Notes of a Journalist


Source: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 3, 1 February 1931, p. 5.
Transcription/HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive ( 2012. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

The Knights of Anti-Trotskyism

The Pravda accuses Riutin – Riutin! – of Trotskyism and the party must listen to all this and suffer. This is what we have come to! Let us briefly recall the past. The initiators of the struggle against Trotskyism were Zinloviev anld Kamenev. After some time they themselves came over to the banner of Trotskyism; the fact that they later deserted this banner does not change the matter. The chief, or rather, the only theoretician of anti-Trotskyism was Bucharin, who fostered the whole campaign. He turned out to be – Bucharin, the author of the program of the Comintern! – “A bourgeois liberal” and “an agent of the wreckers inside the party” His repeated repentance does not change this fact. The Moscow organization was entrusted into Uglanov’s hands especially to carry on the struggle against Trotskyism. His services in this sphere were more than once given official recognition. But no sooner had he crushed Moscow Trotskyism than he himself was exposed as an echo of the Kulak-Nepman. At the head of the Moscow Central Control Commission which was expelling Trotskyites was the not unknown Moroz. No sooner had he completed his work of expulsion than it was recognized at the joint session of the Moscow Committee and the Control Commission under the direction of Stalin, that Moroz, who was the personification of the “party conscience” on the Moscow scale, in reality lacks all conscience whatsoever (literally!). At the head of the Krassnopresnensk district, the main proletarian district in Moscow stood Riutin, the pillar and hope of Uglanov, the main theoretician of anti-Trotskyism in the Moscow organization. Now he has been stamped a former Menshevik, a renegade, a wrecker, and is expelled from the party. But nevertheless, between his Menshevism of 1917 and his wrecking of 1930 he has succeeded in executing the chief work of the Moscow organization in its struggle against Trotskyism.

We could continue this compendium indefinitely beyond the confines of the U.S.S.R. In all the sections of the Comintern the majority of those who direct the struggle against Trotskyism proved to be Rights, counter-revolutionaries and renegades. We must ask, did not their renegacy consist precisely in the fact that they conducted a struggle for the extermination of the only Marxist, the only Leninist faction of contemporary communism?

Heckert Teaches Liebknecht

Fritz Heckert writes in an anniversary article of the Pravda on the defeat of the German revolution of 1918-1919: “It was a great mistake that the Spartacist union considered itself as merely a propagandist group in the ranks of the Social Democratic party.” Further on, he accuses Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg and Leo Jogisches of “not having understood the role of the revolutionary party.”

In this remark there rests a grain of truth even though it is expressed pedantically, torn out of its concrete historical context. But this is not what we are concerned with now.

If it can be at all considered a mistake that Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht maintained the Spartacus group in the position of a revolutionary faction inside the Social Democratic party too long, and by that impeded the victory of the German revolution, then what can be said about the gentleman who forcibly compelled the young Communist party of China to enter a purely bourgeois party, abide by its discipline, and even to give up its duty of opposing Marxism to Sun-Yat-Senism?

But it was precisely this crime that was committed during 1923-1928 by the leadership of the Comintern. Nevertheless it was Fritz Heckert who unfailingly defended the criminal policy of the Right-Centrist bloc against the Left Opposition. Isn’t it clear that Heckert should have been a bit more careful in relation to Karl Kiebknecht and Rose Luxemburg?

The Stalinist Recruitment

The newspapers print in almost every number:

“We non-party workers, in reply to the double bookkeeping of the Opportunists declare our adherence to the party.”

After this always follows a list of workers with a note attached to each: twenty years of industrial experience, twenty-five, twenty-nine and even thirty-three. Thus it is a matter of workers from forty to fifty years of age. All of them were mature at the time of the October revolution and the Civil War. This did not prevent them from remaining outside the patty. Only the double bookkeeping of the two Chairmen of the Council of Peoples’ Commissars – Rykov and Syrzov – induced them to join the party. What sort of workers are these who succeeded in retaining their jobs in a factory, very often in the same factory, for a period of 15 to 20 years prior to the revolution? These are the meekest, the most submissive, very often simply servile elements, the participants in the religious processions, those who bring gifts to the boss on his birthday. In the first years of the revolution they did not even dare to think of entering the party. But once it is ordered by the bosses, by the authorities, they cannot refuse. These are the elements and layers inside the working class to which centrism looks more and more for support, gagging at the same time, the most advanced workers.

The Greatest Crime

Pravda has now formulated a new kind of crime: “the Trotskyists’ methods of discrediting the best pupil of Lenin and the recognized leader of the party, comrade Stalin”. Unfortunately, the most serious beginning of this Trotskyist method was laid down in Lenin’s Testament where “the best pupil” is accused of rudeness, disloyalty, and the tendency towards the abuse of power, and where the party is recommended to remove him from his post.

The Opposition’s Yesterday

Pravda (November 21) criticizes in a lengthy article the mistakes of A.P. Smirnov, the former People’s Commissar of Agriculture, and his successor U.E. Teodorovitch (1926–1927), and reveals their adherence to the Kondratievs and others. The article is fundamentally a paraphrasing of the written declarations which the Opposition presented to the Central Committee in 1926–1927, and which met with the indignant rejection of Stalin, Molotov and the others. And so poor Pravda repeats the Opposition’s yesterday.

Everybody Remembers”

The paper For Industrialization, which is conducted, by the way, in a very frivolous manner, writes: “everybody remembers the idea, advanced at one time by the wreckers of the southern metal industry, that the Dnieprostroy station should be constructed only when there would be consumers for the power on hand. In other words, only after the factories will have demanded power should the construction of the station begin. This was directed against Dnieprstroy.” (November 3, 1930.)

“Everybody remembers!” But some also remember, besides this, that all these arguments were the basic arguments of the Political Bureau in 1926 [words missing] Voroschilov-Kaliniin-Rykov – were all against Dnieprostroy, with the exception of ‘the Ukrainians who were for Dnieprostry for Ukrainian considerations. Stalin declared that to construct the Dnieprostroy station might be compared to a peasant buying a phonograph instead of a cow. Voroschilov clamored ithat it would be ridiculous to construct a power station for factories that do not yet exist.

All this is preserved in the stenographic minutes of the Central Committee meetings.

The Mystery of Repentance

Soviet Siberia informs us that in Kalatchinsk “the chief work and concern of the Communists of late, has been the recognition of mistakes and self-flagellation, which is done with a particular pleasure and frivolity.”

Only in Kalatchinsk? They now repent as easily as they blow their nose. The not unknown Boguschevsky who, for a number of months, was the proverbial extreme Right (in reality, he was not a Right winger, he simply did not catch the signal at the right moment and continued to play the old record), is now not only the responsible editor of the paper For Industrialization but he also conducts a furious campaign against the Rights. What was required of him for this high post? Nothing in particular: to cut his hair, take a bath and repent. And the fellow is again as good as new – until a new zig-zag.

After these lines had been written, the Moscow papers brought the latest news: Boguschevsky was called on the carpet for calling the repentance of Bucharin, his teacher of yesterday, double-bookkeeping. Again, he did not catch the signal on time and – he overreached himself. It can’t be helped, it’s the risks of the trade.

The Bald-Headed Communist Youth

Why do you keep silent,
Nicolai Ivanitch?
A few lines to you and Rykov
We are ready to devote.

This is a fragment of verses of Bezymensky. the accuser of those who cannot defend themselves. Nussinov, who was expelled from the party, he calls “a most villainous abomination”. [1] There’s a bold and quick-witted poet for you! Further on he speaks of the “villainous carrion of all oppositions”, even though the eminent Bezymensky himself once belonged to one of the oppositions. And all this is in the style of bald-headed Communist Youth.


1. A play on the Russian name Nussinov. Gnoosni means abomination.

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Last updated on: 14.12.2012