AS late as 1931, in a pamphlet, The Permanent Revolution, Trotsky writes, black on white:
“The socialist revolution begins on nationalist grounds, but it cannot be completed on these grounds. The maintenance of the proletarian revolution within a national framework can only be a provisional state of affairs, even though, as the experience of the Soviet Union showed, one of long duration. In an isolated proletarian dictatorship, the internal and external contradictions grow inevitably with the growing successes. Remaining isolated, the proletarian state must finally become a victim of these contradictions.” (Our emphasis—M. J. O.) (p. XXXV.)
Now, it has never been asserted by the Bolsheviks that an attack of the capitalist governments on the U.S.S.R. is impossible. The Bolshevik leaders have been explicit in this respect. Lenin said:
“As long as our Soviet Republic remains a lone outlying province of the entire capitalist world, it would be a ridiculous fantasy-mongering and utopianism to think . . . about the disappearance of dangers of one kind or the other. Of course, as long as such fundamental contradictions remain, there remain also dangers, and there is no place we can run away from them.” (V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Russian Edition, Vol. XXVI, p. 29.)
With the growth of the Soviet power, with the progress of industrialization, with the development of socialist agriculture, with the strengthening of the defense forces of the country while the sympathies for the Soviet Union among the toilers of the capitalist countries grow apace, the means of resisting a military attack from without have increased. Still, the danger remains. And nobody knows it as well as the leaders of the Soviet.
But when Trotsky speaks about the inevitable growth of internal and external contradictions he does not mean this simple and clearly understood danger of a military imperialist attack. He means something else. He lays stress not so much on external contradictions, which are the contradictions between the capitalist sector and the socialist sector of the world, as on what he calls “internal contradictions”. The Soviet Union, he says, must finally “become a victim” of these contradictions.
What are they? What contradictions remained in the U.S.S.R. by 1931? The land-owning class was long extinct. The bourgeoisie was reduced to a small and utterly insignificant fraction of its former self. The kulaks had been tremendously weakened in consequence of rapid collectivization of the village. Class contradictions were diminishing by the day with the rapid liquidation of the remnants of the old classes. Differences between city and village were decreasing in consequence of the introduction of machinery and modern technique into the collectivized village. Growing successes of the Soviet Union meant further improvement in industrial production, further progress in collectivization, further elimination of the kulaks and remnants of the bourgeoisie, a further rise to heights of culture in a country where the existence of the masses is made secure. Why should these growing successes conceal “internal contradictions” which must “inevitably” grow?
Difficulties were there, to be sure. The remnants of the bourgeoisie did not wish to give up without fight, and they were damaging here and there—but the growth of socialist economy and the rapid mastery by the workers of the heights of knowledge doomed these attempts to failure. The very acquisition of modern technique, the overcoming of old habits of work, the conquests over nature were accompanied by certain discrepancies, certain maladjustments. But those were difficulties of growth. Each succeeding step of the revolution prepared solutions for such problems.
Whence, then, the inevitability of “becoming a victim” to some dire inner contradictions?
This is one of the many secrets of Trotsky’s reasoning. It is no reasoning at all. Wish is here, obviously, father to the thought, wish that the Soviet Union may not succeed in order that his theory of the “permanent revolution”, i.e., of the inevitable clash between the proletariat and the peasantry, may prove correct.
Perhaps Trotsky wants to say that it is impossible to build socialism in the Soviet Union because the country has not the necessary prerequisites? At the risk of being tedious we wish to remind once more that the Soviet Union has accomplished miracles by way of upbuilding the economic and cultural life of the country. Even before the civil war was ended, even while foreign armies of intervention were still on Soviet soil, the Bolsheviks began to plan the work of socialist construction. It seemed a superhuman task at first. The country had been ruined by three years of imperialist war. It had been laid waste by the armies of the Russian White generals and of the foreign governments. It had been choked by nearly five years of economic blockade. It had gone through famine. Industrial production in 1921 was one-fifth that of 1913. Agriculture had been reduced to less than one-half. The transportation system was in a deplorable state. But the Bolsheviks saw the great assets of the dictatorship of the proletariat; inexhaustible energy and creative abilities of the liberated masses of toilers, with the proletariat at their head and the Bolshevik Party leading.
Lenin, who better than anybody else knew the shortcomings of that great country, saw also the possibilities of building socialism. At a time when Trotsky was publishing his 1905 to prove that socialism in one country was impossible, at a time when he was working out his opposition platform against Leninism, Lenin wrote (January, 1923):
“Indeed, the power of the State over all large-scale means of production, the power of the State in the hands of the proletariat, the alliance of this proletariat with many millions of small and smallest peasants, the guarantee of the leadership on the part of this proletariat in relation to the peasantry, etc., is this not all that is necessary to build out of the cooperatives, of the cooperatives alone which we have hitherto treated as shopkeepers’ undertakings and which we, to a degree, have a right to treat so under the N.E.P. [New Economic Policy]—is this not all that is necessary to build a full socialist society? [Our emphasis—M. J. O.]. This is not yet the building of a socialist society, but this is all that is necessary and sufficient for building such a society.” (V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Russian Edition, Vol. XXVII, p. 392.)
Today, the foundation of socialist society has already been built, the Soviet Union is rapidly approaching a classless society. But behold Trotsky standing in the pose of a prophet and “warning” the world:
“The impending crisis of Soviet economy will inevitably, and within the rather near future, crumble the sugary legend, [of the possibility of building socialism in one country] and, we have no reason to doubt, will scatter many dead. . . . The Soviet crisis will catch the European workers, and chiefly the Communists, utterly unprepared. . . . The contradictions of Soviet economy, the incompleteness and the precariousness of many of its conquests, the coarse errors of the leadership and the dangers that stand in the path of socialism. . . . The nearest future will bring with it a new confirmation of our correctness.” (Leon Trotsky, Soviet Economy in Danger, pp. 4-5.)
Having made up his mind that socialism in Russia simply cannot be realized, he develops a venomous hostility towards everything that happens in the U.S.S.R. He magnifies difficulties; he invents difficulties where there are none; he sees a “crisis” where there is only one of the many obstacles to be overcome; he sees a dwindling of forces where forces are increasing and gathering momentum; he denies successes; he interprets achievements as failures; he assumes the pose of an accuser pointing his finger at the Communist Party and at its Central Committee led by Stalin and says: “Here they are—the bureaucrats who are the ruin of the workers’ revolution”.
Back of it all is his intellectual’s petty-bourgeois disbelief in the revolution and fear before the obstacles confronting the dictatorship of the proletariat in the midst of a hostile world.
What was it that upset him so terribly at the beginning of his oppositionist career? What was it that served as the basis for the unprincipled union of Trotsky with Zinoviev and Kamenev? It was the defeatist attitude toward the New Economic Policy of the U.S.S.R.
In 1921 the Bolsheviks, against the unsound judgment of some “left” Communists, abandoned the so-called military Communism and introduced the New Economic Policy (N.E.P.). The war Communism which prevailed from 1918 was a means to fight the civil war and to repel intervention. The government laid its hand on everything produced in the country, and it distributed everything according to a plan in order to be able to withstand the attack of the class-enemy forces. During those years production did not increase; it decreased. Transportation was not improved; it deteriorated. The major portion of what was produced in the factories and plants went for the front. The government collected foodstuffs and raw materials from the peasants and was supposed to give in return manufactured goods. These, however, were not forthcoming due to the collapse of the industrial system and the necessity to supply the front. As a result, the peasants were actually supporting the country in those crucial years, and the government, to use Lenin’s expression, gave them promissory notes. It promised them a better fate in the future. When the war was finished, at least in its major aspects, when the Republic seemed to be secure, at least for a while, it became obvious that the continuation of military Communism was an impossibility. It was necessary to strengthen the alliance with the middle peasants which had become strained under the pressure of military Communism. It was necessary to lay the foundations of socialist construction. In the first place, the country under the Soviets had to learn how to produce. The peasants had to be given the incentive to increase their crops and this could be achieved only when they were allowed to sell their goods in the open market. This necessitated the legalization of the open market. In order to get out of the horrible economic stagnation it was necessary to encourage even private industrial production.
The New Economic Policy then features:
Natural resources and large-scale industrial establishments in the hands of the dictatorship of the proletariat;
The entire credit system in the hands of the dictatorship of the proletariat;
The entire railroad and water transportation system hands of the dictatorship of the proletariat;
Foreign trade entirely in the hands of the dictatorship of the proletariat;
City lands and buildings in the hands of the local Soviets;
Agricultural land in the hands of the regional and local Soviets;
Private manufacturing and private trading allowed under the supervision of the proletarian State in accordance with proletarian laws;
Peasants allowed to sell the surplus of their produce in the open market after paying the tax.
It was a retreat from the position of military Communism—but it was necessary in order to make rapid headway. The dictatorship of the proletariat was as strong as ever. The strategic positions in the entire economic system were retained in the hands of the dictatorship of the proletariat; private industry and private trading were only to serve as a stimulus to socialist industry and socialist commerce to improve in quantity and quality so as to be able to compete with private business men. With the Soviet giving protection to its own industries and commerce in preference to private industry and commerce, it was not difficult to predict that the former would ultimately triumph over the latter.
Lenin, who had an abiding faith in the creative abilities of the toiling masses, introduced the New Economic Policy in order that the Soviet might be able to begin rapid economic progress towards socialism. Trotsky foresaw no such progress.
Here were the peasants. Trotsky, as we know, never had great faith in the peasants as a revolutionary force. With the introduction of the New Economic Policy there appeared again in the village the rich peasant, the kulak. True, he did not look like his pre-revolutionary self. He was shorn of political power, and he was by no means as rich as some kulaks used to be under capitalism. Yet he was an unmistakable fact. By law he was not allowed to buy land. But illegally he held the land of a few poor peasants who did not have the implements and the man power to work their own land, and who, most often, became his farm hands. The kulaks became the village exploiters. Sometimes they wormed their way even into the local Soviets where they exercised political influence. The government did its utmost to help the poor peasant. It freed him of taxes; it extended him credits; it sometimes supplied him with livestock and implements. On the other hand it taxed away the lion’s share of the rich peasant’s income. Still, here it was—the class division in the village.
The Nepman in the city; the kulak in the village! Trotsky saw his chance. He was joined by Zinoviev and Kamenev in declaring that the revolution was in danger, that the capitalist elements were eating up the socialist elements in Soviet economy. Whether the oppositionists were genuinely frightened or pretended alarm for political ends is beside the point. What they did is to direct a vicious and unscrupulous attack on the leadership of the Communist Party.
One of the characteristic features of the Trotsky opposition is that it does not want to see the Soviet Union in development; it pretends to take no notice of social forces passing from one stage to another. In the N.E.P. it saw a system that had come to stay for decades, if not forever. From the difficulties inherent in such a policy they drew fresh animation. The Bolsheviks had a definite plan which was to change the situation radically, and within a short time. But it is another characteristic feature of Trotskyism that it disregards the declarations of the Bolsheviks which run counter to its own pronunciamentoes.
How did the Bolshevik Party and Stalin visualize that change? They visualized, and worked for, a rapid victory of the socialist sector of national economy over the capitalist sector. They foresaw that in the nearest future the Soviet socialist factories would improve to such an extent that they would easily compete with the capitalist factories and drive them out of existence. They foresaw that very soon the cooperatives would have learned the art of trading so well that they would be able to drive out of business the private traders and force them into the ranks of employees. As to the small and middle peasants, the Party and Stalin knew perfectly well that private holdings and private husbandry were a passing phase, that very soon the peasants would join in producing cooperatives, i.e., that, with the aid of the Party and the State, they would begin to build collective farms, which would mean the end of the kulak and the abolition of classes in the village.
They saw that some kulaks were getting rich. But they were far from frightened. They knew that the kulaks as a class would not last long. They had a policy that was bound to “remake” the poor and middle peasants, to induce them and teach them how to organize socialist agriculture under the leadership of the proletariat—and this, they knew, would make the existence of the kulaks impossible. They proceeded with all the dispatch possible under the circumstances to prepare the necessary equipment for the collectivization of agriculture. This equipment had to consist of better implements, agricultural machinery, improved seeds, and of agricultural experts to guide the peasants in lifting agriculture to the level of socialist production.
It was a plan well worked out. It originated with Lenin. It was consistently and ably carried out by the Bolshevik Party under Stalin. It was the only way out. But this revolution in the agricultural field could be successful only when there was an alliance between the workers and the peasants.
Fight against the kulak by imposing a heavy tax on his come and by ridding the local Soviets of his influence. Aid the poor peasant with land, with agricultural implements, with credit, with freedom from taxation. Ally yourselves with the middle peasants to improve their economic status and to draw them closer to the tasks of the proletariat. “Raise the cultural and material standard of the peasant’s life, place the feet of the peasant masses on the road leading towards socialism” (Stalin). This was the well-considered plan of the Bolsheviks. In contrast to this, there were developed two theories: the Right and the “Left”. The Right underestimated the capitalist nature of the kulak; it saw in the kulak a middle peasant. The “Left” (Trotsky) overestimated the petty-bourgeois nature of the middle peasant; it saw in the middle peasant a kulak.
Trotsky suddenly discovered a peasantry consisting to a very large extent of “kulaks”. The Communist Party fought both tendencies—because they knew where they were headed.
“Our main task is to create intimate bonds between ourselves and the broad masses of the peasantry [said Stalin May 9, 1925, in a report to the Party functionaries of Moscow], to raise the cultural and material standard of the peasant’s life and to place the feet of these peasant masses on the road leading toward socialism. Our main task is to upbuild socialism shoulder to shoulder with the peasantry under the leadership of the working class; for only under such leadership can we guarantee that the economic organization of the country will be carried out along socialist paths.” (Joseph Stalin, Leninism, Vol. I, pp. 247-248, report delivered in May, 1925.)
Wherein would the socialist path consist in the village? Stalin answers to this:
“How can the peasantry be drawn into the general current of Soviet economic development? By means of the cooperatives. By means of cooperative credit, agricultural cooperatives, distributive cooperatives, and productive cooperatives. Such are the ways and means through which the peasantry will slowly but surely be drawn into the current of the general system of socialist construction.” (Ibid., p. 249.)
Productive cooperatives is another name for collective farms. Why was this to proceed slowly? Because the socialist factories and plants had to produce enough machinery and implements to serve as an inducement for the peasants to organize into cooperatives; because the Soviet mines had to produce enough coal and ore for the production of iron and steel to be used for agricultural machinery; because the workers had to be trained to be able to produce—and all this took a few years. Altogether it took no more than seven years—from 1922 to 1929, from the beginning of the N.E.P. to the great rush of collectivization. But what a noise the Trotskyites raised during those years! What a lot of mischief they did! What monkey wrenches they were throwing into the machinery of Soviet economy! How they were undermining Communist Party unity which was the first condition for the carrying out of the program of building socialist economy!
For three years, between 1924 and 1927, while they were still members of the Party, they kept on harping in a thousand ways about the growth of the kulak and the growth of the Nepman. Their practical proposals were dictated not by an understanding of Soviet economy, but by panic. They said: “Collectivize the peasants at once; if need be, use force”—which, if attempted, would have aroused the peasants against the workers and played havoc with the revolution. They demanded a quickening of the tempo of industrialization by the investment of another billion rubles in industry. This billion was to be raised by increasing commodity prices—a measure which would have increased rather than decreased difficulties, since higher commodity prices would have hit hard the poor and middle peasants, the chief consumers of industrial commodities, and would have lowered their standards of living, which would only have served to strengthen the position of the kulaks. The Trotsky opposition was doing its utmost to force a break between the proletariat and the middle peasants.
They were still in the Party, but they fought it as enemies bent, not on criticism, but on destruction. No exaggeration, to them, was too wild, no insinuation too low, no distortion too mean. They circulated literature full of vile denunciations of everything the Party did. They greeted the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution with the declaration that the Communist Party was a party of the bureaucrats, kulaks and Nepmen. This propaganda was accompanied by the formation of an underground faction, which printed leaflets and distributed them clandestinely. The Party had to call a halt. The opposition was expelled. But this did not stop the propaganda.
We had to relate this phase of the opposition activities at some length, because it gives the key to the understanding of what follows. Any reasonable human being, upon seeing that his fears and apprehensions were not justified, would admit he was mistaken. Not Trotsky. The rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union, the almost total disappearance of the Nepman, the collectivization of agriculture, the elimination of the kulak as a class, one would think, should have satisfied the Trotskyites, if they meant what they shouted from the housetops. But Trotsky’s opposition becomes more venomous the more the ground slips from under his feet. It is the venom of those elements of the petty bourgeoisie who see the victory of socialism but do not wish to become workers earning an honest living under conditions where the proletariat is in possession of power.
Trotsky remains the damager throughout.
If there is any achievement in the Soviet Union that even the enemies have been forced to recognize, it is the phenomenal economic success both in industry and agriculture. The facts are so widely known that it is almost unnecessary to mention them once more. From a backward country the U.S.S.R. has become one of the foremost industrial countries. From a country with twenty million individual peasant holdings it became a country of large-scale modern farming. From a country that lead to depend on other countries for its industrial equipment, it has become a country which can produce for itself the most complicated and the most advanced industrial equipment. From a country that was overwhelmingly illiterate it has become a country in which almost everybody, especially the younger generation, has received education. The Soviet plants are among the best in the world. The Soviet engineers and workers are mastering the most advanced technique. Soviet industrial output has grown four hundred per cent in five years. Soviet agriculture has overcome the initial difficulties and has made marked headway towards supplying the country with an abundance of foodstuffs and raw materials. The Soviet factories are turning out tractors and trucks and other agricultural machinery by the hundreds of thousands.
The successes of the Soviet Union, the improvement in the standards of living of the masses, the cultural life that is theirs—all this has aroused the admiration of millions of toilers the world over and has in proportion increased the ire of the exploiters.
Where is Trotsky? He is not with the toilers. He spits venom in accord with the exploiters. He gives them aid and comfort. Moreover, he initiates campaigns against the Soviet Union. He declares all these successes non-existent.
What is wrong, in his opinion? Simply this, that “you cannot build socialism in one country”. Why? Because
“ . . . the general growth of economy, on the one hand, and the sprouting up of new demands and new disproportions, on the other, invariably increase the need of linking up with the world economy. The program of ‘independence’, that is, of the self-sufficient character of Soviet economy, discloses more and more its reactionary and utopian character. Autarchy is the ideal of Hitler and not of Marx and Lenin.” (Leon Trotsky, Soviet Economy in Danger, p. 17, 1933.)
There is not a single sentence in this whole tirade that has any meaning. The gentleman chooses to “overlook” the difference between capitalist and socialist economy. In the capitalist economy, contradictions are inherent and cannot be overcome. Growth of mass production accompanied by lower wages, to take one instance, creates that kind of “disproportion” which capitalism is powerless to solve. In Soviet economy it is different. Those “disproportions” which Trotsky speaks of, such as the lagging behind in the production, say, of coal or rubber, are far from catastrophic. They create certain difficulties which are easily overcome. With the growth of Soviet economy they tend to decrease rather than to increase. When there is an abundance of steel it does not matter very much if one or the other plant is lagging. When the railroad system has been improved, it does not matter whether one or the other road is slightly deficient. When agriculture has been placed on a modern scientific basis, it does not even matter much whether climatic conditions are favorable. This year’s crop was abundant in spite of a terrible drought. Disproportions and the accompanying difficulties, Mr. Trotsky, have a tendency to decrease rather than to increase in Soviet economy.
As to the program of independence-why is it reactionary and why is it utopian? Isn’t it a fact that Soviet economy today is less dependent upon other countries than it was five years ago? Aren’t the Soviet industrial giants in a position to supply the country with necessary equipment while five years ago the country had to depend on imports? Do not the enormous amount and variety of natural resources guarantee the Soviet Union a free economic development independent of the capitalist countries? What is utopian in a fact that exists?
And why is it reactionary? If economic development were retarded in consequence of a certain policy, that could be called “reactionary” from an economic point of view, provided it depended upon the Soviet leaders alone to alter the policy. If, however, economic development was immensely accelerated in consequence of the Bolshevik policy, if it went beyond anything any capitalist country could dream of even in times of its highest prosperity, where is the reaction?
That the ideal of a socialist economy is not autarchy but international exchange, and that only under an international Soviet system such an exchange will be put on a scientific basis, we need not learn exactly from Trotsky. This is one of the fundamental theses of Marxism. Autarchy is not the ideal of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union does not wish, and does not work for, autarchy. But economic independence of the capitalist world market is a necessity due to the fact that the Soviet Union is surrounded by a hostile capitalist world.
The idea that the development of the Soviet Union demands an increase in “linking up with the world economy” is fundamentally wrong. It has been one of the pet ideas of Trotsky for many years that Soviet economy is part of world economy, that it stands and falls with the latter. What are the facts?
Soviet economy is proceeding from one victory to another; capitalist economy is rotting, disintegrating, collapsing. Soviet economy forges ahead to new unparalleled achievements under a system where the country is ever more solidified under the Soviet rule. Capitalist economy is unable to overcome its crisis and the capitalist countries are headed towards the overthrow of the entire existing system. Even the blind can see these facts.
Since the appearance of Trotsky’s Soviet Economy in Danger, over two years more have passed. Trotsky said then that the nearest future would bring a new confirmation of his correctness. During those years Soviet economy experienced a new phenomenal upswing. But Trotsky’s barking at the victorious socialist construction continues in even louder tones. The structure of socialism is nearly completed—and he still keeps on repeating that “socialism in one country is impossible”.
To the numberless “contradictions” that Trotsky discovers in the building of socialism in the Soviet Union, a brand-new one was recently added: the contradiction between production and consumption. Even a Trotskyite can no longer deny the colossal economic growth of the Soviet Union. Even the bitterest enemy must, to his sorrow, admit that collectivization of agriculture is a fact. But facts do not deter the Trotskyites. Facts can be misinterpreted. And the latest misinterpretation was given by Trotsky to the fact that, in spite of a tremendous increase in the production of consumers’ goods and in spite of the tremendous increase in the consumption of the individual worker and peasant, goods are still greatly valued among the masses and everyone wishes to have more to consume. Trotsky calls this “the stimulus for individual accumulation”, and since he has heard that Marx “also” spoke of accumulation (primitive accumulation of capital!), he proceeds to the very profound conclusion that this “stimulus for individual accumulation” may lead to a revival of capitalism.
“So long as the overwhelming majority of the population has not yet emerged from actual want, the urge for individual appropriation and for the accumulation of goods retains a mass character and comes into continual collision with the collectivist tendencies of the economic life. . . . If the accumulation is permitted to exceed certain limits, it will transform itself into primitive capitalist accumulation, and can result in overthrowing the kolkhozes, and after them the trusts [combinations of State-owned Soviet factories—M. J. O.] as well. ‘Abolition of classes’ in a socialist sense, means the guaranteeing to all members of society such living conditions as will kill the stimulus for individual accumulation. We are still very far from that. . . . The present transitional society is full of contradictions, which, in the sphere of consumption, the most immediate and vital sphere for everyone, bear a character of extreme tension, and always threaten to cause an explosion in the sphere of production. . . . Potentially, as regards the possibilities and dangers latent in it, it is a class struggle . . . which is looming from out of the fierce competition between the interests involved in the sphere of consumption, on the basis of a still lagging and unharmonious economy.” (Leon Trotsky, The Kirov Assassination, February, 1935, pp. 10-11.)
Trotsky still cloaks himself as a champion of socialism. Since socialism in the U.S.S.R. has not yet brought about a situation where there is no stimulus for the acquisition of consumers’ goods, he sees an opening for an attack. The fact that the masses of the Soviet Union are still “goods hungry”—which is an incentive for more and better production—is transformed by Trotsky into a new class struggle. The urge for acquisition he—by a sleight-of-hand—turns into an urge for accumulation. The collective peasant bent on receiving more meters of cotton cloth or woolens for himself and his family will, according to Trotsky, “accumulate” so much cloth or woolens that in the long run he will become a capitalist and, who knows, he may still open a textile factory on the basis of private ownership. The textile worker who is anxious to receive more wheat flour and cabbage may hoard these products—“accumulate” them—in the meantime refusing to consume, and—oh “extreme tension in the sphere of consumption”!—may still transform himself into the owner of a grain elevator competing with the State elevators and causing “an explosion in the sphere of production”. Or else the collective farmer who has been so eagerly and impatiently waiting to receive from the city his radio set will not use it himself but sell it to his neighbor and with the money thus “accumulated” go into business and gradually develop the “class struggle” and become a menace to the kolkhozes and the trusts.
It is absurd, but there is system to all the Trotskyite absurdities. Trotsky hopes that because consumers’ goods are not yet available in the U.S.S.R. in quantities sufficient to secure for everybody not only comforts but also luxuries, some peasants from the collective farms may still be deluded into putting their hopes in the kulaks—who are still to be found in collective farms disguised as loyal members—and, with the aid of the Trotskyites, cause a disruption of collective agriculture.
Alas for Trotsky! The masses of the collective farms learned their lesson in 1932 when, due to inexperience, some of them yielded in the North Caucasus and the Ukraine to the pressure of the kulaks. They know now that their hope lies in more and better collective production. The individual member of the collective may try to hoard part of his share of the common crop “against a rainy day”, but this will not make a kulak of him, and with the growth of security and abundance in the village even this practice will soon be abandoned. As to the city workers, they never “accumulate”, they hoard nothing, they gladly and eagerly spend all they earn because they are not afraid of losing their jobs and are expecting and achieving ever higher wages and a better standard of living. There is no danger of a renewed class struggle “in the sphere of consumption” in the U.S.S.R.
To be sure, there exists a contradiction in this sphere: that between the facts and Trotsky’s wishes, between a former revolutionist and a present counter-revolutionary. He would like to see accumulation of capital where there is a desire to produce and consume and where the masses know from their daily experience that the more they produce the more will they consume. He knows that the masses have heard about the contradiction between mass production and a narrowing market in the capitalist countries, and he hastens to use similar expressions in regard to the U.S.S.R., hoping to delude the unwary into believing that the crisis of capitalism—poverty amidst plenty—and the relative goods shortage in the U.S.S.R.—where the production apparatus had to be built up first and where increasing production is rapidly eliminating the shortage—are one and the same thing.
Nowhere has Trotsky revealed himself more in his true colors as counter-revolutionary falsifier as in these fabrications.
What does he want? Has he any plan? Has he any program? Some time ago he advanced the very profound proposal that the Soviet Union slow up the tempo of industrialization and collectivization. That was all in the name of “Left” Communism, “real” Communism. It was so much like Trotsky: revolutionary phrases and reactionary proposals. Now that the Soviet Union has been put on a granite foundation, when the workers and peasants are being supplied with ever greater masses of consumers’ goods, when their knowledge and experience have increased a thousandfold, when they can, with ease and comfort, increase the output of factory and field—what can he propose? Has he a program for today?
In vain will you seek for an answer among the multitudinous writing of Trotsky and his henchmen.
In reality they are not out to propose a program. They intend to confuse the workers in the capitalist countries who are not sufficiently familiar with socialist construction in the U.S.S.R. They aim at discouraging the workers of the capitalist countries, including the workers of the U.S.A., from choosing the Bolshevik way out of the crisis. They strive to sow pessimism regarding the greatest achievement of the world proletariat—the only great and lasting victory of the socialist revolution in the present era. They are intent on preparing the masses ideologically for war against the Soviet Union. They serve the capitalist ends perfectly.
From the Trotskyite peculiar version of “permanent revolution”—to the theory of the impossibility of building socialism in one country; from the theory of the impossibility of building socialism in one country—to counter-revolutionary attacks upon everything that is being done in the Soviet Union; from verbal attacks upon the strongholds of Communism—to practical aid and comfort to the class enemy. Is there any wonder that the extreme logical followers of Trotsky and Zinoviev resort to the revolver?
Next: 7. The Communist Party