A certainly infamous figure which is dreaded by most Marxists-Leninists, with good reason at least. However, one thing that the dialectical principle teaches us is that to overcome something, its useful, positive, or correct aspects must be preserved.

I became less and less against the historical figure of Trotsky, but I remain anti-Trotskyist, because there are a big difference between Trotsky and Trotskyism. What made me change my mind over time was realizing that I have actually never read anything by Trotsky, I still don’t know his biography, but it’s a fact that he was very relevant in the October Revolution.

After reading the first two chapters of The revolution betrayed, I noticed how Trotsky’s 1936 analysis on the relationship between the peasantry and the state industry under the NEP was correct up to the academic standards of E. H. Carr (1950–1978),[1] Charles Bettelheim (1978)[2] and R.W. Davies (1980)[3], using statistical data available at their time. I don’t know about Trotsky’s conclusion on the character of the Soviet state because I haven’t read his work in full.

Much like Stalin, Trotsky is a very contradictory figure, so it’s very hard to simplify them by picking a side and denying the usefulness of the other. It’s a dogmatic mentality that we should strive to avoid at all costs, because the truth is the whole, not the single perspective we pick. The intention of this post is a call for us to overcome these barriers that hamper our understanding of the past, and therefore, the present. I have noticed how many Marxists-Leninists are able to read works produced by bourgeois academics, yet preserve a hatred for certain figures (such as Trotsky, Bukharin, Khrushchev, etc.) so big that they cannot understand the historical place of them.


  1. 14 volumes of A history of Soviet Russia, published between the years of 1950 and 1978. ↩︎

  2. Charles Bettelheim (1978). Class struggles in the USSR, second period: 1923–1930. New York: Monthly Review Press. ↩︎

  3. R. W. Davies (1980). The socialist offensive: the collectivisation of Soviet agriculture, 1929–1930. The industrialisation of Soviet Russia, vol.1. Palgrave Macmillan ↩︎

Trotsky is not simply a Marxist shunted off to the wayside for no reason; we only have to dig deeper to see what he was made off. He was a traitor and there’s no way to defend him unless you take everything he ever said at face value. Which you can’t, he had a hand in the development of an “opposition” block whose whole goal was to remove Stalin from power(there is more, but this was getting long). What kind of third-rate Marxist oscillates from one opposition block to the next first against Lenin then against Stalin. There’s a reason that the most prominent Marxists of the day were against Trotsky: why would we not be. Especially now when the fog has disappeared and we can witness him for who he was from the Russian revolution to his death, we can now say that he was nothing but an opportunist willing to overthrow a socialist country for him to take power.

I do love how you compare Stalin to Trotsky. Yes, very alike indeed one was the general secretary of the USSR who left it as a superpower and the other well he did create the red army.

You don’t have to be dogmatic about it, read through his works if you’d like, that’s fine, but remember who wrote it.

Most literature(Western) on the USSR prior to the opening of the archives is useless generally speaking, and we have newer work that actually uses the files from the archives so there’s no need to read inferior work.

Finally a comparison worth making Trotsky, Bukharin, and Kruschev I would throw Gorbachev in there as well just for completion. So what we have here is four traitors, two were executed(assassinated for Trotsky) the other two were able to take power. Bukharin, what a figure right; directly participated in the attempted overthrow of the USSR, a fantastic choice to make. Khrushchev, what a great choice throwing a god into hell, praised Stalin to the stars and then threw him into the mud placing all the blame onto Stalin’s shoulders even when he heavily participated in many of the errors that were made. During the great purge, Krushchev was let’s say very liberal when it came to accusing innocent people, but that’s all in the past we must hold up this liar and traitor as someone worth reading. Does this mean that we should not read their work? No, you would have to be stupid to not read them what better way to understand your enemy. Though since we have a lot of work to do I would suggest throwing them on the back burner as there are more relevant Marxists to read in comparison to this band of traitors.

A series of quotes and links (They can all be found here (and a lot more). Great page, by the way, https://espressostalinist.com/marxism-leninism-versus-revisionism/trotskyism/ )

I found these to be the most important. Who was Trotsky? “At the end of 1903, Trotsky was an ardent Menshevik, i.e., he deserted from the Iskrists to the Economists. He said that ‘between the old Iskra and the new lies a gulf’. In 1904-05, he deserted the Mensheviks and occupied a vacillating position, now co-operating with Martynov (the Economist), now proclaiming his absurdly Left ‘permanent revolution’ theory.”

V.I. Lenin. Collected Works Vol. 20. Moscow: Progress Publishers. 1977. p. 346.

Permanent revolution? “You see, we Marxists believe that a revolution will also take place in other countries. But it will take place only when the revolutionaries in those countries think it possible, or necessary. The export of revolution is nonsense. Every country will make its own revolution if it wants to, and if it does not want to, there will be no revolution. For example, our country wanted to make a revolution and made it, and now we are building a new, classless society.

But to assert that we want to make a revolution in other countries, to interfere in their lives, means saying what is untrue, and what we have never advocated.”

Interview Between J. Stalin and Roy Howard. March 1, 1936. Works, Vol. 14. Red Star Press Ltd., London, 1978.

“a) proceeding from the law of uneven development under imperialism, Lenin, in his fundamental article, ‘The United States of Europe Slogan,’ drew the conclusion that the victory of socialism in individual capitalist countries is possible;

b) by the victory of socialism in individual countries, Lenin means the seizure of power by the proletariat, the expropriation of the capitalists, and the organisation of socialist production; moreover, all these tasks are not an end in themselves, but a means of standing up against the rest of the world, the capitalist world, and helping the proletarians of all countries in their struggle against capitalism;”

J.V. Stalin. The Seventh Enlarged Plenum of the E.C.C.I., November 22-December 16, 1926.

CIA and Trotsky https://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv3n2/trotsky.htm

Against Trotsky https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sections/britain/pamphlets/1925/trotskyism/index.htm

https://www.marxists.org/archive/haywood/black-bolshevik/ch06.htm

http://www.marx2mao.com/Other/OT73i.html

https://www.marxists.org/archive/olgin/1935/trotskyism/index.htm

From Stalin https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1927/11/23.htm

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1924/11_19.htm

From Lenin https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/jan/25.htm

Sorry for the ramble, but this time it was necessary considering the topic. TLDR: Go through the links. Have a good day comrades.

Fun fact: the Nazis were big fans of Trotsky’s writings on the Soviet Union under Stalin, so much so they frequently used them as propaganda material.

Camarada Forte
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Good comment, comrade. I am definitely aware of Trotsky’s vacillations, and how Lenin was constantly critiquing him for his opportunism. Lenin even wrote a small article hilariously titled “Judas Trotsky’s blush of shame”. But I have to correct you in some points

I do love how you compare Stalin to Trotsky. Yes, very alike indeed one was the general secretary of the USSR who left it as a superpower and the other well he did create the red army.

In no way I made a comparison between the two. To affirm that both figures are controversial is an obvious statement and is in no way a comparison between the two. Stalin, along with the Politburo, led the Soviet state, while Trotsky led its counter-revolutionary groups. This image should be clear to any student of Marxism-Leninism and its historical development.

Most literature(Western) on the USSR prior to the opening of the archives is useless generally speaking, and we have newer work that actually uses the files from the archives so there’s no need to read inferior work.

I’m sorry, but if you are mentioning the literature I showed, you are only showing your ignorance. While it’s true that the (partial) opening of the archives in the 90’s offer academics much more insight, much data was already available for Westerners, for instance, on the Smolensk archives which were seized by the Nazis during the war. Besides that, the literature I mentioned draws heavily from actual Soviet literature at the time. For instance, J. Arch Getty’s 1980’s work on the Soviet “purges” of 1937–1938 relied on the Smolensk archive and it’s a work which still is accurate in determining the causes and consequences of repression. The 14 volumes of A history of Soviet Russia is still acclaimed to this day by modern scholars, both Western and Eastern European Soviet historians.

The way you paint it as “inferior work” without having even laid your eyes upon those works is precisely why I created this post. This approach to works, critiquing it without even reading it, is an anti-Marxist style of work. This post isn’t about Trotsky, it’s about how metaphysical dogmatism prevents anyone from reaching a further historical understanding. If you ever read a few excerpts of Marx’s Grundrisse, you’ll notice how Marx draws from Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Sir James Steuart, and inumerous other bourgeois economists to critique them in a scientific manner. This was done by actually reading those works, instead of dismissing it altogether.

I see this behavior more often among Trotskyists and Maoists. Trotskyists dismiss Stalin’s works and denounce him as a “bureaucrat”, horrible theoretician, “grave-digger of the revolution”, and they cannot make a serious critique of Stalin for this reason. They usually only read Trotsky and ignore the works of other Marxists. Maoists usually make an unapologetic eulogy on Mao Zedong, including his disastrous final years, and denounce Deng Xiaoping as an opportunist, revisionist, counter-revolutionary figure. Besides that, most Maoists usually denounce every socialist state which do not fit their contradictory and inconsistent idealist view of what socialism is. They are incapable of making a critique of Mao, or Stalin, or Lenin (as if Lenin never made a mistake and later corrected his views), because they take their understanding as fully and eternally correct without the assumption that their views can change over time based on more evidence and study.

Finally a comparison worth making Trotsky, Bukharin, and Kruschev I would throw Gorbachev in there as well just for completion. So what we have here is four traitors, two were executed(assassinated for Trotsky) the other two were able to take power.

Yes, traitors. Funny enough, before Bukharin became a “traitor,” Stalin and Bukharin actually agreed on the conditions of the NEP which gave rise to the kulaks, which would later be treated with collectivization as a desperate measure. Bukharin’s opposition to collectivization is what made him a traitor later on. In any case, how come a traitor like Khrushchev was able to take hold of state apparatus, execute Stalin’s close ally (Beria) and remove from the Politburo their supporters (Molotov, Shepilov, Kaganovich, Malenkov)? Doesn’t that show a very significant flaw in the political organs of the state and the party? Why did these flaws exist in the first place, to allow a complete top-down command of the party and state to reverse everything accomplished by a previous leader?

It goes to show how there were severe limitations in party organization at the time of Stalin, which can only be attributed to the leadership at the time, not only Stalin, but Molotov, Kaganovich and others. But certainly Stalin, which was the most influential figure in Soviet society and in its most powerful organs. And execution may be a quick way to get rid of opponents, but it can also be a long-term political failure, because by killing the person, you do not kill their ideas. Khrushchev followed the theoretical tradition of Bukharin, and enacted policies closely linked to Bukharin’s economic policies of the NEP, for instance.

Khrushchev’s policies gave rise to a parallel illegal private economy which was draining resources of the socialist economy. This parallel economy would rise in capital in private hands and bribe members of the CPSU, influencing political and economical decisions. Gorbachev’s rise can be closely attributed to following the policies which favored Soviet illegal capitalists, which would later become the so-called “Russian oligarchs.” So there’s that. Painting opponents as “traitors” does not do any favor in understanding how they arise at the first place. It’s a simple thing to say, and I can agree with you they were “traitors,” but that’s just not enough. It was a massive political mistake on part of the previous leaders as well.

I hope you can forgive me, comrade, but I don’t want to extend this conversion for too long considering that my reading list only grows(adding the works you cited) and that I feel as if this response is mostly a tangent to the main comment.

“Much like Stalin, Trotsky is a very contradictory figure, so it’s very hard to simplify them by picking a side and denying the usefulness of the other” this is what I was railing against comrade in my comparison of course this was a small point and as such, I gave a short reply. This came at the end; why would I not assume you were drawing a comparison as it seems that what you’re trying to do is rehabilitate Trotsky. I can see from your reply that this is not the case(Of course you could have just backpedaled) and as such, this really isn’t a problem.

Yes, my ignorance has been shown because I have not read everything under the sun to do with the USSR(From before 1991). Again I was speaking in general comrade, but let’s say that all you said was true then they should be compared to modern works on the subjects and see if they correlate. Better yet we should actually look at the primary documents themselves and see what they actually say. Remember comrade academics are not unbiased sources they are literally the defenders of capitalism(most of them are. there are a few that break with the capitalist line). It seems that my reading list has only grown. Thank you for that comrade.

“Inferior work” Comrade this was a generalization of the work that was produced by western historians during the cold war(Yes I will be reading through the works you cited).

“”This post isn’t about Trotsky, it’s about how metaphysical dogmatism prevents anyone from reaching a further historical understanding” then why call the post “Have you ever read Trotsky? “ and then go on about Trotsky in specific for the whole post while only bringing up the sources you’re citing to back up Trotsky’s work. Comrade please for the sake of everyone here try to be coherent. If you want to talk about how dogmatism prevents us from understanding history then make that post. This was not what you were actually stating and please go through the links I provided; for your sake comrade.

“f you ever read a few excerpts of Marx’s Grundrisse, you’ll notice how Marx draws from Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Sir James Steuart, and inumerous other bourgeois economists to critique them in a scientific manner.” I have read through volumes 1 and 2 of Capital and have been going through volume 3 and have seen the notes comrade. I am not blind. Also from my original comment “Does this mean that we should not read their work? No, you would have to be stupid to not read them what better way to understand your enemy” this was in relation to the theoretical(and historical for Trotsky) works of the three traitors Trotsky, Bukharin, and Khrushchev. We should apply this thoroughly to the modern bourgeois (historians, politicians, economists, etc). We align on this point so why blow it up?

Thank you for the rant about Trots and Maoists, but it’s not really applicable to our discussion since we weren’t talking about making critiques of Marxists in general (This is something we should all do).

I love your twisting of history to suit your needs, but why did Stalin and Lenin(he wasn’t dead yet so why push him to the wayside ? Right because it doesn’t suit your needs) saw Bukharin’s idea as applicable in the situation? I forgot you didn’t give a good answer. What was the situation again ? oh yeah, the civil war just ended(why wouldn’t they agree ?). Bukharin did not become a traitor because he opposed collectivization; it was because of the measures he took in his opposition. He formed an illegal block in cohorts with Trotsky and was planning to overthrow the USSR(Stalin and his allies) because he disagreed with the policy. What a great idea.

If you want to talk about the rise of Khrushchev we can, but not under this post it’s not about him. The same goes for the party apparatus. We can send messages back and forth, but please make it clear what you want to discuss. Our comrade goes further, but it’s mostly out of the realm of our discussion so I will drop it here.(like Bukharin Khrushchev didn’t get much real estate in my original comment so I think going on this rant is pointless but here we are )

Why are you going all over the place comrade? This was only about Trotsky as your title and your original post make it clear. I do fear that all you’re doing here is backpedaling to the point of obscuring what we were discussing and as such I won’t be replying to another public comment. If you want to continue this just send me a private message I am sure we can break bread at some point.

TLDR: Go through the links I’ve provided in my original reply, read through Forte’s source, compare them with modern work, and lastly Have a good day comrades.

Camarada Forte
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“This post isn’t about Trotsky, it’s about how metaphysical dogmatism prevents anyone from reaching a further historical understanding” then why call the post “Have you ever read Trotsky?” and then go on about Trotsky in specific for the whole post while only bringing up the sources you’re citing to back up Trotsky’s work.

It was to draw attention, because Trotsky is one of the most reviled historical figures by Marxists-Leninists, yet I was showing an example of how our generalizations of these historical figures usually cannot fully encompass their historical place. I was inspired to do this post because I was naturally against Trotsky as a Marxist-Leninist, but I’ve never read any of his works. I have once even read excerpts of Mein Kampf to write about Nazi ideology, but not once I touched Trotsky’s works, funny enough. This was my intention with the post as I made clear here:

The intention of this post is a call for us to overcome these barriers that hamper our understanding of the past, and therefore, the present. I have noticed how many Marxists-Leninists are able to read works produced by bourgeois academics, yet preserve a hatred for certain figures (such as Trotsky, Bukharin, Khrushchev, etc.) so big that they cannot understand the historical place of them.

I can say for sure, I don’t know Trotsky’s, nor Bukharin’s, nor Khrushchev’s historical place. I don’t know their motives, their reasoning behind their actions, their intentions and political purposes. In a writing published on Pravda in 6 November 1918, Stalin writes:

“All practical work in connection with the organization of the uprising was done under the immediate direction of Comrade Trotsky, the president of the Petrograd Soviet. It can be stated with certainty that the Party is indebted primarily and principally to Comrade Trotsky for the rapid going over of the garrison to the side of the Soviet and the efficient manner in which the work of the Military-Revolutionary Committee was organized. The principal assistants of Comrade Trotsky were Comrades Antonov and Podvoisky.”

Why did Trotsky, whose contribution was immense in the victory of the revolution (as noted in John Reed’s book Ten days that shook the world) would later become a traitor? What motivated him to become a revolutionary, and later a reactionary? That’s what I’m saying: I have no idea, I am fully ignorant on this. I do not understand Trotsky’s historical role, and the fact that I was so disgusted by the idea of reading Trotsky didn’t help either. This is what inspired me to make this post: my dogmatic approach to this question, to simply say “Trotsky bad” didn’t help me at all in understanding historical facts. Based on this approach, I was doing the same thing that Trotskyists do to Stalin, simply denounce him dogmatically without understanding his historical role.

Of course you could have just backpedaled
[…] I love your twisting of history to suit your needs

I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. What are my “needs,” as you see it? 🤔

I love your twisting of history to suit your needs, but why did Stalin and Lenin (he wasn’t dead yet […] so why push him to the wayside ?) saw Bukharin’s idea as applicable in the situation? I forgot you didn’t give a good answer. What was the situation again ? oh yeah, the civil war just ended(why wouldn’t they agree ?). Bukharin did not become a traitor because he opposed collectivization; it was because of the measures he took in his opposition. He formed an illegal block in cohorts with Trotsky and was planning to overthrow the USSR(Stalin and his allies) because he disagreed with the policy. What a great idea.

The idea of NEP was not the idea of a single person. It was decided collectively through the Central Committee, which included Lenin, Trotsky, Kamanev, Stalin, Bukharin, Zinoviev and others. It was a response to the unsustainable practice of war communism and confiscation of agricultural products. The tax in kind, which was buying products produced by peasants, was enacted. Along that, commodity production and private property were allowed with certain restrictions, and this inevitably gave rise to economic differentiation, which would manifest in the form of the kulaks.

Over time, the tax in kind as was established at the beginning of the 1920’s proved to also be unsustainable as seen with the grain procurement crises of 1927-28. When certain members of the Politburo enacted a top-down approach to collectivization in 1930, by that time, Kamanev, Zinoviev, Bukharin and Trotsky were all expelled before they even established a bloc of counter-revolutionary action. While some of them were already factions inside the party, a phenomenon quite common in the history of the CPSU, they organized an anti-party counter-revolutionary bloc in response to their expellings.

Note that the dispute between Trotsky and Stalin was at that time very much in favor of Stalin. In the 15th Congress in 1927, Stalin’s position received 725,000 votes, while the Left Opposition received 6,000 votes. The Left Opposition represented no real political threat, but they were politically shut down anyways. Also note that while purges happened during Lenin’s time in the party to remove lazy officials and other undesirables, there was no expelling of high-profile members of the party, even the opportunist Trotsky. Lenin fought Trotsky with criticism not with political persecution.

This is not a twisting of a story, this is a critical evaluation of the political mistakes of Stalin and their allies. This is the reason why Stalin’s opponents had to resort to conspiratorial action, because in their minds, they were the “real revolutionaries” fighting against a “bureaucrat.” These political mistakes of Stalin gave rise to an opportunist who concealed their views and eventually became General Secretary, which was Khrushchev. Khrushchev was a Bukharinite because party democracy was so limited these views didn’t have the opportunity to be discussed and criticized.

Also note that this phenomenon happened after Stalin’s death, which was a sign that the party already had contradictions and they were triggered by the death of Stalin. The same thing happened after the death of Mao in the CPC, also a sign of the lack of party democracy. But note how this didn’t happen in the Communist Party of Cuba after Fidel’s death, nor in the Workers’ Party of Korea after Kim Il-sung’s or Kim Jong-il’s death. This can be a sign that these communist parties developed a sustainable internal democracy and that divergent opinions were treated through critical evaluation, not political persecution.

Why are you going all over the place comrade? This was only about Trotsky as your title and your original post make it clear. I do fear that all you’re doing here is backpedaling to the point of obscuring what we were discussing and as such I won’t be replying to another public comment. If you want to continue this just send me a private message I am sure we can break bread at some point.

As I claim in the rest of the post (which consists of more than just the title), this isn’t really about Trotsky, it’s about fighting dogmatism. I used Trotsky to draw attention, and I have no intention, nor reason to rehabilitate Trotsky, I only used him as an example. I may have committed a mistake because I possibly gave reason to interpret it as a rehabilitation, but in no way there’s any need to rehabilitate Trotsky, only to fully contextualize his historical place. I’m also bringing attention to the fact that the political mistakes of the leadership were also responsible for the counter-revolutionary action of the opposition. While Trotsky was always a factionalist since his time as a Menshevik, the fact that he was increasingly politically irrelevant gave no reason to political persecution. The persecution against opponents actually radicalized this opposition. For instance, Zinoviev and Kamanev were very much against Trotsky, but when they themselves began to be expelled, they joined Trotsky in an anti-party bloc. The same later happened with Bukharin.

I also have no intention of exchanging private messages, as I think public discussions are more useful since others can read what we say, correct our positions and even learn from our discussions. Private messages would render this impossible.

  1. Go read Trotsky’s works not alone but in conjunction with other Marxist contemporaries (to get an understanding of the movement at the time)
  2. You can hate someone while still understanding their place in history (Can we hate George Washington and still understand his role in the American Revolution of course) These two are not contradictory statements and attempting to make them as such is a pointless endeavor only for academics to pursue.
  3. Does the fact that Trotsky was a part of the Russian Revolution excuse his actions after the fact. Trotsky was an opportunist anyone could see this by looking at his oscillations under Lenin and then under Stalin. That’s all he was at the end of the day and because of this he eventually turned to smearing the USSR and attempting to take power for himself(As the theoretical leader of the Opposition block).
  4. Comrade if you truly want to understand who Trotsky was as a historical figure then you have to see history as a history of class struggle, not of individuals(who yes play their part).
  5. With all that being said you don’t have to do this by yourself(it’s best that you don’t) just ask questions and someone whose more informed will respond. We are a community an online one, yes, but nevertheless, we are here to help everyone improve their understanding of Marxism.

Have a good night comrade.

Camarada Forte
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Yet again, you completely misrepresent my points, but I digress. I also edited my previous comment to further respond to your previous statements.

You can hate someone while still understanding their place in history

It’s not that hatred and understanding are mutually exclusive. As I said:

I have noticed how many Marxists-Leninists are able to read works produced by bourgeois academics, yet preserve a hatred for certain figures so big that they cannot understand the historical place of them.

I gave the emphasis on “so big” now so you can maybe understand my point. It’s not simply hatred, it’s the blind historical hatred that prevents one to dig deeper. Like Trotskyists hate Stalin so much they cannot see how much Trotsky was constantly an opportunist with frequent changing positions according to the political winds, without solid principles. They label Trotsky as a “real Leninist” not because of their study of Lenin, but based solely on their opposition to the historical figure of Stalin.

Does the fact that Trotsky was a part of the Russian Revolution excuse his actions after the fact. Trotsky was an opportunist anyone could see this by looking at his oscillations under Lenin and then under Stalin.

Did I mention it to excuse his actions whatsoever? You see how you twist it to mechanically make it appear one can only pick one side on Trotsky? Either he was an opportunist or he was a revolutionary. My point is that everyone is contradictory, every historical figure has contradictions along their lives. When I mention that Trotsky was a military leader of the October Revolution (which is a fact), you say I’m “excusing” his opportunism. Much like a Trotskyist would say I’m a Stalinist when I say that Stalin was a revolutionary leader of the USSR and not an autocratic bureaucrat. That’s exactly what I was saying at the beginning of the post, it’s a metaphysical dogmatism that prevents one from understanding the whole, the contradictions inherent of these historical figures, of historical movements and even the history of class struggle.

Like you said how every literature pre-(partial) opening of the archives is useless and “inferior work”, and one should actually read the primary sources. That’s not only a completely dogmatic statement but absolutely idealist, as if we have unrestricted access to the Soviet archives whenever we wish, and if the understanding of the Russian language is an ability every human on the planet is born with. The works I’ve mentioned use mostly Soviet historians as a source, and they had access to the Soviet archives nevertheless. For instance, here’s the bibliography of Charles Bettelheim’s Class struggles in the USSR:

Comrade if you truly want to understand who Trotsky was as a historical figure then you have to see history as a history of class struggle, not of individuals (who yes play their part).

If when one states historical facts you interpret it as picking a side, whether it’s about historical figures or class struggle in general, it shows a mistake on method nevertheless. I do not see history as history of individuals, I began focusing on individuals as a response to your initial comment, focused on Trotsky. I perhaps may have inadvertently made it look like I was “rehabilitating” Trotsky, although you were the only one who understood it that way so far, at least publicly in the comments.

Have a good day, comrade.

God damn, this is excellent. Thank you.

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I agree that such dogmatism but be combatted at every turn.

I myself was a Trotskyist briefly before becoming an ML, for about 3-4 months–it was sort of the last ditch attempt to be “reasonable” and not “go full Stalinist tankie” as I had definitely gotten sick of anti-AES Western “leftism”–I joined the International Marxist Tendency and read a big chunk of material on their website. I eventually became disillusioned because 1) the organization was horribly old fashioned with no intention to change, as well as lots of just general poor quality oversight (e.g. the member manual was very poorly written and riddled with typos and redundant material), and 2) a lot of things regarding the USSR/Stalin and China weren’t adding up.

That being said, my first exposure to reading theory was big exerts from writings of Lenin, Marx, and Trotsky. Everything kind of blurs together once I absorb it, but I’m sure he in a way contributed to my now ML understanding. While long they were just exerts though so I won’t pretend I have read any of his work in full, but IIRC I liked the exerts and would probably still cosign much of it as long as it’s to serve the ends of building ML understanding and not Trotskyist understanding.

the problem with trots isn’t that they are unable to point out whats wrong from a marxist perspective, its that they fucking suck at coming up with solutions that work

I’ve found some of his work useful in understanding fascism: https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1944/1944-fas.htm

I also think the first few chapters of revolution betrayed are good for understanding the Leninist view of imperialism and revolution but it starts to get incoherent very quickly after that.

Camarada Forte
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True. I also found a brief excerpt showing Trotsky’s hilarious glaring vanity:

In the spring of 1923, at a congress of the party, a representative of the “Left Opposition” – not yet, however, known by that name – demonstrated the divergence of industrial and agricultural prices in the form of an ominous diagram. This phenomenon was then first called “the scissors”, a term which has since become almost international. If the further lagging of industry – said the speaker – continues to open these scissors, then a break between city and country is inevitable.

It’s not accidental that he does not mention the name of that speaker, because that was actually him who spoke lmao

Intro

Comrade Forte’s main points are as follows: to understand History we must take into account all points of view avoiding a dogmatic stance(In this case examining all data that we have on the subject), Certain political figures are not dealt with in a historical way instead they removed from their place in history and lampooned(ie Stalin, Trotsky, and others), and finally taking the prior two conditions(ie taking a dogmatic stand and removing figures from their place in history) together a distorted version of history is formed which does not allow us to make a proper analysis of history.

History and Historians

History is not written on the basis of neutrality(for the majority of past historians) instead many historians have distorted the past to fit their narrative. . History is reliant upon primary documents and in the case of the USSR, these documents were not widespread for much of its existence( the Smolensk Archives are an exception to this case) hindering the ability of many western historians to write about the USSR. A second hindrance to a majority of western historians(Bouriogse) was ideology in that many took a stand with capitalism meaning that whatever they produced it had to be anti-communist. A third note is that even when some historians have the primary documents which they cite in their books they can still distort them 1. They can ignore the documents entirely. 2. They can twist the documents into saying whatever the historian wants it to say. The point here is that historical texts must be analyzed thoroughly in order to grasp some sort of truth from them(Go through the footnotes).

On Trotsky

(for the following three sections a majority of the links go to lib gen only one goes directly to the pdf in this case Stalin: The History and Critique of A Black Legend)

Grover Furr http://library.lol/main/B66B6C49F1B1B5B402183EA67D61B063 http://library.lol/main/C7EAAE7AA0717F7D9D8AE0E9298B08F3 Leon Trotsky http://library.lol/main/BC44627512F68518F0E4EC5DAFF6B7EA Robert Service http://library.lol/main/1DD3AAE7A7F29634009EF43EAFA183E0 Isaac Deutscher http://library.lol/main/1097560E7AC6703CA03AC02622360490 http://library.lol/main/C2A33CB6EF97C3EC9786E66653690B1A http://library.lol/main/A140050CDB53DF85804EECE1C160D1A7

Side note in my first comment to this post there are more links go check those out as well Also not all of the people here are marxists so as said prior be thorough with your reading.

On Stalin

Domenico Losurdo https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ed33bcd368e221ec227cacd/t/5ee39a1731781f54f197c5f7/1591974443348/Domenico+Losurdo+-+Stalin.pdf

J. Arch Getty And Oleg V. Naumov http://library.lol/main/A87ECBB483BF27F182F31626527035A6 Furr http://library.lol/main/2B638AADAA6C7F15A94C36553DAB6D7B http://library.lol/main/0FA2BE18E21402199E0A70CA6ADB223E Stephen Kotkin http://library.lol/main/CB123EEE591D9D517013BF2464994C90 http://library.lol/main/1734618CA86072E888DE0CE11A55F13F Robert Conquest http://library.lol/main/286D63325E0FB040D21BEAB1F05F92D1 Ludo Martens http://library.lol/main/BF404C933433462605E47B4B6FF0ED44

On the USSR

Furr http://library.lol/main/10D697104A7831F0301673DA86AB2536 E. H. Carr http://library.lol/main/942D5E2DD58354BFE5734ED11E8A073F Conquest http://library.lol/main/F53C87FC7A83C0E0C8C9CBB11BFC2924 http://library.lol/main/38D2E8E59DFA7E8E25B1B168F223205F John Reed http://library.lol/main/4956C2872198131D25DB5DD3B1A486F7 Peter Kenez http://library.lol/main/FF7711111680035F0AD1811403AE0083 Harpal Brar http://library.lol/main/FE18644FF490E4FC243BD40DF4F9500C Albert Szymanski http://library.lol/main/8293F7494353EBD7739762E71EDFC04B William B. Bland http://library.lol/main/D3E501B8E3FD05113DEA086B1CEE9AAF

Final Thoughts

The prior three sections are not an exhaustive list of books that deal with the particular subject area. The point here is to examine the evidence within the text and compare it to the evidence provided from the other texts to see what the historians are ignoring or did not have the documents to look over. In any case remember comrades, the point of the whole post and this comment is to stimulate an examination not just of Trotsky, Stalin, and the USSR, but of all socialist experiments and their leaders through reading secondary sources and interrogating the primary sources that are used as a base. (Read through the works Forte has in their post as well)

I hope this helps in some way, comrades.

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