Monday, August 20, 2007
Caracas commemorates Trotsky on the anniversary of his assassination
The ideas of Leon Trotsky have already been referred to on a number of occasions by president Chávez, who has said he is a follower of the permanent revolution, and commented favourably on the Transitional Programme.
Now, on August 20th, the Venezuelan authorities have organised a public meeting to commemorate 67 years since the assassination of Trotsky in Mexico. This is certainly an historic event. It is the first time in 67 years that this date has been commemorated officially by a government institution anywhere in the world.
Amongst those invited to take part in the event are Esteban Volkov, Trotsky's grandson, who has dedicated most of his efforts to the rehabilitation of the figure of the Russian revolutionary from the pile of slanders and lies of the Stalinists; Celia Hart, the Cuban communist who has played a key role in reintroducing the debate on Trotsky on the island and reclaimed his ideas; and Ricardo Napurí, a Peruvian army officer who became a revolutionary, collaborated with Che Guevara and is also a Trotskyist.
Che Guevara was NOT a Trotskyist by the way. Trotskyists in Cuba have mostly been jailed or exiled. Or killed.
Anybody curious about Trotsky would do well to read from Isaac Deutscher's biographic trilogy. Although the history was bogus, the film Frida portrayed Trotsky in a very thoughtful manner. A complex figure, and if I start typing about him I won't make it to bed. Maybe later.
The opening lines of Caesar's Gallic Wars.
Back in high school Latin class we had to translate the whole wretched thing. The Trotsky had the English translation already done. Everybody had one, but you never took it to class. You weren't supposed to have one.
"All Gaul is divided in three parts." JC
Thanks Trotsky, could never have done it without you.
Actually, I argue that they're the Protestants of Marxism as opposed to the "Stalinists" which are Catholics. Catholicsim and Moscow-allied Marxists focus on the institution, while the Protestants/Trotskyists focus on the purity of doctrine as evidenced by the writings.
I don't remember that in his writings, which isn't to say it wasn't there. I do remember that he differed from classical Marxist theory in that he believed in the guerrilla foco theory - the snowballing of a revolution beginning with a small group of rural-based rebels as opposed to organizing the industrial working class, etc. This was articulated in Regis Debray's Revolution in the Revolution. It fit in with "new left" views of the third world as the vanguard, a rejection of the "old left" view of the industrial proletariat as the vanguard.
The Guevara/Debray thesis was ultimately defeated by the geography of Bolivia. Of course, the old left would argue that Bolivia simply lacked the "objective social conditions" for revolution.
Debray was captured with Guevara, spent some time in jail, returned to France and ultimately served in Mitterand administration. I'm actually going to make a post sometime soon about something he wrote in opposition to militant atheism.
A rugged individualist, like me, following the crowd? Nope.
At least not yet. I'll probably be the last hold out.
Trotsky is hard to pin down. He
was indeed a complex person. When he was building the Red Army he insisted on recruiting officers to lead the army from the experienced military class regardless of their political persuasion. He included many from the royalist army. Stalin felt that the army should be led by dedicated revolutionists.
Trotsky was a contradiction. He could be very pragmatic in one area and doctrinaire in another.
When you talk to Trotskyists they will tell you that Stalin's chief crime was to vary from doctrine. That he tried to establish socialism in one country while Marx was talking about a worldwide revolution, or at least a continental one. That the institution of Moscow, the head of the 3rd International, heretically became an institution defining the revolution rather than serving it, and so the whole International's activities served the national interests of one or a few countries. This of course leads to alliances in other countries such as the US in which they make compromises with bourgoise politics, as in the CP "popular front" with New Dealists in the 30s.
The Third International betrayed the Revolution, and the Trotskyists have the quotes from sacred texts to prove it.
However, I like the Anon.R.mous character so much that I think I will continue doing it regardless of whether or not people know its me.
Now the only question is...what shall I post on the Anon.R. blog? Perhaps a denial? a piece about myself? something completely unrelated like CR?
Wait and see. wait and see.
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