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Leon Trotsky (poster)


— Survey —

Introductory notes and survey

Following the revival of Trotskyism in some parts of the world since 1968 and reflecting the continuing interest in the life and fate as well as in the thought and action of Stalin's archfoe, Leon Trotsky, a considerable number of international conferences, congresses and symposia took place since the late 1970s. They brought together renowned historians, distinguished social scientists, as well as some (ex-)leaders and (ex-)activists of the Trotskyist movement, presenting recent historical research results, some new factual material, theoretical approaches, evaluations, memoirs, appraisals, etc. Although many of the papers presented/read by the conference participants remained unpublished, at least some significant publications emanated from those events. Many scholarly journals as well as Trotskyist magazines published (often abridged, revised or amended versions of) papers originally presented at those conferences.

The overall meaning of the Trotsky conferences featured on our web-site can be shortly summarized by mentioning that
— men and women sharing very different and controversial political points of view, affiliated or not to a great variety of political organizations, and dealing with Trotsky and Trotskyism for very different reasons and motives could meet and get acquainted with their colleagues from various countries, with veterans of the Trotskyist movement and with surviving relatives of Leon Trotsky, learning about their quite different points of view, hearing their memoirs and discussing their theses;
— from 1990 researchers and political activists from the (former) Eastern bloc actively took part in most Trotsky conferences, bringing some new factual material and analytical insights; their participation helped paving the way for opening up discussions on Marxism and Trotskyism across geographical and ideological boundaries, helping to clear out the long-lasting crudities, slanders and falsifications of Stalinism and ending decades of anti-Trotskyist demonology and of anti-Trotskyist purges;
— the Trotsky conferences were helpful in improving what can be called the infrastructure of Trotsky research, e.g. by stimulating and furthering scholarly, editorial and publishing work and by creating certain international networks (such as for example the Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky's Legacy).

In this chapter of TrotskyanaNet we provide:

Please note, that we generally have neither considered party conferences nor gatherings of international Trotskyist organizations.

Last not least we should like to mention that you can find some more bibliographical information about Trotsky symposia in chapter 1.3 and in the introduction of our Leon Trotsky Bibliography.

List of international conferences
devoted to Trotsky/Trotskyism research

List of other conferences

List of contributing conference participants

Note: This is a list of people who presented papers related to Trotsky or Trotskyism (whether published or not) or made other substantial contributions to the above-mentioned conferences. We would like to emphasize that there is no claim for completeness with regard to our listing of participants.

Features about international Trotsky conferences

International Conference
 The Trotsky-Stalin Conflict and Russia in the 1920s

(Garden City, NY [USA], March 9-10, 1979)

The International Conference The Trotsky-Stalin Conflict and Russia in the 1920s was the first of a considerable number of international Trotsky conferences, congresses, symposia and similar events during the last two and a half decades. It was held at the Ruth S. Harley University Center, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY, on March 9-10, 1979, marking the centennial of the births of both Trotsky and Stalin. The conference was organized and presented by The Long Island Seminar on the Russian Revolution, founded in 1975 to bring together scholars interested in the revolution and modern Russian and Soviet studies. The conference was co-sponsored by Adelphi University, Garden City, NY, and by Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY. Robert Devlin and George D. Jackson functioned as conference directors, Natalie Datlof as conference coordinator. Some 20 major papers and keynote addresses were read and discussed during the two-day conference within the framework of 5 panels (Political struggle, Economics, Literature and art, Theory and ideology, International communism) chaired by Robert H. McNeal, Robert C. Stuart, Elizabeth Valkenier, Fred Weinstein, and Robert J. Alexander. The conference was accompanied by the opening of a poster art exhibit.

Some 25 scholars from the U.S., Britain and Israel actively participated in the conference,  contributing papers or functioning as chair-commentators: Robert J. Alexander, Roy Berkeley, James T. Burnett, Anthony D'Agostino, Robert V. Daniels, Donald A. Filtzer, Dan N. Jacobs, Vitaly Komar, David S. Law, Warren Lerner, Emanuel Levy, Robert H. McNeal, Hillel H. Ticktin, Laszlo M. Tikos, Robert C. Tucker, Nicholas S. Weber et al. Unfortunately, the publishing of the conference proceedings - originally scheduled for 1980 - was definitively canceled some two years later.

Some unpublished manuscripts of conference contributions:
A published version of a conference contribution:
Some publications relating to this conference:

Convegno Internazionale di Studi
 in Occasione del 40° Anniversario della Morte di Leon Trockij

(Follonica [Italy], Oct. 7-11, 1980)

The Convegno Internazionale di Studi in Occasione del 40° Anniversario della Morte di Leon Trockij [International Study Meeting on the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of Leon Trotsky's Death] took place in Follonica, a small town situated on the Italian Mediterranean coast (province of Grosseto, Tuscany region) about an hour south of Pisa. Follonica is situated in that part of Italy which in the 1970s and 1980s was known as the red belt because the communists and socialists had its strongholds there. The conference was promoted by the renowned Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli [Feltrinelli Foundation, Milan], Giuliano Procacci acting as scholarly director. According to Livio Maitan the idea of organizing such a symposium was born and pushed by Alfonso Leonetti (a Trotskyist in the 1930s and later a long-time member of the Italian CP) and by Fausto Bucci (director of the communal library of Follonica).

Most remarkable with regard to this 5-day symposium is the fact that it was indirectly sponsored by the PCI (Partito Comunista Italiana, Italian Communist Party) which dominated those bodies which officially organized the conference: the Regione Toscana, Comune di Follonica, Provincia di Grosseto, and Biblioteca Comunale di Follonica. A communist party providing the hotel accomodations and meals and partly even paying the airfare of the Trotsky conference participants from abroad — unthinkable a couple of years earlier. However, during the 1970s the PCI had become the leading force of what was then called eurocommunism and the largest non-governing communist party in the world gaining some 35% of the popular vote in general elections and searching for a historical compromise (a participation in a national centre-left coalition government) with the populist DC (Democrazia Cristiana [Christian Democrats]) governing Italy since World War II. Thus, while the neo-Stalinist Soviet Communist Party and its international sister parties continued to "expose" Trotsky and Trotskyism as counter-revolutionary, dangerous, adventurist and so forth, the Italian communists organized a scholarly symposium on this very un-person! By doing so, the PCI undoubtedly could polish up its new, open-minded and democratic image.

About 100 persons attended this international conference on Trotsky, thus being the biggest such event having taken place until then. The conference participants came from Italy, Germany (West), France, Britain, Spain, Austria, Australia, the United States, Israel and elsewhere — a truly international gathering. However, guests from the Eastern bloc, although invited, were not present at the symposium; it appears quite strange that Ernest Mandel, the internationally known Marxist economist and leader of the Fourth International (United Secretariat), had not been invited to attend.

Some forty major papers and co-reports were presented at the 5-day conference on Trotsky's thought and action, each day of which was devoted to one of the following themes: Trotsky's political and cultural thought, Trotsky and Lenin, Trotsky and the Russian revolution(s), Trotsky and Soviet economy, Trotsky and socialism in one country, Trotsky and the Fourth International. Although the conference — according to some observers and critics — could add little new to the understanding of Trotsky's thinking, life and struggle, it was an attempt to study these subjects on a solid scholarly basis and to bring together a great variety of persons with regard to their political affiliations and viewpoints: established 'bourgeois' university professors (historians, political scientists), specialists in the field of Sovietology and Trotskology, a considerable number of Italian PCI members (or, close sympathizers), some devoted scholars associated with Trotskyist parties, institutes or journals, as well as some younger researchers. For a fairly complete listing of the contributing participants see below. Other persons participating in the conference but not contributing papers include Domenico Sedran, Virginia Gervasini and other veterans of Italian Trotskyism, Jean Van Heijenoort (former secretary and guard to Leon Trotsky), Tamara Deutscher (the widow of Trotsky biographer Isaac Deutscher) et al.

The special importance of the Follonica conference lay in the fact that it was convened and actively supported by members and associates of the PCI; this communist participation helped to break down the wall of silence and slander erected and uphold by the Stalinists in order to purge Trotsky's thought and the Trotskyist movement from the international socialist and workers' movement once and for all. It should be mentioned that the conference took a final motion requesting from the Soviet government to act in the spirit of the Helsinki Accord, to make available Trotsky's works in Soviet libraries, to open up and to make accessible all library and archive holdings related to his work and action. The Follonica conference marked a big step forward towards Trotsky's rehabilitation.

The Follonica conference met great interest in the Italian press; the conference as well as the proceedings volumes published two years after the event were dealt with and reviewed by various participants, observers and scholars (see the reviews below).

Some two years after the conference, most of the papers presented were published in the original languages in a handsome two-volume set (unfortunately lacking an index), produced and distributed by a renowned Italian commercial publishing house:

Pensiero e azione politica di Lev Trockij : atti del convegno internazionale per il quarantesimo anniversario della morte promosso dalla Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli e organizzato dalla Regione Toscana con la collab. della Biblioteca Comunale di Follonica (Follonica, 7-11 ott. 1980). A cura di Francesca Gori. Vol. 1-2. [Firenze] : Olschki, 1982. 697 pp. (Il pensiero politico : Biblioteca ; 10) ISBN 88-222-3110-4

This edition contains an introduction by G. Procacci and some 40 contributions originally presented at the Follonica conference; the contributions are in various languages: English (14), French (7), German (4), Italian (12), and Spanish (1):

Some versions of conference contributions published elsewhere:
Some material about the conference and reviews of Pensiero e azione politica di Lev Trockij:

Coloquio Trotsky, Revelador Político del México Cárdenista

(México, D.F. [México], May 18-22, 1987)

An international colloquium on Trotsky, political revealer of the Mexico of Lázaro Cárdenas, attended by some 30 active participants from Mexico, the United States, France, Australia and other countries, took place at the Universidad Autonoma de México, Mexico City, on May 18-22. The colloquium was directed by Olivia Gall, a distinguished Mexican scholar who in 1986 had submitted a magistral PhD thesis (directed by Pierre Broué) on Trotsky y la vida política en el México de Cárdenas. The papers read at the conference chiefly focused on Trotsky's residence in Mexico (1937-40), Mexican politics during the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas, communist and Trotskyist movements in contemporaneous Mexico and on the relation of Mexican intellectuals to Leon Trotsky.

Among the scholars and (ex-)Trotskyists giving talks or presenting films at the Mexico conference were Olivia Gall, Pierre Broué, Adolfo Gilly, Adolfo Zamora, Esteban Volkov, Alex Buchman, Enrique Avila Carrillo, Peter Katel, David Weiss, Teresa Aguirre, Octávio Rodríguez Araujo, Barry Carr, Charles Curtiss, Felix Ibarra, Octávio Fernández Vilchis, Manuel Aguilar Mora, Ricardo Pérez Montfort, Carlos Monsivais, Carlos Cordova, Susan Weissman, Julián Méza, Laurette Sejourne, Victor Durand, Vlady Kibalchich, Eugenia Revueltas, Olivier Debroise, George Novack, Alejandro Gálvez Cancino, Laurette Orfila, and Evelyne Laroche.

A complete phonotape recording (11 cassettes) of the conference proceedings is available at the Hoover Institution Archives (Stanford, Cal.) An on-line inventory is available at the WWW.

Some copies of unpublished manuscripts of conference contributions in our Trotskyana collection:
Some published versions of conference contributions:
About the conference:

Jornadas Trotsky Hoy

(Madrid [Spain], Jan. 30 - Febr. 3, 1989)

This conference was co-organized by the Fundación Andreu Nin, the Alianza Francésa and the Instituto Francés. Jorge Semprún, Minister of Culture, José Prat, president of the Ateneo de Madrid, and Trotsky's grandson Esteban (Vsevolod) Volkov attended the opening of the conference on January 30. In the Ateneo de Madrid, under the topics of Trotsky hoy, El pensamiento de León Trotsky, and La rehabilitación de Trotsky y la perestroika, oral presentations were made by Pierre Broué, Alain Krivine, Vicent Garcés, Enrique del Olmo, Fernando Claudín, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Jaime Pastor and Esteban Volkov. On February 2, a book presentation by Pierre Broué, Marguerite Bonnet and Alain Dugrand took place at the Biblioteca Nacional, and on February 3 a documentary film by Alain Dugrand and Patrick Le Gall was presented at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.

Internationales Symposium
 Leo Trotzki - Kritiker und Verteidiger der Sowjetgesellschaft

(Wuppertal [Germany], March 26-29, 1990)

On March 26-29, 1990 — some 50 years after the assassination of Trotsky and against the backdrop of the growing turmoil within the USSR and the on-going collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe — an international scientific symposium on the general theme of Leon Trotsky - critic and apologist of the Soviet society took place in Wuppertal (West Germany), under the auspices of the town's university. It was not only the biggest hitherto held Trotsky conference, but — most remarkably — the very first one which was attended not only by Western scholars but by a considerable number of participants from the USSR, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, the GDR [at this time in the process of dissolution and unification with the Federal Republic of Germany], and the People's Republic of China, too, thus being the first international Trotsky symposium in the truest sense of the word.

The idea of such a symposium originated from an international symposium on the 100th anniversary of Nikolai Bukharin's birth, held also in Wuppertal (in 1988). The true brain of both Wuppertal conferences was Theodor Bergmann, a German professor emeritus and a veteran of the Bukharinist-Brandlerite pre-war communist ('right') opposition, who together with the academics Gert Schäfer, Hans Kuhne, Günter Rexelius, Pierre Broué and Helmut Dahmer formed a preparatory committee charged with the organization of this important 1990 Trotsky conference which — according to some critics [for reports about the conference and criticism see below] — unfortunately suffered from various organizational and financial shortcomings and difficulties. The atmosphere of the Wuppertal symposium was described by conference participant Ernest Mandel as undogmatic, relaxed and lively, characterized by an open and pluralist spirit, lacking bitter polemics or personal attacks. Other conference participants, however, criticised besides financial mismanagement and shortcomings in organization and moderation that there was too little time for serious political debate, missing translations and — with regard to the proceedings volume published in 1993 — the facts that this book contained only less than a half of the papers presented at the symposium [see below] and that the selection criteria were not at all plausible. At least, almost all participants considered as truly positive feature of the Wuppertal symposium the fact that it allowed people interested in Trotsky research from four continents to get acquainted with each other.

The symposium addressed three main themes: Trotsky's role in the USSR from the October revolution to his expulsion from the country in 1929, Trotsky's contributions 'to the analysis of the Soviet state and society, and Trotsky's place in the development of Marxism. However, there were several contributions dealing with topics outside this schedule, thus for instance with Trotsky in recent Soviet historiography (e.g. the remarkable contrubutions by K. Herbst and M. Cox), Trotsky and the Spanish revolution, Trotsky and morality, Trotsky and the women's question, Trotsky and the Chinese revolution, etc.

Altogether some 130 scholars, students, long-time activists and theorists of the Trotskyist movement took part in the 4-day symposium which was directed by above-mentioned Theodor Bergmann and opened by Soviet historian A. Antonov-Ovseenko, son of one of those outstanding old Bolsheviks liquidated during the great Stalinist purges of the 1930s.

The conference participants came from 21 countries: USSR, USA, Canada, Germany (Federal Republic and German Democratic Republic), Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Mexico, China (People's Republic), and Israel. The majority of the participants were historians, sociologists, economists, political scientists, literary scholars and other academics of various political and ideological affiliation, ranging from conservatism to revolutionary Marxism, and approaching their subject in a quite different manner (revisionist, apologetic, 'objective'). While some of the participants were already well-known as authors of relevant books and articles on Trotsky, Trotskyism and on sovietology, others — particularly those from the USSR and other (hitherto) countries of 'real existing socialism' were quite unknown at the time of the conference, at least in the West. Only a couple of years before, some participants (e.g. N.A. Vasetskii from the USSR and Monty Johnstone from Britain) were known as authors of works which were correctly labeled as examples of 'Trotskyist demonology'; now at Wuppertal these former apologists of neo-Stalinist anti-Trotskyism gave a chastened impression, their contributions being characterized by a strong undercurrent of self-criticism.

Besides Western scholars and sovietologists on the one side and Russian, Chinese and other Eastern academics on the other side, a considerable number of devoted Trotskyists — both scholars and activists, and most of them long-time members or close sympathizers of one of the various currents of contemporaneous international Trotskyism — attended the conference, too: Ernest Mandel, Mikhalis Raptis [better known as Michel Pablo], Livio Maitan, Pierre Broué, Manuel Aguilar Mora, Jesus Albarracín, Mike Goldfield, Ludwik Hass, Gregor Benton, Horst Lauscher, Michael Löwy, Marcel van der Linden, Jakob Moneta, François Moreau, Paolo Casciola, Jean-Jacques Marie, Hillel Ticktin, Tom Kemp.

Esteban Volkov, Trotsky's grandson, attended the Wuppertal symposium, too, while some people whose attendance had been announced in the conference schedule factually did not participate for various reasons, e.g. T. Deutscher (widow of the Trotsky biographer Isaac Deutscher), A. Moscato, A. Gilly, D. Bensaïd, V.P. Danilov, K.K. Shirinia, A.V. Pantsov, G.G. Vodolazov [but he sent a written contribution], A. Di Biagio, E. Cinella, A. Kemp-Welch, T. Shanin, S. Thom.

Although more than 100 papers had been announced in the conference schedule, only some 70 persons actually attending the symposium had prepared written contributions (in various languages) of which some 60 could be orally presented and discussed at the conference, at least in an abridged or summarizing form. Some participants, however, gave only short oral presentations or contributed to the debates instead of providing papers. Unfortunately, only less than half of the original written contributions eventually have been published in the German-language proceedings volume which was edited by Theodor Bergmann and Gert Schäfer and which was published in 1993 [listing of contents see below]. Versions of some of the conference papers appearing in the just-mentioned volume have been published in other sources (journals, collective works, etc.), too [see below]; the same applies to a portion of those papers which the editors prefered not to include into the proceedings volume.

Here is a listing of those conference participants who prepared papers (some of which were designated as drafts or working papers) which were either sent in or circulated at the conference [for a list of original papers and drafts in our possession see below]: M. Aguilar Mora, A.V. Antonov-Ovseenko, B.H. Bayerlein, G. Benton, T. Bergmann, G. Bordiugov, M. Britovsek, P. Broué, Cai Kaimin, P. Casciola, M. Cox, E. Dainov, R.V. Daniels, V.A. Demichev, A. Durgan, Y. Felshtinsky, F. Firsov, M. Goldfield, P. Haferstroh, L. Hass, W. Hedeler, K. Herbst, M. Johnstone, A. Kalakhov, A. Kan, M. Keßler, H. Klein, B. Knei-Paz, R. Kößler, Iu. I. Korablev, V.A. Kozlov, S.A. Krasil'nikov, H. Lauscher, J. Lebedewa, H.-J. Lehnert, A. Lesnik, M. van der Linden, M. Löwy, L. Maitan, E. Mandel, J.-J. Marie, M. Mayzel, C. Merridale, G. Meyer, J. Moneta, F. Moreau, R. Müller, A. Podshchekol'din, Iu. Poliakov, M. Raptis [Pablo], M. Selden, J.C. Shapiro, V.I. Shishkin, L.M. Spirin, V.I. Startsev, H. Steiner, L.S. Szabó, H.H. Ticktin, E. Traverso, G. Trukan, N.A. Vasetskii, A.Iu. Vatlin, G.G. Vodolazov, A. Wald, J.L. Wallach, R. Wörsdörfer, Wu Jixue, Xu Tianxin, Yin Xuyi, A. Zavelchev, L. Zehender, Zheng Yifan, Zhou Maoyong, Zhou Shangwen.

Some three years after the Wuppertal symposium a selection of papers was published in Germany:

Leo Trotzki — Kritiker und Verteidiger der Sowjetgesellschaft : Beiträge zum internationalen Trotzki-Symposium, Wuppertal, 26.-29. März 1990 / Theodor Bergmann ; Gert Schäfer (Hg.). Mainz : Decaton-Verl., 1993. 356 p. ISBN 3-929455-03-X

This volume contains a preface by the editors and 28 selected contributions to the symposium [contributions originally submitted in other languages than German have been translated]:
Some versions of conference contributions published elsewhere:
Unpublished manuscripts of conference contributions [in our Trotskyana collection]:
Some critical comments about the conference and reviews of the proceedings volume Leo Trotzki - Kritiker und Verteidiger der Sowjetgesellschaft:

International Conference Trotsky After 50 Years

(Aberdeen [Britain], July 31-Aug. 4, 1990)

On July 31 - August 4, 1990, a few days before the fiftieth anniversary of Trotsky's assassination and only some 4 months after the Wuppertal (Germany) Trotsky symposium, another international conference entitled Trotsky After 50 Years was held at King's College, University of Aberdeen (Scotland, Britain). This Aberdeen conference was jointly organized by Aberdeen University's History Department and by the Centre for Soviet and East European Studies. Terry Brotherstone, lecturer in history at the University of Aberdeen and Paul Dukes, director of the just-mentioned Centre, functioned as organizers and later took the responsibility for the selection and editing of the proceedings volume [see below]. The conference was financially sponsored by various institutions, e.g. by the Nuffield Foundation and the Ford Foundation. It took place just a week after another big international congress event held in Britain, the 4th World Congress of Soviet and East European Studies at Harrogate.

The Aberdeen Trotsky conference — one in a veritable series of such events taking place in 1990 — was attended by around 50 people from 9 countries (Britain, USA, Canada, USSR, FRG, GDR, France, Sweden and Hungary), among them well-known American and Canadian professors who already had published books and articles on Trotsky, Trotskyism and Soviet affairs (e.g. R.V. Daniels, P. Pomper, R.B. Day), scholars from the USSR (e.g. B. Starkov, N.S. Tarkhova, S.V. Kudriashov, V.P. Buldakov), and some people associated either with the Trotskyist movement or with distinguished left journals (e.g. P. Broué, B. Hirson, H.H. Ticktin, A. Nove, T. Brotherstone). Spokesmen of the WRP (Workers Revolutuionary Party), one of the British Trotskyist groups, attended the conference, too, and took part in the discussions. A significant feature of the Aberdeen conference — as was also the case with regard to the Wuppertal symposium — was the attendance of a considerable number of representatives of Soviet social and historical sciences, thus allowing to open up discussions on Marxism across geographical boundaries and to make steps forward in clearing out the crudities and falsifications of Stalinism and of the Brezhnev era.

The conference was intended as a major contribution and encouragement to the development of discussion about Leon Trotsky, i.e. about various aspects of his political action, his legacy and his role in Soviet and world history, particularly in view of recent developments in the Eastern Bloc. In two sections altogether some 30 contributions were presented by the participants. To mention a few of them:
— P. Broué gave an account about problems of historiography with regard to his recently finished Trotsky biography;
— P. Pomper's contribution dealt with the troubled relationship between Trotsky and the outstanding Menshevik leader Martov;
— R.B. Day featured a high-level paper comparing Trotsky's dialectical approach to the methodology applied by most Marxists of the IInd International and by Lenin;
— M. Reiman dealt with Trotsky's position within the highest echelons of the Russian CP in the early 1920s;
— A. Kan discussed Trotsky's views of the national question;
— B. Hirson's subject was Trotsky's approach towards black nationalism;
— G. Benton presented a paper about Trotsky and Chinese matters;
— R.V. Daniels analyzed Trotsky's conception of the world revolutionary process, while other participants made a focus on Trotsky's views relating to the Soviet economic debates of the 1920s and early 1930s:
— A. Nove spoke about Trotsky and the NEP,
— H.H. Ticktin about Trotsky's political economy of capitalism and
— A. Gueullette about Trotsky's conceptions regarding the Soviet Union's foreign economic relations,
— G. Barr presented a paper on Trotsky's politics and revolutionary leadership.

The contributions of the conference participants from the Eastern Bloc of course met special interest and some of them brought indeed new factual material and some analytical insights:
— A.Iu. Vatlin presented his research on Trotsky and the Comintern in 1928,
— B.A. Starkov in his contribution on Trotsky and Riutin gave an account about the anti-Stalin resistance within the USSR in the early 1930s relying on Soviet archival material;
— M. Kun spoke about the political action of Trotskyists who had survived  the years of Stalinist terror;
— S.V. Kudriashov's paper featured Trotsky's views of the Second World War and his prognoses with regard to its aftermath;
— V. Bronshtein (one of a few relatives of Trotsky who had survived the Stalinist purges) presented a paper about the fate of Trotsky's family and relatives in Stalinist Russia;
— N.S. Tarkhova gave an account about 'Trotsky's train', i.e. about Trotsky's political action and his writing during the time when as Commissar of War and Chief of the Red Army he lived in his 'flying headquarters', rushing from one front of the civil war to the other;
— Z.L. Serebriakova's contribution dealt with her father's relationship with Trotsky.

Two years after the Aberdeen conference, a volume based on a selection of the contributions was published by Edinburgh University Press:

The Trotsky reappraisal / ed. by Terry Brotherstone and Paul Dukes. Transl. by Brian Pearce, Jenny Brine and Andrew Drummond. Edinburgh : Edinburgh Univ. Pr., 1992. X, 249 p. ISBN 0-7486-0317-4

Besides an introductory essay by Paul Dukes, an essay in conclusion by Terry Brotherstone, and an index of persons and subjects, this proceedings volume contains the following 17 essays selected from the conference contributions:

Some versions of conference contributions published elsewhere:
Some reports about the conference:
Some reviews of The Trotsky appraisal:
The following contributions to the conference remained - as far as we know - unpublished, existing as manuscripts only:

Coloquio Internacional Trotsky — Cincuentenario de su Muerte (1940-1990)

(México, D.F. [México], Aug. 20-24, 1990)

Exactly 50 years after Leon Trotsky had been murdered in his house at calle Viena, Coyoacán (then a suburb of Mexico City), an international colloquium was held at the Instituto del Derecho de Asilo y las Libertades Públicas which is located at avenida Río Churubusco 410, Coyoacán, next to the house where the murder took place and which is now the Museo Casa de León Trotsky. The five-day symposium was sponsored by the Departmento del Districto Federal (México) and was organized by Olivia Gall, Javier Wimer and Esteban (Vsevolod) Volkov, Trotsky's grandson who had been a boy of 14 when the assault on his grandfather's life in May 1940 and the eventual assassination in August the same year took place. Commemorating Trotsky's three and a half year presence in Mexico as an exiled man without a visa, the Mexico 1990 colloquium focused on México en los tiempos de Trotsky, Trotsky y el mundo contemporáneo, Trotsky en la URSS, Arte y revolución : una polémica de entreguerras, and Testimonios sobre Trotsky en México. A photographic exposition and the presentation of documentary films accompanied the colloquium in which scholars and Trotskyist veterans from Latin America, the United States and Europe (incl. Russia) actively participated, e.g. Manuel Aguilar Mora, Arturo Azuela, Adolfo Gilly, Adolfo Sánchez Rebolledo, Olivia Gall, Gabriel García Higueras, Pierre Broué, Marguerite Bonnet, Ernest Mandel, Aleksandr Podshchekoldin, Susan Weissman, Jake Cooper, Javier Wimer, Esteban (Vsevolod) Volkov, Octavio Fernández Vilchis, Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez, Vlady Kibalchich, Eduardo Lizalde, Ernesto Gonzalez, Octavio Rodríguez Araujo, Francisco López Cámara. Unfortunately, many of the contributions to the colloquium remained unpublished as far as we know.

About the conference:
Some conference contributions (publ. or unpubl.) within our Trotskyana collection:

Simpósio Internacional Passado e Presente do Socialismo —
50° Aniversario da Morte de Leon Trotsky

(São Paulo [Brazil], Sept. 10-14, 1990)

In 1990, marking the fiftieth anniversary of Trotsky's assassination, several major international congresses were held in different parts of the world, e.g. in Wuppertal (Germany) and Aberdeen (Britain). On September 10-14, 1990, academics and other experts on the life and work of Leon Trotsky came together in São Paulo (Brazil) in order to hold another Trotsky symposium entitled Passado e Presente do Socialismo - 50° Aniversario da Morte de Leon Trotsky [Past and present of socialism - 50 years since the death of Leon Trotsky]. This conference was organized by the Departamento de História and the Reitoria da Universidade of the São Paulo University. Osvaldo Coggiola, a historian from Argentina and author of a dissertation on the history of Trotskyism in Latin America, functioned as organizer and director of this lively and eminent 5-day conference and as editor-in-chief of a book (published in 1994, contents see below) containing a compilation of about a half of the papers read at the symposium which had - as was told by some participants - a more political flavour than the chiefly academic conferences of Wuppertal and Aberdeen, for example by more discussion on contemporary issues.

Some 70 scholars as well as devoted Trotskyists actively participated in the São Paulo conference. The lectures and debates were attended by several hundred students and workers in the overflowing auditorium of the History Faculty building. According to Esteban Volkov (Trotsky's grandson) who attended several Trotsky conferences in 1990 all over the world, in terms of interest, public participation and youthful enthusiasm the São Paulo symposium  was the greatest of those events taking place in 1990.

Among the some 40 participants who featured papers were - like in Wuppertal and Aberdeen - some representatives from Eastern Europe (USSR, Poland, Hungary); other speakers chiefly came from France, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico. Most of the contributions read and discussed at the São Paulo symposium focused on recent historical research on Trotsky's ideas, struggles and political action, on the history of Trotskyism in Latin America, on the question of the character of the Soviet state and society and its perspectives in view of recent developments in the Eastern Bloc and in relation to Trotsky's prognoses and programmes. Two of the Eastern European guests, M. Kun and A.M. Podshchekol'din, presented remarkable papers based on thorough study of primary sources available only in Moscow archives preserving the documents of the highest CPSU party ranks.

Some 4 years after the event, the following book containing selected proceedings of the São Paulo symposium was published:

Trotsky hoje / Isabel Maria Loureiro [et al.] Organização: Osvaldo Coggiola. São Paulo : Ed. Ensaio, 1994.  334 p.  (Cadernos Ensaio : Série Grande formato ; 6)
This proceedings volume contains an introduction by the editor, Osvaldo Coggiola, and 22 selected contributions by participants in the São Paulo conference. All contributions are in Portuguese (Brazilian) language, partly translated from the Russian, French, English, Spanish and Hungarian:

Some versions of conference contributions published elsewhere:
Some unpublished manuscripts in our Trotskyana collection:
About the conference:

International Symposium to Commemorate the
50th Anniversary of Trotsky's Death

(Tokyo [Japan], Nov. 2-4, 1990)

After a considerable number of conferences and symposia on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Leon Trotsky's assassination already had taken place in 1990 in various parts of the world (e.g. Wuppertal, London, São Paulo, Aberdeen, Mexico), another Trotsky congress was convened in Tokyo on November 2-4. P. Broué, E. Volkov, B. Tampoe, N. Shida, S. Nishijima, T. Kamijima, F. Setsuo, K. Takahashi, Y. Shiokawa, A.V. Pantsov, A.M. Podshchekol'din et al. participated in the Tokyo Trotsky symposium. To our regret, we neither have substantial information regarding its programme nor can we provide a complete list of participating scholars. It seems likely that at least some of the papers presented at the conference were published in Japanese language while only a modest portion of them appeared in Western or Russian journals (see the following list) as far as we know.

Papers originating from this conference:

Mezhdunarodnaia Nauchnaia Konferentsiia
Ideinoe Nasledie Trotskogo = International Scientific Conference
The Ideological Legacy of Leon Trotsky

(Moscow [Russia], Nov. 10-12, 1994)
[=1st International Conference of the Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky's Legacy]

The first international scholarly conference devoted to Trotsky which was ever held in Russia took place in Moscow (Institut Ekonomii) on November 10-12, 1994, on the occasion of the 115th anniversary of Trotsky's birth. This remarkable conference was entitled The ideological legacy of Leon Trotsky: its historic and contemporary significance (Russian title: Ideinoe nasledie Trotskogo: istoriia i sovremennost'). It was co-sponsored by the international association Scholars for Democracy and Socialism and by the Center for Problems of Democracy and Socialism of the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences; the main organizer of the conference was M.I. Voeikov, head of the Economics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.Some 60 invited scholars and Trotskyists participated in the conference and some 80 guests attended it; the contributors came chiefly from Russia and from adjacent countries like the Ukraine, Belorussia and Lithuania; some two dozen participants came from the United States, Britain, France, Japan, The Netherlands, Greece, Brazil and Argentina. The contributed papers focused on
— the theoretical legacy of Leon Trotsky,
— the historic role and significance of the Left Opposition in the USSR in the 1920s,
— the struggle of Trotsky and his followers against Stalinism,
— interpretations of the proletarian state and
— Trotsky's prognoses about the fate of the USSR and of the world revolutionary movement in view of Stalinism and World War.

All these subjects were lively discussed from various political points of view. A round table within the conference, in which academics as well as activists of Russian left and Trotskyist political parties and groups participated, discussed about the theme Trotsky and left political movements in Russia.

Some 25 papers were presented by scholars and by some workers from Russia as well as by some participants from abroad: A.P. Butenko, P. Broué, M.I. Voeikov, V.Z. Rogovin, N.S. Shukhov, A.V. Gusev, M.N. Gretskii, A.A. Kurenyshev, S. Dzarasov, V.K. Mamutov, V.B. Volodin, H.H. Ticktin, J. Miles, S. Michael-Matsas, J. Barr, S. Pirani, M. Vogt-Downey, C. Edwards and others. A selection of the papers featured at the Moscow conference were published in both Russian and English-language publications (contents see below), the English version being edited by M. Vogt-Downey, the Russian version [both versions are not fully identical with regard to the selection] being edited by M.I. Voeikov and A.V. Gusev.

At the end of the conference a group of interested participants founded an international Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky's Legacy (CSLTL) (Mezhdunarodnyi Komitet po Izucheniiu Naslediia L.D. Trotskogo); Pierre Broué was elected president of this committee and A.V. Gusev and M. Vogt-Downey international co-ordinators. The committee organized some subsequent Trotsky conferences in Moscow and St. Peterburg, respectively, in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999, and issued a number of publications both in Russian and in English language. The committee's statement of purpose is printed in the appendix to the conference proceedings mentioned in the next paragraph. The launching of the committee was undoubtedly one of the most important achievements of the conference. [For further information about the 1994 Moscow conference see below.] It should be mentioned that the Moscow 1994 conference later was also designated as First Conference of the Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky's Legacy.

Selected papers from the 1994 Moscow conference:

The ideological legacy of L.D. Trotsky : history and contemporary times ; materials from the International Scientific Conference on Leon Trotsky held in Moscow Nov. 10-12, 1994 / International Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky's Legacy. Engl. version ed. by Marilyn Vogt-Downey. New York, NY : Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky's Legacy, [1998]. VII, 179 pp.
This English-language version of the proceedings contains a preface by Marilyn Vogt-Downey and Mikhail I. Voeikov and a selection of 17 contributions (all in English language or translation) from the Moscow 1994 conference. The Russian-language version (1996) of the proceedings was published as:
Ideinoe nasledie L.D. Trotskogo : istoriia i sovremennost' ; materialy mezhdunarodnoi nauchnoi konferentsii, 10-12 noiabria 1994 g. / Mezhdunarodnyi Komitet po Izucheniiu Naslediia L.D. Trotskogo. Pod red. M.I. Voeikova i A.B. [recte: A.V.] Guseva. Moskva : Ekonomicheskaia Demokratiia, 1996. 177 pp.
This Russian-language version of the proceedings contains a preface by Marilyn Vogt-Downey and Mikhail I. Voeikov and a selection of some 15 contributions - all in Russian language or translation - from the Moscow 1994 conference. An English-language version of the proceedings was published with title The ideological legacy of L.D. Trotsky (1998) (see above):

The following contributions to the 1994 Moscow conference were published in the proceedings volume The ideological legacy of L.D. Trotsky (1998):
The following contributions to the 1994 Moscow conference were published in the proceedings volume Ideinoe nasledie L.D. Trotskogo : istoriia i sovremennost' (1996)
Some versions of conference contributions published elsewhere:
Some reports about the conference and some reviews of the proceedings:

As mentioned above, the Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky's Legacy (CSLTL) organized some follow-up conferences to the Moscow 1994 conference - all these conferences took place in Russia - between 1995 and 1999. The following brief listing provides the dates and themes of these conferences; unfortunately, proceedings have not been published (as far as we know), only a few of the papers presented at the conferences have been published in one form or the other, but at least there are some useful and informative summary reports about the four conferences, chiefly written by the American Trotskyist Marilyn Vogt-Downey who as an international co-ordinator of the CSLTL can be called the moving spirit of all these events:

International Conference The Fate of Soviet Democracy

(St. Peterburg [Russia], Dec. 4, 1995)
[=2nd International Conference of the Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky's Legacy]

Some publications relating to this conference:

International Conference The Revolution Betrayed — 60 Years Later

(Moscow [Russia], Nov. 22-24, 1996)
[=3rd International Conference of the Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky's Legacy]

Some publications relating to this conference:

International Conference on Leon Trotsky and the Russian Revolution 1917-1997

(Moscow [Russia], Oct. 10-12, 1997)
[=4th International Conference of the Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky's Legacy]

Some publications relating to this conference:

International Conference on Trotsky's World — 120 Years of Struggle

(Moscow [Russia]), Oct. 29-30, 1999)
[=5th International Conference of the Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky's Legacy]

Some publications relating to this conference:

International Conference
Explorations in the History of U.S. Trotskyism

(New York, NY [USA], Sept. 29 - Oct. 1, 2000)

Some 200 participants and guests from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, France, Germany, Britain, South Africa and India attended a three-day conference on Explorations in the History of U.S. Trotskyism which was held at New York University on September 29 - October 1, 2000. The conference was chiefly sponsored by Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, an outstanding resource centre on the history of the left movements in the U.S., affiliated to New York University. As organizers of the conference functioned Peter Filardo, Tamiment's chief archivist, and some renowned experts on the history of American Trotskyism: Alan Wald, Paul Le Blanc and Bryan Palmer. The conference was opened by Paul Le Blanc and Peter Filardo, and during the next two and a half days some dozen papers were read, discussed and commented by the participants (besides renowned academic scholars, a considerable number of Trotskyist militants took part in the conference, too) within the framework of 12 panels:

Unfortunately, most of the papers read and discussed at the Tamiment conference have remained unpublished so far.

Three invited experts on U.S. Trotskyism could not participate in the conference for various reasons: Marilyn Vogt-Downey, Morris Slavin and Paul Lee; a paper prepared by Lee was read by Cynthia Young.

Some publications and unpublished papers relating to this conference (in our possession):
Some unpublished items relating to this conference (not in our possession) *) :
Some material about this conference:

*) These title records are based on: American communism and anticommunism : a historian's bibliography and guide to the literature / comp. and ed. by John Earl Haynes, last rev. 15 Apr. 2005

Journée d'Étude L'Histoire de l'Extrême Gauche Française :
 le Cas du Trotskisme, une Histoire Impossible?

(Dijon [France], June 5, 2002)

Some publications originating from and about this conference:

Taller 'Trotsky como alternativa'

(Buenos Aires [Argentina], Nov. 14 and 29, 2002)

Some 400 students, workers, activists and scholars (from Argentina, France, Britain, Peru) participated in this conference which was organized by the Centro de Estudios, Investigaciones y Publicaciones (CEIP) "Leon Trotsky" within the framework of the V jornadas de Sociología at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Some of the papers presented were published in the following booklet:

Trotsky como alternativa : 14/11/02 ; V Jornadas de Sociología de la UBA / organiza: Centro de Estudios, Investigaciones y Publicaciones (CEIP) "León Trotsky". [Buenos Aires] : Centro de Estudios, Investigaciones y Publicaciones (CEIP) "León Trotsky", [2002]. 87 pp.

Note: Most of these papers also have been published as electronic resources in the WWW

About this conference see also here.

Ier [Primer] Encuentro Académico Internacional León Trotski: Vida y Contemporaneidad

(Havana [Cuba], May 6-8, 2019)
[=1st International Academic Meeting Leon Trotsky: Life and Contemporaneity]

On May 6-8, 2019 an international Trotsky conference (officially called Ier Encuentro Académico Internacional León Trotski: Vida y Contemporaneidad [First International Academic Meeting Leon Trotsky: Life and Contemporaneity], or, Evento Académico Internacional León Trotsky) was held in Cuba's capital Havana (or, La Habana). It was attended by about 60 international guests (on an invitation-only basis), mostly from Latin America (Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico), others coming from the U.S. and Canada, some others from Europe (Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey), as well as by some Cuban students. The venue for the conference was the Museo Benito Juarez, a building situated in La Habana Vieja (Old city of Havana). The meeting was co-sponsored by some Cuban academic/cultural institutions (e.g. the Cuban Institute of Cultural Research Juan Marinello, ICICJM) and was supported by the Mexican Leon Trotsky House Museum (Museo Casa de León Trotsky) and the Argentine Centro de Estudios, Investigaciones y Publicaciones (CEIP) León Trotsky. The main organizer and spiritus rector of the event was Frank García Hernández, a graduate Cuban student of philosophy engaged in writing a dissertation on Trotsky. According to exhaustive reports by some of the conference participants (e.g. H. Dahmer, P. Le Blanc, A. Steiner, see below), there were some obstacles, e.g. the absence of simultaneous translations, problems with acoustics, too little time to read and discuss even roughly all the papers prepared for the conference; there were some problems with Cuban customs service, too. Within the framework of the conference, a trailer and a thematic segment of Trotsky - the most dangerous man in the world, an important documentary film in progress, relevant Latin American books about Trotsky, as well as rare photographs and posters from the Mexican Trotsky Museum were presented/exhibited, too. Last not least an original musical arrangement dedicated to Trotsky and composed especially for the conference by two composers from Columbia and Cuba, was performed in connection with the meeting.

Within the framework of various thematic panels (Trotsky: the revolution against the bureaucracy; Art, context and revolution; Trotsky: history and historiography; Trotsky: the revolution expands; Trotsky: theoretical impact; Trotsky and his impact on universal culture; Trotsky, imperialism and The Americas; Cuba and the anti-imperialist revolution...), several dozen of the 50 submitted papers were (at least) partially read and discussed; thus the audience could study some of the research results presented by R. Acosta de Arriba, R. Bernabé Riefkohl, K. Boveiri, R. Brenner, H. Dahmer, M. Fleury, J.A. Fonseca Omelas, C. de Freitas Figueiredo, F. García Hernández, G. García Higueras, A.M. Gittlitz, N. Gómez Velásquez, S.S. John, D. La Botz, P. Langer Oprinari, L. Laub, P. Le Blanc, M. Löwy, T. Marao Villela, A. Marazzi, R. Márquez, R. Massari, C. Massón, Y. Mena, F. Menezes, N. Moazzami, E.L. de Oliveira, B.D. Palmer, G. Pérez Noriega, W. Pérez Varona, D. Perseguim, H. Puente Sierra, S. Rodríguez Porras, M. Romão, B. Sayim, A. Steiner, E. Tate, É. Toussaint, A. Tulunay, S. Weissman. Esteban Volkov, the last surviving of Trotsky's grandchildren, sent warm greetings by video and noted the historical significance of that meeting; greetings were also sent by Cuba's famous author Leonardo Padura.

The Havana conference is particularly remarkable insofar as in the 1960s and 1970s Cuban Trotskyists as is well known had suffered from persecution and prison terms - the Castroite leadership consequently suppressed and demonized Trotskyist thought and action, whereas Trotsky's assassin, R. Mercader, was given refuge in Cuba after his release from Mexican prison. Suzi Weissman wrote: "Despite the strong and enduring hostility to Trotsky on the part of the regime, the organisers carried off an outstanding conference, which introduced Trotsky in wide-ranging manner. It was truly a coup, and only made possible by virtue of the considerable courage of Frank García Hernández" (see below). Alex Steiner wrote: "The conference was a historic occasion, marking the first time such international gathering devoted to the life and ideas of Leon Trotsky had taken place in this country, where his legacy has been a topic of intense interest and occasional repression. The fact that it took place at all in spite of bureaucratic opposition from certain sectors of Cuban officialdom hostile to Trotsky owes everything to the energy and enthusiasm of the main organizer of the conference, Frank García Hernández" (see below).

NOTE: According to a 2019 communication from Frank García Hernández, the sparkplug behind the conference, a volume containing its main proceedings was announced to be published in Cuba in 2020; but unfortunately such publication has not (yet) come true (as at February 2021).
It is hoped that some more information about this conference can be provided by us in due time

Some reports and comments about this conference:
Some papers/keynotes etc. prepared for the conference (partly unpublished):

Brief features about selected other conferences
(with bibliographical notes)

Wolfgang and Petra Lubitz
last (slightly) rev. May 2021

https://www.trotskyana.net © by Wolfgang & Petra Lubitz