Leon Trotsky

The political journey to Trotskyism

Author

Bob Carnegie

I always had a strong underlying humanist bias. I tended not to view things not just from an ideological viewpoint, as was the rule in the SPA [Socialist Party of Australia, a “hardline” pro-USSR split-off from the Communist Party of Australia]. My moral break from authoritarian state-capitalism, or Stalinism, which still infects the Australian left and the Australian trade union movement to a much larger degree than people realise, took a long time. I would say it took from 1979, when I joined the SPA, to the final break in about 1994.

Why we need more Bolsheviks today

Author

Martin Thomas

Few except the most conservative deny the emancipatory grandeur of mass action in the October 1917 Russian revolution. Common, however, is the claim that there was too much “party” in the revolution — the Bolsheviks were too organised, too ruthless, too pushy, and that led to Stalinism. This article seeks to refute that claim.

War and the revolution

Author

Leon Trotsky

Continuing a series of extracts from Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution, this explains how the Provisional Government worked to keep Russia in the First World War.


On 23 March [1917] the United States entered the war. On that day Petrograd was burying the victims of the February revolution. Twenty-five days later — during which time the soviets had gained much experience and self-confidence — occurred the 1 May celebration (1 May according to the Western calendar, 18 April Russian calendar).

The origins of the Petrograd soviet

Author

Leon Trotsky

Continuing a series of extracts from Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution. Here Trotsky describes the inception and initial political and social character of the Petrograd soviet. For most of 1917 the soviet backed the bourgeois Provisional Government.

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What is the “social strike”?

Author

Daniel Randall

Recent strikes by “gig economy” workers (e.g. Deliveroo) are profoundly significant. They explode the myth, peddled by some on both left and right, that so-called precarious workers can’t organise, and that the proliferation of those types of work is in the process of rendering labour organising historically redundant.

The paradox of February

Author

Leon Trotsky

Continuing a series of extracts from Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution. On 2 March 1917 a Provisional Government is formed; it has the support of the Petrograd soviet. Trotsky explains why the February revolution ended with a transfer of power to the liberal bourgeoisie.

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On the eve of revolution: Trotsky in New York

Author

Paul Hampton

In October 1917 Leon Trotsky was a principal leader of the Russian revolution, leading workers to power and the establishment of their own state. Trotsky would become the Commissar for Foreign Affairs, responsible for taking Russia out of the First World War. Yet his year had begun in very different circumstances.

For ten weeks Trotsky lived in exile in New York. His time there is retold by Kenneth Ackerman.

The 1905 prologue

Author

Leon Trotsky

Continuing a series of extracts from Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution. Here Trotsky explains how the 1905 revolution — a popular revolt against the Tsar — was a “dress rehearsal” for the events of 1917.

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“The privilege of historic backwardness”
Author

Leon Trotsky

We begin a series of extracts from Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution, telling the story of 1917. This extract explains Russia’s “combined and uneven” development how the country “skipped” historical “stages”.

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While the western barbarians settled in the ruins of Roman culture, where many an old stone lay ready as building material, the Slavs in the East found no inheritance upon their desolate plain: their predecessors had been on even a lower level of culture than they.

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