a very red riding in the hood

The element of heroic myth in Leon Trotsky’s career was no less marked during the Russian Civil War, when as the Soviet Commisar for War he lived for more than two years in his famous armored train, dashing from one threatened front to another. His personal contribution to the formation of the Red Army and to its victory on several decisive battlefields was undoubtedly immense, but his contribution to revolutionary legend even more so.

---Leon Trotsky said it accurately during the October Revolution: "A party that does not strive for the seizure of power is worth nothing." We are talking about seeking benefit for the party itself at the expense of the rest of the people. This can happen whether the takeover is peaceful or not. Voting for impersonal parties and their programmes is a false substitute for the only true way to elect people's representatives: voting by an actual person for an actual candidate.---Read More:http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/alexander-solzhenitsyn-his-final-interview-885152.html image:http://www.newstatesman.com/international-politics/2010/03/trotsky-stalin-russian-lenin

Solzhenitsyn: No. Only an extraordinary person can turn opportunity into reality. Lenin and Trotsky were exceptionally nimble and vigorous politicians who managed in a short time to use the weakness of Kerensky’s government. But allow me to correct you: the “October Revolution” is a myth generated by the winners, the Bolsheviks, and swallowed whole by progressive circles in the West. On 25 October 1917, a violent 24-hour coup d’état took place in Petrograd. It was brilliantly and thoroughly planned by Leon Trotsky – Lenin was in hiding to avoid being brought to justice for treason. What we call “the Russian Revolution of 1917″ was the February Revolution. Read More:http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/alexander-solzhenitsyn-his-final-interview-885152.html, following the October revolution

Trotsky’s train was a rolling liaison office between the Soviet government in Moscow and the fighting fronts, plus a communications center, emergency supply depot, and psychological-warfare unit. In the economic breakdown and general chaos  that prevailed throughout Russia after the civil ware erupted, following the October Revolution and defeat in the war with Germany, it was a brilliant administrative improvisation.

Trotsky as war hero. read more:http://www.revleft.com/vb/album.php?albumid=240&pictureid=1748

Trotsky’s personal role as an ambulatory war minister was not purely that of a civilian administrator, however, and his constant visits to the front lines or outposts, accompanied by members of his own bodyguard, wearing leather jackets with distinctive black insignia, were more dramatic than the usual VIP morale-building battlefield tours.

The chapters in My Life on the civil war almost give the impression at times that it was won by sheer heroism and force of will, with Trotsky as a revolutionary Prometheus inspiring the soldiers of the Red Army to defy all “pusillanimous historical fatalism”- an odd phrase from the pen of a Marxist writer. The same romantic subjectivism that colored Trotsky’s writing as a military historian undoubtedly distorted his military judgement as a revolutionary strategist on occasion.

---Consequently, by virtue of preferential treatment for Trotsky, when the S.S. Kristianiafjord left New York on March 26, 1917, Trotsky was aboard and holding a U.S. passport — and in company with other Trotskyire revolutionaries, Wall Street financiers, American Communists, and other interesting persons, few of whom had embarked for legitimate business. This mixed bag of passengers has been described by Lincoln Steffens, the American Communist: The passenger list was long and mysterious. Trotsky was in the steerage with a group of revolutionaries; there was a Japanese revolutionist in my cabin. There were a lot of Dutch hurrying home from Java, the only innocent people aboard. The rest were war messengers, two from Wall Street to Germany....12 Notably, Lincoln Steffens was on board en route to Russia at the specific invitation of Charles Richard Crane, a backer and a former chairman of the Democratic Party's finance committee. Charles Crane, vice president of the Crane Company, had organized the Westinghouse Company in Russia, was a member of the Root mission to Russia, and had made no fewer than twenty-three visits to Russia between 1890 and 1930....Read More:http://www.reformed-theology.org/html/books/bolshevik_revolution/chapter_02.htm image:http://chumpfish3.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html

In Trotsky’s preoccupation with morale and psychological impact- he was one of the master propagandist of his age- he tended to overlook Napoleon’s “big battalions.” As the chief Soviet negotiator at Brest-Litovsk, he wanted to reject the outrageous German peace terms and adopt a policy of “no peace and no war.” Though fine revolutionary propaganda, the policy, as Lenin realized, would probably have resulted in the replacement of the Soviet regime by a German military government.

What Lenin termed Trotsky’s “excessive self confidence”  likewise tempted him sometimes into rash courses of action. He does not appear, however, as the irresponsible hothead that Stalinist critics have made him out to be. He was more prudent and realistic than Lenin himself, for example, in opposing the march on Warsaw during the war with Poland in 1920.

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---Civil War propaganda, by El Lissitzky, is known to everyone interested in design history. Spectacular, isn't it? But I doubt that its message ("Beat the Whites With Red Jack") was clear to Red Army soldiers, especially to those who were illiterate. Read More:http://www.dieselpunks.org/profiles/blogs/soviet-propaganda-posters

Despite his obsession with the Permanent Revolution, Trotsky argued that the Polish masses would not welcome the invaders and that in the absence of local political support, attempting the military conquest of Poland would be a reckless adventure. The disastrous outcome confirmed his prescience.

It would be a distortion of contemporary history, as well as an affront to the memory of Trotsky, yo imply that the romantic and mythological elements in his life, and the element of mystique in his doctrine suffice to explain the enduring recognition,and attraction for him throughout the world. However, among these admirer’s , there are a certain number whose unconscious need for a hero to worship is even stronger than their conscious attachment to the cause of revolution. From one viewpoint, its a disturbing thought, but from another it can be seen as reassuring.

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