Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering Leon Trotsky, The Man who saved Marxism from extinction

As part of remembering the memorial of Leon Trotsky, I felt that I need to add my perspective on the issue. I wanted to write earlier, but sadly, I have been really busy.

Leon Trotsky for me remains the most important figure in the history of Marxism, second to Marx, for different reasons. I will not dwell on his history to the details in defending Trotsky in the face of the Stalinist reactionaries; rather I will tackle the core issues of interest.

Trotsky started his activist youth as a Social Democrat and a man who despised Communism. He used to mock them and called them in his teenager life as the dry materialists. Eventually, when he was asked to do a play, he decided to create a play that rotates on a debate discussion between a Marxist and a Social Democrat. The more he thought in progress and change, the more he found himself as a Marxist rather a Social Democrat. Eventually, he became a Marxist and founded the South Russian Trade Union, and became its spearhead at the age of 18 only, till he was imprisoned.

He was what Lunacharsky and Vera quoted as the dynamic of Iskra, Plekhanov (father of Russian Marxism) himself was extremely jealous from his energy and productivity, and Lunacharsky quoted him expressing his hatred for such a fact. When the bloody Black Friday massacre occurred in 1905, Leon Trotsky, at the age of 26, flew from exile and transformed a simple strike to a workers’ revolution which was probably the second workers’ revolution since the Paris Commune of 1871. The 1905 insurrection proved to the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks alike that there is no need to wait to establish a workers’ government, rather dedication to the workers’ cause is sufficient to establish the first Soviet. By the time Lenin and Martov were lost about the 1905 revolution, Trotsky announced the establishment of Soviet Petrograd, and the former two were wondering what a Soviet is. Trotsky, defying both the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks mentalities, placed the roots to expand of what Marx and Engels began, the theory of Permanent Revolution.

When the February revolution was over in 1917, a certain prince, called Lavrov, was installed as a Prime Minister of Russia. By then, Lenin’s ideas and Trotsky’s shared the same line: a real workers’ revolution needs to be organized. Both came from exile and both, upon their arrival, demanded that a revolution should occur. Lenin and Trotsky, side by side were opposed by the majority of the Bolsheviks, and Trotsky’s Pravda (spearheaded then by Kamenev) declared they had no affiliation to Lenin or Trotsky. Nevertheless, both saw the chance was coming to do a world revolution, and they did. John Reed called those ten days as “the ten days that shook the world”. Trotsky was arrested by the “democratic Dan” and the rest of the new generation of the Mensheviks, and Trotsky’s powerful character got him out of prison and court. Eventually, Trotsky became the head of the Revolutionary Committee, and organized the workers’ defenses from scratch. After the Soviet Union was established, his newly born Red Army repelled 11 foreign invading armies.

The purpose of me highlighting those tiny parts of Trotsky’s remarkable rich life is to give a brief insight on the life of such an incredible man. Trotsky’s movement name was not his real name, it was his jailers (ironically) in order for him to remember constantly the oppressions of the Tsar for the workers and the people of Russia. His real name is Lev Davidovich Bronstein. A person who taught us that Internationalism is before any form of Nationalism. Actually, he even opposed the Bund (Jewish Socialist Party) because for him a Jewish Socialist Party meant a segregationist party which demanded only a segment of the Proletariat’s needs. The choice is definitely by either achieving your goals 100% or forget beginning with one.

So what is the importance of Leon Trotsky? Organization and Economics was Lenin’s domain not Trotsky. Well, for starters, I regard Leon Trotsky as the man who saved the sciences of Marxism from the bloody claws of Stalin. If it weren’t for Trotsky to fight Stalin on the ideological and ground level, we would have thought that Communism is worshiping Moscow. After all there is a saying on the Lebanese Communists back in the late sixties which goes: “If it rained in Moscow, the Lebanese Communists in Beirut opened their umbrellas.” Trotsky made sure that the most important task is to save the Marxist history and ideology from being purged to the ground, just as Stalin annihilated and obliterated the whole Bolsheviks. Trotsky knew he had little time to pour down his experiences and his knowledge on the sciences of Marxism, and he did. He knew that Stalin would fear another revolution replica to the one that began during World War I and had to rush against time before the axe of Stalin would reach his skull in Mexico.

For me, let me be clear, Trotsky was not just fighting Stalin’s method of rewriting the history of not only the Russian Revolution, but the whole world. Rather, he also was fighting the reactionary Kautskian followers who downgraded the meaning of Social Democracy to “reform from above” without any real accomplishments. With the Stalinists from one side, and the new generation of Social Democrats from other (1925-1970) who preached isolationist nationalism in parallel of minor reforms within the heart of capitalism, he had to make sure that there will be a continuity in the believe in the revolution, primarily what Hal Draper would call as “Emancipation From Below” (or the only way!). Social Democrats became too much involved in petty political affairs, whereby they provide welfare to their people without tackling the core issues of Marxism: Rich getting richer, alienation, class struggle, (and the sort). Trotsky hence faced a two way threat that both claimed to be left-wing. A lunatic blood thirsty dictator from one side, and bunch of right-wingers who claimed they are leftists. Both are dangerous and Trotsky had to provide the future generations with the real guide to understand the Revolution of the Proletariat. He had to make sure that Kautsky’s refracted ideas won’t be accepted on the premises of his older ones. Trotsky had to fight till the last breath (in which he said “Long Live the Fourth International”) to guarantee that the reactionaries don’t terminate a century of sacrifices, knowledge, and history. His ideas remain eternal, and for us, the revolutionaries, we shall forever be in debt for a man who saved us from worshiping bunch of social democrats ( like Democratic Left in Lebanon) or Stalinist nationalist reactionaries (Lebanese Communist Party).

In the end, Trotsky’s life story, like that glorious to the great ones of Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zatkin, Karl Marx, Eleanor Marx, Fredriche Engels, and the rest, is the historical proof that an idea will forever be present, and his grand achievement in October of 1917 will teach us that it is still possible to achieve a global workers’ revolution to annihilate the claws of Capitalism and its reactionary residues everywhere.

Long live the Sciences of Marxism
Thank you Lev Davidovich Bronstein aka Leon Trotsky



Renegade Eye said...

Really good post.

Trotsky got the last laugh, because Stalinism is dead as a force.

Mohammad Atowi m_atowi@hotmail.com said...

Comrade, i would like to get to know you in person, i to have a marxist tendencies from lebanon, and i share your view that the communist parties must be dumped in the recycle bin.

This is article by the way is a great article.