Trotsky and the collapse of Stalinism

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at mailbox.swipnet.se
Sat May 11 16:00:58 MDT 1996


Among other things Robert M writes:

>Now Trotskyists have always stood for the defense of the former deformed
>workers state. The Soviet Union.
>
>But now that the Soviet Union has collasped, our theroy about "it will take
>a violent counter-revolution" to overthrow the deformed workers state has
>not come to realisation.
>
>But Trotsky is not around and hardly could realise that the bureaucratic
>monster created by Stalin would collaspe of its own weight after years of
>bureaucratic repression and mismanagement..


To quote the Transitional Programme (TP), the section entitled 'The USSR
and Problems of the Transitional Epoch':

The Soviet Union emerged from the October Revolution as a workers' state.
State ownership of the means of production, a necessary prerequisite to
socialist development, opened up the possibility of rapid growth of the
productive forces. But the apparatus of the workers' state underwent a
complete degeneration at the same time: it was transformed from a weapon of
the working class into a weapon of bureaucratic violence against the
working class and more and more a weapon for the sabotage of the country's
economy. The bureaucratization of a backward and isolated workers' state
and the transformation of the bureaucracy into an all-powerful privileged
caste constitute the most convincing refutation -- not only theoretically
but this time practically -- of the theory of socialism in one country.

The USSR thus embodies terrific contradictions. But it still remains a
*degenerated workers' state* [emphasis in TP]. Such is the social
diagnosis. The political prognosis has an alternative character: either the
bureaucracy, becoming ever more the organ of the world bourgeoisie in the
workers' state, will overthrow the new forms of property and plunge the
country back to capitalism; or the working class will crush the bureaucracy
and open the way to socialism.


This was written, largely by Trotsky, in 1938. So in fact when Trotsky was
still around, he not only realized that the Stalinist monster could
collapse, but actually predicted it as one of two historical alternatives.

a)  the bureaucracy, becoming ever more the organ of the world bourgeoisie
in the workers' state, will overthrow the new forms of property and plunge
the country back to capitalism

This includes no hint of violent counter-revolution. The
counter-revolutionary violence had already been perpetrated by the
Stalinist reign of terror against independent workers' organizations and
policies and critical individuals in the 1930s and 1940s.

Transforming itself into a new bourgeoisie (or at least attempting to), the
nomenklatura has 'overthrown the new forms of property' (or tried to) and
'plunged the country back into capitalism'.

The alternative of the political revolution to institute a regime of
workers' democracy and regenerate the workers' state:

b)  the working class will crush the bureaucracy and open the way to socialism

is still on the cards, but the element of social revolution against
capitalist economic relations and forms of property is increasing by the
day.

So, the Old Man was well aware of the forces at work. There is no
theoretical problem to grapple with or waste time over.

The problem is the practical one of organizing on the basis of this
theoretical understanding for the overthrow of the restorationist states in
the ex-USSR, and the overthrow of imperialism internationally.

Cheers,

Hugh




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