[MENDELEEV AND TROTSKY. CHEMISTRY IS REVOLUTION] D.I. Mendeleev i marksizm: Doklad chetviortomu Mendeleevskovu s’ezdu po chistoi i prikladnoi khimii 17 sentiabria 1925 g. [i.e. D.I. Mendeleev and Marxism: Report to the Fourth Mendeleev Congress on General and Applied Chemistry on 17th of September, 1925]
Moscow: GIZ, 1925. Item #267
24 pp., 1 port. 22x14,6 cm. In original printed wrappers. Covers slightly rubbed, foxing, a few pencil marks in text, bookshop’s stamp on the recto of the rear cover. Otherwise very good.
In the beginning of 1925 Lev Trotsky (1879-1940) was smashed from Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev’s coalition, and during the year he wasn’t involved in political activity. Already in 1927 he was excluded from the party and in 1929 he was expelled from the country. The process of his ‘desacralization’ had begun immediately, and since 1938 in every literary source he was considered as ‘the universal villain, the bastard of the «bourgeois-fascist» hell, the demon of the world communist system’. This edition is one of the last printed works in Soviet Union and very rare because of the ban of his works in USSR.
During 1925 he strengthened his position as an ideologist by publishing a few articles titled «To Socialism or Capitalism?» At the Mendeleev’s Congress he read his report on Mendeleev and marxism, and as he was a talented interpreter and orator the report was received very well.
He claimed that Mendeleev opposed religion in the preface of The Basics of Chemistry. Trotsky called chemistry the school of revolutionary thought adding that it was not because of the explosives, as explosives did not necessarily serve the revolution. Trotsky claimed that all Mendeleev’s social works were written ‘empirically’, and that one could only understand his ideas interpreting his science and applying it to philosophy and sociology. According to Trotsky Mendeleev used dialectic principle of conversion of quantity to quality, hence he’s a marxist. By the end of this skillful speech Mendeleev was turned into a marxist.
Another opinion on the matter had Vladimir Ipatiev (1867-1952), Russian-American chemist who was present at the conference, and according to him «if one listened closely to it [the report], one would had unpleasant impression. Everyone who knew Mendeleev, or heard of him, or read his non-chemical works knew that he wasn’t ever close to marxist ideas. He escaped poverty and knew the value of money and was very provident. He saved himself a hefty fortune, and was more like a capitalist but never a marxist. Trotsky was well-prepared and interpreted the meaning of the periodic law correctly, his data and interpretations were right but in general this lecture was useless for chemists. Mendeleev’s quotes that Trotsky used to prove him even slightly a marxist were useless».
A fascinating meeting of two great minds in one context.
No copies in the USA according to Worldcat.