Karl Radek

Dictatorship and Terrorism

Chapter I
Karl Kautsky’s Autumn Offensive
Against Soviet Russia

The English general who represents “democracy” by the grace of the City of London and of Wall Street, and who is organizing the crusade of English Imperialism against the Russia of the workers and peasants, announced an offensive by fourteen nations. But the “nations” expected to attack have remained aloof, the generals of the counter-revolution are in part defeated, and the London slave-holders have been unable to overthrow Soviet Russia in spite of their tanks and poison gas, their bombardment of open towns and all other manifestations of the Fourteen Points of the Wilsonian scheme for making the world happy. When the divisions amongst the slaves which were expected by the rulers of the world did not take place because the people did not think it necessary to assist in the restoration of Czarism, the Entente received assistance from an unexpected quarter. At a time when the Russian workers are waging a heroic fight in defense of their government Herr Karl Kautsky hastens to the assistance of the international counter-revolution – Karl Kautsky, the theorist of the sacred Second International, and to this day a member of the German Independent Social Democratic Party, and what is more, its trusted representative at international conferences, which are supposed to strive for the restoration of the unity of the working class. While long’ rows of priests with swinging censers march in front of Kolchak’s troops, and endeavor to break the courage of the peasants in the Red Army by holding aloft sacred images, Karl Kautsky holds up to the view of the proletariat of Russia and of Europe a picture of wonder-working democracy in one hand and a terrible picture of proletarian despotism in the other. His book is entitled Terrorism and Communism not Terrorism and Capitalism.

He does not tell how the American trusts in the “freest democracy in the world” sought for decades to bow the workers under the yoke of slavery be open and reckless violence (as witness Colorado!), or how the same thing in another form happened in all “democratic” States before the war. He does not discuss how the capitalist cliques plunged the world into the frightful five years slaughter without asking a single one of the nations involved its opinion on the matter. He does not say one word of how during the period of the world war the Imperialist dictatorship was set up everywhere, of how millions of the sons of the people were destroyed in battle, or of how in the towns thousands upon thousands were starved in prison. He does not tell how the revolutionary Kerensky Government, at the bidding of the Paris Bourse, caused thousands to be cut down at the front in order to bring about the July offensive of 1917. The history of terrorism in the present revolutionary epoch begins for him with the Bolsheviks. “The Bolsheviks in Russia began it,” and Herr Noske, who defended German Capitalism with machine-guns and mine-throwers against the German proletariat is certified by Karl Kautsky, with extraordinary impudence, to have “followed boldly in Trotsky’s footsteps.” This Noske has the honor to be the subject of an “historical” investigation by Kautsky – not an ex parte work, however, because such an examination would disclose a certain connection between the dying system of Capitalism defending its power, on the one hand, and terrorism on the other; which does not interest Herr Kautsky, since he has written a book against Communism, not against Capitalism. This book has aroused the enthusiasm not only of Fritz Stampfer, of the Frankfurter Zeitung, but even of the Lokalanzeiger. We might ignore it altogether, but it exhibits so well the intellectual slovenliness of the worthy theorist of the so-called Second International that it is worth a few minutes’ consideration; all the more so that the “luminous historical performance” – as Haase calls it – has been quoted ad nauseum, not only by Social Patriots and Right Independents (as Hilferding and Ströbel), but even by people who, like Ledebour, still have the reputation of being revolutionary politicians. ‘The outcry against terrorist methods, the watch-word “Dictatorship without terrorism,” is the, latest attempt to mislead the workers now that it seems hopeless to prevent the spread of knowledge of the necessity for the dictatorship on proletarian grounds. “Dictatorship without terrorism” is the last refuge of the opponents of the proletarian dictatorship. Kautsky’s book is their weapon. It will be very easily broken, however, for it is a sword of cardboard.

Last updated on 18.10.2011