Leon Trotsky's Theory of Revolution.by John Molyneux;The Evolution of Trotsky's Theory of Revolution.by Curtis Stokes

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  • Leon Trotsky's Theory of Revolution. by John Molyneux; The Evolution of Trotsky's Theoryof Revolution. by Curtis StokesReview by: Zoltan TarSlavic Review, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Spring, 1985), pp. 121-122Published by:Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2498263 .Accessed: 09/06/2014 16:33

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  • Reviews 121

    French distrust; the effects of their objectives and activities on French policies are hardly touched upon. Even the Russians, both individual leaders and groups-if mentioned at all-are shadowy, passive objects rather than active players. General A. I. Denikin and the Volunteer Army are mentioned mainly as objects of hatred, and Admiral A. V Kol- chak gets even shorter shrift. The role of the Ukrainian nationalists is not explored well. These weaknesses reflect the sources used.

    Nevertheless, the book gives a useful description of French policies and of the process of intervention and withdrawal. Through the spring of 1918 the French government was divided on how to respond to the new Soviet government. The military leaders generally favored cooperation with the Bolsheviks in an effort directed against the Central Powers, while the Quai d'Orsay opposed this effort. In the summer of 1918 France moved toward limited anti-Bolshevik intervention following the Czech uprising. Then, in the fall of 1918, under the prodding of the Quai d'Orsay, it decided on direct intervention with the main focus in the Ukraine and Crimea. This move reflected concern with protection of French investments (centered in the Ukraine) and future economic prospects, although stopping the spread of Bolshevism was becoming an equally important objective. The French resources were inadequate for a major intervention, however; France was unable either to overthrow the Bolsheviks or to implement any of its economic schemes (Carley rightly notes the similarity of French mentality and technique in 1918-19 to that of nineteenth- century colonial ventures). With home opinion increasingly opposed to intervention, French troops rebellious, resources overtaxed, and Bolshevik strength growing, the French evacuated Odessa and Sebastopol' in April 1919, ending their activity in the main theater of their intervention as well as their hopes of being the principal players in Russia. French interest now shifted to the new nations of Eastern Europe as a cordon sanitaire against Bolshevism. The reader finally concludes-though Carley does not-that French direct intervention was relatively inconsequential, playing a small role in the major de- velopments or the final outcome of the Civil War, or at least a much smaller one than intervention by Great Britain, the United States, and Japan.

    REX A. WADE University of Hawaii

    LEON TROTSKY'S THEORY OF REVOLUTION. By John Molyneux. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1981. xiv, 238 pp. Tables. $25.00.

    THE EVOLUTION OF TROTSKY'S THEORY OF REVOLUTION. By Curtis Stokes. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1982. viii, 197 pp. $21.75, cloth. $9.75, paper.

    "Against all apparent odds Trotsky's ideas remain alive today," John Molyneux asserts. because "the Left of revolutionary movements of many countries include[s] small but growing and vigorous contingents of activists directly influenced by Trotsky's thought." These movements may be small and vigorous, but it is questionable that they are growing. Trotskii was a brilliant intellectual, a fascinating personality, but Trotskiism belongs to the museum of the working class movement in spite of efforts to revive the master, even if that is hard for "vigorous contingents of activists" to believe.

    Molyneux's monograph attempts to place Trotskii in the Leninist camp as the one who was "a convinced adherent of the Leninist theory of the party," vis-a-vis the Stalinist line which ultimately triumphed. The question is what Lenin would have said-the Lenin who in his suppressed testament was less positive toward Trotskii. Molyneux's thesis was never and will never be tested because Trotskii never became the Secretary General of the Communist Party. Some of his earlier activities, like the crushing of the Kronstadt workers' revolt, resemble those of Stalin more than those of Lenin. Trotskii's policy

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  • 122 Slavic Review

    toward trade unions, later adopted by Stalin, is also very un-Leninist, especially in light of Lenin's ideas before his death about establishing a kind of "worker-peasant inspection" to curtail bureaucracy.

    Molyneux hails Trotskii's theory of permanent revolution because of the idea that despite Russia's backwardness the Russian working class could achieve power before the working classes of Western Europe and without passing through a "prolonged or stable period of bourgeois democracy." But perhaps a "prolonged or stable period of bourgeois democracy" would have given healthier direction to Russian developments. In Molyneux's view the Revolution of 1917 "did culminate" in the dictatorship of the proletariat, perhaps over the proletariat. He also asserts that Trotskii's work is the most original contribution to Marxism in our century. But there are many contenders for this distinction, Lukacs, Korsch, and Gramsci among others. His point that Trotskiism is "the point of departure for the renewal of Marxism" is also questionable in light of the long line of "renewers" and ''reconstructors" from the Yugoslav Praxis Marxists to Althusser, not to speak of the Marxists of the chair, from Alwin Gouldner to Jtirgen Habermas or Agnes Heller. Fur- thermore, Trotskii did not take note of the publication of either Marx's Paris Manuscripts (1844) oI LuLikcs's History of Claiss Consciouisniess, both major events for the "recon- stIuctioIn" of Marxisimi.

    Lastly. pronouncements that "it is impossible to understand the world today without the aid of Trotsky" are nonsensical. Instead of a scholarly (friendly or critical) assessment of the work of Trotskii, we have here ancestor worship by an inveterate true believer.

    An entirely different approach and attitude is taken by Curtis Stokes in Thle Evolution of 7Totsky's Thleory1 of Revolution, originally his dissertation (University of Michigan, 1978). He is not interested in producing another biography or quLarreling with the Trot- skiist movement but in presentiilg the evolution of Trotskii's ideas, or rather the exposition and analysis of the ev,olution of his theory of (permanent) revolution. Stokes subdivides this evolution into four stages: (1) advanceimient of the theory of permanent revolution, (2) acceptance of the (necessity of the) Leninist theory of the party as vanguard, (3) universalization of the theory of permanent revolution, and (4) application of the theory to the Soviet Union as a degenerated worker's state. Stokes traces and analyzes each stage against the background of the theories of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. By a faithful textual reconstruction of theories of revolution, Stokes establishes the difference between the Marxist anid Trotskiist theories of revolution, Marxist theory emphasizing the economic dimension and Trotskiist theory the political. The Leninist theory of rev- olution, as a radical departure from that of Marx and Engels, is reconstructed; in essence, "politics replaced economics as the motor of revolution." Next Trotskii's theory of political revolution is examined against the theme of "socialism in one country" and in the context of his struggle with Stalin. Stokes argues that this theory is the result of Trotskii's quarrel witlh Stalin rather than of his analysis of existing socioeconomic conditions in the Soviet Union. Out of their struggle over the meaning of the Chinese revolution the "universal- ization" of Trotskii's theory of permanent revolutioni emerged in 1928 as a path for coun- tries with a belated bourgeois development, especially colonial and semi-colonial Countr ies.

    Stokes gives us a model dissertation-perhaps even more. His study utilizes all rel- evant primary and secondary sources for the themes of Marxismn, Leninism, Stalinism, and Trotskiisin, and above all for the evolution of Trotskii's theory of revoluLtion.

    ZOITA N TAR New School fbr Social Research

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    Article Contentsp. 121p. 122

    Issue Table of ContentsSlavic Review, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Spring, 1985), pp. 1-204Front Matter [pp. ]DiscussionEmpty Pedestals? [pp. 1-15]Czech National Democracy: A First Approximation [pp. 16-19]War by Other Means [pp. 20-26]Politicized Ethnicity-A Reply [pp. 27-29]

    Pushkin's Merry Undertaking and "The Coffinmaker" [pp. 30-48]Maksim Gor'kii and the Sreda Circle: 1899-1905 [pp. 49-66]Military Justice and Social Relations in the Prereform Army, 1796 to 1855 [pp. 67-82]The Kazan Square Demonstration and the Conflict between Russian Workers and Intelligenty [pp. 83-103]Review EssayIn a Female Voice [pp. 104-107]

    ReviewsReview: untitled [pp. 108-109]Review: untitled [pp. 109-110]Review: untitled [pp. 110]Review: untitled [pp. 111-112]Review: untitled [pp. 112-113]Review: untitled [pp. 113]Review: untitled [pp. 114-115]Review: untitled [pp. 115-117]Review: untitled [pp. 117-119]Review: untitled [pp. 119-120]Review: untitled [pp. 120-121]Review: untitled [pp. 121-122]Review: untitled [pp. 123]Review: untitled [pp. 123-124]Review: untitled [pp. 124-125]Review: untitled [pp. 125-126]Review: untitled [pp. 126-127]Review: untitled [pp. 127-128]Review: untitled [pp. 128-129]Review: untitled [pp. 129-130]Review: untitled [pp. 130-131]Review: untitled [pp. 131-132]Review: untitled [pp. 132-133]Review: untitled [pp. 133-134]Review: untitled [pp. 134-135]Review: untitled [pp. 135]Review: untitled [pp. 135-136]Review: untitled [pp. 136-137]Review: untitled [pp. 137]Review: untitled [pp. 137-138]Review: untitled [pp. 138-139]Review: untitled [pp. 139-140]Review: untitled [pp. 140-141]Review: untitled [pp. 141-142]Review: untitled [pp. 142]Review: untitled [pp. 143-145]Review: untitled [pp. 145-146]Review: untitled [pp. 146-147]Review: untitled [pp. 147-148]Review: untitled [pp. 148-149]Review: untitled [pp. 149-150]Review: untitled [pp. 150-151]Review: untitled [pp. 151-152]Review: untitled [pp. 152-154]Review: untitled [pp. 154]Review: untitled [pp. 155-156]Review: untitled [pp. 156-157]Review: untitled [pp. 158]Review: untitled [pp. 158-159]Review: untitled [pp. 159-162]Review: untitled [pp. 162-163]Review: untitled [pp. 164]Review: untitled [pp. 165]Review: untitled [pp. 166-167]Review: untitled [pp. 167-168]Review: untitled [pp. 168]Review: untitled [pp. 168-169]Review: untitled [pp. 169-170]Review: untitled [pp. 170-171]Review: untitled [pp. 171-172]Review: untitled [pp. 172-173]Review: untitled [pp. 173-174]Review: untitled [pp. 174-175]Review: untitled [pp. 175-176]Review: untitled [pp. 176-177]Review: untitled [pp. 177]Review: untitled [pp. 177-179]Review: untitled [pp. 179-180]Review: untitled [pp. 180-181]Review: untitled [pp. 181-182]Review: untitled [pp. 182-183]Review: untitled [pp. 183-184]Review: untitled [pp. 184-185]Review: untitled [pp. 185-186]Review: untitled [pp. 186-187]Review: untitled [pp. 187-188]Review: untitled [pp. 188-189]Review: untitled [pp. 189-190]Review: untitled [pp. 190]Review: untitled [pp. 191]

    Correction: Metropolitan Platon of Moscow [pp. 191]Letters [pp. 192-193]News of the Profession [pp. 194-195]Books Received [pp. 196-202]Symposia [pp. 203-204]Back Matter [pp. ]


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