Editorial

THIS issue, devoted to the study of the 1905 revolution in Russia, has been compiled by a guest editor, Pete Glatter, to whom the Editorial Board wishes to record its thanks and appreciation for assembling and translating a wealth of material new to the English reader. It would not be an exaggeration to describe Pete’s achievement as the first politicalaccount of the Russian 1905 written by a revolutionary Marxist since those written by the revolutionaries who took part in it. Of these Trotsky and Pokrovsky are the main sources that we have in English, and substantial elements of both their texts are devoted to arguments against each other, and only small amounts to the task that Revolutionary History has always enjoyed and considered essential — that of letting the voices of the revolutionaries themselves be heard. 

We might perhaps record our disappointment that the centenary of 1905 has not been taken as an opportunity either to bring Pokrovsky back into print in English, or to update the English edition of Trotsky’s 1905. We know (from Trotsky’s own introduction) that the Russian edition of 1905 was a very much larger work than the one we know, and that early German and French editions of the abridgement that we currently have were illustrated with drawings from the trial of the members of the Petersburg soviet.[1]

More positively, we take the opportunity to hail the excellent work done by CERMTRI in assembling and republishing valuable materials on 1905 in their Cahiers. The Editorial Board intends to strengthen its connections with such comrades and to seek opportunities for positive collaboration in the future.

This issue is by no means the first to have been guest-edited (as early as Volume 4, Baruch Hirson edited our South Africa volume); nor is it the first to venture beyond the boundaries of the Trotskyist movement into broader considerations of the revolutionary movement (see, for example, the issue on mutiny). Nevertheless, we feel that it reflects the increasing openness of approach which we have always wanted to achieve, and which we discussed with our readers at our recent annual readers’ meeting (and which was evidenced by our issue on August Thalheimer). Indeed, we are positively interested in receiving proposals from revolutionary scholars for special issues. 

This does not of course indicate that the Editorial Board intends to become no more than a commissioning agency. The next issue, production of which is well advanced, will be a collective production of the Editorial Board, and will feature some of the late John Archer’s translations of historical material from the French originals. This will be followed by an issue devoted to the events of 1956, assembled by a sub-committee of the Editorial Board.

Nor of course does it mean that we have closed the books on the history of Trotskyism, the revolutionary current from which many of the Editorial Board derived their political education and world view. We have more to discover and to write on this topic, and intend to do so.

Contrary to the expectations of some, the Editorial Board is making solid progress following the loss of Al Richardson. We have reorganised ourselves, agreed a new distribution of responsibilities, and we are continuing to deliver the goods, in the form of the best material we can assemble for the education of, and discussion by, revolutionary cadre.

Editorial Board

Revolutionary History  

Pierre Broué (1926-2005)

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Pierre Broué, the distinguished French revolutionary Marxist and scholar, who died on 26 July after a long fight against cancer. Broué was a prolific writer, and was the author of substantial works on the Bolshevik party, the German Revolution (recently published in an English translation by Brill) and the Communist International, and exhaustive biographies of Trotsky and Rakovsky. He edited the long-running Cahiers Léon Trotsky. He was also an active militant of the Trotskyist movement, and was for many years a member of the l’Organ­isation communiste internationaliste. More recently, he was a supporter of the Committee for a Marxist International. He was a good friend ofRevolutionary History, and a future issue of our journal will be dedicated to Broué’s writings. The next issue of Revolutionary Historywill contain a full obituary. We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and comrades.

[1].      As we go to press, we have learned from an announcement in Socialist Appealthat the increasingly productive Wellred Books will shortly republish Trotsky’s 1905, but we have no information as to whether it will expand on the contents or improve uponthe Bostock translation. Nevertheless, of course we welcome this republication.