[Marxism] Bolivia

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jan 16 10:16:10 MST 2006

>The only thing I recall saying is that I would have been WITH the Bolsheviks
>in seizing power in 1917, given the not unrealistic prospect at that time
>that it would trigger a European-wide revolution - the basis on which they
>took power. I also said in light of the failure of the revolution to spread
>to the advanced capitalist countries and the subsequent reversion to
>capitalism in its two citadels -the USSR and China - that Lenin and Trotsky,
>were they alive today, may well have revisited the premises which underlay
>the theory of permanent revolution and the April theses.

Actually, Lenin dealt with exactly this sort of Monday morning 
quarterbacking in "Our Revolution":

I have lately been glancing through Sukhanov's notes on the revolution. 
What strikes one most is the pedantry of all our petty-bourgeois Democrats 
and of all heroes of the Second International. Apart from the fact that 
they are all extremely fainthearted, that when it comes to the minutest 
deviation from the German model [of Socialism] even the best of them 
fortified themselves with reservations ­ apart from this characteristic, 
which is common to all petty-bourgeois Democrats and has been abundantly 
manifested by them throughout the revolution, what strikes one is their 
slavish imitation of the past.

They all call themselves Marxists, but their conception of Marxism is 
impossibly pedantic. They have completely failed to understand what is 
decisive in Marxism, namely, its revolutionary dialectics. They have even 
absolutely failed to understand Marx's plain statements that in times of 
revolution the utmost flexibility is demanded, and have even failed to 
notice, for instance, the statements Marx made in his letters ­ I think it 
was in 1856 ­ expressing the hope of combining the peasant war in Germany, 
which might create a revolutionary situation, with the working-class 
movement ­ they avoid even this plain statement and walk around and about 
it like a cat around a bowl of hot porridge.

Their conduct betrays them as cowardly reformists who are afraid to deviate 
from the bourgeoisie, let alone break with it, at the same time they 
disguised their cowardice with the wildest rhetoric and braggartry. But 
what strikes one in all of them even from the purely theoretical point of 
view is their utter inability to grasp the following Marxist 
considerations: up to now they have seen capitalism and bourgeois democracy 
in Western Europe follow a definite path of development, and cannot 
conceive that this path can be taken as a model only mutatis mutandis, only 
with certain amendments (quite insignificant from the standpoint of the 
general development of world history).

full: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1923/jan/16.htm

>I even suggested the Menshevik critique of the possibility of an enduring 
>socialist revolution in Russia
>had to be taken more seriously, which for you constitutes original sin.

I don't know about "original sin", but I do consider the "Menshevik 
critique" not worth the paper it is written on. The Mensheviks were opposed 
to socialist revolution unless the economic conditions had ripened. But the 
planet will be destroyed by nuclear holocaust or ecocatastrophe long before 
those conditions are met.

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