The Labour Monthly
Source: The Labour Monthly, Vol. 12, March 1930, No. 3, pp. 177-183
Transcriptionp: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2009). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
[We continue below the speech of the Government Prosecutor in opening the case against the working-class leaders on trial at Meerut. The speech is such a self-exposure of the political motives underlying the charges and of the anti-Soviet political propaganda with which they are essentially bound up that it is worth studying in its entirety as a classic exposition of bourgeois conceptions of Communism and a typical illustration of capitalist class justice. The previous portion of the speech appeared in the LABOUR MONTHLY, January and February, 1930.]
According1 to the theory, the state was supposed to take over all the manufactures and factories soon. But it was discovered that that was quite impossible. Something had to be done, and in the result, capitalism in that department also was sanctioned. Now it was quite impossible to call it capitalism because it would be obvious to everybody and to the Communists themselves that they had admitted that they were departing from true Communist doctrine. So this capitalist system of leaving the Kulak in the country and the small capitalist in the town was sanctioned in the name of the new economic policy. And as apparently the Bolshevik always gives everything a nick-name or calls it by initials, this policy was solemnly called NEP. The best brains of the Moscow clique were commandeered to justify Nep. In the very nature of things, of course, it was impossible to tell the truth about it but torrents of verbiage were poured out in explanation of this creation.
For real successful obscurantism on this subject I think the palm ought to be awarded to Comrade Bukharin. His report to the International on Nep in 1924 is a masterpiece of pseudo-logical balderdash. But I am not so much concerned with the nonsense which has been written about Nep as with the inner and true meaning of this thing. The introduction of Nep and the protection of the Kulak made it absolutely certain that this transitional stage was to continue for ever. They are never going to reach the millennium, at least not in our lifetime. Comrade Zinoviev, in Russia’s Path to Communism, finds some solace in the fact that side by side with the Kulak the Government is organising the horseless peasant and the batrak, as I understand him; at any time the Moscow clique can stage a perfectly satisfactory massacre of Kulaks by the horseless peasants. But that is small satisfaction to the true Marxian.
I fancy everybody in the inner ring now realises that this transitional Government is a permanent one for the simple reason that the Communist State has proved to be a practical impossibility. It cannot ever wither away because it is not feasible that it should ever exist. Now, of course, one cannot come to that conclusion without thinking that this is the chimaera for which some two and a-half millions of men, women and children have been butchered by the OGPU at this dictation of these doctrinaire desperadoes. But it seems to me that the matter is of even more importance from another point of view.
In spite of the fact that everybody now knows that the millennium can never be reached in practice and in fact, we have this monotonous bleating going on from Moscow in favour of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the betterment of the peasant, the betterment of the worker and so on. And you will find that you get it re-echoed from these accused who must have known just as well as everybody else, or better because they had the whole literature, that the whole thing is a practical impossibility, and when we deal with the case I shall ask you to hold that all these slogans which they have sprinkled about so freely are not used to benefit the worker or the peasant but are used to push forward and foster this revolution upon which they have made up their minds.
It is not perhaps very material to his case but, as far as I can see, this question of Nep has been the point upon which there has been a good deal of quarrelling in the Bolshevik camp. I suppose it is a matter of common knowledge that Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, Bukharin and Tomsky have all been banished from Russia by Mr. Stalin, and it seems to me to be likely at any rate that it is upon this question of Nep that the real trouble has taken place.
I have now finished with the question of Lenin’s views as to this transitional period. Interesting as they are, I would ask you not to let them remove from your mind the other point in which Lenin so strongly follows Karl Marx, namely, that the capitalist state must be smashed, not only in Russia but all over the world. I will also ask you to remember the point that I made that whether it be a fact, for I believe it is, that the people who dominate the Government of Russia dominate also the Comintern, I say whether that be a fact or not, it is a fact that the views and objects of the Government of Russia are identically the same as the views and objects of the Communist International. By their creed, by their convictions, by their constitution itself, they are inexorably bound to work intensively and unceasingly for the overthrow of the British Monarchy in England, in India and in the Dominions. Every Member of the Communist Party is definitely pledged to the task. Their outpost in the enemies’ country is the Communist Party in Great Britain, and they have worked to plant another outpost here in India. These people are the implacable enemies of the sovereignty of His Majesty the King Emperor. With them there is no question of live and let live. They are quite prepared to live, but the decree of the Comintern, which binds the Communist Party of Russia as a section of the Comintern, forbids them to let live.
Every member of the Government of Russia is a member of the Communist Party of Russia, and is therefore a member of the Comintern and bound by its decrees. It is pledged to work for the overthrow of His Majesty’s Government by any means in its power, and let nobody have any illusions on this point. Not only is it pledged to work for the overthrow of His Majesty’s Government, that is quite a necessary preliminary, but it is also pledged to work for the overthrow of what it is pleased to call the bourgeois in every country including India, and though they may for the moment use the national bourgeoisie for their own purposes, when they have done with it, it is ruthlessly shown up, and it will, of course, go into the limbo with all of us, anybody who is not of the party. I don’t want your Honour to take my word only, my ipso dixit, that this Government of Russia is pledged to overthrow the Government of His Majesty and regards that Government as its natural enemy. I propose to read to you a few passages from a paper which is one of the publications of this body and which with its flair for nicknames and short names it calls the “Inprecorr.” That means the International Press Correspondence. I propose to read to you a few passages taken at random from that paper. Anybody who reads it will realise that it literally reeks with anti-British propaganda, but I will only pick a few of them.
I should like to explain before I read them a point which I did make earlier in my address, and it is this. The Government of Great Britain, if it is in the hands of the Conservatives, for instance, is regarded—Mr. Baldwin or Mr. Churchill are regarded—as being hopeless reactionaries. It is no good wasting breath over them. Naturally you, would overthrow them. But with the Government of the Labour Party and the Prime Minister, Mr. MacDonald, and his associates, Thomas, Clynes, Henderson, &c., the matter stands upon a different footing. These gentlemen are regarded as traitors to the cause. The Bolsheviks believe quite rightly, as I suppose and hope, that none of these gentlemen, whether in Opposition or as the accredited Ministry, would plot and plan to overthrow His Majesty’s rule. Yet that is what, according to the Moscow people, they ought to be doing. They are called traitors for not so doing, and they are daubed with the yellow brush of Amsterdam. If you will bear that in mind I will just give you a few extracts over a series of years. It cannot be said that this is only a temporary or local madness.
Extract from Inprecorr, Vol. 4, No. 45, dated July 16, 1924, Page 409. The situation, therefore, is not so simple. The MacDonald Government is still on a rising wave of popularity. But if we wait passively until the tide turns, then we shall have no need of a Communist Party. The Social Democracy will go bankrupt anyhow. We are there to hasten the process. That is the reason why our Party in England must already resolutely fight MacDonald now in order that the masses, when they at length realise MacDonald’s true character, will know that we, the Communists, told them the truth long ago.
In the year 1921 Lenin fought against Wynkoop, and other “Lefts” of that time, over the question of Communists joining the Labour Party. But in the year 1924 we are face to face with a new situation. A “Labour” Government exists, and MacDonald is in power. Therefore, our little group of Communists must follow its historic path. They must first become a mass party; and, secondly, begin to recruit workers into the party and found a daily paper. When one talks to the English comrades about this they say that is asking them to wear a hat that is far too big for their heads, and they worry about how this hat will fit them. Thirdly, we must more thoroughly permeate the rank and file of the trade unions in order to form a Left-Wing movement there. Fourthly, more attention must be paid to the youth. Until quite recently there was no Young Communist Movement at all in England, and it is even now only at its very beginning. Fifth, the colonial question must be attacked with audacity, such as befits Bolsheviks. Sixth, digressions to the right must be combatted when they are met with; election campaigns must be conducted differently, the lines proposed by Romer must not be followed; in their propaganda they must be prepared even for a break. That is the most important problem for the English Party.
These are the theories and resolutions adopted by the Fifth Congress, and I am reading from a copy of August 29, 1924, page 653.
Extract from Inprecorr, Vol. 9, No. 17, April 5, 1929. The soil of India is rising in flames under the feet of British imperialism. The flow of the strike wave surpasses the highest tide of the labour movement in the earliest phase of the revolution, 1921. The rapidly-growing Left-Wing unions enjoy the fighting support of broad masses. Thousands of workers in Bombay and Calcutta are marching and demonstrating under the banner of struggle for the Soviets.
Down with British imperialism, the plunderer and hangman of India. Down with the Swarajists and other bourgeois parties traitors to the Indian national revolution.
Down with the British and Indian reformist flunkeys, the agents of imperialism.
Long live the revolutionary struggle of the workers and peasants of India. Long live independent and liberated India.
Long live the Indian Soviet Republic.
The point that I make is this. Nobody can have the slightest doubt as far as I can see that these people in Moscow, whether the Government of Russia or the Comintern, have deliberately plotted and planned to overthrow British Imperialism, that is to say, to overthrow the sovereignty of His Majesty. They may be right or they may be wrong, but that is the fact and if you find a body of people in India who say that they want to follow the Moscow road, that they wish to bring into India the same rule as exists in Russia, that they want to introduce the Soviet system into India, I say if you find those people saying that and if you find them working to do that, indeed then it is not possible in the nature of things that they should be doing anything else than plotting and planning and conspiring to smash His Majesty’s Government to pieces. That is the whole object of the Bolshevik and so intense are his feelings that he regards it in the nature of a religious obligation that this should be done.
(The prosecutor read further extracts from theses published by the Communist International to make clear its objective, and then continued as follows):—
Now I come to the question of the organisation of this body. I have here prepared a graph and I will explain to the gentlemen representing the accused what it is. I have put on one side a circle which is intended to represent the Communist International or Comintern, and I have divided it roughly into sections like the slices of an orange. In those sections are the C.P.S.U., the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the C.P.G.B., which is the English Communist Party, the W.C.P., the American Communist Party, the C.P.F., the French Communist Party. Of course it is not to be supposed that these are at all exhaustive. There are a large number of other Communist Parties, all forming this body, which is therefore is an amalgam of the Communist Parties of the World, all of which hold the views which I have just been reading out. Now underneath this body I have put in a small lozenge-shaped thing, the E.C.C.I., which is the Executive Committee of the Communist International. It on occasions expands itself into the Plenum, which is the enlarged committee. On occasions it contracts into the Praesidium, which is the smaller body. I believe and I shall ask you to hold, sir, that we have the honour of having in our midst a member of this Presidium.
Let me give you a hint of what I, believe to be the real truth about the whole of this matter. I am sure that everybody has been accustomed, certainly in this country, to large Committees which are generally called “Shop Window Committees,” on which you get all the big names. Then you have a sub-Committee which is assumed to be doing the work. But then you have either one or two permanent secretaries, who really do the work. Now, I think; you will find that that is the key to this Communist International. Underneath the ECCI I have put down the Secretariat. This is a permanent Secretariat and the head of it is Mr. Stalin. And that is why Mr. Stalin is virtually the Dictator of the whole concern. He remains as the head of the Secretariat and from that excellent position he has been able to banish from Russia anybody who disagrees with him. I gave the names I think yesterday—Trotsky, Zinoviev, Radek, Kamenev, Tomsky and Bukharin. They have all gone because they disagreed with Mr. Stalin.
However that may be, here is this Secretariat and branching out from this Secretariat I have put down one or two other sub-Committees. They are really supposed to be sub-Committees of the E.C.C.I. For instance, there is the Org. Bureau, which means Organisation Bureau. We shall find it re-echoed by some of the accused in this case. “We have no Org. here.” Or, “The Org. is extraordinarily bad.” Well, this is the Org. Bureau. Then you find the Ogpu,2 the Police, which is very important. Then the Agit. Prop., that means the Committee which exists for the purpose of fostering and stirring up “agitation” and “propaganda” in favour of the revolution. Then there is the Editorial Staff. That is an important little body because it sees to it that nothing except Bolshevik propaganda is published in Russia; only their side of the case is to be stated. An excellent rule of life if you want to rule! Then the next one we have is the Oriental Committee, and as a special section of that there is a Colonial Commission which looks after our interests over here. There are several other Sub-Committees, but I will not trouble Your Honour with them as they do not really arise much in connection with this case.
Then you will notice that I have taken in a line away from the Secretariat, because they are all under it, and put down on the right hand side of the paper a large number, though not anything like all of them, of Internationals. I have called them Affiliated Internationals but I should like to explain what they are. Now, the first one is the International for the Revolutionary Youth of the World. It is called the Young Communist International, the Y.C.I. It has another interest for us because the man who was first in charge of it was Comrade Willi Munzenberg. Then there is the Women’s International. Then there is the Trades Unions’ International—a very important one originally called the Profintern, but now called the RILU. Then there is the Peasants’ International, which was called the Krestintern so long as it existed. I believe it has since practically ceased to exist.
Then there are other Internationals, such as the International of the Intellectuals, the Teachers’ International, the Sports International, known as the Sportingtern; so that when you play football, for instance, you may be able to go on working out the revolution to come. Then there is another one called the War Resisters’ International,3 because, although you may not know it, we are the White Terror. That is not used in any Nordic sense. Everybody who opposes these people are the White Terror. My learned friends there, and all of us, are making war upon this peaceful body in Moscow, and so it is necessary to have a War Resisters’ International.
Now these Internationals play quite a part in the propaganda which comes from Moscow. Let us take a case. Suppose you have a strike of Textile workers in Bombay. Instantly from Moscow the International of Textile Workers of the World sends greetings and money. And I am certain that if you had a strike of the Hereditary Painters of Spots on White Horses, then the International of Hereditary Painters of Spots on White Horses would send greetings from Moscow and money in support of the strike. These Internationals I think exist largely on paper, and they exist largely for this propaganda purpose. They are under the Secretariat, and I imagine they wander, from one room to another or possibly stay in one room; they have a Board Meeting of the Peasants and then a Board Meeting of the Sportingtern (sic) and then another one of the War Resisters, and so on.
Now part of the difficulties in the way of anybody who tries to track the Bolshevik to his ultimate lair lies in the fact that they are constantly multiplying these bodies. You will find upon my graph there, for instance, that against the RILU I have put two bodies, which means that those two bodies have been brought into existence and are fathered, so to speak, by this RILU. The two bodies are the National Minority Movement in England and a thing called the P.P.T.U.S., which is the Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat. Now the National Minority Movement in England is in fact that part of the English Trades Unions which are an integral part of the RILU. You can compare the RILU to the Comintern in this way. Whereas the Comintern is an amalgam of the Communist Parties of the world, the RILU is an amalgam of the Red or Communist Trades Unions of the world. It is difficult to put this National Minority Movement into a graph, especially for an amateur like me. But this National Minority Movement is not so much a child of the RILU as an integral part of the RILU.
Now, the P.P.T.U.S. is not an integral part of the RILU but it is affiliated to the RILU, and I will show you very shortly that it is a definite Communistic body acting under this RILU.
(The prosecutor quotes from the Report of the Fourth Congress of the RILU on the need of support for the Pan-Pacific Secretariat on the part of militant workers.)
There is more in regard to this P.P.T.U.S.; for instance, the newspaper which it publishes starts with the well-known slogan “Workers of the World Unite” on the top of it. I thought it had that badge. I noticed that some of the accused here have on that badge, the badge of the Russian Revolution, the Hammer and Sickle.
With regard to the National Minority Movement, although I have to prove these statements, I do not think they would be seriously contested, the National Minority Movement is a portion of the RILU.
If anybody after this says that the RILU is not the same as the Comintern he will be speaking accurate verbal truth, because the Comintern is one body and the RILU is another, but in mind and in objective they are identically the same, and they are really run by the same people.
There are other references to the Third Congress. But I will not trouble you more. There is an excellent work by the late lamented Tomsky. He has written a little brochure on the subject which makes it perfectly clear that the RILU was one in soul and spirit with the Comintern.
You will find upon that graph some other names. These bodies are analogous to the International Communist parties. There are also bodies like the P.P.T.U.S. which branch off from one or other of these Internationals. Then there are other bodies which it is slightly difficult to place. I mention three of those down below in the graph. Two of them are the Workers’ Welfare League and the Labour Research Department. The third is the League against Imperialism. The League against Imperialism from its name flies its flag in the open, but the Workers’ League is a delightful body. It had to explain at one time that it was in no way connected with a religious body, but existed for the welfare of the workers.
1. The prosecutor is giving in detail his conception of the theory and practice underlying the Soviet State.
2. To suit Mr Langford James purpose, the G.P.U. is made a department of the Communist International!—ED
3. This pacifist body will be surprised to learn that it too, is a section of the Comintern.—ED.