How did Messrs. the Social-Democrats try to scare the workers away from us? In July 1927, after Wang reached an accommodation with Chiang, he repeated the massacre of workers and Communists seen in Shanghai. Some 24 years later, The Permanent Revolution (1929) was written in response to an attack on the the theory by Karl Radek, a Soviet journalist and former Left Opposition member who advocated Stalin’s theory of “socialism in one country”. Permanent Revolution referred to energy and money going into helping the working class in other countries to stage their own revolutions, in order to support the small working class in Russia. Here is another extract from Zinoviev’s concluding speech at the Fourteenth Party Congress: Take, for instance, the things Comrade Iakovlev said at the last Kursk Provincial Party Conference. For what else is our country, “the country that is building Socialism,” if not the base of the world revolution? In his autobiography, My Life, Trotsky explained the political psychology of what he described as “the out-and-out philistine, ignorant, and simply stupid baiting of the theory of permanent revolution”: “Gossiping over a bottle of wine or returning from the ballet,” he wrote, “one smug official would say to another: ‘He can think of nothing but permanent revolution.’ The accusations of unsociability, of individualism, of aristocratism, were closely connected with this particular mood. First he came to the conclusion that socialism could be built in an isolated Russia, although it would remain ‘incomplete’ in the absence of the world revolution. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the split in the International Committee of the Fourth International with the leadership of the British Workers Revolutionary Party. The productive forces of capitalist society have long ago outgrown the national boundaries. The debacle suffered in Germany as a result of the German Communist Party’s capitulation during the revolutionary crisis of 1923 had further dashed hopes for early relief from the world revolution and left Soviet workers susceptible to the promise of a national solution. Permanent Revolution vs. Bourgeois Nationalism. They're not one size fits all. This lecture was delivered by Bill Van Auken at the Socialist Equality Party/WSWS summer school held August 14 to August 20, 2005 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Permanent revolution took socialism’s point of departure as the world economy and world revolution. Writing in 1930, Trotsky described this “second” Chinese revolution as the “greatest event of modern history after the 1917 revolution in Russia.” The rising tide of revolutionary struggle by the Chinese working class and peasantry and the rapid growth and political authority of the Chinese Communist Party after its founding in 1920 provided the Soviet Union with the most favorable opportunity for breaking its isolation and encirclement. What is the source of Zinoviev’s mistake? The attempt to develop a self-sufficient “socialist” economy based on the resources of backward Russia was doomed, not merely by Russia’s backwardness, but because it represented a retrogression from the world economy already created by capitalism. In the present epoch, to a much larger extent than in the past, the national orientation of the proletariat must and can flow only from a world orientation and not vice versa. What is the root of this mistake? Only the working class could carry out this revolution and could consummate it only through the formation of its own dictatorship of the proletariat. It is necessary to understand that the perspectives that guided Stalinism were not a uniquely Russian political phenomenon. He insisted that the USSR take advantage of the world division of labor, gaining access to the technology and economic resources of the advanced capitalist countries in order to develop its economy. The essential theoretical issues that arose in the struggle over these two opposed perspectives were not only fought out by Trotsky against the Stalinist bureaucracy in the latter half of the 1920s, but have reemerged as the subject of repeated struggles within the Fourth International itself. The Stalin leadership insisted that the imperialist oppression of China—and indeed in all the colonial and semi-colonial countries—welded together all classes, from the proletariat to the bourgeoisie in a common struggle against imperialism, justifying their unification in a common party. As a term within Marxist theory, it was first coined by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850, but since then it has been used to refer to different concepts by different theorists, most notably Leon Trotsky. Trotsky explained that, if it was indeed the case that socialism could be achieved in Russia regardless of what happened to the socialist revolution elsewhere in the world, the Soviet Union would turn from a revolutionary internationalist policy to a purely defensist one. This was to take place on the basis of an agreement that the petty-bourgeois nationalist guerrilla movement of Fidel Castro had established a workers state in Cuba, thereby supposedly proving that non-proletarian forces could lead a socialist revolution. The imperialist war (of 1914-1918) was one of the expressions of this fact. 279, December 8, 1925.) Does not this smack of national narrow-mindedness? Without such a possibility, the building of Socialism is building without prospects, building without being sure that Socialism will be built. The Stalin leadership then insisted that the massacre had only confirmed its line and that Chiang only represented the bourgeoisie, not the “nine-tenths” of the Guomindang made up of workers and peasants, whose legitimate leader was proclaimed Wang Ching-wei, who headed the “left” Guomindang government in Wuhan, to which the CP was again ordered to subordinate itself. Against Trotsky’s opposition, the Chinese Communist Party was instructed to enter the Guomindang and submit to its organizational discipline, while Chiang Kai-shek was elected as an honorary member of the Comintern’s executive committee, with Trotsky casting the sole opposing vote. Combined, these theories constituted a perspective for the liquidation of the cadre historically assembled on the basis of the revolutionary perspective elaborated and fought for by Leon Trotsky in founding the Fourth International. As Trotsky summed up his theory in the 1939 article “Three Conceptions of the Russian Revolution”: “The complete victory of the democratic revolution in Russia is inconceivable otherwise than in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat basing itself on the peasantry. ), We now have before us [says Lenin in another place] an extremely unstable equilibrium, but an unquestionable, an indisputable, a certain equilibrium nevertheless. The underlying perspective that guided the WRP leadership was that of anti-internationalism. But can it be a real base of the world revolution if it is incapable of building Socialist society? That is why the Fourteenth Party Congress rightly defined the views of the New Opposition as “lack of faith in the cause of Socialist construction,” as “a distortion of Leninism.”. Will it not be more correct to say that it is not the Party but Zinoviev who is sinning against internationalism and the international revolution? Permanent revolution is the strategy of a revolutionary class pursuing its own interests independently and without compromise or alliance with opposing sections of society. In respect of the technique of production, socialist society must represent a stage higher than capitalism. In the first edition of the book Osnovy Leninizma (Foundations of Leninism, 1924), Stalin was still a follower of Lenin's idea that revolution in one country is insufficient. Trotsky and the Left Opposition had put forward a detailed proposal for developing heavy industry, warning that without a growth of the industrial sector, there was a serious danger that the growth of capitalist relations in the countryside would undermine the foundations of socialism. The victorious proletariat of that country, having expropriated the capitalists and organized its own socialist production, would stand up against the rest of the world, the capitalist world, attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, raising revolts in those countries against the capitalists, and in the event of necessity coming out even with armed force against the exploiting classes and their states.”. While an indispensable instrument of defense, the monopoly itself expressed Soviet dependence on the world market and its relative weakness in terms of productivity of labor in relation to the major capitalist powers. It is characteristic that Zinoviev and Kamenev found no arguments against the grave accusation directed against them by the Moscow Committee of our Party. In considering the question of socialism in one country vs. permanent revolution we are dealing with theoretical foundations of the Trotskyist movement. The permanent revolution is one of constant vigilance and sustained action. For this the efforts of the proletarians of several advanced countries are necessary. Zinoviev evidently thinks that this will be the best way of achieving his purpose. 117.). Where does Zinoviev stand on the question of the victory of Socialism in one country ? That is, the colonial countries lack the economic/industrial base, while in the advanced capitalist country, the capitalist economy has already grown beyond the confines of the national boundaries. The inevitable logic of this shift was the transformation of the sections of the Communist International into border guards—instruments of a Soviet foreign policy aimed at securing the USSR by diplomatic means that would avoid imperialist attack while preserving the global status quo. But does it not follow from this that skepticism regarding the victory of Socialist construction, the dissemination of this skepticism, will lead to our country being discredited as the base of the world revolution? In addition to the split in the IC, this year also marks the twentieth anniversary of Mikhail Gorbachev’s initiation of the program of perestroika. To counter this pressure, the Soviet state established a monopoly of foreign trade. What do we mean by the possibility of the victory of Socialism in one country? “In our epoch,” he wrote, “which is the epoch of imperialism, i.e., of world economy and world politics under the hegemony of finance capital, not a single communist party can establish its program by proceeding solely or mainly from conditions and tendencies of developments in its own country. I cannot tell; nor, I think, can anyone tell. It was Stalin’s position that China was not yet ripe for a socialist revolution, that it lacked the “sufficient minimum” of development for socialist construction. We are living [says Lenin] not merely in a state, but in a system of states, and the existence of the Soviet Republic side by side with imperialist states for a long time is unthinkable. An attempt to build socialism on one island would inevitably spell an irrational economic retrogression. One can only wonder why we took power in October 1917 if we did not count on completely building Socialism? The opportunism of the Stalin leadership in China was based upon the conception that the success of the Guomindang could serve as a counterweight to imperialism and thereby give the Soviet Union breathing space for the project of building “socialism in one country.”. What did he mean by this? Thus, in a letter written by Slaughter in December 1985 rejecting the authority of the International Committee, he declared that “Internationalism consists precisely of laying down ...class lines and fighting them through.”, In reply, the Workers League posed question: “But by what process are these ‘class lines’ determined? Behind the Marxist verbiage, the bureaucracy had long seen socialism not as a program for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, but rather as a means of developing a national economy that was the base of their own privileges. For a Socialist Federation of the Near East! In a bald attempt to cover up the catastrophic consequences of the opportunism of the Comintern in Shanghai and Wuhan, Stalin insisted that the Chinese revolution was still in its ascendancy and sanctioned an adventurist uprising in Canton that ended in yet another massacre. Let us turn to his pamphlet On Cooperation, written in 1923. He wrote: “The draft program forgets the fundamental thesis of the incompatibility between the present productive forces and the national boundaries, from which it follows that highly developed productive forces are by no means a lesser obstacle to the construction of socialism in one country than low productive forces, although for the reverse reason, namely, that while the latter are insufficient to serve as the basis, it is the basis which will prove inadequate for the former.”. But if this be true, is it at all worth while fighting for victory over the capitalist elements in our economy? 39, 89. And this absurdity, which has nothing in common with Leninism, is presented to us by Zinoviev as “internationalism,” as “hundred-per-cent Leninism!”. In 1982, the Workers League initiated a struggle within the International Committee, developing an extensive critique of the WRP’s political degeneration, at the center of which was the issue of permanent revolution. Marxism must adapt to the reality of the society it is being adapted to. This is not yet the building of Socialist society, but it is all that is necessary and sufficient for this building.”. It is hardly necessary to prove that Lenin’s clear and definite statement needs no further comment. Socialism in One Country. The Left vs. The sentiment of ‘Not all and always for the revolution, but some thing for oneself as well,’ was translated as ‘Down with permanent revolution.’ The revolt against the exacting theoretical demands of Marxism and the exacting political demands of the revolution gradually assumed, in the eyes of these people, the form of a struggle against ‘Trotskyism.’ Under this banner, the liberation of the philistine in the Bolshevik was proceeding.”. Zinoviev and Kamenev “replied” to this accusation by silence, because they had no “card to beat it.”. They opposed as “Trotskyism” Lenin’s thesis enunciated in April 1917 that the essential tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution could only be completed by the working class seizing power and establishing its own dictatorship. Was this accidental? As you see, the resolution regards the final victory of Socialism as a guarantee against intervention and restoration, which is the very opposite to the Way Zinoviev regards it in his book, Leninism. Trotsky's permanent revolution is an explanation of how socialist revolutions could occur in societies that The main task of socialism—the organization of socialist production—remains ahead. Trotsky denounced this approach as doubly wrong. What do we mean by the impossibility of the complete, final victory of Socialism in one country without the victory of the revolution in other countries? He pointed out that the development of a world capitalist economy not only posed the conquest of power by the working class in the backward countries, it also made the construction of socialism within national boundaries unrealizable in the advanced capitalist countries. In the backward and former colonial countries, this perspective demonstrated that the bourgeoisie—tied to imperialism and fearful of its own working class—was no longer in a position to make its own “bourgeois” revolution. I think it would be difficult to express oneself more clearly. In his 1930 introduction to the German edition of The Permanent Revolution, Trotsky wrote as follows: “Marxism takes its point of departure from world economy, not as a sum of national parts but as a mighty and independent reality which has been created by the international division of labor and the world market, and which in our epoch imperiously dominates the national markets. Note: Murry Weiss originally wrote Permanent Revolution and Women's Emancipation as a draft resolution for the October 1978 National Conference of the For revolutionary feminism, racial justice, and working-class power. This abrupt and gross revision of perspective reflected the growing social weight of the bureaucracy and its awakening consciousness in regards to its own specific social interests, which it saw as bound up with the steady development of the national economy. “But everything that brings the oppressed and exploited masses of toilers to their feet, inevitably pushes the national bourgeoisie into an open bloc with the imperialists. I would like to quote at some length passages from this critique, which spell out the foundations of a Marxist approach to the elaboration of perspective. He prefers to choose another path, that of attacking the resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference from the rear, while keeping silent about this resolution and refraining from any open criticism of the resolution. Compare Lenin’s classical thesis with the anti-Leninist reproof Zinoviev hurled at Iakovlev, and you will realize that Iakovlev was only repeating Lenin’s words about the possibility of building Socialism in one country, whereas Zinoviev, by attacking this thesis and castigating Iakovlev, deserted Lenin and adopted the point of view of the Menshevik Sukhanov, the point of view that it is impossible to build Socialism in our country owing to its technical backwardness. Trotsky wrote in his Results and Prospects: “The theory of socialism in one country, which rose on the yeast of the reaction against October, is the only theory that consistently and to the very end opposes the theory of the permanent revolution.”. These questions go to the heart of the perspective of the Trotskyist movement. But the considerations brought out above are sufficient, let me hope, to reveal the full significance of the struggle over principles that was carried on in recent years, and is being carried on right now in the shape of two contrasting theories: socialism in one country vs. the permanent revolution. I think not. Nonetheless, in 1984, the Workers League again raised these issues. Hence, the victory of Socialism is possible, first in several or even in one capitalist country, taken singly. It pleases Zinoviev to treat this skepticism as internationalism. Vollmar foresaw a protracted period of “peaceful coexistence” between the isolated socialist state and the capitalist world, during which socialism would prove its superiority through the development of technology and lowering the cost of production. But by the end of that year, in the second edition of the book, his position started to turn around: the "proletariat can and must build the socialist s… T he object of the present essay is to examine one area of the debate recently engaged in nlr between Nicolas Krassó and Ernest Mandel—the question of ‘Socialism in One Country’. Before Lenin’s death in 1924, no one in the leadership of the Communist Party, either in the Soviet Union or internationally, had ever suggested the idea that a self-sufficient socialist society could be built on Soviet soil or anywhere else. Marxism is inherently immortal, and within that it is evolutionary. Speaking generally, one may assume that the resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference also contains certain errors. Eight decades later, the implications of the struggle between the theory of permanent revolution and socialism in one country are plain to see. Consequently, the only guarantee of the final victory of Socialism, i.e., the guarantee against restoration, is a victorious Socialist revolution in a number of countries … Leninism teaches that the final victory of Socialism, in the sense of full guarantee against the restoration of bourgeois relationships, is possible only on an international scale … But it does not follow from this that it is impossible to build a complete Socialist society in a backward country like Russia, without the “state aid” (Trotsky) of countries more developed technically and economically. The permanent character of this revolution lay in the fact that the working class, having taken power, could not limit itself to democratic tasks, but would be compelled to carry out measures of a socialist character. Against this conception, Trotsky established that the struggle against imperialism, which enjoyed myriad ties to the native bourgeoisie, only intensified the class struggle. The ICFI was founded in 1953 in a struggle against Pabloite revisionism. An international communist program is in no case the sum total of national programs or an amalgam of their common features. Capitulation to the capitalist elements in our economy-that is where the inherent logic of Zinoviev’s line of argument leads us. VIII, p. In 1963, it fell to the leadership of the British section, then the Socialist Labour League, to prosecute the struggle against the American Socialist Workers Party’s reunification with the Pabloites. Russia, they insisted at the time, was too backward. >Bro socialism can't be achieved in one country lets invade the entire world - "/his/ - History & Humanities" is 4chan's board for discussing and debating history. Sometimes they contain mistakes. And he has but one purpose, namely-to “improve” the resolution, and to amend Lenin “just a little bit.” It need hardly be proved that Zinoviev is mistaken in his calculations. And therefore we must exercise the greatest possible caution. Initially, the idea of economic development within isolated circumstances was conceptualised by Nikolai Bukharin, but it would later be mentioned in a pamphlet by Stalin, The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists (1924).12 Second, even though he accepted the likelihood of socialist revolution in a single country, Lenin supposedly never intended to suggest that a socialist society could be constructed in a single country. Permanent revolution was a theory that began from an international revolutionary perspective; socialism in one country was a utopian and reformist prescription for a national-socialist state. And the first precept of our policy, the first lesson to be learned from our governmental activities during the past year, the lesson which all the workers and peasants must learn, is that we must be on the alert, we must remember that we are surrounded by people, classes and governments who openly express their intense hatred for us. In the course of the split in 1985, it was Cliff Slaughter who championed the national autonomy of the British section, rejecting the necessity of subordinating the factional struggle within the WRP to the clarification and building of the world party. But if after a whole year of discussion on the question of the victory of Socialism in one country; after Zinoviev’s viewpoint has been rejected by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee (April 1925) ; after the Party has arrived at a definite opinion on this question, recorded in the well-known resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference (April 1925) -if, after all this, Zinoviev ventures to oppose the Party point of view in his book, Leninism (September 1925), if he then repeats this opposition at the Fourteenth Party Congress-how can his stubbornness, his persistence in his error, be explained if not by the fact that Zinoviev is infected, hopelessly infected, with skepticism as regards the victory of Socialist construction in our country? 33. As Trotsky warned prophetically in 1928, the thesis that socialism could be built in Russia alone given the absence of foreign aggression led inevitably to “a collaborationist policy toward the foreign bourgeoisie with the object of averting intervention.”. This outlook expressed the definite material interests of a bureaucracy that emerged as the administrator of the social inequality that persisted as a consequence of the economic backwardness and isolation that plagued the first workers state. Thus, according to Zinoviev, the recognition of the possibility of building Socialism in one country signifies the adoption of the point of view of national narrow-mindedness, while the denial of such a possibility signifies the adoption of the point of view of internationalism. Does it require the existence of the Fourth International? Until 1917 Lenin and Trotsky believed that an isolated revolutionary Russia would have no chance of survival. The Stalin leadership, pragmatically adapting itself to the immediate growth produced by the New Economic Policy, supported the preservation of the status quo within the Soviet borders as well, continuing and expanding concessions to the peasantry and private traders. This feature is not available right now. Source: I. V. Stalin, Problems of Leninism (Moscow: Foreign Language Publishers, 1934), pp. While time does not allow a detailed examination of the implications of the policy of “socialism in one country” for the sections of the Communist International, I think it is necessary to refer, even if only in a summary fashion, to the betrayal of the Chinese revolution of 1925-1927. The conception of “building socialism in a single country” originated not in Russia, but in Germany, where it was propagated by the right-wing Bavarian social democrat Georg von Vollmar. The theory held that given the defeat of all the communist revolutions in Europe in 1917–1923 except Russia, the Soviet Union should begin to strengthen itself internally. The New Opposition is offended because Zinoviev is accused of lacking faith in the victory of Socialist construction in our country. Like the Pabloites before them, the WRP leadership increasingly abandoned the scientific appraisal that Stalinism, social democracy and bourgeois nationalism represented, in the final analysis, agencies of imperialism within the workers movement. Having repudiated the permanent revolution and resurrected the Menshevik theory of the “two-stage” revolution in the colonial and semi-colonial countries, the Stalin leadership insisted that the Chinese working class had to subordinate its struggle to the bourgeois nationalist Guomindang led by Chiang Kai-shek. The struggle waged by Trotsky against the theory of socialism in one country provided a profound analysis of the causes of the reaction against October and its significance for the international working class, in the process elaborating a comprehensive program for the building of the world party of socialist revolution. This policy marked the completion of Stalinism’s betrayal of the October Revolution. In November 1982, in the summation of his “Critique of Gerry Healy’s ‘Studies in Dialectical Materialism,’” Comrade David North reviewed the political relations established by the WRP leadership in the Middle East over the previous period, writing, “Marxist defense of national liberation movements and the struggle against imperialism has been interpreted in an opportunist fashion of uncritical support of various bourgeois nationalist regimes.”, “For all intents and purposes,” he continued, “the theory of permanent revolution has been treated as inapplicable to present circumstances.”. The class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the masses of workers and peasants is not weakened but, on the contrary, it is sharpened by imperialist oppression, to the point of bloody civil war at every serious conflict.”. And before that end supervenes a series of frightful collisions between the Soviet Republic and the bourgeois states will be inevitable. Trotsky’s defense of permanent revolution and the fundamental conception that world economy and world politics constitute the only objective foundation for a revolutionary strategy represents the theoretical cornerstone of the internationalist perspective of the International Committee of the Fourth International today. It is no use building Socialism without being sure that we can build it, without being sure that the technical backwardness of our country is not an insuperable obstacle to the building of complete Socialist society. Counterposed to Trotsky’s ideas of permanent revolution was “Socialism in one country,” an attitude of national self-sufficiency and self-centredness that became Stalin’s watchword in 1924. But perhaps he modified his views after power had been taken, after 1917? The imperishable brilliance of this analysis is even clearer today—given the ever-closer global integration of capitalism, to which we have paid such close attention in the development of the IC’s perspective. It is worth noting that this leader of the “left” Guomindang—proclaimed by Stalin the head of a “revolutionary democratic dictatorship”—went on to become chief of the Japanese occupation’s puppet regime in Nanking. But this is a mockery of the question, not a solution of it! In the decade preceding the split, the leadership of the WRP had turned sharply away from the theoretical conquests it had made in its earlier defense of Trotskyism against the Pabloite revisionists. 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