Trotsky - not such a nice guy

A few quotes by Trotsky from his work _Terrorism and Communism_. Ann Arbor edition, 1961):

"The organisation of labour is in its essence the organisation of the new society: every historical form of society is in its foundation a form of organisation of labour" (p. 133.)

"The creation of a socialist society means the organisation of the workers on new foundations, their adaptation to those foundations and their labour re-education, with the one unchanging end of the increase in the productivity of labour". (p. 146)

"Wages, in the form of both money and goods, must be brought into the closest possible touch with the productivity of individual labour. Under capitalism the system of piecework and of grading, the application of the Taylor system, etc., have as their object to increase the exploitation of the workers by the squeezing out of surplus value. Under socialist production, piecework, bonuses, etc., have as their problem to increase the volume of the social product . . . those workers who do more for the general interest than others receive the right to a greater quantity of the social product than the lazy, the careless and the disorganisers". (p. 149)

"The very principle of compulsory labour is for the Communist quite unquestionable .. . the only solution to economic difficulties that is correct from the point of view both of principle and of practice is to treat the population of the whole country as the reservoir of the necessary labour power - an almost inexhaustible reservoir - and to introduce strict order into the work of its registration, mobilisation and utilisation". (p. 135)

"The introduction of compulsory labour service is unthinkable without the application, to a greater or lesser degree, of the methods of militarisation of labour". (p. 137)

"The unions should discipline the workers and teach them to place the interests of production above their own needs and demands". "The young Workers' State requires trade unions not for a struggle for better conditions of labour - that is the task of the social and state organisations as a whole - but to organise the working class for the ends of production". (p. 143) "

It would be a most crying error to confuse the question as to the supremacy of the proletariat with the question of boards of workers at the head of factories. The dictatorship of the proletariat is expressed in the abolition of private property in the means of production, in the supremacy over the whole soviet mechanism of the collective will of the workers and not at all in the form in which individual economic enterprises are administered". (p.162)

"I consider that if the civil war had not plundered our economic organs of all that was strongest, most independent. most endowed with initiative, we should undoubtedly have entered the path of one-man management in the sphere of economic administration much sooner and much less painfully". (p. 162)

"We have been more than once accused of having substituted for the dictatorship of the soviets the dictatorship of our own Party. . . In this substitution of the power of the party for the power of the working class there is nothing accidental, and in reality there is no substitution at all. The Communists express the fundamental interests of the working class..." (p. 107)

"They [the workers' opposition] have come out with dangerous slogans. They have made a fetish of democratic principles. They have placed the workers' right to elect representatives above the party. As if the Party were not entitled to assert its dictatorship even if that dictatorship clashed with the passing moods of the workers' democracy! . . The Party is obliged to maintain its dictatorship . . . regardless of temporary vacillations even in the working class . . . The dictatorship does not base itself at every moment on the formal principle of a workers' democracy."

Trotsky, 10th Party Congress, 1921.

Trotsky's speech 30. March 1920 at the 9th party congress

"If we seriously speak of planned economy, which is to acquire its unity of purpose from the center, when labor forces are assigned in accordance with the economic plan at the given stage of developement, the working masses cannot be left wandering all over Russia. They must be thrown here and there, appointed, commanded, just like soldiers". In the same speech, he says "Deserters from labour ought to to be formed into punitive battalions or put into concentration camps".

More articles on the Russian Revolution

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