The October 24, 2023 lecture by David North at the University of Michigan was delivered in the midst of the Israeli genocide against the Palestinians. While it is part of a series of events within the US and internationally commemorating the 100th anniversary of the October 1923 founding of the Left Opposition in the Soviet Union under Leon Trotsky’s leadership, the lecture first of all ties that event to contemporary political developments.
The founding of the Left Opposition marked the beginning of the most consequential political struggle of the 20th century, that is, the struggle led by Trotsky against the bureaucratic degeneration of the Communist Party and the Soviet state under the Stalinist regime, and the betrayal of the international program and principles upon which the 1917 October Revolution was based. “If the outcome of that fight had been different, had it ended with the victory of the Trotskyist faction and the defeat of Stalinism, the 20th century would have been the century in which the victory of the world socialist revolution had been secured. … But that is not the case. The issues that were fought out in the 1920s and the 1930s had a profound impact on the course of the last century, and, therefore, the conditions under which we live today,” North states.