I was always much impressed, in reading prison memoirs of revolutionists, such as Lenin and Trotsky ... by the amount of reading they did, the languages they studied, the range of their plans for a better social order. (Or rather, for a new social order.) In the Acts of the Apostles there are constant references to the Way and the New Man.
I would trade all the advantages of humanity to be a fly on the wall when Franklin and Jefferson discussed liberty, Lenin and Trotsky revolution, Newton and Halley the shape of the universe, or when Darwin entertained Huxley and Lyell at Down.stephen jay gould
I met Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Engels, and Mao when I entered prison and they redeemed me.karl marx
Here's to the day when the complete works of Leon Trotsky are published and widely distributed in the Soviet Union. On that day the USSR will have achieved democracy!c. wright mills
Maxim Gorki, supposedly citing a quote from Trotsky, told some journalists in 1924: "From Mussolini's governmental actions I have got to know his energy and I admire him, but I prefer Trotsky's opinion: Mussolini has made a revolution, he is our best student."
To the very end Trotsky remained a blind, pitiless (even when pitiable) giant, defending the right of the minority vanguard of the proletariat -- the Party -- to exercise its dictatorship over ‘the backward layers of the proletariat’ -- i.e., those who disagreed with the self-designated vanguard.
The obliging Trotsky is more dangerous than an enemy! /.../ Trotsky has never yet held a firm opinion on any important question of Marxism. He always contrives to worm his way into the cracks of any given difference of opinion, and desert one side for the other. At the present moment he is in the company of the Bundists and the liquidators.
The theory that the struggle between Bolshevism and Menshevism is a struggle for influence over an immature proletariat is not a new one. We have been encountering it since 1905 in innumerable books, pamphlets, and articles in the liberal press. Martov and Trotsky are putting before the German comrades liberal views with a Marxist coating...
[W]idespread public perceptions about the role of Jews in the new government [of the Bolsheviks in the early Soviet Union] led to aggressive surveillance and repression of anti-Jewish attitudes and behavior, including the execution of Russian nationalists who expressed anti-Jewish attitudes. These public perceptions also motivated Jews to adopt a lower profile in the regime, as with Trotsky, who refused the post of commissar of internal affairs because it might lend further ammunition to the anti-Jewish arguments.
When Trotsky, in the first weeks of his regime, threatened opponents with an ingenious gadget that shortens a person "only by the length of a head," one may have dismissed the remark as a bad joke from a temperamental orator trying to cut the figure of a Robespierre. A few months passed and the tasteless joke became harsh reality, the difference being that, in "liberated" Russia, now instead of the chop of the bourgeois guillotine, "socialist" bullets whistle from Latvian rifles.
Here's to the day when the complete works of Leon Trotsky are published and widely distributed in the Soviet Union. On that day the USSR will have achieved democracy!
[Trotsky] was an intellectual who never asked himself such a simple question as: ‘What reason do I have to believe that the economic condition of workers under socialism will be better than under capitalism?’
In the early 1920s, the Communists believed, a priori , that Germany and other European countries were ripe for internal revolution, and indeed Germany was not far from going Communist in these years. But later on, these hopes died, and Stalin, particularly after the ouster of the fanatic Trotsky, who always wanted immediate revolutions everywhere, settled down to calm concentration on “socialism in one country.”
When Victor Adler objected to Berchtold, foreign minister of Austria-Hungary, that war would provoke revolution in Russia, even if not in the Habsburg monarchy, he replied: "And who will lead this revolution? Perhaps Mr. Bronstein [Trotsky] sitting over there at the Cafe Central?"
Trotsky explained that a nationalised planned economy needs democracy as the human body needs oxygen.
Brief biography at Spartacus.schoolnet Trotsky archive at Marxists.org
The Russian debacle is rather appalling but quite explicable. Lenin and Trotsky appear to me to be of the SPGB type or the wilder types of the SDP.
The CPUSA [i.e., Communist Party of the USA] would do literally anything for Moscow, even kill: Party members were intimately involved in assassination plots against the heretic Bolshevik Leon Trotsky, and later they would assist in unsuccessful KGB plots to break his murderer out of jail.
When one considers the elaborate forgeries that have been committed in order to show that Trotsky did not play a valuable part in the Russian civil war, it is difficult to feel that the people responsible are merely lying. More probably they feel that their own version was what happened in the sight of God, and that one is justified in rearranging the records accordingly.