Written: 14 September 1935.
First Published: New Militant, February 26, 1936, New York [From Holt Labor Library Collection].
Translated: Fourth International.
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters,
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2003. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
From the Editors of the New Militant
The following letter was sent by L.D. Trotsky to Loav Scheflo, connected with the newspaper Soerlandet, one of the organs of the Norwegian Labor Party, now being violently attacked by Norwegian Stalinists for daring to defend Trotsky against the slanders campaign of Stalin-Yagoda. The contents are self-explanatory.
The local Stalinist paper Arbeideren, central organ of the Stalinist CP, has just published a dispatch that Trotsky is waging a war against the Soviet Union in an alliance with Hearst, the American newspaper magnate, a world-famous thug, and an ally of Hitler. According to this dispatch, I published a series of articles in the Hearst press under my own name. One day before Arbeideren published this sensation, I received a cable from New York, from my friends there, dealing with the fraud perpetrated by Hearst. I sent immediately the following cable to Cannon in New York:
“Publication of Tarov article by Hearst common press gangsterism. But impudence of Hearst no excuse for crimes of Stalin clique. Gave statement to Associated Press. Trotsky”
At the same time I gave a statement to the AP.
It is most highly interesting that the small Arbeideren was immediately apprised by cable from New York about my alleged articles, i.e., the fraud perpetrated by Hearst. It is self-evident that the other papers of the Comintern were even more amply instructed on this matter, so that they could do their best or worst. This shows that involved here is not only Hearst’s press trust, but another and much more important “trust.”
To make my thought clear to you, I will cite another instance: On June 20, 1931, a Polish newspaper Kuryer Codzienny gave a prominent display to a leading article allegedly signed by me. This article was a forgery concocted from a few small quotations from an article of mine combined with several of the crudest inventions and supplements by the forger.
Moscow Pravda immediately published an enormous facsimile reproduction of this article under the heading A New Assistant of Pilsudski. At the same time this article was printed somewhere in New York City by an arch-reactionary newspaper. Thereupon I sent a brief note to Pravda demanding that it retract its own report in order not to dupe the Russian workers andd peasants. In any case, in Biulleten Oppozitsii, of which I am the editor, and in many other papers, I not only disproved this matter but also proved that Kuryer Codzienny obtained the forgery through an agent of the GPU upon orders from Moscow, in order thus to obtain sensational material for a slander campaign.
Matters are not much different today. The revelations of Tarov and Ciliga are highly embarrassing to the Stalinists, for they involve not theoretical or political discussions but hard and irrefutable facts. These facts come all the less propitiously to the Stalinists because in the course of recent months, according to the data in the Moscow press, not less than 10,000 (in reality many more) Bolshevik-Leninists have been expelled from the party – i.e., naturally, placed under arrest and sent to concentration camps, exile, etc.
Are we perhaps dealing here with enemies of the Soviet Union? You may rest assured that in the hour of greatest danger, when 99 percent of the so-called “Friends of the Soviet Union” and perhaps a goodly half of the Soviet bureaucracy will betray the October Revolution, these men who were arrested will be its truest defenders. Their “crime” lay precisely in their desire to save the October Revolution from infamy and degeneration; namely, they were against the social inequality that is growing sky high, against the intolerable pressure on the workers, against the introduction of ranks into the Red Army, headed by marshals, etc.
To parry these unpleasant revelations Moscow must find some means of diversion, for they are not in a position to operate with facts and political arguments. They tried to implicate me in the Kirov affair. They failed because the terrorist acts of Nikolayev directed by the GPU took a very serious turn. The bullet was fired before Yagoda and Medved could place under arrest the organization they themselves controlled. Then they tried the matter of the Zeller postcard. Again, without much success. From now on they intend to let it be known: whoever speaks about the abominable crimes of the Moscow bureaucracy is a brother-in-arms of Hitler. It is understood that world reaction will try to put to use every revelation. Even when the mild Maxton casts a sharp word against the Labour Party in Parliament, the Diehards [Tories] applaud ironically. Are these grounds for Maxton to keep quiet?
In order for reaction to be unable to make use of the crimes of the Stalin clique, the crimes must cease and not the revelations.
I do not know whether Hearst lifted certain of my articles directly from the Russian Biulleten or whether his “assistant” (who may well be an “assistant” of the GPU at the same time) has concocted some sort of a series of articles for him. The gist of the matter is hardly altered thereby. I will try to prosecute Hearst for fraud or literary theft. But this will not alter matters. Hearst’s rascality is not a mitigating circumstance for the crimes of the Moscow Bonapartists.
Since Arbeideren also makes mention of you personally in its newest exposure, I am supplying you with this information, which is completely at your disposal. You can make any use of it you may deem necessary.
At the same time I am sending a copy of this note with the same aim to the foreign editor of Arbeiderbladet.
Last updated on: 25 February 2016