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The Proletarian Revolution
and the Shooting of Blumkin

(March 1930)

From The Militant, Vol. III No. 10, 8 March 1930, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Lenin died. No sooner had the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution and of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union closed his eyes in eternal sleep, then began the open and systematic revision of the basic theoretical principles and conceptions of Marx and Lenin. Coupled with this revisionism, the Stalinist regime also undertook the falsification of the history of the Russian Revolution.

For a period of years now, since and before the death of Lenin, Stalin and his scribblers, the Yaroslavskys, Thaelmanns, Fosters, Minors, Cachins and numerous others have lied about Lenin and his teachings. They lie about Trotsky. They have falsified and distorted the history of the greatest event of all time for the toiling masses – the proletarian revolution of Russia. They have disfigured the Revolution in a grotesque and shameful manner.

With a procedure completely out of line with the practice of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, the Stalinist Centrists jointly with the Right wing, suppressed the views and platform of the Russian Opposition, led by L.D. Trotsky, the platform that represents the continuation of the Bolshevik line of Lenin. They have persecuted the revolutionary Leninist-Bolsheviks; they have expelled the outstanding Communists, with services of many years to the revolutionary movement from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Stalin and his followers have made a mockery of ideas and theory and independent Bolshevik thought. The Five Year Plan

The regime of the bureaucrats has exiled to far-off and desolate points the Bolsheviks who fought against the Stalin-Bucharin policy that gave encouragement and support to the Kulaks and Nepmen and that were sapping and undermining the strength of the proletariat and poor peasants and hired men.

Trotsky, after a long struggle against the revisionism of Stalin-Bucharin, presented the Platform of the Opposition to the XVth Congress of the C.P.S.U. in 1927 which, among other things contained the FIVE YEAR PLAN for socialist construction in the Soviet Union. But Trotsky finds himself deported by Stalin and Bucharin from the Soviet Union to Kemal Pasha’s land at Constantinople, Turkey, there to be in continual danger of assassination by the thousands of Russian White Guards that swarm about Constantinople. Because Leon Trotsky remained and remains a Bolshevik; because in the suppressed (in the Soviet Union) Platform of the Opposition, he insisted upon the revival of genuine workers’ and Party democracy and upon a campaign against the growing bureaucracy in the Party, the trade unions and in the Soviets; because he and the Opposition demanded the adoption of an INDUSTRIALIZATION PROGRAM that would develop industry along modern lines as the technical and economic foundation for genuine socialist construction; because he stressed and fought for a systematic and widespread development of COLLECTIVE AND SOVIET FARMS; and because he demanded an end to the policy of Stalin-Bucharin that encouraged the Kulak, gave him economic strength, the Right-Center bloc (Stalin-Bucharin) deported Trotsky and increased their persecutions ot Bolshevik-Leninists.

The Bureaucracy and the Working Class

But the neglect of the basic interests of the city proletariat and the hired hands and poor peasants by the Stalinist regime caused wide-spread dissatisfaction in the C.P.S.U. and among the working masses. Under the pressure of the working masses and the Bolshevik Opposition, the Stalinist Center was compelled, after many years of joint policy and work, to break the Right-Center bloc and to undertake another zig-zag, a “New Turn” to the Left The Opposition Platform is now being adopted in piece-meal fashion by the Patty bureaucracy. The turn is in the proper direction, but unless the “Leftward” swing is carried through with genuine belief and conviction; unless the turn is accompanied by an analysis of the present relationship of class forces in the Soviet Union, so that the strength and possibilities of struggle of each class grouping are understood and measures applied in accordance by the Party; unless the industrialization and collective and Soviet farms program is linked with a campaign to advance the cultural and political consciousness of the working masses and poor peasants (retarded in recent years by the policies of the Stalin-Bucharin regime) – the Five Year Plan can easily defeat its own purpose.

There ia no doubt that the ranks of the Communist Party and the mass of workers in the Soviet Union welcome the new course of the Party. Therefore, the Opposition correctly warns against eclectic, piecemeal adaption, arbitrary selections from the Platform of the Opposition by the bankrupt Stalinists. A genuine Left course can only mean the adoption of the Opposition Platform as a whole, and the reinstatement of the Opposition to help carry out the Left turn.

Stalin Splits the Communist Movement

Stalin and Bucharin not only in Russia, but on an international scale, split and decimated the ranks of the Communist Parties and converted them into factions. Behind the factions of Stalin and Bucharin in the C.P.S.U. particularly, stood the conscious and unconscious forces of the class enemy – the Kulak and the Nepmen. The Opposition warned and pointed this out, despite all oppression, and demanded that Stalin and Company change their course. It is sad to say, but it is the truth nevertheless: The Stalin apparatus-men, without definite principles or platform, swaying between the classes, the proletariat and the poor peasants on the one side and the Kulak and Nepmen on the other, for these past years carried out a Right program which objectively aided the return of the bourgeois forces to power. They could not see what was taking place in the class relations in the Soviet Union and many yet do not want to see.

It is only by recognizing that these epigones, Stalin and Company, have changed, for a time, their ways, but not their minds, that one can understand how the Centrist bureaucrats have proceeded from one backward step to another and have arrived at length at an extreme act – the murder of Blumkin at Stalin’s behest. The person of Stalin cannot be removed from his policies and the policies cannot be removed from the personality of Stalin.

Lenin Rejects Stalin

Lenin years ago recognized what would come of the brutality and disloyalty of Stalin. A brutality and disloyalty that would affect not only the revolutionists themselves in a personal way, but would in time adversely affect the proletarian revolution itself. Lenin saw clearly the true Stalin – the splitter and wrecker of the international revolution, of the Communist International and the C.P.S.U. Lenin therefore in his final Testament to the Party, still suppressed in the Soviet Union, DEMANDED the REMOVAL of STALIN AS SECRETARY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY. Lenin, in fact, finally found it necessary to cut off all comradely and hence political relations with Stalin. At the July Plenum of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. Zinoviev said:

“And the third warning consists of this: That at the beginning of the year 1923, Vladmir Ilyich, broke off all comradely relations with him (Stalin).”

This speech refers to Lenin’s letter of March 5th, 1928, written after Lenin’s testament. But the Party membership has yet to hear of this.

Now, Trotsky is deported, and as the next step of the lost bureaucracy, the Bolshevik, Blumkin, a supporter of the Opposition has been shot upon Stalin’s orders. This act is a personal act of Stalin, but it is also, and more important, an evidence of instability and lack of confidence of the Centrists in their latest zig-zag to the Left. Why has Blumkin been shot? Why was this crime against the Revolution committed? With us it to not a matter alone of the person of Blumkin, but rather where do such acts, and the approval of them lead.

The Daily Worker “Answers”

The Daily Worker, under the barrage of questions of the Militant and the indignation of large numbers of workers, has twice been compelled to “answer”, but it yet has given no fitting reply. The Hearst-like scribblers of Stalin on the Daily Worker and the Communist Party first answered (Daily Worker, 2-15-30) by professing ignorance: “The name of Blumkin is little known.” This was no answer at all. The Militant has fully told how Blumkin travelled the road to Bolshevism; how he became a trusted, active, loyal and leading member in the service of the Bolshevik Revolution. His work was of sufficient importance that not even his open adherence to the Opposition and to Trotsky brought his removal from his post. The murder of a Bolshevik, Blumkin, is accomplished for the first time by professing Bolsheviks, the Stalinists. How to explain such acts of terrorism against the Opposition Bolsheviks that one could expect only from White Guardists? What is behind it all?

With utter irresponsibility they lie about Blumkin and speak of Blumkin’s “flight” after July 1918 to avoid being shot for his activities while he was yet a Left Social Revolutionary. They neglect to speak of his years of prominent work as a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, as an upstanding Bolshevik, holding an important post and carrying out his duties till the day of his murder by Stalin. Still the Daily Worker and the American Party perform one doubtful service. They endorse the shooting of Bolsheviks and take full responsibility thereof. All in the name of the “Five Year Plan” and “building socialism”!

The arguments of these Stalinists sycophants! What alone matters is the Five Year Plan and the building of socialism. How? By shooting Bolsheviks? By removing and deporting them? By removing those most capable to lead the proletariat and the Revolution? By suppressing the ideas and ignoring the thousands of comrades, men and women, who first brought forward a Five Year Plan, a program of industrialization and soviet and collective farms? That is the way to hinder, not to advance, the Proletarian revolution.

Rakovsky on the Centrists

Ch. Rakovsky, now exiled under bitter conditions at Barnaoul raised this very question of the “New Turn” to the Left and makes an analysis of the class content of the turn now being executed by the Stalinist Centrists. He says:

“You (the Centrists) made a principally new and important step in the question of industrialization. But this step will not achieve your purpose if you will not make radical reforms in regard to the Party, the trade unions, and the Soviets. If you sincerely and seriously want to get on this road you must first of all reestablish the Opposition in the Party.”

At the same time, Stalin now acknowledges (N.Y. Times, 2-23-30) that he is appropriating the program of L.D. Trotsky and the Opposition, and gives in extenuatiou the bare excuse that Trotsky was “too early”. So! We will not at this point argue the merits of “too early” or “late”. But we put the question : Since when does being “too early” merit expulsion, persecution, imprisonment and death of Bolsheviks? It is rather, that Stalin and the Centrist apparatus are making a late turn, and then only under the pressure of the Opposition and the proletarian masses.

What Is to be Done?

There is imperative need for still another turn. Blumkin is dead – at the hand of Stalin. He cannot be brought back to life. But his death can yet serve the revolutionary cause. But the answer, further, lies with the proletariat and the worker-Communists whose only interests are service to the Revolution. They in increasing numbers will demand, as a tribute to Blumkin: RETURN L.D. TROTSKY AT ONCE TO THE SOVIET UNION; REESTABLISH HIM IN HIS RIGHTFUL POSITION AS A LEADER OF THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION. And likewise, return all the Left Opposition once again to the Communist Parties. Reinstatement and the use of the services of the Opposition is the only guarantee for an honest and militant campaign to carry out the Five-Year Plan, to smash the Kulaks, to build anew and on its original revolutionary foundations, the Communist International and Communist Parties. The reinstatement of the Opposition lays the basis for a correct Bolshevik policy and program in the Soviet Union. This is our view of the Blumkin shooting.

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