Zinoviev Expelled Again

New Expulsions Denote Dangerous Crisis for Stalinist Regime

(October 1932)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 42, 15 October 1932, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

For the second time in less than five years, the former head of the Communist International, Gregory Zinoviev, and the former chairman of the Russian party’s Political Bureau, Leo Kamenev, have been expelled by the ruling faction in the Russian party. The cablegram from the Inprecorr to the official party press leaves everything in obscurity, as is to be expected. From its own internal evidence, only one thing is clear: the charges against Zinoviev and Kamenev, as well as the other twenty-two party members who were expelled along with them, are a typical product of that disloyalty and rudeness for which Lenin stigmatized Stalin and demanded his removal from the post of general party secretary.

The “Counter-Revolutionary Plot”

Is it possible to believe that the expelled twenty-two were actually engaged in what the party press, without the slightest idea of the actual standpoint of the dissidents, already glibly denounces as a counter-revolutionary conspiracy to overthrow the Soviet power and re-introduce capitalism. Still less worthy of our credence is the charge that Ziuoviev and Kamenev, however wretched their political course in the past few years, knew of a real counter-revolutionary plot and failed to inform the party of its existence.

The whole affair, we are prepared to say even without the more detailed information which we know will shortly be available, smacks of those despicable Thermidorian amalgams produced in the factional laboratories of the Stalinist clique, which seriously told the Communist workers that the Opposition was allied with Chamberlain and Chiang Kai-Shek and that the most trusted leaders of the October revolution were working together with a “Wrangel officer” in 1927 to overturn the Soviet regime.

The Daily Worker reports that those expelled were in counter-revolutionary groups ... which drafted programs opposing the party and aiming at restoration of capitalism and kulak power, a dissolution of the Soviet and collective farms and the granting of important concessions to capitalists.” The finality and certitude with which the journalistic footmen of Stalinism speak is determined not merely by their subserviency, but also by their complete ignorance of the facts in the case.

The truth about the situation that has been revealed with such breath-taking abruptness is more closely approached by the report printed in the organ of the Left Opposition in France two weeks ago:

“A short time ago rumors began to circulate about dissension at the top of the party: the harbingers of a new and deep-going turn-about face to the Right have been perceived: furthermore, the rumors were recorded in the Letter from Moscow (printed in the Militant a few issues back). A dispatch from the T.A.S.S., published without comment by l’Humanité simply denied the report that Stalin was going to quit – of his own will or under compulsion – the post of secretary of the C.P.S.U.

“Letter of the 18 Bolsheviks”

“Now, a document is being talked about which is called ‘the letter of the eighteen Bolsheviks’, which is circulating in the Russian party. It appears to emanate from circles close to the Centrist apparatus. Its central slogan is: remove Stalin! It is a letter to the members of the party. Stalin is accused in it of having stifled the Communist International, stifled all workers’ democracy in the party, of having zig-zagged in economic policy, of having broken the bridges between town and country, and having led the Five Year Plan and all of Soviet economy into a state of profound crisis.”

In a word, it is already plain that the new group which the Stalinists have “discovered”, is a manifestation of that profound crisis which is tearing away the foundations of that structure of contradictions, patch-work and bureaucratic violence which the usurpatory ruling clique has sought in vain to pass off as Bolshevism. The crisis in present day Soviet economy, superinduced by the whole series of incoherent, disastrous, zig-zagging blunders which make up the “line” of Centrism, we have already analyzed in these columns. The reflection of this state of affairs in the form of a new party crisis had to come to light. The expulsions just announced are unmistakably the first tangible evidence of the new party crisis in the Soviet Union.

It is as yet too early to pass judgment on the program of those who have been expelled. In the miserable inadequate reports, the official cables to the party press and the semi-official cables to the capitalist press, there is a lack of those specific details necessary for a complete analysis. Among those whose expulsion is announced we find the former “Trotskyist”, Riutin. We also read the name of Uglanov, the former head of the Moscow organization who was the first victim of the organizational measures taken against the Right wing Bucharin-Tomsky-Rykov group in 1929. Finally, there are the professional capitulators of the Leningrad school, Zinoviev and Kamenev. What common line these disparate elements might have, it is difficult to say. Whether we have here a repetition of that hopeless venture undertaken some time ago by the so-called “Right-Left Bloc” of Syrzov and Lominadze, is also a declaration which requires further details for its confirmation.

The Crisis of Stalinism

But enough information is at our disposal for the confident assertion that the latest news from the Soviet Union speaks volumes about the insoluble crisis of the Stalinist regime. One fact alone: Zinoviev and Kamenev, who capitulated so pitifully to the Stalinist machine at the 15th Party Congress in 1927, and have since that time disavowed or swallowed their opinions for a party card and that contemptuous toleration shown them by he hierarchy, have been expelled with the others. How critical must Stalin’s position be at the present time if he is obliged to resort to the expulsions even of such abject capitulators as Zinoviev and Kamenev! How critical the whole situation must be, how pregnant with terrific, imminent consequences, when even Zinoviev and Kamenev dare to conduct themselves in a manner which brings about their expulsion!

But where is the party in all this? It has not been informed, it has not discussed the question, it has not decided – in a word, it has not acted like an independent proletarian party. And for cause! There is no such party in the Soviet Union – the Stalinist bureaucracy has demoralized, disoriented, strangled and crushed it! Only the disconnected and scattered component parts of Lenin’s party are still in existence. These parts must be welded together again, and that can be done only by ideas of Bolshevism and its banner-bearers, the Left Opposition (Bolshevik-Leninists). Stalin is leading the October revolution into the abyss. Only the resurgent party can check his fatal course and steer the revolution back to solid terrain.

Now more than ever before must Lenin’s last counsel to the party be heeded : REMOVE STALIN! Restore the party to itself and to its rights and powers! Convene a democratically elected special congress of the party, with a genuine preliminary discussion, and with the unhampered participation of L.D. Trotsky and the whole Left Opposition!

The revolution is at a critical stage, and time is precious. “Bolshevik-Leninists, forward!”.

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