Leon Trotzky

In Soviet Russia

A Glimpse of Soviet Democracy

(27 October 1922)

Source: International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 92, 27 October 1922, p. 706.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2020. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

There is in this world such a body as the Second Company of the 153. Russian Red Sharp Shooters. And there is furthermore, in Moscow, a First Standard Priming Plant. This printing plant is the “chief” of the aforesaid Second Company. At the meeting on September 29, the workers of the printing plant received the report on the condition of the Second Company of the 153. Regiment and decided: “Next Saturday we shall work three hours overtime, the total proceeds of which shall go towards the support of our Red soldier comrades of our company.”

The delegate of the printing plant in the Moscow Soviet paid a certain sum into the “Overtime fund”. The shop council of the printing plant, in a special letter to its delegate, expressed its appreciation of this solidarity.

All this can be gathered from the 3rd number of The Life of the Printer. In this large-sized periodical the importance of the ‘Red chief’ institution is explained, and indifference, which is shown by “the insufficient criticism on the activities of the shop council”, combatted. We also find in this paper an article on the Cooperative, an article dealing with the clubs of the young workers, an appeal issued by the Revision Commission, and a short story having the gifts of the workers to the Red Army as its subject. The remaining space (two whole columns) is devoted to the struggle against the “green snake” (lead poisoning, a printers’ malady).

Can anyone cite a better instance for “Soviet Militarism”, and the “regeneration of the Soviet Power”? A printing plant keeps itself informed on the condition of its company and contributes 3 hours overtime to it The same printing plant publishes on this occasion a large paper dealing with the life in the plants and depicting its relations to its company and to its delegate. This then is the “Red Militarism estranged from, or hostile to, the masses” (See the papers of the Mensheviki and the S.R.), Relations like those between the Second Company of the 153. Regiment and the Standard Printing Plant exist between all contingents of the Red Army and the various local and central organizations of the workers and peasants. The Red chief institution which has become a genuine public feature, to prove the democratic character of Soviet life.

Needless to say that the slanderers of Soviet Russia maintain that this institution is also the outcome of force, that the workers of the Standard Printing Plant are taking care of their company only because they are compelled to do so.

In the opinion of “educated” Menshevik and Social Revolutionary petty bourgeois, the working class is but a gang of slaves herded about by a little band of Bolsheviki.

That gang was simply told to make the November Revolution and there it was ...

Then it dissolved the Constituent Assembly – everything made to order ...

It defeated all its enemies – propelled by the fear of the Tcheka ...

It sends Communists to the Soviets – for the same reason, fear of the Tcheka ...

When the whole of revolutionary Moscow came on the streets to demand severe punishment for the counter-revolutionary S.R.’s, it came driven by the Tcheka ...

The workers of the various shops are on friendly terms with the contingent of the Army? This friendship has been forced upon them.

During the manoeuvres the peasants are doing the best for the soldiers of the Red Army? They are compelled! They are ordered! They are intimidated!

In this reasoning, the gang of high-brow petty bourgeois is only proving its deep-rooted contempt of the working class, that dark herd whom one can push about at will ...

Forged documents, news and rumors on and about Russia, are being circulated. But the paper of the First Standard Printing Plant can not be forged. It is a genuine document, and the reflection of life as it is. It allows us a glimpse of Soviet democracy. If you throw democratic parliamentarism and all that it implies into one scale and that paper into the other, the latter will weigh down the scales of history. And because it is the heavier, we shall be the victors.

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Last updated on: 3 December 2020