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5 Left Turn and Theoretical Crisis

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Chapter Summary

During the years 1928-9 Trotsky's theory of bureaucracy entered a period of crisis. Repeatedly, unfolding events contradicted the expectations and predictions Trotsky derived from the theory he had developed in the party struggle of 1926-7. In the course of that struggle he had come to view the Opposition as the only force within the party capable of implementing a leftist course. Instead of moving to the right, the party leadership initiated a dramatic policy change, perceived by Trotsky and most of the Opposition as a shift to the left, which would continue to deepen in the following years. And instead of dissolving, the Stalinist current ultimately emerged triumphant in a power struggle with its moderate opponents. In the face of the widening gulf between theory and reality, a growing number of Oppositionists began to reject the theory.

Keywords: bureaucracy; socialism; Stalin; theoretical crisis; Trotsky



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