[Marxism] Lenin, Trotsky and Permenent Revolution

dwalters at marxists.org dwalters at marxists.org
Mon Jan 9 12:16:31 MST 2006

Lenin did not accept Trotsky's theory of PR. In fact Trotsky says that they
never even discussed it, or at least he didn't remember them.

There were congruent, dove-tailing positions, for sure, mostly in terms of the
already mentioned April Thesis and that the idea that RUSSIA could build
socialism alone, "socialism in one country", etc. They had *similiar*
positions. But that's it, they did not share the same 'theory', period. As a
Trotskyist, I can tell you that there is a tendency to see Lenin and Trotsky as
Marx and Engels. This would be false and a major stretch. Trotsky is largly to
blame for this, IMO. He regularly underplays the differences he and Lenin had
before 1917 and after the fall of 1920 (the  start of the trade union debate
for the 10th Party Congress held in March of 1921). These differences were
real, substantial and fierce. But...still, among comrades who could kiss and
make up after the debates. It did not prevent Trotsky, for example, from
writing the main doctrinal Manifestos of the 3rd and 4th Comintern Congresses.

Anyway, Permenent Revolution has an insteresting history. Sometimes the most
interesting thing is what 'is not' there, rather than what is. That is, Trotsky
DROPS PR after the Second Congress of the Comintern. At least he stops talking
about it, stops pushing it. And that's because in his veiw, PR was an answer to
the *Russian question*, not anywhere else. Lenin dropped the "Democratic
Dictoratorhip" stuff (except in written form, State and Revolution) with the
April Thesis, Trotsky dropped PR.

However, the Comintern reprinted PR and translated it. According to some
historians, it was actually used in the cadre schools of the Comintern as ONE
theory that may be applied to the Cominterns work. But after 1922, it was
dropped *completely*, that is, it stopped being published albeit it was
circulated. In any event, Trotsky, it appears, had nothing to do with it after
1917. It was "asked and answered in October". Most Trotskyists, it seems, are
surprised at the facts around PR. So are most opponents too.

PR was revised and restablished as a world strategy and *program* for communism
with the launching of Trotsky's criticism of the Comintern, mostly around
China, in 1927. At this point LT developes PR into an applicable theory
internationally for developing countries.


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