‘FORWARD’ (Вперед) Online Newspaper of the Communist Party of Donetsk

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‘FORWARD’ (Вперед) Online Newspaper of the Communist Party of Donetsk

ARTICLES IN ENGLISH

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

“Forward” (Вперед) is the oline newspaper of the Communist Party of the Donetsk People’s Republic, which is currently represented by an electronic version. The website wpered.su began work in February 2016. Its creation was caused by the need to intensify agitation and propaganda activities among the population of the Republic, to get feedback from readers and create a discussion platform for expressing opinions by Communist Party Members and its Supporters.

The choice of the name has several reasons:

  1. We emphasize the ideological continuity with the first Bolshevik weekly newspaper Vperyod, which was published in Geneva from January 4 to May 18, 1905. The name was proposed directly by Vladimir Lenin. Vperyod was created immediately after the Mensheviks seized the Iskra newspaper of the Central Organ of the RSDLP and played an outstanding role in the struggle against opportunism and in the creation of a new type of party.
  2. We emphasize the historical continuity with local Bolsheviks led by the legendary Artem. In January 1905, the future chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic arrived in Kharkov and organized the revolutionary group Vperyod. He worked at the locomotive plant, headed the Bolshevik organization and prepared an armed uprising.
  3. In his work “A Threatening Catastrophe and How to Fight It,” Lenin wrote that “one can not go forward without heading toward Socialism.” It is this principle that guides the CO-PRD in its practical activities. The main goals of the Communists has always been and still is the conquest of power by the working people, and the building of a Socialist Republic, the restoration of the Union of fraternal peoples, and their Unification into a single Socialist Union of States.

Sobre nosotros (

Lenin Dialectically Crushes Trotsky: Disruption of Unity Under Cover of Outcries for Unity

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Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Disruption of Unity Under Cover of Outcries for Unity

Published: Published in May 1914 in the journal Prosveshcheniye No. 5.  Signed: V. Ilyin. Published according to the text in the journal.
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 20, pp. 325-347.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs and The Late Joe Fineberg
Transcription: C. Kavanagh
HTML Markup: B. Baggins and D. Walters
Re-Markup: K. Goins (2008)
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (1996). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.


The questions of the present-day working-class movement are in many respects vexed questions, particularly for representatives of that movement’s recent past (i. e., of the stage which historically has just drawn to a close). This applies primarily to the questions of so-called factionalism, splits, and so forth. One often hears intellectuals in the working-class movement making nervous, feverish and almost hysterical appeals not to raise these vexed questions. Those who have experienced the long years of struggle between the various trends among Marxists since 1900—01, for example, may naturally think it superfluous to repeat many of the arguments on the subject of these vexed questions.

But there are not many people left today who took part in the fourteen-year-old conflict among Marxists (not to speak of the eighteen- or nineteen-year-old conflict, counting from the moment the first symptoms of Economism appeared). The vast majority of the workers who now make up the ranks of the Marxists either do not remember the old conflict, or have never heard of it. To the overwhelming majority (as, incidentally, was shown by the opinion poll held by our journal[5]), these vexed questions are a matter of exception ally great interest. We therefore intend to deal with these questions, which have been raised as it were anew (and for the younger generation of the workers they are really new) by Trotsky’s “non-factional workers’ journal”, Borba.

I. “FACTIONALISM”

Trotsky calls his new journal “non-factional”. He puts this word in the top line in his advertisements; this word is stressed by him in every key, in the editorial articles of Borba itself, as well as in the liquidationist Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta, which carried an article on Borba by Trotsky before the latter began publication.

What is this “non-factionalism”?

Trotsky’s “workers’ journal” is Trotsky’s journal for workers, as there is not a trace in it of either workers’ initiative, or any connection with working-class organisations. Desiring to write in a popular style, Trotsky, in his journal for workers, explains for the benefit of his readers the meaning of such foreign words as “territory”, “factor”, and so forth.

Very good. But why not also explain to the workers the meaning of the word “non-factionalism”? Is that word more intelligible than the words “territory” and “factor”?

No, that is not the reason. The reason is that the label “non-factionalism” is used by the worst representatives of the worst remnants of factionalism to mislead the younger generation of workers. It is worth while devoting a little time to explaining this.

Group-division was the main distinguishing feature of the Social-Democratic Party during a definite historical period. Which period? From 1903 to 1911.

To explain the nature of this group-division more clearly we must recall the concrete conditions that existed in, say, 1906—07. At that time the Party was united, there was no split, but group-division existed, i. e., in the united Party there were virtually twogroups, two virtually separate organisations. The local workers’ organisations were united, but on every important issue the two groups devised two sets of tactics. The advocates of the respective tactics disputed among themselves in the united workers’ organisations (as was the case, for example, during the discussion of the slogan: a Duma, or Cadet, Ministry, in 1906, or during the elections of delegates to the London Congress in 1907), and questions were decided by a majority vote. One group was defeated at the Stockholm Unity Congress (1906), the other was defeated at the London Unity Congress (1907).

These are commonly known facts in the history of organised Marxism in Russia.

It is sufficient to recall these commonly known facts to realise what glaring falsehoods Trotsky is spreading.

For over two years, since 1912, there has been no factionalism among the organised Marxists in Russia, no disputes over tactics in united organisations, at united conferences and congresses. There is a complete break between the Party, which in January 1912 formally announced that the liquidators do not belong to it, and the liquidators. Trotsky often calls this state of affairs a “split”, and we shall deal with this appellation separately later on. But it remains an undoubted fact that the term “factionalism” deviates from the truth.

As we have said, this term is a repetition, an uncritical, unreasonable, senseless repetition of what was true yesterday, i. e., in the period that has already passed. When Trotsky talks to us about the “chaos of factional strife” (see No. 1, pp. 5, 6, and many others) we realise at once which period of the past his words echo.

Consider the present state of affairs from the viewpoint of the young Russian workers who now constitute nine-tenths of the organised Marxists in Russia. They see three mass expressions of the different views, or trends in the working-class movement: the Pravdists, gathered around a newspaper with a circulation of 40,000; the liquidators (15,000 circulation) and the Left Narodniks (10,000 circulation). The circulation figures tell the reader about the mass character of a given tenet.

The question arises; what has “chaos” got to do with it? Everybody knows that Trotsky is fond of high-sounding and empty phrases. But the catchword “chaos” is not only phrase-mongering; it signifies also the transplanting, or rather, a vain attempt to transplant, to Russian soil, in the present period, the relations that existed abroad in a bygone period. That is the whole point.

There is no “chaos” whatever in the struggle between the Marxists and the Narodniks. That, we hope, not even Trotsky will dare to deny. The struggle between the Marxists and the Narodniks has been going on for over thirty years, ever since Marxism came into being. The cause of this struggle is the radical divergence of interests and viewpoints of two different classes, the proletariat and the peasantry. If there is any “chaos” anywhere, it is only in the heads of cranks who fail to understand this.

What, then, remains? “Chaos” in the struggle between the Marxists and the liquidators? That, too, is wrong, for a struggle against a trend, which the entire Party recognised as a trend and condemned as far back as 1908, cannot be called chaos. And everybody who has the least concern for the history of Marxism in Russia knows that liquidationism is most closely and inseverably connected, even as regards its leaders and supporters, with Menshevism (1903—08) and Economism (1894—1903). Consequently, here, too, we have a history extending over nearly twenty years. To regard the history of one’s own Party as “chaos” reveals an unpardonable empty-headedness.

Now let us examine the present situation from the point of view of Paris or Vienna. At once the whole picture changes. Besidesthe Pravdists and liquidators, we see no less than five Russian groups claiming membership of one and the same Social-Democratic Party: Trotsky’s group, two Vperyod groups, the “pro-Party Bolsheviks” and the “pro-Party Mensheviks”.[6] All Marxists in Paris and in Vienna (for the purpose of illustration I take two of the largest centres) are perfectly well aware of this.

Here Trotsky is right in a certain sense; this is indeed group-division, chaos indeed!

Groups within the Party, i. e., nominal unity (all claim to belong to one Party) and actual disunity (for, in fact, all the groups are independent of one another and enter into negotiations and agreements with each other as sovereign powers).

“Chaos”, i. e., the absence of (1) objective and verifiable proof that these groups are linked with the working-class movement in Russia and (2) absence of any data to enable us to judge the actual ideological and political physiognomy of these groups. Take a period of two full years—1912 and 1913. As everybody knows, this was a period of the revival and upswing of the working-class movement, when every trend or tendency of a more or less mass character (and in politics this mass character alone counts) could not but exercise some influence on the Fourth Duma elections, the strike movement, the legal newspapers, the trade unions, the insurance election campaign, and so on. Throughout those two years, not one of these five groups abroad asserted itself in the slightest degree in any of the activities of the mass working-class movement in Russia just enumerated!

That is a fact that anybody can easily verify.

And that fact proves that we were right in calling Trotsky a representative of the “worst remnants of factionalism”.

Although he claims to be non-factional, Trotsky is known to everybody who is in the least familiar with the working-class movement in Russia as the representative of “Trotsky’s faction”. Here we have group-division, for we see two essential symptoms of it: (1) nominal recognition of unity and (2) group segregation in fact. Here there are remnants of group-division, for there is no evidence whatever of any real connection with the mass working-class movement in Russia.

And lastly, it is the worst form of group-division, for there is no ideological and political definiteness. It cannot be denied that this definiteness is characteristic of both the Pravdists (even our determined opponent L. Martov admits that we stand “solid and disciplined” around universally known formal decisions on all questions) and the liquidators (they, or at all events the most prominent of them, have very definite features, namely, liberal, not Marxist).

It cannot be denied that some of the groups which, like Trotsky’s, really exist exclusively from the Vienna-Paris, but by no means from the Russian, point of view, possess a degree of definiteness. For example, the Machist theories of the Machist Vperyod group are definite; the emphatic repudiation of these theories and defence of Marxism, in addition to the theoretical condemnation of liquidationism, by the “pro-Party Mensheviks”, are definite.

Trotsky, however, possesses no ideological and political definiteness, for his patent for “non-factionalism”, as we shall soon see in greater detail, is merely a patent to flit freely to and fro, from one group to another.

To sum up:

1) Trotsky does not explain, nor does he understand, the historical significance of the ideological disagreements among the various Marxist trends and groups, although these disagreements run through the twenty years’ history of Social Democracy and concern the fundamental questions of the present day (as we shall show later on);

2) Trotsky fails to understand that the main specific features of group-division are nominal recognition of unity and actual disunity;

3) Under cover of “non-factionalism” Trotsky is championing the interests of a group abroad which particularly lacks definite principles, and has no basis in the working-class movement in Russia.

All that glitters is not gold. There is much glitter and sound in Trotsky’s phrases, but they are meaningless.

II. THE SPLIT

“Although there is no group-division, i. e., nominal recognition of unity, but actual disunity, among you, Pravdists, there is something worse, namely, splitting tactics,” we are told. This is exactly what Trotsky says. Unable to think out his ideas or to get his arguments to hang together, he rants against group-division at one moment, and at the next shouts: “Splitting tactics are winning one suicidal victory after another”. (No. 1, p. 6.)

This statement can have only one mending: “The Pravdists are winning one victory after another” (this is an objective, verifiable fact, established by a study of the mass working-class movement in Russia during, say, 1912 and 1913), but I, Trotsky, denounce the Pravdists (1) as splitters, and (2) as suicidal politicians.

Let us examine this.

First of all we must express our thanks to Trotsky. Not long ago (from August 1912 to February 1914) he was at one with F. Dan, who, as is well known, threatened to “kill” anti-liquidationism, and called upon others to do so. At present Trotsky does not threaten to “kill” our trend (and our Party—don’t be angry, Citizen Trotsky, this is true!), he only prophesies that it will kill itself!

This is much milder, isn’t it? It is almost “non-factional”, isn’t it?

But joking apart (although joking is the only way of retorting mildly to Trotsky’s insufferable phrase-mongering).

“Suicide” is a mere empty phrase, mere “Trotskyism”.

Splitting tactics are a grave political accusation. This accusation is repeated against us in a thousand different keys by the liquidators and by all the groups enumerated above, who, from the point of view of Paris and Vienna, actually exist.

And all of them repeat this grave political accusation in an amazingly frivolous way. Look at Trotsky. He admitted that “splitting tactics are winning [read: the Pravdists are winning] one suicidal victory after another”. To this he adds:

Numerouss advanced workers, in a state of utter political bewilderment, themselves often become active agents of a split.” (No. 1, p. 6.)

Are not these words a glaring example of irresponsibility on this question?

You accuse us of being splitters when all that we see in front of us in the arena of the working-class movement in Russia is liquidationism. So you think that our attitude towards liquidationism is wrong? Indeed, all the groups abroad that we enumerated above, no matter how much they may differ from each other, are agreed that our attitude towards liquidationism is wrong, that it is the attitude of “splitters”. This, too, reveals the similarity (and fairly close political kinship) between all these groups and the liquidators.

If our attitude towards liquidationism is wrong in theory, in principle, then Trotsky should say so straightforwardly, and statedefinitely, without equivocation, why he thinks it is wrong. But Trotsky has been evading this extremely important point for years.

If our attitude towards liquidationism has been proved wrong in practice, by the experience of the movement, then this experience should be analysed; but Trotsky fails to do this either. “Numerous advanced workers,” he admits, “become active agents of a split” (read: active agents of the Pravdist line, tactics, system and organisation).

What is the cause of the deplorable fact, which, as Trotsky admits, is confirmed by experience, that the advanced workers, thenumerous advanced workers at that, stand for Pravda?

It is the “utter political bewilderment” of these advanced workers, answers Trotsky.

Needless to say, this explanation is highly flattering to Trotsky, to all five groups abroad, and to the liquidators. Trotsky is very fond of using, with the learned air of the expert, pompous and high-sounding phrases to explain historical phenomena in a way that is flattering to Trotsky. Since “numerous advanced workers” become “active agents” of a political and Party line which does not conform to Trotsky’s line, Trotsky settles the question unhesitatingly, out of hand: these advanced workers are “in a state of utter political bewilderment”, whereas he, Trotsky, is evidently “in a state” of political firmness and clarity, and keeps to the right line!… And this very same Trotsky, beating his breast, fulminates against factionalism, parochialism, and the efforts of intellectuals to impose their will on the workers!

Reading things like these, one cannot help asking oneself: is it from a lunatic asylum that such voices come?

The Party put the question of liquidationism, and of condemning it, before the “advanced workers” as far back as 1908, while the question of “splitting” away from a very definite group of liquidators (namely, the Nasha Zarya group), i. e., that the only way to build up the Party was without this group and in opposition to it—this question was raised in January 1912, over two years ago. The overwhelming majority of the advanced workers declared in favour of supporting the “January (1912) line”. Trotsky himself admits this fact when he talks about “victories” and about “numerous advanced workers”. But Trotsky wriggles out of this simply by hurling abuse at these advanced workers and calling them “splitters” and “politically bewildered”!

From these facts sane people will draw a different conclusion. Where the majority of the class-conscious workers have rallied around precise and definite decisions, there we shall find unity of opinion and action, there we shall find the Party spirit, and the Party.

Where we see liquidators who have been “removed from office” by the workers, or half a dozen groups outside Russia, who for two years have produced no proof that they are connected with the mass working-class movement in Russia, there, indeed, we shall find bewilderment and splits. In now trying to persuade the workers not to carry out the decisions of that “united whole”, which the Marxist Pravdists recognise, Trotsky is trying to disrupt the movement and cause a split.

These efforts are futile, but we must expose the arrogantly conceited leaders of intellectualist groups, who, while causing splits themselves, are shouting about others causing splits; who, after sustaining utter defeat at the hands of the “advanced workers” for the past two years or more, are with incredible insolence flouting the decisions and the will of these advanced workers and saying that they are “politically bewildered”. These are entirely the methods of Nozdrev,[7] or of “Judas” Golovlyov.[8]

In reply to these repeated outcries about a split and in fulfilment of my duty as a publicist, I will not tire of repeating precise, unrefuted and irrefutable figures. In the Second Duma, 47 per cent of the deputies elected by the worker curia were Bolsheviks, in the Third Duma 50 per cent were Bolsheviks, and in the Fourth Duma 67 per cent.

There you have the majority of the “advanced workers”, there you have the Party; there you have unity of opinion and action of the majority of the class-conscious workers.

To this the liquidators say (see Bulkin, L. M., in Nasha Zarya No. 3) that we base our arguments on the Stolypin curias. This is a foolish and unscrupulous argument. The Germans measure their successes by the results of elections conducted under the Bismarckian electoral law, which excludes women. Only people bereft of their senses would reproach the German Marxists for measuring their successes under the existing electoral law, without in the least justifying its reactionary restrictions.

And we, too, without justifying curias, or the curia system, measured our successes under the existing electoral law. There were curias in all three (Second, Third and Fourth) Duma elections; and within the worker curia, within the ranks of Social-Democracy, there was a complete swing against the liquidators. Those who do not wish to deceive themselves and others must admit this objective fact, namely, the victory of working-class unity over the liquidators.

The other argument is just as “clever”: “Mensheviks and liquidators voted for (or took part in the election of) such and-such a Bolshevik.” Splendid! But does not the same thing apply to the 53 per cent non-Bolshevik deputies re turned to the Second Duma, and to the 50 per cent returned to the Third Duma, and to the 33 per cent returned to the Fourth Duma?

If, instead of the figures on the deputies elected, we could obtain the figures on the electors, or workers’ delegates, etc., we would gladly quote them. But these more detailed figures are not available, and consequently the “disputants” are simply throwing dust in people’s eyes.

But what about the figures of the workers’ groups that assisted the newspapers of the different trends? During two years (1912 and 1913), 2,801 groups assisted Pravda, and 750 assisted Luch.[1] These figures are verifiable and nobody has attempted to disprove them.

Where is the unity of action and will of the majority of the “advanced workers”, and where is the flouting of the will of the majority?

Trotsky’s “non-factionalism” is, actually, splitting tactics, in that it shamelessly flouts the will of the majority of the workers.

III. THE BREAK-UP OF THE AUGUST BLOC

But there is still another method, and a very important one, of verifying the correctness and truthfulness of Trotsky’s accusations about splitting tactics.

You consider that it is the “Leninists” who are splitters? Very well, let us assume that you are right.

But if you are, why have not all the other sections and groups proved that unity is possible with the liquidators without the “Leninists”, and against the “splitters”?… If we are splitters, why have not you, uniters, united among yourselves, and with the liquidators? Had you done that you would have proved to the workers by deeds that unity is possible and beneficial!…

Let us go over the chronology of events.

In January 1912, the “Leninist” “splitters” declared that they were a Party without and against the liquidators.

In March 1912, all the groups and “factions”: liquidators, Trotskyists, Vperyodists, “pro-Party Bolsheviks” and “pro-PartyMensheviks”, in their Russian news sheets and in the columns of the German Social-Democratic newspaper Vorw\”arts, unitedagainst these “splitters”. All of them unanimously, in chorus, in unison and in one voice vilified us and called us “usurpers”, “mystifiers”, and other no less affectionate and tender names.

Very well, gentlemen! But what could have been easier for you than to unite against the “usurpers” and to set the “advanced workers” an example of unity? Do you mean to say that if the advanced workers had seen, on the one hand, the unity of all against the usurpers, the unity of liquidators and non-liquidators, and on the other, isolated “usurpers”, “splitters”, and so forth; they would not have supported the former?

If disagreements are only invented, or exaggerated, and so forth, by the “Leninists”, and if unity between the liquidators, Plekhanovites, Vperyodists, Trotskyists, and so forth, is really possible, why have you not proved this during the past two years by your own example?

In August 1912, a conference of “uniters” was convened. Disunity started at once: the Plekhanovites refused to attend at all; the Vperyodists attended, but walked out after protesting and exposing the fictitious character of the whole business.

The liquidators, the Letts, the Trotskyists (Trotsky and Semkovsky), the Caucasians, and the Seven “united”. But did they? We stated at the time that they did not, that this was merely a screen to cover up liquidationism. Have the events disproved our statement?

Exactly eighteen months later, in February 1914, we found:

1. that the Seven was breaking up. Buryanov had left them.

2. that in the remaining new “Six”, Chkheidze and Tulyakov, or somebody else, could not see eye to eye on the reply to be made to Plekhanov. They stated in the press that they would reply to him, but they could not.

3. that Trotsky, who for many months had practically vanished from the columns of Luck, had broken away, and had started “his own” journal, Borba. By calling this journal “non-factional”, Trotsky clearly (clearly to those who are at all familiar with the subject) intimates that in his, Trotsky’s, opinion, Nasha Zarya and Luch had proved to be “factional”, i. e., poor uniters.

If you are a uniter, my dear Trotsky, if you say that it is possible to unite with the liquidators, if you and they stand by the “fundamental ideas formulated in August 1912” (Borba No. 1, p. 43, Editorial Note), why did not you yourself unite with the liquidators in Nasha Zarya and Luch?

When, before Trotsky’s journal appeared, Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta published some scathing comment stating that the physiognomy of this journal was “unclear” and that there had been “quite a good deal of talk in Marxist circles” about this journal, Put Pravdy (No. 37)[2] was naturally obliged to expose this falsehood. It said: “There has been talk in Marxist circles” about a secret memorandum written by Trotsky against the Luch group; Trotsky’s physiognomy and his breakaway from the August bloc were perfectly “clear”.

4. An, the well-known leader of the Caucasian liquidators, who had attacked L. Sedov (for which he was given a public wigging by F. Dan and Co.), now appeared in Borba. It remains “unclear” whether the Caucasians now desire to go with Trotsky or with Dan.

5. The Lettish Marxists, who were the only real organisation in the “August bloc”, had formally withdrawn from it, stating (in 1914) in the resolution of their last Congress that:

the attempt on the part of the conciliators to unite at all costs with the liquidators (the August Conference of 1912) proved fruitless, and the uniters themselves became ideologically and politically dependent upon the liquidators.”

This statement was made,after eighteen months’ experience, by an organisation which had itself been neutral and had notdesired to establish connection with either of the two centres. This decision of neutrals should carry all the more weight with Trotsky!

Enough, is it not?

Those who accused us of being splitters, of being unwilling or unable to get on with the liquidators, were themselves unable to get on with them. The August bloc proved to be a fiction and broke up.

By concealing this break-up from his readers, Trotsky is deceiving them.

The experience of our opponents has proved that we are right, has proved that the liquidators cannot be co-operated with.

IV. A CONCILIATOR’S ADVICE TO THE “SEVEN”

The editorial article in issue No. 1 of Borba entitled “The Split in the Duma Group” contains advice from a conciliator to the seven pro-liquidator (or inclining towards liquidationism) members of the Duma. The gist of this advice is contained in the following words:

“first of all consult the Six whenever it is necessary to reach an agreement with other groups….” (P. 29.)

This is the wise counsel which, among other things, is evidently the cause of Trotsky’s disagreement with the liquidators of Luch. This is the opinion the Pravdists have held ever since the outbreak of the conflict between the two groups in the Duma, ever since the resolution of the Summer (1913) Conference was adopted. The Russian Social-Democratic Labour group in the Duma has reiterated in the press, even after the split, that it continues to adhere to this position, in spite of the repeated refusals of the Seven.

From the very outset, since the time the resolution of the Summer Conference was adopted, we have been, and still are, of the opinion that agreements on questions concerning activities in the Duma are desirable and possible; if such agreements have been repeatedly arrived at with the petty-bourgeois peasant democrats (Trudoviks), they are all the more possible and necessary with the petty-bourgeois, liberal-labour politicians.

We must not exaggerate disagreements, but we must face the facts: the Seven are men, leaning towards liquidationism, who yesterday entirely followed the lead of Dan, and whose eyes today are travelling longingly from Dan to Trotsky and back again. The liquidators are a group of legalists who have broken away from the Party and are pursuing a liberal- labour policy. Since they repudiate the “underground”, there can be no question of unity with them in matters concerning Party organisation and the working-class movement. Who ever thinks differently is badly mistaken and fails to take into account the profound nature of the changes that have taken place since 1908.

But agreements on certain questions with this group, which stands outside or on the fringe of the Party, are, of course, permissible: we must always compel this group, too, like the Trudoviks, to choose between the workers’ (Pravdist) policy and the liberal policy. For example, on the question of fighting for freedom of the press the liquidators clearly revealed, vacillation between the liberal formulation of the question, which repudiated, or overlooked, the illegal press, and the opposite policy, that of the workers.

Within the scope of a Duma policy in which the most important extra-Duma issues are not directly raised, agreements with the seven liberal-labour deputies are possible and desirable. On this point Trotsky has shifted his ground from that of the liquidatorsto that of the Party Summer (1913) Conference.

It should not be forgotten, however, that to a group standing outside the Party, agreement means something entirely different from what Party people usually understand by the term. By “agreement” in the Duma, non-Party people mean “drawing up a tactical resolution, or line”. To Party people agreement is an attempt to enlist others in the work of carrying out the Party line.

For example, the Trudoviks have no party. By agreement they understand the “voluntary”, so to speak, “drawing up” of a line, today with the Cadets, tomorrow with the Social-Democrats. We, however, understand something entirely different by agreement with the Trudoviks. We have Party decisions on all the important questions of tactics, and we shall never depart from these decisions; by agreement with the Trudoviks we mean winning them over to our side, convincing them that we are right, and not rejecting joint action against the Black Hundreds and against the liberals.

How far Trotsky has forgotten (not for nothing has he associated with the liquidators) this elementary difference between the Party and non-Party point of view on agreements, is shown by the following argument of his:

“The representatives of the International must bring together the two sections of our divided parliamentary group and jointly with them ascertain the points of agreement and points of disagreement…. A detailed tactical resolution formulating the principles of parliamentary tactics may he drawn up….” (No. 1, pp. 29—30.)

Here you have a characteristic and typical example of the liquidationist presentation of the question! Trotsky’s journal forgets about the Party; such a trifle is hardly worth remembering!

When different parties in Europe (Trotsky is fond of inappropriately talking about Europeanism) come to an agreement or unite, what they do is this: their respective representatives meet and first of all ascertain the points of disagreement (precisely what the International proposed in relation to Russia, without including in the resolution Kautsky’s ill-considered statement that “the old Party no longer exists”[9]). Having ascertained the points of disagreement, the representatives decide what decisions (resolutions, conditions, etc.) on questions of tactics, organisation, etc., should be submitted to the congresses of the two parties. If they succeed in drafting unanimous decisions, the congresses decide whether to adopt them or not. If differing proposals are made, they too are submitted for final decision to the congresses of the two parties.

What appeals to the liquidators and Trotsky is only the European models of opportunism, but certainly not the models of European partisanship.

“A detailed tactical resolution” will be drawn up by the members of the Duma! This example should serve the Russian “advanced workers”, with whom Trotsky has good reason to be so displeased, as a striking illustration of the lengths to which the groups in Vienna and Paris—who persuaded even Kautsky that there was “no Party” in Russia—go in their ludicrous project-mongering. But if it is some times possible to fool foreigners on this score, the Russian “advanced workers” (at the risk of provoking the terrible Trotsky to another outburst of displeasure) will laugh in the faces of these project-mongers.

“Detailed tactical resolutions,” they will tell them, “are drawn up among us (we do not know how it is done among you lion-Party people) by Party congresses and conferences, for example, those of 1907, 1908, 1910, 1912 and 1913. We shall gladly acquaint uninformed foreigners, as well as forgetful Russians, with our Party decisions, and still more gladly ask the representatives of the Seven, or the August bloc members, or Left-wingers or anybody else, to acquaint us with the resolutions of their congresses, or conferences, and to bring up at their next congress the definite question of the attitude they should adopt towards our resolutions, or towards the resolution of the neutral Lettish Congress of 1914, etc.”

This is what the “advanced workers” of Russia will say to the various project-mongers, and this has already been said iii the Marxist press, for example, by the organised Marxists of St. Petersburg. Trotsky chooses to ignore these published terms for the liquidators? So much the worse for Trotsky. It is our duty to warn our readers how ridiculous that “unity” (the August type of “unity”?) project-mongering is which refuses to reckon with the will of the majority of the class-conscious workers of Russia.

V. TROTSKY’S LIQUIDATIONIST VIEWS

As to the substance of his own views, Trotsky contrived to say as little as possible in his new journal. Put Pravdy (No. 37) has already commented on the fact that Trotsky has not said a word either on the question of the “underground” or on the slogan of working for a legal party, etc.[3] That, among other things, is why we say that when attempts are made to form a separate organisation which is to have no ideological and political physiognomy, it is the worst form of factionalism.

Although Trotsky has refrained from openly expounding his views, quite a number of passages in his journal show what kind of ideas he has been trying to smuggle in.

In the very first editorial article in the first issue of his journal, we read the following:

“The pre-revolutionary Social-Democratic Party in our country was a workers’ party only in ideas and aims. Actually, it was an organisation of the Marxist intelligentsia, which led the awakening working class.” (5.)

This is the old liberal and liquidationist tune, which is really the prelude to the repudiation of the Party. It is based on a distortion of the historical facts. The strikes of 1895—96 had already given rise to a mass working-class movement, which both in ideas and organisation was linked with the Social-Democratic movement. And in these strikes, in this economic and non-economic agitation, the “intelligentsia led the working class”!?

Or take the following exact statistics of political offences in the period 1901—03 compared with the preceding period.

Occupations of participants in the emancipation movement prosecuted for political offences (per cent)
Period Agriculture Industry and
commerce
Liberal
professions
and students
No definite
occupation, and
no occupation
1884—90 7.1 15.1 53.3 19.9
1901—03 9.0 46.1 28.7 8.0

We see that in the eighties, when there was as yet no Social-Democratic Party in Russia, and when the movement was “Narodnik”, the intelligentsia predominated, accounting for over half the participants.

But the picture underwent a complete change in 1901—03, when a Social-Democratic Party already existed, and when the old Iskra was conducting its work. The intelligentsia were now a minority among the participants of the movement; the workers(“industry and commerce”) were far more numerous than the intelligentsia, and the workers and peasants together constituted more than half the total.

It was precisely in the conflict of trends within the Marxist movement that the petty-bourgeois intellectualist wing of the Social-Democracy made itself felt, beginning with Economism (1895—1903) and continuing with Menshevism (1903—1908) and liquidationism (1908—1914). Trotsky repeats the liquidationist slander against the Party and is afraid to mention the history of the twenty years’ conflict of trends within the Party.

Here is another example.

“In its attitude towards parliamentarism, Russian Social-Democracy passed through the same three stages … [as in other countries] … first ‘boycottism’ … then the acceptance in principle of parliamentary tactics, but … [that magnificent “but”, the “but” which Shchedrin translated as: The ears never grow higher than the forehead, never![4]]… for purely agitational purposes … and lastly, the presentation from the Duma rostrum … of current demands….” (No. 1, p. 34.)

This, too, is a liquidationist distortion of history. The distinction between the second and third stages was invent ed in order to smuggle in a defence of reformism and opportunism. Boycottism as a stage in “the attitude of Social-Democracy towards parliamentarism” never existed either in Europe (where anarchism has existed and continues to exist) or in Russia, where the boycott of the Bulygin Duma, for example, applied only to a definite institution, was never linked with “parliamentarism”, and was engendered by the peculiar nature of the struggle between liberalism and Marxism for the continuation of the onslaught. Trotsky does not breathe a word, about the way this struggle affected the conflict between the two trends in Marxism!

When dealing with history, one must explain concrete questions and the class roots of the different trends; anybody who wants to make a Marxist study of the struggle of classes and trends over the question of participation in the Bulygin Duma, will see therein the roots of the liberal-labour policy. But Trotsky “deals with” history only in order to evade concrete questions and to invent a justification, or a semblance of justification, for the present-day opportunists!

“Actually, all trends,” he writes, “employ the same methods of struggle and organisation.” “The outcries about the liberal danger in our working-class movement are simply a crude and sectarian travesty of reality.” (No. 1, pp. 5 and 35.)

This is a very clear and very vehement, defence of the liquidators. But we will take the liberty of quoting at least one small fact, one of the very latest. Trotsky merely slings words about; we should like the workers themselves to ponder over the facts.

It is a fact that Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta for March 13 wrote the following:

Instead of emphasising the definite and concrete task that confronts the working class, viz., to compel the Duma to throw out the bill [on the press], a vague formula is proposed of fighting for the ‘uncurtailed slogans’, and at the same time the illegal press is widely advertised, which can only lead to the relaxation of the workers’ struggle for their legal press.”

This is a clear, precise and documentary defence of the liquidationist policy and a criticism of the Pravda policy. Well, will any literate person say that both trends employ “the same methods of struggle and organisation” on this question? Will any literate person say that the liquidators are not pursuing a liberal-labour policy on this question, that the liberal menace to the working-class movement is purely imaginary?

The reason why Trotsky avoids facts and concrete references is because they relentlessly refute all his angry outcries and pompous phrases. It is very easy, of course, to strike an attitude and say: “a crude and sectarian travesty”. Or to add a still more stinging and pompous catch-phrase, such as “emancipation from conservative factionalism”.

But is this not very cheap? Is not this weapon borrowed from the arsenal of the period when Trotsky posed in all his splendour before audiences of high-school boys?

Nevertheless, the “advanced workers”, with whom Trotsky is so angry, would like to be told plainly and clearly: Do you or do you not approve of the “method of struggle and organisation” that is definitely expressed in the above-quoted appraisal of a definite political campaign? If you do, then you are pursuing a liberal-labour policy, betraying Marxism and the Party; to talk of “peace” or of “unity” with such a policy, with groups which pursue such a policy, means deceiving yourself and others.

If not, then say so plainly. Phrases will not astonish, satisfy or intimidate the present-day workers.

Incidentally, the policy advocated by the liquidators in the above-quoted passage is a foolish one even from the liberal point of view, for the passage of a bill in the Duma depends on “Zemstvo-Octobrists” of the type of Bennigsen, who has already shown his hand in the committee.

The old participants in the Marxist movement in Russia know Trotsky very well, and there is no need to discuss him for their benefit. But the younger generation of workers do not know him, and it is therefore necessary to discuss him, for he is typical of all the five groups abroad, which, in fact, are also vacillating between the liquidators and the Party.

In the days of the old Iskra (1901—03), these waverers, who flitted from the Economists to the Iskrists and back again, were dubbed “Tushino turncoats” (the name given in the Troublous Times in Rus to fighting men who went over from one camp to another[10]).

When we speak of liquidationism we speak of a definite ideological trend, which grew up in the course of many years, stems from Menshevism and Economism in the twenty years’ history of Marxism, and is connected with the policy and ideology of a definite class—the liberal bourgeoisie.

The only ground the “Tushino turncoats” have for claiming that they stand above groups is that they “borrow” their ideas from one group one day and from another the next day. Trotsky was an ardent Iskrist in 1901—03, and Ryazanov described his role at the Congress of 1903 as “Lenin’s cudgel”. At the end of 1903, Trotsky was an ardent Menshevik, i. e., he deserted from the Iskrists to the Economists. He said that “between the old Iskra and the new lies a gulf”. In 1904—05, he deserted the Mensheviks and occupied a vacillating position, now co-operating with Martynov (the Economist), now proclaiming his absurdly Left “permanent revolution” theory. In 1906—07, he approached the Bolsheviks, and in the spring of 1907 he declared that he was in agreement with Rosa Luxemburg.

In the period of disintegration, after long “non-factional” vacillation, he again went to the right, and in August 1912, he entered into a bloc with the liquidators. He has now deserted them again, although in substance he reiterates their shoddy ideas.

Such types are characteristic of the flotsam of past historical formations, of the time when the mass, working-class movement in Russia was still dormant, and when every group had “ample room” in which to pose as a trend, group or faction, in short, as a “power”, negotiating amalgamation with others.

The younger generation of workers should know exactly whom they are dealing with, when individuals come before them with incredibly pretentious claims, unwilling absolutely to reckon with either the Party decisions, which since 1908 have defined and established our attitude towards liquidationism, or with the experience of the present-day working-class movement in Russia, which has actually brought about the unity of the majority on the basis of full recognition of the aforesaid decisions.

Notes

 A preliminary calculation made up to April 1, 1914, showed 4,000 groups for Pravda (commencing with January 1,1912) and 1,000 for the liquidators and all their allies taken together. —Lenin

[2] See pp. 158—81 of this volume.—Ed.

[3] See pp. 158—61 of this volume.—Ed.

[4] Meaning the impossible.—Ed.

[5] This refers to Prosveshcheniye.

[6] Pro-Party Bolsheviks—conciliators with leanings towards the liquidators. (For further details see Lenin’s article “Adventurism”, pp. 350—59 of this volume.)

Pro-Party Mensheviks—headed by Plekhanov, came out against the liquidators during the period of reaction. While taking a Menshevik stand, the Plekhanovites at the same time stood for the preservation and strengthening of the illegal Party organisation and therefore stood for a bloc with the Bolsheviks. Plekhanov broke the bloc with the Bolsheviks at the end of 1911. Under the guise of fighting “factionalism” and the split in the R.S.D.L.P. be attempted to reconcile the Bolsheviks with the opportunists. In 1912 the Plekhanovites, together with the Trotskyists, Bundists and liquidators, came out against the decisions of the Prague Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.

[7] Nozdrev—a character in Gogol’s Dead Souls typifying a self-assured, impudent, and mendacious person.

[8] “Judas” Golovlyov—a character in Saltykov-Shchedrin’s book The Golovlyov Family typifying the spiritual and physicaldisintegration of the historically doomed class of feudalist landlords, social parasites, treacherous hypocrites.

[9] At the December meeting of the International Socialist Bureau (held in London on December 13—14, 1913) a resolution was adopt ed instructing the Executive of the International Socialist Bureau to call a meeting of representatives of “all factions of the labour movement in Russia, including Russian Poland, who recognise the Party Programme or whose programme corresponds with that of the Social-Democrats, for a mutual exchange o opinions (Aussprache) on points of disagreement”. In seconding this resolution, Kautsky, in his speech of December 14, stated that the old Social-Democratic Party in Russia was dead. It had to be re-established on the basis of the Russian workers’ urge for unity. In his article “A Good Resolution and a Bad Speech”, Lenin examined this resolution and called Kautsky’s speech monstrous. (See present edition, Vol. 19, pp. 528—30.)

[10] The Troublous Times—a term used in pre-revolutionary Russian historiography to denote the period of the peasant war and the struggle of the Russian people against the Polish and Swedish intervention in the early seventeenth century.

In 1608 the Polish troops under Pseudo-Dmitry II, a henchman of the Polish landed gentry who posed as the younger son of the Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible, invaded Russia, and reached the outskirts of Moscow, where they encamped in Tushino. A government headed by Pseudo-Dmitry was formed in Tushino in opposition to the government of Moscow. Some of the Russian nobles and boyar aristocracy deserted one camp for another in an effort to keep in with the winning side. These deserters were called “Tushino turncoats”.

The Origins of Trotsky’s Ill-Discipline

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Trotskyite followers tend to perpetuate the ‘myth’ that somehow Leon Trotsky was Lenin’s successor in-waiting, and that the nasty Joseph Stalin ‘stole’ that role. However, even a cursory examination of Bolshevik history reveals how Lenin was continuously criticising Trotsky, and did not view him as a ‘reliable’ candidate. This stems from the 1903 ‘split’ between the Bolsheviks (under Lenin) and the Mensheviks – with Leon Trotsky never losing his support for the latter, or his resistance to the former. Trotsky would never submit to Bolshevik Party Discipline – and it was this failure to behave in ‘solidarity’ with the workers that Lenin saw as the basis for Trotsky’s ill-disciplined production of thought. As there was no self-imposed discipline at the beginning, there was no production of disciplined thought at the end. Lenin stated:

‘It is impossible to argue with Trotsky on any point of substance since he has no opinions. He is always creeping through the crack of this or that controversy and running from one side to the other.’

Lenin also said that Trotsky deployed ‘resounding but hollow phrases’ to deliver his ‘incredible bombast’! As Trotsky would not conform to the pristine order of Bolshevik Party Discipline, his opinions were highly unstable, and bourgeois in nature. This is why Lenin did not trust Trotsky with the leadership of the Bolshevik Movement. The Mensheviks – being a party of bourgeois tolerance – lacked the ability to lead any revolution due to their collective siding with capitalism and opposition to any genuine workers’ movement.

Reference:

The Bolshevik Revolution (Vol, I), by EH Carr, Macmillan, (1950), Page 63

Chen Duxiu: How Trotskyism Infiltrated China

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Left: Chen Duxiu  (陈独秀) Right: Leon Trotsky

Author’s Note: Trotsky was causing trouble in Russia a long-time before the successful Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. He was a bourgeois political careerist, who associated himself with the Revolutionary left, whilst propagating distinctly ‘rightwing’ dogmas. Not only did he establish a ‘Communist Party’ in opposition to Lenin’s Bolshevik Movement years prior to the October Revolution, but it is also known that Trotsky received ample funding for his political intrigues from the International Zionist Movement (particularly from within the USA). The purpose for this bizarre blend of Revolutionary leftism and rightwing Zionist racism, appears to have been for the purpose of disrupting and over-throwing the old Czarist regime in Russia, whilst simultaneously sabotaging any Marxist-Leninist Movement that might emerge to fill the vacuum. This was probably in the service of the Zionists, who had their eyes on Russia as a ‘New Israel’. Trotsky’s deception and racism was identified by Lenin, and finally defeated in the USSR by Stalin, but it has survived in the world through its migration out of Russia, where it today masquerades as a ‘Socialist Movement’, which still refuses to condemn the racist Zionism perpetuated by the modern State of Israel. Chen Duxiu is an enigma who is suspected by a number of Chinese intellectuals to have been a ‘spy’ for Imperial Japan. This allegation stems from his time in Japan as a student, and has led many to assume that he positioned himself at key places within Chinese history, so as to cause the maximum damage and disruption to the Chinese Government and to Chinese culture. By associating himself with the early Marxist-Leninist Movement in China, he is considered one of the founders of the Communist Party of China (CPC). However, rather illogically, Chen Duxiu ideologically opposed and confronted the Soviet Union under both Lenin and Stalin, and refused to accept Mao Zedong’s Revolutionary ideas. He also refused to maintain the ‘alliance’ between the originally leftwing Kuo Ming Tang (KMT) and the CPC – and is considered historically responsible for the breaking of that alliance, and the rise of the rightwing Chiang Kai-Shek. Following Trotsky’s exile from the Soviet Union in 1929, Chen Duxiu found an outlet for his peculiar form of reactionary politics, and it is through his efforts that the ideas of Trotsky gained a foot-hold in China. The point is that Chen Duxui acted in a very ‘non-Chinese’ manner in his handling of political affairs, and this observation certainly gives credence to the allegation of him ‘spying’ for Japan. Whatever the case, when Trotsky called upon the Imperial Japanese to strive onward to victory in China – even Chen Duxiu was taken aback.  ACW 9.11.2017

Just as Leon Trotsky lead the international community of ‘Trotskyites’, Chen Duxiu (1879-1942) led the Chinese faction of this organisation. Although very much a minority movement within China, this faction was commonly known as the ‘Trotskyite Opposition’ (托洛茨基反对派 – Tuo Luo Ci Ji Fan Dui Pai). It had arisen in China during the early 1930’s in opposition to Joseph Stalin’s leadership of the Soviet Union, and acted in support of the exiled Leon Trotsky. Trotsky had been exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929 for the crime of ‘Treason’, and attempting to bring-down the USSR. His expulsion from the USSR marked the end of Trotsky’s direct power-struggle with Joseph Stalin for leadership of the Soviet Union, and the entering of a new international phase of anti-Soviet agitation, which saw Trotsky reveal his true bourgeois motivations. Whilst busy creating a ‘mirror’ organisation to oppose the legitimate International Communist Party (now administered by Stalin), in 1938 Trotsky bizarrely called for all his followers around the world to ‘co-operate’ with the forces of International Fascism – and in so doing – help destroy the Soviet Union. Although Mao Zedong was an ardent Marxist-Leninist, people like Chen Duxiu, however, defined their political position as being in opposition to the leadership of Joseph Stalin. This is why Chen Duxiu was the leader of the Chinese faction of Trotskyites, but how and why did he manage to acquire such a politically damaging and disruptive position?

Born in poverty, and later educated in Japan, Chen Duxiu was one of the key founders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1921 – soon being elected as its first General Secretary. However, despite referring to himself as a ‘Marxist’, and an admirer of Lenin (and the Russian Revolution), Chen Duxiu opposed the concept of ‘Internationalism’ as advocated by the ‘Communist International’ (the ‘Comintern’, or international collective of Communist Parties from around the world, administered from Moscow), and did not agree with the principle of co-operating with the Soviet Union (either under Lenin or Stalin). In 1921, as General Secretary of the CPC, Chen Duxiu refused accept large sums of money (and other support) from the Soviet Union. Chen Duxiu also disagreed with the Comintern’s policy that insisted that the CPC co-operate with the Nationalists (KMT), and due to this disruptive and regressive attitude that split this alliance, Chen Duxiu was eventually stripped of the Leadership of the CPC in 1927. In 1929, the Chinese Warlord Zhang Xueliang annexed the Chinese Eastern Railway (under orders from the Nationalist Government of China). Prior to this, the Chinese Eastern Railway had been jointly administered by the USSR and the Chinese Government. The Soviet Red Army entered north-east China and swept away all Chinese military forces before it. At this time, the CPC called upon all Chinese Communists to ‘support’ the Soviet military action against the bourgeois Nationalist Government – but Chen Duxiu refused to heed this call. Instead, he voiced his opposition, and immediately assumed the ‘Trotskyite’ position of confronting and opposing the USSR at every-turn. The Soviets, however, were successful and its military victory secured a return to the joint administration of the Chinese Eastern Railway, and Chen Duxiu was expelled from the CPC (in 1929).

Between 1929 and 1931, Chen Duxiu pursued a purely Trotskyite political path, and actively campaigned to sabotage the CPC in all its work. This effort eventually led to Chen Daxiu assisting in the founding the ‘Leftist Opposition to the Communist Party of China’ (中国共产党左派反对派 – Zhong Guo Gong Chan Dang Zuo Pai Fan Dui Pai), an act which immediately attracted the attention of the exiled Trotsky. Indeed, Chen’s organisation facilitated Trotsky’s direct and disruptive interference within China’s domestic political situation, and between 1931 and 1945 undoubtedly contributed to the 60 million casualties China suffered in her battle against fascist Imperial Japan, and the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-Shek. The Japanese began to militarily agitate in the Manchurian area of north-east China from 1931 onwards, and this became all-out war in 1937. As the Imperial Japanese military forces raped and pillaged their way across China, Trotsky called for all Chinese people to ‘stop resisting’ the Japanese advance, and instead facilitate its progress. Although Chen Duxiu loyally followed Trotsky, and had implemented Trotsky’s call to resist the Nationalists and the CPC in equal measure, he stopped short of fully endorsing Trotsky’s policy of leaving the Chinese people defenceless in the face of brutal Japanese violence. Whereas Mao Zedong had formulated a method of mobilising and empowering the masses of peasants in his interpretation of Marxist-Leninist Thought, Chen Duxui steadfastly refused to accept this thinking. In an unusual twist of fate, Chen Duxui was eventually arrested by the government of the Shanghai International Settlement – an Anglo-American imperialist and colonial presence in China. It is ironic to think that Chen Duxiu’s deceptive Trotskyite activities would attract the negative attraction of the imperialist West – when after WWII – Trotskyism would be fully embraced by the capitalist West as the foundation of its (false) anti-Soviet Cold War rhetoric! Chen Duxui was arrested during October 1932, and handed over to the Nationalist Authorities. He was tried for generating ‘propaganda of a treasonous nature’, for which he was found ‘guilty’ in 1933, and sentenced to 13 years imprisonment. In 1937, he was released early and made statements appearing to now support the CPC and oppose the Japanese invasion of China. However, as he failed to condemn Trotsky, many within the CPC view him as a ‘traitor’ who could not be trusted. This attitude was compounded by the rumour that Chen Duxui may have been in the paid employment of the Japanese Military. Chen Duxiu died in 1942.

Chinese Language References:

http://view.news.qq.com/a/20140521/010848.htm

https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hans/陈独秀

 

 

Joseph Stalin on Democracy and Trotsky’s Six Errors (17.1.1924)

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JV Stalin – UK

Collected Works Volume 6 January-November, 1924, pp. 5-46

Thirteenth Conference of the R.C.P.(B)1

January 16-18, 1924

I.  Report on Immediate Tasks in Party Affairs

January 17

Comrades, it is customary for our speakers at discussion meetings to begin with the history of the question: how the issue of inner-Party democracy arose, who was the first to say “A,” who followed by saying “B,” and so on. This method, I think, is not suitable for us, for it introduces an element of squabbling and mutual recrimination and leads to no useful results. I think that it will be much better to begin with the question of how the Party reacted to the Political Bureau resolution on democracy2 that was subsequently confirmed by the C.C. plenum.

I must place on record that this resolution is the only one, I believe, in the whole history of our Party to have received the full—I would say the absolutely unanimous—approval of the entire Party, following a vehement discussion on the question of democracy. Even the opposition organisations and units, whose general attitude has been one of hostility to the Party majority and the C.C., even they, for all their desire to find fault, have not found occasion or grounds for doing so. Usually in their resolutions these organisations and units, while acknowledging the correctness of the basic provisions of the Political Bureau resolution on inner-Party democracy, have attempted to distinguish themselves in some way from the other Party organisations by adding some sort of appendage to it. For example: yes, yours is a very good resolution, but don’t offend Trotsky, or: your resolution is quite correct, but you are a little late, it would have been better to have done all this earlier. I shall not go into the question here of who is offending whom. I think that if we look into the matter properly, we may well find that the celebrated remark about Tit Titych fits Trotsky fairly well: “Who would offend you, Tit Titych? You yourself will offend everyone!” (Laughter.) But as I have said, I shall not go into this question. I am even prepared to concede that someone really is offending Trotsky. But, is that the point? What principles are involved in this question of offence? After all, it is a question of the principles of the resolution, not of who has offended whom. By this I want to say that even units and organisations that are open and sharp in their opposition, even they have not had the hardihood to raise any objections in principle to the resolution of the Political Bureau of the C.C. and Presidium of the Central Control Commission. I record this fact in order to note once more that it would be hard to find in the whole history of our Party another such instance of a resolution which, after the trials and tribulations of a vehement discussion, has met with such unanimous approval, and not only of the majority, but virtually of the entire Party membership.

I draw two conclusions from this. The first is that the resolution of the Political Bureau and C.C.C. fully accords with the needs and requirements of the Party at the present time. The second is that the Party will emerge from this discussion on inner-Party democracy stronger and more united. This conclusion is, one might say, a well-aimed thrust at those of our ill-wishers abroad who have long been rubbing their hands in glee over our discussion, in the belief that our Party would be weakened as a result of it, and Soviet power disintegrated.

I shall not dwell on the essence of inner-Party democracy. Its fundamentals have been set forth in the resolution, and the resolution has been discussed from A to Z by the entire Party. Why should I go over the same ground here? I shall only say one thing: evidently there will not be all-embracing, full democracy. What we shall have, evidently, will be democracy within the bounds outlined by the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Congresses. You know very well what these bounds are and I shall not repeat them here. Nor shall I dilate on the point that the principal guarantee that inner-Party democracy becomes part of the flesh and blood of our Party is to strengthen the activity and understanding of the Party masses. This, too, is dealt, with fairly extensively in our resolution.

I pass to the subject of how some comrades among us, and some organisations, make a fetish of democracy, regarding it as something absolute, without relation to time or space. What I want to point out is that democracy is not something constant for all times and conditions; for there are times when its implementation is neither possible nor advisable. Two conditions, or two groups of conditions, internal and external, are required to make inner-Party democracy possible. Without, them it is vain to speak of democracy.

It is necessary, firstly, that industry should develop, that there should be no deterioration in the material conditions of the working class, that the working class increase numerically, that its cultural standards advance, and that it advance qualitatively as well. It is necessary that the Party, as the vanguard of the working class, should likewise advance, above all qualitatively; and above all through recruitment among the country’s proletarian elements. These conditions of an internal nature are absolutely essential if we are to pose the question of genuine, and not merely paper, implementation of inner-Party democracy.

But these conditions alone are not enough. I have already said that there is another group of conditions, of an external nature, and in the absence of these democracy in the Party is impossible. I have in mind certain international conditions that would more or less ensure peace and peaceful development, without which democracy in the Party is inconceivable. In other words, if we are attacked and have to defend the country with arms in hand, there can be no question of democracy, for it will have to be suspended. The Party mobilises, we shall probably have to militarise it, and the question of inner-Party democracy will disappear of itself.

That is why I believe that democracy must be regarded as dependent on conditions, that there must be no fetishism in questions of inner-Party democracy, for its implementation, as you see, depends on the specific conditions of time and place at each given moment.

To obviate undesirable infatuation and unfounded accusations in future, I must also remind you of the obstacles confronting the Party in the exercise of democracy—obstacles which hinder the implementation of democracy even when the two basic favourable conditions outlined above, internal and external, obtain. Comrades, these obstacles exist, they profoundly influence our Party’s activities, and I have no right to pass them over in silence. What are these obstacles?

These obstacles, comrades, consist, firstly, in the fact that in the minds of a section of our Party functionaries there still persist survivals of the old, war period, when the Party was militarised. And these survivals engender certain un-Marxist views: that our Party is not an independently acting organism, independent in its ideological and practical activities, but something in the nature of a system of institutions—lower, intermediate and higher. This absolutely un-Marxist view has nowhere, it is true, been given final form and has nowhere been expressed definitely, but elements of it exist among a section of our Party functionaries and deter them from the consistent implementation of inner-Party democracy. That is why the struggle against such views, the struggle against survivals of the war period, both at the centre and in the localities, is an immediate task of the Party.

The second obstacle to the implementation of democracy in the Party is the pressure of the bureaucratic state apparatus on the Party apparatus, on our Party workers. The pressure of this unwieldy apparatus on our Party workers is not always noticeable, not always does it strike the eye, but it never relaxes for an instant. The ultimate effect of this pressure of the unwieldy bureaucratic state apparatus is that a number of our functionaries, both at the centre and in the localities, often involuntarily and quite unconsciously, deviate from inner-Party democracy, from the line which they believe to be correct, but which they are often unable to carry out completely. You can well visualise it: the bureaucratic state apparatus with not less than a million employees, largely elements alien to the Party, and our Party apparatus with not more than 20,000-30,000 people, who are called upon to bring the state apparatus under the Party’s sway and make it a socialist apparatus. What would our state apparatus be worth without the support of the Party? Without the assistance and support of our Party apparatus, it would not be worth much, unfortunately. And every time our Party apparatus extends its feelers into the various branches of the state administration, it is quite often obliged to adapt, Party activities there to those of the state apparatus. Concretely: the Party has to carry on work for the political education of the working class, to heighten the latter’s political understanding, but at the same time there is the tax in kind to be collected, some campaign or other that has to be carried out; for without these campaigns, without the assistance of the Party, the state apparatus cannot cope with its duties. And here our Party functionaries find themselves between two fires—they must rectify the line of the state apparatus, which still works according to old patterns, and at the same time they must retain contact with the workers. And often enough they themselves become bureaucratised.

Such is the second obstacle, which is a difficult one to surmount, but which must be surmounted at all costs to facilitate the implementation of inner-Party democracy.

Lastly, there is yet a third obstacle in the way of realising democracy. It is the low cultural level of a number of our organisations, of our units, particularly in the border regions (no offence to them meant), which hampers our Party organisations in fully implementing inner-Party democracy. You know that democracy requires a certain minimum of cultural development on the part of the members of the unit, and of the organisation as a whole; it requires a certain minimum of active members who can be elected and placed in executive posts. And if there is no such minimum of active members in the organisation, if the cultural level of the organisation itself is low, what then? Naturally, in that case we are obliged to deviate from democracy, resorting to appointment of officials and so on.

Such are the obstacles that have confronted us, which will continue to confront us, and which we must overcome if inner-Party democracy is to be implemented sincerely and completely.

I have reminded you of the obstacles that confront us, and of the external and internal conditions without which democracy becomes an empty, demagogic phrase, because some comrades make a fetish, an absolute, of the question of democracy. They believe that democracy is possible always, under all conditions, and that its implementation is prevented only by the “evil” will of the “apparatus men.” It is to oppose this idealistic view, a view that is not ours, not Marxist, not Leninist, that I have reminded you, comrades, of the conditions necessary for the implementation of democracy, and of the obstacles confronting us at the present time.

Comrades, I could conclude my report with this, but I consider that it is our duty to sum up the discussion and to draw from this summing up certain conclusions which may prove of great importance for us. I could divide our whole struggle in the field of the discussion, on the question of democracy, into three periods.

The first period, when the opposition attacked the C.C., with the accusation that in these past two years, in fact throughout the NEP period, the whole line of the C.C. has been wrong. This was the period prior to the publication of the Political Bureau and C.C.C. Presidium resolution. I shall not deal here with the question of who was right and who wrong. The attacks were violent ones, and as you know, not always warranted. But one thing is clear: this period can be described as one in which the opposition levelled its bitterest attacks on the C.C.

The second period began with the publication of the Political Bureau and C.C.C. resolution, when the opposition was faced with the necessity of advancing something comprehensive and concrete against the C.C. resolution, and when it was found that the opposition had nothing either comprehensive or concrete to offer. That was a period in which the C.C. and the opposition came closest together. To all appearances the whole thing was coming to an end, or could have come to an end, through some reconciliation of the opposition to the C.C. line. I well remember a meeting in Moscow, the centre of the discussion struggle—I believe it was on December 12 in the Hall of Columns—when Preobrazhensky submitted a resolution which for some reason was rejected, but which had little to distinguish it from the C.C. resolution. In fundamentals, and even in certain minor points, it did not differ at all from the C.C. resolution. And at that time it seemed to me that, properly speaking, there was nothing to continue fighting over. We had the C.C. resolution, which satisfied everyone, at least as regards nine-tenths of it; the opposition itself evidently realised this and was prepared to meet us halfway; and with this, perhaps, we would put an end to the disagreements. This was the second, reconciliation period.

But then came the third period. It opened with Trotsky’s pronouncement, his appeal to the districts, which, at one stroke, wiped out the reconciliation tendencies and turned everything topsy-turvy. Trotsky’s pronouncement opened a period of most violent inner-Party struggle—a struggle which would not have occurred had Trotsky not come out with his letter on the very next day after he had voted for the Political Bureau resolution. You know that this first pronouncement of Trotsky’s was followed by a second, and the second by a third, with the result that the struggle grew still more acute.

I think, comrades, that in these pronouncements Trotsky committed at least six grave errors. These errors aggravated the inner-Party struggle. I shall proceed to analyse them.

Trotsky’s first error lies in the very fact that he came out with an article on the next day after the publication of the C.C. Political Bureau and C.C.C. resolution; with an article which can only be regarded as a platform advanced in opposition to the C.C. resolution. I repeat and emphasise that this article can only be regarded as a new platform, advanced in opposition to the unanimously adopted C.C. resolution. Just think of it, comrades: on a certain date the Political Bureau and the Presidium of the C.C.C. meet and discuss a resolution on inner-Party democracy. The resolution is adopted unanimously, and only a day later, independently of the C.C., disregarding its will and over its head, Trotsky’s article is circulated to the districts. It is a new platform and raises anew the issues of the apparatus and the Party, cadres and youth, factions and Party unity, and so on and so forth—a platform immediately seized upon by the entire opposition and advanced as a counterblast to the C.C. resolution. This can only be regarded as opposing oneself to the Central Committee. It means that Trotsky puts himself in open and outright opposition to the entire C.C. The Party was confronted with the question: have we a C.C. as our directing body, or does it no longer exist; is there a C.C. whose unanimous decisions are respected by its members, or is there only a superman standing above the C.C., a superman for whom no laws are valid and who can permit himself to vote for the C.C. resolution today, and to put forward and publish a new platform in opposition to this resolution tomorrow? Comrades, we cannot demand that workers submit to Party discipline if a C.C. member, openly, in the sight of all, ignores the Central Committee and its unanimously adopted decision. We cannot apply two disciplines: one for workers, the other for big-wigs. There must be a single discipline.

Trotsky’s error consists in the fact that he has set himself up in opposition to the C.C. and imagines himself to be a superman standing above the C.C., above its laws, above its decisions, thereby providing a certain section of the Party with a pretext for working to undermine confidence in the C.C.

Some comrades have expressed dissatisfaction that Trotsky’s anti-Party action was treated as such in certain Pravda articles and in articles by individual members of the C.C. To these comrades I must reply that no party could respect a C.C. which at this difficult time failed to uphold the Party’s dignity, when one of its members attempted to put himself above the entire C.C. The C.C. would have committed moral suicide had it passed over this attempt of Trotsky’s.

Trotsky’s second error is his ambiguous behaviour during the whole period of the discussion. He has grossly ignored the will of the Party, which wants to know what his real position is, and has diplomatically evaded answering the question put point-blank by many organisations: for whom, in the final analysis, does Trotsky stand—for the C.C. or for the opposition? The discussion is not being conducted for evasions but in order that the whole truth may be placed frankly and honestly before the Party, as Ilyich does and as every Bolshevik is obliged to do. We are told that Trotsky is seriously ill. Let us assume he is; but during his illness be has written three articles and four new chapters of the pamphlet which appeared today. Is it not clear that Trotsky could perfectly well write a few lines in reply to the question put to him by various organisations and state whether he is for the opposition or against the opposition? It need hardly be said that this ignoring of the will of a number of organisations was bound to aggravate the inner-Party struggle.

Trotsky’s third error is that in his pronouncements he puts the Party apparatus in opposition to the Party and advances the slogan of combating the “apparatus men.” Bolshevism cannot accept such contrasting of the Party to the Party apparatus. What, actually, does our Party apparatus consist of? It consists of the Central Committee, the Regional Committees, the Gubernia Committees, the Uyezd Committees. Are these subordinated to the Party? Of course they are, for to the extent of 90 per cent they are elected by the Party. Those who say that the Gubernia Committees have been appointed are wrong. They are wrong, because, as you know, comrades, our Gubernia Committees are elected, just as the Uyezd Committees and the C.C. are. They are subordinated to the Party. But once elected, they must direct the work, that is the point. Is Party work conceivable without direction from the Central Committee, after its election by the congress, and from the Gubernia Committee, after its election by the Gubernia conference? Surely, Party work is inconceivable without this. Surely, this is an irresponsible anarcho-Menshevik view which renounces the very principle of direction of Party activities. I am afraid that by contrasting the Party apparatus to the Party, Trotsky, whom, of course, I have no intention of putting on a par with the Mensheviks, impels some of the inexperienced elements in our Party towards the standpoint of anarcho-Menshevik indiscipline and organisational laxity. I am afraid that this error of Trotsky’s may expose our entire Party apparatus—the apparatus without which the Party is inconceivable—to attack by the inexperienced members of the Party.

Trotsky’s fourth error consists in the fact that he has put the young members of the Party in opposition to its cadres, that he has unwarrantedly accused our cadres of degeneration. Trotsky put our Party on a par with the Social-Democratic Party in Germany. He referred to examples how certain disciples of Marx, veteran Social-Democrats, had degenerated, and from this he concluded that the same danger of degeneration faces our Party cadres. Properly speaking, one might well laugh at the sight of a C.C. member who only yesterday fought Bolshevism hand in hand with the opportunists and Mensheviks, attempting now, in this seventh year of Soviet power, to assert, even if only as an assumption, that our Party cadres, born, trained and steeled in the struggle against Menshevism and opportunism—that these cadres are faced with the prospect of degeneration. I repeat, one might well laugh at this attempt. Since, however, this assertion was made at no ordinary time but during a discussion, and since we are confronted here with a certain contrasting of the Party cadres, who are alleged to be susceptible to degeneration, to the young Party members, who are alleged to be free, or almost free, of such a danger, this assumption, though essentially ridiculous and frivolous, may acquire, and already has acquired, a definite practical significance. That is why I think we must stop to look into it.

It is sometimes said that old people must be respected, for they have lived longer than the young, know more and can give better advice. I must say, comrades, that this is an absolutely erroneous view. It is not every old person we must respect, and it is not every experience that is of value to us. What matters is the kind of experience. German Social-Democracy has its cadres, very experienced ones too: Scheidemann, Noske, Wels and the rest; men with the greatest experience, men who know all the ins and outs of the struggle. . . . But struggle against what, and against whom? What matters is the kind of experience. In Germany these cadres were trained in the struggle against the revolutionary spirit, not in the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, but against it. Their experience is vast; but it is the wrong kind of experience. Comrades, it is the duty of the youth to explode this experience, demolish it and oust these old ones. There, in German Social-Democracy, the youth, being free of the experience of struggle against the revolutionary spirit, is closer to this revolutionary spirit or closer to Marxism, than the old cadres. The latter are burdened with the experience of struggle against the revolutionary spirit of the proletariat, they are burdened with the experience of struggle for opportunism, against revolutionism. Such cadres must be routed, and all our sympathies must be with that youth which, I repeat, is free of this experience of struggle against the revolutionary spirit and for that reason can the more easily assimilate the new ways and methods of struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, against opportunism. There, in Germany, I can understand the question being put in that way. If Trotsky were speaking of German Social-Democracy and the cadres of such a party, I would be wholeheartedly prepared to endorse his statement. But we are dealing with a different party, the Communist Party, the Bolshevik Party, whose cadres came into being in the struggle against opportunism, gained strength in that struggle, and which matured and captured power in the struggle against imperialism, in the struggle against all the opportunist hangers-on of imperialism. Is it not clear that there is a fundamental difference here? Our cadres matured in the struggle to assert the revolutionary spirit; they carried that struggle through to the end, they came to power in battles against imperialism, and they are now shaking the foundations of world imperialism. How can these cadres—if one approaches the matter honestly, without duplicity—how can these cadres be put on a par with those of German Social-Democracy, which in the past worked hand in glove with Wilhelm against the working class, and is now working hand in glove with Seeckt; a party which grew up and was formed in the struggle against the revolutionary spirit of the proletariat? How can these cadres, fundamentally different in nature, be put on a par, how can they be confused? Is it so difficult to realise that the gulf between the two is unbridgeable? Is it so difficult to see that Trotsky’s gross misrepresentation, his gross confusion, are calculated to undermine the prestige of our revolutionary cadres, the core of our Party? Is it not clear that this misrepresentation could only inflame passions and render the inner-Party struggle more acute?

Trotsky’s fifth error is to raise in his letters the argument and slogan that the Party must march in step with the student youth, “our Party’s truest barometer.” “The youth—the Party’s truest barometer—react most sharply of all against Party bureaucracy,” he says in his first article. And in order that there be no doubt as to what youth he has in mind, Trotsky adds in his second letter: “Especially sharply, as we have seen, does the student youth react against bureaucracy.” If we were to proceed from this proposition, an absolutely incorrect one, theoretically fallacious and practically harmful, we should have to go further and issue the slogan: “More student youth in our Party; open wide the doors of our Party to the student youth.”

Hitherto the policy has been to orientate ourselves on the proletarian section of our Party, and we have said: “open wide the doors of the Party to proletarian elements; our Party must grow by recruiting proletarians.” Now Trotsky turns this formula upside down.

The question of intellectuals and workers in our Party is no new one. It was raised as far back as the Second Congress of our Party when it was a question of the formulation of paragraph 1 of the Rules, on Party membership. As you know, Martov demanded at the time that the framework of the Party be expanded to include non-proletarian elements, in opposition to Comrade Lenin, who insisted that the admission of such elements into the Party be strictly limited. Subsequently, at the Third Congress of our Party, the issue arose again, with new force. I recall how sharply, at that congress, Comrade Lenin put the question of workers and intellectuals in our Party. This is what Comrade Lenin said at the time:

“It has been pointed out that usually splits have been headed by intellectuals. This is a very important point, but it is not decisive. . . . I believe we must take a broader view of the matter. The bringing of workers on to the committees is not only a pedagogical, but also a political task. Workers have class instinct, and given a little political experience they fairly soon develop into staunch Social-Democrats. I would be very much in sympathy with the idea that our committees should contain eight workers to every two intellectuals” (see Vol. VII, p. 282*).

That is how the question stood as early as 1905. Ever since, this injunction of Comrade Lenin’s has been our guiding principle in building the Party. But now Trotsky proposes, in effect, that we break with the organisational line of Bolshevism.

And, finally, Trotsky’s sixth error lies in his proclaiming freedom of groups. Yes, freedom of groups! I recall that already in the sub-commission which drew up the draft resolution on democracy we had an argument with Trotsky on groups and factions. Trotsky raised no objection to the prohibition of factions, but vehemently defended the idea of permitting groups within the Party. That view is shared by the opposition. Evidently, these people do not realise that by permitting freedom of groups they open a loophole for the Myasnikov elements, and make it easier for them to mislead the Party and represent factions as groups. Indeed, is there any difference between a group and a faction? Only an outward one. This is how Comrade Lenin defines factionalism, identifying it with groups:

“Even before the general Party discussion on the trade unions, certain signs of factionalism were apparent in the Party, namely, the formation of groups with separate platforms, striving to a certain degree to segregate themselves and to establish a group discipline of their own” (see Stenographic Report of the Tenth Congress, R.C.P.(B.), p. 309).

As you see, there is essentially no difference here between factions and groups. And when the opposition set up its own bureau here in Moscow, with Serebryakov as its head; when it began to send out speakers with instructions to address such and such meetings and raise such and such objections; and when, in the course of the struggle, these oppositionists were compelled to retreat and changed their resolutions by command; this, of course, was evidence of the existence of a group and of group discipline. But we are told that this was not a faction; well, let Preobrazhensky explain what a faction is. Trotsky’s pronouncements, his letters and articles on the subject of generations and of factions, are designed to induce the Party to tolerate groups within its midst. This is an attempt to legalise factions, and Trotsky’s faction above all.

Trotsky affirms that groups arise because of the bureaucratic regime instituted by the Central Committee, and that if there were no bureaucratic regime, there would be no groups either. This is an un-Marxist approach, comrades. Groups arise, and will continue to arise, because we have in our country the most diverse forms of economy—from embryonic forms of socialism down to medievalism. That in the first place. Then we have the NEP, that is, we have allowed capitalism, the revival of private capital and the revival of the ideas that go with it, and these ideas are penetrating into the Party. That in the second place. And, in the third place, our Party is made up of three component parts: there are workers, peasants and intellectuals in its ranks. These then, if we approach the question in a Marxist way, are the causes why certain elements are drawn from the Party for the formation of groups, which in some cases we must remove by surgical action, and in others dissolve by ideological means, through discussion.

It is not a question of regime here. There would be many more groups under a regime of maximum freedom. So it is not the regime that is to blame, but the conditions in which we live, the conditions that exist in our country, the conditions governing the development of the Party itself.

If we were to allow groups in this situation, under these complex conditions, we would ruin the Party, convert it from the monolithic, united organisation that it is into a union of groups and factions contracting with one another and entering into temporary alliances and agreements. That would not be a party. It would be the collapse of the Party. Never, for a single moment, have the Bolsheviks conceived of the Party as anything but a monolithic organisation, hewed from a single block, possessing a single will and in its work uniting all shades of thought into a single current of practical activities.

But what Trotsky suggests is profoundly erroneous; it runs counter to Bolshevik organisational principles, and would inevitably lead to the disintegration of the Party, making it lax and soft, converting it from a united party into a federation of groups. Living as we do in a situation of capitalist encirclement, we need not only a united party, not only a solid party, but a veritable party of steel, one capable of withstanding the assault of the enemies of the proletariat, capable of leading the workers to the final battle.

What are the conclusions?

The first conclusion is that we have produced a concrete, clear-cut resolution summing up the present discussion. We have declared: groups and factions cannot be tolerated, the Party must be united, monolithic, the Party must not be put in opposition to the apparatus, there must be no idle talk of our cadres being in danger of degeneration, for they are revolutionary cadres, there must be no searching for cleavages between these revolutionary cadres and the youth, which is marching in step with these cadres and will continue to do so in future.

There are also certain positive conclusions. The first and fundamental one is that henceforth the Party must resolutely orientate itself on, and take as its criterion, the proletarian section of our Party, that it must narrow and reduce, or eliminate altogether, the possibility of entry of non-proletarian elements, and open the doors wider to proletarian elements.

As for groups and factions, I believe that the time has come when we must make public the clause in the unity resolution which on Comrade Lenin’s proposal was adopted by the Tenth Congress of our Party and was not intended for publication. Party members have forgotten about this clause. I am afraid not everyone remembers it. This clause, which has hitherto remained secret, should now be published and incorporated in the resolution which we shall adopt on the results of the discussion. With your permission I shall read it. Here is what it says:

“In order to ensure strict discipline within the Party and in all Soviet work and to secure the maximum unanimity, doing away with all factionalism, the congress authorises the Central Committee, in case (cases) of breach of discipline or of a revival or toleration of factionalism, to apply all Party penalties, up to and including expulsion from the Party and, in regard to members of the Central Committee, to reduce them to the status of candidate members and even, as an extreme measure, to expel them from the Party. A condition for the application of such an extreme measure (to members and candidate members of the C.C. and members of the Control Commission) must be the convocation of a plenum of the Central Committee, to which all candidate members of the Central Committee and all members of the Control Commission shall be invited. If such a general assembly of the most responsible leaders of the Party, by a two-thirds majority, considers it necessary to reduce a member of the Central Committee to the status of a candidate member, or to expel him from the Party, this measure shall be put into effect immediately.”

I think that we must incorporate this clause in the resolution on the results of the discussion, and make it public.

Lastly, a question which the opposition keeps raising and to which, apparently, they do not always receive a satisfactory reply. The opposition often asks: whose sentiments do we, the opposition, express? I believe that the opposition expresses the sentiments of the non-proletarian section of our Party. I believe that the opposition, perhaps unconsciously and involuntarily, serves as the unwitting vehicle of the sentiments of the non-proletarian elements in our Party. I believe that the opposition, in its unrestrained agitation for democracy, which it so often makes into an absolute and a fetish, is unleashing petty-bourgeois elemental forces.

Are you acquainted with the sentiments of such comrades as the students Martynov, Kazaryan and the rest? Have you read Khodorovsky’s article in Pravda which cites passages from the speeches of these comrades? Here, for instance, is a speech by Martynov (he is a Party member, it appears): “it is our business to make decisions, and the business of the C.C. to carry them out and to indulge less in argument.” This refers to a Party unit in a college of the People’s Commissariat of Transport. But, comrades, the Party has a total of at least 50,000 units and if each of them is going to regard the C.C. in this way, holding that it is the business of the units to decide, and of the C.C. not to argue, I am afraid that we shall never arrive at any decision. Whence comes this sentiment of the Martynovs? What is there proletarian about it? And the Martynovs, mind you, support the opposition. Is there any difference between Martynov and Trotsky? Only in the fact that Trotsky launched the attack on the Party apparatus, while Martynov is driving that attack home.

And here is another college student, Kazaryan, who, it appears, is also a Party member. “What have we got,” he demands, “a dictatorship of the proletariat or a dictatorship of the Communist Party over the proletariat?” This, comrades, comes not from the Menshevik Martov but from the “Communist” Kazaryan. The difference between Trotsky and Kazaryan is that according to Trotsky our cadres are degenerating, but according to Kazaryan they should be driven out, for in his opinion they have saddled themselves on the proletariat.

I ask: whose sentiments do the Martynovs and Kazaryans express? Proletarian sentiments? Certainly not. Whose then? The sentiments of the non-proletarian elements in the Party and in the country. And is it an accident that these exponents of non-proletarian sentiments vote for the opposition? No, it is no accident. (Applause.)

II.  Reply to the Discussion January 18

I said in my report that I did not wish to touch on the history of the question because that would introduce an element of squabbling, as I put it, and mutual recrimination. But since Preobazhensky wishes it, since he insists, I am prepared to comply and say a few words on the history of the question of inner-Party democracy.

How did the question of inner-Party democracy arise in the C.C.? It came up for the first time at the C.C. plenum in September, in connection with the conflicts that had developed in the factories and the fact, then brought out by us, that certain Party and trade union organisations had become isolated from the masses. The C.C. took the view that this was a serious matter, that shortcomings had accumulated in the Party and that a special authoritative commission ought to be set up to look into the matter, study the facts and submit concrete proposals on how to improve the situation in the Party. The same thing applies to the marketing crisis, the price “scissors.” The opposition took no part at all in raising those questions or in electing the commissions on the inner-Party situation and on the “scissors” problem. Where was the opposition at the time? If I am not mistaken, Preobrazhensky was then in the Crimea and Sapronov in Kislovodsk. Trotsky, then in Kislovodsk, was finishing his articles on art and was about to return to Moscow. They had not yet returned when the Central Committee raised this question at its meeting. They came back to find a ready decision and did not intervene with a single word, nor did they raise a single objection to the C.C. plan. The situation in the Party was the subject of a report read by Comrade Dzerzhinsky at a conference of Gubernia Committee secretaries in September. I affirm that neither at the September plenum, nor at the secretaries’ conference, did the present members of the opposition so much as hint by a single word at a “severe economic crisis,” or a “crisis in the Party,” or the “democracy” issue.

So you see that the questions of democracy and of the “scissors” were raised by the Central Committee itself; the initiative was entirely in the hands of the C.C., while the members of the opposition remained silent—they were absent.

That, so to speak, was Act I, the initial stage in the history of the issue.

Act II began with the plenum of the C.C. and C.C.C. in October. The opposition, headed by Trotsky, seeing that the question of shortcomings in the Party was in the air, that the C.C. had already taken the matter in hand and had formed commissions, and lest—God forbid—the initiative would remain with the C.C., tried, took as its aim, to wrest the initiative from the C.C. and get astride the hobby-horse of democracy. As you know, it is a spry sort of horse and could be used in an attempt to outride the C.C. And so there appeared the documents on which Preobrazhensky spoke here at such length—the document of the 463 and Trotsky’s letter. That same Trotsky, who in September, a few days before his factional pronouncement, had been silent at the plenum, at any rate had not objected to the C.C. decisions, two weeks later suddenly discovered that the country and the Party were going to rack and ruin and that he, Trotsky, this patriarch of bureaucrats, could not live without democracy.

It was rather amusing for us to hear Trotsky hold forth on the subject of democracy, the same Trotsky who at the Tenth Party Congress had demanded that the trade unions be shaken up from above. But we knew that no great difference separates the Trotsky of the Tenth Congress period from the Trotsky of today, for now, as then, he advocates shaking up the Leninist cadres. The only difference is that at the Tenth Congress he wanted to shake up the Leninist cadres from the top, in the sphere of the trade unions, whereas now he wants to shake up the same Leninist cadres from the bottom, in the sphere of the Party. He needs democracy as a hobby-horse, as a strategic manoeuvre. That’s what all the clamour is about.

For, if the opposition really wanted to help matters, to approach the issue in a business-like and comradely way, it should have submitted its statement first of all to the commissions set up by the September plenum, and should have said something like this: “We consider your work unsatisfactory; we demand a report on its results to the Political Bureau, we demand a plenum of the C.C., to which we have new proposals of ours to present,” etc. And if the commissions had refused to give them a hearing, or if the Political Bureau had refused to hear their case, if it had ignored the opinion of the opposition, or refused to call a plenum to examine Trotsky’s proposals and the opposition proposals generally, then—and only then—would the opposition have been fully justified in coming out openly, over the head of the C.C., with an appeal to the Party membership and in saying to the party: “The country is facing disaster; economic crisis is developing; the Party is on the road to ruin. We asked the C.C. commissions to go into these questions, but they refused to give us a hearing, we tried to lay the matter before the Political Bureau, but nothing came of that either. We are now forced to appeal to the Party, in order that the Party itself may take things in hand.” I do not doubt that the response of the Party would have been: “Yes, these are practical revolutionaries, for they place the essence of the matter above the form.”

But did the opposition act like that? Did it attempt, even once, to approach the C.C. commissions with its proposals? Did it ever think of, did it make any attempt at, raising and settling the issues within the C.C. or the organs of the C.C.? No, the opposition made no such attempt. Evidently, its purpose was not to improve the inner-Party situation, or to help the Party to improve the economic situation, but to anticipate the work of the commissions and plenum of the C.C., to wrest the initiative from the C.C., get astride the hobby-horse of democracy and, while there was still time, raise a hue and cry in an attempt to undermine confidence in the C.C. Clearly, the opposition was in a hurry to concoct “documents” against the C.C., in the shape of Trotsky’s letter and the statement of the 46, so that it could circulate them among the Sverdlov University students and to the districts and assert that it, the opposition, was for democracy and for improving the economic situation, while the C.C. was hindering, that assistance was needed against the C.C., and so on.

Such are the facts.

I demand that Preobrazhensky refute these statements of mine. I demand that he refute them, in the press at least. Let Preobrazhensky try to refute the fact that the commissions were set up in September by the C.C. plenum without the opposition, before the opposition took up the issue. Let Preobrazhensky try to refute the fact that neither Trotsky nor the other oppositionists attempted to present their proposals to the commissions. Let Preobrazhensky try to refute the fact that the opposition knew of the existence of these commissions, ignored their work and made no effort to settle the matter within the C.C.

That is why, when Preobrazhensky and Trotsky declared at the October plenum that they wanted to save the Party through democracy, but that the C.C. was blind and saw nothing, the C.C. laughed at them and replied: No, comrades, we, the C.C., are wholeheartedly for democracy, but we do not believe in your democracy, because we feel that your “democracy” is simply a strategic move against the C.C. motivated by your factionalism.

What did the C.C. and C.C.C. plenums decide at the time on inner-Party democracy? This is what they decided:

“The plenums fully endorse the Political Bureau’s timely course of promoting inner-Party democracy and also its proposal to intensify the struggle against extravagance and the corrupting influence of the NEP on some elements in the Party.

“The plenums instruct the Political Bureau to do everything necessary to expedite the work of the commissions appointed by the Political Bureau and the September plenum: 1) the commission on the ‘scissors,’ 2) on wages, 3) on the inner-Party situation.

“When the necessary measures on these questions have been worked out, the Political Bureau must immediately begin to put them into effect and report to the next plenum of the C.C.”

In one of his letters to the C.C. Trotsky wrote that the October plenum was the “supreme expression of the apparatus-bureaucratic line of policy.” Is it not clear that this statement of Trotsky’s is a slander against the C.C.? Only a man who has completely lost his head and is blinded by factionalism can, after the adoption of the document I have just read, maintain that the October plenum was the supreme expression of bureaucracy.

And what did the C.C. and C.C.C. plenums decide at the time on the “democratic” manoeuvres of Trotsky and the 46? This is what they decided:

“The plenums of the C.C. and C.C.C., attended also by representatives of ten Party organisations, regard Trotsky’s pronouncement, made at the present highly important moment for the world revolution and the Party, as a grave political error, especially because his attack on the Political Bureau has, objectively, assumed the character of a factional move which threatens to strike a blow at Party unity and creates a crisis in the Party. The plenums note with regret that, in order to raise the questions touched on by him, Trotsky chose the method of appealing to individual Party members, instead of the only permissible method—that of first submitting these questions for discussion by the bodies of which Trotsky is a member.

“The method chosen by Trotsky served as the signal for the appearance of a factional group (statement of the 46).

“The plenums of the C.C. and C.C.C., and representatives of ten Party organisations, resolutely condemn the statement of the 46 as a factional and schismatic step; for that is its nature, whatever the intentions of those who signed it. That statement threatens to subject the entire Party in the coming months to an inner-Party struggle and thereby weaken the Party at a supremely important moment for the destinies of the world revolution.”

As you see, comrades, these facts completely refute the picture of the situation presented here by Preobrazhensky.

Act III, or the third stage, in the history of the issue was the period following the October plenum. The October plenum had voted to instruct the Political Bureau that it take every measure to ensure harmony in its work. I must state here, comrades, that in the period following the October plenum we took every measure to work in harmony with Trotsky, although I must say that this proved anything but an easy task. We had two private conferences with Trotsky, went into all questions of economic and Party matters and arrived at certain views on which there were no disagreements. As I reported yesterday, a sub-commission of three was set up as a continuation of these private conferences and of these efforts to ensure harmony in the work of the Political Bureau. This sub-commission drew up the draft resolution which subsequently became the C.C. and C.C.C. resolution on democracy.

That is how things stood.

It seemed to us that after the unanimous adoption of the resolution there were no further grounds for controversy, no grounds for an inner-Party struggle. And, indeed, this was so until Trotsky’s new pronouncement, his appeal to the districts. But Trotsky’s pronouncement on the day after the publication of the C.C. resolution, undertaken independently of the C.C. and over its head, upset everything, radically changed the situation, and hurled the Party back into a fresh controversy and a fresh struggle, more acute than before. It is said that the C.C. should have forbidden the publication of Trotsky’s article. That is wrong, comrades. It would have been a highly dangerous step for the C.C. to take. Try and prohibit an article of Trotsky’s, already made public in the Moscow districts! The Central Committee could not take so rash a step.

That is the history of the issue.

It follows from what has been said that the opposition has been concerned not so much with democracy as with using the idea of democracy to undermine the C.C.; that in the case of the opposition we are dealing not with people who want to help the Party, but with a faction which has been stealthily watching the C.C. in the hope that “it may slip up, or overlook something, and then we’ll pounce on it.” For it is a faction when one group of Party members tries to trap the central agencies of the Party in order to exploit a crop failure, a depreciation of the chervonets or any other difficulty confronting the Party, and then to attack the Party unexpectedly, from ambush, and to hit it on the head. Yes, the C.C. was right when in October it said to you, comrades of the opposition, that democracy is one thing and intriguing against the Party quite another; that democracy is one thing and exploiting clamour about democracy against the Party majority quite another.

That, Preobrazhensky, is the history of the issue, about which I did not want to speak here, but which, nevertheless, I have been obliged to recount in deference to your persistent desire.

The opposition has made it a rule to extol Comrade Lenin as the greatest of geniuses. I am afraid that this praise is insincere and that behind it, too, is a crafty stratagem: the clamour about Comrade Lenin’s genius is meant to cover up their departure from Lenin, and at the same time to emphasise the weakness of his disciples. Certainly, it is not for us, Comrade Lenin’s disciples, to fail to appreciate that Comrade Lenin is the greatest of geniuses, and that men of his calibre are born once in many centuries. But permit me to ask you, Preobrazhensky, why did you differ with this greatest of geniuses on the issue of the Brest Peace? Why did you abandon and refuse to heed this greatest of geniuses at a difficult moment? Where, in which camp, were you then?

And Sapronov, who now insincerely and hypocritically lauds Comrade Lenin, that same Sapronov who had the impudence, at one congress, to call Comrade Lenin an “ignoramus” and “oligarch”! Why did he not support the genius Lenin, say at the Tenth Congress, and why, if he really thinks that Comrade Lenin is the greatest of geniuses, has he invariably appeared in the opposite camp at difficult moments? Does Sapronov know that Comrade Lenin, in submitting to the Tenth Congress the unity resolution, which calls for the expulsion of factionalists from the Party, had in mind Sapronov among others?

Or again: why was Preobrazhensky found to be in the camp of the opponents of the great genius Lenin, not only at the time of the Brest Peace, but subsequently too, in the period of the trade union discussion? Is all this accidental? Is there not a definite logic in it? (Preobrazhensky: “I tried to use my own brains.”)

It is very praiseworthy, Preobrazhensky, that you should have wanted to use your own brains. But just look at the result: on the Brest issue you used your own brains, and came a cropper; then in the trade union discussion you again tried to use your own brains, and again you came a cropper; and now, I do not know whether you are using your own brains or borrowing someone else’s, but it appears that you have come a cropper this time too. (Laughter.) Nevertheless, I think that if Preobrazhensky were now to use his own brains more, rather than Trotsky’s—which resulted in the letter of October 8 – he would be closer to us than to Trotsky.

Preobrazhensky has reproached the C.C., asserting that as long as Ilyich stood at our head questions were solved in good time, not belatedly, for Ilyich was able to discern new events in the embryo, and give slogans that anticipated events; whereas now, he claims, with Ilyich absent, the Central Committee has begun to lag behind events. What does Preobrazhensky wish to imply? That Ilyich is superior to his disciples? But does anyone doubt that? Does anyone doubt that, compared with his disciples, Ilyich stands out as a veritable Goliath? If we are to speak of the Party’s leader, not a press-publicised leader receiving a heap of congratulatory messages, but its real leader, then there is only one—Comrade Lenin. That is precisely why it has been stressed time and again that in the present circumstances, with Comrade Lenin temporarily absent, we must keep to the line of collective leadership. As for Comrade Lenin’s disciples, we might point, for example, to the events connected with the Curzon ultimatum,4 which were a regular test, an examination, for them. The fact that we emerged from our difficulties then without detriment to our cause undoubtedly shows that Comrade Lenin’s disciples had already learned a thing or two from their teacher.

Preobrazhensky is wrong in asserting that our Party did not lag behind events in previous years. He is wrong because this assertion is untrue factually and incorrect theoretically. Several examples can be cited. Take, for instance, the Brest Peace. Were we not late in concluding it? And did it not require such facts as the German offensive and the wholesale flight of our soldiers to make us realise, at last, that we had to have peace? The disintegration of the front, Hoffman’s offensive,5 his approach to Petrograd, the pressure exerted on us by the peasants—did it not take all these developments to make us realise that the tempo of the world revolution was not as rapid as we would have liked, that our army was not as strong as we had thought, that the peasantry was not as patient as some of us had thought, and that it wanted peace, and would achieve it by force?

Or take the repeal of the surplus-appropriation system. Were we not late in repealing the surplus-appropriation system? Did it not require such developments as Kronstadt and Tambov6 to make us understand that it was no longer possible to retain the conditions of War Communism? Did not Ilyich himself admit that on this front we had sustained a more serious defeat than any we had suffered at the Denikin or Kolchak fronts?

Was it accidental that in all these instances the Party lagged behind events and acted somewhat belatedly? No, it was not accidental. There was a natural law at work here. Evidently, in so far as it is a matter not of general theoretical predictions, but of direct practical leadership, the ruling party, standing at the helm and involved in the events of the day, cannot immediately perceive and grasp processes taking place below the surface of life. It requires some impulse from outside and a definite degree of development of the new processes for the Party to perceive them and orientate its work accordingly. For that very reason our Party lagged somewhat behind events in the past, and will lag behind them in future too. But the point here does not at all concern lagging behind, but understanding the significance of events, the significance of new processes, and then skilfully directing them in accordance with the general trend of development. That is how the matter stands if we approach things as Marxists and not as factionalists who go about searching everywhere for culprits.

Preobrazhensky is indignant that representatives of the C.C. speak of Trotsky’s deviations from Leninism. He is indignant, but has presented no arguments to the contrary and has made no attempt at all to substantiate his indignation, forgetting that indignation is no argument: Yes, it is true that Trotsky deviates from Leninism on questions of organisation. That has been, and still is, our contention. The articles in Pravda entitled “Down With Factionalism,” written by Bukharin, are entirely devoted to Trotsky’s deviations from Leninism. Why has not Preobrazhensky challenged the basic ideas of these articles? Why has he not tried to support his indignation by arguments, or a semblance of arguments? I said yesterday, and I must repeat it today, that such actions of Trotsky’s as setting himself up in opposition to the Central Committee; ignoring the will of a number of organisations that are demanding a clear answer from him; contrasting the Party to the Party apparatus, and the young Party members to the Party cadres; his attempt to orientate the Party on the student youth, and his proclamation of freedom of groups—I say that these actions are incompatible with the organisational principles of Leninism. Why then has Preobrazhensky not tried to refute this statement of mine?

It is said that Trotsky is being baited. Preobrazhensky and Radek have spoken of this. Comrades, I must say that the statements of these comrades about baiting are altogether at variance with the facts. Let me recall two facts so that you may be able to judge for yourselves. First, the incident which occurred at the September plenum of the C.C. when, in reply to the remark by C.C. member Komarov that C.C. members cannot refuse to carry out C.C. decisions, Trotsky jumped up and left the meeting. You will recall that the C.C. plenum sent a “delegation” to Trotsky with the request that he return to the meeting. You will recall that Trotsky refused to comply with this request of the plenum, thereby demonstrating that he had not the slightest respect for his Central Committee.

There is also the other fact, that Trotsky definitely refuses to work in the central Soviet bodies, in the Council of Labour and Defence and the Council of People’s Commissars, despite the twice-adopted C.C. decision that he at last take up his duties in the Soviet bodies. You know that Trotsky has not as much as moved a finger to carry out this C.C. decision. But, indeed, why should not Trotsky work in the Council of Labour and Defence, or in the Council of People’s Commissars? Why should not Trotsky—who is so fond of talking about planning—why should he not have a look into our State Planning Commission? Is it right and proper for a C.C. member to ignore a decision of the C.C.? Do not all these facts show that the talk about baiting is no more than idle gossip, and that if anyone is to be blamed, it is Trotsky himself, for his behaviour can only be regarded as mocking at the C.C.?

Preobrazhensky’s arguments about democracy are entirely wrong. This is how he puts the question: either we have groups, and in that case there is democracy, or you prohibit groups, and in that case there is no democracy. In his conception, freedom of groups and democracy are inseparably bound up. That is not how we understand democracy. We understand democracy to mean raising the activity and political understanding of the mass of Party members; we understand it to mean the systematic enlistment of the Party membership not, only in the discussion of questions, but also in the leadership of the work. Freedom of groups, that is, freedom of factions—they are one and the same thing—represents an evil which threatens to splinter the Party and turn it into a discussion club. You have exposed yourself, Preobrazhensky, by defending freedom of factions. The mass of Party members understand democracy to mean creating conditions that will ensure active participation of the Party members in the leadership of our country, whereas a couple of oppositionist intellectuals understand it to mean that the opposition must be given freedom to form a faction. You stand exposed, Preobrazhensky.

And why are you so frightened by point seven, on Party unity? What is there to be frightened about? Point seven reads: “In order to ensure strict discipline within the Party and in all Soviet work and to secure the maximum unanimity, doing away with all factionalism. . . .” But are you against “strict discipline within the Party and in Soviet work”? Comrades of the opposition, are you against all this? Well, I did not know, comrades, that you were opposed to this. Are you, Sapronov and Preobrazhensky, opposed to securing maximum unanimity and “doing away with factionalism”? Tell us frankly, and perhaps we shall introduce an amendment or two. (Laughter.)

Further: “The congress authorises the Central Committee, in case of breach of Party discipline or of a revival of factionalism, to apply Party penalties. . . .” Are you afraid of this too? Can it be that you, Preobrazhensky, Radek, Sapronov, are thinking of violating Party discipline, of reviving factionalism? Well, if that is not your intention, then what are you afraid of? Your panic shows you up, comrades. Evidently, if you are afraid of point seven of the unity resolution, you must be for factionalism, for violating discipline, and against unity. Otherwise, why all the panic? If your conscience is clear, if you are for unity and against factionalism and violation of discipline, then is it not clear that the punishing hand of the Party will not touch you? What is there to fear then? (Voice: “But why do you include the point, if there is nothing to fear?”)

To remind you. (Laughter, applause. Preobrazhensky: “You are intimidating the Party.”)

We are intimidating the factionalists, not the Party. Do you really think, Preobrazhensky, that the Party and the factionalists are identical? Apparently it is a case of the cap fitting. (Laughter.)

Further: “And, in regard to members of the Central Committee, to reduce them to the status of candidate members and even, as an extreme measure, to expel them from the Party. A condition for the application of such an extreme measure to members and candidate members of the C.C. and members of the Central Control Commission must be the convocation of a plenum of the Central Committee.”

What is there terrible in that? If you are not factionalists, if you are against freedom of groups, and if you are for unity, then you, comrades of the opposition, should vote for point seven of the Tenth Congress resolution, for it is directed solely against factionalists, solely against those who violate the Party’s unity, its strength and discipline. Is that not clear?

I now pass to Radek. There are people who can master and manage their tongues; these are ordinary people. There are also people who are slaves of their tongues; their tongues manage them. These are peculiar people. And it is to this category of peculiar people that Radek belongs. A man who has a tongue he cannot manage and who is the slave of his own tongue, can never know what and when his tongue is liable to blurt out. If you had been able to hear Radek’s speeches at various meetings, you would have been astonished by what he said today. At one discussion meeting Radek asserted that the question of inner-Party democracy was a trivial one, that actually he, Radek, was against democracy, that, at bottom the issue now was not one of democracy, but of what the C.C. intended to do with Trotsky. At another discussion meeting this same Radek declared that democracy within the Party was not a serious matter, but that democracy within the C.C. was a matter of the utmost importance, for in his opinion a Directory had been set up inside the C.C. And today this same Radek tells us in all innocence that inner-Party democracy is as indispensable as air and water, for without democracy, it appears, leadership of the Party is impossible. Which of these three Radeks are we to believe—the first, second or third? And what guarantee is there that Radek, or rather his tongue, will not in the immediate future make new unexpected statements that refute all his previous ones? Can one rely on a man like Radek? Can one, after all this, attach any value to Radek’s statement, for instance, about Boguslavsky and Antonov being removed from certain posts out of “factional considerations”?

I have already spoken, comrades, about Boguslavsky.. . . As for Antonov-Ovseyenko, permit me to report the following. Antonov was removed from the Political Department of the Red Army by decision of the Organising Bureau of the Central Committee, a decision confirmed by a plenum of the Central Committee. He was removed, first of all, for having issued a circular about a conference of Party units in military colleges and the air fleet, with the international situation, Party affairs, etc., as items on the agenda, without the knowledge and agreement of the C.C., although Antonov knew that the status of the Political Department of the Red Army is that of a department of the C.C. He was removed from the Political Department, in addition, for having sent to all Party units of the army a circular concerning the forms in which inner-Party democracy was to be applied, doing so against the will of the C.C. and in spite of its warning that the circular must be coordinated with the plans of the C.C. He was removed, lastly, for having sent to the C.C. and C.C.C. a letter, altogether indecent in tone and absolutely impermissible in content, threatening the C.C. and C.C.C. that the “overweening leaders” would be called to account.

Comrades, oppositionists can and should be allowed to hold posts. Heads of C.C. departments can and should be allowed to criticise the Central Committee’s activities. But we cannot allow the head of the Political Department of the Red Army, which has the status of a department of the C.C., systematically to refuse to establish working contact with his Central Committee. We cannot allow a responsible official to trample underfoot the elementary rules of decency. Such a comrade cannot be entrusted with the education of the Red Army. That is how matters stand with Antonov.

Finally, I must say a few words on the subject of whose are the sentiments that are expressed in the pronouncements of the comrades of the opposition. I must return to the “incident” of Comrades Kazaryan and Martynov, students at the People’s Commissariat of Transport college. This “incident” is evidence that all is not well among a certain section of our students, that what they had of the Party spirit in them has already become rotten, that intrinsically they have already broken with the Party and precisely for that reason willingly vote for the opposition. You will forgive me, comrades, but such people, rotten through and through from the Party standpoint, are not to be found, and could not possibly be found, among those who voted for the C.C. resolution. There are no such people on our side, comrades. There are none in our ranks who would ask: “What have we got, a dictatorship of the proletariat or a dictatorship of the Communist Party over the proletariat?” That is a phrase of Martov and Dan; it is a phrase of the Socialist-Revolutionary Dni,7 and if among you, in your ranks, there are those who take this line, then what is your position worth, comrades of the opposition? Or there is, for instance, the other comrade, comrade Martynov, who thinks that the C.C. should keep quiet while the Party units decide. He says in effect: You, the C.C., can carry out what we, the units, decide. But we have 50,000 Party units, and if they are going to decide, say, the question of the Curzon ultimatum, then we shall not arrive at a decision in two years. That is indeed anarcho-Menshevism of the first water. These people have lost their heads; from the Party standpoint they are rotten through and through, and if you have them in your faction, then I ask you, what is this faction of yours worth? (Voice: “Are they Party members?”)

Yes, unfortunately they are, but I am prepared to take every measure to ensure that such people cease to be members of our Party. (Applause.) I have said that the opposition voices the sentiments and aspirations of the non-proletarian elements in the Party and outside it. Without being conscious of it, the opposition is unleashing petty-bourgeois elemental forces. Its factional activities bring grist to the mill of the enemies of our Party, to the mill of those who want to weaken, to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat. I said this yesterday and I re-affirm it today.

But perhaps you would like to hear other, fresh witnesses? I can give you that pleasure. Let me cite, for instance, the evidence of S. Ivanovich, a name you have all heard. Who is this S. Ivanovich? He is a Menshevik, a former Party member, of the days when we and the Mensheviks comprised a single Party. Later on he disagreed with the Menshevik C.C. and became a Right-wing Menshevik. The Right-wing Mensheviks are a group of Menshevik interventionists, and their immediate object is to overthrow Soviet power, even if with the aid of foreign bayonets. Their organ is Zarya8 and its editor is S. Ivanovich. How does he regard our opposition, this Right-wing Menshevik? What sort of testimonial has he given it? Listen to this:

“Let us be thankful to the opposition for having so luridly depicted that horrifying moral cesspool that goes by the name of the R.C.P. Let us be thankful to it for having dealt a serious blow, morally and organisationally, to the R.C.P. Let us be thankful to it for its activities, because they help all those who regard the overthrow of Soviet power as the task of the Socialist parties.”

There you have your testimonial, comrades of the opposition!

In conclusion, I would like nevertheless to wish the comrades of the opposition that this kiss of S. Ivanovich will not stick to them too closely. (Prolonged applause.)

Notes

1. The Thirteenth Conference of the R.C.P.(B.) took place in Moscow on January 16-18, 1924. There were present 128 delegates with right of voice and vote and 222 with right of voice only. The conference discussed Party affairs, the international situation, and the immediate tasks in economic policy. On J. V. Stalin’s report “Immediate Tasks in Party Affairs” the conference passed two resolutions: “Party Affairs,” and “Results of the Discussion and the Petty-Bourgeois Deviation in the Party.”

The conference condemned the Trotskyite opposition, declaring it to be a petty-bourgeois deviation from Marxism, and recommended that the Central Committee publish Point 7 of the resolution “On Party Unity” that was adopted by the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P. (B.) on the proposal of V. I. Lenin. These decisions of the conference were endorsed by the Thirteenth Party Congress and by the Fifth Congress of the Comintern. (For the resolutions of the conference, see Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U.(B.) Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part I, 1941, pp. 535-56.)

2. This refers to the resolution on Party affairs adopted at the joint meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and the Presidium of the Central Control Commission of the R.C.P. (B.) held on December 5, 1923, and published in Pravda, No. 278, December 7, 1923. The plenum of the Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.), which took place on January 14-15, 1924, summed up the discussion in the Party and endorsed the resolution on Party affairs adopted by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and the Presidium of the Central Control Commission for submission to the Thirteenth Party Conference (see Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U.(B.) Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part I, 1941, pp. 533-540).

* In this and other references to Lenin’s Works, Roman numerals indicate volumes of the Third Russian Edition of V. I. Lenin’s Works.—Tr.

3. Concerning the document of the 46 members of the opposition, see History of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Short Course, Moscow 1952, pp. 408-09.

4. On May 8, 1923, Lord Curzon, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, sent the Soviet Government an ultimatum containing slanderous charges against the Soviet Government. It demanded the recall of the Soviet plenipotentiary representatives from Persia and Afghanistan, the release of British fishing boats which had been detained for illegal fishing in the northern territorial waters of the U.S.S.R., etc., and threatened a rupture of trade relations if these demands were not conceded within ten days. Curzon’s ultimatum created the danger of a new intervention. The Soviet Government rejected the unlawful claims of the British Government, at the same time expressing complete readiness to settle the relations between the two countries in a peaceful way, and took measures to strengthen the country’s defensive capacity.

5. This refers to the advance on Soviet territory by German troops under the command of General Hoffmann in February 1918 (see J. V, Stalin, Works, Vol. 4, pp. 39-49).

6. This refers to the counter-revolutionary mutiny in Kronstadt in 1921, and to the kulak revolt in the Tambov Gubernia in 1919-21.

7. Dni (Days)—a daily newspaper of the Socialist-Revolutionary whiteguard émigrés; published in Berlin from October 1922.

8. Zarya (Dawn)—a magazine of the Right-wing Menshevik whiteguard émigrés; published in Berlin from April 1922 to January 1924.

First Russian Aviator – Mikhail Nikiforovich Efimov (1881-1919) Bolshevik Revolutionary

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Mikhail Efimov was known to be a good athlete in his youth, a profound thinker and inventor, and supporter of the Bolshevik Revolutionary Movement led by Lenin. Although the Wright brothers of the USA are believed by many to have made the first manned flight in a heavier than air machine – there is still argument and dispute about this fact. Even the European Press was doubtful of this claim at the time. However, whatever the actual facts, even in Russia today, the Wright brothers are generally credited with achieving the first ‘crude’ flight, as it where, but it is Mikhail Efimov who is believed to be the first true ‘pioneer’ of manned flight.

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Despite being a successful athlete, Mikhail Efimov’s dream was always to fly in the sky. In 1909 he successfully took to the skies in a glider, but later that year, at the expense of banker Ivan Ksidias, he went to study piloting in France, where his instructor was pioneer of aviation – Henri Farman.  On December 25th, 1909 Mikhail Efimov made his first independent 45-minute flight in an aeroplane over France. This was a substantial breakthrough in aviation, as prior to this, pilots had stayed in the air for only several minutes at a time. On March 21st, 1910 in Odessa, Mikhail Efimov – in the presence of 100,000 people on the field of the Odessa Racetrack – took to the skies yet again. On this day he climbed five times, (performing three laps) at an altitude of 50 meters, including two flights with passengers – bankers Ivan Xidias and the Chairman of the Odessa Flying Club -A rthur Anatot. These flights were carried out on the aeroplane ‘Farman-IV’. also on this day, Efimov set a world record for the duration of a flight with passengers. The previous record had belonged to one of the founders of aviation – Orvil Wright. This flight marked the beginning of the development of piloting aircraft in Russia. After landing, Efimov was awarded a laurel wreath with the inscription ‘The First Russian Aviator’.

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With the outbreak of WWI, Mikhail Efimov filed a report asking for him to be sent to the Western Front. Eventually he volunteered for the 32nd Airborne Detachment on the Western Front. As an experienced pilot, he flew reconnaissance and bombing missions over enemy positions, whilst gathering valuable reconnaissance information. For his military service he was awarded a full set of St. George Crosses, and the Order of Anna III medal with swords. As a progressive thinker, he supported the February Revolutionary Movement in Russia, and as a Bolshevik, he supported the October Revolution of 1917. However, as soon as the Revolution was declared, fourteen Western powers (including the USA, the UK and Germany) sent a combined ‘White’ force into Russia to combat the new ‘Red’ threat. In 1919, Mikhail Efimov was captured by these ‘White’ forces (known as the ‘White Guard’) and executed without trial (for supporting the Socialist cause).

Russian Language References:

https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ефимов,_Михаил_Никифорович

http://tehvov.ru/hist/1408-jelektrik-vysokogo-poleta-pjat-faktov-o-pervom.html

Pravda: Stalin Deconstructs Trotsky’s Duplicitous Letter (15.12.1923)

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Full Article – JV Stalin – UK

Trotsky’s Letter

The resolution of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission on internal Party democracy, published on December 7, was adopted unanimously. Trotsky voted for this resolution. It might have been expected, therefore, that the members of the Central Committee, including Trotsky, would come forward in a united front with a call to Party members for unanimous support of the Central Committee and its resolution. This expectation, however, has not been realised. The other day Trotsky issued a letter to the Party conferences which cannot be interpreted otherwise than as an attempt to weaken the will of the Party membership for unity in supporting the Central Committee and its position.

Judge for yourselves.

After referring to bureaucracy in the Party apparatus and the danger of degeneration of the old guard, i.e., the Leninists, the main core of our Party, Trotsky writes:

“The degeneration of the ‘old guard’ has been observed in history more than once. Let us take the latest and most glaring historical example: the leaders and the parties of the Second International. We know that Wilhelm Liebknecht, Bebel, Singer, Victor Adler, Kautsky, Bernstein, Lafargue, Guesde, and others, were the immediate and direct pupils of Marx and Engels. We know, however, that all those leaders—some partly, and others wholly—degenerated into opportunism.”. . . “We, that is, we ‘old ones,’ must say that our generation, which naturally plays a leading role in the Party, has no self-sufficient guarantee against the gradual and imperceptible weakening of the proletarian and revolutionary spirit, assuming that the Party tolerates a further growth and consolidation of the bureaucratic-apparatus methods of policy which are transforming the younger generation into passive educational material and are inevitably creating estrangement between the apparatus and the membership, between the old and the young.”. . . “The youth—the Party’s truest barometer—react most sharply of all against Party bureaucracy.”. . . “The youth must capture the revolutionary formulas by storm. . .

First, I must dispel a possible misunderstanding. As is evident from his letter, Trotsky includes himself among the Bolshevik old guard, thereby showing readiness to take upon himself the charges that may be hurled at the old guard if it does indeed take the path of degeneration. It must be admitted that this readiness for self-sacrifice is undoubtedly a noble trait. But I must protect Trotsky from Trotsky, because, for obvious reasons, he cannot, and should not, bear responsibility for the possible degeneration of the principal cadres of the Bolshevik old guard. Sacrifice is a good thing, of course, but do the old Bolsheviks need it? I think that they do not.

Secondly, it is impossible to understand how opportunists and Mensheviks like Bernstein, Adler, Kautsky, Guesde, and the others, can be put on a par with the Bolshevik old guard, which has always fought, and I hope will continue to fight with honour, against opportunism, the Mensheviks and the Second International. What is the cause of this muddle and confusion? Who needs it, bearing in mind the interests of the Party and not ulterior motives that by no means aim at defence of the old guard? How is one to interpret these insinuations about opportunism in relation to the old Bolsheviks, who matured in the struggle against opportunism?

Thirdly, I do not by any means think that the old Bolsheviks are absolutely guaranteed against the danger of degeneration any more than I have grounds for asserting that we are absolutely guaranteed against, say, an earthquake. As a possibility, such a danger can and should be assumed. But does this mean that such a danger is real, that it exists? I think that it does not. Trotsky himself has adduced no evidence to show that the danger of degeneration is a real danger. Nevertheless, there are a number of elements within our Party who are capable of giving rise to a real danger of degeneration of certain ranks of our Party. I have in mind that section of the Mensheviks who joined our Party unwillingly, and who have not yet got rid of their old opportunist habits. The following is what Comrade Lenin wrote about these Mensheviks, and about this danger, at the time of the Party purge:

“Every opportunist is distinguished for his adaptability . . . and the Mensheviks, as opportunists, adapt themselves ‘on principle,’ so to speak, to the prevailing trend among the workers and assume a protective colouring, just as a hare’s coat turns white in the winter. It is necessary to know this specific feature of the Mensheviks and take it into account. And taking it into account means purging the Party of approximately ninety-nine out of every hundred of the Mensheviks who joined the Russian Communist Party after 1918, i.e., when the victory of the Bolsheviks first became probable and then certain.” (see Vol. XXVII, p. 13.)

How could it happen that Trotsky, who lost sight of this and similar, really existing dangers, pushed into the foreground a possible danger, the danger of the degeneration of the Bolshevik old guard? How can one shut one’s eyes to a real danger and push into the foreground an unreal, possible danger, if one has the interests of the Party in view and not the object of undermining the prestige of the majority in the Central Committee, the leading core of the Bolshevik old guard? Is it not obvious that “approaches” of this kind can only bring grist to the mill of the opposition?

Fourthly, what reasons did Trotsky have for contrasting the “old ones,” who may degenerate, to the “youth,” the Party’s “truest barometer”; for contrasting the “old guard,” who may become bureaucratic, to the “young guard,” which must “capture the revolutionary formulas by storm”? What grounds had he for drawing this contrast, and what did he need it for? Have not the youth and the old guard always marched in a united front against internal and external enemies? Is not the unity between the “old ones” and the “young ones” the basic strength of our revolution? What was the object of this attempt to discredit the old guard and demagogically to flatter the youth if not to cause and widen a fissure between these principal detachments of our Party? Who needs all this, if one has the interests of the Party

in view, its unity and solidarity, and not an attempt to shake this unity for the benefit of the opposition?

Is that the way to defend the Central Committee and its resolution on internal Party democracy, which, moreover, was adopted unanimously?

But evidently, that was not Trotsky’s object in issuing his letter to the Party conferences. Evidently there was a different intention here, namely: diplomatically to support the opposition in its struggle against the Central Committee of the Party while pretending to support the Central Committee’s resolution.

That, in fact, explains the stamp of duplicity that Trotsky’s letter bears.

Trotsky is in a bloc with the Democratic Centralists and with a section of the “Left” Communists—therein lies the political significance of Trotsky’s action.

Pravda, No. 285, December 15, 1923

The End of WWI – Not What It Seems

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Red Army Soldier Awaiting Execution By White Army

‘Bolshevism Must Be Strangled in its Cradle’

(Winston Churchill)

Although the Great War – also known as the First World War (or simply WWI), is often dated by historians as occurring between 1914-1918, it is not uncommon to see dates such as 1914-1919, and 1914-1921, on war memorials remembering those who died.  This discrepancy arises because the end of WWI can be taken as being three different historical points in time:

1) 1918 = November 11th, the day the Armistice (or ‘cease fire’) was declared and accepted by both sides.

2) 1919 = the signing of the Treaty of Versailles – or the official declaration of peace accepted by all nations.

3) 1921 = the US signs a separate peace treaty with Germany.

WWI was essentially an imperialist war fought between the related royal houses of Europe, designed to settle an upper class squabble about which country controlled what geographical area and which resources.  The fuel for this meat-grinder of industrialised war, was of course, the working class of the respective countries involved.  Every year in Britain, the bourgeoisie replicates the myth that the working class suffering hundreds of thousands of casualties (in warfare) is good for it, and everyone is encouraged to wear a red poppy.  The Germans are seen as the enemy, but unlike the German soldiers that fought for the odious Hitlerite ideology of WWII, the German common soldiery of WWI are generally treated with sympathy and respect by the British establishment.  The sentimentalist view is that both sides agreed to a cease fire on November 11th, 1918, and the First Great War came to an end, but what if I told you that British and German troops had already invaded Revolutionary Russia prior to this date, and had been fighting against Communism BEFORE WWI came to an end?  This information is not common knowledge because the bourgeois system that eulogises war, does not want the ordinary people to possess knowledge that breaks-up that class’s warmongering sentimentality, deception and lies.  The fact of the matter is that British and German working class men were sent as ‘foreign invaders’ into Revolutionary Russia after the 1917 Communist Uprising.  Although the newly formed Red Army tried to prevent German incursions into Russian land, its lack of experience told, and after various set-backs, Lenin was forced to sign a separate peace with Germany (the so-called Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March, 1918 – which conceded various Eastern Russian lands to Germany, for the sake of peace) German troops immediately occupied these Russian areas and started a suppression of all Revolutionary tendencies amongst the Russian people.  From at least May of 1918 (six months before the end of WWI hostilities), British troops (alongside such other countries as the US, Japan, Australia, Canada, India, Greece, Italy and even China – forming the so-called ‘White Army’), invaded Revolutionary Russia in an attempt to destroy the Communist Government.  Later that year, Russian history records that the British army committed the atrocity of carrying-out the mass execution of around 30 Russian POW at Baku.  It is said that this happened because the prisoners were Bolshevik political officers, responsible for propagating (and explaining) Revolutionary principles to the ordinary Russian people.  Therefore, it can be said that from May to November 1918, both British and German troops had invaded Revolutionary Russia, and despite both countries still murdering one another in France, fought on the same side of attempting to preserve the international capitalist system in Russia, against Lenin’s Communist Revolution.  Of course, in the end, the Bolshevik Movement and its Red Army eventually defeated all foreign forces in Russia by around 1922, with the Soviet Union being officially founded on December 30th, of that year.

References

Dates on war memorials

The Russian Civil War

Allied Intervention in Russia 1918-1919

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trotskyism Supports Bourgeois Racism & Counter-Revolution

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I am not that concerned about Leon Trotsky the man – although, of course, I would strive to free him as part of an oppressed humanity, and I wish him personally no ill will.  Leon Trotsky the Jewish person, the Russian, the intellectual, the innovator and the one-time avid supporter of the Bolshevik Revolution and Marxist-Leninism, I treat as any human-being in need of revolutionary freedom from the trap of bourgeois existence.  I would also not have wished him killed, or supported his murder if I had been alive and directly involved in his epoch of activity, but he died 27 years before I was born, and I only became aware of his divisive representation on the Communist left, over a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  My upbringing was implicitly Marxist-Leninist, with a broad support for the USSR and any Socialist or Communist country (including China and Cuba, etc). In fact, when I was young, there was no such thing as ‘anti-capitalism’ outside of the Marxist-Leninist critique.  Today, many White liberals talk about ‘anti-capitalism’, but only from a bourgeois and ‘reformist’ perspective, unaware that capitalism cannot be reformed away from its inherent nature of division and ruthless exploitation.  This is exactly what Trotskyism supports – co-operation with capitalism and the bourgeois class (whilst on the surface espousing anti-capitalist and anti-racist rhetoric).  This is what Trotsky became when he decided to try and wrestle power of off Joseph Stalin, and lead the USSR down a bourgeois reformist path.  This is the Trotsky that I cannot abide and it is signified by a deliberate and malignant intellectual outpouring of his mind against Marxist-Leninism, and consequently the USSR.  Trotskyism is the distorted rhetoric of a failed power-grab, and Trotskyites are the followers of the rhetoric of Leon Trotsky’s failed power-grab.  Trotskyism cannot succeed because its premise is the blue-print of Trotsky’s failure to divert the USSR off of its revolutionary, Marxist-Leninist path.  This is why there has never been a successful Trotskyite revolution anywhere in the world, despite the deceptive and dishonest Trotskyite tactic of ‘entryism’ into the existing Socialist and Communist left.  This is basically access through ‘mimicry’, whereby the Trotskyites use all the key words found on the left, such as ‘anti-fascism’, ‘anti-capitalism’, and ‘anti-sexism’, etc, whilst actually advocating co-operation with fascism, co-operation with capitalism, and co-operation with sexism, as a means to gain ‘entry’ into the bourgeois system (which never happens).  Racism is a major facet of Trotskyism which manifests through that philosophy’s expressed race-hate for China, the Chinese people, and the Chinese Marxist-Leninist Communist Revolution.  Trotskyites, whilst professing an ‘anti-racist’ rhetoric, are prepared to use the very same racist rhetoric to attack and denigrate Communist China, and in so doing are simply aligning themselves with pre-existing anti-Chinese bourgeois racism – which hates all things ‘Chinese’ simply because it is not ‘White’ or ‘Eurocentric’ in origination.  This demonstrates just how far Trotskyism has diverted away not only from Marxist-Leninism, but also from Marxist-Engelism.  Marx would have thoroughly ‘critiqued’ Trotsky and his band of retrogrades, and consigned Trotskyism to the dustbin of history.  The Workers must educate themselves through Marxist-Leninism, and avoid the distortion of Trotskyism at all costs – if the bourgeoisie are to be permanently uprooted through the correct application of Scientific Socialism.

Russia: Lenin Remembered in 2014

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On November 6th, 2014, the leader of the Communist Party of Russia – Gennady Zyuganov – together with other party members and supporters, assembled together at Lenin’s Mausoleum situated in Red Square, and respectfully laid flowers.  At such an important time of the year, it would be very difficult not to pay respect to Lenin in this fashion!  This is because the next day – November the 7th, 2014 – marks the 97th anniversary of the ‘October Revolution’ (in 1917) – that saw Lenin and the Bolsheviks brought to power in Russia!  (In the old calendar, the Revolution happened in ‘October’).  These momentous events brought the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) to power

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Original Chinese Text:

11月6日,俄共领导人久加诺夫与党员和支持者一起,向位于红场的列宁墓献花. 今天,2014年11月7日,是苏共「十月革命」的第整整97周年。

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