Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Trotsky and the problem of Soviet bureaucracy
by Twiss, Thomas Marshall, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2009, 672; 3375244
Abstract (Summary)

In 1917 the Bolsheviks anticipated, on the basis of the Marxist classics, that the proletarian revolution would put an end to bureaucracy. However, soon after the revolution many within the Bolshevik Party, including Trotsky, were denouncing Soviet bureaucracy as a persistent problem. In fact, for Trotsky the problem of Soviet bureaucracy became the central political and theoretical issue that preoccupied him for the remainder of his life. This study examines the development of Leon Trotsky’s views on that subject from the first years after the Russian Revolution through the completion of his work The Revolution Betrayed in 1936. In his various writings over these years Trotsky expressed three main understandings of the nature of the problem: During the civil war and the first years of NEP he denounced inefficiency in the distribution of supplies to the Red Army and resources throughout the economy as a whole. By 1923 he had become concerned about the growing independence of the state and party apparatuses from popular control and their increasing responsiveness to alien class pressures. Then in later years Trotsky depicted the bureaucracy as a distinct social formation, motivated by its own narrow interests, which had attained a high degree of autonomy from all social classes. Throughout the course of this evolution, Trotsky’s thinking was influenced by factors that included his own major concerns at the time, preexisting images and analyses of bureaucracy, and Trotsky’s interpretation of unfolding events. In turn, at each point Trotsky’s understanding of the general nature of the problem of Soviet bureaucracy directed and shaped his political activities and his analyses of new developments. The picture of Trotsky that emerges is of an individual for whom ideas and theories were extremely important as means of understanding the world, and as a guide to changing it.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Harris, Jonathan
School: University of Pittsburgh
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 70/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Political science, Russian history
Keywords: Bureaucracy, Soviet Union, Stalinism, Theory, Trotskii, Trotsky, Leon
Publication Number: 3375244
ISBN: 978-1-109-39593-8
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