File spoon-archives/marxism-general.archive/marxism-general_1997/marxism-general.9707, message 133

Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 11:08:51 +0200
Subject: M-G: Re: M-I: On the April theses and Trotsky's lies

Jim H, representing the forces of lies, counter-revolution and the
treacherous spilling of workers' blood, provides us with a rhetorical
set-piece against Trotsky and Lenin that is utterly devoid of political
argument and proof.

He writes:

>Would I oppose Lenin's April Theses? No, not in April (figuratively
>speaking). Trotsky and Parvus wanted April before February, or rather
>October *instead* of February.

He has to say "figuratively speaking" because all his political icons,
Stalin foremost among them, were against the April theses in their line and
practice all through 1917 including October.

Trotsky deals with all this in his book on the Permanent Revolution, to
which I refer everyone interested for the quotes and full arguments.

Jim fuses Trotsky and Parvus, which is as inadmissible today as it was at
the height of the bureaucracy's campaign against Trotksy and the PR in the
late 1920s. (Again see TPR for chapter and verse.)

Jim will be totally unable to provide any evidence of Trotsky repudiating
February because it wasn't October. As with Lenin, Trotsky took February as
the definitive signal for the start of the real revolution in Russia. No
way he repudiated February. But like Lenin (and unlike Stalin the strangler
of innumerable revolutions and the murderer of innumerable revolutionaries)
Trotsky immediately realized the inadequacies of the Menshevik leadership
at the head of the huge uprising that flung aside the surface filth of the
Tsarist regime. While Stalin and his cronies saw the replacement of the
Tsarist regime as quite enough for the time being thank you, Lenin and
Trotsky knew that much more than the regime was at stake. It was a question
of changing the foundations of the state from bourgeois (capitalist) to
(transitional) socialist. The April Theses pushed this line against the
initial resistance of most of the Old Bolshevik leadership -- and the
argument they used was Lenin's old algebraic formula of the democratic
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.

Perhaps Jim thinks Lenin was satisfied with February??

>Lenin described the position of the Permanentists as "hopelessly left".
>I am sure you know this. And Trotsky at the same time described Lenin as
>a reactionary and a sectarian.

This is typical of Jim's rhetoric. No quotes and no dates. Best that way ...

If Jim thinks the long-term analysis that the proletariat was the only
class force capable of *carrying through a revolutionary change* in the
foundations of Russian society (in the sense of *leading* the irresistible
aggregate forces of the proletariat plus the revolutionary peasantry to a
socialist solution) was hopelessly left, then he's a fool who refuses to
recognize that this is precisely the analysis corroborated by the events of
1917. Without the revolutionary proletarian Marxist leadership of the
Bolshevik party under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky October would
never have been carried through. Without the mass leadership of the
proletariat following the Bolshevik line, the huge peasant and landless
masses of Russia would never have carried through the revolution in the
countryside and throughout the country.

>In *My Life* Trotsky claims that Lenin told Joffe shortly before his
>death that on the question of the permanent revolution, it was Trotsky
>who had been correct and Lenin who had been wrong. Frankly, I do not
>believe him. Joffe is by no means an independent source.

Jim reduces this not just to a question of personalities between Lenin and
Trotsky (and poor old Joffe) but pushes himself into the argument, as if a
confirmed Stalinist hack could have any clout in questions of veracity or

Anyone in doubt should read the relevant bits of "My Life" as Jim so
lightheadedly recommends. There they'll find the policy and theory grounds
for Trotsky's position.

>By implication, Lenin must be some kind of vain charlatan if this
>account is true, since on a matterof the utmost theoretical and
>strategic importance, Lenin is supposed to have thought his writings
>wrong - and yet never wrote a single word to admit it, not a single
>article of self-criticism, not even a new foreword to Results and

This vicious argument is dealt with in The Permanent Revolution.  The
status of the theory of Permanent Revolution in the relations between
Trotsky and Lenin is made very clear. Particularly clear (in the chapter
"The Nature and Aims of this Work") is the fact that the reason for Lenin's
continued campaign against Trotsky and his followers between 1905 and WW1
was in no way the theory of the Permanent Revolution but the strategy of
conciliationism towards the Mensheviks. Lenin would not for a second have
entertained the idea of fusing with Trotsky if Trotsky had persisted in his

Now, as a bit of exciting reading for everybody interested in living
revolutionary politics, as opposed to the hack retroactive chopping away of
the bits of history that get in the way of the current line, read the
discussions in relation to the proposals for an agreement with the
Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries around November 1 (14) in Lenin's
Collected Works and in other works you can get hold of. As is known, bits
of the minutes particularly favourable to Trotsky and therefore damaging to
Stalin were torn out on Stalin's orders. But enough remains to make the
real situation clear as daylight.

As for Lenin's change of views, perhaps Jim could find for us some quote
after April 1917 in which Lenin even breathes the slightest possibility of
shared leadership with the peasantry in Russia, or the slightest
possibility of realizing any sort of democratic dictatorship of the
proletariat and the peasantry. The thing is that, as Trotsky explains till
he's blue in the face, Lenin's change of views is more a change of emphasis
in a flexible and algebraic formula. Trotsky didn't have the same need to
make such an open-ended formula for something where he was convinced that
history had made the fundamental relationships clear. 1917 showed Trotsky's
emphasis to be the closer to the actual relations of force in Russian
society. The disagreements between Lenin and Trotsky on this matter were
retrospectively widened in the anti-Trotskyist anti-Left Opposition
campaign  from 1923 on into a vast gulf  that soon turned into a pit of
hell into which opponents of Stalin's theory of Socialism in One Country
could be hurled at will.

>On the other hand, we have Trotsky's own admission, earlier, that on
>those issues where he and Lenin disagreed, it was Lenin who was correct.
>We should applaud Trotsky's openness on this score, and take him at his

Typically again, not the slightest attempt at determining the date, the
context or the issues. However, Jim should be careful about applauding
Trotsky's openness on this score -- it reflects badly on the behaviour of
the Eagle of the Caucasus in relation to disagreements and the management
of contradictions within the party.

>These things are known to every Trotskyist who has actually bothered to
>read thw works of their leader. So why does comrade Brown act so shocked
>that someone should take them as given and write about the errors of
>Trotsky and Parvus.

Only a Stalinist could make such a fuss about the admission of errors!!
Error in relation to the general line was a matter of life or death for
citizens of the Soviet Union under the Stalinist regime.

Jim on the reading of Trotsky sounds just like some Dominican or Jesuit
who's been entrusted to read the heretical vomit of the Anti-Christ on the
Index of Forbidden Books. Same arrogant superiority combined with the
exquisite and perverse pleasure of skin-to-skin contact with the Great

>But then I may be making a big mistake here. Maybe Mr 40% off is just a
>clown who is having some fun at our expense. Either way, our generic
>Trotskyist seems to have little to offer to genuine Leninists.

Oh, the wit, the seriousness, the concern for gathering forces for the
revolutionary overturn of capitalism!! What a narrow, dried-up, repellent
sectarian vision!!

>For communism

Big joke.



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