While the WRP leadership again refused a discussion and threatened a split, within barely more than a year an internal crisis ripped their organization apart, leading all factions of the old leadership to break from the IC and repudiate Trotskyism. But perhaps he modified his views after power had been taken, after 1917? Trotsky explained that, if it was indeed the case that socialism could be achieved in Russia regardless of what happened to the socialist revolution elsewhere in the world, the Soviet Union would turn from a revolutionary internationalist policy to a purely defensist one. Against this conception, Trotsky established that the struggle against imperialism, which enjoyed myriad ties to the native bourgeoisie, only intensified the class struggle. I cannot tell; nor, I think, can anyone tell. in its Reply to the letter of the Leningrad Provincial Party Conference: Recently, in the Political Bureau, Kamenev and Zinoviev advocated the point of view that we cannot cope with the internal difficulties owing to our technical and economic backwardness unless an international revolution comes to our rescue. The Left vs. The permanent character of this revolution lay in the fact that the working class, having taken power, could not limit itself to democratic tasks, but would be compelled to carry out measures of a socialist character. Initially, the idea of economic development within isolated circumstances was conceptualised by Nikolai Bukharin, but it would later be mentioned in a pamphlet by Stalin, The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists (1924).12 This outlook expressed the definite material interests of a bureaucracy that emerged as the administrator of the social inequality that persisted as a consequence of the economic backwardness and isolation that plagued the first workers state. This betrayal unfolded in the midst of Trotsky’s struggle against Stalin’s retrograde theory and provided a grim confirmation of his warning that it could only lead to catastrophic defeats for the international working class. The imperialist war (of 1914-1918) was one of the expressions of this fact. (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. The essential theoretical issues that arose in the struggle over these two opposed perspectives were not only fought out by Trotsky against the Stalinist bureaucracy in the latter half of the 1920s, but have reemerged as the subject of repeated struggles within the Fourth International itself. The campaign against permanent revolution was a necessary expression of the growth of nationalism within the Bolshevik Party and the beginning of the reaction against the October Revolution, which had been carried out based upon this theory. In the course of the split in 1985, it was Cliff Slaughter who championed the national autonomy of the British section, rejecting the necessity of subordinating the factional struggle within the WRP to the clarification and building of the world party. To overthrow the bourgeoisie the efforts of one country are sufficient—the history of our revolution bears this out. Thus, the New York Times published a special report by its ineffable Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty in June 1931, stating, “The essential feature of ‘Stalinism,’ which sharply defines its advance and difference from Leninism...is that it frankly aims at the successful establishment of socialism in one country without waiting for world revolution. It is no use building Socialism without being sure that we can build it, without being sure that the technical backwardness of our country is not an insuperable obstacle to the building of complete Socialist society. Trotsky denounced this approach as doubly wrong. 39, 89. And what does it mean to “organize Socialist production”? They're not one size fits all. I assert further that in this most important question of the victory of Socialism Zinoviev has gone counter to the definite decisions of our Party, as registered in the well-known resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference On the Tasks of the Communist International and of the Communist Party of Russia in Connection with the Enlarged Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International. He asks: “Is it possible for us, surrounded as we are on all sides by capitalist enemies, to build Socialism in one country under such conditions?” And he answers: “On the basis of all that has been said we have a right to say not only that we are building Socialism, but that in spite of the fact that for the time being we are alone, that for the time being we are the only Soviet country, the only Soviet state in the world, we shall complete the building of Socialism.” (Kursk Pravda, No. The imperishable brilliance of this analysis is even clearer today—given the ever-closer global integration of capitalism, to which we have paid such close attention in the development of the IC’s perspective. Source: I. V. Stalin, Problems of Leninism (Moscow: Foreign Language Publishers, 1934), pp. In countries like Russia with a belated capitalist development, integration into the world capitalist economy and the growth of the working class made it impossible for the bourgeoisie to carry through the tasks associated with the bourgeois revolution. We also believe that the view held by Kamenev and Zinoviev expresses lack of faith in the intrinsic forces of our working class and of the peasant masses who follow its lead. In 1982, the Workers League initiated a struggle within the International Committee, developing an extensive critique of the WRP’s political degeneration, at the center of which was the issue of permanent revolution. Instead, it attributed to at least elements of these political tendencies a potential revolutionary role. - It seemed defeatest and suggested that Russia was not strong enough to stand alone - It seemed as if it could lead to war - … Applied to China, this method analyzed the national revolution in isolation from the world revolution. Trotsky rejected both conceptions, insisting that the character of the Chinese revolution was determined by the world development of capitalism, which, as in Russia in 1917, posed the taking of power by the working class as the only means of solving the revolution’s national and democratic tasks. How did Messrs. the Social-Democrats try to scare the workers away from us? Trotsky and the Left Opposition had put forward a detailed proposal for developing heavy industry, warning that without a growth of the industrial sector, there was a serious danger that the growth of capitalist relations in the countryside would undermine the foundations of socialism. “In our epoch,” he wrote, “which is the epoch of imperialism, i.e., of world economy and world politics under the hegemony of finance capital, not a single communist party can establish its program by proceeding solely or mainly from conditions and tendencies of developments in its own country. One or the other must triumph in the end. To aim at building a nationally isolated socialist society means, in spite of all passing successes, to pull the productive forces backward even as compared with capitalism. I think it would be difficult to express oneself more clearly. This … This fundamental shift in the strategic axis of the party’s program was accompanied by a wholesale replacement of the old leaderships within both the Comintern and the national sections. As Trotsky summed up his theory in the 1939 article “Three Conceptions of the Russian Revolution”: “The complete victory of the democratic revolution in Russia is inconceivable otherwise than in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat basing itself on the peasantry. That means that if the ruling class, the proletariat, wants to hold sway, it must prove its capacity to do so by military organization also. He means that the proletariat of the victorious country, having seized power, can and must organize Socialist production. The starkest manifestation is a population implosion—in the last 10 years the population of Russia alone has dropped by 9.5 million, despite the many thousands of Russians returning from former Soviet republics. Start studying Permanent revolution vs socialism in one country. In 1929, Trotsky wrote The Permanent Revolution, in which he explicitly counterposes Stalin's theory of "socialism in one country" with his internationalist perspective of … In the aftermath of the defeat, he himself was expelled from the party in November 1927 and banished to Alma Ata on the Russo-Chinese border several months later. “Such, on the whole, are the characteristic features of the Leninist theory of the proletarian revolution.”, Before the end of that year, however, Stalin’s “Foundations of Leninism” would be reissued in a revised edition. In the first edition of the book Osnovy Leninizma (Foundations of Leninism, 1924), Stalin was still a follower of Lenin's idea that revolution in one country is insufficient. And as these tasks cannot be solved in one country alone, especially not in a backward country, this would be the beginning of the world revolution. Speaking generally, one may assume that the resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference also contains certain errors. This turn toward national communism was a shift from the previously held position by classical Marxism that socialism must be established globally. The response of the WRP leadership, which at the time still enjoyed immense authority within the IFCI by dint of its previous struggles for Trotskyism, was not a political defense of its policies, but a threat of an immediate organizational split. I assert that on this most important question of building Socialism Zinoviev is deserting Leninism and slipping to the standpoint of the Menshevik Sukhanov. The passage I just quoted was replaced with its opposite, affirming that the “proletariat can and must build the socialist society in one country,” followed by the very same assurance that this constituted the “Leninist theory of proletarian revolution.”. “As a matter of fact,” [says Lenin] the power of state over all large-scale means of production, the power of state in the hands of the proletariat, the alliance of this proletariat with the many millions of small and very small peasants, the assured leadership of the peasantry by the proletariat, etc. Combined, these theories constituted a perspective for the liquidation of the cadre historically assembled on the basis of the revolutionary perspective elaborated and fought for by Leon Trotsky in founding the Fourth International. To grasp the significance of this split, it is necessary to understand the struggle that gave rise to the International Committee. And by the victory of Socialism in one country Zinoviev means the sort of Socialist construction which cannot and should not lead to the complete building of Socialism. What do we mean by the impossibility of the complete, final victory of Socialism in one country without the victory of the revolution in other countries? Those like Stalin who denounced Trotsky in 1924 for failing to believe that Russia could build “socialism in one country” had between 1905 and 1917 condemned him as a utopian for asserting that the Russian proletariat could come to power before the workers of Western Europe. Trotsky fought for a faster tempo of industrial growth in order to counter this pressure, while at the same time he rejected the conception of an economic autarky. Russia, they insisted at the time, was too backward. Stalin was able to impose the Menshevik policy on China—against the will of the Chinese Communist Party, which was instructed to restrain both the workers in the city as well as the agrarian revolution in the countryside. In addition to the split in the IC, this year also marks the twentieth anniversary of Mikhail Gorbachev’s initiation of the program of perestroika. He wrote: “The draft program forgets the fundamental thesis of the incompatibility between the present productive forces and the national boundaries, from which it follows that highly developed productive forces are by no means a lesser obstacle to the construction of socialism in one country than low productive forces, although for the reverse reason, namely, that while the latter are insufficient to serve as the basis, it is the basis which will prove inadequate for the former.”. We, however, with the majority of the members of the Central Committee, think that we can build Socialism, are building it, and will complete it, notwithstanding our technical backwardness and in spite of it. Eight decades later, the implications of the struggle between the theory of permanent revolution and socialism in one country are plain to see. The struggle waged by Trotsky against the theory of socialism in one country provided a profound analysis of the causes of the reaction against October and its significance for the international working class, in the process elaborating a comprehensive program for the building of the world party of socialist revolution. You see that Lenin’s lucid thesis in comparison with Zinoviev’s muddled and anti-Leninist “thesis” that we can engage in building Socialism “within the limits of one country,” although it is impossible to build it, is as different from the latter as the sky from the earth. In 1963, it fell to the leadership of the British section, then the Socialist Labour League, to prosecute the struggle against the American Socialist Workers Party’s reunification with the Pabloites. Why was Permanent Revolution unpopular? This was to take place on the basis of an agreement that the petty-bourgeois nationalist guerrilla movement of Fidel Castro had established a workers state in Cuba, thereby supposedly proving that non-proletarian forces could lead a socialist revolution. T he object of the present essay is to examine one area of the debate recently engaged in nlr between Nicolas Krassó and Ernest Mandel—the question of ‘Socialism in One Country’. The essential political principles that flowed from this perspective—proletarian internationalism and the political independence of the working class—were rejected by the Pabloites in their adaptation to Stalinism and bourgeois nationalism. To deny such possibility is to display lack of faith in the cause of building Socialism, to abandon Leninism. In the regional elections, despite ruthless weeding out of Opposition supporters by Stalin’s appointed secretaries, 36 percent of the vote still went to the Opposition. Before Lenin’s death in 1924, no one in the leadership of the Communist Party, either in the Soviet Union or internationally, had ever suggested the idea that a self-sufficient socialist society could be built on Soviet soil or anywhere else. Hence, the victory of Socialism is possible, first in several or even in one capitalist country, taken singly. To counter this pressure, the Soviet state established a monopoly of foreign trade. The conception of “building socialism in a single country” originated not in Russia, but in Germany, where it was propagated by the right-wing Bavarian social democrat Georg von Vollmar. Therefore, the working class could not fight for political power. The theory held that given the defeat of all the communist revolutions in Europe in 1917–1923 except Russia, the Soviet Union should begin to strengthen itself internally. The political tendency that was breaking with Trotskyism reproduced the nationalist outlook that characterized Stalinism from its origins, while those defending the historically developed perspective of the Fourth International did so from the standpoint of internationalism. If it were otherwise, Lenin’s call for seizure of power by the proletariat in October 1917 would be incomprehensible. These sections will be dealing with the Marxist-Leninist position on socialism in one country against the Trotskyist position of "Permanent Revolution". The Stalin leadership defined the Guomindang as a “bloc of four classes” consisting of the working class, the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie. Sometimes they contain mistakes. Permanent Revolution vs. Socialism in One Country . Let us turn to his pamphlet On Cooperation, written in 1923. The New Opposition is offended because Zinoviev is accused of lacking faith in the victory of Socialist construction in our country. It is characteristic that Zinoviev and Kamenev found no arguments against the grave accusation directed against them by the Moscow Committee of our Party.