The first part is being posted today.
It is very important to note that the following statements about Trotsky’s ideas, tactics, and personality were made by Lenin, not Stalin.
At the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P in 1903 Lenin said in the Third Speech in the Discussion on the Agrarian Programme,
“Therein lies the fundamental difference between us and the liberals, whose talk about changes and reforms ‘pollutes’ the minds of the people. If we were to set forth in detail all the demands for the abolition of serf-ownership, we should fill whole volumes. That is why we mention only the more important forms and varieties of serfdom, and leave it to our committees in the various localities to draw up and advance their particular demands in development of the general programme. Trotsky’s remark to the effect that we cannot concern ourselves with local demand is wrong, for the question...is not only a local one.”
At the same Congress Lenin made an extremely important and farsighted comment with respect to Trotsky’s theoretical wisdom. He stated,
“To come to the main subject, I must say that Comrade Trotsky has completely misunderstood Comrade Plekhanov’s fundamental idea, and his arguments have therefore evaded the gist of the matter. He has spoken of intellectuals and workers, of the class point of view and of the mass movement, but he has failed to notice a basic question: does my formulation narrow or expand the concept of a Party member? If he had asked himself that question, he would have easily have seen that my formulation narrows this concept, while Martov’s expands it, for (to use Martov’s own correct expression) what distinguishes his concept is its ‘elasticity.’ And in the period of Party life that we are now passing through it is just this ‘elasticity’ that undoubtedly opens the door to all elements of confusion, vacillation, and opportunism. To refute this simple and obvious conclusion it has to be proved that there are no such elements; but it has not even occurred to Comrade Trotsky to do that. Nor can that be proved, for everyone knows that such elements exist in plenty, and they are to be found in the working class too....
Comrade Trotsky completely misinterpreted the main idea of my book, What Is To Be Done? when he spoke about the Party not being a conspiratorial organization. He forgot that in my book I propose a number of various types of organizations, from the most secret and most exclusive to comparatively broad and ‘loose’ organizations. He forgot that the Party must be only the vanguard, the leader of the vast masses of the working class, the whole (or nearly the whole) of which works ‘under the control and direction’ of the Party organizations, but the whole of which does not and should not belong to a ‘party.’ Now let us see what conclusions Comrade Trotsky arrives at in consequence of his fundamental mistake. He had told us here that if rank after rank of workers were arrested, and all the workers were to declare that they did not belong to the Party, our Party would be a strange one indeed! Is it not the other way round? Is it not Comrade Trotsky’s argument that is strange? He regards as something sad that which a revolutionary with any experience at all would only rejoice at. If hundreds and thousands of workers who were arrested for taking part in strikes and demonstrations did not prove to be members of Party organizations, it would only show that we have good organizations, and that we are fulfilling our task of keeping a more or less limited circle of leaders secret and drawing the broadest possible masses into the movement.”
In an article written in 1905 entitled “Social-Democracy and the Provisional Revolutionary Government” Lenin spoke of Parvus and said,
“He openly advocated (unfortunately, together with the windbag Trotsky in a foreward to the latter’s bombastic pamphlet ‘Before the Ninth of January’) the idea of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship, the idea that it was the duty of Social-Democrats to take part in the provisional revolutionary government after the overthrow of the autocracy.”
Later in the same article Lenin stated,
“It would be extremely harmful to entertain any illusions on this score. If that windbag Trotsky now writes (unfortunately, side by side with Parvus) that a Father Gapon could appear only once,’ that ‘there is no room for a second Gapon,’ he does so simply because he is a windbag. If there were no room in Russia for a second Gapon, there would be no room for a truly ‘great’ consummated democratic revolution.”
In a 1904 letter to Stasova, Lengnik, and others Lenin stated,
A new pamphlet by Trotsky came out recently, under the editorship of *Iskra*, as was announced. This makes it the “Credo” as it were of the new Iskra. The pamphlet is a pack of brazen lies, a distortion of the facts.... The pamphlet is a slap in the face both for the present Editorial Board of the C.O. and for all Party workers. Reading a pamphlet of this kind you can see clearly that the “Minority” has indulged in so much lying and falsehood that it will be incapable of producing anything viable....”
In a 1905 article entitled “Wrathful Impotence” Lenin stated,
‘We shall remind the reader that even Mr. Struve, who has often voiced sympathy in principle with Trotsky, Starover, Akimov, and Martynov, and with the new-Iskra trends in general and the new-Iskra Conference in particular--even Mr. Struve was in his time obliged to acknowledge that their stand is not quite a correct one, or rather quite an incorrect one.”
At the 1907 Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P Lenin stated,
“A few words about Trotsky. He spoke on behalf of the ‘Centre,’ and expressed the views of the Bund. He fulminated against us for introducing our ‘unacceptable’ resolution. He threatened an outright split, the withdrawal of the Duma group, which is supposedly offended by our resolution. I emphasize these words. I urge you to reread our resolution.... When Trotsky stated: ‘Your unacceptable resolution prevents your right ideas being put into effect,’ I called out to him: ‘Give us your resolution!’ Trotsky replied: ‘No first withdraw yours.’ A fine position indeed for the ‘Centre’ to take, isn’t it? Because of our (in Trotsky’s opinion) mistake (‘tactlessness’) he punishes the whole Party.... Why did you not get your resolution passed, we shall be asked in the localities. Because the Centre (for whom Trotsky was speaking) took umbrage at it, and in a huff refused to set forth its own principles! That is a position based not on principle, but on the Centre’s lack of principle.”
Speaking at the same Congress Lenin objected to Trotsky’s amendments to the Bolshevik resolution on the attitude towards bourgeois parties by saying,
“It must be agreed that Trotsky’s amendment is not Menshevik, that it expresses the ‘very same,’ that is, bolshevik, idea. But Trotsky has expressed this idea in a way that is scarcely better (than the Menshevik--Ed.).... Trotsky’s insertion is redundant, for we are not fishing for unique cases in the resolution, but are laying down the basic line of Social-Democracy in the bourgeois Russian revolution.”
While later discussing the same issue (the attitude the party should have toward bourgeois parties) Lenin said,
“The question of the attitude of Social-Democracy towards bourgeois parties is one of those known as ‘general’ or ‘theoretical’ questions, i.e., such that are not directly connected with any definite practical task confronting the Party at a given moment. At theLondon Congress of the R.S.D.L.P, the Mensheviks and the Bundists conducted a fierce struggle against the inclusion of such questions in the agenda, and they were, unfortunately, supported in this by Trotsky, who does not belong to either side. The opportunistic wing of our Party (notice that that is the group with which Trotsky allied himself--Ed.) like that of other Social-Democratic parties, defended a ‘business-like’ or ‘practical’ agenda for the Congress. They shied away from ‘broad and general’ questions. They forgot that in the final analysis broad, principled politics are the only real, practical politics. They forgot that anybody who tackles partial problems without having previously settled general problems, will inevitably and at every step ‘come up against’ those general problems without himself realizing it. To come up against them blindly in every individual case means to doom one’s politics to the worst vacillation and lack of principle.”
And it is quite clear to which philosophy Trotsky adhered.