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7 Theoretical Revolution

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Chapter Summary

During the years 1933-6, Trotsky's understanding of the problem of Soviet bureaucracy experienced a revolutionary transformation. In response to the failure of Comintern policy in Germany, Trotsky emulated Lenin's reaction to the failure of social democracy at the outbreak of the First World War by breaking with the Comintern. Trotsky's behaviour also curiously paralleled Lenin's on a more abstract theoretical level. Shortly after concluding that the Second International was dead as a revolutionary organisation, Lenin began taking extensive notes on Hegel's Science of Logic, motivated, as Michael Löwy has suggested, either by 'a simple desire to return to the sources of Marxist thought', or by an intuition that the methodological weakness of the Second International was its 'non-comprehension of the dialectic'. Trotsky's dismissive attitude toward the 'democratic' provisions of the constitution of 1936 is shared by most contemporary commentators.

Keywords: Foreign Policy; Germany; Marxist; Soviet Union; theoretical revolution; Trotsky



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