Leon Trotsky On
Excerpts from his writings


British ‘democratic’ traditions

On 5th June, 1929, the Independent Labour Party,[1] of which Ramsay MacDonald is a member, sent me an official invitation, on its own initiative, to come to England and deliver a lecture at the party school. The invitation, signed by the general secretary of the party, read: ‘With the formation of the Labour government here, we cannot believe that any difficulties are likely to arise in connection with your visit to England for this purpose.’ Nevertheless difficulties did arise. I was neither allowed to deliver a lecture before the supporters of MacDonald, nor was I allowed to avail myself of the aid of English physicians. My application for a visa was flatly refused. Clynes, the Labour Home Secretary, defended this refusal in the House of Commons. He explained the philosophical meaning of democracy with a directness that would have done credit to any minister of Charles II. According to Clynes, the right of asylum does not mean the right of an exile to demand asylum, but the right of the state to refuse it. Clynes’s definition is remarkable in one respect: by a single blow it destroys the very foundations of so-called democracy. The right of asylum, in the style of Clynes, always existed in Tsarist Russia. When the Shah of Persia failed to hang all the revolutionaries and was obliged to leave his beloved country, Nicholas II not only extended to him the right of asylum, but supplied him with sufficient comforts to live in Odessa. [2] But it never occurred to any of the Irish revolutionaries to seek asylum in Tsarist Russia, where the constitution consisted entirely of the principle expounded by Clynes, namely, that the citizens must be content with what the state authorities give them or take from them. Mussolini accorded the right of asylum to the King of Afghanistan in exact agreement with this very principle. [3]

The pious Mr. Clynes ought at least to have known that democracy, in a sense, inherited the right of asylum from the Christian church, which, in turn, inherited it, with much besides, from paganism. It was enough for a pursued criminal to make his way into a temple, sometimes enough even to touch only the ring of the door, to be safe from persecution. Thus the church understood the right of asylum as the right of the persecuted to an asylum, and not as an arbitrary exercise of will on the part of pagan or Christian priests. Until now, I had thought the pious Labourites, though little informed in matters of socialism, certainly well versed in the tradition of the church. Now I find that they are not even that.

But why does Clynes stop at the first lines of his theory of the state law? It is a pity. The right of asylum is only one component part of the system of democracy. Neither in its historical origin, nor in its legal nature, does it differ from the right of freedom of speech, of assembly, etc. Mr. Clynes, it is to be hoped, will soon arrive at the conclusion that the right of freedom of speech stands not for the right of citizens to express their thoughts, whatever they may be, but for the right of the state to forbid its subjects to entertain such thoughts, As to the freedom of strikes, the conclusion has already been drawn by British law.[4]

Clynes’s misfortune is that he had to explain his actions aloud, for there were members of the Labour faction in Parliament who put respectful but inconvenient questions to him. The Norwegian premier found himself in the same unpleasant situation. [5] The German cabinet was spared this discomfiture because in the whole Reichstag there was not a single deputy who took any interest in the question of the right of asylum. This fact assumes special significance when one remembers that the president of the Reichstag, in a statement that was applauded by the majority of deputies, promised to accord me the right of asylum at a time when I had not even asked for it. [6]

The October revolution did not proclaim the abstract principles of democracy, nor that of the right of asylum. The Soviet state was founded openly on the right of revolutionary dictatorship. But this did not prevent Vandervelde[7] or other social-democrats from coming to the Soviet republic and even appearing in Moscow as public defenders of persons guilty of terrorist attempts on the lives of the leaders of the October revolution.

The present British ministers were also among our visitors. I cannot remember all of those who came to us—I haven’t the necessary data at hand—but I remember that among them were Mr. and Mrs. Snowden. This must have been as far back as 1920. [8] They were received not simply as tourists but as guests, which was probably carrying it a little too far. A box in the Grand Theatre was placed at their disposal. I remember this in connection with a little episode that it may be worth recounting at this point. I had arrived in Moscow from the front, and my thoughts were far away from the British guests; in fact I did not even know who those guests were, because in my absorption in other things I had hardly read any newspapers. The commission that was receiving Snowden, Mrs Snowden, and if I am not mistaken, Bertrand Russell and Williams, as well as a number of others, was headed by Lozovsky, [9] who told me by telephone that the commission demanded my presence in the theatre where the English guests were. I tried to excuse myself, but Lozovsky insisted that his commission had been given full power by the Politburo and that it was my duty to set others an example of discipline. I went unwillingly. There were about a dozen British guests in the box. The theatre was crammed to overflowing. We were gaining victories at the front, and the theatre applauded them violently. The British guests surrounded me and applauded too. One of them was Snowden. Today of course he is a little ashamed of this adventure. But it is impossible to erase it. And yet I too should be glad to do so, for my ‘fraternizing’ with the Labourites was not only a mistake, but a political error as well. As soon as I could get away from the guests, I went to see Lenin. He was much disturbed. ‘Is it true that you appeared in the box with those people?’ (Lenin used a different word for ‘people’.) In excuse, I referred to Lozovsky, to the commission of the Central Committee, to discipline, and especially to the fact that I had not the remotest idea who the guests were. Lenin was furious with Lozovsky and the whole commission in general and for a long time I too couldn’t forgive myself for my imprudence.

One of the present British ministers visited Moscow several times, I believe; at any rate, he rested in the Soviet republic, stayed in the Caucasus and called on me. It was Mr. Lansbury. The last time I met him was at Kislovodsk. I was urged to drop in, if only for a quarter of an hour, at the House of Rest where some members of our party and a few foreign visitors were staying. A goodly number of people were sitting around a large table. It was in the nature of a modest banquet. The place of honour was held by the guest, Lansbury. On my arrival, he offered a toast and then sang: ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’. Those were Lansbury’s feelings toward me in the Caucasus. Today, he too would probably like to forget about it.

When I applied for the visa, I sent special telegrams to Snowden and Lansbury, reminding them of the hospitality that had been accorded them by the Soviets and in part by myself. My telegrams had little effect. In politics, recollections carry as little weight as democratic principles.

Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb most courteously paid me a visit quite recently, early in May of 1929, when I was already on Prinkipo. [10] We talked about the possible advent of the Labour party to power. I remarked in passing that immediately after the formation of MacDonald’s government, I intended to demand a visa. Mr. Webb expressed the view that the government might find itself not strong enough, and because of their dependence on the Liberals, not free enough either. I replied that a party that isn’t strong enough to be able to answer for its actions had no right to power. Our irreconcilable differences needed no new test. Webb came into power. I demanded a visa. MacDonald’s government refused my application, but not because the Liberals prevented it from following its democratic convictions. Quite the contrary. The Labour government refused the visa, despite the protests of the Liberals. This was a variant that Mr. Webb did not foresee. It must be pointed out, however, that at that time he was not yet Lord Passfield.

Some of these men I know personally. Others I can judge only by analogy. I think that I measure them correctly. They have been raised up by the automatic growth of labour organizations, especially since the war, and by the sheer political exhaustion of liberalism. They have completely shed the naive idealism that some of them had 25 or 30 years ago. In its stead, they have acquired political routine and unscrupulousness in the choice of means. But in their general outlook they have remained what they were—timid petty bourgeois whose methods of thought are far more backward than the methods of production in the British coal industry. Today, their chief concern is that the court nobility and the big capitalists may refuse to take them seriously. And no wonder. Now that they are in power, they are only too sharply aware of their weakness. They have not and cannot have the qualities possessed by the old governing cliques in which traditions and habits of rulership have been handed down from generation to generation, and often take the place of talent and intellect. But neither do they have what might have constituted their real strength—faith in the masses and the ability to stand on their own feet. They masses who put them there, just as they are afraid of are afraid of the conservative clubs whose grandeur staggers their feeble imaginations. To justify their coming to power, they must needs show the old ruling classes that they are not simply revolutionary upstarts. God forbid! No, they really deserve every confidence because they are loyally devoted to the church, to the King, to the House of Lords, to the system of titles; that is to say, not simply to the sacrosanct principle of private property, but to all the rubbish of the Middle Ages. For them to refuse a visa to a revolutionary is really a happy opportunity to demonstrate their respectability once again. I am very glad that I gave them such an opportunity. In due time, this will be taken into account, since, in politics, as in nature, there is no waste.

One needs no great imagination to picture Mr. Clynes’s interview with his subordinate, the chief of the political police. During the interview, Mr. Clynes feels as if he were undergoing an examination, and is afraid that he will not seem firm enough to the examiner, or statesmanlike or conservative enough. Thus it needs little ingenuity on the part of the chief of the political police to prompt Mr. Clynes to a decision that will be greeted with full approval in the conservative papers next day. But the conservative press does not merely praise it kills with praise. It mocks. It does not take the trouble to conceal its disdain for the people who so humbly seek its approval. No one will say, for instance, that the Daily Express belongs to the most intelligent institutions in the world. [11] And yet this paper finds very caustic words to express its approval of the Labour government for so carefully protecting the ‘sensitive MacDonald’ from the presence of a revolutionary observer behind his back.

From Chapter 45 of My Life (1930).

Trotsky: Doesn’t Britain realize that her industrial success is now so in the balance that it depends entirely on how soon she throws aside her quarrel with Russia? America does and if Great Britain is not careful she will find the ground cut away from under her feet; the second-comers will only get the crumbs.

Daily Express: What are your views on resuming relations?

Trotsky: My views? Well Great Britain is apparently blind but she will get a serious knock very soon that will restore her sight when it is too late and this knock will come from America. Great Britain’s fear of communism reminds me of a child which closes its eyes when it is frightened yet she is big enough to act like a man and grapple with anything she considers menaces her. With Anglo-Russian relations resumed she will still be able to say who shall enter her territory. Every government has this prerogative: look at me, I am not wanted so out I have gone. Then again the fact of Great Britain being on friendly terms with Soviet Russia would give her an advantage in getting friendly consideration of her desires. But to continue her stand for reparations for alleged damages will only result in Great Britain being outrun by America. Russia has a score of millions of millions marked up against Great Britain for blame for the bloody revolution attaches to her or rather to her soldiers and her gold. To persist in making Russia only a debtor will never lead to any good and the sooner this is realized so much the better for England.

Daily Express: Where are you going after leaving Turkey?

Trotsky: I have as yet had no reply from Germany. I suppose it is because of the cabinet crisis there but I have no doubt they will give me a visa. I only sent in my request after Herr Loebe’s favourable speech . Reports that I have applied to France, Czechoslovakia and Holland are lies. I wonder what would be the result if I asked to go to England. You know I spent a happy period in London visiting the British Museum in 1902 and I sometimes think I would like to see it again. Apparently the mere mention in the House of Commons of the possibility of my requesting a visa for England was sufficient to bring the House down in laughter. I have studied what appears to be the joke for some time but I fail to see the point of it.

From an interview given to the Daily Express, 18th March, 1929


My state of health has obliged me to decline all interviews during the past few weeks, but I now desire to receive a representative of an English newspaper, especially after false information concerning me has been spread throughout the world by a prominent London newspaper from its Constantinople correspondent, [12] and in view of its inconceivable refusal to publish the formal denial which I forwarded to it immediately this information came to my knowledge.

It is untrue that I have addressed a demand to return to Russia to the Stalinist faction, which for the moment governs Soviet Russia. Nothing is changed in my situation as an exile, and it ought not to have been necessary to make a denial to the fantasy of a poor imagination, which is without scruples concerning so-called plans in the Orient and the Extreme Orient. The Near East begins in Turkey, and my sojourn here has shown that I understand the right of refuge.

I have just addressed a request to the British government for permission to go to England. This is not because I have any reason to complain of the treatment which I have received at the hands of the Turkish authorities. On the contrary, they have shown themselves to be perfectly loyal and hospitable. I should not dream of leaving Turkey were I not compelled to do so for a number of important reasons.

My state of health and that of my wife demands treatment which it is impossible to obtain here. Furthermore, residence in London would allow me to pursue my scientific work and enable me to superintend the publication of my books in English. Here I am deprived of the necessary sources of information. The smallest verification entails a great loss of time.

I do not wish to conceal that there is besides, at this moment, a special interest for me to go to England, where a great political change has just taken place.

The party which for the second time assumes power in Great Britain believes that the difficulties created by private ownership can be surmounted through the medium of democracy. [13] I want to see how it will be done.

I do not think that democracy which believes it can solve the gravest problems by democratic methods can begin by refusing the right of asylum—a democratic institution—to an adversary who has no intention of interfering with or intervening in British political affairs, but who desires only to observe and to learn.

It is well known that the German Government refused to give me a visa for Germany. I was therefore unable to receive that lesson in democracy which Herr Loebe, the President of the Reichstag, had promised me. The right of asylum exists in Germany only for its political friends, which means that it does not exist at all, despite the fact that it is continually affirmed that Germany is the freest country in the world.

The Norwegian Government, which, by the way, I had not approached, declared itself unable to undertake responsibility for my personal security. Suffice it to say that I am the only private person whose security is dependent on oneself and one’s friends. To put the question on a humane basis, I demand that less importance be attributed to my security and more to my health.

(Signed) Leon Trotsky

I asked M. Trotsky then how he would reconcile the offer of refuge by Great Britain to a man exiled from Russia with a renewal of diplomatic relations between the two countries. He replied that he saw nothing in that connection whereby difficulties might arise.

’On the contrary,’ he said, ‘for the British Government, clinging firmly to the principle of non-intervention, the right of refuge is entirely one of an internal order. Equally am I sure that with the re-establishment of diplomatic relations the British Government would not think of demanding that the Soviet Government should modify its internal regime.’

He added laughingly that of course he would never have dreamed of asking for permission to enter England while Sir Austen Chamberlain was at the Foreign Office. ‘Sir Austen,’ he said, ‘for some reason has a personal objection to me which he has aired on not a few occasions.

’Yes,’ he continued, speaking of the question of resumed relations, ‘I hope the new Government will repair the mistake committed by its predecessor. That British industry should be made to suffer merely because of discontent with the Communist International is a thing I cannot understand. I believe, moreover, that this is also the opinion of British industrialists, who found it necessary to send an important delegation to Russia to study the situation.’

M. Trotsky spoke of his works which are now in preparation, citing especially that which has for its subject the world situation since the war. notably the situation of the United States vis-a-vis Europe in general and in particular vis-á-vis Great Britain. ’What is my opinion, ‘he concluded, ‘concerning the possibilities of the new Socialist Government and the perspectives open before it? It is precisely these questions which I shall treat in my new book on world politics.

’The great experiment which begins with Mr. MacDonald’s new Cabinet will furnish me with new elements for appreciation and discussion.’

Interview with the Daily Express, 19th June, 1929



In 1918-1919 Mr. Churchill attempted to overthrow Lenin by force of arms. In 1929 he attempts a psychological and political portraiture of him in his book, The Aftermath (Thornton Butterworth 30s). Perhaps he was hoping thereby to secure some sort of literary revenge for his unsuccessful appeal to the sword. But his methods are no less inadequate in the second mode of attack than they were in the first.

‘His (Lenin’s) sympathies cold and wide as the Arctic Ocean. His hatreds tight as the hangman’s noose’, writes Mr. Churchill. Verily, he juggles with antitheses as an athlete with dumb-bells. But the observant eye soon notices that the dumb-bells are painted cardboard, and the bulging biceps are eked out with padding.

The true Lenin was instinct with moral force—a force whose main characteristic was its absolute simplicity. To try to assess him in terms of stage athletics was bound to spell failure.

Mr. Churchill’s facts are miserably inaccurate. Consider his dates, for instance. He repeats a sentence, which he has read somewhere or other, referring to the morbid influence exercised on Lenin’s evolution by the execution of his elder brother. He refers the fact to the year 1894. But actually the attempt against Alexander III’s life was organized by Alexander Ulianof (Lenin’s brother) on March 1st, 1887. Mr. Churchill avers that in 1894 Lenin was sixteen years of age. In point of fact, he was then twenty-four, and in charge of the secret organization at Petersburg. At the time of the October revolution he was not thirty-nine, as Mr. Churchill would have it, but forty-seven years old. Mr. Churchill’s errors in chronology show how confusedly he visualizes the period and people of which he writes.

But when from the point of view of chronology and fisticuffs we turn to that of the philosophy of history, what we see is even more lamentable.

Mr. Churchill tells us that discipline in the Russian army was destroyed, after the February revolution, by the order abolishing the salute to officers. This was the point of view of discontented old generals and ambitious young subalterns; otherwise, it is merely absurd. The old army stood for the supremacy of the old classes ‘ and was destroyed by the revolution. When peasants had taken away the landowners’ property, the peasants’ sons could hardly continue to serve under officers who were sons of landowners. The army is no mere technical organization, associated only with marching and promotion, but a moral organization, founded on a definite scheme of mutual relations between individuals and classes. When a scheme of this kind is upset by a revolution, the army unavoidably collapses. It was always thus …

Mr. Churchill grants that Lenin had a powerful mind and will. According to Lord Birkenhead, Lenin was purely and simply non-existent: what really exists is a Lenin myth (see his letter in The Times, February 26th, 1929). The real Lenin was a nonentity upon which the colleagues of Arnold Bennett’s Lord Raingo[14] could look down contemptuously. But despite this one difference in their appraisement of Lenin, both Tories are exactly alike in their utter incapacity to under stand Lenin’s writings on economy, on politics and on philosophy—writings that fill over twenty volumes.

I suspect that Mr. Churchill did not even deign to take the trouble carefully to read the article on Lenin which I wrote for the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1926. If he had, he would not have committed those crude, glaring errors of dates which throw everything out of perspective.

One thing Lenin could not tolerate was muddled thought. He had lived in all European countries, mastered many languages, had read and studied and listened and observed and compared and generalized. When he became the head of a revolutionary country, he did not fail to avail himself of this opportunity to learn, conscientiously and carefully. He did not cease to follow the life of all other countries. He could read and speak fluently English, German and French. He could read Italian and t number of Slavonic languages. During the last years of his life, though overburdened with work, he devoted every spare minute to studying the grammar of the Czech language in order to have access, without intermediaries, to the inner life of Czechoslovakia.

What can Mr. Churchill and Lord Birkenhead know of the workings of this forceful, piercing, tireless mind of his, with its capacity to translate everything that was superficial, accidental, external into terms of the general and fundamental? Lord Birkenhead, in blissful ignorance, imagines that Lenin never had thought of the password: ‘Power to the Soviets’ before the revolution of February, 1917. But the problem of the Soviets and of their possible functions was the very central theme of the work of Lenin and of his companions from 1905 onwards, and even earlier.

By way of completing and correcting Mr. Churchill, Lord Birkenhead avers that if Kerensky had been gifted with a single ounce of intelligence and courage, the Soviets would never have come into power. Here is, indeed, a philosophy of history that is conducive to comfort. The army falls to pieces in consequence of the soldiers having decided not to salute the officers whom they meet. The contents of the cranium of a Radical barrister happen to have been one ounce short, and this deficiency is enough to lead to the destruction of a pious and civilized community! But what indeed can a civilization be worth which at the time of dire need is unable to supply the needful ounce of brain!

Besides, Kerensky[15] did not stand alone. Around him was a whole circle of Entente officials. [16] Why were they unable to instruct and inspire him, or if need was, replace him? To this query Mr. Churchill can find but this reply: ‘The Statesmen of the Allied nations affected to believe that all was for the best, and that the Revolution constituted a notable advantage for the common cause’—which means that the officials in question were utterly incapable of understanding the Russian revolution—or, in other words, did not substantially differ from Kerensky himself.

Today, Lord Birkenhead is incapable of seeing that Lenin, in signing the Brest-Litovsk peace, [17] had shown any particular foresight. [18] * He considers, today, that the peace was then inevitable. In his own words, ‘only hysterical fools’ could have imagined that the Bolsheviks were capable of fighting Germany: a very remarkable, though tardy, acknowledgement!

The British Government of 1918, and, indeed, all the Entente Governments of that time, categorically insisted on our fighting Germany, and when we refused to do so replied by blockade of, and intervention in, our country. He may well ask, in the energetic language of the Conservative politician himself: Where were, at that moment, the hysterical fools? Was it not they who decided the fate of Europe? Lord Birkenhead’s view would have been very far-seeing in 1917: but I must confess that I, for one, have little use for far-sight which asserts itself twelve years after the time when it could have been of use.

Mr. Churchill brings up against Lenin—and it is the very keystone of his article—statistics of the casualties of the civil war. These statistics are quite fantastic. This, however, is not the main point. The victims were many on either side. Mr. Churchill expressly specifies that he includes neither the deaths from starvation nor the deaths from epidemics. In his would-be athletic language he declares that neither Tamerlane nor Genghis Khan[19] were as reckless as Lenin in expenditure of human lives. judging by the order he adopts, one would hold that Mr. Churchill considers Tamerlane more reckless than Genghis Khan. In this he is wrong…statistical and chronological figures are certainly not the strong point of this Finance Minister. But this is by the way.

In order to find examples of mass expenditure of human life, Mr. Churchill must needs go to the history of Asia in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The great European war of 1914-1918, in which ten million men were killed and twenty million crippled, appears to have entirely escaped his memory. The campaigns of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane were child’s play in comparison with the doings of civilized nations from 1914 to 1918. But it is in a tone of lofty moral indignation that Mr. Churchill speaks of the victims of civil war in Russia—forgetting Ireland, and India, and other countries.

In short, the question is not so much the victims as it is the duties and the objects for which war was waged. Mr. Churchill wishes to make clear that all sacrifices, in all parts of the world, are permissible and right so long as the object is the power and sovereignty of the British Empire—that is, of its governing classes. But the incomparably lesser sacrifices are wrong which result from the struggle of peoples attempting to alter the conditions under which they exist—as occurred in England in the seventeenth century, in France at the end of the eighteenth, in the United States twice (eighteenth and nineteenth centuries), in Russia in the twentieth century, and as will occur more than once in the future.

It is vainly that Mr. Churchill seeks assistance in the evocation of the two Asiatic warrior chiefs, who both fought in the interests of nomadic aristocracies, but yet aristocracies coveting new territories and more slaves—in which respect their dealings were in accordance with Mr. Churchill’s principles, but certainly not with Lenin’s. Indeed, we may recall that Anatole France, [ 20] the last of the great humanists, often expressed the idea that of all kinds of the bloodthirsty insanity called war, the least insane was civil war, because at least the people who waged it did so of their own accord and not by order.

Mr. Churchill has committed yet another mistake, a very important one and, indeed, from his own point of view, a fatal one. He forgot that in civil wars, as in all wars, there are two sides; and that in this particular case, if he had not come in on the side of a very small minority, the number of the victims would have been considerably less. In October, we conquered power almost without a fight. Kerensky’s attempt to reconquer it evaporated as a dewdrop failing on a red-hot stone. So mighty was the driving power of the masses, that the older classes hardly dared attempt to resist.

When did the civil war, with its companion, the Red Terror, really start? Mr. Churchill being weak in the matter of chronology, let us help him. The turning point was the middle of 1918. Led by the Entente diplomatists and officers, the Czechoslovakians got hold of the railway line leading to the East. [ 21] The French ambassador, Noullens, organized the resistance at Yaroslavl. [ 22] Another foreign representative organized deeds of terror and an attempt to cut off the water supply of Petersburg. Mr. Churchill encourages and finances Savinkov. [ 23] he is behind Yudenich. [ 24] He determines the exact dates on which Petersburg and Moscow are to fall. He supports Denikin[ 25] and Wrangel. [ 26] The monitors of the British fleet bombard our coast. Mr. Churchill proclaims the coming of ‘fourteen nations’. He is the inspirer, the organizer, the financial backer, the prophet of civil war: a generous backer, a mediocre organizer, and very bad prophet.

He had been better advised not to recall the memories of those times. The number of the victims would have been not ten times, but a hundred or a thousand times smaller but for British guineas, British monitors, British tanks, British officers, and British food supplies.

Mr. Churchill understands neither Lenin nor the duties that lay before him. His lack of comprehension is at its worst when he attempts to deal with the inception of the new economic policy. For him, Lenin thereby gave himself the lie. Lord Birkenhead adds that in ten years the very principles of the October revolution were bankrupt. Yes: he who in ten years failed to do away with the miners’ unemployment, or to palliate it, [27] expects that in ten years we Russians can build up a new community without committing one mistake, without one flaw, without one setback; a wonderful expectation which gives us the measure of the primitive and purely theoretical quality of the honourable Conservative’s outlook. We cannot foretell how many errors, how many set-backs, will mark the course of history; but to see, amid the obstacles and deviations and set-backs of all kinds, the straight line of historical evolution was the achievement of Lenin’s genius. And had the Restoration been successful at the time, the need for radical changes in the organization of the community would have remained as great.

When the Stuarts came back to power, they had far better reasons to think of a bankruptcy of Cromwell’s principles. Yet, despite the triumphant Restoration, despite the many ebbs and flows of the following periods, the contest between Whigs and Tories, Freetraders and Protectionists, it was the Cromwellian leaven that gave rise to the new England. [28] And it is only in the last quarter of the nineteenth century that this ferment began to lose its potency, whence the unavoidable decrease of the part played by England in the world’s affairs.

John O’London’s Weekly, Saturday, April 20, 1929.

The Labour Party and Britain’s decline

Briand[29] senses the need to improve the fate of 350 million Europeans who are the bearers of the highest civilization yet find it impossible to live through a single century without a dozen wars and revolutions. MacDonald has in the interests of pacifying our planet made the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. The United States of Europe, disarmament, freedom of trade and peace are on the agenda. Capitalist diplomacy is everywhere preparing a pacifist broth. Peoples of Europe, peoples of the world—get out your soup spoons and gulp it down!

Why? Surely the socialists are in power in the most important countries of Europe or else are preparing to take power? Yes, that is just why! It is already apparent that Briand’s plan and MacDonald’s plan pursue the pacification of mankind from diametrically opposed directions. Briand wants to unify Europe as a defensive measure against America. MacDonald wants to earn the gratitude of America by helping her oppress Europe. The two trains are rushing headlong at each other in the effort to save the passengers from the crash.

The Anglo-French Naval Agreement of July 1928[30] was liquidated on a wink and a nod from the United States. This fact forms sufficient proof of the current world balance of power. ‘Don’t you think,’ hinted America, ‘that I can accommodate myself to the negotiations which you are holding around the English Channel?—But to hold a serious conversation you must take the trouble to cross over the Atlantic Ocean.’ So MacDonald booked his passage. That proved to be the most practicable part of the pacifist programme.

At Geneva[31] the future unifiers of the European continent felt not much better than the bootleggers on the other side of the ocean: they were glancing over their shoulders in fear at the American police. Briand began and finished his speech with an avowal that the unification of Europe would in no case and under no circumstances be directed against North America. God forbid! On reading those lines American politicians must have experienced a double feeling of satisfaction: ‘Briand is pretty scared of us … but he doesn’t fool us . . .’

While repeating Briand’s words about America Stresemann[32] at the same time engages in a veiled polemic against him. Henderson polemicises with them both but especially with the French Prime Minister. The Geneva talks must have developed along roughly the following lines:

Briand: In no case against the United States.

Stresemann: Absolutely right, but someone has ulterior motives—America can count only on Germany.

MacDonald: I swear upon the Bible that fidelity in friendship is a quality belonging only to the British, and more especially to the Scots.

The weakness of present-day Europe is caused first and foremost by its economic fragmentation. The strength of the United States in turn lies in its economic unity. They are asking: how can matters be arranged so that the unification of Europe is not directed against America, i.e. without changing the balance of power to America’s disadvantage?

The Daily Herald,[33] MacDonald’s semi-official organ, in its issue of September 10th, called the idea of a United States of Europe ‘grotesque’ and even provocative. Should, however, such a fantasy be realized, then the United States of Europe would erect a monstrous tariff barrier against the United States—so argued MacDonald’s semi-official organ—and as a result Britain would be caught in a vice between two continents. And the Daily Herald then went on to add: How could one expect aid from America if the course was set for the unification of Europe? ‘To act in this way would be insanity or worse.’ It could not be put more plainly.

From ‘Disarmament and the United States of Europe’, (dated 4th October, 1929) Byulleten Oppozitsii, October 1929

6 Alongside the problem of unifying Europe, that of the reduction of armaments has just been put on the order of the day. MacDonald has declared that the road of gradual disarmament is the surest way of guaranteeing eternal peace. That is how a pacifist confutes us. If all the countries disarmed, it would obviously be a serious guarantee for peace. But such disarmament is excluded in the same way as the voluntary destruction of the customs walls. At the present time, there is only one great power in Europe that is really disarmed. But its disarmament was accomplished only as a result of a war by which Germany also tried to ‘unify Europe’ under its domination.

The question of ‘gradual disarmament’, if it is examined closely, assumes the aspect of a tragic farce. In place of disarmament, the cessation of armaments is first substituted, in order to end finally in parity of the fleets of the United States and England. At present, this ‘aim’ seems bound to be the great guarantee of peace. That amounts to saying that the regulating of revolvers is the surest way to suppress duelling. To decide the matter, it would rather be necessary to view it in the opposite sense. The fact that the two greatest naval powers haggle so furiously for a few thousand tons, clearly shows that each of them is trying to assure itself in advance, by diplomatic means, the most advantageous position m the coming military conflict.

What, however, does the creation of ‘equality’ between the American and British fleets represent from the point of view of the international situation? It means the establishment of a great ‘inequality’ between them—in America’s favour. And that is understood perfectly by all the serious participants in this game, above all by the Admiralties of London and Washington. If they preserve silence on these matters, it is only out of diplomatic timidity. But we have no reason to imitate them.

After the experience of the last war, there is no one who does not understand that the next war to set the titans of the world by the ears, will be both long in preparation and in duration and not lightning-like. The issue will be determined by the respective powers of production of the two camps. This means that the war fleets of the powers will not only be supplemented and renewed, but in great measure created in the very course of the war.

We have seen the extraordinary place occupied by the German submarines in the military operations during the third year of the war. We have seen how Britain and America, in the very course of the war, created gigantic new armies and armaments, infinitely superior to the old armies of the European continent. It follows that the soldiers, sailors, cruisers, cannons, tanks and aeroplanes existing at the outbreak of hostilities only constitute a point of departure. The decisive problem will depend upon the measure in which the given country will be able to create, under the enemy’s fire, cruisers, cannons, soldiers and sailors. Even the Tsarist government was able to prepare a certain reserve at the beginning of the war. But what was above its power was to create a new one in the battle.

For Britain, in case of war with America, there is but one theoretical condition of success: that it be capable of assuring, before the outbreak of war, a technico-military preponderance in order to balance off to a certain extent the incomparable technical and economic preponderance of the United States. The equalization of the two fleets before the war means that from the very first months of the war America will have an incontestable advantage. Not for nothing did America threaten a few years ago to turn out cruisers in an emergency like so many pancakes.

In the negotiations of Hoover[34] and MacDonald, it is not a question of disarmament or even the limitation of naval armaments: it is solely a question of rationalizing the preparation of war. The type of ships is becoming obsolete. At present, when the great experience of the war and the flood of inventions it let loose are improved only for military needs and usage, the delay in eliminating various kinds of arms of military technique will be infinitely briefer than before 1914. Consequently the main part of the fleet can be revealed to be obsolete even before it has been put into action. Under such conditions, is there any sense in accumulating ships in advance? Rationalization in this matter requires having such a fleet as is necessary in the first period of the war and which, up to that point can serve as a laboratory for testing and experimenting with new inventions and discoveries, in view of the fact that in the period of war it would be necessary to pass over to standardized construction and production in series. All the great powers feel more or less interested in the ‘regulation’ of armaments, especially the very costly naval armaments. But destiny has transformed this ‘regulation’ into the greatest prerogative of the economically strongest country.

During these last years, the war and navy departments of the United States have applied themselves to adapting the entire American industry to the needs of the coming war. Schwab, one of the magnates of maritime war industry ‘ concluded his speech to the War College a short time ago with the following words: ‘It must be made clear to you that war in the present period must be compared with a great big industrial enterprise.’

The French imperialist press, naturally, is doing all it can to incite America against Britain. In an article devoted to the naval accord, Le Temps writes that parity of the fleets by no means signifies the equalization of sea power, since America cannot even dream of securing naval leases comparable to those which Britain has held for centuries. The British naval bases give it an incontestable advantage. But the accord on the parity of the two fleets, in case it is concluded, will not be the last word of the United States. Its first demand is ‘freedom of the seas’, that is, a regime that will appreciably limit Great Britain’s use of its naval bases. The second: ‘the open door’, is of no less importance; under this slogan, America will raise not only China but also India and Egypt against British domination. America will conduct its expedition against the British bases not on sea but on land, that is, across the colonies and dominions of Great Britain. America will put its war fleet into action when the situation is ripe enough for it. Of course all this is music of the future. But this future is not separated from us by centuries, nor even by decades. Le Temps need not be uneasy. The United States will take over piece-meal all that can be taken in morsels, changing the relation of forces in all fields -technical, commercial, financial, military—to the disadvantage of its principal rival, and it will not lose sight of the latter’s exceptional naval bases for a single instant.

The American press has spoken scornfully of the British acclaim for Snowden when he wrested twenty million dollars at the Hague Conference[35] to Britain’s profit, that is, a sum that the American tourists spend for their cigars. Is Snowden the victor? asked the New York Times. ‘No! The real victor is the Young Plan, [36]that is, American finance capital. Thanks to the Bank of International Settlements, the Young Plan gives America the possibility of holding its hand firmly on the golden pulse of Europe. From the financial irons forged on Germany’s feet there extend strong chains which fetter the hands of France, the feet of Italy and the neck of Britain. MacDonald, who is now fulfilling the duties of keeper to the British lion, points with pride to the collar, and calls it the best instrument of peace just think: to attain this aim, it was enough for America to give its ‘magnanimous aid’ to Europe so that it might liquidate the war and to consent to equalize its fleet with that of the weaker Britain.

Since 1923, I had to conduct a struggle to have the leadership of the Communist International consent, finally, to take notice of the existence of the United States and to understand that Anglo-American antagonism constitutes the fundamental line of the groupings and conflicts in the world. This was considered a heresy even at the time of the Fifth Congress of the CI (middle of 1924). I was accused of exaggerating, of enlarging the role of America. A legend was conceived according to which I had prophesied the disappearance of European antagonisms in the face of the American peril. Ossinsky, Larin and others smeared up not a little paper in order to ‘dethrone’ powerful America. Radek, [37] following the bourgeois journalist, affirmed that an epoch of Anglo-American collaboration is ahead of us, confusing temporary and episodic relations with the essence of world developments.

Little by little, however, America was ‘recognized’ by the official leadership of the Communist International which began to repeat my formulae of yesterday, not failing, of course, to add each time that the Opposition exaggerates the role of America. The correct estimation of America was at that time, as is known, the exclusive prerogative of Pepper and Lovestone. [38]

From the moment when the orientation to the Left was established, the reservations disappeared. Now it is obligatory upon the official theoreticians to predict that Britain and America are moving inevitably towards war. On this subject I wrote, some time in February of last year, to the deported comrades.. ‘The Anglo-American antagonism is at last seriously recognized. It seems that Stalin and Bukharin[39] are beginning to understand what it is all about. Nevertheless, our papers are simplifying the problem too much when they picture the situation as if Anglo-American antagonisms were becoming continuously aggravated and must lead to war right away. There is no doubt that there will still be a few crises in the course of its development. War would be a too dangerous business now for the two rivals. They will still make many efforts to come to an understanding and make peace. But at the end of all this there is a bloody denouement towards which they are proceeding with great strides.’

The present stage assumes anew the aspect of `military ‘collaboration’ between America and Britain and even some French journals fear to see the rise of an Anglo-Saxon dictatorship. It is evident the United States can use, and will use, their ‘collaboration’ with Britain to hold Japan and France in check with the same bridle. But all this will be a stage not towards an Anglo-Saxon domination but towards an American dictatorship weighing down on the world, including Great Britain.

From ‘Disarmament and the United States of Europe’, (dated 4th October, 1929) Byulleten Oppozitsii, October 1929

7 Mr. MacDonald esteems the results achieved on his American journey[40] as the loftiest triumph of peace politics. As I am speaking here in an interview, wherein one does not so much explain one’s opinion as proclaim it, I shall allow myself to turn to a speech that I made in 1924 about the relations between America and Europe. At that time, if I remember aright, Curzon was foreign minister and was engaging in sabre-rattling against Soviet Russia. In a polemic against Lord Curzon[41] (which now, of course, has lost all political interest) I observed that he was only treading on Russia’s heels in consequence of the unsatisfactory power of the United States and by the world situation generally. His protests against Soviet Russia were to be interpreted as the result of his dissatisfaction at having to negotiate accords with the United States that were not of equal advantage to both parties. ‘When it comes to the point,’ I said ‘it will not be Lord Curzon who will execute this unpleasant task; he is too spirited. No, it will be entrusted to MacDonald. All the pious eloquence of MacDonald, Henderson and the Fabians[42] will be needed to make that capitulation acceptable.’

From an interview with The Manchester Guardian, 28th March, 1931

8 The most recent electoral victories[43] of the British Labour Party do not at all invalidate what is said above. Even if we were to allow that the next parliamentary elections will give the Labour Party an absolute majority, which is not assured in any case; if we were further to allow that the party would actually take the road of socialist transformations—which is scarcely probable—it would immediately meet with such fierce resistance from the House of Lords, the king, the banks, the stock-market, the bureaucracy, the press, that a split in its ranks would become inevitable, and the Left, more radical wing would become a parliamentary minority. Simultaneously the Fascist movement would acquire an unprecedented sweep. Alarmed by the municipal elections, the British bourgeoisie is no doubt already actively preparing for an extra-parliamentary struggle actively while the tops of the Labour Party lull the proletariat with the successes and are compelled, unfortunately, to see the British events through the rosy spectacles of Jean Longuet. [44] In point of fact, the less the leaders of the Labour Party prepare for it, the more cruel will be the civil war forced upon the proletariat by the British bourgeoisie.

From ‘O va la France?’, La Verit, 9th November, 1934

In the period before the war Karl Kautsky[45] and the leaders of the British Labour Party seemed to be standing at opposite poles of the Second International. [46] Our generation, which then was young, in the fight against the opportunism of MacDonald, Henderson, and their brethren, not seldom made use of weapons taken from Kautsky’s arsenal. But in truth even in those days we went a great deal further than that wavering and ambiguous teacher was willing to go. Even before the war, Rosa Luxemburg, [47] who had a closer knowledge of Kautsky than others, had ruthlessly exposed the pinchbeck in his radicalism. These last years, anyhow, have thrown a full light on the facts: politically Kautsky belongs to the same camp as Henderson. If the former still goes on quoting from Marx, while the latter chooses rather the psalms of King David, this difference in habits does no harm whatever to their solidarity. All that is essentially uttered in this book against Kautsky can likewise almost unreservedly be applied to the leaders of the British trade union movement and of the Labour Party.

One of the chapters in the book is given to the so-called Austrian school of Marxism (Otto Bauer, Karl Renner and others). [48] Essentially this school fulfilled the same function: with the help of sterilized formulae from Marxism it gave shelter to a policy of cowering opportunism and, coward-like, it refused to make those bold decisions which were inevitably called for by the course of the class struggle. Events put both Kautskianism and Austrian Marxism to a ruthless test. The once powerful social-democratic parties of Germany and Austria., raised (against their own will) by the revolutionary movement in 1918 to the heights of power, freely yielded up bit by bit their positions to the bourgeoisie, until they were seen to have been ruthlessly crushed by it. The history of these two parties will be found to be a priceless illustration in the question of the part played by revolutionary and counter-revolutionary violence in history.

For the sake of continuity I have kept the title for the book under which the first English edition came out: ‘The Defence of Terrorism.’ But it must at once be said here that this title, which is that of the original publishers and not the author’s, is too wide and may even give grounds for misunderstanding. What we are concerned with is not at all the defence of ‘terrorism’ as such. Methods of compulsion and terrorisation down to the physical extirpation of its opponents have up to now advantaged, and continue to advantage in an infinitely higher degree the cause of reaction, as represented by the outworn exploiting classes, than they do the cause of historical progress, as represented by the proletariat. The jury of moralists who condemn ‘ terrorism’ of whatever kind have their gaze fixed really on the revolutionary deeds of the persecuted who are seeking to, set themselves free. The best example of this is Mr. Ramsay MacDonald. In the name of the eternal principles of morality and religion he was unwearied in condemning violence. But when the collapse of the capitalist system and the sharpening of the class struggle made the revolutionary fight of the proletariat for power an actual and living question for Britain also, MacDonald left the Labour camp for that of the Conservative bourgeoisie with just as little bother as when a passenger changes from a smoking compartment to a non- smoking. Today the pious enemy of terrorism is keeping up by the help of organized violence a ‘peaceful’ system of unemployment, colonial oppression, armed forces and preparation for fresh wars.

The present work, therefore, is far away from any thought of defending terrorism in general. It champions the historical justification of the proletarian revolution. The root idea of the book is this: that history down to now has not thought out any other way of carrying mankind forward than that of setting up always the revolutionary violence of the progressive class against the conservative violence of the outworn classes.

The incurable Fabians, it is true, keep on saying that, if the arguments of this book are true for backward Russia, they are utterly without application to advanced lands, especially to old democracies like Great Britain. This consoling illusion may have worn a cloak of persuasiveness up to fifteen or ten years ago. But since then a wave of Fascist or militarized police dictatorships has overwhelmed a great part of the European states. The day after I was exiled from the Soviet Union. on February 25, 1929, I wrote—not for the first time, indeed—with reference to the situation in Europe: ‘Democratic institutions have shown that they cannot withstand the pressure of present-day antagonisms both international and national—more often, both together. . . . On the analogy with electrical science democracy may be defined as a system of safety switches and fuses to guard against too strong currents of national or social hostility. There has never been one period in the history of mankind even within the slightest degree so filled with antagonisms as our own. The overloading of the current shows itself more and more at various points in the European system. Under the too high tension of class and international oppositions the safety switches of democracy fuse or burst. This is the essence of the short-circuit of dictatorship. The first to give way, of course, are the weakest switches. Internal and world oppositions, however, are not losing strength, but growing. It is hardly a ground for consolation that the process has taken hold only of the edge of the capitalistic world; gout begins with the big toe, but, once it has begun, it reaches the heart.’

In the six years that have gone by since these lines were written the short-circuits’ of dictatorship have arisen in Germany, Austria, and Spain—in this last after a short-lived revolutionary flowering of democracy. All those democratic illusionary dreamers who tried to explain Italian Fascism as a passing phenomenon that had arisen in a relatively backward land as the result of an after-war psychosis, met with the sternest refutation from the facts themselves. Among the great European countries the parliamentary regime is now left only in France and in Britain. But after what has happened in Europe anyone would have to be extraordinarily blind if he believes France and Britain to be safe from civil war and dictatorship. On February 6, 1934, French parliamentarianism was given its first warning. [49]

Extraordinarily superficial is the idea that the comparatively strong resisting power of the British political system arises out of the great age of its parliamentary traditions, and that as the years go on it automatically draws fresh strength from these for resistance. It has nowhere been found that old things, other circumstances being the same, are set firmer than new things. The fact is that British parliamentarianism holds together better than the others amid the crisis of the capitalist system only because their former world domination allowed the ruling classes of Great Britain to heap up an immense wealth, which now goes on lighting up the gloom of their days. In other words: the British parliamentary democracy holds together not through a mystic power of tradition, but from the plump savings which have been handed down from thriving times.

The future lot of British democracy depends not on its inner characteristics, but on the lot of British and world capitalism. If the jugglers and wonder-workers in power were really to find out the secret of giving youth to capitalism there is no doubt that along with it bourgeois democracy would find its own youth again. But we see no grounds for believing in the jugglers and wonder-workers. The last imperialistic war, indeed, came as an expression, and at the same time a proof, of the historical truth that world capitalism has drunk its progressive mission to the last drop. The development of the productive powers comes to rest against two reactionary barriers: private ownership of the means of production and the frontiers of the national state. Unless these two barriers are swept away, that is to say, unless the means of production are concentrated in the hands of the community, and unless there is an organized planned economy which can gradually enfold the whole world, the economic and cultural collapse of mankind is foredoomed. Further short-circuitings by reactionary dictatorships would in such a case inevitably spread to Great Britain also; the successes won by Fascism are seen to be no more than the political expression of the decay of the capitalist system. In other words: even in Britain a political state of things is not impossible wherein some coxcomb such as Mosley, will be able to play an historical part like that played by his teachers Mussolini and Hitler. From the Fabians we may hear it objected that the British proletariat have it quite in their own hands to come to power by way of Parliament, to carry through peacefully, within the law and step by step, all the changes called for in the capitalist system, and by so doing not only to make revolutionary terrorism needless, but also to dig the ground away under the feet of counter-revolutionary adventurers. An outlook such as this has at first sight a particular persuasiveness in the light of the Labour Party’s very important successes in the elections—but only at first sight, and that a very superficial one. The Fabian hope must, I fear, be held from the very beginning to be out of the question. I say ‘I fear,’ since a peaceful, parliamentary change over to a new social structure would undoubtedly offer highly important advantages from the standpoint of the interests of culture, and therefore those of socialism. But in politics nothing is more dangerous than to mistake what we wish for what is possible. On the one hand, a victory for the Labour Party at the elections would by no means bring with it the immediate concentration of real power in its hands. On the other hand, the Labour Party does not, indeed, aim at full power, for’, as represented by its leaders, it has no wish to expropriate the bourgeoisie. Henderson, Lansbury and the others have nothing about them of the great social reformers; they are nothing else than small bourgeois conservatives. We have seen social democracy in power in Austria and Germany. In Britain we have twice beheld a so-called Labour Government. Today there are social democratic governments at the head of Denmark and of Sweden. In all these cases not one hair has fallen from the head of capitalism. A Henderson-Lansbury Government would not differ in the slightest from a Hermann Mller Government in Germany. [50] It would not dare to lay a finger on the property of the bourgeoisie, and would be doomed to try paltry reforms, which, while disappointing the workers, would irritate the bourgeoisie. Far-reaching social reforms cannot be carried out amid the conditions of crumbling capitalism. The workers would be more and more insistent in demanding more determined measures from the Government. In the parliamentary section of the Labour Party the revolutionary wing would split off, the right wing would be drawn more and more openly to a capitulation on the MacDonald pattern. As a counter-weight to the Labour Government and a safeguard against revolutionary action by the masses, big capital would set about energetically supporting (this it has already begun to do) the Fascist movement. The Crown, the House of Lords, the bourgeois minority in the House of Commons, the bureaucracy, the military and naval commands, the banks, the trusts, the main body of the press, would merge into a counter-revolutionary bloc, ever ready to bring up the bands of Mosley or of some other more efficient adventurer to help the regular armed forces. In other words the ‘parliamentary outlook’ would inevitably and fatally lead along the road to civil war, a civil war which, the less the leaders of the Labour Party were ready for it, would threaten the more to take on a long drawn, embittered, and for the proletariat, unfavourable character.

The conclusion to be drawn from all this is that the British proletariat must not reckon on any historic privileges. It will have to struggle for power by the road of revolution and keep it in its hands by crushing the fierce resistance of the exploiters. There is no other way leading to Socialism. The problems of revolutionary violence, or ‘terrorism’, therefore have their practical interest for England also. That is why I agreed to a new English edition of this book. … If in Britain in spite of the highly favourable conditions, the Communist Party is still an organization without importance, without influence, without authority, and without a future, then the responsibility for this lies above all with the Soviet bureaucracy.

Everything in Britain is heading for a revolutionary explosion. A happy issue from the economic crisis—and this is quite a possibility in itself and even inevitable—could never have more than a transitory character, and would quickly yield once more to a fresh and devastating crisis. There is no way to salvation through capitalism. The coming into power of the Labour Party will have only this meaning for progress, that once more it will show—infinitely clearer even than before—the bankruptcy of the methods and illusions of parliamentarianism amidst the crumbling ruins of the capitalist system. And so the absolute need for a new, a truly revolutionary party will stand forth clear-cut before our eyes. The British proletariat will enter upon a period of political crisis and theoretical criticism. The problems of revolutionary violence will stand in their full height before it. The teachings of Marx and Lenin for the first time will find the masses as their audience. Such being the case, it may be also that the present book will turn out to be not without its use.

From the Introduction to the Second English Edition of Terrorism and Communism, 10th January, 1935


April 11

Baldwin thinks that Europe is a lunatic asylum; England is the only country that has kept her reason: she still has the King, the Commons, the Lords: England has avoided revolution, tyranny, and persecution (see his speech in Llandrindod). [51]

As a matter of fact, Baldwin understands exactly nothing about what is taking place before his very eyes. There is a much greater distance between Baldwin and Lenin, as intellectual types, than between the Celtic druids and Baldwin. England is nothing but the last ward of the European madhouse, and quite possibly it will prove to be the ward for particularly violent cases.

Before the last labourite government, just at the time of the election, the Webbs, Sydney and Beatrice, came to visit us at Prinkipo. These ‘socialists’ were quite willing to accept Stalin’s socialism in one country for Russia. They expected, not without gloating, a cruel civil war in the US. But for England (and Scandinavia) they reserved the privilege of peaceful evolutionary socialism. In order to account for unpleasant facts—such as the October Revolution, outbursts of the class struggle, and fascism—and at the same time preserve their Fabian prejudices and predilections, the Webbs—to suit their Anglo-Saxon empiricism—had created a theory of ‘types’ of social development and made a bargain with history to obtain a peaceful type for England. In fact, at that time Sydney Webb was about to receive from his King the title of Lord Passfield, so that he might peacefully reconstruct society as His Majesty’s minister. [52]

Of course, the Webbs are closer to Baldwin than to Lenin. I listened to the Webbs as if they were emanations from the next world, although they are very educated people. It’s true that they boasted of not belonging to any church.

April 14

In Stresa, [53] three socialist turncoats, Mussolini, Laval and MacDonald, represent the ‘national’ interests of their countries. The most contemptible and incompetent is MacDonald. There is something of the flunkey running all through him, even in his posture when talking to Mussolini (see the newspaper picture). It is so characteristic of this man that during his first ministry he hastened to grant a position to Mosley, the aristocratic coxcomb who had only recently joined the Labour Party as a short cut to a career. And now that same Mosley is trying to change sane old England into merely another ward of the European lunatic asylum. And if he does not succeed in this, somebody else certainly will—the minute Fascism is victorious in France. This time the possible advent to power of the Labourites will give a great stimulus to the development of British fascism and in general will open up a stormy chapter in the history of England, contrary to all the historical and philosophic conceptions of the Baldwins and the Webbs.

In September 1930, about two or three months after the Webbs, Cynthia Mosley, the wife of the adventurer and daughter of the notorious Lord Curzon, visited me at Prinkipo. At that stage her husband was still attacking MacDonald ‘from the left’. After some hesitation I agreed to a meeting which, however, proved banal in the extreme. The ‘Lady’ arrived with a female travelling companion, referred contemptuously to MacDonald, and spoke of her sympathies toward Soviet Russia. But the enclosed letter from her is an adequate specimen of her attitude at that time. [54] About three years later the young woman suddenly died. I don’t know if she lived long enough to cross over to the fascist camp.

About that time or a little later I received a letter from Beatrice Webb in which—on her own initiative—she tried to justify or explain the refusal of the Labour Government to grant me a visa. (This letter ought to be looked up, but I am without a secretary now. I did not answer her: there was no point … )

From Diary in Exile (1935), first published 1958

11 For the first time a powerful government provides a stimulus abroad not to the respectable right, but to the left and extreme left press. The sympathies of the popular masses for the great revolution are being very skilfully canalized and sluiced into the mill of the Soviet bureaucracy. The ‘sympathizing’ Western press is imperceptibly losing the right to publish anything which might aggrieve the ruling stratum of the Soviet Union. Books undesirable to the Kremlin are maliciously unmentioned. Noisy and mediocre apologists are published in many languages. We have avoided quoting throughout this work the specific productions of the official ‘friends’, preferring the crude originals to the stylized foreign paraphrases. However, the literature of the ‘friends’, including that of the Communist International, the most crass and vulgar part of it, presents in cubic metres an impressive magnitude, and plays not the last role in politics. We must devote a few concluding pages to it.

At present the chief contribution to the treasury of thought is declared to be the Webbs’ book, Soviet Communism.[55] Instead of relating what has been achieved and in what direction the achieved is developing, the authors expound for twelve hundred pages what is contemplated, indicated in the bureaux, or expounded in the laws. Their conclusion is: When the projects, plans and laws are carried out, then communism will be realized in the Soviet Union. Such is the content of this depressing book, which rehashes the reports of Moscow bureaux and the anniversary articles of the Moscow press.

Friendship for the Soviet bureaucracy is not friendship for the proletarian revolution, but, on the contrary, insurance against it. The Webbs are, to be sure, ready to acknowledge that the communist system will sometime or other spread to the rest of the world. ‘But how, when, where, with what modifications, and whether through violent revolution, or by peaceful penetration, or even by conscious imitation, are questions we cannot answer.’ This diplomatic refusal to answer—or, in reality, this unequivocal answer—is in the highest degree characteristic of the ‘friends’, and tells the actual price of their friendship. If everybody had thus answered the question of revolution before 1917, when it was infinitely harder to answer, there would have been no Soviet state in the world, and the British ‘friends’ would have had to expend their fund of friendly emotion upon other objects.

The Webbs speak as of something which goes without saying about the vanity of hoping for a European revolution in the near future, and they gather from that a comforting proof of the correctness of the theory of socialism in one country. With the authority of people for whom the October revolution was a complete, and moreover an unpleasant, surprise, they give us lessons in the necessity of building a socialist society within the limits of the Soviet Union in the absence of other perspectives. It is difficult to refrain from an impolite movement of the shoulders! In reality, our dispute with the Webbs is not as to the necessity of building factories in the Soviet Union and employing mineral fertilizers on the collective farms, but as to whether it is necessary to prepare a revolution in Great Britain and how it shall be done. Upon that question the learned sociologues answer: ‘We do not know.’ They consider the very question, of course, in conflict with 4science.’

Lenin was passionately hostile to the conservative bourgeois who imagines himself a socialist, and, in particular, to the British Fabians. By the biographical glossary attached to his ‘Works’, it is not difficult to find out that his attitude to the Webbs throughout his whole active life remained one of unaltered fierce hostility. In 1907 he first wrote of the Webbs as ‘obtuse eulogists of English philistinism,’ who ‘try to represent Chartism, the revolutionary epoch of the English labour movement, as mere childishness.’ Without Chartism, [56] however, there would have been no Paris Commune. [57] Without both. there would have been no October revolution. The Webbs found in the Soviet Union only an administrative mechanism and a bureaucratic plan. They found neither Chartism nor Communism nor the October revolution. A revolution remains for them today, as before, an alien and hostile matter. if not indeed ‘mere childishness.’

In his polemics against opportunists Lenin did not trouble himself, as is well known, with the manners of the salon. But his abusive epithets (lackeys of the bourgeoisie’, ‘traitors’, ‘boot-lick souls’) expressed during many years a carefully weighed appraisal of the Webbs as the evangels of Fabianism—that is, of traditional respectability and worship for what exists. There can be no talk of any sudden change in the views of the Webbs during recent years. These same people who during the war supported their bourgeoisie, and who accepted later at the hands of the King the title of Lord Passfield, have renounced nothing, and changed not at all, in adhering to Communism in a single, and moreover a foreign, country. Sidney Webb was Colonial Minister—that is, chief jail-keeper of British imperialism—in the very period of his fife when he was drawing near to the Soviet bureaucracy, receiving material from its bureaux, and on that basis working upon this two-volume compilation.

As late as 1923, the Webbs saw no great difference between Bolshevism and Tsarism (see, for example, The Decay of Capitalist Civilization, 1923). Now, however, they have fully recognized the ‘democracy’ of the Stalin regime. It is needless to seek any contradiction here. The Fabians were indignant when the revolutionary proletariat withdrew freedom of activity from ‘educated’ society, but they think it quite in the order of things when a bureaucracy withdraws freedom of activity from the proletariat. Has not this always been the function of the Labourites’ workers’ bureaucracy? The Webbs swear, for example, that criticism in the Soviet Union is completely free. A sense of humour is not to be expected of these people. They refer with complete seriousness to that notorious ‘self-criticism’ which is enacted as a part of one’s official duties, and the direction of which, as well as its limits, can always be accurately foretold.

Navet? Neither Engels nor Lenin considered Sidney Webb nave. Respectability rather. After all, it is a question of an established regime and of hospitable hosts. The Webbs are extremely disapproving in their attitude to a Marxian criticism of what exists. They consider themselves called to preserve the heritage of the October revolution from the Left Opposition. For the sake of completeness we observe that in its day the Labour Government in which Lord Passfield (Sidney Webb) held a portfolio refused the author of this work a visa to enter Great Britain. Thus Sidney Webb, who in those very days was working on his book upon the Soviet Union, is theoretically defending the Soviet Union from being undermined, but practically he is defending the Empire of His Majesty. In justice be it said that in both cases he remains true to himself.

From The Revolution Betrayed, 1936

The outbreak of war

12 The Socialist Lon Blum[58] and the Conservative Chamberlain, in equal measure friends of ‘peace’, were for non-intervention in the Spanish affair. [59] Hand in hand with them went Stalin, the ex-Bolshevik, through his ambassador Maisky, the ex-Menshevik. Nuances of programmes did not hinder them from friendly collaboration in the name of one and the same high aim.

Now, however, Chamberlain declares that if, after recognition of Franco, Italy and Germany do not withdraw the so-called volunteers from Spain, Britain is prepared to take the most serious measures, not short of war. The Radical Socialist Daladier, [60] another well-known supporter of the policy of ‘non-intervention’, completely supports Chamberlain in this question. From love of peace, these gentlemen refused to defend democracy with arms. But there is a limit to everything, even to the love of peace of these experienced friends of humanity. Chamberlain openly says: the arrival of Italian and German soldiers on the Iberian Peninsula would break the ‘balance’ in the Mediterranean. This cannot be endured! England and France were not at all inclined to support Spanish democracy; but now, when they have helped Franco to stifle it, they are fully prepared to support with arms the ‘balance’ in the Mediterranean, which mysterious technical term is to be understood as meaning the defence by the enslavers of their colonial possessions and the seaways leading to them.

We humbly ask the gentlemen of the Second and Third[61] Internationals exactly what historical, political, and other conditions are required to establish the promised grand alliance in defence of democracy in the whole world? The government of France relied on the Popular Front. [62] The struggle of the Popular Front in Spain was waged in the name of democracy. What other example can be invented in which the duty to defend democracy would appear in a more imperative form? If a ‘Socialist’ government supported by a ‘National Front’ refused to defend a democracy also headed by ‘Socialists,’ then the question arises just where and when will what kind of government occupy itself with the task of defending democracy? Perhaps the augurs of Social Democracy and the Comintern[63] can, nevertheless, manage to explain that?

In fact, the two imperialist democracies, in the person of their ruling classes, were from the very beginning completely on the side of Franco; they merely did not at first believe in the possibility of his victory, and were afraid of compromising themselves by premature disclosure of their sympathies. As Franco’s chances improved, however, the real faces of the possessing classes of the ‘great democracies’ were revealed ever more clearly, ever more openly, ever more shamelessly. Both Great Britain and France know perfectly well that it is considerably easier to control colonies, semi-colonies, and simply weak nations through a military dictatorship than through a democratic or even semi-democratic regime.

Alliance with the Conservative [Chamberlain] government is just as immutable a commandment for the ‘Socialist’ petty-bourgeois Blum as for the most extreme reactionaries of the French Chamber of Deputies. This commandment emanates from the French stock exchange. England’s plan in relation to Spain was fixed from the very start: let them fight; whoever wins will need money to revive the economy of the country. Neither Germany nor Italy will be able to give this money; consequently, the victor will have to turn to London, and partly to Paris. Thus it will be possible to dictate terms.

Blum was initiated into the English plan perfectly well from the beginning. He could have no plan of his own because his semi-socialist government was completely dependent on the French bourgeoisie, and the French bourgeoisie on Great Britain. Blum shouted about the preservation of peace as an even more sacred task than the salvation of democracy. But in fact he was concealing the plan of British capital. After he had carried out this piece of dirty work, he was thrown into the opposition camp by the French bourgeoisie, and again obtained the possibility of shouting about the sacred duty of helping the Spanish republicans. Without a cheap left phrase, he would not have preserved the possibilities of again rendering other just as treacherous services to the French bourgeoisie at a critical moment.

The Moscow diplomats also, of course, speak somewhat through gritted teeth in favour of Spanish democracy, the very thing they have destroyed by their policy. But in Moscow they now express themselves very carefully, because they are groping for a way to Berlin. [64] The Moscow Bonapartists[65] are ready to betray all the democracies in the world, not to speak of the international proletariat, just to prolong their rule for an additional week. It is possible that both Stalin and Hitler have started with bluff; each wants to frighten Chamberlain, Daladier and even Roosevelt. [66] But if the ‘democratic’ imperialists are not frightened, the bluff may go considerably further than was at first supposed in Moscow and Berlin. To cover up their manoeuvres, the Kremlin clique needs the assistance of the leaders of the Second and Third Internationals, the more so as that does not cost too much….

In the veins of the Spanish people, there still remains unshed blood. Who will dispose of it, Hitler and Mussolini or Chamberlain with his French accomplices, is a question that will be decided by the relations of the imperialist forces in the near future. The struggle for peace, for democracy, for race, for authority, for order, for balance, and for dozens of other high and imponderable things means the struggle for a new division of the world. The Spanish tragedy will go down in history as an episode on the path of preparation of a new world war. The ruling classes of all shades are afraid of it and at the same time are preparing for it with all their might. The charlatanism of Popular Fronts serves one part of the imperialists to conceal their plans from the popular masses, as the other gang uses phrases about blood, honour and race for the same purpose. The petty-bourgeois windbags and phrasemongers only make it easier for the imperialists to prepare war, by preventing the workers from seeing the naked truth.

From ‘Mysteries of Imperialism’ (dated 4th March, 1939), Byulleten Oppozitsii 75-76, March-April 1939


Dear Comrade Hughes, Thank you sincerely for your letter of April 3rd. Undoubtedly there are thousands upon thousands of British workers and honest and revolutionary intellectuals who think as you do. They are simply stifled, but not so much by the state machine as by the machine of the official workers’ organizations. The war they are preparing will break both these machines.

In the catastrophe of war, the most disoriented, confused and cowardly will be the present magnificent leaders of the workers’ organizations, of the Second and Third Internationals. The masses will look for a new orientation, a new direction, and will find them.

You are right that the first chapter of the war will be a chapter of nationalistic madness. But the more terrible the war and the war hysteria, the more crushing will be the mass reaction. Not to lose one’s head and to look toward the future—the near future—with open eyes, is the highest revolutionary duty.

With fraternal greetings, Leon Trotsky
Coyoacan, D.F.

Letter to Emrys Hughes (dated 22nd April, 1939), first published in Forward, 31st August, 1940

14 Q—How do you interpret the underlying purposes of the Chamberlain government? A—I believe the underlying factors are panic and headlessness. It is not an individual characteristic of Mr. Chamberlain. I do not believe he has any worse head than any other person, but the situation of Great Britain is very difficult, the same as that of France. England was a leading world power in the past—in the nineteenth century—but no more. But she has the greatest world empire. France, with her stagnating population and more or less backward economic structure. has a second colonial empire. This is the situation. It is very difficult to be inventive as a British Prime Minister in this situation. Only the old formula of ‘wait and see.’ This was good when Great Britain was the strongest power in the world and they had enough power to reach their aims. No more now. The war can only crush and disrupt the British empire and the French empire. They can gain nothing by the war—only lose. That is why Mr. Chamberlain was so friendly to Hitler during the Munich period. [67] He believed that the question was about central Europe and the Danube, but now he understands that it is the question of world domination. Great Britain and France cannot avoid a war, and now they do everything they can in a feverish tempo to avoid the war threatened by the situation created by the rearmament of Germany. That war is inevitable.

From a stenographic record of an interview with Hubert Herring, 23rd July, 1939


Leon Trotsky Cable prepaid
Six hundred word article by return cable giving your reasons for opposing negotiations allies with Russia[68] stop Bernard Shaw article supporting Stalin will appear same page stop Prepared order fifteen pounds if published.

Editor, Daily Herald,
London, October 20

Leon Trotsky Cable prepaid
Would welcome immediate reply if prepared cable article requested last Friday or not stop if agreeable please cable article today at latest.

Editor, Daily Herald
London, October 23

Editor, Daily Herald Cable Collect
You did not publish my letter protesting imperialist London policy against Mexico stop You did not publish my statement on coming war granted to your own correspondent Vincent stop Now you want to adapt me to your anti-socialist policy[69] stop that will not succeed.

Leon Trotsky, Coyoacan, October 23, First published in Socialist Appeal, 3rd November, 1939

The immediate cause of the present war is the rivalry between the old wealthy colonial empires, Great Britain and France, and the belated imperialist plunderers, Germany and Italy.

The nineteenth century was the era of the incontestable hegemony of the oldest capitalist power, Great Britain. From 1815 to 1914—true enough, not without isolated military explosions—’British peace’ reigned. The British fleet, mightiest in the world, played the role of policeman of the seas. This era, however, has receded into the past. As early as the end of the last century, Germany, armed with modern technology, began to move toward first place in Europe. On the other side of the ocean an even more powerful country arose, a former British colony. The most important economic contradiction which led to the war of 1914-1918 was the rivalry between Britain and Germany. As for the United States, its participation in the war was of a preventive character—Germany could not be permitted to subjugate the European continent.

The defeat hurled Germany back into complete impotence. Dismembered, encircled by enemies, bankrupted by indemnities, weakened by the convulsions of civil war, she appeared to be out of the running for a long time to come, if not forever. On the European continent, first violin turned up temporarily in the hands of France. For victorious Britain, the balance sheet of the war left in the last analysis liabilities: increasing independence of the dominions; colonial movements for independence; loss of naval hegemony; lessening of the importance of her navy through the development of aviation.

Through inertia Britain still attempted to play the leading role on the world arena in the first few years after victory. Her conflicts with the United States began to assume an obviously threatening character. It seemed as though the next war would flare up between the two Anglo-Saxon aspirants to world domination. Britain, however, soon had to convince herself that her specific economic weight was inadequate for combat with le colossus across the ocean. Her agreement with the United States on naval equality signified formal renunciation of naval hegemony, already lost in actuality. Her replacement of free trade by tariff walls signified open admission of the defeat of British industry on the world market. Her renunciation of the policy of ‘splendid isolation’ drew in its wake the introduction of compulsory military service. Thus all the sacred traditions were dusted away.

A similar lack of correspondence between her economic weight and her world position is characteristic of France too, but on a smaller scale. Her hegemony in Europe rested on a temporary conjuncture of circumstances created by the annihilation of Germany and the artificial combinations of the Versailles Treaty. [70] The size of her population and the economic foundation supporting this hegemony were far too inadequate. When the hypnosis of victory wore off, the real relationship of forces surged to the surface. France proved to be much weaker than she had appeared not only to her friends but to her enemies. Seeking cover, she became in essence Britain’s latest dominion.

Germany’s regeneration on the basis of her first rate technology and organizational abilities was inevitable. It came sooner than was thought possible, in large measure thanks to Britain’s support of Germany against the USSR, against the excessive pretensions of France and, more remotely, against the United States. Such international combinations proved successful for capitalist Britain more than once in the past so long as she remained the strongest power. In her senility she proved incapable of dealing with those spirits she had herself evoked.

Armed with a technology, more modern, of greater flexibility, and of higher productive capacity, Germany once again began to squeeze Britain out of very important markets. particularly south-eastern Europe and Latin America. In contrast to the nineteenth century. when the competition between capitalist countries developed on an expanding world market, the economic arena of struggle today is narrowing down so that nothing remains open to the imperialists except tearing pieces of the world market away from each other.

The initiative for the new re-division of the world this time as in 1914 belonged naturally to German imperialism. Caught off guard the British government first attempted to buy its way out of war by concessions at the expense of others (Austria, Czecho-Slovakia). But this policy was short-lived. ‘Friendship’ with Britain was only a brief tactical phase for Hitler. London had already conceded Hitler more than he had calculated on getting. The Munich agreement64 through which Chamberlain hoped to seal a long time friendship with Germany led, on the contrary, to a hastening of the break. Hitler could expect nothing more from London—further expansion of Germany would strike at the life lines of Britain herself. Thus the ‘new era of peace’ proclaimed by Chamberlain in October, 1938 led within a few months to the most terrible of all wars.

While Great Britain has exerted every effort since the first months of the war to seize blockaded Germany’s vacated positions in the world market, the United States has almost automatically been driving Britain out. Two-thirds of the world’s gold is concentrated in the American vaults. The remaining third is flowing to the same place. Britain’s role as banker for the world is a thing of the past. Nor are matters in other spheres much better. While Britain’s navy and merchant marine are suffering great losses, the American shipyards are building ships on a colossal scale which will secure the predominance of the American fleet over the British and the Japanese. The United States is obviously preparing to adopt the two power standard (a navy stronger than the combined fleets of the next two strongest powers). The new programme for the air fleet envisages securing the superiority of the United States over all the rest of the world.

However, the industrial, financial and military strength of the United States, the foremost capitalist power in the world, does not at all insure the blossoming of American economic life, but on the contrary, invests the crisis of her social system with an especially malignant and convulsive character. Gold in the billions cannot be made use of nor can the millions of unemployed! In the theses of the Fourth International, ‘War and the Fourth International,’ published six years ago, it was predicted: ‘Capitalism in the United States is running head on into those problems which impelled Germany in 1914 upon the road of war. . . For Germany it was a question of ‘organizing’ Europe. For the United States it is a question of ‘organizing’ the world. History is taking mankind directly into the volcanic eruption of American imperialism.’

The ‘New Deal’ and the ‘Good Neighbour’ policy[71] were the final attempts to postpone the climax by ameliorating the social crisis through concessions and agreements. After the bankruptcy of this policy, which swallowed up tens of billions, nothing else remained for American imperialism but to resort to the method of the mailed fist. Under one or another pretext and slogan the United States will intervene in the tremendous clash in order to maintain its world dominion. The order and the time of the struggle between American capitalism and its enemies is not yet known—perhaps even by Washington. War with Japan would be a struggle for ‘living room’ in the Pacific ocean. War in the Atlantic, even if directed immediately against Germany, would be a struggle for the heritage of Britain….

The weakness of France and Britain was not unexpected. The theses of the Fourth International (1934) state: ‘The collapse of the League of Nations is indissolubly bound up with the beginning of the collapse of French hegemony on the European continent.’ This programmatic document declares further that ‘Britain’s rulers are increasingly less capable of carrying out their plans,’ that the British bourgeoisie is ‘alarmed by the disintegration of its empire, the revolutionary movement in India, the instability of its positions in China.’ The power of the Fourth International lies in this, that its programme is capable of withstanding the test of great events.

The industry of Britain and France, thanks to the assured flow of colonial super-profits, has long lagged both in technology and organization. In addition, the so-called ‘defence of democracy’ by the socialist parties and trade unions created an extremely privileged political situation for the British and French bourgeoisie. Privileges always foster sluggishness and stagnation. If Germany today reveals so colossal a preponderance over France and Britain, then the lion’s share of the responsibility rests with the social-patriotic defenders of democracy who prevented the proletariat from tearing Britain and France out of atrophy through a timely socialist revolution.

From the ‘Manifesto of the Fourth International on Imperialist War and Proletarian Revolution’ adopted by the Emergency Conference of the Fourth International 26th May, 1940

1. Founded in 1893 under the leadership of Keir Hardie and Ramsay MacDonald, the ILP aimed at securing Parliamentary and local government representation for the working class independently of the Liberal Party. But in its programme and practice it never entirely broke from liberalism. It played an important role in the establishment of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900, and provided the main centre of local political life in the Labour Party until the formation of constituency organizations in 1918. Took a pacifist stand in the war and thereafter put up the main opposition to the right wing policies of the Labour leaders, eventually disaffiliating in 1932. It soon became involved in the ‘London Bureau’ (see note) of parties trying to take up an intermediate position between the Second and Third Internationals. Its further political evolution from a brief courtship with revolutionary politics to a hardened centrist position can be followed in Part Two of this volume. The early history of Trotskyismn in Britain is in large degree the history of its struggle with this current.

2. The Persian bourgeois revolution which began in 1905 eventually deposed the pro-Russian reactionary Shah Muzaffor Ud-Din in 1907, after he had made a number of attempts to hold back the tide of reform. He fled to Russia after being deposed, and was protected by Tsar Nicholas. In July 1911 the ex-Shah led an army of invasion which was defeated. Later in the same year Russian forces intervened, and they remained there until after the October 1917 revolution.

3. King Amanullah was forced to flee from Afghanistan in 1929 following the success of a palace coup backed by British imperialism. After a brief period in India, he arrived in Rome in July and under the protection of the fascist regime, occupied the Afghan embassy.

4. The 1927 Trade Disputes and Trade Union Act, passed by the Tories in the wake of the General Strike, had, among other attacks on trade union rights, declared illegal all sympathetic strikes as well as those considered to be ‘calculated to coerce the government’, or to inflict ‘hardship upon the community’. It was repealed in 1945.

5. The Prime Minister of Norway at this time was Johan Mowinckel (1870-1943), leader of the so-called ‘Left Party’, who presided over a coalition of various bourgeois parties from 1928 to 1931. Trotsky was to fare little better with the subsequent social-democratic government, which in 1935 permitted him to enter Norway only then to subject him to detention and deportation.

6. Before his deportation from the Soviet Union Stalin’s Politburo informed Trotsky that his application to visit Germany had been refused by the Mueller government (see note). Soon afterwards Paul Loebe, Social Democratic Speaker of the Reichstag, made a speech asserting that Trotsky would be granted asylum in Germany. He therefore requested asylum, but the application was repeatedly blocked. Trotsky was told he could enter the country only if in need of medical treatment; when he replied that he was, the government decided that he was not ill enough for them to be obliged to grant entry. As Trotsky relates in My Life: ‘I could thus appreciate the full advantages of democracy only as a corpse. ‘

7. Emil Vandervelde (1866-1938), Belgian right-wing socialist and one of the leaders of the Second International. During the First World War he was one of the most extreme social-chauvinists, becoming Prime Minister, and was extremely hostile to Soviet Russia, acting in 1919 as Belgium’s signatory to the Versailles Treaty. Made a special visit to Moscow in 1922 to act as a defence witness in the trial of the Right Social-Revolutionaries.

8. During the visit of the British Labour Delegation of that year. The delegation was sent as a the result of a motion passed at a special meeting of the Trades Union Congress on 10th December, 1919, deciding to initiate an independent and impartial inquiry into the industrial, political and economic Conditions in Russia. Its members arrived there in May 1920, and remained for three to six weeks respectively. Those representing the Labour party included Ethel Snowden and Robrt Williams, and the TUC delegates included A. A. Purcell. They issued a generally favourable report later in1920, though Nirs. Snowden published her own hostile account called Through Bolshevik Russia. Philip Snowden was not a member of the delegation, nor was Bertrand RusselL, though he was one of many British visitors to the Soviet Union at about this time, and produced his own unfriendly picture in The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism.

9. Solomon Abramovich Lozoysky (1878-1952), originally a Menshevik, joined the Bolsheviks in 1917 and became Secretary of the All-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions. Because of disagreements over the question of trade union independence and exclusively Bolshevik government, he set up, an organization of his own for a time, but rejoined the Communist Party in December 1919. Thereafter he was a leading official of the Red International of Labour Unions and a consistent supporter of Stalinist policies. Later he became a Deputy Commissar for Foreign Affairs and head of the Soviet information Office. One of the few major figures of the 1920s to survive the purges of the 1930s, Lozovsky was seized and shot on Stalin’s orders at the age of 74 during an anti-semitic campaign.

10. Trotsky was exiled in February 1929, arriving on the island of Prinkipo the following month. The Webbs arrived to visit him on 29th April, 1929.

11. This paper was of course known for its right wing views even before a controlling interest was taken in it in 1916 by Sir Max Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook). Thereafter it was closely identified with various reactionary causes, notably with strong support for the maintenance of the British Empire.

12. The Times, 10th May, 1929: ‘He [Trotskyl has just sent a request to Moscow for permission to return to Russia and support Stalin and the ruling clique.’ The Times, 30th May, 1929: ‘Trotsky has been given permission to return in July to Russia.’ The Constantinople correspondent alleged that Trotsky had left Russia only to do secret work on Stalin’s behalf.

13. The second minority Labour Government was returned to office in the General Election of May 1929.

14. Lord Raingo is a satirical novel published in 1926 by the English writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931). Raingo, a self-made millionaire become Cabinet Minister, is supposed to represent the ‘new men’ who were beginning to replace the established leaders of the landed aristocracy and the industrial bourgeoisie.

15. Alexandr Fedorovich Kerensky (1881-1970), the Russian Socialist-Revolutionary leader, took an extreme chauvinist position during the war and after the February Revolution in 1917 took office in the Provisional Government, becoming Prime Minister in July. Having failed to wipe out the Bolsheviks and disarm the working class in the face of reaction, his government was overthrown in the October Revolution. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain power in alliance with Krasnov he fled into exile in the United States.

16. The Entente powers which fought the First World War against the Axis of Germany and Austria-Hungary were France and Britain, later joined by Italy, Rumania, Portugal, the United States, and until October 1917, Russia. Particularly influential with Kerensky were Sir George Buchanan, the British Ambassador, and the French Ambassador.

17. The Brest-Litoysk Peace Treaty was signed on 3rd March, 1918 after three months of negotiations in which the Soviet delegation was led by Trotsky. The policy was carried through by Lenin and Trotsky against the opposition of Bukharin and the ‘Left Communists’. This faction wished to make it a principle to carry on a ‘revolutionary war’ in the face of threats that German imperialism would renew the offensive after talks were broken off at one point. Trotsky deals with the Stalinist distortion of this history in The Stalin School of Falsification.

18. I do not insist upon the fact that Lord Birkenhead represents me as in favour of war with Germany in 1918. The honourable Conservative, on this point, follows far too docilely the utterances of the historians of the Stalin school.—LDT.

19. Genghis Khan (1167-1227) was the founder of the Mongol world empire, won through sweeping military campaigns against China and throughout Asia, in the course of which the Tartars were exterminated. Tamerlane (1336-1405) was a Mongol ruler and conqueror who carried out some of the most ambitious military campaigns in history, leading expeditions into Persia, Iran, Turkey, the Tigris, the Arabian and Caspian Sea areas, Central Asia and India. Won historical notoriety for his massacres, in one instance of 100,000 Indian prisoners.

20. The pseudonym of Jacques Thibault (1844-1924), the French novelist. His most famous work is perhaps Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard.(1881). He supported Dreyfus against persecution by the French legal and military hierarchy and towards the end of his life appeared on socialist platforms but spoke generally from an individualist and not from a class standpoint. Trotsky had been re-reading his works on the journey into exile, in the weeks before the writing of this article (see My Life, p.546).

21. The Czechoslovaks were prisoners of war from the Austro-Hungarian Army who were formed into a legion to fight on the Allied side. The officers were bourgeois nationalists hostile to Austrian rule but also to Bolshevism. For a period during 1918 they held Kazan and other strategic points on the route from Moscow to the East. The recapture of Kazan in September was the first victory of the newly formed Red Army and marked a turning point in the fight to beat back the imperialist invasion.

22. A rising of White Guards in the summer of 1918. Noulens was aided by the British agent Bruce Lockhart in instigating it. Yaroslavl is only 160 miles North-East of Moscow

23. Boris Savinkov was a member of the terrori st wing of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries. Expelled for supporting Korniloy during 1917, he was in fact one of Kerensky’s closest collaborators and military allies during the period of the Provisional Government and in the attempts at counter-revolution which followed the October Revolution. He led the Yaroslavl rising and the Socialist-Revolutionaries’ attempts to seize power during the July 1918 Congress of Soviets. He received financial backing also from the French military attach in Moscow. Later he carried on various military and terrorist attacks on the Soviet Union from Polish territory.

24. Commander of the counter-revolutionary White Army in the Baltic area of Russia, which was poised to take Petrograd in August and September 1919.

25. Organizer and commander of the counter-revolutionary Volunteer Army in South Russia, 1918-1920.

26. White Guard leader who re-grouped the remnants of Denikin’s defeated Volunteer Army in the Crimean Peninsula, and with substantial aid from Britain and France, attacked Soviet Russia from the south* His army was defeated by the end of 1920 and he was forced to flee with the remnants to Turkey and the Balkans

27. In his years as a minister of the successive Tory governments of the 1920s.

28. Though Cromwell’s death was followed by the restoration of Charles 11 in 1660 and

Cromwell’s up body was up dug up to be hung, drawn and quartered, the bourgeois revolution of the seventeenth century was by then accomplished. Capital ruled while permitting the aristocracy to govern. The revolution of 1640 was what laid the basis for Britain’s industrial supremacy in the 19th century.

29. Aristide Briand (1862-1932) ‘ one of the outstanding examples of renegacy in the French Social Democratic Movement. In the 1890s he belonged to the left wing of the labour movement as chief agitator for the ‘Direct Action Group’ which later fused with the syndicalists. Made a right about face even before 1914, entering the ranks of the saviours of the French bourgeoisie and carving out a career as one of the political leaders of French imperialism. In the middle ‘20s tried to resume his career as one of the conservative leaders of the ‘left Bloc’. Signed the Locarno Treaty, 1928, and the Briand-Kellogg Pact ‘outlawing war’.

30. Drawn up according to the full quota of ships requested by Britain at the talks of the previous year with the United States and Japan, which had broken down over Britain’s refusal to lower this quota. The Anglo-French agreement also permitted unrestricted re-equipment in small vessels including submarines, which were the speciality of the French. The US Embassy in London issued a strong public protest in September 1928 when these terms became known. MacDonald, once in office, hastened to make a deal with the Americans and the agreement with the French was pushed aside in favour of the London Conference settlement of 1930, which fixed a ratio of 5: 5: 3 vessels between the US, Britain and Japan, and placed a five-year moratorium on naval ship-building. For all the long negotiations it involved this ‘agreement’ was no more than a cover for the ongoing preparations for the next imperialist war.

31. The meeting-place of the League of Nations which Lenin called the ‘thieves kitchen’. It was formed in 1919 by the victors in the First World War—the United States excepted—and for many years refused to admit the defeated states. It soon became an arena for the diplomatic manoeuvring surrounding the preparation of the Second World War.

32. Gustav Stresemann (1878-1929) was a German bourgeois politician who became leader of the right-wing People’s Party during the Weimar Republic. Known in his earlier years as a spokesman for the German general staff and an advocate of unrestricted submarine warfare, he was Chancellor on a number of occasions and German foreign minister from 1923-29. In this capacity he negotiated Germany’s entry into the League of Nations in 1926 and secured a gradual reduction in the reparations imposed by the Versailles Treaty. He devoted considerable energy to re-drawing the post-war map of Europe in the interests of German capitalism, and died in office only days before the 1929 crash.

33. This paper began life in 1911 as the strike bulletin of the London printers. In its early period it adopted a generally left line, treating syndicalism sympathetically and taking an anti-war position, though generally from a pacifist standpoint. By 1922, however, it had fallen into financial difficulties, and was taken over by the TUC and the Labour Party, thereafter reflecting the views of the leadership. Used as a weapon against dissidents by the 1929 government.

34. Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), Republican President of the United States, 1929-32. A Quaker, Hoover was identified with the laissez-faire, less protectionist wing of American capitalism which was held in retrospect to have contributed to the Wall Street crash and the development of the slump, and in the election of November 1932 he was defeated by F. D. Roosevelt.

35. This took place in August 1929 to revise the post-war settlement between the European powers, particularly in the matter of German reparations. Snowden, representing the British government as Chancellor of the Exchequer, nearly wrecked it by refusing to accept a reduction of £2m per year in Britain’s share. In return for this gesture of defiance on behalf of declining British imperialism he was awarded the Freedom of the City of London. It was left to Henderson as Foreign Secretary to restore good feeling with the other imperialist powers.

36. The agreement reached at the Hague Conference, relieving Germany of allied control in return for a final settlement, at a reduced rate, of reparations payments. A new Bank for International Settlements was set up through which Germany was to pay at the re-negotiated rates over a period of 59 years.

37. Ossinsky, Larin and Radek were all leaders of the Soviet Communist Party who supported the Opposition at one period or another and later capitulated to Stalin. N. Ossinsky (1887-1938?) was a Bolshevik of long standing who, though signing the Letter of 46 in 1923, generally supported Bukharin both as a ‘Left Communist’ in 1918 and in his right-wing phase in the mid-1920s. However, he testified against Bukharin at the Third Moscow Trial and then disappeared. M. A. Larin (1882-1932) was a Menshevik until 1917, and after taking part in some opposition groups became a zealous supporter of Stalin, apparently among the first to suggest the use of force against party oppositions. Both Ossinsky and Larin were members of one group in 1923-4 which called for ‘Workers’ control’ as against ‘workers’ management’. Karl Radek (1885-1939?) was born into a Jewish family in Galicia and was active in both the Polish and German workers’ movements, He later joined the Bolsheviks and the Left Opposition, but capitulated to Stalin in 1929. After serving as Stalin’s secretary he was condemned and imprisoned at the Second Moscow Trial) the manner of his death remaining unknown.

38. John Pepper (1886-1939), born Pogany, a Hungarian, and Jay Lovestone1898-), an American, were associated with Bukharin in he International Right opposition. This tendency developed in opposition to Stalin’s ultra-left turn in 1928-9, and had organizations in a number of countries, particularly the United States and Germany, which maintained their existence until around 1939. Pepper had been ultra-left at the time of the Third Congress of the Communist International, and in the later 1920s was described by Trotsky as ‘:a political parasite’. He was expelled from the Hungarian Party and went to live in the United States. Lovestone, who occupied various leading positions in the CPUSA in the 1920s, was expelled in 1929 and ran various organizations supporting his views in the 1930s. Later he moved to the extreme right and became a pillar of American imperialism through his work in the labour movement and the building of CIA-backed anti-communist union organizations in various countries.

39. N. I. Bukharin (1888-1938), Bolshevik who joined the Party in 1906, was at this time still working with Stalin against the opposition as he had’ been doing since 1923. It was late in 1928, in launching his ultra-left turn, that Stalin broke with Bukharin removing him in the following year from his posts as editor of Pravda and chairman of the Comintern. On capitulating to Stalin he was assigned to ‘educational work’. Framed and murdered by Stalin in the last of the Moscow Trials, 1938.

40. In October 1929, shortly after the formation of the second Labour government.

41. Curzon, George Nathaniel (Lord Curzon) (1859-1925)—Aristocrat educated at Eton and Oxford. Viceroy of India 1898-1905; strengthened the apparatus of colonial rule, partitioning Bengal and fortifying the North-West Frontier against a threat from Tsarist Russian imperialism. Became an earl in 1911, joined Lloyd George’s War Cabinet in 1916; Foreign Secretary first under Lloyd George in 1919 and then under Bonar Law and Baldwin, 1922-24. A leader of the right wing of the Conservative Party in this period, he combined traditional hostility to Tsarist Russia with his class loyalty to act as an arch-enemy of Soviet Russia, against which he carried out endless diplomatic manoeuvres.

42. The Fabian Society was set up in 1884 by a group of mystics who had formerly constituted the Fellowship of the New Life. it soon secured the support of a Colonial Office clerk called Sidney Webb and an obscure novelist and music critic, Bernard Shaw. Fabians advocated various social reforms which they sought to achieve by putting pressure on Liberals, trade union leaders and anybody else prepared to listen. Falsely claiming to have brought about most progressive legislation since the time of its foundation, the Fabian Society has nevertheless exercised a strong ideological influence within the Labour Party as the chief alternative to Marxism and the struggle to overthrow capitalism.

43. Following on MacDonald’s treacherous turn to coalition with the Tories and the disastrous losses for Labour in the 1931 General Election) the determination of the working class to fight back against the slump was reflected in a series of by-election victories, eight in all, between April 1932 and October 1934. On 25th October, 1933, the Conservative candidate for Fulham East, who had campaigned for a strengthening of the armed forces, was defeated by the Labour candidate, who accused him of preparing war. A conservative majority of 14,521 was replaced by a Labour majority of 4,840. On 1st November, Labour won control of 200 boroughs in municipal elections, and in March 1934 captured the London County Council.

44. Jean Longuet (1876-1938) was a French lawyer and socialist who held a pacifist position in the First World War but invariably voted for war credits. Founder and editor of the newspaper Le Populaire, At the Strasbourg Congress in 1918 the majority of the French Socialist Party adopted Longuet’s policy. After the Tours Congress in 1920 where the communists gained the majority he supported the minority and joined the centrist Two-and-a-half International which returned later to the Second International. [He was also a grandson of Karl Marx. Ted Crawford.]

45. Karl Kautsky (1854-1938) was one of the leading theoreticians of the German Social Democratic Party and the Second International. By the outbreak of the First World War he had abandoned revolutionary Marxism and took up an indecisive position between revolutionary opposition to the war and patriotic support for the German bourgeoisie. As such he became the theorist of’ `centrism’ in the socialist movement and strongly opposed the Russian Revolution.

46. The Second International was formed in 1889, when the French and German Marxist groups, together with several others, gathered at a congress in Paris. The International Socialist Bureau, its only central organ, was established in 1900. The revolutionary high point of the Second International was the Amsterdam Congress of 1904 at which the revisionism of Bernstein and the ministerialism of Millerand-Jaurs were, in effect, condemned. Despite its formal adherence to revolutionary Marxism, the practice and theory of reformism was gradually gaining the upper hand within it, triumphing when World War broke out and the International collapsed into its national constituent parts, most of which supported the bourgeoisie of their respective countries in the imperialist war. In the pre-war period Kautsky and the German social democracy had been regarded as orthodox Marxists, while the Labour Party was established on an openly reformist basis.

47. Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919), leader of the left wing of German Social Democracy from early in the century. She was a leading figure in the struggle against revisionism and parliamentarism in the Second International. After the 1905 revolution in Russia she fully supported the Bolsheviks and at the 1907 Congress at Stuttgart she, together with Lenin, introduced the revolutionary anti-war amendment carried by congress. She took a revolutionary position from the outbreak of the First World War and joined in the formation of the Spartacus League. Imprisoned during the war, she wrote articles on a range of theoretical questions and in particular advocated the formation of a new International. After the 1918 revolution she took part in organizing the Communist Party and founded Rote Fahne, its central organ. After the January uprising she was arrested and assassinated along with Karl Liebknecht.

48. This view of the world was first put forward by some of the leaders of Austrian Social Democracy in the period before 1914. Karl Renner (1870-1950), who was later Chancellor in 1918 and President in 1946, and Otto Bauer (1881-1938) were the proponents of theories about cultural autonomy within the Austrian Empire. They were associated with the ideas put forward in the magazine Der Kampf founded by them in 1907, particularly by Max Adler (1873-1941), which tried to reconcile Marxism with the philosophical idealism of Kant. It was a position similar to that of Bogdanov in Russia, attacked by Lenin in Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. During the First World War, the Austro-Marxists generally took a pacifist stand similar to Kautsky’s in Germany. Afterwards they associated themselves with centrist international currents, providing the home of the ‘Vienna Union’ or Two-and-a-half International, returning to the fold of the Second International in 1923.

49. On 6th February, 1934 the Radical government led by Daladier was brought down amid riots by armed fascist bands in the pay of big capital, and the right-wing Bonapartist regime headed by Doumergue was installed. See Trotsky’s Whither France?

50. Hermann Mueller (1876-1931), a leader of the German Social Democracy, was the Foreign Minister who signed the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, and Chancellor 1928-30. Headed by the Social Democracy, this administration was essentially a coalition with other bourgeois parties, paving the way for the Bonapartist Bruening government of 1930 which in turn provided the conditions for the victory of fascism in 1933.

51. Llandrindod Wells is a spa in Radnorshire, Wales. Baldwin spoke there on 8th April, 1935 to the National Council of Evangelical Free Churches. He defended the government’s White Paper on defence, and urged an increase in the size of the Air Force.

52. An amusing touch: Sydney Webb informed me, with particular emphasis, that he was able to leave England for a few weeks only because he was not standing for Parliament. He obviously expected me to ask, ‘Why?’ in order to inform me about his pending elevation to the peerage. I saw in his eyes that he was expecting a question, but refrained from asking anything in order to avoid causing any embarrassment. The question of the peerage never even occurred to me; rather I thought that Webb, in his old age, had renounced active political life, and naturally I did not want to pursue that subject. Only later, when the new ministry was formed, I understood what had been going on: the author of research reports on industrial democracy was proudly looking forward to bearing the title of lord!—LDT.

53. This conference in April 1935 between the British, French and Italian governments, represented the last attempt to keep together the anti-German alliance of imperialist powers which had won victory in 1918 and enforced the Treaty of Versailles in the following year. Nothing concrete could be agreed, and by October relations had been disrupted by the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. Mussolini was now in open alliance with Hitler; Laval went on later to become a leader of the Vichy regime of Nazi collaborators.

54. The copy of Cynthia Mosley’s letter which was pasted into Trotsky’s diary reads as follows:

’Istanbul, 4th September, 1930

’Dear Comrade Trotsky, I would like above all things to see you for a few moments. There is no good reason why you should see me as (1) I belong to the Labour Party in England who were so ridiculous and refused to allow you in, but also I belong to the ILP and we did our very best to make them change their minds, and (21) I am daughter of Lord Curzon who was Minister for Foreign Affairs in London when you were in Russia! On the other hand I am an ardent Socialist. I am a member of the House of Commons. I think less than nothing of the present Government. I have just finished reading your life which inspired me as no other book has done for ages. I am a great admirer of yours. These days when great men seem so very few and far between it would be a great privilege to meet one of the enduring figures of our age and I do hope with all my heart you will grant me that privilege. I need hardly say I come as a private person, not a journalist or anything but myself—I am on my way to Russia, I leave for Batum -Tiflis—Rostov—Kharkov and Moscow by boat Monday. I have come to Prinkipo this afternoon especially to try to see you, but if it were not convenient I could come out again any day till Monday. I do hope however you could allow me a few moments this afternoon. Yours fraternally, Cynthia Mosley.’

55. Published in 1935 when the Webbs were in their 70s. Previously they had been anti-Soviet but now they made Russia respectable. They praised the Russian system of planning and policy of ‘peace and non-interference’; they discovered that ‘force of example is the most promising way of spreading Soviet ideas’ and that ‘Stalin is universally considered to have justified his leadership by success’. The Moscow Trials are glossed over as a necessary part of the birth pangs of the ‘New Civilisation’. The book was part of the brief vogue for Russia among some British intellectuals in the 1930s—it was visited and written about by Bernard Shaw, Lord Lothian and Lady Astor as well as the Webbs. The full title of the first edition was Soviet Communism—a New Civilisation? By the time of the second edition in 1937, the question mark had disappeared. R. Palme Dutt, reviewing it in Labour Monthly, described it as ‘a definite victory for the world revolution!

56. The first political movement of the British working class. Chartism took up the traditional demands of universal manhood suffrage and other parliamentary reforms, and tried to achieve them by methods including petitions, strikes and armed insurrections during the period from 1837 to 1848. The strikers were beaten back to work and the insurrectionists were transported to Australia. The three petitions presented to Parliament in this period had enormous working class support, but were contemptuously rejected with large displays of force and arguments about the sanctity of property and the constitution.

57. The Paris Commune of 18th March to 28th May 1871 was the first time in history that revolutionary struggles of the working class produced a workers’ government. Not proceeding to seize the banks and smash all the major institutions of the capitalist state, it was drowned in blood by government troops after heroic resistance by the Communards.

58 .Leon Blum (1872-1950), the leader of the French Socialist Party (SFIO) from 1920 after the split which let to the majority forming the Communist Party. A characteristic reformist politician of the Second International, bitterly opposed by the Stalinists until the became advocates of the Popular Front. Prime Minister in the Popular Front government elected in 1936 as ‘honest manager’ for the bourgeoisie. Attacked by the Stalinists for his part in non-intervention in Spain. Imprisoned by the Germans and put on trial at Riom in 1942. Resumed position in French politics after the war, shifting even further to the right. Bitterly attacked by the Stalinists in this period.

59. ‘Non-intervention’ meant leaving the field open to Germany and Italy to give Franco every form of aid in crushing the Spanish working class. It was the policy laid down by the Chamberlain government in Britain and Blum’s Popular Front in France.

60. Edouard Daladier (1884-1970), leader of the Radical Socialists, the main bourgeois party in the early 1930s. Prime Minister during the fascist riots of February 1934. Denounced by the Socialists and Stalinists as a ‘murderer’. Much courted by the Stalinist Thorez in the course of forming the Popular Front, and became Minister of War in the Blum government. Prime Minister again April 1939 to March 1940, in which capacity he signed the Munich capitulation with Hitler, banned the Communist Party, and was deported by the Vichy regime.

61. The Communist International, World Party of Socialist Revolution, was formed in 1919 under the leadership of Lenin and the Soviet Communist party to unite all those groups fighting for a consistent revolutionary Marxist policy. It embarked on a struggle to build new communist parties in opposition to the degenerated reformist organization of the working class. From 1924 it became transformed into an apparatus to serve the interests of the bureaucracy in the Soviet Union. It was would up by Stalin in 1943 as part of his deal with British and US imperialism during the war.

62. After the rise to Power of Hitler, the Comintern in1934-5 enunciated a new policy of support for all those forces on the side of ‘democracy’, including bourgeois parties, Liberals and Conservatives, against fascism. This policy denied the duty of Marxists to fight for the leading position of the working class, or indeed for its revolutionary role at all. The counter-revolutionary consequences of this policy, the other side of the coin of the previous ultra-leftism, are outlined in Trotsky’s writings of this period.

63. Trotsky began to use this term about the Stalinist bureaucracy in 1935 when he spoke of the Stalinists as having made a decisive break with the revolutionary gains of October, though without yet being able to proceed to the destruction of the workers’ state. (See his article ‘The Workers’ State and the Question of Thermidor and Bonapartism’, reprinted in The Class Nature of the Soviet State.)

64. ie. towards the Nazi-Soviet Pact which was ultimately signed in August 1939

65. Trotsky began to use this term about the Stalinist bureaucracy in 1935 when he spoke of the Stalinists as having made a decisive break with the revolutionary gains of October, though without yet being able to proceed to the destruction of the workers’ state. (See his article ‘The Workers’ State and the Question of Thermidor and Bonapartism’, reprinted in The Class Nature of the Soviet State.)

66. ie. the governments of Britain, France and the United States.

67. An agreement was signed at Munich on 30th September, 1938 by Hitler, Chamberlain and Daladier, allowing the Germans to annex parts of Czechoslovakia, and soon to occupy the entire country. Virtually all of the British press supported this agreement and no Conservative MP voted against it. As a method of providing ‘peace in our time’ between British and German imperialism it proved singularly ineffective, witness the outbreak of the Second World War less than a year later.

68. The British Tories and their French equivalents had not been prepared to negotiate an anti-German pact with Stalin, since they would not agree to any of the Western movement of Soviet troops necessary to enforce it. As a result, as Trotsky had always predicted, a Nazi-Soviet pact was agreed on 23rd August. This caused demoralization among many who had followed the popular front policies of the Stalinists in the previous period. The call by the Herald for the resumption of negotiations with Stalin was part of an effort in radical and social-democratic circles to return to that situation.

69. The social-democrats of the Daily Herald were trying to use Trotsky as an ally in opposition to communism itself and the Soviet workers’ state.

70. The agreement between the main combatants that ended the First World War. Concluded at Versailles near Paris in 1919, the treaty imposed crushing military and economic sanctions against Germany.

71. The term ‘New Deal’ was coined by F.D.Roosevelt in his acceptance speech for nomination as Democratic Party candidate for President in 1932. What was intended at first simply as an electoral catch-phrase later came to represent a whole series of capitalist policies for dealing with depression, from the granting of certain rights to trade unions to state intervention in the economy, and ultimately to methods of government deficit financing and other measures proposed by the British economist Keynes. The ‘Good Neighbour’ policy was the name given to Roosevelt’s efforts to impose United States control throughout the Americas less by direct political sanctions and armed intervention and more by the economic penetration of her capitalists.

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