The Selected Works of

Leon Trotsky

This index will give students of Leon Trotsky an overview of his political thought, as developed by subject. Each selection contains a small synopsis of the work listed. There are several areas of study below. One are writings by Trotsky that include his most important contributions to revolutionary Marxism, that is, his political theory and analysis. Second are secondary works on specific subjects, more narrowly focused on specific events and finally there is a subject group that includes his most famous historical works and his autobiography.

David Walters, Director, Trotsky Internet Archive

My Life

Trotsky’s autobiography. Written after Trotsky’s expulsion from the Soviet Union in 1929, the book details the formation of Trotsksy’s political development as a young student revolutionary in southern Russian to his integration into the Bolshevik Party in 1917 to his leadership, with Lenin, of the October Revolution and the subsequent rise of the bureaucracy lead by Joseph Stalin that stamped out all remnants of that revolution. Written in a personal style rather than a sharp polemic, it nevertheless contains many summations and explanations, if not most, of Trotsky’s understanding of Marxism and the events surrounding this understanding, events that helped shape the 20th century.

The History of the Russian Revolution

This is Trotsky’s monumental history of the first successful workers revolution. In three volumes, this book was written some 13 years after the victory of the October Revolution. It traces the revolutionary strategy employed by the Bolsheviks to lead the masses of Russia’s workers and peasants to power. Details of the inner workings of the Bolshevik Party are explored as well as the political positions of all the major characters and groupings that participated in the revolution. Not only will the student read a major theoretical contribution toward the history of the workers movement but this work represents, on its own, a major literary contribution to world history.

The Revolution Betrayed

Written in 1936, the works stands as Leon Trotsky’s indictment of Stalinism. It analyses the Soviet State and Communist Party and the rise of bureaucracy up through this period. Providing both economic statistics on the failure of the Stalinist lead state but this work also shows the how Stalin consolidated his faction’s hold of the Communist Party and then betrayed the party’s founding Leninist principles. Amazingly prophetic in showing where the Stalinist bureaucracy would lead it is a must read for anyone studying the history of the Soviet Communist Party and the demise of the Soviet Union.

In Defense of Marxism

This work, a compilation of Trotsky’s writings on the class nature of the Soviet Union, was Trotsky’s “last fight” over questions of political theory and Marxist methodology. In Defense of Marxism is written as a series of letters to leaders of the US Socialist Workers Party, one of the largest party’s in the Fourth International, the international current that grouped together those that agreed with Trotsky’s call for a new communist international to replace to Stalinist Communist International. This work is one of history’s premier examples of Marxist theory as applied to the issue of which class rules in a state and a revolutionary party’s approach to it.

The Permanent Revolution and Results & Prospects

Results and Prospects was written in 1907 after the Revolution of 1905 and Permanent Revolution was written in 1928 after the Stalinized Communist International lead the Chinese Communist Party to defeat during the 1925-27 Revolutions.

Results and Prospects lays out the young Trotsky’s theory, proven in the great October Revolution 10 years later, that the Russian revolution would resemble a revolution in the advanced capitalist countries in that it would be lead by the working class, in alliance with the peasantry, to achieve a workers government. Only this kind of government, that exclude any participation by the bosses representatives and based on organs of worker rule, such as the soviets that appeared in the 1905 Revolution, could solve in the most basic problems of backward Russia (land reform, political democracy, ending Russian oppression of nationalities, etc.). This was at odds with the prevailing Marxist belief that backward Russia would have to go through some sort of progressive capitalist revolution first before a workers revolution bringing the proletariat to power could occur.

Permanent Revolution was Trotsky’s exspansion of this same theory to application for all developing and colonial countries, that the class relations found in Russia in 1917 could be seen through out the colonial and neo-colonial world. This part of the book is in the form of a polemic with Bolshevik theoretician Karl Radek and represents an defense of the theory of Permanent Revolution.  

Trotsky’s Writings on the Chinese Revolution

Trotsky’s Writings on the Spanish Revolution (1931-1938)

Trotsky’s Writings on Britain

Trotsky’s Writings on the the rise of Fascism on Germany, what is, and how to fight it

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