But the day is near—remember this!—the day is near when the Nazis will drive you from your country, all of you together with your Pantoffel-Minister-President.' The German Communist Party refused to change its policy and direct a unified struggle against the Nazi advance. As long as Lenin was alive, no one in the leadership of the Bolshevik Party had ever suggested that the resources of the Soviet Union were sufficient for the creation of a self-contained socialist society. But in May 1940, after a protracted polemical struggle inside the Socialist Workers Party, Burnham announced his break with Marxism. “The school and the social life of the student,” he wrote, “are saturated with formalism and hypocrisy” (p. 137). In the annals of political literature, few works have withstood the test of time so well as Leon Trotsky’s The Revolution Betrayed. The revival of international Marxism could not be achieved through the reform of the Comintern, but only in a ruthless struggle against it. Lenin branded the alliance between the proletariat and the national bourgeoisie as a betrayal. With low reserves of food and fuel, only a trickle of supplies, and rations at starvation level, without heating or lighting, running water or drainage, and exposed to one of the bitterest winters on record as well as to continual bombing and shelling, they died in appalling numbers. According to this logic, the historical mission of the workers’ state is the struggle for imperialist democracy. To peasants? The Cheka (sometimes called VeCheka) was the much-feared Bolshevik security agency, formed to identify and eradicate counter-revolutionary activity. The “betrayal’ of the democracies in favor of fascism divests the USSR of its being considered a workers’ state. Basing themselves entirely on the theoretical conceptions elaborated in The Revolution Betrayed 17 years earlier, the orthodox Trotskyists who founded the International Committee succeeded in producing an analysis of Stalinism in the aftermath of World War II and the death of Stalin whose remarkable prescience can best be appreciated in the light of recent developments. However, and here he was answering the numerous intellectual sycophants of the Kremlin, the policies of the Stalinist regime, despite the short-term successes, were intensifying the contradictions of the Soviet state and leading toward its destruction. For him the needs of the Red Army had total priority. The book has been awarded with , and many others. BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. There was yet another and more profound aspect of the debate over the class nature of the Soviet state. In all our subsequent work it is necessary to take as our point of departure the historical collapse of the official Communist International” (Leon Trotsky, Writings of Leon Trotsky [1932-33] [New York: Pathfinder Press, 1972] pp. Between 1919 and 1923, the working class suffered a series of major defeats—in Hungary, Italy, Estonia, Bulgaria and, worst of all, in Germany. Its level of economic, social and cultural development would today resemble that of India, where hundreds of millions of peasants remain illiterate and exist on the brink of starvation. But these essential changes, directed by the democratic organs of workers’ power, would take place on the basis of the existing nationalized property. I translated it into Chinese, and although it lost much of its original fire and beauty in the process, it still greatly charmed and moved our Chinese comrades, some of whom began to cry as they read it” (Wang Fan-hsi, Chinese Revolutionary [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980], p. 93). The implications of their friendship would have catastrophic consequences for the Romanov dynasty. It could not be solved in Russia. While advancing different conceptions of the character of “post-capitalist” society—totalitarian-collectivist “managerial societies” (Burnham-Shachtman) or socialist “deformed workers’ states” (Pablo-Mandel)—they agreed that the decisive instrument of the historical transformation was the bureaucratic elite. Just as the Russian Marxists had based themselves, during the many periods of reaction and exile, on the historical possibilities first revealed in the Paris Commune of 1871 and then in the Russian Revolution of 1905, the Fourth International based its own revolutionary optimism on the world-shaking and history-making power revealed by the working class in 1917. The means of production belongs to the state. In its Russian setting, though, Bolshevik rule meant famine, death and an ever-intrusive police state. In fact, Marxist theory did not even attribute such possibilities to an advanced capitalist country. But Stalin was well aware of the distinctive ethos that three years of relative autonomy from Moscow had fostered in Leningrad; and his suspicions were fed by two of the main contenders for power, Lavrentii Beria and Georgii Malenkov. Email . 216-17). Trotsky decried the brutal repression of the heritage and development of the nations which comprise the USSR: “There can be in reality no talk of uniqueness of national culture when one and the same conductor’s baton, or rather one and the same police club, undertakes to regulate all the intellectual activities of all the peoples of the Soviet Union. Free download or read online The Revolution Betrayed pdf (ePUB) book. 211-12). If the proletariat was congenitally incapable of becoming a ruling class, then there existed no possibility of a progressive solution to the contradictions of capitalism. The events of the last five years provide an objective means of comparing the scientific value of Trotsky’s masterpiece of Marxist analysis to the conformist and pedestrian works of innumerable stipend-laden academics and prize-winning journalists. While the scale of executions came nowhere near the Terror of 1937-9 - he had no desire to see the purge spiral out of control as it had then - this was in many ways the darkest period of the Stalin era. What we call Russian revolution, from a long-term view, is a revolution in three episodes. In the annals of political literature, few works have withstood the test of time so well as Leon Trotsky’s The Revolution Betrayed. Share . One of Marxism's most important texts, The Revolution Betrayed explores the fate of the Russian Revolution after Lenin's death. Neither the pragmatic bourgeois nostrums broadcast by the mass media nor the insipid existential fatalism cultivated in the universities are capable of satisfying the demands of the working masses for a way out of the social catastrophe to which capitalism is leading. Such is the social diagnosis. In the immediate aftermath of war, Leningrad's fortunes revived. Though the state created by the first workers’ revolution did not collapse, it began to degenerate. That the development of socialism in the Soviet Union depended ultimately upon the victory of the socialist revolution in the advanced European centers of world capitalism had always been, as we have already noted, an unquestioned premise of the Bolshevik, i.e., Marxist, perspective. But these and other defeats for which the political line of the Stalinists was responsible had an objective impact upon class relations within the Soviet Union. It is also clear that the rule of the bureaucracy was not rooted in forms of property that represented its own independent historical mission as a new ruling class. He was by now a sick man - the enormous strain of leading the Soviet war effort had taken its toll, and he suffered a stroke in autumn 1945. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. The book has been awarded with , and many others. “From its inception,” Cannon reminded the cadre of the world movement, “the Fourth International set as one of its major tasks the revolutionary overthrow of Stalinism inside and outside the USSR.” He insisted that the main obstacle to the organization of the working class on the basis of a genuine revolutionary program remained Stalinism, “which attracts workers through exploiting the prestige of the October 1917 Revolution in Russia, only later, as it betrays their confidence, to hurl them either into the arms of the Social Democracy, into apathy, or back into illusions in capitalism” (C. Slaughter, ed., Trotskyism Versus Revisionism: A Documentary History [London: New Park Publications, 1974], vol. He was all too aware of his failing powers, and this made him all the more likely to intervene, with potentially devastating effect, in the political process. Labour productivity was low, living conditions for many abysmal. Trotsky then outlined the transitional demands with which a Soviet section of the Fourth International would seek to mobilize the working class for the revolutionary overthrow of the Stalinist regime: freedom for the trade unions and factory committees, the regeneration of Soviet democracy, the legalization of Soviet parties, the ouster of the bureaucracy from the soviets and the abolition of its privileges, the revision of the planned economy in the interests of workers and consumers, the reorganization of the collective farms in accordance with the will of the workers, and the replacement of the bureaucracy’s collaboration with world imperialism with the Marxist program of proletarian internationalism. The orthodox Trotskyist perspective seemed to them highly problematic in the light of postwar developments. The outcome of these impressionist and skeptical speculations was a fundamental revision of the Trotskyist program that had been developed on the basis of The Revolution Betrayed. But he warned that the social evolution of the ruling stratum proceeded irresistibly in that direction. “We must formulate our slogans,” Trotsky wrote, “in such a way that the workers see clearly just what we are defending in the USSR (state property and planned economy), and against whom we are conducting a ruthless struggle (the parasitic bureaucracy and its Comintern). Trotsky rejected this term as well, for the October Revolution had undoubtedly led to the abolition of private ownership of the means of production and placed property in the hands of the workers’ state. Within the space of eight astonishing months, from February to October, the Russian masses shattered the decrepit feudal institutions of the Romanov dynasty and, led by the most revolutionary party the world had ever seen, created a new state form, based on workers’ councils (soviets). But there was a heavy price to be paid for the tremendous historical leap of 1917. The fall of the present bureaucratic dictatorship, if it were not replaced by a new socialist power, would thus mean a return to capitalist relations with a catastrophic decline of the economy and culture” (pp. They might convert themselves into stock companies, or they might find some other transitional form of property—one, for example, in which the workers should participate in the profits. He wrote: "The October Revolution has been betrayed by the ruling stratum, but not yet overthrown. Stalin had hoped that the expulsion of Trotsky would deprive him of the possibility of developing the activity of the Opposition in the Soviet Union. Thus, they attributed great progressive significance to the Stalinists’ expropriation of bourgeois property in Eastern Europe, while forgetfully, or perhaps conveniently, ignoring the role played by the Kremlin in sabotaging the revolutionary movement of the Western European proletariat in the closing period and immediate aftermath of World War II. This theoretical and political apologia for Stalinism was first advanced in a 1949 biography of Stalin written by Isaac Deutscher, an emigrant from Poland who had once been active in the International Left Opposition, but had broken with Trotsky over his decision to found the Fourth International. With his own clumsy assistance, it has succeeded in humiliating him. Free download or read online The Revolution Betrayed pdf (ePUB) book. The result in winter 1941-2 was the worst famine ever in a developed society. 'THE REUOLUTlon BETRAYED' -[.J. This fantastic conception, like all the other ideas hatched by the Pablo-Mandel faction, was completely alien to the scientific analysis of the Stalinist regime presented by Trotsky in The Revolution Betrayed. The main characters of this history, politics story are , . Grigori Rasputin was a Siberian starets (faith healer) who arrived in St Petersburg around 1904. And in a declaration of political solidarity with the policies of the Kremlin, Mandel asserted that “if Gorbachev’s reforms are allowed to continue and the impetus is not lost or reversed: then perestroika will begin to deliver fruits after a period of time and the living standards of the people will improve. A secondary figure before the masses and in the events of the revolution, Stalin revealed himself as the indubitable leader of the Thermidorian bureaucracy, as first in its midst” (pp. The political conclusions upon which Trotsky based his call for the founding of the Fourth International were theoretically substantiated and given a finished programmatic form with the writing of The Revolution Betrayed. It is the only serious Marxist analysis of what happened to the Russian Revolution after the death of Lenin. International Committee of the Fourth International. Find out more about how the BBC is covering the. The political prognosis has an alternative character: either the bureaucracy, becoming ever more the organ of the world bourgeoisie in the workers’ state, will overthrow the new forms of property and plunge the country back to capitalism; or the working class will crush the bureaucracy and open the way to socialism” (Leon Trotsky, The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International: The Transitional Program [New York: Labor Publications, 1981] pp. Considered from the standpoint of the economic structure of the Soviet state, a war with a capitalist state would place at risk something far more important than the heads of bureaucrats. This paradoxical historical outcome—the consummation of the democratic revolution through the conquest of state power by the working class—could not but have the most far-reaching and unprecedented consequences. It found Trotsky not guilty and condemned the Moscow Trials as a frame-up. Share . It was understood as a matter of course that the fate of the workers’ state was inextricably linked to that of international socialism. Stalin and Leningrad Stalin was always suspicious of Russia's former capital. Yet after less than four years the same government had indeed to flee from Norway before the Nazi invasion; and as the Ministers and their aged King Haakon stood on the coast, huddled together and waiting anxiously for a boat that was to take them to England, they recalled with awe Trotsky’s words as a prophet’s curse come true” (Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast: Trotsky 1929-40 [New York: Vintage Books, 1963], pp. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. The party of Lenin was the product of years of irreconcilable theoretical struggle against every current of opportunism in the Russian workers’ movement. He believed neither that it represented an instrument of imperialism within the Soviet and international workers’ movement nor that the Stalinist bureaucracy was preparing the ground for the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union. But the worsening crisis of the world capitalist order, combined with the impact of the political convulsions in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China, will lead inevitably to a renewed interest in the Marxist classics. 4. I think to some degree Napoleon betrayed the Revolution, by crowning himself Emperor, and through the opulent lifestyle he gave to himself, his family and his cronies. We might add that the events in Eastern Europe have been a no less crushing refutation of the sundry “new class” and “state capitalist” theories. By the 1950s Stalin was in ill health, but the cult of personality surrounding him grew The leaders of the Communist parties affiliated to the Comintern were hired flunkeys of the GPU-NKVD, prepared to carry out whatever instructions they received from the Kremlin. The book was published in multiple languages including English, consists of 240 pages and is available in Paperback format. See more ideas about revolution, russian history, russian revolution. The blood purges which were launched with the opening of the first round of the Moscow Trials in August 1936 were intended not only to eradicate all those who might become the focus of revolutionary opposition to the bureaucracy, but also to demonstrate to the world bourgeoisie that the Stalinist regime had broken irrevocably with the heritage of 1917. A regime which had been established on the basis of the most advanced social program had at its disposal only the most meager economic resources. Was Stalin to blame for the destruction wrought by the Wehrmacht? The Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in 1917 which ended centuries of Tsar rule in Russia and lead to the founding of the Soviet Union. Comintern was the name by which the Third, or Communist, International was commonly known. Leon Trotsky's Revolution Betrayed What is the Soviet Union and where is it going? He drew from the Soviet press and from the statements of the exalted leaders fleeting and veiled references—to homelessness, prostitution, marriages made for the sake of an extra room—which contradicted the official tributes to the “happy life” which Stalin had supposedly bestowed upon the masses. Books have their destiny and that of The Revolution Betrayed has been bound up with the fate of the principles and ideals it espoused. Trotsky depicted the immediate consequences of counterrevolution: “A collapse of the Soviet regime would lead inevitably to the collapse of the planned economy, and thus to the abolition of state property. To anarchists? Indeed, chapter 5 of The Revolution is Betrayed is entitled “The Soviet Thermidor – Why Stalin Triumphed.” According to Trotsky, the “counter-revolutionaries” were the caste of bureaucrats, opportunist and careerist parasites who preached that, after the shock and exhaustion of revolution and civil war, the proletariat deserved a rest. The Siege of Leningrad by Harrison Salisbury (Pan, 2000), Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy by Dmitrii Volkogonov, translated by Harold Shukman (Grove, 1991), Stalin: The Man and His Era by Adam Ulam (1989), Stalin by Edvard Radzinskii, translated by HT Willets (Sceptre, 1997). Their success depended less upon direct repression than it did upon the activities of the Kremlin bureaucracy and its political agents. 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