By Tony Cliff
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Additional info for A world to win: life of a revolutionary
We were penniless and my total worldly possessions were a pair of short trousers, a pair of shoes, a shirt and books. We had to apply to the rabbis, as there was no civil marriage. The first hurdle of many was for me to get a divorce from the fictitious marriage I had entered into ten years earlier to save a Jewish woman from Hitler’s Germany. This was a practice the rabbis were party to then. But now they demanded a proper legal divorce which took precious weeks to organise, and preyed on our nerves as the woman had disappeared.
Being more and more disappointed with the MPZVCMEI a few of us started calling ourselves Trotskyists and acting as a faction inside this organisation. The brilliant writings of Trotsky on Germany facing the Nazi menace came into our hands only after the victory of Hitler. They were crucial in turning us into Trotskyists. In 1938 we were expelled from MPZVCMEI. T he background to the expulsion is quite interesting, throwing a light on the contra dictory nature of left centrist organisations. MPZVCMEI was affili ated to the centrist International Bureau of Revolutionary Socialist Unity.
In China, the most populous country in the world, Mao led a Stalinist party entirely divorced from the working class to unify the country, win independence from imperialism and institute land reforms. Similar processes occurred elsewhere, such as in Cuba and Vietnam. I did not yet have an answer to the question of why the world after the war was so different to Trotsky’s prognoses. In the coming few years I devoted a lot of time and effort to developing three in terlinked theories to deal with the three areas of the world: Russia and Eastern Europe, advanced capitalist countries, and the Third World.