Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein)
November 7, 1879 - August 21, 1940
Trotsky was a skilful popular orator of the demagogic stamp, with much flexibility of manner, a good organizer, very impulsive and not a little vain. Milován Djilas wrote about Trotsky as "an excellent speaker and skilled polemicist, a man of exceptional intelligence, deficient in only one quality; a sense of reality." Many others described him as conceited and arrogant.
Trotsky's “excessive self-assurance” had been a known problem when it came to his relations with the other Trotsky_ProfileBolsheviks. In 1903, at the Second Congress of the Social Democrats, he had been “irrepressible,” speaking on behalf of the Jewish proletariat (he was middle class) and addressing others with condescension (he referred to an older man as “young comrade”). He was not noted for his tact and even he himself admitted he was disliked for his “aristocratism”.
Trotsky exceeded Lenin in intellectual power and administrative effectiveness, but his arrogance made him few friends and he found it hard to secure party decisions. Trotsky was not merely a practical revolutionary capable of taking and defending difficult decisions. Trotsky had proved to be one of the few important strategic and theoretical thinkers amongst the Russian Bolsheviks who could rival the theoretical and strategic leadership of Lenin.
But on most of the important issues of the 1930s - the danger of substituting the party for the state in the Soviet Union, the necessity of uniting with social-democrats and liberals to defeat Hitler, the futility of forcing the communists into an alliance with Chiang Kai-shek in China, the fate that awaited the Jews if Hitler came to power, and constant warnings that the Nazis were preparing to invade the Soviet Union - he was proved right time and time again.
The orthodox view of the Second International had been that the socialist revolution would necessarily break out in one of the more advanced capitalist countries where capitalism had already created the preconditions for the development of a socialist society, In constrast, "Permanent Revolution" was the theory developed by Leon Trotsky that in a backward society, such as that of Russia in the early 1900s, a bourgeois revolution would evolve into a proletarian, socialist revolution and would inspire the continuous or permanent outbreak of socialist revolutions internationally.
While Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution may have appeared adventurist, if not a little utopian, to most Russian Marxists when it was first set out in Results and Prospects in 1906, its conclusions were to prove crucial eleven years later in the formation of the new Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy which came to be established with the Russian Revolutions of 1917.
Described as a stirring public speaker, an efficient administrator and an untiring worker, Leon Trotsky arouses strong passions among historians. A figure loved by some and hated by others, he was one of the leaders of Russia’s October Revolution in 1917 and later the founder and commander of the Red Army. But after leading a failed struggle against the rise and policies of Joseph Stalin, he was removed from power and exiled. Trotsky remained the key figure of an anti-Stalinist opposition abroad until his assassination in Mexico by a Soviet agent.
Trotsky's manner of speaking was unlike the manner of the conventional agitator. He was calm, sincere, and undramatic. His sharp, metallic voice penetrated a hall without exertion and carried conviction. Trotsky was endowed with a scalpel-like critical faculty schooled by years of revolutionary activity and study of Socialist literature. He was typical of a class of European Socialist journalists who had been trained to a life of critique.
It is not that hard to understand why those who had become increasingly disillusioned with Stalin's Russia, but who still wished to defend Lenin and the revolutionary heritage of 1917 should have turned to Leon Trotsky. Trotsky could not be so easily dismissed as some bourgeois intellectual attempting to discredit socialism, nor could he be accused of being an utopian ultra-leftist or anarchist attempting to measure up the concrete limitations of the 'actually existing socialism' of the USSR against some abstract ideal of what socialism should be.
Trotsky was one of the few Soviet political figures who were never formally rehabilitated by the Soviet administration. Yet in 1987 under Mikhail Gorbachev, Trotsky was called a hero and martyr, and was featured on a commemorative postage stamp. Trotsky’s death and his love affair with Frida Kahlo have been represented in several major movies and plays; Trotsky also proved an inspiration for several fictional book characters.
The book 1984 by George Orwell is about Winston Smith, a middle class member of the Outer Party of a totalitarian (Oligarchical Collectivist) government known as the Party or in Newspeak "Ingsoc," the English Socialist Party. He lives in a region of Oceania, Airstrip One, present day United Kingdom. Oceania is a huge country ruled by The Party, which is led by a figure called “Big Brother”. Oceania is at continuous war with another nation called Eurasia, however, the nation has changed between declaring war on Eurasia and Eastasia numerous times.
Emmanuel Goldstein, the heretic believed to have been alive at the beginning of the Revolution, wrote "The Book," or "THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM". The Party flashes his face on the telescreen during the MInute of Hate for everyone to release their hate and anger upon.
An older Jewish man with white hair and a goatee, Goldstein is a former Party leader but now the head of an underground conspiracy to overthrow the Party. The Brotherhood is the underground rebellion organization lead by Emmanuel Goldstein. Goldstein is reminiscent of Leon Trotsky, the great enemy of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. It is no accident that he is a Jewish intellectual because dictators Stalin and Adolf Hitler deeply feared and hated the Jewish intelligentsia.
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