No verses for Trotsky: a diary in Mexico - Alice Rühle-Gerstel (1937)

Otto Rühle posing with his opponent, the Bolshevik Leon Trotsky, Mexico-Coyoacan in 1937. Source: Museo Casa de Léon Trotsky México (Director: Esteban Volkov, grandson of Trotsky)

Alice Rühle-Gerstel’s (1894-1943, wife of Otto Rühle (1874-1943)) memories of Trotsky in Mexico. As far as we are aware, her writings are untranslated into English and this memoir is an exception. If you read German try to obtain a copy of her brilliant novel "Der Umbruch oder Hanna und die Freiheit".

Rühle-Gerstel - No Verses for Trotsky.pdf1.53 MB

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Sep 9 2017 22:46



Sep 10 2017 08:52

Reading this it gives the impression that the politics of Trotsky and the Rühles weren't really that far apart.

Feb 12 2018 22:21

"Come the revolution, we'll all go to Paris together...." Come the revolution—everything revolves around that. Not even this shattered, tormented, frail little woman ever thinks of having a private life—as if it were a game of chance. As someone else might say, "When I win the lottery" or "When my business takes off...."

Line with the most impact right there.

"Nor did he ever show us another article that was brought to our attention, in which without naming names he attacked Otto politically"

Anyone know which article that might be?

" "wouldn't you like to compose a poem about the Fourth International?" I was flabbergasted. How could a man of such culture, such refinement, such familiarity with literature say such a thing in earnest? But he was in complete earnest. For him everything is a means to an end, and there is only one end, world revolution, and the way to world revolution is via the Fourth International. It's obvious! Personal poetry? All well and good. But if a person can write—as he said of me—"magnificent" poems, then let her do something for the cause!"

Makes me think of the admittedly for now basic knowledge I have of the surrealists of Front Noir like Louis Janover and their criticism of the artistic avant-garde being a tool for the political one, reproducing the separations they intended to break from! There's also a criticism of the situationists and Socialisme ou Barbarie on this subject in the review L'Oiseau-Tempête called "dérives d'avant-garde".

"Not that we disagreed with him on the question of Machno, Kronstadt—and methods of political struggle. It was because his tone would inevitably annoy the writer of the letter and this might possibly have embarrassing public consequences for Trotsky"

Uh...what gives here?

"and her place was taken by Ray from America"

Is this Raya Dunayevskaya?

"You, my dear Trotsky, are the worst Stalinist of them all!"