Permanent Revolution: Still The Best Choice?

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Permanent Revolution: Still The Best Choice?
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There have been innumerable debates between various political tendencies through online forums on the topic of Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution.

It seems the main theories that came about in the late 19th and early 20th centuries concerning socialist revolution were Stageism (a nation must first go through a national-democratic bourgeois revolution before a socialist revolution), Trotsky's Permanent Revolution (in a nation with a weak national bourgeoisie, and a small proletariat, the working class carries out the tasks of the national revolution and carries along the peasantry/other non-exploiting strata directly to the proletarian dictatorship) and Lenin's "Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Peasantry" (a strange, ambiguous half-way point between the other two theories).

There aren't anywhere near as many nations today that have a majority peasant or agrarian population, and those that are generally have a much more sizeable working class than in the past.

For example, China:

China's population is 1.3 billion. This figure puts China's working class at .8 billion as of 2006."

Is the debate concerning stageism and permanent revolution any less important today now that the demographics have altered so dramatically? Does the success of the Russian proletariat to establish its political supremacy initially in the October Revolution, and the failure of the numerous 'Stageist' national-liberation governments (most recently Nepal), prove Trotsky's original theory of PR correct?


I think that the world is not

I think that the world is not how certain people on the left imagine it to be. Iran, for example, has a higher percentage of workers in industry that the UK, and Lebanon has a lower percentage of workers in agricultural production than an EU country like Greece.

This doesn't mean that there still isn't a massivly large peasantry on a global scale though.




There are..

I think that wraps up the thread really. It seems clear that only a genuine movement towards socialism can achieve a lasting and powerful DOTP that sidesteps any kind of opportunism.

Even in countries like Nepal, the working-class in the cities are big enough to take the city, granted some support is needed from the peasantry to take the whole country but there was/is absolutely no excuse for parliamentarianism or anything like that.

Definitely in India, which opportunists don't stop talking about, the working-class is massively advanced and more than big enough to take over massive industrialised regions of cities and towns.

Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry

As I understand it, the theory of the Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry has four components:

1. The revolution in underdeveloped countries will be an anti-Feudal revolution which could go in any number of directions, from the establishment of a parliamentary body with suffrage based on property rights, to radical forms of democracy. The interests of the proletariat are bound up with achieving the best possible ground from which to accomplish the socialist revolution, from which it follows that we should fight to move the revolution in the direction of the best outcome, the most radically democratic regime possible, with various social legislation such as the eight hour day instituted.

2. The force which is holding the revolution back from going as far as it possibly can in underdeveloped nations is the bourgeoisie itself. It is the bourgeoisie which will prevent us from pushing the revolution to the most radical democratic conclusions possible. The bourgeoisie may be able to overthrow Tsarism, but it will want to stop before things go too far, and so socialists must then work to go beyond the bourgeoisie and bring the revolution to the conclusion most favourable to fighting the modern class struggle.

3. The force which will allow the socialist proletariat to move beyond the immediate bourgeois revolution towards radical-democracy is the peasantry, and not just the poor peasantry, but the peasantry as a whole. The socialist proletariat will therefore have to fight the bourgeoisie to gain political support from the peasantry.

4. The whole process will requires an armed uprising which will install a temporary provisional government, "the revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry." When the revolutionary provisional government has accomplished it's task of the formation of a radical bourgeois republic, the socialists will then become a party of the opposition, but able to wage the modern class struggle on the most favourable basis possible.

There was a very interesting talk by Lars T. Lih about the April Theses and the change in Lenin's views in 1917, which can be read online here. Lih basically argues that Lenin's original line was the correct one, and that Kamenev was correct to reassert it against Lenin's newfound emphasis on the poor peasantry against the wealthy peasants.

As for Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution, I do think it has serious problems. Originally Trotsky argues that the peasantry cannot form an independent political party, this lack of political revolutionary tendencies is what will force the peasantry to ally with either the bourgeoisie or the proletariat. But the peasants did form an independent political party in the form of the Social-Revolutionaries. In fact, Trotsky's basis for rejecting the Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry is that it would presupposed a coalition between the RSDLP and a party of peasants, but that is exactly what happened in October when the Council of People's Commisars was formed with delegates from the Bolshevik and Left-Social Revolutionary parties.

On the other hand, the Bolsheviks clearly had socialism in sight in 1917, and not a radical bourgeois republic. I think it may be more correct to say that 1917 was more a compromise between the positions of Lenin and Trotsky than a total vindication of Trotsky.

I think there are certainly

I think there are certainly problems (such as the issue with the Essers you mention above)- however, the 'core' of the theories differ greatly. I would argue that the precipice was crossed by the October Revolution- even though socialism was not established (which would take a successful global proletarian revolution), they had moved to the point where it became entirely possible in most of the former Russian Empire to establish socialism (if the rest of the world caught up), and had indeed smashed the institutions and power of the bourgeoisie, and established a 'dictatorship of the proletariat' (if by this you mean the working class had a monopoly on political power). This suggests that the core of PR, that the proletariat in an underdeveloped or semi-developed nation with a peasant majority could overthrow the bourgeoisie and establish political dominance while bringing along the peasants, was indeed correct.

Though I'm mainly arguing this against the accusations of Marxist-Leninists of most varieties (Stalinists, Maoists, Hoxhaists, etc) who say that it simply is not a possibility for the proletariat to assert its revolutionary class perspective on a majority peasant, under or semi developed nation (or colonial/semi-colonial nation); and since the numeric devastation of the peasantry, today mainly along the developed, former colonial, etc nation vs advanced nation lines.

And Trotskyists since the death of Trotsky have 'altered' the theory of Permanent Revolution (such as Tony Cliff's abomination "deflected permanent revolution").

Regarding Lenin's 'DD of the P & P' - it appears to be a very big influence on what became the Maoist theory of 'New Democracy'.

With the peasants though, I got in a long ridiculous argument on Libcom with a former SDS member about the peasantry- that they are not a class under capitalism, but an amalgam of different class interests (rural proletariat, petit-bourgeoisie, bourgeoisie and in the 3rd world today lumpenproletariat in the form of portions of the rural destitute). Because of this, I don't believe the 'peasantry' (which combines everything from small farm owners, rural workers, agrarian workers, large farm owners, descendents of former peasants who squat and beg/steal, etc) under capitalism is capable of a class perspective- including a party that acts in their class interests.

I don't see a way for the peasantry to act as a 'partner' in socialist revolution- in practice, they seem to have largely been dragged along with the will of the industrial and rural proletariat- aside from the bourgeois and some of the petit-bourgeois elements who acted as a counter-revolutionary force.

Just thinking out loud :)

With reference to your

With reference to your discussion about the peasantry, I suppose it depends how you define it. To me the English word 'peasantry' signifies a class of landowners and excludes, for example the rural proletariat. It is a word without a direct Turkish equivilant, with the term which is generally used being a direct translation of the term 'villager'.

That is how I understand it anyway. Even if it is not exactly right that is how it is generally used by Marxists. Of course there are huge differences within the peasantry, but it is a class defined by its relationship to the means of production.



We need to look at this in a global framework

At the risk of stating the obvious, I think we need to see this discussion in the global framework. Capitalism is ripe for overthrow at the global level, and there is no more possibility of the bourgeoisie playing a revolutionary role. In February 1917 the working class made the revolution, but with illusions in the possibility of a bourgeois democratic revolution. There is another article on the significance of the April Theses here: that takes a very different view from Lars T Lih. When we see how revolutionaries tried to understand the questions what was key was always the ability to see things in international terms.

So we have to come back to the specific difficulties faced in any particular country, and the question of the peasantry from that point of view. I agree with Devoration that it is very important to know who we are talking about and also with the points on seeing how much the peasantry have been destroyed over the last century. But I am totally unprepared in that discussion.


Students of Trotskyism and of peasantry might find it relevant to search on the web via  posadiste, then click on welcome, then on  new, which should then show   Manifesto of the First of May 2010, and also the Posadist statement - 'We support the historical project to build the Fifth International for socialism in the 21st century'. 

Please note that I am not a member of Posadists nor of any political organisation, and am merely pointing towards a field of political endeavour which has been active in South America and elsewhere for many years.

Peasants, plus a question

In his 2010 book 'Living in the End Times',  on page 281 Slavoj Zizek refers to a view he ascribes to  Chakrabarty that some peasant rebel protests remain in the "waiting room of history".

Whilst mentioning his book, comrades of the communist left who regard the present period as one of decomposition of the capitalist imperialist system might like to consider a question he poses on page 294, that if the twentieth century was the Freudian century, will the twenty-first be the century of the post-traumatic disengaged subject, whose first emblematic figure, that of the Muselmann, is multiplying in the guise of refugees, terror victims, survivors of natural disasters or of family violence ?  On the following page he goes on to say that global capitalism generates a new form of illness which is itself global, indifferent to the most elementary distinctions such as that between nature and culture.

Please note that I haven't yet read the book, so am not able to offer an overall assessment of it.

Some quick thoughts

I may reply to what's been posted a little more comprehensively in a bit, just a few thoughts.

I don't think the difference between the DDotPaP and Trotsky's Permanent Revolution are about wether or not socialism can be established. The difference is, as Lih notes in the article I posted, on their attitude towards the 'axiom of the class ally'. This axiom says that you cannot set up a government without majority political support, and therefore the possibilities of the revolution are determined by how far the peasantry is willing to take it. Lenin accepts this, and in 1905 uses it to argue that the Russian revolution will set up a radical bourgeois republic. Trotsky rejects it, and argues that it will be necessary for the working-class to exercise a dictatorship of it's own interests against the peasantry. In 1917 Lenin read Karl Kautsky's 'Prospects of the Russian Revolution', in which Kautsky says that the social differentiation between rich and poor peasants means that we cannot predict how the peasantry will act, and there is a possibility that they could support 'steps towards socialism'. On this basis, Lenin thought that a transition (Although not an immediate one) towards socialism could be effected in Russia with the support of the poor peasantry. He is still working within his earlier framework of setting up a government with majority political support, but now he thinks that the opinion of Russia's peasantry will swing differently to his earlier predictions.

I don't think the DDotPaP has much to do with Mao's new democracy. For Lenin, the DDotPaP is a temporary provisional government, from which the party of the socialist proletariat will eventually step aside and allow for the further development of capitalism, while for Mao, new democracy was a permanent government which would transition into socialism. For Lenin there was no question of remaining in a government which would be essentially a bourgeois government, and would end up putting down strikes and such.

The idea that October 1917 set up a Revolutionary Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry also seems more in line with the thinking of the ICC on the state, whereas the idea that it was a purely workers' government seems to be more in line with Trot thinking. The idea that a "workers' state" was set up seems more conducive to the idea that the USSR was a "degenerated workers' state", whereas the idea that DDotPaP was set up seems more conducive to the view that it was some form of "state-capitalism", initially under a "workers' and peasants' state", but with a good deal of "bueracratic distortions" which eventually won out, if I may be permitted to quote Lenin ad nauseum.

I only skimmed through the ICC article, but it seems to ignore the fact that in October 1915, when Lenin was still for the "revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry", he was already calling for all power to the Soviets:

"Soviets of Workers’ Deputies and similar institutions must be regarded as organs of insurrection, of revolutionary rule. It is only in connection with the development of a mass political strike and with an insurrection, and in the measure of the latter’s preparedness, development and success that such institutions can be of lasting value." (Several Theses)

Another point worth quoting from the above mentioned work:

"The task confronting the proletariat of Russia is the consummation of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia in order to kindle the socialist revolution in Europe."

There are a lot of these ideas, going back to the time of Marx and Engels, that a Russian revolution would spark off socialist revolution in Western Europe. The idea also existed that would result in a kind of feedback process which would speed up the transition to socialism in Russia. So the ideas about the interlinked nature of countries under capitalism were present in the DDotPaP.

 I think it's important to

 I think it's important to see all the arguments being put forward in the early 1900s about the nature of the coming Russian revolution need to be seen in their historic context - all of them were attempts to understand a shifting reality, in a period of 'twilight' between the ascent and decline of the system. Both Lenin and Trotsky were correct to argue against the 'orthodox' (ie rigidly mechanical) view which became identified with Menshevism, ie the idea that Russian had to pass through the stage of a bourgeois revolution led by the bourgeoisie. Both could see that this was not going to happen given the historical feebleness of the Russian bourgeoisie (not to mention comparable experiences in Germany and elsewhere in 1848) and both tried to figure out the real possibilities of the situation. I think that Trotsky's view was closer to what happened and also in a way closer to what Marx himself had hypothesised in his discussions with the Russian movement - mainly because both stressed the fact that the revolution in Russia could really only be seen in the context of an international revolutionary movement.  In addition, Trotsky had, especially after 1905, understood the  possibility of the working class developing its own autonomous power despite its numerical disadvantages. But Trotsky was not immune from the idea that the new proletarian power in Russia was still in a sense forced to carry out  a number of tasks of the bourgeois revolution, which connected to later Left Opposition ideas about developing the productive forces in an isolated Russia and measuring progress towards socialism on the basis of units of industrial production.  In any case, neither of the theories were totally vindicated but there was I think an important move by Lenin towards recognising the core arguments of Trotsky as having a real validity, and this was a vital moment in the process of rearming the party for the October insurrection.  

Trotsky's Economism

Good post Alf. On the subject of permanent revolution and Trotsky's belief in the proletariat carrying out the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, I think this is probably Trotsky's key weak point. He seems to put forward the view later on that the democratic revolution in backward countries will inevitably lead to the socialist revolution, which takes the emphasis way from proletarian class autonomy and back onto the alliance with the 'progressive' bourgeoisie. Many modern Trot groups support politics which probably would've been anathema to Trotsky on this basis, that the democratic revolution 'inevitably' leads forward to the socialist revolution. On this point, Lenin definitely still has something to contribute to our understanding of the tasks of the proletariat in backwards countries, as Trotsky's view on this point is essentially a form of economism.

However, I don't think there was much of a move by Lenin toward recognising the correctness of Trotsky on the core arguments. As I noted above, Lenin's support of socialism in Russia was based on the adaptation of his original theory to the new conditions present in Russia - the process of social differentiation of the peasantry into a class of wealthy landowners and a class of rural proletarians. On the key difference between Lenin and Trotsky - the importance of political support from the peasantry - Lenin never went back. The other points about international revolution and such were not really unique to Trotsky I don't think. Again, a good deal of Marxists going back to Marx and Engels themselves thought that a hypothetical Russian revolution would advance the process of revolution in Western Europe, Lenin himself makes the argument in his October 1915 theses.

I also don't think the rejection of the idea that a simple bourgeois revolution could occur in backwards countries has much to do with the idea of decadence. You yourself note the example of the revolution of 1848.In point of fact, I don't think a simple bourgeois revolution has ever really occured in history.

devoration1 wrote:... prove

devoration1 wrote:
... prove Trotsky's original theory of PR correct?

Wiki-entry on PR says; Trotsky's conception of Permanent Revolution is based on his understanding, drawing on the work of fellow Russian Alexander Parvus, that in 'backward' countries the tasks of the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution could not be achieved by the bourgeoisie itself.

So credit goes to Parvus (about whom much is written, but his own work is almost unknown, certainly by myself that is)


d-man wrote:
So credit goes to Parvus (about whom much is written, but his own work is almost unknown, certainly by myself that is)

Issac Deustcher discusses this at length in his biography of Trotsky



Red Hughs
I don't believe any theory of

I don't believe any theory of stages in the movement towards communism is plausible in the present historical situation.

Stagist theories rely on two argument - either the argument that the means of production are insufficiently developed or the argument that the people must be educated before they are ready (whereas I think the Marxian-reframe is "the educator must be educated").

Aside from every effort to put stagist theories into effect having resulted in disaster, the present means of production are clearly far more developed than a hundred years and it would be hard to imagine they require much more on a world scale.

Revolution in one country was dubious a hundred years ago, now it's absurd. On the world level, the peasants as a group are far more marginalized than a hundred years. A large portion of those who work the land in, say, South America, are not peasants but rural proletarians. Farmers in China are either small entrepreneurs or rural proletarians, depending on their standing (and China has the highest ratio of industrial workers of any country on earth current).

The program I consider credible is immediate communization. Immediate production for need, appropriately coordinated and quickly extended over the most industrialized parts of the globe and then the entire globe.

I raised this argument to "Oisleep", who seems to have a crowd of admirers within the milieu of "Marxist"-having-stated-affiliation on libcom. He promised a reply but "somehow" never got back to me. The infamous Mikus made the "interesting" argument that perhaps capitalism increases needs at the same rate as it advances the means of production so we will remain perpetually behind production level needed for communism (this naturally ignores the point that needs under communism will not the same as the "advanced" needs created by capitalism).

In anycase, immediate communization, I'll accept no substitutes myself. It is possible that some "transition process" would have to occur in the more remote areas of the world like sub-Saharan Africa but that wouldn't be the thrust of revolutionary struggle but more of an end-game.

(The editor is adding extra breaks in when I do preview - I'm using Firefox 3.1 on ubuntu. Believe it or not, I once tried to write an editor of this sort. I'm amazed this works at all but it's still annoying. I'd rather do plain-text with manually inserted html)


In his video talk on the subject, Lih went into more detail on the Parvus-Trotsky thing. He claims that the idea of a workers' provisional government becoming permanent and possibly engaging in civil war with the Russian peasantry was exclusive to Trotsky and rejected by Parvus. On this crucial point, Parvus was closer to Lenin than Trotsky, so it may be more accurate to talk about a Parvus-Lenin theory than a Parvus-Trotsky theory.

Also, I did have a moderate sized post earlier that went into moderation and seems to have failed to appear.


Post appearing

Zanthorus, if you have a post that has failed to appear why don't you do another to make the points again. My post didn't appear first time, so I did it again a couple of days later, which I'm sure is nothing to do with moderation, probably not even spam guard - with me most likely I failed to click the right button.

Red Hughs
Defining Peasants


With reference to your discussion about the peasantry, I suppose it depends how you define it. To me the English word 'peasantry' signifies a class of landowners and excludes, for example the rural proletariat. It is a word without a direct Turkish equivilant, with the term which is generally used being a direct translation of the term 'villager'.

A peasant originally was someone tied to the land through a Feudal relationship of one sort or another. The term has been somewhat expanded to include a variety of landlord-renter relationships that have existed through-out the third world. Often this includes systems of debt-slavery, where peasant barrow money on future crops and pay it back. In Latin America, the common claim is that semi-feudal property relations were imported during the Spanish conquests. Whether that's true or not, it seems like there's little basis to think semi-feudal relations prevail in that large an area

The peasant differs from proletarian is the sense that the Feudal or latifundal landlord is explicitly parasitical. The peasant grows his crops and pays a tarrif in one fashion or another. He has more or less possession of the land - the means of production but is penniless/in-debt. The tendency is for the peasants as a group to split into small capitalist farms and rural wage laborers as capitalist relations become dominant. Small capitalist farmers would more or less "petit bourgeois" and would employ rural farmers to various degrees.

If we're making a materialist analysis of a society, it makes sense to only talk of "peasants" as an authentically different stratum of the dispossessed surviving from pre-capitalist times. We should keep in mind the many differences between sections of the working class but this is a different analysis.

From now on

Whilst the study of the history of working class struggles continues, so many changes have occurred in the world of capitalism since 1917 that it seems to me to be doubtful if valid lessons can be taken hook, line and sinker for application from now on.  How do comrades foresee what is likely to happen, maybe partially or largely as distinct from what comrades would like to see and advocate ?  Are there likely to be some stages of a geographical nature, rather than as per the earlier Trotskyist 'stages' ?  Now that, as RedHughs pointed out, many workers formerly regarded as peasants have in fact become rural proletarians, how much difference will that make from now on ?  The capitalist system and its adverse effects are world-wide, but does that automatically mean that proletarian opposition to it will actually be simultaneously world-wide ?  If it has got to start somewhere, or rather, as it is already ongoing in many places, where is that most likely to really kick off in a big way ?   I would suggest that it would be interesting and probably useful to workers to know of any forecasts as to what is expected to happen, which is not the same as asking for blueprints.

If such a 'spark' were to

If such a 'spark' were to happen in a nation formerly made up of a peasant-majority in the 20th century (India, China, Iran, etc) with a large and developed proletariat that has a history of being very active, I think at least the core of PR is valuable. In the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Stalinism (generally Maoism) is very powerful- India and the CPI(M) and Naxalites, Iran and the Tudeh Party, the new MCPC in China and the history of Mao, etc. Popular Frontist, 'New Democracy', 'national democratic revolution', etc are still theories actively proposed by these groups, and accepted by their (in many cases) large memberships. The recent aabomination of the 'Nepalese Revolution' is a good example of what the working class and its most advanced minorities would be up against.

Aspects of PR such as 'the proletariat performing the tasks of the bourgeois revolution' should be rightfully left to history- however, a nation with a very large destitute agrarian, rural population (such as India) should be armed with the core of PR against their domestic Maoist and Stalinist enemies. I think starting with the idea that the proletariat in a nation with a large destitute agrarian, rural population can smash the institutions and power of the bourgeoisie, and establish a monopoly on political power, bringing along the 'former peasantry' with it, seems to me like an appropriate starting point to imagine a theory of revolution in such regions. All manner of opportunism could easily slip in through the backdoor in such areas (such as attempts to appease the Naxalites and Naxalite sympathizers in India by including petit-bourgeois promises to the rural population, or granting membership in the workers party/revolutionary organizations to non-proletarian rural populations, promoting a type of 'dual power' between the workers and 'peasants' or equal power, etc).

What next ?

On October 14 devoration1 made perceptive remarks re nations formerly made up of a peasant majority - India, China, Iran etc.  On October 10 may wrote that we have to come back to the specific difficulties faced in any particular country, and the question of the peasantry from that point of view.

Now I'm wondering how comrades would view the ongoing situation in the USA from now on.  To some extent the so-called 'hispanic' workers might be considered to have originally come from the peasantry, to join the proletariat of the USA, which altogether is facing a vast range of problems.  Do comrades foresee a likely and maybe an early eruption of revolutionary struggle in the USA, despite the weight of capitalist propaganda there ?

******  Since writing the foregoing, I've just seen on the wsws website their document 'The Breakdown of Capitalism and the Fight for Socialism in the United States', which was as at 6 Sept 2010 from the earlier and recent first congress of the SEP at Ann Arbor.  Obviously what the Trotskyists have to say might be noted by ICC, even though ICC is not Trotskyist nor Stalinist.

I think we are much more

I think we are much more likely to see the semi and skilled native workers erupt vs Latin American immigrants in the US. The legal and especially illegal hispanic immigrant workforce is extremely pressured, in a number of ways that make it unlikely that they will engage in massive struggle 'first'. The massive layoffs of the remaining manufacturing sector, the scaling down of traditionally militant trades (such as the meat cutters, steelworkers, miners), huge drop in standard of living and rise in precarity among so-called 'middle class' blue collar workers, etc make it seem more likely that the makeup of future open class struggle will be reminiscent of the 'Great Upheavel' of 1877, or the workers who engaged in the embryonic soviets and governing strike committee's of 1919- transportation workers (airline, railroad and public transport), public employees, building trades, manufacturers, etc.

I don't doubt that immigrant workers will play a large role in future struggles- I just don't imagine them being the initiators and primary movers of such struggles- at least initially.

I was reading over the IR article about the 'global left in power'- I think the bourgeoisie overplayed their hand a bit. At the first signs of the economic collapse, the social-democrats, Democrats, liberals, etc immediately took office, and are reigning over the austerity measures, increased pressure on organized labor to capitulate, etc. While the initial 2 years of the collapse were a 'wake up call' for workers everywhere, I don't think it was the prime time to allow the left in power. In the US it is increasingly clear that workers are sick of the left party (Democrats), can't stand or don't trust third parties (Labor, Green, etc), and are losing illusions in the unions that claim to be 'protecting' them.

The semi skilled and skilled workers are usually the banner carriers for the social-democrats and labor unions, their 'bread and butter', core of supporters- especially in the US. If this 10 million strong entrenched wing of the American working class starts moving away from the Democratic Party and AFL-CIO/CtW unions, I think we are likely to start seeing more and more militant action on the part of trade workers who have been docile since the '70s- the warning shot being the occupation at Republic Windows. A lot of workers are taking the bait of the right in opposition, especially the anti-establishment wing. However, it appears that the Tea Party is losing steam and being recuped by the traditional right. This can only be a good thing, a learning experience for many that the far-right is just as empty as the left.

Regarding the far-left of the bourgeoisie in the US- it's interesting that the Trots are taking notice; as the Maoists are as well (on Libcom it was posted that the RCP-USA wants $10k to write and publish a new 'socialism in the US' plan and platform to be "widely distributed" everywhere across the US).

Views on news

Thank you to Devoration1 for his comments of October 16, 2010, 13.30 on the situations of workers in the USA.  I have never been there and wonder if ICC supporters from the UK have been there. I note that there are ICC meetings in the USA.

In a second-hand bookshop this afternoon I came across the 1968 Pelican paperback, a translation of the original French version of the book by Regis Debray, 'Revolution in the Revolution?' which seems to be mainly about guerrilla struggles in Latin America.  I saw it many years ago, and haven't re-read it so far.  I took a look at biographical data about him via wikipedia.  I expect that the book is quite well known to those experienced in the ICC.  His final sentence concludes that in a given historic situation there may be a thousand ways to speak of the revolution, but there must be one necessary concordance among all those who have resolved to make it.

I'm about to start reading

I'm about to start reading Tony Cliff's 1963 essay, "Deflected Permanent Revolution". Is anyone here familiar with it? If so what are your thoughts?