On the Soviet Section
of the Fourth International

(11 January 1936)

Written: 11 January 1936.
First Published: New Militant, Vol. II No. 17, 2 May 1936, p. 3.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive (5 May 2018).
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2018. Creative Commons (Share & Attribute).

In a public report on Dec. 30, 1935, Khruschov, the leader of the Moscow organization, the most important and the largest in the party, boasted that, the check-up of the party documents resulted in success. The enemies of the party were exposed: “Trotskyists, Zinovievists, spies, kulaks, White Guard officers.” The order in which the categories of the expelled are listed is very remarkable, Indeed! In Moscow, the kulaks and White Guard officers occupy the last place: they were taken care of long ago by the previous purges in the capital. There is no need to dwell upon “spies” as a special category. Thus, the chief targets of the purge in Moscow were the Trotskyists and the Zinovievists. But, no more and no less than 9,975 members of the party were expelled In the city alone, apart from the district itself!

In Leningrad, 7,274 people were expelled. Zhdanov, the Leningrad leader of the party, announced that “The counter-revolutionary Zinovievists occupy a notable place (!) among the expelled.”. In Leningrad, as is well known, the Left Opposition has traditionally assumed a Zinovievist coloration, which must have become accentuated after Zinoviev was clapped in jail. If among a number of more than 7,000 the Zinovievists occupy a “notable place,” then it is quite clear that we are not dealing with a few scores or hundreds. Precisely for this reason the reporter was careful to evade mentioning the figure.

10,000 Expelled in Capital Cities

In addition to the “Trotskyists” and the “Zinovievists,” Zhdanov made an obscure reference to “opportunists of all sorts.” In all probability this label covers those party members who have shown resistance to the bureaucratic excesses of the Stakhanov movement. There need be no doubts that the opposition groupings in the working class have been revived precisely by the new pressure upon the workers, accompanied with new and monstrous privileges for the bureaucracy and the “best people.” It is noteworthy, in any case, that neither Khruschov nor Zhdanov had a single word to say in reference to either the Mensheviks or the Social Revolutionaries.

We wrote, on a previous occasion, that during the last months of 1935, not less than 10,000, and most probably close to 20,000 Bolshevik-Leninists were expelled from the party (exclusive of the party candidates and the Y.C.L.). On the basis of the reports of Khruschov and Zhdanov, that have been published since then, we conclude that not less than 10,000 “Trotskyists” and “Zinovievists” were expelled in the two capital cities alone.

* * *

We failed to run across a single reference to the “Democratic Centralist Group” or to the “Workers’ Opposition,” either in the general listing of the categories of the expelled, or among the individual reports, articles and notes. It is quite probable, of course, that isolated expulsions of the representatives of these groupings took place, but they were so few numerically that they were included among the general category of “others.” This fact is of major political importance. With the preservation of the socialized means of production and with the collectivization of the overwhelming majority of the peasantry, the economic and cultural successes of the Soviet Union prove all too clearly that the social foundations lodged by the October revolution have not been destroyed, despite the threatening bourgeois degeneration of the ruling stratum, and that these foundations can create the necessary pre-conditions for a future socialist society.

To place the U.S.S.R. on the same plane with capitalist states is to spill out the baby from the wash tub along with the dirty water. The advanced workers want to throw out the dirty water of the bureaucracy but at the same time they wish to safeguard and to bring up the baby. That is why, even years ago, when times were much more difficult, the oppositionist movement in the working class refused to follow the Mensheviks. That is why today, it has obviously turned its back upon the Workers’ Opposition, the D.C.ers, and all others who approach the old Menshevik positions from the “left.” In this fact we have an incontrovertible verification of our program, for it has been subjected to testing not only in theory but in practice. The struggle against the bureaucratic caste and the regime of privileges, the struggle for the socialist future of the country, the struggle for the world revolution marches in the U.S.S.R, under the banner of the Bolshevik-Leninists, and only under their banner.

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Last updated on: 4 May 2018