Ian Cappelletti
Ian Cappelletti

Permanent Revolution - An Objectivist Nightmare

Leon Trotsky, born in 1879 to a rural Jewish family in the Ukraine, assumed a destiny saturated in political turmoil once he discovered Marxism at a young age. Originally the leader of the Menshevik wing of the Social Democratic party in opposition to V.I. Lenin's Bolsheviks, Trotsky went on to pen his primary theory on proletariat-rule in 1905. This concept was named the Permanent Revolution theory, a principle true Trotskyians support to this day. After writing of his radical thoughts, Trotsky later joined the Bolshevik Party and formed the Red Army for the communist revolution in Russia. Working with Lenin, Trotsky attempted to bring his theory to fruition.

Ayn Rand experienced the Bolshevik Revolution first hand. In her teenage years, Rand watched her father's business fall to collectivist control and her family plummet into poverty. Only with the help of relatives in Chicago did Rand successfully escape the nation she came to despise. Forever the lies and practices of men such as Trotsky angered the founder of Objectivism.

To provide an adequate foundation of Trotsky's controversial ideas for the objectivist audience in order to properly analyze his master manifesto entitled Permanent Revolution(which is about one of his most controversial theories of the same title), his very own words from other works must be utilized. In an article he published In Defense of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky discusses the Marxist theory of class distinctions and revolution. "The uprising of the masses must lead to the overthrow of the domination of one class and to the establishment of the domination of another. Only then have we achieved a revolution." In essence, this quote demonstrates the elemental feature of Trotsky's philosophy to accept bloody insurrection as a necessity. According to Marxism (and therefore Trotskyism), measurable social conflict can be linked indefinitely to struggles between the exploited and the exploiters. Ironically, men such as Trotsky saw little problems in exploiting the bourgeois and their property along with the peasant class to reach Marxist goals.

"The bureaucratic apparatus of every bourgeois state...elevates itself above the population, solidifying its rule by cultivating a mutual loyalty among the ruling...propagating among the masses fear of and subservience to the rulers," is a statement Trotsky made in his book, The Platform of the Joint Opposition. As with all subscribers to some form of Marxism, Trotsky held an aversion to the inequality formed between people by capitalist influence. It is a basic socialist thought that in order for humans to achieve a higher state of society, a common plane must be created (mainly one that favors proletariat qualities) for every human to exist on, despite the differences in drive and intelligence. Through this practice of flawed reasoning, a brilliant architect who survived a communist revolution would be forced to work on monotonous designs for building only to receive the appreciation of the commune that stunts his personal growth.

"Opportunism in its developed form...is a bloc formed by the upper strata of the working class with the bourgeoisie and directed against the majority of the working class," is another excerpt from The Platform of the Joint Opposition. Securing a personal advantage goes against the grand cooperative sought by all quasi-Marxists. If the individual becomes more important than the State, the socialist institution begins to decompose. Personal freedoms become as dangerous as pandemics in communist institutions.

A true objectivist should see the faults and horrors proposed by this man's system of thought already. Leon Trotsky's brainchild, the theory of Permanent Revolution, describes a thorough and systematic destruction of individualism and capitalism. The stratagem's grand insight lies in securing the rise of communism with an alliance between the proletariat and the peasants of society. The groundwork of the very class coalition reeks of worker despotism by placing the proletariat above the peasants.

In Permanent Revolution, Trotsky ends with an enumerated summary of his master conjecture. I have decided to sample the most important elements in this article, and supplement them with related objectivist thoughts or concerns:

2. With regard to countries with a belated bourgeois development...the theory of the permanent revolution signifies that the complete and genuine solution of their tasks of achieving democracy and national emancipation is conceivable only through the dictatorship of the proletariat as the leader of the subjugated nation, above all of its peasant masses.

Postulate two has major implications that reconfigure even some of Marx's basic theories. In extremely underdeveloped nations (or imperialist colonies), where people live devoid of an educated and wealthy elite, it is possible for the communist revolution to occur through radical dictatorial action. The bourgeois, commonly associated with capitalists and their business practices, would not exist in such areas. Capitalism, therefore, lacks even introduction into these ill-privileged areas. So in fact, Trotsky supports a transfer from feudal or colonial oppression to a collectivism rooted in proletariat domination. Without at least exposure to the freedoms of a capitalist system, how can inhabitants of poor civilization begin to understand what they are missing?

3. Not only the agrarian, but also the national question assigns to the peasantry ...[w]ithout an alliance of the proletariat with the peasantry the tasks of the democratic revolution cannot be solved, nor even seriously posed. But the alliance of these two classes can be realised in no other way than through an irreconcilable struggle against the influence of the national-liberal bourgeoisie.

The poor play a very significant role in the Theory of Permanent Revolution. Especially in "backward" countries, the peasantry occupies such a base position that it can be easily coerced by communists to accept collective rule. Rand spoke of her feelings concerning charity and the poor specifically in her writings. While someone else (the indigent) benefits from charity, Objectivism allows this practice only when a positive influence on the donator's life or goals occurs eventually. If objectivists saw the makings of hopelessness and societal ignorance in the vagrant class, they would certainly take action and repair hostilities in order to prevent exploitations similar to what Trotsky seeks to commit. However, Trotsky knew that in territories without such sophistication, the opposition (capitalists) was nonexistent. Without arguments from both sides, the rustic peoples would be doomed to accept the equivocations of socialist tyranny.

5. ...the 'democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry' is only conceivable as a dictatorship of the proletariat that leads the peasant masses behind it.

Objectivism cannot survive without the intrinsic qualities of individualism. Neither can a truly free commonwealth. By embracing individualism so completely, the philosophy denies grand scale social manipulation supported by Machiavellians and, more importantly, subscribers to Permanent Revolution. The theory's creator addresses exploitation of the peasant class not as logical, but necessary. Without "conductive" subjugation, the peasants are doomed to their miseries eternally by Trotsky's standards. The role of the poor is decided without a doubt, and the inferiority of the peasants is labeled irrevocable.

8. The dictatorship of the proletariat which has risen to power as the leader of the democratic revolution is inevitably and very quickly confronted with tasks, the fulfillment of which is bound up with deep inroads into the rights of bourgeois property. The democratic revolution grows over directly into the socialist revolution and thereby becomes a permanent revolution.

Trotsky shocks theorists with his attempts at explaining a viable alternative to installing a democratic state before socialist succession. He strips down the primary beliefs of democratic movements to their bare bones and claims the dregs are automatically absorbed into his modified socialist shift. By doing so, Trotsky believes an undying state of communism can manifest with as little democratic influence as possible. Although he insists that there are only traces of the bourgeois in "backward" nations, the property held by the limited members of the bourgeois there (who must possess much of the land, otherwise why reference them at all?) requires collection for common usage. In essence, this exemplifies acts of ownership usurpations that Rand warned about. It is undoubtedly logical to secure what one developed or received earnestly and through hard work.

Although Trotsky's plans for a permanent revolution obviously did not succeed, the importance of his theory is a still viable today. Objectivists who learn of these plots formulated by the most deranged of men see that capitalism was and still is in jeopardy concerning malicious forces.

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