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Jan Frankel

Delegations to U.S.S.R. and the Opposition

(June 1930)

From The Militant, Vol. III No. 24, 21 June 1930, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The International Committee of the Federation of Friends of the Soviet Union has launched an appeal to the workers and labor organizations of Germany, England, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Austria, Czecho-Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Canada concerning the invitations of the Central Council of the Trade Unions of the Soviet Union to send Workers Delegations in June and July.

In the course of its struggle with the official leadership of the Comintern and its centre, the Stalin faction, the International Left Opposition with the Russian Opposition at its head has despite all slander and distortion of its position continually manifested its solidarity with the Communist workers and their Party, its unreserved devotion to the Russian workers’ state. In its struggle with the self-satisfied officialdom, the Left Opposition has never for a moment forgotten the magnitude of the revolutionary achievements, despite the innumerable mistakes of the leadership. On the contrary, to extend this gigantic labor and to fortify it was the sum and substance of the activity of the Opposition. Hence we warmly welcome the appeal of the Friends of the Soviet Union. The workers delegations to the Soviet Union have always occupied a foremost place in the defence of the Soviet Union against the wild campaigns of the capitalist press and particularly in the exposure of the contemptible slanders of the social democratic leadership. The workers’ delegations issuing out of the oppressive atmosphere of the citadels of Imperialism breathe in a new atmosphere of proletarian freedom and learn to know with their own eyes the gigantic achievements of their class.

The call for the election of delegates comes at a time which is characterized by a retrogression of the Communist movement in sharpest contradiction to the favorable objective situation. The ebb of the masses from Communism has unfortunately also weakened their active interest in the Soviet Union. All the more energetically is it necessary that the masses participate in the campaign for the election and dispatch of workers’ delegations ... But the huge pressure exercised by the Party apparatus now as before hamstrings the initiative and mobility of the working class element. Nothing could more effectively undermine the value and purpose of the delegations than the artificial undemocratic methods in their composition, bureaucratic tricks and machinations. The Opposition must fight shoulder to shoulder with the revolutionary workers that the delegations be the result of an active and interested movement of the workers.

But this doesn’t exhaust the obligations of the Opposition. The delegations this year assume in connection with the prevailing situation a particular significance and can fulfil a particular mission. Can they not be of great service to the working class by bringing light on the general political significance of the struggle of the Russian Left Opposition, the import and meaning of which is systematically distorted by the official leadership? Can they throw some light, on the “organizational” side of this struggle – and particularly the most recent phase of the campaign of repression against the Russian Opposition?

Since the shooting of the revolutionary Party member, Blumkin, a considerable space of time has passed. But up to the very present not a word by way of self-justification has passed the lips of those who were responsible for the murder. There is nothing strange in this. There would not have been found a single revolutionary worker in the world who would have approved the enormity of assassinating an Opposition Communist for his views. The assassins maintain silence. We must press for an explanation.

The shot which on Stalin’s order killed Blumkin was the prelude to a hitherto unparalleled campaign of persecution of Oppositionists for their views in prisons, in solitary confinement, in the wastes of Siberia. In these circumstances it behooves the workers elected by their class to investigate the life of our proletarian fatherland, to demand on the ground an explanation and an accounting for the suppression of the Opposition Communists. This demand was not refused the socialist leaders of Western Europe, the betrayers of the proletariat, when they asked to examine the conditions of the imprisoned Mensheviks and social revolutionaries at the time of the heaviest struggles of the Russian Workers State. So much the less can the request for an inquiry be legitimately refused to revolutionary workers who proved to be the staunchest fighters for the October Revolution.

The Left Opposition, robbed by the bureaucratic regime of the possibility to make its demands within the framework of the Party, will have representatives through these delegations. The delegates will be charged with energetically ascertaining the facts regarding the fate of Blumkin and the other comrades who have been shot, of investigating the situation of the imprisoned and exiled Communists. It is the duty of all revolutionary workers to see to it that the delegates elected are those with the necessary courage and vigor to take a stand for the persecuted Communist revolutionaries.

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Last updated: 13 February 2020