Here we present some historical revolutionary socialists
Karl Marx (1818-1884)
Karl Marx was a German revolutionary socialist who laid the foundation for many movements and revolutions in the 20th century. Marx’s work created the basis for much of the current understanding of labour, its relation to capital and subsequent economic thought. Marx’s ideals were not tolerated by the Prussian monarchy, who feared his communist believes. Still he and Friedrich Engels wrote in 1848, the Communist Manifest. After the failed German bourgeoisie uprising against the Pruissian nobility both men fled to the UK. There Marx and Engels wrote: Das Kapital. After Marx died Friedrich Engels published the last two editions of the book!
Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)
Friedrich Engels was the best friend of Karl Marx and a revolutionary socialist. He and Marx wrote the Communist Manifest and were forced to flee Prussia. In the United Kingdom both men would publish their greatest work; Das Kapital. Engels was a freedom loving man who loved the good things of life. A follower of a free lifestyle Engels rejected the traditional family life (marriage, obedience and male chauvinism), that society forced on people. After Marx died in 1884 Engels did a lot of work on family relationships and how they change over time. He died age 74 in London, England!
Vladimir Ulyanov (1870-1924)
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov was a Russian revolutionary socialist who became famous under the name Lenin. He joined the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party around 1900 and led the majority wing of the party (Bolsheviks). Exiled in Switzerland he returned to Russia in April 1917 to lead the socialist revolution. Lenin became chairman of the Council of People’s Commissioners of Soviet Russia. During the Russian civil war he was targeted by two assassins. Lenin survived both attempts on his life, but his health never recovered. In May 1922 he suffered a stroke which left him speechless for weeks. A second one hit him in December which forced him out of office. Paralyzed by a third stroke in March 1923, Lenin lost the ability to walk and speak. He died in January 1924!
Lev Bronshtein (1879-1940)
Lev Davidovich Bronshtein was a Ukrainian/Russian revolutionary socialist, founder of the Workers and Peasants Red Army and Stalin’s biggest opponent. Bronshstein was his family name, but during his revolutionary life he was known as Leon Trotsky. His family was of Jewish origin and spoke Surzhyk, a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian. Trotsky worked with Lenin in 1917 and was the leader of the Red Army during the Russian civil war. After the foundation of the USSR, he struggled against the growing power of Stalin. For his opposition to stalinism, Trotsky was expelled from the communist party and deported in 1929. In exile, he created the Fourth Communist International and called for a political revolution in the Soviet-Union. A Stalinist assassin was able to murder the exiled revolutionary in Mexico, August 1940!
James P. Cannon (1890-1974)
James P. Cannon was a American revolutionary socialist, who broke with the Socialist Party of America in 1919. He and other revolutionary socialists founded the Communist Labor Party, later renamed into Communist Party USA. After the Russian civil war and the death of Lenin, Cannon became critical of Stalin and rejected the new Stalinist leaders of the Communist International. He was expelled from the CPUSA and founded the Communist League of America, renamed Socialist Workers Party in 1938. The anti-Stalinist communist movement in the USA was weakened by sectarian splits and conflicts. James P. Cannon retired from the party in the 1950’s. He was national chairman emeritus of the SWP when he died in Los Angeles, 1974!
Henk Sneevliet (1883-1942)
Henk Sneevliet was a Dutch revolutionary socialist, journalist and resistance fighter. He joined the Dutch: Social Democratic Workers Party in 1900 and became a critic of the reformist party leadership. As a revolutionary socialist Sneevliet left the SDAP to join the Marxist; Social-Democratic Party, renamed Communist Party Holland in 1918. As a representative of the Communist International, he was also present at the founding congress of the Communist Party of China in 1921. Sneevliet rejected Joseph Stalin and stalinism in the USSR. He founded the Revolutionary Socialist Party and created the Marx-Lenin-Luxemburg-Front to fight the German invaders of the Netherlands. On 12 April 1942, Henk Sneevliet and seven leaders of the MLLF were executed by the Nazi’s. They died as hero’s of the Dutch working class!
Tạ Thu Thâu (1906-1945)
Tạ Thu Thâu was a Vietnamese revolutionary socialist, fighting against French colonialism and Japanese imperialism. He became leader of the Vietnamese revolutionary socialists who stood against the French and the (Stalinist) Communist Party of Indochina. However by rejecting both western imperialism and stalinism, the Vietnamese revolutionaries were isolated. After world war 2, the Viet Minh eliminated all Marxist opposition to their Stalinist single party state. Tạ Thu Thâu, Phan Văn Chánh and Phan Văn Hùm were arrested and executed by Ho Chi Minh’s henchmen. History has forgotten the brave members of the International Communist League in Vietnam, who reject French colonialism, Japanese imperialism and Stalinist oppression!