Permanent revolution in Spain? The influence of Trotsky’s Marxism upon the Spanish dissident communists, 1930–1937.
Sennett, A.,
1992, A9m. Ph.D., Manchester – 43-5340.

Permanent revolution lies at the very core of Trotsky’s political thought and is therefore central to his influence upon the history of Marxism. This thesis assesses the impact of both his theory of revolution and the conception of uneven and combined development which informs it upon the political thought and actions of those Spanish communists who dissented from the ‘general line’ laid down by Moscow in the later 1920s and 1930s.

This study begins by tracing the development of permanent revolution from the vague notions present in some of Marx’s writings to the full-blown theory elaborated by Trotsky. It establishes the centrality of this theory and its underlying conception of historical development to Trotsky’s understanding of the Russian Revolution, the degeneration of the Soviet Union under Stalin, the threat of facism and the international situation of the 1930s. Trotsky’s engagement with events in Spain during the 1930s is presented and analysed as an example of the way in which he used the conceptual tools of uneven and combined development, and permanent revolution to understand concrete political situations. The strengths and weaknesses of Trotsky’s theoretical approach are also discussed.

Having explored the theoretical foundations of permanent revolution and examined Trotsky’s analysis and involvement with the Spanish Revolution, the thesis goes on to consider the nature and extent of Trotsky’s influence upon the Spanish dissident communists. It focuses upon the political thought of the two most influential and representative dissident communists, Andrés Nin and Joaquin Maurin. The contention is that although Nin and Maurin deserve to be considered in their own terms, it is possible to detect the influence of Trotsky upon their political thought.

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Last updated: 15.2.2005