Jump to content
The Education Forum

Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky

John Simkin

Recommended Posts

  • 5 years later...
rian.gifDebatesquare-orng.gif Leon Trotsky: more negligence than memory
13:36 11/10/2014
Leonardo Padura

In October, 1989 I visited for the first time the city of Mexico and one of my wishes, to expire during that stay, was to visit the house where he had lived through last years of its life, and where it had been murdered – fulfilling an order that only Joseph Stalin could give – "renegade" León Trotsky.

Since I appeared to the avenue Vienna, in Coyoacán, and saw the structure of fortitude that had taken the house, I had the certainty of which that place was exhaling a special dramatism and, especially, it was exhibiting a painful symbolism of what would become big historical defeat. Then, already inside the residence – whose access in the alone 1940 was admitted after rigorous cross-checks on the part of the bodyguards who had to take care of the life of the refugee – I covered the courtyard where it was waving a discolored Soviet flag on the tumulus marked with the sickle and the hammer, in which there had been buried the corpse of its main inhabitant, one of the big leaders of October, 1917, the negotiator of the peace that there would allow the birth of the Soviet project and the founder of the army who would save its existence. Nevertheless, the interior of the house turned out to be enclosed to me more sobrecogedor: the windows tapidas were creating a half-light on which there had settled the dust of the years and the negligence, but between objects that were used to support a domestic life, the showiest thing and impactante there was proving undoubtedly the office of work of Trotsky, the place where he wrote some of the political pamphlets of its last battles against Stalin and its sweeping power, and where they were staying, like testimony of the tragedy there happened on August 20, 1940, the roles that Trotsky had on the desk and its glasses of round hoop, with the broken glazing. What today we would call the scene of the crime. One of the most touching crimes of last century.

In that place, in that moment impressed by the still palpitating presence of the death, I asked to myself the question that per years would chase me up to turning into the engine that, started, would lead to writing to me a novel on the life and the destination of that chased and condemned revolutionary: why, after so many years of harassment, had Stalin finally arranged its death?... Some years later he would know that the decision to execute Trotsky had been born of the conviction of which that man turned into the perfect internal enemy, condemned like person in charge of all the possible evil, had exhausted the utility that in a decade it had for the Soviet leader. To that Trotsky was already redundant (as earlier she it had been almost the whole old Bolshevik guard and so many other communists of the world, eliminated by Stalin of one or another form)... Of that ending with Trotsky, also it would end with its leaner and leaner influence. On that its death would feed the negligence. And for all that he was already a more useful dead person through that I live.

One month after that visit to the Coyoacán house - fortitude, on returning to Cuba, I received with the same astonishment as million persons in the world the news about that in Berlin, without being attacked either by tanks or police violences, the Germans were knocking down one of the big symbols of the cold war and of the proper existence of the socialism in East Europe. The wall of Berlin was falling down and there began, with that episode, the most dramatic and publicized act of what would become the end of the socialism in Europe with the disappearance (less surprising to those heights) of the Soviet Union of Socialistic Republics, only two years later.

Today many people remember – and they celebrate or they complain – of those events of 1989. But, curiously, almost nobody repaired in the fact that on November 7, I joust when there were fulfilled 97 years of the Revolution of October, also there was celebrated an anniversary of the birth of Lev Davidovich Bronstein, one of the men who led that historical act with the capture of the winter Palace and who gave him continuity and life with its performances like commissioner of Location and of the War to the most transcendent Utopian and revolutionary project that the man has put into practice: a society of equal in that, with big freedom and democracy, the always alienated and oppressed big masses would have finally its opportunity on the ground across the government of the soviets. A kingdom of the justice and the freedom.

Why so much negligence concerning this protagonist of the history of the XXth century? Did he conquer historically Stalin in its political and personal combat with Trotsky? The answers to these questions can be great and complex, since great and complex are the historical reasons on which they might be based, and because the passage of time changed all the existing perspectives in 1940, when the Coyoacán crime was executed. But of all these arguments at least I would like noting down some …

A fundamental part of the historical legacy of Stalin was to create the bases on which the socialistic societies of the XXth century would be molded and, with these bases (the totalitarian power, the loss of the democratic extracts of the original Bolshevik project, the creation of an economic system that demonstrated to be unviable), the arguments of its destination: the end of the Utopian project. While, the Trotsky heredity, per years stigmatized by the orthodox and Stalinist left, has preserved an important value although little publicized: the loyalty to an idea, even at the cost of sacrificing for her the proper life.

If for very few in the today world Stalin it is a political paradigm, 135 years after the almost imperceptible birthday of Lev Davidovich Bronstein, in diverse places of the world, in diverse parties and political orientations, its thought and its work keep on being an inspiration. Because Trotsky, who always admitted how faithful follower of the original beginning that they supported the October victory, left some important and permanent comprehensions on the possible society of the equal ones: with its obstinate persistence, with its criticism in warm on the Stalinist perversion of the socialistic project, with its humanization of the relations between the components of this dreamed society, between which, like the writer that I am, I have always to emphasize its opinions about the social role and the absolute freedom which the artists had to enjoy in the revolution, so raigalmente expressed in the Manifesto for an Independent Revolutionary Art, which Trotsky created and which André Breton and Diego Rivera signed in 1938, and where one asks for the independence of the art for the revolution, and the revolution for the independence of the art...: “No authority, neither no coercion, nor the least track of control!” for the freedom of the creator …

Will it be for ideas how is life and for this obstinate and almost suicidal loyalty to a social project always defended in its extracts that (in spite of certain surviving enthusiasms,) on the figure of Trotsky the weight of the negligence is dropped by so many pleasure?

*Leonardo Padura, one of the novelists the most promising and international writers of the Spanish language. The work of this writer and Cuban journalist has been translated to more than one ten languages. Awards Hammett, National of Literature of Cuba, Raymond Chandler, Order of the Arts and the Letters (France) 2013.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...