In a series of probing analytical essays, John Marot tracks the development of Bolshevism through the prism of pre-1917 intra-Russian Social Democratic controversies in politics and philosophy. For 1917, the author presents a critique of social historical interpretation of the Russian Revolution.
Turning to NEP Russia, the author applies Robert Brenner's analysis of pre-capitalist modes of production and concludes that neither Bukharin nor Trotsky's NEP-premised programs of economic transformation and advance toward socialism were feasible. At the same time, he rejects the view that Stalinism was pre-destined to supplant NEP. Instead, he hypothesises that the superior alternative to Stalinism was NEP without collectivization and the Five-Year Plans — a outcome that would have been possible had Bukharin and Trotsky joined forces to stop Stalin.
John Eric Marot, Ph.D. (1987), University of California, Los Angeles, teaches History at Keimyung University in Korea. He has published many articles on Russian and Soviet History, notably “Class Conflict, Political Competition, and Social Transformation: Critical Perspectives on the Social History of the Russian Revolution” (
Revolutionary Russia, 1994) and “Trotsky, the Left Opposition, and the Rise of the Stalinism: Theory and Practice” (
Historical Materialism, 2006).
"This is a very important book, one of the very few books published since 1991 on the “Russian question” that will compel people (this reviewer included) long wedded to different characterizations of the post-1917 or post-1929 Soviet regime to think through their commitments." – Loren Goldner, in:
Insurgent Notes: Journal of Communist Theory and Practice, Fall 2012
Table of contents
1. The Peasant-Question and the Origins of Stalinism: Rethinking the Destruction of the October Revolution
2. Trotsky, the Left Opposition and the Rise of Stalinism: Theory and Practice
3. Class-Conflict, Political Competition and Social Transformation: Critical Perspectives on the Social History of the Russian Revolution
4. Political Leadership and Working-Class Agency in the Russian Revolution: Reply to William G. Rosenberg and S.A. Smith
5. A ‘Postmodern’ Approach to the Russian Revolution? Comment on Ronald Suny
6. Alexander Bogdanov,
Vpered, and the Role of the Intellectual in the Workers’ Movement
7. The Bogdanov Issue: Reply to Andrzej Walicki, Aileen Kelly and Zenovia Sochor
8. Marxism, Science, Materialism: Toward a Deeper Appreciation of the 1908–1909 Philosophical Debate in Russian Social Democracy
9. Politics and Philosophy in Russian Social Democracy: Alexander Bogdanov and the Socio-theoretical Foundations of
This work will appeal to those interested in the fate of the October Revolution.