Comrades and friends
On 21st August 1940 a Stalinist agent Ramón Mercader assassinated Leon Trotsky in Mexico. This assassination was the result of the desperation of Stalinist bureaucracy who felt their privileges and rule endangered by Leon Trotsky.
They thought this murder would eliminate this danger forever but they were wrong because Trotsky was fighting against the degeneration of the revolution which he prophesied would result in restoration of capitalism in USSR. Unfortunately it proved right after almost 60 years of Trotsky’s assassination.
In the last century, on the one hand the capitalist intelligentsia were maligning Leon Trotsky, on the other hand the Stalinist bureaucracy and their pampered communist parties around the world were also propagating against Trotsky. They both felt endangered by Leon Trotsky and his ideas.
Trotsky was the architect of revolution alongside Lenin. He started taking part in revolutionary activities at an early age. He was exiled twice to Siberia. He had to endure hardships of incarceration at an early age.
Due to his ideological clarity and revolutionary activities he was elected as the Chairman of Petrograd Soviet at 26 years of age, during the Russian revolution of 1905.
Alongside his political activities, he also contributed a lot on the ideological front. His greatest contribution to Marxism was the theory of Permanent Revolution and theory of Combined and Uneven development which laid the ideological foundation of not only the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 but all other future revolutions around the world.
He was marvelous writer. During his exile when met Lenin in London, Lenin used call to him “Pen”, considering his extraordinary writing skills.
There are many unexpected events awaiting us on the path of revolutionary struggle.
During the congress of RSDLP in 1903, there was a split in the party resulting in two tendencies namely the Bolshevik and the Menshevik. Lenin and Trotsky parted ways as result of those ideological, political and organizational issues till 1917. During these years there were intense conflicts over some questions which can be found in their writings.
But in the February 1917 revolution in Russia, which resulted in the abolition of Tsarist Russia and formation provisional government, provided the opportunity to the exiled Bolshevik leadership came back to Russian. Lenin and Trotsky also came back. Like always happens, the ideas and theories are always tested on altar of events.
During these 15 years of split, much ideological confusions were cleared on the altar of events, resulting in ideological harmony between Lenin and Trotsky, who was elected to Central Committee of the Bolshevik party.
Lenin’s April thesis was an endorsement of Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution. And , at this point, there was no difference on the character of Revolution between Lenin and Trotsky.
Trotsky made another great contribution to the November 1917 Revolution.
After the revolution, 21 imperialist armies invaded the nascent Soviet state to crush it. Trotsky was assigned the task to defend the revolution. During the First World War, the Tzarist army was almost torn to pieces. From these ruins Leon Trotsky raised the Red Army and defeated the invading imperialist armies. This was his greatest contribution to the revolution.
After the defeat of imperialist army, then came the reconstruction of the society. Here too, Trotsky contributed greatly. He worked on many issues which were vague before the revolution. He contributed in laying the foundations of a new society. Particularly, in his book “Problems of everyday life” he analyzed many minute issues on the basis of Marxism and discussed the way forward.
Lenin and Trotsky had envisaged that the Russian revolution will ignite the revolutions in advanced capitalist countries. They had their eyes on Germany because it was the most advanced capitalist country of that time. They had vision that Russian Revolution shall inspire and encourage German working class for a revolution and a successful revolution in Germany will help their revolutionary brethren in Russia.
Russia was backward and mostly agrarian country and low number of proletariat. A Revolution in backward country can’t sustain for the indefinite period without the revolution in advanced country.
Unfortunately the revolution in Germany was crushed and capitalism could not be overthrown. Many revolutions were defeated in different country at that time. The Russian revolution was isolated.
In the mean time Lenin died. With the isolation of revolution, a reaction raised its head against the internationalism of Bolshevism. A political reaction raised its head. The leader of this reaction was Stalin. This clique abandoned internationalism and alien theory of “Socialism in one country” was developed.
Leon Trotsky fought against this reaction by forming Left Opposition within the Bolshevik party. As a result of this fight, he was isolated. He was expelled from Central Committee and from the party. He was even exiled from Soviet Union and his Soviet nationality abrogated.
One of his greatest contributions was after his exile from Soviet Union. He wrote “History of Russian Revolution” which is a masterpiece in which he analysed the dynamics of Russian revolution. He continued struggle against the Stalinist reaction even in his exile. He wrote a book in 1936 namely ‘The Revolution Betrayed”. In that book he predicted that if Soviet bureaucracy continued their policies and a political revolution did not happen i.e. a revolution in which the bureaucracy is overthrown and the economy comes under the democratic control of workers, then the restoration of capitalism in Russia is inevitable.
When we see the events of 1989 and 1990s, the fall of Berlin wall and the collapse of Soviet Union, it seems as if Trotsky’s this book written in 1936 was a script and 60 years later a drama was performed on world stage. His perspectives and idea were proved correct. Today no bourgeois and Stalinist intellectuals can’t explain the disintegration of Soviet Union. Some portray it as a conspiracy of CIA and imperialists. But only Trotsky and his follower knew the inevitable fall of Soviet Union. This proves the truth of Marxism and Trotsky’s ideas. Trotsky’s ideas specially his theory of Permanent revolution and combined uneven development are relevant for the former colonial countries as they were for Tzarist Russia.
In Pakistan, during the 1968-69 revolution, the pro-Moscow communist parties were envisaging building a modern capitalist Pakistan and then going towards socialism, due to their ideological confusion they could not play their due role in that revolution.
On the other hand Pakistan People’s Party took the leadership of that revolution. This party was recently form a year before the revolution. This is the direct result of a flaw Stalinist theory.
The whole premise of the theory of Permanent Revolution rest on the idea that the bourgeoise of the third world countries can’t play a progressive role in these societies and can’t accomplish the tasks of bourgeois revolution and the proletariat has to complete these tasks. Revolution in countries like Afghanistan proves the accuracy of Trotsky’s ideas. If the Khalq Democratic Party of Afghanistan had waited for the bourgeois revolution to take place in Afghanistan then they would have never brought revolution in the country. They followed the ideas of Permanent revolution unconsciously.
In Syria, Mozambique, Libya, Egypt etc. the leftist military officers staged coups and overthrew capitalism last century. These revolutions prove the redundancy of Two Stage theory of revolution i.e. first bourgeois revolution and then socialist revolution. They proved Trotsky’s accuracy.
By assassinating Trotsky, the Stalinist bureaucracy thought they had crushed Trotsky’s ideas but they were wrong. His ideas live on. They are as relevant as before. Only through his ideas we can bring revolution. We need world revolution more than ever. There are many problems that can’t be solved within a single national border. We need a world revolution for that. For example, the oppression of Kurds and Palestinians can’t be ended within the national borders of a single country.
Only a revolution which starts from a single country and spreads to other countries resulting in the overthrow of capitalism in those countries can these issues be resolved. We have to resolve to speed up our struggle for a socialist future of humanity.