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My Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography
At a time when old Stalinist lies about Trotsky are again being revived, My Life is essential reading.
This is an extraordinary work. Trotsky published this autobiography in 1930 while residing in Turkey, where Stalin had sent him into exile.
Trotsky's life is inseparably bound up with the great events of the first half of the 20th Century. Trotsky not only authored the theory of permanent revolution, which correctly anticipated the 1917 Russian Revolution, but played a key practical role. He was elected head of the Petrograd Soviet in 1905 and organized the October 1917 insurrection that brought the Bolsheviks to power. He later organized and led the Red Army in the Civil War to defend the revolution against internal and external counterrevolutionary forces.
Trotsky's struggle to defend the internationalist program of Marxism against the rising Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union comprises the final chapters of My Life. He traces the origins of Stalinism to the economic isolation and backwardness of Russia and the setbacks suffered by the international working class. Trotsky subsequently attributed the greatest significance to this aspect of his political work.
"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."
Leon Trotsky - from the foreword to My Life