L. Trotsky

The “Uprising” of Nov. 7

(January 1932)

Written: 2 January 1932.
Source: The Militant, Vol. V No. 6 (Whole No. 102), 6 February 1932, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcription/HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2012. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

In the campaign now being conducted with increased vigor against the Left Opposition, a considerable place is devoted to the question of the uprising of November 7, 1927. In his “historic” article, Stalin places this “uprising” in the foremost position as the main evidence in favor of the policy of reprisals against the Bolshevik-Leninists. When the best revolutionaries are subjected to the most frightful injuries and to acts of violence in the solidarity of Verhchne-Uralsk: when they are forced to resort to hunger strikes in order to defend their most elementary human rights: when they are being fired upon without warning: when Rakovsky and hundreds of others crowd the places of deportation; when the veritable flower of the party is destroyed, incarcerated and choked off; when Stalin has Butov choked to death and Blumkin shot by Yagoda – all this is explained not by the fact that the Left Opposition has not recognized the theory of socialism in one country, that it did not agree to the bloc with Chiang Kai-Shek and that it rejects today the capitulation before Hitler! No! The bloody reprisals are explained by the fact that the Left Opposition is supposed to have made an attempt at an armed uprising four years ago. All the organs of the various sections of the Comintern have once more reminded their unfortunate, systematically deceived readers of it.

What Really Happens?

What really happened on November 7, 1927? Naturally, the Opposition also participated in the demonstration of the Tenth Anniversary. Its representatives marched together with their shops, factories, institutions of learning and Soviet institutions. Many Opposition groups carried their banners in the general parade. It was with these banners that they left their shops and other institutions. What sort of counter-revolutionary banners were they? Let us recall them once more:

  1. “Carry out the testament of Lenin!”
  2. “Direct the fire toward the Right – against Nepman, Kulak and bureaucrat!”
  3. “For genuine workers’ democracy!”
  4. “Against opportunism, against a split – for the unity of the Leninist party!”
  5. “For a Leninist Central Committee!”

Workers, employees, soldiers of the Red Army, students and pupils walking side by side with the Oppositionists who were carrying their banners. There were no clashes. Not a single worker with a sound mind could interpret these banners as banners directed against the Soviet power and the party. Only after several individual factories had joined the general current of the demonstration, did the G.P.U. send out special divisions upon instructions from the Stalinist secretariat to assault the demonstrators who were carrying their banners peacefully. After that, several clashes took place, consisting entirely of attacks by the divisions of the G.P.U., who tore their banners away and

heaped blows upon them. A selected group of Red Army commanders broke down the door of Smilga’s quarters and forced their way in, on the balcony there were hanging the banners of the Opposition and the portraits of Lenin, Trotsky and Zinoviev. This, then, was the uprising of November 7, 1927.

The slogans: “For workers’ democracy”, “Against Nepman, Kulak and Bureaucrats!”, “For the unity of the party !”, were considered – naturally not by the working masses – but by the Stalinist apparatus as counter-revolutionary. Nevertheless, at that time no one of the apparatus people dared as yet to speak of an armed uprising. Such an invention would have seemed altogether too shameless and insolent in the eyes of the participants in the demonstration. When, more than a year after Trotsky had been exiled by Stalin, the G.P.U. accused him of preparing an armed uprising, it was not with regard to the demonstration of November 7, but something quite new, which the G.P.U. could not, however, refer to by name. After the exiling of Trotsky, this accusation was not repeated by anybody. Stalin did not dare introduce it into the press. The very memory of it disappeared, went up like smoke.

Only when the facts began to fade from memory, did the Stalinist school of falsifications begin to spread the legend of the attempted uprising of November 7. The fact that this legend has, to a certain degree, become the central point of the campaign, is politically significant. That proves that the real actions of the Bolshevik-Leninists do not appear to be “crimes” in the eyes of the masses of workers and party members. Stalin actually complains that despite the eight-years long campaign, Trotskyism is still being regarded as a Communist tendency inside of the party! For his policy of reprisals, Stalin needs some basis of support that lies outside of the real activity of the Left Opposition. This basis of support, he tries to find in the police myth of the rising of November 7, 1927. Even if we had no other signs, this fact alone would suffice for us to say: the personal dictatorship of Stalin and his plebiscitary regime are in a bad way, in a very bad way!

January 2, 1932


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Last updated on: 24.4.2013