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Léon Trotsky

Date de naissance: 7. novembre 1879
Date de décès: 21. août 1940

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Léon Trotski , de son vrai nom Lev Davidovitch Bronstein , né le 7 novembre 1879 à Ianovka et mort assassiné le 21 août 1940 à Mexico , est un révolutionnaire et homme politique russo-soviétique.

Militant marxiste, du Parti ouvrier social-démocrate de Russie puis, à partir de l'été 1917, bolchevik, il est plusieurs fois déporté en Sibérie ou exilé de Russie, et est notamment président du soviet de Pétrograd lors de la révolution russe de 1905.

En 1917, il est le principal acteur, avec Lénine, de la révolution d'Octobre qui permet aux bolcheviks d'arriver au pouvoir. Durant la guerre civile russe qui s'ensuit, il fonde l'Armée rouge et se montre partisan de mesures de Terreur : son action contribue à la victoire des bolcheviks et à la survie du régime soviétique. Il est dès lors, et durant plusieurs années, l'un des plus importants dirigeants de l'Internationale communiste et de l'URSS naissante.

Il s'oppose à la bureaucratisation du régime et à Staline en prenant la tête de l'Opposition de gauche ; Staline le fait finalement chasser du gouvernement et du Parti communiste , puis l'exile en Asie centrale avant de le bannir d'URSS . Trotski entreprend alors d'organiser ses partisans, qui se réunissent en 1938 au sein de la Quatrième Internationale. En 1940, installé au Mexique, il est assassiné sur ordre de Staline par un agent du NKVD.

À la fois orateur, théoricien, historien, mémorialiste et homme d'action, Trotski demeure l'inspirateur dont se réclament toujours les divers groupes trotskistes à travers le monde.

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Citations Léon Trotsky

„A slave-owner who through cunning and violence shackles a slave in chains, and a slave who through cunning or violence breaks the chains“

—  Leon Trotsky
Context: (On the American Civil War) "History has different yardsticks for the cruelty of the Northerners and the cruelty of the Southerners in the Civil War. A slave-owner who through cunning and violence shackles a slave in chains, and a slave who through cunning or violence breaks the chains – let not the contemptible eunuchs tell us that they are equals before a court of morality!"

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„No, the Soviet woman is not yet free.“

—  Leon Trotsky
Context: No, the Soviet woman is not yet free. Complete equality before the law has so far given infinitely more to the women of the upper strata, representatives of bureaucratic, technical, pedagogical and, in general, intellectual work, than to the working women and yet more the peasant women. So long as society is incapable of taking upon itself the material concern for the family, the mother can successfully fulfill a social function only on the condition that she has in her service a white slave: nurse, servant, cook, etx. Ch. 7,

„I felt the mechanics of power as an inescapable burden, rather than as a spiritual satisfaction.“

—  Leon Trotsky
Context: I do not measure the historical process by the yardstick of one's personal fate. On the contrary, I appraise my fate objectively and live it subjectively, only as it is inextricably bound up with the course of social development. Since my exile, I have more than once read musings in the newspapers on the subject of the "tragedy" that has befallen me. I know no personal tragedy. I know the change of two chapters of the revolution. One American paper which published an article of mine accompanied it with a profound note to the effect that in spite of the blows the author had suffered, he had, as evidenced by his article, preserved his clarity of reason. I can only express my astonishment at the philistine attempt to establish a connection between the power of reasoning and a government post, between mental balance and the present situation. I do not know, and I never have, of any such connection. In prison, with a book or a pen in my hand, I experienced the same sense of deep satisfaction that I did at the mass-meetings of the revolution. I felt the mechanics of power as an inescapable burden, rather than as a spiritual satisfaction. Ch. 45 : The Planet without a Visa http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/mylife/ch45.htm

„Dialectics does not deny the syllogism, but teaches us to combine syllogisms in such a way as to bring our understanding closer to the eternally changing reality.“

—  Leon Trotsky
Context: Dialectical thinking is related to vulgar thinking in the same way that a motion picture is related to a still photograph. The motion picture does not outlaw the still photograph but combines a series of them according to the laws of motion. Dialectics does not deny the syllogism, but teaches us to combine syllogisms in such a way as to bring our understanding closer to the eternally changing reality. p. 66

„Every oppositionist becomes ipso facto a terrorist.“

—  Leon Trotsky
Context: Inside the Party, Stalin has put himself above all criticism and the State. It is impossible to displace him except by assassination. Every oppositionist becomes ipso facto a terrorist. Statement from interview with New York Evening Journal, January 26, 1937. Quote from Harpal Brar's Trotskyism or Leninism? p. 625.

„If one cannot get along without a mirror, even in shaving oneself, how can one reconstruct oneself or one's life, without seeing oneself in the "mirror" of literature? Of course no one speaks about an exact mirror. No one even thinks of asking the new literature to have mirror-like impassivity. The deeper literature is, and the more it is imbued with the desire to shape life, the more significantly and dynamically it will be able to "picture" life.“

—  Leon Trotsky
Context: Art, it is said, is not a mirror, but a hammer: it does not reflect, it shapes. But at present even the handling of a hammer is taught with the help of a mirror, a sensitive film that records all the movements. Photography and motion-picture photography, owing to their passive accuracy of depiction, are becoming important educational instruments in the field of labor. If one cannot get along without a mirror, even in shaving oneself, how can one reconstruct oneself or one's life, without seeing oneself in the "mirror" of literature? Of course no one speaks about an exact mirror. No one even thinks of asking the new literature to have mirror-like impassivity. The deeper literature is, and the more it is imbued with the desire to shape life, the more significantly and dynamically it will be able to "picture" life. Literature and Revolution (1924), edited by William Keach (2005), Ch. 4 : Futurism, p. 120 Variants: Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it. Remarks apparently derived from Trotsky's observations, or those he implies preceded his own, this is attributed to Bertolt Brecht in Paulo Freire : A Critical Encounter (1993) by Peter McLaren and Peter Leonard, p. 80, and to Vladimir Mayakovsky in The Political Psyche (1993) by Andrew Samuels, p. 9 Art is not a mirror held up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.

„I do not measure the historical process by the yardstick of one's personal fate.“

—  Leon Trotsky
Context: I do not measure the historical process by the yardstick of one's personal fate. On the contrary, I appraise my fate objectively and live it subjectively, only as it is inextricably bound up with the course of social development. Since my exile, I have more than once read musings in the newspapers on the subject of the "tragedy" that has befallen me. I know no personal tragedy. I know the change of two chapters of the revolution. One American paper which published an article of mine accompanied it with a profound note to the effect that in spite of the blows the author had suffered, he had, as evidenced by his article, preserved his clarity of reason. I can only express my astonishment at the philistine attempt to establish a connection between the power of reasoning and a government post, between mental balance and the present situation. I do not know, and I never have, of any such connection. In prison, with a book or a pen in my hand, I experienced the same sense of deep satisfaction that I did at the mass-meetings of the revolution. I felt the mechanics of power as an inescapable burden, rather than as a spiritual satisfaction. Ch. 45 : The Planet without a Visa http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/mylife/ch45.htm

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„I shall die a proletarian revolutionist, a Marxist, a dialectical materialist, and, consequently, an irreconcilable atheist. My faith in the communist future of mankind is not less ardent, indeed it is firmer today, than it was in the days of my youth.“

—  Leon Trotsky
Context: For forty-three years of my conscious life I have remained a revolutionist; for forty-two of them I have fought under the banner of Marxism. If I had to begin all over again I would of course try to avoid this or that mistake, but the main course of my life would remain unchanged. I shall die a proletarian revolutionist, a Marxist, a dialectical materialist, and, consequently, an irreconcilable atheist. My faith in the communist future of mankind is not less ardent, indeed it is firmer today, than it was in the days of my youth.

„Life in the future will not be monotonous.“

—  Leon Trotsky
Context: Communist life will not be formed blindly, like coral islands, but will be built consciously, will be tested by thought, will be tested by thought, will be directed and corrected. Life will cease to be elemental, and for this reason stagnant. Man, who will learn how to move rivers and mountains, how to build peoples' palaces on the peaks of Mont Blanc and at the bottom of the Atlantic, will not only be able to add to his own life richness, brilliancy, and intensity, but also a dynamic quality of the highest degree. The shell of life will hardly have time to form before it will be burst open and again under the pressure of new technical and cultural inventions and achievements. Life in the future will not be monotonous.

„I know well enough, from my own experience, the historical ebb and flow. They are governed by their own laws. Mere impatience will not expedite their change.“

—  Leon Trotsky
Context: I know well enough, from my own experience, the historical ebb and flow. They are governed by their own laws. Mere impatience will not expedite their change. I have grown accustomed to viewing the historical perspective not from the stand point of my personal fate. To understand the causal sequence of events and to find somewhere in the sequence one's own place – that is the first duty of a revolutionary. And at the same time, it is the greatest personal satisfaction possible for a man who does not limit his tasks to the present day. Foreword

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„A means can be justified only by its end. But the end in its turn needs to be justified“

—  Leon Trotsky, Their Morals and Ours
Context: A means can be justified only by its end. But the end in its turn needs to be justified, From the Marxist point of view, which expresses the historical interests of the proletariat, the end is justified if it leads to increasing the power of man over nature and to the abolition of the power of man over man.

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