Trotsky, Trotskyism and the Transition to Socialism
First published in 1987. Trotskyists have long dominated the revolutionary tradition on the Western left. Written from a critical socialist standpoint, this book provides an analysis of Trotskyism and argues that Trotskyism is increasingly irrelevant as a means of achieving socialism. It argues that, as the realisation grows that the revolutionary tradition and the authoritarianism which necessarily result from it are wrong, the importance of the problem of the transition to socialism increases. It argues that on this point Trotskyism is weak; that Trotskyism's proposals for socialist transition are largely rhetorical; and that its democratic impulse is weak. It supports this argument by showing that Trotsky’s philosophy of history, implicit in his writings, which the author characterises as evolutionary and necessitarian, coupled with a failure to grasp the moral basis of the socialist case, has a disabling effect on Trotsky's account of the transition to socialism and on his explanation of Stalinism. Moreover, it argues that Trotsky's intellectual and political heirs have been unable to escape from the contradictions inherent in his thought.
Table of Contents
Preface; Acknowledgements; Part One: Trotsky: The Source; 1. Introduction: Trotsky and the Jacobin Legacy 2. The Theoretical Foundations of Trotsky’s Marxism: Philosophy and Political Economy 3. Trotsky and History 4. Trotsky’s Politics: The Question of Transition; Part Two: Trotskyism: The Intellectual Heirs; 5. Philosophy and Transition: C.L.R. James and Rave Dunayevskaya 6. Political Economy and Transition: Ernest Mandel 7. History and Transition: Isaac Deutscher 8. Conclusions: Trotskyism and its Outcome; Bibliographical Note; Index