A Trotsky for Our Time

On his schooldays: “The class was henceforth divided into distinct groups: the talebearers and the envious on one side, the frank and courageous boys on the other, and the neutral and vacillating mass in the middle. These three groups never quite disappeared even in later years. I was to meet them again and again in my life.”

—Leon Trotsky, My Life, cited in Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed (h/t Connor Kilpatrick)


  1. Evan Rowe January 4, 2012 at 1:45 am | #

    John Adams noted during the American Revolution that he estimated that 1/5th were in support of revolution and 1/5th opposed and 3/5ths were neutral in the middle… just sayin.

  2. Erstwhile Anthropologist January 4, 2012 at 6:51 am | #

    “We must take sides.  Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.  Sometimes we must interfere.” 
                                                                                                               –Eli Wiesel

  3. Stephen Zielinski January 4, 2012 at 9:58 am | #

    Kurt Vonnegut somewhere says something to the effect that we rush out of high school to go to college where things are saner. We leave college only to find that the adult world is high school all over again.

  4. Dr_Tad (@Dr_Tad) January 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm | #

    I was wondering where that came from! Was used as an argument by the late (unorthodox) British Trotskyist Tony Cliff about workplace politics.

  5. Miguel Fernandes January 17, 2012 at 10:16 pm | #

    In my experience, both in school and elsewhere, the “the frank and courageous boys” must be included not because the sum of their numbers warrant the distinction of a group but because we hope they do.

Leave a Reply