This talk will explore the importance of dialectics for the formulation and implementation of revolutionary strategy and tactics. We will present dialectics as a living heritage originating in ancient Greek philosophy – one that is the polar opposite of the dead formulas that were learned by rote in the bastardized version popularized by Stalin and Mao. We will examine how the greatest revolutionaries of the last century, Lenin and Trotsky, were able, through their mastery of the dialectic, to engage with the masses as they came into struggle and to provide leadership at critical moments. In order to keep ones bearings in the midst of a rapidly changing political situation dialectical thinking is indispensable. Dialectical analysis in conjunction with a deep historical understanding is indispensable if one is to avoid the twin evils of sectarianism and opportunism. After introducing the topic we will discuss a number of concrete examples of the use of the dialectical method in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and in Trotsky’s attempts to break out of the isolation of the revolutionaries from the masses in the 1930s.
Suggested reading to prepare for this talk
Trotsky: The ABC of materialist dielectics,
Trotsky’s discussions with leaders of the SWP on the transitional program and the labor party.
This is not available on the Marxist Interernet Archives and I don’t know if it has been translated into Greek.
It was published by the American SWP PathFinder Books with the title, “The Transitional Program for Socialist Revolution”with an introduction by Joseph Hansen and George Novack. http://eek.gr/images/Stuff/Doc/E-Books/Trotsky_Ludlow_Amendment.pdf
Lenin : Letters from Afar, April Theses, writings during his forced period of exile in 1917.
Alex Steiner has taught classes on Hegel and Marxist philosophy. In the spring and fall of 2014 he gave classes at the Brecht Forum and the Marxist Education Project in New York on Engels and the Dialectics of Nature. He just completed a series on Nietzsche, Heidegger, Fascism and Left Nietzscheans. Steiner has been a presenter at the Left Forum in New York and is the author of a number of essays including, The Case of Martin Heidegger: Philosopher and Nazi. Steiner is the editor of the permanent-revolution.org web site which has been closely following the events in Greece.