lines, and a consistently militant series of political demands and tactics. It will be noted that at no stage does Marx make the central claim with which Trotsky's conception (see below) of 'permanent revolution' is concerned - i.e. that it is possible for a country to pass directly from the dominance of the semi-feudal aristocrats, who held political power in Russia in the early part of the 19th Century, to the dominance of the working class, without an interceding period of dominance by the bourgeois. On the contrary, Marx's statements in his March 1850 Address explicitly contradict such a view, assuming a 'period of petty-bourgeois predominance over the classes which have been overthrown and over the proletariat'[15].
Marx and Engels do claim, as does Trotsky, that socialism is impossible in one country, but they also say that 'in all probability, the proletarian revolution will transform existing society gradually and will be able to abolish private property only when the means of production are available in sufficient quantity' (Engels' The Principles of Communism, Sections 17 and 19 [16]). The Communist Manifesto alludes to Marx's view that the dominance of the bourgeoisie is a necessary prelude to that of the proletariat: 'the bourgeoisie therefore produces ... its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable' [17]. In this sense, Trotsky's version of the theory represents both a development and (in some ways) a contradiction of the expressed opinions of Marx and Engels.
Some would argue however that Marx and Engels began exploring the ideas Trotsky would later develop in the preface to the 1882 Russian Edition of The Communist Manifesto: "Now the question is: can the Russian obshchina, though greatly undermined, yet a form of primeval common ownership of land, pass directly to the higher form of Communist common ownership? Or, on the contrary, must it first pass through the same process of dissolution such as constitutes the historical evolution of the West? The only answer to that possible today is this: If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development." [18]


[edit]'Permanent revolution' according to Trotsky


An edition of The Permanent Revolution, published by Socialist Resistance
Trotsky's conception of Permanent Revolution is based on his understanding, drawing on the work of fellow Russian Alexander Parvus, that in 'backward' countries the tasks of the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution could not be achieved by the bourgeoisie itself. This conception was first developed in the essays later collected in his book 1905 and in his essay Results and Prospects, and later developed in his 1929 book, The Permanent Revolution.
The basic idea of Trotsky's theory [19] is that in Russia the bourgeoisie would not carry out a thorough revolution which would institute political democracy and solve the land question. These measures were assumed to be essential to develop Russia economically. Therefore it was argued the future revolution must be led by the proletariat who would not only carry through the tasks of the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution but would commence a struggle to surpass the bourgeois democratic revolution.
How far the proletariat would be able to travel upon that road would depend upon the further course of events and not upon the designation of the revolution as "Bourgeois Democratic". In this sense the revolution would be made permanent. Trotsky believed that a new workers' state would not be able to hold out against the pressures of a hostile capitalist world unless socialist revolutions quickly took hold in other countries as well. This theory was advanced in opposition to the position held by the Stalinist faction within the Bolshevik Party that "socialism in one country" could be built in the Soviet Union.
Trotsky's theory was developed as an alternative to the Social Democratic theory that undeveloped countries must pass through two distinct revolutions. First the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution, which socialists would assist, and at a later stage, the Socialist Revolution with an evolutionary period of capitalist development separating those stages. This is often referred to as the Theory of Stages, the Two Stage Theory or Stagism.

TotalMayhem
30-08-2010, 08:41 PM
May that as it be, to me it is all a hoax.

I don't believe in State as we know it, I only meet it when it comes after me like a drunk father returning from a binge, looking to beat me up. What problems are there that cannot be resolved by small communities, except a war. But that's really drifting off topic now.

Iolo
31-08-2010, 01:02 PM
No, the embodiment of the Revolution was and still is Lenin.


Without Lenin I think we can be sure the bourgeois Revolution would not have led to a successful proletarian take-over, certainly, but for most people Trotsky 'stands for' the Revolution in a quite different way, almost irrespective of his personal character in that he went on fighting capitalism both in the USSR and outside it after Lenin's death. It is because he stands for the sense that 'la lutta continua' that he has this symbolic role - and I agree with CF in being suspicious of such 'embodiments'. But see Che Guevara: the popular culture takes up such symbols, and they therefore carry some sort of weight. Anyone who hates - and you DO you know - Trotsky is a reactionary of some sort, play it how you will.

antiestablishmentarian
31-08-2010, 03:27 PM
May that as it be, to me it is all a hoax.

I don't believe in State as we know it, I only meet it when it comes after me like a drunk father returning from a binge, looking to beat me up. What problems are there that cannot be resolved by small communities, except a war. But that's really drifting off topic now.

Then why bother commenting on theories you neither understand or care about?

Iolo
31-08-2010, 03:40 PM
May that as it be, to me it is all a hoax.

I don't believe in State as we know it, I only meet it when it comes after me like a drunk father returning from a binge, looking to beat me up. What problems are there that cannot be resolved by small communities, except a war. But that's really drifting off topic now.

Well, Trotsky understood all that stuff. Since you have no theory of how to destroy the bourgeois state, and since that state will destroy your small communities much more effectively than any wicked working class majority, you are supporting the current stinking system by peddling illusions. My main present anarchist mate is indistinguishable from a liberal - and we know what THEY are doing over here, don't we? You're a sort of Quaker - as long as YOU don't theoretically support evil, you can, so to speak, take your dividends. Come off it!

TotalMayhem
31-08-2010, 03:44 PM
Then why bother commenting on theories you neither understand or care about?

Don't play me for an eejit, just because i reject Marx' and Engels' theories as wrong and not applicable, it doesn't mean i don't understand them.

And I do care when folks like yourself want to peddle them as the Ultima Ratio.


Well, Trotsky understood all that stuff. Since you have no theory of how to destroy the bourgeois state, and since that state will destroy your small communities much more effectively than any wicked working class majority, you are supporting the current stinking system by peddling illusions. My main present anarchist mate is indistinguishable from a liberal - and we know what THEY are doing over here, don't we? You're a sort of Quaker - as long as YOU don't theoretically support evil, you can, so to speak, take your dividends. Come off it!

I don't want to have it replaced by a Bolshevik state either, big difference. And not supporting any stinking system, my friend.

Iolo
31-08-2010, 05:15 PM
I don't want to have it replaced by a Bolshevik state either, big difference. And not supporting any stinking system, my friend.

Just striking attitudes then? In this real world we are faced with choices, as the Ukrainian and Spanish anarchists knew. Living in fear of a Bolshevik State are you, while you attack Trotsky's memory? Seems a pretty safe play from here, matey, though not a particularly admirable one.

C. Flower
17-03-2015, 07:31 PM
There was discussion a while back on what Trotskyists did and didn't do in World War 2.

At the time I couldn't locate this statement by Trotsky, one of his last pieces of writing, in which he said that every party cadre should join up, should not avoid the draft. His reasons were given here in terms of staying with the working class, who were going to war, the most radicalising of all situations.



https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1940/08/american.htm
QUESTION I: What should be the role of a draftable revolutionist in the United States now?

(a) Should he try to avoid the draft?(b) To what extent should the party try to conserve its cadres?(c) Should the party concentrate most of its strength in the military or industrial sections of the country?(d) What are the alternative roles of a woman revolutionist in this war?

TROTSKY: If he is draftable, then let him be drafted. I don’t think he should try to avoid the draft he must go with his generation and participate in its life. Should the party try to conserve its cadres by saving them from the army? This means conserving them in a very bad sense. When the best part of the population is mobilized, then our cadres must be among them.Should the party concentrate most of its strength in the military or industrial organizations? This depends upon the size of the militarization and mobilization. If the greater part of the population is militarized then the greater part of our party would also be in the army.About the women – inasmuch as the women will replace men in many branches of industry and social work, our comrades will also play the role of their generation.We should understand that the life of this society, politics, everything, will be based upon war, therefore the revolutionary program must also be based on war. We cannot oppose the fact of the war with wishful thinking; with pious pacifism. We must place ourselves upon the arena created by this society. The arena is terrible – it is war – but inasmuch as we are weak and incapable of taking the fate of society into our hands; inasmuch as the ruling class is strong enough to impose upon us this war, we are obliged to accept this basis for our activity.

“Program For Peace” Is Not Serious

I read a short report of a discussion that Shachtman had with a professor in Michigan, and Shachtman formulated this idea: “Let us have a program for peace, not war; for the masses, not for murder,” etc. What does this mean? If we do not have peace, we cannot have a program for peace. If we have war, we must have a program for war, and the bourgeoisie cannot help but organize the war. Neither Roosevelt nor Willkie are free to decide; they must prepare the war, and when they have prepared it they will conduct it. They will say they cannot do otherwise, because of the danger from Hitler, etc., of the danger from Japan, etc. There is only one way of avoiding the war – that is the overthrow of this society. However, as we are too weak for this task, the war is inevitable.

The question then, for us, is not the same as in the bourgeois salon – “let us write an article on peace, etc.”, which is suitable for publications like The Nation. Our people must consider it seriously; we must say: the war is inevitable, so let us have an organized workers’ program for the war. The draft of the youth is a part of the war and becomes part of our program.It is questionable whether the United States will send an expeditionary force at this time. I have the impression that they are not disposed to send an army to Europe or anywhere else for a couple of years, because you cannot create such an army over-night in a country where you do not have a military tradition, as, for instance, in Germany, where for centuries they have had a tradition of Prussian militarism.Now the capitalists wish to create this tremendous army of millions, to create officers, to create a new military spirit, and they have begun with full success to change the public opinion of the nation toward militarism. At the time that Roosevelt made his campaign speech, there was an outburst of public opinion for isolationism, but now all this sentiment belongs to the past – to the childhood of the nation – in spite of the fact that it took place only a few months ago.Now the national feeling is for a tremendous army, navy and air force. This is the psychological atmosphere for the creation of a military machine, and you will see it become stronger and stronger every day and every week. You will have military schools, etc., and a Prussianization of the United States will take place. The sons of the bourgeois families will became imbued with Prussian feelings and ideals, and their parents will be proud that their sons look like Prussian lieutenants. To some extent this will be also true of the workers.

Separating the Workers from the Bosses

That is why we must try to separate the workers from the others by a program of education, of workers’ schools, of workers’ officers, devoted to the welfare of the worker army, etc. We cannot escape from the militarization but inside the machine we can observe the class line. The American workers do not want to be conquered by Hitler, and to those who say “Let us have a peace program”, the worker will reply, “But Hitler does not want a peace program.” Therefore we say: We will defend the United States with a workers’ army, with workers’ officers, with a workers’ government, etc. If we are not pacifists, who wait for a better future, and if we are active revolutionists, our job is to penetrate into the whole military machine. Of course, out of this army, tomorrow they might select a corps to send to some battlefield, and no doubt this corps will be annihilated, but war is a risky business and we cannot invent any medicine against these risks.Of course the party can make certain exceptions of those men who are necessary for a certain job, but this concerns only individual exceptions, and here we are discussing the rule. Furthermore, our comrades should be the best soldiers and the best officers and at the same time the best class militants. They should provoke in the workers a mistrust of the old tradition, the military plans of the bourgeois class and officers, and should insist upon the necessity of educating workers’ officers, who will be absolutely loyal to the proletariat. In this epoch every great question, national or international, will be resolved with arms-not by peaceful means.

It doesn’t depend upon my will or your will, but is caused by the contradictions of the society which has put this problem before us, and from which we cannot escape. That is why it is the duty of every worker and revolutionist to learn how to manipulate arms skillfully.About the losses in the trade unions, if we have a large mobilization, then the unions will immediately lose the best elements and only the older people will remain. These people are not as likely to be persistent. On the other hand, the younger generations for the first time in history will feel themselves armed – by the State itself! It is absolutely correct that in the first period we will have an explosion of chauvinistic patriotism, and that we will be isolated even more than now, and that this period of activity will inevitably be limited by repressions, but we must adapt ourselves to the situation. That is why it would be doubly stupid to present a purely abstract pacifist position today; the feeling the masses have is that it is necessary to defend themselves. We must say: “Roosevelt (or Willkie) says it is necessary to defend the country; good! Only it must be our country, not that of the 60 families and their Wall Street. The army must be under our own command; we must have our own officers, who will be loyal to us.” In this way we can find an approach to the masses that will not push them away from us, and thus to prepare for the second step – a more revolutionary one.

Profound Importance of French Events

We must use the example of France to the very end. We must say, “I warn you, workers, that they (the bourgeoisie) will betray you! Look at Petain, who is a friend of Hitler. Shall we have the same thing happen in this country? We must create our own machine, under workers’ control.” We must be careful not to identify ourselves with the chauvinists, nor with the confused sentiments of self-preservation, but we must understand their feelings and adapt ourselves to these feelings critically, and prepare the masses for a better understanding of the situation, otherwise we will remain a sect, of which the pacifist variety is the most miserable.We must also say that the war has a tendency toward totalitarian dictatorship. War develops a centralization, and during war the bourgeois class cannot allow the workers any new concessions. The trade unions will therefore become a kind of Red Cross for the workers, a sort of philanthropic institution. The bosses themselves will be under control by the State, everything will be sacrificed to the army, and the trade union influence will become zero. And we must say of this now: “If you don’t place yourselves on a workers’ military basis, with workers’ schools, workers’ officers, etc., and go to war on the old style military basis, you will be doomed.” And this, in its own way, will preserve the trade unions themselves.Even if the United States sends armies abroad, to Europe or Asia, and the mortality rate will be expectedly high, we cannot make exceptions for our comrades, because on the other hand we cannot foresee the tempo of revolutionary development in Europe or Asia, and perhaps the American army will enter such a country during a revolutionary beginning. In that case even two or three of our men can play a tremendous role during such a period. They might try to use this American army against such a revolution, and in that case even one courageous man can turn the regiment into another direction. This cannot be foreseen – there are too many unknowns; but that is why we say we must all go with our class.

We Cannot Stand Aside from Our Class!

I do not believe that a revolutionary can remain aside for the first critical period – say, a year or so – and then come with his stick and hat and say, “Now, comrades, we will begin the revolution!” Excuse me for making a caricature of this. But if he is in the army and tells the others about the dangers in the bourgeois institutions and advises them to create a workers’ program for war, in spite of all the chauvinistic attacks upon him, and even if they turn him away, they will later say, “Remember, he told us so.” And then he becomes an authority. This is repeated in every war, and not only in wars but in strikes and trade union movements. All they have to remember is: “This man warned us and we rejected him.” Then he becomes their leader, a hero.If the leaders seek only to preserve themselves, that is what they become; preserves – dried preserves. If they enter the movement, they give the impulse to five, ten, twenty others. It is more important to multiply our cadres than to preserve them, and they can be multiplied by the hundreds. Our cadres need education and experience in mass movements, and how can they get this outside the life of the masses? No, it is not possible to jump out of your epoch. Moreover, we would have to make arrangements with the General Staff, and I am sure they would not agree with the idea of escape!

C. Flower
17-03-2015, 07:32 PM
More from Trotsky on war and the defence of the Soviet Union (https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1940/04/finnish.htm)

No Surrender to the Enemy of Positions Already Won


The policy of defeatism is not punishment of a given government for this or that crime it has committed but a conclusion from the class relationships. The Marxist line of conduct in war is not based on abstract moral and sentimental considerations but on the social appraisal of a regime in its reciprocal relations with other regimes. We supported Abyssinia not because the Negus was politically or “morally” superior to Mussolini but because the defense of a backward country against colonial oppression deals a blow to imperialism, which is the main enemy of the world working class. We defend the USSR independently of the policy of the Moscow Negus for two fundamental reasons. First, the defeat of the USSR would supply imperialism with new colossal resources and could prolong for many years the death agony of capitalist society. Secondly, the social foundations of the USSR, cleansed of the parasitic bureaucracy are capable of assuring unbounded economic and cultural progress, while the capitalist foundations disclose no possibilities except further decay.

What unmasks the noisy critics most of all is that they continued to consider the USSR a workers’ state at a time when Stalin was destroying the Bolshevik party; when he was strangling the proletarian revolution in Spain; when he was betraying the world revolution in the name of “People’s Fronts” and “collective security.” Under all these conditions they recognized the necessity of defending the USSR as a workers’ state! But no sooner did this same Stalin invade “democratic” Finland, no sooner did bourgeois public opinion of the imperialist democracies – which covered up and approved all Stalins’ crimes against the communists, the workers and the peasants – raise a howl to the skies, than our innovators immediately declared: “Yes, this is intolerable!” And following Roosevelt they declared a moral embargo against the Soviet Union.Educated witch-doctor Burnham’s reasoning on the theme that by defending the USSR we thereby defend Hitler, is a neat little specimen of petty-bourgeois fatheadedness which seeks to force contradictory reality into the framework of a two-dimensional syllogism. By defending the Soviet Republic after the Brest-Litovsk peace did the workers support Hohenzollern? Yes or no?

The programmatic theses of the Fourth International on war which deal in detail with this question, establish categorically that agreements between a soviet state and this or that imperialist state do not place any restrictions upon the revolutionary party of that state. The interests of the world revolution stand above an isolated diplomatic combination, however justifiable the latter may be in and of itself. By defending the USSR we struggle far more seriously against Stalin, as well as Hitler, than do Burnham and Co. It is true, Burnham and Shachtman do not stand alone. Leon Jouhaux, the notorious agent of French capitalism, also waxes indignant over the fact that the “Trotskyists defend the USSR.” Who should be indignant if not he! But our attitude toward the USSR is the same as our attitude towards the CGT (General Confederation of Labor) we defend it against the bourgeoisie despite the fact that the Confederation is headed by scoundrels like Leon Jouhaux who deceive and betray the workers at every step.

The Russian Mensheviks likewise are howling: “The Fourth International is in a Blind Alley!” because the Fourth International still continues to recognize the USSR as a workers’ state. These gentlemen themselves are members of the Second International, which is led by such eminent traitors as the typical bourgeois mayor Huysmans, and Leon Blum, who betrayed an exceptionally favorable revolutionary situation in June 1936 and thereby made possible the present war. The Mensheviks recognize the parties of the Second International as workers’ parties but refuse to recognize the Soviet Union as a workers’ state on the ground that at its head stand bureaucratic traitors. This falsehood reeks with brazenness and cynicism. Stalin, Mobtoy, and the rest, as a social layer are no better and no worse than the Blums, Jouhaux, Citrines, Thomases, etc. The difference between them is only this, that Stalin and Co. exploit and cripple the viable economic foundation of socialist development, while the Blums cling to the thoroughly rotted foundation of capitalist society. The workers’ state must be taken as it has emerged from the merciless laboratory of history and not as it is imagined by a “socialist” professor, reflectively exploring his nose with his finger.

It is the duty of revolutionists to defend every conquest of the working class even though it may be distorted by the pressure of hostile forces. Those who cannot defend old positions will never conquer new ones.

April 25, 1940

Sam Lord
18-03-2015, 11:58 AM
You'd kinda miss Total ...

Richardbouvet
18-03-2015, 03:36 PM
Is there anywhere I can buy a little ice-pick badge to celebrate this anniversary?

C. Flower
18-03-2015, 03:54 PM
Is there anywhere I can buy a little ice-pick badge to celebrate this anniversary?

Ask the previous poster: we have an interesting tri-partite alliance emerging here :)

I posted those two pieces of writing by Trotsky as they demonstrate that he defended the gains of the Russian revolution and had an analysis of the USSR (that it was a workers state) that was based on the economic and social relations in society, not on transitory policies, actions, mistakes of leaders.

Also, that rather than high-tailing it off to some safe spot based on the false notion that the USSR and Nazi Germany were equivalents (as did many so-called Trotskyists*), and that the hides of party cadres were the most important thing to preserve, he said that party cadres should go to war along with the rest of the generation, and give the best political advice and leadership they can within the ranks.

*As he said himself "If they are Trotskyists, I certainly am not one".