The legacy of Leon Trotsky by Shaun Harkin

by Shaun Harkin
September 2, 2010

Leon Trotsky in 1918.

Image via Wikipedia

Leon Trotsky’s life spanned the inspiring highs and tragic lows of the international socialist movement in the 20th century–a leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution that gave us our first and best glimpse of a workers’ state, and the victim of the Stalinist counter-revolution, assassinated 70 years ago in August. Shaun Harkin pays tribute to Trotsky and his immense contributions to the revolutionary tradition.

For 43 years of my conscious life, I have remained a revolutionist; for 42 of them, I have fought under the banner of Marxism. If I had to begin all over again, I would, of course, try to avoid this or that mistake, but the main course of my life would remain unchanged. I shall die a proletarian revolutionist, a Marxist, a dialectical materialist and, consequently, an irreconcilable atheist. My faith in the communist future of mankind is not less ardent; indeed, it is firmer today than it was in the days of my youth.

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Inside the Stalin Archives by Daniel N. White

by Daniel N. White
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
April 27, 2010

Relatively new (2008) book by Jonathan Brent, professor at Yale, and leader of the Yale University project to publish declassified materials from the Soviet era archives.

Book is well worth a read.  Brent started the Yale project in 1992, and managed to make it work despite many obstacles in both Moscow and  New Haven.  Brent started off as Yale’s emissary to Russia and Russian scholars and scholarship and as time went on he equally or better became their emissary to Yale, as his involvement with the project, and involvement with Russia deepened.  Autobiographical account of his life in Russia from ’92 to 2007, and a valuable firsthand account of the changes in daily life in Russia during this period of great upheaval.  Brent’s own interest is Stalin, and his attempts to understand him are a most worthwhile part of the book.  Probably comes closer to explaining Stalin than anyone, certainly any non-Russian, ever did.

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