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Ebook Fascism: What It Is and How to Fight It by Leon Trotsky read! Book Title: Fascism: What It Is and How to Fight It
The author of the book: Leon Trotsky
Language: English
ISBN: 0873481062
ISBN 13: 9780873481069
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 673 KB
Edition: Pathfinder Press (NY)
Date of issue: December 1st 1993

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A brief collection of some of Trotsky's important letters and articles regarding fascism, this pamphlet offers a brief introduction to the nature of fascism, the conditions that give rise to it, and the strategy of resisting it through a "united front." Based on his observations of the growth of National Socialism (i.e. fascism) in Italy, Germany, Spain, and France, Trotsky concludes that fascism is a mass movement based primarily in petite bourgeoisie and backed by the big capitalist powers. Trotsky identifies a twofold set of conditions that allowed fascism to take hold in Europe: 1) the disorientation and desperation (primarily among the petite bourgeoisie) brought on by the abrupt end of capitalism's growth phase and 2) the absence or failure of a genuinely revolutionary workers' party that offers both the proletariat and the petite bourgeoisie the hope of escape from the grasp of the bourgeoisie. Accordingly, Trotsky assigns a fair proportion of the blame for the rise of fascism in Europe to the leaders of the Communist parties, the Comintern, and the leaders of the social democratic parties who betrayed the workers' revolutions in Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. Trotsky links fascism to the reactionary backlash that followed these aborted revolutions, and counterpoises against the notion of the Communist Party as a form of revolutionary hope the notion of fascism, as a mass movement, as a form of revolutionary despair.

In light of the social foundation upon which fascism rests, Trotsky emphasizes the need for a united front led by a revolutionary proletarian party (as the vanguard of the proletarian class) against fascism. In order for the proletariat to inspire confidence among the petite bourgeoisie, however, the revolutionary movement must first possess confidence in itself. This means that the party must be lead by genuine revolutionaries from the working class who possess the commitment and the strategic capacity to build on and encourage the workers' revolutionary initiative. Trotsky also points up the need for solidarity and for the workers to defend themselves against violence from the fascist. Given the level of violence that workers face, he proposes the development of workers' militias and then systematically dismantles the most common oppositions offered to such a proposal. The final sections of the pamphlet discuss the situation in the United States at the time, and Trotsky warns that the same conditions that gave rise to fascism in Europe have already appeared in nascent form in the US. While his prediction of the length of time that the "war economy" could be used to forestall the radicalization of the working classes proved overly optimistic (Trotsky predicted that this delay could not be of "long duration," whereas the capitalist powers in the US have managed to maintain the military economy since the build-up to World War 2), the severe crisis which capitalism has recently entered into, coupled with the rise of the "Tea Party Patriots," the mainstream media's glorification of "Minutemen" vigilante mobs along the US-Mexican border, the vitriolic backlash against even the slightest measures to alleviate the poverty of the working class, the growth of Christian fundamentalism and the demonization of Muslims, and the absence of an independent workers' party, let alone a revolutionary party, all combine to create conditions similar to those described by Trotsky as the grounds from which a fascist movement grows. As Trotsky observes, the most effective way to counter these trends is to build the revolutionary party.

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Leon Trotsky was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. He was one of the leaders of the Russian October Revolution, second only to Vladimir Lenin. During the early days of the Soviet Union, he served first as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army and People's Commissar of War. He was also among the first members of the Politburo.

After leading a failed struggle of the Left Opposition against the policies and rise of Joseph Stalin in the 1920s and the increasing role of bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party and deported from the Soviet Union. An early advocate of Red Army intervention against European fascism, Trotsky also opposed Stalin's peace agreements with Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. As the head of the Fourth International, Trotsky continued in exile to oppose the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, and was eventually assassinated in Mexico by Ramón Mercader, a Soviet agent. Trotsky's ideas form the basis of Trotskyism, a term coined as early as 1905 by his opponents in order to separate it from Marxism. Trotsky's ideas remain a major school of Marxist thought that is opposed to the theories of Stalinism. He was one of the few Soviet political figures who were never rehabilitated by the Soviet administration.

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