Four Missing Years

A Review of Trotsky and the Problem of Soviet Bureaucracy by Thomas M. Twiss

In: Historical Materialism
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Abstract

Thomas Twiss has written a careful, well-documented study of the evolution of Trotsky’s ideas on the USSR bureaucracy until 1936. He also traces Trotsky’s assessments of the causes and meaning of the Moscow Trials and the Terror in 1936–8; but essentially the detailed study stops in 1936. In fact, Trotsky’s thinking continued to develop in response to new developments after 1936. The puzzle which Trotsky grappled with – the ‘workers’ state’ which is simultaneously the instrument of fascistic terror against the workers by ‘the sole privileged and commanding stratum’ – was connected to puzzles in the more general Marxist theory of the state, which Twiss explores usefully in his opening chapter.

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