According to him, if you combine state capitalism along German lines with 'the proletarian, Soviet state . . . you will get all the conditions necessary for socialism'.(102)
The tendencies to bureaucratism which appear within the proletarian state apparatus - that is, the tendencies of certain leaders to cut themselves off from the masses, to behave like despotic overlords, to award themselves privileges - reflects the persistent influence of bourgeois ideology which also tends to deflect the economic, educational and international policy of the socialist state. A struggle develops between the leaders who thus take the capitalist road and the consistent revolutionaries who wish to advance towards socialism, a struggle which is sometimes latent, sometimes overt and sometimes explosive. This struggle between the two lines, between the two roads, is pursued unceasingly throughout the period of the transition to socialism. The elements who, disguised as Marxist-Leninists, are taking the capitalist road may seize power at any moment, that is, deflect the party and the state in a non-proletarian direction. This deviation can become irreversible and lead to the restoration of capitalism. That is why the principal contradiction after the abolition of private ownership of the means of production is the contradiction between the revolutionary masses and the leaders taking the capitalist road.
If, from the principal aspect, the revolutionary masses become the secondary aspect of this contradiction, the class nature of the state changes, which entails the usurpation of power by a new bourgeoisie. The 20th Congress of the CPSU marked such a turning point, the causes of which obviously go back much further.
The great proletarian cultural revolution made it possible to resolve in practice and in theory the problem posed by the pursuit of the class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat by liberating the initiative of the masses through a broad democracy, so that they could follow affairs of state and overthrow the reactionary leaders. We know that the slogan of the last stage was 'The working class must exercise leadership in everything', in other words, not only in the factories (even this is impossible without struggles) but also in the educational institutions and party and government bodies.
It is now clear that the analysis of the Soviet regime developed by Trotsky and based on the concepts of 'bureaucratic centralism', 'Thermidor', and 'Bonapartism', cast no light at all on the struggle between the two lines and consequently failed to bring out the laws of development of a social formation in transition to socialism. Thus all his predictions have been contradicted by events, one after another. His successors have not been any luckier. They concentrated the full blast of their criticism on Stalin and put their hopes in Tito and Khrushchev, from whom bitter disappointments awaited them. They did not understand the cultural revolution in which the masses have been seen struggling against the bureaucrats, because it shattered their theoretical moulds into a thousand pieces.