Political revolution

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A political revolution, in the Trotskyist theory, is an upheaval in which the government is replaced, or the form of government altered, but in which property relations are predominantly left intact. The revolutions in France in 1830 and 1848 are often cited as political revolutions.

Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Trotsky identified as an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik–Leninist. He supported founding a vanguard party of the proletariat, proletarian internationalism and a dictatorship of the proletariat based on working class self-emancipation and mass democracy. Trotskyists are critical of Stalinism as they oppose Joseph Stalin's theory of socialism in one country in favor of Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution. Trotskyists also criticize the bureaucracy that developed in the Soviet Union under Stalin.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Contents

Political revolutions are contrasted with social revolutions in which old property relations are overturned. Leon Trotsky's book, The Revolution Betrayed , is the most widely cited development of the theory.

Social revolution bottom-up revolution aiming to reorganize all of society

Social revolutions are sudden changes in the structure and nature of society. These revolutions are usually recognized as having transformed in society, culture, philosophy, and technology much more than political systems.

Leon Trotsky Marxist revolutionary from Russia

Lev Davidovich Bronstein, better known as Leon Trotsky, was a Russian revolutionary, Marxist theorist, and Soviet politician whose particular strain of Marxist thought is known as Trotskyism.

<i>The Revolution Betrayed</i> book by Leon Trotski

The Revolution Betrayed: What Is the Soviet Union and Where Is It Going? is a book published in 1937 by the exiled Soviet Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky. This work analyzed and criticized the course of historical development in the Soviet Union following the death of Lenin in 1924 and is regarded as Trotsky's primary work dealing with the nature of Stalinism. The book was written by Trotsky during his exile in Norway and was originally translated into French by Victor Serge. The most widely available English translation is by Max Eastman.

Origins

The Trotskyist movement advocates political revolution, as opposed to capitalist counter-revolution, in the countries with deformed workers states. Such political revolutions are envisioned to overthrow undemocratic governments of bureaucratic privilege, replacing them with governments based on workers' democracy while maintaining state-owned property relations.

While the Trotskyist movement does not recognize any political revolution to have occurred against the deformed worker's states, it saw a strong possibility for that potential in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the Czechoslovakian Prague Spring of 1968, both crushed by Soviet invasion. Another uprising seen to have the possibility of sweeping in the political revolution was the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, crushed by the Communist Party of China.

Hungarian Revolution of 1956 conflict

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956, or the Hungarian Uprising, was a nationwide revolution against the Hungarian People's Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. Leaderless when it first began, it was the first major threat to Soviet control since the Red Army drove Nazi Germany from its territory at the End of World War II in Europe.

Prague Spring the period of liberalisation in Czechoslovakia from January 5th to 21 August 1968

The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization and mass protest in Czechoslovakia as a Communist state after World War II. It began on 5 January 1968, when reformist Alexander Dubček was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ), and continued until 21 August 1968, when the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded the country to suppress the reforms.

Communist Party of China Political party of the Peoples Republic of China

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.

Unlike the movements that led to capitalist counter-revolution such Boris Yeltsin's 1991 coup in the USSR and Lech Wałęsa's Solidarność in Poland, these previous movements were not seen as having stated capitalist goals and were not seen as hostile to socialism. As such the Trotskyist movement opposed the 1956 invasion of Hungary, the 1969 invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the Tiananmen Square massacre as the crimes of Stalinist governments.

Boris Yeltsin 1st President of Russia and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was a Soviet and Russian politician who served as the first President of the Russian Federation from 1991 to 1999. A member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1961 to 1990, he later stood as a political independent, during which time he was ideologically aligned with liberalism and Russian nationalism.

Lech Wałęsa Polish politician, Nobel Peace Prize winner, former President of Poland

Lech Wałęsa is a Polish retired politician and labour activist. He co-founded and headed Solidarity (Solidarność), the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland from 1990 to 1995.

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin. Poland is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Lithuania, and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast to the north, Belarus and Ukraine to the east, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to the south, and Germany to the west.

Academics have identified certain factors that have mitigated the rise of political revolutions. Many historians have held that the rise and spread of Methodism in Great Britain prevented the development of a revolution there. [1] In addition to preaching the Christian Gospel, John Wesley and his Methodist followers visited those imprisoned, as well as the poor and aged, building hospitals and dispensaries which provided free healthcare for the masses. [2] The sociologist William H. Swatos stated that "Methodist enthusiasm transformed men, summoning them to assert rational control over their own lives, while providing in its system of mutual discipline the psychological security necessary for autonomous conscience and liberal ideals to become internalized, an integrated part of the 'new men' ... regenerated by Wesleyan preaching." [3] The practice of temperance among Methodists, as well as their rejection of gambling, allowed them to eliminate secondary poverty and accumulate capital. [3] Individuals who attended Methodist chapels and Sunday schools "took into industrial and political life the qualities and talents they had developed within Methodism and used them on behalf of the working classes in non-revolutionary ways." [4] The spread of the Methodist Church in Great Britain, author and professor Michael Hill states, "filled both a social and an ideological vacuum" in English society, thus "opening up the channels of social and ideological mobility ... which worked against the polarization of English society into rigid social classes." [3] The historian Bernard Semmel argues that "Methodism was an antirevolutionary movement that succeeded (to the extent that it did) because it was a revolution of a radically different kind" that was capable of effecting social change on a large scale. [3]

Methodism Group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity

Methodism, also known as the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity teaching Wesleyan-Arminian theology, which derives from the life and teachings of John Wesley. George Whitefield and John's brother Charles Wesley were also significant early leaders in the movement. It originated as a revival movement within the 18th-century Church of England and became a separate denomination after Wesley's death. The movement spread throughout the British Empire, the United States, and beyond because of vigorous missionary work, today claiming approximately 80 million adherents worldwide.

John Wesley Founder of the Methodist movement

John Wesley was an English cleric, theologian and evangelist who was a leader of a revival movement within the Church of England known as Methodism. The societies he founded became the dominant form of the independent Methodist movement that continues to present.

Dispensary organization that dispenses medications, medical supplies, and in some cases even medical treatment

A dispensary is an office in a school, hospital, industrial plant, or other organization that dispenses medications, medical supplies, and in some cases even medical and dental treatment. In a traditional dispensary set-up, a pharmacist dispenses medication as per prescription or order form. The English term originated from the medieval Latin noun dispensaria and is cognate with the Latin verb dispensare, "to distribute".

Application

While there is general agreement among Trotskyists on these questions regarding Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and China in events above, there is disagreement on questions regarding capitalist counter-revolution. Some Trotskyist groups cheered the fall of the Stalinist governments of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, even under the leadership of pro-capitalist forces. Arguments put forward by some of these groups included the idea that the mobilizations and political space created by smashing the Stalinist bureaucracy could bring about the ability of the working class to carry out the political revolution as a step towards creating a truly democratic and egalitarian socialist society.

Most Trotskyists hold on to the historic position of Leon Trotsky in advocating only Political Revolution against Stalinism while also standing for the defense of the deformed and degenerated workers' states from imperialism and internal capitalist counter-revolution. They argue that their position has been proven correct by the drop of the standard of living of the people of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe including the lack of medical care and jobs. Internationally they point to the strengthened hand of U.S. Imperialism with the fall of the Soviet Union as a major cause of war, including the Anglo-American war in Iraq.

Today these debates continue regarding what some Trotskyists consider the deformed workers' states of the Republic of Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the People's Republic of China.

See also

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Shachtmanism is the form of Marxism associated with Max Shachtman (1904–1972). It has two major components: a bureaucratic collectivist analysis of the Soviet Union and a third camp approach to world politics. Shachtmanites believe that the Stalinist rulers of proclaimed socialist countries are a new ruling class distinct from the workers and reject Trotsky's description of Stalinist Russia as a "degenerated workers' state".

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In Trotskyist political theory, deformed workers' states are states where the capitalist class has been overthrown, the economy is largely state owned and planned, but there is no internal democracy or workers' control of industry. In a deformed workers' state, the working class has never held political power like it did in Russia shortly after the Russian Revolution. These states are considered deformed because their political and economic structures have been imposed from the top, and because revolutionary working class organizations are crushed. Like a degenerated workers' state, a deformed workers' state cannot be said to be a state that is transitioning to socialism.

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References

  1. Hobsbawm, Eric (1957). "Methodism and the Threat of Revolution in Britain". History Today . 7 (5). Historians have held that religious Revivalism in the late eighteenth century distracted the minds of the English from thoughts of Revolution.
  2. Maddox, Randy L.; Vickers, Jason E. (2010). The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley. Cambridge University Press. p. 179. ISBN   9780521886536.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Swatos, William H. (1998). Encyclopedia of Religion and Society. Rowman Altamira. p. 385. ISBN   9780761989561.
  4. Thomis, Malcom I.; Holt, Peter (1 December 1977). Threats of Revolution in Britain 1789–1848. Macmillan International Higher Education. p. 132. ISBN   9781349158171.