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Trotsky and Trotskyism: Platypus Summer 2012 Lectures

The Russian Revolution, which Lenin held up as the torch-light of emancipation for the world proletariat, is being run into national socialist channels. . . . “The Russian proletariat,” said Lenin, “cannot single-handed bring the socialist revolution to a victorious conclusion. But it can give the Russian revolution a mighty impetus such as would create most favorable conditions for a socialist revolution, and would, in a sense, start it. It can help to create more favorable circumstances for its most important, most trustworthy and most reliable collaborator, the European and American proletariat, to join the decisive battles” (“Farewell letter to the Swiss workers,” 1917).
– “Lenin lives in the work of the Opposition” (1931)

Boston, Chicago, London, New York, Philadelphia

Click on banners to see lectures in video and audio.

/// Week 1 Lecture /// 1879-1905 /// 6.16.12

/// Week 2 Lecture /// 1905-1917 /// 6.23.12

/// Week 3 Lecture /// 1917-1923 /// 6.30.12

/// Week 4 Lecture /// 1923-1933 /// 7.7.12

/// Week 5 Lecture /// 1933-1940 /// 7.14.12

/// Week 6 Lecture /// 1940-1953 /// 7.21.12

/// Week 7 Lecture /// 1953-1963 /// 7.28.12

Video will be broadcast live and available as recordings at: http://www.livestream.com/platypusaffiliatedsociety

Saturdays 1–4PM CST
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
112 S. Michigan Ave. room 920

Saturdays 2–5PM EST
New School University New York (New School)
Eugene Lang Building
65 W. 11th St. ground floor (enter at 66 W. 12th St.) conference room

Full Syllabus and Readings

/// Recommended preliminary readings
x recommended / + supplemental reading

+ Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980)
+ Nicolas Krasso, "Trotsky's Marxism" (1967)
x Platypus Historians Group, "The dead Left: Trotskyism" (2008)
x Richard Rubin, "The decline of the Left in the 20th century: 1933" (2009)
x Ian Morrison, "Trotsky's Marxism" (2011)
x Mike Macnair, Bryan Palmer, Richard Rubin, and Jason Wright, "The legacy of Trotskyism" (2011)
x Grover Furr, "Learning from the Communist Movement of the 20th century: A response to Richard Rubin" (2012)
+ Spartacist League, Lenin and the Vanguard Party (1978)
+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate / A&Z, Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1978)
+ Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet: Trotsky biography (three volumes: 1954, 1959, 1963)

/// Week 1 Readings
/// 1879-1905
x Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980)
x Leon Trotsky, Results and Prospects (1906)

/// Week 2 Readings
/// 1905-1917
+ Trotsky, 1905 (1907)
x Trotsky, The Lessons of October (1924) [PDF]

/// Week 3 Readings
/// 1917–23
x Trotsky, Terrorism and Communism (1920)
x Trotsky, The Lessons of October (1924) [PDF]
+ Trotsky, Literature and Revolution (1924)
+ Bret Schneider, “Trotsky’s theory of art” (2011)

/// Week 4 Readings
/// 1923–33
+ Trotsky, Where is Britain Going? (1925)
+ Trotsky, Problems of the Chinese Revolution 1927–31 (1932)
+ Trotsky, writings on the rise of Hitler and the destruction of the German Left (1930–40), especially “To build communist parties and an international anew” (1933)

/// Week 5 Readings
/// 1933–40
x Trotsky, “Stalinism and Bolshevism” (1937)
x Trotsky, The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International (1938)
+ Trotsky, “Trade unions in the epoch of imperialist decay” (1940)
+ Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed (1936)
+ Trotsky, In Defense of Marxism (1939/40), especially “Letter to James Cannon” (September 12, 1939)
+ Trotsky, “Art and politics on our epoch” (1938)
+ Mary McCarthy, “My Confession” (1954)

/// Week 6 Readings
/// 1940–53
+ James Cannon, “The coming American revolution” (1946)
+ C.L.R. James, Raya Dunayevskaya, et al., “Program of the minority tendency of the Workers Party/U.S.” (1946)
+ C.L.R. James, “Dialectical materialism and the fate of humanity” (1947)
+ Herbert Marcuse, “33 Theses” (1947)
+ Earl Browder and Max Shachtman with C. Wright Mills, “Is Russia a socialist community?” (1950)
+ Ernest Mandel, “The theory of ‘state capitalism’” (1951)
+ Michel Pablo, “On the duration and the nature of the period of transition from capitalism to socialism” (1951)
+ Pablo, “Where are we going?” (1953)

/// Week 7 Readings
/// 1953–63
+ Cornelius Castoriadis, “The workers and organization” (1959)
x Cliff Slaughter, “What is revolutionary leadership?” (1960)
x Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Workers Party/U.S., “In defense of a revolutionary perspective” (1962)
+ Tony Cliff, “The coming Russian revolution” (final chapter of Russia: A Marxist Analysis, 1964)
+ Hal Draper, “The two souls of socialism” (1966)
+ Isaac Deutscher, “Marxism in our time” (1965)
+ Murray Bookchin, “Listen, Marxist!” (1969)
x Spartacist League, “Genesis of Pabloism” (1972)

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