Weekend Reading: Leon Trotsky's Not-Entirely-Reliable-Narrator View of Lenin's New Economic Policy of the 1920s
Ten Years Ago in Grasping Reality: June 4, 2007

Dead from Behind the Iron Curtain: Albert Glotzer: Stalin’s Place in History (1953): "Assessing the Social Role of the Great Assassin... https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/glotzer/1953/05/stalin.htm

...In reply to Ivan Smirnov that Stalin is ‘a mediocrity, a colourless nonentity’, Trotsky replied:

Mediocrity, yes; nonentity, no. The dialectics of history have already hooked him and will raise him up. He is needed by all of them—by the tired radicals, by the bureaucrats, by the Nepmen, the kulaks, the upstarts, the sneaks, by all the worms that are crawling out of the upturned soil of the manured revolution. He knows how to meet them on their own ground, he speaks their language, and he knows how to lead them. He has the deserved reputation of an old revolutionist, which makes him invaluable to them as a blinder on the eyes of the country. He has will and daring. He will not hesitate to utilise them and to move them against the party. He has already started doing this. Right now he is organising around himself the sneaks of the party, the artful dodgers. Of course, great developments in Europe, in Asia and in our country may intervene and upset all the speculations. But if everything continues to go automatically as it is going now, then Stalin will just as automatically become dictator.

This was said not in 1935 or 1930, but in 1924. It was said not in malice, but quite objectively, on the basis of a keen grasp of the currents which had developed in a party in control of the state, the only party in the land...


Leon Trotsky (1904): Our Political Tasks: "In the internal politics of the Party [Lenin's] methods lead, as we shall see below... https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1904/tasks/ch03.htm

...to the Party organisation “substituting” itself for the Party, the Central Committee substituting itself for the Party organisation, and finally the dictator substituting himself for the Central Committee; on the other hand, this leads the committees to supply an “orientation”–and to change it–while “the people keep silent”.... These “methods” lead to the complete disappearance of questions of political tactics in Social Democracy. Comrade Lenin has expressly confirmed this in a certain thesis, which cannot be passed over in silence.... For Comrade Lenin, the question of “deep roots” is not a question of political tactics but a question of philosophical doctrine; if our doctrine, Marxism, supplies us with the “deep roots,” all that is left then is to carry out the technical-organisational task. Between the “philosophical” problem and the “technical-organisational” problem, there is one small link missing in the case of Comrade Lenin: the content of our Party work. Having dissolved the tactical aspect of the question into the “philosophical” aspect, Lenin has acquired the right to identify the content of the Party’s practice with the content of the programme. He deliberately ignores the fact that we imperatively need, not deep “philosophical” roots (how stupid! As though the imam of any sect does not, from a “philosophical” point of view, have some deep root or another!), but real political roots, a living contact with the masses, enabling us at each decisive moment to mobilise this mass around a flag which is recognised as their flag...

Leon Trotsky (1939): IDOM-A Petty-Bourgeois Opposition in the SWP: "Burnham does not recognize the dialectic, but the dialectic recognizes Burnham, that is, extends its sway over him..." https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/idom/dm/09-pbopp.htm

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