Trotsky advocates abolishing the Family; atttacks Stalin for restoring it - Peter Myers, May 7, 2006; update August 26, 2009. My comments within quoted text are indicated {thus}; write to me at contact.html.

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"there is nothing unchanging on this earth ... society is made out of plastic materials" - Trotsky, denying that there is such a thing as "human nature", in his book The Revolution Betrayed (p. 159 below).

(1) Introduction to Trotsky and Trotskyism - Peter Myers
(2) The Revolution Betrayed - Trotsky advocates abolishing the Family; attacks Stalin for restoring it
(3) Stalin says the Left Opposition is led by three "dissatisfied Jewish intellectuals"
(4) The Left Opposition led by Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev - all Jewish
(5) A shot at H. G. Wells
(6) More from The Revolution Betrayed - on why Stalin triumphed
(7) Trotsky for a World Socialist Federation
(8) Trotsky calls for Forced Collectivisation
(9) Trotsky blames Stalin for Forced Collectivisation
(10) On eve of World War II, Trotsky called for an independent Ukraine

The Jewish identities of Lenin & Trotsky: lenin-trotsky.html.

H.G. Wells' support for Lenin, Trotskyand World Government: wells-lenin-league.html.

The definitive study of family life in the Soviet Union: H. Kent Geiger, The Family in Soviet Russia. The "feminist" West is following the same path: sex-soviet.html.

(1) Introduction to Trotsky and Trotskyism - Peter Myers

I have long noticed, and claimed, the Trotskyist origin of Radical Feminism.

Feminist writers of the late 1960s and early 1970s were lambasting the Soviet Union for betraying its revolution, while they were continuing that revolution in the West.

Perceptions of the Left have been largely shaped by Isaac Deutscher, a Jewish Trotskyist prominent in New Left Review: deutscher.html.

Despite New Left intellectuals' thinking of themselves as "outsiders", Deutscher's material was published by The Economist and the BBC. The winners of the Deutscher Prize are announced in the London Review of Books, and the Deutscher Memorial Lecture is presented at the London School of Economics.

So, the New Left movement was Trotskyist: new-left.html.

Trotskyist organisations such as the ISO, the SWP, the DSP, Resistance and Socialist Alliance, using entrist methods, have spread it within universities, the political parties, the education system, and the legal system.

But Trotskyism is not restricted to formal membership of such sects. The Frankfurt School was broadly Trotskyist, as was Deconstruction and Postmodernism, even though these academic fashions are criticised at the World Socialist Web Site.

Those purists define a "Trotskyist" as one who acknowledges Trotsky over Lenin as the true leader of the revolution.

On the basis of a broader definition as one who sides with Trotsky rather than Stalin in their split, and promotes Trotsky's "ultraleft" cultural revolution rather than Stalin's conservative "reaction", the Feminist, Gay, Green and Black liberation movements have substantial Trotskyist ancestry.

I do not class Castro and Chavez as Trotskyists, because they do not promote Radical Feminism and Gay Lib. On the other hand, most factions of Trotskyists support them, and try to lead them to their own agenda.

Trotsky explicitly promoted Radical Feminism, Youth Rebellion, Communal Childrearing and the Destruction of the Family, in his book The Revolution Betrayed. It was written in 1936, when Trotsky was living in Norway, and was first published in 1937. The English translation is by Max Eastman.

Trotsky here describes the attack on all tradition launched by the Bolsheviks, and Stalin's reversal of its extremes. I hope that many Trotskyist sympathisers will be shocked to see how extreme he really was - something meaningful to us in the West now that our own family life has been shattered by the same forces.

His campaign is ironic because his own family life, with his second wife Natalya Sedova, was quite normal, as was that of Karl Marx. The only unusual thing is that Trotsky's son Leon Sedoff took his mother's surname.

For the following extracts I have used the text at It contains scanning errors, of which I have fixed some, and I have added page numbers from the 1967 edition published by New Park Publications, London.

How do you like your Trotsky - hot or cold?

The Revolution Betrayed is hot - a fiery manifesto, and the author comes across as a fearful warrior wreaking social havoc; one is glad that he was contained.

Yet his account of his time in Norway is cold - it reads like a traveller's diary, and I cannot help feeling sympathy for him.

Trotsky in Norway:

Trotsky's role in creating and justifying the Red Terror: worst.html.

(2) The Revolution Betrayed - Trotsky advocates abolishing the Family; attacks Stalin for restoring it

The Revolution Betrayed

by Leon Trotsky

New Park Publications, Ltd, London 1967

written 1936 first published 1937 Translated by Max Eastman


{p. 2} ... The writings of the "friends of the Soviet Union" fall into three principal categories:

... Louis Fischer and Duranty are sufficiently well-known representatives of the first type. The late Barbusse and Romain Rolland represent the category of "humanitarian" friends. It is not accidental that before ever coming over to Stalin the former wrote a life of Christ and the latter a biography of Ghandi. And finally, the conservatively pedantic socialism has found its most authoritative representation in the indefatigable Fabian couple, Beatrice and Sidney Webb. ...

{p. 4} August 4 1936


This book was completed and sent to the publishers before the "terrorist" conspiracy trial of Moscow was announced. Naturally, therefore, the proceedings at the trial could not be evaluated in its pages. Its indication of the historic logic of this "terrorist" trial, and its advance exposure of the fact that its mystery is deliberate mystification, is so much the more significant.

September 1936 ==

{p. 144} Chapter 7 FAMILY, YOUTH AND CULTURE

1. Thermidor in the family

The October revolution honestly fulfilled its obligations in relation to woman. The young government not only gave her all political and legal rights in equality with man, but, what is more important, did all that it could, and in any case incomparably more than any other government ever did, actually to secure her access to all forms of economic and cultural work. However, the boldest revolution, like the "all-powerful" British parliament, cannot convert a woman into a man - or rather, cannot divide equally between them the burden of pregnancy, birth, nursing and the rearing of children. The revolution made a heroic effort to destroy the so-called "family hearth" - that archaic, stuffy and stagnant institution in which the woman of the toiling classes performs galley labor from childhood to death. The place of the family as a shut-in petty enterprise was to be occupied, according to the plans, by a finished system of social care and accommodation: maternity houses, creches, kindergartens, schools, social dining rooms, social laundries, first-aid stations, hospitals, sanatoria, athletic organizations, moving-picture theaters, etc. The complete absorption of the housekeeping functions of the family by institutions of the socialist society, uniting all generations in solidarity and mutual aid, was to bring to woman, and thereby to the loving couple, a real liberation from the thousand-year-old fet-

{p. 145} ters. Up to now this problem of problems has not been solved. The forty million Soviet families remain in their overwhelming majority nests of medievalism, female slavery and hysteria, daily humiliation of children, feminine and childish superstition. We must permit ourselves no illusions on this account. For that very reason, the consecutive changes in the approach to the problem of the family in the Soviet Union best of all characterize the actual nature of Soviet society and the evolution of its ruling stratum.

It proved impossible to take the old family by storm - not because the will was lacking, and not because the family was so firmly rooted in men's hearts. On the contrary, after a short period of distrust of the government and its creches, kindergartens and like institutions, the working women, and after them the more advanced peasants, appreciated the immeasurable advantages of the collective care of children as well as the socialization of the whole family economy. Unfortunately society proved too poor and little cultured. The real resources of the state did not correspond to the plans and intentions of the Communist Party. You cannot "abolish" the family; you have to replace it. The actual liberation of women is unrealizable on a basis of "generalized want." Experience soon proved this austere truth which Marx had formulated eighty years before.

During the lean years, the workers wherever possible, and in part their families, ate in the factory and other social dining rooms, and this fact was officially regarded as a transition to a socialist form of life. There is no need of pausing again upon the peculiarities of the different periods: military communism, the NEP and the first five-year plan. The fact is that from the moment of the abolition of the food-card system in 1935, all the better-

{p. 146} placed workers began to return to the home dining table. It would be incorrect to regard this retreat as a condemnation of the socialist system, which in general was never tried out. But so much the more withering was the judgment of the workers and their wives upon the "social feeding" organized by the bureaucracy. The same conclusion must be extended to the social laundries, where they tear and steal linen more than they wash it. Back to the family hearth! But home cooking and the home washtub, which are now half shamefacedly celebrated by orators and journalists, mean the return of the workers' wives to their pots and pans that is, to the old slavery. It is doubtful if the resolution of the Communist International on the "complete and irrevocable triumph of socialism in the Soviet Union" sounds very convincing to the women of the factory districts!

The rural family, bound up not only with home industry but with agriculture, is infinitely more stable and conservative than that of the town. Only a few, and as a general rule, anaemic agricultural communes introduced social dining rooms and creches in the first period. Collectivization, according to the first announcements, was to initiate a decisive change in the sphere of the family. Not for nothing did they expropriate the peasant's chickens as well as his cows. There was no lack, at any rate, of announcements about the triumphal march of social dining rooms throughout the country. But when the retreat began, reality suddenly emerged from the shadow of this bragging. The peasant gets from the collective farm, as a general rule, only bread for himself and fodder for his stock. Meat, dairy products and vegetables, he gets almost entirely from the adjoining private lots. And once the most important necessities of life are acquired by the isolated efforts of the family, there can no longer be any talk

{p. 147} of social dining rooms. Thus the midget farms, creating a new basis for the domestic hearthstone, lay a double burden upon woman.

{p. 149} ... the revolutionary power gave women the right to abortion, which in conditions of want and family distress, whatever may be said upon this subject by the eunuchs and old maids of both sexes, is one of her most important civil, political and cultural rights. ...

{p. 150} Having revealed its inability to serve women who are compelled to resort to abortion with the necessary medical aid and sanitation, the state makes a sharp change of course, and takes the road of prohibition. And just as in other situations, the bureaucracy makes a virtue of necessity. One of the members of the highest Soviet court, Soltz, a specialist on matrimonial questions, bases the forthcoming prohibition of abortion on the fact that in a socialist society where there are no unemployed, etc., etc., a woman has no right to decline "the joys of motherhood." The philosophy of a priest endowed also with the powers of a gendarme. ...

{p. 151} The draft of the law forbidding abortion was submitted to so-called universal popular discussion, and even through the fine sieve of the Soviet press many bitter complaints and stifled protests broke out. The discussion was cut off as suddenly as it had been announced, and on June 27th the Central Executive Committee converted the shameful draft into a thrice shameful law. Even some of the official apologists of the bureaucracy were embarrassed. Louis Fischer declared this piece of legislation something in the nature of a deplorable misunderstanding. In reality the new law against women - with an exception in favor of ladies - is the natural and logical fruit of a Thermidorian reaction.

The triumphal rehabilitation of the family, taking place simultaneously - what a providential coincidence! - with the rehabilitation of the ruble, is caused by the material and cultural bankruptcy of the state. Instead of openly saying, "We have proven still too poor and ignorant for the creation of socialist relations among men, our children and grandchildren will realize this aim," the leaders are forcing people to glue together again the shell of the broken family, and not only that, but to consider it, under threat of extreme penalties, the sacred nucleus of trium-

{p. 152} phant socialism. It is hard to measure with the eye the scope of this retreat.

Everybody and everything is dragged into the new course: lawgiver and litterateur, court and militia, newspaper and schoolroom. When a naive and honest communist youth makes bold to write in his paper: "You would do better to occupy yourself with solving the problem how woman can get out of the clutches of the family," he receives in answer a couple of good smacks and - is silent. The ABCs of communism are declared a "leftist excess." The stupid and stale prejudices of uncultured philistines are resurrected in the name of a new morale. And what is happening in daily life in all the nooks and corners of this measureless country? The press reflects only in a faint degree the depth of the Thermidorian reaction in the sphere of the family.

Since the noble passion of evangelism grows with the growth of sin, the seventh commandment is acquiring great popularity in the ruling stratum. The Soviet moralists only have to change the phraseology slightly. A campaign is opened against too frequent and easy divorces. The creative thought of the lawgivers had already invented such a "socialistic" measure as the taking of money payment upon registration of divorces, and increasing it when divorces were repeated. Not for nothing we remarked above that the resurrection of the family goes hand in hand with the increase of the educative role of the ruble. A tax indubitably makes registration difficult for those for whom it is difficult to pay. For the upper circles, the payment, we may hope, will not offer any difficulty. Moreover, people possessing nice apartments, automobiles and other good things arrange their personal affairs without unnecessary publicity and consequently without registration. It is only on the bottom of society that prostitution

{p. 153} has a heavy and humiliating character. On the heights of the Soviet society, where power is combined with comfort, prostitution takes the elegant form of small mutual services, and even assumes the aspect of the "socialist family." We have already heard from Sosnovsky about the importance of the "automobile-harem factor" in the degeneration of the ruling stratum.

The lyric, academical and other "friends of the Soviet Union" have eyes in order to see nothing. The marriage and family laws established by the October revolution, once the object of its legitimate pride, are being made over and mutilated by vast borrowings from the law treasuries of the bourgeois countries. And as though on purpose to stamp treachery with ridicule, the same arguments which were earlier advanced in favor of unconditional freedom of divorce and abortion - "the liberation of women," "defense of the rights of personality," "protection of motherhood" - are repeated now in favor of their limitation and complete prohibition.

The retreat not only assumes forms of disgusting hypocrisy, but also is going infinitely farther than the iron economic necessity demands. To the objective causes producing this return to such bourgeois forms as the payment of alimony, there is added the social interest of the ruling stratum in the deepening of bourgeois law. The most compelling motive of the present cult of the family is undoubtedly the need of the bureaucracy for a stable hierarchy of relations, and for the disciplining of youth by means of 40,000,000 points of support for authority and power.

While the hope still lived of concentrating the education of the new generations in the hands of the state, the government was not only unconcerned about supporting the authority of the "elders", and, in particular of the mother

{p. 154} and father, but on the contrary tried its best to separate the children from the family, in order thus to protect them from the traditions of a stagnant mode of life. Only a little while ago, in the course of the first five-year plan, the schools and the Communist Youth were using children for the exposure, shaming and in general "re-educating" of their drunken fathers or religious mothers with what success is another question. At any rate, this method meant a shaking of parental authority to its very foundations. In this not unimportant sphere too, a sharp turn has now been made. Along with the seventh, the fifth commandment is also fully restored to its rights as yet, to be sure, without any references to God. But the French schools also get along without this supplement, and that does not prevent them from successfully inculcating conservatism and routine.

Concern for the authority of the older generation, by the way, has already led to a change of policy in the matter of religion. The denial of God, his assistance and his miracles, was the sharpest wedge of all those which the revolutionary power drove between children and parents. Outstripping the development of culture, serious propaganda and scientific education, the struggle with the churches, under the leadership of people of the type of Yaroslavsky, often degenerated into buffoonery and mischief. The storming of heaven, like the storming of the family, is now brought to a stop. The bureaucracy, concerned about their reputation for respectability, have ordered the young "godless" to surrender their fighting armor and sit down to their books. In relation to religion, there is gradually being established a regime of ironical neutrality. But that is only the first stage. It would not be difficult to predict the second and third, if the course of events depended only upon those in authority.

{p. 157} The genuinely socialist family, from which society will remove the daily vexation of unbearable and humiliating cares, will have no need of any regimentation, and the very idea of laws about abortion and divorce will sound no better within its walls than the recollection of houses of prostitution or human sacrifices. The October legislation took a bold step in the direction of such a family. Economic and cultural backwardness has produced a cruel reaction. The Thermidorian legislation is beating a retreat to the bourgeois models, covering its retreat with false speeches about the sacredness of the "new" family. On this question, too, socialist bankruptcy covers itself with hypocritical respectability.

{p. 158} There are sincere observers who are, especially upon the question of children, shaken by the contrast here between high principles and ugly reality. The mere fact of the furious criminal measures that have been adopted against homeless children is enough to suggest that the socialist legislation in defense of women and children is nothing but crass hypocrisy. There are observers of an opposite kind who are deceived by the broadness and magnanimity of those ideas that have been dressed up in the form of laws and administrative institutions. When they see destitute mothers, prostitutes and homeless children, these optimists tell themselves that a further growth of material wealth will gradually fill the socialist laws with flesh and blood. It is not easy to decide which of these two modes of approach is more mistaken and more harmful. Only people stricken with historical blindness can fail to see the broadness and boldness of the social plan, the significance of the first stages of its development, and the immense possibilities opened by it. But on the other hand, it is impossible not to be indignant at the passive and essentially indifferent optimism of those who shut their eyes to the growth of social contradictions, and comfort themselves with gazing into a future, the key to which they respectfully propose to leave in the hands of the bureaucracy. As though the equality of rights of women and men were not already converted into an equality of deprivation of rights by that same bureaucracy! And as though in some book of wisdom it were firmly promised that the Soviet bureaucracy will not introduce a new oppression in place of liberty.

How man enslaved woman, how the exploiter subjected them both, how the toilers have attempted at the price of blood to free themselves from slavery and have only exchanged one chain for another - history tells us much

{p. 159} about all this. In essence, it tells us nothing else. But how in reality to free the child, the woman and the human being? For that we have as yet no reliable models. All past historical experience, wholly negative, demands of the toilers at least and first of all an implacable distrust of all privileged and uncontrolled guardians.

2. The struggle against the youth

... The revolution gave a mighty historical impulse to the new Soviet generation. It cut them free at one blow from conservative forms of life, and exposed to them the great secret - the first secret of the dialectic - that there is nothing unchanging on this earth, and that society is made out of plastic materials. How stupid is the theory of unchanging racial types in the light of the events of our epoch ! The Soviet Union is an immense melting pot in which the characters of dozens of nationalities are being mixed. The mysticism of the "Slavic soul" is coming off like scum. ...

{p. 161} How do things stand in reality? Forty-three per cent of the population of the Soviet Union were born after the October revolution. If you take the age of twenty-three as the boundary between the two generations, then over 50 per cent of Soviet humanity has not yet reached this boundary. A big half of the population of the country, consequently, knows nothing by personal recollection of any regime except that of the Soviets. But it is just this new generation which is forming itself, not in "free social conditions," as Engels conceived it, but under intolerable and constantly increasing oppression from the ruling stratum composed of those same ones who - according to the official fiction - achieved the great revolution. In the factory, the collective farm, the barracks, the university, the schoolroom, even in the kindergarten, if not in the creche, the chief glory of man is declared to be: personal loyalty to the leader and unconditional obedience. Many pedagogical aphorisms and maxims of recent times might seem to have been copied from Goebbels, if he himself had not copied them in good part from the collaborators of Stalin.

The school and the social life of the student are saturated with formalism and hypocrisy. The children have learned to sit through innumerable deadly dull meetings, with their inevitable honorary presidium, their chants in

{p. 162} honor of the dear leaders, their predigested righteous debates in which, quite in the manner of their elders, they say one thing and think another. The most innocent groups of school children who try to create oases in this desert of officiousness are met with fierce measures of repression. Through its agentry the G.P.U. introduces the sickening corruption of treachery and tale-bearing into the so-called "socialist schools." The more thoughtful teachers and children's writers, in spite of the enforced optimism, cannot always conceal their horror in the presence of this spirit of repression, falsity and boredom which is killing school life. ... All questions, including their very own, are decided for them. ...

{p. 163} At the other pole a small minority enter the ranks of the Opposition. ...

{p. 170} 3. Nationality and culture

The policy of Bolshevism on the national question, having ensured the victory of the October revolution, also helped the Soviet Union to hold out afterward notwithstanding inner centrifugal forces and a hostile environment. The bureaucratic degeneration of the state has rested like a millstone upon the national policy. It was upon the national question that Lenin intended to give his first battle to the bureaucracy, and especially to Stalin, at the 12th Congress of the party in the spring of 1923. But before the congress met Lenin had gone from the ranks. The documents which he then prepared remain even now suppressed by the censor.

The cultural demands of the nations aroused by the revolution require the widest possible autonomy. At the same time, industry can successfully develop only by subjecting all parts of the Union to a general centralized plan. But economy and culture are not separated by impermeable partitions. The tendencies of cultural autonomy and economic centralism come naturally from time to time into conflict. The contradiction between them is, however, far from irreconcilable. Although there can be no once-and-for-all prepared formula to resolve the problem, still there is the resilient will of the interested masses themselves. Only their actual participation in the administration of their own destinies can at each new stage draw the necessary lines between the legitimate demands of economic

{p. 171} centralism and the living gravitations of national culture. The trouble is, however, that the will of the population of the Soviet Union in all its national divisions is now wholly replaced by the will of a bureaucracy which approaches both economy and culture from the point of view of convenience of administration and the specific interests of the ruling stratum.

It is true that in the sphere of national policy, as in the sphere of economy, the Soviet bureaucracy still continues to carry out a certain part of the progressive work, although with immoderate overhead expenses. This is especially true of the backward nationalities of the Union, which must of necessity pass through a more or less prolonged period of borrowing, imitation and assimilation of what exists. The bureaucracy is laying down a bridge for them to the elementary benefits of bourgeois, and in part even pre-bourgeois, culture. In relation to many spheres and peoples, the Soviet power is to a considerable extent carrying out the historic work fulfilled by Peter I and his colleagues in relation to the old Muscovy, only on a larger scale and at a swifter tempo.

In the schools of the Union, lessons are taught at present in no less than eighty languages. For a majority of them, it was necessary to compose new alphabets, or to replace the extremely aristocratic Asiatic alphabets with the more democratic Latin. Newspapers are published in the same number of languages - papers which for the first time acquaint the peasants and nomad shepherds with the elementary ideas of human culture. Within the far-flung boundaries of the tzar's empire, a native industry is arising. The old semi-clan culture is being destroyed by the tractor ...

{p. 173} If we leave laws and institutions aside for a moment, and take the daily life of the basic mass of the population, and if we do not deliberately delude our minds or others', we are compelled to acknowledge that in life customs and culture the heritage of tzarist and bourgeois Russia in the Soviet country vastly prevails over the embryonic growth of socialism. Most convincing on this subject is the population itself, which at the least rise of the standard of living throws itself avidly upon the ready models of the West. The young Soviet clerks, and often the workers too, try both in dress and manner to imitate American engineers and technicians with whom they happen to come in contact in the factories. The industrial and clerical working girls devour with their eyes the foreign lady tourist in order to capture her modes and manners. The lucky girl who succeeds in this becomes an object of wholesale imitation. Instead of the old bangs, the better-paid working girl acquires a "permanent wave." The youth are eagerly joining "Western dancing circles." In a certain sense all this means progress, but what chiefly expresses itself here is not the superiority of socialism over capitalism, but the prevailing of petty bourgeois culture over patriarchal life, the city over the village, the center over the backwoods, the West over the East.

The privileged Soviet stratum does its borrowing meanwhile in the higher capitalistic spheres. And in this field the pacemakers are the diplomats, directors of trusts, engineers, who have to make frequent trips to Europe and America. Soviet satire is silent on this question, for it is simply forbidden to touch the upper "ten thousand." However, we cannot but remark with sorrow that the loftiest emissaries of the Soviet Union have been unable to reveal in the face of capitalist civilization either a style of their own, or any independent traits whatever. They

{p. 174} have not found sufficient inner stability to enable them to scorn external shine and observe the necessary aloofness. Their chief ambition ordinarily is to differ as little as possible from the most finished snobs of the bourgeoisie. In a word, they feel and conduct themselves in a majority of cases not as the representatives of a new world, but as ordinary parvenus! ...

{p. 175} The Russian people

{p. 176} never knew in the past either a great religious reformation like the Germans, or a great bourgeois revolution like the French. Out of these two furnaces, if we leave aside the reformation-revolution of the British Islanders in the seventeenth century, came bourgeois individuality, a very important step in the development of human personality in general. ...

{cultural individuality is good, but peasant economic individualism is bad: p. 74}

{p. 177} There can be in reality no talk of uniqueness of national culture when one and the same conductor's baton, or rather one and the same police club, undertakes to regulate all the intellectual activities of all the peoples of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian, White Russian, Georgian, or Turk newspapers and books are only translations of the bureaucratic imperative into the language of the corresponding nationality. Under the name of models of popular creativeness, the Moscow press daily publishes in Russian translation odes by the prize poets of the different nationalities in honor of the leaders, miserable verses in reality which differ only in the degree of their servility and want of talent.

The Great Russian culture, which has suffered from the regime of the guardhouse no less than the others, lives chiefly at the expense of the older generation formed before the revolution. The youth are suppressed as though with an iron plank. It is a question, therefore, not of the oppression of one nationality over another in the proper sense of the word, but of oppression by the centralized police apparatus over the cultural development of all the nations, starting with the Great Russian. We cannot, however, ignore the fact that 90 per cent of the publications of the Soviet Union are printed in the Russian language. If this percentage is, to be sure, in flagrant contradiction with the relative number of the Great Russian population, still it perhaps the better corresponds to the general influence of Russian culture, both in its independent weight and its role as mediator between the backward peoples of the country and the West. But with all that, does not the excessively high percentage of Great Russians in the publishing houses (and not only there, of course) mean an actual autocratic privilege of the Great Russians at the

{p. 178} expense of the other nationalities of the Union? It is quite possible. To this vastly important question it is impossible to answer as categorically as one would wish, for in life it is decided not so much by collaboration, rivalry and mutual fertilizations of culture, as by the ultimate arbitrament of the bureaucracy. And since the Kremlin is the residence of the authorities, and the outlying territories are compelled to keep step with the center, bureaucratism inevitably takes the color of an autocratic Russification, leaving to the other nationalities the sole indubitable cultural right of celebrating the arbiter in their own language. ... ==

{p. 21} CHAPTER II Economic Growth and Zigzags of Leadership

{p. 27} In 1926, Zinoviev and Kamenev with their adherents joined the Opposition of 1923 (the "Trotskyists").

{p. 33} Rykov, then still head of the government, announced in July 1928:

"To develop individual farms is... the chief task of the party."

And Stalin seconded him:

"There are people who think that individual farms have exhausted their usefulness, that we should not support them.... These people have nothing in common with the line of our party."

Less than a year later, the line of the party had

{p. 34} nothing in common with these words. The dawn of "complete collectivization" was on the horizon.


{p. 67} The role of money in the Soviet economy is not only unfinished but, as we have said, still has a long growth ahead. The transitional epoch between capitalism and socialism taken as a whole does not mean a cutting down of trade, but, on the contrary, its extraordinary extension. All branches of industry transform themselves and grow. New ones continually arise, and all are compelled to define their relations to one another both quantitatively and qualitatively. The liquidation of the consummatory {i.e. self-sufficient} peasant economy, and at the same time of the shut-in family life, means a transfer to the sphere of social interchange, and ipso facto money circulation, of all the labor energy which was formerly expended within the limits of the peasant's yard, or within the walls of his private dwelling. All products and services begin for the first time in history to be exchanged for one another.

On the other hand, a successful socialist construction is unthinkable without including in the planned system the direct personal interests of the producer and consumer, their egoism, - which in its turn may reveal itself fruitfully only if it has in its service the customary reliable and flexible instrument, money. The raising of the productivity of labor and bettering of the quality of its products is quite unattainable without an accurate measure freely penetrating into all the cells of industry - that is, with-

{p. 68} out a stable unit of currency. Hence it is clear that in the transitional economy, as also under capitalism, the sole authentic money is that based upon gold. All other money is only a substitute. To be sure, the Soviet state has in its hand at the same time the mass of commodities and the machinery for printing money. However, this does not change the situation. Administrative manipulations in the sphere of commodity prices do not in the slightest degree create, or replace, a stable money unit either for domestic or foreign trade. Deprived of an independent basis - that is, a gold basis - the money system of the Soviet Union, like that of a number of capitalist countries, has necessarily a shut-in character. For the world market the ruble does not exist. If the Soviet Union can endure the adverse aspects of this money system more easily than Germany and Italy, it is only in part due to the natural wealth of the country. Only this makes it possible not to struggle in the clutches of autarchy. The historic task, however, is not merely not avoid strangling, but to create face to face with the highest achievements of the world market a powerful economy, rational through and through, which will guarantee the greatest saving of time and consequently the highest flowering of culture.

The dynamic Soviet economy, passing as it does through continual technical revolutions and large-scale experiments, needs more than any other continual testing by means of a stable measure of value. Theoretically there cannot be the slightest doubt that if the Soviet economy had possessed a gold ruble, the result of the five-year plan would be incomparably more favorable than they are now. Of course you cannot "poss the impossible" [Ha nyet cuda nyet]. But you must

{p. 69} not make a virtue of necessity, for that leads in turn to additional economic mistakes and losses.

{p. 73} In the sphere of agriculture, inflation brought no less heavy consequences.

During the period when the peasant policy was still oriented upon the well-to-do farmer, it was assumed that the socialist transformation in agriculture, setting out upon the basis of the NEP, would be accomplished in the course of decades by means of the co-operatives. Assuming one after another purchasing, selling, and credit functions, the co-operatives should in the long run also socialize production itself. All this taken together was called "the co-operative plan of Lenin." The actual development, as we know, followed a completely different and almost an opposite course - dekulakization by violence and integral collectivization. Of the gradual socialization of separate economic functions, in step with the preparation of the material and cultural conditions for it, nothing more was said. Collectivization was introduced as though it were the instantaneous realization of the communist regime in agriculture.

The immediate consequence was not only an extermination of more than half of the livestock, but, more important, a complete indifference of the members of the

{p. 74} collective farms to the socialized property and the results of their own labor. The government was compelled to make a disorderly retreat. They again supplied the peasants with chickens, pigs, sheep, and cows as personal property. They gave them private lots adjoining the farmsteads. The film of collectivization began to be run off backwards.

{peasant economic individualism is bad, but cultural individuality is good: p. 176}

In thus restoring small personal farm holdings, the state adopted a compromise, trying to buy off, as it were, the individualistic tendencies of the peasant. The collective farms were retained, and at first glance, therefore, the retreat might seem of secondary importance. In reality, its significance could hardly be overestimated. If you leave aside the collective farm aristocracy, the daily needs of the average peasant are still met to a greater degree by his work "on his own", than by his participation in the collective. A peasant's income from individual enterprises, especially when he takes up technical culture, fruit, or stock farming, amounts frequently to three times as much as the earnings of the same peasant in the collective economy. This fact, testified to in the Soviet press itself, very clearly reveals on the one hand a completely barbarous squandering of tens of million of human forces, especially those of women, in midget enterprises, and, on the other, the still extremely low productivity of labor in the collective farms.

In order to raise the standard of large-scale collective agriculture, it was necessary again to talk to the peasant in the language he understands - that is, to resurrect the markets and return from taxes in kind to trade - in a word, to ask back from Satan the NEP which had been prematurely sent to him. The transition to a more or less stable money accounting thus became a necessary condition for the further development of agriculture. ... ==

{excursus - start; by Peter Myers}

In the paragraphs below, Trotsky calls Stalin a Bonapartist, likening him to Napoleon I and Napoleon III. But he also likens him to Hitler, saying that all of them were defeaters of the democratic forces. Trotsky never admits the covert Jewish leadership of those "democratic" forces.

Contrary to Trotsky's position, what Napoleon I, Napoleon II, and Stalin have in common is that they defeated Jewish and/or Freemasonic revolutionary movements from within, yet carried the revolution forward; Hitler did the same from the outside.

Some may object over the Freemasonry claim. But Trotsky himself agreed, in his autobiography, that the French Revolution had been launched by Freemasons or Illuminiati. He studied this topic when in Odessa prison.

The hardback edition is My Life: The Rise and Fall of a Dictator (Thornton Butterworth Limited, London 1930); the paperback edition is My Life (Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1975).

{quote} {hbk p. 106, pbk p. 124} It was during that period that I became interested in freemasonry. ... {hbk p. 107} In the eighteenth century freemasonry became expressive of a militant policy of enlightenment, as in the case of the Illuminati, who were the forerunners of the revolution; on its left it culminated in the Carbonari. Freemasons counted among their members both Louis XVI and the Dr. Guillotin who invented the guillotine. In southern Germany freemasonry assumed an openly revolutionary character, whereas at the court of Catherine the Great it was a masquerade reflecting the {pbk p. 125} aristocratic and bureaucratic hierarchy. A freemason Novikov was exiled to Siberia by a freemason Empress. ...

{hbk p. 108, pbk p. 126} I discontinued my work on freemasonry to take up the study of Marxian economics. ... The work on freemasonry acted as a sort of test for these hypotheses. ... I think this influenced the whole course of my intellectual develop- {p. 127} ment. {end quote}

{end of excusus}

{Stalin resembles Napoleon I}


{p. 197} Napoleon I, after radically abandoning the traditions of Jacobinism, donning the crown, and restoring the Catholic cult, remained nevertheless an object of hatred to the whole of ruling semi-feudal Europe, because he continued to defend the new property system created by the revolution. Until the monopoly of foreign trade is broken and the rights of capital restored, the Soviet Union, in spite of all the services of its ruling stratum, remains in the eyes of the bourgeoisie of the whole world an irreconcilable enemy, and German National Socialism a friend, if not today, at least of tomorrow.==

{Stalin also resembles Napoleon III}


Bonapartism as a Regime of Crisis ...

{p. 277} Caesarism, or its bourgeois form, Bonapartism, enters the scene in those moments of history when the sharp struggle of two camps raises the state power, so to speak, above the nation, and guarantees it, in appearance, a complete independence of classes in reality, only the freedom necessary for a defense of the privileged. The Stalin

{p. 278} regime, rising above a politically atomized society, resting upon a police and officers' corps, and allowing of no control whatever, is obviously a variation of Bonapartism - a Bonapartism of a new type not before seen in history.

Caesarism arose upon the basis of a slave society shaken by inward strife. Bonapartism is one of the political weapons of the capitalist regime in its critical period. Stalinism is a variety of the same system, but upon the basis of a workers' state torn by the antagonism between an organized and armed Soviet aristocracy and the unarmed toiling masses.

As history testifies, Bonapartism gets along admirably with a universal, and even a secret, ballot. The democratic ritual of Bonapartism is the plebiscite. From time to time, the question is presented to the citizens: for or against the leader? And the voter feels the barrel of a revolver between his shoulders. Since the time of Napoleon III, who now seems a provincial dilettante, this technique has received an extraordinary development. The new Soviet constitution which establishes Bonapartism on a plebiscite basis is the veritable crown of the system.

{Stalin resembles Hitler}

In the last analysis, Soviet Bonapartism owes its birth to the belatedness of the world revolution. But in the capitalist countries the same cause gave rise to fascism. We thus arrive at the conclusion, unexpected at first glance, but in reality inevitable, that the crushing of Soviet democracy {i.e. Trotskyism, i.e. Jewish Communism} by an all-powerful bureaucracy and the extermination of bourgeois democracy by fascism were produced by one and the same cause: the dilatoriness of the world proletariat in solving the problems set for it by history. Stalinism and fascism, in spite of a deep difference in social foundations, are symmetrical phenomena. In many of their features they show a deadly similarity. A victorious revolutionary movement in Europe would im-

{p. 279} mediately shake not only fascism, but Soviet Bonapartism. In turning its back to the international revolution, the Stalinist bureaucracy was, from its own point of view, right. It was merely obeying the voice of self-preservation. ==

{p. 291} Appendix "SOCIALISM IN ONE COUNTRY"

{p. 294} Beatrice and Sidney Webb on their part assure us that Marx and Engels did not believe in the possibility of building an isolated socialist society only because neither of them "had ever dreamt" of such a powerful weapon as the monopoly of foreign trade. One can hardly read these lines from the aged authors without embarrassment. The taking over by the state of commercial banks and companies, railroads, mercantile marine, is as necessary a measure of the socialist revolution as the nationalization of the means of production, including the means employed in the export branches of industry. The monopoly of foreign trade is nothing but a concentration in the hands of the state of the material instruments of export and import. To say that Marx and Engels "never dreamt" of the monopoly of foreign trade is to say that they never dreamt of the socialist revolution. ...

{p. 296} In April 1926, at a Plenum of the Central Committee, the following amendment to the theory of the tortoise tempo was introduced by the Left Opposition:

"It would be a fundamental error to think that in a capitalist environment we can go towards socialism at an arbitrary tempo. Our further approach to socialism will be ensured only on condition that the distance separating our industry from the advanced capitalist industry shall not increase, but clearly and palpably decrease."

Stalin with good reason declared this amendment a "masked" attack upon the theory of socialism in one country, and categorically rejected the very inclination to link up the tempo of domestic construction with the conditions of international development. Here is what he said verbatim, according to the stenographic report of the Plenum:

"Whoever drags in here an international factor does not understand the very form of the question. He is either confused in the matter because he does not understand it, or he is consciously trying to confuse the question."

The amendment of the Opposition was rejected.

But the illusion of a socialism to be built at a tortoise tempo, on a pauper basis in an environment of powerful enemies, did not long withstand the blows of criticism. In November of the same year the 15th Party Conference, without a word of preparation in the press, acknowledged that it would be necessary "in a relatively [?] minimal historical period to catch up to and then surpass the level of industrial development of the advanced capitalist countries." The Left Opposition at any rate was here "surpassed." But in advancing this slogan - catch up to and surpass the whole world "in a minimal period" - yesterday's theorists of the tortoise tempo had fallen captive to that same international factor of which the Soviet bureaucracy had such a superstitious fear. Thus in the course of

{p. 297} eight months the first and purest version of the Stalinist theory was liquidated. ...

Friendship for the Soviet bureaucracy is not friendship for the proletarian revolution, but, on the contrary, insurance against it. The Webbs are, to be sure, ready to acknowledge that the communist system will sometime or other spread to to the rest of the world. ...

{p. 301} 1. The "Friends" of the Soviet Union

{p. 303} Lenin was passionately hostile to the conservative bourgeois who imagines himself a socialist, and, in particular, to the British Fabians. By the biographical glossary attached to his "Works", it is not difficult to find out that his attitude to the Webbs throughout his whole active life remained one of unaltered fierce hostility. In 1907 he first wrote of the Webbs as "obtuse eulogists of English philistinism", who try to represent Chartism, the revolutionary epoch of the English labor movement, as mere childishness." Without Chartism, however, there would have been no Paris Commune. Without both, there would have been no October revolution. The Webbs found in the Soviet Union only an administrative mechanism and a bureaucratic plan. They found neither Chartism nor Communism nor the October revolution. A revolution remains for them today, as before, an alien and hostile matter, if not indeed "mere childishness."

In his polemics against opportunists, Lenin did not trouble himself, as is well known, with the manners of the salon. But his abusive epithets ("lackeys of the bourgeoisie", "traitors", "boot-lick souls") expressed during

{p. 304} many years a carefully weighed appraisal of the Webbs and the evangels of Fabianism - that is, of traditional respectability and worship for what exists. There can be no talk of any sudden change in the views of the Webbs during recent years. These same people who during the war support their bourgeoisie, and who accepted later at the hands of the King the title of Lord Passfield, have renounced nothing, and changed not at all, in adhering to Communism in a single, and moreover a foreign, country. Sidney Webb was Colonial Minister - that is, chief jailkeeper of British imperialism - in the very period of his life when he was drawing near to the Soviet bureaucracy, receiving material from its bureaus, and on that basis working upon this two-volume compilation.

As late as 1923, the Webbs saw no great difference between Bolshevism and Tzarism (see, for example, The Decay of Capitalist Civilization, 1923). Now, however, they have fully reorganized the "democracy" of the Stalin regime. It is needless to seek any contradiction here. The Fabians were indignant when the revolutionary proletariat withdrew freedom of activity from "educated" society, but they think it quite in the order of things when a bureaucracy withdraws freedom of activity from the proletariat. Has not this always been the function of the laborite's workers' bureaucracy? The Webbs swear, for example, that criticism in the Soviet Union is completely free. A sense of humor is not to be expected of these people. They refer with complete seriousness to that notorious "self-criticism" which is enacted as a part of one's official duties, and the direction of which, as well as its limits, can always be accurately foretold.

Naivete? Neither Engels nor Lenin considered Sidney Webb naive. Respectability rather. After all, it is a question of an established regime and of hospitable hosts. The

{p. 305} Webbs are extremely disapproving in their attitude to a Marxian criticism of what exists. They consider themselves called to preserve the heritage of the October revolution from the Left Opposition. For the sake of completeness we observe that in its day the Labor Government in which Lord Passfield (Sidney Webb) held a portfolio refused the author of this work a visa to enter Great Britain. Thus Sidney Webb, who in those very days was working on his book upon the Soviet Union, is theoretically defending the Soviet Union from being undermined, but practically he is defending the Empire of His Majesty. In justice be it said that in both cases he remains true to himself. * * *

For many of the petty bourgeoisie who master neither pen nor brush, an officially registered "friendship" for the Soviet Union is a kind of certificate of higher spiritual interests. Membership in Freemason lodges or pacifist clubs has much in common with membership in the society of "Friends of the Soviet Union", for it makes it possible to live two lives at once: an everyday life in a circle of commonplace interests, and a holiday life evaluating to the soul. From time to time the "friends" visit Moscow. They note down in their memory tractors, creches, Pioneers, parades, parachute girls - in a word, everything except the new aristocracy. ... {end}

Yet when he was in exile at Prinkipo in Turkey, Trotsky sent Beatrice Webb a copy of his autobiography My Life, and she and Sidney visited him. When he applied for asylum in Britain, he was supported by the Webbs H. G. Wells, Bernard Shaw & Keynes: trotsky.html#applies.

(3) Stalin says the Left Opposition is led by three "dissatisfied Jewish intellectuals"

Thermidor and Anti-Semitism

by Leon Trotsky

Written February 22, 1937

From The New International, May 1941

Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive by Matt Siegfried in 1999

At the time of the last Moscow trial I remarked in one of my statements that Stalin, in the struggle with the Opposition, exploited the anti-Semitic tendencies in the country. On this subject I received a series of letters and questions which were, by and large - there is no reason to hide the truth - very naive. "How can one accuse the Soviet Union of anti-Semitism?" "If the USSR is an anti-Semitic country, is there anything left at all?" That was the dominant note of these letters. These people raise objections and are perplexed because they are accustomed to counterpose fascist anti-Semitism with the emancipation of the Jews accomplished by the October Revolution. To these people it now appears that I am wresting from their hands a magic charm. Such a method of reasoning is typical of those who are accustomed to vulgar, nondialectical thinking. They live in a world of immutable abstractions. They recognize only that which suits them: the Germany of Hitler is the absolutist kingdom of anti-Semitism; the USSR, on the contrary, is the kingdom of national harmony. Vital contradictions, changes, transitions from one condition to another, in a word, the actual historical processes escape their lackadaisical attention.

It has not yet been forgotten, I trust, that anti-Semitism was quite widespread in Czarist Russia among the peasants, the petty bourgeoisie of the city, the intelligentsia and the more backward strata of the working class. "Mother" Russia was renowned not only for her periodic Jewish pogroms, but also for the existence of a considerable number of anti-Semitic publications which, in that day, enjoyed a wide circulation. The October Revolution abolished the outlawed status of the Jews. That, however, does not at all mean that with one blow it swept out anti-Semitism. A long and persistent struggle against religion has failed to prevent suppliants even today from crowding thousands and thousands of churches, mosques and synagogues. The same situation prevails in the sphere of national prejudices. Legislation alone does not change people. Their thoughts, emotions, outlook depend upon tradition, material conditions of life, cultural level, etc. The Soviet regime is not yet twenty years old. The older half of the population was educated under Czarism. The younger half has inherited a great deal from the older. These general historical conditions in themselves should make any thinking person realize that, despite the model legislation of the October Revolution, it is impossible that national and chauvinist prejudices, particularly anti-Semitism, should not have persisted strongly among the backward layers of the population.

But this is by no means all. The Soviet regime, in actuality, initiated a series of new phenomena which, because of the poverty and low cultural level of the population, were capable of generating anew, and did in fact generate, anti-Semitic moods. The Jews are a typical city population. They comprise a considerable percentage of the city population in the Ukraine, in White Russia and even in Great Russia. The Soviet, more than any other regime in the world, needs a very great number of civil servants. Civil servants are recruited from the more cultured city population. Naturally the Jews occupied a disproportionately large place among the bureaucracy and particularly so in the lower and middle levels. Of course we can close our eyes to that fact and limit ourselves to vague generalities about the equality and brotherhood of all races. But an ostrich policy will not advance us a single step. The hatred of the peasants and the workers for the bureaucracy is a fundamental fact of Soviet life. The despotism of the regime, the persecution of every critic, the stifling of every living thought, finally the judicial frame-ups are merely a reflection of this basic fact. Even by a priori reasoning it is impossible not to conclude that the hatred for the bureaucracy would assume an anti-Semitic color, at least in those places where the Jewish functionaries compose a significant percentage of the population and are thrown into relief against a broad background of the peasant masses. In 1923 I proposed to the party conference of the Bolsheviks of the Ukraine that the functionaries should be able to speak and write in the idiom of the surrounding population. How many ironical remarks were made about this proposal, in the main by the Jewish intelligentsia who spoke and read Russian and did not wish to learn the Ukrainian language! It must be admitted that in that respect the situation has changed considerably for the better. But the national composition of the bureaucracy changed little, and what is immeasurably more important, the antagonism between the population and the bureaucracy has grown monstrously during the past ten to twelve years. All serious and honest observers, especially those who have lived among the toiling masses for a long time, bear witness to the existence of anti-Semitism, not only of the old and hereditary, but also of the new, "Soviet" variety.

The Soviet bureaucrat feels himself morally in a beleaguered camp. He attempts with all his strength to break through from his isolation. The politics of Stalin, at least to the extent of 50 percent, is dictated by this urge. To wit: (1) the pseudosocialist demagogy ("Socialism is already accomplished," "Stalin gave, gives and will give the people a happy life," etc.); (2) political and economic measures designed to build around the bureaucracy a broad layer of a new aristocracy (the disproportionately high wages of the Stakhanovites, military ranks, honorary orders, the new "nobility," etc.); (3) catering to the national feelings and prejudices of the backward layers of the population.

The Ukrainian bureaucrat, if he himself is an indigenous Ukrainian, will, at the critical moment, inevitably try to emphasize that he is a brother to the muzhik and the peasant - not some sort of foreigner and under no circumstances a Jew. Of course there is not - alas! - a grain of "socialism" or even of elementary democracy in such an attitude. But that's precisely the nub of the question. The privileged bureaucracy, fearful of its privileges, and consequently completely demoralized, represents at present the most antisocialist and most antidemocratic stratum of Soviet society. In the struggle for its self-preservation it exploits the most ingrained prejudices and the most benighted instincts. If in Moscow, Stalin stages trials which accuse the Trotskyists of plotting to poison workers, then it is not difficult to imagine to what foul depths the bureaucracy can resort in some Ukrainian or central Asiatic hovel!

He who attentively observes Soviet life, even if only through official publications, will from time to time see bared in various parts of the country hideous bureaucratic abscesses: bribery, corruption, embezzlement, murder of persons whose existence is embarrassing to the bureaucracy, violation of women and the like. Were we to slash vertically through, we should see that every such abscess resulted from the bureaucratic stratum. Sometimes Moscow is constrained to resort to demonstration trials. In all such trials the Jews inevitably comprise a significant percentage, in part because, as we already stated, they make up a great part of the bureaucracy and are branded with its odium, partly because, impelled by the instinct for self-preservation, the leading cadre of the bureaucracy at the center and in the provinces strives to divert the indignation of the working masses from itself to the Jews. This fact was known to every critical observer in the USSR as far back as ten years ago, when Stalin regime had hardly as yet revealed its basic features.

The struggle against the Opposition was for the ruling clique a question of life and death. The program, principles, ties with the masses, everything was rooted out and cast aside because of the anxiety of the new ruling clique for its self-preservation. These people stop at nothing on order to guard their privileges and power. Recently an announcement was released to the whole world, to the effect that my youngest son, Sergei Sedov, was under indictment for plotting mass poisoning of the workers. Every normal person will conclude: people capable of preferring such a charge have reached the last degree of moral degradation. Is it possible in that case to doubt even for a moment that these same accusers are capable of fostering the anti-Semitic prejudices of the masses? Precisely in the case of my son, both these depravities are united. It is worthwhile to consider this case. From the day of their birth, my sons bore the name of their mother (Sedov). They never used any other name - neither at elementary school, nor at the university, nor in their later life. As for me, during the past thirty-four years I have borne the name of Trotsky. During the Soviet period no one ever called me by the name of my father (Bronstein), just as no one ever called Stalin Dzhugashvili. In order not to oblige my sons to change their name, I, for "citizenship" requirements, took on the name of my wife (which, according to Soviet law, is fully permissible). However, after my son, Sergei Sedov, was charged with the utterly incredible accusation of plotting to poison workers, the GPU announced in the Soviet and foreign press the "real" (!) name of my son is not Sedov but Bronstein. If these falsifiers wished to emphasize the connection of the accused with me, they would have called him Trotsky since politically the name Bronstein means nothing at all to anyone. But they were out for another game; that is, they wished to emphasize my Jewish origin and the semi-Jewish origin of my son. I paused at this episode because it has a vital and yet not at all exceptional character. The whole struggle against the Opposition is full of such episodes.

Between 1923 and 1926, when Stalin, with Zinoviev and Kamenev, was still a member of the "Troika," the play on the strings of anti-Semitism bore a very cautious and masked character. Especially schooled orators (Stalin already then led an underhanded struggle against his associates) said that the followers of Trotsky are petty bourgeois from "small towns" without defining their race. Actually that was untrue. The percentage of Jewish intellectuals in the Opposition was in no case any greater than that in the party and in the bureaucracy. It is sufficient to name the leaders of the Opposition for the years 1923-25. I. N. Smirnov, Serebryakov, Rakovsky, Piatakov, Preobrazhensky, Krestinsky, Muralov, Beloborodov, Mrachkovsky, V. Yakovlev, Sapronov, V. M. Smirnov, Ishtchenko - fully indigenous Russians. Radek at the time was only half-sympathetic. But, as in the trials of the grafters and other scoundrels, so at the time of the expulsions of the Opposition from the party, the bureaucracy purposely emphasized the names of Jewish members of casual and secondary importance. This was quite openly discussed in the party, and, back in 1925, the Opposition saw in this situation the unmistakable symptom of the decay of the ruling clique.

After Zinoviev and Kamanev joined the Opposition the situation changed radically for the worse. At this point there opened wide a perfect chance to say to the workers that at the head of the Opposition stand three "dissatisfied Jewish intellectuals." Under the direction of Stalin, Uglanov in Moscow and Kirov in Leningrad carried through this line systematically and almost fully in the open. In order the more sharply to demonstrate to the workers the differences between the "old" course and the "new," the Jews, even when unreservedly devoted to the general line, were removed from responsible party and Soviet posts. Not only in the country but even in the Moscow factories the baiting of the Opposition back in 1926 often assumed a thoroughly obvious anti-Semitic character. Many agitators spoke brazenly: "The Jews are rioting." I received hundreds of letters deploring the anti-Semitic methods in the struggle with the Opposition. At one of the sessions of the Politburo I wrote Bukharin a note: "You cannot help knowing that even in Moscow in the struggle with the Opposition, methods of Black Hundred demagogues (anti-Semitism, etc.) are utilized." Bukharin answered me evasively on that same piece of paper: "Individual instances, of course, are possible." I again wrote: "I have in mind not individual instances but a systematic agitation among the part secretaries at large Moscow enterprises. Will you agree to come with me to investigate an example of this at the factory 'Skorokhod' (I know a number of other such examples)." Bukharin answered, "All right, we can go." In vain I tried to make him carry out the promise. Stalin most categorically forbade him to do so. In the months of preparations for the expulsions of the Opposition from the party, the arrests, the exiles (in the second half of 1927), the anti-Semitic agitation assumed a thoroughly unbridled character. The slogan, "Beat the Opposition," often took on the complexion of the old slogan "Beat the Jews and save Russia." The matter went so far that Stalin was constrained to come out with a printed statement which declared: "We fight against Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev not because they are Jews but because they are Oppositionists," etc. To every politically thinking person it was completely clear that this consciously equivocal declaration, directed against "excesses" of anti-Semitism, did at the same time with complete premeditation nourish it. "Do not forget that the leaders of the Opposition are - Jews." That was the meaning of the statement of Stalin, published in all Soviet journals.

When the Opposition, to meet the repressions, proceeded with a more decisive and open struggle, Stalin, in the form of a very significant "jest", told Piatakov and Preobrazhensky: "You at the least are fighting against the C.E., openly brandishing your axes. That proves your 'orthodox' action. Trotsky works slyly and not with a hatchet." Preobrazhensky and Piatakov related this conversation to me with strong revulsion. Dozens of times Stalin attempted to counterpose the "orthodox" core of the Opposition to me.

The well known German radical journalist, the former editor of Aktion, Franz Pfemfert, at present in exile, wrote me in August 1936:

"Perhaps you remember that several years ago in Aktion I declared that many actions of Stalin can be explained by his anti-Semitic tendencies. The fact that in this monstrous trial he, through Tass, managed to "correct" the names of Zinoviev and Kamenev represents, by itself, a gesture in typical Streicher style. In this manner Stalin gave the "Go" sign to all anti-Semitic, unscrupulous elements."

In fact the names, Zinoviev and Kamenev, it would seem, are more famous than the names of Radomislyski and Rozenfeld. What other motives could Stalin have had to make known the "real" names of his victims, except to play with anti-Semitic moods? Such an act, and without the slightest legal justification, was, as we have seen, likewise committed over the name of my son. But, undoubtedly, the most astonishing thing is the fact that all four "terrorists" allegedly sent by me from abroad turned out to be Jews and - at the same time - agents of the anti-Semitic Gestapo! Inasmuch as I have ever actually seen any of these unfortunates, it is clear that the GPU deliberately selected them because of their racial origin. And the GPU does not function by virtue of its own inspiration!

Again, if such methods are practiced at the very top where the personal responsibility of Stalin is absolutely unquestionable, then it is not hard to imagine what transpires at the factories, and especially at the kolkhozes. And how can it be otherwise? The physical extermination of the older generation of the Bolsheviks is, for every person who can think, an incontrovertible expression of the Thermidorian reaction, and in its most advanced stage at that. History has never yet seen an example when the reaction following the revolutionary upsurge was not accompanied by the most unbridled chauvinistic passions, anti-Semitism among them.

In the opinion of some "Friends of the USSR," my reference to the exploitation of anti-Semitic tendencies by a considerable part of the present bureaucracy represents a malicious invention for the purpose of a struggle against Stalin. It is difficult to argue with professional "friends" of the bureaucracy. These people deny the existence of a Thermidorian reaction. They accept even the Moscow trials at face value. There are not "friends" who visit the USSR with special intention of seeing spots on the sun. Not a few of these receive special pay for their readiness to see only what is pointed out to them by the finger of the bureaucracy. But woe to those workers, revolutionists, socialists, democrats who, in the words of Pushkin, prefer "a delusion which exalts us" to the bitter truth. One must face life as it is. It is necessary to find in reality itself the force to overcome its reactionary and barbaric features. That is what Marxism teaches us.

Some would-be "pundits" have even accused me of "suddenly" raising the "Jewish question" and of intending to create some kind of ghetto for the Jews. I can only shrug my shoulders in pity. I have lived my whole life outside Jewish circles. I have always worked in the Russian workers' movement. My native tongue is Russian. Unfortunately, I have not even learned to read Jewish.

{Joseph Nedava quotes sources which say otherwise}

The Jewish question has never occupied the center of my attention. But that does not mean that I have the right to be blind to the Jewish problem which exists and demands solution. "The Friends of the USSR" are satisfied with the creation of Birobidjan. I will not stop at this point to consider whether it was built on a sound foundation, and what type of regime exists there. (Birobidjan cannot help reflecting all the vices of bureaucratic despotism.) But not a single progressive, thinking individual will object to the USSR designating a special territory for those of its citizens who feel themselves to be Jews, who use the Jewish language in preference to all others and who wish to live as a compact mass. Is this or is this not a ghetto? During the period of Soviet democracy, of completely voluntary migrations, there could be no talk about ghettos. But the Jewish question, by the very manner in which settlements of Jews occurred, assumes an international aspect. Are we not correct in saying that a world socialist federation would have to make possible the creation of a "Birobidjan" for those Jews who wish to have their own autonomous republic as the arena for their own culture? It may be presumed that a socialist democracy will not resort to compulsory assimilation. It may very well be that within two or three generations the boundaries of an independent Jewish republic, as of many other national regions, will be erased. I have neither time nor desire to meditate on this. Our descendents will know better than we what to do. I have in mind a transitional historical period when the Jewish question, as such, is still acute and demands adequate measures from a world federation of workers' states.

{i.e. World Government}

The very same methods of solving the Jewish question which under decaying capitalism have a utopian and reactionary character (Zionism), will, under the regime of a socialist federation, take on a real and salutary meaning. This is what I wanted to point out. How could any Marxist, or even any consistent democrat, object to this? ==

(4) The Left Opposition led by Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev - all Jewish

Stalin: An Appraisal of the Man and His Influence

by Leon Trotsky

Edited and Translated from the Russian by Clarles Malamuth

Grosset & Dunlap (Harper & Brothers), New York 1941

{p. 384} Supplement I

The Thermidorian Reaction

{p. 389} Nor were these the only methods of Stalinist rebuttal. He and his henchmen even stooped to fish in the muddied waters of anti-Semitism. I recall particularly a cartoon in the Rabochaya Gazeta [Workers' Gazette] entitled "Comrades Trotsky and Zinoviev." There were any number of such caricatures and doggerels of anti-Semitic character in the Party press. they were received with sly snickers. Stalin's attitude towards this growing anti-Semitism was one of friendly neutrality. But matters went so far that he was forced to come out with a published statement which declared, "We are fighting Trotsky, Zinoviev and

{p. 400} Kamenev not because they are Jews, but because they are Oppositionists," and the like. It was absolutely clear to everyone who thought politically that his deliberately equivocal declaration was aimed merely at the "excesses" of anti-Semitism, while at the same time broadcasting throughout the entire Soviet press the very pregnant reminder, "Don't forget that the leaders of the Opposition are Jews." Such a statement gave carte blanche to the anti-Semites.

(5) A shot at H. G. Wells

Their Morals and Ours

by Leon Trotsky

* * * {includes a shot at H. G. Wells}

IN MEMORY OF LEON SEDOFF {Trotsky's son took his mother's surname}

* * *

Online version: From the magazine The New International, Vol. IV, No. 6, June 1938. The New International was the theorectical journal of the Socialist Workers Party, supporters of the International Left Opposition in the United States.

* * *

Transcribed for the World Wide Web by David Walters in 1996 for the Trotsky Internet Archive, now a subset of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive.

... The inimitable H. G. Wells, whose high fancy is surpassed only by his Homeric self-satisfaction was not slow in solidarizing himself with the reactionary snobs of Common Sense. ... {end}

Nevertheless, Wells remained a support of Trotsky.

(6) More from The Revolution Betrayed - on why Stalin triumphed

{p. 86} Chapter 5 THE SOVIET THERMIDOR

1. Why Stalin Triumphed

{p. 89} The demobilization of the Red Army of five million played no small role in the formation of the bureaucracy. The victorious commanders assumed leading posts in the

{p. 90} local Soviets, in economy, in education, and they persistently introduced everywhere that regime which had ensured success in the civil war. Thus on all sides the masses were pushed away gradually from actual participation in the leadership of the country.

{failure of Communist revolution in Germany led to defeat of Trotsky & rise of Stalin}

{p. 91} Two dates are especially significant in this historic series. In the second half of 1923, the attention of the Soviet workers was passionately fixed upon Germany, where the proletariat, it seemed, had stretched out its hand to power. The panicky retreat of the German Communist Party was the heaviest possible disappointment to the working masses of the Soviet Union. The Soviet bureaucracy straightway opened a campaign against the theory of "permanent revolution", and dealt the Left Opposition its first cruel blow. During the years 1926 and 1927 the population of the Soviet Union experienced a new tide of hope. All eyes were now directed to the East where the drama of the Chinese revolution was unfolding. The Left Opposition had recovered from the previous blows and was recruiting a phalanx of new adherents. At the end of 1927 the Chinese revolution was massacred by the hangman, Chiang-kai-shek, into whose hands the Communist International had literally betrayed the Chinese workers and peasants. A cold wave of disappointment swept over the masses of the Soviet Union. After an unbridled baiting in the press and at meetings, the bureaucracy finally, in 1928, ventured upon mass arrests among the Left Opposition.

{p. 92} Meantime the bureaucracy asserted:

"For the sake of an international revolution, the Opposition proposes to drag us into a revolutionary war. Enough of shake-ups! We have earned the right to rest. We will build the socialist society at home. Rely upon us, your leaders!"

This gospel of repose firmly consolidated the apparatchiki and the military and state officials and indubitably found an echo among the weary workers, and still more the peasant masses. Can it be, they asked themselves, that the Opposition is actually ready to sacrifice the interests of the Soviet Union for the idea of "permanent revolution"? ...

It would be naive to imagine that Stalin, previously unknown to the masses, suddenly issued from the wings full armed with a complete strategical plan. No indeed.

{p. 93} Before he felt out his own course, the bureaucracy felt out Stalin himself. He brought it all the necessary guarantees: the prestige of an old Bolshevik, a strong character, narrow vision, and close bonds with the political machine as the sole source of his influence. The success which fell upon him was a surprise at first to Stalin himself. It was the friendly welcome of the new ruling group, trying to free itself from the old principles and from the control of the masses {i.e. Jewish Bolsheviks}, and having need of a reliable arbiter in its inner affairs. A secondary figure before the masses and in the events of the revolution, Stalin revealed himself as the indubitable leader of the Thermidorian bureaucracy, as first in its midst.

{p. 97} The entire effort of Stalin, with whom at that time Zinoviev and Kamenev were working hand in hand, was thenceforth directed to freeing the party machine from the control of the rank-and-file members of the party.

{p. 101} Christian Rakovsky, former president of the soviet of People's Commissars of the Ukraine, and later Soviet Ambassador in London and Paris, sent to his friends in 1928, when already in exile, a brief inquiry into the Soviet bureaucracy, which we have quoted above several times, for it still remains the best that has been written on this subject. ...

It is true that Rakovsky himself, broken by the bureaucratic repressions, subsequently repudiated his own critical judgments. But the 70-year-old Galileo too, caught in the vise of the Holy Inquisition, found himself compelled to repudiate the system of Copernicus - which did not prevent the earth from continuing to revolve around the sun. We do not believe in the recantation of the 60-year-old Rakovsky, for he himself has more than once made a withering analysis of such recantations.

{end quotes}

(7) Trotsky for a World Socialist Federation

Answers of L. D. Trotsky to the Questions of Sybil Vincent, Representative of the London Daily Herald - March 18, 1939

Source: Fourth International [New York], Vol.3 No.1, March 1942, p.117.

The economic unification of Europe is a question of life and death for it. The accomplishment of this task belongs, however, not to the present governments but to the popular masses, led by the proletariat. Europe must become Socialist United States if it is not to become the cemetery. of the old culture. A socialist Europe will proclaim the full independence of the colonies, establish friendly economic relations with them and, step by step, without the slightest violence, by means of example and collaboration, introduce them into a world socialist federation. The USSR, liberated from its own ruling caste, will join the European federation which will help it to reach a higher level. The economy of the unified Europe will function as one whole. The question of state borders will provoke as few difficulties as now the question of administrative divisions inside a country. Borders inside the new Europe will be determined in relation to language, and national culture by free decisions of the populations involved.


(8) Trotsky calls for Forced Collectivisation

Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotsky: The Eternal Revolutionary, tr. & ed. Harold Shukman (HarperCollinsPublishers, London 1996)

{p. xxvii} {Editor's Preface}

Trotsky's expulsion from the Soviet Union coincided with the Party's adoption of the very measures he had advocated: forced collectivization of the peasants and rapid industrialization, using draconian measures wherever necessary. Volkogonov has traced the continuity between the violence and coercion of Lenin's ideas and the terror of Stalinism, and he has shown that throughout his adult life Trotsky's thinking and his actions provide a homogenous link in the chain.

{by Volkogonov himself:}

{p. 310} Trotsky sensed that Stalin was inclined to repudiate Bukharin and take the route the opposition had proposed: restrict the kulaks, accelerate industrialization at the cost of the countryside, and take extreme measures to get out of the crisis. Like other opposition leaders, he was amazed that Stalin was coming over to their side. Many believed, as they wrote in their letters, that this change of course and the clash between Stalin and Bukharin would end with their being brought back from exile. Something similar is detectable in some of Trotsky's letters to his supporters.l3l In conversation with the few emissaries who managed, semi-legally, to reach him from Moscow and Leningrad, Trotsky expressed the view that Stalin's 'leftward' shift of policy meant that the opposition's strategy had been correct. And he declared that Bukharin's policies and ideas were more dangerous than Stalin's peasant policy.'32 It seemed to him that Stalin's attack, against his own will, on the kulaks would bring the General Secretary and his faction onto the left wing of the Party. The Party still needs us, he declared, optimistically.

{p. 311} Trotsky's hopes seemed to have been justified when one evening he was visited by a young man, calling himself an engineer, who shared his views. He enquired about the life of the exiles in Alma Ata, and then asked outright: 'Don't you think it is possible to take some steps towards reconciliation?' Trotsky replied: 'Reconciliation is impossible, not because I don't want it, but because Stalin cannot make peace.'133 The visitor left and did not return, but Trotsky realized he had been sent to sound him out. He also understood that Stalin could hardly be expected to make peace with the 'left' opposition, as it would be seen by the rest of the Party as an admission of error on his part. Gradually, however, he came to the conclusion that Stalin had accumulated his enormous power in order to get rid of first the left and then the right. While formally remaining a centrist, Stalin was able nonetheless to appropriate much of Trotsky's platform.

Stalin would never again think of collaborating with Trotsky, as there was too much mutual hatred between them. But Stalin's pragmatic acquisition of some of the opposition's ideas led to their reshuffling. The old Bolsheviks, for whom membership of the Party virtually bore a mystical character, were prepared to ask for forgiveness from Stalin's organization. Among them, Radek and Preobrazhensky were especially vocal, while Rakovsky was absolutely opposed. Trotsky had already noticed a shift in Radek's position. Only a minority of Trotskyists, predominantly younger people, did not trust Stalin, believing that having taken over the ideas of the opposition, he was realizing them by shady methods. The opposition continued to melt away. In the six months following the Fifteenth Congress, more than three thousand of his supporters officially broke with Trotsky.'34 There remained only a few small groups, mostly in the large towns, which continued their illegal activities, and the colonies of exiles who went on belatedly arguing about the fate of their platforms and themselves.

{p. 317} Moscow was unmoved: it must be Turkey. The train moved inexorably southwards, uncoupled and recoupled along the way. The family were not allowed to leave the train at any point. They reached Odessa on 10 February, where they took leave of Sergei and his wife. They would never see each other again. As he embraced his son, Trotsky said: 'Don't be sad, my son. Everything changes in life. Much will change even in Moscow. We'll be back ... We'll definitely be back!' Checkist agent Fedor Pavlovich Fokin hurried them: 'Citizen Trotsky, it's time.'


Towards Capitalism or Towards Socialism? The Language of Figures

Leon Trotsky

The Labour Monthly, November 1925, Vol.7 No.11.

... The liquidation of the landed estate owners, and of land ownership other than peasant in general, has resulted in the almost total liquidation of large agricultural enterprises, including even those conducted on more modern lines. This was one of the reasons, although a secondary one, of the temporary falling off of our agricultural economy. But we now know that the present yearÕs harvest will raise our agricultural produce to practically the prewar level without the help of landed estate owners, and without farms conducted on "cultured" capitalist lines. ...

As regards the nationalisation of the land, in view of the widespread small-scale farms of the peasantry, the principle of the nationalisation of the land could not be properly realised. The popular tinsel which inevitably covered socialisation in the first period has equally inevitably fallen from it. At the same time the significance of nationalisation as a fundamental socialist measure in a State where the workers rule, has been made sufficiently clear for its important rôle in the further development of agriculture to be understood. Thanks to the nationalisation of the land, we have assured to the State unlimited possibilities in the sphere of land arrangement and distribution. No barriers of private individual or group ownership will be able to hinder the adaptation of the forms of land utilisation to the needs of our productive processes. At the present time, the means of production of agriculture have only been socialised to the extent of 4 per cent. The rest of the 96 per cent is in the private hands of the peasants. It is, however, necessary to bear in mind that the agricultural means of production, both peasant and State, forms little more than one-third of the whole of the means of production of the Soviet Union. It is unnecessary to explain that the full significance of the nationalisation of the land will only, manifest itself as a result of advanced development of agricultural technique, and of the consequent collectivisation of agriculture, that is to say, in the course of a number of years. But it is just in this direction that we are going. ...

The sale of the harvest and, in particular, the export operations in connection therewith have become important factors in the annual economic balance sheet. ... Peasant grain is now being exchanged for foreign gold. Gold is exchanged for machines, implements and the various other articles required by town and village. Textile machinery obtained in exchange for the gold received from the export of grain re-equips the textile industry, and thereby reduces the price of cloth sent into the villages. The general process of circulation has become much more complex, but the basis of it remains as before the definite economic relation between town and village. ...

At the present time, when both agriculture and industry are nearing the end of the process of restoration, industry becomes more and more the driving force in development. ...

The socialist transformation of agriculture will of course be brought about, not simply by means of co-operation as a mere form of organisation but through co-operation based upon the introduction of machinery into agriculture, its electrification, and generally its industrialisation. ==

Joint Opposition (Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev) call for Collectivisation - 1927

Platform of the Joint Opposition 1927

transcribed in the winter of 2000-2001 by David Walters

/% Foreword From New Park Publications and the Transcriber ... The present document was in fact the work of the Joint (Bolshevik-Leninist) Opposition which drew together the supporters of Trotsky and Zinoviev against Stalin and Bukharin, the latter representing the right wing of the Party. It was submitted to the Central Committee in early September, 1927. It was signed by thirteen members of the Central Committee, including Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Smilga, Evdokimov, Rakovsky, Piatakov, Bakaev. Zinoviev had first launched the campaign against "Trotskyism" following the publication of Trotsky's Lessons of October in 1924. But he had come increasingly into conflict with the Stalin faction, particularly over economic policy. ... Up to this point Stalin had (with the loyal collaboration of the opposition) contained the struggle within the party. He had successfully ousted the opposition from most of the key positions in the party. The summer of 1926 saw the intensive united action of both tendencies of the Opposition, i.e. of both Zinovievist and Trotskyist. Stalin countered with expulsions, disciplining, shutting down meetings and the use of violence, driving the opposition underground. ... It was rejected in toto and Zinoviev was thrown off the Politbureau. Then Stalin stole a little of the Opposition's thunder, pledging wage rises for poorer workers and, utilizing his monopoly of the press, distorted Trotsky's views and launched a campaign to boost the "theory" of Socialism in one country and further intimidate the Opposition. ... %/

Chapter 3 The Agrarian Question and Socialist Construction

Small production gives birth to capitalism and the bourgeoisie constantly, daily, hourly, elementally, and on a vast scale. [1]

EITHER the proletarian state, relying upon the high development and electrification of industry, will be able to overcome the technical backwardness of millions of small and very small farms organizing them on the basis of large units and collectivism, or capitalism, recruiting its strength in the country, will undermine the foundations of socialism in the towns.

From the point of view of Leninism, the peasantry ­ that is, the fundamental peasant mass which does not exploit labour ­ is that ally upon correct relations with whom depends the security of the proletarian dictatorship, and so the fate of the socialist revolution. For the stage we are living through, Lenin most accurately formulated our task with regard to the peasants in the following words:

To succeed in achieving an alliance with the middle peasants ­ without for one minute renouncing the struggle against the kulak. and always firmly relying only on the poor peasant. [2]

The revision of Lenin on the peasant question being carried through by the Stalin-Bukharin group may be summed up in the following eight principal points:

1. Abandonment of the fundamental principle of Marxism, that only a powerful socialized industry can help the peasants transform agriculture along collectivist lines. 2. Underestimation of hired labour and the peasant poor as the social basis of the proletarian dictatorship in the country districts. 3. Basing our hopes in agriculture upon the so-called "economically strong" peasant, i.e., in reality on the kulak. 4. Ignoring or directly denying the petty-bourgeois character of peasant property and peasant economy ­ a departure from the Marxian position towards the theories of the Socialist Revolutionaries. 5. Underestimation of the capitalist elements in the present development of the countryside, and hushing up of the class differentiations that are taking place among the peasants. 6. The creation of soothing theories to the effect that "the kulak and kulak organizations will have no chance anyway, because the general framework of evolution in our country is predetermined by the structure of the proletarian dictatorship." [3] 7. Belief in the "grafting into our system of kulak cooperative nuclei". [4] "The problem may be expressed thus, that it is necessary to set free the economic possibilities of the well-oft peasant, the economic possibilities of the kulak." [5] 8. The attempt to counterpoise Lenin's "co-operative plan" to his plan of electrification. According to Lenin himself, only these two plans in combination can guarantee the transition to socialism.

... Class Differentiation Among The Peasants ...

The renting of land assumes larger and larger proportions every year. The renting proprietors are, in the majority of cases, the peasants who sow a lot of land and who own means of production. In the immense majority of cases, the fact that the land is rented is concealed in order to avoid payment of tax. The peasants who sow little land, lacking tools and animals, work the land for the most part with hired tools and hired animals. The conditions both of renting land and of hiring tools and animals amount almost to slavery. Side by side with extortion in kind, money usury is growing. ...

In the class struggle now going on in the country, the party must stand, not only in words but in deeds, at the head of the farm-hands, the poor peasants, and the basic mass of the middle peasants, and organize them against the exploiting aspirations of the kulak. ...

The task of the party in relation to the growing kulak stratum ought to consist in the all-sided limitation of their efforts at exploitation. ...

One of the most essential measures for re-enforcing the nationalization of the land is the subordination of these land communities to the local organs of the state and the establishment of firm control by the local soviets, purified of kulak elements, over the regulations of all questions of the division and utilization of the land. ...

The party ought to oppose a shattering resistance to all tendencies directed towards annulling or undermining the nationalization of the land ­ one of the foundation pillars qf the dictatorship of the proletariat. ...

A much larger sum ought to be appropriated for the creation of state and collective farms. Maximum privileges must be accorded to the newly organized collective farms and other forms of collectivism. People deprived of electoral rights must not be allowed to be members of the collective farms. The whole work of the co-operatives ought to be permeated with a sense of the task of transforming a small-scale production into large-scale collective production. ...


The task of socialist construction in the country is to reform agriculture on the basis of large-scale, mechanized, collective agriculture. For the bulk of the peasants the simplest road to this end is co-operation, as Lenin described it in his work On Co-operation. This is the enormous advantage which the proletarian dictatorship and the Soviet system as a whole gives to the peasant. Only a process of growing industrialization of agriculture can create the broad basis for this socialist cooperation (or collectivism). Without a technical revolution in the very means of production ­ that is to say, without agricultural machinery, without the rotation of crops, without artificial fertilizers, etc ­ no successful and broad work in the direction of a real collectivization of agriculture is possible. ...

Notes 1. Lenin, "Left-Wing" Communism, 1920, Vol.XVII, p.118. 2. Valuable Admissions of Pitrim Sorokin, Vol.XV, p.564. 3. Bukharin: The Way to Socialism and the Worker-Peasant Union, p.49. 4. Bukharin, idem, p.49. 5. Pravda, April 24, 1925. 6. Due to the growth of population and the splitting up of properties.Thirty-eight per cent of the peasant estates in the grain-producing areas buy additional grain. 7. p.117. 8. Statistical Review, 1727, No.4, p.15. Chapter II | Platform of the Opposition Index | Chapter IV

Last updated on: 26.1.2007


(9) Trotsky blames Stalin for Forced Collectivisation

World Unemployment and The Five Year Plan (March 1930)

Leon Trotsky

The internal development of the Soviet Union has reached a critical point. No matter in what way we evaluate the present course of the collectivization which, in one year, has surpassed by two and a half times the plan elaborated for the whole live years (fifty percent of the peasant holdings collectivized Instead of the twenty percent prescribed at the end of the five years), it is clear that the tempo of collectivization has already blown up the whole five year-plan. Up to now, the official leadership has maintained silence on this point. But it would be impossible to be silent for long. To Imagine that all the other elements of the plan ­ industry, transportation, commerce, finance ­ can develop on the formerly prescribed scale while agriculture makes totally unforeseen jumps, would signify to see in the economic plan not an organic whole but a simple sum of departmental order. ...

At this very moment, "complete collectivization" has already called forth among the frightened leadership a certain movement backward. At what point will the commenced retreat come to a halt? It is as yet impossible to foretell. It is probable that this time also the retreat will extend much further than is required by the objective conditions, But the retreat itself is unavoidable. It is quite probable that because of the effects of the inflation there will begin a revision of the slogan: "The five year plan in four years."

Retreat is always a painful operation, in the military field as well as in politics. But a retreat carried out in time and in an orderly manner can prevent unnecessary losses and prepare the possibility for developing an offensive in the future. The fatal danger is always a belated retreat, panic-stricken, under fire, when the enemy is at your heels. And that is why we, the Left Opposition, are not afraid to call to the bureaucracy which is running ahead blindly: Back! It is necessary to call a halt to the prize races of industrialization, to revise the tempo on the basis of experience and theoretical foresight, to coordinate collectivization with the technical and other resources, to subordinate the policy towards the kulak to the real possibilities of collectivization. In a word, after the periods of chvostism and adventurism, it is necessary to take the road of Marxian realism. ...

Obviously, systematic and all-embracing economic cooperation of an international character will become possible only after the conquest of power by the proletariat of the advanced capitalist countries. Firstly, however, the time of this overthrow cannot be foreseen. That is why preparations must be made in time, politically as well as economically. ...

Complete collectivization on the basis of the peasants' holdings is an adventure pregnant with a crisis in agricultural production and with dangerous political consequences. But if the possibility arises to fructify the collective farms in time by an influx of advanced technique, then collectivized agriculture could pass far more easily through the period of infantile illness and be able, almost in the next few years, to realize a greatly improved harvest, with such stock. for export as would radically change the picture of the grain market of Europe and later on put the consumption of the working masses on a new foundation. The menacing disproportion between the swing of collectivization and the state of technique flows directly from the economic isolation of the Soviet Union. If the Soviet government could even use only the capitalist credits "normal" in inter-state relations, the tempo of industrialization, as the framework of collectivization, could even now be considerably enlarged.


(10) On eve of World War II, Trotsky called for an independent Ukraine

The Militant Vol.63/No.20 May 24, 1999

Why Trotsky Called For Independent Ukraine In 1939


The Albanian struggle for self-determination in Kosova is at the center of the current conflict in Yugoslavia. Brutal suppression of this democratic demand by the bureaucratic regime in Belgrade has led to growing resistance among the Albanians and opened the door for imperialist intervention.

Apologists for the Belgrade government, such as the Workers World newspaper, dismiss the fight for national rights by the Albanians as promoting "national antagonisms in Yugoslavia." They describe those fighting for independence as a U.S.-backed "counter-revolutionary separatist guerrilla insurgency."

In 1939 Communist leader Leon Trotsky took up a similar problem involving the Ukraine in an April 22 article titled "The Ukrainian Question." He elaborated further on this question in reply to a "Marxist" who criticized his earlier document for ignoring the interests of the Soviet Union in a July 22 article called "Independence of the Ukraine and Sectarian Muddleheads." The articles can be found in Writings of Leon Trotsky (1938-39) and Writings of Leon Trotsky (1939-40).

On the eve of the imperialist slaughter of World War II, Trotsky called for "A united, free, and independent workers' and peasants' Soviet Ukraine." He drew on the policies advanced by the Bolsheviks under the leadership of V.I. Lenin, the central leader of the Russian revolution. Lenin insisted on establishing the Soviet Union as a voluntary federation of workers and farmers republics, guaranteeing the rights of national self-determination to all nations and nationalities oppressed under the old czarist empire in Russia.

"Every inclination to evade or postpone the problem of an oppressed nationality," Trotsky wrote, was regarded by Lenin as "a manifestation of Great Russian chauvinism."

Joseph Stalin, who "represented the most centralist and bureaucratic tendency," led the course of reversing the Bolsheviks' policy on national self-determination and voluntary federation, a course that prevailed following Lenin's death. The "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" reemerged as a prison house of nations inherited from tsarism and imperialism. In order to serve the interests of the privileged layer that usurped power in the Soviet Union, the regime of Stalin denied the most legitimate claims of the oppressed nationalities, especially the Georgians and Ukrainians.

"To the totalitarian bureaucracy, Soviet Ukraine became an administrative division of an economic unit and a military base of the USSR," Trotsky explained. The privileged caste strangled and plundered the workers and peasants of the Ukraine, depriving them of any opportunity to express their will.

Under these conditions, "the great masses of the Ukrainian people are dissatisfied with their national fate and wish to change it drastically," said Trotsky. He pointed to the development of separatist tendencies among the Ukrainian people and their hostility to the Soviet bureaucracy. "One of the primary sources of this hostility is the suppression of Ukrainian independence," he noted. ...

Trotsky called for a political revolution to overthrow the Soviet bureaucracy, while preserving the nationalized property relations made possible by the revolutionary victory of 1917. Sweeping away the Bonapartist caste is a central task of the workers and peasants and key to the defense of the workers state. Trotsky declared the USSR "doomed" under the rule of the Stalinist regime - a statement born out by events in the early 1990s with the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe.

Far from militarily weakening the Soviet workers state, as "the `friends' of the Kremlin will howl in horror," said Trotsky, "an independent Ukraine ... would become, if only by virtue of its own interests, a mighty southwestern bulwark of the USSR."

The fight for self-determination of the oppressed is intertwined with advancing the interests of workers and farmers the world over; without this policy no revolutionary victory of the toilers is possible.

"There is every reason to assume that in the event of the triumph of the world revolution the tendencies toward unity will immediately acquire enormous force, and that all Soviet republics will find the suitable forms of ties and collaboration. This goal will be achieved only provided the old and compulsory ties, and in consequences old boundaries, are completely destroyed," Trotsky asserted. "To speed and facilitate this process, to make possible the genuine brotherhood of the peoples in the future, the advanced workers of Great Russia must... without any reservation declare to the Ukrainian people that they are ready to support with all their might the slogan of an independent Ukraine in a joint struggle against the autocratic bureaucracy and against imperialism."


Leon Trotsky

Independence of the Ukraine and Sectarian Muddleheads

Written: 16 May 1927

First Published: Fourth International, New York, December, 1949, Volume 10, Number 11, pages 346-350 Translated: The New International Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters

Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive ( 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Original 1949 introduction by Fourth International

Leon Trotsky's article, "The Problem of the Ukraine," which we re-published in the November Fourth International, aroused widespread interest and discussion in revolutionary circles at the time of its appearance in May 1939. However, the only open opposition to Trotsky's slogan of independence for the Ukraine came from the small sectarian Oehler group. Despite the political insignificance of this group, Trotsky seized the opportunity to further clarify his position His reply, first published in the Socialist Appeal, September 15th and 17th, 1939, proved to be a permanent contribution to the Marxist analysis of the national question. It sheds considerable light on the present-day relationship between the Great-Russian Soviet bureaucracy and the countries of Eastern Europe. {end of Introd'n} ==

In one of the tiny, sectarian publications which appear in America and which thrive upon the crumbs from the table of the Fourth International, and repay with blackest ingratitude, I chanced across an article devoted to the Ukrainian problem. What confusion! The author sectarian is, of course, opposed to the slogan of an independent Soviet Ukraine. He is for the world revolution and for socialism - "root and branch." He accuses us of ignoring the interests of the USSR and of retreating from the concept of the permanent revolution. He indicts us as centrists. The critic is very severe, almost implacable. Unfortunately - he understands nothing at all (the name of this tiny publication, The Marxist, rings rather ironically). But his incapacity to understand assumes such finished, almost classical forms as can enable us better and more fully to clarify the question.

Our critic takes as his point of departure the following position "If the workers in the Soviet Ukraine overthrow Stalinism and reestablish a genuine workers' state, shall they separate from the rest of the Soviet Union? No." And so forth and so on. "If the workers overthrow Stalinism" ... then we shall be able to see more clearly what to do. But Stalinism must first be overthrown. And in order to achieve this, one must not shut one's eyes to the growth of separatist tendencies in the Ukraine, but rather give them a correct political expression.

Pat Formulas Don't Solve Concrete Tasks

"Not turning our backs on the Soviet Union,'', continues the author, "but its regeneration and reestablishment as a mighty citadel of world revolution - that is the road of Marxism." The actual trend of the development of the masses, in this instance, of the nationally oppressed masses, is replaced by our sage with speculations as to the 'best possible roads of development. With this method, but with far greater logic, one might say, "Not defending a degenerated Soviet Union is our task, but the victorious world revolution which ...

Do the broad masses of the Ukrainian people wish to separate from the USSR? It might at first sight appear difficult to answer this question, inasmuch as the Ukrainian people, like all other peoples of the USSR, are deprived of any opportunity to express their will. But the very genesis of the totalitarian regime and its ever more brutal intensification, especially in the Ukraine, are proof that the real will of the Ukrainian masses is irreconcilably hostile to the Soviet bureaucracy. ...

July 30, 1939


Marxist policy on farming: marx-vs-the-peasant.html.

Trotsky mentions Rakovsky as a close ally. He features prominently in the puzzling book Red Symphony, as a prisoner at the Moscow Trials - which were under way when Trotsky was in Norway.

According to Red Symphony, Rakovsky remained a Trotskyist, but confessed that High Finance was behind Trotsky, through his wife Natalya Sedova, and that the powers thus promoting Trotsky, having lost control of the Soviet Union to Stalin, would back Hitler, in order to destroy the wrong kind of Communism Stalin was creating.

Could this be why, just before Trotsky left Norway, the Soviet Government accused him of co-operating with the Gestapo? Trotsky expresses his astonishment at this charge, at

More on Red Symphony at red-symphony.html.

Trotsky's role in creating and justifying the Red Terror: worst.html.

Joseph Nedava on Trotsky and the Jews: nedava.html.

The definitive study of family life in the Soviet Union: H. Kent Geiger, The Family in Soviet Russia. The "feminist" West is following the same path: sex-soviet.html.

Back to the Zionism/Communism index: zioncom.html.

Write to me at contact.html.