The Politics of Combined and Uneven Development

Michael Löwy

Reading The Politics of Combined and Uneven Development: The Theory of Permanent Revolution by Marxist sociologist/philosopher Michael Löwy was at first like trying to find my way through the Grand Canyon at night: with lost brainwaves traversing the echo-chasms of my mind, bouncing back and forth, unclaimed. But after a short season of intense acclamation to the Mensheviks, Bolsheviks, Bourgeoisie and Proletariat, I found myself secretly becoming a closet neo-Trotskyite. The book, first published in 1981 but shortened considerably for this latest version, is an in-depth look at Leon Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution and how it pertains to different Marxist revolutions through time. Trotsky’s theory, which was born from the furnace of the Russian revolution in 1905-06, basically asserts that in order for a socialist revolution to be truly successful, it must progress and mature without becoming stagnant in certain stages by falling into the decay of bureaucracy or backsliding into capitalism. This is a highly academic work, full of mental calisthenics, but for all you other closet neo-Trotskyites it is the shit.