Skip to Content

Soviet Union

Trotsky's Killer

Ramon Mercader, the man who murdered Leon Trotsky, died in Havana on October 18th. Four days later his ashes were flown to Russia, the country whose secret policy, in 1940, recruited Mercader to kill Trotsky in his Russian exile.

"I was a Trotskyist until one day I realised that the leader who claimed to be struggling for the liberation of the working class was in reality just a fanatic thirsty for revenge against Stalin." These were the words Mercader, who afterwards served a 20-year prison sentence, used to explain to the Mexican police his motives for splitting Trotsky's skull with a pickaxe.

Book Review: 'The Russian Enigma'

Russia explained

'The Russian Enigma' by Ante Ciliga. Ink Links. £5.95 (paperback)

In 1940 an English translation of a book by a Yugoslav who had spent three years in the early 1930s in a Russian camp for political prisoners was published under the title The Russian Enigma. It has long been known to us as an interesting and useful account of the emergence in Russia in the twenties and thirties of a new privileged and exploiting class, ruling on the basis of state capitalism. Its re-publication, in an expanded form to include parts left out of the 1940 edition, is therefore to be welcomed.

The Ethics of Marxism pt.1 Marxism and Humanism

'Is Marxism a Humanism?' By Charles Taylor, ULR, 1s.

This pamphlet by an editor of Universities and Left Review starts so many hares running that one wondered whether in the end it would turn out to be a kind of wild goose chase. We cannot say that in the pursuit, we have all Mr. Taylor's hares in the bag, but we did manage to catch one or two remarkable specimens.

To begin at the end. Mr. Taylor's conclusions are that as a humanism, Marxism is inadequate. A true humanism, he says, must regard men as ends in themselves, never as means to an end. On the question of end and means he believes Marx's position to be ambivalent. Marx's primary concern, he argues, "was the smashing of Capitalist relations." From this a Socialist society would then be built up and only when this was done would Socialist man or truly human relations, emerge. This is the classic Communist formula for the "proletarian revolution."

Russia and Democracy

On March 23rd, under the title “True Democracy,” the Manchester Guardian opened a discussion on democracy when reviewing a recently published lecture by Professor E. H. Carr. This review was followed by contributors from Lord Lindsay, Mr. Laski and Mr. Bertrand Russell on April 20th and May 4th respectively.

The striking thing about all the contributions was that they distinguished an entirely different outlook on democracy between Russia and the Western Countries, but, to all of them, the Russian outlook is accepted as a sincere one, tied up with the view that the Russian rulers are acting on behalf of one section of society alone, the workers, and that their dictatorship signifies the rule of the workers. This, the writers agree, explains the difference between “Proletarian Democracy” and “Bourgeois Democracy.” This, for instance, is the reviewer puts it:-

Syndicate content