Marx Engels Lenin Stalin 1933The Soviet Union achieved much in terms of economic development and social gains, considering the backward economy it inherited from the past, but ultimately it failed and collapsed. Did it fail because socialism cannot work?

Marx explained that socialism builds on the most advanced developments of capitalism. But the Russian Revolution broke out in a country where the economy was still relatively backward. It could only have succeeded in the long run if it had become part of a worldwide change of society.

As the wave of revolution that swept the world after 1917 was held back and betrayed by the social democratic leaders – and later because of the mistakes of the Communist leaders – the Soviet Union was left isolated and with limited industrial development. In these conditions, the system degenerated with power being usurped by a privileged bureaucracy, which in turn built what at best could be described as a caricature of genuine socialism, in reality a monstrous totalitarian regime.

Here we provide a number of articles that deal with what the Russian Revolution really was, its subsequent degeneration, the role of Trotsky and the Left Opposition in combating the rising Stalinist bureaucracy; and we also answer the numerous distortions and slanders of bourgeois historians who attempt to depict Stalinism as the inevitable outcome of Lenin’s ideas.

This document was the end product of a process of analysis and struggle in a constantly changing and living movement – the Bolshevik Party. It sums up a period which spans roughly four years, commencing some time before the death of Lenin in 1923 and concluding with attempts to publish this programme in 1927. This Platform was drawn up at a time of crisis for the bureaucracy. This bureaucracy consisted at that time of two basic tendencies – the Bukharinist right and the Stalinist centre of the Party, the latter perhaps less prominent in the public eye but with control of the entire apparatus. Neither was sure of its future at the time. 

The following speech was delivered by Trotsky at the Seventh Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International in November 1926. To cover up their theoretical and political degeneration, the Stalinists laid down a violent barrage of attacks upon Trotsky, the leader of the Left Opposition. In answer to his internationalist criticism of the Stalinist theory of “socialism in a single country,” the bureaucracy denounced him for an alleged “social-democratic deviation.” Trotsky’s masterful polemical reply at the Seventh Plenum was, of course, never given wide circulation in the official communist movement, appearing only in the esoteric International Press


Trotsky wrote a series of articles for Pravda during December 1923, which were published as a pamphlet entitled “The New Course”. This document marked a new stage in the development of the Opposition. In “The New Course”, Trotsky warns of the dangers of degeneration of the “Old Guard”: “Does bureaucratism bear within it a danger of degeneration, or doesn’t it?