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Clare Sheridan. Garden City: Doubleday, Navill P. Trotski vivant. Paris: Juillard, In Defense of Leon Trotsky. Oak Park, Michigan: Mehring Books, Orlov A. New York: Random House, At the Moscow Trial. But any political struggle is basically a class struggle, and consequently also an economic struggle. Political interests are the result of economic interests; it is to defend these interests that the popular masses are rising, and not to attain abstract political ideas.
Whoever desires to inspire the popular masses for the political struggle must show them at what point it is directly linked to their economic interests. Therefore these must not at any time pass into the background if the struggle for freedom is not to be halted. The alliance of the proletariat with other classes in the revolutionary struggle must therefore rest upon a community of economic interests if it wishes to be lasting and triumphant.
The tactic of the Russian Social Democracy must also be founded upon such a community of interests. This must therefore provide us with the basis for the entire revolutionary tactic of Russian Social Democracy.
Cooperation with liberalism can only be envisaged when it does not impede cooperation with the peasantry. But we must not wait for the peasants to become Socialists. Socialism can only be built upon the basis of big industry, and of large enterprises; it is too inconsistent with the conditions of small industry and small economic units for it to be born and maintain itself in the midst of a population whose majority is peasant. Once Socialism has become preponderant in big industry and in extensive agricultural exploitation, it can eventually by force of example convince the small peasants and induce them to imitate it, but it cannot originate from them.
And the intellectual and material conditions for this are lacking in Russia even more than elsewhere. The Communism of the Russian village is completely linked with the land, and in no way means production in common. That is why it is impossible for modern exchange production to pass over to a superior mode of production on the basis of the rural commune.
This requires at least the context of a great city, but Russian agricultural producers are absolutely incapable of production upon a national basis. It would therefore appear to be unthinkable that the present Russian Revolution would straightaway lead to the introduction of a Socialist mode of production, even if it did temporarily bring the Social Democracy to power. We do not know how long the Russian Revolution will last , and from the forms it has now assumed, it does not seem to want to stop very quickly.
We also do not know what influence it will exert over Western Europe and how it will fertilise the proletarian movement there.
Finally, we do not know at all how the success of the Western European proletariat that would result from this would rebound upon the Russian proletariat. We would do well to familiarise ourselves with the idea that here we are touching upon entirely new problems and situations which do not correspond to any of the models already laid down so far. This honest fellow here seeks to create the impression that he had been a Menshevik, so to speak, from birth.
But as the quotation above shows, he was not only solidly with the Bolsheviks on the decisive question of the understanding of the role of the bourgeoisie in the Russian Revolution , but where he departed from the Bolsheviks he went even further than they did by estimating as possible the passing over of the Russian Revolution to a direct struggle for Socialism.
The representatives of this tendency pointed out that even if the peasantry represented a great revolutionary force which the working class must by all means attempt to develop and on whom it had to rely, it was not capable of carrying out an independent policy because of its social atomisation, its dispersion, and the low level of its development.
Whereas Lenin and the Bolsheviks talked about the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry , the above-named Marxists laid down the formula of the dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the peasantry. From onwards Trotsky posed the following questions in his article The Perspectives of the Russian Revolution [ Results and Prospects ]: . It is sufficient to try to imagine a revolutionary democratic government without representatives of the proletariat to see immediately the senselessness of such a conception.
The refusal of the Social Democrats to participate in a revolutionary government would render such a government quite impossible, and would thus be equivalent to a betrayal of the revolution. But the participation of the proletariat in a government is also objectively most probable, and permissible in principle, only as a dominating and leading participation. One may, of course, describe such a government as the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, a dictatorship of the proletariat, peasantry and intelligentsia, or even a coalition government of the working class and the petit-bourgeoisie, but the question nevertheless remains: who is to wield the hegemony in the government itself, and through it in the country?
Trotsky came down in favour of the hegemony of the proletariat in the government , and sought to show that in spite of the backwardness of social conditions, in spite of the low level of capitalist development in Russia, the revolutionary government would be forced to take transitional measures leading to Socialism:. No matter under what political flag the proletariat has come to power, it is obliged to take the path of Socialist policy. It would be the greatest utopianism to think that the proletariat, having been raised to political domination by the internal mechanism of a bourgeois revolution, can, even if it so desires, limit its mission to the creation of republican-democratic conditions for the social domination of the bourgeoisie.
The political domination of the proletariat, even if it is only temporary, will weaken to an extreme degree the resistance of capital, which always stands in need of the support of the state, and will give the economic struggle of the proletariat tremendous scope. The workers cannot but demand maintenance for strikers from the revolutionary government, and a government relying upon the workers cannot refuse this demand.
But this means paralysing the effect of the reserve army of labour and making the workers dominant not only in the political but also in the economic field, and converting private property in the means of production into a fiction. These inevitable social-economic consequences of proletarian dictatorship will reveal themselves very quickly, long before the democratisation of the political system has been completed. Trotsky is thus faced with the question of the relations existing between the political necessity which he describes and the state of the Russian economy.
Of this there cannot for one moment be any doubt.
Socialistphenomenon by Samuel Alejandro - Issuu
But on the other hand, there cannot be any doubt that a Socialist revolution in the West will enable us directly to convert the temporary domination of the working class into a Socialist dictatorship. Thus for him the Russian Revolution is the point of departure for the European proletarian revolution. He conceives of the Russian Revolution as one element of the permanent European revolution. We will refrain from quoting in detail the concepts of Rosa Luxemburg, which hardly differ from those of Trotsky and shall only add one more point to the construction of this picture. Rosa Luxemburg already occupied herself with the perspectives of the Russian revolution just after the defeat of the revolution of in an article in which she polemicised against a book of the celebrated Menshevik publicist Cherevanin.
We have sketched out here the basic questions which already before and during the first Russian Revolution were posed to the vanguard of the Russian proletariat. As can be seen, these are the decisive questions of the destiny of the present Russian Revolution. The revolution of —06 was the prologue to the revolution of All the classes which were to measure their strength 12 years later in other circumstances were already in struggle, and that is why all the questions to which we are in practice replying at present by the actions and the history of the Russian Revolution were already posed.
The revolution of could not provide an answer to all the questions posed, since Tsarism succeeded, with the aid of European capital, in defeating the young proletariat and peasantry before the first Russian Revolution could spread its international influence sufficiently. The first Russian Revolution stimulated the international proletarian movement in an extraordinary manner. It showed in fact that, whatever the limits of the Russian Revolution, the bourgeoisie was already in Russia a counter-revolutionary factor at the time of the first revolution. From the first revolution, in fact, it contented itself with verbal concessions from Tsarism, and sought to conclude a compromise with it.
When Tsarism succeeded in strangling the revolution only with the aid of European capital, whose attitude was determined, amongst other things, by the following fact: it knew that the Russian bourgeoisie did not want the fall of Tsarism, in spite of a show of opposition. However the Mensheviks, by linking their perspectives for revolution to a new upsurge of bourgeois opposition  , even after the defeat of the first revolution, showed that they were suffering from congenital political blindness. The Russian bourgeoisie carried on a show of struggle against Tsarism in the Duma.
But at the same time it was again seeking agreement with Tsarism on the terrain of Russian imperialism.
Peter Struve  , the foremost ideologist of Russian liberalism, became the prophet of the Greater Russia, and Paul Milyukov, the political leader of Russian liberalism, became the promoter of Russian policy in the Balkans, which along with the German policy in Turkey led to the war. During the war of the liberals were to make up the bulk of the patriotic forces of the Russian war. The revolution of , which was no more than the uprising of the Russian popular masses against the devastating consequences of the Tsarist participation in the world war, had, from the start, also to be against the bourgeoisie.
However, the counter-revolutionary role of the bourgeoisie meant that the working class had to conduct a very hard struggle against the industrial bourgeoisie in order to fight Tsarism. The working class had to struggle against it step by step in order to assert its influence over the semi-proletarian and petit-bourgeois masses. At the same time it appeared that the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie corresponded not only with its attitude towards democracy, but that the struggle for democracy also developed from the social role of the proletariat, its struggle against capitalist exploitation.
From the moment it began to struggle against the methods of primitive accumulation, which were then practised in Russia by capitalism, it came right up against the bourgeoisie. The struggle for the eight-hour day bourgeois democracy is a nonsense if this demand is not satisfied, for a beast of burden, who is welded from dawn till late at night to the machine, obviously cannot take part in political life led after the October Manifesto to the great struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, a struggle in which the bourgeoisie as a class was openly, clearly and unequivocally ranged on the side of Tsarism, from which it sought help against the proletariat.
The antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie was shown as one of the most important driving forces of the Russian Revolution. The revolution did not definitely impose itself on the village, but there it undermined the foundations of Tsarism as much as in the town. Over a large part of Russia it drove the peasantry to engage in an armed struggle against the nobility. The red cockerel made its cry resound over the lands of the nobles who had mobilised all the scorpions of the government against the peasants.
Even though the class consciousness of the peasantry in the army was still too little developed to prevent the peasants from playing the role of executioner as regards their own brethren, the punitive military expeditions into the villages nonetheless undermined the old mentality in the army, just as in the village.
Tsarism understood better than the Mensheviks the danger threatening it from the side of the peasantry. The Tsarist government after having hoped at the time of the elections for the first Duma in that the ignorant mass of peasants would form a counterweight to the city vote, sought after the first revolution to split them up in order to rely upon the rich peasants against the poor, and thus to be able, thanks to this new antagonism inside the peasant mass itself, to weaken and paralyse the force of its blows against the Tsarist state. The new factor, which the Marxist analysis had not foreseen, was the form by which the working class organised itself as a revolutionary agent.