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Thread: Who was closer to Marx; Stalin or Trotsky?

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    Question Who was closer to Marx; Stalin or Trotsky?

    While studying the varying schools of interpreting Marx, I notice that these two seem to be the most prolific. Stalin focusing on one nation, while Trotsky urged for a global revolution. Both of these can be seen as proper interpretations of the Marxist ideal, but which is closer? A one nation rule, or a global commune? What are your opinions?
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    Hands down Trotsky. Stalinism represents the overall abandonment of some of the fundamental precepts of Marxism. Marxism, above all, is a philosophy about the liberation of the working class as a whole and not the working class of a single nation or any individual portion of the working class.

    Having said that, Trotsky is not beyond criticism himself.
    Modern democracy is nothing but the freedom to preach whatever is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie - Lenin

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    Marx was a stalwart internationalist, and Trotsky consistently upheld this in favor of Stalin’s ‘socialism in one state’. However, one ought to note that Trotsky’s theory of ‘permanent revolution’ is much different from the orthodox Marxist idea of how the socialist revolution will play out, in that it advocates worker’s revolution in nations that have not yet experienced a bourgeois revolution, something not theorized by Marx himself. Though in my view, this alone should not invalidate ‘permanent revolution’, as I don’t see Marxism as a closed system that cannot be added to. Such a definition of Marxism, I think, ignores the tenant of Marx’s thought that a thinker and their work can only be a product of their time and place, thus even if Marx made a great many strides and progressions in the theory of socialism, communism, and revolution, that is not to say that his work is not without grave flaws(such as an ever present authoritarian streak) that present day socialists should seek to advance beyond. Though I should hasten to add that I am no Trotskyist, and I don’t think a worker’s revolution could occur before some kind of capitalist society.
    The supreme mystery of despotism, it's prop and stay, is to keep men in a state of deception, and with the specious title of religion to cloak the fear by which they must be held in check so that they will fight for their servitude as if for salvation. - Benedict de Spinoza
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    Marx was a stalwart internationalist, and Trotsky consistently upheld this in favor of Stalin’s ‘socialism in one state’. However, one ought to note that Trotsky’s theory of ‘permanent revolution’ is much different from the orthodox Marxist idea of how the socialist revolution will play out, in that it advocates worker’s revolution in nations that have not yet experienced a bourgeois revolution, something not theorized by Marx himself. Though in my view, this alone should not invalidate ‘permanent revolution’, as I don’t see Marxism as a closed system that cannot be added to. Such a definition of Marxism, I think, ignores the tenant of Marx’s thought that a thinker and their work can only be a product of their time and place, thus even if Marx made a great many strides and progressions in the theory of socialism, communism, and revolution, that is not to say that his work is not without grave flaws(such as an ever present authoritarian streak) that present day socialists should seek to advance beyond.

    ---



    Trotsky’s theory of ‘permanent revolution’ is much different from the orthodox Marxist idea of how the socialist revolution will play out, in that it advocates worker’s revolution in nations that have not yet experienced a bourgeois revolution, something not theorized by Marx himself. Though in my view, this alone should not invalidate ‘permanent revolution’, as I don’t see Marxism as a closed system that cannot be added to.

    Though I should hasten to add that I am no Trotskyist, and I don’t think a worker’s revolution could occur before some kind of capitalist society.

    You're equivocating here, since you first say that Trotsky's 'permanent revolution' should *not* be invalidated, but then you show yourself to be in *disagreement* with it by positing a necessity for a prerequisite *bourgeois* transition in a country before it could conceivably be transitioned to socialism.

    Trotsky's formulation was that, by that point in world history (early 20th century), there was sufficient *material productivity* already existing for more-advanced, already-bourgeois countries to 'pull up' more-backward countries in the context of a world revolution:



    'Permanent revolution' according to Trotsky[edit]

    Trotsky's conception of Permanent Revolution is based on his understanding, drawing on the work of fellow Russian Alexander Parvus, that a Marxist analysis of events began with the international level of development, both economic and social. National peculiarities are only an expression of the contradictions in the world system. According to this perspective, the tasks of the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution could not be achieved by the bourgeoisie itself in a reactionary period of world capitalism. The situation in the backward and colonial countries, particularly Russia, bore this out.[9] This conception was first developed in the essays later collected in his book 1905 and in his essay Results and Prospects, and later developed in his 1929 book, The Permanent Revolution.

    The basic idea of Trotsky's theory[10] is that in Russia the bourgeoisie would not carry out a thorough revolution which would institute political democracy and solve the land question. These measures were assumed to be essential to develop Russia economically. Therefore, it was argued the future revolution must be led by the proletariat who would not only carry through the tasks of the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution but would commence a struggle to surpass the bourgeois democratic revolution.

    How far the proletariat would be able to travel upon that road would depend upon the further course of events and not upon the designation of the revolution as "Bourgeois Democratic". In this sense the revolution would be made permanent. Trotsky believed that a new workers' state would not be able to hold out against the pressures of a hostile capitalist world unless socialist revolutions quickly took hold in other countries as well. This theory was advanced in opposition to the position held by the Stalinist faction within the Bolshevik Party that "socialism in one country" could be built in the Soviet Union.
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    Neither. Both were proponents of state capitalism.

    Originally Posted by Leon Trotsky
    On the other hand, a successful socialist construction is unthinkable without including in the planned system the direct personal interests of the producer and consumer, their egoism, – which in its turn may reveal itself fruitfully only if it has in its service the customary reliable and flexible instrument, money. The raising of the productivity of labor and bettering of the quality of its products is quite unattainable without an accurate measure freely penetrating into all the cells of industry – that is, without a stable unit of currency. Hence it is clear that in the transitional economy, as also under capitalism, the sole authentic money is that based upon gold.

    ...

    The dynamic Soviet economy, passing as it does through continual technical revolutions and large-scale experiments, needs more than any other continual testing by means of a stable measure of value. Theoretically there cannot be the slightest doubt that if the Soviet economy had possessed a gold ruble, the result of the five-year plan would be incomparably more favorable than they are now.

    -The Revolution Betrayed
    State capitalism with more democracy is still state capitalism.

    You're better off reading Capital than those two dinguses.
    Sous les paves, la merde!
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    Who was closer to Marx; Stalin or Trotsky?


    "Permanent revolution" according to Marx and Engels[edit]

    Marx first used the phrase in the following passage from The Holy Family (1844). He wrote:

    Napoleon presented the last battle of revolutionary terror against the bourgeois society which had been proclaimed by this same Revolution, and against its policy. Napoleon, of course, already discerned the essence of the modern state; he understood that it is based on the unhampered development of bourgeois society, on the free movement of private interest, etc. He decided to recognise and protect this basis. He was no terrorist with his head in the clouds. Yet at the same time he still regarded the state as an end in itself and civil life only as a treasurer and his subordinate which must have no will of its own. He perfected the terror by substituting permanent war for permanent revolution [emphasis added]. He fed the egoism of the French nation to complete satiety but demanded also the sacrifice of bourgeois business, enjoyments, wealth, etc., whenever this was required by the political aim of conquest. If he despotically suppressed the liberalism of bourgeois society — the political idealism of its daily practice — he showed no more consideration for its essential material interests, trade and industry, whenever they conflicted with his political interests. His scorn of industrial hommes d'affaires was the complement to his scorn of ideologists. In his home policy, too, he combated bourgeois society as the opponent of the state which in his own person he still held to be an absolute aim in itself. Thus he declared in the State Council that he would not suffer the owner of extensive estates to cultivate them or not as he pleased. Thus, too, he conceived the plan of subordinating trade to the state by appropriation of roulage [road haulage]. French businessmen took steps to anticipate the event that first shook Napoleon's power. Paris exchange-brokers forced him by means of an artificially created famine to delay the opening of the Russian campaign by nearly two months and thus to launch it too late in the year.[1]

    In this passage, Marx says that Napoleon prevented the "bourgeois revolution" in France from becoming fulfilled: that is, he prevented bourgeois political forces from achieving a total expression of their interests. According to Marx, he did this by suppressing the "liberalism of bourgeois society"; and he did it because he saw "the state as an end in itself", a value which supported his "political aim of conquest". Thus, he substituted "permanent war for permanent revolution". The final two sentences, however, show that the bourgeoisie did not give up hope, but continued to pursue their interests. This tells us that, for Marx, "permanent revolution" involves a revolutionary class (in this case, the bourgeoisie) continuing to push for, and achieve, its interests despite the political dominance of actors with opposing interests.

    ---



    While studying the varying schools of interpreting Marx, I notice that these two seem to be the most prolific. Stalin focusing on one nation, while Trotsky urged for a global revolution. Both of these can be seen as proper interpretations of the Marxist ideal, but which is closer? A one nation rule, or a global commune? What are your opinions?

    Anyone who *prefers* 'one nation rule' ('Marxism-Leninism' / Stalinism, or state-capitalism) is out-of-step with present-day capacities / capabilities, and also is evidently comfortable with leaving the *rest* of the world to suffer from further commodity-production / capitalism, by not being included in the constrained, contrived one-country revolution.



    Neither. Both were proponents of state capitalism.

    This isn't *true*, though, as evidenced from Trotsky's position on the need for *worldwide* proletarian revolution, as counterposed to Stalin's 'Socialism in One Country':



    The Left Opposition was a faction within the Bolshevik Party from 1923 to 1927, headed de facto by Leon Trotsky. The Left Opposition formed as part of the power struggle within the party leadership that began with the Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin's illness and intensified with his death in January 1924. Originally, the battle lines were drawn between Trotsky and his supporters who signed The Declaration of 46 in October 1923, on the one hand, and a triumvirate (also known by its Russian name troika) of Comintern chairman Grigory Zinoviev, Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin and Politburo chairman Lev Kamenev on the other hand. There was also the Right Opposition, which was led by the leading party theoretician and Pravda editor Nikolai Bukharin, and supported by Sovnarkom Chairman (prime minister) Alexei Rykov. In late 1924, as Stalin proposed his new Socialism in One Country theory, Stalin drew closer to the Right Opposition and his triumvirate with Zinoviev and Kamenev slowly broke up over the next year. The Right Opposition were allied to Stalin's Centre from late 1924, until their alliance broke up in the years from 1928–1930 over strategy towards the Kulaks and NEPmen. Trotsky and his supporters in the Left Opposition were joined by the Group of Democratic Centralism.


    History[edit]

    The first confrontation between the Left Opposition and the triumvirate occurred from October 1923 to January 1924, over industrialization policies. The triumvirate won decisively at the XIII Party Conference in January 1924. Following Lenin's death in January 1924, the confrontation between the Left Opposition and the triumvirate expanded more openly into a dispute over Trotsky's policies, with the triumvirate accusing Trotsky's policies of being "anti-Leninist". At the XIIIth Party Congress in May 1924, the triumvirate's position was further strengthened at the Left Opposition's expense. Another confrontation took place from October to December 1924, during the so-called "Literary Discussion" and criticism of Trotsky's Permanent Revolution policy, as Stalin proposed Socialism in One Country. This resulted in the removal of Trotsky from his ministerial post on 6 January 1925, although Stalin opposed Zinoviev's demand that Trotsky be expelled from the Communist Party.

    ---



    On the other hand, a successful socialist construction is unthinkable without including in the planned system the direct personal interests of the producer and consumer, their egoism, – which in its turn may reveal itself fruitfully only if it has in its service the customary reliable and flexible instrument, money. The raising of the productivity of labor and bettering of the quality of its products is quite unattainable without an accurate measure freely penetrating into all the cells of industry – that is, without a stable unit of currency. Hence it is clear that in the transitional economy, as also under capitalism, the sole authentic money is that based upon gold.

    ...

    The dynamic Soviet economy, passing as it does through continual technical revolutions and large-scale experiments, needs more than any other continual testing by means of a stable measure of value. Theoretically there cannot be the slightest doubt that if the Soviet economy had possessed a gold ruble, the result of the five-year plan would be incomparably more favorable than they are now.

    -The Revolution Betrayed

    I do agree that an initial socialist-type revolution should *not* depend on exchange values -- money or gold -- particularly if it's not *obligated* to do so by less-than-propitious overall revolutionary conditions. Retaining exchange values is synonymous with willing-dependence on the *market* mechanism, which is hardly in the direction of collectivist-type socialist planning.



    State capitalism with more democracy is still state capitalism.

    You're better off reading Capital than those two dinguses.

    I *do* agree, however, with Trotsky's insistence on the *utility* of some value-measuring system.

    I have actually *addressed* this component, with my 'labor credits' model framework that uses *circulating* labor credits that apply only to liberated-labor *hours*, and to nothing else (no exchangeability for resulting liberated goods and services since those are pre-planned in advance).


    labor credits framework for 'communist supply & demand'






    communist supply & demand -- Model of Material Factors





    http://www.revleft.com/vb/entries/11...ly-amp-demand)


    A post-capitalist political economy using labor credits



    To clarify and simplify, the labor credits system is like a cash-only economy that only works for *services* (labor), while the world of material implements, resources, and products is open-access and non-abstractable. (No financial valuations.) Given the world's current capacity for an abundance of productivity for the most essential items, there should be no doubt about producing a ready surplus of anything that's important, to satisfy every single person's basic humane needs.

    [I]t would only be fair that those who put in the actual (liberated) labor to produce anything should also be able to get 'first dibs' of anything they produce.

    In practice [...] everything would be pre-planned, so the workers would just factor in their own personal requirements as part of the project or production run. (Nothing would be done on a speculative or open-ended basis, the way it's done now, so all recipients and orders would be pre-determined -- it would make for minimal waste.)

    We can do better than the market system, obviously, since it is zombie-like and continuously, automatically, calls for endless profit-making -- even past the point of primitive accumulation, through to overproduction and world wars, not to mention its intrinsic exploitation and oppression.

    Labor vouchers imply a political economy that *consciously* determines valuations, but there's nothing to guarantee that such oversight -- regardless of its composition -- would properly take material realities into account. Such a system would be open to the systemic problems of groupthink and elitism.

    What's called-for is a system that can match liberated-labor organizing ability, over mass-collectivized assets and resources, to the mass demand from below for collective production. If *liberated-labor* is too empowered it would probably lead to materialistic factionalism -- like a bad syndicalism -- and back into separatist claims of private property.

    If *mass demand* is too empowered it would probably lead back to a clever system of exploitation, wherein labor would cease to retain control over the implements of mass production.

    And, if the *administration* of it all is too specialized and detached we would have the phenomenon of Stalinism, or bureaucratic elitism and party favoritism.

    I'll contend that I have developed a model that addresses all of these concerns in an even-handed way, and uses a system of *circulating* labor credits that are *not* exchangeable for material items of any kind. In accordance with communism being synonymous with 'free-access', all material implements, resources, and products would be freely available and *not* quantifiable according to any abstract valuations. The labor credits would represent past labor hours completed, multiplied by the difficulty or hazard of the work role performed. The difficulty/hazard multiplier would be determined by a mass survey of all work roles, compiled into an index.

    In this way all concerns for labor, large and small, could be reduced to the ready transfer of labor-hour credits. The fulfillment of work roles would bring labor credits into the liberated-laborer's possession, and would empower them with a labor-organizing and labor-utilizing ability directly proportionate to the labor credits from past work completed.

    This method would both *empower* and *limit* the position of liberated labor since a snapshot of labor performed -- more-or-less the same quantity of labor-power available continuously, going forward -- would be certain, known, and *finite*, and not subject to any kinds of abstraction- (financial-) based extrapolations or stretching. Since all resources would be in the public domain no one would be at a loss for the basics of life, or at least for free access to providing for the basics of life for themselves. And, no political power or status, other than that represented by possession of actual labor credits, could be enjoyed by liberated labor. It would be free to represent itself on an individual basis or could associate and organize on its own political terms, within the confines of its empowerment by the sum of pooled labor credits in possession.

    Mass demand, then as now, would be a matter of public discourse, but in a societal context of open access to all means of mass communication for all, with collectivized implements of mass production at its disposal. It would have no special claim over any liberated labor and would have no means by which to coerce it.

    The administration of all of this would be dependent on the conscious political mass struggle, on a continuous, ongoing basis, to keep it running smoothly and accountably.


    Labor credits Frequently Asked Questions

    https://www.revleft.space/vb/threads...sked-Questions
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    There are two kind of communists: those who read Marx, and those who not. The latter are variously referred to as Marxist-Leninists, Trotskyists, or Stalinists.
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    Although I prefer the Internationale approach to communism, I don't want to neglect that Stalin's' "socialism in one country" theory has both it's advantages and disadvantages. The Stalinist ideas that had been the chosen model of communist enforcement has proven to be as history can can show, disastrous. I always wonder if Trotsky had succeeded Lenin (whom was great in his own right) how much more prosperous the USSR would have been. The corrupt leaders like Malenkov, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko(I exclude Gorbachev because he's....well y'know why) might have never taken power and ruined the Soviet Unions second chance after Stalin died.
    A rising of the masses requires no justification. [...] The masses followed our banner and our insurrection was victorious. And now we are told, "renounce you victory, make concessions, compromise". Compromise? To whom, I ask. Here no compromise is possible. To those who have left and to those who tell us to compromise we must say, "You are miserable bankrupts! Your role is played out! GO back to where you ought to go; in the dustbin of history!" -Leon Trotsky

    "Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love" -Ernesto "Che" Guevara
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    This isn't *true*, though, as evidenced from Trotsky's position on the need for *worldwide* proletarian revolution, as counterposed to Stalin's 'Socialism in One Country':
    Your Wikipedia link doesn't really address the fact that Trotsky basically wanted the same economy as Stalin - capital accumulation mediated by wage labor and directed/managed by the state - state capitalism.


    I do agree that an initial socialist-type revolution should *not* depend on exchange values -- money or gold -- particularly if it's not *obligated* to do so by less-than-propitious overall revolutionary conditions. Retaining exchange values is synonymous with willing-dependence on the *market* mechanism, which is hardly in the direction of collectivist-type socialist planning.
    cool.

    I *do* agree, however, with Trotsky's insistence on the *utility* of some value-measuring system.
    There is no value without exchange. Value can only be created by exchange.

    Originally Posted by Karl Marx
    We have seen that when commodities are exchanged, their exchange value manifests itself as something totally independent of their use value. But if we abstract from their use value, there remains their Value as defined above. Therefore, the common substance that manifests itself in the exchange value of commodities, whenever they are exchanged, is their value. The progress of our investigation will show that exchange value is the only form in which the value of commodities can manifest itself or be expressed.
    -Capital, Vol. 1.
    Although I prefer the Internationale approach to communism, I don't want to neglect that Stalin's' "socialism in one country" theory has both it's advantages and disadvantages. The Stalinist ideas that had been the chosen model of communist enforcement has proven to be as history can can show, disastrous. I always wonder if Trotsky had succeeded Lenin (whom was great in his own right) how much more prosperous the USSR would have been.
    This is arguing that Trotsky would have been a better state capitalist - only that the prosperity of the nation would be better, not in terms of human liberation. This national "prosperity" in a commodity exchange economy (ie capitalism) can only be achieved on the backs of workers, who must face the alienation of the work, the domination of capital, etc.

    They would have both found themselves constrained by the limits of capital; found themselves dominated by it.

    Regardless of the situation in the 1920s, the world finds itself with so much capital accumulated today, we are facing its constant crises - overaccumulation causing economic stagnation, looming environmental disaster. The bourgeois revolution has been completed; the only struggle left is subsumed under the domination of humanity by capital.
    Sous les paves, la merde!
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    Although I prefer the Internationale approach to communism, I don't want to neglect that Stalin's' "socialism in one country" theory has both it's advantages and disadvantages.

    I'll proffer the following diagram as a structural elaboration:


    Political Spectrum, Simplified






    ---



    The Stalinist ideas that had been the chosen model of communist enforcement

    This happens to be a not-so-great description of the unfolding of historical events since it situates full agency / responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the Bolsheviks, then later on the Stalinists, which is a common misrepresentation -- I think it's going to *always* be crucially important for anyone to understand the larger *context* of what was happening with the Russian Revolution at the time:



    The Russian Civil War, which broke out in 1918 shortly after the revolution, brought death and suffering to millions of people regardless of their political orientation. The war was fought mainly between the Red Army ("Reds"), consisting of the uprising majority led by the Bolshevik minority, and the "Whites" – army officers and cossacks, the "bourgeoisie", and political groups ranging from the far Right to the Socialist Revolutionaries who opposed the drastic restructuring championed by the Bolsheviks following the collapse of the Provisional Government to the soviets (under clear Bolshevik dominance).[30][31] The Whites had backing from nations such as Great Britain, France, USA and Japan, while the Reds possessed internal support which proved to be much more effective. Though the Allied nations, using external interference, provided substantial military aid to the loosely knit anti-Bolshevik forces, they were ultimately defeated.[30]

    The Bolsheviks firstly assumed power in Petrograd, expanding their rule outwards. They eventually reached the Easterly Siberian Russian coast in Vladivostok, 4 years after the war began, an occupation that is believed to have ended all significant military campaigns in the nation.


    The revolution and the world

    Main article: Revolutions of 1917–1923

    Leon Trotsky said that the goal of socialism in Russia would not be realized without the success of the world revolution. Indeed, a revolutionary wave caused by the Russian Revolution lasted until 1923. Despite initial hopes for success in the German Revolution of 1918–19, in the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic and others like it, no other Marxist movement at the time succeeded in keeping power in its hands.

    This issue is subject to conflicting views on the communist history by various Marxist groups and parties. Joseph Stalin later rejected this idea, stating that socialism was possible in one country.

    The confusion regarding Stalin's position on the issue stems from the fact that he, after Lenin's death in 1924, successfully used Lenin's argument – the argument that socialism's success needs the workers of other countries in order to happen – to defeat his competitors within the party by accusing them of betraying Lenin and, therefore, the ideals of the October Revolution.


    Results[edit]

    Military[edit]

    War communism was largely successful at its primary purpose of aiding the Red Army in halting the advance of the White Army and reclaiming most of the territory of the former Russian Empire thereafter.

    Social[edit]

    In the cities and surrounding countryside, the population experienced hardships as a result of the war. Peasants refused to co-operate in producing food. Workers began migrating from the cities to the countryside, where the chances to feed themselves were higher, thus further decreasing the possibility of barter of industrial goods for food and worsening the plight of the remaining urban population. Between 1918 and 1920, Petrograd lost 72% of its population, while Moscow lost 53%.[citation needed]

    A series of workers' strikes and peasants' rebellions broke out all over the country, such as the Tambov rebellion (1920-1921). A turning point came with the Kronstadt rebellion at the Kronstadt naval base in early March 1921. The rebellion startled Lenin, because Bolsheviks considered Kronstadt sailors the "reddest of the reds". According to David Christian, the Cheka (the state Communist Party secret police) reported 118 peasant uprisings in February 1921.[citation needed]

    Christian, in his book "Imperial and Soviet Russia", summarises the state of Russia in 1921 after years of War communism:

    A government claiming to represent the people now found itself on the verge of being overthrown by that same working class. The crisis had undermined the loyalty of the villages, the towns and finally sections of the army. It was fully as serious as the crises faced by the tsarist government in 1905 and February 1917.[8]

    Economic[edit]

    A black market emerged in Russia, despite the threat of martial law against profiteering. The rouble collapsed and barter increasingly replaced money as a medium of exchange[9] and, by 1921, heavy industry output had fallen to 20% of 1913 levels. 90% of wages were paid with goods rather than money. 70% of locomotives were in need of repair, and food requisitioning, combined with the effects of seven years of war and a severe drought, contributed to a famine that caused between 3 and 10 million deaths.[10] Coal production decreased from 27.5 million tons (1913) to 7 million tons (1920), while overall factory production also declined from 10,000 million roubles to 1,000 million roubles. According to the noted historian David Christian, the grain harvest was also slashed from 80.1 million tons (1913) to 46.5 million tons (1920).[11]

    ---



    The Stalinist ideas that had been the chosen model of communist enforcement has proven to be as history can can show, disastrous. I always wonder if Trotsky had succeeded Lenin (whom was great in his own right) how much more prosperous the USSR would have been. The corrupt leaders like Malenkov, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko(I exclude Gorbachev because he's....well y'know why) might have never taken power and ruined the Soviet Unions second chance after Stalin died.

    But don't you think that Trotsky would have pushed for a decisive *expansion* of the revolution -- ? I really don't think Trotsky's vision would have been the same as Stalin's -- leaving the revolution constrained in just one country, Russia.



    Your Wikipedia link doesn't really address the fact that Trotsky basically wanted the same economy as Stalin - capital accumulation mediated by wage labor and directed/managed by the state - state capitalism.

    You continue to make glib assertions, but without any factual historical evidence to back up such contentions -- again, it's erroneous to *conflate* the international-revolutionist politics of Trotsky with the coarse, constrained socialism-in-one-country politics of Stalin. As revolutionaries I think it's important that we make this distinction, because so many people subscribe to the fallacy that 'socialism = Stalinism' -- in fact there was a factional *schism* between Trotsky and Stalin, with the revolution constrained and at a standstill, conditions that *favored* Stalin's consolidation of power internally versus Trotsky's Left Opposition position of continuing to look *outward*, internationally, to *spread* the soviet revolution.


    ---



    I do agree that an initial socialist-type revolution should *not* depend on exchange values -- money or gold -- particularly if it's not *obligated* to do so by less-than-propitious overall revolutionary conditions. Retaining exchange values is synonymous with willing-dependence on the *market* mechanism, which is hardly in the direction of collectivist-type socialist planning.



    I *do* agree, however, with Trotsky's insistence on the *utility* of some value-measuring system.


    There is no value without exchange. Value can only be created by exchange.

    I'll disagree here, and point to the 'labor credits' framework from my previous post, since that's meant to *address* this issue of 'value' -- in a post-capitalist context, (liberated) labor would *certainly* have value of some kind since it would continue to be at the heart of the social productive process. Exchanges and exchange values would not be needed since exchanges implicitly confer commodification onto both (liberated) labor, and onto any and all productive assets (factories), and onto all goods / resources / materials.

    The point of socialism and communism is to produce *use* values only, according to actual human / humane *need* -- so the products of liberated labor *would* have values, based entirely on who can actually personally *use* whatever-given resulting products (non-commodity, though) -- everything regarding use and consumption would be collectively *pre-planned* so that minimal waste, and *zero* speculation, would happen.


    ---



    Although I prefer the Internationale approach to communism, I don't want to neglect that Stalin's' "socialism in one country" theory has both it's advantages and disadvantages. The Stalinist ideas that had been the chosen model of communist enforcement has proven to be as history can can show, disastrous. I always wonder if Trotsky had succeeded Lenin (whom was great in his own right) how much more prosperous the USSR would have been. The corrupt leaders like Malenkov, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko(I exclude Gorbachev because he's....well y'know why) might have never taken power and ruined the Soviet Unions second chance after Stalin died.


    This is arguing that Trotsky would have been a better state capitalist - only that the prosperity of the nation would be better, not in terms of human liberation. This national "prosperity" in a commodity exchange economy (ie capitalism) can only be achieved on the backs of workers, who must face the alienation of the work, the domination of capital, etc.

    They would have both found themselves constrained by the limits of capital; found themselves dominated by it.

    Regardless of the situation in the 1920s, the world finds itself with so much capital accumulated today, we are facing its constant crises - overaccumulation causing economic stagnation, looming environmental disaster. The bourgeois revolution has been completed; the only struggle left is subsumed under the domination of humanity by capital.

    Even though you're addressing TT, I'll just point out that the *both* of you are getting the political context and trajectory wrong in regards to Trotsky -- he would *not* have aimed to constrain the soviet revolution to a strictly *nationalist* basis, per the goals of the 'Left Opposition' faction that he was a member of (post #6).
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    Your Wikipedia link doesn't really address the fact that Trotsky basically wanted the same economy as Stalin - capital accumulation mediated by wage labor and directed/managed by the state - state capitalism.
    I agree that, essentially, the economic system advocated for by Trotsky would have retained capitalist features - I agree with the 'state capitalist' analysis of the Soviet Union. However, in the case that the revolution had failed in Germany and elsewhere do you believe that a non-capitalist (that is to say, socialist) economy could have been established or should have been advocated for? Essentially, the Soviet Union was, for the most part, a backwards economy that was suffering from the upheavals of Civil War and isolated from any other potential revolutionary states. Are you saying that in these conditions you should only advocate for a socialist economy devoid of commodity production? I don't think it was feasible and it takes what Trotsky advocated completely out of the context of the material conditions of the Soviet Union.
    Modern democracy is nothing but the freedom to preach whatever is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie - Lenin

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    Sure, I'm not really saying that if only someone with better ideas had been in power, the USSR would have achieved more by now - quite the opposite. Me calling them "dinguses" probably didn't help to clarify that.

    I'm saying that their theories can only be understood in the context of a failed revolution. Whoever manages capital accumulation must abide by the framework of capital accumulation.

    I guess it's not clear what the point of the original post is. I am assuming it is asking about whether it is to align oneself with a Trotskyist or Stalinist group. Hence my answer - neither.

    These groups today are all too willing to opportunistically collaborate with the police, with bourgeois elections, to support bourgeois regimes abroad.

    The sooner the proletariat buries the rotting corpse of the left wing of capital, the better.

    ckaihatsu - I'm quoting Marx's concept of value in my so called "glib assertion" - it is you who isn't addressing my points, which I provided a handy Marx quote to back up.
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    Sure, I'm not really saying that if only someone with better ideas had been in power, the USSR would have achieved more by now - quite the opposite. Me calling them "dinguses" probably didn't help to clarify that.

    I'm saying that their theories can only be understood in the context of a failed revolution. Whoever manages capital accumulation must abide by the framework of capital accumulation.
    I'm a bit of a nerd for this period of history so I guess I consider a lot of these questions within their historical context without considering the practical application of their answers within a contemporary context and I'll try to develop my answer somewhat with that in mind. I guess when one looks at contemporary workers movements we, as communists, would ultimately advocate for a system of workers control that would abolish commodity production, wages, and with the state withering away as all the conditions of the class system are dismantled. That not being immediately feasible is obvious to all but idealists. Often communists will struggle for intermediate steps that they feel bolster the power of the workers movement and build systems and organisations that develop workers autonomous power to act almost as a prelude to that greater push outside the bounds of capital. Sometimes these are just activist networks and sometimes communists might advocate worker-controlled co-operatives and the like.

    These systems cannot escape the broader realities of the capitalist system and co-operatives are islands within the sea of the market that are buffeted by the winds of competition and profit margins but nonetheless they are propaganda tools and can be used as rungs on a ladder to bring other workers up towards revolutionary goals. Obviously the USSR could not escape the international systems of capital it was imprisoned within but the Left Opposition were advocating within a state capitalist system opening up avenues of workers autonomy and internal participatory democracy that Stalin never did. I consider that 'better' than Stalinism but you might not.

    I guess it's not clear what the point of the original post is. I am assuming it is asking about whether it is to align oneself with a Trotskyist or Stalinist group. Hence my answer - neither.

    These groups today are all too willing to opportunistically collaborate with the police, with bourgeois elections, to support bourgeois regimes abroad.

    The sooner the proletariat buries the rotting corpse of the left wing of capital, the better.
    I've never belonged to any Stalinist organisation, I definitely wouldn't really want to, but I have experiences within Trotskyist organisations which I would expand upon. As I said, I'm a bit of a nerd for the history of the Russian Revolution and in all my reading it occurred to me that the Trotskyist organisation I belonged to looked nothing like the Bolshevik Party of 1917. By its very nature, the Bolshevik Party had to be decentralised and various branches (or even sections within branches) were largely autonomous of the central leadership. It was highly integrated within the workers movement and the leaders were beholden to the whims of the workers who were often to the left in terms of demands to the leaders who were more cautious. There was a vibrant internal democracy as well as a culture of debate and discussion to improve members' confidence in action. The Trotskyist organisations of today do not resemble the party of revolution but rather the shell of that party that had gone through Civil War and made many wrong moves and decisions in order to defend what little that had been captured from the forces of reaction. Discipline, consensus and bureaucracy - all things that anyone who read the history of the Left Opposition should be weary of - are inherent in contemporary Trotskyist organisations. So I too would say to anyone looking that they should not join Trotskyist organisations, none of whom seem to have learned anything about the lessons of the Russian Revolution.
    Modern democracy is nothing but the freedom to preach whatever is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie - Lenin

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    I'm saying that their theories can only be understood in the context of a failed revolution. Whoever manages capital accumulation must abide by the framework of capital accumulation.

    This is a *distortion*, though -- you're making it sound like Lenin and Trotsky inherently / philosophically *wanted* to pursue a paradigm of market conditions, when that was demonstrably *far* from the case as is seen in the initial October Revolution:



    Insurrection[edit]

    Planning[edit]

    On 23 October 1917 (November 5 new style), the Bolsheviks' Central Committee voted 10–2 for a resolution saying that "an armed uprising is inevitable, and that the time for it is fully ripe".[16] At the Committee meeting, Lenin discussed how the people of Russia had waited long enough for “an armed uprising”, and it was the Bolshevik’s time to take power. Lenin expressed his confidence in the success over the planned insurrection. His confidence stemmed from months of Bolshevik buildup of power and successful elections to different committees and counsels in major cities such as Petrograd and Moscow.[17]

    The Bolsheviks created a revolutionary military committee within the Petrograd soviet, led by the soviet's president, Trotsky. The committee included armed workers, sailors and soldiers, and assured the support or neutrality of the capital's garrison. The committee methodically planned to occupy strategic locations through the city, almost without concealing their preparations: the Provisional Government's president Kerensky was himself aware of them, and some details, leaked by Kamenev and Zinoviev, were published in newspapers.[18][19]

    Onset[edit]

    On 25 October (7 November new style) 1917, Bolsheviks led their forces in the uprising in Petrograd (modern day Saint Petersburg), then capital of Russia, against the Kerensky Provisional Government. The event coincided with the arrival of a flotilla of pro-Bolshevik marines, primarily five destroyers and their crew, into the St. Petersburg harbor. At Kronstadt, sailors also announced their allegiance to the Bolshevik insurrection. In the early morning, the military-revolutionary committee planned the last of the locations to be assaulted or seized from its heavily guarded and picketed center in Smolny palace. The Red Guards systematically captured major government facilities, key communication, installations and vantage points with little opposition. The Petrograd Garrison and most of the city's military units joined the insurrection against the Provisional Government.[19]

    Kerensky and the provisional government were virtually helpless to offer significant resistance. Railways and rail stations had been controlled by Soviet workers and soldiers for days, making rail travel to and from Petrograd, for Provisional Government officials, impossible. The Provisional Government was also unable to locate any serviceable vehicles. On the morning of the insurrection, Kerensky desperately searched for a means of reaching military forces he hoped would be friendly to the Provisional government outside the city, and ultimately borrowed a Renault car from the American Embassy, which he drove from the Winter Palace alongside a Pierce Arrow. Kerensky was able to evade the pickets going up around the palace and drive to meet oncoming soldiers.[20]

    As Kerensky left Petrograd, Lenin penned a proclamation "To the Citizens of Russia" stating that the Provisional Government had been overthrown by the Military Revolutionary Committee. The proclamation was sent via telegram all throughout Russia, even as the pro-Soviet soldiers were seizing important control centers throughout the city. One of Lenin's intentions was to present members of the Soviet congress, who would assemble that afternoon, with a fait accompli and therefore forestall further debate on the wisdom or legitimacy of taking power.[20]

    ---


    (Again)



    I'm saying that their theories can only be understood in the context of a failed revolution. Whoever manages capital accumulation must abide by the framework of capital accumulation.

    The time period that *you're* referring to is that of the New Economic Policy, which became necessary due to the ravages of the foreign invasions on the nascent socialist state, such as it was:



    The New Economic Policy (NEP, Russian новая экономическая политика, НЭП) was an economic policy of Soviet Russia proposed by Vladimir Lenin, who described it as a progression towards "state capitalism" within the workers' state of the USSR.[1] Lenin characterized "state capitalism" and his NEP policies in 1922 as an economic system that would include "a free market and capitalism, both subject to state control" while socialized state enterprises were to operate on "a profit basis".[2]

    The NEP represented a more market-oriented economic policy, deemed necessary after the Russian Civil War of 1918 to 1922, to foster the economy of the country, which was almost ruined. The complete nationalization of industry, established during the period of War Communism, was partially revoked and a system of mixed economy was introduced, which allowed private individuals to own small enterprises,[3] while the state continued to control banks, foreign trade, and large industries.[4] In addition, the NEP abolished prodrazvyorstka (forced grain requisition)[3] and introduced prodnalog: a tax on farmers, payable in the form of raw agricultural product.[5] The Bolshevik government adopted the NEP in the course of the 10th Congress of the All-Russian Communist Party (March 1921) and promulgated it by a decree on 21 March 1921 "On the Replacement of Prodrazvyorstka by Prodnalog". Further decrees refined the policy.

    Other policies included the monetary reform (1922–1924) and the attraction of foreign capital.

    The NEP policy created a new category of people called NEPmen (нэпманы), nouveau riches due to NEP.

    Joseph Stalin abolished the New Economic Policy in 1928.

    ---


    To the OP, at post #5:



    Neither. Both were proponents of state capitalism.

    And:



    [T]rotsky basically wanted the same economy as Stalin - capital accumulation mediated by wage labor and directed/managed by the state - state capitalism.


    You continue to make glib assertions, but without any factual historical evidence to back up such contentions -- again, it's erroneous to *conflate* the international-revolutionist politics of Trotsky with the coarse, constrained socialism-in-one-country politics of Stalin. As revolutionaries I think it's important that we make this distinction, because so many people subscribe to the fallacy that 'socialism = Stalinism' -- in fact there was a factional *schism* between Trotsky and Stalin, with the revolution constrained and at a standstill, conditions that *favored* Stalin's consolidation of power internally versus Trotsky's Left Opposition position of continuing to look *outward*, internationally, to *spread* the soviet revolution.


    ckaihatsu - I'm quoting Marx's concept of value in my so called "glib assertion" - it is you who isn't addressing my points, which I provided a handy Marx quote to back up.

    Your repeated glib assertions -- your 'line' -- is that Trotsky *wanted* a capitalist-market-type economics, when I've shown that *not* to be the case -- see 'Left Opposition' at post #6.

    Yes, *Lenin* instituted the NEP, due to objectively deteriorated material conditions after fighting off foreign invasions of the revolution in Russia. Trotsky never enjoyed any Lenin-type position of power, though Trotsky did show himself to be an able commander of the Red Army:



    Leon Trotsky (/ˈtrɒtski/;[1][a] born Lev Davidovich Bronstein;[b] 7 November [O.S. 26 October] 1879 – 21 August 1940) was a Marxist revolutionary, theorist, and Soviet politician. Initially supporting the Menshevik Internationalists faction within the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, he joined the Bolsheviks ("majority") just before the 1917 October Revolution, immediately becoming a leader within the Communist Party. He would go on to become one of the seven members of the first Politburo, founded in 1917 to manage the Bolshevik Revolution.[2] During the early days of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) and the Soviet Union, he served first as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army, with the title of People's Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs. He became a major figure in the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War (1918–1923).
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    Neither. Trotsky and Stalin weren't academics.
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    It doesn’t matter. Any figure, including Marx or Engels, should only be as valuable as much as their ideas help us advance class self-emancipation today.

    And the answer to that has a lot to do with someone’s stance on the state-socialisms of the 20th century. So it becomes a subjective exercise to judge the usefulness of someone’s ideas on this.
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    I appreciate all of the comments, but I notice a strong trend of a position for neither. Maybe I should clarify the intent of the question. To examine the progression of the communist ideal through the initial drafting, then through the application and theories following, informs the current public on what interpretations were effective. This progression allows one to further modify the stance of Marxism as much as needed to be feasible in the modern-day, without going beyond the bonds of socialism and finding a crutch in totalitarianism. So I guess a better question would be; From the two theories of application, which is more conducive for the application of the Communist ideal in reference to the modern scenario?
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    I appreciate all of the comments, but I notice a strong trend of a position for neither. Maybe I should clarify the intent of the question. To examine the progression of the communist ideal through the initial drafting, then through the application and theories following, informs the current public on what interpretations were effective. This progression allows one to further modify the stance of Marxism as much as needed to be feasible in the modern-day, without going beyond the bonds of socialism and finding a crutch in totalitarianism. So I guess a better question would be; From the two theories of application, which is more conducive for the application of the Communist ideal in reference to the modern scenario?

    Well, people have now posted over a dozen responses to your thread's topic -- at this point you may want to give *your own*, if tentative, take on this matter, considering the content of posts like this one:



    [T]he international-revolutionist politics of Trotsky [should not be conflated] with the coarse, constrained socialism-in-one-country politics of Stalin. As revolutionaries I think it's important that we make this distinction, because so many people subscribe to the fallacy that 'socialism = Stalinism' -- in fact there was a factional *schism* between Trotsky and Stalin, with the revolution constrained and at a standstill, conditions that *favored* Stalin's consolidation of power internally versus Trotsky's Left Opposition position of continuing to look *outward*, internationally, to *spread* the soviet revolution.

    ---



    I'll also note that 'totalitarianism' is just a strategy, and can be done well or not-so-well in the context of larger general social conditions -- the *vanguard party* formulation uses a trade-off of specialized administrative expertise, for expediency and maneuverability, in place of more-desired, but slower, truly bottom-up processes of worker-sourced political / social inputs.

    So 'totalitarianism' used as an emotive or provocative label lacks in full meaning since the *overriding* issue for a revolutionary politics is the *results*: Is society *overcoming* the present-day bourgeois dictatorship, in part or in whole, by bringing about more humaneness for more people, or isn't it -- ?
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    So 'totalitarianism' used as an emotive or provocative label lacks in full meaning since the *overriding* issue for a revolutionary politics is the *results*: Is society *overcoming* the present-day bourgeois dictatorship, in part or in whole, by bringing about more humaneness for more people, or isn't it -- ?
    Yes, this is, or should be, our main concern.

    Marx saw revolution as necessary and the conditions as more suitable in advanced industrialized states. To the extent that revolution broke out instead in more backward societies, we could view this in two ways:

    1. As a "break" from Marxism in the sense that it diverges from a "prescribed" path toward socialism.
    2. As an outcome that differed from a hypothesis about when and where the initial spark of revolution would occur.

    I know this point has been made ad nauseam on RevLeft before, but Marx's works are not holy texts. If conditions called for a conditional "betrayal" in order to throw off the power of capital, then so be it.

    As for Stalin v. Trotsky, to be honest, I think rehashing the debate over "Who should've won the power struggle" will get the contemporary left nowhere. "Socialism in one country" didn't just develop because Stalin felt like it. It was able to develop because of the Russian revolution's isolation and encirclement. Those conditions were presented not as historically-specific circumstance, but as a model to be strictly upheld, with truly trans-national revolution relegated to an indeterminate future epoch. Had Trotsky come to power, he wouldn't be able to conjure up conditions out of nowhere (i.e. the rapid industrial development needed to resist fascism could never have been painless), and the USSR would have remained militarily encircled and faced with hostile economies. Some things would have been different, sure, but those fundamental problems would exist whether the leader was Trotsky, Stalin, or a resurrected Lenin.

    For today's left, the lesson is clear that while struggle primarily occurs in our immediate environment, it needs to spread beyond this in ways neither the Spanish nor the Russian revolutions could, or did. We need to be wary of "socialism in one country" as a doctrine, as it calls for a degree of "peaceful coexistence" with capitalist states...It's precisely because a socialist movement can't be sustained for long when confined to one country, however, that the degree of international coordination required for a revolution of the scale necessary means a degree of "central authority" in some form. To dismiss any such authority as state capitalism would be a tactical error.
    "I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will." - Antonio Gramsci

    "If he did advocate revolutionary change, such advocacy could not, of course, receive constitutional protection, since it would be by definition anti-constitutional."
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    It's precisely because a socialist movement can't be sustained for long when confined to one country, however, that the degree of international coordination required for a revolution of the scale necessary means a degree of "central authority" in some form. To dismiss any such authority as state capitalism would be a tactical error.

    I find this 'central authority' structure / conception / hierarchy to be 'explorable', though -- I see it as a flexible 'gray area' that could be very customizable, mostly according to prevailing conditions for struggle at any given timeframe. I find the anarchists, for example, to be *very* optimistic on this since they think the upheaval-to-communism period could all happen purely organically, sheerly at the pan-local level, with the overall strategy of nothing but the mass strike.

    In particular I wonder just *how far* a worldwide proletarian revolution could get with as much of a 'bottom-up' deterministic process of mass participation as possible. Such is certainly logistically *possible* in the abstract, as I have in my (*post*-capitalism-intended) 'communist supply & demand' model -- relevant excerpts are here:



    Ownership / control

    communist administration -- All assets and resources will be collectivized as communist property in common -- their use must be determined through a regular political process of prioritized demands from a locality or larger population -- any unused assets or resources may be used by individuals in a personal capacity only

    labor [supply] -- Only active workers may control communist property -- no private accumulations are allowed and any proceeds from work that cannot be used or consumed by persons themselves will revert to collectivized communist property

    consumption [demand] -- Individuals may possess and consume as much material as they want, with the proviso that the material is being actively used in a personal capacity only -- after a certain period of disuse all personal possessions not in active use will revert to collectivized communist property


    consumption [demand] -- Every person in a locality has a standard, one-through-infinity ranking system of political demands available to them, updated daily

    consumption [demand] -- Basic human needs will be assigned a higher political priority by individuals and will emerge as mass demands at the cumulative scale -- desires will benefit from political organizing efforts and coordination

    Material function

    communist administration -- Assets and resources are collectively administered by a locality, or over numerous localities by combined consent [supply]

    labor [supply] -- Work positions are created according to requirements of production runs and projects, by mass political prioritization

    consumption [demand] -- All economic needs and desires are formally recorded as pre-planned consumer orders and are politically prioritized [demand]

    consumption [demand] -- A regular, routine system of mass individual political demand pooling -- as with spreadsheet templates and email -- must be in continuous operation so as to aggregate cumulative demands into the political process

    So what this means is that organic bottom-up revolutionary-upheaval-and-socialist-planning mass participation *could* potentially be used for the revolutionary period itself, depending on how much or little expediency would be objectively required at the time -- I don't see a formal vanguard-party-type vehicle as needing to be *prescribed* from the here-and-now, though I'd certainly be open to that as a general strategy to match correspondingly to social conditions of struggle that would call for such a vehicle:


    tinyurl.com/ckaihatsu-vanguardism

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