“The Perspective of permanent revolution may be summarized in the following way: the complete victory of the democratic revolution in Russia is conceivable only in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, leaning on the peasantry. The dictatorship of the proletariat, which would inevitably place on the order of the day not only democratic but socialistic tasks as well, would at the same time give a powerful impetus to the international socialist revolution. Only the victory of the proletariat in the West could protect Russia from bourgeois restoration and assure it the possibility of rounding out the establishment of socialism.
The background of this development deals with the special conditions of Russia’s development. If you want some background on it you can read about it in Trotsky’s 1905, and Lenin’s
Part of Trotsky’s inspiration is when he read Lenin’s book on the economic development of Russia in prison https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1899/devel/index.htm
Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution also contains an explanation of this. https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/hrr/ch01.htm
A big debate within Russian Social Democracy at this time was if the coming revolution would be a bourgeois revolution and establish capitalist development to grow the conditions of proletarian revolution, where Trotsky and some others at this time felt due to the way Russia development made bourgeois capitalist development impossible, and the coming revolution would be a proletariat one. That the Russian Capitalists would be unable to answer the land question, and a workers revolution leading the peasants would happen. We can see from the historical events this is how the things played out in Russia.
Permanent Revolution is also painted as an “opposition” to socialism in one country, or a counter theory. It is not and it predates even the Russian Revolution. It is based around the idea that not all countries will follow the same path of western Europe, an idea that Marx admitted that wouldn’t be true in letters, though he never explored the idea in depth.
So I would highly encourage you to maybe consider giving Results and Prospects, and The Permanent Revolution a read. A lot of false ideas get spread about it, so maybe rather then listening to the slanders you can read what the idea says its self.
I am going to end with the main parts that Trotsky ends the book with.
"The theory of the permanent revolution now demands the greatest attention from every Marxist, for the course of the class and ideological struggle has fully and finally raised this question from the realm of reminiscences over old differences of opinion among Russian Marxists, and converted it into a question of the character, the inner connexions and methods of the international revolution in general. With regard to countries with a belated bourgeois development, especially the colonial and semi-colonial countries, the theory of the permanent revolution signifies that the complete and genuine solution of their tasks of achieving democracy and national emancipation is conceivable only through the dictatorship of the proletariat as the leader of the subjugated nation, above all of its peasant masses. Not only the agrarian, but also the national question assigns to the peasantry – the overwhelming majority of the population in backward countries – an exceptional place in the democratic revolution. Without an alliance of the proletariat with the peasantry the tasks of the democratic revolution cannot be solved, nor even seriously posed. But the alliance of these two classes can be realized in no other way than through an irreconcilable struggle against the influence of the national-liberal bourgeoisie. No matter what the first episodic stages of the revolution may be in the individual countries, the realization of the revolutionary alliance between the proletariat and the peasantry is conceivable only under the political leadership of the proletariat vanguard, organized in the Communist Party. This in turn means that the victory of the democratic revolution is conceivable only through the dictatorship of the proletariat which bases itself upon the alliance with the peasantry and solves first of all the tasks of the democratic revolution. Assessed historically, the old slogan of Bolshevism – ’the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry’ – expressed precisely the above-characterized relationship of the proletariat, the peasantry and the liberal bourgeoisie. This has been confirmed by the experience of October. But Lenin’s old formula did not settle in advance the problem of what the reciprocal relations would be between the proletariat and the peasantry within the revolutionary bloc. In other words, the formula deliberately retained a certain algebraic quality, which had to make way for more precise arithmetical quantities in the process of historical experience. However, the latter showed, and under circumstances that exclude any kind of misinterpretation, that no matter how great the revolutionary role of the peasantry may be, it nevertheless cannot be an independent role and even less a leading one. The peasant follows either the worker or the bourgeois. This means that the ‘democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry’ is only conceivable as a dictatorship of the proletariat that leads the peasant masses behind it. A democratic dictatorship of the prolelariat and peasantry, as a regime that is distinguished from the dictatorship of the proletariat by its class content, might be realized only in a case where an independent revolutionary party could be constituted, expressing the interests of the peasants and in general of petty bourgeois democracy – a party capable of conquering power with this or that degree of aid from the proletariat, and of determining its revolutionary programme. As all modern history attests – especially the Russian experience of the last twenty-five years – an insurmountable obstacle on the road to the creation of a peasants’ party is the petty-bourgeoisie’s lack of economic and political independence and its deep internal differentiation. By reason of this the upper sections of the petty-bourgeoisie (of the peasantry) go along with the big bourgeoisie in all decisive cases, especially in war and in revolution; the lower sections go along with the proletariat; the intermediate section being thus compelled to choose between the two extreme poles. Between Kerenskyism and the Bolshevik power, between the Kuomintang and the dictatorship of the proletariat, there is not and cannot be any intermediate stage, that is, no democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasants. The Comintern’ s endeavour to foist upon the Eastern countries the slogan of the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, finally and long ago exhausted by history, can have only a reactionary effect. lnsofar as this slogan is counterposed to the slogan of the dictatorship of the proletariat, it contributes politically to the dissolution of the proletariat in the petty-bourgeois masses and thus creates the most favourable conditions for the hegemony of the national bourgeoisie and consequently for the collapse of the democratic revolution. The introduction of the slogan into the programme of the Comintern is a direct betrayal of Marxism and of the October tradition of Bolshevism. The dictatorship of the proletariat which has risen to power as the leader of the democratic revolution is inevitably and, very quickly confronted with tasks, the fulfillment of which is bound up with deep inroads into the rights of bourgeois property. The democratic revolution grows over directly into the socialist revolution and thereby becomes a permanent revolution."
What Is Trotskyism?
“Trotskyism is not a new movement, a new doctrine, but the restoration, the revival, of genuine Marxism as it was expounded and practised in the Russian revolution and in the early days of the Communist International.”
— James P. Cannon (1944)