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Catino/Lecture on Leon Trotsky and The Art of Insurrection

Lecture: Leon Trotsky, The Art of Insurrection MILS671: The Non State Soldier American Military University Martin Scott Catino, Ph.D.

Summary: Leon Trotsky is revealed in his own writing as an adroit, intuitive, and capable insurgent (non-state soldier) worthy of study. Throughout the chapter some of the finest qualities and TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures) of an insurgent are detailed. 1. Acute understanding of the duration, patterns, and life of an insurgency (or rhythm and cycles). TERM: Also called: Timing, Phasing, and Scheduling/sequencing. 2. Keen and detailed understanding of the opponents weakness and social groupingsformal and informal (social systems). 3. Targeting, Understanding who and what are critical for victory, and how each should be treated and sequenced: force, diplomacy, or incentives. 4. Concealment tactics/deception tactics. 5. Importance of preparations and planning. 6. Sensitivity to the balance of power 7. Intuitive ability.

Catino/Lecture on Leon Trotsky and The Art of Insurrection

1. Acute understanding of the duration, patterns, and life of an insurgency (or rhythm and cycles). This understanding allows insurgents to weather low points, exploit critical moments of success and recognize opportunity, but perhaps more importantly, patiently pursue objectives through recognizable stages. 2. Keen and detailed understanding of the opponents weakness and layered organization. Trotsky knew the mindset and people who constituted the opposition. His understanding of their weakness was essential for targeting, exploitation, and morale. He noted: The possessing classes constituted the social forces of the other camp. This means that they were its weakness. These solid people of capital, the press, the pulpit, where and when have they fought? They are accustomed to find out by telegraph or telephone the results of the battles which settle their fate. The younger generation, the sons, the students? They were almost all hostile to the October Revolution. But a majority of them too stood aside. They stood with their father awaiting the outcome of the battle. . . . 3. Targeting. Trotsky identified the key targetmilitary, students, and workersand targeted them carefully with force, diplomacy, and ruthless aggression, depending on the most effective means. 4. Concealment tactics/deception tactics. Using deception is an art in insurgencies. Trotsky mentions the deception operations used during the demilitarization (gun control) measure of the regime. Note that the Bolsheviks retained their best weapons and handed over only inferior ones in order to give a pretense of compliance and thus thwarting the pressure and measure of the opponent. 5. Importance of preparations and planning. Trotsky stated the point clearly: But if it is true that an insurrection cannot be evoked at will, and that nevertheless in order to win it must be organized in advance, then the revolutionary leaders are presented with a task of correct diagnosis. They must feel out the growing insurrection in good season and supplement it with a conspiracy. 6. Sensitivity to the balance of power. Ruthless and effective, Communist insurgents understood the balance of power as the determinant of success or failure. Understanding these conditions allowed insurgents like Trotsky to exploit the forces at hand to his and his Partys aims. 7. Intuitive ability. Despite the criticisms of anti-communists, these effective insurgents did not operate under strict and rote guidelines. Intuition and sensitivity to conditions of the

Catino/Lecture on Leon Trotsky and The Art of Insurrection field (Battle Space) were qualities demanded of Communist insurgents. No, they did not deviate from Communist doctrine, but they understood the importance of managing dialectics and the art of political murder, which they carried out in stages with careful consideration to timing and phasing.