Century of Revolution and Counterrevolution in Retrospect
Trotsky's Role and Contribution to Stalin's Rise to Power in the Soviet Union
Century of Revolution and Counterrevolution in Retrospect:
Trotsky’s Role and Contribution to Stalin’s Rise to Power in the Soviet Union
Eddie J. Girdner
On a global scale, a century of revolution and counterrevolution has failed to establish a viable socialist society in the global political economy of the Twenty-first Century. The bourgeois revolution which began with the French Revolution has yet to be consolidated universally as the periphery is still being consolidated into the global economy. The contemporary form of deeply exploitative capitalism, neoliberalism, has been clamped upon most countries of the world. Today, reactionary religious revivalism, one of the strongest and most lethal toxic opiates of the masses, threatens even the emergence of bourgeois freedom across a wide swath of the earth and strengthens, asserting violent dogma, precipitating destruction, and crushing the vital urge toward freedom and human liberation. The vision of human liberation of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is in retreat; human freedom is threatened. The uprisings in North Africa have toppled autocrats, but strengthened fundamentalist Islam. Human liberation is in retreat. Even the most liberal states now roll back human freedoms under the rubric of containing the terrorism which they themselves have brought about through successive phases of imperialism and neo-imperialism. How can one keep faith in the promise of the future rational society? The wily beast of capitalism has proved vastly more capable of overcoming contradictions than social thinkers and revolutionaries previously thought. The hold of religion upon the global masses has only strengthened in recent decades as transnational capital mops up from a century of crushing the progressive forces of the left around the world. The current rulers of the capitalist-corporatist state, in the face of such movements as Occupy Wall Street, respond with organized and brutal repression.
This article looks back some one hundred years to one of the greatest of revolutionaries in the paradigm revolution that shook the capitalist world to its foundations. Leon Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronstein) was one of the most brilliant and colorful of all revolutionaries. As prolific writer, theorist, and journalist, he won many over to the revolutionary cause. As a dynamic and inspiring orator, he aroused multitudes to take a leap into the future in the October l917 Petrograd uprising. Yet, paradoxically, in a few short years, the brilliant theoretician of the revolution found himself in exile, sidelined and barred from playing an official role in the Bolshevik Revolution. Those whom he condemned to the “dust heap of history” had seemingly triumphed.
I. Synopsis of the article: The Twentieth Century saw the unfolding of the historical possibility for human liberation. Efforts were made to go beyond the liberal era of the capitalist development of the means of production which provided a basis for such historical progress. Thermidorean reaction from conservative forces have halted and reversed that process in the present period of economic globalization, continued western neo-imperialism, and resurgence of human degradation under the rubric of the global “free market.” The Soviet experiment ended feudalism in Russia and modernized a wide realm of the globe. Leon Trotsky was a giant figure, along with Joseph Stalin, in that historical drama. Their bitter conflict was itself a sort of dialectical unity of opposites as a fascinating, but in many ways tragic moment of that transformation. It was a bitter struggle between a brilliant revolutionary and a bureaucrat as the Revolution came up against war and the practical difficulties of modernization. The historical dialectic continues but the nature of the next phase of history remains unclear, whether reaction will continue to reign or if a new progressive phase will emerge and when. It is not the “end of history” but one cannot be sure of the teleological direction of history and if that direction is toward human liberation and socialism. The current economic system is unsustainable, politically and ecologically, but that does not mean that the system is about to collapse any time soon. How deeply the world proletariat can continue to be marginalized and exploited is a historical question and what kind of “brave new world” will be created is a historical question. Whether it will be state corporatist capitalist fascism or human liberation under some form of socialism is a historical question.
The central purpose of this article is to explore the reasons why Trotsky, the most brilliant and fiery activist of the October l917 uprising, lost the reigns of power to Stalin and his political faction and ultimately found himself exiled from the Soviet Union.
A question which arises is that of the fundamental nature of power and leadership, and to what extent it is controlled or determined by the material forces of history.Consequently, two broad camps emerge, depending upon whether the “great man” theory of history is adopted, or whether one considers the material forces of history predominant in the final analysis.
It has been suggested that Leon Trotsky’s struggle with Joseph Stalin is “the greatest feud in the whole history of Russia.”For Stalin, Trotsky was a “common noisy champion with faked muscles.”Stalin arranged to have him sentenced to death in the Moscow Tribunal and sent an agent of the Russian Secret Police to smash Trotsky’s head with an axe in Mexico on August 2, 1940.It is impossible to deny that Stalin’s victory over his great political rival had great social, economic, and political consequences. Social revolution in Russia was crushed beneath the terrible weight of Stalinist dogma and bureaucratic autocracy. On the other hand, Stalin’s prodigious efforts contributed greatly to the defeat of Hitler in World War II. Whether Trotsky’s brilliance and leadership would have been more successful is a matter of speculation, but it seems certain that it would have changed history significantly and that the Thermidorian period of the revolution might have been less bloody.
III. The Praxis of History
This article argues to some extent in favor of the Great Man Theory of History, but only within the boundaries or the historical window of opportunity which exists for an individual to change history. There is a dialectical relationship between freedom and necessity in revolution, both present in a unity of opposites. Therefore taking a one-sided view is over-simplistic. “Men make their own history, but not spontaneously, under conditions they have chosen for themselves; rather on terms immediately existing, given and handed down to them.”In 1892, Karl Kautsky wrote, “Marx and Engels showed… that, in the last analysis, the history of mankind is determined, not by ideas, but by an economic development which progresses irresistibly, obedient to certain underlying laws and not to anyone’s wishes or whims.”Men and women make history, but not just in any way they like. There is a window of opportunity in which they may operate within the dialectic of opposing historical forces.This is due to the historical constraints which bind the possibilities of action and success or failure. These include both actually existing material conditions and the existing consciousness of the mass of society. Historical change cannot go beyond that historical possibility. One need not rely completely upon historical determinism in their interpretation of history. The historical window of opportunity is, however, not unlimited.
Under certain historical conditions, when the time is ripe for revolution, the old society is pregnant with the new. For Hegel, “such a system is really possible if the conditions for it are present in the old, that is, if the prior social form actually possesses a content that tends toward the new system as its realization.” Social change is a “leading beyond.”“The circumstances that exist in the old form are thus conceived not as true and independent in themselves, but as a mere condition for another state of affairs that implies the negation of the former.”
Revolution is a leap of faith toward a vision of the future society but to what extent this is achieved depends, in the last analysis, upon possibility. “The process of destroying existing forms and replacing them by new ones liberates their content and permits them to win their actual state.” This is the ‘self becoming of the old reality.”Historical events are “moments” of one comprehensive dialectical process.
No revolution can achieve its full goals because the material possibilities for the ultimate vision of revolutionaries do not exist. At the same time, the revolutionary, perhaps, must believe that such goals are possible to risk all for the revolution. Nevertheless, when the edge of the historical window of opportunity has been reached, the revolution flows back upon itself. This is the Thermidor. The negation of the negation has set in and heads roll. Reaction asserts itself. Society has changed to something new, but not in just the way the revolutionaries envisioned. Theorists of the Bolshevik Revolution believed that conditions for a new society existed. Some even believed that this new society would be “socialist.” In retrospect, this vision must be questioned. It may just be a figment of the imagination that produced the theory that the next stage of history will be “socialist.”Indeed, no actually existing society on earth can legitimately claim that it has reached the lofty goal of establishing a socialist society.Indeed, the transformation to capitalism has not yet been consolidated universally around the globe.
IV. Background to the Revolution
Herbert Marcuse has pointed out that what appears to be facts are not facts. “Facts are facts only if related to that which is not yet fact and yet manifests itself in the given facts as real possibility.”Only after the historical period can we know decisively the actually existing facts. The empirical analysis is deceptive. The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only at the fall of dusk, as Hegel said.
What did the theorists of the Bolshevik Revolution anticipate? For Validimir Lenin in 1917, in Russia, the only possibility was a “bourgeois revolution.” The peasants were necessarily petit bourgeois. The proletariat, allied with the peasants, could not realize its mission of the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” He saw capitalist development as a historical necessity. It was not possible to jump over the stage of history of developing the technology, the forces of production.
Lenin and Trotsky, however, did not agree on the nature of the revolution. Trotsky thought that the revolution would be both anti-feudal and anti-capitalist and that its salvation would lie in revolution in Europe, as Russia was not ripe for revolution. In general, the Bolsheviks thought the revolution would not be socialist in character, while the Mensheviks leaned toward middle class liberalism.Both Trotsky and Lenin argued that the socialist revolution would begin in Russia before it began in Europe, but believed that it could not succeed without revolution in Europe.
Rosa Luxemburg showed more insight when she criticized Lenin and Trotsky on their theories of dictatorship. Revolution should involve the people. “The whole mass of the people must take part in it,” she wrote. “Otherwise socialism will be decreed from behind a few official desks by a dozen intellectuals.” Not a bad description of what was to happen. But is it realistic that the massive transformation of society could take place under the actual democratic control of these masses? Luxemburg wanted “the most unlimited, the broadest democracy and public opinion.” She thought that Lenin was setting up a “dictatorship of a handful of politicians… in the sense of the rule of the Jacobins… such conditions must inevitably cause a brutalization of public life, attempted assassinations, shooting of hostages, and other violence.”But there emerged a pervasive fear among the Bolsheviks of the restoration of capitalism without a firm hand on the helm. Under the realties of the Revolution, and the civil war to crush the reaction, democracy was simply too threatening to the new regime.
In l906, George Plekhanov argued that nationalization of the land in Russia would be an attempt to restore “oriental despotism” that had been weakened by economic development.This view also turned out to be perceptive.
In the historical events which led to Trotsky’s role in the October l917 uprising, subsequent leadership positions and ultimate exile, something can be learned from a study of personality and psychological factors, as well as his individual decisions and actions. Consequently, this article will deal with Trotsky as a leader, but the major social and historical force which shaped history during Trotsky’s lifetime will also be considered. Our position is that Trotsky made many tactical mistakes and misjudgments as a political leader, which may well have cost him the leadership of the Soviet Union and led to his exile, but that Trotsky as a single individual could not, through his own actions, make the Revolution, undo the Revolution, or easily transform the Soviet Union materially and socially after the Revolution. The same can be said of Stalin.There was the great weight of traditional and material forces which had to be wrestled with, and which towered above any single individual. These material forces, as well as historical events, contributed to the consolidation of power by Stalin and his colleagues. Perhaps one factor is that given the historical backwardness of Russian society, force was required and Trotsky’s idealism was sometimes irrelevant to the situation. Trotsky later analyzed why force would become necessary in revolution in his theory of “dual power.”
We will argue that in several critical instances, Trotsky unwittingly, or through foolish or unwise judgments or assumptions, contributed to his own “defeat,” at the hands of Stalin and his clique in the Politburo. We will, however, wish to distinguish between his “defeat” in terms of the broader history and defeat in terms of losing his position as a leader of the Soviet Union. As Isaac Deutscher has suggested, there may have been a degree of victory in defeat for Trotsky.
This article will discuss the factors which led to Trotsky’s defeat in several categories. We will look at Trotsky’s personality traits and evaluate Trotsky’s personal decisions and actions at critical junctions in the evolution of the Party and the state apparatus. We will also discuss the actions and instructions of Vladimir Lenin, concerning the authority of the Party and the ban on factions, particularly at the Tenth Party Congress, which contributed eventually to Trotsky’s expulsion from the Party and exile. It is also important to examine the major contradictions in the Bolshevik ideology which contributed to authoritarian forms of state and party organization, and in the paradox of attempting to build socialism in the semi-feudal USSR. It is also important to keep in mind the difficult historical and material factors over which Trotsky had no control, both internally and externally, but which contributed to isolation and authoritarianism in the USSR. The personality of Stalin and his mode of operation as a politician and skillful tactician contributed to Trotsky being outfoxed politically. Finally, an evaluation can be made as to what extent Trotsky can be blamed for his defeat, which surely was a tragic element in this historical drama.
V. Trotsky’s Personality:
As a gifted political actor, Trotsky was fiercely independent. As a gifted analyst and theorist, he critiqued all theses, programs and policies of the Party and arrived at his own conclusions. This talent, which in most instances overshadowed those around him, often prevented Trotsky from working effectively within the political organization. It also prevented him from establishing and building close bonds to and relationships with those around him. In every situation in which he worked, he stood practically alone. For instance, he entered the Party just shortly before the October l917 uprising and was never really accepted as one of the “Old Guard.” Trotsky insisted upon pointing out the faults he saw in others around him and in every instance, analyzing their theses and pointing out the inherent contradictions. In a practical day-to-day situation, this led to the aggravation and irritation of those around him. In this respect, he was a “born troublemaker.”And while his criticism was invaluable to the Party as a whole, it ultimately made Trotsky unpopular with those around him, as it made them feel insecure.
Trotsky’s fierce independence evidently made him incapable of subordination and being able to work effectively in the harness with his fellow party workers. He always insisted on being the leader in everything that he did. While he could make great personal sacrifices, he could not subordinate himself to another leader. Many in the Party never forgave him for his fifteen-year feud with Lenin.Perhaps these qualities spurred him to become a revolutionary in the first place. But it points out the dilemma of a revolutionary, essentially a professional rebel who must ensure the prevention of rebellion, and himself put aside rebellion after the Revolution.
As we shall discuss, this characteristic or personality trait led Trotsky to make at least one tragic mistake, that of not accepting Lenin’s appointment as Deputy Chairman of the Council or People’s Commissars.He refused because he feared he would be “overshadowed” in the leadership.
Further, it should be mentioned that Trotsky’s personality was dynamic and energy packed. He produced inordinate quantities of high quality work as “the pen” from early in his career, which meant that as a writer and journalist he naturally overshadowed his compatriots. This often led to jealousy.
Again, Trotsky’s independence produced a dangerous over-confidence in himself, and led him to be insufficiently wary of the designs of those around him. He did not believe that he could be defeated by the organization led y a “dull grey peasant.” He seemed convinced that his brilliance could overcome all, and this led him to neglect to build up a base of personal power within the Party. Because of this over-confidence, he neglected to heed Lenin’s warnings about Stalin at the Twelfth Party Congress. He fell for the “rotten compromises” of the enemy. This personality trait of Trotsky can be contrasted to that of Lenin, who refused to compromise.
This particular fault was pointed out by one of Trotsky’s closest friends upon his suicide. When Adolf Abromovich Yoffe committed suicide upon Trotsky’s ouster from the Party, he wrote some words of advice to Trotsky.
But I have always thought that you have not enough in yourself of Lenin’s unbending and unyielding character, not enough or that ability which Lenin had to stand alone and remain alone on the road which he
considered to be the right road… You have often renounced your own
correct attitude for the sake of an argument or a compromise, the
value of which you have overrated.
Yoffe believed that Trotsky lacked “unyielding strength.”
Trotsky was impatient with the pace of historical process. He was unwilling to postpone the fruits of the Revolution to another generation. He was unwilling to wait, to be a foot-soldier or a common worker in the building of socialism. He had a flair for the spectacular, the dynamic and the cataclysmic. As Isaac Deutscher has pointed out, Trotsky’s mental attitude was such that “he received the strongest impulses from, and best mobilized his resources amid the strains and stresses of actual upheaval.” But, “he was out of his element when the revolution was on the wane.”
In his will, Lenin pointed out three unfortunate character traits of Trotsky. First, he possessed “excessive self confidence,” he was too much attracted to purely administrative affairs, and secondly, he was prone to express himself individualistically to the Central Committee.
Finally, Trotsky was often inconsistent. This trait is tied in with a central contradiction in Bolshevik ideology, that of the dialectic between democracy and authority. Trotsky wavered back and forth several times during various periods in his career as a revolutionary, at times demonstrating the potential for an extreme authoritarian personality. This trait will be seen repeatedly.
Victor Wolfenstein saw Trotsky’s revolutionary identity as a result of conflicts with parental authority.He believed that Trotsky acquired industriousness from his parents, initiative and imagination from his father and orderliness from his mother.Even in school, according to Wolfenstein, Trotsky used his brilliance to “lower the self-esteem of others.”In the second grade, his teacher Burnande labeled him a “moral outcast” for defying authority.According to Max Eastman, Trotsky was indecisive at seventeen, unable to decide on a career and thinking that his will was “sickly.” Trotsky later admitted that he found it difficult to make decisions in small matters.Wolfenstein suggestsed that Trotsky’s fatal flaw was his indecisiveness about submitting or fighting.
Wolfenstein further argued that in young adulthood, Trotsky had three tasks. First, he needed to work out relations with equals and superiors. This was difficult due to his ambivalence. Secondly, “he had to create a usable organizational basis for himself.”Finally, he “had to develop Marxism into a workable theory of revolutionary action.”Wolfenstein suggests that his theory of “permanent revolution” failed to provide a means for prolonged struggle, and that Trotsky lost power because he still saw the struggle in terms of a “battle of ideas,” leading him to “ignore the question of leadership while Stalin was working for control.It is certain, as will be discussed in the next section, that Trotsky on several occasions, by his own actions, assisted Stalin and his group in consolidating power.
VI. Personal Decisions and Actions:
In the early part of the Twentieth Century, Trotsky’s writings contributed to the evolution of the authoritarian trend within the Bolshevik ideology. In an early article in Iskra, in l901, Trotsky argued for a strong central committee. It should, he wrote, “have the power to disband and expel any indisciplined organization or individual.”Trotsky’s “view of the party organization and the discipline of the party was identified with that which was later to become the hallmark of Bolshevism…”In Iskra, Trotsky wrote,
The central committee will cut off its relations with the
[the undisciplined organization] and it will thereby cut
off that organization from the entire world of revolution. The
central committee will stop the flow of literature and where-
withal to that organization. It will send into the field… its own
detachment, and having endowed it with necessary resources,
the central committee will proclaim that this detachment is the
Trotsky argued then, that the party must possess dictatorial power. His opponents, the economists Martynov and Akimov, criticized Iskra for its “Jacobin-like” attitude, and
called Trotsky “Lenin’s cudgel.” 
In denying the charges of Jacobinism, Trotsky argued that “the statutes should express the leadership’s organizational distrust of the members- a distrust manifesting itself in vigilant control from above over the party.”Trotsky also argued that the revolutionary government should not abolish capital punishment, as it might need to destroy the Tsar.These writings set up a paradigm, a plank of Bolshevik thought which became a tenet of the Bolshevik notion of “the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.”Lenin called for the use of terror to smash all resistance to this dictatorship.Restrictions of liberty is necessary and force must be used to crush the “oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists.”
But Trotsky was not ideologically consistent in his call for iron-clad discipline in the Party. By 1903-1904, we find him engaged in a struggle with Lenin over the membership of the Party. In 1903, Lenin demanded that a member should “personally participate in one of the Party’s organizations.”Julius Martov, who was supported by Trotsky, would demand only that the member should be required “to cooperate personally and regularly under the guidance of one of the organizations.”
So at the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party (RSLDP), held in Brussels and London in l903, and which produced the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions, Trotsky found himself taking the “soft line” on party membership, as opposed to the “hard line” taken by Lenin. In a speech at the Congress, Lenin said of Trotsky that
he forgot that the Party must be the only vanguard, the leader
of the vast masses of the working class, the whole (or nearly the
whole) of which works under the control and direction of the
Party organization, but the whole of which does not and should
not belong to a ‘party.’
Trotsky quarreled with Lenin over this issue, accusing him of trying to build up an “iron-clad organization of conspirators, not a party of the working class,” and of imposing an “iron fist” on the Party. This, according to Trotsky, would “prepare the ground, as Maximilian Robespierre had done, for the thermidorians of socialist opportunism.”But Trotsky could not work with the Mensheviks either after the formation of the two factions at the Second Congress. Ultimately, he was not prepared to go as far as the Mensheviks, and he “balked” when they attempted to bridge the gap between socialism and liberalism.Trotsky returned to the anti-liberal attitude of the old Iskra.
But later, in “Our Political Tasks,” written in l904, he again criticized Lenin, arguing for a “broadly based party modeled on the European social democratic parties.” Arguing that Lenin’s scheme would lead to a dictatorship, Trotsky, with keen insight, predicted what was to be the future of the Bolshevik movement. In a series of steps, the party organization would become a substitute for the Party, then the Central Committee would become a substitute for the party organization, and finally, a single dictator would become a substitute for the Central Committee.
Trotsky again accused Lenin of being a Jacobin, and said that a choice must be made between “Jacobinism” and “Marxism.” He argued that there must be competition among many ideas and methods after the revolution, so a few individuals could not set themselves up as authorities.
It is clear from these examples, then, that Trotsky was inconsistent in his approach. He wavered from taking an authoritarian stance to arguing for a broad-based more democratic approach. It is evident that he had not resolved the inherent contradiction between authority and freedom in his own mind. This indecisiveness produced a recurring motif in Trotsky’s character traits and personal decisions and actions. It can be argued that this weakened Trotsky tactically. His inconsistency hurt him in two ways. First, the authoritarian trend, for which he helped to establish a precedent, and which became a tradition within the Party, was later to be used against him. Secondly, his attacks on Lenin and his appeals for more democracy in the Party could later be used against him to show that he was a “petty-bourgeois,” a “wrecker,” and so on.
Later, we again see severe authoritarian trends in Trotsky’s character during the civil war, and another almost complete reversal in l922, when he drew close to the Worker’s Opposition. His position completely changed from what it had developed into over the five-year period since the October l917 uprising.
VII. Trotsky Enters the Circle of Power
On 23 September, l917, Trotsky was elected President of the Petrograd Soviet and demonstrated his “oratorical brilliance.”At this point, it is clear that Trotsky did not envision the Party to be narrow and authoritarian. He proclaimed that,
[w]e are all Party men, and more than once we shall clash with
one another. But we shall conduct the work of the Petrograd
Soviet in the spirit of lawfulness and of full freedom for all
parties. The hand of the Presidium will never lend itself to
the suppression of a minority.
Accoding to Isaac Deutscher, “the existence of opposition and the continued conquest of parties within the soviets were taken for granted.”
The capture of power in the capital on October 25 was a “military coup, made through the Petrograd garrison under the authority of the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet and made in the name of the Soviets of workers, peasants, and soldier’s deputies…The soviets were “people’s parliaments” and represented the workers and peasants.The Provisional Government which was overthrown represented the moderate bourgeoisie who were frightened by the Revolution.So the Bolsheviks faced political opposition from the beginning in their attempt to rule alone and would quickly be forced to turn to organized coercion to maintain power. This would include the arrest, imprisonment, or execution of suspected class enemies of the regime.
On the day after the October Revolution, Lenin proposed that Trotsky be appointed the commissar of home affairs to direct the struggle against counter revolutionaries. But at this time, Trotsky declined such an authoritarian position, becoming instead the Commissar of Foreign Affairs.The new regime aimed at “democratic radicalism.”
Trotsky was certainly, however, to demonstrate more authoritarian character traits. For example, he announced that the Soviet would not respect the sanctity of private property and announced that the government was preparing to ban newspapers backing the opposition in the civil war.
In setting up the new government, the fundamental question was whether the Mensheviks were to participate in the government along with the social revolutionaries. When the Mensheviks demanded that Lenin and Stalin be omitted, Trotsky then argued that “there would be no need to stage an uprising if they, the Bolsheviks, were not to obtain a majority in the new government.According to Deutscher, “neither Lenin nor Trotsky saw any reason why their party should not form an administration consisting solely of its own members.” They argued that the minority or opposition need not participate in the government as long as they accepted the constitutional framework.In this way, Lenin and Trotsky moved to enforce party discipline. Those who wanted conciliation included Lev Kamenev, Alexei Rykov, and Gregory Zinoviev. Trotsky argued that yielding to the conciliators “would testify to the majority’s fear of using its majority; it would amount to submission to anarchy, and it would encourage any minority to confront us with ever new ultimatums.”Lenin did not question the right of dissent, “but denied the right to act against the Party’s declared policy beyond the confines of the Party.”Lenin and Trotsky repudiated the charges made by the opposition that a purely Bolshevik government could be maintained only through means of political terror.
A major shortsightedness of both Lenin and Trotsky at this point was the failure to foresee that their approach would soon lead to a deadly mistake, the identification of the Party with the state. Deutscher believed that they were genuine in their intention to govern according to “responsibility to the Soviet electorate.” But he says,
The fact that their party alone was to embrace Soviet
Constitutionalism wholeheartedly could not but lead them
to identify the policies of their party with Soviet Constitutionalism,
then to substitute the Party’s wishes and desires for the principles
of that constitutionalism and in the end to abandon those
After sending the Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionaries to the “dust heap of history,” Trotsky moved closer to being an advocate of an exclusively Bolshevik government.
Trotsky resigned as Commissar of Foreign Affairs after the peace of Brest-Litovsk to become the Commissar of War and develop the Red Army to fight the Civil War. Eighty percent of this force were illiterate peasants and numbered five million men by 1921. Under the Central Committee, Trotsky developed “a centralized, professional, and disciplined Red Army.”
Trotsky acted in an authoritarian role during his tenure as military commissar on the Southern Front during the civil war. Officers could order men to be shot. An officer named Panteleev, whom Trotsky accused of deserting, was sent by Trotsky to the firing squad. The charge was brought before the Politburo that Trotsky was “delivering communists to the firing squad.”But Trotsky refused to apologize for his actions, and when Ivar Smilga and Mikhail Laschevich brought the charges before the Politburo, Trotsky remarked that such comrades should be shot. This incident “blotted Trotsky’s record” and was later used against him in his struggle against Stalin. It points out the potential of Trotsky to act in an extremely authoritarian manner when in a position of supreme authority.
“Within a year of the Revolution, the Bolsheviks found it necessary to reverse many of the revolutionary measures they had once encouraged … and they returned instead to professional and bureaucratic principles of military organizations.”Under the period of War Communism, 1918-1921, greater state authority was brought to bear upon the peasants and workers. Labor was made compulsory with payment in kind and when the economy collapsed, there were peasant revolts against grain requisitions. This forced Lenin to allow the return of market forces under the New Economic Policy.
During the period of War Communism, from l919, Trotsky found that he could no longer allow the working class self determination. He advocated militarization of labor, due to the economic situation existing in the USSR at the time.Trotsky ordered that “civilian labor was to be subjected to military discipline, and the military administration was to supply manpower to industrial units.”He also argued that the worker’s state had the right to “coerce any citizen to do any work at any place of its choosing,” thereby becoming “an apologist for past systems of coercion and exploitation.”Trotsky then made an authoritarian move against the trade unions in asking that they be deprived of their autonomy and absorbed into the machinery of the government.In this move to deny workers their political rights, he was opposed by Shlyapnikov and Alexandra Kollontai of the Worker’s Opposition. Working class resistance continued, leading to the Kronstadt Rebellion in March of 1920. Lenin announced his New Economic Policy but the Russian economy did not return to pre-World War I levels until 1925.
Trotsky’s actions during this period, in fact, suggest that he might have acted similarly to Stalin, had he been in power in l926, in going forward with his ideas about collectivization and industrialization. We can see that Trotsky’s actions in the running of the economy during the years of War Communism, provided precedents which Stalin could employ against the peasants and working classes after 1928. Certainly, it can be plausibly argued that Trotsky left a legacy of authoritarianism sufficient to use against him and his opposition followers later on. This course of action by Trotsky seems almost indefensible and completely inconsistent with his stand after his reversal in l922. Yet his actions must be seen in terms of the material conditions of the country, namely its industrial and educational backwardness. Could he, at the helm, have acted differently?
Deutscher pointed out that
[b]oth Trotsky and Lenin appear… as Stalin’s unwitting
inspirers and prompters… Both were driven by circumstances
beyond their control and by their own illusions to assume certain
attitudes in which circumstances and their own scruples did
not allow them to persevere – attitudes which were ahead of
their own time, out of time with the current Bolshevik
mentality, and discordant with the main themes of their
Trotsky, as an administrator, became caught up in attempting to make his schemes more efficient, and at times theoretically elegant. As we will see, he sometimes neglected to take into account political reality in the country.
After the Kronstadt Rebellion, the leaders became convinced that all opposition must be suppressed. They came to fear any opposition as a threat of counterrevolution. And in this reaction to Kronstadt, they set precedents that were later to be useful to Stalin. Among the most important of these was the ban on factions within the Party, proposed by Lenin and passed by the Tenth Party Congress in l921. Trotsky supported this action, and Shlyapnikov of the Worker’s Opposition was expelled.In this way, Trotsky, the “hater of the Leviathan” became the “first harbinger of its resurrection.”
Trotsky, then, was set to act, within the government, in an authoritarian manner right up until the summer of 1922, when he suddenly reversed himself, reverting back to his pre-l917 days. That is, he was a disciplinarian until the Party began to ossify and glorify its past. The Old Guard had really accepted Trotsky as one of their own. Now, as they looked into the past, they did not always like what they saw. Trotsky, prior to l917 had long been a fighter, and had engaged in bitter feuds with Lenin. The Old Guard saw in Trotsky the Menshevik leader of the August Bloc, a dangerous polemicist, and their antagonist.
VIII. The Feud Begins: the Dictatorship of the Bureaucracy
“Bureaucracy is a circle from which no one can escape.”
Stalin had already begun to fight with Trotsky before the Revolution. It was clear that Trotsky was getting on his nerves and he wished to contain him and crush his ambitions. The rivalry began at Tsaritsyn (Stalingrad) during the Civil War. Years before, Stalin had called Trotsky “the grandiloquent poseur,” “the abject ally of the Menshevik liquidators,” as well as a “champion with faked muscles.” Stalin felt a “nagging sense of inferiority” and “envy.” At first the dislike seemed “purely personal.”Trotsky neglected to develop a congenial relationship with Stalin, and carelessly “offended him at almost every step.”Deutscher believed that Trotsky was not deliberately trying to antagonize Stalin, but merely acting in his “natural manner.”
As the Party began to ossify, an inherent element began to emerge in bolder outlines – the specter of Great Russian Chauvinism that was to assume such a ghastly form in a few short years. Stalin was the very epitome of this spirit. Even though he was a Georgian, he became more Russian than the Russians themselves. This spirit had long been latent, dormant in the hearts of the grey drab plodders who stayed in the background, but who like Stalin, bore much of the weight of the Party.
There was a spiritual and cultural gap between the cosmopolitan universalist émigrés, heavily Jewish, and the home-bred men, who included Stalin. According to Deutscher, the indigenous Bolsheviks felt “they had been the real moles of the revolution and they distrusted the émigrés.”In the Old Guard, Trotsky was a stranger, “in it but not of it.” Trotsky was the man of the state but not of the Party.”
As Trotsky became more critical of party domestic and foreign policy, he began to point out how the organization was aging; Stalin began to jockey for power and the Triumvirate (Stalin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev) was formed. As he felt the heavy weight of bureaucratic mediocrity on the Party, Trotsky began to speak for more freedom within the Party. He departed from his authoritarian stance, and was to speak for more and more freedom and democracy as he successively lost his foothold in the Party.
Nevertheless, Trotsky cannot be entirely blamed for his inconsistency in his demand for inner party democracy. At play were the difficult material factors in the country and the dynamics of the revolution. However, Trotsky’s actions diluted his arguments and theses in the years of struggle (l923-1928) and his behavior left in its wake a panoply of precedents, a whole grab-bag of tactical tools which Stalin could and did employ against him. In the following months, Trotsky was to make a series of very critical tactical mistakes which were to contribute greatly to his later defeat and exile from the Soviet Union.
In l921, before he began to lose his place among the guardians of the Revolution, Trotsky still stood for stern discipline in the Party. He argued that the republic was a “besieged fortress” in which no opposition could be tolerated.He wrote:
Repressive measures fail to achieve their aim when an
anachronistic government and regime applies them against
new and progressive historic forces. But in the hands of
a historically progressive government they may serve as
very real means for a rapid cleansing of the arena from
forces which have outlived their day.
It is difficult to believe that Trotsky could not have seen that such a statement could potentially become a weapon in the hands of a dictator. There are few revolutionary regimes whose leaders would hesitate to defend as “historically progressive.” Consequently, we find Trotsky employing the disciplinarian attitude at the trial of the Social Revolutionaries (June l922) in the case against Shlyapnikov and Kollantai of the Worker’s Opposition. The Opposition had charged the Government with promoting the interests of the new bourgeoisie and kulaks, and trampling on workers’ rights, a charge that Trotsky, himself, was soon to echo. But in this case, he obtained the dismissal of their appeal.They had appealed from the Party to the Comintern, and Trotsky accused them of adding grist to the mills of the enemies of the Revolution. In demanding that the leaders of the Worker’s Opposition be disciplined, Trotsky set a precedent that would be used repeatedly against party rebels, including himself, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Nikolai Bukharin, and many others.
In April 1922, Trotsky made the critical tactical mistake of declining Lenin’s offer to be appointed Deputy Chairman of the People’s Commissars. Lenin had made the appointment, probably to counterbalance Stalin’s selection as the General Secretary of the Party. His refusal annoyed Lenin, who took up the matter again in December, after his illness, but still Trotsky refused. Prima facie, Trotsky claimed to refuse the post because he objected to the bureaucratic degeneration of the Party. But he also complained of being offered only the “shadow” of political power.This seems to point out an anomaly in Trotsky’s personality, previously discussed, that he could not work in the harness, alongside others. Lenin evidently had plans to use the post as a base for a later promotion.
Another tactical error at this time was that Trotsky engaged in ideological heroics, rather than keeping a low profile. As a theorist and gifted political analyst, and even sort of a prophet, he could not resist making a thorough analysis of overall party policy and recommending changes. It seems that it was politically suicidal on the part of Trotsky to make recommendations which were sharply antagonistic to the growing desire of the workers and peasants for a period of peace and tranquility. After the long civil war, and War Communism, the people lacked enthusiasm for more sacrifices and cataclysmic upheavals in the economy.
Yet, when Trotsky analyzed the economic situation in l922, he came to the conclusion that the immediate need was for comprehensive social planning. Lenin was not prepared for this at the time. After the period of War Communism, Lenin preferred to let the market restore a degree of ‘normality” in the economy. There would be a period of “bourgeois” development until the forces of production were sufficiently developed to again make socialist progress feasible.
Trotsky adopted an idea from Vladimir Smirnov, leader of the Decembrists, Yuri Piatakov, and Evgenii Preobrazhensky. This was the concept of “primitive socialist accumulation.” In classical Marxist theory, Marx and Engels believed that socialist revolution would take place in the capitalist states of Western Europe, in which a period of primitive and later capitalist accumulation had concentrated the productive forces and national wealth in the hands of a small minority of exploiters. When the proletariat seized the productive forces, they would come under the control of the worker’s state, and be utilized for its socialist development. But this scenario did not conform to the actual historical and material conditions in primitive Russia, as the originators of the theory of primitive socialist accumulation realized. Trotsky understood that a prolonged period of development under “market control” could be treacherous for the revolution. Therefore, he proposed that the Party call for a program of primitive socialist accumulation during which workers and peasants would be called upon to make further heroic sacrifices for the building of socialism. Deutscher points out that given the actual mood of the people in the Soviet Union, open advocacy of this program was politically suicidal at the time. But Trotsky, true to the grandeur and theoretical beauty of the idea, invested all his political capital in his new scheme, even when the Triumvirs were scheming against him. This greatly weakened his position, and it provided the Triumvirs (Stalin, Zinoviev, and Kamenev) with the political ammunition they needed to discredit him in the eyes of the workers and peasants.
In calling for further sacrifices from the workers, Trotsky argued that the workers had no interest against their own state.But this was pure illusion, on the part of Trotsky, and poor analysis. Lenin had pointed out that there was, in fact, no true industrial proletariat in the Soviet Union at the time. Workers were destitute, and were mostly fresh recruits from the countryside. The old industrial proletariat of less than three million had all but perished in the Revolution and civil war. The only intact class in the USSR was the peasantry, and so the state represented no real class in the Soviet Union. At this point in history, a period of primitive socialist accumulation could not represent the class interests of any existing class in soviet society.
At the same time, Trotsky quarreled with Stalin over his policy of “self determination” in Georgia. Ultimately, Lenin supported Trotsky in his policy toward Georgia, and had Trotsky followed the advice of Lenin at the Twelfth Party Conference in 1924, in fully exposing the tactics of Stalin against the national interests of the Georgians, he could have exploited this issue to his significant advantage. But, as we shall see, Trotsky made the critical tactical error of making a “rotten compromise” with Stalin and allowing him to gain, ironically, the political advantage by falsely championing the national rights of the Georgians after he had trampled them in the dust.
By the end of l922, a change had come over Trotsky, and in his struggle with the conflict between freedom and authority, he had opted for freedom and moved closer to the Worker’s Opposition. Resistance to policies of the regime grew “piecemeal and in an ambiguous manner.”When Lenin asked Stalin to place before the Politburo a motion proposing Trotsky’s appointment as deputy Premier, on September 11, 1922, and Trotsky again refused the position, it gave Stalin an opportunity to play upon his rivalry with him. He framed a resolution charging Trotsky with dereliction of duty.Trotsky again refused the Premiership in December, just before Lenin dictated his last will and testament.
Clearly, Lenin’s last words were potentially very damaging to Stalin, since Lenin recommended that he should be removed as General Secretary. Stalin was called “churlish, sly and false,” by Lenin in the document. Further, with “holy anger” Lenin attacked Stalin’s curbing of “proletarian democracy” with the party machine, and sacrificing the rights of small nations, such as Georgia.This testament gave Trotsky a powerful tactical tool, which Lenin wanted him to spring on Stalin in the following party congress. Lenin hoped that its shocking impact would be sufficient to dislodge Stalin from his grip on the party machine. But Trotsky made yet another critical error in compromising with Stalin, Zinoviev, and Kamenev. He foolishly played into their hands and became a party to their scheming by silently letting them bury Lenin’s last will and testament.
IX. The Triumvirate Against Trotsky
The triumvirate was formed in the Politburo on January 23, l923, preventing Trotsky from having a majority. The Triumvirate knew that Mikhail Tomsky would not side with Trotsky, who now took the side of labor on the issues of Trade Unions and the militarization of labor. The other Politburo member, Nikolai Bukharin, who had been the Party’s leading theorist and leader on the Left, now switched over and became the leader of the right wing. This left Trotsky isolated.The alternate members of the Politburo, Rykov and Kalinin, were both genuinely Russian, of peasant origin, and had an anti-intellectual bias and distrust of the European element. They leaned toward the Slavophiles and feared a relapse into War Communism. Felix Dzerzhinsky was loyal to the Old Guard as the head of Cheka or the GPU. Skryabin Molotov, as Stalin’s chief, could be trusted to be loyal to the General Secretary.
Trotsky made another damaging mistake at the Twelfth Party Congress in l924. The question came up as to who would address the Congress as the Central Committee’s political rapporteur. This had been Lenin’s task. Both Stalin and Trotsky insisted that the other take the honors. Trotsky declined as he feared he would appear to crave power. Ultimately, the Politburo chose Zinoviev to deliver the address. This worked to Stalin’s advantage, as Trotsky stayed in the background, and Zinoviev’s high visibility weakened his position vis-à-vis Stalin.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the Triumvirs suggested to the provisional delegates that Trotsky was dangerous, a Bonaparte or potential Danton. Zinoviev went on record as saying that “every criticism of the party was to be regarded as a Menshevik criticism.”Ironically, Stalin’s speech on nationalities strengthened him.
Finally, when Trotsky spoke at the Twelfth Party Congress, he addressed the assembly on economic policy. His bold and far-sighted analysis of the economic situation and the requirements for the building of a socialist economy was comprehensive and critical. The delegates and other members of the Politburo, along with the workers and peasants, were unwilling to face facts. Actually the argument went above the heads of the workers and his calls for more sacrifices from them shocked workers and industrial managers. The main tenets of Trotsky’s economic program were comprehensive state planning, the buildup of industry on par with agricultural development, the gradual and progressive absorption of the market function and its ultimate destruction through planning, continued assistance to the private sector even while expanding the public sector, and the gradual phasing out of the New Economic Policy and private farming.
The delegates were appalled at the speech. Trotsky’s plan revealed more about economic reality than the delegates were willing to accept. But more importantly, Trotsky’s grand plans were not politically feasible, given the present mood in the USSR.
Consequently, at the Congress, several factors worked against Trotsky. He missed a golden opportunity to discredit Stalin. He let down his allies in the developing opposition. He failed to act as Lenin’s mouthpiece. He failed to support the Georgians and Ukrainians on the nationalities issue. He expounded unorthodox, although realistic, economic theories, which could easily be exploited by his enemies. In hindsight, all of these seem to be serious tactical mistakes. The Triumvirs went out of their way to please everybody at the Congress, and gained influence. Trotsky appealed for unity in the Party, but the Triumvirs worked behind his back to undermine his efforts.
The Twelfth Party Congress was probably Trotsky’s last chance to break Stalin’s stranglehold on the party apparatus. Lenin was to die in a few months, and after the Congress, Stalin and the other Triumvirs were to act feverishly to pack the influential posts in the Party and state organizations with men loyal to themselves. In this way, they would consolidate power over the Party and the state. Trotsky should have followed Lenin’s advice and exposed the triumvirs by reading Lenin’s criticism at the Congress. Surely, if Trotsky could have foreseen the consequences of his actions for the future of the revolution, he would have struggled to expel the Triumvirs. His failure to do so, points to a critical weakness. Compared to Lenin, Trotsky was prone to underestimate the potential of those around him to opportunistically profit at his expense.
At the Congress, Stalin listed six mistakes made by Trotsky and condemned him as engaging in a “petit Bourgeois deviation from Lenin.”Stalin criticized Trotsky on the basis that he had voted with the Politbureau on the “New Course” but criticized the Politbureau. He had refused to say clearly if he was with the Central Committee or the opposition. He had incited the Party against the machine and young people against the Party. He had set himself up as the mouthpiece of the petit bourgeois intelligentsia. He blamed the regime in the Party for the emergence of secret factions and groups. Finally, he had formed a petit bourgeois deviation from Leninism.
Trotsky ultimately trusted the motives of the Triumvirs until it was too late. Ossification of the Party had advanced too far. Organizationally, the Triumvirs were able to work behind his back, isolate him, and oust him, while he did not fully realize what was happening. This is ironic, in light of Trotsky’s long struggle. Further, Lenin approved of Trotsky’s positions on most issues right up to his death in l924. But Trotsky was not able to use Lenin’s influence in this power struggle.
Trotsky’s trust of those around him points out a fundamental weakness as a political leader. As a revolutionary, he always found it relatively easy, thanks to his fiery rhetoric and gifted pen, to quickly gain a large following. He had no idea of the struggle he was to come up against with the rise of Fascism on the continent, the ossification of the Bolshevik state and party machinery, and the deep lethargy and fatigue of the people of the USSR. The population was steeped in “Great Russian Chauvinism” and demonstrated their potential to be lulled to sleep with the isolationist strains of “Glory to Mother Russia” and Stalin’s corollary, “socialism in one country.”
Finally, Trotsky, secure in himself as a self-sufficient revolutionary and theorist, gravely underestimated the potential of Stalin as a skillful politician. He did not believe that Stalin, the dull, grey, lazy and shabby peasant, could overshadow or defeat him, glittering with the shining glory of “Great October.” But now, political power and influence were grounded in the organizational base, and loyalties of the bureaucrats and officials, not revolutionary heroics and fiery rhetoric.
X. Trotsky’s Doom is Sealed:
After the Twelfth Party Congress, with his doom practically sealed, Trotsky was ousted from the Party and eventually exiled from the Soviet Union in a series of steps. Having missed his chance to criticize the Party at the Congress, Trotsky waited until it was too late and the “1923 opposition” operated from a greatly weakened position. The “Statement of 40” criticized the Party for lack of planning, excessive hierarchy, and stifling discussion. It called for a relaxation of the ban on inner party groupings and an emergency meeting of the Central Committee.
Trotsky was ill and on a hunting trip in late October l924 when the debates were held. The tactic used by the Triumvirs was to claim that they had adopted a new course, and they had Trotsky affix his own signature to the document. It was finally nine months after the Party Congress that Trotsky exploded against the Party in an article to Pravda criticizing the extreme bureaucracy and the tyranny of the party machine. In this article, he also demanded the admission of more factory workers into the Party.
To understand Trotsky’s hesitations, it is necessary to examine a fundamental contradiction in Leninist political thought. Trotsky could never free himself from the Leninist dogma that one cannot be right against the Party, until he finally found himself exiled from the Soviet Union and living in Mexico. He held to the belief that the rise of an opposition party would destroy the revolution. Bowing to this Leninist dogma, Trotsky stayed within the Party, becoming quiescent when it seemed that his discordant voice might result in his expulsion.
Trotsky accepted ‘the axiom that only a single party could exist in the Soviet state and that if two parties were to compete for influence one of them was bound to play a counter-revolutionary role.”The logic of the situation was that the opposition was in the role of a separate party, but to actually form another party was not possible. It is clear that the major factions, Left, Center and Right, in the Politbureau served the function of parties. After the Twelfth Party Congress, Trotsky, convinced that his ideas were historically correct might have formed a new party had it not been for this orthodox tenet against factions in Leninism. But Trotsky necessarily clung to the idea that the Party represented the Revolution, and that its program was thus historically progressive. The claim that the Party could have both a monopoly of power and a monopoly of freedom was a major and fatal contradiction embedded in Bolshevism itself.
Another tactical mistake was Trotsky’s absence during Lenin’s funeral in January 1924. Trotsky was in the Caucuses on route to the Black Sea. He claimed he was misinformed about the date of the funereal, held on January 27, 1924 and tricked into believing that he could not return to Moscow in time for the funeral. Had Trotsky suspected the extent to which Stalin would exploit his absence, he might have rushed back immediately. Instead, he proceeded to the resort on the Black Sea, while his absence bred rumors and gossip in Moscow.
Rykov was then appointed to Lenin’s place as Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars. Had Trotsky earlier accepted Lenin’s appointment to the post, he might have been in a much stronger position. Following this, Stalin, in a skillful move, stole Trotsky’s thunder by throwing open the Party and taking in 240,000 workers in the Lenin Levy. This greatly popularized him among the workers, but resulted in putting the final nail in the Leninist vanguard party. It consolidated the dictatorship of the Bolshevik bureaucracy which would become the reign of Stalinist terror over the country in subsequent years. But Trotsky could say nothing. He was faced with the choice of supporting the Lenin Levy, and thereby Stalin, in the dilution of the Party, or criticizing him and further alienating himself with the workers.
At the Thirteenth Party Congress, Trotsky remained silent, allowing the opposition to defend itself without his assistance. On the last day of the Congress, he went to Red Square to address the youth. Max Eastman, who was in Moscow, urged him to read Lenin’s will.Trotsky, in declining, perhaps missed his chance to become a Mark Anthony over the dead Caesar.
Although he was theoretically and historically correct, Trotsky also made a mistake, from a tactical perspective, of engaging the triumvirs in the debate over “permanent revolution.” Trotsky argued that Stalin’s concept of “socialism in one country” was theoretically absurd. He argued that it had no basis in historical necessity. In the Soviet Union, however, the idea of socialism in one country was politically viable and complemented the resurgence of Great Russian Chauvinism.
Permanent revolution, on the other hand, was not politically viable, given the exhaustion of the Russian people. The Russian masses were tired of revolution and were satisfied with isolation and the resurgence of nationalism. The high flown debates about proletarian internationalism were above their heads and beyond their historical consciousness.
While it helped to defeat him, Trotsky was theoretically correct. The revolution did continue in Russia, in spite of the lethargy of the people, but as a bureaucratic dictatorship from the top. Deutscher has pointed out that Stalin’s collectivization and transformation of the Soviet economy must be considered a sort of revolution.
Trotsky made other tactical mistakes as well although it is only in hindsight that they are easy to detect. In attacking the triumvirs, for example, Trotsky attacked Zinoviev and Kamenev, emphasizing the conservative stance they had taken in the October l917 uprising. This weakened his future allies and strengthened Stalin’s hand. Trotsky refrained from attacking Stalin because of the dogma of the Marxist tradition that it is possible for the left forces to form a coalition with the center against the Right, but the Left must never form a coalition with the Right against the center. For Trotsky, this turned out to be a grievous tactical mistake.
Trotsky could have also appealed to the Army against the Party, when Stalin removed his followers and filled all the pivotal posts with his own men. But this would have gone against his hope to restore the viability of the Party as an instrument of proletarian democracy. According to Isaac Deutscher, he wished to let the “social forces” determine the course of events.Of course, it was already too late for this.
For the next eighteen months, from the beginning of l925 until the summer of l926, Trotsky fell silent and more or less ignored what was going on around him. He kept a low profile, hoping that the political climate at home and abroad would change and that the winds of revolution would again stir. He did not wish to widen the split in the Party, hoping things would revert to an earlier stage when there was more inner party democracy. This gamble did not profit him, and his position grew worse as Stalin’s future brightened. We must take account of Trotsky’s views as a Marxist and dialectical materialist to understand his thinking. He was convinced that social forces in society tower over individuals, and that if he were defeated, it would be because of the great apathy and indifference of the peasants and workers. If there were a change in the social forces, he was ready to act. But Trotsky was later to again take up the fight as an untiring revolutionary and keep up the struggle until his death. Meanwhile, in this year and a half, he lost much precious time against Stalin and his political machine. In the light of his later struggles his quiescence during this period seems a mistake. He was trapped and rendered ineffective by the Leninist dogma of the sanctity of the Party. To the extent that he could work within the Party, he could struggle. It was only after his expulsion from the Party, however, that he was free to work against the Party and gain a new sense of freedom and creativity.
In l925, for the sake of inner party peace, Trotsky denied Max Eastman’s true account of Lenin’s testament and its suppression by the Party Central Committee. Due to inaction, the opposition, consisting of Rakovsky, Radek, Preobrazhensky, Yoffe, Vladimir Antonov-Ovsenko, Pyatakov, and others, fell apart. There was greater intellectual talent in the opposition than in the Party and Trotsky made another mistake by letting it disintegrate. This neglect contributed further to Stalin’s victory over Trotsky.
Curiously, in l925, a strange thing happened. Zinoviev and Kamenev moved to the left and began to criticize Stalin’s concept of socialism in one country. At the same time, Nikolai Bukharin, who had been the spokesman for the Left, moved to the right and joined an alliance with Alexai Rykov, Mikhail Tomsky and Stalin, for a majority in the Politbureau. Bukharin now feared a new period of war communism, as industrial development, vital to the Revolution, lagged. Zinoviev and kamenev’s defection provided Trotsky with another opportunity to strike at Stalin, but he waited until it was too late and the opportune moment had passed him by. Bukharin advocated a strengthening of NEP and more incentives to the rich peasants (kulaks). Zinoviev, leader of the Leningrad Soviet, however, appealed for more help for the poor peasants against the rich.
So at the Fourteenth Party Congress in l925, Trotsky was surprised to see the feud between Zinoviev and Kamenev on one side and Stalin on the other. In fact, this points to the extent to which Trotsky was alienated from the Party and other members of the Politbureau during the period of his quiescence. The triumvirs had concealed their differences from him. His loss “resulted from a failure of observation, intuition, and analysis.”He “shunned party affairs,” had a “sense of superiority and contempt for his opponents,” and “was disgusted with the polemical methods and tricks.”Largely ignoring the other members, he read French novels at the meetings of the Central Committee. Deutscher suggests that at this time, Trotsky had lost sight of the “immense historic weight” of the men who carried out their petty feuds and schemes in the Politbureau. He saw then as “rogues” and small men. The Party slipped deeper into dogma while Trotsky kept his silence.
The Fourteenth Congress saw Zinoviev, Kamenev, Sokolnikov and Krupskaya calling for proletarian democracy within the Party. Yet Trotsky did not respond. He suspected Kamenev and Zinoviev of demagoguery. Actually, however, these comrades had become tired of being Stalin’s puppets and wanted some freedom.
Here again, was perhaps a critical juncture. With Zinoviev having a strong base of personal power as leader of the Petrograd Soviet, Trotsky had yet another opportunity to act, and perhaps defeat Stalin. But the group did not come together because they did not trust each other. But there was a deeper reason why Trotsky sat tight-lipped all through the Fourteenth Congress. The alignment and struggle of forces which Trotsky saw before him did not conform to the political analysis in his mind. He saw the major contradictions in the Soviet Union shaping up as one between the city and the countryside, not between Leningrad and Moscow. So he expected a “political landslide” and a realignment of forces in the country.He may have felt some pleasure in seeing his long-standing enemies on the Right taking a beating. Trotsky did not move until after the Congress and then it was too late as Stalin had gutted the Leningrad Soviet and replaced Zinoviev with Kirov.
An economic debate was ongoing as to the direction of the country after the recovery of the economy under Lenin’s market reforms. Trotsky believed it was necessary to move toward communism, collectivize the farms, and launch a program for intensive and heavy industrialization. This had little democratic support among the peasants, who, as Lenin had predicted, had no stomach for a program that threatened their small claims to land. On the right, Bukharin, wanted the slow development of capitalist production based upon consumer goods for the peasants. This would be a pro-peasant policy and encourage the development of light industry.
The Politbureau then had seven members: Zinoviev, Kamenev, Stalin, Trotsky, Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky. In l925, Stalin ended the Triumvirate (Left) and switched to the Right (Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky).The Left and Right now confronted each other with different programs. Stalin belonged to neither faction, but now joined hands with the Right. At the Fourteenth Party Congress in December 1925, Molotov, Voroshilov and Kalinin were elected to the Politbureau to join Stalin at the center. The debate was about the New Economic Policy and what to do about the peasants in order to get them to produce and sell more food.
In 1926, Zinoviev and Kalinin threw in with Trotsky, warning him about Stalin’s plotting against him. They saw him as “a sly, revengeful, sadist, obsessed with vanity and lust for power…”In October 1926, Trotsky was expelled from the Politbureau and Zinoviev was removed from the Presidency of the Communist International. Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and others signed a statement admitting that they were guilty of offenses against the statutes of the Party and pledged to disband their party within the Party. But they continued to criticize Stalin and Bukharin.
Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev were unable to come together to plan a new opposition until April 1926. The remainder of l926 and l927 became a period of intense activity for Trotsky, and resulted in his defeat at the hands of Stalin. With his control over the Party and the state apparatus, Stalin needed only peace and a docile populace to defeat Trotsky. Trotsky was forced to pin his hopes upon a massive uprising. Yet, as the opposition was soon to discover, they could neither achieve success by appealing inside or outside the Party. The window of historical opportunity had slammed shut and Trotsky was “hurling all his fury into a void.”The opposition had been defeated and Stalin was only waiting for the opportune moment to dispose of them.
In November 1927, Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party. In his “Clemenceau Statement,” Trotsky charged Rykov, Bukharin, and Voroshilov with lack of foresight, efficiency, and determination and said that in an emergency, he would try to change the government. This statement which sounded like treason resulted in his expulsion from the Party, along with Zinoviev. In December 1927, the Fifteenth Congress established that one must agree with the Party to be a member and expelled 85 members of the opposition. Trotsky was deported to Alma Ata.
Now Stalin swung to the Left again against Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky. New members were added to the Politbureau to side with Stalin as he adopted Trotsky’s plan of collectivization of the peasantry to increase the supply of grain. The Government was now “a totally collectivist and bureaucratically administered society under a dictatorial party-state dedicated to rapid heavy industrialization.”
On 18 January 1929, Stalin proposed to the Politbureau that Trotsky be expelled from Russia. Rykov was removed from the Premiership of the Soviet Government and Tomsky was ousted from the leadership of the trade unions. Bukharin was dismissed from the leadership of the Communist International and expelled from the Politbureau. Trotsky was sentenced to death in the Moscow Tribunal. Stalin had finally crushed all his rivals.Trotsky lived for a time in Turkey, then Norway, before being expelled to Mexico. During this time, all his children died in mysterious circumstances.
Revolutions eat their own children. This is but a way of saying that great revolutionary movements in history, while they may be worth living and dying for, never succeed fully in their projected goals. In a narrow sense, it is easy to say that Stalin triumphed and Trotsky lost. Yet, history is not that simple. Both were great actors but ultimately imprisoned by their time and place as the revolution flooded forward like a tsunami and ultimately flowed back upon itself, leaving both positive change and destruction in its wake.
The Russian Revolution was a great historical drama which could not succeed in overcoming the historical feudal Russian society. “Bureaucracy is merely the mean and brutal form of a centralization which is still encumbered with its opposite, feudalism…It is the state’s consciousness, the state’s will, the state’s power as made into a corporation, hence into a particular, closed society within the state.”It protects the “imaginary universality of the particular interest.”
After the consolidation of the dictatorship of the autocratic bureaucracy, the Revolution no longer represented the universality of Russian society. The peasants after gaining land, lost it under collectivization, becoming essentially workers, not even guaranteed a wage. Their living standards deteriorated in the 1930s below pre-l914 levels.Living standards of workers also decreased. Power was consolidated in the hands of the bureaucrats, other state officials, party members, the high ranks of the military. This became a bourgeoisification of society, with a ruling class based upon the party dictatorship. Party officials controlled the resources of the state and used them for their benefit.
This society was not secure, not a proletarian state, not egalitarian, but a bureaucratic state dictatorship of the party hierarchy. The Thermidore produced a new bourgeoisie, not a worker’s state. The triumph of the workers and peasants was very temporary in the dialectics of the revolution. In the longer dialectics of history, the bourgeoisie did triumph with the restoration of crony capitalism after 1990 under Boris Yeltsin. Today Russia is ruled not by a liberal bourgeoisie but a lumpen and even criminal bourgeoisie. It was the ruling class that rose with Stalin that brought about this historical transformation against the people. The people lost everything they had worked for in the revolution. This was the real thermodore.
Stalin was correct in his prediction about the revolution in the West. He said that socialism fit Germany “like a saddle fits a cow.” But Trotsky understood much better the danger of the rise of German Nazi rule.Trotsky warned that “… should fascism come to power it will ride over your skulls and spines like a terrific tank. Your salvation lies in merciless struggle.” Stalin hated the social democrats but Trotsky saw the social democratic workers as the only way to stop fascism.Trotsky believed that there was a potential for international communism, while it appears that Stalin did not believe in world revolution.
Prodigious efforts have been made and no expense spared in money and lives by the Western “liberal capitalist democracies” to crush the drive for freedom since the Bolshevik Revolution. The crushing of progressive forces, under the rubric of international security, has given rise to religious and nationalist fascism and a range of terrorist reactionary movements such as al Qaeda. At the same time, exceeding care must be taken by the elites of these countries that their own domestic populations evade education and a critical historical and class consciousness. Obscurantist and irrational violence is part of the price of capitalist globalization today, as well as the tiresome and nauseating voices of the lumpen bourgeoisie across the mainstream global media. The market is the universal solvent of minds. But the situation is not hopeless. There are countervailing forces within the historical dialectic. While it is not clear, the form it may take, the drive for human liberation is universal.
Retired Professor, Izmir, Turkey.
By material forces of history, I mean the actually existing conditions prevailing in a society and in the world at the time. For example material forces in Russia at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution include the lack of development of industry and the rural and undeveloped nature of Russian society, the Russian orthodox religion, relative lack of education among the general population, inequality of wealth, the political breakdown of the old regime, and the opposition to social revolution in Europe and America. Crises can open up a window of opportunity for historical change, but not just any historical change.
Trotsky’s view was basically that one must look beyond the personality of the leader to the material forces of history, to begin to understand why a leader is able, at any particular time, to consolidate power. That is, he held the view that “power is not a personal possession which can be transported at will like any other commodity from one owner to another.” Those who see power in terms of a commodity tend to argue that Trotsky allowed Stalin to outwit him in the struggle for power after Lenin’s death. Taking a short view, there is evidence to support this view. With hindsight, one sees many incidents in which Trotsky’s actions aided Stalin in triumphing over him. When one takes a broader, long-term view, however, it is possible to argue that had Trotsky triumphed over Stalin, it would not have changed the ultimate outcome of the Revolution, in the broad sweet of history. The Marxist would argue that “the most intelligent individuals with the most correct ideas and strategies, are necessarily subordinated to the historical tides of their time and to the prevailing relations of class forces.” According to George Novack, “the Marxists pointed out that social and political power was not simply an individual attribute, it was at bottom a function of the relations between people and, in the last analysis, between classes. The most prominent personages wield power, not solely on their own account, but on behalf of social forces greater than themselves. Even kings, tyrants, dictators, represent the material interests of specific classes.” See George Novack, “Trotsky’s Views on Dialectical Materialism,” in Leon Trotsky: The Man and His Work (New York: Merit Publishers, 1969), p. 99.
Isaac Deutscher, Stalin: A Political Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), p. 92.
Deutscher, Stalin, p. 121.
Deutscher, Stalin, p. 385.
Karl Marx, “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” (1852), in Eugene Kamenka, ed., The Portable Karl Marx (New York: Penguin, l983), p. 287.
Karl Kautsky, “The Class Struggle” (1892), in Irving Howe, ed., Essential Works of Socialism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976), p. 171. This statement seems to me to be overly reductionistic in its treatment of the power of ideas. Nevertheless, well taken regarding the force of existing social and economic conditions in the Soviet Union after the Revolution.
Our basic argument here is that while personality and psychological factors are relevant, and may even put or keep a leader in office, they are not the predominant forces in shaping history. One man cannot make or break a revolution or a counter-revolution. A leader can only change history within the window of possible change, which is necessarily limited. Historical change may be necessary (historical necessity) propelled by the prevailing historical conditions, but at the same time limited. Every historical change sets in motion a counter force, which may ultimately be a thermidorian phase of the revolution. Or to take a contemporary example, in liberal democratic politics, Barack Obama’s appealing personality and oratorical charms propelled him into the Presidency of the United States in 2009 under the slogan of “change we can believe in,” but the structures of the US monopoly finance capitalist economy are extremely difficult to change significantly toward greater justice and equality from the office of the White House. So the window of historical opportunity is severely constricted by the institutional political and economic structures of American capitalism, and the needs of capital for profits, which in this case are determining material forces. Obama’s Government has been able to change very little due to these constraints of who actually holds power. There is institutional blocking of social progress.
Herbert Marcuse, Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory (Boston: Beacon Press, 1954), p. 152.
Marcuse, p. 152.
Marcuse, p. 153.
Marx and Engel’s theory of dialectical materialism and the stages of history as laid out in The German Ideology in l845 and 1846 need not be considered as holy writ. It could be wrong. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, Volume 5 Marx and Engels 1845-47, (Moscow: Progress Publishers, l976), pp. 19-608.
Perhaps the entire history of the twentieth century to the present, including what has been known as “socialist societies” has merely been a part of the historical transition to capitalism under the guise of “socialist society.”
There are some Leninists who believe that today the People’s Republic of China is building up the capitalist forces of production which will usher in an era of true socialism. In 1905, Lenin wrote, “In countries like Russia, the working class suffers not so much from capitalism as from the insufficient development of capitalism. The working class is therefore decidedly interested in the broadest, freest, and most rapid development of capitalism.” V.I. Lenin, “Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution,” (1905), in Irving Howe, ed, Essential Works of Socialism, p. 281. Perhaps, but workers are surely not interested in the exploitation endured in electronics factories like that of Foxconn which produces electronic devices. Another revolution would be necessary to end the current state capitalist slaving of the masses for global production in China.
Marcuse, Reason and Revolution, p. 152.
V. I. Lenin, “The Bourgeois Revolution,” in Howe, ed., Essential Works of Socialism, p. 279.
Deutscher, Stalin, p. 120.
Deutscher, Stalin, p.154.
Rosa Luxemburg, “The Problem of Dictatorship,” (1919) in Howe, p. 256.
Rosa Luxemburg, “The Problem of Dictatorship,” in Howe, ed., Essential Works of Socalism, pp. 256-257.
George Plekhanov, “On the Agrarian Question in Russia,” published in a Soviet Journal in 1906. In Howe, ed. Essential Works of Socialism, p. 207.
Trotsky was aware of the apparent contradiction that the theorist who had the clearest vision of the future, should be sidelined and deprived of leadership. In speaking of this phenomenon or apparent contradiction, whereby the weaker faction came to power, he said, “that kind of objection which comes to mind is convincing, however, only for those who think rationalistically, and see in politics a logical argument or a chess match.” Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed (New York: Merit Publishers, 1965), p. 86. He saw that politics is actually a struggle of interests and forces, not of arguments, so we must look beyond the personality and psychological makeup of leaders. But in light of this position, it is interesting that Trotsky himself was not always consistent. For example, in his History, he suggested that without Lenin, there would have been no Bolshevik Revolution in l917 and for many years after. This is inconsistent with his argument concerning Stalin’s triumph in The Revolution Betrayed, as Stalin’s rise to power is attributed to the towering social forces of history. In regard to this enigmatic but fundamental question of history, our argument is basically that of George Plekhanov, who wrote that “owing to the specific qualities of their minds and their characters, influential individuals can change the individual features of events and some of their particular consequences, but they cannot change their general trend, which is determined by other forces.” Plekhanov argued that it was difficult for the historian to avoid the “illusions” of the irreplaceable leader. For example, “The power of Napoleon’s personality presents itself to us in an extremely magnified form, for we credit him with the power of the social organization which had brought him to the fore and held him there.” Isaac Deutscher suggests that Trotsky fell into this type of illusion in his History, in regard to Lenin. See the discussion in The Prophet Outcast (London: Oxford University Press, 1963), pp. 240-251. It could be argued that in much the same way, many historians fall into this same type of illusion when dealing with Stalin.
Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revoution, Vol. I, (1932), in Howe, ed. Essential Works of Socialism, pp. 329-338.
Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed (New York: Vintage Books, l965), p. v. This paper largely follows the analysis of Deutscher.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 35.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 288.
Deutscher, The Propher Unarmed, p. 35.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 382.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 177.
Deutscher, The Propher Unarmed, p. 70.
E. Victor Wolfensein, The Revolutionary Personality (Princeton: Princeton University Press, l967), p. 49.
Wolfenstein, Revolutionary Personality, p. 53.
Wolfenstein, Revolutionary Personality, p. 66.
Wolfenstein, Revolutionary Personality, p. 67.
Max Eastman, Leon Trotsky (New York: Greenberg Publisher, 1925), pp. 31-32.
Wolfenstein, Revolutionary Personality, p. 138.
Wolfenstein, Revolutionary Personality, p. 191.
Wolfenstein, Revolutionary Personality, p.191.
Wolfenstein, Revolutionary Personality, p. 273.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 45.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 45.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 45.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 76.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 76.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 77.
Trotsky himself admitted that the concept was “inherently contradictory.” “Three Concepts of the Russian Revolution” (1946) in Howe, ed,. Essential Works of Socialism, p. 344.
Lenin (1905) in Howe, ed., Essential Works of Socialism, pp.284-285.
Lenin, (1918), “State and Revolution,” in Howe, ed., Essential Works of Socialism, pp. 316-317.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 79.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 79.
Against Trotsky (Moscow: Progress Publishers, N.D.), pp. 25 and 348-349. The congress was attended by 43 voting delegates, representing 26 organizations and social-democratic committees and unions in Russia. According to later official party history, “[a]t the Congress, Lenin and his supporters made a determined stand against the opportunists, one of whom was Trotsky… Trotsky offered an opportunistic interpretation of the question of the proletarian dictatorship. He held that for its establishment, it was indispensable to make almost no distinction between the party and the working class to forge the proletariat as the majority of the nation. The reformists, with Trotsky among them, failed to see that Lenin’s idea of the Proletarian dictatorship called for the conquest of powers by the vanguard of leaders of the proletariat with the support of the workers and peasants, who comprised the majority of the nation… “Lenin and his supporters pressed for the establishment of a militant revolutionary party of the working class and held that its rules had to make it difficult for all unstable and vacillating elements to become members … The opportunists, Trotsky among them, wanted a loose, poorly organized petty-bourgeois party.” Of course, this likely misconstrues Trotsky’s actual position.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, pp. 80-84.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 88.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 92.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 92.
Deutscher,The Prophet Armed, p. 287. Deutscher, Stalin, p. 144.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 287.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 318. Deutscher, Stalin, p. 224. The ban on other parties was “not inherent in the Bolshevik programme.”
Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979) p. 213.
Deutscher, Stalin, p. 130. Police repression was pervasive in the years before the revolution. Frederick Zuckerman, “The Political Police, War, and Society in Russia, 1914-1917,” in Frans Coetzee and Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee, eds., Authority, Identity and the Social History of The Great War (Providence, R.I.,: Berghahn Books, 1995), pp. 29-56.
Deutscher, Stalin, p. 134.
Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions, pp. 213-215.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 326. Deutscher, Stalin, p. 177.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 330.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 331.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 332.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 335.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 335.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 335.
Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions, pp. 21-217. Deutscher, Stalin, p. 192.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, pp. 425-426.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, 426.
Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions, p. 217.
Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions, p. 219.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, pp. 486-487.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 492.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 500.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 507.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 515.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 519.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 521.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 33.
Karl Marx, “From Discussions of the Executive Power,” in Eugene Kamenka, ed., The Portable Karl Marx, p. 91.
Deutscher, Stalin, pp. 200-201.
Deutscher, Stalin, p. 205.
Deutscher, Stalin, p. 205.
Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, pp. 288-289.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 32.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 29.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 30.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 30-31.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, pp. 35-37.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 45.
Lenin prepared an attack on Stalin over the Georgian issue from bed. He wanted Trotsky to defend the “deviationists”from Stalin and Felix Dzerzhinsky, and explode a bombshell against Stalin at the Twelfth Party Congress. Lenin was also peeved that Stalin had acted offensively to Nadezhda Krupskaya. Trotsky believed that at this point, the Triumvirate was beaten, but at the Party Congress, he fell for a “rotten compromise” which Lenin had warned against. Lenin intended to demote Dzerzhinsky and expel Gregory Ordjonikadze from the Party. But Trotsky settled for apologies from Stalin and a rewording of his thesis on the Georgia question. This conciliation on the part of Trotsky worked against him to Stalin’s advantage. Stalin remained General Secretary of the Party. Moreover, Trotsky made the mistake of giving Lenin’s papers to the Politburo and not exposing them at the Congress, as Lenin had intended. So Trotsky, in his magnanimous mood, helped the Triumvirs conceal Lenin’s confessions of shame and guilt at the revival of the Tsarist spirit in the Bolshevik state. His notes on nationalities were to remain unknown for 33 years. Very soon after the Congress, Lenin had another stroke, and the Triumvirs redoubled their efforts to eliminate Trotsky. Years later, and with hindsight, Trotsky believed he might have been able to defeat Stalin at the Twelfth Congress, had he followed Lenin’s advice. Trotsky’s calm can probably be attributed to his feelings of superiority over his colleagues. He underestimated them, neglected his own organizational power base, and made it easier for the Triumvirs to edge him ever closer to the precipice. Deutscher, in hindsight, sees Trotsky’s moves in this period as “very foolish.” See Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 90-93.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 54.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 65.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 69.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 72.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 82.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, pp. 83-86.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, pp. 95-96.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, pp. 99-103.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 103.
Deutscher, Stalin, pp. 264-265.
Deutscher,Stalin, p. 267.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 113.
Deutscher, Stalin, p. 308.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 128.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 134. Deutscher, Stalin, p. 268.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 140. Deutscher, Stalin, p. 272.
Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast, Chapter I.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 162.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 203.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 249.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 249.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 249
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 252.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 256.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 260.
Deutscher, Stalin, pp. 298-299.
Deutscher, Stalin, pp. 307-308.
Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, p. 272.
Deutscher, Stalin, pp. 309-311.
Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions, p. 220.
Deutscher, Stalin, p. 316.
Karl Marx, “From Discussion of the Executive Power,” in Eugene Kamenka, ed.,The Portable Karl Marx, p. 90.
Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions, pp. 228-229.
Deutscher, Stalin, p. 408.
Deutscher, Stalin, p. 408.
Herbert Marcuse, An Essay on Liberation (Beacon Press: Boston, 1969).