The meteoric rise of China

Taimur Rahman Political Archive

Published in The Post 28/05/2006

Taimur Rahman

Completely contrary to the current image of a dynamic and driven economy, China at the beginning of the 20th century was a backward, rural, poverty-stricken, feudal society torn apart by warlords and imperial interests. How then did this transformation from “a dinosaur that had survived into the wrong age” to the “fastest growing economy in the world” occur? China’s GDP has risen from Renminbi (Rmb) 362.4 billion in 1978 to Rmb 13.7 trillion in 2004 (both figures at current prices). That implies that the economy is 37 times larger than it was two and a half decades ago. Recently China built the largest hydroelectric dam in the entire world. The Three Gorges Dam not only has the ability to control floods, it can generate the power of 17 nuclear power-plants. Today there are more than eight million industrial enterprises in China. State-owned enterprises…

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Interview with Russell Bentley, American Communist in Donbass

Interview with Russell Bentley, an American military veteran and communist who went to fight for Donetsk People’s Republic in 2014.
This interview was conducted by Comrade Jacobin aka “Raven”. You can also read it on Russell’s blog:
http://www.russelltexasbentley.com/2018/08/from-real-communist-ans-anti-fascist-in.html 

Also check out the skype interview with Russell Bentley:

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Question 1: What is the immediate military situation for Novorussia? We know the military battle lines have stabilized to a certain degree, as Novorussia has held onto the territories of Lughansk, and Donetsk, who’s borders extend all the way south to the Sea of Azov, east of Mariupol. Are there still constant border skirmishes like there were in the earlier years of the war, or has the fighting calmed down somewhat?

The military situation is currently stable, which means the center of the city is relatively safe, but there is still shooting on the front line positions every day. Civilian areas near the front are also still shelled on a regular (almost daily) basis. The threat of a major ukrop offensive is still very real. Most people here believe that the war will not end without one more major battle. That battle will begin with a major military offensive by the ukrop army against the entire Novorussian Front, and it will end only with the liberation and 

de-nazification of all of Ukraine. And the USA.

Question 2: Have the people of Donbass adjusted to the current borders, or are they still focused on gaining most of eastern Ukraine back, like when the war first started in 2014

We have friends and family in the cities of Eastern Ukraine now under nazi control. They suffer. 

Our ultimate goal is to de-nazify all of Ukraine, one way or another. 

Question 3: What would you say would be the percentage of the population in Novorussia who want to their territory to become part of the Russian Federation? Is it higher than the percentage of people who want to stay strictly independent from both Ukraine and Russia? Are there also people there who want to remain part of Ukraine but without the current government?

I believe most people here would like to see Ukraine return to it’s historic place as a strong independent ally of Russia. Ukrainians are rightly proud of their history and culture, which is closely intertwined with Russia’s. The goal is to drive the nazis from power, liberate all of Ukraine, punish the war criminals, and return to being a democratic nation closely allied with Russia, as Ukraine has been for the last 1,000 years.

Question 4: The Ukrainian nationalists have recently released a video of them harassing gypsies, destroying their homes and tents, and it seems like Azov Battalion and Praviy Sektor are ramping up their ethnic cleansing. Is it also your view that the ethnic cleansing is increasing, or have these crimes been occurring at the same rate the whole time and it just hasn’t been exposed until recently? Do you have any stories of more things like this happening?

The crimes of nazis like Pravy Sektor and Azov are ongoing. And they are truly horrific. Human trafficking and organ trafficking are rampant in areas under their control. Kiev is now the child prostitution capitol of Europe. Hardcore nazis from Western Ukraine consider the people of Donbass to be Russians, and sub-human, and act accordingly. NAF prisoners held by nazis are tortured and murdered on a regular basis.

It should be duly noted that ukrop nazis, and nazis in general, prefer to attack unarmed people.

Question 5: You have espoused that you are a communist in many of your previous interviews. What do you personally, and your organization, Essence of Time, define Communism and Socialism as, and how does this apply to Novorussia? Many communists in the west have the criticism that private property and most normal apparatuses of the capitalist mode of production still function in Donbass. How would you reply to or reconcile with this criticism?

To be honest, I laugh at most “Communists” in the West. The vast majority are cowards, hypocrites and poseurs, whose “communism” goes no further than buying a Che Guevara T-shirt from Amazon, and maybe reading a book or two from which to endlessly quote. The fact that they sit in the West, doing nothing but criticizing us here is a perfect example. They spend more time criticizing their comrades than actually fighting real fascists. Ask any group of “Communists” in the West how many have actually killed a nazi. I have. 

People whose “contribution” is nothing more than criticizing those who have done a thousandfold more than they ever will are beneath contempt. When I was in Cuba in 1995, I had a very enlightening discussion with a Cuban Army captain. I said I was a Socialist, and she said she was a Communist. I asked what the difference was, and she replied, “A Communist is someone who is willing to fight for Socialism.” Being willing to fight means being willing to die. By this measure, there are very, very few Communists in the West. But I and my comrades in Essence of Time have earned the right to call ourselves Communists.

It’s high time those who call themselves “Communists” in the West, especially the US, do the same.

Medical care and education are free in the DPR. Food, energy, housing, transportation and communication are a fraction of the cost of what they are in the West, but are as good or better in quality. It’s a good start. This is the Socialism we have fought for, and won. Those who have done the same or better are perhaps qualified to criticize or advise us. Those who have not should shut the fuck up and get to work, unless, as is too often the case, they are too stupid to learn from our example. Then they should just shut the fuck up.

Question 6: When one researches the war in Donbass via conventional sources on the internet such as Wikipedia, there are listed a number of military units fighting on the side of the Novorussian army which are very right wing, such as National Bolsheviks, Russian National Unity, and Serbian Chetniks, all groups which most socialists and communists are vehemently opposed to. For many leftists in the west, this is something which turns them off to supporting the struggle in Donetsk and Lughansk. Many of them (western marxists) admit that there are indeed Nazis on the side of the Ukrainians, but also claim there are Nazis and ultranationalists on the Novorussian side as well. To what degree do these right wing military units operate, and what comments do you have about this? Many will see this as the most important question in the interview.

There have been a few (perhaps 2 dozen, total, out of an army of 60,000) “nationalists” in the ranks of the NAF, all foreigners, mostly in the early days of the war, but they are all gone now. No one I served with at the Front would ever serve beside someone with a nazi tattoo or point of view.  We would probably have killed them. There are Cossacks and even Monarchists in the NAF, but they are in no way fascist or ultra-nationalist. And they stand beside real Communists here, in battle, against real nazis, as brothers in arms.

Anyone who claims there are nazis or ultra-nationalists fighting for the Donbass Republics is an idiot, a liar, or both. It is as stupid a saying “Communism is as bad as nazism.” They use this as their excuse for their failure to support one of the most communist and progressive revolutionary movements in the world today. Again, cowardice and hypocrisy, and again, unwarranted and unqualified criticism from people who not only have never done shit, but don’t even know what the fuck they are talking about, criticizing those who have actually fought fascism and won. 

Question 7. The Donbass region has a rich history of socialist ideals and anti fascist mentalities. The Stakhanovite movement was birthed there, Donbass put up a heroic resistance against the German Nazis during WWII, and up until recently, Odessa was known as a heavily multicultural city where hundreds of different nationalities could live among each other in peace. To what degree do you think the Novorussian population is enthusiastic about socialism past the point of nostalgia or national pride from the USSR days?

Donetsk too, is one of the most multi-cultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world.  When John Hughes founded his steel mill and coal mines here in 1869, he sent out advertisements all over the world for people to come get a good job with fair pay. People from over 100 nations responded and moved to Donetsk, then called  “Yuzovka”. The Donbass region has historically been one of the most staunchly Communist areas of the entire USSR. The people here have what it takes to be real Communists – a deep understanding of the theory and history, their own history of struggle, sacrifice, and victory, and real world experience of the rewards of Socialism as well as the evils of Capitalism and fascism. And they are willing to fight when they have to. I would say that even with its imperfections, the Donbass Republics are the vanguard and best example of what Communist people can do in the world today.

Question 8: We know that some factories in Donbass have been nationalized. How widespread is this nationalization, and do you see this spreading to all other sectors of the economy?

Some factories and businesses have been expropriated from oligarchs and nationalized. The DPR economy in general is geared towards benefiting society rather than enriching the wealthy class. It is an ongoing process.  I will say that the quality of life is better here for the average worker than it is anywhere in the US or even most of the EU. This is because the government is responsive to the will of the people. 

Question 9: How do you reconcile Donbass having a state religion (Eastern Orthodoxy) with communist principles? In the Soviet Union and in most Eastern Bloc countries during the cold war, religion was discouraged. Do you feel that this was a mistake? What are your views on liberation theology?

Jesus Christ was the first Communist. He shared what he had equally with others, drove the money changers from the temple with a whip, and gave his life for what he believed in. I have three close personal friends here who are Orthodox priests. All have served in the DPR Army, as soldiers. As the saying goes, “There are no atheists in foxholes”. Some of the greatest anti-fascists in modern history have been men of God – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Oscar Romero, the Berrigan brothers, and above all, Hassan Nasrallah. Soldiers. 

Essence of Time considers the anti-religious aspect of the USSR to have been one of its biggest mistakes. I see no contradiction between Communism and religion. Although I do look at organized religion with some suspicion, I consider the Russian Orthodox Church to be the most trustworthy and least corrupt of any major sect of Christianity. And it is NOT the “state religion”. We don’t have one. There are Jews, Muslims, Catholic and Protestant worshipers and places of worship in Donetsk.

Question 10: You have mentioned in a video you made for people who want to come to Donbass that jobs there are scarce. If people are unemployed in Donbass does that mean that they are forced out onto the street like they are in the United States and other capitalist countries? Do you have a right to a job in Donbass, and, if not, does the state take adequate care of you until you find one? To what extent does homelessness exist in Donbass?

There is no homelessness in the Donbass Republics. None. Everyone here has a place to live, given by the state. If they can’t pay their electric bill, the electricity is not turned off. Many people are employed by the state doing work such as cleaning streets or tending public gardens. It is not necessary work, but it improves the quality of life for everybody here, and the salary, while small, is enough to live on. I will say it again – the quality of life for the average worker here is better than anywhere in the West, and it continues to improve. And doing so under siege conditions.

Question 11: How active are labor unions in Donetsk and Lughansk? The Ukrainian nationalists burned down the trade unions house in the famous Odessa massacre, do you think this was incidental, or do you think it corresponds with Nazi ideology and how the NSDAP historically crushed union power in Germany?

I do not really know what the status of labor unions is in the Donbass Republics is, but I know they exist and have political and economic power. Particularly among the coal miners.

Question 12: What rights do citizens living in Donbass have? We know that Aleksey Mozgovoy professed a stated goal for Novorussia that included the right to education and healthcare. What progress towards this goal has been achieved in the region?

Education and medical care are free and of excellent quality. Sometimes people must buy their own medicine, but it costs a small fraction of what it would cost in the West. 

Question 13: How would you respond to the claim that rebel control of the Donbass region is evidence of Russian imperialism? Also, what is your view of Russia generally? It is known that Russia is a capitalist state since the early 1990’s, but do you view them as imperialist? Why or why not?

Again, only idiots and liars speak of “Russian imperialism”. The people of Donbass are defending themselves against a foreign installed fascist regime. Russia helps us. Russia has many imperfections, but imperialism is not one of them. The USSR improved the quality of life in every single place where they exerted influence, they did not colonize these places and extract profits or resources. Just as in Donbass today, where the Russian Federation gives much more to support Donbass than they receive in return. Certainly the same can be said of Russia’s support for Syria. While Russia does have serious problems,  I would say the quality of life overall is better there than in the West, and while the quality of life continues to improve in Russia, it continues to decline in the West.

Question 14: What are the differences between the Lughansk and Donetsk governments? Do they have differing views on what rights their citizens should have? Are there different laws in each respective region? Is the political and military structure between the two united?

Although the two Republics are separate entities, they are united militarily, politically and economically. The legal and social structures are very similar, if not identical.

Question 15: It has been 3 years since you conducted the interview with Vice correspondent Simon Ostrovsky. How do you reflect on this interview? What is your view of Vice’s portrayal of the Ukrainian situation? Have you watched the Russian Roulette series on Vice, and what do you think of it?

Ostrovsky is a textbook example of a “presstitute” – a professional liar whose job is to conceal and obscure the truth, which he does for money. Vice News is a disinfo and propaganda machine funded by George Soros. There is not a single major Western “news” agency that can be trusted. Not one. But Ostrovsky’s interview of me has been viewed over 400,000 times, with an almost 10 to 1 ratio of thumbs up to thumbs down. In spite of his best (or worst) efforts, the video was a big success for me and the DPR.

Question 16: Events in the United States have been heating up for a number of years now, and today it is normal for the “Alt Right” to gather in the streets with the Ku Klux Klan and hold torchlight rallies like Azov and Praviy Sektor do in Ukraine. Many socialists and anti fascists here have been starting a new socialist gun culture in the United States with the Socialist Rifle Association, Redneck Revolt, and The John Brown Gun Club. Do you feel that this is an appropriate response to events? Should the left be prepared for the worst, or do you think the government will eventually solve these contradictions in American politics and culture? Furthermore, is it appropriate for leftists to trust that the government will quell the fascist flame if it begins to burn?

The fascist flame has been burning in the USA since before you or I or anyone reading this article were born. And the US government and the people who own it are the ones who lit it and keep it burning. They are the mortal enemies of the American people, and of Humanity at large. It is long past time for a revolution in the USA. The oligarchy and government are corrupt beyond any hope of redemption. It is time to tear it down and start over. As for guns – yes, everyone should own and know how to use one, but there is a HUGE difference between having one and actually using one for what the 2nd Amendment intended. But again, the poseur problem – a coward with a gun is worse than useless. Many say they are ready to “fight”, but in practice, they don’t like danger. I would estimate that the number of US gun owners from the Left or the Right who would ever do more than talk, who would actually challenge the government’s monopoly on violence, who would do in the US what we have actually done here, is probably about one in a thousand. If the truth hurts, prove me wrong. 

The Essence of Time combat unit had about 50 soldiers when I joined it in December 2014. We have suffered 11 killed in action, and 15 seriously (permanently) wounded since then. That is a 50% casualty rate. We fought at some of the hottest positions on the entire Donbass Front, including the airport, Spartak and Avdeevka. We have never retreated or lost a position, even in the face of 20 to 1 odds. That is exactly what it means to be a real Communist.

And I will also give some gun advice – The US government will not enact wide scale gun confiscation. They don’t have to. When the time comes, and it will, the government will simply shut off the supply of ammunition. Ammo is much, much more difficult to produce at home than a firearm is. A firearm without ammo is just a club. Stock up while you still can.

Question 17: What are your views on communist gun ownership generally? Did you own a gun while you lived in the US? Are there laws restricting firearm ownership in Donbass where you live/do you have to be in the army or militia to own one?

Only fools and cowards are against the 2nd Amendment. They are willing to be disarmed, defenseless, against the US military and police, the most corrupt and genuinely fascist organizations on Earth.

They are nothing more than willing slaves, unworthy to be called Communists. 

I am a strong proponent of the right to bear arms. It is simply the right to self-defense. I owned and carried guns most of my adult life, regardless of the law. Again, carrying a gun is just a pose unless you’re ready and willing to use it, and I mean use it against armed enemies who will be shooting at you.  It is legal and possible for people to own guns here, even outside the police and Army. I myself have a Makarov and AK (and plenty of ammo for both.) The requirements are simply common sense – you must have a clean criminal record, pass a psychological exam, and have a secure place to store your guns. There is still a very real threat of a major ukrop offensive, so the percentage of people here who own guns is probably as high or higher than in the US.

Question 18: What is your opinion on censorship? Do you think that leftists should be against the censoring of Alex Jones because it will eventually come around to the left like in the McCarthy era? In this current moment, in terms of realpolitik, is it better to censor the right wingers using the government, or just allow them to be seen out in the open, and prepare to fight them?

Only fools, cowards and those with something to hide advocate or support censorship, of Alex Jones or anyone else, because it ALWAYS eventually comes around. Who is qualified to decide what people should be “allowed” to hear, see or read? Nobody is, and I say fuck anybody that says they are. Yes, Alex Jones is a charlatan, but he has also been correct on many issues. I’d say he’s more correct, well intentioned and respectable than ANY of the stupid scumbags, from the Right or the Left, who advocate or support   censorship. Censorship is, always has been and always will be, the tool of the oppressor. Anyone who supports it also, wittingly or not, also a tool of the oppressor. Period.

Russian mass media has political TV programs airing daily, and they often allow open fascists to debate normal people and even try to sell their ideas. To allow fascists, fools, liars and various assholes to have their say is actually the best way to fight them, by allowing them to discredit themselves. Even if the general public is stupid enough to fall for fascist ideas (as is the case in the USA, but not Russia) education is the remedy, and censorship is the exact opposite of education. 

Question 19: You once mentioned that you had spent time in prison in America, for what were you incarcerated and for how long? Did you find that you grew as a person during this time/did you learn anything about yourself or humanity while you were locked up?

I plead guilty to possession of 500 kilograms of cannabis in 1996. I was the only one of the defendants who did not “co-operate” with the Feds, so I got more time than anyone, even the “kingpin”. I got 63 months, 5 years, 3 months. I escaped on August 31st, 1999 for 2,848 days, almost 8 years. I was eventually snitched out and was returned to finish my bit in a maximum security prison.  I finished my prison sentence in 2008, and did 4 years parole.

I was a professional cannabis smuggler for about 7 years. I would move loads from Mexico to the northern USA, Minnesota, Kansas City, Seattle. I made about a quarter of a million dollars per year, and gave about 30% of it away to worthy causes. I was also one of the leading activists in the marijuana legalization movement, and used quite a bit of my money to further that cause. I would also say that the legalization of cannabis is the best, if not the only, way that life in the USA has improved in the last 30 years. I am proud to have played a part in that.

I learned a lot in prison. I learned that people like me, who refused to snitch for a sentence reduction are about 1 in 100. I read hundreds of books and studied Sociology in an inmate college education program.  In the maximum security prison I was in (SEA-TAC FDC) I actually got along better with the Blacks, Latinos, Muslims and Native Americans than I did with the Whites. It was a culturally enriching experience, though I personally do not recommend going just for the culture. But if you have to go, make the most of it.

Question 20: What cultural aspects does the United States share with Donbass? Do people there like the same type of music, movies, and so on? Do people there like to drink and smoke like they do here in America?

I’d say that people here actually drink and smoke a bit more than in the US. It is a traditional Eastern European cultural thing, as well as a reaction to the stress of being in a war zone. The GOOD people in the USA are the same as the good people here, they work towards a better world for all, and they actually WORK towards the goal, not just talk. But among the populations as a whole, the people of Donbass, are much smarter, braver, better educated and better mannered, and have much higher moral and cultural standards than people in the US or the West. 

The people here also have a much better grasp of politics and history, and  many more of my Russian friends have read Jack London,  Fennimore Cooper and other American literary classics than have my friends in the US. And while not perfect, the cultural and political solidarity here is far, far stronger and more advanced than anything in the West. I consider identity politics to be THE major cause of this critical failure of solidarity in what passes for progressive forces in the West.

Question 21: What are your views on identity politics in leftist circles? Should class struggle against the capitalists be the primary duty of communists and socialists, or should they spend an equal amount of time on various other social issues, such as racism, sexism, and homophobia?

Identity politics is an excellent way to identify idiots and provocateurs. It is the single biggest failure of “the Left” in modern history. There is only one war, the class war. Fuck every single selfish piece of shit who advocates rights only for their own sub-group of Humanity. That some groups have genuinely been more oppressed than others is beyond dispute, but giving them special privileges is as stupid as it is immoral and counter-productive. Yes, Black lives matter, but it is a fact that more White people are murdered by police than Blacks, and their lives matter every bit as much. Women, Gays, and racial minorities who are only interested in their own rights are no better than corporations that are only interested in their own profits. There can be no question that Native Americans are the most oppressed and aggrieved minority in the US today. Anyone who doesn’t stand up for their rights at least as much as their own is a hypocrite. The only way to fight for your rights is to fight for everyone’s rights, along with anyone brave and dedicated enough to stand beside you for the same cause. It is the ONLY way.

People get, and deserve, only the rights they fight for themselves, and it is rankest hypocrisy to demand rights for yourself that you do not support for others. The robber baron Jay Gould once said “I can hire half the working class to kill the other half.”  Identity politics is people doing exactly that filthy job for free. Class solidarity is the most important weapon in the fight against modern fascism. It is the ONLY weapon that can win this war for the future of humanity, and identity politics is solidarity’s worst enemy.

Identity politics is just another form of “me first” racism, censorship,oppression, and even worse, it is a form of infantilism, in that oppressed people are asking their oppressors to make things right for them, usually at the expense of some other oppressed sub-group. The last time I had any hope for politics in the USA was when there was some talk of a Ralph Nader/Ron Paul coalition. It never happened. The Right has balls, but no brains, the Left has brains but no balls. Until the Right and Left unite, there will be no progress whatsoever. Communism means above all, egalitarianism. Anyone who advocates identity politics and calls themselves a Communist should be bitch-slapped. 

Question 22: What are your views on confederate statues being down, since you are from a state that was part of the confederacy (Texas)? Do you think the act of taking down the statues in effect masks the fact that the US is still a racist country, with or without the statues being there?

I think it is a meaningless distraction, a waste, a symbolic circle jerk, done by poseurs whom pretend to be tough and pretend to be doing something by fighting inanimate objects. If it wasn’t so stupid and wasteful, it would be laughable. What kind of clowns fight a symbol when they could and should be fighting the real thing? Take a look at who tears down statues in the 21st Century – US soldiers in Iraq, neo-nazis in Kiev and Poland, and ISIS in Iraq and Syria. All misguided dipshits trying to re-write history. Who wants to be like them?

Question 23: Do you think people spend too much time ruminating about the Soviet Union in the west? Should people spend more of their time trying to build a new socialist project?

People must understand the theory and history of Communism and the USSR. They need to understand the mistakes and successes, in order to re-build Communism and a new USSR 2.0. The Essence of Time Movement is doing both, exactly, today. In fact, I consider EoT to be the most important Communist organization in Russia today. The KPRF and even KPDPR are both deeply marginalized by their own internal contradictions and shortcomings. (As are ALL the Communist Parties in the US.) EoT’s plan is the best I have seen. Everyone who calls themselves a Communist should be familiar with it. It is the real deal. You can learn about it here – http://eu.eot.su/language/en/

Question 24: Who is your favorite Marxist philosopher, and who is your favorite Marxist pragmatist/strategist?

It is hard to pick a favorite. Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara were two of my earliest influences. Big Bill Haywood, Eugene Debs, James Connolly were (and still are) some of my early heroes, and if not strictly “Marxist”, they were true Communists, willing to fight for Socialism and justice. I read Antonio Gramsci’s “Prison Notebooks” when I was in prison. Mao and Fidel, of course, Lenin and Stalin. Lenny Wulff’s “Science of Revolution” was also influential (free PDF here.)

The greatest living Marxist writer in the USA today is undoubtedly Michael Parenti.  I especially recommend “Blackshirts and Reds” (free pdf download here.) and “Dirty Truths”. As I have often said about Parenti, he’s like Noam Chomsky, but smarter, a much better writer, and he has some balls.

Question 25: Why do you think fascism was able to arise in such an open fashion in Kiev?

It must be understood that the Maidan coup was not a spontaneous event.  Beyond Victoria Newland’s $5 billion, beyond the “Orange Revolution” of 2004-2005, beyond operation Gladio, the roots of the Maidan coup are in Bandera’s OUN-B and UPA, pro-nazi armies during the German occupation of Ukraine in WW2. These were (and are) hardcore nazis, mass murderers, war criminals and rabid anti-communists. They form the central core of Ukraine’s military and political structure today. The original members of Bandera’s organizations have had generations to brainwash their offspring and to prepare for the moment when they could seize power.

These groups have been (and still are) supported, directed and manipulated by US and NATO, with financing, training, arms and instruction. The Maidan coup is in line with the “rebellions” in Libya and Syria.

Real Communists can learn a lot from what we have done in the Donetsk Republics. We have defended our homes and our families against a national military power using every weapon at their disposal – tanks, artillery, rockets, aviation, terrorism. And we have fought them to a standstill. Four years later, the Republics still exist, and we are still free. But this war is not just in Donbass, it is global, and it is not finished. 

The greatest enemy of the American People, and of the future of Humanity itself, is the US government and the genuinely fascist kleptocrats who own and control it.  They are right now, today, implementing a plan to rule the world, enslave those who are profitable or useful to them, and exterminate the rest of us. There is no escape, and the time for talking is over. You will not defeat your mortal enemy by voting, or writing letters to your government “representatives”, by lively and deep conversations in the local pub, or by hitting the “Like” button on Facebook. You have only 2 options – Fight or die. Victory or Death. Get busy.

The Finnish Communist Revolution (1918) PART 2: The Eve of Revolution

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“That flammable substance, which in January 1918 burst into full flame of armed conflict between the basic classes of Finnish society – workers and capitalists, had been accumulating for decades in the depths of this system. With the rise of capitalistic production, here too the struggle between labour and capital, between worker and capitalist, became the basic contradiction of the whole society. Unjust relations of landownership and the utterly vulnerable status of the vast masses of landless rural people, had created a situation where the capitalists had plenty of very cheap labour at their disposal. Finnish capitalists took full advantage of the situation and wasted no time in setting up a system just as ruthless and unequal as that of the older capitalist countries. The situation was even more favorable for the capitalist class because the workers were at this time timid, scared and did not attempt any kind of organized resistance. Instead they suffered the oppression and injusticy quietly, and this way the bitterness and anger slowly built up among them.” (Tuure Lehen, Punaisten ja Valkoisten Sota p. 9)

 
Different social classes before the outbreak of the revolution:

The Industrial Workers:

“In the old system workers had needed to submit to the ‘legal guardianship’ of their employer, which often meant police levels of surveillance and control by the capitalist. This was officially abolished in 1868 but employers still for a long time considered it justified to continue their old ways. The strict work discipline regulations allowed the employers in many ways to blackmail their workers, punish them for the slightest disobedience, or carelessness, impose heavy fines and thus push down the already meager wages. The employers were especially worried about worker’s organizing, unless they were joining organizations and associations created and controlled by the employers themselves. It was common for capitalists to threaten to fire all workers who joined unions or worker organizations. This happened for example in Pinjaiset, Fiskars and Högfors factories. In November 1903 in Varkaus nearly 200 workers were evicted from their homes for joining the workers’ association. Often buying or subscribing to working class newspapers was enough of a reason to be fired and evicted.” (Lehen, pp. 9-10)

“Despite rapid industrial development having begun in the 1860s it was as late as the 1890s when the country saw the breakout of the first big strike movements. Out of these the strikes of construction workers in Helsinki in 1896 and the baker strike of 1899 have to be mentioned. In both cases the Finnish capitalists shamelessly colluded with the Russian authorities to break the strike: by sending in strike breakers from Russia. In these initial strikes, alongside the struggle for higher wages, the demands centered around shortening the working day which was either unbearable long, or not limited at all in its length, as well as demands for the most basic work safety regulations. During this struggle based on the most vitally necessary demands, the class consciousness of the workers began to awaken. This caused worry among the capitalists, who saw the mass mobilization of the workers as a sign that the workers were turning to revolutionary socialism…

A sign of this worry was the capitalists’ attempt to push the workers towards wrightism, a reformist tendency lead by the bourgeoisie, which told the workers to remain calm and “not demand too much”. Eventually the workers got tired of wrightism, as the experience of their every day lives quickly taught them that improvements in their lives, were never gained by begging and surrendering, but only by forcing the capitalists into granting the workers’ demands.

For this reason the workers turned their backs on wrightism and began more boldly to support the Socialists who expressed the will to directly tackle social inequality, and put forward concrete demands instead of pious wishes. Strenghtening of these sentiments led in 1899 to the creation of the Finnish Workers’ Party… which declared a “split from the bourgeoisie”. (Lehen, pp. 10-11)

“The founding of an independent workers’ party had a crucial significance to the working class and it proved to be a powerful catalyst in favor of developing mass mobilization. An increasing determination and steadfastness was becoming evident in the workers’ struggle.

The struggle took fairly intense forms in 1904 in Voikkaa where the conduct of a foreman sparked the anger of the workers and caused a strike. The employers called in the Finnish-Russian authorities who sent a gang of police to crush the strike. The police arrested the labour leaders and evicted from company apartments the workers who had been fired for participating in the strike.

In 1905 and 1906 there were several strikes that lasted for several weeks, even months. The metal workers’ strike, which consisted of 3000 workers lasted for 19 weeks. The construction workers were able through their disciplined struggle to win a 9-hour working day.

The strike that proved most significant was the logger strike of the Kemi-company in North, which began on logging sites in Kuolajärvi and Sodankylä and spread to Kemi, and which lasted consecutively almost the entire year 1906. The great single-minded determination and discipline of the workers was demonstrated by the fact that out of the 3000 strikers, during the entire year only couple dozen became strike breakers. The most immediate cause of the strike was that the Kemi-company had taken for itself a monopoly on selling food to the workers, had forced the workers to only purchase food from the company store at very high prices, or risk being fired. The food also proved to be dangerously rotten and unfit for human consumption but the employers had arrogantly ignored the workers’ complaints. The workers demanded that the company must sell them only clean and edible foodstuffs. Along with this the workers demanded a shortening of the work day to 10 hours per day, an increase in wages, and the abolition of the blacklist system.
Not agreeing to the workers’ demands the Kemi-company together with the authorities took action to stop the “rebellion”. It closed down the food shops trying to starve the workers into submission. As the company owned all the food stores, the workers had no other option to avoid starvation then to break open the doors of the food shops and organize food distribution to the starving, which was done according to proper payment and under strict observation. The employers asked for help from the authorities… a gang of 35 lead by police liutenant Bruno Jalander was sent to “pacify” the workers of the North. Tens of workers were arrested, around twenty involved in opening the food shops were sentenced for robbery and blasphemy[sic] to varying prison sentences.”
(Lehen, pp. 11-12)

 
The Workers’ Party

“The success that the workers’ party gained already in its first parliament elections showed clearly that the party had not only gained the uninamous support of the industrial workers, but it had also won a large amount of votes from among the rural population. A contributing factor was that the workers themselves had close contacts to the countryside and the rural poor. Members of the working class were generally speaking young people, only recently left from the countryside to the cities. The poor position of the rural population also naturally brought it close to the working class movement to seek support from it.” (Lehen, p.15)

“The experiences gained in these labour struggles explain at least in part the often pointed out fact that the Finnish working class movement was already early on very interested in struggle for state power, while trade union organizing lagged behind the political struggle for many years. The independent Finnish workers’ party founded in 1899 had to for several years also perform the duties of a central trade union organization, especially during large strikes because the Finnish Trade Union Federation was founded only in 1907.

The active involvement of the state authorities, the police, court system and state church into the disputes between workers and capitalists always on the side of the capitalists, gave rise to anger by the workers towards the reactionary state authority. The close connection of the Finnish representatives of that state apparatus to the Russian tsarist ruling class, whose repressive actions always first and foremost targeted the workers and their organizations, makes it easy to understand why workers had such an exemplary role to play in the indipendence struggle…” (Lehen, p 13)

“The rapid rise of the independent Finnish political workers’ movement culminated in the December 1905 general strike, a mass action of unprecendented size for equal municipal suffrage and to destroy the old feudal system that had resisted all social progress.” (Lehen, pp. 13-14)

 

The Tenant Farmers

“The most important social grouping were the tenant farmers, who cultivated the land they rented from the nobles, large landowners and capitalist corporations. In the relations between tenant farmers and landowners the essential question was that of terms of rent. In individual cases, such as when tenants would rent land from relatives, the terms could be quite tolerable… The general picture however was something different: a relationship of extreme exploitation and oppression where the position of the tenant was similar to that of a medieval serf. The rent payment in the form of a work-tax i.e. working on the landowner’s land weighed heavily on the tenants. The payment was not merely a reasonable or justifiable compensation for the use of land, but ruthless exploitation…” (Lehen, p.16)

The landlords would often cheat the peasants in rent terms. Most of the time there were no actual written contracts but rent was decided simply in verbal agreement. And of course most of the peasantry were illiterate.
“Another important grievance in the life of the tenants was the uncertainty of their situation. The terms of the rent were usually decided in oral agreement between the two parties. In the cases where written contracts were made, they were always vague and up for interpretation, and it didn’t benefit the tenant to appeal to the legal authorities since it was obvious that “law and justice” were on the side of the aristocrats, corporations and landowners. The violent and ruthless mass eviction of the tenant farmers of the Laukko manor house by the armed force of the “legal authorities” in May 1907 is an illustrative example of how the society of that time saw it as the noble lord’s sacred right, to treat his subjects how ever inhumanly as he saw fit.” (Lehen, p.16)

“The broken down doors and hearths of the cottages of the manors’ tenants, served as a metaphor for the dead end that the oppressed classes found themselves in: they had to do something to improve their lives, yet their attempts were met with even worse suffering.”
(Y. Kallinen, Hälinää ja hiljaisuutta, p. 26)

A common practice by the landlords was to let a tenant family move to an area where the land was of poor quality (this could be e.g. a bog, a swamp or forest) then let the peasant family improve the land (drain the swamp, chop down the trees etc.) so they could turn it into a farm. Then after the rent contract ran out, the landlord would evict the peasant and thus acquire the newly created good quality farm land for themselves. The peasant family would then be forced to move to another bad piece of land and repeat the process.

“For the tenant farmers the threat of eviction was always there, and it was an effective method of blackmail. It was used especially when the landowner wished to acquire a piece of land which the tenant had through their productive labour turned from a wasteland to fertile farmland.” (Lehen, p.17)

“…I met several tenant farmers who had been evicted, often even multiple times and each time had had to once again clear a new farming plot into a thicket or a bog on the property of the same landowner… I met an old man who had sat years in jail for resisting the crown’s police when they came to evict him for the third time… It was clear that people in this position were eager to hear and accept the socialist teachings, as it gave them an explanation about their own societal position and a path to follow towards liberation”
(M. Ampuja, Pajasta parlamenttiin, Turku 1947, p.73)

“… the pitiless violence the landowners had to use against their tenants was a sign of the rising class consciousness of the tenant farmers, who due to circumstance could only see the socialist movement as the strongest defender of their rights.” (Lehen, p.17)

“In those days, the tenant farmers of Finland had begun to follow the example of the industrial proletarians and had started mass organizing for their rights. In various parts of the country there were mass meetings, also strikes, the demands of which were mainly protections against evictions and against the arbitrary and absolute power of the landowners. The Workers’ Party gave its immediate support to the demands of the tenant farmers and other rural poor. It also helped them to organize their struggle. The Party leadership played an importan part in helping to organize the first nationwide congress of tenant farmers’ deputees in Tampere in 1906. The fact that 50.000-60.000 tenants out of a total of hundred thousand had representatives in this meeting was a clear sign of the desire of the farmers to fight side by side with the workers.” (Lehen, p.18)

 
Servants and Farm Workers: The Rural Proletariat

“The societal situation of [the house servants and farmhands] was even more oppressed and precarious then that of the tenant farmers.” (Lehen, p.18)

“Servants, who lived in spare rooms of houses [of their employer] or in cottages under severe surveillance… were not allowed to leave the house without the permission of their master, or to talk to outsiders. As the status of tenant farmers has often been compared to that of serfs or semi-slaves, that of the servants could rightly be compared to full blown slavery… An 1865 servant law which was only taken off the law books in 1920… gave the master of the servant the right to the most petty kind of spying, ruthless exploitation, inhuman treatment and even physical violence. The servant was not allowed to own a locked chest or a bag, all their belongings had to be visible for inspection by their master. The length of the working day was unlimited. Unlike the old slave owners, the master was not allowed to kill their servant, but he was allowed to hit them. According to the 3. article of the servant law, the master was allowed to physically punish female servants under 13 and male servants under 18 if they didn’t adequately fulfill the tasks their master thought “reasonable”, which according to Miina Sillanpää [a servant] meant 24 hour working days. In the case of the servants, the slavery was not lifelong, but instead was decided in year long contracts on the so-called “hiring markets.” However that year would in most cases turn out to be unbearably hard.” (Lehen, p.20)

“…Often the servant, when deciding upon the terms of the contract, is given entirely false information about the type and amount of the work. The servant is often promised more pay then he ends up getting. And as the contracts are usually made without any wittnesses, how is the servant to prove that he was promised more? The wage is entirely vague and arbitrary, and the servant lives with his master so he has to devote all of his time to working. Speaking about overtime pay is entirely out of the question. The servant can’t say he is working overtime, even if he works 24 hours per day, since the length of his work day is not limited in any way.”  (Minutes of the 6th congress of Finnish servants)


“Servants depended on their master for food. Even in the best cases nutrition was very basic… It was very common that even in those cases where the servants were allowed to eat in the same table as the master’s family, they sat in that part of the table prepared for the house staff and ate worse food.” (Lehen, p.21)

“Living conditions of the servants were below any reasonable standards” (Lehen, p.22)

“The condition of the rural servants is pathetic. The biggest outrage being the living conditions of the house staffs. This is most evident in Southern Ostrobothnia… part of the population lives in the most unhealthy conditions. It seems incredibly that even in winter people are forced to live in rooms which don’t protect from the cold, and contain no heating, not to even speak about the lack of all basic comforts. Therefore it is not uncommon that after a night of wind and snowfall the servent wakes up to find snow on his bed. However these living quarters are not all uplighting to the human soul during the summer either. Typically they have no windows, only a trap-door. Often they are built next to the manure storage, on top of store rooms were all sorts of gargage is held, and where dust and bad smelling air seeps through the loose floor boards… Living in these poor conditions brought an inevitable co-inhabitant – pneumonia, that horror of the poor, which rages among the servant class” (Minutes of the 5th congress of Finnish servants)


The Working Class Movement Before the Revolution

“…[I]n the summer of 1917 Finland was met with another hardship, unprecendented unemployment… the unemployed constituted the most restless element of the population: after losing their livelyhoods they began demanding work and aid. The workers understood that no improvement could be gained without an active struggle. Success depended on unity and organization… the Social-Democratic Party had 70,000 members in 1916, but in the third quarter of 1917 it exceeded 100,000 members. The membership of the finnish trade union federation increased four times over from 41,800 to 160,695. The tenant farmers’ union had 2000 members in May 1917 but at the end of the year membership had risen to 9000 and by February 1918 it was 12,000. The farm laborers who previously had been very badly organized… began to create their own unions and in mid August of 1917 there were already 70 of these organizations. The finnish farm laborers’ union was founded at the end of August in a meeting in Tampere.”
(Holodkovski, pp.18-19)

“…on 26. of March [1917] a strike broke out in Helsinki demanding an 8-hour working day. The same demand was presented as their primary goal by the strikes in April. The 8-hour work day was first implemented in the senate printing press, state railways and fortification construction works. Metal workers won the 8-hour working day on the 18. of April through a one day strike of 30,000 workers accross the country. The strikers’ demands were supported in Helsinki by Russian soldiers, sailors and workers who joined the Finnish workers. The demonstrators surrounded the building where the representatives of the workers were negotiating with the capitalists… The farm laborers continued to fight for the 8-hour working day and the struggle against the landowners’ resistance was often fierce… the farm laborer strikes broke out typically without agreement with the trade union federation… Most often the strikes occurred during the busiest farming seasons – during sowing and harvesting. Tensions tan the highest precisely during farm laborer’s strikes… the workers stopped working and prevented the landowners from bringing their relatives to work on the field… There were times when the large landowners refused to make any kinds of concessions. The owners of the large Westermarck farm declared before the beginning of the farm laborers’ strike, that they will sell or butcher every single one of their 700 cows. In the vicinity of Pori, one landowner left the grain unharvested and appointed White Guard soldiers to guard the field so nobody could harvest it. The workers of the nearby village turned to the Russian soldiers for help. The soldiers fired a few shots with a cannon towards the direction of the farm and the opponent was forced to surrender. Though the information is incomplete, we know that in 1917 there were at least 78 farm laborer strikes on 1949 farms, and they included 16 167 persons. Eleven of the strikes also included tenant farmers, though they were bound by their rent contracts, according to which they could be punished for participating in a strike. Altogether there was a total of 478 strikes in 1917, involving 150 000 workers… Other extraparliamentary activity by the workers also increased. Some declarations or actions by the workers, without the approval of the Social-Democratic Party, demonstrated a spontaneous shift towards revolutionary tactics, already before the Bolsheviks had taken power in Russia…” (Holodkovski, pp.23-24)

“The primary targets of these extraparliamentary actions, were the local government organs, which were in the hands of the rich… Getting working class representation in the municipal organs was not a matter of principle for the workers, it had a purely practical meaning, especially in those hard times. Destitution forced the workers to hasten the solving of this question. Typically the workers presented a demand to the municipal council that the council needed to also include working class representatives. Then they surrounded the building and refused to let the council leave until the demand was satisfied.” (Holodkovski, p.24)

“Municipal elections still used the ancient system, according to which the poor had no right to vote, but the rich depending on their wealth and property could have several votes.” (Holodkovski, p.16)

“The social-democratic municipal organization of Rauma demanded on the 5. of May that half of the seats in the munical council had to be given to the workers. In support of this demand a general strike broke out in the city on the 7. of May. It lasted for 15 days and ended in the victory of the workers. In Turku, a general strike broke out in 29. of May, demonstrators surrounding the city council building and demanding 25 seats for the workers. The newspaper The Worker wrote that if the shock troops the bourgeoisie had assembled tried to rescue the council then the Russian soldiers on the side of the demonstrators would open fire. Later it was told in the communist press that the shock troopers had been captured by the demonstrators… Members of the council were released on June 1. The demand of the workers was fulfilled. Similar incidents took place in Pori as well as other towns and villages.

The parliament also became a target for mass action. On 14. of July when the parliament was discussing the 8-hour working day as well as the municipal election reform, a crowd of several thousands surrounded the parliament… A committee of the demonstrators presented a statement to the parliament in support of accepting the reforms. The parliament was forced to agree… The bourgeois deputees in the parliament were afraid that unless the reforms were signed, there would be serious confrontations because the population was at a boiling point… However the reforms were never implemented because the Russian Provisional Government disbanded the Finnish parliament.” (Holodkovski, pp. 25-26)

 

The Peasantry’s Demand For Land Reform

“Out of all households with one or more hectares of land, 41.4% were renting, and most of them were tenant farmers… Most tenants had only a small piece of land… out of 96 167 tenant farms… only 1.4% had more then 25 hectares. At the same time 60 000 tenants farmed plots smaller then half a hectare. Poor tenant farmers paid their rent to the landowner in money and work done on the landowner’s land… Because the tenant also had to take care of his own farm, his work day during the summer was an average of 15-17 hours… Only 7% of tenants got enough income from their own farm and the rest [93%] had to seek additional income from employment… The status of a tenant farmer was extremely precarious: the tenant had no security about their future, since at the end of their rent contract, they might be evicted and find themselves and their family, homeless with no income…” (Holodkovski, p.13)
The ruling class refused to grant any meaningful land reform, as that would have gone against the interests of the landowners. They saw the situation was disastrous and peasant revolt inevitable, but in order to not go against the landowners the government opted for a compromise and tried to post-pone the land reform issue as far into the future as possible.

“When in 1908 the time approached when the tenant contracts would run out, the question of new contracts was not raised, instead the parliament signed a bill which prolonged the old contracts… The Czar approved this bill on the 12. of March 1909. The question was not solved in the five years prior to the first world war. In 1916 62 000 contracts were running out despite being extended in 1909. Huge masses of tenants were under the threat of eviction. To avoid massive internal destabilization that Germany could have benefited from in the war, the Czar issued a decree that the contracts would remain effective for the time being. Thousands of tenants escaped imminent eviction but only for a time. [A conservative politician] emphasized in a speech a few weeks before the Czar’s overthrow that the peasantry is rising up against the landlords, that this desperate group of people is dangerous and if the fire now kindling among them bursts into full flame the results will be terrifying.” (Holodkovski, p.13-14)

“Immediately after the fall of Czardom… the social-democrats suggested that in the Provisional Government’s manifesto be included that poor tenants won’t be evicted and are given control of the land they farm. This way the tenants could have been appeased. But the Russian Provisional Government pointed out the negative attitude towards land-reform, of the Finnish bourgeois parties and therefore declined the social-democrat’s proposal.” (Holodkovski, p.14)

“The short sighted and selfish policy of the bourgeoisie had prevented the tenant farmer question being solved by any legal means. Now the tenants had joined with the farm workers in strikes, and became like them targets of retaliatory actions… The finnish working class movement fought on the side of the rural poor, landless, tenant farmers and farm workers and guided these forces to action. The demands of these groups had been stated countless times and the bourgeoisie had not solved the issue. These problems absolutely had to be dealt with. From this foundation, the working class movement developed its demand for the liberation of the tenant farmers and raised them up to join the struggle.” (Hyvönen, pp.89-90)
The bourgeoisie could have solved the tenant question at any time, but when ever anyone tried to fix this crying social crisis, the capitalists prevented it. This way, they made peasant rebellion absolutely inevitable. They made the lives of the tenant farmers, poor peasants and farm workers so unbearable that they were bound to rise up in rebellion.

“The social-democratic parliamentary group proposed on 27. of March a bill for the liberation of the tenant farmers and farm workers…Some social-democratic speakers emphasized the extreme urgency … of this bill because in many localities tenant strikes were already breaking out, and unless the matter was solved the tenants would be pushed to the path of revolution… The bill was defeated with 98 bourgeois votes against 95 socialists.” (Holodkovski, p.136)

“Tenant farmers held rallies all throughout the country and declared that unless they were liberated by the parliament, they would liberate themselves. The tenants’ meetings accepted proposals to cease paying any more rent. For instance on 16. of march 1917 in Sankajärvi the tenants decided to not pay rent unless the bill was passed by the parliament. The tenant farmers of Lapusala demanded on the 3. of December that the social-democratic parliamentary group must take urgent action to liberate the tenants from the centuries old yoke… The final decision of the meeting proclaimed that unless the parliament freed them they would take revolutionary action, general strike and stop of all rent payments. Tenant farmers and farm workers of Kodisjoki demanded on january 6. of 1918 that they must be liberated and all land nationalized. They proposed that each peasant could thus rent on fair terms from the state…” (Holodkovski, pp.136-137)

Count Von Der Goltz, German General who later invaded Finland to crush the socialist revolution, said:

“The ground was fertile for revolution, and not just in the industrial centers but also in the countryside where the peasants were mainly tenants and not owners. As in ancient Rome the rent system caused great dissatisfaction in the countryside and caused even the hard-working and loyal… finnish peasants to be possessed by the … teachings of Russian communism… to become Bolsheviks.” (Graf von der Goltz, Als politischer General im Osten (Finnland und Baltikum) 1918 und 1919)
The reasons that led to the revolution can be summed up as follows: decades and centuries old forms of oppression, horrible working conditions, working days as long as 10-17 hours or even sometimes 24 hours, merciless exploitation and since there were no effective legal ways of making change and solving these problems, the masses were inevitably pushed towards revolution. The municipal elections were entirely undemocratic and in the parliament the capitalist politicians prevented any reforms from being passed. However, there was one even more immediate factor contributing to the revolutionary sentiments: starvation.

The Food Crisis

“At the end of 1917 it can be said that hunger had arrived in Finland… sugar rationing had already been implemented in December 1916 and at the beginning of 1917 rationing was introduced in larger population centers for butter, milk and meat” (Koskinen, p.16)

“Because no strong measures were taken to prevent black market speculation, prices increased to the degree that workers could no longer afford them…” (Holodkovski, p.134)

“…[F]ood was distributed with ration cards, but the food rationing system couldn’t work adequately unless the large food stores of rich persons and capitalist corporations were confiscated. However the government did not heed the demands of the workers as it would have contradicted the interests of propertied classes…” (Holodkovski, p.133)

“The economic situation of the working class had become intolerable. Since the earliest years of the world war, wages had fallen behind the ever increasing prices of foodstuffs… The people could not be given even reduced food rations and the workers and employees could not afford the black market prices. In autumn unemployment also began to increase threateningly. The working class suffered from widespread hunger. The rural poor also fell victim to it.” (Hyvönen, p.87)

“How widespread the hunger was can be seen for example in the notices posted in newspapers by the government food distribution body. A notice for December 1917 states the following:

“As is well known, in all cities, including their suburbs and rural regions whose populations are largely industrial workers or farming is not developed, have already since september been on the brink of famine. There have been two or three week periods when it hasn’t been possible to distribute grain. Thus the continuing and spread of famine threaten the entire country… 800,000 Finnish citizens already suffer from shortage of grain…”

A notice published on the 17. of January 1918 states:
“The number of regions, not only in towns but also in the countryside, suffering from shortage of bread only increases and in some areas it has gotten so bad that, according to the information given by food distribution committees, hunger has caused weakness and deaths.”” (Hyvönen, p.88)
“The food distribution board published in December 1917 that 800.000 Finnish citizens (one quarter of the population!) suffered from a shortage of bread, despite the fact that bread was already being made with flour that had flax, potato skins, lichen or tree bark etc. mixed in with the grain… sometimes people would lose consciousness due to malnutrition… six hungry students of a girl school had fainted during the morning prayer. The food board stated on January 17. 1918 that hunger had caused deaths in towns as well as rural areas. The food board received desperate letters and telegrams from various municipalities begging for help…

From Veteli: Bread grain for one week only, after that even the rye seeds have been eaten…
From Lapland: At the end of the week our stores will be empty, we request urgent action.
From Haukiputaa: People relying on rations have been without food for a week, will die soon unless we get flour.
From Raivola: We ask that you send us any type of food grain so we can distribute something to consumers.
From Pyhäjärvi: We request most humbly, that we could get even a small amount of food grain

The position of the food board became intolerable and on 24. of January its chairman… and [several] members resigned…” (Holodkovski, pp.134-135)

“The lack of food forced the working class to take determined action. On 19. of January the Red Guard of Vyborg began house searches of the bourgeois for food and weapons. The discoveries were bigger then expected. While the working class suffered from hunger, even died from hunger it turned out that the bourgeoisie had large flour, sugar, rice and meat stores as well as basements full of alcoholic drinks, despite the fact that liquor was illegal in Finland. Some bourgeois didn’t even know what ration cards were. The committees created by the workers acted in a revolutionary manner: they confiscated the excess food they found and distributed it to the starving.” (Holodkovski, p.135)

“[T]he so-called butter riots… began when the government temporarily stopped the distribution of butter rations. In Turku on 9. of August a crowd inspected food storages and after finding both butter and cheese (which was already starting to go bad) began to distribute the food in return for ration cards. The next day a mass meeting in Turku demanded that the parliament has to confiscate all food storages, ban the exporting of food (food was being exported to be sold in Petrograd where prices were even higher)… The population demanded that all food storages be taken under the control of the municipal government organs. Also in Helsinki the butter storages were inspected by demonstrators and the distribution of butter according to price controls was begun.”(Holodkovski, p.26)

“At night on the 14. of August the municipal employees of Helsinki began a general strike. They demanded the safeguarding of people, especially children and the elderly from hunger and starvation. The senate did not take any action. On 21. of October a delegation of the Finnish Trade-Union Federation issued a statement regarding the food question. It demanded making a careful inventory of all food stores, confiscation of illegal food storages, the handing over to the control of the state and municipal authorities of the most essential food items, giving full authority to the food distribution bodies in distribution and regulation of price controls, the handing of unused farm land to the state and municipalities and increasing of wages due to increased food prices… the declaration didn’t lead to any action [by the government].” (Holodkovski, p.39)

“The 4th Congress of the Finnish Trade-Union Federation met on December 12 [1917]. It pointed out that the conditions of the workers were so hopeless and unbearable, that unless the congress is ready to make radical decisions, the workers will take matters into their own hands. The food question was top most in importance… Many… deputees saw revolution as the only thing that could save the workers from starvation. Deputee Hakkinen said that unless the working class rises up to fight they will all starve to death… Deputee Pyttynen said that in Ostrobothnia the workers were eagerly waiting for the decisions of the congress and were willing to die in order to put them into effect… The deputee from Tampere said that workers of the city have decided to either win or die. Deputee Lampinen said that in many localities the workers have already began to take action, because it is better to die in battle then to do nothing and die of hunger…” (Holodkovski, p.51)

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Tuure Lehen, Punaisten ja Valkoisten Sota
Esa Koskinen, Veljiksi kaikki ihmiset tulkaa: Lohja 1917-18
Viktor Holodkovski, Suomen työväen vallankumous 1918
Graf von der Goltz, As political general in the east (Finland and the Baltics) 1918-1919
Y. Kallinen, Hälinää ja Hiljaisuutta
M. Ampuja, Pajasta Parlamenttiin
Antti Hyvönen, Suurten tapahtumien vuodet 1917-18
Antti Hyvönen, Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue 1918-24
Antti Hyvönen, Suomen vanhan työväenpuolueen historia
Otto Kuusinen, “The Finnish Revolution: A Self-Criticism”

(*1910 figures which were not much different from 1917. Holodkovski, p.13)

Finnish sources have been translated to English by MLT

The Finnish Communist Revolution (1918) PART 1: Finnish Independence

In 1917 Finland was part of the Russian empire. Finland was a protectorate of Russia, meaning it didn’t have a military of its own, had no independent foreign policy or economic policy and was ruled by a Russian governor general.

However in the 1905-06 revolution Finland had gained itself some limited democratic rights and some nominal autonomy, its own parliament and senate although they were still under the power of Russia.

It had been recognized by progressive elements for at least a century that Finland had developed into a nation of its own and deserved independence. The Finnish people had their own language, culture and history. There was also the push for more democratic rights and the struggle against monarchist absolutism. The 1905-06 uprisings and demonstrations were a prime example of this.

Although some Finnish capitalists and especially small owners supported independence, as time went on it was more and more the working class movement that led the independence struggle. The capitalist class and nobility of Finland were happy to work with the Russian Tsar and relied on the Tsarist state to crack down on striking workers and poor peasants wanting better working conditions, higher wages and more democratic rights.

The very early Finnish independence movement had been pioneered by bourgeois and petit-bourgeois intellectuals, but in the early 1900s the Finnish capitalist class became more and more opposed to Finnish independence. Leading the independence struggle fell almost exclusively to the proletarians and semi-proletarians.

The February Revolution

After the Tsar was overthrown in February 1917 the Finnish Capitalists allied themselves closely with the Russian provisional government led by Kerensky.

“None of the ruling bourgeois groupings took a pro-independence stance. The Russian provisional government took upon itself the role of the inheritor and continuer of the Tsar-grand duke’s power. It was able to do this with the favorable help of the finnish bourgeoisie.” (Hyvönen, Suurten tapahtumien vuodet 1917-18, p.14)

 
“The legal government… the bourgeois considered to mean the Russian Provisional Government whose legitimacy the Socialists did not recognize.” (Hyvönen, p.19)

 

The Bolshevik Attitude Towards Finnish Independence

“The Russian Bolsheviks completely supported Finland’s demands for self-determination.” (Hyvönen, s.22)

“I must declare most categorically that we would not be democrats (I say nothing of socialism!) if we did not recognize the right of the peoples of Russia to free self-determination. I declare that we would be betraying socialism if we did not do everything to restore fraternal confidence between the workers of Finland and Russia. But everyone knows that the restoration of this confidence is inconceivable unless the right of the Finnish people to free self-determination is firmly recognized. And it is not merely the verbal, even if official, recognition of this right that is important here. What is important is that this verbal recognition will be confirmed by the act of the Council of People’s Commissars, that it will be put into effect without hesitation. For the time for words has passed. The time has come when the old slogan “Workers of all countries, unite!” must be put into effect.

Complete freedom for the Finnish people, and for the other peoples of Russia, to arrange their own life! A voluntary and honest alliance of the Finnish people with the Russian people! No tutelage, no supervision from above, over the Finnish people! These are the guiding principles of the policy of the Council of People’s Commissars.”
~STALIN (Speech delivered at the Congress of the Finnish Social-Democratic Labour Party, Helsingfors Nov. 14, 1917)

 

The Power Act

“In the elections of 1916 socialists gained a majority in the parliament, 103 seats”(Koskinen, Veljiksi kaikki ihmiset tulkaa: Lohja 1917-18 pp. 14-15)

After the socialists achieved an electoral victory and a majority in the parliament in the 1916 elections they managed to pass the so-called “Power Act” (Valtalaki). This was a bill that declared the finnish parliament independent and sovereign from Russian involvement. That the finnish parliament was the highest authority of Finland. Effectively, this was a declaration of Finnish independence. Before, Finland had been a protectorate of Russia meaning that it had its own parliament and government but these were totally subservient to Russia and all their decisions would have to be approved by Russia. The Power Act declared that Russia no longer had power over Finland and therefore would have made Finland independent.

The capitalist class of Finland instantly opposed this bill. The bill was passed because the socialists had a majority in the parliament but it was never implemented because of’obstructionism by the right-wing bourgeoisie.

“Bourgeois parties refused all struggles in favor of implementing the Power Act – and therefore also any struggles in favor of Finnish self-determination. Afraid of being left alone, without outside help to face the Finnish working class and rural poor the Finnish bourgeoisie threw themselves into the arms of the Russian Provisional Government and abandoned the Power Act, which represented the wishes of the Finnish people for independence and democracy, and which the parliament had accepted.”
(Hyvönen, pp.32-33)


The congress of the social-democratic party stated:
“Finnish social-democracy therefore demands… the independence of the Finnish people and state. The Finnish working class can only pursue unhindered class struggle inside a sovereign country.” (Hyvönen, p.33)

“Bolshevik representative Aleksandra Kollontai who was present at the congress stated:
“And we support the granting of independence to Finland, all the way to the right of secession from Russia.”

At that time the bolsheviks were not among the ruling parties in Russia. The bolsheviks could put forward their demands only in their own press and the congress of the soviets.” (Hyvönen, p.33)

“In Russia the bolshevik party was the only political grouping that supported the self-determination of Finland as well as other nationalities. Starting from the marxist principle of national self-determination and developing it to the policy of recognizing the independence of national states and applying it to practice Lenin and Stalin made it clear they defended Finland’s right to independence and opposed the imperialist policy of the Provisional Government as it opposed Finnish independence. The April conference of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks) accepted Lenin’s proposal regarding the National Question which states:

“The right of all the nations forming part of Russia freely to secede and form independent states must be recognised. To deny them this right, or to fail to take measures guaranteeing its practical realisation, is equivalent to supporting a policy of seizure or annexation. Only the recognition by the proletariat of the right of nations to secede can ensure complete solidarity among the workers of the various nations and help to bring the nations closer together on truly democratic lines.”” (Hyvönen, s.20) (7th bolshevik conference, Resolution on the National Question)

“The declaration also concretely put emphasis on the Finnish question in the following way:

“The conflict which has arisen at the present time between Finland and the Russian Provisional Government strikingly demonstrates that denial of the right to free secession leads to a direct continuation of the policy of tsarism.”” (Hyvönen, s.21) (Ibid.)


The Finnish Parliament Elections of 1917

The Russian Provisional government was not happy with the Socialists having a majority in the Finnish parliament and pushing for independence and therefore ordered new elections in October 1. 1917.

The Finnish capitalist class supported the Russian Provisional Government and opposed independence. Bolsheviks and Finnish Socialists supported independence

The Russian provisional government took upon itself the role of the inheritor and continuer of the Tsar-grand duke’s power. It was able to do this with the favorable help of the finnish bourgeoisie.” (Hyvönen, s.14)

The Finnish capitalists were not opposed to independence in principle but they still saw the Russian capitalist government as an ally just as they had seen the Tsarist government as an ally. They needed the oppressive state apparatus of Russia in order to keep the Finnish workers under control. The Finnish capitalists wanted to insure that none of the demands of the workers would be accepted. Demands like work safety regulations, the 8 hour work day, better pay, equal municipal elections, land reform and better rights for agricultural workers who were at the mercy of the aristocracy and lived in practical feudalism. For this reason the Finnish capitalists were willing to ally with Kerensky and the Russian government instead of supporting Finnish independence.

The Capitalists still wanted to increase their own power compared to Russia. They wanted Finland to keep its nominal autonomy and perhaps expand it. Finland as a Russian protectorate could decide some local questions via its own parliament and senate while Russia still controlled foreign policy, the military, economic policy, trade etc.

If Finland became truly independent the capitalists would have to face the Finnish workers and poor peasants on their own. This is something that they definitely did not want to happen.

One of the Finnish socialist leaders, Otto Wille Kuusinen elaborated the Finnish working class movement’s stance on independence in the following way:
“We cannot grant the Russian government the right to verify Finnish laws, because that way even the most vital reforms that have been decided by our parliament could simply be rejected in Petrograd, to the help and satisfaction of the reactionary bourgeoisie of Finland, as has happened many times before.
We cannot grant the Russian government the right to dissolve the Finnish parliament or decide the duration of the Diet. And it is not right that the Russian government could prevent the expansion of the rights of the Finnish parliament or the further democratization of our state which the interests of the working class demand.
The Russian Government does not have the right in any way to be considered the highest state authority of Finland, instead Finland has its own parliament, its own government, responsible to its parliament and people.
Therefore opposed to the demand of national subjugation put forth by the Russian bourgeosie, Finnish social-democracy puts forth the demand of the independence of the Finnish people. For only in a sovereign land can the Finnish working class without hindrance pursue its class struggle, protect its gains and successfully do its part in the movement for international emancipation of labor.

We want freedom, so that a road would be opened for the people to choose their own destiny and a freedom for the working class to engage in class struggle with a chance to achieve victories without interference from a foreign power.”” (Hyvönen, s.24)
“Kuusinen continued:

“The Finnish poor do not hate our brother nation Russia, it hates the agitators of national hatred. Finland’s rightful role is to be an independent republic, free next to a free Russia. In economic relations the Finnish people would not attempt to isolate themselves from Russia or to disrupt the interests of Russia. The economic relations of Finland with Russia as with all other countries should be organized based on voluntary agreement, no longer only based on the wishes of the Russian bourgeoisie with the force of subjugation. Otherwise the conflict between Finland and Russia will not end. And Finnish social-democracy wishes this conflict to end, and the formation of mutually beneficial relations for our peoples.” (Minutes of the 9. Congress of the Finnish Social-Democratic Party p.101)” (Hyvönen, s.25)

“The view advocated by Kuusinen represented that proletarian view which had matured during the fight for suffrage according to which the proletariat had to fight against the oppressors both at home and abroad and that those struggles supported one another, and that all questions including the status of the Finnish nation could only be solved through the demands necessitated by class struggle. Kuusinen’s proposal got the absolute majority in the party Congress. While the Congresses of the bourgeois parties refused to accept the demand for independence the Finnish working class made it their concrete goal. While the bourgeois parties strived for collaboration with the Russian Provisional Government and the capitalists in it, the independence struggle of the Finnish working class ended up being pushed closer to the Bolsheviks who advocated National Self-Determination.” (Hyvönen, s.25)

“Apart from the social-democrats few representatives of the Young Finnish Party and the Agrarian League also voted in favor of the Power Act. Therefore the passing of the Power Act meant that the most principled supporters of independence were brought closer together. However on the 31. of July the Provisional Government dissolved the Finnish Parliament and called for new elections as punishment for the passing of the Power Act, which would have meant complete independence for Finland in internal affairs. The dissolving of the parliament served to further alienate the social-democrats and bourgeois from each other in parliamentary politics.”
(Holodkovski s.35)

 
“After the Finnish Parliament was dissolved by the Provisional Government with the help of the bourgeois senators new elections were arranged for October 1. and 2. The bourgeois parties absolutely refused to join with the socialists in their attempt to defend Finnish sovereignty, to continue the work of the parliament that had illegally been dissolved and instead declared that this attempt [to protect the parliament] was illegal. The bourgeois instead put all their forces into the new elections. The social-democratic party decided to participate in the elections but at the same time explained that the new elections were illegitimate and defended the legitimacy of the dissolved parliament. The election struggle became fierce. Bourgeois parties allied with each other in a coalition “against the red danger”. The bourgeois coalition achieved 108 seats against the 92 working class representatives. This was despite the fact that the amount of votes for the social-democrats increased from 370,000 to 450,000. The votes for the bourgeois also increased and since they were now all in one coalition none of their votes were wasted as had happened previously.” (Hyvönen, s.49)

 
The last bourgeois plot against independence

“After the elections, before the meeting of the new government, the bourgeoisie still continued to negotiate with the Russian governor general who represented the already almost dead Provisional Government. As a result of these negotiations the governor general left for Petrograd to deliver a joint manifesto of the Finnish bourgeois parties that they wanted the Provisional Government to present at the meeting of the new Finnish government. In the manifesto the Provisional Government was supposed to “give up its power over the Finnish state with the exception that foreign affairs would still be handled through Russia like they have been up to now and that Finland will not make any changes to its military policy or laws relating to the Russian state or Russian citizens inside Finland without the consent of the Russian government” . . .

 
This example of bourgeois politics ended up not being implemented because the life of the Russian Provisional Government came to an end before the emissary of the Finnish bourgeosie arrived in Petrograd. A Soviet Government had emerged in Russia as a result of a working class revolution. This maneuver of the Finnish bourgeoisie meant denying that basic principle of the Power Act which had declared the Finnish parliament to be the highest legal authority in Finland. The bourgeosie wanted to create an executive power outside the authority of the parliament elected by the people. At the same time, with its own manifesto, it wanted to nullify the Power Act despite the fact that when passing the Power Act the Finnish parliament had precisely decided to refuse the Russian Government any right to verify or block Finnish laws. This was a matter concerning the highest legal authority of the country. The Finnish bourgeoisie wanted to change the form of government of Finland. From a legal standpoint this maneuver was a coup. The kind of change in form of government that was described in the bourgeos manifesto could of course only have been carried out by changing the constitution through a decision of the parliament. However in its current composition the parliament would never have accepted such a decision, afterall half of the seats belonged to the socialists.” (Hyvönen, s.52-53)

The bourgeoisie could not have achieved this plan legally or democratically. Hence they attempted to scheme together with the Russian Provisional Government. To insure that Finland does not become independent but retains its status as a protectorate of capitalist Russia and that the Russian capitalist state insures the rule of the Finnish capitalists over the Finnish workers.

“The Great October Revolution in Russia ruined the plans of the bourgeoisie. The attempt to create an executive power entirely separate from the parliement failed. A soviet government had been formed in Russia whose representatives would never have supported the Finnish bourgeoisie’s dictatorship.” (Hyvönen, s.56)

 

Why did the Finnish capitalists finally accept independence?


So why did the Finnish capitalists accept independence after resisting it for so long? They did so because after the October Revolution Russia was no longer their ally. Instead Russia was now the ally of the Finnish working class. And therefore the Finnish capitalists requested independence from Russia which the Bolsheviks granted. The Socialists who had always advocated independence also supported Finland’s secession from Russia. The only difference being that the Socialists still wanted to maintain friendly relations to Russia while the capitalists tightened their collaboration with Russia’s enemy, Germany.

 

Finland is granted independence by the Bolsheviks

“The other day representatives of Finland applied to us with a demand for immediate recognition of Finland’s complete independence and endorsement of its secession from Russia. The Council of People’s Commissars resolved to give its consent and to issue a decree, which has already been published in the newspapers, proclaiming Finland’s complete independence.

Here is the text of the decision of the Council of People’s Commissars:

“In response to the application of the Finnish Government for recognition of the independence of the Finnish Republic, the Council of People’s Commissars, in full conformity with the principle of the right of nations to self-determination, resolves to recommend to the Central Executive Committee: a) to recognize the state independence of the Finnish Republic, and b) to set up, in agreement with the Finnish Government, a special commission (composed of representatives of both sides) to elaborate the practical measures necessitated by the secession of Finland from Russia.”
Naturally, the Council of People’s Commissars could not act otherwise, for if a nation, through its representatives, demands recognition of its independence, a proletarian government, acting on the principle of granting the peoples the right to self-determination, must give its consent…

The Council of People’s Commissars may be abused, may be criticized, but no one can assert that it does not carry out its promises; for there is no force on earth that can compel the Council of People’s Commissars to break its promises. This we have demonstrated by the absolute impartiality with which we accepted the demand of the Finnish bourgeoisie that Finland be granted independence, and by proceeding at once to issue a decree proclaiming the independence of Finland.

May the independence of Finland help the emancipation of the Finnish workers and peasants and create a firm basis for friendship between our peoples.”

~STALIN (The Independence of Finland: Speech to the Russian Central Executive Committee Dec. 22, 1917)

 
SOURCES:

Tuure Lehen, Punaisten ja Valkoisten Sota

Esa Koskinen, Veljiksi kaikki ihmiset tulkaa: Lohja 1917-18

Antti Hyvönen, Suurten tapahtumien vuodet 1917-18

Viktor Holodkovski, Suomen työväen vallankumous 1918

Antti Hyvönen, Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue 1918-24

Antti Hyvönen, Suomen vanhan työväenpuolueen historia

Otto Kuusinen, “The Finnish Revolution: A Self-Criticism”

Otto Kuusinen, Suomen Työväenliikkeen Opetuksia

First Coincidence near Stalingrad – Talk between Catholic priest Josef Kayser and Walter Ulbricht, Feb 2 1944

Lead-in: Dear listeners! About their first coincidence near Stalingrad the former communist Reichstag deputy Walter Ulbricht is talking with the Catholic Wehrmacht priest Josef Kayser.
Ulbricht: So, Mr. priest, can you remember what was a year ago?
Kayser: Sure! Back then I met you, Mr. Ulbricht, shortly after my capture in dugout in Verdyachi. Never I will forget our first talk back then.
Ulbricht: Seems the last year brought you much. And now on anniversary of our first meet we are together again, but now in Moscow. Back then – so it seems for me – you have not understand me well. But today we work together.
Kayser: You are totally right, Mr. Ulbricht. This year has brought us together, you, the communist, and me, the Catholic priest. But to be honest, on our first meeting I was a bit terrified.
Ulbricht: So, what impressed you so much?
Kayser: You did not try to coax me but said me freely into my face that the defeat of the two German armies at Stalingrad is the beginning of the defeat of Hitler. I remember your comparison. You said back then, Hitler had not just pushed the German troops at Stalingrad into the pocket, but Hitler has pocketed whole Germany. I remember your words of goodbye: “Watch out, Mr. priest, in a few weeks you will be totally have my opinion and you will fight with us against Hitler.”
Ulbricht: So, was I not right, was I?
Kayser: Of course! But back then I was far away from my current understanding. I have always been an enemy of the exaggerated Führer principe and an enemy of the race theory. I have stood as Catholic youth leader in struggle against Gestapo and SS. Just because of my conscription to Wehrmacht I just escaped imprisonment in a concentration camp. But working together with communists, I was just afraid of that.
Ulbricht: There we have it. You seem to have thought communists are savages.
Kayser: That is almost right.
Ulbricht: Do you remember when I told you about that the communists in Germany indeed recognize the struggle of Catholic Church against Hitler and support them where they can?
Kayser: Yes, you told me surprinsingly about my friend, chaplain Rossaint, who was judged together with communists in a Nazi cangaroo trial.
Ulbricht: So it was. We communists esteem and recognize every honest creed, you must have seen this by yourself in this first year as a prisoner of war.
Kayser: Of course! I can tell you, Mr. Ulbricht, that this experience was the deepest reason why we got together so quickly. If the people in Germany would find together like that! All enemies of Hitler!
Ulbricht: So it will come, Mr. priest! You can be sure about that.
Kayser: Now you speak again as superior and sure like back then, when I sat in front of you on the plank bed in the dugout of Verdyachi.
Ulbricht: Yes! See, Mr. priest, we communists do sober real politics. Marx and Lenin,
who´s books are of course banned in Germany, have tought us a deep view on history, which enables us to realize the economic and political relations, which constitute history.
Kayser: That is right! I have also read in these books and learned some new things. Before that we just heard about Marxism, that he would fight God and church and wants to turn the world into chaos.
Ulbricht: And therefore you fought against Soviet Russia? Like in a crusade?
Kayser: Sadly! Sadly!
Ulbricht: And now you see an orderly state, free, happy people, who love their fatherland and defend it with all means. Do you know, that years ago the Soviet government gave churches, which were closed, back to their religious purpose when the people wanted it so?
Kayser: I have heard from it and read by myself, that Stalin in a speech to the youth already before the war went with barbed words against outrages, which smeared the church and priests. When the Catholic people in Germany would know about that.
Ulbricht: Here in Russia the people is ruling. Also the German peoople will open their eyes. Then there will be an end with Hitler and his slavery. The Russian and German people will understand each other well. They belong together. And also the church will have its importance in a free Germany. Rely on that, Mr. priest. The Catholics have fought heroic in Nazi-Germany with us. That will not be forgotten.
Kayser: Yes, when the German people would be so united like we both!
Ulbricht: Why should that be impossible, we can see it already in the National Committee [“Free Germany”].
Kayser: Yes, Stalingrad has brought us to that! Maybe the Lord God had to send us through this hell, that we can buildup now a more beautiful Germany together will all good powers of the German people.
Ulbricht: Right! – And we specially that we can prevent an even worse Stalingrad for the German people.
Kayser: You stay ever the sober real politician! Praise God!

Source: “To the History of German Workers Movement – Extra-Volume to Volume II, 2. Half-Volume” by Walter Ulbricht (published in 1968), German

 

 

Thanks to The Red Path!

“How is the unity for the fall of Hitler?” by Walter Ulbricht, (Aug 27 1939)

The main task, which moves all antifascists in Germany, is: On which way can we liberate Germany from the rule of the fascist war mongers? Doubtless, it is only possible on the way of common struggle of all democratic, antifascist forces. The accomplishment and the action power of this democratic front is essentially depending on the unity and initiative of the working class in their struggle.

The working class is the force, who is suffering the most from the fascist rule and has to carry the biggest victims from a war provoked by Hitler, who has literally nothing to lose but her chains, who is concentrated in the big enterprises, the basis of fascist war production, who is standing in deepest contradiction by her class position to the fascist class rule of the most reactionary imperialist circles of German financial capital and struggles most consequently for the democratic freedom. When today the communication of the democratic forces in Germany is still at the beginning, then it is because the active antifascist forces of the working class do not or almost invisible agitate in action unity.

But there are already many examples, that communists, active social-democrats and former trade union activists organise united the resistance in the enterprises and had pushed through workers demands by use of the legal possibilities in the DAF¹. Decisive was by that mostly the initiative of communists and revolutionary social-democrats, their common approach and their connection to other DAF-members. In some industrial centers representatives of social-democratic groups and communist party organizations have handed out flyers against the extension of work time and for better wages and made commonly propaganda against the Great-German imperialism among the Work-Front-members. These are just actions of the most active, most consequent antifascist forces among the working class, which shows the possibilities of action unity. It is necessary, that specially in big enterprises the mass of communist, social-democratic, trade unionist and the other antifascist workers create the united front.
Against that are some social-democratic leaders, who seem to see their task in spreding defeatism, carrying non-believing in the own power into the working class. They claim, that the working class would be less active than other classes of the society, while they are continuing the struggle against the united front inside the country and do everything they can to prevent that workers become active. The offical organ of the social-democratic party directorate, the “Deutschlandbericht der Sopade”, are reasoning their defeatist standpoint with this:
“The political thinking people, active in trade union, were ever in minority. But as long there was a free workers movement, that minority always had the leadership… This force of the workers movement does not exist anymore. The National-socialists have destroyed them knowing and put their politics systematically on the atomization of the working people… Those, who thought before, are still thinking, those who did not think before, think now even less. Just, that the thinking ones do not lead anymore.”
This statement means nothing else but abandoning the organization of antifascist struggle.
When by the opinion of the social-democratic author the “politically thinking people”, so the class conscious workers, would be unable to lead the working masses, which leadership should the workers now have in their opinion? The political conception of the articles of Friedrich Stampfer, Hilferding, Wels, Sollmann means factly that the leadership in struggle against fascism would belong to the bourgeoisie. Stampfer claims, “that Hitler finds today far more followers among the working class than among the bourgeoisie”², but that “the proud Rhinish enterpreneurs”, like Stampfer likes to say, would not let Hitler telling them anything. So Stampfer also counts these fascist great capitalists, who brought Hitler into power, to the opposition. This orientation brings the social-democratic directorate to stay totally passive towards the struggle of the workers, while they are favorable towards the bourgeoisie. Stampfer speaks of the “progressive tendencies” in the fascist economy, and Sollmann characterises the future democracy as an “authoritarian democracy”, so semi-fascist.

Such a politics just serves the keeping of the split among the working class. She also directs also directly against the unity of democratic, antifascist forces, because the masses of peasants and petty bourgeoisie do not want to come from fascist hail and rain into the eave of “authoritarian-democratic” rule of the “proud Rhinish enterpreneurs”, even when she is being covered by “constitutional” and “planning” ornaments.

To what such a politics leads, the years 1918 till 1933 have taught us more than enough. From the historical experience comes the conclusion, that the democratic revolution must be carried out by the most progressive class, the working class, as the most consequent democratic force in the alliance with the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie in the cities and the progressive intilligentsia. By that it will also be possible to paralyse the “authoritarian” goals of anti-Hitlerist circles among the bourgeoisie.

Before the 30. June 1934 the party directorate representatnts to the socialdemocrats in the country, they should not make a united front with the communists, to not scare the opposition in the Nazi Party and the state appartus. Then before the 4. February 1938 it has been whispered with secretive hint on the opposition among the officer circles in the Reich army to prevent the creation of the united front. The result was, that Hitler got rid of that opposition very quickly, because the working class did not step into action. So Wels and Stampfer prevented by distraction of the action unity of the workers, that this opposition could lead to a crisis in the fascist regime. The existence of the united front, which we want since years, would have doubtlessly, that the working class could have stepped more into action during the September days 1938, during the days of the wild pogroms or this spring during the aggression against Czechoslovakia. Now the social-democratic leaders direct their views on diverse foreign forces, which have yet excelled itself by a Munich orientation.

It is not just the difficulties of communication, which make under the conditions of fascist terror the creation of a united front so difficult, but primarily the political influence of some social-democratic leaders. So a situation has developed, that a part of the social-democratic functionaries in Germany works in accordance to the platform of SPD-directorate of January 1934 for the unity of the working class, while the social-democratic directorate itself went backwards under influence of anti-Marxist circles in foreign countries and in fact gave up its own platform. That directorate has, by going over to combat every social-democratic functionary who works for unity of the working class, split the social-democracy itself into different directions.

We communists will continue with all of our power, that in the country the united front of communist and social-democratic organizations and functionaries will be created. May among the social-democracy a similar activity for the creation of the action unity of the working class come. For the German working class applies, what comrade Dimitrov wrote after the Munich Conspiracy:

“From outstanding importance is the advise of the great Lenin, that the working class has primarily to gain the belief in the own power, has to smash the damned pre-judgement, that the peoples could not get along without the leadership of bourgeoisie, that the bourgeoisie would decide over their destiny. the working class must deeply be permeated in the consciousness of necessity, to stand determined on the top of the people´s movement against fascism.”³
the collaboration of the antifascist, democratic forces can only succeed, when the necessary collaboration of organizations of the working class with the middle classes and the bourgeoisie democratic forces can just then lead to the goal – the democratic republic – when the strongest class, the working class by the action unity unfolds her power totally and encourages by that her direct allies, the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie in the cities, to action.

Permeated by that knowledge, a big amount of social-democratic groups came to the conclusion, not just creating the action unity with the communist party organizations, but also to take initiative, by connection to other groups, by flyers and illegal newspapers, to convince the masses of antifascist workers from the necessity of action unity. The flyers from Berlin and Rhine Land, the illegal newspaper from the Wasserkante and the memorandum of a social-democratic working circle proof that work. It is in the interest of the struggle against the fascist war politics, to have an open debate about why the unity of the antifascist, democratic forces need the unity front of the working class. The communists and the revolutionary workers support every resistance directed against fascism and every oppositional movement in the army, in the fascist organizations and among the bourgeoisie. the revolutionary forces of the working class must always be conscious, that all democratic and oppositional forces can just have achievements and victories in that amount, as the working class acts united and wins the masses of peasantry and petty bourgeoisie as allies.

Walter Ulbrich

¹Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Work Front) was the fascist pseudo-trade union
²Neuer Vorwärts, Nr. 310, 28. Mai 1939, German
³ Georgi Dimitroff: Ausgewählte Schriften, Bd. 3, Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1958, S. 125, German

Source: Deutsche Volkszeitung, 27. August 1939, German

Thanks to RedPath!

Thoughts on Hoxha & Hoxhaism

INTRODUCTION

This article will be my brief critique of Albanian socialist leader Enver Hoxha & his modern followers.

Enver Hoxha was a great Marxist-Leninist & anti-revisionist. His works are a valuable contribution to anti-revisionism and the practical application of Marxism-Leninism. This ought to be recognized by every communist.

The critical comments I’m about to make should not be interpreted as a condemnation of Hoxha’s significant work.

WHEN HOXHA WAS CORRECT

Hoxha perhaps most well known for his firm critique of Khrushchevite Revisionism:

“The true Marxist-Leninists will intensify their principled struggle for the exposure of the Khrushchevite and other modern revisionists”
(Hoxha, Reject the Revisionist Thesis of the 20th Congress)

As well as his outstanding work against Yugoslav revisionism:

“The Yugoslav renegades abandoned the scientific theory of Marxism-Leninism on the socialist state right from the beginning…”
(Hoxha, Yugoslav “Self-Administration”)

However he also began to be very critical of Mao Tse-Tung’s China and this is where I feel he fell into serious errors. I will be writing a similar short article giving my thoughts on Maoism as well as the Juche Idea later. But for the time being let us point out that Mao also made mistakes, especially in the so-called “Three Worlds Theory” and it was entirely justified to point this out. In fact this was done by many supporters of Mao also.

One such pro-Mao communist was Harry Haywood who criticized the “incorrect strategic line of the Three Worlds Theory” in his article “China and its Supporters Were Wrong About USSR”. I will discuss the specifics of this issue in my future article on Mao.

WHEN HOXHA WAS WRONG

Let us now focus on Hoxha’s other criticisms of Maoist China.

1. The Peasant Question, People’s War

Hoxhaism claims that Mao gave up the leading role of the Proletariat to the Peasantry:

“Although he talked about the role of the proletariat, in practice Mao Tsetung underestimated its hegemony in the revolution and elevated the role of the peasantry.”
(Hoxha, Imperialism and the Revolution)

However, he in my opinion presents insufficient evidence to support this. Mao employed a worker-peasant alliance under the leadership of the Proletariat & the Communist Party as Lenin and Stalin did. Hoxha claims that in Mao’s case this was mere rhetoric and not true, and that in reality the Proletariat was never the leader, but I find this unconvincing.

Is there any doubt that the Communist Party was at the head of the Revolution? Is there any doubt that Communism is first and foremost a working class & not a peasant ideology? Hoxha’s best evidence seems to be the numerical superiority of the peasants, but the same argument was frequently made against Lenin by dogmatists.

Hoxha’s second piece of evidence is Mao’s slogan of ‘the countryside encircling the cities’. Hoxha claims that this was not merely a tactic but a deviation from Marxism-Leninism. In my opinion he fails to justify this. The soundness of the strategy was proven by the fact that they won. Are all guerrilla movements which hide in the countryside, mountains and forests going against Marxism-Leninism? Surely not.

Mao’s military strategy was based on Marxist-Leninist analysis & popularizing previous military writings, Sun Tzu’s Art of War in particular.

2. National Liberation, United Fronts, New Democracy

Hoxha argues that Mao was a class-collaborator:

“The revisionist concepts of Mao Tsetung have their basis in the policy of collaboration and alliance with the bourgeoisie”
(Hoxha, ibid.)

This is based on the fact that the Chinese Communist Party allied with all patriotic elements against the Japanese invasion in a nationwide united front. Does Hoxha denounce all united fronts? No he doesn’t, he cannot do that as united fronts are an accepted Marxist-Leninist tactic. Therefore Hoxha only denounces this particular united front.

Hoxha attacks the Maoist policy of ‘New Democracy’ as class collaboration, as the New Democratic State allowed the existence of not only workers but also capitalists & peasants under the leadership of the Communist Party. Hoxhaists might point out that the other classes also had some representation in the government, but to claim that the Proletariat & the Communist Party were not leading the State is quite frankly ridiculous.

The New Democratic State was designed as a transition from semi-feudalism & semi-colonialism to Socialism. The other socialist countries; ‘People’s Democracies’ in Eastern Europe as well as the Soviet Union during the NEP policy, grappled with these issues. Hoxha doesn’t denounce all of them, only Mao.

Hoxha attacks Mao for his idea that there are antagonistic & non-antagonistic class contradictions, i.e. that some class differences can be solved relatively peacefully in the context of the Worker’s State. It was necessary to violently overthrow the KMT, compradors & landlords. However the peasantry & patriotic forces that supported the Communists do not need to be dealt with in the same way.

The Bolsheviks did not immediately wipe out all the capitalist elements, instead they allowed them to exist in a restricted form during the NEP. The Bolsheviks first secured the gains of the Democratic Revolution and only later constructed Socialism. During the Collectivization of Agriculture the Bolsheviks wanted to “win over the middle-peasant” (and isolate the Kulak). This would be solving the contradiction between the workers and poor & middle-peasants in a peaceful non-antagonistic way. For some reason Hoxha doesn’t consider this to be class collaboration in the same way.

Considering that China was semi-colonial & even more backward then the Soviet Union, it should be expected that more compromises would have to be made with the classes with different but not antagonistic interests like the petit-bourgeois peasants. It would take longer to get rid of these social classes then in countries with more favorable conditions. Still the landlords were gotten rid of, agricultural collectivization was implemented, industry was nationalized.

MISTAKES OF MODERN HOXHAIST PRAXIS

I consider Hoxhaists my comrades. I am non-sectarian enough to support Hoxhaist parties such as the Brazilian PCR as based on the information from my Brazilian comrades they are the best party of their country. However there are elements in modern Hoxhaism which I’d prefer not to be there.

Hoxhaists have seem to have an ultra-left tendency of seeking “ideological purity” over all else. This means sectarianism, isolating themselves from others, attacking non-Hoxhaist Marxist-Leninists as “revisionists” and deadly enemies.

In general Hoxhaists seem incapable of distinguishing between disagreement, deviation & revisionism. A deviation is a one-sided mistaken line in Marxism. Naturally there are different degrees of deviation, some of which are more harmful then others. Revisionism means an anti-marxist trend, a line that contradicts with the core of marxism.

In my opinion Maoism & Juche both show some signs of deviation, but not revisionism. What I consider the flaws of Maoism are in no way on the same level as the anti-Marxist tendencies of Khrushchevite, Trotskyite or Titoite Revisionism.

I shouldn’t have to explain what disagreement means, but it seems it is necessary. We will always have disagreement about the correct tactics, the correct policies, the correct slogans. It is not always Revisionist to have different views.

It should be obvious to everyone that China not only nationalized large industry but also implemented policies of agricultural collectivization similar to the Soviet Union. The notion that they were not constructing socialism is absurd and based on a nitpicking “left-communist” attitude. They don’t care about the big picture. If they can find some excuse to denounce something as Revisionism, they will.

This conduct is not different from “Left-Communist”, “Orthodox Marxists”, Trotskyists and other armchair revolutionaries who claim “the Soviet Union was state capitalist because it still used money instead of labor vouchers” or some such nonsense. Unfortunately many Hoxhaists boldly proclaim such absurdities; “China was never building socialism. Mao was a Revisionist”. I say this is nonsense.

HOXHAISM OR LENINISM?

The biggest danger for Hoxhaists is sectarianism. They openly admit that they are Marxist-Leninists, that Hoxha was an anti-revisionist and not someone who created new theory. Hoxha’s writings popularized & applied Marxism-Leninism just like Stalin did, and Hoxha never sought to create a new “ism”. Hoxhaists should agree with this.

So why do we have Hoxhaist parties? Why do we have Hoxhaism? Hoxhaists feel that if a Marxist-Leninist organization doesn’t identify as Hoxhaist then probably a new party should be created, though they might come up with some other excuse for this splitting action.

Maybe I am a hopeless centrist for not being a Hoxhaist nor a Maoist. Maybe I am centrist for thinking its counter productive to spend most of one’s time denouncing Maoism & the DPRK as revisionists, enemies, worse then capitalists etc., instead of actually trying to advance Communism.

Particularly small parties and groups have a tendency for sectarianism & isolating themselves. This is true of many Maoist groups as well and seems to be a serious danger for all Hoxhaist groups. The Brazilian PCR doesn’t seem to suffer from this quite as much as some others, but I’ve been criticized for being “pro-Mao” by some Brazilian Hoxhaists (in a friendly discussion) as if that is what we should be worried about at this point.

You don’t see Maoists or Marxist-Leninists focusing all their time on attacking Hoxha, yet Hoxhaists seem obsessed with attacking us non-Hoxhaist M-Ls. This is wrecking activity and harms our movement.

Should there in my opinion exist specifically Hoxhaist parties? Absolutely not. We need Marxist-Leninist parties. Everyone should recognize the positive contribution of Hoxha and all the times when he was correct, we don’t need to be “Hoxhaists” to do that.

If some comrades insist on labeling themselves “Hoxhaists” then so be it. But that is not a big enough issue to split over, not from their point of view or mine. Like Hoxha, I call for ‘true Marxist-Leninist unity’.

Unity cannot be unprincipled, we cannot achieve unity by merely proclaiming that we have it and then still continue to have big differences which are brushed aside, we all know this. However to have disunity or split over minor questions is sectarian. The Hoxhaist vs. M-L split is obviously just such a minor question, to claim the opposite only proves my point.

The quest to have specifically Hoxhaist organizations, to have Hoxha’s face and name always visible as a priority, to split with those who don’t agree with Hoxha on everything is obviously sectarian.

The Moscow Trials (Part 2: COURT PROCEEDINGS)

The Trials (1936-1938)

The Moscow Trials were a series of separate though connected trials. They were the following:

August 19-24, 1936 “The Case of the Trotskyite Zinovievite Terrorist Centre” known widely as the “Zinoviev-Kamenev Trial”. This trial mainly concerned the Trotskyist-Zinovievite underground and their connection with the Murder of Sergei Kirov.

January 23-30, 1937 “The Case of the Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Centre” or “The Piatakov-Radek Trial” which continued the NKVD investigation of the Trotskyite conspiratorial bloc.

May-June 1937 “Tukhachevsky Affair” concerning the military conspiracy and collaboration with foreign powers & fascists.

And finally, March 2-13, 1938 “The Case of the Anti-Soviet ‘Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites.’” or “the Bukharin Rykov Trial” which convicted the last major members of the conspiracy. At this point it had become clear that the main conspiracies were actually all connected. The military conspiracy, the underground political opposition bloc and the wrecking in industry, espionage for foreign powers etc.

The parties involved in each were not in agreement but they worked together towards the common enemy. Some members were Trotskyists who agreed to help Germany for their own reasons, others were bourgeois elements hostile to the USSR or Bukharinites. Many were ex-members of the Left Opposition, United Opposition or the Right-Opposition, but not all. Some were recruited by Trotskyists, some by Zinovievites or Bukharinites. Some were in contact with Sedov or even Trotsky but most were not. Others were recruited by German intelligence and had no direct connection to Trotskyism at all.

But how believable were the accusations? How fair were the Trials in reality?


Main counter arguments:

1) Allegation that the accusations were incredible.

These days one often hears the claim that such a conspiracy was incredible, unbelievable, couldn’t have happened or something else to that effect. Really the findings of the Moscow Trials were widely accepted in mainstream discussion until Khruschevs’ Secret Speech of 1956. We will return to this detail later. The evidence the Soviets had was strong and credible, in the end only few groupings chose to disbelieve it due to political convictions. These groups were hardcore anti-communists & Trotskyists.

Of course Trotsky would have known the Trial findings were accurate. Similarly the Anti-Communists might have believed them also. Still both parties accused the Soviets of wrongdoing or frame ups in their own propaganda for obvious propaganda reasons.

U.S. Embassador to the USSR Joseph E. Davies was present at the Moscow Trials and said he felt the trial was fair and not staged:

“With an interpreter at my side, I followed the testimony carefully. Naturally I must confess that I was predisposed against the credibility of the testimony of these defendants… Viewed objectively, however, and based upon my experience in the trial of cases and the application of the tests of credibility which past experience had afforded me, I arrived at the reluctant conclusion that the state had established its case, at least to the extent of proving the existence of a widespread

conspiracy and plot among the political leaders against the Soviet government, and which under their statutes established the crimes set forth in the indictment… I am still impressed with the many indications of credibility which obtained in the course of the testimony. To have assumed that this proceeding was invented and staged as a project of dramatic political fiction would be to presuppose the creative genius of a Shakespeare and the genius of a Belasco in stage production. The historical background and surrounding circumstances also lend credibility to the testimony. The reasoning which Sokolnikov and Radek applied in justification of their various activities and their hoped-for results were consistent with probability and entirely plausible. The circumstantial detail… brought out by the various accused, gave unintended corroboration to the gist of the charges.”
(Davies, Mission to Moscow)

Davies was not alone in his views. He wrote in his diary:

“DIARY Moscow February 11, 37

The Belgian Minister, De Tellier, has been here a long time. I had a most interesting discussion with him to-day. He is experienced, able, shrewd, and wise; and knows his Europe well. The defendants in the trial were guilty, in his opinion.

DIARY Moscow February 18, 1937

The Minister called. Re trial: There was no doubt but that a widespread conspiracy existed and that the defendants were guilty.

DIARY Moscow March 11, 1937

Another diplomat, Minister – , made a most illuminating statement to me yesterday. In discussing the trial he said that the defendants were undoubtedly guilty; that all of us who attended the trial had practically agreed on that; that the outside world, from the press reports, however, seemed to think that the trial was a put-up job (facade, as he called it); that while we knew it was not, it was probably just as well that the outside world should think so.” (ibid.)

Despite the fact that some bourgeois outlets wanted to portray the Trials as a hoax, many mainstream media outlets were eventually forced to admit the Trials were fair:

The defendants admitted frankly that they resorted to individual terror as a last resort, fully knowing that disaffection in the country now is not sufficiently strong to bring them into power in any other way… It is futile to think the trial was staged and the charges trumped up. The Government’s case against the defendants is genuine.”
The Observer, August 23

Other foreign visitors to the USSR voiced similar opinions:

“I studied the legal procedure in criminal cases in Soviet Russia somewhat carefully in 1932, and concluded … that the procedure gave the ordinal accused a very fair trial… The charge was a serious one. A group of men… under some measure of suspicion for counter-revolutionary or deviationist activities, and most of them having had such activities condoned in the past on assurances of the loyalty in the future, were now charged with long, cold-blooded, deliberate conspiracy to bring about the assassination of Kirov (who was actually murdered in December, 1934), of Stalin, of Voroshilov and other prominent leaders.

Their purpose, it seemed, was merely to seize power for themselves, without any pretence that they had any substantial following in the country… And at no stage was any suggestion made by any of them that any sort of improper treatment had been used to persuade them to confess. The first thing that struck me, as an English lawyer, was the almost free-and-easy dameanour of the prisoners. They all looked well…”
D.N. Pritt (quoted in The Moscow Trial Was Fair)

“Why did sixteen accused men all confess guilty… if they had been maltreated in prison, surely some signs of this would have been visible to the public, or at least one of them would have made some sort of a statement on the matter… To plead innocent was impossible because the proofs were overwhelming, and all these people knew this.”
Pat Sloan, ibid.

Even many members of the “American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky” ended up changing their minds and being convinced of Trotsky’s guilt. Among these people were journalists Carleton Beals and Lewis Gannett, Nation magazine editor Freda Kirchwey and Nation contributor Mauritz A. Hallgren who wrote:

“…Since joining your committee I have given deep and earnest thought to the whole problem here involved. I have examined, so far as they have been made available in this country, all of the documents bearing upon the case. I have followed closely all of the news reports. I have consulted some of the reports made by non-Communists who attended the first trial. I have carefully studied the published arguments of the partisans on both sides. And I have just as carefully restudied the writings of Trotsky concerning his case against Stalinism…

It is said by some that they have been hypnotized into confessing… For example, the unamity with which the men have been confessing is taken as proof that the confessions are false and have been obtained by some mysterious means. Yet these assertions rest upon no tangible or logical proof whatever… The very unamity of the defendants, far from proving that this trial is also a “frame-up”, appears to me to prove directly the contrary. For if these men are innocent, then certainly at least one of the three dozen, knowing that he faced death in any case, would have blurted out the truth. It is inconceivable that out of this great number of defendants, all should lie when lies would not do one of them any good. But why look beyond the obvious for the truth, why seek in mysticism or in dark magic for facts that are before one’s very nose? Why not accept the plain fact that the men are guilty?”
Mauritz A. Hallgren (Why I Resigned From the Trotsky Defense Committee)

 

2) The claim that the accused were Tortured or threatened.

While the USSR had a law which allowed the use of physical pressure by the NKVD there is no evidence the defendents in question were tortured.

The novelist and playwright Lion Feuchtwanger was visiting the Soviet Union at the time of the Pyatakov-Radek Trial. He wrote:

The first and most reasonable supposition is, of course, that the confessions were extracted from the prisoners by torture and by the threat of still worse tortures. Yet this first conjecture was refuted by the obvious freshness and vitality of the prisoners, by their whole physical and mental aspect… There was no justification of any sort for imagining that there was anything manufactured, artificial, or even awe-inspiring or emotional about these proceedings.”
(Feuchtwanger, Lion. Moscow, 1937, p. 121-122)

Journalist John Gunther also wrote about the trial:

“It was said that the prisoners were tortured, hypnotized, drugged (in order to make them give false confessions) and–a choice detail– impersonated by actors of the Moscow Art theater! But the trials occurred soon after the preliminary investigations were concluded, and they took place before hundreds of witnesses, many of them experienced correspondents, in open court… Pressure there certainly was, in the manner of police investigation all over the world, but no evidence of torture.”
(John Gunther, Inside Europe)

The most common allegation is that Bukharin was tortured, however according to Bukharin biographer Steven Cohen claims he couldn’t have been:

“It seems that no physical tortures were used against him [Bukharin] in prison.”
(Cohen, Bukharin na Lubianke, Svobodnaia Mysl’ 21, No. 3 (2003), pp. 60-1.)

Historian Asen Ignatov agrees: “We may be confident that Bukharin did not undergo torture.”
(Asen Ignatov,
Revoliutsiia pozhiraet svoikh vunderkindov. Sluchai Bukharina s psikhologicheski tochki zreniia. Forum 1 (2005))

Historian Edvard Radzinsky:

“There are many legends about the tortures which induced him to take part in this ignominious farce. It is a pity to debunk a good legend… No, there was no torture. And it seems unlikely that the delicate and hysterical Bukharin would have written so many literary works in the intervals of torture.” 
(Edvard Radzinsky, Stalin)

Some have opted to say that instead Bukharin confessed falsely in order to help the party but this seems unlikely too. There is no evidence for his innocence but there is for his guilt. According to Bukharin’s testimony he chose to confess after learning the evidence the NKVD had against him, how many others had been caught, and who had implicated him. This seems logical. We will return to Bukharin’s statements a bit later.

The claims of torture are extremely common but baseless. If there was solid evidence, we would have seen it by now. Further more the fact someone was tortured doesn’t imply innocence or that their testimony is inaccurate. It casts doubt on the accuracy of their statements for sure, so that the testimony has to be re-evaluated in the light of other evidence. On top of that, it seems unlikely that when cross examined witnesses could give mutually corrobarative, detailed statements about facts they allegedly knew nothing about or didn’t participate in. It is far more likely they were able to give these statements because they were truthful.

In the two following sections we will deal with the Dewey Commission & the political “Rehabilitations” of Khruschev and Gorbachev and the arguments they made against the Moscow Trials.

 

Political “Rehabilitations” by Khruschev & Gorbachev

Aleksandr Shelepin gave a speech in favor of Khruschev. He quoted from Iakir’s letter to Stalin of June 9, 1937.

“A series of cynical resolutions by Stalin, Kaganovich, Molotov, Malenkov and Voroshilov on the letters and declarations made by those imprisoned testifies to the cruel treatment of people, of leading comrades, who found themselves under investigation. For example when it was his turn Iakir – the former commander of a military region – appealed to Stalin in a letter in which he swore his own complete innocence. Here is what he wrote:

I am a noble warrior, devoted to the Party, the state and the people, as I was for many years. My whole conscious life has been passed in selfless, honest work in the sight of the Party and of its leaders… Now I am honest in my every word…
–Speech to the 22nd Party Congress of the CPSU, Pravda, October 27, 1961

The problem here is that Shelepin has taken this letter entirely out of context and lied about it’s contents. He claims Iakir was innocent and always proclaimed his innocence. In reality in this letter he actually admits guilt, but Shelepin has chosen to omit this part. The full text of the letter first came out in 1994. Here are some of parts left out by Shelepin:

Dear, close comrade Stalin. I dare address you in this manner because I have said everything, given everything up, and it seems to me that I am a noble warrior, devoted to the Party… Then the fall into the nightmare, into the irreparable horror of betrayal. . . . The investigation is completed. I have been formally accused of treason to the state, I have admitted my guilt, I have fully repented. I have unlimited faith in the justice and propriety of the decision of the court and the state. . . . Now I am honest in my every word…”
Iakir’s letter reprinted in [“Rehabilitation. How It Happened”] volume 2 (2003)

So Shelepin has taken a letter where a man admits his guilt and turned it into a claim of innocence! If Iakir was truly innocent would this kind of dishonestly really be needed?

We have already been over the Shvernik Reports attempt to blaim Stalin on the Kirov Murder & for framing Tukchavesky. No evidence was found and this time instead of trying to fabricate it the Khruschevites gave up and focused on other things.

The statement of the rehabilitation commission of the Politburo published in August 1989 reads:

“It has been established therefore that after 1927 the former Trotskyists and Zinovievists did not carry out any organized struggle against the party, did not unite with each other either on a terrorist or any other basis, and that the case of the “United Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center” was fabricated by the organs of the NKVD upon the direct order and with the direct participation of J. V. Stalin.”

It is quite a strange situation when Gorbachevites, supposed Communists are more anti-communist in their statements then Western historians.

“Although Trotsky later denied that he had any communications with former followers in the USSR since his exile in 1929, it is clear that he did. In the first three months of 1932 he sent secret letters to former oppositionists Radek, Sokolnikov, Preobrazhenskii, and others. Although the contents of these letters are unknown, it seems reasonable to believe that they involved an attempt to persuade the addresees to return to opposition. Sometime in October of 1932, E.S. Gol’tsman (a Soviet official and former Trotskyist) met Sedov in Berlin and gave him an internal memorandum on Soviet economic output. This memorandum was published in the Bulletin’ the following month under the title “The Economic Situation of the Soviet Union.” It seems, though, that Gol’tsman brought Sedov something else: a proposal from Left Oppositionists in the USSR for the formation of a united opposition bloc. The proposed bloc was to include Trotskyists, Zinovievists, members of the Lominadze group, and others. The proposal came from “Kolokolnikov” – the code name of Ivan Smirnov.” (Getty, Origins)

Western historians admit this, while the Gorbachevite government denies it? Of course we know Gorbachev was in reality an anti-communist himself:

“My ambition was to liquidate communism… My ideal is the path of social democracy.”
–Gorbachev

The Gorbachevite “rehabilitation” committee also denied the Terrorist character of this Bloc which they claimed didn’t even exist, despite the fact that even non-Soviet sources testified to it.

Molotov also spoke about these phony “rehabilitations” in his interview with Feliks I. Chuev published in 1993:

MOLOTOV: Take Tukhachevsky, for example. On what grounds was he rehabilitated? Did you read the records of the trial of the right-wing and Trotskyist bloc in 1938? Bukharin, Krestinsky, Rosengoltz, and others were on trial then. They stated flat out that in June 1937 Tukhachevsky pressed for a coup. People who have not read the record go on to say that the testimony was given under duress from the Chekists. But I say, had we not made those sweeping arrests in the 1930s, we would have suffered even greater losses in the war.” (Molotov Remembers p. 285)

It was not politically advantageous for Molotov to say these things. He supported Stalin and continued to defend his legacy against lies and slander even though the Khruschevite and Gorbachevite governments didn’t look kindly on it. He had nothing to gain for these statements except the knowledge he was speaking the truth.

 

The Dewey Commission

In 1937 the American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky organized the so-called Dewey Comission, the goal of which was to prove the innocence of Leon Trotsky. The comission carried out interviews of Trotsky and sure enough stated that it had managed to prove his innocence.

In reality the Dewey Comission failed to provide any strong evidence of Trotsky’s innocence. Most of its conclusions are purely speculative but especially the important findings are all provably false and have been debunked. The comission voiced support to Trotsky’s baseless accusation that Stalin was behind the murder of Kirov, that Stalin unjustly framed all of his political opponents, glorifies Trotsky’s role in the world communist movement and in general acted as a popularizer of Trotskyist propaganda.

As the Dewey Commission failed to provide any meaningful evidence of its own they claimed to have found holes in the charges made at the Moscow Trial. Their case heavily rested on the so-called Hotel Bristol argument which also has since then been debunked. The argument goes as follows: one accused, Holtzman testified to having met Leon Sedov in Copenhagen in a hotel named Bristol. The Dewey Comission claimed that the hotel Bristol had burnt down, therefore this was an impossibility and a lie invented by the Stalinists.

Its since been proven that actually Holtzman met Sedov in the Grand hotel, the cafe-bakery adjatent to which was called Bristol. Holtzman mistakenly thought Bristol was the name of the hotel as the hotel had no other sign, other then the cafe sign that said “BRISTOL”. One wonders, does this sound like something the Soviet police would fabricate? No it doesn’t, its overly convoluted for no apparent reason. What it sounds like, is that Holtzman made an honest mistake and that his statement at least in that regard is accurate.

The Dewey comission presented as true Trotsky’s claims of innocence, even though we now know Trotsky was lying:

“GOLDMAN: Did you ever discuss with anyone the possibility of organizing a united center between your political followers and the followers of Zinoviev and Kamenev in the Soviet Union, after the break-up of your bloc with Zinoviev and Kamenev?

TROTSKY: Never. My articles show that it is absolutely impossible. My appreciation of them, my total contempt after the capitulation, my hostility to them and their hostility to me, excluded that absolutely.

GOLDMAN: Have you read the testimony of Zinoviev and Kamenev and the other defendants in the first Moscow trial?

TROTSKY: Yes.

GOLDMAN: Wherein these defendants claimed that you instructed several of them to establish a united center between your political followers and their political followers? Have you read such testimonies?

TROTSKY: Yes.

GOLDMAN: What have you to say about that?

TROTSKY: It is a falsehood organized by the GPU and supported by Stalin.”
(Dewey Comission proceedings, third session)


Despite the Dewey Comission’s best efforts even various members of the Trotsky defence committee (and the Dewey Comission itself) came to the conclusion that Trotsky was guilty and were compelled to leave it as a result.

On April 17 Carleton Beals, a member of the Dewey comission resigned from it. He described the work of the Dewey Commission in a public statement:

“… The hushed adoration of the other members of the committee for Mr. Trotsky throughout the hearings has defeated all spirit of honest investigation. . . . The very first day I was told my questions were improper. The final cross-examination was put in a mold that prevented any search for the truth…. The cross-examination consisted of allowing Trotsky to spout propaganda charges with eloquence and wild denunciations, with only rare efforts to make him prove his assertions. . . . The commission may pass its bad check on the public if it desires, but I will not lend my name to the possibility of further childishness similar to that already committed.” (New York Times, April 19, 1937 )

SOURCES & BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Joseph E. Davies, Mission To Moscow
https://archive.org/details/missiontomoscow035156mbp

Statements of D.N. Pritt & Pat Sloan in The Moscow Trial Was Fair
https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sections/britain/pamphlets/1936/moscow-trial-fair.htm

Mauritz A. Hallgren, Why I Resigned From the Trotsky Defense Committee

Available at https://espressostalinist.com/2011/05/31/why-i-resigned-from-the-trotsky-defense-committee-by-mauritz-a-hallgren/

Feuchtwanger, Lion. Moscow, 1937, p. 121-122
http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/archive/feucht.htm#7


Bukharin was not tortured:
Cohen,
Bukharin na Lubianke, Svobodnaia Mysl’ 21, No. 3 (2003), pp. 60-1.)
Asen Ignatov,
Revoliutsiia pozhiraet svoikh vunderkindov. Sluchai Bukharina s psikhologicheski tochki zreniia. Forum 1 (2005))

available at http://www1.ku-eichstaett.de/ZIMOS/forum/docs/02Ignatow.pdf

Reabilitatsia. Kak Eto Bylo [“Rehabilitation. How It Happened”] vol. 2 (2003)

Dewey comission proceedings:

The case of Leon Trotsky Report of Hearings on the Charges Made Against Him in the Moscow Trials, third session
https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1937/dewey/session03.htm


New Evidence Concerning the “Hotel Bristol” Question in the First Moscow Trial of 1936
http://clogic.eserver.org/2008/holmstrom.pdf

Gorbachev 1989 Rehabiliation document:
“O Tak Nazyvaemom ‘Antisovetskom Ob” edinennom Trotskistsko-Zinov’evskom Tsentre.”
quoted in
http://clogic.eserver.org/2009/furr.pdf

Gorbachev about his anti-communism:
http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv6n1/gorbach.htm

Edvard Radzinsky, Stalin


Carleton Beals’s statement available here:
http://www.shunpiking.org/books/GC/GC-AK-MS-chapter21.htm

The Moscow Trials (Part 1: THE INVESTIGATION)

Introduction.

The Soviet Union experienced a period of political turmoil at the end of the 1930s. This escalated in a series of trials known as the Moscow Trials. Nowadays the Trials are often characterized as fraudulent, that the accused were innocent of all wrong doings and victims of frame-ups. What is the reality of the situation? Is there any validity to these claims?

In this article I will be discussing the events leading up to the Trials and the Moscow Trials themselves.

Background:


1927-1928 Party Debates & Factional Struggles

In the 10th Party Congress Lenin had proposed a ban on factional groupings inside the party as they went against the organizing principles of Bolshevism, Democratic Centralism. Democratic Centralism means that in any given topic everyone has freedom of speech to express their opinion, but once a decision is reached everyone must uphold the rule of the majority. If after having lost the debate on a given issue a factional grouping still continued to insist on their own policy despite the party majority deciding against it they would probably be expelled from the party. Either accept the Party’s principles or be expelled.

“In the practical struggle against factionalism, every organisation of the Party must take strict measures to prevent all factional actions… ensure strict discipline within the Party and in all Soviet work and to secure the maximum unanimity in eliminating all factionalism…”
Lenin, “Summing-Up Speech On Party Unity And The Anarcho-Syndicalist Deviation”

Lenin’s ban on factions led to the suppression of various kinds of factional activities from the Syndicalists, Trotskyists and the Left-Communist Faction led by Bukharin and other groups. These groupings were forced to accept Democratic Centralism & party discipline if they wanted to stay in the party.

We move forward to 1927 when Stalin has out maneuvered his opponents. His policies are being accepted, he is recognized as the rightful leader of the party and the majority backs him. Trotsky’s Left Opposition has been ideologically defeated. Zinoviev & Kamenev who previously had been going back and forth about supportin Trotsky make an alliance of convenience with him and his supporters. This group becomes known as the United Opposition. An opposition grouping is tolerated within the party for a while but in October 1927 the United Opposition stages a demonstration separate from the rest of the Bolshevik Party, officially to commemorate the Revolution, but also to criticize the political line of the Party Majority and Central Committee led by Stalin. This is recognized as factionalism by the Party and many members of the United Opposition are forced to self-criticize or be expelled. Zinoviev & Kamenev capitulate and are allowed to stay. Trotsky refuses and is expelled. He is deported from the country a year later.

In exile Trotsky begins to write books and articles against the Soviet Union’s current leadership. He accuses the Soviet government of various wrongdoings and claims that he himself should have become the leader.


Trotskyist Conspiracy Illegal “Bolshevik-Leninist” underground inside the USSR (1932)

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

The oppositionists led by Trotsky would eventually be accused of treason, espionage & running an illegal anti-soviet underground organization inside the USSR in the Moscow Trials. Trotsky denied all charges. Trotsky famously claimed all the accusations were merely inventions of Stalin. More of this later.

In 1980 the pre-eminent Trotskyist researcher Pierre Broué was granted access to the Harvard Trotsky archive. There he made a startling discovery: among other documents he found items of correspondence between Trotsky, his son Leon Sedov and Trotsky’s secretary Van Heijenoort. In this correspondence Broué found that Trotsky & his allies were discussing first the formation and then the running of a secret organization inside the Soviet Union.

This corraborated the Soviet accusations atleast to some degree. More shocking to a devoted Trotskyist like Broué was that Trotsky & Sedov had lied to all their supporters, indeed the entire world. The opposition Bloc of Trotskyists was entirely real – not a “Stalinist invention.”

It was then discovered that the Harvard Trotsky archive had been purged. Items had been removed. This was a closed archive meaning only certain Trotskyist researchers had been previously given access mainly Isaac Deutscher, a famous Trotskyist who wrote a massive biography on Trotsky’s life. Trotsky’s wife had also been given access. They form the most obvious candidates for the censoring of the archive of sensitive materials.

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

The bloc is organised, it includes the Zinovievists, the Sten–Lominadze Group and the Trotskyists (former capitulators). The Safar–Tarkhan* Group have not yet formally entered they have too extreme a position; they will enter very soon…. [T]he I.N. Smirnov Group, Preobrazh. and Uf…”
letter from Sedov to Trotsky

*Safarov-Tarkhanov

 

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.”
letter from Trotsky (Dec. 16 1932) (emphasis added, Bolshevik-Leninist was a term Trotsky used for his supporters, Trotskyists—FB)

Broué‘s findings were published in his book, The “Bloc” of the Oppositions against Stalin in the USSR in 1932. Despite the fact that this was truly a bombshell revelation these findings were not given much attention, indeed many Trotskyists deny the existence of the Opposition Bloc to this day. Mainstream historians also largely continue to imply that the Bloc was Stalin’s invention and fabricated. The discovery did spark interest in the new school of Soviet Studies, among historians like J. Arch Getty who also visited the Trotsky archive and came to the conclusion that it had been censored.

But if the materials left in the archive proved at least part of the allegations at the Moscow Trial, then what about the missing materials? Trotsky, his Son & his secretary vehemently denied the existence of the Bloc claiming it to be a Stalinist lie. Trotsky’s secretary never mentioned it in his memoirs written well after Trotsky’s death. Same goes for Trotsky’s biggest advocate Isaac Deutscher who was allowed to go through the archive yet continued to insist there was no secret underground organization or Bloc.

This is what they said publicly:
“Of course the Russian Bolshevik-Leninists, didn’t enter into any kind of bloc.”
Sedov, The Red Book

While this was what they actually did secretly:

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

”The bloc is organised…”
–letter from Sedov to Trotsky

Naturally when accused of a crime anyone will profess innocence regardless if they are actually innocent or guilty. All this demonstrates that Trotsky’s claims of innocence are worthless. Certainly he was running an illegal organization inside the USSR. As for the other charges, it will have to be determined based on evidence.

The indictment dates the conclusion of the bloc in 1932 as the starting point of the “terrorist activity” of the accused. From their side, Trotsky and Sedov denied that the bloc even existed.”
Pierre Broué (The “Bloc” of the Oppositions against Stalin in the USSR in 1932)

“It is clear, then, that Trotsky did have a clandestine organization inside the USSR in this period and that he maintained communication with it. It is equally clear that a united oppositional bloc was formed in 1932”
(Getty,
Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-1938)


Political Assassinations – Murder of Sergei Kirov (1934)

“Stalin must be killed!”
Leon Sedov

“Stalin… is crushing the country … Inplacable hatred is accumulating around him, and a terrible vengeance hangs over his head… An assassination attempt? It is possible that this regime… will ultimately suffer individual terror. One can add that it would be contrary to the laws of history that the gangsters in power not be subject to acts of vengeance…”
–Leon Trotsky

In 1934 head of the Leningrad organization of the Soviet Communist Party, Sergei Kirov was assassinated by a gunman. The killer, a party member, Leonid Nikolaev attempted to commit suicide before being captured but failed.

In the interrogation he initially claimed to be a lone gunman, but eventually testified to being part of a conspiracy of political assassinations by the underground Trotskyist-Zinovievite Bloc.

In response to these grave allegations Trotsky accused Stalin of masterminding the murder himself. However, there is no evidence to justify Trotsky’s claim. Both Khruschevite de-stalinization- & Gorbachev’s glasnost-era researchers attempted to compile evidence that Stalin killed Kirov, but nothing was found. In fact Kirov was a close collaborator of Stalin’s and naturally a target for politically motivated terrorists.

“Over the years, there were three, and perhaps four, “blue ribbon” investigations of the Kirov killing… Khrushchev and Gorbachev wanted to pin it on Stalin and all of them handpicked

their investigators accordingly. Having been able to acquaint myself with archival materials from these efforts, it is clear that none of the three investigations produced the desired conclusions. In particular, the Khrushchev and Gorbachev-era efforts involved massive combing of archives and interviews and failed to conclude that Stalin was behind the killing. Stalin’s effort, of course, concluded that the opposition did it and was the basis for the Moscow trials.”
Arch Getty (the H-RUSSIA discussion list August 24, 2000)

There was no obvious reason why Stalin would have wanted to falsely accuse the Oppositionists of this crime at this point. The Trotskyist underground Bloc had not been uncovered yet, certainly Stalin had no idea that Zinoviev, Kamenev etc. were members in it. It was largely the Kirov murder that sparked the investigation leading to these discoveries. The Oppositionists were politically powerless and marginalized in the legal party & state apparatus of the USSR. They had no chance to challenge Stalin’s political line. They were only dangerous in one capacity, as members of an illegal anti-soviet conspiracy.

However Stalin did not know of any such conspiracy at that time, so why frame the Opposition Bloc? Indeed, he didn’t even know the Opposition Bloc truly existed until it was discovered by the NKVD in connection with the Kirov investigation!


Is it conceivable that one of the leaders of the Party gets shot by a lone gunman? It is within the realm of possibility, but considering the facts the other option seems far more likely. There is no good evidence to doubt Nikolaev’s admission of guilt, one could merely say it alone is inconclusive. We will return to this point later.


After the Kirov murder and the discovery of the secret Bloc of Trotskyists the charges against the conspirators kept on mounting. Zinoviev & Kamenev were among the first to be tried, already arrested in connection with the Kirov murder. However they would be tried in connection with a broader conspiracy to overthrow the government. The charges against the defendants included sabotage, espionage, conspiring with foreign powers and planning & committing political assassinations.

Alexander Zinoviev (no relation to Grigory Zinoviev) was a political dissident in the USSR and was eventually exiled from the country. In 1939 he was accused of a plot to murder Stalin as part of an underground organization, but was eventually released.

He spoke of those years after the fall of the Soviet Union, actually admitting to his guilt.

“I was already a confirmed anti-Stalinist at the age of seventeen …. The idea of killing Stalin filled my thoughts and feelings …. We studied the ‘technical’ possibillities of an attack …. We even practiced. If they had condemned me to death in 1939, their decision would have been just. I had made up a plan to kill Stalin; wasn’t that a crime? When Stalin was still alive, I saw things differently… Until Stalin’s death I was anti-Stalinist”
–Alexander Zinoviev (The remorse of a dissident: Alexander Zinoviev on Stalin and the dissolution of the USSR

The fact that he was arrested by the NKVD but released due to lack of conclusive evidence or confession argues against the idea that the Oppositionists were merely framed by the Soviet government. Not only was Alexander Zinoviev released and therefore not framed but he also admits his guilt, being an unwitting part of an underground group. This seems to demonstrate that the investigation was fair, the accused was innocent until proven guilty.

Clearly the notion of political assassinations was not invented by Stalin. Alexander Zinoviev admits his guilt. He wasn’t tortured into confessing by the NKVD, the NKVD doesn’t even exist anymore. Despite their best efforts Khruschev, Gorbachev, the capitalists – nobody has been able to find evidence that Stalin had Kirov killed. Trotsky’s claim is therefore false. Nikolaev the assassin confessed to being part of an Opposition group, exactly like Alexander Zinoviev did.

Mark Zborowski, an NKVD agent managed to infiltrate Trotsky’s organization and became Sedov’s second in command. He reported to Moscow that Sedov & his followers were planning assassinations of Stalin & Voroshilov.

“Trotsky’s and Sedov’s staffs were thoroughly infiltrated, and Sedov’s closest collaborator in 1936, Mark Zborowski, is said to have been an NKVD agent. In 1936, the 1932 bloc would be interpreted by the NKVD as a terrorist plot…” (Getty, Origins)

Jules Humbert-Droz, a Swiss Communist and political ally of Bukharin wrote in his memoirs about their last meeting in 1929. Bukharin had told him they were planning to assassinate Stalin. He had objected, and they had split over this. His memoirs were published in 1971, well after De-Stalinization had claimed Bukharin was innocent:

“Before leaving I went to see Bukharin for one last time not knowing whether I would see him again upon my return. We had a long and frank conversation. He brought me up to date with the contacts made by his group with the Zinoviev-Kamenev fraction in order to coordinate the struggle against the power of Stalin. I did not hide from him that I did not approve of this liaison of the oppositions:

“The struggle against Stalin is not a political programme…This bloc is a bloc without principles which will crumble away before achieving any results.”

“Bukharin also told me that they had decided to utilise individual terror in order to rid themselves of Stalin. On this point as well I expressed my reservation… Bukharin doubtlessly had understood that I would not bind myself blindly to his fraction whose sole programme was to make Stalin disappear. This was our last meeting.”
(‘De Lénin à Staline, Dix Ans Au Service de L’ Internationale Communiste 1921-31’)

G. A. Tokaev was a member of a conspiratorial anti-communist group within the Soviet Red Army who defected to the British in 1948. He wrote about his activities openly and unrepentantly. His group was connected to other Opposition underground groups, met with Bukharin and knew about the Trotskyist-Zinovievite conspiracy against Kirov in Leningrad:

“Stalin aimed at one party dictatorship and complete centralisation. Bukharin envisaged several parties and even nationalist parties, and stood for the maximum of decentralisation. He was also in favour of vesting authority in the various constituent republics and thought that the more important of these should even control their own foreign relations. By 1936, Bukharin was approaching the social democratic standpoint of the left-wing socialists of the West.”
Tokaev, Comrade X. Publisher, Harvill Press, 1956 p. 43

“Bukharin wanted us to act with greater determination. We were to snatch the initiative from the hands of the Stalin-Molotov-Kirov triumvirate…”
Tokaev, Betrayal of an Ideal. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1955

Tokaev unrepentantly said that Kirov brought the assassination upon himself by his work against the Zinovievists in Leningrad and purging the Party of Right-Wingers:

“The principal initiators of the 1933 purge were Stalin and Kirov, and of the two Kirov was the more responsible. He had already tried out purging in his own sphere in Leningrad. Indeed, that is what cost him his life. I have good reason to put on record that it was not in 1934, as the official Kremlin reports of the trial of the so-called “Leningrad Centre” suggest, but in the spring of 1933 that his assassination was first mooted, and that by men who should have known better… [i]t was not remarkable that the oppositionists of Leningrad fastened their hatred on him. When the assassin, Nikolaev, at his first cross-examination declared that the Leningrad opposition had its own special accounts to settle with Kirov, he was only being just.” Tokaev, Grigori. Ibid.

“Our group had planned to assassinate Kirov and Kalinin, the President of the Soviet Union. Finally, it was another group that assassinated Kirov… In 1934 there was a plot to start a revolution by arresting the whole of the Stalinist-packed 17th Congress of the Party… A comrade from the group, Klava Yeryomenko, proposed in mid-1936 to kill Stalin… there had already been no less than fifteen attempts to assassinate Stalin, none had got near to success, each had cost many brave lives” Tokaev, Comrade X

The right-wing conspirators of Tokaev regretted that Bukharin was caught. The Trotskyist Radek gave himself up and confessed to the NKVD:

“[Radek] provided the culminating ‘evidence’ on which Bukharin was arrested, tried and shot …. We had known of Radek’s treachery at least a fortnight before (Bukharin’s arrest on October 16, 1936), and we tried to save Bukharin…”
Tokaev, Comrade X. (p. 68)


Discovery of the Trotskyist Organization (1935 1936)

The NKVD makes a startling discovery. Inside the Soviet Union there exists a secret Trotskyist-Zinovievite underground conspiring to overthrow the Soviet government. Naturally everyone knew there were ex-Trotskyists, opposition groups and other similar forces in the country. However this new group was different, it was an illegal conspiratorial bloc, not a political opposition.

Also shocking was that old Opposition leaders like Zinoviev & Kamenev were among its leaders, together with ex-Trotskyists like Smirnov. Indeed these ex-Trotskyists were in reality still Trotskyists, only secretly. Trotsky continued to claim that he had no agreement with the Oppositionists and had had no contact with them since 1927. This turned out to be false – the bloc itself was in routine contact with Trotsky.

Much of the NKVD investigative materials are still classified in Russia so we do not know all the evidence they had. We have some of the testimonies describing the Trotskyite Bloc, its contact with Trotsky and naming some of it’s members which are confirmed by the materials from the Harvard Trotsky Archive.

Zinoviev, Kamenev, Preobrazhensky, Smirnov and others were directly named as members of the Conspiratorial Bloc in Trotsky’s correspondence discovered by trotskyist historian Pierre Broué.

Radek & Sokolnikov were named in mailing receipts of Trotsky’s correspondence which were discovered in the Trotsky archive by Getty. The actual letters had been removed from the archive by a person or persons unknown before it was opened to researchers.
(Getty, Origins)

“The Left Opposition was always an intransigent opponent of behind-the scenes combinations and agreements. For it, the question of a bloc could only consist of an open political act in full view of the masses, based on its political platform. The history of the 13-year struggle of the Left Opposition is proof of that.” (Sedov, Red Book, Chapter 9)

Broué commented on Sedov’s passage:

“This text, written right after the first Moscow trial, stands in complete contradiction to the 1932 document in secret ink in Sedov’s handwriting and that attests to the existence of the “bloc” and of the negotiations he was carrying on with the “Trotskyists” in the USSR; with Trotsky’s letter approving the formation of the “bloc” as an alliance, not a unification; and with the comments of Trotsky…”
(Broué, The Bloc of the Opposition against Stalin)

“On July 11, 1928, during the violent debates that took place before the collectivization, Bukharin held a clandestine meeting with Kamenev. He stated that he was ready to “give up Stalin for Kamenev and Zinoviev’, and hoped for ‘a bloc to remove Stalin'”
—Foundations of a Planned Economy, 1926–1929. By Edward Hallet Carr and R.W. Davies


In his confession, Bukharin said:

“The trio (Bukharin—Rykov—Tomsky) became… an illegal counter-revolutionary organization … close to this illegal center was Yenukidze, who had contact with this centre through Tomsky… About the autumn of 1932 the next stage in the development of the Right organization began, namely the transition to tactics of a forcible overthrow of Soviet power… terrorism, steering a course for a direct alliance with the Trotskyites. Around this time the idea of a “palace coup” was maturing in the Right circles… This was when the political bloc with Kamenev  and Zinoviev  originated.

In this period we had meetings also with Syrtsov and Lominadze… In the summer of 1932, Pyatakov told me of his meeting with Sedov concerning Trotsky’s  policy of terrorism.”
(“Report of Court Proceedings in the Case of the Anti-Soviet “Block of Rights and Trotskyites”)

We can be certain Bukharin spoke fairly accurately as even evidence outside the Soviet archives corraborates it. Zinoviev & Kamenev, Lominadze etc. were named in Trotsky’s letters which were discovered in 1980. Yenukidze is confirmed as a member of the right-wing conspiracy also by Tokaev.

 

Tuchkachevsky Affair & Military Conspiracy (1936)

“You are wrong to tie the fate of your country to countries which are old and finished, such as France and Britain. We ought to turn towards new Germany… Germany will assume the leading position on the continent of Europe” –Marshall Tukhachevsky (Geoffrey Bailey , The Conspirators)

“[P]ro-German statements made by Tukhachevsky in Western European countries during his trip to Britain became known in France and Czechoslovakia… The information that such an important figure as Tukhachevsky took a pro-German stand caused grave concern in Paris and Prague. The two governments notified the Soviet Government about Tukhachevsky’s statements.”
–Yuri Yemelianov, “The Tukhachevsky Conspiracy”

“The Moscow press announced that… (the accused generals) had been in the pay of Hitler and had agreed to help him get the Ukraine. This charge was fairly widely believed in foreign military circles, and was later substantiated by revelations made abroad. Czech military circles seemed to be especially well informed. Czech officials in Prague bragged to me later that their military men had been the first to discover and to complain to Moscow that Czech military secrets, known to the Russians through the mutual aid alliance, were being revealed by Tukhachevsky to the German high command.” –Anna Strong, The Soviets Expected It. New York: The Dial press, 1941, p. 134

“People of the French Deuxieme Bureau told me long ago that Tukhachevsky was pro-German. And the Czechs told me the extraordinary story of Tukhachevsky’s visit to Prague, when towards the end of the banquet – he had got rather drunk – he blurted out that an agreement with Hitler was the only hope for both Czechoslovakia and Russia. And he then proceeded to abuse Stalin. The Czechs did not fail to report this to the Kremlin, and that was the end of Tukhachevsky – and of so many of his followers.”
–Alexander Worth, quoted in Harpal Brar, Perestroika: The Complete Collapse of Revisionism (1992)

The NKVD discovered a network of traitors inside the Soviet Red Army centered around Marshall Tukhachevsky. In his letter Marshall Budyanni describes the interrogation of one of the members of the military conspiracy:

“PRIMAKOV very stubbornly denied that he led a terrorist group consisting of SHMIDT, KUZ’MICHEV and others, against com. VOROSHILOV. He denied this on the basis that, he said, TROTSKY had entrusted him, PRIMAKOV, with a more serious task – to organize an armed uprising in Leningrad. . . PRIMAKOV did not, however, deny that he had indeed earlier led a terrorist group and for that purpose had recommended SHMIDT to the post of commander of the mechanized corps. In connection with this special assigment of TROTSKY’S, PRIMAKOV worked on the 25th Cavalry Division with the divisional commander ZYBIN. According to him ZYBIN was assigned to meet TROTSKY at the border once the rebels had taken over Leningrad.”
–Letter from Marshall Budyonny to Commissar for Defense Kliment Voroshilov (June 26, 1937)

Both Voroshilov & Budyanni were close associates of Stalin’s. If they had framed Tukhachevsky together they would not discuss the investigation in the manner they do. Also, if accused Primakov was framed he would probably not insist that he was not currently member of a terrorist group but instead a military conspiratorial one as both are equally illegal.

On top of that Primakov admits to being part of a terrorist group previously, just not currently. This lends credibility to his testimony. Both the investigative materials, and Budyanni’s letter were never intended for publication and didn’t come out until decades later so lying in them would be pointless.

In this connection the Shvernik Report should be mentioned. It was a report compiled by a Khruschev era commission whose goal was to gather materials that could be used to disprove the guilt of Tukhachevsky, to prove that Stalin had framed him. Unfortunately for Khruschev the commission failed to find such evidence but instead it found further evidence of Tukhachevsky’s guilt. Among some of the materials dicussed in the Shvernik Report is a telegram from a Japanese military attaché to his superior in Japan testifying to secret contact with a representative of Marshal Tukhachevsky, corraborating the Moscow Trial testimony. The Shvernik Report went unpublished at the time as it didn’t achieve what Khruschev wanted it to.

The notion that there could have been a military conspiracy is deemed unbelievable by Trotskyists and Anti-Communists. They dismiss evidience against Tukhachevsky and say his testimony cannot be trusted. I will point out the case of general Vlasov, who defected from the Red Army to the German side in 1941 saying he wanted to “…build a New Russia without Bolsheviks or capitalists ….”
(Vlasov and Vlasovites. New Times 44 (1990), pp. 36-40. “Why I embarked on the road of struggle against Bolshevism “)

This is eerily similar to Tukhachevsky’s rhetoric. Vlasov was never arrested by the Soviets and gave this testimony of his own volition from the safety of the West. Another such example was Colonel Tokaev who defected to the British.

The case file of Tukhachevsky is still classified. The last person known to have read it is Colonel Victor Alksnis, relative of one of the people involved in the Trial. He said:

“My grandfather and Tukhachevsky were friends. And grandfather was on the judicial panel that judged both Tukhachevsky and Eideman. My interest in this case became even stronger after the well-known publications of procuror Viktorov, who wrote that Iakov Alksnis was very active at the trial, harrassed the accused. . . . But in the trial transcript everything was just the opposite. Grandfather only asked two or three questions during the entire trial. But the strangest thing is the behavior of the accused. Newspaper accounts claim that all the defendants denied their guilt completely. But according to the transcript they fully admitted their guilt. I realize that an admission of guilt itself can be the result of torture. But in the transcript it was something else entirely: a huge amount of detail, long dialogues, accusations of one another, a mass of precision. It’s simply impossible to stage-manage something like this. . . . I know nothing about the nature of the conspiracy. But of the fact that there really did exist a conspiracy within the Red Army and that Tukhachevsky participated in it I am completely convinced today.”
–Colonel Alksnis (Elementy, 2000)

From a further interview of Alksnis by Vladimir Bobrov:

Alksnis: I turned the pages of the transcript and had more questions than answers. I came away with the impression that, obviously, there had really been a conspiracy. But this is what struck me: in the transcript there are parts which attest to the sincerity of what the defendants said (no matter who claims that the trial was an organized show, that they worked on the defendants specially so that they would give the necessary confessions.) Imagine this. Let’s say, Tukhachevsky is telling about a meeting with the German military attaché in a dacha near Moscow and at that moment Primakov interrupts him and says “Mikhail Nikolaevich, you are mistaken. This meeting did not take place in your office at the dacha, but was on the veranda.” I think that it would have been impossible to “direct” things such that Tukhachevsky said precisely that and that Primakov would then make a correction like that.

Bobrov: Very well. But was there anything there that made you think that the trial had been scripted and directed anyway?

Alksnis: No, it would have been impossible to script and direct a trial such as is in the transcript.

Bobrov: That is, you wish to state that, having read the transcript, you did not find in it any traces of any kind of staging?

Alksnis: Yes, yes. On top of that all of them confessed, and when they all admitted guilt in their last words, stating that they had been participants in the conspiracy and knowing that after that execution awaited them, it is just impossible to imagine that they forced them all to make such admissions and declarations.

Bobrov: What was the main point of accusation of the “conspirators”?

Alksnis: Everything was there: espionage, preparation for a military coup, sabotage, wrecking.

Bobrov: And what does “espionage” mean? You were talking about the meeting at the dacha.

Alksnis: Yes, yes, with the German military attaché. They were talking about arranging coordination with the German military, contacts were going on with them.

Bobrov: One last question. In your interview with “Elementy” you talked about some kind of “cannon” that might shoot at our own times from back in the 30s. What did you have in mind?

Alksnis: If an objective research project on the events of those years were to be done, free of ideological dogmas, then a great deal could change in our attitude towards those years and towards the personalities of that epoch. And so it would be a “bomb” that would cause some problems. (Bobrov)

During the last years of his life, long after de-stalinization Molotov spoke about this issue in an interview with Feliks Chuev published in 1993 as Molotov Remembers. The Khruschev government had made de-stalinization official policy, similarly in the Gorbachev years it was political suicide to oppose the anti-stalin line. However Molotov did so anyway. He testified to the accuracy of the Trial findings:

“The right wing already had a channel to Hitler even before this. Trotsky was definitely connected to him, that’s beyond any doubt…. Many of the ranking military officers were also involved. That goes without saying.” (Molotov Remembers p. 275)

CHUEV: He [Tukhachevsky] was accused of being a German agent.

MOLOTOV: He hurried with plans for a coup. Both Krestinsky and Rosengoltz testified to that. It makes sense. He feared he was at the point of being arrested, and he could no longer put things off. And there was no one else he could rely on except the Germans. This sequence of events is plausible. I consider Tukhachevsky a most dangerous conspirator in the military who was caught only at the last minute. Had he not been apprehended, the consequences could have been catastrophic. He was most popular in the army.

Did everyone who was charged or executed take part in the conspiracy hatched by Tukhachevsky? Some were certainly involved… But as to whether Tukhachevsky and his group in the military were connected with Trotskyists and rightists and were preparing a coup, there is no doubt.” (Molotov Rembers p. 280)

Is it really likely that Molotov was lying? For what possible reason? To defend himself? Surely not – these kinds of statements not only went against the western narrative but also the Gorbachevite narrative. Some will portray Molotov as a careerist, a hopeless yes-man who agreed to all of Stalin’s proposals merely to stay in power. But here he was attesting to the correctness of their policies even though he had nothing to gain from doing so, quite the opposite. Obviously he must have believed he was telling the truth and he chose to tell it even it meant trouble for him.


Chuev also interviewed Kaganovich and it was publisheds in 1992. Kaganovich corraborated Molotov’s statement. Here is what he said:

“[Chuev:] Perhaps there was misreporting in the organs of the NKVD.

[Kaganovich:] Exactly, this is what I would like to tell you, was it possible to check every detail? This was indeed a most complicated question. Where we were sure of the person’s innocence we defended him. In fact, I also went by this principle. It was only 20 years after the revolution after all, the white officers, kulaks and the Nepmen were all alive…

[Chuev:] Do you think that there could have been a counter-revolutionary sabotage in the 1930s?

[Kaganovich:] Of course there was such a threat, not only this there were also instances of terrorism…. The Fifth Column was at our doorstep. Without destroying them we could not have won the war. The Germans would have beaten us to pulp.”
–Feliks Chuyev, Thus Spake Kaganovich

One other point is worth mentioning. Tukhachevsky’s guilt is heavily implied by documents from the German foreign office discovered by historian Frederick Carsten in the 70s. However Carsten himself proposed the theory that the documents were the result of an attemp by the SS to frame Tukchavesky, presumably to weaken the USSR and cause de-stablization. Few noteworthy things about this:

1) If he was framed by the SS, it means the soviets didn’t deliberate frame him but merely wrongly believed him guilty. Carsten’s findings disprove the notion of Stalin framing Tukhachevsky. The Marshal was either framed by Germany, or guilty. 2) Some critics have claimed that the scarcity of documentary proof from German archives of the Tukchavesky conspiracy is proof it wasn’t real. This is a mistake in logic. In any case even these few documents only emerged in 1974, well after Hitler’s regime had collapsed. The scarcity of German documents proves very little and the documents we have argue in favor of the marshal’s guilt. And yet, even if one dismisses all the Soviet evidence and then dismisses the German evidence we still have compatible & corroborative evidence from Japan, Czechoslovakia and other sources.

 

Collaboration with Fascism

After the discovery of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite plot Nazedhna Krupskaya, Lenin’s wife, an Old Bolshevik & Revolutionary in her own right wrote about the subject:

“Trotsky… 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.”
Krupskaya, “Why Is the Second International Defending Trotsky?” (1936)

These were grave charges indeed. Trotsky from his side entirely denied all of them. After the second world war the leader of the Finnish Communists, O. W. Kuusinen, said:


“[T]he 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)

The diary of Georgi Dimitrov, supporter of Stalin and the head of the Comintern after 1935 was published in 2003. Dimitrov met with Stalin, Molotov Kaganovich, Voroshilov & Ordzhonikidze in the Kremlin regarding among other things the interrogation of the accused Sokolnikov:

“16 December 1936 – With “the Five” in the Kremlin.

Stalin, Molotov, Kaganovich, Voroshilov, Ordzhonikidze.

Exchange of opinions of Chinese events, the French Question. . .

Interrogation of Sokolnikov, 12 December 1936:

Question: Thus, the investigation concludes that Trotsky abroad and the center of the bloc within the USSR entered into negotiations with the Hitlerite and Japanese governments with the following aims:

First, to provoke a war by Germany and Japan against the USSR;

Second, to promote the defeat of the USSR in that war and to take advantage of that defeat to achieve the transfer of power in the USSR to their government bloc;

Third, on behalf of the future bloc government to guarantee territorial and economic concessions to the Hitlerite and Japanese governments. Do you confirm this?

Reply: Yes, I confirm it.

Question: Do you admit that this activity by the bloc is tantamount to outright treason against the motherland?

Reply: Yes, I admit it.” (Dimitrov 42-43, Quoted in Furr, Evidence of Trotsky’s Collaboration with Germany and Japan)

Sokolnikov was one of the people named in the mailreceipts found by Getty in Trotsky’s archive so we know he was part of Trotsky’s group. His testimony verifies the facts that already came out in connection with Tukhachevsky. This information was not used in the Public Trial and is now available via Dimitrov’s diary. The question is, would Stalin, Dimitrov, Voroshilov and others really have framed Sokolnikov? We already know Sokolnikov was at least guilty of conspiring with Trotsky and the picture painted by Dimitrov’s diary is that Stalin & others were genuinely curious about the proceeding of the NKVD investigation.

Dimitrov’s diary was only made public in 2003. If he wanted to lie – to cover for Stalin then he would have done so publicly, not in his personal diary that no one ever saw until after the collapse of the USSR.

As much of the material from Soviet Archives still remain classified we don’t have too many documents where Stalin & his associates discuss these matters privately among themselves. However we do have some.

In June 1937 on the eve of the C. C. Plenum Trotsky sent a telegram to the Central Executive Committee, the highest organ of the Soviet government. In this telegram he urged the CEC to betray Stalin and support him. The telegram says:

POLICY IS LEADING TO COMPLETE COLLAPSE INTERNAL AS WELL AS EXTERNAL. STOP. ONLY SALVATION IS RADICAL TURN TOWARD SOVIET DEMOCRACY BEGINNING WITH OPEN REVIEW OF THE LAST TRIALS. STOP. ALONG THIS ROAD I OFFER COMPLETE SUPPORT – TROTSKY.


This telegram didn’t reach the CEC before being intercepted by the NKVD which handed it to Stalin. Upon reading it he wrote on it the following words: “Ugly spy. Brazen spy of Hitler.” Stalin then not only signed his name under it but gave it to Molotov, Voroshilov, Mikoian, Zhdanov. After reading the telegram they signed their names in agreement with Stalin’s assessment.

If Stalin and his collaborators Molotov, Voroshilov etc. truly were framing Trotsky, then would they really call Trotsky a spy of Hitler even when no one else was present? This seems unlikely. The telegram was never made public, not to mention that Stalin’s and his associates comments on it were never made public. The obvious explanation is that they truly believed Trotsky was in league with Hitler.

The authenticity of the telegram has been verified. The question is what was Trotsky’s plan? It seems that he was preparing the stage for his return to power. Once the Soviet Union took heavy losses in a war with Germany, and the Trotskyist conspirators would cause pro-Trotsky rebellions among the troops, even having one of the five Soviet Marshalls and few generals on their side the ousted political Opposition consisting of Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Smirnov and others would take over. They would make a peace with the foreign powers granting them heavy concessions. Get rid of Stalin and his supporters, the so-called “bureaucracy” and implement what Trotsky considered “Soviet democracy”.

We also have for instance a written comment by Stalin criticizing the work of the NKVD upon reading the interrogation report for the accused Iakovlev’s wife Sokolovskaia.

According to the NKVD report Sokolovskaia wife to the interrogators:

“During the past five years Iakovlev has been undertaking active participation in the underground anti-Soviet organization that stood on Trotskyist positions.”

To which Stalin remarked:

“…What’s important is not Iakovlev’s and Sokolovskaia’s past activity but their sabotage and espionage work during the past year and the recent months of 1937. We also need to know why both of these scoundrels were going abroad almost every year. –J. Stalin.” (Lubianka)

Once again, if Stalin & the NKVD were framing Iakovlev and Sokolovskaia, if they knew the accused were really innocent but being framed, would they behave like this? Stalin sounds genuinely interested about the activities of the accused. Not to mention that this comment by Stalin was never made public either, he was not acting for an audience.

A further document of Stalin’s comments to the NKVD regarding Iakovlev contained the following handwritten points by Stalin:

“1) Did he know about Vareikis’ service with the Tsarist secret police?

2) His opinion about Mikhailov from Voronezh and his participation in the C.R. Org.

3) His contact with Trotsky (did he see him personally in 1935 or in 1934).

4) How did he want to use MOPR? Whom in MOPR did he make use of?

5) “Turn” Iakovlev’s wife: he is a conspirator and she must tell us everything. Ask her about Stasova, Kirsanova, and other friends – acquaintances of hers.” (Lubianka B 396)

Notes:
-C. R. org. = short for Counter-revolutionary organization
-MOPR = International Organization for Aid to Revolutionaries. Soviet organization to aid Communists in other countries.

Obviously Stalin believed the confession of Iakovlev was real and not framed. There would be no sense to behave like this if Stalin & the NKVD had framed Iakovlev together.

Sokolnikov’s and Iakovlev’s wives both confessed to crimes and were found guilty. According to Dimitrov’s diary Stalin had told him: “We shall probably arrest Stasova, too. Turned out she’s scum. Kirsanova is very closely involved with Yakovlev. She’s scum.”

However neither Stasova or Kirsanova were found guilty of crimes despite Stalin’s suspicions against them because they were friends with the accused. This tells us a couple of things:

1) That the investigation didn’t simply frame anyone Stalin personally didn’t like or thought suspicious, they actually looked at the evidence and let these people go even though Stalin personally thought they were suspicious.

2) That Stalin obviously didn’t frame the accused. He believed Iakovlev, Sokolnikov and their wives guilty of conspiracy. He also suspected Kirsanova & Stasova but the evidence didn’t bear that out in the cases of the latter two.

 

Trotsky & the Secession of Ukraine


Immediately prior to the Nazi invasion of Poland Trotsky began arguing in favor of Ukrainian secession from the USSR & rebellion against the Soviet Union.

To the totalitarian bureaucracy, Soviet Ukraine became an administrative division of an economic unit and a military base of the USSR… Kremlin’s attitude today is the same as it is toward all oppressed nationalities, all colonies, and semi-colonies, i.e., small change in its international combinations with imperialist governments… Not a trace remains of the former confidence and sympathy of the Western Ukrainian masses for the Kremlin… Only hopeless pacifist blockheads are capable of thinking that the emancipation and unification of the Ukraine can be achieved by peaceful diplomatic means… Since the latest murderous “purge” in the Ukraine… In my opinion there can be at the present time only one … slogan: A united, free and independent workers’ and peasants’ Soviet Ukraine…”
Trotsky, Problem of the Ukraine

Trotsky called for a united soviet Ukraine but realistically all Communist forces in Ukraine supported Stalin while the opponents of Stalin were bourgeois nationalists and fascists. What kind of sense does it make to call for Ukraine to leave the USSR as Hitler was approaching it’s Western border? It would weaken the Soviet Union and hand Ukraine over to Hitler.


In his confession in 1936 Tukhachevsky tesfied:

“During the winter of 1935/1936, Pyatakov told me that Trotsky had now asked us to ensure the defeat of the USSR in war, even if this meant giving the Ukraine to the Germans and the Primor’ye to the Japanese. In order to prepare the USSR’s defeat, all forces, both within the USSR and outside the USSR would have to be made ready…”
–Tukhachevsky

Bukharin confirmed this:

“In the summer of 1934 Radek told me that directions had been received from Trotsky… that Trotsky had already promised the Germans a number of territorial concessions, including the Ukraine …. I objected to this… I considered it essential that he, Radek, should write and tell Trotsky that he was going too far… this point of view of Trotsky’s was politically and tactically inexpedient.”
–Bukharin (“Report of Court Proceedings in the Case of the Anti-Soviet “Block of Rights and Trotskyites”)

In his testimony Pyatakov, another member of the Right-Opposition said:

Pyatakov: First, the German fascists promise to adopt a favourable attitude towards the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc and to support it if it comes to power, either in time of war, or before a war, should it succeed in doing so. But in return the fascists are to receive the following compensation: a general favourable attitude towards German interest and towards the German government on all questions of international policy; certain territorial concessions would have to be made, and these territorial concessions have been defined – in particular, mention was made of territorial concessions in a veiled form which were called “not resisting Ukrainian national-bourgeois forces in the event of their self-determination.”

Vyshinsky: What does that mean?

Pyatakov: It means in a veiled form what Radek spoke about here: should the Germans set up their Ukrainian government, ruling the Ukraine not through their German Governor-General but perhaps through a hetman – at any rate, should the Germans “self-determine” the Ukraine – the Trotskyist-Zinovievite bloc will not oppose it.”


This truly is what would most likely have happened. If Ukraine’s nationalist forces had seceded, Ukraine would have became an ally or an outright puppet regime of Nazi Germany. The notion that this kind of Ukraine would be a ‘free Soviet Ukraine’ is utterly laughable.

Trotskyists pointed out that there existed “Partisan” anti-Stalin groups in Ukraine. These groups in fact were of course Hitlerite Nationalists, not leftists. The Fourth international actually supported the OUN, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists which fought on the side of Hitler against the USSR. They used Trotsky’s writings to provide ideological justifications for this. They claimed that since the OUN had split between two factions, the Right-wing led by Stepan Banderra and the supposed “Left-Wing” led by Melnyk they were justified in defending the supposedly leftist Melnyk faction. In reality both the Banderist and Melnykist factions continued to collaborate with Hitler though had rivalries among each other. Melnyk was by no means a leftist, having fough against the Soviet Revolutionaries already in the civil and the Soviet Ukrainian war.

A Trotskyist publication, (Revolutionary History) states the following:

“To mention the Ukrainian question is commonly met with the raising of spectres of ‘Ukrainian Bourgeois Nationalism’ and ‘Nazi collaborators’. Sadly, such prejudices run deep, and have a tradition within Marxism as far back as Engels and Luxemburg. With the rise of Stalinism things have worsened to such a scale that it is at times difficult to get a rational and thoughtful discussion on the subject.

The Ukrainian question, to quote Trotsky, is being placed on the “order of the day and this time with redoubled force””

Apparently ‘Stalinism’ has caused leftists to be suspicious when giving lip-service to Nazi collaborators.

The Trotskyists continue:

“In the split that occurred between the left and right of OUN in 1940… the left… moved steadily to take on Socialist politics injected into it by the working class”

They even go so far as to defend the UPA , the military wing of the Nazi-collaborating Melnyk faction of the OUN which carried out a policy of ethnic cleansing against poles, jews and other minorities:

“[T]he UPA is accused of being “Fascistic” for the reason that during the war it waged an armed struggle against… Russian Stalinism. The UPA remains one of the most unknown revolutionary movements in Soviet history, deliberately portrayed by the Stalinists as collaborators…”

To these Trotskyists the UPA is a legitimate “revolutionary” movement who are apparently only seen as Fascistic because of alleged Stalinist propaganda! This is truly cringeworthy reading in the context of the recent Ukrainian fascist coup. These are UPA supporters. They are Nazis. The Ukrainian militant Neo-Nazi group Pravi-sector (right sector) has even adopted the UPA flag as their official flag.

This is the result of Trotsky’s writings, which state that anyone who opposes the Soviet Union with even the slightest quasi-leftist or quasi-revolutionary rhetoric is legitimate and worthy of support from the Trotskyists!

Trotsky consistently used propaganda which equated Stalin with Hitler or worse then Hitler, blaming Soviet Communism for Hitler and legitimizing opponents of the Soviet Union who in the case of Ukraine would be OUN fascists.

In his article on Ukraine he employed an interesting propaganda tactic, at first he seems to criticize Hitler but in fact he is only criticizing Stalin. Putting all blame on Stalin & saying that Hitler is only a response to Soviet crimes:

“…but for the rape of Soviet Ukraine by the Stalinist bureaucracy there would be no Hitlerite Ukrainian policy.” Trotsky, “Problem of the Ukraine”

It is not at all surprising that Trotsky would make criticisms of Nazism even as he was helping Hitler. He was entirely willing to lie and do what ever it took to achieve his aims. More over in their substance his policies were not anti-Hitler but anti-Soviet & pro-Hitler. Of course Trotsky had no personal love Hitler, not did Hitler like the jew Trotsky. But they were useful for each other as they shared a common enemy.


Analysis of Trotsky’s Political Propaganda

“Adolf Hitler read Trotsky’s autobiography as soon as it was published. Hitler’s biographer, Konrad Heiden, tells in ‘Der Fuehrer’ how the Nazi leader surprised a circle of his friends in 1930 by bursting into rapturous praise of Trotsky’s book’… ‘Brilliant!’ cried Hitler, waving Trotsky’s ‘My Life’ at his followers. I have learned a great deal and so can you!'”
(Kahn and Sayers, The Great Conspiracy Against Russia)


Trotsky’s open political propaganda was naturally different from his clandestine conspiratorial activity. However both were meant to serve the same end: topple the Soviet government led by Stalin.


Tacit support for Fascism

Anything Trotsky said openly has to be looked at with skepticism as he was a proven liar but we can learn some things from his statements. For instance when he made weak criticisms of Nazism it is obvious he was not being honest, as he was collaborating with fascists himself. Still he was not a fascist, and in fact disliked fascism but still saw it as a convenient ally against the bigger enemy – Stalin’s government. For this reason even as he criticized fascism he emphasized how the Soviet Union was essentially as bad or even worse then fascism and tried to put the blame for fascist crimes on the Soviet Union. This would also help him seem like a genuine anti-fascist and not a collaborator even though he was one. What better plan to remove suspicion from himself then to accuse everyone else and claim to be the biggest anti-fascist of all.

“(I)n the last period the Soviet bureaucracy has familiarized itself with many traits of victorious fascism”
Trotsky, “On the Eve of the Congress”

“(T)he Cominterm bureaucracy, together with social-democracy, is doing everything it possibly can to transform Europe, in fact the entire world, into a fascist concentration camp.”
–Leon Trotsky, Que signifie la capitulation de Rakovsky? (31 March 1934). La lutte, pp. 59-60.


Obviously this statement is baseless as the USSR was the biggest enemy of Fascism, fighting against Fascist Franco in 1936, Japan in 1938 & 1939 and in WWII and obviously it was Stalin’s USSR that defeated Hitler’s armies. Interestingly Trotsky here attacks Social-democracy while he would later attack Stalin for not supporting Social-democracy enough.

“Hitler’s victory … (arose) … by the despicable and criminal policy of the Cominterm.“No Stalin – no victory for Hitler.” … Stalinist Comintern, as well as the Stalinist diplomacy, assisted Hitler into the saddle from either side… the Cominterm provided one of the most important conditions for the victory of fascism… to overthrow Hitler it is necessary to finish with the Cominterm… Workers, learn to despise this bureaucratic rabble!” Trotsky, “Are There Limits to the Fall?”

Here Trotsky is demanding the destruction of the Communist International but disguises this as a leftist position. He says to overthrow Hitler he must destroy the Comintern. This is a ridiculous statement as in reality to destroy the Comintern was to aid and unite with Hitler and his Anti-Comintern. Trotsky of course knew this. These writings by him were merely a tactic to fool his supporters who would have never done so otherwise, into opposing Soviet socialism and aiding Hitler.

 

Tacit support for terrorism

When it comes to Trotsky’s statements surrounding the Kirov murder we can notice a few basic components:

Trotsky essentially said Kirov got what he deserved. He briefly stated he was opposed to terrorism but obviously didn’t condemn this murder in any strong words, quite the opposite he voiced tacit support for it.

“(A) terrorist act prepared beforehand and committed by order of a definite organization is … inconceivable unless there exists a political atmosphere favorable to it. The hostility to the leaders in power must have been widespread and must have assumed the sharpest forms for a terrorist group to crystallize out within the ranks of the party youth …. If … discontent is spreading within the masses of the people … which isolated the bureaucracy as a whole; if the youth itself feels that it is spurned, oppressed and deprived of the chance for independent development, the atmosphere for terroristic groupings is created.” Trotsky, “On the Kirov Assassination”

Trotsky said in no uncertain terms that the Soviet government Kirov was serving was so oppressive it spawned resistance from the workers. He continued to insist that the murder was carried out by worker Oppositionists whom Trotsky consirered legitimate. This is interesting as he would later after his plot failed, and his organization was crushed, accuse Stalin of orchestrating the murder himself.


“The reactionary bureaucracy must be and will be overthrown. The political revolution in the USSR is inevitable.”
Trotsky, Le gouvernement soviétique applique-t-il toujours les principes définis il y a vingt ans? (13 Jan. 1938). La lutte, pp. 159-160.

One might ask how this statement is to be interpreted in context with assassinations. According to Trotsky Kirov was a Stalinist bureaucrat, who even deserved to be killed.

“The insane atrocities provoked by the bureaucratic collectivization methods, or the cowardly reprisals against the best elements of the proletarian vanguard, have inevitably provoked exasperation, hatred and a spirit of vengeance. This atmosphere generates a readiness among the youth to commit individual acts of terror ….” Trotsky, Ibid

This kind of vitriol against the USSR seems hardly any strong condemnation of the terrorists, quite the opposite he makes every excuse for the terrorists and is very understanding towards their plight under Soviet rule! Trotsky says in no uncertain terms he saw the attack as a form of resistance by the oppressed citizens. Indeed, by a resistance group. The thing he didn’t say of course is that he was leading said group.


Overt support for the overthrow of the Soviet Union:

“The proletariat that made three revolutions will lift up its head one more time. The bureaucratic absurdity will try to resist? The proletariat will find a big enough broom. And we will help it.”
Leon Trotsky, Pour sa propre sauvegarde, la bureaucratie entretient la terreur (26 September 1935). L’appareil policier du stalinisme (Paris: Union générale d’éditions, 1976), pp. 85-87.

Trotsky calls for an insurrection against the Soviet Union. But who were leading these insurrections? Kulaks, whites, bourgeois-nationalists & banderite Nazis. He is quite clear, this resistance work against the Soviet Union is to be continued & is to be organized inside the USSR!

“I cannot be ‘for the USSR’ in general. I am for the working masses who created the USSR and against the bureaucracy which has usurped the gains of the revolution … It remains the duty of a serious revolutionary to state quite frankly and openly: Stalin is preparing the defeat of the USSR.”
Trotsky, A Political Dialogue, pp. 156, 158.

Here Trotsky chooses a softer tone. He claims to be helping the Soviet Union, and that it is not him who is sabotaging it’s defenses in favor of Fascism but Stalin.

“Only the overthrow of the Bonapartist Kremlin clique can make possible the regeneration of the military strength of the USSR …. The struggle against war, imperialism, and fascism demands a ruthless struggle against Stalinism, splotched with crimes. Whoever defends Stalinism directly or indirectly, whoever keeps silent about its betrayals or exaggerates its military strength is the worst enemy of the revolution, or socialism, of the oppressed peoples.”
Trotsky, A Fresh Lesson: After the “Imperialist Peace” at Munich (10 Oct. 1938). Writings, vol.11, p. 68.

Whoever supports the Soviet government or the Communist international is according to Trotsky the worst enemy of socialism. So Hitler in fact is better, as he doesn’t support either of those things. Trotsky embraces the company of Hitler.

“I consider the main source of danger to the USSR in the present international situation to be Stalin and the oligarchy headed by him. An open struggle against them … is inseparably connected for me with the defense of the USSR.” 
Trotsky, Stalin After the Finnish Experience (13 March 1940). Writings, vol. 12, p. 160.

Apparently in Trotsky’s mind an open struggle against the Soviet government would strenghten it’s defenses! Obviously the main danger to the USSR was a foreign invasion, invasion which Trotsky was in fact supporting and even counting on. More of this later.


Trotsky, Japan & China

“VYSHINSKY: What did you and Trotsky say about your underground Trotskyite tasks?

BESSONOV: He imposed on his followers working in the diplomatic field the task of adopting the line of sabotaging official agreements in order to stimulate the interest of the Germans in unofficial agreements with opposition groups. “They will come to us yet,” said Trotsky, referring to Hess and Rosenberg. He said that we must not be squeamish in this matter, and that we might be ensured real and important help from Hess and Rosenberg. He said we must not stop short at consenting to big cessions of territory.

Radek: As regards Japan, we were told she must not only be given Sakhalin oil but be guaranteed oil in the event of a war with the U.S.A. It was stated that no obstacles must be raised to the conquest of China by Japanese imperialism.”

In their testimony some defendants explained that on top of promising territorial concessions (mainly in Ukraine) to Germany, Trotsky was also promising concessions to Japan. Access to natural resources, favorable trade and perhaps most importantly of all Trotsky would guarantee Japan freedom of activity in China and sabotage the Pro-Stalin Communist forces there.

On Trotskyist sabotage activity in China Mao Tse-Tung wrote:

“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.”
Mao Tse-Tung, “On the Use of Trotskyists as Japanese Spies in China” (1939)


Ho Chi Minh, also working with the Chinese Communist Party at the time wrote:

“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 Minh”)

 

Trotsky, Spain & Italy

Trotsky is the whore of fascism.”
Antonio Gramsci


In his testimony accused Krestinsky said:

“Trotsky arrived in Meran [Italy] around the 10th of October together with Sedov. . . For Trotsky, the questions which bothered us in Moscow were irrevocably settled and he himself proceeded to expound his instructions with regard to this. He said that as since 1929 we had developed into an organization of a conspiratorial type, it was natural that the seizure of power could be consummated only by force.”

“LEON TROTSKY IN ITALY: Leon Trotsky… visited the Roman ruins near Naples, Italy, before proceeding to Denmark for a lecture tour.”
The Cornell Daily Sun, December 1932

As the Italian communist leader Antonio Gramsci rotted in Mussolini’s prison, Leon Trotsky was walking around quite freely.

After leaving Italy Trotsky travelled to Denmark to give a series of speeches. It is interesting to note that although he ostensibly called for the overthrow of the Soviet Union by the soviet working class themselves, he chose to give his speeches in English. In other words, his real objective was to convince the Western audience. These statements by Trotsky were widely published in the West, recordings were even made and shown widely in the Western media.

“M. TROTSKY IN DENMARK
Lecture Broadcast to America”
Barrier Miner, Wed 30 Nov 1932

Trotsky knew his support among Soviet workers was insignificant at the present time. This is the main reason for him abandoning popular revolutionary struggle in favor of conspiracy. He wrote:

”One fights repression by means of anonymity and conspiracy… Loss of time is impermissible”
–Trotsky (1932)

Trotsky sent his secretary Erwin Wolf to Spain on a mission to organize an uprising there. The pro-Trotskyite and anti-Soviet POUM together with some of the Anarchists they had managed to recruit to their services carried out an insurrection known as the Barcelona May Day in 1937. As Franco-Italian troops were marching against the Republicans The Trotskyists and their unwitting helpers staged a rebellion against Republican forces.

The rebellion was a failure and Wolf was arrested by the Spanish republican police. However this anti-Republican uprising contributed to the victory of fascist Franco backed by Mussolini and Hitler.



Industrial Sabotage

Many of the Moscow Trial defendents were accused of industrial sabotage to hinder the industrialization effort and defensive capability of the Soviet Union. Even these charges are denied entirely by Western anti-communists. However, at the time there was little doubt that there was much very real sabotage going on.

John Littlepage, American engineer who worked between 1928 and 1937 in the mines of Ural and Siberia. He was chosen as a specialist for a comission which was to carry out inspections in mining enterprises. He described the extent of the sabotage:

“[I]n 1928 I went into a power-station at the Kochbar gold-mines. I just happened to drop my hand on one of the main bearings of a large Diesel engine as I walked by, and felt something gritty in the oil. I had the engine stopped immediately, and we removed from the oil reservoir about two pints of quartz sand, which could have been placed there only by design. On several other occasions in the new milling plants at Kochkar we found sand inside such equipment as speed-reducers, which are entirely enclosed, and can be reached only by removing the hand-hold covers.

“Such petty industrial sabotage was – and still is – so common in all branches of Soviet industry that Russian engineers can do little about it…”

“I shall never forget the situation we found at Kalata. Here, in the Northern Urals, was one of the most important copper properties in Russia, consisting of six mines, a flotation concentrator, and a smelter, with blast and reverberatory furnaces.”

“[I]n the spring of 1932 … Soon after my return to Moscow I was informed that the copper-mines at Kalata were in very bad condition; production had fallen even lower than it was before I had reorganized the mines in the previous year. This report dumbfounded me; I couldn’t understand how matters could have become so bad in this short time, when they had seemed to be going so well before I left.

I never followed the subtleties of political ideas and manouvres …. (But) I am firmly convinced that Stalin and his associates were a long time getting round to the discovery that disgruntled Communist revolutionaries were the most dangerous enemies they had…

“My experience confirms the official explanation which, when it is stripped of a lot of high-flown and outlandish verbiage, comes down to the simple assertion that `outs’ among the Communists conspired to overthrow the `ins’, and resorted to underground conspiracy and industrial sabotage…”
John D. Littlepage, In Search Of Soviet Gold (1937)

Pyatakov explained in his testimony that when he was responsible for purchasing various mining equipment for the Soviet government he had used this, under Sedov’s instructions as a way of embezzling money for the use of the Trotskyist Bloc by buying equipment at too high a price from two specifically selected German companies Borsig and Demag.

“Sedov said that only one thing was required of me, namely that I should place as many orders as possible with two German firms, Borsig and Demag, and that he, Sedov, would arrange to receive the necessary sums from them”
Pyatakov (U.S.S.R. Report of Court Proceedings in the Case of the Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Centre)

This too was corraborated by Littlepage who at the time had made a report to the committee led by Pyatakov that the firms were apparently trying to trick to Soviets into paying too much.

“Piatakoff’s confession is a plausible explanation, in my opinion, of what was going on in Berlin in 1931, when my suspicions were roused because the Russians working with Piatakoff tried to induce me to approve the purchase of mine-hoists which were not only too expensive, but would have been useless in the mines for which they were intended.” John D. Littlepage, In Search Of Soviet Gold (1937)

John Scott, an American engineer working in the Magnitogorsk steel complex wrote of his experiences in his book Behind the Urals. His view of the USSR was mixed, he was not a Communist though he saw the good things the industrialization was achieving and how the USSR’s economy was growing when the West struggled with the Great Depression.

Scott verified that there was much real sabotage in Magnitogorsk, especially because of the use of Bourgeois-specialists and kulak penal labor. He said:

“White armies, State employees from pre-war days, business men of all kinds, small landlords, and kulaks. All of these people had ample reason to hate the Soviet power, for it had deprived them of something which they had before. Besides being internally dangerous, these men and women were potentially good material for clever foreign agents to work with”

 

 

SOURCES & BIBLIOGRAPHY

Lenin, Summing-Up Speech On Party Unity And The Anarcho-Syndicalist Deviation
http://www.marxistsfr.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/10thcong/ch04.htm

Trotsky’s letters about the Bloc:
Library of Harvard College 13905c, 1010, 4782 quoted in Pierre Broué’s The “Bloc” of the Oppositions against Stalin. Available at https://mltheory.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/on-the-existence-and-character-of-the-united-bloc-of-rights-zinoviev-ites-and-trotsky-ites/

Sedov, The Red Book
https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/sedov/works/red/

Getty, Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-1938
https://books.google.fi/books?id=R5zx54LB-A4C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Getty on the Kirov Murder:
Arch Getty, the H-RUSSIA discussion list August 24, 2000.
quoted here
http://clogic.eserver.org/2009/furr.pdf

Alexander Zinoviev, The remorse of a dissident quoted here:
https://communismgr.blogspot.fi/2016/08/the-remorse-of-dissident-alexander.html#more)


Jules Humbert-Droz’s statement:

De Lénin à Staline, Dix Ans Au Service de L’ Internationale Communiste 1921-31’
available at http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv8n1/bukharin.htm

Tokaev, Comrade X. Publisher, Harvill Press, 1956 (page 43)
https://books.google.fi/books?redir_esc=y&id=HqoeAAAAMAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=left-wing+socialists

Ibid. (page 68)
https://books.google.fi/books?redir_esc=y&id=HqoeAAAAMAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=we+tried+to+save+Bukharin


Tokaev, Grigori.
Betrayal of an Ideal, Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1955
https://archive.org/stream/betrayalofandide008698mbp/betrayalofandide008698mbp_djvu.txt

Letter from Marshall Budyanni to Commissar for Defense Kliment Voroshilov (June 26, 1937)

Colonel Alksnis interviews:
Elementy, 2000 & Bobrov, Vladimir L’vovich Transcript of a recorded conversation with Deputy V.I. Alksnis quoted here http://clogic.eserver.org/2009/furr.pdf


Molotov Remembers quoted here:
https://espressostalinist.com/category/revisionism/trotskyism/page/4/

Trotsky, Problem of the Ukraine
https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1939/04/ukraine.html

Trotsky, On the Eve of the Congress
https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1934/01/congress.htm

Trotsky, On the Kirov Assassination
https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1934/12/kirov.htm

Trotsky, Are There Limits to the Fall?
https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1934/01/fall.htm

Trotsky, Pour sa propre sauvegarde, la bureaucratie entretient la terreur (26 September 1935). L’appareil policier du stalinisme (Paris: Union générale d’éditions, 1976), pp. 85-87.

Trotsky, Que signifie la capitulation de Rakovsky? (31 March 1934). La lutte, pp. 59—60.

Trotsky, Le gouvernement soviétique applique-t-il toujours les principes définis il y a vingt ans? (13 January 1938). La lutte, pp. 159—160.

Trotsky, A Political Dialogue, pp. 156, 158.

Trotsky, A Fresh Lesson: After the “Imperialist Peace” at Munich (10 October 1938). Writings, vol. 11, p. 68.

Trotsky, Stalin After the Finnish Experience (13 March 1940). Writings, vol. 12, p. 160.

Zborowski reports 8 feb. 1837 & 11 feb. 1938, quoted in Bertrand M. Patenaude, Stalin’s Nemesis

Tukhachevsky’s testimony published in Molodaia Gvardiia issue 10 of 1994 quoted here: http://clogic.eserver.org/2009/furr.pdf

Geoffrey Bailey, The Conspirators (page 215)
https://books.google.fi/books?redir_esc=y&id=rP4jAAAAMAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=Titulescu

Yuri Yemelianov, The Tukhachevsky Conspiracy
http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv13n2/tukhach.htm

Hitler read Trotsky’s Autobiography:

Konrad Heiden, Der Fuehrer: Hitler’s rise to power (page 318)
https://books.google.fi/books?redir_esc=y&id=_lUTAQAAMAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=i+have+learned

Anna Strong, The Soviets Expected It. New York: The Dial press, 1941, p. 134 available here
http://www.stalinsociety.org/2016/04/10/the-real-stalin-series-part-fourteen-military-purges/

Alexander Werth, quoted in Harpal Brar, Perestroika: The Complete Collapse of Revisionism (1992) p. 161 here:
https://books.google.fi/books?redir_esc=y&id=LOBoAAAAMAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=alexander

Also here: http://marxism.halkcephesi.net/Ludo%20Martens/node115.html

Full book in Russian here:
http://www.cpgb-ml.org/download/publications/HarpalBrar_Perestroika_Russian.pdf


Vlasov and Vlasovites. New Times 44 (1990), pp. 36—40. “Why I embarked on the road of struggle against Bolshevism” available here:
http://marxism.halkcephesi.net/Ludo%20Martens/node117.html

Frederick Ludwig Carsten, “New Evidence against Marshal Tukhachevskii” in ‘New Light On Old Stories About Marshal Tukhachevskii : Some Documents Reconsidered’
https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/tukh.html

Georgi Dimitrov’s diary quoted here:
http://clogic.eserver.org/2009/furr.pdf

Trotsky’s telegram from Volkogonov Archive:
https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/research/trotsky_telegram061837.pdf

NKVD report about the interrogation of Iakovlev’s wife
http://www.alexanderyakovlev.org/fond/issues-doc/61211

Stalin’s comments to the NKVD report
http://grachev62.narod.ru/stalin/t18/t18_065.htm

Stalin’s further comments to the NKVD
http://www.alexanderyakovlev.org/fond/issues-doc/61209

M. Sayers, A. E. Kahn, The Great Conspiracy. The Secret War Against Soviet Russia
http://marxism.halkcephesi.net/Great%20Conspiracy/index.htm

The Gramsci quote is from Togliatti, Palmiro, Selected Articles and Speeches. Vol. 1. Moscow: 1965.

“LEON TROTSKY IN ITALY” in The Cornell Daily Sun, December 1932
http://cdsun.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/cornell?a=d&d=CDS19321201.2.30&e=——–20–1———

Krupskaya, “Why Is the Second International Defending Trotsky?” (1936)
http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/archive/trotskykrup2.htm

Mao Tse-Tung, “On the Use of Trotskyists as Japanese Spies in China” (1939)
http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/archive/trotskymao.htm

Ho Chi Mihn,”Three Letters from Ho Chi Mihn” (1939)
https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/vietnam/pirani/hochiminh.htm

Kuusinen quote from”Missä on Stalin, siellä on voitto” (1949)

english translation & original finnish the quote available at:

https://mltheory.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/other-communists-on-trotsky-trotskyism/

Edward Hallett Carr.  Foundations of a Planned Economy, 1926–1929, Volume 2 (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1971), Ibid. , p. 65 quoted in Ludo Martens, Another View of Stalin

Available here http://marxism.halkcephesi.net/Ludo%20Martens/node92.html

John D. Littlepage, In Search Of Soviet Gold (1937)
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.80968

John Scott, Behind the Urals: An American Worker in Russia’s City of Steel (pp. 188-189)
https://books.google.fi/books?redir_esc=y&id=JvH63H0s0agC&q=bandits#v=snippet&q=These%20agents%20bred%20purges&f=false


FURTHER READING:

Stalin & myth of the “old Bolsheviks”
https://mltheory.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/stalin-the-myth-of-the-old-bolsheviks/

Revolutionary leaders on Trotsky & Trotskyism
https://mltheory.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/other-communists-on-trotsky-trotskyism/

More about Alexander Zinoviev
http://marxism.halkcephesi.net/Ludo%20Martens/node91.html

More about engineer Littlepage’s experiences
http://marxism.halkcephesi.net/Ludo%20Martens/node101.html

Trotsky, Orwell & the FBI
http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv3n2/trotsky.htm


Orwell, friend of POUM, snitch of Western intelligence services
http://bennorton.com/george-orwell-list-leftists-snitch-british-government/

http://www.nytimes.com/1998/07/29/opinion/george-orwell-s-list.html

Lies concerning the history of the Soviet Union – From Hitler to Hearst, from Conquest to Solzhenitsyn
http://marxism.halkcephesi.net/mario%20Sousa/lies%20about%20stalin.htm

 

 

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 matter.

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.