Can Socialism be Built in One Country?

hey comrades tanki talk here I'm gonna make a video I assume it's gonna be relatively short just because I saw a comment on a video the other day and about this topic and it was something that I didn't think a lot of people really discussed anymore but then I kind of took the discussion to left book and saw that it did spark some interesting conversation so I thought who's worth talking about if people are interested enough for it to spark conversation that topic is as you I'm sure you could tell by the title socialism in one country socialism one country is a debate that's been raging for about a hundred years according to Trotskyist but really only was relevant for like what 40 years ish until it was proven until the practice proved the debate was over you know like the world proved it what happened to prove that there was a material like proof that the debate had been had been finished but the origin of that debate I think is interesting and it's kind of an origin and I didn't really know much about because I mean the discussion about socialism in one country isn't really relevant to modern socialists so yeah I wasn't really interested in the history of it but in having the discussion on left book I got kind of a I don't know like a quick explanation of the history of it it is kind of an interesting history so I want you to picture this comrades especially kind of I mean like not especially but comrades in the West this will be it'll be very foreign to try to imagine this and this is the only context in which this discussion made sense this argument about socialism in one country after I break down the historical context I'll kind of talk about how I think it's been misconstrued in other ways but the context is imagine you're in a country a very backwards country with a very small industrial proletariat with very with with very very little industrialization with you're behind the majority of the world in industrialization but imagine that because of extreme famines and extreme war extreme Wars and especially repressive feudal class and an impressively resourceful proletariat movement that is growing extra legal power your country which all of those things included in it are in a position to build socialism are in a position where the workers have successfully waged a revolution alright so imagine that without those material conditions alright because of those material conditions because of how backwards the country was that was the term you know the terminology they would have used at the time meaning a very unand us tree alized populous very uneducated populous very a very small industrial proletariat like by which I mean there's not a lot of proletariat there's not a lot of wage workers the whole concept of socialism is kind of foreign to them as is foreign in general because capitalism is still largely foreign in general and coming from these material conditions because then there was the famine in the war and then the the strong working class the strong working class party which organized the peasantry and the proletariat and successfully waged a revolution they are now having this real debate this real discussion can we build socialism here is it possible to build socialism here is it possible to build the lower stages of what will eventually become communism is is that a possibility in a country that is so under industrialized is that a possibility in a country with a population so uneducated with a popular with I mean I forget the specifics but I think it was less than 50 percent were literate I mean we're talking about a population an incredibly uneducated population an incredibly backwards population not to say that those things like in a moralistic sense make people good or bad but the view of the Socialists at the time was can we build socialism here is it possible to build socialism here so from this debate from this discussion of the material conditions in pre Soviet Russia came the discussion about socialism in one country it wasn't merely a debate about socialism in the abstract existing in a single country and then spreading itself event and then spreading itself as it as it was a strategic and able to do so it was a real debate about the Russian material conditions and if Russia being this being the country I gather I'm gonna keep quoting the week we keep quoting whetted Lenin and his assessment of Russia which is backwards in such a backwards country is it possible to build socialism because we're not you're not even talking about a country that's near post-scarcity you're talking about a country that's not even near industrial like to a reasonable amount of industrialization their neighbors are more industrialized than them so the discussion is is it better to try to build socialism in the one country in Russia despite the fact that it might fail because of the stunted development of the nation or but realizing that you'll be safer that way realizing that with the armies that are coming to invade and trying to quell this revolution and the fact that there was just a revolution and they have to make sure the revolution remains in power that the revolution isn't overthrown so realizing that's safer strategically militarily to remain in your own country or is it better to immediately spread immediately spread to a country like Germany where the material conditions are more favorable to at the time what people would or what they assumed what the Socialists assumed what the the Bolsheviks assumed would be easier to build socialism you hear in a lot of a lot of Lenin's early writing after the revolution he's very favorable to the German revolutionaries and I mean he also lived in Germany for a while what he was exiled etc etc but point being is they viewed their struggle very closely in tandem the German revolutionaries and the Russian revolutionaries so this was the debate of socialism in one country that's the debate the debate is is it better to stay here in a country where we might not be able to do it just because the country is not ready for you or is it better to immediately spread but risk the fact that we might lose our revolution here and in the process of losing losing our revolution here lose our stronghold and we might fail in spreading the revolution and if we fail in spreading the revolution and lose the power of the Soviets then there's then there's no socialism then it doesn't matter now obviously they came to history told and this is why it hasn't been a relevant debate since arguably the 50s right arguably Stalin started legitimately building socialism I mean Lenin was building the building blocks to start building socialism but then Lenin but then Stalin was building like he followed Lenin's plan to fruition to actually start building socialism and collectivization and etc etc etc so arguably since then this hasn't been a relevant debate because the Bolsheviks obviously decided that the safest bet that the the bet that was supported by the what was happening in the world and what was happening in the country was to remain in to remain in the country to not try to immediately spread the revolution and by the way this was a just Lenin's decision but Lenin vocally supported this decision and I see some people who try to attribute socialism in one country to Stalin as if it was Stalin's idea I mean let's be clear there were at the time of Lenin's death there were less socialist countries but at the time of Stalin's death Stalin did seek to spread socialism strategically just as Lenin did is when there was a strategic time to spread socialism by which I mean there was an organic socialist movement in a country that could be supported by another socialist by the socialist state by the USSR they supported it they both did that so they both were trying to spread socialism and this argument about socialism in one country I see by disingenuous Trotskyists who try to make it into a discussion about whether or not and they always make it Stalin not Lenin I've never seen when Trotsky's make it make it about Lenin they always trying to make it about Stalin that is if Stalin was like no this is the only country that will ever be socialist and that's what we believe in is just having this country socialist like no didn't believe that clearly didn't believe that openly didn't believe that like I don't know what to art like that's not a real position because it's not something that was true like clearly not true like factually inaccurate that's the whole that's I don't know I don't I don't know how to engage in that discussion on top of the fact that Lenin full-throated Lee supported socialism in one country meaning that the revolution needed to build itself up in Russia and they had to form the USSR they had to form a socialist state where they were before they started spreading it despite the fact that Russia at the time the material conditions didn't seem favorable to building socialism which is the NEP yeah this this is when you know this is why Lenin was building the said to set the building blocks in place in order for by the time it got to the 1950s nine I think it's I think it was early 1950s I'm not sure about years I'm not historian anyway that went by the time it got there that you could actually build socialism and that was the trade-off and that was they knew that was the trade-off that was the discussion that was the discussion do we go to a country that is more industrialized and it's more favorable to socialism or do we stay here realizing that it will take longer but it's more militant it's more strategically safe for us to stay here and build up our power build up our military power build up our industrial power build up our strength as a country and then start strategically spreading socialism instead of just immediately trying to run to the nearest industrialized country and hopefully win another revolution there before we lose control of Russia or before we are crushed there so that we can hopefully have material the material conditions that would be better to build socialism quicker so that was the debate that was the debate and history proved that yes socialism could be built in a backward country it just took it was more building blocks obviously you have to build socialism in the real world and I know now it's easy for us to say that and I get that at the time that was a real argument it was a real principled argument that you could have because it hadn't been done something you could really argue with someone and be like no it's not possible we're not able to do it but now it's been proven it's happened so it's not really a debate anymore and it's kind of silly to make it a debate and I don't get it and when I see people try to still have that argument it's disingenuous because it's been proven and it doesn't go against Marx I see Trotsky to say this too that the idea of socialism in one country is anti-marxist earthlike revisionist it's not revisionist like Marx never said that the entire revolution had to happen at the same time he said that higher stages of communism needed to be international and no one's arguing that it doesn't but you can build socialism in one country and then spread it strategically understanding the fact that obviously you're not going to be able to get to a higher stage of socialism or communism as we would call it now without international without a largely international maybe you can get to some of the higher stages but not complete highest like not currencies not what lacking currency and not lacking a formal state if there's just a couple scattered weak countries here and there that aren't socialist but the point is is Marx never said that it had to be at the same time he said that communism needed to be worldwide and it does because in order to get rid of currency in order to get right into the formal state that means that you have a agreement between all workers around the world there's not going to be other people coming in with other currencies or with other economic modes that are they're trying to insert into like it has to be a dominant singular mode of production if you're getting rid of currency altogether and the same thing with the state that means you have to be no worry about ever defending yourself against some kind of outside threat those things require the entire world they require an international agreement amongst workers so like international communism the higher stages of socialism the highest stage of communism building communism this what we're building was communism but no Marx never says that you mean he's talking about birth pangs coming out of it and minority modes of production and the need to do either the need to build socialism in the real world there's no way did he mean like yes you have to immediately and disregarding the realities of the world immediately spread the revolution or else or else it's not real not real socialism like that's silly that's silly that's not what you said it's silly it's not what he said and it's not realistic and it's not anti-marxist to be like okay well you can have socialism in one country and then strategically spread socialism and then one socialism is strong enough then you can build higher stages of socialism once again I don't get this debate but I don't get why it's an argument like it's not that complicated I don't think and I don't think it's that ideal ideological I mean like it's not like an but I it's not that ideological I mean like it's not that in the weeds this is like pretty basic Marxism pretty basic Marxism Marxist Leninist oh the Trotskyist who claim that like Stalin is some great departure from Lenin in this way is silly because it's basic Leninism it's basic stuff Lenin said my you could just do a google search and read them I don't know I don't know two articles that I read about it that I would recommend where he discusses it where Lenin discusses it is let's see it was the United States of the slow on the slogan of the United States of Europe I believe is what the title was Lenin's talking about how at the time there was discussion like they were talking about pre-much making an EU and whether or not that's a good idea or a progressive idea he came down to this not that the bourgeois running a United States of Europe like a unified state of Europe would be reactionary and in the midst of it he discusses how the law of commodities makes it an unavoidable reality that capitalism is going to develop differently in at different speeds in different countries and that the development of capitalism in different countries being at different speeds directly it means that you have to develop socialism in a single country before you spread it because it's not gonna make sense to spread it immediately everywhere because everyone won't be in the same place of the belly won't be facing the same things they won't have the same material conditions the reality of the fact that every country is going to be different and it's gonna be at a different stage of social differences to capitalism so it means it's ready or not for socialism and different states of crisis in capitalism I mean etc etc etc um also forget what this other one was called and it was like it was cited as um let's see it was cited as like Lenin's works or something like that but I believe it was something like strange was it like strictly there's like strange and alarming comments of comments of I don't know I forget anyway it was like strange and alarming comments of some group I forget the hopeful name of the article um but it was talking about at the early stages of the USSR like right post revolution how there was a group that there was like a congress that met and then wrote to the Bolsheviks and they I think it was different cities I think that's what was going on in it and they were they were saying that it was worth risking the power of the Soviets in order to spread socialism immediately and he was like that's and then he broke down their entire comment and said like this part strange but this parts alarming like this parts distressing and in it he just explains the same thing that I the same thing he said another thing that the law of commodities the development of capitalism is always gonna be uneven and as a result you're gonna have to build socialism in one country and then spread it strategically I mean it's not a complicated concept so I don't get like I said I don't get this I don't get this argument but since it brought up enough discussion I figured it was worth talking about and we're talking about the history a little I think the history of it's interesting because it was a relevant discussion at one time it's just not relevant to modern socialists because it's been proven you can build socialism in a single country and poor I mean I would say that if anything the arguments gotten the other way at this point it's kind of swung back because at the time the thought was that more developed countries industrialized feathers more industrialized countries were the prime building grounds for socialism when now what history has shown is that actually like third world under industrialized countries is where socialism is built and that the proletarian the first world is placated easy more easily placated that imperialism has put a bubble around a lot of workers or a lot of it put a bubble around the conditions that the workers face in the first world Feliz historically and that that that mixed with rabid anti-communist I get that communism has quelled the revolts of the workers and ensured the supremacy of the blue drowsy longer than they definitely would have thought back then so it's kind of swung back the other way so the socialism one country argument it's like no longer relevant and then now obviously the disco a lot of discussions that I see it's about third world ISM and how that you know and and what's going on with that but this isn't a video about that and this video ended up being longer than I thought it was gonna be which I guess it's kind of cool I'm curious what you comrades think about it like I said I just saw some comments about it and then when I tried to get to you know just feel out some comrades that I respect online I realized that it was more of an in-depth historical discussion than I had realized so I figured I'd talk about here yeah let me know what you think comrades you complete disagree with me am I just being a big tanky fool right now and I just need to understand that permanent revolution is really only way to build socialism or do you agree with me that this is an outdated discussion that shouldn't be had any more and it's just a sticking point for Trotskyists who are looking for a reason to hate salad or are you somewhere in between do you think this is relevant discussion but that obviously building socialism is possible what do you think let me know in the comments if you like the video please like the video if you haven't subscribed please subscribe hope y'all doing good comrades

  1. Permanent Revolution makes 100% sense…

    …if you completely discount every socialist project thats ever existed. At least the anarchists have SOMETHING they can point to. Trots have nothing.

  2. Too many socialists lack in theory and have very idealistic notions of constructing a proletarian society and do not want to engage with former communist experiments due to bourgeois indoctrination.

    Edit: The one problem with socialism in one country is how the level of development and various liberties will be undermined by capitalist encirclement, but this is an obvious eventuality not only bound to the economic model we strive for.
    A revolutionary progress will not come without its problems.

  3. 2nd international before imperialism believed capitalism would create a unified global market and bring different countries sorta close to the same level eventually. This is a distortion which Lenin debunked saying that modern imperialism causes capitalism to develop unevenly

  4. As Lenin said, the Russians were in no position to even defend themselves before the brest-litovsk peace treaty, let alone invade Germany. Invading Germany would have been an insane gamble that would have resulted in the guaranteed defeat of the Russian revolution with nothing to be gained from it. However the leftcoms argued "soviet power had to be sacrificed" to "help the german workers" as a matter of ethical principles.

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