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Albert Gates

In Memory of Trotsky’s Death

World Socialism Follows His Teachings

(August 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 33, 16 August 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Three years ago this August 21, Leon Trotsky, co-leader with Lenin of the Russian workers’ revolution of 1917, outstanding leader of the Bolshevik Party, and creator of the Red Army, was murdered by an agent of Stalin, a gunman of the GPU.

In the death of Trotsky, the working class of the world lost its greatest champion, for he was truly the, outstanding fighter for the freedom of the people in the, last two decades.

Beginning with his struggle in Russia in defense of the revolutionary principles and practices of socialism, he carried on an unceasing fight against the new bureaucracy which had usurped the power of the workers in the interests of its own class well-being. For this implacable struggle, Trotsky and his adherents underwent the fiercest persecution.

Many thousands were jailed, other thousands were exiled, hundreds were assassinated by the GPU. Trotsky was arrested, exiled and then deported from Russia.

Driven from the country by the usurpers of the revolution and the destroyers of the workers’ state, which he was so instrumental in founding, Trotsky continued his struggle for the Russian masses against their new exploiters, the bureaucracy, whose life was set apart from the people by its comparative well-being, and by its intense exploitation of the Russian workers and peasants.

First from Turkey, then from France, Norway and finally Mexico, Trotsky let the world know that Stalin and his clique had undermined and destroyed the great gains of the Russian Revolution He told the world that Stalin’s theory of building a “socialist society in a single country” was a violation of the internationalist theory and spirit of socialism.

He told the world that under Stalin the Russian working class was intensely exploited, as was the peasantry. The working class had lost its hard-won rights! The Bolshevik Party, the trade unions, cooperatives, the fraternal organizations, were either destroyed or became so ineffective as instruments in defense of the rights of the people as to be non-existent.

Every industrial or agricultural advance made in Russian economy, he proved, came at the expense of the well-being of the workers and peasants. The regime became more and more totalitarianized until it stood out as the leading dictatorship in the world – not of the workers, to be sure, but of Stalin and his personal clique.

The best traditions of Bolshevism and the Russian Revolution were trampled underfoot, until today there is not the slightest resemblance between the Russia of Lenin and Trotsky and the Russia of Stalin.

The greatest danger of which Lenin and Trotsky warned, namely, that the revolution might degenerate into nationalism, and lose sight of its internationalist origins and purpose (the establishment of world socialism), has come to pass.

Russia; under Stalin, has become a nationalist state in the worst tradition of the Czars.

The rapid degeneration of the Russian Revolution only made Trotsky more severe in his criticism. But he was not only concerned with Russia, i.e., with the hope of saving the Russian Revolution and turning it once more in an internationalist direction. He was as much concerned with the course of world politics and the development of the world movement of socialism.

He saw in the degeneration of Stalinism a danger to the movement of the workers in all countries. For Stalin had transformed the Communist International, a once heroic body of world socialism, into an adjunct of soviet diplomacy and the GPU.

In a series of countries, Stalin played the singular role of destroying the workers’ movement and preventing the revolutionary triumph of the people. Beginning in China in 1926, and following in England, Austria, Germany, Spain and France, Stalinism shackled the workers’ movement and rendered it impotent in the struggle against a decadent capitalist system.

As Trotsky saw capitalism plunging into another world war, more destructive and more futile than any which preceded it, he sought to rally the diminishing ranks Of the international social-. ists for the purpose of continuing the fight for socialism as the only hope of freedom, peace and security for the peoples everywhere.

He hammered away at a single thought: the future of the world depends upon the people themselves, upon the working class above all as the most cohesive and progressive class in society. The future of humanity depends upon the abolition Of capitalism and the establishment of a classless society; it depends upon the abolition of exploitation and production for profits, and its replacement by a classless society.

The present imperialist world war is a complete, vindication of the theories of Trotsky, for it exhibits the utter decay and degeneration of world capitalism, the complete futility of its purposes. But if it demonstrates the decay of capitalism; and the necessity for socialism, it also establishes the utter decay and degeneration of Stalinism, which has become a partner in the crimes of imperialism.

But, above all, Trotsky foresaw the workers’ movements emerging from the chaos of the war; he saw the rejuvenation of the socialist organizations and the triumph of the workers’ revolution.

Trotsky did not live to see much of this war. His life was cut short. Stalin, the greatest foe of socialism, had hounded his prey. And finally, on August 21, 1940, in the little town of Coyoacan, a suburb of Mexico City, Frank Jacson, agent of the GPU, succeeded in his murderous assignment.

The convicted assassin now sits in a Mexican prison serving a twenty-year sentence (the maximum penalty under Mexican law). All his needs are taken care of by the Mexican section of the GPU. For his deed he must be repaid.

That Trotsky was a dangerous adversary of Stalin is clear. He was an adversary because he was the champion of internationalism, of world socialism, of the democratic movement of the revolutionary working class. All of this, Stalin opposed. But if Stalin thinks that he has destroyed the internationalist movement of socialism, he is sadly mistaken.

The crisis of world capitalism, of which this war is the highest expression, makes unbearable, the life of the people. They cannot and will not long endure the life of poverty, exploitation, unemployment and death!

The weakest link in the imperialist chain, Italy, has already cracked. The heroic Italian working class, after having endured twenty years of fascism, at the first sign took to the streets with the red flag in its hands and the International on its lips.

In this single event is expressed the irrepressible march of the future, of world socialism. Italy is the first sign; it will not be the last.

As the workers of Europe reawaken and begin anew the struggle for freedom, socialism will once more be their battlecry. The oppressed colonial peoples of the world will follow in their wake and the movement for world freedom will march forward in giant strides.

The reawakened and revitalized world movement of the workers will be the greatest vindication of Leon Trotsky, leader of the international working class, champion of the world socialist society, the order of peace, freedom and security.

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