Socialism in One Country: What it really means


Socialism in One Country is a theory mostly associated with the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin whose government adopted it as official policy. However the theory was heavily based on the writings of Soviet revolutionary leader V.I. Lenin.

Lenin’s Theory Against dogmatism

Socialism in One Country proposes that it is possible to build Socialism (”complete socialist society”) even in a single country, and even a poor less-developed one or a third world country. This went against the view held by dogmatists, trotskyists and other opportunists that socialism was possible only in wealthy industrial countries and only if established simultaneously in several of them. The dogmatist view was a vulgarization of Marxism & didn’t correspond to the material realities of the world in the epoch of global imperialism.

Trotskyists and many other opportunist groupings vehemently deny that Lenin supported the theory of Socialism in One Country. Examining this issue is the main focus of the latter portion of this article.

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Lenin’s theory went boldly against opportunism & dogmatism

Internationalism

Often times opportunists make the claim that Socialism in One Country goes against Proletarian internationalism or abandons the aim of World Revolution.

Trotsky claimed in his book The Permanent Revolution that Socialism in One Country:

”…
makes a breach between the national revolution and the international revolution.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Socialism in One Country is a tactic to achieve those internationalist ends and history has proven it to be successful in it, since the Soviet Union actually managed to help many other revolutionary governments take power and spread Socialism to many other countries in all parts of the world.

”…the victory of socialism is possible in separate countries, thus envisaging the prospect of the formation of two parallel centres of attraction; the centre of world capitalism and the centre of world socialism.”
~Stalin, Results of the July Plenum of the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.) (1928)

The theory of Socialism in One Country doesn’t contradict world revolution, in fact it does the opposite. It argues that any country can build socialism, if it lacks the basic requirements of Socialism, it can at least work to fulfill those requirements and then build socialism:

”You say that civilization is necessary for the building of socialism. Very good. But why could we not first create such prerequisites of civilization in our country by the expulsion of the landowners and the Russian capitalists, and then start moving toward socialism? Where, in what books, have you read that such… sequence of events are impermissible or impossible?
~Lenin, “Our Revolution” (1923)

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Stalin-era Soviet coat of arms. Advocating world-communism.


The ”Alternative” of the Opportunists

To oppose Socialism in One Country would mean denying the third world poor the possibility of building socialism since according to the opportunists their countries ”lack the requirements” for it. They would have to wait for the white Europeans to first establish socialism and finally spread it elsewhere.

In his book Trotsky criticized Socialism in One Country in the following way:

”This theory imposes upon revolutions in backward countries the task of establishing an unrealizable regime of democratic dictatorship, which it counterposes to the dictatorship of the proletariat. Thereby this theory introduces illusions and fictions into politics, paralyses the struggle for power of the proletariat in the East, and hampers the victory of the colonial revolution.”

This is a somewhat fancy way of saying that the third world people of Asia were in Trotsky’s mind not ready for Socialism due to their economic and cultural state. To build socialism in Asia was impossible according to Trotsky, to even try would mean to”impose… the task of establishing an unrealizable regime of democratic dictatorship.”

What this convoluted jumble means is that Trotsky accuses third world people of class-collaboration as opposed to of class struggle. Trotsky subscribes to the dogmatic theory that third world semi-feudal & semi-colonial countries could only at best achieve modern capitalism and to attempt anything further would be an ”illusion” and a ”fiction.”

The rest of Trotsky’s point is barely intelligible nonsense:

The very seizure of power by the proletariat signifies, from the standpoint of the epigones theory, the completion of the revolution… The theory of the kulak growing into socialism and the theory of the neutralization of the world bourgeoisie are consequently inseparable from the theory of socialism in one country. They stand or fall together.”

He claims the seizure of state power by the proletariat implies the completion of the revolution. Any third world revolutionary would disagree. For instance the Chinese Communists established a temporary system of New Democracy as a way of transitioning from semi-colonialism to socialism through a state led mixed-economy with the communists in charge.

The point about kulaks growing into socialism is hysterical since the Soviet Union actually adopted the total opposite policy of ”Eliminating Kulaks as a Class” i.e. stripping them of their kulak status entirely. Similar collectivization policies were implemented in China also. Also the Soviet Union was highly antagonistic to the capitalist powers. Stalin had no plans to capitulate to world capitalism or end the global class struggle. Trotsky’s critiques are dishonest and baseless relying more on big words then fact.

Earlier in his text ”1905” Trotsky had argued against building Socialism in a poor peasant country in the following manner:

”…the proletarian vanguard in the very earliest stages of its rule would have to make extremely deep inroads not only into feudal but also into bourgeois property relations. While doing so it would enter into hostile conflict, not only with all those bourgeois groups which had supported it during the first stages of its revolutionary struggle, but also with the broad masses of the peasantry… The contradictions between a workers’ government and an overwhelming majority of peasants in a backward country could be resolved only on an international scale, in the arena of a world proletarian revolution.”

In response to this anti-peasant theory Lenin said:

“From the Bolsheviks Trotsky’s original theory has borrowed their call for a decisive proletarian revolutionary struggle and for the conquest of political power by the proletariat, while from the Mensheviks it has borrowed “repudiation” of the peasantry’s role… Trotsky is in fact helping the liberal-labour politicians in Russia, who by “repudiation” of the role of the peasantry understand a refusal to raise up the peasants for the revolution!”
~Lenin, On the Two Lines in the Revolution

Not only is this idea that third world people are not ready for socialism quasi-racist, it is also strategically unsound. Firstly, the vast majority of the world’s workers are from third world countries. Second, experience has shown us, in the epoch of modern imperialism the poor of the developing world have demonstrated great revolutionary potential. In fact in our current stage they demonstrate greater revolutionary energy then Westerners. The opportunists are out of touch with these basic realities, their theory is useless and their movement irrelevant as an alternative for the workers of the world.

Utopian defeatism

But why do the opportunists so vehemently oppose Socialism in One Country? One reason maybe that they oppose anything associated with the Soviet Union or Stalin. However more often then not from trotskyists one hears them express one of the following three reasons

1) that they oppose Socialism in One Country on ”internationalist” grounds
2) view that a single socialist country can never survive
3) they think socialism can’t be built in a poor country

The first claim I already dealt with. They either don’t understand what they’re talking about or are dishonest. I already explained why the third argument is troubling, together with argument number two it falls under the category of defeatism, that unless the revolution happens in many countries at the same time, and in the West it’s pointless to even try. Or that if the revolution happens in only one country then it must somehow aggressively try to spread the revolution elsewhere. Since the USSR actually did spread it to other countries it seems the opportunists think it should have simply been more aggresive. This seems tactically and ideologically questionable.

Basically the opportunists have no good alternative to propose and this has been proved by history. Trotskyists or any other opponents of Socialism in One Country have never been able to carry out a revolution, let alone a world-wide revolution. The only theory that has been able carry out victorious socialist revolutions not in one, but in multiple countries is the theory of Socialism in One Country.

Quotation mongering?

It is ironic that though Opportunists often accuse Marxist-Leninists of ”quotation mongering” they themselves are quick to use quotations when they suit their own needs. The difference is of course, that only a small handful of carefully selected out-of-context quotes, actually help the case of the Opportunists. This is why they tend to use quotations less often.

Truly, only an Opportunist would even use a term like ”Stalinist quotation monger”, as if using evidence to justify one’s claim was somehow bad. In this I am unrepentant, guilty as charged. I will continue to quote Lenin.

study theory

Quotes are not bad!  “Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement” ~LENIN


The alleged ”counter-argument” by Engels

Opponents of Socialism in One Country will point to a passage of Engels from the Principles of Communism, a pre-cursor to the Manifesto of the Communist League. First Engels states:

“Will it be possible for this revolution to take place in one country alone?

No. By creating the world market, big industry has already brought all the peoples of the Earth, and especially the civilized peoples, into such close relation with one another that none is independent of what happens to the others…”* (see end notes)

This is actually not what the opponents of Socialism in One Country would want. The argument Engels makes is that a Communist Revolution would spread almost by necessity. In fact this did happen in Europe in the aftermath of WWI, though all those revolutions were defeated with the sole exception of the October Revolution. Engels continues:

”Further, it has co-ordinated the social development of the civilized countries to such an extent that, in all of them, bourgeoisie and proletariat have become the decisive classes, and the struggle between them the great struggle of the day. It follows that the communist revolution will not merely be a national phenomenon…”

This is also in perfect accordance with Lenin and even with Stalin’s conception. In ”Results of the July Plenum of the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.)” Stalin states that revolutions happen in individual countries, but because of the global nature of capitalism this turns into a world-wide struggle of two great camps or centres; ”the centre of world capitalism and the centre of world socialism.” as he called them. This is exactly what the Cold War was. Engels continues:

”…but must take place simultaneously in all civilized countries―that is to say, at least in England, America, France, and Germany. It will develop in each of these countries more or less rapidly, according as one country or the other has a more developed industry, greater wealth, a more significant mass of productive forces…”

This is perhaps the most interesting part for us. The immediate question is how rapid this ”simultaneous” event is? Engels calls it ”more or less rapid” so we don’t really know. His argument about the different conditions of each country is sound but it implies that this process is not really all that rapid at all. By ”simultaneous” he seems to only mean the process happens in all capitalist countries due to the global nature of the system. This is not really in any great contradiction with Stalin’s view at all. He continues:

…Hence, it will go slowest and will meet most obstacles in Germany, most rapidly and with the fewest difficulties in England. It will have a powerful impact on the other countries of the world, and will radically alter the course of development which they have followed up to now, while greatly stepping up its pace…”

This further implies that the process is actually very much gradual. One should also point out that he talks about a Communist Revolution, not the building of a Socialist Society. We know that Communist Revolutions can succeed in individual countries as was proven by October, but Engels is perfectly correct in pointing that these Revolutions by their very nature will spread to other countries and exist in a context of global class-struggle. I’ll deal with this topic in further detail when talking about the ”Final Victory of Socialism.”

Lastly Engels states about the Communist Revolution:

”…It is a universal revolution and will, accordingly, have a universal range.”

This re-iterates what we said previously. Obviously Communism will have to be a global system, although this has somewhat different implications in our context as opposed to when Engels wrote his text. Now let us briefly return to one earlier point and also look at Stalin’s comments on this passage by Engels. This is what Stalin says about it:

”That was written in the forties of the last century, when monopoly capitalism did not yet exist. It is characteristic that there is not even a mention here of Russia; Russia is left out altogether. And that is quite understandable, since at that time Russia with its revolutionary proletariat, Russia as a revolutionary force, did not yet exist and could not have existed. Was what is said here, in this quotation, correct in the conditions of pre-monopoly capitalism, in the period when Engels wrote it? Yes, it was correct. Is this opinion correct now, in the new conditions, the conditions of monopoly capitalism and proletarian revolution? No, it is no longer correct.”
~Stalin, The Social-Democratic Deviation in our Party

Stalin points out the different stage of history Engels wrote his text in, the age before modern imperialism. Engels proposes the classic orthodox Marxist prediction that revolution will happen in developed European states. This did occur post-wwi but the revolutions failed everywhere except Russia. On top of that in the epoch of modern imperialism it has become clear that the frontline of revolution was shifted towards the developing world, not first world imperialist countries. Engels was correct in his own context, but its safe to say things have taken an unforeseen turn. To claim nothing has change since Engels would be nothing but opportunism.

Opponents of Socialism in One Country should keep in mind that Engels says nothing about Socialism being impossible in Russia, what he does is propose that Revolution would begin in the West. Granted he bases his prediction on the idea that capitalism is more developed in the West, but he wrote before the birth of imperialism.

Let’s refer to Lenin on this issue:

“Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone…”
~Lenin, “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe”

Is Lenin contradicting Engels? Not exactly, he is merely pointing out the new historical situation, the epoch of modern imperialism. As Stalin said: ”[I]n the period when Engels wrote… Yes, it was correct.”

Furthermore one should keep in mind that when Engels wrote the West itself was less developed then in the early 1900s. Urban Russia in 1917 was in many ways comparable to urban Germany in 1847. The Opportunists who claimed dogmatically that Socialism was utterly impossible in Russia were already destroyed by Lenin:

”Infinitely stereotyped, for instance, is the argument they learned by rote during the development of West-European Social-Democracy, namely, that we are not yet ripe for socialism, but as certain “learned” gentleman among them put it, the objective economic premises for socialism do not exist in our country… “The development of the productive forces of Russia has not yet attained the level that makes socialism possible.” All the heroes of the Second International, including, of course, Sukhanov, beat the drums about this proposition. They keep harping on this incontrovertible proposition in a thousand different keys, and think that it is decisive criterion of our revolution… You say that civilization is necessary for the building of socialism. Very good. But why could we not first create such prerequisites of civilization in our country by the expulsion of the landowners and the Russian capitalists, and then start moving toward socialism? Where, in what books, have you read that such variations of the customary historical sequence of events are impermissible or impossible?”
~Lenin, “Our Revolution” (1923)

Lenin’s statement is in perfect accordance with the mindset of what Engels said earlier, though Engels speaks of revolution and not socialist construction:

”…the communist revolution … will develop in each of these countries … according as one country or the other has a more developed industry, greater wealth, a more significant mass of productive forces. Hence, it will go slowest and will meet most obstacles in Germany, most rapidly and with the fewest difficulties in England…”

Engels says the process will meet more difficulties in less developed Germany, but he at no point implies it to be impossible. In fact Engels explains what he seems to perceive as adequate capitalist development for a ”civilized” (modern industrial) country as follows:

”…it has co-ordinated the social development of the civilized countries to such an extent that, in all of them, bourgeoisie and proletariat have become the decisive classes, and the struggle between them the great struggle of the day…”

The fact that bourgeoisie & proletariat are the decisive classes seems to be enough for him. Another question is to define what he means by ”decisive”. Opportunists will scream that the developing world is not ready because they have many peasants, but in 1847 so did the Western countries. Clearly decisive means something else then numerical superiority, it means the emergence of those two classes as independent political forces and the emergence of capitalist relations in the country. Lenin’s thesis was the alliance of the proletariat & the peasantry, even Trotsky and other opportunists had to eventually agree to the correctness of this.

Exploring this topic in-depth is beyond the scope of this article, but I will say is that an alliance of this kind under the leadership of the proletariat is perfectly in accordance with Marxism:

”…we consider the small peasant living by his own labor as virtually belonging to us, but [helping them is] also in the direct interest of the Party. The greater the number of peasants whom we can save from being actually hurled down into the proletariat, whom we can win to our side while they are still peasants, the more quickly and easily the social transformation will be accomplished.”
~Engels, The Peasant Question in France and Germany

 

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Under Stalin’s leadership while applying Lenin’s theory the Soviet Union became a socialist country

 

The alleged ”counter-arguments” by Lenin

Trotskyists and other Opportunist will occasionally point out a Lenin quote that seemingly argues that socialism in Russia is impossible. They do this to justify their defeatism, their utopian need to reject any real-life revolutions as not representing the rosy picture in their mind.

Now let’s take a look at some of these quotes. I will have to use guess-work to some degree as no quote from Lenin truly argues in favor of the Opportunists. As no such quote exists I will look at some which could be misinterpreted as doing so. Here is one:

”Capital is an international force. To vanquish it, an international workers’ alliance, an international workers’ brotherhood, is needed. We are opposed to national enmity and discord, to national exclusiveness. We are internationalists.”
~Lenin, Letter to the Workers and Peasants of the Ukraine (1919)

Opportunists like quotes where Lenin uses the word ”internationalism” because in their fantasy Stalin and therefore Socialism in One Country was opposed to internationalism. This is of course false. We will look at this in greater detail in connexion with ”the Final Victory of Socialism.” For now I will simply present this short passage, as if this even needed to be said:

”We must be true to the end to the cause of proletarian internationalism, to the cause of the fraternal alliance of the proletarians of all countries.”
~Stalin, Report to the 17th Party Congress on the Work of the C.C. of the C.P.S.U.(B.) (1934)

One of the more frequently used quotes is this:

We are now, as it were, in a besieged fortress, waiting for the other detachments of the world socialist revolution to come to our relief… Slowly but surely the workers are adopting communist, Bolshevik tactics and are marching towards the proletarian revolution, which alone is capable of saving dying culture and dying mankind. In short, we are invincible, because the world proletarian revolution is invincible.”
~Lenin Letter To American Workers (1918)

Really this talk of a ”besieged fort” does not greatly differ from classic Stalinist rhetoric about ”capitalist encirclement” or in any way contradict Stalin’s view.

At this point I can’t remember any quotes where Lenin or some other Bolshevik stated that without outside help their revolution wasn’t going to survive but I am fairly certain I’ve seen such a quote. In any case if such a quote exists it only means two things:

1) They were talking about the survival of their insurrection. This is a question of military strength, not a theoretical question.

2) They would have been mistaken, since they actually did end up surviving.

Basically such notions would have been fairly standard stuff for the time. The Bolsheviks all wanted the Revolution to succeed all over the world, e.g. this is Lenin in the same letter to American workers in 1918:

”We are banking on the inevitability of the world revolution, but this does not mean that we are such fools as to bank on the revolution inevitably coming on a definite and early date…”

He is writing in the dire military situation when they hoped some other country would come to their aid. However after their power consolidated and the European revolutions failed Lenin & the Bolsheviks chose a different tone:

“…when we are told that the victory of socialism is possible only on a world scale, we regard this merely as an attempt, a particularly hopeless attempt, on the part of the bourgeoisie and its voluntary and involuntary supporters to distort the irrefutable truth.”
~Lenin, “Speech to the Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets”

“Since Soviet power has been established, since the bourgeoisie has been overthrown in one country, the second task is to wage the struggle on a world scale… On the other hand, since the rule of the bourgeoisie has been overthrown, the main task is to organise the development of the country.”
~Lenin, “The Achievements and Difficulties of the Soviet Government”

Even in his 1918 letter to America Lenin makes the clarification that they don’t know how long they’ll be the only socialist country in the world and their immediate situation is not untennable. This all relates to the ”Final Victory of Socialism” which we shall look at in the next part.

lenin-and-stalin(3)

Lenin and Stalin are suspicious of opportunism

”The Final Victory of Socialism”
First let’s cover some basic ”stalinist” terminology:

Capitalist encirclement

The USSR was a single Proletarian state surrounded by hostile capitalist countries. A base for world revolution. This situation was referred to as ”capitalist encirclement.”

Complete Socialist Society

Term coined by Lenin which meant a society in the low stage of communism (to use orthodox marxist terminology) i.e. The means of production are owned in common (by state & collective sectors), private property and market economy have been abolished. When agriculture was collectivized and five-year plans implemented Stalin proclaimed that the USSR had reached this stage.

Final Victory of Socialism

Guarantee against capitalist restoration or invasion.

Now let’s look at this last term more closely. In 1924 Stalin pointed out that according to Lenin:

”The dictatorship of the proletariat is a power which rests on an alliance between the proletariat and the laboring masses of the peasantry for “the complete overthrow of capital” and for “the final establishment and consolidation of socialism.”
~Stalin, The October Revolution & the Tactics of the Russian Communists (1924)

Interestingly in the first edition of The Foundations of Leninism Stalin stated:

”…can the final victory of socialism be achieved in one country, without the joint efforts of the proletarians in several advanced countries? No, it cannot. To overthrow the bourgeoisie the efforts of one country are sufficient; this is proved by the history of our revolution. For the final victory of socialism, for the organisation of socialist production, the efforts of one country, particularly of a peasant country like Russia, are insufficient; for that, the efforts of the proletarians of several advanced countries are required”

However in Concerning Questions of Leninism he explains:

”I modified and corrected this formulation in my pamphlet The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists (December 1924); I divided the question into two―into the question of a full guarantee against the restoration of the bourgeois order, and the question of the possibility of building a complete socialist society in one country. This was effected, in the first place, by treating the “complete victory of socialism” as a “full guarantee against the restoration of the old order,” which is possible only through “the joint efforts of the proletarians of several countries”; and, secondly, by proclaiming, on the basis of Lenin’s pamphlet On Co-operation, the indisputable truth that we have all that is necessary for building a complete socialist society”

It was standard dogma for Marxists to echo the statements similar to the Engels passage we looked at in the beginning of this article, that the revolution relied on the developed Western countries. That said I find it fascinating that Stalin held the more orthodox Marxist view longer then Lenin. On Co-operation was written in 1923 and was Lenin’s last major theoretical contribution. Socialism in One Country truly was Lenin’s invention, merely applied and carried out by Stalin.

So in the last formulation ”the final victory of socialism” means:

“the final victory of Socialism, in the sense of full guarantee against the restoration of bourgeois relations, is possible only on an international scale”
~Resolution of the Fourteenth Conference of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

“The final victory of Socialism is the full guarantee against attempts at intervention, and that means against restoration, for any serious attempt at restoration can take place only with serious support from outside, only with the support of international capital.”
~Stalin, Problems of Leninism

In his ”On the Final Victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.” Stalin presents the following Lenin quote to explain his view:

“We are living not merely in a State but in a system of States, and it is inconceivable that the Soviet Republic should continue to coexist for a long period side by side with imperialist States. Ultimately one or other must conquer. Meanwhile, a number of terrible clashes between the Soviet Republic and the bourgeois States is inevitable. This means that if the proletariat, as the ruling class, wants to and will rule, it must prove this also by military organization.”
~Lenin (Collected Works, Vol. 24. P. 122.)** (see end notes)

So final victory means guarantee against restoration and intervention. In my opinion Stalin somewhat over emphasized foreign invasions though one can hardly blame him. He said that possibly even the existence of several Socialist countries could be sufficient guarantee but this has been proven to be overly optimistic.

That said the basic formulation of ”final victory” remains correct. Personally I would define guarantee against restoration as: global victory of the revolution, complete or near complete elimination of capitalism on a global scale. Call me pessimist but I think only at such a stage can we truly say we’ve won.

LENIN on ‘Socialism in one country’

Here I will leave a series of quotations from Lenin talking about Communist Revolution in One Country or building Socialist Production in One Country. Of course when we talk about ”Socialism in One Country” we mean the latter.

“Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone. After expropriating the capitalists and organising their own socialist production, the victorious proletariat of that country will arise against the rest of the world―the capitalist world…”
~Lenin, “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe” (1915)

“…Socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries…”
~Lenin, “The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution” (1916)

“…when we are told that the victory of socialism is possible only on a world scale, we regard this merely as an attempt, a particularly hopeless attempt, on the part of the bourgeoisie and its voluntary and involuntary supporters to distort the irrefutable truth.”
~Lenin, “Speech to the Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets” (1918)

“Since Soviet power has been established, since the bourgeoisie has been overthrown in one country, the second task is to wage the struggle on a world scale… On the other hand, since the rule of the bourgeoisie has been overthrown, the main task is to organise the development of the country.”
~Lenin, “The Achievements and Difficulties of the Soviet Government” (1919)

Socialism is no longer a matter of the distant future… We have dragged socialism into everyday life, and here we must find our way… Permit me to conclude by expressing the conviction that, difficult as this task may be, new as it may be compared with our previous task, and no matter how many difficulties it may entail, we shall all―not in one day, but in the course of several years―all of us together fulfil it whatever happens so that NEP Russia will become socialist Russia
~Lenin, “Speech At A Plenary Session Of The Moscow Soviet Nov. 20, 1922”

”As a matter of fact, the political power of the Soviet over all large-scale means of production, the power in the state in the hands of the proletariat, the alliance of this proletariat with the many millions of small and very small peasants, the assured leadership of the peasantry by the proletariat, etc, …is not this all that is necessary in order from the co-operatives – from the co-operatives alone, which we formerly treated as huckstering, and which, from a certain aspect, we have the right to treat as such now, under the new economic policy – is not this all that is necessary in order to build a complete socialist society? This is not yet the building of socialist society but it is all that is necessary and sufficient for this building.”
~Lenin, “On Cooperation” (1923)

”Infinitely stereotyped, for instance, is the argument they learned by rote during the development of West-European Social-Democracy, namely, that we are not yet ripe for socialism, but as certain “learned” gentleman among them put it, the objective economic premises for socialism do not exist in our country… “The development of the productive forces of Russia has not yet attained the level that makes socialism possible.” All the heroes of the Second International, including, of course, Sukhanov, beat the drums about this proposition. They keep harping on this incontrovertible proposition in a thousand different keys, and think that it is decisive criterion of our revolution… You say that civilization is necessary for the building of socialism. Very good. But why could we not first create such prerequisites of civilization in our country by the expulsion of the landowners and the Russian capitalists, and then start moving toward socialism? Where, in what books, have you read that such variations of the customary historical sequence of events are impermissible or impossible?”
~Lenin, “Our Revolution” (1923)

STALIN on ‘Socialism in one country’

Here will be Stalin quotes to the same effect explaining what considers ”Socialism in One Country”:

”The dictatorship of the proletariat is the instrument of the proletarian revolution, its organ, its most important mainstay, brought into being for the purpose of, firstly, crushing the resistance of the overthrown exploiters and consolidating the achievements of the proletarian revolution, and secondly, carrying the revolution to the complete victory of socialism.”
~Stalin, The Foundations of Leninism (1924)

”This fact shows that socialised funds constitute a very large share of the total, and this share is growing compared with the share of property in the non-socialised sector… Our system as a whole is transitional from capitalism to socialism”
~Stalin, The Fourteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.) (1925)

”And so, what is the victory of socialism in our country? It means achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat and completely building socialism, thus overcoming the capitalist, elements in our economy through the internal forces of our revolution.”
~Stalin, The Social-Democratic Deviation in our Party (1926)

”Only the blind can deny that the progress in the building of socialism in our country”
~Stalin, The Trotskyist Opposition Before and Now (1927)

”…the victory of socialism is possible in separate countries, thus envisaging the prospect of the formation of two parallel centres of attraction – the centre of world capitalism and the centre of world socialism.”
~Stalin, Results of the July Plenum of the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.) (1928)

“the question stands as follows: either one way or the other, either back―to capitalism, or forward―to socialism. There is not, and cannot be, any third way.”
~Stalin, Concerning Questions of Agrarian Policy in the U.S.S.R. (1929)

Quotes about the ”Final Victory of Socialism”

LENIN:
”…when we are told that the victory of socialism is possible only on a world scale, we regard this merely as an attempt, a particularly hopeless attempt, on the part of the bourgeoisie and of its voluntary and involuntary supporters to distort the irrefutable truth. The final victory of socialism in a single country is of course impossible.”
~Third All-Russia Congress Of Soviets Of Workers’, Soldiers’ And Peasants’ Deputies (1918)

We are living not merely in a state, but in a system of states, and it is inconceivable for the Soviet Republic to exist alongside of the imperialist states for any length of time. One or the other must triumph in the end.”
~Eighth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) (1919)

STALIN:
“The final victory of Socialism is the full guarantee against attempts at intervention, and that means against restoration, for any serious attempt at restoration can take place only with serious support from outside, only with the support of international capital.”
~Stalin, Problems of Leninism (1934)

“the final victory of Socialism, in the sense of full guarantee against the restoration of bourgeois relations, is possible only on an international scale”
~Stalin, On the Final Victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R. (1938)

END NOTES:

*
I know it might be annoying to some but all quotes are in italics. This is to ensure they stand out from my own commentary.

**

this Lenin quote was given in an early edition of Lenin’s works. The quote originates from Lenin’s speech at the Eighth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) It is translated differently in the new edition with the word ”conquer” changed to ”triumph”. As a result of this people have had some difficulty finding it and some Opportunists on the internet have jumped to the baseless conclusion that the quote is a Stalinist fabrication! This is a slanderous lie. On top of that there would be absolutely no point to commit such fabrication as Lenin said similar things in many other writings.

 

The Gulag Archipelago shouldn’t be taken seriously

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago is a pseudo-historical fiction novel widely celebrated among anti-communist circles. The book is treated as an authoritative depiction of the Stalin-era Soviet prison system and invoked ad nauseam. Not only is The Gulag Archipelago not a historically accurate work (and written by a fundamentalist anti-semite), it is most of all a work of fiction. This obvious fact seems to be often totally ignored.

A 2003 article regarding the death of Solzhenitsyn’s wife put it like this:

“In her 1974 memoir, Sanya: My Life with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn”…, she wrote that she was ”perplexed” that the West had accepted ”The Gulag Archipelago” as ”the solemn, ultimate truth,” saying its significance had been ”overestimated and wrongly appraised.”

Pointing out that the book’s subtitle is ”An Experiment in Literary Investigation,” she said that her husband did not regard the work as ”historical research, or scientific research.” She contended that it was, rather, a collection of ”camp folklore,” containing ”raw material” which her husband was planning to use in his future productions.”


Every now and then even mainstream capitalist media ends up recognizing facts such as these when they are obvious enough, though this was soon forgotten and the anti-communist propaganda machine has gone right back to citing Solzhenitsyn as “evidence of Soviet crimes.”

Already in 1999 W. Bland pointed out that America’s prison population was actually higher then that of the Stalin-era Soviet Union:

“If we add those in prison for non-political offences, we get a figure of 2.5 million, that is, 2.4% of the adult population.

In contrast, there were in the United States in 1996, according to official figures, 5.5 million people in prison, or 2.8% of the adult population.”
(Bland, “Stalin: The Myth and the Reality”)


NOTE: According to Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2013 the number was 6,899,000. Still about 1 in 35 adults or 2.8%

So the United States, “the land of the free”, the Country with the highest prison population in the history of man, with a notorious human rights record of torture, inequality and endless war attacks other countries using a fiction work of “camp folklore”. It is truly a tragicomical state of affairs!

abu-ghraib-460_1391517c-torture-usa-pentagon-cia-iraq.jpg

An inmate getting a taste of American freedom inside US torture prison in Abu Graibh

Other Communists on Trotsky & Trotskyism

CHE GUEVARA:
I think that the fundamental stuff that Trotsky was based upon was erroneous and that his ulterior behaviour was wrong and his last years were even dark. The Trotskyites have not contributed anything whatsoever to the revolutionary movement”
(‘Annexes’, p. 402)

che-guevara-2.jpg

HO CHI MIHN:
“In the past, in my eyes and those of a good number of comrades, Trotskyism seemed a matter of a struggle between tendencies within the Chinese Communist Party. That’s why we hardly paid it any attention. But a little before the outbreak of war, more exactly since the end of the year 1936 and notably during the war, the criminal propaganda of the Trotskyists opened our eyes.

“The Chinese Trotskyists (like the Trotskyists of other countries) do not represent a political group, much less a political party. They are nothing but a band of evil-doers, the running dogs of Japanese fascism (and of international fascism)”
“Three Letters from Ho Chi Mihn” (1939)

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MAO TSE-TUNG:
“In the central districts of Hebei the Trotskyists organised a ‘Partisan-Company’ on the direct instructions of the Japanese headquarters and called it a ‘Second Section of the Eighth Army’. In March the two battalions of this company organised a mutiny but these bandits were surrounded by the Eighth Army and disarmed. In the Border Region such people are arrested by the peasant self-defence units which carry out a bitter struggle against traitors and spies.

‘Trotskyist agents are being sent to the Border Regions where they systematically apply all methods in their sabotage work against the cooperation of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party.”
“On the Use of Trotskyists as Japanese Spies in China” (1939)

mao_longmarch.jpg

Leader of the Finnish Communists O. W. KUUSINEN:
“But the ruling circles of the imperialist countries didn’t limit themselves to ideological struggle against socialism. Alongside it they engaged in provocational attacks against the Soviet Union and organized treacherous sabotage and wrecking activity, which was carried out in the production facilities of the Soviet Union by bourgeois experts, trotskyites, zinovievites, bukharinites and nationalists.”
–”Missä on Stalin, siellä on voitto”
(1949)

Ottokuusinen.jpg

Old bolshevik & Lenin’s wife N. KRUPSKAYA:
“Lenin wrote about Trotsky’s position on this, that he had ‘got entangled into a number of mistakes … it is not a coincidence, that Trotsky, who never understood the essence of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the role of the masses in building socialism …is now standing on the path of organising terrorist acts against Stalin, Voroshilov and other members of the Politburo, who are helping the masses to build socialism. It is not a matter of chance, therefore, that the unprincipled bloc of Kamenev and Zinoviev together with Trotsky have pushed them from one step to another into a deep abyss of an unheard betrayal of Lenin’s work, the work of the masses, the ideals of Socialism. Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and their entire band of killers acted together with the German fascists, entered into a pact with the Gestapo.”
“Why Is the Second International Defending Trotsky?” (1936)

220px-Krupskaja_1890.jpg

LENIN:
What a swine this Trotsky is—Left phrases, and a bloc with the Right…”
Letter to Alexandra Kollontai” (1917)

It is Trotsky who is in “ideological confusion”… There you have an example of the real bureaucratic approach: Trotsky… Trotsky’s “theses” are politically harmful…”
The Trade Unions, The Present Situation And Trotsky’s Mistakes” (1920)

vladimir-lenin-crowd-communism-1718182.jpg

End notes:

The Kuusinen quote above was translated by myself. The original Finnish quote is:

“Mutta imperialististen maiden hallitsevat piirit eivät rajoittuneet pelkästään ideologiseen kamppailuun sosialismia vastaan. Sen rinnalla ne ryhtyivät provokatorisiin hyökkäyksiin Neuvostoliittoa vastaan ja järjestivät katalia tihutöitä ja tuholaistoimintaa, jota Neuvostoliiton tuotantolaitoksissa harjoittivat porvarilliset asiantuntijat trotskilaiset, zinovjevlaiset, buharinilaiset ja kansalliskiihkoilijat.”

The “Leftist” critics of Socialism

leon-trotsky-photos

Many so-called leftist critics of historical Socialism often attack Leninists such as myself as “Stalinists” or “tankies” while proclaiming their own ideological superiority and purity. They are generally outraged or outright confused when Leninists suggest that these “leftist critics” are doing the work of the bourgeois and the imperialists. What do we mean by that?

What is Legitimate Criticism?

Marxism is a scientific type of Socialism and science learns from it’s mistakes. Therefore its logical and positive to engage in criticism and self-criticism and to keep in mind that the great socialist and progressive thinkers who came before us didn’t have the luxury of following any pre-existing model of socialism. They erred more often then not due to the fact that they were pioneers in uncharted territory. It shouldn’t surprise us they made mistakes but neither should we exaggerate those mistakes or use them to diminish their great successes and achievements. It is easier for us to see farther for we are standing on the shoulders of giants.

Leninists are by no means opposed to criticism. It is entirely legitimate to analyse and challenge the theoretical contributions of Lenin, how they were applied by Stalin, Mao or Che Guevara for instance. However this criticism should be principled and based on facts. So-called “leftist critics” like Trotskyists, various Anarchists and revisionists simply parrot bourgeois talking points, bourgeois propaganda and “facts” provided to them by bourgeois sources. Often times this is totally unintentional on their part. They simply do not possess the necessary source criticism, lack the understanding of how media, academia etc. functions and how the bourgeois influences them. Their inability to grasp this is particularly tragic as they claim to be Marxists and it was Marx himself who pointed out that the ideology of the ruling class is always the hegemonic one in society and as a result often held by a vast number of people even outside said ruling class.

”The Experts Tell Me You’re Wrong!” (Evidence & Burden of Proof)

Every now and then I encounter something akin to the following statements:
”Only Stalinist crackpots like you believe X”
”All experts agree. You who believe X are only a fringe group that is not to be trusted”

Everyone with even the most basic understanding of logic should realize the above statements are a logical fallacy – an appeal to authority, and to a degree an appeal to popularity. Naturally in many cases you would want to ask the opinion of an expert but even so it should be the evidence itself, not the person who is giving the evidence that should matte

Basically it boils down to this: I believe or don’t believe something and instead of dealing with my argument like adults the opponents (whether they be liberals, anarchists, trotskyists etc.) choose to attack my position as too extreme, too outlandish to even be worth considering – especially since, as they say  ”the experts” are against me. But are the experts really against the Leninist point of view? Who even are these so-called experts? Due to the hegemonic position of the bourgeois point of view it is often seen as the default position by leftist critics of Socialism.

It is “mainstream” in the sense that the ruling class media and academia supports it, but that doesn’t mean it is by any sense objective or correct. The burden of proof lies on the one making the claim, not the one who is less popular. Still in the general political discussion the burden of proof is usually pushed onto the Communists themselves  to prove their innocence of wrong doings when in reality it should be on the ones making the accusations. A tendency among “leftist” and other critics of Socialism is to readily accept bourgeois propaganda against socialism, but approach any pro-socialist information with extreme skepticism because, “anti-capitalism is fringe” (and thus perceived as unreliable by default) while anti-communism is “mainstream” (and thus apparently automatically more reliable). In this way the burden of proof is effectively always shifted onto to the Communists.

The Anti-Soviet Paradigm

Without getting into the wider political debate I will point out that its no coincidence certain groups such as Trotskyists, anarchists, liberals etc. are more prone to believing the ”mainstream” (hegemonic bourgeois) point of view on various subjects. This is not an insult, or a judgement on the validity of this point of view, but merely a statement of fact.

To put matters bluntly, according to them, we Leninists are fringe crackpots who shut our eyes and ears from anything contradicting our worldview – while according to us they are gullible and anti-Marxist people believing almost anything the capitalists tell them. Maybe they are right. Maybe we are right. Maybe neither one of us is right, but this will have to be determined with evidence.

Let us ask ourselves this one question. Why are the Trotskyists for instance seemingly so eager to accept bourgeois sources as fact while the Leninists are so hesitant to do the same? Trotskyists and the bourgeois are both by enlarge critics of historical socialist experiments while Leninists tend to be defenders of them. For this reason the bourgeois generally tend to spread views hostile to historical socialism which Trotskyists eat up gleefully. Only the Leninist ”fringe” would defend historical socialism. Personally I believe that most supporters of Trotskyism are such precisely because this bourgeois propaganda.

Bourgeois Hegemony

Sometimes I’m taken by surprise by just how naive some self-proclaimed socialists are. I’m talking about the kind of ”left critics” of socialism who simply do not understand that the bourgeois have a countless number of overt and subtle ways of controlling information.

Is it any wonder that in the USA you cannot be a professional historian unless you periodically publish anti-Soviet material? J. Arch Getty, a liberal historian of the Soviet period comes under constant attacks from the Right as a Communist sympathizer because of his more balanced approach, and his views on the Soviet Union are hardly positive, just not negative enough. Since the beginning of the cold-war the CIA, HUAC and others have been overtly involved in monitoring how ‘history’ is written and presented to the public but on top of that the Robert Conquest school of red bashing also makes a lot of money for it’s authors. Check the sources on your history books, do they have primary sources or secondary sources? What are these sources? The Black Book of CommunismThe Great Terror? Or merely some other book citing the previous two as “evidence” of Communist atrocities?

The CIA has been, and still is deeply involved in the media (Operation Mockingbird, CCF, Radio Free Europe, NED etc. etc. etc.) and on top of that most of American media (which dominates the world) is in the hands of private corporations  in the hands of capitalists. They are not stupid, even when they don’t outright lie they choose to cover topics which cast a negative light on socialism and choose to ignore topics which portray socialism positively. They present a scale of authors or experts with varying degrees of anti-communist bias and thus appear to not be monolithic or to control the discussion. They even allow anti-government speech as long as its liberal enough or can be marginalized easily. News, documentaries or history books are not objective fact that falls from the sky  they are written and created by people, people who get together and plan what to write, how to write and when to write it.

Do the Capitalists Really Defend Ultra-Leftism, Trotskyism Or Anarchism?

The answer to this question is in a way both yes and no. Obviously capitalists don’t support any of the above mentioned -isms. However they share a common enemy with them. The CIA realized long ago that extreme Right-Wing or conservative anti-Communist propaganda doesn’t work well on liberals or Left-Wingers (cf. Congress for Cultural Freedom), instead its much more effective to claim that Anti-Soviet-ism is the real Left-wing thing to do (sic). George Orwell, Leon Trotsky, Khruschev, Gorbachev and even Noam Chomsky are some of the big names in “left-wing” anti-communism  people who appear to challenge capitalism but whose ideas are either entirely misguided ideologically, tactically unsound, dishonest or too limited in their scope to be effective and serve only to steer people away from genuine anti-capitalist struggle.

On the Alleged Forgery of ”Lenin’s Testament”

(Thoughts regarding V.A. Sakharov’s article)

I have previously talked about some of the myths surrounding the collection of documents known as ”Lenin’s testament” or more accurately Lenin’s Letter to the Congress. We know Leon Trotsky distorted the whole meaning of these documents in order to use them as a political weapon against Stalin, his rival, and this is still a favorite pastime of Trotskyists to this day. They rarely stop to analyse the deeper meaning of the documents and focus on quoting and repeating ad nauseam a couple of select lines critical of Joseph Stalin.


In this article I won’t be going into the meaning or context behind those well-known passages (”Stalin is too rude and this defect, although quite tolerable in our midst and in dealing among us Communists, becomes intolerable in a Secretary-General” etc.) instead I will give my personal opinion on a controversial topic that has recently been on my mind – the alleged forgery of Lenin’s letters. My interest was sparked initially by V. A. Sakharov’s article published in English as The Forgery of the ‘Lenin Testament’ (1997).

How could it be?

At first the mere thought of the letters being forged seems too incredible. Afterall nobody doubted their authenticity at the time. Even Stalin rather then contesting their authenticity chose to apologize to Lenin and admit his rudeness publicly. However certain facts that have come to light raise some questions.


Sakharov divides the letter documents into two categories:


1) the texts and articles provably written by Lenin himself for instance the articles Better fewer, but better (January-March 1923) and On Cooperation (Jan 4-6 1923)

2) the texts which cannot be proven to have been written by Lenin. These are basically the later dictated additions to the letter. Curiously its precisely these few additions that cannot be proven to have come from Lenin’s pen which are also the ones critical of Stalin.

What is the evidence?

At this point everyone should be wondering about the evidence. The unfortunate fact is (as is often the case with controversial historical topics) that we might never know for absolute certain but here are the things we do know: the dictations are not signed by Lenin. Their authenticity could be verified by the diary of his secretariat but this is typically not the case, the diary was partially incomplete and filled retro-actively. On top of that the personal papers of Lenin’s doctors often outright contradict the alleged dates of the dictations, some of which are dated at times when Lenin’s doctors explicitly say he was not working with his secretaries or dictating anything.


While this does not prove the dictations to be forgeries it casts serious doubt on their authenticity. This taken with the fact that they are strikingly dissimilar to Lenin’s own writings both stylistically and in content and character I personally cannot anymore believe them to be authentic. Previously I held the view that the change in style and content to be the result of Lenin’s illness, that he was dying. However I no longer believe that to be the case.

The Argument

So what exactly do the forged segments say? They are critical of Stalin of course, questioning his ability to handle responsibility and his moral character, calling him rude etc., One might argue that surely if the supporters of Trotsky and Zinoviev had forged the documents then surely they would have been even more critical of Stalin? That is not necessarily the case. If you were trying to forge a Lenin document then what would you do? There were virtually no ideological or political differences or disagreements between Lenin and Stalin.


That leaves few options: questioning Stalin’s capabilities, referring to his rudeness (Zinoviev knew about the incident between Stalin & Krupskaya and even later tried exploiting it for political gain though this was promptly put an end to by Krupskaya and Maria Ulyanova), and criticizing Stalin’s practical work rather then theoretical or ideological position. Coincidentally (?) this is precisely what the dictated (forged?) segments exhibit. The seemingly illogical and uncharacteristic dictated addition on Stalin’s rudeness, a section questioning his capabilities to handle power and lastly the letters relating to Stalin’s, Orjonikidze’s and Dzershinsky’s handling of the war effort in Georgia.


Needless to say it would have been uncharacteristic for Lenin to criticize someone behind their back or conspire. Also taking matters personally and being offended or holding grudges would have been equally unlike him. In short, on top of being of unverified authenticity the dictated sections read like someone trying to attack others in Lenin’s name – pretending to be Lenin and doing a pretty bad job at it!

Footnotes:

The Forgery of the ‘Lenin Testament’” by V. A. Sakharov
http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv7n1/LenTest.htm

On the Relations between Lenin and Stalin” by Maria Ulyanova http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv8n1/lenstal.htm


mels

Two characterizations of Trotsky’s modus operandi

“Trotsky, on the other hand, represents only his own personal vacillations and nothing more. In 1903 he was a Menshevik; he abandoned Menshevism in 1904, returned to the Mensheviks in 1905 and merely flaunted ultra-revolutionary phrases; in 1906 he left them again; at the end of 1906 he advocated electoral agreements with the Cadets (i.e., he was in fact once more with the Mensheviks); and in the spring of 1907, at the London Congress, he said that he differed from Rosa Luxemburg on “individual shades of ideas rather than on political tendencies”. One day Trotsky plagiarises from the ideological stock-in-trade of one faction; the next day he plagiarises from that of another, and therefore declares himself to be standing above both factions. In theory Trotsky is on no point in agreement with either the liquidators or the otzovists, but in actual practice he is in entire agreement with both”

~LENIN, “The Historical Meaning of the Inner-Party Struggle in Russia”

 

“No one can understand Trotsky who sees in him nothing more than an ordinary opportunist. Comrade Trotsky is not a one-handed man. He has a right hand and a left hand. We already had the opportunity of seeing him in two roles in his interpretation of the “German October.”

And with Comrade Trotsky this does not happen by accident: it is a general rule. In actual practice he always represents two different “types” so to speak. One type deviates to the right, the other to the left. A superficial observer might conclude that Comrade Trotsky vacillates constantly between the two types. But this only appears to be the case. Comrade Trotsky is not a vacillating man. He generally adopts a definite—but wrong—course.

In reality the case is this: In his actions he deviates towards the Right, but he describes these actions in Left, very Left, terms. The Right type is the type of the man of action who speaks little, who does his work and says nothing about it. The Left type, is a man, anxious to play a prominent public role, a man who talks a great deal and does very little, and knows little about work except to describe it. But the descriptions given by the Left type differ entirely from the work actually done by the Right type.

Comrade Trotsky is not simply an ordinary opportunist. He possesses a finely developed sense of the æsthetic. He feels the æsthetic defects of the external form of opportunist policy. The external forms of politics please him more and more in proportion to their deviation to the Left.”

~O. W. KUUSINEN, “A Misleading Description of the “German October””

Stalin & the myth of the ”Old Bolsheviks”

Introduction

One often hears Trotskyists, Anarchists and bourgeois propagandists accuse Joseph Stalin of killing all or at least most of the so-called ”Old Bolsheviks” and thus being able to allegedly distort the true meaning behind Bolshevism/Leninism. Here I won’t be getting into a thorough debate about what is or is not the real core ideology of Bolshevism but I would like to examine the accusation that Stalin ”killed the Old Bolsheviks”.


1. Who were the so-called ”Old Bolsheviks”?

According to the groups mentioned above, i.e. left-communists, Trotskyists, Anarchists and Right-Wingers the term ”Old Bolshevik” typically refers to people such as Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Rykov etc.

They allege that these people represented ”real Bolshevism” and that Stalin killed them to implement his ”Stalinist distortion of Bolshevism”.

But what makes these people ”Old Bolsheviks”? Sure enough some of them such as Zinoviev were long standing members of the Bolshevik party, but is that all that we’re talking about? Zinoviev, Kamenev & co. had numerous disagreements with Lenin, the founder and leader of Bolshevism so can they truly be called Bolsheviks at all? Second of all, there are many people who were also longtime members of the Bolshevik Party yet they don’t get the same status of being called ”Old Bolsheviks”.

We can only conclude that the Right-Winger, Trotskyist and their ilk define ”Old Bolsheviks” merely as people who were killed by Stalin. That is their only qualification.

2. The Real Old Bolsheviks

Interestingly Right and ”Left” critics of Stalin don’t seem to consider the following group of people Old Bolsheviks despite the fact that they obviously were – or at least ignore them when arguing that ”Stalin killed the Old Bolsheviks”.

Note: The Bolshevik faction ”RSDLP(B)” emerged in 1903-1907. The RSDLP itself was founded in 1898.

Stalin             (joined the RSDLP in 1899. Bolshevik as early as 1903)
Kalinin          (joined the party in 1898. Bolshevik at least as early as 1905)
Voroshilov    (joined the RSDLP(B) in 1903)
Orjonikidze   (joined the RSDLP(B) in 1903)
Sverdlov       (joined the RSDLP in 1902. Bolshevik as early as 1903)
Molotov        (joined the RSDLP(B) in 1906)
Kaganovich   (joined the RSDLP(B) in 1911)

These people were not killed by Stalin, in fact they were his allies and I would argue much better Bolsheviks then Zinoviev & co. However for some reason they do not seem to count.

Lenin, Voroshilov, Sverdlov, Stalin, Kalinin

3. Were Zinoviev, Kamenev & Bukharin really such good Bolsheviks?

I think it can be demonstrated rather easily that Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Trotsky & co. were not particularly good Bolsheviks and for that reason calling them ”Old Bolsheviks” (that Stalin ’murdered’ to distort bolshevism) seems dubious.

Zinoviev & Kamenev:
Lenin himself wanted Z. & K. expelled from the Bolshevik party altogether due to their treachery on the eve of the October Revolution. Z. & K. opposed the revolution and criticized it in a bourgeois newspaper, thus revealing the Bolsheviks plan to overthrow the government to the class-enemy.

”When the full text of Kamenev’s and Zinoviev’s statement in the non-Party paper Novaya Zhizn was transmitted to me by telephone, I refused to believe it… I no longer consider either of them comrades and that I will fight with all my might, both in the Central Committee and at the Congress, to secure the expulsion of both of them from the Party… Let Mr. Zinoviev and Mr. Kamenev found their own party”
–LENIN, ”Letter to Bolshevik Party Members” (18th Oct. 1917)

Bukharin:
Despite being known as a Right-Winger for his views on economic policy, Bukharinists used to be thought of as a Left-Communist faction in the party. This is in the main due to their adventurism and opposition to the Brest-Litovsk peace-treaty.

Lenin slammed the actions of Bukharin & the ”Left”-communists in ”Peace or War?”

”…he who is against an immediate, even though extremely onerous peace, is endangering Soviet power.”

He also attacked Bukharin on the economic front in 1921 in his work ”Once Again On the Trade Unions: On the Mistakes of Trotsky and Bukharin”.

Trotsky:
Mentioning Trotsky in this context is perhaps superfluous but I will do it for the sake of thoroughness. He joined the party only in 1917 and cannot be called an Old Bolshevik in any case. Initially he was a Menshevik (1903-1905), then a member of the ultra-opportunist August Bloch (1907-1913) which Lenin ridiculed, opponent of the Zimmerwald Left that Lenin supported (1914-1916) and finally the semi-Menshevik Mezhraiontsy which ceased to exist in 1917. His disagreements with Lenin are too numerous to mention.

He was a longtime enemy of Lenin prompting Lenin to refer to him as a ”Judas”, ”Swine”, ”Scoundrel”, “bureaucratic” helper of the liberal bourgeois and calling his theory of Permanent Revolution both ”absurd” and half-menshevik. Instead of providing quotations sources for the claims will be at the end or otherwise this section would be too lengthy.

Lenin also attacked Trotsky for his flip flopping on the Brest peace deal and his ridiculous economic policy & poor handling of the trade unions together with Bukharin.

4. The Bloc of Rights & Trotskyites

In 1921 at the 10th congress of the RCP Lenin argued for the banning of factional cliques in the Bolshevik party. This was accepted and factions were either expelled or they capitulated. However after his death various factional groups sprung up. In 1927 Trotsky, Zinoviev & Kamenev were expelled from the party for factionalism after organizing an anti-party demonstration, though Z & K. later capitulated to Stalin.

Trotsky was exiled from the USSR, while Zinoviev & Kamenev were marginalized. The Bukharinists also lost the debate against Stalin & the majority. By 1932 Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev & Bukharin had all lost their legitimate political power. Trotsky created a secret conspiratorial anti-soviet group which was joined by Z. & K. and later various Bukharinites. This group became known in the Soviet media as ”The Bloc of Rights & Trotskyites”.

This is the real reason for which these people were later arrested & executed. They wished to carry out destabilization against the Soviet government which was already worried about foreign Fascist invasions. All of this was denied by anti-soviet elements for decades but the discovery of various letters from Trotsky and his associates has proven it without a shadow of a doubt.
                     

”…The proposal for a bloc seems to me to be completely acceptable.”
Trotsky to Sedov

”The bloc is organised, it includes the Zinovievists, the Sten–Lominadze Group and the Trotskyists…”
Sedov to Trotsky

One fights repression by means of anonymity and conspiracy…”
–Trotsky to Sedov

”As far as the illegal organisation of the Bolshevik-Leninists in the USSR is concerned, only the first steps have been taken towards its re-organisation.”
Trotsky (Dec. 16 1932)

Source: Library of Harvard College 13905c, 1010, 4782 quoted in Pierre Broué’s The “Bloc” of the Oppositions against Stalin

Whether or not you believe the actions of Trotsky & co. to be justified it is dishonest to claim they were framed or unjustly murdered for their so-called Bolshevism. They fought against the Soviet government and lost.


5. Conclusions: Will the Real Old Bolsheviks please Stand up?

Stalin did not in fact kill the Old Bolsheviks, he killed anti-Soviet renegades whose Bolshevik credentials were questionable at best. The real Old Bolsheviks were people like Kalinin and Voroshilov who supported Lenin since the beginning through thick and thin, not flip-flopping opportunists like Zinoviev who stabbed Lenin in the back when ever it was advantageous.

LENIN QUOTES ON TROTSKY:


”…Trotsky’s (the scoundrel… this swindler … pays lip-service to the Party and behaves worse than any other of the factionalists.”
–LENIN CW 34 p. 400 (1909)

”At the Plenary Meeting Judas Trotsky made a big show of fighting liquidationism…”
–LENIN ”Judas Trotsky’s Blush of Shame” (1911)

Trotsky… proclaiming his absurdly Left ‘permanent revolution’ theory.”
–LENIN ”Disruption of Unity Under Cover of Outcries for Unity” (1914)

Trotsky’s… theory has borrowed… from the Mensheviks…”
–LENIN ”On the Two Lines in the Revolution” (1915)

”The Bolsheviks helped the proletariat consciously to follow the first line… liberal bourgeoisie was the second… Trotsky is in fact helping the liberal-labour politicians in Russia…”
– LENIN, Ibid.

”What a swine this Trotsky is—Left phrases, and a bloc with the Right…”
–LENIN ”Letter to Alexandra Kollontai” (1917)

”It is Trotsky who is in “ideological confusion”… There you have an example of the real bureaucratic approach: Trotsky… Trotsky’s “theses” are politically harmful…”
–LENIN ”The Trade Unions, The Present Situation And Trotsky’s Mistakes” (1920)

”Comrade Trotsky is essentially wrong on all his new points… Trotsky and Bukharin have produced a hodgepodge of political mistakes”
–LENIN ”Once Again On The Trade Unions: The Current Situation and the Mistakes of Trotsky and Buhkarin” (1921)

TROTSKY’S LIES (Part 1)

Introduction:

Leon Trotsky was a notorious liar and a revisionist counter-revolutionary. This is demonstrated by his bankrupt anti-Marxist theory of Permanent Revolution, by his actions, his opinions and countless demonstrable lies. Here are some of them:

Trotsky on Max Eastman:

In 1925 Trotsky criticized the notorious ultra-left liar Max Eastman. Ironically three years later he became best friends with Eastman and started spreading the same exact lies that he had debunked himself. After his exile from the USSR Trotsky lost contact with Soviet workers and began targeting Westerners who didn’t necessarily know about the reality of Soviet situation. This is the reason for this blatant seemingly ridiculous 180* flip-flop.

 

Eastman’s assertion that the Central Committee was anxious to conceal (that is, not to publish) Comrade Lenin’s article on the Workers and Peasants Inspection is equally untrue.”

Eastman’s quotation from the wording of the “Testament” is equally wrong… This was published by counter revolutionists.

Eastman’s assertions that the Central Committee confiscated my pamphlet… are untrue, and are based on fantastic rumors.”

Eastman is again wrong in asserting that Comrade Lenin offered me the post of chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, and of the Council of Labor and Defense”

“An attentive perusal of Eastman’s book would doubtless give me the opportunity of pointing out a number of other inaccuracies, errors, and misrepresentations. I do not, however, think that it would be of interest to go further.”
Leon Trotsky, “Letter on Eastman’s Book”, 1925

 

Trotsky was singing to quite a different tune three years later:

 

“Comrade Max Eastman… is a devoted friend of the October revolution… an absolutely irreproachable revolutionist”
Leon Trotsky, “On Max Eastman”, September 1928

 

trotsky_poster_destroy_verm

The results of the 1st & 2nd Five-Year Plans: Soviet industrial revolution.

The following are economic statistics from the Soviet Union’s First and Second Five-Year Plans with my commentary giving some context and helping you better interpret the numbers.

The four periods depicted in these statistics are the following:

1) The last Czarist census of 1913. This represents the height of the economic development of the Russian Empire. The economy of the Russian Empire declined during WWI (1914-1917).

2) The NEP figures of 1929. These figures depict the state of the economy before planned economy was fully implemented. During the NEP industry was largely nationalized but farming was mostly done by private producers and there existed a private sector of capitalist manufacturers. The goal of the NEP was to rebuild the country after the devastating Civil War (1918-1922). At the beginning of the NEP the Soviet Economy was in shambles and production at a worse state then in 1913.

3) The First Five-Year Plan (1928-1932). The implementation of Planned Economy, Industrialization and the Collectivization of Agriculture. All sectors of the economy grew during this time especially industry but also food production, consumer goods production and military spending.

4) The Second Five Year Plan (1933-1938) Consolidation of Collective Farming, the completion of the vast industrial projects of the first plan, massive increase in military spending. The 1937 constitution: implementation of free healthcare, free compulsory schooling. Massive improvements in education: construction of thousands of schools, academies and institutions of higher learning, cinemas, theaters and cultural institutions for the common people.

 

AGRICULTURE:

Co-operative farming and use of modern technology allowed the cultivation of previously unused land. Area under crops increased both compared to the last Czarist census of 1913 and the NEP figures. The bad weather of 1932-33 caused a temporary decrease:

Area under crops in ussr 1913-1933.jpg

 

The trend of fast growth continued and intensified during the Second Five-Year Plan:

Areas under all crops in ussr 1913-38.jpg

 

 

Most of the land was cultivated by Collective Farmers while the remaining land was cultivated by private farmers and the State Sector:

Area under crops per sector 1929-33.jpg
The Collective Farm Movement that had existed in Russia since at least 1905 gained new energy after the October Revolution and fastened it’s pace even more during the NEP. In 1928 it became an official government campaign and reached a tremendous speed. The rate of collectivization in 1930-32 was blindingly fast, even too fast. Stalin said the Collective Farm Activists were being “Dizzy With Success”. In 1933-38 the speed was reduced to a more manageable rate:

302dbe6ab0a86c7dca65a04a617370d7.png

 

 

The amount of food crops produced increased tremendously during both Five-Year Plans as did the production of industrial crops. Notice the fluctuation in the level of sugar-beet farming: The 1929 figure represents the aftermath of the devastating Civil War that destroyed the economy, production increased massively in 1930. In 1931-32 the sugar-beet sector was reorganized which also caused a temporary reduction. In 1933 production began to increase yet again:

Area under industrial crops in ussr 1913-1933.jpg

 

 

During the Second Five-Year Plan the growth continued at a more consistent rate. At first glance you might think the production of grain actually didn’t increase much however this is not true: the production of grain increased from 1929 and from 1933 figures which were lower then the 1913 pre-War numbers. Secondly although grain production was only 118,6% of the pre-War figures it was achieved with a vastly smaller proportional work force. During the 1930s the USSR had gone from an agrarian country to an industrial country. Millions of people had moved from the countryside to the cities and an increasing amount of farmland had been harnessed for farming industrial crops. Despite all of this food production was greater then ever before!

“A peasant population rising from 120.7 to 132 million people between 1926 and 1940 was able to feed an urban population that increased from 26.3 to 61 million in the same period.” ~Ludo Martens (Another View of Stalin)

gross production of grain and industrial crops in the ussr 1913-38.jpg

 

The amount of livestock decreased during the First Five-Year Plan. The reasons were twofold:

1) The sabotage by Kulaks and the Middle Peasants under Kulak influence. Almost all draft animals used to be owned by Kulaks. This allowed them to kill such a high number of them. (The idea that killing of animals was widespread among poor peasants is a myth, since the poor peasants typically owned no animals at all.) This caused serious economic damage to the USSR.

2) The breeding of animals was done almost exclusively by the Kulaks. It took several years for the Kulak animal breeding to be replaced by Collective Farm animal breeding since during the First Five-Year Plan most Collectives focused on crop production:

Livestock in ussr 1916-1933.jpg

 

 

During the Second Five-Year Plan the number of livestock increased as animal breeding was taken over by Collective Farmers. The number of horses increased less then other animals because draft horses were being replaced by tractors more and more:

livestock in the ussr 1916-38.jpg

 

 

The development of industry, construction of machine building plants greatly benefited agriculture. The number of tractors used by peasants went from basically nothing to tens and hundreds of thousands. The Soviet State setup Machine and Tractor Stations (MTS) which supplied the Collective Farmers with machinery:

Number of tractors used 1929-33.jpg

 

As new tractor plants were built the amount of tractors also increased in State Sector Farms:

Number of tractors in state farms 1930-33.jpg

 

 

MTSs:

Number of tractors in Tractor stations 1930-33.jpg

 

Amount of tractors used doubled during the Second Five-Year Plan:

Tractors employed in the USSR 1933-38.jpg

 

During the Second Five-Year Plan the amount of combines grew by 600%. Amount of lorries by more then 700%, cars by 240% and other vehicles by around 150%:

harvester combines and other machines used in ussr 1933-38.jpg

INDUSTRY:

The 1930s Great Depression devastated the economies of the Capitalist countries but had little impact on the economically blockaded Socialist Soviet Union. On the contrary the USSR was developing at a staggering rate due to it’s policy of industrialization. Soviet GDP growth at the time was fastest in the world:

17ee8c993e734cde2f545f897b51d786.png

 

 

The growth was biggest in the industrial sector. While the Capitalist economies stagnated and collapsed the USSR’s output more then tripled that of the Russian Empire, UK, USA, Germany and France:

Industrial output 1913-33 official soviet statistics.jpg

 

 

 

The USSR’s industrial output doubled between 1929-1933!

Industrial output 1929-33 official soviet statistics.jpg

 

 

During the First and Second Five-Year Plans (1928-1938) the industrial output of the USSR more then quadrupled! During this time Capitalist countries had only negligible growth:

industrial output 1929-38.jpg

industrial progress of the ussr 1934-38.jpg

 

 

 

Industrial output by sectors. The bulk was State Industry but a substantial chunk belonged to worker Co-ops and a small amount to remaining private producers and foreign corporations with trade deals with the Soviet government:

Output of large-scale industry according to sector 1929-1933.jpg

 

 

By the end of the First Five-Year Plan big industry had become 70% of the GDP. The USSR had become an industrial nation!

Relative importance of industry 1913-1933.jpg

 

Machine and Factory Building compared to Consumer Goods production at the end of the First Five-Year Plan. Construction of machines doubled while production of consumer goods increased by 60%:

Relative importance of two main brances of industry 1929-1933.jpg

While in the Russian Empire most industry was involved in raw materials (mining and especially cotton) in the USSR Machine Building became the leading branch of industry:

Relative importance of various brances of industry 1913-1933.jpg

 


 

TRADE & FREIGHT:

 

National trade. Steady increase in the sale of  consumer goods, commercial products, trade among collectives, co-ops and State enterprises:

Trade turnover in the ussr 1933-38.jpg

 

Freight traffic increased together with increased trade and as a result of the building of new roads, railways and channels:

Freight traffic in the ussr 1933-38.jpg

EDUCATION & CULTURAL LEVEL:

According to the last Czarist census of 1897 literate people made up 28,4% of the population while only 13% of women were literate. Among the rural population the number was only 19%. It is estimated that in 1917 around 30% of the population was literate but during the civil war the number decreased.

In 1919 the Bolsheviks began the literacy campaign Likbez. In 1926 51% of the population were literate. By the end of the Second Five-Year Plan male literacy was 90.8% and female literacy 72.5%.

 

Amount of elementary schools increased by four thousand between 1933-1939. Amount of secondary schools doubled. The number of public libraries, worker clubs and cinemas also increased. Before the industrialization & electrification campaign most people had never seen movies or had access to a library. In fact most people couldn’t even read.

rise in the cultural level of people in ussr 1933-39.jpg

The number of schools quadrupled as 16,000 were built between 1933-38!

number of schools built in ussr 1933-38.jpg

 

The amount of people graduating from the new Soviet Higher Educational Institutions doubled between 1933-1938:

young specialists graduated from higher education institutes in ussr 1933-38.jpg

 

HEALTHCARE & LIFE EXPECTANCY

In the 1937 Soviet Constitution healthcare was guaranteed as a human right.

According to the 1913 Czarist census life expectancy among the population was 32.3 years. By 1958 the life expectancy had doubled to 68.6 years.

 

After 1937 life expectancy increased rapidly:

 image003.jpg

 

Its quite dramatic that the Russian life expectancy has not really increased after the dissolution of the USSR! In the mid-late 90s it actually decreased. In 2012 Russian life expectancy was 69 years:

220px-Russian_male_life_expectancy.jpg

SOURCES:

Literacy
Russian imperial census (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Empire_Census)
Russia U.S.S.R.: A Complete Handbook New York: William Farquhar Payson. 1933. p. 665.
Stalin’s peasants New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 225-6 & fn. 78 p. 363. 

GDP
Official data of soviet statistical bureau
The Russian Federation Before and After the Soviet Union, Alexey Shumkov
-http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/photo/active/72.jpg
-http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/photo/active/77.jpg
-http://www.ggdc.net/maddison/Historical_Statistics/horizontal-file_02-2010.xls

Life expectancy
-http://www.gks.ru/free_doc/2008/demo/osn/05-08.htm
-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Russian_male_life_expectancy.jpg
-http://i.stack.imgur.com/8Fj8E.png
-http://missinglink.ucsf.edu/lm/russia_guide/Russianhealth2_files/image003.jpg

The so-called “Lenin’s Testament” and Trotskyist anti-communist mythology

1. LENIN’S “TESTAMENT”

 

One of the most frequent arguments Trotskyists use against Marxism-Leninism is that in his “Testament” Lenin ‘ordered’ Stalin to be removed from his post. It is also often claimed that Lenin even wanted Stalin to be replaced by Trotsky as the future leader of the party. Actually this couldn’t be further from the truth.

What Lenin actually said:

“Stalin is too rude and this defect, although quite tolerable in our midst and in dealing among us Communists, becomes intolerable in a Secretary-General. That is why I suggest that the comrades think about a way of removing Stalin from that post and appointing another man in his stead who in all other respects differs from Comrade Stalin in having only one advantage, namely, that of being more tolerant, more loyal, more polite and more considerate…”(Lenin – Addition to letter II to the congress)


Pay close attention to what is said: A) Stalin is too “rude” B) he should be replaced by some hypothetical person who is identical to him except less rude.


1) Lenin had no dictatorial control over this issue. The letter was merely a suggestion. The Congress considered it but voted in favor of keeping Stalin in his post. Even Trotsky and Zinoviev voted in Stalin’s favor.

As Trotsky pointed out: “Congress devoted the greatest attention to this and to the other letters, and drew the appropriate conclusions.” More about that later.

2) Stalin was the general-secretary but not the leader of the party. Lenin was the leader. Lenin didn’t want Stalin to be removed from the position of “party leader” because he was not one.

3) Lenin said nothing about putting Trotsky in Stalin’s place as leader or as general secretary.


The idea that Lenin wanted Trotsky to replace Stalin as “the leader” was introduced by an American Trotskyist, Max Eastman in his book. Its a myth. This is what Trotsky himself said about the book:

Eastman is again wrong in asserting that Comrade Lenin offered me the post of chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, and of the Council of Labor and Defense. I hear of this for the first time from Eastman’s book.”(Trotsky – Letter on Eastman’s Book)

4) Lenin only suggested Stalin’s removed from his post as the General-secretary but didn’t say a word about him being removed from any other of his posts or from the Central Committee or Politburo.


FIRST CONCLUSION: Lenin did not want Stalin to be removed from positions of power or be replaced by Trotsky. He complained about Stalin’s rudeness but said he should be replaced by someone identical but less rude. Such a person didn’t exist, apart from Stalin himself.

 

The obvious question to ask would be why did Lenin suggest Stalin’s removal from this particular post?

In 1922 Lenin had a stroke and was forced to stop political work. He continued writing and even wrote significant works such as “On Co-operation” which argued in favor of the possibility of building Socialism in one country. However his condition deteriorated, he had another stroke and was confined to a wheelchair. He still tried to keep in touch with politics and dictated several letters and other documents until he eventually lost the ability to speak.

But what is this about rudeness? Stalin was made responsible of Lenin’s health by the Central Committee (Stalin, Trotsky, Dzerzhinsky, Kalinin, Molotov, Bukharin, Zinoviev etc.). The doctors ordered that Lenin was not to be involved in politics because he had to avoid stress. He was also prohibited from reading political documents.


Lenin didn’t like it one bit although he jokinly said to Stalin:“I am not allowed to read the newspapers”,”and I must not talk politics. I carefully avoid every scrap of paper lying on the table, lest it turn out to be a newspaper and lead to a breach of discipline.”
(Comrade Lenin on Vacation, notes)


As his condition worsened he grew agitated and frustrated. Stalin was constantly there making sure he wasn’t doing political work. Lenin eventually asked his wife N. Krupskaya and his sister M. Ulyanova to start smuggling him political documents which they did against the doctors orders. It is quite probably that this is the reason why Lenin was agitated with Stalin and probably emotionally unstable due to his severe condition.

Note that the part where Lenin criticizes Stalin’s rudeness was a later addition to letter II. In the original later he said nothing about Stalin’s rudeness. Having known Stalin for years it seems odd that he would suddenly become so concerned about his manners unless it was because of his illness.

I think its worthwhile to hear the opinion of Lenin’s sister Maria:

There was an incident between Lenin and Stalin which comrade Zinoviev mentions in his speech and which took place not long before Ilyich lost his power of speech (March, 1923) but it was completely personal and had nothing to do with politics. Comrade Zinoviev knew this very well and to quote it was absolutely unnecessary. This incident took place because on the demand of the doctors the Central Committee gave Stalin the charge of keeping a watch so that no political news reached Lenin during this period of serious illness. This was done so as not to upset him and so that his condition did not deteriorate, he (Stalin) even scolded his family for conveying this type of information. Ilyich, who accidentally came to know about this and who was also always worried about such a strong regime of protection, in turn scolded Stalin. Stalin apologized and with this the incident was settled. What is there to be said – during this period, as I had indicated, if Lenin had not been so seriously ill then he would have reacted to the incident differently. There are documents regarding this incident and on the first demand from the Central Committee I can present them.

This way, I affirm that all the talk of the opposition about Lenin’s relation towards Stalin does not correspond to reality. These relations were most intimate and friendly and remained so.”(26th July 1926. M. Ulyanova.)

I am compelled to believe Maria Ulyanova who was probably the most objective source imaginable on this issue.

It is worth noting that Krupskaya (Lenin’s wife) was a long time comrade of Stalin’s but at the time a supporter of Zinoviev, although not a supporter of Trotsky.


Here is Krupskaya on Trotsky in 1925:

“Marxist analysis was never Comrade Trotsky’s strong point.”

“…when such a comrade as Trotsky treads, even unconsciously, the path of revision of Leninism, then the Party must make a pronouncement.”(N. Krupskaya – The Lessons of October, Source: The errors of Trotskyism)

Its worth noting that Zinoviev and Kamenev vacilated between Trotskyism and Leninism and in 1925 opposed Trotsky while in 1926 moving to his side.

SECOND CONCLUSION: Its very probable that Lenin only criticized Stalin due to his severe illness. Its very likely that his illness led him to be overly concerned about Stalin’s real or imaginary rudeness. Also, despite the fact that Krupskaya wasn’t a supporter of Stalin at the time she was not a supporter of Trotsky either. She was actually much more supportive of Stalin then Trotsky whom she openly and sharply criticized.

In fact, Krupskaya was eventually convinced of the correctness of Stalin’s policy:

“The masses can see how completely, tirelessly comrade Stalin is giving himself to this sacred work, the work of Lenin, the building of socialism, how he is carrying them forward towards a better life. Everybody can see that and they believe him, he is surrounded by their trust and love.

The Trotskyites and the Zinovievs did not think about the masses. They were not living in reality. They were thinking only about how to capture power” (N. KrupskayaWhy Is the Second International Defending Trotsky?)



Not to mention Krupskaya and Stalin had been comrades in the party for decades. Krupskaya had praised Stalin’s early works defending Leninism e.g. Briefly about disagreements in the party and Socialism or Anarchism? She only sided against Stalin on this one issue for a short period of time.


2. ORIGIN OF THE “TESTAMENT” MYTHOLOGY

Modern Trotskyism and right-wing anti-communist propaganda considers it an established fact that:
1) Trotsky was Lenin’s rightful successor

2) Lenin indicated this in a Testament

3) Stalin banned and concealed the Testament

In fact none of those claims are true. As we’ve already established Lenin said nothing about Stalin being removed from positions of power, about Trotsky’s power being increased and its questionable how serious he was about Stalin being replaced by anyone as secretary-general.

These rumors (or rather lies and slanders) have a source. All of them can be traced back to a book by the American Trotskyist Max Eastman.

Conveniently for us Trotsky himself refuted all of these lies although later he himself began spreading them. Most Trotskyists probably learn these falsehoods from Trotsky’s autobiography and accept them as gospel truth. In any case they are pure fiction as you’ll soon find out.

Soon after Lenin’s death rumors about Eastman’s scandalous book began circulating. To Soviet communists the information in Eastman’s book was obviously false and because Eastman was a devout Trotskyist, mr. Leon Trotsky himself was forced to respond to Eastman. He had no choice but to distance himself from Eastman’s anti-soviet and unconvincing lies.

Trotsky originally refuted every single one of Eastman’s lies but later himself began spreading the exact same lies. The following section is going to seem somewhat schizophrenic. I’ll be quoting Trotsky from 1925 and 1928 and you’ll notice he is saying completely polar opposite things, contradicting himself at every turn. So without further ado allow me to present “Trotsky debates Trotsky”.

Trotsky – Letter on Eastman’s Book, 1925: 

Eastman’s book to which you refer is unknown to me. The bourgeois newspapers that quoted it have not reached me. Of course, I deny in advance and most categorically any commentaries directed against the Russian Communist Party.”

“Eastman arrives at conclusions directed entirely against our party, which are likely, if given credence, to discredit the party as well as the Soviet government. “

“The bourgeois press, especially the Menshevik press, makes use of Eastman’s statements, quotes from his reminiscences, in order to emphasize his “close relations,” his “friendship” with me (as my biographer) and by such indirect means attaching an importance to his conclusions which they do not and cannot have.”

Let’s recap. Trotsky distances himself from Eastman saying that they were never very close nor friends. That Eastman’s conclusions don’t have and cannot have any importance. That his conclusions are anti-soviet lies.

Three years later he praised Eastman:

Trotsky – On Max Eastman,1928:

“I received your inquiry about comrade Max Eastman who is played up from time as a bogie by our press, being almost depicted as a hireling of the bourgeoisie, selling it the state secrets of the USSR. This is a shameless lie. Comrade Max Eastman is an American revolutionist of the John Reed type, a devoted friend of the October revolution. “

Trotsky – Letter on Eastman’s Book, 1925:

“Eastman’s quotation from the wording of the “Testament” is equally wrong. This was published in the Sotsialistichesky Vestnik and was stolen from the party archives, so to speak, by counterrevolutionists. In reality the wording as published in the Vestnik passed through many hands before its appearance in this paper. It was “freshened up” again and again, and distorted to such an extent that it is absolutely impossible to restore its original meaning. It is possible that the alterations were made by the editorial staff of this paper.”

In 1925 Trotsky pointed out that the letters to congress were not a “testament” at all but merely letters of advice. He also points out that after Eastman leaked the contents to bourgeois newspapers they’ve been distorted beyond belief and used against the Soviet government.

In contrast see what he says here:

Trotsky – On Max Eastman, 1928:

“There was nothing at all underhand in such a utilization by Eastman of a newspaper for the sake of publicity. Even on the pages of a bourgeois newspaper the Testament of Lenin remains Lenin’s testament.

Suddenly he didn’t see anything wrong with releasing the letters for the bourgeois press to distort. In fact he doesn’t even mention that they were distorted at all. Also notice that while previously he said that the letters were not a “testament” of any kind he now himself uses the word TESTAMENT without quotation marks!

He goes on to say that it was correct to do this because Lenin gave interviews to foreign newspapers which apparently in Trotsky’s mind is the same as handing confidental documents about inter-party affairs to bourgeois newspapers which, to quote Trotsky, “is so much altered as to be almost unrecognizable” and use them to “discredit the party as well as the Soviet government”.

Trotsky – On Max Eastman, 1928:

“desiring at any cost to give the widest possible publicity to Lenin’s Testament, Eastman handed it over to an American bourgeois newspaper. Everyone of us, both before and during the epoch of the Soviet government, has had more than one occasion to resort to foreign bourgeois newspapers in order to give one bit of news or another the wide circulation which we could otherwise not obtain. Lenin on more than one occasion utilized such publicity in the form of interviews given to foreign journalists. One must also add that except for an absolutely insignificant minority, American workers read only the bourgeois press.”

Here’s some more:

Trotsky – Letter on Eastman’s Book, 1925:

“Eastman asserts in several places that the Central Committee has “concealed” from the party a large number of documents of extraordinary importance, written by Lenin during the last period of his life. (The documents in question are letters on the national question, the famous “Testament,” etc.) This is pure slander against the Central Committee of our party. Eastman’s words convey the impression that Lenin wrote these letters, which are of an advisory character and deal with the inner-party organization, with the intention of having them published. This is not at all in accordance with the facts. “

Trotsky – Letter on Eastman’s Book, 1925:

Eastman’s assertions that the Central Committee confiscated my pamphlets and articles in 1923 or 1924, or at any other time or by any other means has prevented their publication, are untrue, and are based on fantastic rumors.

Eastman is again wrong in asserting that Comrade Lenin offered me the post of chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, and of the Council of Labor and Defense. I hear of this for the first time from Eastman’s book.”

Trotsky – Letter on Eastman’s Book, 1925:

“During his illness, Lenin repeatedly addressed letters and proposals to the leading bodies and congresses of the party. It must be definitely stated that all these letters and suggestions were invariably delivered to their destination and they were all brought to the knowledge of the delegates to the Twelfth and Thirteenth Congresses, and have invariably exercised their influence on the decisions of the party. If all of these letters have not been published, it is because their author did not intend them to be published. Comrade Lenin has not left any “Testament”; the character of his relations to the party, and the character of the party itself, preclude the possibility of such a “Testament.” The bourgeois and Menshevik press generally understand under the designation of “Testament” one of Comrade Lenin’s letters (which is so much altered as to be almost unrecognizable) in which he gives the party some organizational advice. The Thirteenth Party Congress devoted the greatest attention to this and to the other letters, and drew the appropriate conclusions. All talk with regard to a concealed or mutilated “Testament” is nothing but a despicable lie, directed against the real will of Comrade Lenin and against the interests of the party created by him. “

Here Trotsky adequately points out the same thing that was said by everyone else in the Soviet Union at the time. The letters to congress were spefically adressed to the party congress and not ment to be published at all. There was no conspiracy to conceal anything.


However three years later he claims precisely that the letters which he now calls a testament were hidden and banned by “stalinist censorship” and that they should be published.

Trotsky – On Max Eastman, 1928:

“Stalinist censorship had placed a ban on Lenin’s Testament ”

While previously Trotsky said that he was not close with Eastman or a friend and that Eastman was spreading anti-soviet, anti-party falsehoods now he praises Eastman as an “irreproachable revolutionist” and a friend and supporter of the October revolution and the Trotskyist Opposition.

Trotsky – On Max Eastman, 1928:
“He [Eastman] is a poet, writer, and journalist; he came to the Soviet Republic during the initial difficult years of her existence, learned the Russian language here, and came into intimate contact with our internal life in order to defend better and with greater assurance the Soviet Republic before the national masses of America.”


“Eastman is an absolutely irreproachable revolutionist “

“To the extent that news has reached me about Eastman for the last year, he remains right now what he has been: a friend of the October revolution and a supporter of the views of the Opposition. “

There you have it. Judge for yourselves…

Only the most naive or ignorant people could believe Trotsky’s fairytales. He was nothing but a despicable liar and a tool of right-wing, anti-communist & anti-Soviet propaganda.

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