Chapter 4 - Trotsky and the Theory of the Permanent Revolution
Trotsky’s ideas formed the third, relatively tiny current, that developed within the RDSLP after 1905, being differentiated by his daring conclusion that the Russian proletariat, having taken power, would not limit itself to the RDSLP minimum programme (see for example Our Differences(1)). Based on his experience of the struggle for the 8-hour day in St Petersburg, and a perspective which placed the Russian Revolution in both an international and historic context, Trotsky concluded that the reality of class relations would compel the working class, as the leading force in the revolution, to exercise its political domination in its own economic interests, and against those of the bourgeoisie. It would be in this way, he predicted in the ToPR, that the struggle of the working class for an end to feudalism would, necessarily, carry over into a struggle for state power, that is, it would take on a socialist character. Trotsky was alone, until 1917, in proposing an explanation for how and why a socialist revolution could be on the immediate agenda in semi-feudal Russia, before it occurred in Western Europe(2).
It must be realised that whilst Lenin was alive, no leader of the RDSLP, from any faction or grouping, declared that Russia was ready for socialism. Tsarist Russia’s industrialisation was primarily for military, not social, purposes. Indeed, the industrialisation of Russia was largely state directed, and accompanied by mechanisms of mass repression precisely to minimise any consequent social changes that might occur and threaten the privileges of the aristocracy. Russia lagged too far behind the West educationally, culturally, economically and industrially for any socialist to believe that socialism could be reached by her own efforts. All Russian socialists agreed that the immediate tasks facing Russia were bourgeois-democratic. The differences were in how these would be achieved.
Despite his behaviour during and after the 1903 Congress of the RDSLP, Trotsky was, in fact, in fundamental political disagreement with the core Menshevik strategy of a revolutionary alliance with the liberal bourgeoisie. Woods describes how, in an article in the (new) Iskra on 15 March 1904, he severely criticised the liberals as indecisive and treacherous(3). Later, he would suggest that RDSLP support for the liberals should be a noose around their neck dragging them forward until liberalism was left a corpse on the path of history(4). Incensed, Plekhanov demanded his removal from the editorial board. Whatever his intentions, Trotsky was outside the two major groupings within the RDSLP and was more or less politically isolated by the end of 1904(5).
Trotsky’s campaign against the Menshevik policy of gaining the support of the liberal bourgeoisie culminated in a pamphlet, Before the Ninth January, that would appear early in 1905, after Bloody Sunday. The pamphlet was a sweeping and devastating indictment of the Mensheviks, arguing - in agreement with Kautsky and Lenin - that the liberal bourgeoisie was more afraid of revolution than of the Tsar, and incapable of revolutionary activities(6). This pamphlet predicted that the town would be the main area of revolutionary events - the armed uprising of the proletariat - but that the urban proletariat was not strong enough on its own to determine the outcome of the revolution. The peasantry represented the necessary reservoir of energy and support, and the pamphlet strongly underlined the dangers of the urban proletariat becoming isolated from the peasantry in a situation where the vast majority of soldiers were peasants in uniform. Trotsky considered that Bloody Sunday, the subsequent strike wave, and the initial armed clashes which supplemented the strike wave, were a “vivid confirmation of the prognosis” contained in his pamphlet(7).
It was in the period between Bloody Sunday and the October strike, in the heat of the strike wave spreading across Russia, that the ToPR took shape in Trotsky’s mind, to be systematised and articulated after his experience of the St Petersburg Soviet. Essentially, he proposed that the urban proletariat, the necessary leader of the revolution would seize power in the urban centres, and once having power in its hands, would not remain within the bourgeois limits of universal suffrage, a republic, etc. On the contrary, precisely in order to protect the gains it had made, the proletarian vanguard would, from the very first stages of its rule, have to make deep inroads not only into feudal but also into bourgeois property relations. The attempts by the proletariat to implement its own, specific, measures - both democratic and transitional (e.g. 8-hour day, end to unemployment) would bring it into hostile conflict, not only with those bourgeois groups which had supported it during the initial stages of the revolutionary struggle, but also with the broad masses of the peasantry, with whose collaboration it - the proletariat - had come to power(8).
As a matter of record, in his Results and Prospects(9), Trotsky does not use the phrase ‘Permanent Revolution’. This title appears to have been given to Trotsky’s theory by Martynov(10), and has little to do with what Trotsky actually wrote at that time. It is unfortunate that Trotsky accepted this designation, but he did, and that is the name by which his theory is now known. In fact, Trotsky used the description “uninterrupted revolution”(11), and referred to a process which combined the bourgeois with the proletarian revolution, moving without interruption from one historical stage (the bourgeois) to another (the socialist). The revolution would begin as bourgeois-democratic but its internal dynamic, largely determined by the leading role of the urban proletariat, flows through in an uninterrupted process to the dictatorship of the proletariat and the first steps towards socialism.
Results and Prospects, written while Trotsky was in prison for his leading role in the Soviet, and which succinctly described the ToPR, was originally published as an 80-page final chapter in the book Our Revolution. The immediate influence of the theory that would come to define ‘Trotskyism’ was negligible:
• An important factor in the lack of impact of the new theory was that Trotsky had antagonised all the leading Russian Marxists and had become a political lone wolf, outside of both major factions whose leaders had no interest in any theory that Trotsky might develop, nor in popularising him or his ideas.
• Despite Trotsky’s undoubted popularity as head of the St Petersburg Soviet, the revolution was on the downturn and the idea of “uninterrupted” or Permanent Revolution was out of synchronisation with the pessimistic mood of the time.
• Most copies of the book were seized by police and only a few copies were actually circulated.
• By publishing his new theory as the last chapter in a book mainly composed of old essays, Trotsky could hardly have found a better way to hide it.
• Trotsky was only 26 years old and in a society which, at that time, gave weight to age. His relative youth - he was some 20 years younger than Plekhanov - meant he was considered too young for his novel ideas to be taken as a serious threat to the ideological hegemony of the older generation.
It is likely that far more SDs met Trotsky’s ideas on Permanent Revolution in his short polemical article Our Differences and the first four chapters of 1905(12), than read the original Russian text(13). The article was published in 1908, in a Polish journal edited by Rosa Luxembourg, the significance of the title of the article was not lost on its readers - it was the same as that used by Plekhanov in 1885 for his major work against the non-Marxist, People’s Will group. The book, 1905, was published in 1910, in German, under the title Russland in der Revolution.
To critically review the development of Lenin’s theory of the provisional RDDPP a large number of texts and references must be read, studied and compared. This is not the situation with Trotsky’s ToPR. Before 1917 there is really only one major text - Results and Prospects. In the time between the first Russian Revolution and the second, it is noticeable that there was no work that significantly extended or deepened his initial writing. Thus, the ToPR as described below, deliberately relies on Results and Prospects since this was the definitive text describing the theory which was contemporaneous with Lenin’s writings on the revolutionary democratic dictatorship and the most finished form of the theory existing before the 1917 October Revolution. Of course, later Trotsky would be forced, by the faction fights in the CPSU after Lenin’s death, to revisit and generalise his arguments(14) .
4.2 What is the Theory of Permanent Revolution?
It is always tempting to look for the roots of new ideas in the writings of the past, and it is incontestable that an important historic trend had already been noted by Marx and Engels, that the big bourgeoisie were ever more reluctant to take a revolutionary path to complete even the bourgeois revolution. Instead, their political perspective was to seek a compromise with the monarchy and aristocracy. Marx and Engels praised the revolutionary power of the bourgeois in the Great French Revolution in 1789, but after the revolution of 1848 were forced to recognise that the German bourgeoisie was prepared, even eager, to compromise with the aristocracy(15). In their Address to the Central Committee Communist League, Marx and Engels presented their most developed permanentist position:
“while the democratic petty-bourgeoisie wants to bring the revolution to an end as quickly as possible ... it is in our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent until all the more or less propertied classes have been driven from their ruling positions, until the proletariat has conquered state power and ... at least the decisive forces of production are concentrated in the hands of the workers”(16).
One month later Engels published his analysis of the constitutional campaign in Germany and concluded that since June 1848 the question had stood as either the rule of the revolutionary proletariat or the rule of the landed aristocracy:
“A middle road is no longer possible. In Germany, in particular, the bourgeois has shown itself incapable of ruling; it could only maintain its rule over the people only by surrendering it once more to the aristocracy and bureaucracy. ... the revolution can no longer be brought to a conclusion in Germany except with the complete rule of the proletariat”(17).
Three years later Engels was to further refine his attitude to the workers’ party taking power in the bourgeois revolution:
“In a backward country such as Germany which possesses an advanced party ... at the first serious conflict, and as soon as there is real danger, the turn of the advanced party will inevitably come, and this in any case will be before its normal time. ... we shall start off straight away with the Manifesto... “(18).
The bourgeoisie is neither willing nor able to carry through the bourgeois-democratic revolution, the “advanced party” will be forced by events to take the power and once in power has no choice but to start with the Communist Manifesto and make “communist experiments”. It could, then, be sensibly argued that the seeds of the ToPR may be found in the writings of Marx and Engels(19).
4.3 Who Would Make the Revolution?
Trotsky’s own analysis began with a description and review of the peculiarities of Russian historical development: the nature and growth of the highly centralised and conservative Russian state, its uniquely low population density and enormous size, the brief Russian summers, and long, bitter Russian winters. By the end of the nineteenth century the autocracy rested upon a highly centralised bureaucratic machine which was quite useless for taking economic, social or political initiatives, but very experienced and effective at carrying out systematic repression. Relative uniformity of action by the administration and secret police could be achieved across the country, despite the enormous distances involved, due to the introduction of the telegraph. The railways, limited though they were, made it possible to transfer military forces relatively rapidly from one end of the country to the other. The army may have proved useless in the Japanese War, but it was sufficient for internal domination.
The Russian government appeared to the world as a colossal military-bureaucratic power, even if it depended to a high degree upon loans from the British Stock Exchange and, even more so, the French Bourse(20). In 1905 Trotsky gives some figures to show the degree of dependence. In 1908, after the ending of the Russo-Japanese war, interest payments to the “Rothschilds and the Mendelssohns” amounted to some 40% of the entire state budget(21). Nearly a decade later Lenin would include much the same information in Imperialism, but would draw more general conclusions on how the economic domination of the banks had developed a commonality of interests of the nobility, landowners and capitalists.
The autocracy appeared so strong militarily and financially that it seemed to exclude any chance whatsoever for a successful Russian Revolution. The greater the military strength of the Russian autocracy, the longer it could hold state power after it had ceased to satisfy even the most elementary needs of social development. The longer such a state of affairs dragged on, the less likely - even impossible - it became psychologically for Tsarism to voluntarily take the parliamentary path. Thus, a democratic solution to the agrarian problem, the essence of the Russian democratic revolution, was blocked by the autocracy, leaving a revolution by the masses as the only possible means forward(22). The entire preceding social development of the country made revolution inevitable, and what was more, argued Trotsky, the revolution would be all the more radical because of the delay imposed by the autocracy.
What social forces would make this revolution? Trotsky noted that Russia’s low economic level together with the disproportionate amount of national wealth taken by the state for military purposes and debt repayment, resulted in an indigenous manufacturing industry that had remained small scale, and an adjunct to agriculture. From the second half of the nineteenth century, when large-scale capitalist industry began to develop widely in Russia it was largely a foreign import. Foreign and national capitalists and industrialists received substantial support from the autocracy and met few obstacles in their path to economic domination - however, the more support they received from the autocracy, the less significant was the role they needed to play politically. Trotsky concluded there would be no serious challenge to the Tsar from this quarter(23).
Trotsky’s scenario was that in an economically-enslaved and backward country such as Russia, European capital had introduced the most advanced methods of production and in doing so had short-circuited a whole series of intermediate technical and economic stages through which it, itself, had had to pass in its own countries. For example, factories had arrived in Russia before the widespread development of town handicrafts, short-circuiting the creation of the craftsman class which provided the bulk of the revolutionaries of Paris during the Great Revolution(24). The consequence was that the nucleus of the population of a Russian town at the turn of the last century, at least of those towns possessing sufficient industry to be of some economic and political significance, was not self-employed artisans but wage-workers. This fact was destined to play a decisive role in the Russian Revolution(25):
“The factory industrial system not only brings the proletariat to the forefront but also cuts the ground from under the feet of bourgeois democracy. In previous revolutions the latter found its support in the urban petty-bourgeoisie: craftsmen, small shop-keepers, etc”(26).
Foreign capital had set up enormous factories, employing tens of thousands of workers, making the political weight of the working class employed in those factories, their number, strength and influence, out of all proportion to that of the national bourgeoisie.
Trotsky had begun his political activity by taking part in a small group of mainly student activists - the Southern Russian Workers’ Union - where he gained first hand experience of the rapid industrialisation that could occur due to foreign investment. He saw the number of factory workers increase more than fivefold in just a few years. But, and just as important, he saw that the workforce was predominantly young with a higher than average level of literacy(27). This was valuable practical experience in determining the likely motor forces of the Russian Revolution.
The late development of Russia created a new situation not previously met by Marxists, an entirely new combination of social and economic forces was created by the introduction of the latest capitalist techniques into a society where the vast majority lived in near feudal conditions. Trotsky argued that one consequence of this unevenness in the economic and social development of Russia was the rapid and extensive growth of Marxism and the RDSLP before the bourgeois revolution.
Trotsky had to answer the question of why the majority of the oppressed people of Russia, the peasants, would not be the leaders of the revolution. His argument was that there was no tradition in Russia of victorious, concerted political struggle by the peasantry; the peasants were scattered in small communities separated by enormous distances and, even in 1905-1906, had significantly failed to overcome this geographical separation. Trotsky summed up this aspect with his much quoted line “Local cretinism is history’s curse on all peasant riots”(28). He pointed out that the main aim of the peasants during the agrarian riots of 1905 and 1906, appeared to be restricted to driving out their own landowners from their own localities. However, against the peasant revolts the land-owners had the centralised resources of the state:
“The peasantry could have overcome this obstacle only by means of a resolute uprising unified both in time and in effort. But, owing to all the conditions of their existence, the peasants proved quite incapable of such an uprising. They liberate themselves from this curse only to the extent that they cease to be purely peasant movements and merge with the revolutionary movements of new social classes”(29).
Lenin had also addressed this question in, for example What the Friends of the People Are, where he said of agricultural workers: “Scattered, individual, petty exploitation ties the working people to one locality, divides them, prevents them from becoming conscious of class solidarity, prevents them from uniting ...”(30).
4.4 What Kind of Revolution?
Trotsky accepted that as far as its first, most direct tasks were concerned, the Russian Revolution was a “bourgeois” revolution because it set out to free the country from the restrictions of semi-feudalism, particularly in land ownership. But would a revolution against the autocracy be carried through to a satisfactory conclusion if led by the bourgeoisie?
Trotsky sketched the development of the bourgeois-democratic revolution by briefly considering the revolutions of 1789, 1848 and 1905, and followed the analysis made by Engels in Revolution and Counter Revolution in Germany(31), who had argued that in 1848, the bourgeois revolution would have had to be carried out not by the German bourgeoisie, but against it, since to the German bourgeois, democratic institutions represented not an aim to fight for but a menace to its interests. For the revolution against the monarchy to have succeeded, a class was needed that could have taken charge without, and in spite of, the bourgeoisie. Neither the urban petty-bourgeoisie nor the peasants were able to do that. Only the workers were brave enough to face and fight the reaction, but were neither sufficiently organised nor sufficiently conscious in 1848, to take the lead and carry the revolution through(32).
Having introduced the idea of the proletariat as the key fighting force in any future revolution to overthrow the autocracy, Trotsky emphasised that things had come a long way in nearly sixty years, and that the consciousness of the Russian working class of 1906 was way ahead of, say, that of the workers of Vienna of 1848. In Russia, the principal driving force of the Revolution would be the armed proletariat, this would mean that proletarian methods and organisational forms would, by-and-large, be adopted in the struggle - in particular the political general strike and Soviets. His decisive evidence was the springing up all over Russia, of Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, potential organs of government created by the masses themselves for the purpose of co-ordinating their revolutionary struggle and organising the political strikes. “And these Soviets, elected by the masses and responsible to the masses, were unquestionably democratic institutions, conducting a most determined class policy in the spirit of revolutionary socialism”(33).
In support of his thesis Trotsky pointed out that in the revolutions of 1789 and 1848 (whether in Berlin, Paris, Vienna or Italy), the first demand was for a militia, a National Guard - the arming of the propertied and the ‘educated’ classes to protect the liberties won from the monarchy and to make the further existence of despotism impossible, but also to protect bourgeois private property from attacks by the proletariat, a guarantee for the propertied classes against possible disorder from below. The militia had been a clear class demand of the bourgeoisie(34). However, in Russia the liberal bourgeois had not formed its own militia and was most definitely hostile to a proletarian militia. This, Trotsky argued, showed that the liberal democrats feared arming the proletariat more than they feared the soldiers of the autocracy(35).
4.5 The Proletariat and the Revolution
It was in considering the role of the proletariat in the bourgeois revolution that Trotsky introduced the concept that most startled his readers. He began by reminding them of the most basic of Marxist views on the state and revolution. The state is only a machine in the hands of the dominating social force, driven by the class interests of that social force; its “motor and transmitting mechanisms” such as the church, courts, press and schools rest on its police, its prisons and its armed forces. Revolution is an open struggle for state power between social forces and “Every political party worthy of the name strives to capture political power and thus place the State at the service of the class whose interests it expresses”(36). Trotsky drew the obvious conclusion that the RDSLP, being the party of the proletariat, should naturally strive for political domination by the working class.
Trotsky then develops the core of the ToPR, and the lessons of the St Petersburg Soviet resonate through:
“The proletariat grows and becomes stronger with the growth of capitalism. In this sense the development of capitalism is also the development of the proletariat towards dictatorship. But the day and the hour when power will pass into the hands of the working class depends directly not upon the level attained by the productive forces but upon relations in the class struggle, upon the international situation, and, finally, upon a number of subjective factors: the traditions, the initiative and the readiness to fight of the workers. ...
It is possible for the workers to come to power in an economically backward country sooner than in an advanced country. ... To imagine that the dictatorship of the proletariat is in some way automatically dependent on the technical development and resources of a country is a prejudice of ‘economic’ materialism simplified to absurdity. This point of view has nothing in common with Marxism”(37).
Trotsky argued that the political importance and strength of the industrial proletariat was not linearly related to a country’s industrial development, that numerous social and political factors of a national and international character had to be considered, and these could sometimes completely alter the normal political expression of economic relations(38). In Trotsky’s view, the Russian Revolution would create conditions in which power could pass into the hands of the workers. Given that the workers would provide the core of the revolutionary fighters, the major force in the armed insurrection, it would not be possible for the revolution against the Tsar to be victorious without actual power - power on the ground - passing into the hands of the armed workers. But, if this happened, real power would be in the hands of the proletariat before the bourgeois liberal politicians could assume the government - whether or not in the form of a Constituent Assembly - and begin to govern the country.
As support for his views, Trotsky drew on Kautsky’s authority quoting from his book, American and Russian Workers, in which Kautsky pointed out that there was no direct relation between the political power of the proletariat relative to the bourgeoisie and the level of capitalist development. Kautsky compared the specific social weights of the Russian and American working classes, concluding that the militant proletariat had nowhere acquired such importance as in Russia, and that this importance would undoubtedly increase, because Russian workers had only just begun to take part in the modern class struggle(39).
Seeking to answer in advance some of the expected criticisms from those Russian Marxists such as Plekhanov, Trotsky particularly recommended the following extract from Kautsky:
“‘It is indeed most extraordinary that the Russian proletariat should be showing us our future, in so far as this is expressed not in the extent of the development of capital, but in the protest of the working class. The fact that this Russia is the most backward of the large states of the capitalist world would appear to contradict the materialist conception of history, according to which economic development is the basis of political development; but really this only contradicts the materialist conception of history as it is depicted by our opponents and critics, who regard it not as a method of investigation but merely as a ready-made stereotype’”(40).
Trotsky then gave a final quotation from Kautsky in support of his argument;
“‘struggle for the interests of all Russia has fallen to the lot of the only now-existing strong class in the country - the industrial proletariat. For this reason the industrial proletariat has tremendous political importance, and for this reason the struggle for the emancipation of Russia from the incubus of absolutism which is stifling it has become converted into a single combat between absolutism and the industrial proletariat, a single combat in which the peasants may render considerable support but cannot play a leading role’”(41).
Later, Trotsky published his own annotated translation of Kautsky’s The Driving Forces of the Russian Revolution as support for the ToPR, claiming that the line of thinking of the two articles was “precisely the same”(42). It is here that Trotsky asserted, with Kautsky’s apparent support, that the political domination of the proletariat would inevitably lead to civil war and the ultimate defeat of the proletariat, if the revolution remained within a national framework. Trotsky’s conclusion was the proletariat in power should use all the resources at its disposal to turn a Russian revolution into the first episode of the European revolution. Trotsky gave a somewhat novel twist to what Kautsky had written. It would be more exact to say that Kautsky, as Lenin, believed that the Social Democrats, as the victorious party of the revolution, could go no further in the implementation of their programme than the interests of the peasantry permitted. The peasants could not be expected to become socialists, so to introduce socialist measures in the economy would conflict with interests of the majority of the population, a conflict that could be resolved successfully only with the assistance of the European working class(43).
Whether or not the revolution was bourgeois-democratic, the experience of the St Petersburg Soviet showed that expecting the political domination of the proletariat to be only a passing episode ignored the reality that once the proletariat had taken power, it would not give it up unless it was torn from its hands by armed force. On taking power, the proletariat would, by the very logic of its position, move towards the introduction of state intervention into industry, would itself take the first steps towards collectivisation and the socialist transformation of society. Defining the Russian Revolution, generally, as a bourgeois revolution, neither defined nor answered the specific political and strategic problems which the actual revolution would throw up.
Trotsky asked the rhetorical question as to whether revolutionary SDs should consciously work towards a proletarian government or regard it as an event to avoid(44). He answered: “In the revolution whose beginning history will identify with the year 1905, the proletariat stepped forward for the first time under its own banner in the name of its own objectives”(45).
4.6 The Proletariat in Power and the Peasantry
In a country in which the overwhelming majority of the population was peasants, the obvious question was what would be the relationship between the urban proletariat and the rural petty bourgeois, i.e. in the event of a victory of the revolution.
Obviously, with a decisive victory of the revolution, the class that played the leading role would take power (especially if that class dominated in the capital, towns and industrial centres and controlled the only national transportation network) - in other words, power would pass into the hands of the proletariat. To Trotsky, as Lenin, it was axiomatic that SDs would participate in such a revolutionary democratic government, any other perspective would have been senseless. To retain power for any significant period of time the proletarian government would have to contain influential representatives of revolutionary non-proletarian social groups - especially the peasantry. Trotsky was open to suggestion on how such a government might be described; as the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, as a dictatorship of the proletariat, peasantry and intelligentsia, or even as a coalition government of the working class and the petty bourgeoisie. However, whatever the name of the government, the real issue would be: who determined the content of the government’s policy, who wielded hegemony in the government and through it, in the country at large?(46).
In later years Trotsky would come under fire from the bureaucratic wing of the Bolshevik Party for proposing, in 1906 and after, a “Workers Government”, in the sense of a government composed of workers’ parties only. However, in Results and Prospects there is clearly no intention to exclude the participation of representatives of the peasantry from government, rather the success of the revolution is predicated on peasant participation. Trotsky never doubted that in order for the proletariat to stay in power, it had to widen the base of the revolution. Drawing on the events of 1905, he proposed that there would be an inevitable delay before many sections of the working masses, particularly those in the countryside, would be drawn into the revolution and become politically organised, primarily thorough Soviets. In many cases it would be after the advance-guard of the revolution, the urban proletariat, had taken state power into its hands. Indeed, having governmental power, the proletariat would be expected to use that power to enact legislation that would revolutionise the rural masses in support of its government, and so give the proletariat an invaluable advantage. (We shall see later, that Lenin, having gone through the experience of the October 1917 Revolution, would propose precisely the same concept.) Governmental recognition of all revolutionary expropriations of land carried out by the peasants would mean ”The proletariat in power will stand before the peasants as the class which has emancipated it”(47).
Thus, the fundamental interests of Russia’s peasants (even including the kulaks) were bound up with the outcome of the revolution, and the fate of the proletariat. The ToPR predicted that in Russia the fundamental problems of democracy, and for the peasants this meant the end of feudal relations on the land, would be solved by a workers’ revolution. The majority of the Russian peasantry would, in the first and most difficult period of the revolution, actively seek to maintain the proletarian government which guaranteed its new property holdings. In such a situation, created by the transfer of power to the proletariat, the peasantry as a whole would rally to support the workers’ regime. However, Trotsky also sounded a cautious and somewhat pessimistic note, warning that in both the revolutions of 1789 and 1848, the peasantry, having achieved its aims, lost all interest in progressing the revolution, and betrayed it by placing itself as the foundation-stone of ‘order’(48).
For factional reasons, Stalin, in The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists(49), wrote that Trotsky, in 1905, simply forgot about the peasantry as a revolutionary force and advanced the slogan of “No tsar, but a workers’ government”, that is a revolutionary government without the peasantry. In the interests of the Soviet bureaucracy, the weight of the Russian state was placed behind a campaign that lasted until the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the effect that Trotsky under-estimated the peasantry:
“Stalin quotes from a leaflet which Trotsky did not write and simply forgot about the slogan which Trotsky actually advanced in 1905: Neither Tsar nor Zemtsi (i.e. liberals), but the People! i.e. a slogan embracing the workers and peasants. The leaflet in which this occurs is to be found, along with numerous appeals to the very peasantry which Trotsky “forgot”, in Trotsky’s Collected Works (vol. 2, page 256) which were printed in Russia after the October Revolution”(50).
However, Trotsky’s use of the phrase “a workers’ government” does need clarification because of the apparent similarity between his use of the term and its use by Parvus, a co-worker and colleague, who helped Trotsky launch Nachalo (The Beginning) in 1905. Parvus wrote the introduction to Before the Ninth of January, and there stated that the revolutionary government would be a Social Democratic government. We have seen that Lenin criticised Parvus’ call for a workers’ government for excluding the peasantry. But Parvus limited the tasks of the workers’ government to the democratic tasks, and argued that the “Workers’ Government” brought to power by the revolution would be a reformist workers’ government not a dictatorship of the proletariat, not a workers’ socialist government(51). Writing in Our Differences, on the differences between his ideas on “a Workers’ Government” and those of Parvus, Trotsky said that at that time (1904), Parvus’ views on the Russian Revolution “bordered closely on mine, without however being identical with them”(52). Trotsky’s differences with Parvus were twofold: the degree of peasant participation in the government, and whether the workers’ government limited itself to the RDSLP minimum programme or took the first steps towards socialism(53,54).
As we know, until 1905, Lenin was of the opinion that return of the cut-off lands was all that could be realistically proposed as party policy. In 1905 Trotsky held the view: “... we cannot undertake to carry out a programme of equal distribution ... This policy, being directly wasteful from the economic standpoint, could only have a reactionary-utopian ulterior motive, above all would politically weaken the revolutionary party”(55). These prognostications had to be tested against reality and, in 1917, recognition of the need for the support of the peasantry meant that both Trotsky and Lenin agreed to the Bolshevik Party adopting, without alteration, the agrarian programme of the SRs.
4.7 The Proletarian Regime
While stressing that the proletariat could achieve state power only through a nation-wide upsurge, and would enter government as the champion of the nation in the revolutionary democratic struggle against absolutism and feudalism, Trotsky pointed out that once in power, the proletariat would have to make policy. The first measures would include restructuring all social and state relations (most importantly, land to the peasant), which would have the active support of the whole nation. However, “the workers’ government” would also be immediately confronted by other important issues such as the length of the working day and the problem of unemployment.
Drawing once again on his experience of leading the St Petersburg Soviet, Trotsky considered the demand for the 8-hour day, explaining that the introduction of such a measure in a time of intense class antagonisms (as in November, 1905), would almost certainly meet the organised and determined resistance of the capitalists, even to the extent of lockouts and the closing down of factories. In such a situation the workers would demand maintenance and support from the revolutionary government they had created, and a government relying upon the workers could not refuse them. (Of course, Trotsky was making a point in principle, the 8-hour day would not be such a significant issue in 1917 as it had been in 1905 due to supply shortages limiting war-time production. The issue in 1917 would be much more to do with employer sabotage of production and laying-off workers.)
In such circumstances, which would occur more or less immediately after power was transferred into the hands of a revolutionary government with a SD majority, the division between minimum demands (demands which are compatible with private property in the means of production), and maximum demands (demands that would form the first steps towards socialism and presupposed a proletarian dictatorship), would lose its significance, since a proletarian government would be faced with enacting policies which cannot be divided so neatly.
If the employers resorted to a lock-out as they did in 1905, and threw hundreds of thousands of workers onto the streets, what should the revolutionary government do? A bourgeois-democratic government would retreat, but a government based to a large extent on workers’ Soviets would call for workers’ occupation of the closed factories and the introduction, in at least the largest of them, of state supported communal production. The speed with which the proletariat would advance towards such collectivist measures would, naturally, depend upon the balance of forces. It will be shown later that in the 1917 October Revolution, the workers moved almost immediately to the demand for nationalisation. Trotsky, if anything, under-estimated the likely proletarian pressures on “a workers’ government”.
Trotsky, like Lenin, was hypothesising about possible activities by a future revolutionary government, and both came to similar pessimistic conclusions. Trotsky’s prognosis was that as the “workers’ government” took actions on behalf of the working class and its policy ceased to be general-democratic and became more a class policy, the revolutionary ties between the proletariat and the nation would be broken. Like Lenin, Trotsky saw the activities of the post-revolutionary government in carrying the class struggle into the villages, as generating the active opposition of the upper, and possibly middle sections, of the peasantry which would have an influence on a section of the intellectuals and the petty-bourgeoisie of the towns. The more definite and determined the policy of the proletariat in power became, the narrower would its base become.
Trotsky’s pessimism bears a strong resemblance to that of Lenin who saw the liberal bourgeoisie becoming downright counter-revolutionary, and organising itself with the whole of the well-to-do peasants, and a fairly large part of the middle peasantry, to take away from the proletariat the gains of the revolution(56). Both Lenin and Trotsky concluded that despite their foreboding it was the business of SDs to enter the revolutionary provisional government and, during the period of revolutionary-democratic reforms, lead the fight for these to have a most radical character, relying for this purpose upon the organised proletariat and, eventually, the support of the revolutionary proletariat in the West.
4.8 A Workers’ Government in Russia, and Socialism
Marx had already answered, in principle, the question of whether the transfer of governmental power into the hands of the Russian proletariat would be the beginning of the transformation of the national economy into a socialist one. In May 1871 in Chapter 5 of The Civil War in France, entitled The Paris Commune, he had written: “The political rule of the producer cannot co-exist with the perpetuation of his social slavery. The Commune was therefore to serve as a lever for uprooting the economical foundation upon which rests the existence of classes, and therefore of class rule”(57).
Trotsky’s principal testing ground for his innovative hypothesis was the experience of the St Petersburg Soviet. Put simply: If the workers formed the government and dominated politically, would they allow their economic enslavement to continue? If the proletariat took power through an armed uprising, and controlled the means of coercion, would they continue to tolerate the conditions of capitalist exploitation? Would such a government, even if it wished to limit itself to the SD minimum programme (as Lenin proposed for the provisional RDDPP), nevertheless, by the logic of its position, have to take collectivist measures?
The first thing the proletarian regime would have to do on coming to power would be to solve the agrarian question, more precisely it would legitimise all the revolutionary changes (expropriations) in land relationships carried out by the peasants themselves. The interests of the peasantry as a whole, as an estate, would be bound up with the fate of proletarian revolution. The way in which the agrarian policy would be carried out and the speed of its introduction, would be determined by the need to retain the peasant masses as allies and avoid pushing them into the ranks of the counter-revolution. In the first period of its existence the legislation enacted by the revolutionary government would be a powerful instrument for revolutionising the masses, and would give it invaluable advantages. Once the honeymoon was over, the rate of social change enacted by the regime would have to be a balance between the interests of the proletariat and the hostility likely to be generated amongst the petty-bourgeois masses.
Trotsky, like Lenin, was at pains to stress that it would not be the passing of this or that specific measure which would be the deciding factor; what was key was organising and mobilising the masses to carry out for themselves the necessary practical measures. Political power would not give the regime omnipotence, but the proletariat could use that political power to mobilise the maximum active support and so minimise the obstacles on the path towards collectivism(58). Trotsky concluded:
“Without the direct State support of the European proletariat the working class of Russia cannot remain in power and convert its temporary domination into a lasting socialistic dictatorship. Of this there cannot for one moment be any doubt. But on the other hand there cannot be any doubt that a socialist revolution in the West will enable us directly to convert the temporary domination of the working class into a socialist dictatorship. ... The revolution in the East will infect the Western proletariat with a revolutionary idealism and rouse a desire to speak to their enemies ‘in Russian’”(59).
This bears a striking resemblance to Lenin’s opinions at that time:
“The Russian proletariat plus the European proletariat organise revolution. In such conditions the Russian proletariat can win a second victory. The cause is no longer hopeless. The second victory will be the socialist revolution in Europe. The European workers will show us ‘how to do it’, and then together with them we shall bring about the socialist revolution”(60).
Both Lenin and Trotsky were optimistic and, correctly, believed the influence of the Russian Revolution upon the European proletariat would be “tremendous”, not only would the revolution destroy Russian absolutism, it would create a “revolution in the consciousness and temper of the European working class”(61).
4.9 What was Innovative in the Theory of Permanent Revolution?
The ToPR has undoubtedly been one of the most significant and widely discussed contributions (even if as a topic of factional dispute) made by a Marxist in the 20th century. The theory, which Trotsky initially restricted to Russia, addressed one of the most pressing problems of the day: What would be the class character of the revolution that would overthrow autocratic rule, solve the agrarian problem and free the mass of the population (the peasants) from poverty and hunger?
Trotsky’s proposals on the nature of the Russian Revolution were a radical departure from the dominant ideas and methodology of the Second International, particularly on the subject of the future of semi-feudal Russia. His analysis, and the theory developed from it, represented an astonishing theoretical breakthrough. Einstein’s theory of relativity, published in 1905, fundamentally altered the conceptual framework within which man viewed the universe, so Trotsky’s ToPR fundamentally shifted the analytical perspective from which revolutionary processes were viewed. Without wishing to develop the analogy too far, it can also be said that, initially, both revolutionary changes were largely ignored by the establishment of the day.
Prior to 1905, the development of revolutions tended to be seen as a progression of national events, each outcome determined by the logic of its own internal socio-economic relations. Trotsky proposed that in the modern era another approach was required: revolution must be viewed as a world-historic process of social transition from class society, rooted in nation-states, to a classless society based on a global economy and the international working class(62).
There were four distinct characteristics to the young Trotsky’s contribution to the theory of the coming Russian Revolution, and these implicitly contained a number of fundamental criticisms of the mechanistic Marxism of the older leaders of Russian socialism.
1. First, and most importantly, Trotsky addressed the problem of the transition from the democratic revolution to the socialist and, in a truly Marxist manner, began with a study of the reality of the development of capitalism in Russia. Many senior Russian Marxists (e.g. Plekhanov) tended, probably because of their polemics with Populism, to play down any specificity of Russian social formations, and insisted on an inevitable similarity between the social and economic development of Western Europe and the future of Russia. Trotsky sited the coming Russian Revolution squarely in terms of Russian history, and observed that at a time when the development of capitalism in Russia was still in its relative infancy, the joint action of state and foreign capital had parachuted into semi-feudal Russia, a number of large-scale industries employing tens of thousands of workers in some of the largest factories in the world. This made the working-class relatively much stronger with respect to the bourgeoisie than in any previous bourgeois revolution. Trotsky also determined from his analysis that because of the links which the Russian liberal and urban petty-bourgeoisie had with the land, they would play a counter-revolutionary role(63).
Trotsky argued that Plekhanov(64) had proposed a pattern of historical development according to which democracy and socialism for all peoples and in all countries, were two stages in the development of society which were entirely distinct and, in time, were separated by generations. Plekhanov, the father of Russian Marxism, considered the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat in semi-feudal Russia, to be a delusion, a view that was not only that of the Mensheviks but also of the overwhelming majority of the Bolshevik ‘Old Guard’(65).
Up to this point in the debate, Trotsky had much in common with Lenin and Kautsky, but the ToPR then proposed that, in the present epoch, the democratic tasks of the backward bourgeois nations led directly to the dictatorship of the proletariat and this put socialist tasks on the order of the day. In complete contradiction to both the vulgar Marxists and Lenin, the ToPR established that for semi-feudal and backward countries, the road to democracy passed through the dictatorship of the proletariat. The major tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution (in particular the solution of the agrarian problem), could not be carried through unless under the dictatorship of the proletariat(66).
2. Trotsky, Lenin and Kautsky observed that in the conditions of the early 20th century, industrialists and landlords were economically entwined with the banks through loans and credit, and socially through family links, social activities, common education, etc. Kautsky and Lenin drew the conclusion that the urban petty bourgeois would be anti-revolutionary and that the proletariat, with the support of, and in alliance with, the peasantry, would be the armed vanguard of the bourgeois revolution. Trotsky went qualitatively further and concluded that the revolutionary agrarian reforms necessary to end feudal relations on the land, would be such a massive blow against the economic, social and political interests of the bourgeois classes, that these could be carried through only under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin would come to the same conclusion some ten years later, in 1917(67), while Kautsky would join the camp of counter-revolution.
3. Trotsky explicitly rejected the economist traits of Plekhanov’s Marxism. This is one of the fundamental methodological presuppositions of the ToPR, as shown by the well-known passage from Results and Prospects:
“To imagine that the dictatorship of the proletariat is in some way automatically dependent on the technical development and resources of a country is a prejudice of ‘economic’ materialism simplified to absurdity. This point of view has nothing in common with Marxism”(68).
Trotsky recognised that the immediate social conditions of the Russian factory workers meant their consciousness was very different from that generated by the general technical and economic level of peasant Russia. This was re-enforced by his experience as leader of the St Petersburg Soviet which convinced him that the workers, once committed to revolutionary struggle and having taken governmental power, would not voluntarily restrain themselves and allow the bourgeoisie to take control, but would rapidly progress to placing socialist demands on their government.
Of course, the urban proletariat had to win the support of the peasantry - without this it could not hold power. But the only way for it to attract the mass of small rural proprietors was (a) firstly to show the necessary vigour, strength, organisation and determination through taking power in an armed uprising, and (b) then to solve the agrarian problem by ending feudal relations on the land. We shall see that this first ... then approach, would later become an important element in Lenin’s analysis and plan of action for the October Revolution. The role of the revolutionary Social Democratic Party would be crucial in such a process. By appearing before the peasants as their liberators, the revolutionary proletariat could take state power long before they became the majority in Russian society.
Trotsky, while clearly stating that the active support of the peasantry was necessary for a successful Russian Revolution, placed certain limits on its role: the peasantry would be unable to play an independent role due to its dispersion and class heterogeneity; the Russian bourgeois-democratic revolution could only triumph under proletarian, socialist leadership. He argued, that a working-class which had just achieved victory - including taking state power - against both Tsarism and all politically conservative forces (including the bourgeoisie), could not be expected, on the following day, to return to the workplace and voluntarily submit to unarmed capitalists. It would be ridiculous to expect the proletariat to agree to rule outside the factory gate but not inside.
Trotsky recognised that the working class could actually conquer power before, and instead of, the bourgeoisie in a relatively backward country. Here Trotsky’s conception of the task of Marxists was as instigators, not interpreting history, but working to change it in a radically new way. This would be an argument that Trotsky would later use to justify the Bolshevik’s dissolving of the Constituent Assembly in 1918, the revolution was actively creating a majority not statically reflecting the electoral balance at a given instant(69). However, it must be recognised that Trotsky did downplay the subjective factor and, in 1906 and for many years subsequently, failed to recognise the necessity for the centralised, disciplined, revolutionary party.
4. It was one of Trotsky’s great achievements that he grasped the impact of the world economy on Russia’s national, social and political life and was then able to develop a consequent practical approach to Russian politics, and elaborate an effective revolutionary strategy. With Lenin, Trotsky accepted the international context of the Russian Revolution but, more than Lenin in 1905, he posed the question of the character of that revolution in terms of the world-wide capitalist system and in this way rose above national restrictions. From this he rejected Lenin’s division between bourgeois and proletarian revolutions as not corresponding to Russian reality. The international situation, was an essential consideration in determining what form of state power should be the goal of the Russian revolutionary movement. Trotsky concluded that because of the weight of European capital in Russia, the huge superiority of foreign industry and its virtual domination of world markets, the lack of a radical agrarian revolution meant the Russian bourgeoisie would be unable to carry through any thorough-going industrialisation of its own.
It was the synthesis of these innovations which transformed them into something new and made Results and Prospects unique(70). Starting from a weak and largely foreign bourgeoisie, and a modern and exceptionally concentrated proletariat - Trotsky came to the conclusion that only the workers’ movement, supported by the peasantry, could accomplish the democratic revolution in Russia, by overthrowing the autocracy and the power of the landowners. The novelty of Permanent Revolution was not so much in its definition of the class leadership of the coming Russian Revolution (all SDs agreed that the proletariat would take the leading role in the armed struggle), than in its definition of the historic tasks (bourgeois-democratic or proletarian) to be undertaken. Trotsky’s novel contribution was the idea that the Russian proletarian revolution would carry through the bourgeois-democratic tasks more thoroughly than the bourgeoisie itself, and then transcend those limits and begin to take anti-capitalist measures with a clearly socialist content.
However, Trotsky warned that while the Russian socialist revolution would undoubtedly begin on national foundations, the maintenance of the proletarian revolution within a national framework could only be provisional. An isolated proletarian state must finally fall to imperialism. The way out for it lay in the victory of the proletariat of the advanced countries, an opinion that Lenin agreed with both in terms of the provisional RDDPP in 1905, and the dictatorship of the proletariat in 1917. It was this conclusion, which has now been proved correct, that was the main butt of Stalinist venom and the source of many slanders alleging Trotsky’s hostility to the Soviet Union. That it was also Lenin’s opinion was always conveniently ignored.
4.10 Which Class Would Lead the Revolution?
Lenin like Trotsky agreed on the likely counter-revolutionary role of the Russian bourgeois. Both agreed that the peasantry would not play an independent leading political role. However, Trotsky, more than Lenin, emphasised the reasons why:
“because of its dispersion, political backwardness, and especially of its deep inner contradictions which cannot be resolved within the framework of a capitalist system, the peasantry can only deal the old order some powerful blows from the rear, by spontaneous risings in the countryside, on the one hand, and by creating discontent within the army on the other. ... Because the town leads in modern society, only an urban class can play a leading role and because the bourgeoisie is not revolutionary (and the urban petty-bourgeoisie in any case is incapable of playing the part of sans-culottes), the conclusion remains that only the proletariat in its class struggle, placing the peasant masses under its revolutionary leadership, can carry the revolution to the end”(71).
Lenin would reinforce this idea of the town as the leader of modern society in The ... Renegade Kautsky(72) but, of course, that would be written a full year after the October Revolution, while Trotsky was writing twelve years before the October Revolution.
Both Lenin and Trotsky explained that only the working class, in alliance with the peasant masses, could carry out the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, and both agreed that the proletariat must assume the leadership of the armed struggle and would, at least initially in so far as it solved the agrarian question, have the support of the vast majority of the peasantry. Both agreed that the Social Democratic Party should participate in the revolutionary dictatorship and any subsequent government. To the extent that both Lenin and Trotsky considered the support of the mass of the peasants as essential for the success of the revolution, both placed the same qualitative emphasis on the peasantry. In 1917 both Lenin and Trotsky would see the key to gaining the necessary peasant support for the proletarian, socialist revolution as legitimising the peasants’ seizure of the land.
Neither Lenin nor Trotsky saw the worker-peasant alliance as an alliance of equals. But while Lenin presented the democratic dictatorship as being led by the proletariat whose actions would be constrained by the need to preserve the alliance, Trotsky presented the peasantry as being led by the proletariat which would inevitably carry out collectivist measures in its own interest(73).
In his article The Aim of the Proletarian Struggle in Our Revolution, Lenin reviewed the discussions in the RDSLP on the slogan of the provisional RDDPP. His debate was with Martov and other leading Mensheviks, and one issue was whether, in the alliance of workers and peasants, the joint actions were the activities of equals. Lenin was quite clear - the workers would lead the revolution assisted by the peasants. He pointed out that his unease with the phrase; the proletariat “relying on” the peasantry, as it could give the impression that the proletariat were the weaker party in the alliance, relying on a stronger peasantry. He favoured the phrase “the proletariat with the help of the peasantry”(74).
In 1906 Trotsky, while still in prison, wrote Our Tactics (a small pamphlet which was published by the Bolsheviks):
“The proletariat will be able to support itself upon the uprising of the village, and in the towns, the centres of political life, it will be able to carry through to a victorious conclusion the cause which it has been able to initiate. Supporting itself upon the elemental forces of the peasantry, and leading the latter, the proletariat will not only deal reaction the final triumphant blow, but it will also know how to secure the victory of the revolution” (75).
Trotsky’s use of such phrases as “supported by the peasantry”(76) may be considered as not qualitatively different from those of Lenin. What separated Lenin and Trotsky was not so much the degree and kind of peasant support needed by the proletariat, as the class nature of the state that would immediately follow the revolution. With armed power in the hands of the proletariat and the Social Democratic Party participating in the revolutionary dictatorship, Lenin’s and Trotsky’s analyses parted company.
Lenin argued that the proletariat, arms in hand, would lead the revolution in an alliance with the revolutionary peasantry, would implement the essential bourgeois-democratic tasks of solving the agrarian problem in a revolutionary manner (the provisional RDDPP), establish a Constituent Assembly, and then hand governmental and state power to the bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties in open, free elections.
Four months before the St Petersburg Soviet, Lenin denounced, in Two Tactics, the very conclusions that Trotsky would come to:
“... by making it the task of the provisional revolutionary government to put into effect the minimum programme, the resolution eliminated the absurd, semi-anarchist ideas about ... the conquest of power for a socialist revolution. The degree of economic development of Russia (an objective condition) and the degree of class consciousness and organisation of the broad masses of the proletariat (a subjective condition inseparably connected with the objective condition) make the immediate complete emancipation of the working class impossible. Only the most ignorant people can ignore the bourgeois nature of the democratic revolution which is now taking place; only the most naive optimists can forget how little as yet the masses of the workers are informed about the aims of Socialism and about the methods of achieving it. ... a socialist revolution is out of the question unless the masses become class conscious and organised, trained and educated in open class struggle against the entire bourgeoisie. In answer to the anarchist objections that we are putting off the socialist revolution, we say: we are not putting it off, but we are taking the first step towards it in the only possible way, along the only correct road, namely, the road of a democratic republic. Whoever wants to reach Socialism by a different road, other than that of political democracy, will inevitably arrive at conclusions that are absurd and reactionary both in the economic and the political sense. If any workers ask us at the given moment why we should not go ahead and carry out our maximum programme, we shall answer by pointing out how far the masses of the democratically-minded people still are from Socialism, how undeveloped class antagonisms still are, how unorganised the proletarians still are. ... in order to achieve this organisation, in order to spread this socialist enlightenment, we must achieve the fullest possible measure of democratic reforms”(77).
There is little ambiguity here: the workers’ party would seek to limit the revolution to the minimum demands (‘the three pillars’ - a democratic republic, confiscation of the landed estates, and an 8-hour working day) and, convinced of the general unpreparedness of society for socialism, would dissuade the workers from pressing their maximum demands. The idea that the workers’ party should immediately struggle for socialism, was “absurd” but in any case, it was “impossible” that the Social Democratic Party would be a majority in the revolutionary government.
The purpose of the coalition of the proletariat and the peasantry in a bourgeois revolution, was to democratise economic and political relations within the limits of private ownership of the means of production. Lenin saw the low level of productive forces objectively barring any immediate transition to the hegemony of the armed working class. His answer to why should the working class restrict its demands, was to make a distinction of principle between the socialist revolution led by the armed proletariat, and the revolutionary democratic (i.e. bourgeois) revolution led by the armed proletariat. If the attempt to achieve a socialist revolution would inevitably be defeated, it was necessary for the proletariat, having achieved power together with the peasantry, to agree that its dictatorship would be merely “democratic”. The contradiction between the proletariat’s self interests and the bourgeois limitations of the revolution would be solved by raising the proletariat’s consciousness to such an extent that it would accept the political limitation imposed upon it by its SD leaders, in order to retain the mass of peasants as collaborators or co-dictators. This self-limitation would be the result of the proletariat’s own party, the SDs, having the necessary theoretical awareness to limit its demand to those acceptable within the limits imposed by private ownership of the means of production - the minimum demands.
Trotsky’s response in Our Differences was founded on the actuality of the St Petersburg Soviet and the lessons learned. He pointed out that the proletariat, despite the best intentions of its leaders, had ignored the formal boundary which confined it to a democratic dictatorship. Arguing by analogy, Trotsky drew upon the events at the end of 1905, and the factory owners’ response to the (minimum programme) demand for the 8-hour day: the shutting down of factories and plants. He explained that with a revolutionary democratic (bourgeois) dictatorship, the factory owners would believe they were secure in their actions because the response of the proletariat would be constrained by that democratic dictatorship. Trotsky then asked the question which exposed Lenin’s schema to reality: Initially the revolutionary government would be a workers’ government, and what would that do when faced with factory and plant closures? and answered, “It must re-open them and resume production at the government’s expense. But is that not the way to socialism? Of course it is. What other way do you suggest?”(78). Whatever Lenin predicted, Trotsky’s experience told him that a revolutionary dictatorship in Russia would be a government dominated by workers who would not restrict their actions to what was acceptable to the factory owners.
Trotsky elaborated this point by asking whether the alliance with peasant representatives or peasant parties, would refuse state support for those workers striking for the 8-hour day, or publicly-funded work for those laid off by the factory owners. Would the peasant parties oppose the government opening of factories closed down by the owners and the commencement of production under workers’ control? If so, Trotsky concluded, then very early in the coalition the proletariat would enter into conflict with the revolutionary government.
What hope was there for the success of the Russian Revolution? The hegemonic role of the working-class meant the growing over and intermingling of the democratic revolution into the socialist revolution, but the ToPR never suggested that Russia could be carried straight into socialism. Trotsky was convinced that the working class would play the leading role in the Russian Revolution, and would then be confronted with the objective problem of taking the first steps towards socialism. These measures would very rapidly conflict with the country’s economic backwardness. The reality of the victory of the revolution would be the transfer of power into the hands of a party that enjoyed the support of the armed urban population, but Trotsky saw socialism as unattainable in a predominantly peasant country within the framework of a national revolution. Trotsky cut the Gordian knot: the workers’ government would have to unite its forces with those of the socialist proletariat of Western Europe. This was the only realistic way its temporary revolutionary hegemony could develop into a socialist dictatorship(80).
Here, again, is the symmetry in the analysis and predictions of both men seen in the previous chapter. Lenin had predicted a counter-revolutionary upsurge by the liberal bourgeoisie, the well-to-do peasants and a section of the middle peasants with the proletariat fighting to retain its democratic gains(79). Trotsky now went further, and drew the conclusion that dictatorship by coalition would not work, and foresaw a counter-revolutionary upsurge by the liberal bourgeoisie, the well-to-do peasants and a section of the middle peasants with the proletariat fighting to retain its socialist gains. Neither model allowed for the possibility that the vast majority of the peasantry might be so grateful for the solution of the agrarian problem, and so preoccupied with implementing it, that it would accede to the demands of the working class and defend a proletarian state against the restoration of the landlords.
Lenin drew the conclusion that the RDSLP (a minority in the RDDPP) should limit itself to its minimum demands, and only the victory of the proletariat in the West would protect Russia from Tsarist restoration and secure the possibility of a socialist transformation: “The European workers will show us ‘how to do it’, and then together with them we shall bring about the socialist revolution”(81).
It can be seen that Trotsky and Lenin had crucial differences on the social character of the revolutionary dictatorship which would be brought to power in the Russian Revolution. In 1905, Lenin correctly indicated the general direction of the struggle, but failed to predict the rate with which it would progress after the overthrow of the autocracy and the taking of power by the urban proletariat, and thus failed to recognise its class nature. This inadequacy was not revealed because the 1905 revolution was defeated.
Lenin publicly attacked Trotsky’s ideas on the ToPR some two years before the October Revolution, in On the Two Lines in the Revolution. Here he spends two pages of a six page article, replying to The Struggle for Power written by Trotsky and published in Nashe Slovo, 17 October 1915(82). In his article Lenin used a description of Trotsky’s ToPR that was to become famous:
“From the Bolsheviks Trotsky ... has borrowed their call for a decisive proletarian revolutionary struggle and for the conquest of political power by the proletariat, while from the Mensheviks [he] has borrowed ‘repudiation’ of the peasantry’s role”(83).
In fact, Trotsky had (correctly) pointed out that the capacity of the Russian peasantry for independent political activity as an estate had declined even further as it had become increasingly socially differentiated since 1905: the overthrow of Tsarism would not be the result of an independent revolutionary uprising of the peasantry “as a whole”. Nor would Tsarism be overthrown by an alliance between labour and the bourgeoisie, it would be overthrown by a revolution led by the proletariat whose allies would (initially) be the peasantry as an estate, but in the long term would be the landless labourers and semi-proletarians in the villages(84). Superficially, this scenario may appear to be much the same as Lenin’s. The difference, however, was crucial: what would be the class nature of the state resulting from the revolution? For Trotsky the alliance with the peasantry as a whole would follow the revolutionary seizure of state power by the urban workers. We shall see later that this is just the realisation that Lenin came to in 1917, during and after the October Revolution.
In 1915, Lenin argued that if Trotsky believed that in the era of imperialism, a Russian “national” revolution was impossible (that is the bourgeois-democratic revolution could only succeed if the proletariat seized power), then Russia faced a socialist revolution and Trotsky should have been calling not for a revolutionary workers’ government, but for a workers’ socialist government(85). Of course, the ToPR did not differentiate between the two in this way, and in that lay one of its great strengths - the former would necessarily include the first steps towards the latter.
The distinction Lenin made between a workers’ revolutionary, and a workers’ socialist government gives the distinct impression that he confused the positions of Trotsky and Parvus. This is confirmed because Lenin went on to say “Trotsky has not realised that if the proletariat induce the non-proletarian masses to confiscate the landed estates and overthrow the monarchy, then that will be the consummation of the ‘national bourgeois revolution’ in Russia; it will be a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry!”(86). The implication was that the class nature of the regime necessary to solve the land question, was of little real consequence, confirming that Lenin was not familiar with the ToPR. Interestingly, within two years Lenin, himself, would be calling for the socialist October Revolution and the transfer of all state power to the proletariat.
Lenin, in the final of paragraph of this article, repeats his perspective that it would require an alliance of the Russian and Western European proletariat to bring about a Russian socialist revolution:
“The proletariat are fighting, and will fight valiantly, to win power, for a republic, for the confiscation of the land, i.e. to win over the peasantry, make full use of their revolutionary powers, and get the “non-proletarian masses of the people” to take part in liberating bourgeois Russia from military-feudal “imperialism” (tsarism). The proletariat will at once utilise this ridding of bourgeois Russia of tsarism and the rule of the landowners ... to bring about the socialist revolution in alliance with the proletarians of Europe”(87).
We should examine Lenin’s proposition. Was he saying the Russian workers would lead the revolution, arms in hand, would at once attempt to ally with the European proletariat to bring about the socialist revolution in Russia, without itself taking the first steps for this very purpose? Or was he saying the Russian proletariat would lead the revolution, arms in hand, would at once attempt to ally with the European proletariat to bring about the socialist revolution in Russia and, simultaneously, itself take the first steps for this very purpose? Reader make up your own mind - but the latter scenario had no principled differences with the ToPR!
In either case, however, the limits previously imposed on RDSLP participation in the RDDPP (specifically the impossibility of being in a majority and restricting its demands to the minimum programme), are now put in serious doubt. It could be argued that this article, while on the face of it being a criticism of Trotsky and the ToPR, was in fact an early indication that Lenin was prepared to reconsider the RDDPP and the role of SDs within it.
The analyses of the two men, as they stood at that time, were shown in their writings on the 1916 Easter Rebellion in Ireland. It is possible to find Trotsky’s Lessons of the Events in Dublin juxtaposed with a section from Lenin’s The Discussion on Self-determination Summed Up(88), as though one was a reply to the other, in an effort to imply political differences between the two men on issues current today(89). Both Lenin and Trotsky condemned the British imperialists’ execution of the heroic defenders of the Dublin barricades and demanded self-determination for Ireland.
Lenin defended the uprising as a blow delivered against the English imperialist bourgeoisie, a symptom of the general crisis of imperialism that he expected to lead to revolutions across Europe. Within the context of his support for a genuinely revolutionary nationalist movement, he simultaneously emphasised that it was a premature revolutionary outburst by a section of the urban petty bourgeoisie supported by elements of the workers movement that had yet to find its real, socialist, leaders. Lenin presented this analysis of the Easter uprising in the context of his debate with Rosa Luxemburg on the national question, and so he was concerned with emphasising its revolutionary potential, thus this “article” contained no mention of the failure of the uprising to gain the support of the Irish peasantry.
It was left to Trotsky, who had supposedly “repudiated” the necessity of an alliance with the revolutionary peasantry, to criticise the uprising, specifically, for taking place in a situation where it did not have, and was unlikely to gain, peasant support. Trotsky, just as Lenin, also criticised the uprising because it was led not by socialist, proletarian elements, but petty bourgeois. The workers had allowed the “ascendancy of the green flag over the red”90. Of course, for Trotsky this meant that the workers should have had a strategy for moving uninterruptedly to the dictatorship of the proletariat instead of stopping at the national, bourgeois revolution.
However, we now have some ninety years since the Easter Rebellion and can trace the historic direction taken by the forces involved. How far even the most radical current amongst the nationalists has moved towards becoming part of the governmental structure of the English imperialist state was made clear when, on 25 July 2005, the Irish Republican Army officially decommissioned its weaponry and Sinn Fein, at a national gathering on 28 January 2007, endorsed co-operation with the power of the state (the Police Service of Northern Ireland). Clearly, the analyses proposed by both men agreed on one key fundamental: without a socialist perspective and leadership, even the most radical trend amongst the rebels could become a component part of the British state structure. In 1916, of course, Lenin had not yet made his transition to a permanentist perspective, and this was a serious gap in his comments on the Easter Rebellion.
4.11 Comparison with the Revolutionary Democratic Dictatorship
Until Trotsky proposed the ToPR in 1906, backward countries, such as Russia, which had not passed through the bourgeois-democratic revolution, were supposed to follow the path of America, England, France and Germany: the primary tasks facing Russian revolutionaries were seen as ending Tsarism, ending feudal relations on the land, and the establishment of a Constituent Assembly(91). For example, even Lenin, in one of his major works of this period, Development of Capitalism in Russia(92), concentrated on what was classical in the development of capitalism in Russia.
There has been a long-standing tendency amongst the supporters of Trotsky to minimise the differences between Lenin’s theory of the provisional RDDPP and the ToPR. Apparently, the first to make this argument explicitly was Karl Radek who was not present in Russia for the October Revolution but who, according to Trotsky in Permanent Revolution, “more than once intended to write a pamphlet dedicated to proving the idea that the theory of the Permanent Revolution and Lenin’s slogan of the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, taken on an historical scale ... were ... essentially the same”(93). Many Trotskyists, e.g. Ted Grant, former leader of the Militant Tendency in the UK Labour Party, in reply to Stalinist attempts to magnify the differences between Lenin and Trotsky, naturally emphasised the similarities between the two theories(94).
Let us follow Grant’s lead: as we have seen, both theories agreed on many of the fundamental questions of the revolution; the counter-revolutionary role of the bourgeoisie, the need for an alliance of workers and peasants to carry through the democratic revolution, the international significance of the revolution, and so on. Both Lenin and Trotsky considered it essential that the proletariat participate in, and lead, the revolution, and play a leading role in any revolutionary dictatorship that would eradicate feudal forms. Both agreed that the revolutionary gains could be preserved only if the revolution extended to Western Europe; that socialism in Russia could occur only after the socialist revolution in Western Europe. Incidentally, we shall see later that it is precisely these similarities that form the basis of claims that the Bolshevik regime after October 1917 was the RDDPP and not the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Notwithstanding efforts to reconcile the two theories, it must be recognised that from 1905 until early 1917, a major difference between Trotsky and Lenin was their characterisation of the class nature of the state resulting from the coming revolution in Russia, the class nature of the revolutionary dictatorship that would carry through the bourgeois tasks of the revolution: for Lenin this would be the bourgeois-democratic RDDPP, while for Trotsky it would be the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Lenin was clear that the outcome of the Russian Revolution would be to introduce a bourgeois state with a bourgeois form of government. Trotsky predicted that the necessary state framework within which the alliance between proletariat and the peasants would carry through the bourgeois-democratic revolution, would be a dictatorship of the proletariat.
Trotsky criticised Lenin’s formulation for its vagueness; there would be a two-class dictatorship which would be led by the proletariat, even though its party, the RDSLP, would be a minority in the governing body of the RDDPP, but it was not clear which class would exercise the dictatorship. The implication was, of course that the working class would lead, but would simultaneously limit its actions to what was acceptable to the peasantry as a whole. Lenin’s vagueness may have been intentional as the formula for the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry contained a number of variables that would have to be filled in by the revolution itself.
However, the Bolshevik idea of a proletariat in power, whether in an alliance or not, imposing bourgeois-democratic limitations on itself meant that there was a potentially anti-revolutionary aspect to Bolshevism. But unlike Menshevism, which was openly opportunistic before the revolution, Bolshevism would show its possible anti-revolutionary face only after the Tsar was overthrown and during the revolutionary dictatorship. That it was possible for the Marxist Party to perform such an anti-revolutionary role was confirmed in 1927, when the Chinese Communist Party followed the instructions of the Comintern and disarmed its militia, handing over its weapons to the Kuomintang, only to be massacred weeks later.
When one considers the profound implications of Trotsky’s development of Marxist theory, one can better appreciate his attitude to both the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. For Trotsky, what determined his attitude to all tendencies within the RDSLP was their perspective, their programme. The Bolshevik leadership in Russia in 1905 had opposed participation in the Soviets, but while indicative, this was of less importance than whether or not their political programme was based on a correct assessment of the world forces that would determine the evolution and fate of the Russian Revolution. From this standpoint, Trotsky, particularly in Our Differences, was justifiably critical of the programme and orientation of the Bolsheviks .
Lenin’s and Trotsky’s views summarised. Lenin and Trotsky agreed that:
1. A bourgeoisie which arrives late on the scene is fundamentally different from its predecessors. It is incapable of providing a consistent, democratic, revolutionary solution to the problems posed by feudalism and is incapable of carrying out the thoroughgoing destruction of feudalism and achieving real political democracy. It has ceased to be revolutionary and is an absolutely conservative force.
2. The decisive revolutionary role falls to the proletariat, even though it may be very young and small in number.
3. Incapable of independent action, the geographically dispersed and socially heterogeneous Russian peasants would follow the towns and, if won to a revolutionary perspective, will follow the leadership of the industrial proletariat.
4. Revolution in Russia would lead to convulsions in the advanced European countries. The inevitable backlash in Russia itself will be defeated, and the gains of the revolution retained and extended, only with the support and aid of the workers in Western Europe. Russian workers would use all their resources to spread the revolution to the rest of Europe as rapidly as possible.
5. ‘The final victory of socialism in Russia is, of course, ‘impossible’(95), it is ‘inconceivable’(96), a reactionary, narrow dream. The socialist revolution is completed only with the victory of a new society ‘in all lands’ on the planet(97).
Where Lenin and Trotsky differed was on whether the socialist revolution in Russia could take place only with/after the socialist revolution in Europe (Lenin) or whether the socialist revolution in Russia could precede the socialist revolution in Europe, but could not be completed until after the socialist revolution in Europe.(Trotsky).
Lenin also argued that the solution to the key agrarian question (end of feudal relations on the land) would be achieved by a dictatorship, the RDDPP, a class alliance of proletariat and peasantry which would carry through the bourgeois-democratic revolution in a most thoroughgoing manner to the advantage of the proletariat, clearing the way for the struggle for socialism. This alliance of workers and peasants would take the form of Soviets. SDs would participate in the revolutionary dictatorship but there was no question of a SD only dictatorship, or even of a SD majority in the RDDPP. The Soviets would ensure the fair and free election of a Constituent Assembly resting on a bourgeois-democratic state.
In opposition to this Trotsky’s position was that a consistent solution to the key agrarian question (end of feudal relations on the land) would be achieved by a dictatorship, but the policy and programme of which would be determined by its proletarian elements. The resulting governmental form would have representation from all the revolutionary petty bourgeois elements, especially the peasantry, but would rest on the dictatorship of the proletariat. The priority of the regime would be to abolish feudalism, but simultaneously it would have to take the first steps towards collectivisation, moving beyond the bounds of bourgeois private property at the same time as it carried through the remaining bourgeois-democratic tasks.
1. Trotsky, L.D., Our Differences in 1905 Vintage Books, New York, 1972, p299-318
2. Knei-Paz, B., The Social and Political Thought of Leon Trotsky, Clarendon Press Oxford, 1978, p5
3. Woods, A., Bolshevism the Road to Revolution, Wellred Publications, London, 1999, p162
4. Trotsky, L.D., On the Road to the Second Duma in Journal of Trotsky Studies No 2, 1994, p62-63. - Note Lenin was to use a similar analogy in Left-Wing Communism - an Infantile Disorder, when he likened Communist support for the Labour leaders to a rope that supports a hanged man CW 31:88)
5. Deutscher, I., The Prophet Armed, Oxford Paperbacks, 1954, p88 - 97
6. Knei-Paz, B., op cit p34-38
7. Trotsky, L.D., Our Differences in 1905 Vintage Books, New York, 1972, vi
8. Trotsky, L.D., My Life Penguin Books, 1984, p171-2
9. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962
10. Knei-Paz, B., op cit p153
11. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p212
12. Trotsky, L.D., Our Differences in 1905 Vintage Books, New York, 1972, p299-318
13. White, J.D. Lenin The Practice and Theory of Revolution, Palgrave, 2001, p10
14. See the introduction to Permanent Revolution written in 1928 and the introduction to the 1919 reprint of Results and Prospects (both in one volume, New Park Publications, 1962).
15. Marx, K. and Engels, F., Address to the Central Committee Communist League (March 1850) MESW, Vol 1 p107
16. Marx, K. and Engels, F., Ibid, p110
17. Engels, F., The Campaign for the German Imperial Constitution, April 1850, www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1850/german-imperial/ch04.htm)
18. Engels, F., Letter to Joseph Weydmeyer 12th April 1853 MECW Vol 39 p303
19. Trotsky, L.D., My Life Penguin Books, 1984, p194
20. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p175
21. Trotsky, L.D., 1905, Vintage Books, New York, 1972, p6
22. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p176
23. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid p181 - 182
24. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid p180
25. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid p181
26. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid p181
27. Thatcher, I. D., Trotsky, Routledge, London and New York, 2003, p23-24
28. Trotsky, L.D., 1905, Vintage Books, New York, 1972, p48
29. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p48
30. Lenin, V.I., What the ‘Friends of the People’ Are, 1894, CW 1:300
31. Engels, F., Revolution and Counter Revolution in Germany,
32. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p190
33. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p192
34. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p192-193
35. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p193
36. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p194
37. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p194-195
38. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p197
39. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p197
40. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p198
41. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p198
42. Trotsky, L.D., Kautsky on the Russian Revolution, Journal of Trotsky Studies No 2 1994, p200-223
43. Lowy, M., The Politics of Combined and Uneven Development, Verso, London, 1981, p37
44. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p200
45. Trotsky, L.D., 1905, Vintage Books, New York, 1972, p55
46. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p201
47. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p203
48. Trotsky, L.D., Ibid, p203
49. Stalin, J., The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists, FLPH Peking, 1976, p 124
50. Woods, A. and Grant, T., Lenin and Trotsky:What They Really Stood For, Wellred Publications, London, 1976, p69
51. Knei-Paz, B., The Social and Political Thought of Leon Trotsky, Clarendon Press Oxford, 1978, p21
52. Trotsky, L.D., Permanent Revolution, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p63
53. Deutscher, I., op cit, p113-114
54. Lowy, M., The Politics of Combined and Uneven Development, Verso, London, 1981, p41. Lenin supports this analysis of Parvus’ having an essentially reformist perspective in Revolutionary Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry, March 1905, CW 8:298
55. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p236
56. Lenin, V.I., The Stages, the Trend and the Prospects of the Revolution, 1905/06, CW 10:89
57. Marx, K., The Civil War in France, www.marxists.org/ archive/marx/works/ 1871/civil-war-france/index.htm)
58. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p232
59. Trotsky, L.D., ibid, p237-247
60. Lenin, V.I., The Stages, the Trend and the Prospects of the Revolution, 1905/06, CW 10:89
61. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p246
62. Lowy, M., The Relevance of Permanent Revolution, International Viewpoint Oct 2000,
63. Mandel, E., Trotsky: A Study in the Dynamic of His Thought, NLB, London, 1979, p12 -14
64. Trotsky, L.D., Stalin, Hollis and Carter, London, 1947, p422-423
65. Zinoviev, G., History of the Bolshevik Party, New Park Publications, London, 1973
66. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p169-177
67. Lenin, V.I., From a Publicist’s Diary, Aug 1917, CW 25:278-286
68. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p195
69. Trotsky, L.D., Terrorism and Communism, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1921, p43
70. Thatcher, I. D., Trotsky, Routledge, London and New York, 2003, p38
71. Trotsky, L.D., 1905 Vintage Books, New York, 1972, p312
72. Lenin, V.I., The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, Oct-Nov 1918, CW 28:227-325
73. Cliff, T.C., Lenin: Building the Party, Pluto Press, 1975, p201- 204
74. Lenin, V.I., The Aim of the Proletariat in Our Revolution, March 1909, CW 15:368
75. Quoted in Woods, A. and Grant, T., Lenin and Trotsky: What They Really Stood For, Wellred Publications, London, 1976
76. In his July 1905 preface to Lassalle’s Speech before a Jury Trotsky wrote “the dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the peasantry”, quoted in Trotsky, L.D., 1905 Vintage Books, New York, 1972, p310
77. Lenin, V.I., Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, June-July 1905 CW 9:28
78. Trotsky, L.D., 1905 Vintage Books, New York, 1972, p315
79. Lenin, V.I., The Stages, the Trend and the Prospects of the Revolution, 1905/06, CW 10:89
80. Trotsky, L.D., 1905 Vintage Books, New York, 1972, p317-318
81. Lenin, V.I., The Stages, the Trend and the Prospects of the Revolution, 1905/06, CW 10:92
82. Trotsky, L.D., 1905 Vintage Books, New York, 1972, p319-325
83. Lenin, V.I., On the Two Lines in the Revolution, Nov 1915 CW 21:419
84. Trotsky, L.D., The Lessons of the Great Year, originally published in New York Jan. 20th 1917, available on www.
85. Lenin, V.I., On the Two Lines in the Revolution, Nov 1915 CW 21:419
86. Lenin, V.I., Ibid, CW 21:420
87. Lenin, V.I., Ibid, CW 21:420
88. Lenin, V.I., The Discussion on Self-determination Summed Up, July 1916, CW 22:353-358
89. See New International Vol 1 No 1 pp 149-156
90. Trotsky, L.D., Lessons of the Events in Dublin, originally published 4 July 1916, New International, Vol 1, No 1., pp149-151.
91. Mandel, E., Trotsky: A Study in the Dynamic of his Thought, NLB, London, 1979, p15.
92. Lenin, V.I. Development of Capitalism in Russia, 1899, CW 3:21-607
93. Trotsky, L.D., Permanent Revolution, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p40-41
94. Woods, A. and Grant, T., Lenin and Trotsky: What They Really Stood For, Wellred Publications, London, 1976,
95. Lenin, V.I., Report on the Activities of the Council of People’s Commissars, Jan 1918, CW 26:470
96. Lenin, V.I., Speech on the International Situation, Nov. 1918, CW 28:151
97. Lenin, V.I., Speech at a Joint Plenum of the Moscow Soviet of Workers’. Peasants’ and Red Army Deputies, Nov 1920, CW 31:399.