Don Conway • Eric London • Alan Gelfand • John Burton
Saturday, 12 October, 9:30 a.m.
The assassination of Leon Trotsky in Mexico City on August 20, 1940 was the culmination of the terror unleashed by the Soviet Stalinist regime against an entire generation of Marxist politicians, workers and intellectuals who had been in the vanguard of the October 1917 Revolution that overthrew capitalism in Russia.
The murder of Trotsky dealt a staggering blow to the international socialist movement. The culmination of the Stalinist Great Terror had a devastating and long-lasting impact on the political consciousness of the working class and for this reason it ranks among the most significant and sinister political crimes of the 20th century.
In 1975, the International Committee of the Fourth International launched the first comprehensive investigation into Trotsky’s murder. The findings of the investigation were published under the title Security and the Fourth International.
The current period of crisis and open preparations for fascistic forms of rule necessitates increased vigilance against state infiltration. We live in an age of mass surveillance, targeted assassinations, nonstop war, mass deportation, police killings, and CIA torture. The most advanced representatives of the working class recognize that the political and physical independence of the workers movement from agents of the state is a life or death question upon which the fate of the socialist revolution, and thus the fate of humanity, depends.
Dan Conway (Chair) is a member of the Socialist Equality Party and writer for the World Socialist Web Site. He has written regularly on the social crisis on the West Coast. He has been actively involved in the political life of the Los Angeles and Orange County-area working class for the past 13 years.
Eric London writes regularly for the World Socialist Web Site and is the author of the recently published “Agents: The FBI and GPU Infiltration of the Trotskyist Movement,” in which he analyzes new, previously unknown information regarding the 1941 Smith Act trial and the decision not to prosecute Hansen, as well as the manner in which the FBI infiltrated the Trotskyist movement in the US and internationally.
Alan Gelfand has been involved in revolutionary politics for more than four decades. In the early 1980s, Gelfand launched a lawsuit in which he charged the US government with preventing him from exercising his first amendment right to join a political organization of his choosing after government agents within the Socialist Workers Party organized his expulsion.
John Burton is a long time Los Angeles Attorney specializing in representing victims of police brutality. He represented Gelfand in his suit against the US government and took the deposition of notorious GPU agent Mark Zborowski who had organized the assassinations of leading members of the newly-formed Fourth International in the late 1930 including Lev Sedov, son of Leon Trotsky. Burton is a member of the Socialist Equality Party and has run as the SEP’s candidate during the 2003 Gubernatorial recall election along with a 2006 run for California’s 28th Congressional district, the office currently held by US Representative Adam Schiff.