Notes of a Journalist

(Early 1934)

Source: The Militant, Vol. VII No. 2, 20 January 1934, p. 3.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive ( 2016. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

Koltzov in Paris

By means of telegraphic dispatches from Paris, Koltzov, the correspondent of the Pravda, keeps the Russian workers informed about the course of the Leipzig Trial. Here is what he writes:

“The former Trotskyite, the present Nazi deputy to Reichstag, Karwahne takes the witness stand. His present role befits his past most properly ... What is most remarkable about Karwahne’s deposition is that it is entirely devoted to the defense of the position of the Trotskyite Katz group who fought, if you please, against the impossible internal regime of the German Communist Party, a Fascist deputy championing Trotskyite theses during a Fascist trial and in the presence of Communist fighters who are being condemned to death’ there you have the proper and befitting harvest that has sprung from the seeds of Trotskyite teachings!”

Stalinists by tens of thousands have deserted and are deserting to National-Socialism. Many of them passed in review during the Leipzig trial as witnesses. Among the renegades, of course, there could have a former Left Oppositionist. But neither the group of Ivan Katz nor Karwahne ever had the slightest connection with “Trotskyism” Karwahne renounced not only the ideas of the Communist party of which he was one time a member but also the semi-anarchist ideas of Ivan Katz’s group. Koltzov, however, refuses to forgive Karwahne his past. Koltzov is adamant as regards the past. Is it, perhaps, because his own past is not entirely unblemished?

No; that is not the reason why. Koltzov is the consummation of the type of appointed careerists. During the period of the October revolution he was the most rabid foe of the Bolsheviks; during the years of the Civil War he prowled in the Ukraine working for Petlura’s and other white-guardist papers. After the Red Army had cleared the Whites out of the Ukraine, he arrived in Moscow. Knowing full well that he had no choice, Koltzov offered his sprightly pen to the services of the proletarian dictatorship (naturally with the proviso that he receive rooming quarters and a privileged payok ’ rations-card). The then editor of the Pravda Bucharin was in a considerable quaudry, “His pen is sprightly enough’said he’but his personality is awfully dirty.”

After the inception of the Left Opposition, Koltzov did not know for a long time which way to turn, and he tried to secure himself with both camps. Moreover, because of his congenital make-up, he had become very much accustomed to wag his tail before Sosnovsky, the outstanding and most influential of Soviet journalists. The moment the leaders of the Left Opposition were sent into exile (December 1927), Koltzov began spreading gossip about Sosnovsky in order to purify himself completely in the eyes of the rulers. He did not get off scot-free. Sosnovsky’s wife slapped his face in the Bolshoi Theatre at Moscow. Not only the Left Oppositionists but even the most hide-bound bureaucrats welcomed warmly the “gesture” of the energetic revolutionist; everybody without exception concurred that never had a slap in the face reached its destination so expeditely and so appropriately.

After this bit of biographical information, we trust that Koltzov’s Parisian communiqués regarding the “Trotskyism” of Karwahne will not require any further commentaries.

* * * *

A Pumpkin in the Director’s Office

The Pravda falls into raptures describing how a director in charge of a plant producing precision instruments is busy at the same time with a garden, a dairy, and a rabbit farm and so forth. “This summer,” writes the newspaper, “during the drouth, the workers at the close of the working day came to the gardens of the Sovkhoz with their pails and watered ... the plants, in order to save them from withering away.” We are here told about a factory garden. But what happens in this event, to the 7-hour working day? The Pravda, still enraptured, reports the results of the double labor: “the factory kitchens will be completely supplied with vegetables ... no small portion of the crop will be allotted to the workers for individual use.” What a fearful tenseness in the foodstuffs situation peeps out at us from this pathetic article!

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Last updated on: 8 February 2016