Sunday, 30 January 2011


Dialectic is dialogue between people who may hold different

views but who wish to find the truth of the matter discussed, 

in the exchange of their views, while applying reason and 


Personally, I find that reading Marx or Trotsky too difficult

to understand properly on my own. I believe those who

genuinely want positive change, need to discuss these matters 

in a group format, not with rules but perhaps with the 12 

traditions of  recovery from the 'isms' of  Capitalism in the 

interests of  class Unity. No one person has a monopoly on

the truth, beware of anyone who behaves as if they have, put 

someone on a pedestal at your own peril !

Principles before personalities - beir bua !!

To Censors & Fascists

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." -
  --  John F. Kennedy 

"The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."  -
Steven Biko 


A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.

Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.

Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.

I believe in a religion that believes in freedom. Any time I have to accept a religion that won't let me fight a battle for my people, I say to hell with that religion. 

I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.

I don't even call it violence when it's in self defense; I call it intelligence.

I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against.

If you have no critics you'll likely have no success.

If you're not ready to die for it, put the word 'freedom' out of your vocabulary.

In all our deeds, the proper value and respect for time determines success or failure.

Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it.

Nonviolence is fine as long as it works.

Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression.

Stumbling is not falling.

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.

There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.

Truth is on the side of the oppressed.

Without education, you are not going anywhere in this world.

You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

You don't have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being.

You show me a capitalist, and I'll show you a bloodsucker.

You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.

Malcolm X 

DIALECTICS AND REVOLUTION : TROTSKY,   LENIN,  LUKACS - extract from  michael löwy

Trotsky’s starting-point,  therefore,  was this critical,  dialectical and anti-dogmatic
understanding that Labriola had inspired.  « Marxism »,  he wrote in 1906,  « is above all a
method of analysis -  not analysis of texts,  but analysis of social relations ».  Let us focus on
five of the most important and distinctive features of the methodology that underlies the
Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution,  in his distinction from the other Russian Marxists ,
from Plekhanov to Lenin and from the  Mencheviks to the Bolcheviks (before 1917).

1. From the vantage point of the dialectical comprehension of the unity of the opposites, Trotsky criticized the Bolsheviks’ rigid division between the socialist power of the proletariat and the « democratic dictatorship of workers and peasants », as a « logical, purely formal operation ». This abstract logic is even more sharply attacked in his polemic against Plekhanov, whose whole reasoning can be reduced to an « empty sillogism » : our revolution is bourgeois, therefore we should support the Kadets, the constitutionalist bourgeois party. Moreover, in an astonishing passage from a critique against the Menchevik Tcherevanin, he explicitly condemned the analytical – i.e. abstract-formal, pre-dialectical - character of Menchevik politics : « Tcherevanin constructs his tactics as Spinoza did his ethics, that is to say, geometrically »(3). Of course, Trotsky was not a philosopher and almost never wrote specific philosophical texts , but this makes his clear-sighted grasp of the methodological dimension of his controversy with stagist conceptions all the more remarkable .

2. In History and Class consciousness (1923), Lukacs insisted that the dialectical category of totality was the essence of Marx’s method, indeed the very principle of revolution within the domain of knowledge (4). Trotsky’s theory, written twenty years earlier, is an exceptionally significant illustration of this Lukacsian thesis. Indeed, one of the essential sources of the superiority of Trotskys’s revolutionary thought is the fact that he adopted the viewpoint of totality, perceiving capitalism and the class struggle as a world process. In the Preface to a Russian edition (1905) of Lassalle’s articles about the revolution of 1848, he argues : « Binding all countries together with its mode of production and its commerce, capitalism has converted the whole world into a single economic and political organism (...) This immediately gives the events now unfolding and international character, and opens up a wide horizon. The political emancipation of Russia led by the working class (...) will make it the initiator of the liquidation of world capitalism, for which history has created the objective conditions» (5). Only by posing the problem in these terms - at the level of « maturity » of the capitalist system in its totality - was it possible to transcend the traditional perspective of the Russian Marxists, who defined the socialist-revolutionary « unripeness » of Russia exclusively in terms of a national economic determinism.

3. Trotsky explicitly rejected the un-dialectical economicism - the tendency to reduce, in a non-mediated and one-sided way, all social, political and ideological contradictions to the economic infra-structure – which was one of the hallmarks of Plekhanov’s vulgar materialist interpretation of Marxism. Indeed, Trotsky break with economicism was one of the decisive steps towards the theory of permanent revolution. A key paragraph in Results and Prospects defined with precision the political stakes implied in this rupture : « To imagine that the dictatorship of the proletariat is in some way automatically dependent on the technical development and resources of a country is a prejudice of ‘economic’ materialism simplified to absurdity. This point of view has nothing in common with Marxism » (6).

4. Trotsky’s method refused the un-dialectical conception of history as a pre-determined evolution, typical of Menchevik arguments. He had a rich and dialectical understanding of historical development as a contradictory process, where at every moment alternatives are posed. The task of Marxism, he wrote, was precisely to « discover the ‘possibilities’ of the developing revolution » (7). In Results and Prospects, as well as in later essays - for instance, his polemic against the Mencheviks, « The proletariat and the Russian revolution » (1908), he analyzes the process of permanent revolution towards socialist transformation through the dialectical concept of objective possibility, whose outcome depended on innumerable subjective factors as well as unforeseeable events - and not as an inevitable necessity whose triumph (or defeat) was already assured. It was this recognition of the open character of social historicity that gave revolutionary praxis its decisive place in the architecture of Trotsky’s theoretical-political ideas from 1905 on.

5. While the Populists insisted on the peculiarities of Russia and the Mencheviks believed that their country would necessarily follow the « general laws » of capitalist development, Trotsky was able to achieve a dialectical synthesis between the universal and the particular, the specificity of the Russian social formation and the world capitalist process. In a remarkable passage from the History of the Russian Revolution (1930) he explicitly formulated the viewpoint that was already implicit in his 1906 essays : « In the essence of the matter the Slavophile conception, with all its reactionary fantasticness, and also Narodnikism, with all its democratic illusions, were by no means mere speculations, but rested upon indubitable and moreover deep pecularities of Russia’s development, understood one-sidedly however and incorrectly evaluated. In its struggle with Narodnikism, Russian Marxism, demonstrating the identity of the laws of development for all countries, not infrequently fell into a dogmatic mechanization discovering a tendency to throw out the baby with the bath water (8)». Trotsky’s historical perspective was, therefore, a dialectical Aufhebung, able to simultaneously negate-preserve-transcend the contradiction between the Populists ant the Russian Marxists.

It was the combination of all these methodological innovations that made Results and Prospects so unique in the landscape of Russian Marxism before 1917 ; dialectics was at the heart of the theory of permanent revolution. As Isaac Deutscher wrote in his biography, if one reads again this pamphlet from 1906, « one cannot but be impressed by the sweep and boldness of this vision. He reconnoited the future as one who surveys from a towering mountain top a new and immense horizon and point to vast, uncharted landmarks in the distance »

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