Thread: Trotsky: counterrevolutionary?

Results 1 to 20 of 128

  1. #1
    Join Date Sep 2012
    Location Riverside, CA
    Posts 6
    Organisation
    Party for Socialism and Liberation
    Rep Power 0

    Default Trotsky: counterrevolutionary?

    I hear a lot from anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninists that Trotsky was an "opportunist," "counter-revolutionary," and even that he was opposed to the USSR's existence -- but that's all I hear, just strong criticisms but little evidence.

    I'm guessing most of us know that Trotsky was critical of Stalin's era, but from the work of Trotsky I've read thus far, he supported the existence of the USSR and even praised certain characteristics of it under Stalin. Do any anti-Trotskyism tendencies mind filling me in on why they think Trotsky was anti-Leninism, counter-revolutionary, opportunist, etc..?
  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ILikeRevolution For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Join Date Dec 2010
    Location Kentucky, United States
    Posts 3,305
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    It's not just Marxist-Leninists that feel that way, pretty much everyone else does as well. But for different reasons.
  4. #3
    Join Date Sep 2009
    Location san fransisco
    Posts 3,637
    Organisation
    The 4th International
    Rep Power 41

    Default

    It's not just Marxist-Leninists that feel that way, pretty much everyone else does as well. But for different reasons.
    Lol what are you talking about? Anybody with a firm grasp of history knows that Trotsky was the opposite of a counter revolutionary. I'm so sick of these threads that i'm not even going to reply if it's the same old shit that comes up in these.

    First off to the OP Trotsky organized the red army, was popular enough to be voted as President of the Petrograd Soviet (Twice) and opposed the New Economic Plan, which was itself a counter revolutionary concession in the late 20's. I could be more specific and bring up dates and quotes, in 1925 is the first year that the Left Opposition put togather their economic plan, which called for collectivization of the Kulaks, which would help industrialization by ensuring steady food to be brought into the cities.

    Stalin called the LO's plan basically a "Pipe dream," even though he tried to emulate it, albeit at an incredibly rushed pace, in 1930, during which he ordered the looting of poor as well as rich peasants, ensuring the hostility of a majority of the population, due to the fact that Kulaks owned about 70% of the farms at that point, whereas small farmers were in very desperate conditions.
    For student organizing in california, join this group!
    http://www.revleft.com/vb/group.php?groupid=1036
    http://socialistorganizer.org/
    "[I]t’s hard to keep potent historical truths bottled up forever. New data repositories are uncovered. New, less ideological, generations of historians grow up. In the late 1980s and before, Ann Druyan and I would routinely smuggle copies of Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution into the USSR—so our colleagues could know a little about their own political beginnings.”
    --Carl Sagan
  5. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Geiseric For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Join Date Aug 2012
    Location India
    Posts 727
    Organisation
    International Communist Conspiracy
    Rep Power 17

    Default

    I hear a lot from anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninists that Trotsky was an "opportunist," "counter-revolutionary," and even that he was opposed to the USSR's existence -- but that's all I hear, just strong criticisms but little evidence.

    I'm guessing most of us know that Trotsky was critical of Stalin's era, but from the work of Trotsky I've read thus far, he supported the existence of the USSR and even praised certain characteristics of it under Stalin. Do any anti-Trotskyism tendencies mind filling me in on why they think Trotsky was anti-Leninism, counter-revolutionary, opportunist, etc..?
    Trotsky became a counter-revolutionary in the years around his expulsion from the USSR, though he was one of the central leaders of the November Revolution. But more importantly, Trotskyism as a theory is a dead-end, and cannot be implemented by the proletariat to successfully carry out a revolution.
  7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ind_com For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Join Date Dec 2012
    Location Alberta, Canada
    Posts 194
    Organisation
    Sympathizer: ICC, ICT, and ILN
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    I agree with what Ostrinski said, although I think he goes too far with it. I would argue that Trotsky became counter-revolutionary later in life. His continued defense of the actions of late Lenin, Russia as a DOTP, and his Degenerated Workers' State theories are testaments to that.

    Modern Trotskyism is riddled with counter-revolutionary, social democratic, liberal, opportunist, and other petty-bourgeois tendencies.
  9. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Red Enemy For This Useful Post:


  10. #6
    Join Date Jan 2013
    Location AZ
    Posts 82
    Rep Power 7

    Default

    I haven't seen much reason to think he was counter-revolutionary.
    Certain circumstances could best be described as "reactionary" but the man lived and breathed revolution.

    As for his opposition to the Soviets- it was almost entirely opposition to the Soviet post-Lenin. Stalin was counter revolutionary. And so was the Soviet Union. That's why people the world over think communism equates to slave labor, remember? That was hardly Trotsky's fault.
  11. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Riveraxis For This Useful Post:


  12. #7
    Join Date Sep 2009
    Location san fransisco
    Posts 3,637
    Organisation
    The 4th International
    Rep Power 41

    Default

    I haven't seen much reason to think he was counter-revolutionary.
    Certain circumstances could best be described as "reactionary" but the man lived and breathed revolution.

    As for his opposition to the Soviets- it was almost entirely opposition to the Soviet post-Lenin. Stalin was counter revolutionary. And so was the Soviet Union. That's why people the world over think communism equates to slave labor, remember? That was hardly Trotsky's fault.
    Trotsky wasn't anti Soviet, the soviets lost most meaning by the 1930s. He wanted to restore them to the democratic state they were started at, and was killed for it.

    Also the DWS theory isn't counter revolutionary at all, I don't know how you could possibly make that connection. State Capitalism is a counter revolutionary theory that Kautsky, a world renown opportunist, came up with, with the sole purpose of discrediting the fSU, so technically anybody who believes that holds more of a reactionary position, since the State Cap theory was made by a reactionary, for reactionary purposes.

    The planned economy was not counter revolutionary, and that economic expression of the DotP is the reason Trotsky defended the fSU. Because the economy wasn't run for profit, the exchange value of commodities matched the Use Value (Which will never ever happen in any kind of capitalism) and because there were no capitalists owning production, extracting labor value, whatsoever. The living standard fell dramatically, along with a resurgence of unemployment as soon as the restoration happened in the 90's. Obviously it was a process of degeneration back to capitalism (which is impossible to be administrated by a State completely, especially if the State doesn't own anything) otherwise the problems in today's capitalist russia would of been around for the past 60 years.
    For student organizing in california, join this group!
    http://www.revleft.com/vb/group.php?groupid=1036
    http://socialistorganizer.org/
    "[I]t’s hard to keep potent historical truths bottled up forever. New data repositories are uncovered. New, less ideological, generations of historians grow up. In the late 1980s and before, Ann Druyan and I would routinely smuggle copies of Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution into the USSR—so our colleagues could know a little about their own political beginnings.”
    --Carl Sagan
  13. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Geiseric For This Useful Post:


  14. #8
    Join Date Oct 2012
    Location Richmond, VA
    Posts 919
    Organisation
    League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    Rep Power 27

    Default

    If we take into account him destroying workers democracy in the army, workplaces, etc., his repeated call for party dictatorship before, during and after he got expelled by the bureaucracy, not to mention his role in the suppression of genuinely revolutionary movements, ie the Makhnovists and Kronstadt, we can conclude that Trotsky was indeed a counterrevolutionary.
    Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew, or dreamed that one possessed. Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long possessed that he is set free - he has set himself free - for higher dreams, for greater privileges.”
    -James Baldwin

    "We change ideas like neckties."
    - E.M. Cioran
  15. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Let's Get Free For This Useful Post:


  16. #9
    Join Date Oct 2011
    Location NYC
    Posts 844
    Organisation
    Unaffiliated
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    If we take into account him destroying workers democracy in the army, workplaces, etc., his repeated call for party dictatorship before, during and after he got expelled by the bureaucracy, not to mention his role in the suppression of genuinely revolutionary movements, ie the Makhnovists and Kronstadt, we can conclude that Trotsky was indeed a counterrevolutionary.
    Oh come on. If Trotsky had not instilled some kind of discipline in the Red Army the USSR would have been destroyed before 1920. The desire to save the Soviet Union -- the product of the only successful proletarian revolution in history, was based on the Bolsheviks internationalist position. Were the White armies "genuinely revolutionary" too? Anything but the Bolsheviks?
  17. The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to Lev Bronsteinovich For This Useful Post:


  18. #10
    Join Date Feb 2012
    Location Europäische Union
    Posts 2,203
    Organisation
    Comité de salut public
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    Democracy in the army is a pretty great thing and it sounds very nice.

    Unless you want to win a war, that is.

  19. #11
    Join Date Feb 2013
    Location dying in a den in Bombay
    Posts 4,142
    Organisation
    sympatiser, ICL-FI
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    Originally Posted by l'Enfermé
    Democracy in the army is a pretty great thing and it sounds very nice.

    Unless you want to win a war, that is.
    It might work for purely proletarian detachments, which is why I think Stalin and Smirnov had half a point in the debate over democracy in the army, but in a demoralised peasant army? It proved disastrous.

    As far as I know, the only tendency that would condemn Trotsky as counter-revolutionary, but not Lenin, are the Marxists-Leninists, and maybe those that uphold Mao Zedong Thought, if anyone considers them a separate tendency, and that condemnation, if I have understood correctly, does not rest on what they consider to be political errors by the Left Opposition, but on the alleged involvement of Trotsky and others in sabotage against the soviet state. And I do not think there is sufficient evidence to conclude that there was a conspiracy of former members of the Left and United Oppositions, though given the paranoia over foreign spies and saboteurs that was prevalent in the Soviet Union in the thirties, and some very, very unconsidered statements by Trotsky, I can sort of see why that idea became widespread in soviet circles. And, again, if Trotsky wanted to overthrow soviet power, he was doing a fairly lousy job - dissociating himself from those that equated the Soviet Union with capitalist states, supporting the Soviet Union against fascist aggression etc. etc.
  20. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Anglo-Saxon Philistine For This Useful Post:


  21. #12
    Join Date Oct 2009
    Location Zagreb, Croatia
    Posts 4,407
    Organisation
    none...yet
    Rep Power 78

    Default

    Stalin called the LO's plan basically a "Pipe dream," even though he tried to emulate it, albeit at an incredibly rushed pace, in 1930, during which he ordered the looting of poor as well as rich peasants, ensuring the hostility of a majority of the population, due to the fact that Kulaks owned about 70% of the farms at that point, whereas small farmers were in very desperate conditions.
    Stalin didn't "try to emulate" anything. Instead, he actually implemented the economic program of the Opposition, something which shouldn't have happened according to that same Opposition, due to the nature of the centrist bureaucracy. No wonder then that many of the oppositionists came closer and closer to that same bureaucracy, and that any possible ground for criticism - using the same method and means of struggle - was lost for good.
    FKA LinksRadikal
    “The possibility of securing for every member of society, by means of socialized production, an existence not only fully sufficient materially, and becoming day by day more full, but an existence guaranteeing to all the free development and exercise of their physical and mental faculties – this possibility is now for the first time here, but it is here.” Friedrich Engels

    "The proletariat is its struggle; and its struggles have to this day not led it beyond class society, but deeper into it." Friends of the Classless Society

    "Your life is survived by your deeds" - Steve von Till
  22. The Following User Says Thank You to Thirsty Crow For This Useful Post:


  23. #13
    Join Date Feb 2012
    Posts 367
    Organisation
    Supporter of ICOR
    Rep Power 10

    Default

    he was opposed to the USSR's existence
    that is true. he dismissed the army before making peace with Central Powers. if Bolsheviks had not stopped him in time, USSR wouldnt have survived. he was willing to sacrifice the existence of USSR for his false "permanent revolution" theory.
  24. #14
    Join Date Feb 2013
    Location dying in a den in Bombay
    Posts 4,142
    Organisation
    sympatiser, ICL-FI
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    that is true. he dismissed the army before making peace with Central Powers. if Bolsheviks had not stopped him in time, USSR wouldnt have survived. he was willing to sacrifice the existence of USSR for his false "permanent revolution" theory.
    The army disintegrated without Trotsky's help, and indeed Trotsky was one of the people that helped reorganise the demoralised Tsarist forces into the Red Army, and the detachments of sailors had proven ineffective in battles with the Germans. Trotsky's behaviour at the Brest-Litovsk conference was a serious political error, but Trotsky was hardly the only one to make that error, and he did not make the error due to counter-revolutionary motives.

    Originally Posted by LinksRadikal
    Stalin didn't "try to emulate" anything. Instead, he actually implemented the economic program of the Opposition, something which shouldn't have happened according to that same Opposition, due to the nature of the centrist bureaucracy.
    According to Trotsky and Zinoviev. Other members of the LO, Preobrazhensky for example, were more optimistic about the prospects of a planned economy in the Soviet Union.
  25. #15
    Join Date Oct 2009
    Location Zagreb, Croatia
    Posts 4,407
    Organisation
    none...yet
    Rep Power 78

    Default

    According to Trotsky and Zinoviev. Other members of the LO, Preobrazhensky for example, were more optimistic about the prospects of a planned economy in the Soviet Union.
    Precisely. And is it any wonder that it was the same Preobrazhensky, among others, who openly concilliated with the Stalinist bureaucracy? And more importantly, what does that tell us about the method employed by the LO, or some of its proponents?

    ... but Trotsky was hardly the only one to make that error, and he did not make the error due to counter-revolutionary motives.
    So it is the personal political motives that are fundamental to assessing a political figure?
    FKA LinksRadikal
    “The possibility of securing for every member of society, by means of socialized production, an existence not only fully sufficient materially, and becoming day by day more full, but an existence guaranteeing to all the free development and exercise of their physical and mental faculties – this possibility is now for the first time here, but it is here.” Friedrich Engels

    "The proletariat is its struggle; and its struggles have to this day not led it beyond class society, but deeper into it." Friends of the Classless Society

    "Your life is survived by your deeds" - Steve von Till
  26. #16
    Join Date Feb 2013
    Location dying in a den in Bombay
    Posts 4,142
    Organisation
    sympatiser, ICL-FI
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    Precisely. And is it any wonder that it was the same Preobrazhensky, among others, who openly concilliated with the Stalinist bureaucracy? And more importantly, what does that tell us about the method employed by the LO, or some of its proponents?
    It tells us that they were consistent. All of them characterised the Soviet Union as a dictatorship of the proletariat, albeit a degenerated one, and advocated collectivisation and central planning. So when the Soviet government started the collectivisation campaign and moved toward central planning in all branches of industry, what were they supposed to so? Politely decline to contribute their expertise to the process because, hm, they really didn't like Stalin?

    Originally Posted by LinksRadikal
    So it is the personal political motives that are fundamental to assessing a political figure?
    I did not mean to imply that. Someone can sincerely consider themselves a revolutionary but make counterrevolutionary political errors - as the "revolutionary" defencists did. But overestimating the strength of the revoluionary forces, while a serious mistake that no one should make excuses for, is not counterrevolutionary, unless you think that Trotsky obstructed the Brest-Litovsk negotiations purposefully, in order to undermine the Soviet government.
  27. #17
    Join Date Apr 2006
    Location UK
    Posts 6,143
    Rep Power 81

    Default

    State Capitalism is a counter revolutionary theory that Kautsky, a world renown opportunist, came up with, with the sole purpose of discrediting the fSU, so technically anybody who believes that holds more of a reactionary position, since the State Cap theory was made by a reactionary, for reactionary purposes.
    What kind of argument is this? If a society's mode of production could be defined purely on the basis of who said what, or a theory assessed purely on the name of its author, then this would greatly simplify our analysis. Of course, it would have disastrous implications for what we consider a materialist analysis but, hey....
    "Events have their own logic, even when human beings do not." - Rosa Luxemburg

    "There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen." - Lenin

  28. The Following User Says Thank You to Hit The North For This Useful Post:


  29. #18
    Join Date Feb 2013
    Location dying in a den in Bombay
    Posts 4,142
    Organisation
    sympatiser, ICL-FI
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    What kind of argument is this? If a society's mode of production could be defined purely on the basis of who said what, or a theory assessed purely on the name of its author, then this would greatly simplify our analysis. Of course, it would have disastrous implications for what we consider a materialist analysis but, hey....
    To be fair, Guthrie was responding to a post that applies the same sort of analysis to the theory of the deformed workers' state. Also, I don't think that the documented tendency of those who hold some version of "new class theories" a la Shachtman toward social democracy and worse is strictly speaking irrelevant when assessing the theory.
  30. #19
    Join Date Feb 2006
    Location Turkey
    Posts 8,093
    Rep Power 127

    Default

    State Capitalism is a counter revolutionary theory that Kautsky, a world renown opportunist, came up with, with the sole purpose of discrediting the fSU, so technically anybody who believes that holds more of a reactionary position, since the State Cap theory was made by a reactionary, for reactionary purposes.
    Which is a pretty poor argument anyway even apart from the fact that it is factually incorrect.

    The idea of state capitalism was first developed by Bukharin in 'Imperialism and World Economy' in 1915, as a stage of capitalist development, which is pretty much how most of the communist left sees it today. It was expanded upon as in how it was a danger in Russia in early 1918 by the left communists in the Russian party.

    Kautsky first mentions it, without really developing the idea, in Terrorism and Communism, which was published in mid-1920. He merely uses it as a phrase, and doesn't really expand upon it.

    If that were enough, we could trace the idea back to the older Liebkneckt, who used the term, but again didn't develop it, in an article in 1896.

    Anyway, it is certainly no invention of Kautsky's. Rather it is a term that had become quite commonly used in the circles of left-wing politics by that time, and he picked up on it.

    Devrim
  31. The Following User Says Thank You to Devrim For This Useful Post:


  32. #20
    Join Date Oct 2011
    Location NYC
    Posts 844
    Organisation
    Unaffiliated
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    Precisely. And is it any wonder that it was the same Preobrazhensky, among others, who openly concilliated with the Stalinist bureaucracy? And more importantly, what does that tell us about the method employed by the LO, or some of its proponents?


    So it is the personal political motives that are fundamental to assessing a political figure?
    Comrade, the LO and Trotsky characterized Stalin as a "centrist." And the Soviet Bureaucracy as an unstable and highly contradictory formation. History showed this to be correct. Stalin implemented collectivization and industrialization in his usual ham-fisted, panicked, reactive way. This was, in a very crude and partial way, the program of the LO. The critical difference between Stalin and the LO was on the issue of internationalism. Stalin was a nationalist. And the Comintern, which early on showed immense promise, under Zinoviev's and later Stalin's leadership, became a cesspool of petty factional intrigues -- and a tool used AGAINST international revolution. The LOers that went over to Stalin in 1928 and 1929 were deeply demoralized (for obvious reasons) and were looking for a way to surrender.

    Trotsky writes that revolutions are "great devourers of men." And so they are. He saw many stalwart comrades become pillars of the bureaucracy. It says nothing about the method of the LO. Many who were at one time stalwart Marxists went further -- going over to the bourgeoisie (e.g., Plekhanov, Kautsky, Shachtman, etc.). People lose their way comrade. There is always pressure against revolutionaries.

    Your devotion to abstract purity goes beyond the bounds of revolutionary principle. Events do not happen in a test tube. History is plenty messy. The Russian Revolution was ultimately decisively defeated as was the LO. It is immensely important to study and understand why that was.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 11
    Last Post: 4th August 2010, 10:37
  2. Counterrevolutionary Workers
    By The Vegan Marxist in forum Learning
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 3rd June 2010, 17:43
  3. Kasama Project Rejects RCP Accusation of "Counterrevolutionary"
    By IrisBright in forum News & Ongoing Struggles
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 23rd October 2008, 16:03
  4. Theism as Counterrevolutionary
    By Dooga Aetrus Blackrazor in forum Religion
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10th November 2006, 06:02
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25th March 2003, 14:53

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts