Quite Right Mr. Straw!

The Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom has a contribution the Independent Letter’s page today:

Dear Comrade Editor:

On reflection, rather than expressing outrage at Robert Fisk’s libel that I was an “old Trot” (letter, 16 November), I should express my gratitude. For it has taken the correspondence this sparked to remind me that among the many other objections to Trotskyists, which include revanchism, false consciousness and objectively counter-revolutionary tendencies, they are such a humourless bunch.

Two of your correspondents (Mr Kelly and Mr Ovenden, letters 17 November) claim that because Lenin hardly mentioned Trotsky in his polemic Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder, this tract could not have contained the “prescient warning” against Trotskyism, as I had asserted.

Fortunately, the Foreign Office library still has Lenin’s complete works (and well marked they are too). Yes, at the time that Lenin wrote – 1919 – Trotsky was part of the collective Soviet leadership. But Lenin had already spotted that Trotsky was indeed a Trot. For example, in his 1914 article Disruption of unity under the cover of outcries for unity, Lenin wrote ” … we were right in calling Trotskyism a representation and the worst remnants of factionalism” (Collected Works, Vol 17 pp 242-44). Lenin’s observations in Left Wing Communism were prescient, with his warnings of “splitism”, “ultra leftism” and “wider infantile disorders”, which have so characterised Trotskyist groups throughout their history.

Foreign Secretary
House of Commons

PS. Quiz question: Name a successful Trotskyist government (or revolution, for that matter).

(Letter spotted by Clive Davis)

Oh if you are wondering about the headline I suspect the Foreign Secretary would appreciate a copy of this book for Christmas.