Date: December 1937
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription\HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). 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.
SHALL we have peace, or shall war spread further throughout the world? This is the vital issue facing all who profoundly desire peace and progress to-day.
In Spain and China, the fires of war already devour their thousands and tens of thousands.
In Spain it is the fascist Franco, with Blackshirt Mussolini and Brownshirt Hitler at his back, who lays waste the land.
In China, the Japanese fascists sack town and village with a wild brutality which shocks the civilised world. The British Labour movement and all friends of peace must close their ranks against the onset of the warmongers. They must decide now who are their allies in the cause of peace; they must know and recognise the enemies of peace and progress in whatever guise they appear.
The Man-in-the-Street and his wife, whether they live in Nanking or Madrid, London or New York, Cairo or Tokio, have a stake in peace and none in war. War for them means not profits but death, hunger and suffering. Peace gives the opportunity to strengthen the forces which will reconstruct the world as the people’s commonwealth.
One state has already been won by the people. That state is the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. There, an entire nation devotes itself with clear-sighted courage and tireless energy to building Socialism. To complete its task, the Soviet Union has one paramount need—peace. The Soviet Union is the main bulwark of peace in the field of international politics, both for the reason that war will hold up her magnificent socialist enterprises and because, as a people’s state, she recognises her deep responsibilities to the workers of those countries where capitalism has yet to be overthrown.
Therefore, an enemy of the U.S.S.R. is an enemy of British Labour and of all who stand for peace and democracy throughout the world.
Socialism to-day has no more implacable opponent, war no more staunch ally, peace no greater enemy, than Leon Trotsky.
Let British Labour know him, his followers and his actions, for what they are—a peril to the progress of humanity.
Let British Labour beware of false counsellors who say that the burning differences between Stalin and Trotsky are merely an expression of personal rivalry or a “domestic affair for the Communists to decide.”
Only those who do not know the facts can believe such statements. Stalin is leading a great state of 170,000,000 people to the goal for which so many in every country have worked and died. Stalin himself, and the Communist Party, have one supreme duty to the people—to guide them along the right road, to protect them from wrong policies which can only retard the advance to the new society.
The fight against such wrong policies is in no sense a question of “rivalry” or a “domestic concern of the Communists.” It is the concern of the whole people, and especially of the working class in every country, because their own fate is in the balance.
No one in the working-class or progressive movements now believes that the fight against fascism is “a squabble between the fascists and the Communists.” They recognise it for what it is—a fight by all the progressive sections of society against the forces of barbarism and reaction.
In exactly the same way, the fight against Trotsky and his followers must be recognised as a fight by all the progressive sections of society against those who are attempting to sow disruption and prepare the way for fascism.
It is sometimes asked how it can be possible that such men as Trotsky and his immediate associates have changed so suddenly and completely. Such a question is not necessarily based on opposition to the unmasking of traitors, but upon incomplete knowledge of their past history. It is asked chiefly by people who are not familiar with the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and who have been deceived by the false statements made by the capitalist press and the Trotskyites alike, that Trotskyism is a new political tendency; that when Lenin was alive, he and Trotsky were inseparable political workers whose views were completely identical, and that it was only after Lenin’s death that Trotsky found himself in opposition to the Central Committee of the Communist Party.
The first point to be noted is that Trotsky was not one of the “old guard,” who, from the very foundation of the Bolshevik Party in 1903 consistently struggled to build up the steeled and disciplined party which eventually led the toiling people to overthrow their oppressors.
On the contrary, from 1903 to 1917 Trotsky was bitterly opposed to the very existence of a disciplined revolutionary Party. Moreover, he directed precisely the same type of virulent, personal invective against Lenin as he does to-day against Stalin, describing him as the person chiefly responsible for hindering the development of a real revolutionary movement in Russia.
During this period, Trotsky’s line had far more in common with Menshevism than with Bolshevism.
The Mensheviks believed that the only possible alternative to the Tsarist autocracy was a republic of the orthodox capitalist type.
Trotsky’s theory was that it would be a good thing to start attacking private property, but that immediately this was done, the hostility and resistance of the peasantry would be aroused.
He argued that because the working class is the only class directly interested in winning Socialism, all other sections of the population—peasants, professional people, small business men and traders—are implacably hostile elements who belong in the same camp as the big capitalists, can never be won over to support the working class, and must always be regarded as enemies to be ruthlessly attacked and exterminated. The only allies which the working class could expect to win, in Trotsky’s view, were the workers of other countries; the only really effective assistance they could give would be to bring about the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism in their own countries; and if this was not immediately forthcoming, then the working class was doomed, and would be totally unable to build its Socialist State.
In Trotsky’s own words:—
“The antagonisms which appear under a workers’ government in a backward land where the vast majority of the population is made up of peasants, can only be solved in the international arena, the arena of the proletarian world revolution.” (Preface to “1905.”)
“In the absence of direct State support on the part of the European proletariat, the Russian working class will not be able to keep itself in power and to transform its temporary rule into a stable socialist dictatorship. No doubt as to the truth of this is possible.” (“Our Revolution,” Russian Edition, Pg. 278.)
“A steady rise of socialist economy in Russia will not be possible until after the victory of the proletariat in the leading countries of Europe.” (“Collected Works,” Vol. 3, Part I, Pgs.92-93.)
Nothing could be more explicit.
But does this sound like political unanimity with Lenin, whose whole perspective during the years leading up to the revolution of 1917 was the gradual isolation of the main enemy by the winning of section after section of the population to the support of the working class—whose very definition of the dictatorship of the proletariat was “a peculiar form of class alliance directed against capital,” an alliance between the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie, independent artisans, peasants and intelligentsia—an alliance capable of establishing a fully socialist society, even if no revolutionary upheaval takes place in another country?
In 1915, Lenin wrote in this connection:—
“Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of Socialism is possible, first in a few or even in a few or even in one single country.” (Selected Works, Vol. 5, Pg. 141.)
In 1921, in The Food Tax, Lenin wrote:—
“If we can secure ten to twenty years of amicable relationships with the peasantry, then we can count upon a victory on an international scale, even if the other proletarian revolutions now in course of preparation should be slow to come.”
“All the means of large-scale production are in the hands of the State, and the powers of the State are in the hands of the proletariat; there is the alliance of this same proletariat with the many millions of middle and poor peasants; there is the assured leadership of these peasants by the proletariat . . . Have we not all the means requisite for the establishment of a fully socialist society?” (Works, Russian edition, Vol. 18, Pt. 2, Pg. 140.)
In view, then, of this acute difference of opinion between Trotsky and the Bolshevik Party, how was it possible for him to join that Party in 1917?
Simply because he believed that the international situation was going to develop in such a way as to prove that he had been right all along. At that time, after three years of the Great War, the wave of revolution was everywhere rising. Trotsky was now convinced that the necessity would not arise for the Russian workers to have to set to work single-handed to build Socialism. The rest of Europe would rise at the signal of revolt in Russia and confirm all that he had ever said and written.
And so, although at this stage Trotsky found a basis for co-operation with Lenin, it was not a basis of agreement with Lenin’s line, but a temporary, opportunist, adventurist basis, which was soon to be broken down when the international revolutionary wave receded and the paramount task facing the Bolshevik Party was precisely that of building Socialism in one country.
Once get a clear understanding of the original political basis of Trotskyism, and events to-day which appear on the surface to be the incomprehensible, fantastic acts of a madman, emerge as the logical consequence of persistence in a theory which history—life itself—has discredited and disproved to the last letter.
Socialism has been built in one country. The peasantry has not merely been “won over” to the proletariat, but has been “transformed,” through the socialist development of agriculture, into a body of collective farm workers. The scientist, the artist, the poet, the musician, the writer, the actor—all have found fulfilment under a system which can absorb and use to the limit the creative output of the human brain as well as physical labour.
But Socialism has been built in the Soviet Union precisely because Trotsky’s wrong policies have been defeated. The difficult problems which the Communist Party had to face in the early days of the revolution found many people insufficiently steeled and grounded in the theories of Marx and Lenin to be able to grasp the correct solution. Thus, when Germany offered peace-terms to the new Soviet Government in 1917, and these were denounced by Trotsky as a betrayal of the revolution, he was able to rally a majority against Lenin and carry rejection of the terms. The result was that German troops invaded the Soviet Union, thousands of lives were unnecessarily lost and the terms of the Brest-Litovsk treat which was eventually signed, inflicted infinitely greater hardship and territorial loss upon the struggling Soviet power than the original terms would have done.
How clearly Lenin foresaw the ultimate degeneration of Trotsky and his supporters when he said:—
“He is no revolutionary who recognises the revolution of the proletariat only under the ‘condition’: that it proceeds smoothly and easily, that the proletarians of the various countries immediately come into action, that right from the outset there is a guarantee against defeats, that the revolution will advance along the broad, free and straight path to victory, that one will not here and there—on the way to victory—have to bear heavy sacrifices, to hold out in a beleaguered fortress and to climb up the narrowest, most inaccessible winding and dangerous mountain paths. He is no revolutionary—he has not freed himself from the pedantry of the bourgeois intelligentsia—he will in fact again and again slide down into the camp of the counterrevolutionary bourgeoisie.”
During Lenin’s illness in 1923, Trotsky’s old line of opposition came out sharply again. He began to chafe at the Party discipline which hindered him in the free expression of his resurrected theories on the impossibility of building Socialism in one country, and put forward organisational proposals to change the centralised, disciplined Bolshevik Party operating a single policy, into a hatch-potch of diverse, competing political groups.
It was as the sponsor of this new organisational proposal, rather than as the spokesman of a specific political idea that Trotsky laid his claim to the leadership of the Party. He understood perfectly well that it was precisely the existence of a centralised, disciplined, politically-unified Party which stood between him and his determination to build up an organised Opposition Group to the policy of Lenin and the majority.
His proposals were decisively rejected.
After Lenin’s death in 1924, the Trotsky group felt certain that they could seize power and dominate the Party. They made two serious underestimations. They did not appreciate the strength of Stalin—strength which came not from armed force but from his policy, which history was to prove the only correct policy; they did not realise that although Lenin was dead, his influence and his teaching lived on in the Party which he had formed and led—a Party which unhesitatingly supported the new leader whose policy they recognised as Lenin’s policy.
When the Trotsky group failed to reach their goal, a period of fierce, open opposition began inside the ranks of the Communist Party, which lasted until 1927, when the Party membership insisted on the expulsion of Trotsky and his close associates, who had openly and repeatedly flouted every Party rule.
In 1925, the careful preparatory work which preceded the launching of the First Five-Year Plan gave Trotsky an idea for making yet another bid for the supremacy of his policy of breaking down the alliance between the workers and the peasantry.
His line now was all for rapid industrialization—not upon the sound basis of carefully-prepared and developed internal resources, but, upon the wholesale robbery of the peasantry and the increased exploitation of the countryside in order to solve the economic problems of the town workers.
This was not a line based upon belief in the possibility of the Russian people to build Socialism, but the very contrary. It was the desperate throw of a gambler, bent upon smashing down the bonds of unity which were increasingly ;bringing the peasants to a more conscious support of the Soviet Power, seeing only in the artificial stimulation of the international revolution any hope for guaranteeing the success of Socialist construction.
The proof of this lies in his complete volte face in 1928, when genuine, practicable, carefully-planned industrialisation began.
Trotsky then swung right over to the line of the “right” opposition group, under the leadership of Bukharin, which was still within the framework of the Party, and a secret alliance was formed with it.
The Russian people were faced with colossal difficulties. They understood perfectly well that for the next five years belts would have to be tightened and sacrifices would have to be made in order that the Soviet Union could become economically independent of the outside world, and raise the level of production so that a higher standard of living could be won.
The newly-united Opposition shouted from the housetops that Russia’s grain and Russia’s raw materials should be made available for the Russian people, and not exported to pay for machinery.
They began to talk to the workers in such terms as these:—
“Life is not long enough for such efforts to be worth while.” “Did you make a revolution so that, so many years after 1917, you should still be hungry?” “Let us slacken this mad pace of industrialisation.” “Let us organise a retreat.” “A measure of private trade must be restored.” “We must return to individual farming”—all demagogic slogans in support of a line which would inevitably lead only in one direction—the restoration of capitalism.
When it became clear that the Opposition fight in the industrial field was lost—that the workers did indeed choose to tighten their belts in 1930 to build the Socialist State they proudly own in 1937—the enemies of progress transferred their campaign to agriculture and fought bitterly against collectivisation. Risings were organised, and in face of the savage wave of opposition, even experienced Communists wavered, and failed to keep up with the drive towards Socialism.
But through all the dark and difficult days, the main group of the Party leadership—the real “Old Guard” remained firm and unwavering around Stalin.
Trotsky now emerges as the arch-prophet of doom and calamity as a result of the very successes of Socialist construction and collectivised agriculture.
“The policy of the present-day leadership . . . is leading the country at full speed to dangerous crises and collapses . . . If we should further assume that collectivisation, together with the elements of new technique, will considerably increase the productivity of agricultural labour without which collectivisation would not be economically justified, and consequently would not maintain itself, this would immediately create in the village, which is even now over-populated, ten, twenty, or more million of surplus workers, whom industry would not be able to absorb even with the most optimistic plans.”
But for several years now the main problem has been to find sufficient workers, sufficient technical experts, sufficient managerial staff, to carry out all the colossal projects of planned Socialist industry.
By this time, the Trotskyites began to realise how utterly and completely the masses trusted, respected and loved the Communist Party. They understood that if they were to have the remotest chance of undermining Stalin’s leadership and influencing any considerable sections of the population they must get back into the Party. This explains their “repentances,” their admissions of guilt and promises that they fully recognised and would never repeat their former mistakes. And the Party, not anxious to pursue any personal vendettas, accustomed to dealing with honest, decent people, accepted their declarations, believed their word, and not only took them back into the Party, but showed their readiness to treat them once more as trusted comrades by giving them leading and responsible positions.
From this moment the hypocrisy and treachery begins. For years they were undiscovered, for their positions enabled them to plant their friends and fellow-conspirators in influential positions in state and economic institutions.
This is not so very extraordinary. The whole force of the Party and the best elements among the population generally was concentrated upon the first Five-Year Plan. They were building Dnieprostroi, Magnitogorsk, Stalingrad. They were bridging the age-old “gap” between agriculture and industry.
Things seemed to be going well. Great successes were being achieved.
Vigilance within the Party relaxed, consequent upon the apparent capitulation and “repentance” of the old “Opposition,” which was accepted in all good faith. The main drive was concentrated upon the kulaks and their supporters who were more openly resisting the drive towards Socialist agriculture.
Then came the triumph of Hitler in Germany in 1933, which simultaneously assisted the propaganda and influence of the Trotskyites inside the Soviet Union, and created the force which was quick to appreciate the value of the Trotsky group to the enemies of the Soviet Union, and the necessity of controlling and organising their subversive activities systematically and thoroughly.
It would be wrong to deny that the triumph of fascism in Germany was a blow to the forces of peace and democracy in every country. It provided an inspiration and a focussing point for reaction everywhere. It seemed to delay still further that international revolution upon which the Trotskyites had for so long declared all hopes of building Socialism depended. It increased enormously the danger and imminence of war, particularly against the U.S.S.R., which was compelled to divert a larger proportion of her time, energy and money to increasing and improving her defence forces.
This was a specially hard blow to the very elements which Lenin attacked as “no Socialists” who weakened and despaired when the revolution did not advance in a steady, straight line.
As far back as 1931 Trotsky had said:—
“The crushing of the German proletariat at the hands of the fascists would already comprise at least half of the collapse of the Soviet Republic.” (Germany: Key to the International Situation.)
When this event actually happened, many waverers were led, half-reluctantly, to an endorsement of Trotsky’s line. They feared that external forces were now far too strong to permit Socialism to be built in the U.S.S.R., and that her defence forces were not strong enough to repel intervention, and on this basis were prepared to make a deal—to give Hitler the Ukraine, to give Japan territories in the Far East, on the basis of temporary military dictatorships and the eventual restoration of capitalist democratic republics.
It is difficult to decide which is the more extraordinary—their childlike trust that the fascist powers would honestly abide by their bargain and not advance further against the U.S.S.R.; their callous disregard of the fate of their fellow-countrymen, whom they were prepared to hand over as if they were so many bales of merchandise, to the tender mercies of fascism, or their lack of faith in the working class, which had already overcome far more formidable obstacles, and which had even at this stage established Socialism on far too firm and unshakeable a basis to be overcome by the mere existence of a hostile fascist state.
Fascist Germany, warmly supported by Japan and fascist Italy, and encouraged morally and materially by Britain, now began to develop and perfect a new technique in what Lenin described as their “practical expression of attempts to bring about a capitalist restoration.”
Many and varied have been the methods employed by those who have never completely relinquished this cherished dream. In 1918 and 1919, Britain, France, the United States and Germany sent armies of intervention, which failed to quell the ragged, half-starved Red troops. In 1919 and 1920, money was poured out like water”£100,000,000 by the British Government alone—to help Kolchak, Denikin and Wrangel—again without success.
After the Soviet Government had defeated every military attempt to overthrow it, and driven the White Armies out, the imperialist Powers carried on a systematic trade and financial boycott to try and prevent economic recovery. Even after the post-war slump made trade with the Soviet Union a regrettable necessity to them, such outrageous attacks as the Arcos Raid in 1927 were frequently made.
In 1930, a great campaign of vilification was launched in Britain under the slogans of fighting against “forced labour” and the “persecution of religion.”
Only the economic crisis in Poland and the Border States held back their reactionaries from launching intervention against the Soviet Union.
When Japan invaded Manchuria, hatred of the Soviet Union blinded almost all the great imperialist powers, particularly Britain, to the threat to their economic interests that this invasion constituted, and Japan was supported up to the hilt, and regarded as the great bulwark against Bolshevism in the East.
But all these attacks failed. The Soviet power went on from triumph to triumph, until her continuous advances in industry and collective agriculture and, above all, the strengthening of her defence forces, so that Litvinov can boldly declare that “we are strong enough to take on any of them single-handed,” have aroused envy and panic in the seats of capitalist, and particularly fascist; governments, for the destruction of the Soviet power is essential to the continued existence of the Hiders, the Chamberlains, the Francos and the Japanese militarists.
The chief method in bringing about its downfall, adopted and perfected by the fascist powers, has been the spreading of a network of spies, saboteurs and assassins across the whole face of the Soviet Union.
When the moment to strike arrived, the defence plans of the Soviet Government were to be known in Berlin and Tokio. When Red troops moved into action, they were to be held back by the dynamiting of strategic railway junctions and bridges; their military supplies were to be cut off by the blowing up of munition factories and the contamination of food and water.
War is the final weapon of the capitalist class. Their main concentration, utilising to the full every disgruntled Trotskyist and anti-Soviet element who could be bribed, flattered or coerced into conscious or unconscious participation in this network of espionage, was at one and the same time an attempt to hold back the triumphant march of socialist progress and a preparation for the eventual war in which the Soviet power was to be finally annihilated.
Of course, the Soviet Union is not the only country in the world where spies are maintained as part of the normal foreign policy of other governments. But do not let us join Mr. Bevin and the Daily Herald in the naive belief that espionage in the Soviet Union and espionage in, for example, Britain, are the same thing.
It is only in the Soviet Union that the espionage forces. of the whole world are united and interested in destroying a complete economic system which is in direct conflict with their own. There are German spies in Britain and British spies in Germany, but they do not attempt to wreck trains, destroy bridges, sabotage industry and try to secure the miscarriage of economic plans.
Germany and Britain have varying and often conflicting economic interests, but their present rulers are unitedly and firmly interested in maintaining the system of private property—capitalism.
But world capitalism is interested in the destruction of the Soviet Union. Therefore, foreign espionage becomes increasingly dangerous, active and acute, in exact proportion to the Soviet Union’s success in establishing its system.
The capitalist class understands perhaps better than we of the working-class movement do, that the stronger the Soviet Union grows, the stronger grow the opportunities for the adoption of the same social system by other countries. And that is especially the case in countries like Germany, Italy and Japan, whose social systems, utterly stripped of all democratic freedom, only increase the hostility of the mass of the people to the governing class.
Many quite honest people, who understand perfectly well why fascism sends its spies into the Soviet Union, are genuinely surprised that among 170 million people, there should be even a tiny handful prepared to assist them. This is because they have not grasped the fact that the class struggle is not ended with the seizure of power, but still continues over a whole historical epoch.
So many stupendous achievements have been won since 1917 that it is easy to forget that twenty years is not a long time to carry out a revolution in the entire mentality, outlook and habits of not one, but dozens of nations, many of them at a barely civilised level in 1917.
Some individuals still covet personal riches. They are easy meat for foreign agents liberally supplied with money for this purpose. Some look backward to the past glories of the “old days,” whose passing they secretly regret. They can be bought over by promises of personal preferment and favoured treatment when their country is “liberated” from the yoke of Socialism.
Some are overwhelmed by the difficulties and cannot stand the pace. Almost without knowing it, they become valuable to the skilful agent and saboteur.
In institutions where the administration had become complacent, negligent and resentful of criticism from the workers, Trotskyite agents found a happy hunting ground.
The significant thing is that these anti-Socialist elements were not workers, but came from circles out of touch with the working class-bureaucrats whose conduct was placing obstacles in the path of Socialist development.
But, some people ask, why shoot them? Arrest them by all means. Send them to prison if you must. Stop them doing any further damage. But don’t kill them!
In the first place, it is grotesque to assume that every person arrested on charges of wrecking and espionage has been shot. Soviet jurists are not amateurs, playing with human lives. They are men and women of the highest legal ability which they use in the sole interests of the people of their country. The State has no interest in taking the life of some ignorant little railway official who unwittingly supplies information about the movements of troop trains, on the basis of which a train wreck is engineered. But it is interested in protecting the millions, whose sacrifices and achievements, whose entire future, are jeopardised by the treachery of a Red Army General—a man who enjoys the highest confidence, prestige and personal standards that his country can give him.
Professor Ramzin was not shot in 1928, although his counter-revolutionary activities were completely revealed, because he was not a class-conscious worker, not of working-class origin, had never accepted Socialism. He was given every opportunity to show his proclaimed repentance by devoting his brilliant technical genius to the cause of Socialism in circumstances where he could not be “got at” by unscrupulous spies from abroad.
Zinoviev was shot, precisely because he had been a Communist. His crimes were not unconscious or unpremeditated; they were committed with a full and complete understanding of where his actions would lead. He was a man who would lie and deceive again and again, who would direct and inspire assassination and the deaths of innocent men, women and children, who would plot the betrayal of his country to the fire and sword of fascism, in revenge for the defeat and disproval of his incorrect political theories.
Let those whose tears are so easily provoked, whose indignation is so quickly aroused, spare them for the innocent victims of the Trotskyist conspiracies—for those who were killed in deliberately organised pit explosions and railway accidents, who died through eating deliberately poisoned food, for Kirov, murdered in Leningrad.
Let them consider that if the Spanish Government had dealt, as firmly with the Generals who betrayed it in July, 1936, as did the Soviet Government with the eight Generals who plotted with foreign Powers, Spain’s agony could have been avoided.
Let them realise that if the Spanish Government had rooted out and dealt with all disrupters, saboteurs and defeatists with similar determination, the civil war would have been over by now, despite fascist intervention and arms.
Let them try and grasp the incomparable tragedy it would be not merely for the people of the U.S.S.R. but for the progressive and peace-loving peoples of the whole world, if these, traitors and spies had succeeded in their avowed objective, the downfall of the Soviet Government and the victory of fascist invaders.
If they will apply themselves to a careful consideration of these things with half the energy that they devote to championing the cause of the unhappy “victims” of Stalin’s alleged persecution, they will rapidly join with the Communist Party in this country in approving and supporting every measure that the Soviet Government has taken.
Anti-fascists throughout the world need to be thankful, not apologetic, that the leadership in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has been able to root out its enemies in time.
Another question sometimes asked is: Surely the Soviet Union must be in a very unsound condition when we are always reading about these arrests? There must be something inherently rotten when anti-Government feeling is so widespread.
To such doubters we put one question only. If demoralisation and hostility to Socialism existed anywhere but among a tiny handful of disgruntled individuals, would the Soviet Government at this precise moment dare to give to the people the new Stalin Constitution—a Constitution which, in its freedom and scope, makes the Soviet Union the fullest, and most complete democracy which they, world has ever seen? Every man and woman over the age of eighteen has the right to vote by secret ballot and to be nominated as a candidate by an organisation. No one is deprived of these rights on account of his social origin, his parents’ or his own past misdeeds. This would indeed be a dangerous weapon to put into the hands of a people showing any widespread hostility to the Government.
Thousands of armed troops marched past Stalin and the other leaders of the Government on November 7th, a very risky performance if the army was seething with discontent and infuriated at the execution of its beloved Generals, as the Daily Herald would like us to believe.
The entire population of Moscow marched through the Red Square, within a few feet of the Lenin Mausoleum, from the roof of which Stalin and the rest of the Government watched throughout the day, but no double row of Guards, handcuffed together, was needed to protect Stalin from the people, as was considered a necessary measure when Hitler and Mussolini drove through the streets of Berlin.
The real feelings of the great masses of the people can be judged by the enormous leaps forward in almost all sections of industry and agriculture which have taken place since the wreckers and saboteurs and all who were acting as a brake on progress have been removed.
If only the Soviet people can have peace for the next ten years, Moscow will be the most marvellous city in the world. It will be a luxury city, built by workers, for workers. The ground plan has been well and truly laid. Ten years of peace will see the construction of a shining city of superb flats, fine parks, theatres, cinemas and restaurants.
Moscow, of course, is the capital, but it is also the mirror of progress throughout the whole Union. Given peace, the Soviet people can build not only a Workers’ Capital, but a whole host of workers’ cities, and can demonstrate to the world the inexhaustible potentialities of Soviet Power.
It is pertinent in this connection to draw attention to what Kautsky said in Vienna in 1934, and contrast his words with the actual situation to-day.
“The Five-Year Plan is just as nonsensical as the attempts of the Liberal land-owners in Russia to import agricultural machinery into Russia with the money they received as compensation following the end of serfdom. These attempts came to grief on the rock of backwardness of the Russian peasantry. This backwardness of the Russian people can only be overcome by a period of democracy. Bolshevism hinders this development and therefore it must be overthrown.”
Yet this year the Soviet Union had such a harvest that the only problem was how to get it all in!
There are some people in the Labour movement and among the middle classes who are inclined to be a little amused, in a rather superior way, about the importance which we in the Communist Party place upon the avoiding of “deviations” either to the right or to the left. But “deviations”—wrong policies—are not abstract things, they are very real things which can bring very real misery and suffering to millions of people if they are adopted.
In Lenin’s words:
“Verily it may be said that a small mistake persisted in, learnedly demonstrated and carried to its logical conclusion will grow into a monstrosity.”
The only guarantee that a Communist Party will show the working class and the people the right path to its goal is first, that it is based on the firm rock of revolutionary theory worked out by Marx and Lenin, and affords continuous opportunities to all its members and the masses of its sympathisers and supporters to study the theories of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and apply them to their daily work. Secondly, that it does not treat with unconcern or toleration, deviations either to the right or to the left, but conducts a serious and widespread campaign of political enlightenment both inside the Party and among sympathetic elements to make the question at issue perfectly clear, to win back, if possible, those who have adopted wrong theories, and if that is not possible, to expose them utterly and completely in the eyes of all who might be influenced by them.
Misunderstanding of the principles of the class struggle is the beginning—betrayal of Socialism the end.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union has been able to withstand all the attempts of the Trotskyites to influence its line, has been able to isolate, them and prevent their pernicious propaganda from affecting any considerable sections of the people, and finally to mete out revolutionary justice to those who persisted in their anti-Socialist activities, precisely because it is founded on the whole experience of the struggle against capitalism.
Not only in the Soviet Union, but in Spain, in France, even in Britain, the Trotskyists start with completely wrong theories and finish as disrupters of the working-class movement and as allies of fascism. It is not an accident that the Trotskyists in Spain plot against the People’s Government at the moment when that Government is carrying out a bitter struggle against the fascist invaders. It is not an accident that in France the renegade Doriot tries to disrupt the working-class movement and ends as the ally of the fascists. And it is not an accident that in Spain, in France, and again in Britain, also, the masses of the workers have decisively rejected the Trotskyist policies, and recognised the Trotskyists as a disruptive, anti-working-class group.
This call for vigilance and unity in face of the Trotskyist attempts to corrupt our movement may well end with these inspiring words of Dimitrov:—
“To us, the workers, and not to the social parasites and idlers, belongs the world—a world built by the hands of the workers. The present rulers of the capitalist world are but temporary rulers. The proletariat is the real master, tomorrow’s master of the world. And it must enter upon its historical rights, take into its hands the reins of government in every country all over the world. We are disciples of Marx and Engels, Lenin and Stalin. We should be worthy of our great teachers. With Stalin at their head, the millions of our political army, overcoming all difficulties and courageously breaking through all barriers, must and will level to the ground the fortress of capitalism and achieve the victory of socialism throughout the whole world.”