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‘Social democracy and revolution’ (25 November [12 November], 1905)

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Chapter Summary

According to Stalinist propaganda of the 1920s, Lenin condemned Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution at the time of the 1905 revolution for 'under-estimating' the peasantry. In terms of the historical evidence, Trotsky showed greater foresight on this matter than Lenin. The debate over permanent revolution only resurfaced after Lenin's death in 1924 because Stalin wrapped his claim to succession in the slogan of 'Socialism in One Country'. The question involved the issue of whether the revolution would come to a halt once bourgeois liberals took power, in which case the proletarian party should reconcile itself merely to a supportive role, or whether, instead, to follow the tactics of permanent revolution outlined by Marx in the 1850 'Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League'. This is the question addressed by Trotsky in 'Social Democracy and Revolution'; and this question alone, as he said in 1929, effectively 'exhausts the subject'.

Keywords: 1905 revolution; bourgeois liberal; Lenin; Marx; permanent revolution; proletariat; social democracy; Stalin; Trotsky



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