Leon Trotsky

Comrades, the internal causation and lawfulness of historical development was formulated for the first time by Marxist theory. The theory of Marxism, as Marx himself wrote in the introduction to his work Critique of Political Economy, established approximately the following proposition with regard to revolution: No social system departs from the arena until it has developed the productive forces to the maximum degree attainable under the given system; and no new social system appears on the scene unless the economic premises necessary for it have already been prepared by the old social system. This truth, which is basic for revolutionary policy, unquestionably retains

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Today marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Paris Commune, where the working class for the first time in history, took power into its own hands. On this occasion we republish the following classic work by Leon Trotsky about the lessons of the Commune.

This book was written by Leon Trotsky at the height of the Russian Civil War. While it is a polemical response to German social-democrat Karl Kautsky, it is also represents the Bolshevik defense of the extraordinary means the young workers’ republic had to take in order to defend itself from the almost two dozen armies that were on its soil trying to turn back the revolution. We have kept true to the form of the style of English used in this edition of the book, making only some spelling corrections and, of course, using the contemporary title, Terrorism or Communism.

A compilation of key works by Leon Trotsky, written between 1904 and the end of April 1917, about the character and tasks of the Russian Revolution.

Leon Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution to Brest-Litovsk was written at the Brest-Litovsk peace conference a mere few months after the Bolsheviks had come to power. It gives an excellent introduction to the history of the Russian Revolution.

What is a peace program? From the viewpoint of the ruling classes or of the parties subservient to them, it is the totality of the demands, the ultimate realization of which must be ensured by the power of militarism.

Leon Trotsky’s pamphlet What Next? published in Petrograd in September 1917.

Any intelligent person (or any fool) knows that to save Russia a merciless struggle with anarchy on the left and counter revolution on the right is essential. This constitutes the essence of the entire programme of IzvestiaDelo NarodaRabochaya Gazeta ... Kerensky’s “historic” speech at the “historic” State Conference amounted to variations on just this theme. “With blood and iron against anarchy on the left, counter-revolution on the right.”

There were never so many pacifists in the world as now, when in all countries men are killing one another. Every historical epoch has not only its own technique and its own political form, but also a hypocrisy peculiar to itself. Once peoples destroyed each other in the name of the Christian teaching of love of humanity. Now only backward governments call upon Christ. Progressive nations cut each others’ throats in the name of pacifism. Wilson drags America into the war in the name of the League of Nations, and perpetual peace. Kerensky and Tseretelli call for an offensive for the sake of an early peace.

Blood has flowed in the streets of Petrograd. A tragic chapter has been added to the Russian Revolution. Who is to blame? “The Bolsheviks,” says the man in the street, repeating what his newspapers tell him. The sum total of these tragic happenings is exhausted, as far as the bourgeoisie and the time-serving politicians are concerned, in the words: Arrest the ringleaders and disarm the masses. And the object of this action is to establish “revolutionary order”. The Social-Revolutionists and the Mensheviks, in arresting and disarming the Bolsheviks, are prepared to establish “order”. There is only one question: What kind of order, and for whom?

There have never been so many pacifists as at this moment, when people are slaying each other on all the great highways of our planet. Each epoch has not only its own technology and political forms, but also its own style of hypocrisy. Time was when the nations destroyed each other for the glory of Cist’s teachings and the love of one’s neighbour. Now Cist is invoked only by backward governments. The advanced nations cut each other’s toats under the banners of pacifism a league of nations and a durable peace. Kerensky and Tseretelli shout for an offensive, in the name of an “early conclusion of peace.”

Our paper is to be the organ of revolutionary socialism. Such a declaration would have been sufficient a short time ago. At present these words have lost value. For, both socialism and revolution are now professed by such elements, such classes, as, in their social nature, belong to the camp of the enemy whom we cannot conciliate.

The war conditions are twisting and obscuring the action of the internal forces of the Revolution. But none the less the course of the Revolution will be determined by these same internal forces, namely, the classes.

In a session of the National Duma held March 3, 1916 M. Miliukov replied as follows to a Criticism from the left: “I do not know for certain whether the government is leading us to defeat – but I do know that a revolution in Russia will unquestionably lead us to a defeat, and our enemies, therefore, have good reason to thirst for it.

The question of chief interest, now, to the governments and the peoples of the world is, What will be the influence of the Russian Revolution on the War? Will it bring peace nearer? Or will the revolutionary enthusiasm of the people swing towards a more vigorous prosecution of the war?

This essay was written on March 18th, 1917, when the first news of unrest in Petrograd had reached New York.

I consider it at this time a matter of political necessity to publish the documents bearing upon my imprisonment by the British for the period of one month. The bourgeois press – the same press which has been spreading defamatory statements of the worst black-hundred type against political emigrants who were forced to return to Russia by way of Germany – appeared to be deaf and dumb the moment it came in contact with the lawless attack by England upon the Russian emigrants who were returning home by way of the Atlantic ocean.

Lenin stated that the October Revolution of 1917 could never have taken place without the previous experience of the Revolution of 1905. A study of this remarkable event is therefore of great importance for anyone who wishes to understand the dynamics of revolution in general, and not just in a particular case. In the struggle for revolutionary ideology, a place of honour is occupied by the marvellous writings of Leon Trotsky. And among these, one of the most important is 1905, which we publish here.

The Russian Revolution (of 1905) came unexpectedly to everybody but the Social Democrats. Marxism long ago predicted the inevitability of the Russian Revolution, which was bound to break out as a result of the conflict between capitalist development and the forces of ossified absolutism. Marxism estimated in advance the social character of the coming revolution. In calling it a bourgeois revolution, Marxism thereby pointed out that the immediate objective tasks of the revolution consisted in the creation of “normal conditions for the development of bourgeois society as a whole.