Banditry and Famine

Speeches and Articles

The Stock-Exchange Republic and Its Noulens

Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

* * *

Noulens – the name is a banner. The appointment of Noulens as chairman of the commission for international relief to Russia constitutes an extremely significant action by the French Government. By doing this it has given itself away at once and completely. Any other name would have left room for unclarity, doubt, supposition. The name of Noulens immediately defines the situation with all possible sharpness. Noulens is known and remembered in Russia. He is known in the Ukraine as well. This stupid, narrow-minded and greedy bourgeois represented the Third Republic at the Tsar’s Court. Naturally, he retained his credentials in Kerensky’s time. And naturally, he at once became a rabid enemy of the Soviet power. Noulens is a typical French politician in the sense that he is a petty-bourgeois who has become rich: big capital, little vision.

The Russian revolution crashed down on this flat skull like a thunderbolt. Noulens did not understand it at all. One thing, though, he grasped very well, namely, that, along with him, many petty-bourgeois who had become rich were going to lose theft milliards through the Russian revolution. And so thi5 stupid political shopkeeper resolved to overthrow the revolution of the Russian working class. For this purpose he possessed connections with the White Guards – those of the Court, the Liberals, the SRs, and other varieties – and, most important, he possessed gold. Noulens set all his agencies in motion. This miserable, cowardly petty-bourgeois, under the influence of the greed that had him in its grip, decided to launch extremely adventurous actions. Noulens got in touch with Petlyura and opened a credit for him. Through his numerous agents Noulens organised the mutiny of the Czechoslovak corps on the Volga. Noulens hired Savinkov and gave him the job of raising revolt at Yaroslavi. Finally, along with the British representative Lockhart, Noulens organised an extensive conspiracy against Petrograd. Their plan was simple: to blow up the railway lines and bridges around Petrograd, deprive Petrograd of food, heat and water, reduce it by hunger to desperation, take it by means of famine, and raise over it the white flag of counter-revolution. Noulens saw a Russian famine as his ally in 1918, just as the manufacturer Ryabushinsky had pinned his hopes on the bony hand of famine in 1917. But Noulens did not just hope for famine, he actively strove to hasten its coming. He tried to become an organiser of famine. And now this unmasked and exposed specialist in famine has been put forward by the French Government of usurers as chairman for the commission for international aid to starving Russia. It is not surprising that our memory of Noulens, which had somewhat faded, has burst into bright colours again. Noulens is a banner, a programme, a symbol of the French bourgeoisie and its Government.

The leading French newspaper Le Temps – which was on the payroll of the Tsarist foreign ministry, and of many others too – the Government newspaper Le Temps, which is filled with the same spirit of the petty-bourgeois who has become rich, writes that it is necessary not only to render material aid to Russia but also, at the same time, to liberate her from the ‘barbarous’ government of the Bolsheviks and give her a different one – a ‘free’ government, a government ‘of the people’.

This is the voice of Noulens. It is the voice of the usurious French bourgeoisie, the greediest, the most bombastic, mercenary-minded and reactionary class in the whole world. Towards the countries of Central Europe, towards tens of millions of people, bourgeois France acts as the vilest of executioners. It oppresses tens of millions of colonial slaves with black or yellow skins, and at the same time arms them against the workers of Germany and its own workers. [1] The name of bourgeois France is hated in every part of the world. There is nothing more disgusting than a bloodthirsty usurer who holds forth about democracy. There is nothing fouler than an international hangman who talks of creating a ‘free’ government for the Russian people.

Noulens-the-philanthropist is a symbol of the French stock-exchange in its role as propagator of democracy. Briand has already said more than once that the only condition for an agreement with Soviet Russia is recognition by us of the Tsar’s debts. No principles of democracy prevented the Parisian usurers from lending money to the Tsar, or the democrats of Le Temps from accepting handouts from that money. Having burnt his fingers in the intervention in which the French stock-exchange supported the worst Black-Hundred monarchists, Briand asked the Soviet power to recognise these debts. Payment of interest is the only guarantee that the stock-exchange requires. Democracy is only a pseudonym for interest-payments. Such is the nature of the petty-bourgeois who has become rich, where politics is concerned: he exposes his greed to the very bottom, but then suddenly recollects himself and starts to declaim about what is right. And in the role of such a declaimer he is even more repulsive than in that of a naked Shylock.

The worst, most reactionary, most frenzied international stock-exchange mob, whose representative Noulens is imagines or pretends that the famine will open up some road for it to the Russian people, avoiding the Soviet power. Just let them try! Precisely the famine disaster has shown with especial clarity that the Soviet power is the organised self-help of the working people, just as the war showed more than once that the Soviet power is their armed self-defence. Fresh calamities merely serve to temper the state organisation of labour. Noulens was crushed as leader of conspiracies and interventions. He is trying to resurrect himself as philanthropist. Noulens means greed, hypocrisy, treachery, the cowardly stab in the back. Noulens means the French stock-exchange and its republic. The road of revolution is not strewn with roses. It has to fight its way through obstacles, measure swords in mortal combat with enemies, beat off live dogs and step over dead ones. The revolution will step over Monsieur Noulens as well.

September 7, 1921
En Route, No.145


1. The use of ‘black troops’ (mainly Senegalese) by the French in their occupation of the Rhineland was a frequent theme in both German Nationalist and Communist propaganda in the 1920s. – Brian Pearce

1 1

Last updated on: 28.12.2006