[Marxism] Re: treacherous and bourgeois regime

Brian Shannon brian_shannon at verizon.net
Mon Jan 30 22:10:44 MST 2006

On Jan 30, 2006, at 10:21 PM, rrubinelli wrote:

> "However, if I may be allowed to reinterpret Fred—in truth I am
> stating a view that I have come to recently—historically it would not
> have been necessary [possible] or even wise to adopt Trotsky's  
> views as the main
> line of a political party or faction at that time in history." —Brian
> Excuse me, not necessary or wise?  Fortunately the workers of  
> Petrograd
> didn't know Fred, but knew Leon and were wise enough to elect the  
> latter
> as president of their soviet, not just once, but twice, and on the  
> basis
> of what?  On the basis of the latter's, Leon's, articulation of the
> tasks, the necessities, the class agents of the coming, and here it is
> right now, Russian Revolution.
> Lenin's demarcation was not sufficient.  It was totally inadequate as
> the Bolshevik leadership proved prior to Lenin's return, and even
> afterwards. —rr

Note that I have inserted the word "possible" in an effort to clarify  
my position above.

Trotsky's ideas were absolutely correct, but unacceptable at the  
time. Even Lenin's were not that clear to everyone, not even to Lenin  
himself, for as Trotsky pointed out, even before the revolution,  
Lenin does not answer the question of what is to happen when the  
proletariat takes power. Do they confine themselves to the bourgeois  

As I pointed out in my footnote, no one, or very few, were listening  
to Trotsky and Parvus. The point that I was trying to make in my note  
and that I think Fred was also making was that no party could adopt  
Trotsky's views. It was too far-seeing and that a "division" on that  
basis was not an attainable or practical goal. On the other hand, it  
was Lenin's error to condemn Trotsky's views out of hand. Trotsky's  
theory did not have to be incorporated as the basis of the Bolshevik  
program; however, it should have been considered as a possible outcome.

Trotsky's ideas had to be proved positively by the RR and subsequent  
failures and successes. Several ancients had correct ideas on the  
relation of the sun to the earth, on the flow of blood, and other  
questions. I believe that the Mayan Indians invented the wheel, but  
used it only for toys. This is not a defense of ignorance. One should  
write, argue, convince as many as possible of the soundness of ideas;  
but they may not be accepted or realizable until well in the future  
after many false starts.

Trotsky was not elected to his various posts in 1905 or 1917 because  
of a book or series of articles. Although Trotsky had formulated the  
basic outline of his theory shortly before the Revolution of 1905 and  
he undoubtedly used it as a guide to his own actions and those whom  
he could influence, I don't recall reading that those theories played  
any special role in that revolution or that Trotsky ever claimed that  
it did.

As for the 1917 revolution, no one had read of T's outline of what he  
expected to happen in Russia except those few who accused Lenin of  
coming over to Trotsky's views. Trotsky's views expressed then were  
hardly in the form of a theory, but in the form of the agitation  
necessary for the revolutionary tasks. He was not elected to his  
various posts for his writings, but for his actions based on those  
writings and experience. Since at that point, his views and Lenin's  
were the same, again no distinction was made. As Trotsky notes in the  
footnote that I provide, it only became an issue in 1924.

In the many expositions of his theory in the subsequent years,  
Trotsky did not hide his differences with the pre-1917 Lenin;  
however, his main emphasis was on the difference over who would lead  
the alliance of the workers and peasantry. The reason that he doesn't  
claim as rr does that Lenin's  "demarcation ... was totally  
inadequate" was that he saw himself as having described more fully  
what was to happen in the alliance. I looked for the narrow  
quotation, but was unable to find it, where Trotsky states that the  
Mensheviks were completely wrong regarding the relation of classes  
and parties in the coming revolution, but the Bolsheviks were  
basically correct regarding the class relations.

Finally, just because Lenin was not precisely correct and Trotsky's  
views were more so does not mean that an absolutely precise agreement  
by all would itself solve the problem of power. Several revolutions  
immediately subsequent to the RR failed even though parties of  
several thousand took power or almost so.


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