By Jasmine Duff / Socialist Alternative Australia
Leon Trotsky´s legacy is very important for us to discuss right now, entering a new ans very uncertain political moment. Trotsky lived in a period in which Stalinism had come to dominate in Russia and all across the world the left was adopting the idea that socialism could mean dictatorship over workers from above. Trotsky insisted on socialism from below, that socialism meant workers themselves taking power, creating new institutions to transform society. His battle against Stalin in Russia exposed to socialists all across the world what was really going on in that country.
It led to the creation of at first tiny Trotskyist groups all across the globe, kind of scattered around, that then laid the basis for the regeneration of the socialist left around a whole set of politics that returned to the essence of Marxism.
And now, when revolts are speading all across the globe, from Hong Kong, to Sudan, from Egypt to Algeria, I think Trotsky´s insistence upon the creative capacity of the workers, their power and will to resist, all of those things have been reconfirmed.
As well as the period of upheaval like this one, I think it means we really need to return and learn some of the lessons that Trotsky left for us. His insistence on his opposition to reformism as well as that he insisted in workers´ power and that socialists should emphasize workers´ power, when Stalinists all around the world were arguing for collaboration with the bourgeoisie in the for of what they termed Popular Fronts.
Trotsky argued instead that socialists should work with other forms of workers´ organizatinos and to try to break workers away from reformism, to build mass socialist movements that could, on the one hand, defeat fascism, which was rising all across Europe at the time, but also which fight for socialism in the future. I think all of those things are going to start to matter more for us going forward, now that things are becoming so much more polarized and the situation is shifting.