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Encyclopedia > Degenerated workers' state

In Trotskyist political theory the term degenerated workers' state has been used since the 1930's to describe the state of the Soviet Union after Stalin's consolidation of power in or about 1924. The Soviet state of that period was held to be a workers' state because the bourgeoisie had been politically overthrown and the economic basis of that state lay in nationalized property -- the Soviet state was degenerated because the working class was politically disposessed. The ruling stratum of the Soviet Union was held to be a bureaucratic caste, and not a new ruling class. The theory that the Soviet Union was a degenerated workers' state is closely connected to Trotsky's call for a political revolution in the USSR, as well as Trotsky's call for defense of the USSR against capitalist restoration. Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. ... Iosif (usually anglicized as Joseph) Vissarionovich Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин), original name Ioseb Jughashvili (Georgian: იოსებ ჯუღაშვილი; see Other names section) (December 21, 1879[1] – March 5, 1953) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and leader of the Soviet Union. ... Economics (deriving from the Greek words οίκω [okos], house, and νέμω [nemo], rules hence household management) is the social science that studies the allocation of scarce resources to satisfy unlimited wants. ... In the Trotskyist movement, the term political revolution refers to an unpheaval in which the government is replaced, or the form of government altered, but in which property relations are predominantly left intact. ...


The term degenerated workers' state is commonly used to refer only to the Soviet Union. The term deformed workers' state is used [by some] to describe states other than the Soviet Union which are or were based upon nationalized property, but in which the working class never held direct political power. In Trotskyist political theory, deformed workers states are states where the bourgeoisie has been overthrown through social revolution, the industrial means of production have been largely nationalized, but where the working class has never held political power (as it did in Russia shortly after the Russian Revolution). ...


A wide spectrum of political groups and individuals describe themselves as Trotskyist in one sense or another, and across this spectrum there is considerable disagreement regarding the use of the term degenerated workers' state. Among the disputed issues are the relationships between a workers' state (of any type), a planned economy, and some form of socialism. Some tendencies tend to equate two or all three of these concepts, while other tendencies draw sharp distinctions between them. Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. ...


Another question which is disputed among groups that call themselves Trotskyist is whether at some point during its political evolution, the Soviet Union ceased to be a degenerated workers' state and became something else, and if so, what was that something else, and when did the transition occur? Among the theories that such a transition took place are theories that the USSR developed into state-capitalism or bureaucratic collectivism. Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. ... There are multiple definitions of the term state capitalism. ... Bureaucratic collectivism is a theory of class society. ...


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The Programmatic Principles of the Faction for the Trotskyist International (4115 words)
Trotskyism, therefore, rejects the theory according to which there exists between the workers' state (the dictatorship of the proletariat) and the degenerated workers' state a difference which is only quantitative and not clearly qualitative.
The essential purpose of this tactic is to counterpose the anticapitalist aspirations of the proletarian and mass base to the counterrevolutionary policies of their petty-bourgeois leaders, in order to facilitate the revolutionary regroupment of the vanguard and to develop the consciousness of the masses and the evolution in a revolutionary direction of the class struggle.
In a manner analogous to that which applies in capitalist countries, in the degenerated and deformed workers' states it is possible to establish united-front alliances with reformist and centrist opponents of the Stalinist bureaucracy, although not with proimperialist and capitalist-restorationist elements.
For the refoundation of the Fourth International (1389 words)
The collapse of the (degenerated) workers' states of the ex-Soviet Union and Eastern Europe had injected into the capitalists a great dose of confidence, which was the political basis for the uncontrolled financial speculation of the last years.
The devaluations of currencies and capital challenge the privatization programs in the capitalist states, the backward countries, and the former "socialist countries." The crisis of the stock markets and the flight of capital cause the loss in only a few hours of all that was accumulated in years of privatization and spoliation.
The perspective for the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and the rest of the former workers' states is one of deepening crisis and increasing worker resistance, as the process of capitalist restoration continues.
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