Karl Radek

Appeal for Trotsky

(October 1928)

Karl Radek’s Appeal for Trotsky, The Militant, Vol. 2 No. 1, 1 January 1929, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

To the Central Committee, C.P.S.U.


Upon receiving the news of the illness of comrade Leon Trotsky I wrote to the Political Bureau of the Central Committee with the request that comrade Trotsky be transferred to a place where conditions will make his recovery possible. Up to this time the Central Committee has done nothing towards this end despite the fact that the reports of the constant aggravation of comrade Trotsky’s illness proved to be true, and that ever-growing sections of the working class, who learned about these facts, raised the demand that an end be made to this unheard of situation.

You have expelled us from the Party and sent us away as counter-revolutionaries without reckoning that the older ones among us fought for Communism for a quarter of a century and that the younger ones were in the ranks of the October revolution from the first moment of their conscious life. This fact does not give me the right to appeal to your sentiments, but since the time when you decided on the incredible step of expelling us from the Party, with an accusation which dishonors not us but those who have made it, and exiling us – from that moment it is time that you draw the balance and render an accounting on the whole matter.

Eight months have passed since then. Eight months of the grain crisis, eight months in which the Kulak mobilized the village against the Soviet power, eight months during which the Schachty nest of the bourgeois vermin – trading under cover of the Soviet power – was disclosed. Only a blind man can fail to recognize where the danger comes from. To keep in exile those who demanded the struggle against the Kulaks is either insanity or it is conscious, guaranteed aid to the Kulak and the Schachty system.

Eight months have passed since the time of our exile. During these eight months you were forced to expel, and bring before the courts, for debauchery, for squandering, for direct connections with the class enemy, the very same ones who “saved the proletarian dictatorship from the intrigues of Trotsky, I.N. Smirnov, Muralov, Serebriakov, Smilga, Preobraschensky, Mratchkovsky.” Since you knew that the masters of the Smolensk, Artemovsk, Riasan and Odessa cases were still present in droves in the Party, you were forced to call the. Party, the working masses to aid in the struggle against these parasites who undermine the C.P.S.U. and the Soviet power. Is it not madness, is it not support of these elements to keep in exile those who fought for Party democracy as the only means of clearing the Party of the disintegrating forces? Despite your knowledge of all of this you silently tolerate the literal annihilation in exile of the Bolshevik-Leninists.

Sibiriakov, exiled to katorga (hard labor) under the czar, was brought back to Moscow by the G.P.U. in a hopeless condition. Comrade Alski, who contracted a severe disease during his revolutionary work in China, was close to death in Narym without medical aid. Right now they are trying to transfer him from the clinic in Tomsk to Rubzovsk, where there is no skilled medical aid at hand. A loyal friend of the Party, comrade Taras Choretchko, lay unconscious with severe typhoid in Narym, in a region so encircled by swamps that no doctor was able to get through them to him. When our protests finally obliged you to transfer him to Kamen, he left – hardly able to stand on his feet – without a single cent! It took a struggle on our part to make available the few rubles with which to send his baggage after him. A revolutionist-Bolshevik, whose past can stand any comparison with yours, he must seek to recover his strength with thirty rubles (fifteen dollars) a month. We were ashamed to make these things known to the working masses, and approached only you.

The illness of Trotsky, however, has brought our patience to overflow. We cannot be silent and look on while malaria devours the strength of a warrior who served the working class for a lifetime, who was the Sword of the October Revolution. If factional interests have extinguished in you all memories of the common revolutionary struggle, then at least let simple intelligence and the facts themselves speak out. The dangers against which the Soviet republic is fighting are growing. The entire information apparatus is in your hands; you therefore know even better than we how to estimate the situation. Only those people who do not understand the struggle against the daily growing dangers can be indifferent towards the slow death of the fighting heart that is comrade L. Trotsky. But those among you – and I am personally convinced that they are not few – who think with dread of what the morrow will bring; those who bear in mind the fight against the growing dangers, must say to themselves:

Enough of this inhuman playing with the health and the life of comrade Trotsky!

They must raise the question of how to put an end to the banishment of the Bolshevik-Leninists with Trotsky at the head. They must demand in the first place that comrade Trotsky be transferred in the shortest possible time to other climatic conditions; that capable medical assistance is afforded him; that he be freed from the tormenting worry over his daily bread.

Comrades, act as swiftly as possible! Let us not suffer the shame of hundreds of thousands, who saw Trotsky on the front in the civil war, raising their voices to save him. Act, comrades, for, much as the Party worker can endure, it is beyond him to tolerate the certainty that the Party of the working class is consciously ruining in Central Asia a comrade who fought in the front ranks of the October.

I do not write this letter in order to intensify the factional struggle. I write to you so that you may be moved to put an end to a situation which has every likelihood of broadening the cleavage that you yourselves have made; of separating you still further from us; of completely alienating you from us, whose Party books have been taken, who have been stamped as counter-revolutionaries by the G.P.U. according to Article 58, but who as before still feel ourselves to be Party members and as always and despite everything will fight for the interests of the working class.

Tomsk, Siberia.
October 1928


Last updated on 8.8.2012