The permanent evolution of democracy: Trotsky’s role in 21st century democratic activism

Bleakley, Paul ORCID logoORCID: (2014) The permanent evolution of democracy: Trotsky’s role in 21st century democratic activism. In: Cultivating Peace: Contexts, Practices and Multidimensional Models. Ware, Helen, Jenkins, Bert, Branagan, Marty and Subedi, DB, eds. Cambridge Scholars Press, pp. 315-331. ISBN 9781443856935. [Book Section]


Notable Marxist philosopher and revolutionary Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) promoted a political ideology that favoured the institution of what he described as a ‘Permanent Revolution’, wherein an invigorated working class would consistently strive for reform despite being pitted against a hostile capitalist establishment. This philosophy claimed that in societies with a weak capitalist bourgeois it was the responsibility of the working classes to overthrow the entrenched aristocracy and establish a socialist state. Moreover, this domestic revolution would inevitably provide inspiration to the working classes in nations throughout the world and eventually result in socialism becoming the dominant global ideology. While Trotsky himself was unable to implement the Permanent Revolution model of socialism, the principles established within the theory have been utilised by activists in the 21st Century to promote democratic values and encourage regime change throughout the international community. The most prominent example of Trotskyism’s successful use in the 21st Century can be seen through the democratic movements that have taken place throughout the Middle East in 2011, known colloquially as the ‘Arab Spring’. The events of the Arab Spring are a clear reflection of a disillusioned proletariat across the region rising in protest against entrenched authoritarian regimes, many of which have been in power for several decades. The early success of these social uprisings have, as predicted by Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution theory, provided a model for activists in other nations to engage in similar political demonstrations and ensure the continued spread of the democratic activism throughout the Arab world.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
Item ID: 27887
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Depositing User: Paul Bleakley
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2019 16:14
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2021 15:23

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