Thursday, August 24, 2023

Robert Service on Trotsky's U.S. Lifestyle

Click here to read the original Cautious Optimism Facebook post with comments

The Cautious Optimism Correspondent for Economic Affairs and Other Egghead Stuff is in the middle of historian Robert Service's biography of Leon Trotsky. Regarding Trotsky's first trip to America the Correspondent is struck by similarities between the Marxist revolutionary's lifestyle choices and those of present-day equality social justice leaders:

From Service:

"The Spanish steamship Montserrat left Barcelona on Christmas Day 1916. Trotsky claimed they travelled second class. This was one of his silly fibs since he was on record as having occupied a cabin of the first class..."

"...Trotsky thought it a superannuated hulk; but at least he and his family had decent berths, and they did not mingle with passengers from the lower decks. Despite being a revolutionary socialist and advocate of proletarian dictatorship, Trotsky felt no impulse to spend time talking to workers..."

"[In New York] some days the three of them [family] went for a spin in a car. A certain Dr. Mikhailovsky, presumably one of Trotsky's admirers or possibly a relative, supplied both the vehicle and the chauffeur. But Leva and Sergei, having been brought up to treat people on an equal basis, could not work out why Mikhailovsky's man never joined them in the restaurant. This was not the last occasion when Sergei was puzzled by his parents' enjoyment of a middle-class lifestyle. The apartment... ...was comfortable. It had the latest American furnishings with its fridge, gas cooker and telephone. This was an improvement on Paris and Vienna where the family had been unable to phone their friends."

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