[PEN-L:13342] Trotsky/Reforms
Source Sam Pawlett
Date 99/11/09/11:53

...With regards to top-down reforms, as Trotsky said:

"Karl Marx saw the failure of the March revolution in Germany in the
fact the it "reformed onlt the very highest political circles, leaving
untouched all the layers beneath them-- the old bureacracy, the old
army, the old judges, born and brough tup and grown old in the service
of absolutism." Socialists of the type of Kerensky were seeking
salvation exactly where Marx saw the cause of failure." History of the
Russian Revoltion, p221

More Trotsky [few write like this anymore!]

"Their class instinct was refined by a political criterion, and though
they did not think all their ideas through to the end, nevertheless
their thought ceaselessly and stubbornly worked its way in a single
direction. Elements of experience, criticism, initiative,
self-sacrifice, seeped down throught the mass and created, invisibly to
superficial glance but no less decisively, an inner mechanics of the
revolutionary movement as conscious process. To the smug politicians of
liberalism and tamed socialism everything that happened among the masses
is customarily represented as an instinctive process, no matter whether
they are dealing with an anthill or a beehive. In reality the thought
which was drilling through the thick of the working class was far
bolder, more penetrating, more conscious, than those little ideas by
which the educated classes live. Moreover, this thought was scientific:
not only becasue it was to a considerable degree fertilised with the
methods of Marxism, but still more because it was ever nourishing itself
on the living experience of the masses which were soon to take their
place in the revolutionary arena. Thoughts are scientific if they
correspond to an objective process and make it possible to influence
that process and guide it. Were there qualities possessed in the
slightest degree by the ideas of those government circles who were
inspired by the Apocalypse and believed in the dreams of Rasputin? Or
maybe the ideas of the liberals were scientifically grounded, who hoped
that a backward Russia, having joined the scrimmage of the capitalist
giants, might win at one and the same time victory and parliamentarism?
Or maybe the intellectual life of those circles of the intelligentsia
was scientific, who slavishly adapted themselves to liberalism, senile
since childhood, protecting the imaginary independence the while with
long-dead metaphors. In truth here was a kingdom of spiritual inertness,
spectres, superstition and fictions, a kingdom, if you will, of
"spontaneuousness." But have we not in that case a right to turn this
liberal philosophy of the February revolution exactly upside down? Yes,
we have a right to say: At the same time that the official society, all
that many-sided superstructure of ruling classes, layers, groups,
parties and cliques, lived day to day by inertia and automism,
nourishing themselves with the relics of worn out ideas, deaf to the
inexorable demands of evolution, flattering themselves with phantoms and
foreseeing nothing--at the same time in the working masses there was
taking place an independent and deep process of growth, not only of
hatred for the rulers, but of critical understanding of their impotence,
an accumulation of experience and creative consciouness which the
revolutionary insurrection and its victory completed." Ibid p169-70

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