1926, when Stalinists accused Trotsky of political convergence with Otto Bauer.
The draft of the resolution on the Opposition states that Trotsky’s standpoint closely approaches that of Otto Bauer, who had said that: “In Russia, where the proletariat represents only a small minority of the nation, the proletariat can only maintain its rule temporarily, and is bound to lose it again as soon as the peasant majority of the nation has become culturally mature enough to take over the rule itself.”
In the first place, comrades, who could entertain the idea that so absurd a formulation could occur to any one of us? Whatever is to be understood by: “as soon as the peasant majority of the nation has become culturally mature enough”? What does this mean? What are we to understand by “culture”? Under capitalist conditions the peasantry have no independent culture. As far as culture is concerned, the peasantry may mature under the influence of the proletariat or of the bourgeoisie. These are the only two possibilities existing for the cultural advance of the peasantry. To a Marxist, the idea that the “culturally matured” peasantry, having overthrown the proletariat, could take over power on its own account, is a wildly prejudiced absurdity. The experience of two revolutions has taught us that the peasantry, should it come into conflict with the proletariat and overthrow the proletarian power, simply forms a bridge – through Bonapartism – for the bourgeoisie. An independent peasant state founded neither on proletarian nor bourgeois culture is impossible. This whole construction of Otto Bauer’s collapses into a lamentable petty bourgeois absurdity.
An Answer to the Stalinist Critics – k
Delivered: November 1926.
First Published: International Press Correspondence, 1927 (?).
Source: Archives of the Revolution, The New International, Vol. VIII No. 7, August 1942, pp. 217–221.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2015. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.
Leon Trotsky: An Answer to the Stalinist Critics - 1 (November 1926)