David Walters and PR

John Paramo albatrosrojo2000 at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 6 20:40:27 MDT 2003


David Walters:

"Let my add my view on this...I think John Paramo is
"essentially" correct, but everyone usually misses the
parameters, including John."

Uhmmmm... we'll see during the rest of the discussion.

"Where John is correct, in humble opinion, is that  PR
is a PROGRAM, not just an analytical tool looking
backward that says "see...they had to go forward
to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat or they'd be

Neither. Your view of PROGRAM seems to be as off as
those who see it as "analytical tool."

For Lenin - and Trotsky *AFTER 1917* - Program
encompassed class analysis, fundamental tasks, party
and slogans for action.

Only when their positions on this approach coalesced
in 1917 were they ready to be in the same party and
calling each other nice names.

PR was ONE ASPECT of the program in which Lenin and
Trotsky disagree up until April, 1917.  The confluence
between the incomplete PR theory of Trotsky - based
until 1917 entirely upon 1905.

Lenin and Trotsky DID debate PR, but as different from
today's Marxists of different stripes, they debated
them on CONCRETE political issues of the day - in the
case of Lenin and Trotsky on the nature of the
provisional government with the bourgeoisie - a
position favored by Lenin until 1917.

Of course, Trotsky disagreed with Lenin's apporach to
the party until 1916 and started changing his position

If you recall, Trotsky characterized the Bolsheviks
after 1903 and until 1905 as better than the
mensheviks insofar as the Menshevicks were an obstacle
for the workers to take power and the Bolshevicks
would become a problem for workers once and after they
were in power. (Report from the Siberian Delegation)

were resolved in 1917 could they join together in the
same party.


"Part of the problem here is that often people use
Peter Cameo's introduction to the Pathfinder version
as their interpreter-guide on PR, and this was, again,
IMHO, a mistake."

Ouch! You're really cruel...  Well, maybe some people 
do, but I doubt more than those who were around the
SWP at one time or another.  Outside that little
millieu - in the realm of the Trotskyism movement -
Camejo's version is unkown.

I think most of the problem is not there but on the
difficulty of grasping the theoretical implications of
the PR.  For example, just because Trotsky gave in his
book of that name the "examples" of how PR could be
used in semi-colonial countries, many people believed
is a theory that only applies to semi-colonial
countries.  Nothing could be further from the thruth
as PR points also to the tasks - including the
democratic tasks in imperialist countries in times of


"One can certainly prove, and Trotskyists have, by
looking at the Chinese, Cuban and other revolutions
and do what I used above as a sort 'proof' as
toe validity of the program of PR. We could debate
that back and forth, obviously. But it still misses
the point."

I think you're getting into a trap, David.  No one in
this list who defends PR did that which is an attitude
generally attributed to them by those who, in fact,
claim opposition to PR claiming that trotskyists use
it as some kind of hindsighting exercise.  In fact, PR
is at is peak of usefulness as a tool to help in a
prognosis, not a death certificate.


"PR states that in order to achieve the success of the
Democratic revolution...or, it's 'tasks' as Lenin and
Trotsky were fond of saying, then the revolution that
STARTS as a democratic one can only truly be completed
by carrying out the socialist tasks, and that only the
working class exercising it's dictatorship, in
alliance with the rural masses, can carry it out."

Kind of, maybe, not really ... What PR would state, of
course schematically, is that the *ESSENTIAL*
democratic tasks of any revolution can be resolved
only in the uninterrupted passage and combination with
socialist tasks.

Trotsky put the examples of complete and real
independence and agrarian revolution for semicolonial
or colonial countries as democratic tasks.

A democratic revolution can be carried out fullfilling
IMPORTANT but not ESSENTIAL democratic tasks.  Nobody
would doubt that the overthrowing of a military
dictatorship and the imposition of a bourgeois
democracy would be considered under certain
circumstances a democratic revolution.  But in a
semicolony - as happened many times - independence and
agrarian revolution were not as easy as overthrowing a

A democratic revolution may succeed but as such cannot
fullfill the essential democratic tasks which can only
be guaranteed if they are combined with socialist
ones.  That is why, IMO, your statement that "to
achieve the success of the Democratic revolution...",
etc is not correct.

Gorbachov was a failed attempt at a democratic
revolution without addressing the essential democratic
tasks of the Russian political revolution - the
replacement of the pwoer of the bureacracy by that of
institutions of the working class.  What he got was a
counter-revolution instead.

No revolution ever started as a socialist revolution
nor every revolution started as a democratic one, nor
every democratic revolution was based on the essential
objectively needed democratic tasks. That is why Lenin
- and later Trotsky - makes so much out of the need of
the existence of a revolutionary party to change the
character not only of the evolving revolution but of
the political situation itself (from pre to
revolutionary one).

Democratic tasks are NOT synonimous with democratic
revolutions as one is an objective historical need of
a given process and the second is a subjective,
conscious endevour of the mass movement.

Hopefully, we now agree on a 65%


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