The Soviet Union after the revolution

Art is important to people. It has always been so from the earliest human societies, when it was indissolubly linked to magic — that is, to the first primitive attempts of men and women to understand and gain control over the world in which they live. However, in class society art is so designed as to exclude the masses, and relegate them to an impoverished existence, not only in a material but in a spiritual sense.

In November 1932, Leon Trotsky delivered a speech in Copenhagen (Denmark). It was the 15th anniversary of the revolution. In defending the October revolution he set the record straight on the real processes that unfolded in Russia 1917, as opposed to the doctored version presented by the Stalinists.

The essence of Marxism consists in this, that it approaches society concretely, as a subject for objective research, and analyzes human history as one would a colossal laboratory record. Marxism appraises ideology as a subordinate integral element of the material social structure. Marxism examines the class structure of society as a historically conditioned form of the development of the productive forces.

This is an essay by Trotsky, taken from Chapter 4 of Literature and Revolution published in 1924, in which he looks at the development of the Futurist trend in art, looking in particular at its Russian variant, but also touching on the Italian.

Originally published by Trotsky in 1924 these essays constitute a significant contribution to the then ongoing debate in the USSR over culture and art in a Workers State. It foreshadowed a later debate over the Stalinist conception of “Socialist Realism” in the later part of the decade. This book was suppressed by the bureaucracy after Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1928.

Are cooperatives an alternative to socialist revolution? Can we build a new society gradually through the cooperative movement? The central question is: who holds state power, the working class or the capitalists? Here Lenin deals with the question in the first period after the Russian Revolution.

 Written: the Decision—December 30, 1917 (January 12, 1918); the Addendum—January 1 (14), 1918.

"The strength of the proletariat and the peasantry allied to it grows with the resistance of the bourgeoisie and its retainers. As their enemies, the exploiters, step up their resistance, the exploited mature and gain in strength; they grow and learn and they cast out the “old Adam” of wage-slavery."

"Apart from the purchase and distribution of products, every consumers’ society shall engage in the sale of local products."

"When that Kerenskyof yours reintroduced capital punishment at the front, that was not terror, gentlemen, was it?"

"The Council of People’s Commissars deems it necessary to declare that these are absolutely false rumours, deliberately and maliciously spread by the enemies of the Soviets of Peasants’, Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies."