From Workers’ International News, Vol.1 No.6, June 1938, p.9-10.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
The series of Moscow Trials which Stalin stages to meet internal difficulties have had outside of Russia a profoundly disturbing effect, intensified by the hints of trials yet to come. After the recent trial of the 21 the misgivings of the rank and file membership of the British Communist Party has become pronounced. Every discussion within the Party, no matter how it commences tends to gravitate towards the subject of the trials.
This tendency is observable all over the world, where in increasing numbers Communist Party members, confused and disoriented, drop into inactivity or even fall out of the Party altogether.
The statement of Palestine communists here reprinted is of importance as an indication of the general reaction which the Moscow Trials cumulatively are producing within the national sections of the Third International.
To all communists, to all workers and all those who have remained faithful to the cause of the Soviet Union and the Revolution!
The land of October and Socialist construction, the conduct of the struggle against fascism and imperialism, the very banner of communism, all this is at present in irresponsible and destructive hands! This is the conclusion we must draw from the trials staged by Stalin-Yezhov. Is it possible that the person who believes in socialism should at the same time believe in the whole exhibition of degeneration and fantastic treachery, as expressed in the trials? Is it conceivable that the moral power of fascism is so strong and the influence of socialism so negligible in the land of deep-going revolution that precisely the most accepted and prominent leaders and teachers together with broad masses, hundreds of thousands of communists, should betray communism and sell themselves to fascism? Only those who themselves do not feel the abyss that lies between fascism and socialism, or who are defective spiritually, can believe or even be uncertain about this.
In the last nine months alone, preceding the trial of Zinoviev-Kamenev, three hundred thousand comrades were expelled from the CP as traitors. according to official reports in the press, and it was only after the trial that the wave of mass extermination of the Party commenced. Recently examples were made public of sections in which a majority was driven out as enemies of the people and fascists. In this manner fascism is supposed to have won over, besides the 300,000, many, many more. Were all this true, were we to believe it, this would be the most shameful death-blow to socialism as an ideal and as a movement.
Fortunately, all this is an absolute frame-up and lie. But this frame-up is a diabolical provocation, which threatens extermination, destruction, degeneration and which only serves the interest of fascism. Were bourgeois reaction to procure an agent provocateur and place him at the head of the labour movement with the object of besmirching it, paralyzing it and destroying it from the inside, it could not succeed any better than Stalin with his trials and his extermination of the party. They are not enemies of the people, spies and traitors, these hundreds of thousands and all the leaders – they are communists. They cannot be exterminated without these fantastic frame-ups, in which the narrow Stalin bureaucracy is especially interested in order to bring shame to the cause of the revolution in the manner of an agent provocateur. The trials represent a concentrated expression of all the methods of those in power. The lie of the trials has its imprint also on the “democracy” which the new Constitution is supposed to have ushered in, and with which we were duped. The cynicism of this deception is all too clear now. This regime of truly absolute autocracy, which makes a fiction of every mass organization – they compel us to designate as most democratic. The lie exceeds all limits! Shall we continue to do violence to our revolutionary conscience and justify everything?
We have passed through our most conscious years with Stalin, not because we really consider him “our father”, but because we were under the misconception that this was identical with devotion to the Soviet Union and to the cause of the class struggle and world revolution. We had all hoped that the methods were temporary and that things would change for the better. But Stalin continues ever more brazenly. He utilizes our devotion in order to continue his revolting, sinister and injurious deeds. He simultaneously deceives us and ignores us. Only if he should indeed have grounds to feel that we communists the world over will refuse to sanctify all his deeds, will he too realize that there are limits. Now however, he can no longer stop. The backward Stalin bureaucracy has bound up its faith with lies, deceit, corruption and a terror which steadily mounts not against enemy classes but against the working class and its vanguard and the left wing organisations abroad.
We too are to a degree responsible for the results. And precisely because of our deep feeling of responsibility, we cannot and must not keep silent. We must no longer be misled by the fear that the bourgeoisie will utilize such exposes. On the contrary, it is our silence that it utilizes in order to identify all communists, and communism itself, with the falsehoods of the trials which are already so clear and so pronounced. Stalin’s slander of the Soviet Union as a land which is permeated with ever-mounting fantastic crimes, serves only the bourgeoisie. With all our power we hurl back this Stalin-Vishinsky slander. We are deeply convinced that the Soviet Union is much higher and basically different from the way it is reflected in the trials and through the regime of such a backward and vulgar absolutism. The present identification not only of socialism but also of the Soviet Union with this government-by-trials is a great discreditment of the socialist cause; it is counter-revolutionary. And we are precisely the ones who must break with the methods of the trials, decisively and irrevocably. And the more demonstrations of this kind there will be, the less will the bourgeoisie be able to utilize the trials and besmirch socialism in order to curb the working class.
But already acute are the dangers of the present defeats of the Soviet Union and of the world working class – the direct result of Stalin’s policy of trials and of the demoralization of the world communist movement, which is actually ruled by those who staged the trials. It must be thoroughly clear that Stalin’s permanent struggle against the cadres of the party, of the army and of economy, are liquidating the foundations of the October Revolution and paralyzing the general state of the country. It must be clear that the continuation of the fascist methods and provocations within the labour movement of the world, discourages and disarms the working class in its struggle against fascism. The continuation of such methods will assure the victory of fascism, and then the Soviet Union itself will collapse.
Communists, workers! We call upon you to save the Soviet Union!
Raise your voice against the danger which threatens the land of October – against Stalin’s policy of defeats!
Struggle against the trials which are driving the Soviet Union to the abyss!
Back to Leninism!
For revolutionary struggle of the international working class!
Down with the provocative trials!
Down with the hangmen of the October Revolution!
Long live the Soviet Union!
Long live the world revolution!
Signed: Members who resigned from the Communist Party
of Palestine and its organizations.
Last updated on 24.9.2005