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Marxism and the peasantry

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The main emphasis of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky in relation to the role of the peasantry.
  3. Marx analysis of the peasantry's role in facilitating the elimination of the Bourgeois Republic of 1848.
  4. Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik Party.
  5. The theory of Permanent Revolution.
  6. Beyond the socio-historic development of the European peasantry in general and Russian peasantry in particular.
  7. Trotsky on the Soviet reliance on the economic success of the rich peasantry.
  8. The first four Congresses of the Communist International.
  9. Conclusion.

The majority of Marxist theory correctly focuses on the revolutionary role of the urban industrial proletariat. A deeper reading of the first successful proletariat revolution reveals that a key albatross pulling on the neck of the Soviet system was the question of what to do with the rural peasant class, which constituted the vast majority of the Russian population in 1917. The political alliance forged between the proletariat and peasantry was recognized by Lenin as integral to the successful creation of a socialist society within Russia. In the absence of a working class revolution within one of the advanced capitalist nations, such as Germany, the hopelessly backward Russian social and political system was largely forced to take the socialist path alone after Lenin's death in 1924. The consolidation of power by the Stalinist bureaucracy following Lenin's demise came at a great cost to both the industrial proletariat and the rural labor force

[...] The industrial proletariats physical proximity to the means and relations of large scale capitalist production leaves socialism as the only way out of wage slavery and forces the peasantry into a necessarily supportive role. Beyond the socio-historic development of the European peasantry in general and Russian peasantry in particular, Trotsky also focuses on the policy of the Bolshevik party toward the peasantry after October of 1917. Pointing to the Bolshevik decree annulling the property of the landlords and placing landownership within state hands defended by local soviets, Trotsky argues that while the policy ultimately failed, it demonstrated a ?farsighted and pedagogical? approach toward the peasantry (Trotsky, 1176-1177). [...]

[...] 50-71. Kingston-Mann, Esther. Lenin and the Challenge of Peasant Militance: From Bloody Sunday to the Dissolution of the First Duma. Russian Review, Vol No (Oct., 1979), pp. 434-455. Tucker, Robert. (1978). The Marx-Engels Reader: Second Edition. W.W. Norton & Company Inc. Tucker, Robert. (1975). The Lenin Anthology. W.W. Norton & Company Inc. Trotsky, Leon. (1922). The First Five Years of the Communist International: The Economic Situation of Soviet Russia from the Standpoint of [...]

[...] Supporting the work of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky on the peasant question, Gramsci maintains that the Turin Communist Party understood the need for a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat that included political alliances with all exploited classes including the peasantry (Gramsci, 1926). Gramsci takes the problem of the peasant in Italy a step further by asserting that in order for the proletariat to effectively utilize the peasantry, prevailing working class prejudices against the rural population needed to be broken down (Gramsci, 1926). [...]

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