Leon Trotsky

Meetings at Leipzig Book Fair: The relevance of Trotsky’s Europe at War

By Peter Schwarz, 19 March 2014

Mehring Books held two meetings at the Leipzig Book Fair devoted to Leon Trotsky’s writings on the First World War and their relevance to current developments in Ukraine.

Mehring Books and SEP (Germany) hold two meetings at Leipzig Book Fair

13 March 2014

On March 15, Mehring Books will showcase Leon Trotsky’s work, Europe at War. Mehring Books and the German SEP are also sponsoring a second meeting on the relevance of Trotsky’s work to the danger of war and the crisis in Ukraine.

The philosophical and political foundations of historical falsification

IYSSE meeting at the Humboldt University in Berlin

By our correspondents, 12 February 2014

Around one hundred participants discussed the invitation extended by Professor Jörg Baberowski to Robert Service, the author of a discredited biography of Leon Trotsky, at a meeting last Saturday at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

Lecture at Historians’ Convention: In Defense of Leon Trotsky

By David North, 4 October 2012

We publish here the text of a lecture given at the Historians’ Convention at the University of Mainz in Germany by David North, chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site.

Meeting in defense of Leon Trotsky at German Historians Conference

By our correspondents, 29 September 2012

David North, chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site, and Professor Mario Kessler, lecturer and researcher at the Center for Contemporary Historical Research in Potsdam, spoke at a well-attended meeting Thursday at the University of Mainz.

“Of course, Trotsky was an alternative to Stalin”

An interview with Professor Mario Kessler on the Trotsky biography by Robert Service—Part one

By Wolfgang Weber, 21 May 2012

This is the first part of a two-part interview with German historian Professor Mario Kessler on the 2009 biography of Leon Trotsky by Robert Service. Professor Kessler is a co-signatory of a letter sent by 14 European sociologists and political scientists to the Suhrkamp Verlag publishing house raising grave reservations about its plan to bring out a German edition of Service’s book.

David North speaks in defense of Leon Trotsky at Cornell University

By Tom Mackaman, 3 May 2012

Socialist Equality Party National Chairman David North spoke to an overflow crowd at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, in defense of Leon Trotsky against attacks by academic historians.

May 1 meeting at Cornell University

Leon Trotsky and the defense of historical truth

26 April 2012

David North, chairman of the World Socialist Web Site editorial board, will speak in Ithaca, New York on the enduring significance of the life and thought of Leon Trotsky, one of the greatest revolutionary figures of the 20th Century.

Leon Trotsky and the defense of historical truth

By David North, 20 March 2012

We are publishing here the lecture given by David North, chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, at the University of Leipzig on March 16. North is the author of In Defense of Leon Trotsky, a defense of historical truth and the legacy of Trotsky against the falsifications in the biography of Trotsky by Robert Service.

Leipzig meeting on Leon Trotsky and the defence of historical truth

300 hear David North critique Robert Service’s biography of Trotsky

By our correspondent, 19 March 2012

David North, chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site, spoke before a large and appreciative audience in Leipzig on his recently published book In Defense of Leon Trotsky and its critique of the biography of Trotsky by the British author Robert Service.

Public meeting in Leipzig: Leon Trotsky and the defense of historical truth

On the controversy concerning the biography of Trotsky by Robert Service

13 March 2012

David North, author of In Defense of Leon Trotsky, will speak at this year’s Leipzig Book Fair on March 16.

Robert Service wins support from the extreme right in Germany

By Wolfgang Weber, 7 February 2012

The extreme right-wing weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit has weighed in on the debate over a German edition of Robert Service's biography of Leon Trotsky, wholeheartedly defending Service against the criticisms of fourteen historians and political scientists.

David North speaks in Berlin: “In Defence of Leon Trotsky and Historical Truth”

By our reporter, 3 February 2012

David North placed his exposure of Robert Service’s slanderous biography of Trotsky in a broader historical and political context.

A blow against the Post-Soviet School of Historical Falsification

By Wolfgang Weber, 31 December 2011

The letter of 14 historians to the Suhrkamp publishing house in Germany calling on it to abandon publication of Robert Service’s biography of Leon Trotsky has opened the door for an honest and thorough examination of the role of Trotsky and the rise and fall of Soviet power.

Leon Trotsky on Mexican painter Diego Rivera (1938)

21 December 2011

In his June 1938 article, “Art and Politics in Our Epoch,” Leon Trotsky discussed the work of Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera, who was at that time in political sympathy with the Fourth International.

“Robert Service has written a diatribe, not a scientific polemic!”

A conversation with Professor Hermann Weber

28 November 2011

Professor Hermann Weber spoke to the World Socialist Web Site on the reasons for his opposition to the publication by Suhrkamp Verlag of a German translation of Robert Service’s biography of Leon Trotsky.

European historians oppose publication by Suhrkamp of Robert Service’s Trotsky biography

By Wolfgang Weber, 23 November 2011

Fourteen prominent historians, political scientists and publicists from Germany and Austria have sent a letter to the German publishing house Suhrkamp opposing the publication of Robert Service’s biography of Trotsky. The letter cites “a host of factual errors,” the “repugnant connotations” of the passages in which Service deals with Trotsky’s Jewish origins, and Service’s recourse to “formulas associated with Stalinist propaganda” for the purpose of discrediting Trotsky.

Letter from historians to German publisher Suhrkamp on Robert Service’s biography of Trotsky

23 November 2011

Below is the text of a letter sent in July by noted European historians to the German publishing house Suhrkamp opposing its planned publication of Robert Service’s biography of Leon Trotsky.

From the archives

The story of Mark Zborowski: Stalin’s spy in the Fourth International

By International Committee of the Fourth International, 17 November 2011

We are republishing a statement of the International Committee of the Fourth International originally published on June 15, 1990 in the Fourth International magazine on the death of Mark Zborowski. Zborowski, a GPU spy against the Trotskyist movement, was responsible for the murder of leading cadre of the Fourth International in the 1930s and for preparing, along with other Stalinist agents, the assassination of Leon Trotsky.

“A book that fails to meet the basic standards of historical scholarship”

The American Historical Review discredits Robert Service’s biography of Leon Trotsky

By The Political Committee Socialist Equality Party (US), 28 June 2011

The American Historical Review has published a critical examination of two books: the denunciatory biography Trotsky by British historian Robert Service and In Defense of Leon Trotsky by David North, the chairman of both the Socialist Equality Party in the United States and the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site.

One hundred years since the death of the great Russian novelist

Trotsky’s 1908 tribute to Leo Tolstoy

By Leon Trotsky, 2 December 2010

Leon Trotsky wrote this tribute to the great Russian novelist on the occasion of Tolstoy’s eightieth birthday.

Public lecture in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The historical and political legacy of Leon Trotsky

29 November 2010

David North will speak December 12 in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Trotsky’s enduring historical and political legacy.

Leon Trotsky’s Analysis of the Emerging Global Role of US Capitalism

By Nick Beams, 24 November 2010

The WSWS organized a panel on “The Cultural, Economic and Geo-strategic Thought of Leon Trotsky: A Retrospective Analysis 70 years after His Assassination,” at the 42nd annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies (formerly the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies), held November 18-21 in Los Angeles. About 1,400 historians, political scientists, economists, and literary scholars presented papers on a wide array of topics.

Assessing Leon Trotsky seventy years after his assassination

Report given at the annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies

By David North, 23 November 2010

Report given at the annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, November 21 2010.

SEP meetings in California

The historical and political legacy of Leon Trotsky

11 November 2010

David North, Chairman of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS and National Chairman of the Socialist Equality, will speak at public meetings this month in San Diego and Pasadena.

Berlin meeting marks 70th anniversary of Trotsky’s assassination

By our correspondents, 21 October 2010

Some 200 people attended a meeting Sunday in Berlin called by the Socialist Equality Party of Germany, the culmination of four days of events on Trotsky and the Russian Revolution.

Seventy years since the assassination of Leon Trotsky

By David North, 21 October 2010

This report was delivered by David North, WSWS International Editorial Board chairman, to a meeting in Berlin on October 17.

For Committees of Action―Not the People’s Front

November 26, 1935

By Leon Trotsky, 14 October 2010

In this article, written from exile in Norway in 1935, Leon Trotsky exposed the politics of the “People's Front” in France, a coalition comprising the bourgeois Radical Party, the Socialist Party and the Stalinist Communist Party.

New release from Mehring Books

In Defense of Leon Trotsky by David North now available

Pre-order your copy today

31 July 2010

Mehring Books announces the publication of In Defense of Leon Trotsky by David North, a new collection of essays exploring Trotsky’s lasting contributions to the socialist movement and exposing the campaign of historical falsification against him.

Political biography and the historical lie: An examination of Robert Service’s Trotsky

By David North, 6 May 2010

This lecture on Robert Service’s biography of Trotsky was delivered by David North, chairman of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS, at the University of Oxford on May 5.

David North to speak on May 5 at the University of Oxford

Political Biography and the Historical Lie: An Examination of Robert Service’s Trotsky

1 April 2010

The Socialist Equality Party (Britain) and the International Students for Social Equality are hosting a lecture by David North, international editorial board chairperson of the World Socialist Web Site, at the University of Oxford.

WSWS chairman David North addresses Sydney book launch

In defence of Trotsky’s “immense and enduring historical significance”

4 February 2010

David North, the chairman of the WSWS International Editorial Board and national chairman of the Socialist Equality Party (US) spoke at the launching of his book, In Defence of Leon Trotsky: A Reply to the Falsifications of Robert Service, at Sydney’s Gleebooks bookstore last night.

Successful launch of In Defence of Leon Trotsky at Sydney’s Gleebooks

By our correspondent, 4 February 2010

An appreciative audience of 150 filled the upstairs auditorium of Sydney’s Gleebooks bookstore last night to hear David North launch his In Defence of Leon Trotsky: A Reply to the Falsifications of Robert Service.

New release from Mehring Books

In Defense of Leon Trotsky by David North now available

Pre-order your copy today

31 January 2010

Mehring Books announces the publication of In Defense of Leon Trotsky by David North, a new collection of essays exploring Trotsky’s lasting contributions to the socialist movement and exposing the campaign of historical falsification against him.

Winter Recommended Reading Series

Tom Eley: The Revolution Betrayed is among the greatest political works of the 20th century

By Tom Eley, 29 January 2010

Mehring Books is continuing its Winter Recommended Reading Series, in which it invites WSWS writers to share their thoughts with readers about works of Marxist literature that have influenced them and explain why.

In Defence of Leon Trotsky: David North to speak at Sydney’s Gleebooks

20 January 2010

David North, World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board chairman, will address a Gleebooks literary event, on February 3, entit led “In the Service of Historical Falsification”. North will discuss the recently published biography of Leon Trotsky written by Professor Robert Service.

Much further reading required: Trotsky: A Graphic Biography, by Rick Geary

By Kevin Martinez, 13 January 2010

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the life and thought of Leon Trotsky, particularly among the youth. There must be objective reasons for this.

Historians in the Service of the “Big Lie”: An Examination of Professor Robert Service’s Biography of Trotsky

By David North, 15 December 2009

We are publishing here a lecture delivered by David North on December 13 at the Friends Meeting House in London. North is the chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site and national chairman of the Socialist Equality Party (US). The lecture develops North’s critique of Service’s falsifications, initially discussed in the review, “In the Service of Historical Falsification: A Review of Robert Service’s Trotsky: A Biography”.

Nick Beams delivers lecture in Sydney and Melbourne

World War Two: Lessons and Warnings

By Nick Beams, 18 November 2009

Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) and a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, delivered a lecture on “World War Two: Lessons and Warnings” to audiences in Sydney and Melbourne in November, 2009.

In The Service of Historical Falsification: A Review of Robert Service's Trotsky

By David North, 11 November 2009

Trotsky: A Biography by Professor Robert Service, has been brought out with considerable fanfare. The British publisher is Macmillan. In the United States, Service’s book has been published by the Harvard University Press. What underlies this evident interest of British academics in Leon Trotsky, who has been dead for nearly 70 years?

New from Mehring Books

Stalin’s Terror of 1937-1938: Political Genocide in the USSR

Advance orders now being taken

1 June 2009

Mehring Books is now taking advance orders for the first English translation of Stalin’s Terror of 1937- 1938: Political Genocide in the USSR, by the late Russian Marxist historian Vadim Rogovin. The book is being published in both cloth and paperback and will be available by the end of the month.

Lecture 2

“Socialism in One Country” and the Soviet economic debates of the 1920s—Part 2

By Nick Beams, 7 May 2009

This is the second of two lectures delivered at an SEP summer school in August 2007 that deal with some of the crucial conflicts over economic policy in the Soviet Union during the 1920s.

The struggle against centrism and the founding of the Fourth International

Part three

By Bill Van Auken, 17 April 2009

There is perhaps no part of the political and theoretical heritage left by Trotsky that has been the object of more sustained and diverse attacks and revisions on the part of the centrists than the conception of transitional demands.

The struggle against centrism and the founding of the Fourth International

Part one

By Bill Van Auken, 15 April 2009

The five years between Trotsky’s call for the Fourth International in 1933 and the holding of a founding conference in 1938 were marked by a continuous struggle against a wide range of centrist political organizations active during this period, particularly in Europe , many of which professed sympathy with Trotsky’s perspective and some of which declared themselves for the Fourth International.

The Revolution Betrayed and the fate of the Soviet Union

By Peter Daniels, 26 February 2009

An understanding the Russian Revolution and the Soviet state—their rise and subsequent degeneration—is critical in politically arming the working class by learning the lessons of the twentieth century in order to prepare for the struggles of the twenty-first.

Leon Trotsky, Soviet Historiography, and the Fate of Classical Marxism

By David North, 1 December 2008

This paper was presented by David North at a panel on “The Intellectual and Political Legacy of Leon Trotsky” at the recent 2008 National Convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies in Philadelphia.

The Spanish Civil War by Andy Durgan

Britain’s Socialist Workers Party lends credence to Stalinist line on Spanish Civil War—Part 2

By Ann Talbot, 17 September 2008

Andy Durgan, The Spanish Civil War: Studies in European History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007: New York, New York)

Sri Lankan university meeting discusses Leon Trotsky & the Post-Soviet School of Historical Falsification

By our correspondents, 11 September 2008

About 40 students, lecturers and university workers took part in a discussion at Peradeniya University in Sri Lanka on August 27 on the book, Leon Trotsky & the Post-Soviet School of Historical Falsification. The meeting was organised by the university’s Philosophical Association in conjunction with the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE).

Public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne to commemorate...

The 70th anniversary of the founding of the Fourth International

9 September 2008

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Fourth International, the world party of socialist revolution established by Leon Trotsky in September 1938. The founding of the FI and the adoption of its program was a historical milestone for the socialist movement and the international working class. It ensured the historical continuity of the struggle for socialist internationalism against the counter-revolutionary betrayals carried out, in the name of “socialism” and “Marxism,” by Josef Stalin and the bureaucratic caste he headed within the Soviet Union.

A letter on academic ethics in response to David North’s “Leon Trotsky and the post-Soviet school of historical falsification”

17 July 2007

The following letter was sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to, “Leon Trotsky and the post-Soviet school of historical falsification: A review of two Trotsky biographies by Geoffrey Swain and Ian Thatcher”.

A letter from Professor Geoffrey Swain and a reply by David North

19 May 2007

The World Socialist Web Site invited Professors Ian Thatcher and Geoffrey Swain to reply to David North’s critical review of their biographies of Leon Trotsky. (See “Leon Trotsky and the post-Soviet school of historical falsification: A review of two Trotsky biographies by Geoffrey Swain and Ian Thatcher”) On May 10, the WSWS received a letter from Professor Swain, which we post below along with a reply by North. No letter has been received from Ian Thatcher. Click here to download the letter and reply in PDF format.

Leon Trotsky and the post-Soviet school of historical falsification

A review of two Trotsky biographies by Geoffrey Swain and Ian Thatcher

Part 4: The relevance of Trotsky

By David North, 12 May 2007

Today we publish the first part of a four-part review of two biographies of Trotsky written by Professors Geoffrey Swain and Ian D. Thatcher. The first, second and third parts can be accessed here. Click here to download the entire review in PDF.

Leon Trotsky and the post-Soviet school of historical falsification

A review of two Trotsky biographies by Geoffrey Swain and Ian Thatcher

Part 3: The method of Ian Thatcher

By David North, 11 May 2007

Today we publish the first part of a four-part review of two biographies of Trotsky written by Professors Geoffrey Swain and Ian D. Thatcher. The first, second andfinal parts can be accessed here. Click here to download the entire review in PDF.

Leon Trotsky and the post-Soviet school of historical falsification

A review of two Trotsky biographies by Geoffrey Swain and Ian Thatcher

Part 2: The study of Trotsky after the fall of the USSR

By David North, 10 May 2007

Today we publish the first part of a four-part review of two biographies of Trotsky written by Professors Geoffrey Swain and Ian D. Thatcher. The first, third and final parts can be accessed here. Click here to download the entire review in PDF.

Leon Trotsky and the post-Soviet school of historical falsification

A review of two Trotsky biographies by Geoffrey Swain and Ian Thatcher

Part 2: The study of Trotsky after the fall of the USSR

By David North, 10 May 2007

Today we publish the first part of a four-part review of two biographies of Trotsky written by Professors Geoffrey Swain and Ian D. Thatcher. The first, third and final parts can be accessed here. Click here to download the entire review in PDF.

Leon Trotsky and the post-Soviet school of historical falsification

A review of two Trotsky biographies by Geoffrey Swain and Ian Thatcher

Part 1: Seventy years since Stalin’s year of terror

By David North, 9 May 2007

Today we publish the first part of a four-part review of two biographies of Trotsky written by Professors Geoffrey Swain and Ian D. Thatcher. The second, third andfinal parts can be accessed here. Click here to download the entire review in PDF.

Starting Wednesday, WSWS to publish lecture: “Leon Trotsky and the post-Soviet school of historical falsification”

8 May 2007

Over the next four days, beginning tomorrow, the World Socialist Web Site will be publishing an essay by David North, chairman of the editorial board of the WSWS and national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (US), entitled, “Leon Trotsky and the post-Soviet school of historical falsification: A review of two Trotsky biographies by Geoffrey Swain and Ian Thatcher.”

David North refutes falsifications of Trotsky’s life at lectures in Scotland and Wales

By our reporters, 30 April 2007

In lectures given in Scotland and Wales World Socialist Web Site editorial board chairman David North challenged the falsification of the historical role of Leon Trotsky contained in two recent biographies authored by British historians Ian Thatcher and Geoffrey Swain.

David North refutes falsifications of Trotsky’s life at lectures in Scotland and Wales

By our correspondents, 30 April 2007

In a lecture delivered at the universities of Glasgow in Scotland and Cardiff in Wales, World Socialist Web Site editorial board chairman David North challenged the falsification of the historical role of Leon Trotsky contained in two recent biographies authored by British historians Ian Thatcher and Geoffrey Swain.

Letters on “An intellectual pygmy denounces Trotsky”

10 August 2005

The following is a selection of letters to the World Socialist Web Site on “An intellectual pygmy denounces Trotsky”

A letter and reply on an “intellectual pygmy”

5 August 2005

The World Socialist Web Site has received a number of letters in response to “An intellectual pygmy denounces Trotsky” . Several readers have objected to the use of the phrase “intellectual pygmy.” Below is one reader’s letter and a reply from David North.

An intellectual pygmy denounces Trotsky

By David North, 2 August 2005

In periods of political reaction, innumerable forms of social backwardness, ignorance and stupidity come into their own. All the official organs of public opinion exude an unpleasant smell. Enjoying the protection of the powers that be, reassured by the debased state of intellectual life, and reasonably confident that no one will have the opportunity to protest as they pass wind in public, contemporary “opinion makers” feel no shame about what they say or write.

New German edition of Leon Trotsky’s Problems of Everyday Life

By Wolfgang Zimmermann, 18 July 2001

The following is the forward to a new German edition of Leon Trotsky’s Problems of Everyday Life , just published by Arbeiterpresse Verlag, the publishing house of the Socialist Equality Party of Germany.

Leon Trotsky and the Fate of Marxism in the USSR

29 December 1998

This lecture was delivered by Professor Vadim Rogovin at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, on June 3, 1996

A letter and reply on the Kronstadt rebellion

16 September 1998

A letter and reply on the Kronstadt rebellion.

60 years since the Dewey Commission

By Shannon Jones, 19 May 1997

April 10 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the convening of the Dewey Commission. This extraordinary body, whose official name was the Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials, was established in 1937 by supporters of the exiled revolutionary to establish the truth about Joseph Stalin's purge trials. The commission was headed by the noted American philosopher and educator John Dewey.