Witnesses to Permanent Revolution
The Documentary Record
The theory of permanent revolution has long been associated with Leon Trotsky. Though he was the most brilliant of its proponents, these newly translated documents, most of them translated into English for the first time, demonstrate that Trotsky was only one of several leading figures of international Marxism engaged in a debate, sparked by the first Russian Revolution in 1905, about the form workers’ struggle would take in less developed countries. Among the figures included in these discussions were Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Franz Mehring, Parvus, and David Ryazanov.
“Since the world is again in the midst of an economic crisis, the arguments here are not
without contemporary relevance, even if from today’s perspective it is a polemic where everybody
is right. Summing up: recommended."
—A. Ezergailis, Choice
"Sometimes reading debates between figures on the left, involving historical references readers
may not be familiar with, can be a daunting or even demoralising experience. But the brilliant
and precise annotating of this collection, along with a short introduction to each piece, makes
every article accessible to a wide range of readers…Day and Gaido have done a fantastic service
with this immense collection. Witnesses to Permanent Revolution is a fascinating and thoughtprovoking
book and one that genuinely sheds new light on past debates about socialism that can
help to inform the future."
—Esme Choonara, International Socialism
"Rather than being a rehash of long-standing debates, this title brings forth writings not available before in English as well as long-forgotten texts to produce a rich and nuanced picture. Proving that the wealth of intellectual debate surrounding the theory of permanent revolution is not merely a topic for specialists, Witness to Permanent Revolution is a most welcome addition to the literature of world Marxism. More than being of merely historical interest, this work will help clarify the thinking of all those who ponder the questions surrounding radical change. For those new to the debate, the editors provide a substantial introduction that puts the controversy in context."
—William Pelz , Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory