From New International, Vol.3 No.3, June 1936, Inside front cover.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
THE revelations of comrade Anton Ciliga, former leader of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia who compelled the Soviet authorities to release him from imprisonment and allow his departure from the Union, give a truly shocking picture of the conditions of revolutionary political prisoners under the present Stalin régime. They are supplemented by the articles written on the same subject by comrade A. Tarov, the Russian Bolshevik-Leninist who escaped from Soviet imprisonment, and by additional authentic information that has reached us from other sources in the Soviet Union.
The picture of savage and treacherous persecution which the Bonapartist clique of Stalin carries on against impeccable proletarian revolutionists, far exceeds anything that we have hitherto known the situation to be. Literally thousands and tens of thousands of members of the Soviet Communist Party and youth organization are continually expelled for “Trotskyism” or even for being suspected of holding views that interfere with the bureaucrats– work of undermining all the conquests of the Russian revolution. Expulsion from the Soviet party under such circumstances is a matter of the gravest consequence, for in most cases it means that the victim of Stalinist vengeance is deprived of his means of life. In a vast number of instances, the police régime does not stop at mere expulsion but sentences the heretic to imprisonment or exile to one of its concentration camps. The prisons, the remote places of exile and the concentration camps of Stalin are packed to bursting with these sterling revolutionists, most of them of the present generation, men and women who, despite the fierce conditions of repression, refuse to accept as revolutionary doctrine the reactionary theories and practises of the ruling clique. In addition to the new generation of Bolsheviks whose number already greatly surpasses the number of political prisoners of all the labor parties under Czarism, there are hundreds of old Bolsheviks of Lenin’s generation who have fallen into the displeasure of the Stalinist court and made to suffer the unspeakable consequences. In most cases, they are treated worse than common criminals. Their quarters are unfit for habitation; their food allowances are scant and wretched; correspondence and reading matter are usually forbidden them. The régime makes them pay for their incorruptible revolutionary steadfastness and devotion by the most vindictive persecution and torment imaginable. More than one Bolshevik of Lenin’s school has already been tortured and hounded to death because he refused to acknowledge that all the virtues of mankind are concentrated in the prison of J.V. Stalin. The latest to die in Stalinist prison is Solntzev.
Russian Bolsheviks are not the only victims. Ciliga reports numerous cases of revolutionary workers and leaders in the capitalist countries whose freedom is irksome to the bureaucracy of the Comintern and who are disposed of by the treacherous device of inviting them to Moscow for “discussions.” Shortly after they have crossed the frontiers of the Soviet Union, the GPU, which Has become nothing more than a factional police instrument in the hands of the bureaucracy, is set into motion with the result that the rebels disappear into one of the Stalinist dungeons or concentration camps. Hungarian revolutionary opponents of Bela Kun, Bulgarian opponents of Dimitroff, Yugoslav opponents of Gorkic, Polish opponents of the Stalinist appointee in the Polish Communist Party – have either received this treatment, or, as during the period of the Kirov assassination, have simply been shot on framed-up charges.
If the lives of thousands of revolutionary militants are to be saved, if the best heritage of Bolshevism in the Soviet Union is to be preserved from physical annihilation, the voices of the class conscious workers of every country must be raised in a protest so loud and vigorous that it will penetrate the walls of the Kremlin bureaucracy and compel it to relinquish the victims of its political vengeance. Protest is not ineffective, as can be seen from the case of Victor Serge who was finally released and grudgingly granted permission to leave the Soviet Union for a country of his choice. Let our voices be heard! It is a crime to remain silent in the face of the systematic extermination of the flower of revolutionary Marxism.
Last updated on 2.8.2006