N. Bukharin, L.-O. Frossard, K. Radek & C. Zetkin

To Arthur Henderson and
James Ramsay MacDonald!

(17 June 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 22 No. 5 (actually Vol. 2 No. 52), 22 June 1922, p. 386.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The undersigned have received the following telegram:

“We await with great anxiety news of the trial and beg that for the sake of the future you remain loyal in word and spirit to the pledges you made to us at Berlin.”

(signed) Arthur Henderson, James Ramsay MacDonald

The following is our reply:

Your telegram has filled, us with the greatest astonishment. You have the audacity to express the wish that we should remember for the sake of the future the Berlin agreement. But whose future? Of the future of the proletariat or of a clique of party and union leaders, who since the imperialistic war, have rendered up the proletariat to ever-increasing exploitation. Your actions are the answer to these questions. Have you forgotten that it was the Second International, which in the past has betrayed the working class a hundred times and which has, by its hindering the holding of the World Labor Congress in April or May upon the flimsiest pretexts, endangered the future of the working class. What was the object of this Congress? To reply to the closed ranks of the capitalist governments at Genoa by the closing of the ranks of the international proletariat in an indivisible united front. You, Henderson and Mac Donald, together with your companions of the Second International, with Wels and Vandervelde and with your accomplices of the 2½ International, have broken the united front of the proletariat in order to preserve your united front with the world bourgeoisie. And you speak of your anxiety for the future. You have the effrontery to demand that we “remain loyal to the pledges we gave in Berlin”. Have you forgotten that the representatives of the Second International, protected and guarded by the representatives of the 2½ International, have not only broken our agreement in “word and spirit” but also in action, and have trampled it underfoot?

Since when has a contract been binding for one party only? The Executive of the Second International, under the protection of the ambiguous and unctuous phrases of the 2½ International, has rejected the arrangement for an early holding of the International Labor Congress, it has torn up the Berlin Agreement and made our concessions null and void. Word-breakers have no right to demand from the other side the keeping of a mutual agreement.

Our position with regard to the Social Revolutionary trial will never be determined by an agreement that you and your friends have reduced to a worthless scrap of paper. Our attitude will be dictated by our revolutionary duty to the world proletariat, for whom the Russian Soviet Republic is the foremost and truest fighter, and which you and your friends hate and fear, like your own wicked conscience.

Although you and your like have broken the Berlin Agreement, the accused Social Revolutionaries will be given a freedom of defense such as neither England nor Germany nor any bourgeois state would allow to its political enemies. Kurt Rosenfeld publicly admitted that on the 13th of June during the trial. In spite of this on the next day the gray international of lawyers laid down their defense on the flimsiest of pretexts. Vandervelde and Co. had thought they would be able to deceive the proletariat in their role of political ingenuousness when they transformed a political trial into a place for trickery and wordspinning. As soon as they saw at the beginning that the game was up, when the Social Revolutionaries themselves came out as politicians, as fact after fact showed the counter-revolutionary character of theirs actions and showed their aims, the defenders of unstained bourgeois rights broke down in the contest with revolutionary Soviet Russia.

It is easier to slander the Revolution far from Moscow than legally to justify the counter-revolutionaries in Moscow. You speak of your “great anxiety” for the 47 Social Revolutionaries on trial. Have you forgotten that this great anxiety did not hold fast against your greater anxiety to protect the world bourgeoisie against the united front of the world proletariat. When you rejected the calling of the World Labor Congress for a certain definite date, you unmasked your great anxiety for the lives of the 47 Social Revolutionaries as pure hypocrisy. The heads of the accused were and are to you nothing but pawns, with which you hope to blind the eyes of political children to your shameful bond with the bourgeoisie. These heads were and are nothing to you but loaded dice, which you have thrown on the board of our negotiations in order to deceive the proletarian masses.

How could it be otherwise? You, Henderson, were in th. War Cabinet of the money and power-hungry imperialism of Great Britain. You, MacDonald, suffered this shame. On your hands clots the blood of millions and millions of killed and maimed. Your friends, Vandervelde, Weis, Renaudel and Co, are as political brothers-in-arms of Joffre and Ludendorff, spattered with blood and filth.

You, Henderson and MacDonald, remained silent in your speeches, did not advertise your great anxiety for human life in telegrams and articles, when your German comrades slaughtered Rosa Luxembourg, Karl Liebknecht, Leo Jogiches and thousands and thousands of revolutionary workers. Where was and is your great anxiety for the thousands of political prisoners who today under the most terrible conditions fill the prisons in Germany, Hungary, Jugoslavia, Roumania, the United States, India, South Africa and in other lands, while their wives, children and their aged parents, suffer need and deprivation? In Germany, in whose governments your nearest and dearest friends, Severing, Radbruch and Co., sit, in every country, the rule and dictatorship of owners and exploiters today would be at an end if you and your like did not stand on guard before them. Where was your great anxiety in the conduct and results of the trials, which, as Peoples’ Courts in Bavaria and as Special Courts in Central Germany, sent, with the blessings of your friend Ebert, revolutionary workers in hundreds to their death, in thousands to the jails.

We say frankly: Your great anxiety for human life slept calm and undisturbed when the merciless White Terror of bourgeois class justice raged against the revolutionary workers. It awakes, however, and wrings its hands, when as advocate for freed workers and peasants, a revolutionary court deals with deeds which had as their aim the overthrow of this same workers’ government, and the murder of the best leaders of the Russian Revolution and of the world proletariat. As protectors of the Social Revolutionaries, you and your friends range yourselves in the ranks of the counter-revolution, of the world bourgeoisie.

Although we had not forgotten for a moment what an abyss of theory and action sparated us from you and your friends, we were ready for the greatest concessions to your hypocrisy, for the sake of the present needs of the proletariat and the urgency of the proletarian united front. Although you have broken the conditions of our agreement, against all faith and truth, we will continue to work with all our strength the proletarian united front, without you and your friends and against you and your friends. Unity with you and your friends will be possible on that day when you and your kind cease to be the lackeys and defenders of the bourgeoisie, of the capitalist order, and when you and your kind begin to fight for and with the proletariat against the bourgeoisie.

For the Delegation to the Berlin Conference of the three Executives

June 17th 1922

(Signed) Bukharin, Frossard, Radek, Zetkin

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