It has always been tempting, in the 1930s, in the 1960s and again today, to look for the original sin of the Bolshevik revolution. But what if it was the revolution itself? Not its radicalism and not its use of violence but rather the vanguard party's determination to assume power over a backward society in the first place, and in the single-party state that followed? . . .
It turns out that hope based on illusion is no more than a false hope, and has led, time and again, to disaster. But that is the easy lesson. The more difficult one is that sometimes it takes a lifetime, even generations, to dispel the power of illusion.
1 April 2005
I'm not making a habit of recommending The Nation, but this piece by Raymond Aronson on Isaac Deutscher's recently republished biography of Trotsky is excellent:
Posted by Paul Anderson at 00:06