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Download Writings of Leon Trotsky: (1930) epub

by Leon Trotsky

Volume two of fourteen volumes covering the period of Trotsky's exile from the Soviet Union in 1929 until his assassination at Stalin's orders in 1940. Photos, chronology, notes, other writings of 1930, index.
Download Writings of Leon Trotsky: (1930) epub
ISBN: 0873484134
ISBN13: 978-0873484138
Category: Politics
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Author: Leon Trotsky
Language: English
Publisher: Pathfinder Press (NY) (January 1, 1975)
Pages: 578 pages
ePUB size: 1490 kb
FB2 size: 1209 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 160
Other Formats: docx mbr lrf lrf

I have had a copy of this book in paperback for some time. However, I have always preferred hardbound copies of books because of their rugged bindings that do not deteriorate with average use as fast as paperback books. Accordingly, I was pleased to obtain this first edition hardbound copy of this book and add this book to my library.
felt boot
Ever since 1972 I have been attempting to collect as broad a collection of the writings of Leon Trotsky as possible. This book contains the writings by Trotsky from the year 1933 through 1934. During the first part of 1932, Trotsky finished his monumental history called "The Russian Revolution." The Russian Revolution is published separately and is not contained in this volume. However, many other shorter works and articles on a variety of subjects are contained in this book. One article contained in this book is an artticle called "The Peasant War in China and the Proletariat." In this article Trotsky continues to maintain that the peasantry is not the class that should be leading the revolution. Rather it should be the proletariat or industrial workers. It might rightly be asked "What industrial workers?" China was overwhelmingly a rural country with an extremely small number of industrial workers.

This book contains articles and memorand that was written by Trotsky while he was exiled from the Soviet Union in Turkey. He was already part of the Left Opposition to Stalin who was leading the Soviet Union during this time. Predictably, every issue that Trotsky wrote about in this book is tinged with criticism of the Stalinist government in the Soviet Union. In this case the China question was considered by both Stalin in the Soviet Union and the Left Opposition located in exile. Both sides had their own arguments about the proper course to be followed by Russian foreign policy with regard to the Maoist peasant-led revolution In China. Trotsky felt classical Marxism allowed only for the proletariat to lead the revolution. The peasantry shold follow the lead of the proletariat. Stalin felt that China was in a bourgeois revolution and the peasantry and proletariat should both unite with the bourgeois forces--in short the Kuomintang. The trouble with this theory was that the Kuomintang would have nothing to do with anything "revolutionary" and in 1927 smashed as much of the revolutionary leadership in China that it could lay hands on in the city of Shanghai.

Who, then, was correct in their analysis China question? Actually both Trotsky and Stalin were too tied to classical Marxism to see any lead role that the peasantry could play in the Chinese Revolution. Mao Tse-tung was the person on the scene that had any faith at all in the ability of the peasantry to lead a revolution. In the end the Chinese Revolution was brought about under the leadership of the peasantry. There really was no intervening bourgeois revolution following the events of 1927 and even in 1949, the industrial workers were so few in number that it would have been impossible to rely on them to bring about a revolution and lead the peasantry into a new world.

I have had this book in paperback since the 1990s. However, I have always preferred books in the hardbound format because they are more rugged and last longer. Recently, I have purchasing hard bound copies of my favorite paperback books. Accordingly, I was glad to obtain this first edition hardbound copy of this book.
If you are interested in the history of the International Left in the first half of the 20th century or are a militant trying to understand some of the past lessons of our history concerning the communist response to various social and labor questions this book is for you. I have reviewed elsewhere Trotsky's writings published under the title The Left Opposition, 1923-1929 (in three volumes) dealing with Trotsky's internal political struggles for power inside the Russian Communist Party (and by extension, the political struggles inside the Communist International) in order to save the Russian Revolution. This book is part of a continuing series of volumes in English of his writings from his various points of external exile from 1929 up until his death in 1940. These volumes were published by the organization that James P. Cannon, early American Communist Party and later Trotskyist leader founded, the Socialist Workers Party, during the 1970's and 1980's. (Cannon's writings in support of Trotsky's work are reviewed elsewhere in this space). Look in the archives in this space for other related reviews on and by this important world communist leader.

After the political defeat of the various Trotsky-led Left Oppositions 1923 to 1929 by Stalin and his state and party bureaucracy he nevertheless found it far too dangerous to keep Trotsky in Moscow. He therefore had Trotsky placed in internal exile at Ata Alma in the Soviet Far East in 1928. Even that turned out to be too much for Stalin's tastes and in 1929 he arranged for the external exile of Trotsky to Turkey. Although Stalin probably rued the day that he did it this exile was the first of a number of places which Trotsky found himself in external exile. Other places included, France, Norway and, finally, Mexico where he was assassinated by a Stalinist agent in 1940. As these volumes, and many others from this period attest to, Trotsky continued to write on behalf of a revolutionary perspective. Damn, did he write. Some, including a few of his biographers, have argued that he should have given up the struggle, retired to who knows where, and acted the role of proper bourgeois writer or professor. Please! These volumes scream out against such a fate, despite the long odds against him and his efforts on behalf of international socialist revolution. Remember this is a revolutionary who had been through more exiles and prisons than one can count easily, held various positions of power and authority in the Soviet state and given the vicissitudes of his life could reasonably expect to return to power with a new revolutionary upsurge. Personally, I think Trotsky liked and was driven harder by the long odds.

The political prospects for socialist revolution in the period under discussion are, to say the least, rather bleak, or ultimately turned out that way. The post-World War I revolutionary upsurge has dissipated leaving Soviet Russia isolated. Various other promising revolutionary situations, most notably the aborted German revolution of 1923 that would have gone a long way to saving the Russian Revolution, had come to nought. In the period under discussion there is a real sense of defensiveness about the prospects for revolutionary change. The specter of fascism loomed heavily and we know at what cost to the international working class. The capitulation to fascism by the German Communist and Social Democratic Parties in 1933, the defeat of the heroic Austrian working class in 1934, the defeat in Spain in 1939, and the outlines of the impending Second World War colored all political prospects, not the least Trotsky's.

Organizationally, Trotsky developed two tactical orientations. The first was a continuation of the policy of the Left Opposition during the 1920's. The International Left Opposition as it cohered in 1930 still acted as an external and unjustly expelled faction of the official Communist parties and of the Communist International and oriented itself to winning militants from those organizations. After the debacle in Germany in 1933 a call for new national parties and a new, fourth, international became the organizational focus. Many of the volumes here contain letters, circulars, and manifestos around these orientations. The daunting struggle to create an international cadre and to gain some sort of mass base animate many of the writings collected in this series. Many of these pieces show Trotsky's unbending determination to make a breakthrough. That these effort were, ultimately, militarily defeated during the course of World War Two does not take away from the grandeur of the efforts. Hats off to Leon Trotsky.