One of the key questions in evaluating Trotsky and the Bolsheviks is the issue of party vs. class dictatorship. I’m going to assume here that ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, in the sense discussed in previous posts on “Terrorism and Communism“, is desirable.
Now this question is in many respects quite obvious. The Bolshevik party destroyed proletarian rule by abusing and subordinating the soviets. They, in the cliched phrase, substituted their own party for the working class. Stalin merely continued the basic attitude of Lenin and Trotsky.
What’s interesting, really, is that this fact is so often denied by modern Trotskyists (or rather, that there are so many Trotskyists, since it would be hard to be one while also seeing the man himself as a ‘gravedigger of the revolution’).
So before going into any sort of deep and interesting discussion, I will try to convey how conspicuous this fact appears to me.
To judge a group’s actions we might look at three things: what they said, what they did, and what sort of effect it had. If some of these are bad but others good, then we have a difficult decision. But if they’re all the same…