On August 21, the Molodaia Gvardia Bolshevikov-Leninitsev (Young Guard of Bolshevik-Leninists, YGBL) held meetings in Saint Petersburg and the western Siberian city Chelyabinsk to commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky, the co-leader, alongside Vladimir Lenin, of the 1917 Russian Revolution. Trotsky was attacked by a Stalinist agent on August 20, 1940 at his residence in Coyoacan, Mexico. He died the following day.
In Saint Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), they gathered at Mars Field, the burial site of hundreds of martyrs of the revolution. In Chelyabinsk, YGBL members met in the afternoon, where they laid flowers before a photograph of Leon Trotsky, which was placed under the bust of Vladimir Lenin located on Scarlet Field. They did so with the express purpose of “emphasizing Trotsky’s affiliation with Lenin, both in his views and in his actions.” The speech below, in which the YGBL states its commitment to Trotskyism and support for the International Committee of the Fourth International, was read at the commemoration.
This executioner’s blow, directed by the Thermidorian bureaucracy, which crowned itself with a super-Borgia in the Kremlin, was the brutal apogee of political genocide—genocide against the Marxist revolutionary vanguard of the working class.
The impact of Stalin’s terror on the fate of the Soviet Union and world socialism was nothing short of catastrophic. The working class is still struggling with the consequences of Stalin’s counterrevolution.
The assassination of Trotsky did not put an end to the political work of the world movement he founded. The Fourth International, as it turned out, lived to see the collapse of Stalin’s regime. It follows, of course, that the assassination did not erase Trotsky from history. As historians study and interpret the 20th century, the figure of Leon Trotsky grows larger. Few other lives have reflected the struggles, aspirations, and tragedies of the last century as deeply and nobly as Trotsky’s.
Three years before his death, in a conversation with a skeptical American journalist, Trotsky explained that he saw his life not as a series of bewildering and ultimately tragic episodes, but as different stages in the historical trajectory of the revolutionary movement. His rise to power in 1917 was a product of the revolutionary rise of the working class. For six years, his power depended on the social and political relations created by this offensive. The decline of Trotsky’s personal political fortunes stemmed from the ebb of the revolutionary wave.
Trotsky lost power not because he was a less experienced politician than Stalin, but because the social force on which his power was based—the Russian and international working class—was in political retreat. The exhaustion of the Russian working class after the Civil War, the growing political power of the Soviet bureaucracy, and the defeats suffered by the European working class, especially in Germany, were ultimately decisive factors in Trotsky’s removal from power.
Trotsky’s death came at the peak of the fascist and Stalinist counterrevolution. By 1940, virtually all of Trotsky’s old comrades had been liquidated in the Soviet Union. All four of Trotsky’s children were dead. His two eldest daughters died prematurely as a result of the hardships caused by their father’s persecution. Two sons, Sergei and Lev, were murdered by Stalin’s regime.
History, as has often been noted, is the greatest of all ironists. For decades, Stalinists have claimed that Trotsky sought the destruction of the Soviet Union, that he colluded with the imperialists to dismember the USSR. For these alleged crimes, Trotsky was sentenced to death in absentia by the Soviet regime. But in the end, it was the Soviet bureaucracy, as Trotsky shrewdly warned, that liquidated the USSR.
The International Committee’s investigation of Trotsky’s assassination was designed to reveal the full extent of the Stalinist conspiracy against the Fourth International and, in the process, to expose before the working class the inextricably counterrevolutionary nature of Stalinism.
This investigation was conducted in the face of hysterical resistance from all the Pabloite organizations, which saw the exposure of the crimes of Stalinism as a politically dangerous setback to their efforts to eliminate the Trotskyist movement and to reconcile politically with the Stalinist organizations.
The Pabloites were particularly outraged by the exposure of Stalinist agents, many of whom were still living and, in some cases, even active within Pabloite organizations, when the investigation “Security and the Fourth International” began in 1975.
Under the wave of the counterrevolutionary preemptive civil war known as the Great Terror, Stalin and the bureaucratic caste that strangled the workers’ state in the Soviet Union eliminated generations of Communists. Thousands of supporters of the Left Opposition and the Fourth International were murdered. The activities of the GPU extended far beyond the borders of the Soviet Union.
The damage caused by this great crime was compounded by the fact that for 35 years—almost half the period between the assassination and today—virtually nothing was known about how the GPU carried out Trotsky’s murder. It was not until 1949 or 1950 that the true name of the murderer became publicly known as a result of an investigation by the Mexican criminologist Alfonso Quiroz Cuarón.
In May 1975, the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) launched an initiative called “Security and the Fourth International,” which sought to shed light on agents in the Fourth International, both past and present.
What was involved in the investigation was staggering: a huge amount of investigative work spanning several continents, hundreds of hours of interviews and thousands of pages of historical documentation. For the first time, there was a systematic investigation into the infiltration of the Trotskyist movement by agents of the GPU and the US government.
The ICFI was not going to be intimidated by the cries and yells of the revisionists. They could call the International Committee “sectarians” and “paranoids” until they turned blue. Using these labels, they actually attacked the ICFI’s struggle for revolutionary principles, attention to discipline, vigilance and security in its ranks.
Security and the Fourth International represented nothing less than the restoration of the entire historical continuity of Bolshevism through the Fourth International and the International Committee from the evil grip of Stalinist counterrevolution and falsification.
All the lies, distortions and crimes committed by Stalinism against Trotskyism, against the political embodiment of the struggle for the world of October; all the monstrous acts committed in order to confuse and disorient generations of workers about the real history of the October Revolution and Trotsky’s role—all this was exposed with a blow from which Stalinism and all the bodies of the imperialist counterrevolution will never recover.
That is why the Young Guard Bolshevik-Leninists must work to overcome the suppression of the truth about the crimes of Stalinism, in suppressing the distortions and perpetuations of lies, that is, everything that conceals the extent of the Stalinist conspiracy. Without a struggle for historical truth, it is impossible to create a disciplined organization, aware of its goals and tasks, capable not only of carrying out the socialist revolution, but spreading it across the international arena.
In this respect, we, standing for the truth about the analysis and characterization of Trotsky's personality, his activities, and the activities of the Fourth International, express our genuine solidarity with the investigation carried out by the ICFI almost 50 years ago, but, preserving its relevance today, thus requires serious study by every conscious Trotskyist and worker.
Milestones in the history of the Fourth International over the last 40 years, including the split with the Workers’ Revolutionary Party (WRP) in Britain, the founding of the Socialist Equality Parties and the launching of the World Socialist Web Site, and the analysis of the crisis of the world imperialist system were carried out by leadership forged, in particular, thanks to the experience of Security and the Fourth International.
Our organization will follow the International Committee, basing itself on its advanced experience, thanks to which the working class will ultimately be able to solve the greatest crisis of our time: the crisis of revolutionary leadership.
The Young Guard of Bolshevik-Leninists strives to help resolve this crisis through its activities aimed at establishing a section of the International Committee in Russia and perhaps throughout the former USSR.
Neither the blow of Stalin's executioner, nor the flood of lies and falsifications, nor the revision of Trotsky’s living and burning legacy, has relegated his great cause to the grave or diminished his genuine followers.
And no matter how many endless streams of lies and falsifications are poured on the honest name of Lev Davidovich Trotsky, they cannot diminish or destroy the truth about a man who, to the last beat of his heart, selflessly believed and lived the cause to which he devoted his entire conscious life to the end.
No matter how much the modern generation reads the works of Lenin and Trotsky through the prism of Stalin, no matter how much it believes Stalinist lies and places Stalinist amalgam above the truth, the truth cannot be extinguished: beginning with liters of ink and ending with holy blood. The truth will become hotter and brighter than a magnesium flash, and it will become a guiding star above the earthly firmament for those who want to fight and fight under it for the triumph of communism, for the triumph of true freedom and truth, going boldly further and further toward that goal for which Trotsky—the great revolutionary, the leader of the proletariat and martyr for his cause—fought and died!