Permanent revolution vs. socialism in one country

Following the 1905 revolution, Leon Trotsky arrived at a brilliant development of Marxist theory. He concluded that, in backward countries in the epoch of imperialism, the capitalist class was unable to lead their own bourgeois-democratic revolution. Instead, this task was left to the working class, leading the peasantry behind it. Once in power, however, they would not be able to stop here; they would push on towards socialist tasks.

Additionally, since socialism can’t be achieved in one country, it would have to be spread internationally. In that sense, the revolution would be ‘permanent’. Quite apart from being a deviation from Marxism, it extended Marx’s own analysis of Germany in 1848 to its logical conclusion. The test of any theory is practice.

In this talk, Jack Halinski-Fitzpatrick will demonstrate that Trotsky’s theory was proven correct, positively in the 1917 Russian Revolution and negatively in China in the 1920s. This contrasts with the so-called theory of socialism in one country, which is not a theory whatsoever, but an empirically-deduced reflection of the interests of the ruling bureaucracy of the USSR, after it had degenerated.

This question is not an outdated academic debate, but an important question that the communist movement must be clear on, in order to guide the struggle today.

Recommended reading: In Defence of Trotsky: A reply to the Morning Star

Further reading: The Permanent Revolution (Trotsky) / Results and Prospects (Trotsky)

Recommended listening: