20 August will mark the 80th anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky. To commemorate his life and works, the International Marxist Tendency will organise an online rally, with talks, video and discussion about this revolutionary titan (full details here). In the run up to this event, we will be republishing materials by and about Trotsky on marxist.com, starting with this pamphlet by Alan Woods (originally published in 2000).

The ideas of Marx have never been more relevant than they are today. This is reflected in the thirst for Marxist theory at the present time. In this article, Alan Woods deals with the main ideas of Karl Marx and their relevance to the crisis we're passing through today.

Blood has flowed in the streets of Petrograd. A tragic chapter has been added to the Russian Revolution. Who is to blame? “The Bolsheviks,” says the man in the street, repeating what his newspapers tell him. The sum total of these tragic happenings is exhausted, as far as the bourgeoisie and the time-serving politicians are concerned, in the words: Arrest the ringleaders and disarm the masses. And the object of this action is to establish “revolutionary order”. The Social-Revolutionists and the Mensheviks, in arresting and disarming the Bolsheviks, are prepared to establish “order”. There is only one question: What kind of order, and for whom?

Today, we find ourselves in the midst of one of the deepest crises capitalism has ever faced. While the 99% are being asked to pay for the crisis, the 1% are amassing wealth at an ever accelerating pace. The saturating level of scandal and corruption in the establishment is alienating millions from traditional politics. All of this is causing a deep questioning of capitalist society. Many are looking for an alternative to the system that we have, and a growing number are looking towards revolutionary socialism for the answer.

In the final part of George Collins' history of the rise of Stalinism, he explains the bureaucracy's final victory over Trotsky's Left Opposition; their shameful co-operation with fascism and imperialism; and the brutal, counter-revolutionary role they played in suppressing the working class in Russia and internationally. He concludes with an optimistic assessment of the political situation in Russia in the late-80s, and while we know the tragic reality of what happened after the Soviet Union collapsed, a new revolutionary current has now gripped the minds of workers and youth worldwide.

The following is a review of The First Five Years of the Communist International, consisting of Trotsky’s writings and speeches related to the tasks of building the Third (Communist) International. This book is rich with lessons for the workers’ struggle today and is a must-read for all aspiring revolutionaries! A new edition, with an introduction by Fred Weston (editor at marxist.com) is available from Wellred Books!

A century ago, on 2-6 March 1919, the first congress of the Third International took place in Moscow. This marked the birth of the Communist International, which became a vital school of revolutionary ideas and strategy. Rob Sewell (editor of Socialist Appeal, British journal of the IMT) looks back on this momentous event.

It is a well-known fact that accident can play a considerable role in both history and the lives of individuals. In the course of my life I have observed many accidents and extraordinary coincidences. But I have never experienced such a unique and unforeseeable concatenation of circumstances as that which I am about to relate here.

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