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Fourth International, November 1941


The Editors

The USSR – Twenty-Four Years Later


From Fourth International, Vol.2 No.9, November 1941, p.259.
Transcribed, Edited & Formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for the ETOL.


The Twenty-Fourth Anniversary of the October revolution finds the first workers state in history on the verge of destruction. To defend and still save the USSR, clarity above all is required. It is necessary to understand the real causes behind this tragedy of the Soviet Union.

The hammer blows of events are verifying with terrible force the diagnosis and predictions made by Leon Trotsky on the basis of an all-sided analysis of the general economic-political conditions in the USSR under the fatal regime of Stalinism. As far back as 1927, Leon Trotsky warned the Russian Communist Party that in order for the USSR to emerge victorious from an imperialist assault, it was necessary to liquidate the Stalinist course, and to remove the Stalinist leadership. But Stalin remained in power. Trotsky was expelled from the party, then exiled, and finally murdered by Stalin.

Stalin Bears Sole Responsibility for the Defeats of the Soviet Union

With the aid of the party-state bureaucracy, with all the resources of state power concentrated in his hands, Stalin succeeded not only in defeating the proletarian vanguard inside the Soviet Union (the Left Opposition, 1923-1927), but in betraying the only reliable allies of the Red soldiers, workers and peasants – the proletariat of Europe, above all, that of Germany.

Without the help of the Kremlin and the policies it forced the German Communist Party to pursue in 1931-1933, fascism could never have conquered there. Stalin cleared the road to power for Hitler who – as Trotsky warned – would fulfill the role of the “Super-Wrangel of the world bourgeoisie.” Stalin further aided Hitler by the application of the “People’s Front” policies which strangled the mighty movements of the Spanish and French masses and delivered them, bound hand and foot, to the class enemy. The Stalin-Hitler pact helped unleash the second World War. On the very eve of Hitler’s invasion Stalin, who had already disorganized Soviet economy by his program of building “socialism in one country,” aggravated the critical condition in industry by decimating the administrative and technological staffs and thus plunged the country into chaos. Stalin alone bears the full responsibility for all the defeats suffered by the Red Army which he beheaded in the space of twelve months, from May 1937 to May 1938, by executing the flower of the Red High-Command and its officer corps. If despite the heroic resistance of the Red Army and the Soviet masses and all their enormous sacrifices they have been unable to beat back the fascist foe, then this failure is due not to their own impotence but to the bankruptcy of Stalin’s regime which is incapable of providing the leadership, the methods and the policies that alone can save the USSR.

The Program of Lenin and Trotsky Can Save the USSR

What is needed in this hour of fateful decision is an immediate return to BOLSHEVISM – back to the type of leadership, the methods and policies which twenty-four years ago opened a new epoch in world history. Only the program of Lenin-Trotsky which brought the first victory of workers and peasants against their exploiters and oppressors, and which founded the USSR in October 1917, can safeguard it today.

The victory of the Russian workers and peasants over Czarism and the Russian bourgeoisie was not achieved, and could never have been achieved by their own forces. Both the Bolshevik leaders and the Russian masses looked upon the October revolution as the first stage in the world revolution. During the imperialist intervention and the Civil War of 1918-1920, they needed and received the aid of the revolutionary proletariat of Europe and the world. Today as in the days when Lenin and Trotsky headed the party and the Soviet Government, Bolshevism alone can summon the workers of Germany, Europe and the world to the defense of the workers’ fatherland. Stalin dares not summon this aid. He betrayed Bolshevism long ago. He admits today that the Soviet Union cannot be defended by its internal forces alone – but must seek aid from the outside. Once again Stalin expresses his contempt and distrust of the masses by seeking this aid not through unity with the workers and peasants of Germany and the world but through unity with their oppressors, Churchill, Roosevelt and Co.

Before he died, Lenin began the struggle against Stalin and the bureaucratization of the state and party apparatus. Trotsky carried on that struggle for seventeen years, fighting irreconcilably against the wave of reaction which brought Stalin into power. Day by day over that period the Trotskyists warned the workers of the growing peril to the USSR. We, Trotskyists, alone have remained the genuine and unswering defenders of the USSR.

We fight for the program that can still save the Soviet Union.

The first prerequisite for a genuine defense of the USSR and the remaining conquests of October is: a complete break with Stalinism. It is necessary to establish today, as Bolshevism did in 1917, the unity of the revolutionary masses on the basis of the class struggle-the struggle against the imperialist war and for the Socialist United States of Europe and of the world. This is the road to victory. This is our road.

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Last updated on 17.8.2008