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In Defense of Leon Trotsky Paperback – August 10, 2010
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About the Author
David North is the chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site. He is the author of numerous books, articles, and lectures on questions relating to contemporary US and international politics, European and Soviet history, and the history of the Trotskyist movement, including; The Crisis of American Democracy; ;Marxism, History and Socialist Consciousness; Leon Trotsky and the Post-Soviet School of Historical Falsification; and The Heritage We Defend.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book provides the reader with a decent starting point for studying the life of a brilliant and influential man. I recommend it for anyone seeking to better understand the life of Leon Trotsky or the roots of the international Trostskyist movement.
This work should stimulate more constructive discussion and research into Trotsky's life.
This book should be sold with any copy of the above mentioned biographer's books as it really does show how badly written and politically biased they are. I also recommend reading it if you have previously read one of these "biographies".
The only fault with this book is the fact that it can be overlap in areas due to the fact that they are taken from lectures given by the author to different audiences.
Overall though, it really clears out the right wing falsification of the 20th century's most prominent writer, politician and revolutionary.
As the crisis of our society deepens, more and more people will begin to ask questions about potential alternative systems of social organization. Inevitably, this leads to the question of socialism. The standard answer to that question provided by the apologists of the existing order--that the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, as well as China's transition to a market economy, marked the end of socialism for all time--becomes increasingly dissatisfying in its facility and superficiality. Inevitably, those who inquire seriously into the nature and history of socialism and whether there was ever a socialist alternative to the Stalinist system which developed in the Soviet Union (and was later replicated elsewhere) will come to the work of Leon Trotsky, including both his theoretical work and his revolutionary politics.
This is where Ian Thatcher, Geoffrey Swain, and Robert Service come in. Essentially, they provide a service (no pun intended) to the ruling class by ideologically disorienting and thereby politically disarming those inquisitive minds who get as far as asking questions about Trotsky and what he stood for. Since they are mostly incapable of polemicizing against Trotsky's extensive theoretical work, and since in any case they wish to suppress rather than stimulate interest in their ostensible subject of study, these biographers pay little attention to the substance of Trotsky's ideas and instead concentrate on slinging mud at Trotsky the man. And in doing so they have a wealth of dubious material to draw upon, coming down from previous generations of both counter-revolutionaries and Stalinist apparatchiks. In other words, a new school of historical disinformation has arisen with the purpose of preventing the development of revolutionary political consciousness within the working class. That school achieves a veneer of legitimacy by relying on sources of disinformation cultivated previously by enemies of socialism of various stripes, including both anticommunists and Stalinists, about Trotsky, the man whose name has become synonymous with international socialist revolution.
David North is himself a revolutionary. His purpose is to defend not merely the man Leon Trotsky, but the theory and practice of revolutionary socialism that Trotsky's name stands for. North convincingly refutes the gross falsifications that Thatcher, Swain, and Service rely upon in their efforts to construct a version of history that will prevent people from developing an interest in the real substance of those theories and the real history of that practice. He helps the reader cut through the mass of disinformation and expose the real motives of the modern-day enemies of socialism and the working class who have set about to miseducate yet another generation in the history of the modern world and thereby prevent the development of socialist consciousness in the working class.
In essence, North's struggle against the new school of historical falsification is a continuation of Trotsky's struggle against his own enemies to whom Service et al. pay tribute. On one side there is the power, wealth, and prestige of the official institutions, completely subordinated to a venal elite that can perpetuate its rule only by means of mass deception and violence. On the other side is a relatively small group of revolutionaries whose voice has been systematically suppressed but nevertheless is making itself heard to ever wider layers of the population: to those who are dissatisfied with the standard myths used to justify the status quo and willing to pursue the truth of the past and present even in the face of immense struggles.