Today I am proud to honor Leon Trotsky, 80 years after his assassination. More so, being able to do so from this rally organized by the young International Socialist League, our cherished ISL.
Trotsky’s contribution to the cause of the socialist revolution has been enormous.
A brilliant speaker, adored by the masses. An even better writer, which earned him the pseudonym “The Pen”. A theorist and exceptional organizer.
Each of the aspects of his life separately and in itself would place him in a very prominent place. But his overall work undoubtedly places him alongside Marx and Engels, alongside Lenin among history´s greatest revolutionaries.
From the stage, his fiery speeches won him the confidence of the Russian working class, which elected him to represent them as President of the militant Petrograd Soviet of the proletariat in the 1905 revolution and again in the 1917 revolution.
Author of the most comprehensive theory of the revolution, which served as a guide for the October revolution in Russia and continues to guide the destinies of the world revolution: The Theory of the Permanent Revolution, which synthetically states that any revolution that does not advance until it destroys capitalism at a national level retreats, and the same happens if it is isolated and does not spread to the entire world.
Organizer and leader of the Revolutionary Committee that carried out the insurrection and seizure of power in October 1917, inaugurating the first triumphant Workers’ State in history.
Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of negotiations to pull the nascent soviet republic out of the carnage of the First World War.
Creator of the Red Army that defeated the forces of the old autocratic order supported by about 20 foreign armies, showing him as one of the most important military strategists of the 20th century. Admired by friends and enemies alike.
Founder, together with Lenin, of the Third International, where his contributions during its first four congresses have served to guide revolutionaries to this day.
And a relentless militant against the internal counterrevolution of the most disastrous bureaucracy that has ever been known and that would end up triumphing in the young workers’ state until destroying it.
Without him, the last Bolshevik, perhaps the experience of over a century of working class struggles would have been lost. The revolutionary red thread that was built in struggle, allowing the rise, crisis and the overcoming of the first three internationals would have been cut.
Imprisoned several times by Tsarism, exiled and persecuted by Stalinism, he saw his comrades and his entire family exterminated one by one.
But he did not give up and was able to transmit to future generations the main teachings of Marxism and Leninism. That is why he deserves his name, Trotskyism, being carried with honor by all of us who recognize ourselves in his work.
Hated and feared by imperialism, which, in the words of one of its most representative figures of the time, went so far as to say that the only person who could benefit from the catastrophe caused by the Second World War was Trotsky, as the first great war had benefited the Bolsheviks.
That is why the Stalinist bureaucracy first expelled him, terrified by his presence within the workers’ state, and then assassinated him to try to prevent Churchill’s forecast from coming true.
Hated by all bureaucrats entrenched in the labor movement and by all the reformists of the world, who see with class hatred how Trotskyists do not give in to their siren songs and continue fighting to destroy capitalism, to end private property, to end all privileges, confronting all enemies of the working class equally.
Neglected by the progressive intelligentsia, by the academic circles where many who call themselves revolutionaries hang out, because they prefer sugar-coated and often innocuous characters to a figure of the stature of Trotsky, unwavering, questioning, militant, revolutionary to the bone.
When Trotsky died in 1940, he left a void that we have not been able to overcome to this day. He left us granite foundations, his teachings, his most precious work, the IV International and the program to carry out the transition from capitalism to socialism.
But the distance between him and the cadres that were left at the front of the international was enormous.
After the Second World War, the organization of the Fourth International was left in the hands of a leadership without any experience, without tradition or training in the working class, which, through blunders and in the midst of a very unfavorable objective situation, ended up dispersing the Trotskyist forces in multiple organizations.
Opportunism and impressionism arose, which caused a sector to be dazzled by any leadership that led sectors of the masses. This is how they capitulated to Stalinism in its different variants, Castrismo, and Sandinismo.
But sectarianism also arose, which put an equal sign between the reformist leaderships and the processes that they lead, which led to abstention and not fighting for the leadership of immense processes of the class struggle.
In the 90s, pessimism gained enormous influence, leading many currents to disbelieve in the socialist revolution and consequently abandon the construction of Leninist parties.
National Trotskyism also emerged. Which departs from the mistaken idea that it is possible to gain mass influence, take power and sustain it from a national party, without an international organization.
Those who continued to fight to build a world organization of revolutionaries did so separately from the rest, around a more or less developed party that would dictate politics for the whole world and smaller groups around it that are minor copies of the mother party.
The failures of all these experiments were hidden behind bureaucratic methods most of the time, which led to crises and divisions.
It is necessary to recover the legacy of Leon Trotsky. Leave pessimism behind. Fight against opportunism and sectarianism. Rebuild a true proletarian internationalism.
A project is needed to unite, instead of dividing, the revolutionaries. That is the best tribute we can pay to the old Ukrainian revolutionary.
That is what those of us who have decided to build the International Socialist League propose to do.
We are convinced that we can only build a mass international and help build strong revolutionary parties in our countries, if we manage to unite the different traditions that have been formed during all these years in the revolutionary movement under the same banners and principles.
If we learn to live with partial differences. If we rebuild a truly democratic method of operation. In short, if we rebuild the confidence necessary to be able to debate everything, collectively elaborate politics and act jointly in the class struggle, intervening and developing aggressive campaigns. Putting everything into in each revolutionary process in which we participate. And thus, with patience, building a new tradition, integrating and surpassing the existing ones.
It has been this proposal that has allowed us to develop rapidly. To converge with the comrades from Turkey and Pakistan, to establish a fruitful dialogue with the comrades of Australia and Brazil.
To develop in Eastern Europe, where we are participating in the rebellion that is shaking Belarus and building a new revolutionary organization in Ukraine.
To advance in Europe, starting with the rebellion of the Catalan people and the yellow vests in France.
To set foot in the US, where the anti-racist rebellion and the left turn of the youth is shaking the empire.
To participate in the Lebanese revolution with the Youth Movement for Change and begin to work with sectors of the vanguard that are rising in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Algeria, and Western Sahara.
To build our organization in the midst of the Chilean revolution and the Nicaraguan rebellion, extending to all of Latin America.
And strive for more.
The ISL has emerged at a very important time. A decisive time. The crisis that broke out in 2008 and was escalating to incredible levels, has detonated a new world situation that is on the verge of becoming pre-revolutionary, if it hasn´t already entered into that dynamic.
The mass ascent has begun and we have to prepare for increasingly extraordinary events. It will not be a bed of roses. We will face an increasingly acute polarization, where the counterrevolution will work intensely to defeat the working class and lead us to barbarism.
But we have powerful weapons to confront them with. To defeat them. To take advantage of the opportunities and take leaps in our construction.
Let us follow the teachings of our beloved Leon Trotsky.
Capitalism has no reform. It must be destroyed and a new society built atop its rubble. A socialist world.
Let us remain faithful to our class, the working class, which is the only creative class with which an improved society can be built, without exploitation or oppression of any kind. Let us advance and rebuild our strength, always by her side.
Let us promote the broadest workers’ democracy, which is the only one that is a thousand times superior, not only to any autocracy, but to the most developed bourgeois democracy. And let us educate ourselves by fully practicing it in each factory, in each union that we manage to influence.
Let us build strong revolutionary, Leninist, Bolshevik parties, which is the only weapon that can lead us to victory against imperialism, the bourgeoisie, bureaucracies of all kinds and reformism.
And let us be soldiers of the permanent revolution in each country where we act, since only by deepening the revolution until workers rule and we achieve socialism in the world can we make this life a paradise, in which humanity can peacefully advance from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of happiness and abundance.