SHEFFIELD – “Samuel Chambers”*, a young man brought up in “an open Trotskyist family” with many non-Trotskyist friends, has privately begun to doubt the divinity of Leon Trotsky and the legitimacy of his teachings.
“I’ve been taught all about the miracles of Trotsky, and how he was crucified on an enormous ice axe, but I look at the world and I wonder if permanent revolution is really the omnipotent force I’ve been taught. I mean, the anarchists have their Barcelona, the Stalinists have loads of revolutions, and what have we got?”
“I guess just Morsi, that’s all I ever hear about. But can it be that Morsi is not the Bolshevik-Leninist I’ve been led to believe he is?”
“I just wonder sometimes is all… Is any of it true? Is it all just stories?”
Asked why he hadn’t shared his private doubts with his parents, he explained his reticence thus:
“My parents always say they’ll love us no matter what, no matter what choices we make, and all but… My older sister told them she was lesbian last year, and, I can see they weren’t ready for it. And they’ve always said they support lesbian and gay rights. Whereas my secret…”, he trailed off, looking out the window of the café where he agreed to meet with us.
“I guess the doubts started when I read on the internet that Che and Gramsci both hated Trotsky, after years of seeing pictures of Trotsky next to pictures of Che at events, and being told to read Gramsci by a friend of my father’s. The searching began there, I suppose. I’m not interested in Mao or Enver Hoxha exactly but… I’m open.”
“I’m open to anything, but people around me aren’t. I heard a story about one girl last year who was caught by her parents looking at a photo of young Stalin in her bedroom. They sent her to a camp to ‘cure’ her. I don’t want that to happen to me.”
“But what is it all about? I mean, we stand on our street corners, and we sell our papers, and the papers talk about revolution, but it isn’t happening. They’ve promised time and again it will happen, but it never happens. And then I look at the world and I see people, in Kurdistan, in the Philippines, in Bolivia, wherever, actually threatening global capitalism and bringing about revolutionary changes to society, and none of them are Trotskyists. What’s more important, Trotsky, or the revolution Trotsky promised?”
*A pseudonym assigned to protect the young man from fanatical Trotskyists who might want to exact the customary death penalty for apostasy.