but that it was reversion [to captialism in China and the USSR] that occurred undercuts the notion that it is okay to pass through this arrangement.
I guess their comeback is that that was “the result of partial defeats of world revolution” i.e. it wouldn’t have happened that way without the continued strength of capitalism elsewhere. Without this, when the bureaucracy faltered (which I think Mandel argues is inevitable) there would be less pressure to re-institute capitalism. From what little I know it seems clear that the international factor had a major impact; Trotskyists think it is decisive, and everything would be totally cool without the outside capitalist pressure, which isn’t clear to me at all. I take it you think they are definitely wrong on this point.