When a member of a social-democratic party switches sides and becomes a member of a communist party – a delicate question
Trotsky was one of those very few people that is famous for going from opportunist to revolutionary and one one of the even fewer to become an important revolutionary leader in spite of that opportunist past. It should not be so much of a surprise that Trotsky became an opportunist again in the last years of Lenin’s life and increasingly in the struggle with Stalin after Lenin’s death. Lenin said that Trotsky’s past should not be held against him as an accusation. But the membership in a opportunist organization is a big burden to carry as a legacy (as heavy as the many years in that organization and as heavy as hard and intense was the class struggle). Trotsky’s menshevik legacy didn’t went to the dustbin because he changed sides in 1917 almost at the last minute before the october revolution. I should say that the fact that Trotsky went from a small opportunist group to an important bolshevik leader (and red army leader) played a role in the continuity of his opportunist legacy. It is fair to say Trotsky did not earn his bolshevik top ranking position, it is fair to say Trotsky did not have the time to prove himself but on the other hand fast decisions had to be taken by the bolsheviks in the eve of the revolution and taking power was a life and death matter for the sake of the working class and for the sake of revolutionary socialism. Trotsky’s rebirth as a top ranking revolutionary bolshevik in 1917 was one of those fast and tactical decisions. The experience and the history of Trotsky as a bolshevik with his serious deviations to the leninist line such as opposing the building of socialism under the guise of waiting for the revolution in the top ranking capitalist countires, endorsing facionalism, among other issues showed and proved even to Lenin before he died that the opportunist legacy of Trotsky like any such legacy in anyone is a heavy burden to carry and it is not easy for one to get rid of.