Lev Davidovich Trotsky was, alongside Lenin, one of the two greatest Marxists of the twentieth century. His whole life was entirely devoted to the cause of the working class and international socialism. From his earliest youth, when he worked through the night producing illegal strike leaflets which earned him his first spell in prison and Siberian exile, until he was finally struck down by one of Stalin’s agents in August 1940, he toiled ceaselessly for the revolutionary movement.
Yet, if one were to examine the life of Trotsky objectively, one would be compelled to agree with the appraisal which he himself made of it. That is to say, despite all the extraordinary achievements of Trotsky, the most important period of his life was its last ten years. Here one can say with absolute certainty that he fulfilled a task which nobody else could have fulfilled—namely, the fight to defend the ideas of Bolshevism and the spotless tradition of October in the teeth of the Stalinist counterrevolution. Here was Trotsky’s greatest and most indispensable contribution to Marxism and the world working class movement.