L.D. Trotsky

A Statement on the Rakovsky Case

(February 1934)

Written: February 1934.
Source: The Militant, Vol. VII No. 10, 10 March 1934, p. 1.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2016. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

L’Humanité (organ of the French C.P. – ed.) for February 21st published a telegram from Moscow which announces that Rakovsky is giving up his fight and submitting to discipline. Without a doubt this news cannot fail to produce a deep impression among all the workers who knew and followed the old fighter.

It has always been our motto to speak out what is. Even at this time we do not wish either to mitigate or conceal.

The telegram concerning the declaration of Rakovsky tells us, however, that Rakoveky has not “capitulated” after the fashion of Zinoviev, Kamenev and Co. He has not recanted a single word of the ideas in whose name he fought together with us. He has not recognized the so-called “mistakes” committed by the Left Opposition. He has not proclaimed the correctness of the official policy. Thus, in the conditions of the U.S.S.R., of which we are well aware, this essential feature of Rakovsky’s declaration is exceptionally outstanding. It can only emphasize the fact that Rakovsky, theoretically and politically, has abandoned nothing, nor has he renounced his past.

In an interview with comrade Trotsky on this subject he had the following to say:

“Rakovsky states that he will give up his struggle and submit to discipline. That is the only content of his declaration. In order to understand this declaration in its proper light – and naturally we condemn it – it is necessary to understand the situation in which Rakovsky was placed. In fact he had been placed in a condition of giving up his active struggle three or four years ago. He could neither communicate with his friends, nor write articles, nor receive the literature of the Left Opposition and generally information on the international labor movement. In his complete isolation he remained without any perspective whatsoever.

“Rakovsky’s declaration, far from being an ideologic of political capitulation, is at the same time not only a highly regrettable but a condemnable fact. Undoubtedly this example will be extensively utilized by the Stalinist bureaucracy in order to draw many of the youth, imprisoned and isolated like Rakovsky, on the path of capitulation not in the manner of Rakovsky but of Zinoviev.

“We have reiterated many times that the restoration of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. can only be accomplished on the international arena. The case of Rakovsky confirms this in a negative but striking manner. The Bolshevik-Leninists in the U.S.S.R. are not aware from the Pravda of the burning facts of international life: Hitler’s victory, the danger of war, now the crushing of the Austrian proletariat. They have no opportunity of orienting themselves in the true light of these events, nor of discerning the different formations in the workers movement.

“In order to recreate a powerful Internationalist-Communist movement in the U.S.S.R. the struggle of the IV International must take form, become so powerful a factor that the Stalinist bureaucracy will no longer be able to hide it from the Soviet workers, the Bolshevik-Leninists included.

“We register the purely formal declaration of the old warrior, who by his whole life has demonstrated his unshakable devotion to the revolutionary cause; we register it with sadness and pass on to the order of the day, that is to the doubly vigorous struggle for the new parties of the new International.”


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Last updated on: 8 February 2016