One of the main pillars of Trotskyism is the denial of the possibility of building socialism in a single country. This is an outgrowth of Trotsky’s permanent revolution theory, which argued that the revolution in Russia depended on the immediate success of revolution in western Europe to avoid defeat. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union did indeed build socialism in one country, so we should look at the disagreements between Marxism-Leninism and Trotskyism on this point and try to understand where they come from.
The disagreement between Trotsky’s “absurdly Left” (according to Lenin) theory of “Permanent Revolution” and the Leninist theory of revolution in two stages boils down to the question of how to deal with the question of the peasantry.
Up to now we have studied dialectical materialism and given a general overview of its application to history, historical materialism. Now let’s look more closely at some of the core concepts that make up Marxism’s materialist conception of history, starting with the forces of production.
Now that we have talked about the Marxist theory of knowledge and examined the meaning and function of dialectical materialism, let’s look at how that is applied to studying the historical development of society. Marx called this “the materialist conception of history,” or historical materialism. It is historical materialism that demonstrates the link between dialectical materialism and political economy. Here we have dialectical materialism applied to history.
In our study of the three laws of dialectics presented by Engels, we’ve examined the law of contradiction and the law of the transformation of quantity into quality. Finally, Engels says that the third law of dialectics is the “law of the negation of the negation.”
In our last article we looked at some of the core concepts of dialectical materialism. We broke down the meaning of contradiction, and we looked at how contradictions develop unevenly in complex processes, into principal and secondary contradictions. We also looked at how any given contradiction has its own principal and secondary aspects, with the principal aspect playing the dominant role. Now let's look more closely at identity in contradiction and the role of antagonism in resolving contradictions of different types.
Friedrich Engels lists three laws of dialectics, but, as we shall see, the most important is the law of contradiction, which he calls the law of the interpenetration of opposites. Before we discuss the other two (the transformation of quantity into quality, and the negation of the negation), let’s look closely at contradiction.
When we talk about the philosophy that forms the basis of Marxism-Leninism, we say that that philosophy is dialectical materialism. At this point in our series on the theoretical concepts of Marxism-Leninism, we are going to focus on the materialism of dialectical materialism and try to come to a clear understanding of what that means. And to do that, we’re going to also look at materialism’s philosophical opposite: idealism.