Source: Workers’ Life, January 20, 1928
Publisher: Communist Party Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). 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.
Pravda has published two letters containing instructions from the Trotzkyist centre to Trotzky’s foreign adherents: The following quotations are from the first letter:
Zinoviev’s and Kamenev’s surrender is now an historical fact from which we must, even now, deduce all the necessary lessons.
“We must ruthlessly break with those who capitulate and openly separate from those who waver and hesitate. In this respect the conduct of Maslov and Ruth Fischer seems ambiguous. They practically try to justify Zinoviev and Kamenev, arguing that they are not much worse than others—i.e., endeavouring to efface the boundary between revolutionaries and capitulators.
“We must expose the masquerade by which this or that member of the Opposition endeavours, under the pretext of a struggle against Trotzkysm, to join the capitulators. From this point of view we must now determine our attitude to the Wedding opposition group and to the French group.
“If Trient and Suzanne Girault waver between the capitulators and so-called Trotzkyism they must be left to their own fate; if they hesitate under the pretext of a struggle against Trotzkyism then we must stake all on the group which publishes ‘Against the Current,’ as the only group of our true adherents. It is most desirable to attract Rosmer to work for ‘Against the Current.’
“It is necessary to establish the right relations with Monatte’s group and we shall have to form a block with the revolutionary anarcho-syndicalists.
“Special attention must be devoted to Belgium, not relying, however, on the ‘buffer’ Central Committee but endeavouring to create reliable support among the rank and file. Our French adherents should instructed accordingly.
“In conclusion we must again deal with the question of one Party or two. We are against a second Party and against a Fourth International.
“From our point of view of the International working class as a whole the Opposition would place itself in the hopeless situation of a sect if it allowed itself to shift to a position a Fourth International. The question is one of winning over to Communism.”
The second letter published by Pravda is addressed to a certain “Peter,” and says:
“The fundamental task of the Opposition wants the various sections of the Comintern to win over the Communist Parties from within.
“It is wrong to think that Thermidor has already taken place in the U.S.S.R.—to take the view is actually to facilitate its taking place. The class forces have not yet spoken their decisive word. The policy of the International Opposition should be directed together with that of the Opposition within the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R., towards preventing a further development of Thermidor and recognising the positions held by the proletariat.
“The petty bourgeois elements within the Russian Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. at present directing the Party and the State but they are compelled to seek the support of the working class and to oppose world Imperialism. Moreover an energetic onslaught from the bourgeoisie may cause a decisive swing to the Left within the Party, and under its present leadership the U.S.S.R. plays a revolutionary part in world politics.
“This applies also to our attitude towards the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. and the Comintern. If the Opposition treats the U.S.S.R. simply as a bourgeois State and the C.P. of the U.S.S.R. and the Comintern simply as a petty bourgeois party it will become a sect.
“Communists of capitalist countries must always emphasise three points: (1) Even under its opportunist leadership the Soviet State gives the workers and peasants infinitely more than a bourgeois State, in which the productive forces were on the same level, would give them. (2) The main cause of the greatest internal difficulties in the U.S.S R. is insufficient activity on the part of the European proletariat and the inadequate fighting capacity of the European Communist Parties. (3) The Social Democracy of Europe, which malignantly rejoices at every instance of internal difficulty in the U.S.S.R. is chiefly responsible for these difficulties.
“With regard to the Congress of the Red International of Labour Unions, opening on March 15 everything must be done in order that delegates representing the Opposition should attend it—special theses and practical proposals must be prepared.
“It is also necessary to begin preparations even now for the Congress of the Comintern, and to prepare theses on all the questions on the agenda so that these theses should constitute the platform of the International Communist Left Opposition.
“Pravda” points out that these letters are proof enough that, despite all the oaths and assurances they gave to the 15th Congress, the Trotzkyists have never for a single day stopped working against the Comintern—their assurances were deliberate Menshevik lies. The letters show the profound confusion within the Opposition ranks—Kamenev and Zinoviev are branded as traitors because they submitted to the Bolshevik Congress, but the Trotzkyists themselves are traitors to the working-class.
Actually there is no proletarian basis under the Trotzykists—either within the U.S.S.R. or outside it. The “International Left Wing” is exposed in all its nakedness as the International Right Wing, relying on opportunists like the Loriot group and hoping to draw in the renegade Rosner.
The statement that an “energetic onslaught of the bourgeoisie” may create a decisive swing to the Left means that if the bourgeoisie increase their pressure the Opposition may score some success.
What the Trotzkyists dread most is remaining for ever a hopeless sect, and this makes them careful on certain questions. Thus they bashfully avoid calling themselves a second party, which in fact they are. Fearing the indignation of the West European proletariat, they make reservations about Thermidor, and are even willing to admit that the Soviet State gives more to the workers and peasants than bourgeois States would, but nowhere do they say that the U.S.S.R. is not a bourgeois State, nowhere do they mention the Socialist elements and the growth of national economy.
“Not to put ourselves in opposition to the U.S.S.R.” but to strike at the C.P. of the U.S.S.R. is a Trotzykist translation of the old counter-revolutionary slogan: “Soviets without Communists.”
The instructions contained in the letters clearly show the Social Democratic face of Trotzykism, which cannot be disguised by a few words against Social Democracy.