Leon Trotsky

Political Profiles


(May 1915)

OUR Rumanian party celebrated on May 18 the 40th anniversary of the revolutionary activity of its founder and ideological inspiration comrade Gherea. The Russian septuagenarian revolutionary “stopped off” in Rumania on the eve of the Russo-Turkish War and after only a few years this compatriot of ours had under the name of Gherea won a huge influence among first the Rumanian intelligentsia and then among the advanced workers. Literary criticism from a social standpoint was the main sphere in which Gherea, a writer by the “grace of God”, had developed the consciousness of the advanced groups of Rumanian intellectuals. From questions of ethics and personal morality he developed to scientific socialism. To be sure the epoch of intellectual socialism ended in Rumania with a more abrupt crash than anywhere else. Among Rumanian ministers, diplomats and prefects there can be found not a few of those who learnt the alphabet of political thinking from Gherea. Fortunately they are not the only ones. Since the 1890s Gherea took the first generation of Rumanian socialist workers through the school of Marxism. Along with Gherea and Rakovsky they were becoming during the period of the Russian revolution the initiators of a new workers’ socialist party.

In 1908 after the stormy uprising of the Rumanian peasants, Gherea published his book Neo-Serfdom, the chief work of his life.

All the contradictions of the social and political life of Rumania: the bondage of the peasants, judicially repealed but resurrected by the logic of economic relations; the parliamentary regime set up on the basis of Asiatic agrarianism; “British” freedoms in the cities, the old-style Turkish despotism in the countryside – all these phenomena are subjected in Gherea’s great book to a truly masterly analysis where clarity and simplicity go hand in hand with a genuine Marxist profundity. A translation of this book would be a valuable contribution to the literature of Russian socialism.

In the time of the Balkan War as now, Gherea carried on and will carry on an irreconcilable struggle against the expansionism of Rumanian imperialism and for the All Balkan Democratic Federation. He forged and sharpened the weapon with which the Rumanian workers have fought and are fighting against the patriotic schemers and poisoners. With his clear and calm penetrating mind he will remain an indispensable theoretical adviser to the Rumanian proletariat. While shaking the hand of our senior friend we warmly wish him strength and good health for the struggles to come. We shall not speak of enthusiasm and confidence in the future as there are ample of these qualities in Gherea.

Nashe Slovo, No.100, May 29, 1915

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Last updated on: 10.4.2007