Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August 20

1940, in Mexico an assassin fatally wounded Leon Trotsky with an ice pick. He died the next day. The mastermind behind the murder was Stalin.

Trotsky was a crucial figure in the Great October Revolution. He, along with Lenin, had foreseen the gloomy and tragic consequences of emerging Stalinism. When Lenin was told at his deathbed that Stalin's people were going to 'throw out' Trotsky, he exclaimed, "Throwing Trotsky overboard - surely you are hinting at that, it is impossible to interpret it otherwise - is the height of stupidity. If you do not consider me already hopelessly foolish, how can you think of that????" For this and many other reasons Lenin wrote his last 'Letter' to the party, warning of Stalin as the biggest danger...

A staunch socialist and Marxist, Trotsky could not have foreseen at that point in time that the very idea of Communism (an extreme manifestation of socialism) was deeply flawed. The Party was gaining enormous power and eventually ruled over the people-- in the name of the people-- like no other king or monarch. If that was going to cure the ills of monarchies, it was only a temporary pseudo-cure. Perhaps Marx and Engels had failed to take account of the deep-seated attributes of human nature, including the tendency to abuse power... Focused on the 'whole', the 'communa', they overlooked the little person, the 'individual'... What protections were they going to ensure to this little person against the abuses of governmental power?

"The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end." [Trotsky]

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