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Foreword to Karl Marx, Parizhskaya Kommuna (December 1905)

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, Trotsky emphasised the interaction between economic conditions and revolutionary consciousness. In Russia, the precipitating condition for proletarian revolution was social paralysis, symbolised by the co-existence of soviets with the autocracy, from which the only escape was through a workers' government. A revolution is an open contest of social forces in the struggle for power. The proletariat is the sole force leading the revolution and the principal fighter on its behalf. The main tasks that the proletariat has upon seizing power will be political ones: to fortify its position, to arm the revolution, to disarm the reaction, to extend the base of the revolution, and to rebuild the state. The dictatorship of the proletariat does not at all mean the dictatorship of a revolutionary organisation over the proletariat and, through it, over the whole of society. This is demonstrated best in the experience of the Paris Commune.

Keywords: Karl Marx; proletariat; revolution; Russia; Trotsky



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