Reg Groves


The Balham Group


Document 4
To the Delegates to the Party Congress
Battersea, November 1932
From the British Group of
The Left Opposition of the C.I.
Nov. 7th, 1932.



With this letter, we also bring to your notice on this fifteenth anniversary of the October Revolution, copies of two other letters. One from Petrograd, dated Oct. 25th, 1917: the other from Prinkipo, its writer lives there in exile.

We also remind you of the life stories of a past and present U.S.S.R. ambassador to Britain. One, for forty years a revolutionary fighter, Comrade Rakovsky: the other, a deserter from the Mensheviks to Kornilov in 1917 and an opponent of the Bolsheviks till the complete defeat of Koltchak in 1919, the ex-white, Maisky. Comrade Rakovsky, the red fighter of 1892 – 1932, is now sentenced by Stalinist judges to a renewed term of imprisonment as a bolshevik-leninist: Maisky, the white of 1917 – 1919, in this fifteenth anniversary, dined at the Lord Mayor’s banquet as the diplomatic representative of the U.S.S.R.

The bureaucracy of the Russian Party has jailed hundreds of bolshevik-leninists. It now expels its right opposition, WITHOUT DISCUSSION. Two of Stalin’s trio – Kamenev and Zinoviev – go out, WITHOUT DISCUSSION. The German Party’s Stalinist theoretician, Neumann, is deposed WITHOUT DISCUSSION. The Stalinist P.B. of the Spanish Party is expelled, WITHOUT DISCUSSION. These events show that democratic centralism has become bureaucracy.

The Left Opposition’s line on Germany, Spain and China: its attitude on the United Front, trade union work, and ‘workers and peasant organization‘. its attack on bureaucracy in the Party and the C.I., its proposals on Soviet economy, are surely confirmed as fact piles upon fact. Read our literature. Face the facts.

Restore party discussion at this Congress and in the locals. Work against the sham red united front, for a real, unfettered, united front of working class organizations. Oppose the policy of trusting anti-war mobilisation to the pacifists, intellectuals and adventurers of Amsterdam; defeat those who fear to make definite fighting agreements with the international organizations of the working class. Stand against ‘worker and peasant’ adventures in colonial policy, for revolutionary, proletarian political organization. Replace party bureaucracy by party democracy. Reject national socialism, take up the struggle for world revolution.

Re-admit to the Communist International those expelled for membership of the Left Opposition.

Communist greetings,
The British Group of the Left Opposition of the C.I.



The provisional government is deposed. Power has passed into the hands of the organ of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies, the Revolutionary Military Committee, which stands at the head of the proletariat and garrison of Petrograd.

The cause for which the people were fighting: immediate offer of a democratic peace, abolition of landlord property rights over the land, workers control over production, creation of a Soviet Government – that cause is securely achieved.

Long live the revolution of workers, soldiers and peasants!

Military Revolutionary Committee,
Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies.

Chairman. L. TROTSKY

Petrograd, October 25th (7.X1) 1917. 10 a.m.



The still isolated October Revolution now completes its fifteenth year. This simple figure witnesses to the whole world the gigantic strength native to the one proletarian state. No one of us, not even the most optimistic, had foreseen such enduring vitality. But that is not astonishing: since optimism regarding an isolated proletarian state would entail pessimism towards the international revolution.

Leaders and masses saw the October Revolution as but the first stage of the world revolution. In the year 1917, tbe idea of independently building socialism in isolated Russia, was neither formulated, advanced, nor defended by anyone. In the following years also, the economic up-building was regarded, by the whole of the Party without exception, as the process of constructing a material foundation to the proletarian dictatorship: as making secure the economic alliance (smyohka) between town and country; and, finally, as the provision of points of support for the future socialist society, which could be built only upon an international basis.

The path of the world revolution has proved immeasurably longer and more devious than, fifteen years ago, we had hoped and expected. To the external difficulties (of which the historic role of reformism has shown itself as the most important) internal difficulties allied themselves: above all the policy, false in its foundations and fatal in its consequences, of the unworthy successors of the October 1917 leadership. The bureaucracy of the first workers’ state – unknowingly, but none the less decisively – hinders the bringing into existence of the second workers’ state. The bureaucratic knot must be untied or cut to release the advance to world revolution.

Though the dates of development have not kept within the outlines of perspectives set out by us, we had, however, accurately estimated the fundamental motive-forces, and their laws. This also applies completely to the problem of the economic development of Soviet Russia. Modern productive forces cannot be locked within national confines by resolutions or incantations. National self-sufficiency is an ideal of Hitler, but not of Marx nor of Lenin. Socialism and national isolation are mutually exclusive. To-day, as fifteen years ago, the programme of a socialist society within one country is utopian and reactionary.

The economic successes of the Soviet Union are very great. But precisely at this fifteenth anniversary the antagonisms and the difficulties have reached a menacing acuteness. Uneven development, backwardness, disproportions, non-fulfilment of plans speak first and foremost: of wrong leadership. But not only of that. They also warn us that the building of an harmonious society is possible only by an unbroken series of experiments over a course of decades: and not otherwise than upon an international basis. The technical and cultural obstacles, the breach between town and country, the import and export difficulties – all testify to the fact that the October Revolution demands its continuation internationally. Internationalism is not a ritual usage; it is a matter of life or death.

There will be no lack of anniversary speeches and articles. The majority of them will come from those who, in October 1917, were irreconcilable adversaries of the proletarian revolution. By these gentlemen, we, bolshevik-leninists, shall be termed ‘counter-revolutionaries’. It is not the first time that History has allowed herself such jokes, and we are not angry with her for that. For, all the same, even if with confusion and slowness, she nevertheless does her work.

And we shall do ours!


PRINKIPO. Oct. 13th 1932.

For Iiterature information On the Case for the Left Opposition etc, write to STEWART PURKIS, 4 Hogarth Hill, Hendon N.W.11.


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