National Sections of the L5I:

The Degenerated Revolution

Preface

Fifty years ago Stalinism was in crisis following the death of its world leader. Yet, the system he brutally forged lived on in the USSR and East Europe until 1989-91. Then, a combination of deep systemic crisis and democratic mass protests shattered the degenerate workers’ states one after another and, finally, the USSR itself. Read more...

Chapter 1 The transition from capitalism to communism

Against those who asserted the eternity of the state machine and those who made the first act of the revolution its “abolition”, Marx and Engels argued that the proletariat could neither inaugurate a classless and stateless society at one blow nor use the existing state machine, but that:

“Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat . . . The proletarian revolution therefore inaugurates a new epoch in human history – the attempt to consciously construct a society which can ‘inscribe on its banners: From each according his ability, to each according to his needs’”.2 Read more...

Chapter 2: From soviet power to soviet bonapartism

In October 1917 state power in Russia was seized by forces intent on using that state power to effect the transition from capitalism to communism. Never before in world history had conscious revolutionary communists taken state power. The October revolution inaugurated the first attempt to implement and develop the programme of revolutionary communism in the aftermath of a proletarian seizure of power. Read more...

Chapter 3: The survival and expansion of Stalinism after the second world war

The continued existence of the Soviet Union as a degenerated workers’ state into the 1980s can only be understood and explained by an analysis of the expansion of Stalinism since the end of the Second World War. The theoretical and political problems posed by this expansion have caused programmatic confusion amongst those claiming to uphold the banner of Trotskyism. In part or in whole this confusion has stemmed from an inability to creatively elaborate Trotsky’s own analysis of Stalinism under the changed conditions of the war and its aftermath. Read more...

Chapter 4: Bureaucratic social revolutions and the Marxist theory of the state

The precondition for the establishment of proletarian property forms is the destruction of the machine used by the capitalists to defend their property forms – the state. The Marxist programme is clear that the task of smashing the capitalist state belongs to the proletariat. It calls for the fulfilment of this task through the use of armed, directly democratic, workplace organisations workers’ councils or soviets. These councils in turn are the antithesis of the capitalist state. They are the organs (legislative, executive and coercive) of the workers’ state. Read more...

Chapter 5: Vietnam's long revolution: a history of war, compromise and betrayal

For over thirty years the Vietnamese masses struggled against imperialist control of their country - by the Japanese, the British, the French and the Americans. Read more...

Chapter 6: Castro's Cuban road from populism to Stalinism

The “unique” features of the Cuban revolution have produced endless confusion in the “Trotskyist” movement, rivalling the programmatic chaos and ensuing revisionism engendered by the Tito-Stalin split in 1948. The fundamental problem the Cuban revolution poses is how can a petit-bourgeois nationalist movement not only overthrow a pro-imperialist military dictatorship (i.e. a political revolution) but pass on under the same leadership to overthrow capitalism and establish a self-proclaimed “socialist state” indistinguishable in type from China or Vietnam? Read more...

Chapter 7: Permanent revolution aborted

Yugoslavia, China, Vietnam and Cuba have all been cited by the USFI as living examples of Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution. Here we have a series of revolutions in backward, overwhelmingly rural countries, all resulting in the establishment of workers states. For the USFI, at various times, Tito, Mao, Ho and Castro all became (and Castro still is) agents of the permanent revolution. To be sure they were all to a greater or lesser extent unconscious of this noble role, but the strength of the objective process, of the unfolding world revolution, compensated for this subjective deficiency. Hansen gives one of the clearest expositions of this version of permanent revolution: Read more...

Chapter 8: Stalinism and the world

The Soviet Union and the other degenerate workers' states rest on property forms that are qualitatively different from, historically superior to, and globally irreconcilable with capitalism.

Capitalism's own remorseless inner logic drives it to attempt to subordinate the whole world to its laws and needs. Its survival ultimately depends on this. But the very existence of the degenerate workers states means that huge markets and vast natural resources are closed to direct imperialist exploitation. Capitalism's crises drive it to attempt to reconquer these areas of the world and subject them again to its exploitation. Read more...

Chapter 10: Centrism and Stalinism - the falsification of Trotsky's analysis

Between the European conference of 1944 and the Third World Congress of 1951, no section of the Fourth International (FI), nor any tendencies within the sections, developed a correct appraisal of the role of world Stalinism in Eastern Europe. Up until the Second World Congress of 1948 this did not preclude the Fourth International from making a series of meaningful insights into the nature of and role of Stalinism. Read more...

Please donate to the League for the Fifth International to help us with our work.





From Resistance to Revolution

ImageThe current programme of the League for the Fifth International, published in 2011

Available to read online

Our 2010 programme, From Resistance to Revolution, is available to buy online shop.fifthinternational.org

Image