J. T. Murphy
Source: Workers’ Life, March 8, 1929
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). 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.
It is one of the tragedies of Trotsky’s life that he always does the things he does not intend to do. He has descended to the depths of choosing the “Daily Express” as the avenue of “sensational disclosures,” and opens by declaring that “my object in writing these despatches is not further to sensationalise my case.”
The “Daily Express” provides his articles with headlines:—“DRAMATIC REVELATIONS BY BANISHED REVOLUTIONARY,” “BITTER ATTACKS ON STALIN, HIS CHIEF ENEMY,” “THE USE OF FORCE OVER A REBELLIOUS PEOPLE.” If this is not sensationalism it would be interesting to know what is.
Nothing could more clearly reveal the completeness of the descent of Trotsky from the revolutionary heights to the depths of counter-revolutionary slander.
The history of this descent is much more than a battle between Comrade Stalin and Trotsky, it is the history of the triumph of the Communist Party against tendencies and forces misunderstanding, misrepresenting and diverting it from the Marxist-Leninist line of advance.
This struggle did not begin with the death of Comrade Lenin, it began with the formulation of the Communist Party itself, of which Trotsky was an opponent until November, 1917.
This cannot be forgotten now when Trotsky claims that his “attitude towards the revolution, towards the Soviet Power, towards Marxism, and towards Bolshevism remains unchanged.” Compare this with the following statement:—
“During the last six years Soviet Russia has been slipping slowly but surely towards reaction against the October Revolution, and thus preparing for Thermidor (reaction). The clearest sign of this reaction is the ferocious organised destruction of the Left-wing Party.”
Is this “the same attitude to the October Revolution, to Marxism, to Bolshevism”? In this declaration of Trotsky to the Presidium of the Communist International Trotsky repeats the slanders of the Social Democrats and the capitalist Press.
They are slanders to which the most casual examination of the facts relating to soviet economy give the lie.
The rapid expansion of heavy industry, owned and controlled by the Proletarian State, the extension of all State and Co-operative enterprises and the relative decline of private enterprise, simply reduce to absurdity all charges of reactionary tendencies.
But what kind of Bolshevik is this who claims the right of a “Left Wing Party” to exist?
It is axiomatic that there cannot be two Communist Parties in any one country. Trotsky gave his signature to that at the founding of the Communist International.
But there, even in the land of Proletarian dictatorship, where singleness of aim and purpose and control are vital to the very existence of the revolution, he advances the claims of a “Left Wing Party” which is the repudiation of Bolshevism.
If nothing more was available to condemn Trotsky these declarations alone are sufficient to warrant us in declaring that he has passed into the camp of counter-revolution. Listen to the welcoming call of the Menshevik, Dan, who writes in the “Arbeiterzeitung” of February 20:—
“The Social Democratic Labour movement has no reason to fear the political activity of Trotsky. On the contrary the present-day Trotsky, torn by inner contradictions, is more likely to deal a death-blow to the Communist movement outside Russia and induce Communist workers to return to social democracy, than to strengthen any Communist Party or cause any injury to social democracy.
His “attitude to Bolshevism remains unchanged”!
Fundamentally speaking this is true. We must regard henceforth his association with the October Revolution in the same way that we regarded the approaches of many other Social Democrats when the revolutionary wave was at its height.
Trotsky was carried further forward than many of them by the direct pressure of events and the close association with the Bolshevik Party and particularly with Lenin.
But his “Marxism” and “Bolshevism” remained fundamentally the same and with the new problems of the revolution, when the dramatic aspects of it ceased to play upon his romantic temperment, he had to fall back upon his fundamental political theories, which were not, and are not, Bolshevik but Social-Democratic.
This was revealed in all his conflicts with Lenin right up to the October Revolution and after it.
Nobody reading the famous preface to his book on the October Revolution could avoid the conclusion that there were always fundamental differences between the Bolshevik Party and Trotsky. His book is not the history of a Party leading the Revolution but of “me and the masses.”
He never saw the instrument of the revolution as the leader of the Revolution nor realised that it had been forged by relentless conflict with the politics and opinions he held. Yet this was the dominating feature of the Party struggle and differences prior to the Revolution.
When Lenin flogged Trotsky’s “theory of permanent revolution” and combatted his rejection of the “possibity of Socialism in one country,” his attitude to the war, and his conceptions of Party democracy, Trotsky did not realise that Lenin was laying down the lines on which a Party would be built which would be capable of holding its own against any reversion on anybody’s part, to Social Democracy.
It is simply political childishness, or senility, for Trotsky to howl about the disciplinary measures taken against him and his followers. We have debated and debated, thrashed out over and over again the differences between Communist policy and Trotskyism.
The Russian Party has even permitted to a degree which no other Party would have tolerated the most abominable broaches of Party loyalty, fractionism, parallel Party organisation, the collecting of independent contributions, rival conferences, demonstrations in the streets and factories and public meetings, the issue of counter-revolutionary publications, long before the final measures were taken against Trotsky and his followers.
Even whilst the Fifteenth Party Congress was on, a rival Congress was being conducted by Trotsky. True it was divided against itself and subsequently split, but there it was.
But it was only when it was obvious that not only the Party masses but also the great mass of workers outside the Party rejected Trotskyism that the final disciplinary measures were taken.
The masses have become more Bolshevik. Trotsky has gone back from whence he came—to the ranks of counter revolutionary social democracy.
His hatred of Stalin only personifies his hatred of the Party which has rejected him.
The Russian Party is no more a one man show than the Communist International. Both are collective organisations of the vanguard of the world revolution based upon the interests of the proletariat of the whole world, guided by the teachings of Marx and Lenin.