L. Trotsky

The Russian Bolshevik-Leninists on the Present Situation


(October 1930)

Written: 22 October 1930.
Source: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 2, 15 January 1931, p. 7.
Transcription/HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
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After some delay, we hare finally received the declaration of comrades Rakovsky, Muralov, Kossior and Kasparora with which these comrades addressed themselves to the Party a little before the Sixteenth Congress. By a fatal chance, the copies of the declaration sent to us at the time were seized. In spite of this great delay, the document which we publish entirely retains its importance. In spite of the terseness of formulation, the document presents clear estimations of the economic and political processes, calling by their name the dangers which are not far off but quite close.

This declaration is intimately linked with the declaration that Rakovsky made at the time when Centrism’s turn to the Left still preserved its freshness and was not sufficiently checked by experience. And at the same time, these two documents are distinguished as two steps of different stages on the same road. The first declaration recorded the turn of the leadership in the sense which the Opposition defended for the past number of years. At the same time, it warned against the possible dangers on the new road, demanded the activity of the Party to surmount these dangers, and put the forces of the Opposition at the disposal of the Party. This manner of posing the question – in the spirit of the united front policy – appeared to some “capitulationist” or at the very least, semi-capitulationist. To be sure, these accusations didn’t come from a very serious source. [1]

Already at that time, we pointed out that politics does not consist of a simple repetition of formulae that can serve in every condition of life. Rakovsky did not entertain the slightest illusion about the political line of Centrism at the time of the Left turn. He clearly and plainly developed his appreciation of Centrism in the theses written at the same time as the first declaration.

But the task did not consist of simply repeating in the declaration what was said in the theses, but to assist the Party, even a small part of it, to assimilate what was said in the theses – or at least a part of it. With the stifling of the C.P.S.U., it is very difficult to check what was the immediate repercussion of the first declaration in the ranks of the Party. It cannot, however, be doubted that the declaration of Rakovsky, which made a breach in the wall of lies and calumnies built up by the Stalinists, was one of the causes for the revival of the rabid struggle against the Left Opposition before the Congress. Still, we have another living verification of the question which interests us, outside of the U.S.S.R. Comrade Feroci, one of the leaders of the new Italian Opposition, has told in an article of the great impression produced by Rakovsky’s declaration even on the Central Committee of the Italian Communist Party, and certainly, upon its Left section especially. Thus, the declaration of Rakovsky not only did not bring anybody to capitulate, but on the contrary, served as one of the impulsions to the formation of the new Italian Opposition.

The new declaration we publish now for the first time, draws the balance to the policy of the Left turn at the very moment of a new half-turn to the Right. All these circumstances are submitted in the document to a clear appreciation to which little can be added today. We consider it necessary to emphasize only two points. The Union of Peasant Poor

In the declaration, they mention that while preventing the creation of the Union of the Poor Peasantry, the Stalinist leadership nevertheless tolerates this organization in the Ukraine. It should merely be added that if the attempt by Stalin-Bucharin-Rykov-Kamenev and others in 1924–25, to suppress the organization of the poor Ukrainian peasantry did not succeed, it is solely thanks to the firm opposition of the revolutionary wing of the Ukrainian Party under the leadership of comrade Rakovsky.

The second point we wish to speak of here deals with the capitnlators. The declaration establishes, with perfect Justice and pitilessly, that these people have lost “any right at all to the confidence of the Party and the working class.” In natural connection with this, the declaration repeats that no persecutions will prevent the Leninist Opposition from fulfilling its duty to the very end.

October 22, 1930

L. Trotsky


1. The pretty thin character of this criticism was branded above all by the fact that at its head was inscribed Paz, for whom the accusation of capitulation against Rakovsky was necessary solely in order to abandon the revolutionary ranks, in which he was but a bird of passage. We cannot, however, forget that in a bloc with Paz against Rakovsky, there was also found comrade Treint, who, with all the mistakes he has committed and still commits, is yet, we should like to hope, no chance figure in the arena of the revolutionary struggle.

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Last updated on: 21.11.2012