In this series of essays, North makes a devastating critique of biographies of Trotsky published in the last several years by three British historians―Geoffrey Swain, Ian Thatcher, and Robert Service. Demonstrating that the authors rely upon many of the same long-discredited lies and slanders employed by Stalin to attack Trotsky, the co-leader of the Russian Revolution, North explains how these books continue the campaign of historical falsification and vilification first initiated by the Soviet bureaucracy more than 70 years ago.
The aim of these scholars is to forestall a resurgence of interest in the great revolutionist, at a time when millions of people are becoming disenchanted with capitalism. “The passions evoked by [Trotsky’s] name testify to the enduring significance of [his] ideas,” North writes in the introduction of his book. “Arguments about Trotsky are never simply about what happened in the past. They are just as much about what is happening in the world today, and what is likely to happen in the future.”
In countering the positions put forward by Swain, Thatcher and Service, North reviews several of Trotsky’s major contributions to the struggle for socialism in the 20th century. He notes, for example, the decisive impact that Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution had on the events of October 1917, which is often overlooked by scholars. North challenges today’s historians to once again turn serious and honest attention to Trotsky’s life and ideas.
David North has played a leading role in the international socialist movement for nearly 40 years and is the author of many works on contemporary politics and Marxist history. He is chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site and national chairman of the Socialist Equality Party (US).
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Publisher: Mehring Books
Publication Date: August 2010