Zheneva [Geneva, Geneve]: Izdaniye Rossiyskoy Sotsialdemokraticheskoy Rabochey Partii, 1904. Item #42035
1st edition. Period boards, 12mo (small), xi, 107 pages; 18 cm. In Russian with some French and German on title page: “Unsere politische Aufgaben. N. Trotzky.” Title here translates as "Our Political Objectives: (Tactical and Organizational Issues)." Later issued in English as “Our Political Tasks.” With the stamp of the Central Committee of the “Rossiiskaia sotsial-demokraticheskaia rabochaia partiia” (The Russian Social Democratic Workers Party], which Trotsky and Lenin belonged to and which is, to a large extent, the subject of the work, which is directly tied to the split with Lenin. “Our Political Tasks is Trotsky’s response to the 1903 split in Russian Social Democracy and a spirited reply to Lenin’s ‘What Is To Be Done?’ and ‘One Step Forwards, Two Steps Back.’ A passionate, insightful attack on Lenin’s theory of party organisation and an outline of Trotsky’s own views on party structure, this controversial work was later disowned by Trotsky after he joined the Bolsheviks. Though it is far from Trotsky’s best work on a literary level (the young Trotsky tends to be repetitive, excessively sarcastic, overly verbose and generally in need of a good editor), the work is, nevertheless, a remarkable insight into the young Trotsky’s thinking and a vibrant expression of his commitment to revolution. It is, at times, hauntingly prophetic in its predictions of where the Leninist conception of democratic centralism may lead. For example, in the chapter ‘Down With Substitutionism’ in Part II of the book, Trotsky writes in what could be a description of Stalinism: ‘In the internal politics of the Party these methods lead, as we shall see below, to the Party organisation >>substituting<< itself for the Party, the Central Committee substituting itself for the Party organisation, and finally the dictator substituting himself for the Central Committee’It is very difficult to find an edition of this work in any language, as the book’s line on the party is not consistent with that of most Trotskyist organisations. Our Political Tasks fell into obscurity after the 1917 Revolution only to be used and misrepresented by Trotsky’s enemies during the leadership struggle, which followed Lenin’s death. The book (and, implicitly, the Marxist tradition of spirited debate and critical thought) was used to attack Trotsky for being insufficiently Leninist and to smear him with the accusation of Menshivism (for an especially vicious example see Stalin’s 1927 speech ‘The Trotskyist Opposition Then and Now’). In fact, Our Political Tasks outlines a political position which, while critical of Lenin’s, is also clearly revolutionary and distinct from what would become Menshevism” (Marxists.org). Also includes stamps from the archives of the Jewish Labor Bund, which had split, with some members joining Lenin and the Bolsheviks and others others remaining in the Bund as affiliating with the Mensheviks and the Socialist International. “Lev Davidovich Bronstein (1879-1940), better known as Leon Trotsky was a Russian Marxist revolutionary, political theorist and politician. Ideologically a Marxist, his developments to the ideology are called Trotskyism. Born to a wealthy Jewish family in Yanovka (now Bereslavka, Ukraine), Trotsky embraced Marxism after moving to Mykolaiv in 1896. In 1898, he was arrested for revolutionary activities and subsequently exiled to Siberia. He escaped from Siberia in 1902 and moved to London, where he befriended Vladimir Lenin. In 1903, he sided with Julius Martov's Mensheviks against Lenin's Bolsheviks during the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party's initial organisational split. Trotsky helped organize the failed Russian Revolution of 1905, after which he was again arrested and exiled to Siberia. He once again escaped, and spent the following 10 years working in Britain, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, and the United States. After the 1917 February Revolution brought an end to the Tsarist monarchy, Trotsky returned from New York via Canada to Russia and became a leader in the Bolshevik faction. As chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, he played a key role in the October Revolution of November 1917 that overthrew the new Provisional Government. Once in government, Trotsky initially held the post of Commissar for Foreign Affairs and became directly involved in the 1917–1918 Brest-Litovsk negotiations with Germany as Russia pulled out of the First World War. From March 1918 to January 1925, Trotsky headed the Red Army as People's Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs and played a vital role in the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922. He became one of the seven members of the first Bolshevik Politburo in 1919.After the death of Lenin in January 1924 and the rise of Joseph Stalin, Trotsky gradually lost his government positions; the Politburo eventually expelled him from the Soviet Union in February 1929. He spent the rest of his life in exile, writing prolifically and engaging in open critique of Stalinism. In 1938 Trotsky and his supporters founded the Fourth International in opposition to Stalin's Comintern. After surviving multiple attempts on his life, Trotsky was assassinated in August 1940 in Mexico City by Ramón Mercader, an agent of the Soviet NKVD. Written out of Soviet history books under Stalin, Trotsky was one of the few rivals of Stalin to not be rehabilitated by either Nikita Khrushchev or Mikhail Gorbachev” (Wikipedia). OCLC: 21237407. OCLC lists 14 copies worldwide. Some toning to paper, a bit of wrinkling to title page (see photo), Bund Archive stamps (as well as a "D" in the margin of the title page indicating "Duplicate") old label (Bund Archive?) on cover, light wear to boards, but a very attractive copy of this very scarce and important work by the young Trotsky. (KH-10-11).