Trotskyism and the Cuban revolution/ratfinks

Sun Jul 6 13:52:05 MDT 2003

>Does anyone think that program is divorced from analysis of the driving
forces of revolution?  Does anyone think the analysis of permanent revolution
somehow ends with the seizure of power and then needs to be retired in favor of
what?  Socialism in one country?

The point about the theory and practice of permanent revolution is that it is
of a whole, requiring an international completion in program and power. You
don't get to select parts and discard the rest, just like you don't get to
select parts of Marx, say the analysis of the commodity, and then get to discard
the exploration of overproduction.

I'd like to know how the analysis of permanent revolution, where the seizure
of power by the workers in any one locale of capital, requires concurrent,
consecutive seizures of power throughout the universe of capital to be
successful, no longer applies.

We might look at the results of "socialism" in one or two or many countries
to see the result of the lack of permanent revolution. <


Actually you misunderstand the issue and apparently have not actually read
the two parts of the debate or why it is historically obsolete. What is required
is not the "consecutive seizures of power throughout the universe of capital
to be successful," - which is an abstraction, until we define the content of
successful. What is meant by social revolution in a qualitative change in the
productive forces that compel society to leap forward to communism.

Everyone even a little familiar with Marx or the process of transition from
one mode of production understand that it is a wave process where everything
does not happen all at once. I recently read again, several important works by
L. Trotsky on line including Permanent Revolution and understand the debate. I
have of course read both and understand the discussion, which is different
from the political fight that evolved later. Political tendencies were form on
the basis of how various people understood the policy struggle in the Soviet
Union, which in itself is an internal weakness in the political groups and
"International capital can be finally curbed only by the efforts of the
working class of all countries, or at least of the major European countries. For
that the victory of the revolution in several European countries is
indispensable -- without it the final victory of socialism is impossible.

 What follows then in conclusion?

    It follows that we are capable of completely building a socialist society
by our own efforts and without the victory of the revolution in the West, but
that, by itself alone, our country cannot guarantee itself against
encroachments by international capital -- for that the victory of the revolution in
several Western countries is needed. The possibility of completely building
socialism in our country is one thing, the possibility of guaranteeing our country
against encroachments by international capital is another."

Comrade Pokoyev)
Further, in J. V. Stalin CONCERNING QUESTIONS OF LENINISM (January 25, 1926)

    "But the overthrow of the power of the bourgeoisie and establishment of
the power of the proletariat in one country does not yet mean that the complete
victory of socialism has been ensured. The principal task of socialism -- the
organization of socialist production -- has still to be fulfilled. Can this
task be fulfilled; can the final victory of socialism be achieved in one
country, without the joint efforts of the proletarians in several advanced
countries? No, it cannot. To overthrow the bourgeoisie the efforts of one country are
sufficient; this is proved by the history of our revolution. For the final
victory of socialism, for the organization of socialist production, the efforts of
one country, particularly of a peasant country like Russia, are insufficient;
for that, the efforts of the proletarians of several advanced countries are
required." (See The Foundations of Leninism, first edition.)[31)

    This second formulation was directed against the assertions of the
critics of Leninism, against the Trotskyites, who declared hat the dictatorship of
the proletariat in one country, in the absence of victory in other countries,
could not "hold out in the face of a conservative Europe."

    To that extent -- but only to that extent -- this formulation was then
(May 1924) adequate, and undoubtedly it was of some service.
    Subsequently, however, when the criticism of Leninism in this sphere had
already been overcome in the Party, when a new question had come to the fore
-- the question of the possibility of building a complete socialist society by
the efforts of our country, without help from abroad -- the second formulation
became obviously inadequate, and therefore incorrect.

    What is the defect in this formulation?

    Its defect is that it joins two different questions into one: it joins
the question of the possibility of building socialism by the efforts of one
country -- which must be answered in the affirmative -- with the question whether
a country in which the dictatorship of the proletariat exists can consider
itself fully guaranteed against intervention, and consequently against the
restoration of the old order, without a victorious revolution in a number of other
countries -- which must be answered in the negative. This is apart from the
fact that this formulation may give occasion for thinking that the organization
of a socialist society by the efforts of one country is impossible -- which, of
course, is incorrect."

Thus is presented the "other side of the argument." The political struggle in
American Marxist has never been over "permanent revolution" or "socialism in
one country" but the character of American society and the social position of
the African American people. Various factional and sectarian groups formed
themselves on the basis of their individual understanding of the policy fight in
the Soviet Union.

To begin with the workers could not and did not seize power throughout the
universe of "capital" because it was not possible owing to two factors: the
stage of development in the productive forces, especially as it expressed itself
in the weakest links in the chain of imperial capital - the colonies. Even
still, a break within the weakest link of a chain is by definition a weakness. The
colonies in the time frame of 1914 - 1970, had very little chance or means to
effect industrialization. Forget about socialism for a minute because we are
in another time frame and can formulate the question different.

The second factor is the composition of the working class in the imperial
countries. Russia was an aberration that sprung forth as a result of the wartime
collapse and not a revolution that ushered froth from an industrial society
crisis. Russia was feudal and the communist could go no further than build an
industrial society without capital in the hands of private individuals expressed
as bourgeois property rights. This was called socialism.

The last century makes no sense unless we place in the historical transition
from agriculture to industry not socialism to capitalism or from agricultural
relations as dominant to industrial relations. This is to say, to the
revolutionaries of the first several decades of the twentieth century the quantitative
boundary of the industrial system and/as the value producing system could not
be defined. It was impossible to define the voluntary of the value system.
Not because they were not smart but because it is outside human power to define
the location of a social boundary and its components before it appears.

Permanent revolution as articulated by Mr. L Trotsky does not mean a specific
development in the means of production that unravel the value system.
Permanent revolution means the triumph of the political revolution in numerous
countries to Mr. Trotsky. No one could define the development that unravels the
value system in the first or latter parts of the twentieth century including Lenin
and Marx. The question is framed historically incorrect and this is obvious
to anyone that has examined the new qualitative development in the means of
production for the last two decades or actually read and understood Marx address
to the Central Committee.

Nor could the final victory of socialism be defined on the basis of economic
logic. These are historical limitations or historical errors, which are
impossible to see by the participants, or they would not be historical errors.

>The point about the theory and practice of permanent revolution is that it
is of a whole, requiring an international completion in program and power. <

This is abstract logic rooted in the last period and means nothing. Staing
that a "program is (not) divorced from analysis of the driving forces of
revolution," means nothing until the specific properties are defined for comrades to
debate. Where did you define the specific propeties and mechanism that unravel
the value system? It is not a question of an international completion in
"program or power" but a question of the social revolution that is generated on
the basis of the revolution in the means of production exclusively. It is a
question of the unraveling of the value system or the system of exchanges based on
the labor content of social products.

The formulation of socialism as the first stage of communism was a question
of a practical approach to the proletarian revolution during the period of
transition from agriculture to industry. It is high time to discard this theory
and the theories connected to it.

Society leaps to communism based on a political revolution that grows out of
the social revolution that unravels and destroy the commodity exchange. This
means that no policy on earth can cause society to leave the universe of
capital. It is not possible. Capital is a social power and not the meaning of
capitalism or rather, bourgeois property relations.

The Trotskyites were fundamentally wrong and always wrong in their theory of
revolution before October and after October. The Leninist was correct to seize
power and Lenin understood the impossibility of making the leap to communism.
The Stalinist government was primarily a military form of the dictatorship of
the proletariat and if the whole world went socialist society would still
have to pass through the social revolution and intense political and military
fights to leave the value producing system and reach communism.

Socialism is understood as the first stage of communism during the transition
from agriculture to industry. How can these old concept possibly apply after
the transition has taken place? The Soviet Revolution did all it could do and
conjecture about what this guy should have done is childishness.

No one want to admit that everyone can be historically wrong but compelled to
do their best under impossible conditions. Were the workers of Lyons wrong,
which set the basis for the Paris commune? Was the Paris commune wrong which
lasted 70 days and set the basis for the October Revolution, which lasted 70
years?  What if this impending upsurge only last 700 years and fall back -
backslide 200 years?

We have just entered a point in time to concretely talk about communism as an
economic configuration and the landscape is still unclear but the
infrastructure relation is starting to show its features. At least 99% of everything I
have written on Marxline for the past almost 2 years is on this singular point
of transition in the mode of production from various sides of the social

The one percent is against the ideologist who points an accusing finger at
the proletariat at various stages of its development.  The overthrow of public
property relations is not the result of no permanent revolution. In fact you
cannot even articulate the question on the level of Mr. Trotsky. In other words
you are saying the workers ain't shit.

Brother the workers as a class are governed by the law of commodity
production and all the theory and slogans mean nothing. Until you can explain what, why
and how stating a "lack of permanent revolution" is childishness and silly.
What happened?

The answer lay in disclosing the properties of the value producing system and
its economic logic that compels society to leap forward because society is in
perpetual permanent revolution. That is why this discussion emerged on the
basis of socialist Cuba.

Melvin P.

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