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Natalia Sedova Trotsky

Natalia Sedov Trotsky

Stalinist Assassins Must Be Made to Stand Trial!
– Natalia Trotsky

(18 April 1947)

Written: 18 April 1947.
Source: Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 18, 5 May 1947, pp. 3 & 6.
Online Version: Natalia Sedova Internet Archive, April 2020.
Transcribed/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

ON June 8, 1940, Leon Trotsky wrote: “I can therefore say that I live on this earth not in accordance with the rule but as an exception to the rule.” And on August 20, 1947, it will be seven years since the commission of the crime that cut short his life.

Everything we said in connection with the violent death of L.D. Trotsky is today being wholly confirmed by the confessions of Louis Budenz, a former leader of the American “Communist” Stalinist Party, in his book This Is My Story published in March of this year. The testimony of this GPU sub-agent, who took part in the conspiracy against the life of L.D. Trotsky, introduces nothing that is factually new, but it does authoritatively corroborate everything that we had said both on the basis of general political considerations as well as by taking into account numerous facts, that took place through the years of our exile. The confessions of Louis Budenz throw into the limelight the entire activity of the secret Stalinist “Apparatus,” which has usurped power and which acts with bloody arbitrariness. According to Budenz, the leaders of the Stalinist party in the United States, Earl Browder and Jack Stachel, participated in the plot against Trotsky. The plan of Stalin’s terroristic act was discussed in New York. For many reasons and, in the first instance, because for many long years Constantine Oumansky, who in his capacity as agent of the secret police attached to the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, participated both in the “accidental” as well as non-accidental deaths of Stalin’s enemies, it is difficult to suppose that he did not have his hand, in one way or another, in the crime in Mexico during his stay as Soviet Ambassador in the United States. Oumansky himself “fell victim of an accident.” Wasn’t he perhaps in reality doomed?

Much Is Unsaid

Louis Budenz leaves much that is unsaid ... he knows much more! But under the conspiratorial system, where each of the participants in the conspiracy is told only what concerns him and nothing more – Budenz might have remained uninformed about the most important things. Let us hope that presently others will come forward with supplementary exposures.

Stalin cherished the project of destroying the leader of the anti-totalitarian opposition even before the expulsion of Trotsky from the Russian Communist Party. Sometime after the death of Lenin, as was testified by Zinoviev and Kamenev, who at that time formed together with Stalin the secret ruling Triumvirate, Stalin posed himself the task of getting rid of his opponent at any price. This found its confirmation in attempts which at that time assumed the guise of accidents, but which were nevertheless very suspicious. Thus in 1924 in Kislovodsk where L.D. was recuperating, we happened one night to be returning in a hand-car from a hunting trip together with Muralov and our guards. The hand-car suddenly jumped the rails and fell down the embankment. We escaped with only contusions. But we never received a plausible explanation of what caused the derailment.

On November 7, 1927, during the parade in celebration of the 1917 Revolution, the Trotskyist Opposition marched with its own banners and its Left slogans. Shots were fired at the automobile of L.D. Trotsky. At that time the Stalinist clique could not go beyond attempts of this type.

To the uninitiated it might seem incomprehensible why Stalin exiled Trotsky abroad and then tried over a period of several years to do away with him. In 1928 when Trotsky was exiled to Central Asia it was still impossible to talk not only about shooting him but about arresting him. The generation with whom Trotsky had passed through the entire October Revolution and the Civil War was still alive. The political bureau felt itself besieged on all sides and Stalin’s project could not have been realized at that time either politically or psychologically. Even the legal exile of L.D. was not managed successfully by Stalin; it was broken up by a huge demonstration which took place at night in the railway station. The stormy crowd set up a large portrait of the leader of the October Revolution on one of the cars, hailed it enthusiastically and halted the train as it started moving. But Trotsky was not on it. The departure had been cancelled. Here, too, Stalin was obliged to resort to deception and to a secret train in order to effect the exile.

The Exile of Trotsky

The year spent by L.D. in Central Asia was one of intense discussion by correspondence with co-thinkers. The entire exile stirred with the greatest activity; in Moscow and Leningrad sympathy for the Opposition grew. The experience of that year brought Stalin to the decision to exile Trotsky abroad. His choice fell on Turkey. Stalin calculated that after he had succeeded in completely blackening Trotsky in the eyes of the entire country, he would then be able to obtain from the friendly Turkish government, the return of Trotsky to Moscow for the final settlement of scores.

The question came up for discussion in the Political Bureau. Stalin said:

Trotsky must he exiled abroad In the first place because he Is providing here the ideological leadership to the Opposition which keeps growing numerically; secondly, in order to uncrown him in the eyes of the masses as soon as he turns up as an ally of the bourgeoisie in a bourgeois country; thirdly. In order to uncrown him in the eyes of the entire world proletariat: the Social Democracy will exploit his exile against the USSR and come to the defense of ‘the victim of Bolshevik terror – Trotsky’; and fourthly, if Trotsky comes out with exposures of the leadership we will brand him as a betrayer. All this shows the need to exile him.” (We had at our disposal the minutes of the session of the Political Bureau at which the foregoing arguments were enumerated.)

On December 16, 1928, to an ultimatum which came from Moscow that he cease and desist from revolutionary activity, Trotsky replied: “Only completely corrupted functionaries could demand of a revolutionist that he renounce political activity, that is, renounce serving the party and the world revolution. Only contemptible renegades could be capable of binding themselves to do so.”

On January 18, 1929, camp the GPU order exiling Trotsky beyond the boundaries of the USSR. Upon the demand to acknowledge the receipt of this order, L.D. Trotsky wrote: “This decision of the GPU, criminal in its content and illegal in its form was presented to me on January 20, 1929.”

We were brought from Odessa to Istanbul on the steamship Ilyich.

On July 18, 1933, the “left” government of Daladier issued to Trotsky permission to settle in France, ostensibly with the same rights as other foreigners. But in reality he was forbidden to live in Paris and was immediately placed under strict police surveillance. On February 6, 1934, after a rabid campaign in the press, Albert Sarraut, the Minister of Internal Affairs, signed the decree deporting Trotsky from France. But there could not be found a single foreign government that would agree to accept him. For this reason the order of deportation could not be carried out. From one day to the next l’Humanité kept writing: “Fascist Daladier has summoned the social-fascist Trotsky in order to organize with his help military intervention against the Soviet Union.” This did not prevent the Stalinist party from entering two years later into an anti-Fascist People’s Front, with the Fascist Daladier.

In June, 1935, the Social Democrats of Norway formed a government. Trotsky turned to Oslo with a request for a visa. On June 10 he was deported from France, and we left for Norway.

The realization of Stalin's project became long-drawn out. As Lenin said, “this cook prepared only peppery dishes.” Stalin needed more potent means for obtaining the deportation of Trotsky from Norway, i.e., his being in effect handed over to the GPU. To this end, Stalin staged the Moscow Trials. Cringing before the threats, Norway resorted to the internment of L.D. Trotsky. It seemed as if the possibility of obtaining a visa to another country was completely out of the question. But the government of the Republic of Mexico in the person of Lazaro Cardenas issued a visa to Trotsky – this was in the days when Mexico had no diplomatic relations with the USSR. Stalin’s plans fell to pieces, nothing else remained for him except to prepare the terrorist act. For his part Trotsky awaited with certainty an attempt against his life. In March 1940, the congress of the “Communist” Stalinist Party of Mexico proclaimed a course toward the “annihilation of Trotskyism.”

The Armed Assault

On May 24, 1940, took place the armed assault upon our house, which was led by the painter David Alfaro Siqueiros, former member of the Stalinist party of Mexico. Robert Sheldon Harte, one of Trotsky’s young collaborators, was kidnapped by the Stalinist bandits and murdered. We escaped unharmed thanks to a fortunate accident, despite the painstakingly prepared strategic plan of the GPU.

After the death of L.D. Trotsky the Bulletin of the Russian Opposition wrote:

"To this failure (of the attempt led by Siqueiros) we owe the most dramatic document of modern political literature; in it a man explains to us why he must be killed and lays bare all the threats of intrigue, which tighten mare and more closely around him – (The reference here is to Trotsky’s article The Comintern and the GPU, published in November 1940 issue of the Fourth International.)

David Alfaro Siqueiros, freed on bail of 10,000 pesos, prohibited from leaving the country where he had committed a capital political crime, nevertheless fled from Mexico, not without the assistance of prominent individuals. His trial was suspended, without any explanations. Several months later the press reported the theft of all the documents in his case and the impossibility in view of this of continuing the trial. Not so long ago, he applied for readmission to the Stalinist party from which he was in his day expelled. The complete violation of legality by Siqueiros demands his immediate arrest.

The revelations of Louis Budenz, the former editor of the Daily Worker, the “Communist” Stalinist daily in the United States, are quite specific and have become widely known. The conscience of world public opinion can neither remain indifferent to the crimes that have been committed nor permit them to pass unpunished.

A new and supplementary judicial investigation must be undertaken against the Stalinist assassin now lodged in a prison in. Mexico, the self-styled “Jacson,” “Monard,” “Vandendresche” – all three false aliases. The prisoner must be subjected to a supplementary cross-examination in order to clear up the following points: (1) his real identity and his past; (2) his role in the Siqueiros assault and the murder of Robert Sheldon Harte; (3) what he did on the trips that he made periodically to New York; (4) the identity of his superiors, inspirers and paymasters.

The participation of the leaders of the “Communist” Party of the U.S. in the plot against Trotsky, attested to by Louis Budenz, provides sufficient grounds for bringing before the court Budenz himself together with Browder and Stachel and to place them in the hands of the Mexican judicial authorities.

Millions of people are under a monstrous delusion: they identify the October Revolution with the bloody totalitarian regime which engulfed it, the regime with its “Apparatus" of espionage, corruption and slander; with its Comintern, the organizer of murders, formally dissolved in 1942 but still continuing its evil activities! The time has come for those who continue to grope in the dark to open their eyes. The responsibility of the crime committed in Coyoacan and for other innumerable crimes falls directly and far more so than on his contemptible secret agents – upon Stalin himself. The interests of the complete investigation of this exceptional court case demand Stalin's presence; she must appear before the court as the author and arranger of. the crime. Stalin bears the responsibility before the world's public opinion, before posterity and before history.

Coyoacan, Mexico
April 18, 1947

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