Leon Trotsky

Shlyapnikov and the Left Opposition

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I have to disagree with John Rose (October SR) when he writes that in her biography of Alexander Shlyapnikov Barbara C Allen doesn’t ask why he didn’t join forces with the Left Opposition.

Allen actually gives two reasons that have to do with Trotsky’s acceptance of the ban on factions during the 1921 Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party and the subsequent dissolution of the Workers Opposition, of which Shlyapnikov was the most prominent member.

Trotsky in Norway

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Leon Trotsky and his wife, fellow revolutionary Natalia Sedova, arrived in Norway in June 1935 after their supporters persuaded the newly-elected Norwegian Labour government to give them asylum.

They came from France where the Popular Front government and trade union leaders were trying to control the rising tide of militancy and wanted Trotsky out of the way.

Why Read... Lessons of October

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The year 1923 was a decisive year in the history of the international movement. It was the point at which the revolutionary movement sweeping Europe after the victory of the Bolsheviks in 1917 finally broke and began to ebb. And it was also the time at which the Soviet bureaucracy began to firmly consolidate its grip over Russian society.

Why read...The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany

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Trotsky wrote this series of articles in extraordinary times. Germany in the 1930s was hit by a massive crisis that crippled the economy and drove unemployment up to 6 million.

In the conditions of global recession a new movement, fascism, was rising in parts of Europe. In Germany this took the form of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party.

Why read: Leon Trotsky's Results and Prospects

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Can the working class in less developed countries lead a socialist revolution, even when it is not a majority in society?

Leon Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution provides, under certain circumstances, a positive answer to this question.

Trotsky's theory was one of the great developments in Marxism.

Why Read The History of the Russian Revolution?

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Isaac Deutscher, Trotsky's biographer, described The History of the Russian Revolution as Trotsky's, "Crowning work, both in scale and power and as the fullest expression of his ideas on revolution." Trotsky himself says "The history of a revolution, like every other history, ought first of all to tell what happened and how. That however is, little enough. From the very telling it ought to become clear why it happened thus and not otherwise...

"The most indubitable feature of a revolution is the direct interference of the masses in historical events. In ordinary times the state, be it monarchical or democratic, elevates itself above the nation, and history is made by specialists in that line of business kings, ministers, bureaucrats, parliamentarians, journalists. But at these crucial moments when the old order becomes no longer endurable to the masses, they...sweep aside their traditional representatives and create by their own interference the initial groundwork for a new regime."

Lessons of defeat: German communists and the rise of Hitler

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Eighty years ago Hitler came to power, crushing the strongest workers' movement in the world. Donny Gluckstein, author of A People's History of the Second World War, looks at the fatal mistakes the German left made in response to the rise of Nazis and draws lessons for today

This year, 2013, marks a tragic anniversary. It is 80 years since Hitler established his dictatorship over Germany. On 27 February 1933, shortly after his appointment as chancellor, the parliament (Reichstag) burned down in a fire which was probably started by the Nazis. This was the excuse needed to ban the Communist Party and begin mass repression. On 22 March the first concentration camp opened at Dachau near Munich.

Victor Serge: the untamed revolutionary

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Victor Serge was an anarchist who rallied to the Russian Revolution and Bolshevism. He later fought against both Stalinism and fascism to keep the real revolutionary tradition alive. Here George Paizis looks at Serge's extraordinary life and the lessons its offers for us today

Victor Serge (1880-1947) was one of the most important revolutionary writers of the last century. When he died, he left behind a body of books and articles, novels and poems that responded to nearly 50 years of activity and involvement in key moments of the socialist movement. Yet he was largely ignored by the British left till Peter Sedgwick translated his Memoirs of a Revolutionary in 1963. Now a new and finally unabridged edition of his Memoirs provides an opportunity to introduce Serge to a new generation of socialists, to test the relevance of his writings.

What is permanent revolution?

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Regi Pilling looks at what Leon Trotsky meant by permanent revolution and if it still has relevance today.

At the start of this year the dictator Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for three decades, was toppled by mass protests and strikes. But today we see the military violently retaking Tahrir Square, protesters attacked and strikes outlawed. Should the revolution stop now that Mubarak has gone? Could it move beyond political changes to economic and social transformation? Could socialism be brought about?

T is for Trotsky

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In a world dominated by capitalist crisis and war the life and writings of Leon Trotsky can offer socialists some pointers on the way forward.

Trotsky was central to leading two revolutions in Russia - the 1905 Revolution, which was crushed by Russia's brutal Tsar, and the victorious 1917 Revolution which ushered in for a brief time the most liberated and radical society we have yet seen. He was the key organiser of the insurrection through which the revolution took power in October 1917. He also defended the fledgling new society leading the revolutionary Red Army to victory against more than a dozen invading armies.

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