Leon Trotsky: The Wall of Marxism

Leon Trotsky: The Walls of Marxism

What is the most important thing that a goal keeper trusts when his team is penalised by the referee just outside the penalty box and the opposition has been awarded a free kick! The answer frames itself as a four letter word called “Wall.” Therefore a Wall can be metaphorically represented as a defence system, an immune system, a defender, who protects and is ready to die in order to safeguard the idea which itself is the synthesis of the conflict between a very repressive thesis and its expressive anti-thesis. Just like Rahul Dravid was called a Wall due to his effective management skills as a defender against many an oppressive bowling attack. Today I am also going to devote two pages for a wall who still stands like a towering figure after the collapse of the Stalinist brand of Communism. But as Allan Woods notes, that before we start speaking about what Trotsky stood for, it is important to excavate him from underneath a heap of dead dogs, which symbolise the falsifications and slanders of the bureaucratic state apparatus of the Soviet Union who wanted to erase Trotsky from the memory of the masses and although they did succeed in physically murdering him, they were not able to douse him from the flames of revolutionary Marxism and for World Revolution which Trotsky stood for.

Lev Davidovich Bronstein or Leon Trotsky was a bright comet in the political sky of the 20th Century. He first grabbed the attention of world in 1917 when side by side with Lenin he played an important part in leading the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet and finally laying the first seeds to a first workers state if we can exclude the brief but glorious Paris Commune of 1871. He did more than anyone to found the Red Army. After he was exiled by the Stalinist bureaucracy (they had to deport him in the darkness of the night as at that time there were many workers who were protesting against the idea of Trotsky’s banishment), he was the only person to offer a dialectical analysis of the Soviet Union and offer a Marxist indictment of the False Trials and Orwellian strategies of bureaucratic management by the CPSU. He was the wall which was protecting Marxism when Counter revolutionaries headed by Stalin became monopoly advocates of the Marxist brand and labelled them as Communists with the bizarre stamp of Socialism in One Country. Trotsky was a concrete wall and Trotskyism (not the fabricated version of Stalin, but revolutionary Marxism) became the defender for the revolutionary proletariat who had nothing to lose but their chains and this wall became an impediment for the lugubrious situation of monstrosity that the USSR had become under the bureaucracy.

Trotsky defended the conception of professional revolutionary from Sourvarine’s critique, emphasising the freshness and idealism of the revolutionary activists who organised to overthrow monarchy and capitalism in the Russian Empire. Trotsky correctly defended this concept as he looked upon Revolution as a work which had to be organised by installing the class consciousness of the proletariat as the latter is oppressed and has no means to elevate his condition apart from being a cog in the wheels of capitalist drudgery and wage slavery.

Trotsky’s analysis of Fascism is also important especially today when we see figures like Donald Trump in USA, Erdogan in Turkey and the rise of RSS in India. Trotsky correctly analysed that Fascism creates a fictional enemy which is not real and how Fascism appeals very much to the unemployed masses, slum proletariat and other sections of the middle class who do not get the time to analytically realise that their frustration is being created by the structure of Capitalism. The petit bourgeois is like a class which is situated in purgatory. Neither oppressed like the proletariat nor enjoying the pleasures of Capitalism (which is Socialism for the 1%). So they are the perplexed class which often turn to Religion (an opium of the masses as it creates blind logic and division), poetry and drama (which is good but cannot cause a structural shift in the means of production) and try to live very modestly. Trotsky as a wall did well to analyse this and protect us from any further confusion about the dangers of Fascism.

Robert Frost, an American poet had written in his poem Mending Wall that there exists something that does not like a wall. Similarly it was Stalin’s National Socialism that did not like the Revolutionary brand of Socialism that Trotsky and his Fourth International represented. Trotsky was eventually murdered by Stalin’s agent Raymond Mercader who attacked him with an ice pick from behind, who had earlier acted as one of Trotsky’s students. The body died but the ideas remained. The ideas eventually proved correct when the walls of National Bureaucratic Socialism collapsed in Berlin-1989. The words of Trotsky’s book Revolution Betrayed proved correct in its finest precision. The wall of Internationalism and Marxism stands tall today with the final blow on Stalinism and the left Fukuyamaists who have given up the hope of revolution and are happy within the decaying structure of Bourgeois Democracy. The wall that I have symbolised in the figure of Trotsky is now a legacy. This legacy is inseparable from those of Marx and Engels, Luxembourg, Lenin and others. Within the evolving Marxist tradition different revolutionaries came to certain insights and clarifications before others. Trotsky remains as the indomitable wall which cannot be broken and there are ten bricks which create this wall:

  1. His development of the theory of uneven and combined development and the
    related theory of permanent revolution
  2. His understanding of the Russian Revolution of 1917 reflecting in his 3 Volume
    History of the Russian Revolution
  3. His articulation of the United Front Tactic.
  4. He profound critique of the bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet Union
  5. His Defence of the Soviet Union from Capitalist indictment
  6. His analysis and theorisation of Stalinism
  7. His analysis of Fascism and his urgent call for a working class united front
  8. His critique of the popular front as class collaborationist with built in dynamics of defeat.
  9. His analysis of the underlying dynamics of the 2nd world war.
  10. His efforts of drawing up an international network of uncorrupted revolutionaries together into a Fourth International armed with Revolutionary Marxist perspectives.

These bricks which have created this Wall, although covered with dust have not fallen yet and if Winter comes can Spring be far behind?


Dibyajit Mukherjee
Dibyajit Mukherjee currently teaches as an assistant professor at the Ashram Campus of IEM. He is an author of 2 books. He is a radical thinker and a Marxist philosopher.

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