Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Oct 3 08:18:48 MDT 2000

>Thanks for your answer. Is Trotsky concept of
>"permanent revolution" similar as Leninst concept of
>two stage uninterupted revolution as given in April Thesis for colonial
and semi colonial country? As you
>know, Lenin was follower of Marx Engles idea of two
>stage revolution given in Commmunist Manifesto. In
>poor country, how can revolution be socialist to
>start because condition very different from rich
>country. Also what is Trotsky idea on role of peasants
>in permanent revoltion? All this is important theory
>and practical matters.

This is difficult to answer in an email since some authors have devoted an
entire lifetime to these questions. In general I would shy away from
turning the discussion into a contest between two rival theories that arose
in the context of the Russian revolution. The peasant question, as all
questions, must be dealt with in a concrete manner. That being said, in my
opinion--although Trotskyism gives lip-service to the importance of peasant
and agrarian struggles--it tends to ignore them. Two important instances:
In China any Marxist would have understood that the peasantry was the key
revolutionary class. At the time of the revolution, the industrial working
class composed less than 3 percent of the population and was concentrated
in light industry in small shops typically with less than 100 workers. In
Cuba the plantation workers, many of whom were sharecroppers, were largely
ignored by the Trotskyist movement that focused on trade unions in Havana
and other large cities. What this didn't take into account was the fact
that wages were rising in these sectors during the 1950s and that the
dictator Batista had worked out a social compact with these unions. In
other words, the Trotskyist comrades had not developed a proper historical
materialist approach to the Cuban revolution.

On the question of "socialist to start", perhaps it would be best to say
that the speed at which socialism is constructed is dictated by the
relationship of class forces nationally and internationally. This of course
is a complex question. Trotskyists of the sectarian stripe tended to
denounce the FSLN for not moving more rapidly to expropriate the Nicaraguan
big farmers, while ignoring the contradictions imbedded in this demand (big
farms were major producers of foreign exchange--immediate expropriation
would have disrupted this source of revenue.) On the other hand, socialism
*has to be on the agenda*. In South Africa today, it is off the agenda and
the masses are suffering. It doesn't matter whether you are a Maoist, a
Trotskyist, an unreconstructed Leninist, etc., we understand that the
ANC-SACP have betrayed the masses.

>Once more peculiar situation in left movement. Too
>much split, fragment and fight betwen each other. This
>point to problem in theory, practice or both. Look at
>right today. They have contradiction but they appear
>to settle them. And right have not much theory or poor
>theory. So what is problem with left? These need

That's why this list exists. To provide a framework for analysis of why
sectarianism has plagued our movement. Welcome aboard.

Louis Proyect
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