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Martin Abern

Vindicating the Trotsky Platform

(January 1929)

From The Militant, vol. 2 No. 1, 1 January 1929, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The correctness of the policies of Trotsky and the Russian Opposition are now becoming clearer in the light of recent developments in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Trotsky cautroned the Party to beware of the encroachments of the Kulaks and Nepmen who would take heart from the Party policy which tended toward a self-sufficient, an isolated Soviet economy. He stressed a more rapid industrialization and collective and Soviet farming policy. Some of those who expelled and exiled him are today compelled to give lip service to his proposals.

“If a certain tendency becomes apparent, it is useless to raise a hue and cry when it is already too late; the alarm must be given when the tendency begins to appear and when there is still time to guard against its consequences,” says comrade Kuibyshev in reporting on the Economic Situation in the Soviet Union before the Leningrad Party functionaries on September 19, 1928. (See Kuibyshev report in Inprecor, No. 71, 73, 75, October 12, 19, and 26, 1928).

Trotsky and the Russian Opposition long be fore and at the right time “raised the hue and cry” and gave the alarm on the very questions raised in this report of Kuibyshev.

Trotsky’s industrial and agrarian program was labeled “super-industrialism”, and in practice the “turtle’s pace” (Bukharin) toward socialism was adopted. The Opposition pointed out the tendencies to tamper with the foreign-trade monopoly. The elaborate program submitted by Trotsky and the Russian Opposition over a year ago to the XVth Congress of the C.P.S.U. and which today retains its validity was not given to the Party Congress and was in fact suppressed.

The warnings uttered by the Russian Opposition in its platform should be read in the light of the recent declaration of Stalin, General Secretary of the C.P.S.U. In his speech before the Plenum of the Moscow Committee and Moscow Control Commission of the C.P.S.U., on October 19th, 1928, He says:

“If certain circles among the Communists desire to keep the Party back from realising the resolutions of the XVth Party Congress by denying the necessity of an assauit on the Kulak elements in the rural districts, or else demand an arrest of our industrial development because they consider the present rate of advance fatal to the country, or if again they consider the Government’s subsidies for Soviet farms and collective farms to be impracticable and are of the opinion that the money in question is being wasted in this way ... or if they demand the loosening of our foreign-trade monopoly and so on, this means that in the ranks of our Party there are such as are anxious to adapt the cause of our Socialist construction to the tastes and requirements of the Soviet bourgeoisie. A victory of the Right deviations within our Party would entail an enormous consolidation of the capitalists in our country. And what would such a consolidation mean? It would mean a strengthening of the chances of a restoration of capitalism. Consequently a victory of the Right deviations in our Party would lead to the development of conditions which are requisite for the restoration of capitalism in this country.” (Inprecor, No. 77, Nov. 9th, 1928, p. 1439. Our emphasis.)

Thus they paraphrase the statements made by Trotsky and which they denounced as “Social Democratic” and even “Counter-revolutionary.”

In the Program submitted to the XVth Party Congress, Trotsky stated that only a powerful socialised industry can help the peasants transform agriculture along collectivist lines. He called for a cessation of basing hopes upon the so-called “strong” peasant, the Kulak. The Stalin-Bukharin group was ignoring or openly denying the petty bourgeoisie character of peasant property and peasant industry. Trotsky said:

“Only a suitable attention to the hired hand, only a course based on the pour peasant and his union with the middle peasant, only a decisive struggle against the Kulak, only a course towards industrialization, only a course towards class cooperatives and a class-credit system in the country, will make it possible to draw the middle peasant into the work toward socialist reconstruction of agriculture,” (The Platform of the Opposition, The Real Situation in Russia, p. 67, Harcourt, Brace and Co.)

He proposed:

“A sharply progressive tax system; state legislative measures for the defense of hired labor and the regulation of wages of agricultural workers; a correct class policy in the matter of land-division and land-utilization; the same thing in the matter of supplying the country with tractors and other implements of production.” (Ibid., p. 69).

A complete program for State industry and industrial construction and electrification for the Soviet Union is presented in the chapter that follows, but in this article emphasis is laid on the agrarian and peasant policy because of the slanders and misrepresentation particularly on this point. It is only necessary to compare these quotations from the Russian Opposition program presented to the Party over a year ago with the quotations from Stalin, Kuibyshev and others to note how extreme has been the falsification of the Opposition program.

To those who, like Bukharin, labeled Trotsky’s industrial program “super-industrialization”, Trotsky said:

“It is not true that the slow pace of industrialization is immediately due to the absence of resources. The means are scanty, but they exist. What is wanted is the right policy.“ (Ibid., pp. 91 92 Our emphasis.)

Today Kuibyshev in his report, says in reply to the Right Wing which hollers “over-industrialisation”.

“The requirements of our economy in the immediate: future will call for great investments, if our native construction of turbines is to be raised to the desired level. This task must be realized not only from the standpoint of industrialization and of socialist development. It must be realized in view of the demands of our economy in the future ... History ... will not permit us to proceed more slowly, otherwise the very next year may lead to a series of even more serious anomalies than are apparent today.“ (Report of Kuibyshev to Leningrad Party Functionaries, September 19th, 1928. Inprecor, No. 73, p.1339, October 19th, 1928, Our emphasis)

The ring of capitalist wolves still surrounds the Soviet Union. They are ready as always to devour the hope and inspiration of the toilers of the world, the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. Our duty always is in defense of the first Workers and Peasants Republic. The perspective of every worker toward the Soviet Union must be international, even as the strength of the Soviet Union must lie not in a perspective of an independent isolated development, but in a firm faith and reliance in the international proletarian revolution.

The adoption of the platform of the Russian Opposition and the reinstatement of its leaders will hasten the economic development of the Soviet Republic, will strengthen its resistance to the economic, political and military pressure of the imperialist countries, and at the same time will encourage and aid the development of the revolutionary movement on an international scale. It is the highest duty of Communists in all parties of the Comintern to fight for this.

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