Saturday, August 25, 2007
Remembering Leon Trotsky: Deutcher's Prophet Armed
While the Menchivics were arguing how to transfer Russia from feudal to capitalistic in nature, and the Second International was entering its recessionary crisis (plenty of different political & ideological reasons), a 25 year old foresaw, through his expertise in Historical Materialism and under the studies of Parvus that the seeds to establisk a Soviet is possible due to plenty of reasons. When the first Soviet (Workers Council) was built in 1905, Lenin and Julius Martove go "what is that". When the revolution ended, it ended with Trotsky's head up while the Tsarist army baffled that this young fellow was the transformer of a simple demonstration to the 2nd workers' revolutions and established the Second Workers' Council after the Paris Commune of 1871.
This piece is taken from Isaac Deutcher's Prophet Armed timeless masterpiece, that depicts the very end of the first Soviet (Second compared to Paris Commune), and how its organizer got arrested. The 1905 revolution was about to end with the Tsar's army entering the Soviet HQ, Trotsky at such a young age, 26, successfuly transformed a demonstration to a revolution and established the first Soviet in the history. The 21st Century Communists should learn from their history, and above all how the ideology is placed in the service of the Marxist Revolutionary. This is the second post about probably one of the most important figures/thinkers of Communism, and the saver of the Marxist doctrine from being misunderstood as Stalin's Mother Russia, I published the article last year, and thought it would be a good idea to republish it in the honor of a man who sacrificed everything for the sake of the Proletariat:
"From a balcony Trotsky shouted to the delegates: 'Comrades, offer no resistence. We declare beforehand that only an agent provocateur or a policeman will fire a shot here!" He instructed the delegates to break the locks of their revolvers befure surrendering them to the police. Then he resumed his chair at the Executive's conference.
A trade-union spokesman was just declaring his union's readiness ot join in the general strike, when a detachment of soldiers and police occupied the corridors. A police officer entered the room where the Executive was sitting and began to read a warrant of arrest. It was now only a question whether the Soviet would carry its own weakness and humilation with dignity. Resistence was ruled out. But should they surrender meekly, gloomy-faced, without a sign of defiance? Trotsky's pride and his sense of stage effect would not perit him to preside over so flat and disheartening a scene. But he could not afford any serious act of defiance, he could relieve the gloom of the situation only with humour. And so he turned the last scene of this spectacle into a witty burlesque of a bold performance. As the police officer, facing the Executive, began to read the warrant of arrest, Trostsky sharply interrupted him: "Please do not interfere with the speaker. If you wish to take the floor, you must give your name and I shall ask the meeting whether it wishes to list to you."
The perplexed officer, not knowing whether he was being mocke at or whether he should expect armed resistence, waited fo rthe trade-union delegate to end his speech. Then Trotsky gravely asked the Executive whether he should allow the officer to make a statement "for the sake of information". The officer read the warrant, and Trotsky proposed that the Executive should acknowledge it and take up the next item on it agenda. Another speaker rose.
"Excuse me", the police officer, disconcerted by this unheard of behavior, stammered and turned towards Trotsky, as if for help.
"Please do not interfere", Troskty sharply rebuked him. "You have had the floor; you have made your statement; we have acknowledged it. Does the meeting to have further dealings with the policeman?"
"Then, please, leave the hall."
The officer shuffled his feet, muttered a few words and left. Trotsky called upon the members of the Executive to destroy all documents and not to reveal their names to the police. From the hall below rose the clangour of broken revolver-locks-the delegates were carrying out Troskty's order.
The police officer re-entered, this time leading a platoon of soldiers. A member of the Executive rose to address the soldiers: The Tsar, he said, was at this very moment breaking the promise of the October Manifesto; and they, the soldiers, were allowing themselves to be used as his tools against the people. The officer, afraid of the effect of the words, hurriedly led the soldiers out into the corridor and shot the door behind them. "Even through closed doors", the speaker raised his vice, "the brotherly call of the workers will reach the soldiers."
At length, a strong detachment of police entered, and Trotsky declared the meeting of the Executive closed.
Thus after fifty days ended the epic of the first Soviet in history."
taken from Isaac Deutcher, Prophet Armed Trosky 1879 - 1921 ( Verso, 2003), p. 118 - 119