[Marxism] (no subject)

Scotlive at aol.com Scotlive at aol.com
Fri Aug 13 14:26:54 MDT 2004

In a message dated 8/13/2004 12:16:45 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
andromeda246 at hetnet.nl writes:
Trotskyism originally emerged as an oppositional movement to the Stalin 
faction in the CPSU, which reflected a political defeat of the workers and peasants 
in the Soviet republics by the Communist party-state, which after victory in 
the civil war, systematically eliminated or silenced all political opposition 
to its rule, and vested its absolute monopoly of political and legal power. 

Your reply was both exhuastive and well thought out. However, for the 
purposes of debate, I would like to point out a few possible misconceptions in the 
prevailing orthodoxy regarding Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and their respective 

The orthodox thinking is that Lenin stands alone both as a revolutionary and 
theorist, who successfully steered the Soviet Union through a revolution, 
civil war and the early stages of transition to a socialist society and planned 
economy. That Trotsky was Lenin's intended heir and that Stalin successfully 
assumed power and thereafter staged a counter revolution with his own theory of 
socialism in one country overcoming Trotsky's internationalist doctrine of 
permanent revolution.

But the facts tend to get in the way of this historical viewpoint. Lenin 
abolished the soviets in 1918, replacing them with his and Trotsky's concept of 
war communism. He also abolished democratic centralism in favor of centralism at 
the tenth party congress in 1921, a fundamental tenet of Marxist-Leninist 
theory up to then. Then there was the Kronsdadt rebellion, again of 1921, which 
resulted in brutal and armed suppression by the Red Army under Trotsky's 
overall command.

My point is that it could be argued that, rather than Stalin, it was in fact 
Lenin who began the suppression of worker's rights, who set the Russian 
Revolution on the path to rigid, top down, centralised bureaucracy and not Stalin, 
as is commonly supposed. And that he did so with Trotsky's support. It could 
also be argued, I admit, that the exigencies of securing the revolution in the 
face of so much external and internal pressure required a heavy hand. However, 
the fact remains that Trotky's conception of permanent revolution came out 
after he'd lost power and influence within the Party, after Lenin's death, and 
not before.   

Perhaps, then, given the aforementioned, rather than an oppositionist, 
Trotsky was an opportunist?


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