Trotsky in China


Chen Tian in News China:

Trotsky’s Views was openly published in China in 1980, two years after the country embarked on its ongoing experiment with Reform and Opening-up, and 40 years after Leon Trotsky, who remains one of the world’s most contentious political thinkers, was assassinated.

Its predecessor was Excerpts of Trotsky’s Reactionary Views, compiled by the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau and printed by the People’s Press, as one of the “Gray Cover” books issued to a limited number of Party cadres in 1964.

Gray Cover books were classified into three categories. Category C included books by such European socialist thinkers as Alexandre Millerand of France and Otto Bauer of Austria who attempted revisions to perceived orthodox Marxism. These were generally available to Party functionaries, though banned from public sale. Category B covered more controversial works by figures such as Eduard Bernstein and Karl Kautsky, both revisionist leaders of the Second International, and were restricted to higher-level cadres.

Category A covered books published for the exclusive consumption of ranking officials above the ministerial level, and Excerpts of Trotsky’s Reactionary Views fell under this category. The name Leon Trotsky, as it had within the Soviet Union, became synonymous with revisionism in the official ideology of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which, modified by the unique political theories of Mao Zedong, based its core ideology on a Stalinist interpretation of Marxism-Leninism. During Party purges of the 1930s and 40s, branded “Trotskyites” within the Party ranks were purged in their hundreds.

More here.