Category Archives: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.)

V.I. Lenin on Bourgeois Democracy and Soviet Democracy

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“Prior to the capture of political power by the proletariat it was (obligatory) necessary to make use of bourgeois democracy, parliamentarism in particular, for the political education and organisation of the working masses; now that the proletariat has won political power and a higher type of democracy is being put into effect in the Soviet Republic, any step backward to bourgeois parliamentarism and bourgeois democracy would undoubtedly be reactionary service to the interests of the exploiters, the landowners and capitalists. Such catchwords as supposedly popular, national, general, extra-class but actually bourgeois democracy serve the interests of the exploiters alone, and as long as the land and other means of production remain private property the most democratic republic must inevitably remain a bourgeois dictatorship, a machine for the suppression of the overwhelming majority of working people by a handful of capitalists.

[….]

Bourgeois democracy that solemnly announced the equality of all citizens, in actual fact hypocritically concealed the domination of the capitalist exploiters and deceived the masses with the idea that the equality of exploiters and exploited is possible. The Soviet organisation of the state destroys this deception and this hypocrisy by the implementation of real democracy, i.e., the real equality of all working people, and by excluding the exploiters from the category of members of society possessing full rights. The experience of world history, the experience of all revolts of the exploited classes against their exploiters shows the inevitability of long and desperate resistance of the exploiters in their struggle to retain their privileges. Soviet state organisation is adapted to the suppression of that resistance, for unless it is suppressed there can be no question of a victorious communist revolution.

[….]

By and large, the difference between bourgeois democracy and parliamentarism on the one hand, and Soviet or proletarian democracy on the other, boils down to this: the centre of gravity of the former is in its solemn and pompous declarations of numerous liberties and rights which the majority of the population, the workers and peasants, cannot enjoy to the full. Proletarian, or Soviet, democracy, on. the contrary, has transferred the centre of gravity away from the declaration of rights and liberties for the entire people to the actual participation of none but the working people, who were oppressed and exploited by capital, in the administration of the state, the actual use of the best buildings and other premises for meetings and congresses, the best printing-works arid the biggest warehouses (stocks) of paper for the education of those who were stultified and downtrodden under capitalism, and to providing a real (actual) opportunity for those masses gradually to free themselves from the burden of religious prejudices, etc., etc. It is precisely in making the benefits of culture, civilisation and democracy really available to the working and exploited people that Soviet power sees its most important work, work which it must continue unswervingly in the future.

- V.I. Lenin, “Draft Programme of the R.C.P.(B.)”

Enver Hoxha on Andrey Vyshinsky and the Moscow Trials

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The following day Vyshinsky was to come from Moscow. The name and personality of Vyshinsky was great and well known to all of us on account of the important role he had played as state prosecutor in the Moscow trials against Trotskyites, Bukharinites, rightists and other traitors of the Soviet Union. During the war I had got hold of a French translation of the account of the Moscow trials and had had the opportunity to study the evil activity and treachery of these sworn enemies of communism. Their guilt and secret collaboration with the foreign enemies of the Soviet Union was brought out clearly and completely exposed there. Everything was convincing. And the claims of foreign enemies that the admissions had been allegedly extorted from the criminals by torture were slanders. Our struggle against local enemies, the trials which were held in our country after the war against enemies of the people, the struggle which our Party had waged against Trotskyite elements further reinforced our belief in the justness of the merciless fight which the state in the Soviet Union had undertaken against these criminals.

When they held power, the foreign and internal enemies of our peoples employed the most inhuman forms and methods. But naturally the foreign enemies will defend their friends within our countries, while our duty has been and still is to suppress the enemies of the people and to give them no possibility to operate against the constructive work of the people

This the Soviet state did through the Moscow trials. In these trials Andrey Vyshinsky, outstanding jurist and Marxist-Leninist, played an important role. He displayed skill, acumen, wisdom, courage and determination in this important task. Through his acumen and strong logic, on the basis of a profound dialectical Marxist-Leninist analysis, he uncovered all the obscure angles of problems, the intrigues and plans of the enemies who stood in the dock, as well as of the external enemies who pulled the strings of this terrible and dangerous agency. And it was precisely this unerring method of unravelling matters which astonished the external enemies and their espionage agencies about how their secret plans were discovered and compelled them to slander an propagate that everything, every statement, every admission by the accused had been extorted by means of torture, drugs, etc.

We had gathered in one of the rooms of the palace, where we were staying, waiting for Vyshinsky. At last he came. I was excited because I was meeting him for the first time. (When I went to Moscow in July 1947, Vyshinsky was not in the Soviet Union.) He was just as I had heard, a vigorous man, not very tall, with horn-rimmed glasses and bright black eyes that took in everything. He was wearing a blue suit. Vyshinsky shook hands with all of us in turn and when he came to me, apparently as I was the only one he had not met before, he guessed who I was, because he gave me his hand and asked me in Russian:

“How is your health, Comrade Enver Hoxha?”

“Harasho!” I replied.

Meanwhile Chuvakin intervened and said:

“Comrade Enver speaks French well.” Then Vyshinsky started to speak to me in French and I could speak more freely.

We began the meeting which Dej opened with a short speech. He welcomed us to Bucharest and gave the floor to Vyshinsky.

He greeted us warmly and also transmitted the greetings of Stalin and other comrades of the Political Bureau of the CC of the CPSU (b).

“The object of this meeting,” said Vyshinsky in general outline, “is to exchange our experience and reveal our joint knowledge about the betrayal of the Yugoslav Titoites, about their undermining activity against our countries, parties and socialism, and to define the method of combatting and unmasking their deviation which is dangerous for communism in general and for the Yugoslav Communist Party and socialism in Yugoslavia in particular.”

In the course of the analysis he made of the secret and open activity of Tito’s renegade group, Vyshinsky explained to us in detail the theoretical and political content of the letters of the Bolshevik Party to the CPY and the Resolution of the meeting of the Information Bureau on this important question. Our parties were acquainted with these documents which we had studied in detail and on which we had taken decisions, fully endorsing them.

[….]

“The question of Yugoslavia is an internal question of the peoples of Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav communists” continued Vyshinsky, “and we have not meddled and will not meddle in their internal affairs. We have no right to interfere, but it is our duty to ensure the political and ideological exposure of the activity of this clique which is fighting against Marxism-Leninism and serves world capitalism. Already,” continued Vyshinsky, “in the international arena and the internal plane the Titoites present themselves as open enemies of the Soviet Union and their activities in this direction will increase, not only against us, but also against all the countries of people’s democracy and the socialist camp. Their activity is identical with the activities of the Trotskyites, Bukharinites and agents of world capital whom we have unmasked in our trials.”

“The unmasking of the enemy has very great importance,” stressed Vyshinsky. “The Soviet peoples had to be convinced of the treacherous activity of the Trotskyites, the Bukharinites and the rightists, therefore we placed importance on this and managed to achieve that our enemies themselves brought out the smallest details which are frequently important because they explain major questions. The truth which proved their treachery emerged naked before our courts and our peoples. This had decisive importance. This is the important thing to achieve,” said Vyshinsky. “After this the number of years to which the enemy is sentenced has secondary importance. The people must approve this sentence, must be convinced. This is what we must do with Tito’s renegade group, too. This group is in power and will defend itself. It will also commit all sorts of provocations against our socialist states, but we must be prudent, vigilant and must not fall for their provocations!” he concluded.

- Enver Hoxha, “The Titoites”

Trotskyism Revisited

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I. Trotsky and the FBI 

Red Youth

An article appeared in The Independent on the 25/11/1993 which gave details of a friend of Leon Trotsky’s living in Mexico, Diego Rivera, who provided information to the FBI on anyone that he suspected of being GPU (Soviet intelligence) agents. His allegations were directed against anyone working in such organisations as the Mexican Communist Party (PCM) to Mexican trade unions. This in itself is interesting because, officially Rivera and Trotsky broke personal relations on May 31, 1940. Trotsky wrote in a letter to the chief of the Federal District in Mexico, ‘I have nothing in common with the political activities of Diego Rivera. We broke our personal relations fifteen months ago.’ (US National State archives; Trotsky Archive.)

But many people were mutual friends of the two, both of them worked in the same organisations such as the American Committee for the Defence of Leon Trotsky (ACDLT). Charles Curtiss was such a friend who sent Trotsky several reports of his meetings with Rivera:‘During my visit in Mexico, from July 4, 1938 to approximately July 15, 1939, I was in close association with Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky…. I served as an intermediary between them,’ (Writings of Leon Trotsky, 1939-40)

Trotsky of course knew of this, thus helping Rivera in supplying information to the FBI.

To return to the article in The independent, a Professor William Chase of the University of Pittsburgh was quoted at the end stating that he has ‘concrete information’ to prove that Trotsky was an FBI informant. Red Youth has subsequently obtained this information (the source relevant to this particular revelation is US State archives – RG 84 or from Prof. Chase himself. Any other evidence will be referred to after the quotation).

According to the Professor, the information Trotsky provided to the FBI was a means to obtain a US visa. But as the Professor points out, ‘By providing the US Consulate with information about common enemies, be they Mexican or American communists or Soviet agents, Trotsky hoped to prove his value to a government that had no desire to grant him a visa.

Trotsky’s hysterical allegations were directed against anyone who might share sympathies with the USSR under Stalin. In America the ACDLT campaigned for the asylum of Trotsky in the US. At the time of the World Congress Against War and Fascism and the Latin American Labour Congress, Trotsky asked his supporters to ‘mail as soon as possible known names of congress delegates who are GPU agents’. Prof. Chase admits himself the ridiculous nature of these allegations which leads one to think of the number of honest proletarian and democratic persons whose names who were supplied to the FBI, ‘Trotsky’s accusations that liberals and radicals who did not share his views on certain issues were Stalinists or GPU agents further diminished his support in the US.’

But there is more. With this array of high-flown allegations Trotsky accepted an invitation to appear in front of the ‘Dies Committee’. This is otherwise known as the US Congress House Un-American Activities Committee. It was linked to overtly fascist figures, conducted anti-democratic witch-hunts and played a leading role in passing many anti-labour laws. Such was the anti-fascist and proletarian stance of Trotsky (fortunately, Trotsky never appeared on this committee because he never got a visa, but as we shall see he passed on information to the US government by other means). Now we come to the central point of this Red Youth exclusive: Trotsky’s courtship of the FBI:

‘In June [1940], Robert McGregor of the [US] Consulate met with Trotsky in his home… he met again with Trotsky on 13 July… Trotsky told McGregor in detail of the allegations and evidence he had compiled… He gave to McGregor the names of Mexican publications, political and labour leaders, and government officials allegedly associated with the PCM [Mexico and the USSR were the only countries in the world to materially support the fight against Franco's Fascism in the Spanish Civil War 1936-39]. He charged that one of the Comintern’s [the Communist international's] leading agents, Carlos Contreras served on the PCM Directing Committee. He also discussed the alleged efforts of Narciso Bassols, former Mexican Ambassador to France, whom Trotsky claimed was a Soviet agent, to get him deported from Mexico.’

‘Upon receipt, the State Department transmitted McGregor’s memo to the FBI.

‘…The Information, while not new, responded to both bodies’ concerns.’

Well, there you have it. The outwardly anti-communist and anti-democratic veneer of the US was shared by Trotsky.

While the whole world was facing the onslaught of fascist forces, when the USSR with the guidance of the communist party and comrade Joseph Stalin were facing this attack single-handedly on the behalf of all progressive humanity, when the colonies of imperialism were striving for national liberation, Trotsky and his vile organisations were aiding reaction every-where and still play their significant part in this today. While Red Youth prints this new evidence, it is of no surprise to us or anyone at all acquainted with the role of Trotskyism, that Trotskyism is truly the agent of the ruling class within the ranks of the working class and is used to full advantage by our enemies to this day as much as in the past. ‘Overnight many of the older anti-Bolshevik crusaders abandoned their former pro-Czarist and openly counter-revolutionary line, and adopted the new, streamlined Trotskyite device of attacking the Russian Revolution ‘from the left’. In the following years it became an accepted thing for a Lord Rothermere or a William Randolph Hearst to accuse Josef Stalin of ‘betraying the revolution’ [one can still see this as we are taught that it was obvious that Trotsky was the natural successor to Lenin in our schools and have to read the books of another state informer and Trotskyist - George Orwell]….

‘Adolf Hitler read Trotsky’s autobiography as soon as it was published. Hitler’s biographer, Konrad Heiden, tells in ‘Der Fuehrer’ how the Nazi leader surprised a circle of his friends in 1930 by bursting into rapturous praise of Trotsky’s book’ (‘The Great Conspiracy Against Russia,’ Kahn and Sayers).

But to be fair, Trotsky should be left to speak for himself. ‘The wretched squabbling systematically provoked by Lenin, that old hand at the game, that professional exploiter of all that is backward in the Russian labour movement, seems like a senseless obsession…. The entire edifice of Leninism Is built on lies and falsification and bears within itself the poisonous elements of its own decay. ‘(Letter to Chkeidze 1913)

‘Brilliant!’ cried Hitler, waving Trotsky’s ‘My Life’ at his followers. I have learned a great deal and so can you!’ (‘Great Conspiracy’).

Lalkar, March-April 1997.

II. On the Use of Trotskyists as Japanese Spies in China

Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong, the Secretary of the Communist Party of China, states about the cooperation of the Japanese with the Trotskyists: ‘only a short while ago in one of the divisions of the Eighth Revolutionary Peoples’ Army, a man by the name of Yu Shih was exposed as a member of the Shanghai Trotskyist organisation. The Japanese had sent him there from Shanghai so that he could do espionage work in the Eighth Army and carry out sabotage work.

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

‘Trotskyist agents are being sent to the Border Regions where they systematically apply all methods in their sabotage work against the cooperation of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. They try to destroy the morale of the soldiers of the Eighth Army, the students and the people of the Border Regions. They try to incite people against the United Front, against the Central Government, against the war of independence, against Marshal Chiang Kaishek.’

In an interview with the Soviet journalist, R. Carmen who is at present in China, Mao, who is recognized by the Japanese as the best strategist in China, declared that the attempts of the reactionary English and other politicians to convince China to renounce its plans are destined to be shattered. ‘China is not only determined to beat the Japanese but also to strengthen the National and United Front and to extend it. Only very few people want to have an understanding with the Japanese and fight against the Central Anti-Japanese Government and the United Front… If we do not destroy these people then it will be difficult to be victorious against the Japanese. But the Chinese people – and with them the Communists, the progressive elements in the Kuomintang and the other parties – are determined to carry out the struggle to a victorious conclusion.’

Translated from the German by V.P. Sharma.
Rundschau (Basel), No. 41, 3rd August, 1939, p. 1169.

Source

The Assault on the House of Leon Trotsky

David Siqueiros

David Alfaro Siqueiros

by David Alfaro Siqueiros

David Siqueiros is well-known as a master of Mexican revolutionary mural art as well as a combatant in the defence of the Spanish democratic republic from fascism. His role in the assault of the house of Leon Trotsky in May, 1940 has long been clouded in obscurity. Siqueiros’ speech in court which is published here for the first time, from the archives of the siqueiros foundation in Mexico, elucidates the political motives of the artist in this bizarre event. Siqueiros felt impelled to this act after experiencing at first hand the negative role of the Trotskyite POUM during the anti-fascist war in Spain. He wanted to vindicate the honour of Mexican democracy which had been besmirched by the presence of Trotsky in Mexico. With Hitler’s army poised to strike to the east Siqueiros found it necessary to mount an act of protest to stop Trotsky from using Mexico as a springboard for his attacks on the Soviet Union. The protest was designed to gather, without bloodshed, documentary proof about the money which Trotsky was getting from the reactionary Hearst newspaper chain and to precipitate a scandal which would oblige the Cárdenas government to close down Trotsky’s headquarters in Mexico. The armed protest ended in fiasco. Trotsky lay hidden under his bed shielded by his wife, in the confusion of the attack the documents which siqueiros hoped to find were not hunted for; Trotsky remained firmly ensconced in Mexico. The Communist Party of Mexico categorically stated that it had nothing to do the action. Three months later in an attack unrelated to the activities of Siqueiros Trotsky was assassinated. For Siqueiros the protest resulted in months of hiding, jail and years of exile. Details of this may be found in the biography of Siqueiros by Phil Stein recently issued by International Publishers, New York. The Court deposition of Siqueiros at a broader level gives a picture of the problems faced by the communist and democratic movement from Trotskyism in the 1930s in Spain and elsewhere. At that time Siqueiros was not to know that Trotsky was supplying information to the FBI about the international communist movement through the US consulate in Mexico. After the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU in 1956 the critique of Trotskyism was gradually toned down. This was not a matter of surprise for, as has been pointed out by Kaganovich in his memoirs, Khrushchev had been a supporter of Trotsky in 1923-24 so that his ‘secret speech’ represented a return to his political roots.

Political reasons that made it possible and inevitable. The psychological-political process in which it incubated. The reason for my participation.

To public opinion in general.

To the Mexican proletariat in particular.

To the Judge of the Court of the First Instance in Coyoacán.

The Assault on the House of Leon Trotsky

When the Mexican combatants, in the first days of January 1937, arrived in Spain to fight for the Republic in the ranks of the Popular Army, we met with the overbearing reproach that ‘President Cárdenas gave arms to the Spanish people in order to fight for the Revolution, but at the same time he gave arms to Leon Trotsky in order that from revolutionary Mexico he can struggle against the Revolution, and the corollary to this, no less cruel that ‘before this passed the incalculable passivity of the Mexican labour movement.’

In vain we the Mexicans pledged to erase so deep a resentment. To our arguments about the ‘traditional political Mexican hospitality’, we were answered with the logic of ‘yes; traditional political hospitality for the revolutionaries, for Marti, for Julio Antonio Mella, for the mother of Prestes, and no hospitality and protection to the most significant general headquarters of the international counterrevolution.’

Already in the ranks, in the Spanish units as well as the Internationals, we encountered the same vehement condemnation. Combatants from all the countries asked us to explain to them the ‘abstruse Cardenista paradox.’ And everyone, over our poor arguments, concluded with a ratification of the affirmation – that it constituted a grave dishonour of the revolutionary labour movement of Mexico. Our reply that President Cárdenas had proceeded against the opinion of the majority of the labour unions – did nothing more than to increase the reprobative energy against the Government of Mexico, and against the incomplete, the anaemic, action of the organized masses of our country.

For all, that was inexplicable. It was not able to fit within the limits of unconscious politics. In effect it was about a precise form of counter-revolutionary activity, doubly grave arising from a progressive movement.

Leon Trotsky, meanwhile, had taken possession of a functioning tribune, which against all legal practice for political refugees, had been given to him, and this is a contradiction, by the most progressive President of Mexico, President Cárdenas, in the very Capital of the Mexican Republic. From that insuperable tribune, permanently protected by the police, the prevaricator, disguised as a heroic caudillo of the communist extreme left, with spiteful delirium, raises an attack against the Mexican and international revolutionary movement, in the historic moments of a greater reactionary offensive in every country.

The most backward sector of the Mexican bourgeoisie, as well as the bourgeoisie of all countries, continue considering Trotsky of the initial period of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky as a member of the party of Lenin and Stalin, rancorously, but they extend a fraternal hand to Trotsky the anti-Stalinist, ‘to the greatest enemy of your greatest enemy,’ who supports the local counter-revolutionary struggle, and the world counterrevolutionary struggle, helped by an unprecedented use of an ample baggages of sophistry. For this object, his first step was to open fully the doors of publicity.

We did not conceive then that this error would have been able to plant roots. ‘The Mexican Labour Movement (it was affirmed) was powerful. The greatest of Latin America. The influence of the Mexican Communist Party and its sympathizers within the labour unions was considerable. Also important was its prestige – among those that formed the Partido de la Revolución Mexicana, without there yet being a Popular Front, it constituted the base of a true popular Front – for in it would be tied workers, peasants, soldiers, craftsmen, intellectuals and an evidently progressive sector of the new national bourgeoisie.’ President Cárdenas, the most advanced public man of the Mexican Revolution, could not deny, that is, without contradicting the very nature of his Government, that which with such fervour he was asked, which already, the masses of workers and peasants, the revolutionary movement together, have reclaimed, for which they have given you the power in the energetic struggle against the ‘maximatura’ of Calles. [1]

From Mexico, unfortunately, we received pessimistic news. There was opposition to the decision of Cárdenas, but in a form that seemed more like the mournful cry and filial demands of the deer, then the exigency and combative determination of the popular proletarian and revolutionary masses before a functionary who was the formal democratic representation of these masses – in power. That president Cárdenas remained immovable in his resolution as a patriarchal caudillo of these masses.

Then later the tearful letters were received, of whom it was supposed were the bold directors of the Mexican Revolution. They dealt with intimate trembling censures (in this respect, secret) of the ‘Maderismo [2] suicide of President Cárdenas,’ of his ‘strange mixture of romantic and popularist chief.’ ‘He had much of your Azaña in his liberal governmental methods, the best President that the Mexican Revolution has given,’ we were told with a vehement desperation.

But with the illusion of finding some exception in the Mexican political reality that we were already intermingled with, we pressed to inquire more. ‘The Mexican Communist Party in solidarity with the political platform of Cárdenas, with his popular reforms, had made one of the fundamental points of its tactic, the Popular Front.’ ‘The Communist Party considered thus, that anything that could put in danger or break the unity of the group of progressive forces of Cardenismo, is contrary to their present position.’ ‘Very well,’ we replied, ‘but proletarian solidarity, communist solidarity, with the group of labour-progressives of Cárdenas, does not mean subordination of the proletarian class, – of its vanguard’ (silence, which is the same in the dynamics of politics) ‘to each and every one of its determinations.’ ‘No’ (we argued), ‘only the immense individual susceptibility of President Cárdenas can produce a fatal break that would inevitably redound in damage of the revolutionary unity of Mexico.’ That which cannot be dislodged from our mind is the conviction that the censure – loyal, jointly, with whatever energy, not only will not divide, but would oblige more – firmness of unity.

Of the former we have not the slightest doubt, it is called: an initial act of capitulation of the labour movement of Mexico before the new progressive bourgeoisie that governs the country. It was a grave injury to the democratic forms that should have normalized the relations between a Government of popular impulse and the popular masses that gave it the power. It was the start of the aggravation of the then embryonic patriarchal caudillismo of President Cárdenas. The point of departure of the progressive loss of the political independence of the revolutionary proletarian movement of Mexico, and the origin, deadly, ‘following.’ In sum, it was the beginning of a series of victories for reaction in our land over the organized proletarian and popular forces, independent of the ascendent programme of advanced Cardenista reforms. But above all it was the opposite road of the Popular Front, or that is the retrogression of the Revolution of Mexico in its primordial aspect, which is the political potential of its mass organizations.

The conditions in which the civil war in Spain unfolded, in which we were among its actors, was not a compensation for the moral damage which the news from Mexico had produced. Under the circumstances of Civil War, they governed, astonishingly, with the legal procedures of the state of alarm. The Republican governments that had been incapable of smothering the civil war during the time of peace, seemed impotent in transforming themselves into Governments of Civil War. One year after the initiation of the military struggle, no decree of the state of war had been issued. There were no signs that it would be decreed in a more or less short space of time. Under these conditions, the indispensable martial law, both in the rear and at the front, was lacking. The Republican political parties, with the exception of the Spanish Communist Party, to a greater or lesser degree, did not show signs of understanding, in all its magnitude, the immense error that that somnambulist method of governing signified, those liberal procedures in the avalanche of the civil war.

Thus, espionage, sabotage, treason and the provocation of Trotskyism, the most efficacious nucleus for the demagogy of the Fifth Column of Franco in the Loyalist zone, had arisen and developed without any obstacle, in the same entrails of the political, union, agrarian and military organizations with the precise economic knowledge of the Republican State, under the shadow of the governments of the Popular Front. In effect, the Republican authorities, although it seems inconceivable, needed thirteen months (from July 18, 1936 until June 16, 1937) in order to discover that the political party of Trotskyism in Spain was a dependency of espionage, sabotage and provocation, at the direct service of the Headquarters of the so-called Nationalista Army. It was not enough to read in the newspapers and magazines of these agents of enemy espionage, slogans such as ‘Madrid, tomb of fascism! Catalonia, tomb of the Government!’, that is, the tomb of the popular Front, the tomb of the unity of the proletariat and Spanish people against the armed assault of reaction.

Naturally this tree had to give its fruits: The 3rd of May, 1937, that is, two-and-a-half months after having discovered the true political physiognomy of the so-called ‘Marxist-Leninist’ orthodoxies of the P.O.U.M., [3] two-and-a-half months after the most inexplicable liberty for their organs of publicity (sufficiently darkening that which it could!): La Batalla, Alerta, etc. etc. exploded in the city of Barcelona, which is to say the extreme rearguard of the Republican front, an armed uprising directed BY THEM, with the complicity of all those ambushers of the rear, of all the disguised anarchist rabble, of all those whiners demanding capitulation, of the bourgeois that wanted peace at any price, and in their treason using the trick of the ‘transformation of the civil war into proletarian revolution,’ over the conciliators of the Popular Front.’ An uprising that cost the Spanish people 850 lives and 2,600 wounded. The masterpiece, in the end, of our refugee of Coyoacán; of ‘the poor persecuted politician,’ romantically isolated in Mexico by President Cárdenas, by virtue of the torpor of the combative will of the organized masses.

But in Mexico things were not going any better. ‘President Cárdenas (according to the latest information) is brought each time more to the concept of the neutral Government, in the daily struggle against the progressively more violent assaults of the reaction reinforced by demagogic Trotskyism. Thus he seems to fulfill in part that which the counter-revolutionary forces of the country urge. Like Azaña (for the bloody experience of the Spanish Republic), he believes that the army, physically guaranteeing the Mexican Revolution, should be an entity that is politically neutral. Its chiefs, officers, non-commissioned officers and troops, could, according to his definition, serve the very ranks of the counter-revolutionary parties, in the ranks of the political parties contrary to the Mexican Revolution. Like Azaña (for the anguish of the betrayed Spanish Republic), President Cárdenas believes that the creation of a political police, of a service of political information, would constitute a stain on his Government. Like Azaña (also for a bitter experience of the Spanish Republic), President Cárdenas believes that the diplomatic and consular service is outside the border of political considerations and only subject to technical rules. But the most serious is that President Cárdenas proceeds thus while he dictates parallel to his most radical reforms, as that of the liquidation of the latifundias in Yucatán, the official intervention in the previously untouchable latifundias of the Yankees or of prevailing personalities in Mexican politics, etc., so, it seemed logical that the more transcendent the popular reforms there was greater violence against this offensive by reaction and imperialism. This attitude is developing terribly in the wings of our economically powerful enemies, through the whole territory of the Nation. A panorama very similar to that of the Spanish Republic in the years before the blow of the hand of reaction.

The news completed the dramatic picture. In face of such serious facts the revolutionary movement of Mexico hardly attained a little answer. Nothing serious enough to stop the march to the defeat of the Civil War or the not impossible capitulation, with the living document of the liberalism that made possible the ‘takeover’ of Franco. One of their most characteristic passions was called: ‘Campaign against the Minister of the Exterior, Engineer Eduardo Lay, for having proven his connivance with international Fascism.’ A passion, in sum, that President Cárdenas ended in a maternal manner, like in other very serious cases of Mexican politics.

Perhaps in this ‘democratic’ neutrality, and in this infantile anaemia of the Mexican labour movement, the explanation is found of the tolerance by the Government of Cárdenas of the continuing political activities of Leon Trotsky in Mexico. But the objective fact is that the greatest of the dissemblers of the Revolution, the born chief of ‘poumista’ (of the P.O.U.M.) espionage in Republican Spain, managed in a short time to transform the tribune that President Cárdenas gave to him into a general-headquarters of national and international counter-revolutionary politics, protected on the outside, day and night, by the pistols, rifles and bayonets of ten members of the Mexican police, and on the inside, day and night also, by the arms of ten foreign gunmen. A political centre, with secretaries and typewriters, with daily connections from within their place to outside the city, and from within their place to lands abroad by the means of free transit through the United States. All of this, naturally, within the view and with the approval of the Secretary of Gobernación of Mexico, that is, with the illegal consent of the Mexican Government, for legal consent was impossible. That is to say, under the illegal protection of the most legalistic Government that Mexico has had. It is evident that to charge ignorance on the part of the Mexican authorities would be to utter an insult.

The real fact is that to one truth you have to add another : President Cárdenas gave arms to Trotsky, in order that from revolutionary Mexico, he can fight against the Mexican Revolution and the international Revolution, but in addition, his subalterns were anxious because these arms rendered the greatest efficacy possible.

It was clear, even from a distance, that in Mexico the Revolution was being made from above. Its destiny depended fundamentally on the will of a good patriarch, but nothing more. Very advanced popular reforms were realized by the President of the Republic, but these reforms were seriously threatened by the lack of a true social force at the base. For us it was unquestionable that its life could be precarious. This was the palpable reality that emerged from the political and union movement of Mexico. The feeble revolutionary forces of our country did not seem to have made any progress of importance in the (then) three and a half years of the most friendly regime. The political foundations of the masses had not yet been built to the point where its backward motion could be affirmed, for in politics, standing still, static, signifies regression. The Popular Front, the only materialization possible of the Democratic Revolution of Mexico of today, continues being in the long run a possible fact and nothing more. Its chrysalis, the Party of the Mexican Revolution, gravely suffered from all the ills that its predecessor, the old National Revolutionary Party (the party of the new-rich reactionaries of Calles), suffered from and it only attained the discovery of its loquacity in more advanced and better formulated propositions. In substance it continued being a bureaucratic satrap of a circumstancial political arm in the effective hands (nominal ones don’t count) of sub-caudillos of the new-rich class, and not always corresponding to its progressive sector.

The deadly direction that things took in Spain and the alarming news that we received from Mexico, impelled me to make a rapid trip to the Capital of my country. An eloquent and documented presentation, I thought, of the causes that precipitated the fascist turn in Spain, would serve President Cárdenas as a magnified experience in order to alter the suicidal liberal processes that he seemed to be adopting in the face of the development of the reaction. This experience, above all, I considered, should be fully known by the revolutionary labour movement of Mexico in its fullness, since, of our war in Spain they seemed to be only interested in its heroic aspects, but in no way of the tremendous errors. In addition, this conviction, I imagine, will permit support of its prestige to the elimination of the shortcomings and complacency that in Spain is speeding up the arrival of defeat.

For this object, I requested and obtained from the Minister of Defence, Señor Indalecio Prieto, a two-months leave, given the nature of my being Chief of the 46th Mixed Brigade, then based in the Extremadura front. And on the 10th of November, 1937, with the added task of buying complimentary military parts, I departed for the United States and Mexico.

I wanted to speak clearly with President Cárdenas. To demonstrate to him, with the bloody Spanish experience in each and every one of its objective details, the fatal consequences of a political complacency that was falsely democratic with the enemies of Democracy, with the boisterous reaction, ready to take power. I wanted to point out the fatal error of giving refuge to Trotsky in Mexico, by exhibiting the documents of the work that this renegade had brought to the fore in Spain. I wanted to demonstrate in sum, how already in the civil war those errors, many times puerile in their exterior aspect, were amplified by the seriousness of the military circumstances, translated into lack of discipline, into inaction, into routine or creative inventiveness, in delivering slowly to the enemy within, for the later criminal ends of the entire enemy.

With this object, with sympathy, I asked for a special meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Mexico. But the Political Bureau of the CPM, on approving my intervention, disapproved of the ‘style’ in which it was proposed. It did not want to have to injure the known susceptibility of the President. It did not want to wound his hidden but passionate criterion of independence. Dramatic proof of the political feebleness, my painful anticipation of ‘following,’ was for me that useless strategy of reverence! I had already heard it said in Spain that the revolutionaries in Mexico do not want to touch President Cárdenas, ‘not even with the petal of a rose.’ Already I had heard said in Spain about this sui generis proletarian ‘diplomacy.’

I was then in the presence of the patriarchal caudillismo of President Cárdenas and in the same brain of partial capitulation of the Mexican Labour Movement, facing this patriarchal caudillismo. I was before the failure of the independence of the Mexican Labour Movement and in the same centre of the reason of their failure of combativeness. The authentic proof of the lack of a Popular Front of Democracy in the land. The central reason for the impotency of the Mexican revolutionaries in the ‘affair Trotsky,’ that so rudely condemned the native and international fighters in the Spanish Civil War.

I had, in consequence, to enter the business by the skylight, instead of doing it normally through the door. I had to fabricate with a paste of protocol, a Spanish mirror that would transmit to President Cárdenas, indirectly, symbolically, the dangers of Mexican reality. A mirror with the superimposition of the two phenomena, and thus in the long run was my intention, and metaphorically I wrote a report of 40 pages, that I gave to him personally. Thus I also sought in conversation during various hours of intimate talk in which the roundabout course and evasions dried my throat and must have vexed the President. Naturally I mentioned the affair Trotsky with all the necessary ‘subtlety’, for this case seemed to be the uncovered nerve of his sensibility.

After remaining three days in the Capital of my country, I returned to Spain. I went full of hope, for such was my poor faith in the power of eloquence objectively demonstrated. I returned to the command of my Brigade, the 46th Mixed Brigade, then situated in the Sierra Herrera Sector and I waited confident that in time, more or less distant, the news from Mexico would change and the methods of governing would be transformed in our great contest. That which I had done was very little, insignificant, but the development of events could increase, perhaps to the necessary limits for a solution. After a long period of absolutely no news the war opened between Mexico and Spain. Seven months passed. That would be (what had already been?) the effects of my rapid and distant effort? Those long months of military activity that followed my return from Mexico were for me long months of silence in that which was in respect to my country and long months of inevitable despair concerning the fatal development that military events in Spain had taken.

Already twenty months of military strife had passed, but in Republican Spain the state of alarm continued being the legal rudder of the war. Twenty months of war but no sign appeared of martial law, notwithstanding the powerful development of the Fifth Column, made up of Falangist ambushes, of false anarchists and Trotskyites that organized the acceleration of the overthrow of the Republic.

Before the Spanish Civil War, as it has been seen, Trotskyism for me was an obvious form of political apostasy and a dangling of provocation in the camp of revolution. But it was in the course of this war when it scarcely remained to be proven, that it had the means to qualify as the most appalling demagogic arm of the counterrevolution in every country. I saw, I felt in the very same ranks of the military units I commanded (the 82nd and 46th Brigades of a defined character, and the 87th, 88th, 109th and the 62nd, in addition the 29th Division, of makeshift character), its daily hypocritical alliance with the spies, the saboteurs, provocateurs, defeatists, deserters and surrenderers of the Fifth Column of Franco within the ranks of the Republicans. Their incommensurable treason of May in Barcelona was near enough to me that I didn’t have to see their faces well to be convinced that they were the true authors!

I was not able, in consequence, to agree with what in Mexico, my country, under the most progressive of its regimes, under the government of President Cárdenas, that had given so many moral and material proofs of solidarity to the cause of the Spanish people; that such advanced reforms have been put forward and continue to be put forward, could shelter in its territory, nothing less then the general headquarters that conceives, organizes and executes these iniquities, covering it with a Tartuffian cloak of a supposed Marxist orthodoxy. I ought to know, I categorically made clear, that the principal target of the attack of such traitors was the Spanish Communist Party, the only force that really, that with integrity, made war, the only force that positively worked for victory, the only force that was determined to weld, under a government transformed into a true Government of War, all the proletarian, popular and progressive units of Spain against the common enemy; the Republican Sector that was most villainously attacked by France, his fascist allies and international reaction.

In these conditions the painful order arrived for all the foreigners who had fought in the ranks of the popular Army, to leave Spain. Thus, the Second Republic innocently thought, that it would be able to expel the invading armies of the Italians and the Germans. A little later the operations of the Italo-German factions were precipitated over the northwest of Spain, and with this the loss of Barcelona and catastrophe for the heroic people. The natural epilogue is of the betrayal by the ‘great Democracies’, but also of the natural result of the already cited chain of uninterrupted errors and absurd indifferences with the ambushes of all the political formality and between these the so-called Marxists-Leninists of the international band of provocateurs directed by Leon Trotsky from his General-Headquarters of Coyoacán, Mexico.

We went from Spain with the conviction that our defeat was not only the result of the cowardice of the great ‘democracies’, as is said by some. Neither was it the exclusive result of the failure of international revolutionary solidarity, as many say. Nor the unique consequence of the impotency of the political parties of the left to construct a unity of the entire people of the Nation. Nor was it the primordial consequence of the ‘anarchy of the masses’ as Prieto and his disciples supposed. For us the initial cause of the defeat, the starting-point, has to be found in the incommensurable weakness of the Republican Governments, in legal suicide, that did not know how to make the war (civil and militarily speaking) with methods of war, and much less a civil war with the method of civil war.

In Mexico, we say it formally, the same thing began to happen, for the same and perhaps more puerile reasons. But would it be possible with simple polemic eloquence and tenacious energy to halt there the mortal course to the same abyss? We intended to do it. But if our power was fruitless the obstacles would have to be knocked down by means, that there would be room. In such a manner the bitter experience of Spain had been eloquent for us! In February 1939 we arrived in Mexico. We found a political panorama that was very dispiriting. The pessimistic news we received from Europe was very brief. Perhaps because of the situation that prevailed in Republican Spain in the last years before the takeover by Franco.

The Mexican leftists in power for some four years (what sarcasm!), were on the defensive, ‘agorzomadas’ [4] by their bold competitors of the right. The Government for its caudillismo and neutral liberalism, deaf and dumb; however a paradox difficult to explain, for President Cárdenas, uninterruptedly, continued with his popular, and anti-imperialist reforms! the Communist Party of Mexico, because of the opportunism of its then National Committee, suffered a grave lethargy; the worker and peasant movement, because of its Moronista [5] remnants and for reasons of its compadrazgo [6] politics, followers without revolutionary fire, almost inert; the Party of the Mexican Revolution, as it has been seen before, sunk in the most dark and impersonal bureaucracy and in the hands of the sub-caudillo satraps of the new-rich governing class.

In return, the counter-revolution, Porfirioism, Huertaism, Callism, Almantism, in process of developing, and their imperialist and fascist friends, petulantly strut about inside the entire official apparatus and all over. The Spanish Falange, in the land of a Government that is in solidarity with the Republic, functions with absolute liberty, ostentatiously and with impunity exhibiting their fascist uniforms and emblems in the cafés; the ‘Golden Shirts’, defeated in 1935 by the anti-fascist people, have been resurrected; new factious organizations have appeared in political life; the ‘Sinarquista Party,’ the ‘Anti-Communist Revolutionary Party’ and many others of national scale or of simply the state, that visibly develops the means of the daily aggression against the Mexican Communist Party, the Unions, the Agrarian Communities — with an abusive demagoguery of a Hitlerian type; Callism, that is, the luckiest of the new-rich ‘revolutionaries’ that arose from the speculation which their economic power had conserved intact notwithstanding the collapse of their ‘MAXIMATURA’, of theircaudillo challengingly took out the leader in the field of militant politics, and from the very same ranks of the Mexican Revolutionary Party. It was without doubt that there was a manifest current in favour of the liquidation of the Revolution in Mexico, it rose impetuously in all the managing and backward sectors of the population with the evident support of fascism and the ultra-reactionary groups of the North American bourgeoisie. In their design they all used the hypocritical sophistry of exclusive anti-communism, anti-Stalinism, but their true objective was to kill at the same time Cárdenism and the Revolution in general.

And, naturally, Leon Trotsky, the leader and maestro of the denominated, Fourth International, occupied his spot, performing his special task, his exceptional task!, in the battle of this great reactionary and imperialist concentration. ‘The orthodox Marxist-Leninist’, simultaneously supported his anti-Stalinist offensive with the common anti-Stalinist front of reaction and interpreted it with brilliant demagoguery in his mendacious calumnies to the only Parties, Union organizations and Leaders that took into account Cárdenism and the Revolution in Mexico.

But without ceasing Trotsky affirmed that he was not attacking Cárdenas (what nonsense!). Trotsky only attacked the Cárdenists, the Parties, the Leaders, the persons of the union and agrarian political movement that supported Cárdenas. Trotsky attacked only what Cárdenas had done for the defence and development of his policies. His pick-blows were not against the arch, yes, not against the columns. Trotsky was not against Cárdenas, against the person of President Cárdenas, against the First Magistrate of the Republic as an absolute individual, but yes, against the political privileges of the proletarian — popular and bourgeois — progressive concentration that formed Cárdenism, that formed the political structure of Cárdenism, all the time articulating in high and low theory (!) — against the tactic of the Popular Front and the political coalition that supports the political platform of Cárdenas, which is no more than a Popular Front — the Popular Front that in the process of construction, Trotsky and all the bourgeoisie fight with all their strength. Trotsky, therefore, is not against the person of President Cárdenas, but yes, against the support of the proletarian class, against the proletarian revolution, against the progressive politics of President Cárdenas, as he was, to the point of ignominy, in the case of the Second Spanish Republic.

In practice, in the dynamic of revolutionary national politics of Mexico, Trotsky was in this sense against Cárdenism as a political platform, as the political practice of the national Revolution in Mexico, as the tactic of the Revolution in the present historical stage of Mexico. And this, in the Mexican political life of the present, I wish to mathematically state, to be with reaction is to be against the Revolution; therefore, Trotskyite theory, the Trotskyite simplistic theory, the perfidious Trotskyite theory, of proletarian revolution at all costs, is in present-day Mexico, as in Republican Spain — more than a stupidity, it is a precise reactionary demagogic manifestation. Stupid of Trotsky? Doubtless a cretin, Trotsky? No the intelligent, very intelligent work of a counter-revolutionary provocateur.

Trotsky asserted that he would not intervene in the internal politics of the country, respecting his legal position as a refugee. He maintained that the targets of his attacks were only agents of the G.P.U., and for that reason, actors of a specifically international politic. But Trotsky took very good care to say that these ‘agents of the G.P.U.’ were the only precise political supports, as it has been before noted, of the governmental conduct of President Cárdenas, of the democratic-bourgeois Revolution in Mexico, in consequence, and for that reason, theonly victims of the blows of each-and-every-one of the diverse sectors that make up the political unity of the anti-Revolution of today.

For Trotsky, for the renegade Trotsky, his blows originated in a specie of high politics that was situated in the stratosphere of the Revolution and not on the ordinary political surface of the others. In this virtue, the invariable synchronizing of the anti-Stalinist diffusing of the national and international counterrevolution, responded only to its own knife thrusts, to the stabs of Trotsky, besides, for their Trotskyite dialectics to be of any importance, they in fact fired at the same flesh that merited the common and unanimous reactionary aggression. For Trotsky the politician, the simultaneity of the attack meant nothing, nothing, the political personality of the victim, nothing, the nature of the politics of the band of aggressors nor of the motive of the attack. His knife was red and this was enough… so, what more can I give you of all the others that were dagger targets?

When the activities of the Dies Committee against Mexico became visible and with it was accentuated the volume of reactionary fire against Stalinism, against Cárdenism (‘el Cardenismo stalinizante,’ as the imperialists labeled it), against the parceling of land, against the right to strike, against the expropriation of the Petroleum Enterprise, Trotsky, the Trotsky that would not intervene in Mexican national politics, the Trotsky of the olympian revolution, he advanced as much as he could, in order to demonstrate that by treating of anti-Stalinism, he was the invincible champion face-to-face with the most vigorous bourgeois anti-Stalinist gladiators of any country. And who can deny that Stalin is the cause of the greatest hatred for the bourgeoisie everywhere? Now then, the intelligent Trotsky could not hide the fact that the anti-Stalinism of Dies was no more then an immediate method of attacking Cárdenism, that is, the Mexican Revolution, and by this road the revolution in general. It was then only concerned, as is known, with unmasking his Iscariotism. The remains of modesty? Sophistry of a traitor! For the object he used the generous voice of Diego Rivera – the political answer on the Mexican scale – purposefully to inform of imagined Stalinist ambushes in the Mexican government apparatus, that Ultimas Noticias published sensationally. Thus he tried to fulfil two tasks: to hit Stalinism one more time and tell Dies that Cárdenism was the incubator and the nourisher of Stalinists… this he told for the subsequent end of a greater imperialist pressure against Mexico and in favour of reaction. However the Pharisee assured that he had absolutely nothing to do with the activities of the lynching Texas Representative; and the great ‘eagle’ demanded documentary proof about his relations with that great enemy of our Nation and its people.(?) In this case, lower than his traitorous objective, must have been his mental self-justification; only attack the Stalinist bureaucrats and their Stalinized allies. It is of little importance that his firing coincides with that of Dies, the most perfect symbol of the ultra-reactionary circles of the United States. ‘His platform, the platform of Trotsky was different.’ Worse for his sole enemies, that wanted to do so bad with the entire world; the same for the global counter-revolution as well as the most purified and rectilinear of the Marxist-Leninist revolutions!

Trotsky repeated in Mexico the sequences of his crime that the P.O.U.M. had consummated in Spain. Only his tactic here was more hypocritical by reason of his status of political refugee; there he was able to do it sufficiently barefaced. In Spain, in the name of the Proletarian Revolution at all costs — a stupid and pharisaical doctrine — the opposition politics to the Popular Front — tied the arms of the Republican coalition in order that Francoism and international Fascism could shoot them in the back. In Mexico, fighting indirectly the united forces of the left that were grouped around the Cárdenist program of the Mexican Revolution, he repeated his feat.

That Trotsky is dead and now cannot defend himself? Elizondo, Picaluga, Santa Anna, Victoriano Huerta, Guajardo, are also dead, but this is not significant in what is referred to as the necessary execration of their treasons. Trotsky is surely dead, but the putrification of his politics of his perverted madness lives just for spite. They live on, his proselytes, his disciples, the heirs of the miraculous capacity of the maestro who knew how to make the bourgeoisie of Mexico and of the entire world furiously applaud, when he spoke precisely of the ‘true revolution and of the true Marxism-Leninism,’ that is, of what most offends the counter-revolution. Leon Trotsky, then, the Marxist-Leninist mathematically synchronized with the counter-revolutionary diffusers of the interior and the exterior of the ‘red’ echo of all the calumnies against the International Communist Movement the fecund creator of constant and new calumnies in the international reactionary market, the ‘revolutionary’ of invariable simultaneity of the anti-Stalinist with international counter-revolutionary anti-Stalinism, the hypocrite who paid gratitude to Cárdenas filled with mocking precisely for the only political supporters of Cárdenas, in harmonious parallel with Mexican reaction and foreign anti-Cárdenism, the orator of the proletarian revolution in the midst of the invariable applause of the pro-Porfiristas, of the pro-Huertistas, of the Almazanistas, of the Fascists of Mexico… he finds himself more and more comfortably entrenched in his fortress in Coyoacán, gratuitously protected by the public force of the progressive Mexican State.

Thus, only a debilitated revolutionary could self-sabotage the inevitable duty to struggle against this inconceivable reality. But how to do it? How to accomplish that which the labour organizations of Mexico had not been able to do in a period of three years?

The Mexican labour movement considered as an accomplished fact the sojourn and political activities of Trotsky in his headquarters in Mexico. The C.T.M. (Confederación de Trabajadores Mexicanos) had completely confined its struggle by virtue of the following declaration (Leaflet of the C.T.M. titled: ‘The C.T.M. and Trotsky,’ February 1938, page 17): ‘In the concrete case of Trotsky, the C.T.M. leaves the responsibility of his sojourn in Mexico to the Government of Mexico, who had conceded the permission and who corresponds to the exercise and the application of the political rights that are the exclusive business of the State.’ Has any disapproval more approving been seen? Has any ineffable diplomatic form of washing the hands ever been seen? In any events, it deals with a ‘tactic’ that has nothing to do with the combativeness of the labour movement. The Mexican Communist Party, the only possible vanguard of the proletarian revolutionary movement of Mexico, the only possible vanguard of the Mexican Revolution, however, owing to the opportunism of its leadership at that time, was only a little bit more energetic, but in no way sufficient to consider that it had, at least badly, fulfilled its duty.

Was it possible to end the political paralysis that such reality implies? Was it possible to extirpate from the C.T.M. the political torpor? Was it possible to tear out of the Communist Party the semi-inertia it was coming to suffer from? Our duty was to try it, though deluded the purpose would seem. Our duty was to exhaust all possible recourse within moral discipline. Thus we would be able to struggle parallely against the marasmus that immobilized the Mexican labour movement, against its officialism (so eloquently made manifest in the declaration before cited), against its political dependence, Against its ‘strategic’ friendships, against all those scars inherited from Moronism, that still destroys the political workers and union movement of Mexico, in spite of the progress made in the area of puny corporate organization and in the field of oratorical terminology.

It was then when I lived the dramatic struggle of which I spoke in my investigatory declaration before the First Court of Justice of Coyoacán. Ten, twenty, thirty of participations of mine in meetings of the Mexican Communist Party, in search of an agreement to organize the mobilization of masses of workers, peasants and the people against the caustic habitation of the counter-revolutionary headquarters of Trotsky in Mexico. Ten, twenty, thirty failures were suffered in my intention. How could not the Mexican Communist Party at least understand the public disapproval of one of the most persistent resolves of President Cárdenas when the National Leadership of the Mexican Communist Party damaged its own independence and revolutionary combativeness by supporting a narrow official political solidarity of them? Of Lombardo Toledano and his group, one does not have to speak. The weaknesses and errors of President Cárdenas deserve only very intimate and secret rebuffs, or at most, humble consultations or demands. Trotsky’s activities were bad and detestable for them but the tyranny of relations with the President of the Republic was worse. Inclusive of the great amount of anti-Trotskyite polemics, more then anything it seemed inconvenient for them for reasons of ‘strategy’. The old Moronista concept, fatal for the education of the proletarian masses. And the National Campesino Federation? And the rest of the central unions of Mexico? And the other professional and industrial unions of the country? And in sum, all the rest of the worker, farmer and popular organizations that exist in the land? Impossible!

An insulated action, absolutely independent of every political or union organization, completely autonomous, was the only solution. An action was only possible insulated from the Franco-snipers. A serious decision, but an indispensable and inevitable decision.

So it went, but the headquarters of Trotsky had to be exposed. It would demand the fundamental interests of the Mexican people and the fundamental interests of the Mexican Nation.

In consequence it did not confound me of having to have participated in this task. On the contrary, I considered that as a Mexican revolutionary nothing would be of greater honour than to have contributed to an act that tended to expose the treason of a political centre of espionage and provocation, seriously contrary to the National Independence of Mexico, the Mexican Revolution — that counted me among its soldiers and militants from the year of 1911 – and of the international struggle for the cause of Socialism.

My truth, then, the truth that will appear in my conclusions before this court, simultaneously with the publication of this preamble of the same, will be displayed in a full and final manner.

Footnotes

1. Maximatura refers to President General Plutarco Elias Calles who was called the Maximum Leader, the Supreme Leader. He ran the country from behind the scene when he was out of office.

2. Maderismo was the term used by Siqueiros to criticise Cárdenas. Francisco I. Madero was the acclaimed leader of the Mexican Revolution who had relentlessly attacked U.S. imperialism and was murdered by the General Victoriano Huerta with the connivance of the U.S. ambassador Henry Lane Wilson. In later years Siqueiros used the word Maderismo to signify the ‘romantic populist’ that he considered Madero to be, and Cárdenas to be the same.

3. The Trotskyites’ Partido de Obrero de Unificación Marxista (POUM) had been notoriously unreliable in the Spanish Civil War both in bearing their share of fighting against the fascists and in supporting the Popular Front.

4. Agorzomados, Siqueiros uses the word ‘agorar’ or ‘agorgojarse’ ‘The Mexican leftists in power …. were on the defensive’ from the ominous predictions (agorzomados), of the right, Or the left being eaten by weevils (agorzomados) of the right.

5. Moronista. From Luis N. Morones, corrupt labour leader of the CROM, Confederación Regiónal Obrera Mexicana. Also a secretary of Labour.

6. Compadrazgo. From compadre, godfather, here used sarcastically, it also means conspiracy.

Translated from the Spanish by Philip Stein

Source

D.N. Pritt on the Zinoviev Moscow Trial and Bourgeois “Sympathy” to Old Bolsheviks

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“It should be realised at the outset, of course, that the critics who refuse to believe that Zinoviev or Kamenev could possibly have conspired to murder Kirov, Stalin, Voroshilov, and others, even when they say themselves that they did, are in a grave logical difficulty. For, if they thus dismiss the whole case for the prosecution as a ‘frame-up,’ it follows inescapably that Stalin and a substantial number of other high officials, including presumably the judges and the prosecutor, were themselves guilty of a foul conspiracy to procure the judicial murder of Zinoviev, Kamenev, and a fair number of other persons. Of course, the less scrupulous critics will be delighted to support that theory; they would always prefer to blacken the rulers of a Socialist country rather than people who confess to having sought to assassinate those rulers; but some of us with memories will find their sudden affection and admiration for Zinoviev and all the ‘Old Guard’ a little comic.”

- D.N. Pritt, “The Zinoviev Trial”

Grover Furr on the Objective Study of Soviet History and Challenging the Bourgeois-Trotskyist Paradigm

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“Political prejudice still predominates in the study of Soviet history. Conclusions that contradict the dominant paradigm are routinely dismissed as the result of bias or incompetence. Conclusions that cast doubt upon accusations against Stalin or whose implications tend to make him look either “good” or even less “evil” than the predominant paradigm holds him to have been, are called “Stalinist.” Any objective study of the evidence now available is bound to be called “Stalinist” simply because it reaches conclusions that are politically unacceptable to those who have a strong political bias, be it anticommunist generally or Trotskyist specifically.

[….]

No researcher today, no matter how anti-Soviet, dismisses Soviet evidence just because it is Soviet. Evidence from Soviet archives is routinely regarded as valid.

[….]

The testimony of the defendants at the three Moscow “Show” Trials is routinely dismissed as false. The defendants are said to have been threatened, or tortured, or in some other way induced to confess to absurd crimes which they could not have committed. This is all wrong.

There is no evidence worthy of the name that the defendants were threatened, or tortured, or induced to give false confessions by promises of some kind. Under Khrushchev, again under Gorbachev and, in fact, right up to this day the official stance of both Soviet and Russian regimes has been that the defendants’ confessions are false. The investigative materials, all but a small fraction of which are still classified in Russia today, have been scoured for any evidence that would discredit the Trials and prove the defendants’ confessions were false. But no such evidence has been discovered. For this reason we can be reasonably confident that no such evidence exists. 

[…]

In the case of a few of the more prominent defendants, Zinoviev and Bukharin, there is good evidence that they were not threatened or badly treated.

Most people who disregard the confessions of the defendants at the Moscow Trials have never studied the transcripts of these trials. They dismiss them because they have been told that the defendants’ confessions were fabricated. In reality, there is no evidence that this is so. As we shall see, the evidence given in those confessions is in fact corroborated by the archival material which is the main subject of this study. And in any event the confessions of the Moscow Trials defendants must be accorded the same respect as the rest of the evidence, or as any evidence. It must be identified, collected, and studied.

[….]

Given the absence of any evidence that these confessions were false, and given the logical progression from more detail in the secret documents to the least detail in public ones, any objective student would conclude that we should consider these confessions genuine unless and until evidence to the contrary should be discovered. But the practice among most scholars of this period of Soviet history is to do precisely the opposite. Any evidence that tends to support the theory that Trotsky or any of those accused of espionage, sabotage, conspiracy to overthrow the government or treasonable contacts with foreign governments did in fact so conspire, is routinely dismissed. The evidence itself is not evaluated.

There is never any reason to “dismiss” – to refuse to consider – any evidence. All evidence needs to be evaluated on its own merits and in conjunction with the rest of the evidence available, as we have done here.

[….]

We predict that regardless of the evidence neither staunch anticommunists nor Trotskyists will ever accept that Trotsky did in fact collaborate with Germany and Japan. The “Cold War” paradigm of Soviet history during Stalin’s time depends upon theconstruction of Stalin as an evil man who was killing innocent people and destroying the communist movement. If Trotsky and, by implication, the oppositionists who worked with him were guilty of what they were charged with and to which most, though of course not Trotsky, confessed, then this “Cold War” paradigm of Soviet history is dismantled.”

  - Grover Furr, “Evidence of Leon Trotsky’s Collaboration with Germany and Japan” quotations taken from pages 9 – 149.

Diego Rivera’s Dirty Little Secret

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Diego Rivera’s dirty little secret: His murals are magnificent celebrations of socialism; his friendship with Trotsky and his marriage to Frida Kahlo are leftist legend, but new evidence shows that he betrayed his comrades to his enemies. Phil Davison reports

by Phil Davison

Thursday 25 November 1993

In 1932, Diego Rivera was commissioned to paint a mural for the RCA building in New Yorks Rockefeller complex. The sight of the Mexican artist at work pleased John D Rockefeller no end: this was to be a great public painting for New York and a great enhancement to the glory of Rockefeller. He was the happiest of millionaires until he noticed that among the many characters of this enormous and heroic vision was one Vladimir Ilich Lenin.

Rivera was asked to paint him out, but refused. The work was covered up and eventually destroyed. Rivera repainted it almost exactly in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, and called it Man at the Crossroads with Hope and High Vision to the Choosing of a New and Better Future.

Today, 36 years after his death, it is Diego Rivera who is a man at the crossroads. Two American academics researching for a book on Riveras friend Leon Trotsky have discovered that this artist-hero of the Mexican left worked for the United States as an informer.

He was thrown out of the Mexican Communist Party (not for the first time) when he objected violently to the 1939 Hitler-Stalin pact, and soon afterwards he started feeding information to the Americans: he supplied lists of Communist infiltrators high within the Mexican system and reported 60 political assassinations by officially-ordered death squads. He warned that Communist refugees from the Spanish Civil War had been trained by Moscow to set up cells on the Mexico-US border and infiltrate north. He told Washington that the Nazis and Soviets were jointly increasing their influence in Mexico and that the Mexican Communist Party was being financed largely by sympathisers north of the border. Only the fact that the Americans took much of Riveras information with a pinch of salt dissuades one from using the terms secret agent or spy.

The socialist content of Rivera’s work, as well as his friendship with Trotsky, mark him out if not as a revolutionary hero, then at least as a symbol of the left. His paintings, and notably the powerful murals he left in public buildings throughout the capital and the nation, ensured his reputation not only as a man of the people, but as Mexicos best-known artist. His name and works are presented by Institutional Revolutionary Party still in power after 64 years as an example of patriotic Mexican greatness.

The new and startlingly different picture of Diego Rivera is revealed in US State Department and FBI documents uncovered by Professor William Chase, of Pittsburgh University, Pennsylvania, and his assistant, Dana Reed, during their researches on Trotsky. The Mexican political and cultural establishment has been stunned by this weeks publication of the references by a journalist, Rossana Fuentes-Berain, in Mexico’s business daily El Financiero.

Diego Rivera’s was a political as well as an artists life. He was born at Guanajuato in central Mexico in 1886. During his twenties, while his country was engulfed in revolution, he was in Europe, mixing with Picasso and Chagall in Paris and studying Tintoretto and Michelangelo frescoes in Italy. He went home in 1921 and soon joined the Mexican Communist Party, but was expelled in 1928 after expressing sympathy for the views of Trotsky dumped by Stalin and shortly to flee Russia. In the same year Rivera married Frida Kahlo, who is now recognised as one of the finest women artists of the century.

When the exiled Trotsky was roaming Europe, unable to persuade many countries to let him in, Rivera used his contacts to get him into Mexico in 1937. It was Kahlo who went to meet the gaunt, goat-bearded figure as he disembarked from an oil tanker at Tampico. According to some accounts, they were later to have a brief but temptestuous affair.

Trotsky settled down with the Riveras in Kahlo’s home in the colonial village of Coyoacan, now a suburb of Mexico City the so-called Casa Azul (Blue House), now a museum. But after disagreements with the muralist, he moved to another house nearby in May 1939 a break that may have sparked Riveras decision to act as an American informant.

Trotsky escaped a first assassination attempt in his new home in May 1940, when a group of Mexican communists, including Rivera’s fellow painter and muralist David Siqueiros, staged a Chicago-style machine-gun attack on the house. Rivera himself was among the suspects, not least because he disappeared to California, with, as the Chase-Reed documents show, the secret assistance of the US State Department.

Three months later, on 20 August 1940, Rivera had a more solid alibi. He was in San Francisco when Frida, by then his ex-wife, called to say: They killed old Trotsky this morning. A Soviet agent had unceremoniously buried an ice pick in Trotsky’s skull while the exile read his mail.

After the first assassination attempt on Trotsky, Rivera had gone into hiding, saying later that he had feared for his own life. The documents obtained by Chase and Reed show that the US embassy in Mexico City secretly helped the painter, who by that time had the Hollywood actress Paulette Goddard in tow, to cross the border into Texas. There are reports from US diplomats in Mexico City to the State Department on secret conversations with Rivera, and FBI reports showing how FBI agents tailed the painter across the United States and tapped his phone.

Rivera’s FBI file number was 100-155423. One report, dated as far back as 18 October 1927, when Rivera was travelling in the US, shows that he had long been of interest: Agent then went through the train and found the man occupying Car number 8, Lower 7, was the only one that resembled a Latin. Agent obtained a seat in this car and later, when this man and other passengers left for the dining car, looked over his baggage, and found Subject’s name on one of the tags. It goes on to describe the subject as having a broad, Indian-type face,wearing a wide-brimmed stetson hat, dark grey suit, tan shoes and carrying a dark gray overcoat and yellow slicker. On arrival at Pennsylvania Station, New York, about 2pm, agent was met by special agent (blacked out) who took up the surveillance

All this material leaves no doubt that Rivera was passing information to the Americans. Whether or not that information was accurate and several diplomats pointed out the painter’s tendency towards exaggeration is another question. True or not, it was all music to the ears of the FBI chief, J Edgar Hoover. Perhaps because Rivera’s warnings of Nazi-Soviet collaboration in Mexico tallied with Hoover’s fears, the FBI tapped the artist’s phone in 1940 while he was in San Francisco to paint a mural. So far there has been no official reaction from the US or Mexican governments, nor from the painter’s grandson, the film maker Diego Lopez Rivera. Communist old-timers, however, were unsurprised. Some recall Rivera as paranoid and egotistical, pointing out that although he was ostensibly opposed to the Mexican government of the time, he eagerly accepted contracts to paint murals in public buildings, such as his magnificent historic masterpiece in the main gate of Mexico Citys Palacio Nacional.

The revelations about Rivera are surprising enough, but Chase and Reed are promising to shatter some much bigger illusions. Reed told the Independent the two academics had also uncovered some very damaging stuff about Trotsky. We’re still trying to get hold of some FBI stuff on him . . . in fact, I can tell you we have concrete information that Leon Trotsky, too, was an informant of the US government.

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Interview with Comrade Vyerin

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From the Center for the Formation of the Modern Communist Doctrine, organizer of the international conference held in Moscow in November, 1996

Q. Could you please shed some light for us on the origins of the present pseudo-communist movement in Russia, the objective basis for its impending collapse and the necessity for the formation of a revolutionary, truly Marxist-Leninist, Stalinist party.

A. Today in Russia there exist about 40 parties and organizations of communist orientation. Most of them emerged from the ashes of the defunct CPSU, and this feature undoubtedly manifests itself in the ideological and organizational structure of these parties and organizations. Unfortunately, as a result these parties and organizations are in essence full of opportunism, both left and right opportunism. Today, as Lenin stressed, left opportunism is not a major threat; it is a sickness that can be cured. On the other hand, right opportunism, since it has taken over the majority of these parties and organizations, is at the present time a major threat to the communist movement. These parties and organizations were founded from above, in a spontaneous way, they represent by themselves a mechanical unification of people that called themselves communists. It turned out that these people do not understand the essence of Marxism-Leninism and absolutely do not know Stalinism. In the end, as a result, these parties and organizations couldn’t cope with the new historical conditions, and at the present time they are undergoing a process of massive decomposition. This process is clearly seen in the example of the Russian Communist Workers Party [founded in November 1991, right after the August events, whose leaders at that time were Victor Tyulkin and Victor Anpilov. Note of translator.] This party has split four times in the past years. In the summer of 1996, Victor Anpilov left. In the place of the original RCWP now there exist several groups that are hostile to each other.

Q. As far as Marxism-Leninism is concerned these groups do not differ from each other substantially?

A. That is true. They are basically opportunist. None of them deal with ideological questions of Marxism-Leninism, let’s add, Stalinism. In themselves they are not therefore homogeneous organizations. They are more mechanical aggregations of people with different ideological backgrounds rather than ideologically defined political parties. Without ideological homogeneity there is no room for a defined organizational structure. These parties will still undergo more splits as a result. Another relevant party, founded in 1991, is the All-Union Communist Party Bolshevik (AUCPB), led by its general secretary Nina Andreeva. Her practice (or the lack of it) and theory give proof of her right opportunist essence. Needless to say from the very beginning she was never a Marxist-Leninist. She recently has openly denied the role of the working class in Russia. In the beginning Victor Anpilov did the same thing, now Nina Andreeva has followed this trend. She has repeatedly stressed in public that she doesn’t see the working class in Russia.

Q. When did she begin to say this openly?

A. Last year (1996) in the last congress and conference. Her party is clearly focused on the intelligentsia. Both AUCPB and the CPRF are displaying more and more tailist positions with respect to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), led by Zyuganov, are coming closer and closer to it, are being swallowed by the CPRF. The Russian Party of Communists (RPC), led by Kryuchkov, is another party with communist orientation. This party from the very beginning advocated “market socialism.” On the other hand, its membership did not have a definite homogeneous ideology. From the very beginning it was a party of intellectuals. At its foundation its membership barely reached 1500, whereas now there are no more than 300 members. It also underwent a split. De facto due to its internal heterogeneity this party doesn’t function anymore. In February 1993 the CPRF was founded. At that time already Zyuganov and Kuptsov had become the leaders of the party. We warned then about their open right opportunism. The CPRF was founded on the basis of the party sections of the former CPSU. Most of the membership is made of pensioners, very conservative people. We do not expect a substantial ideological development among the membership of the CPRF.

The CPRF bases its propaganda on the ideas of patriotism, on the idea of the great nation. Now the membership of the CPRF is receiving new party cards. On the old card you could read: “Workers of the world unite!” This Marxist slogan has been removed from the new party cards. This party as a whole has openly rejected the principle of proletarian internationalism. This party is opportunist, revisionist to its roots, a party of the Menshevik type. This party is harming the communist movement.

Q. They stand on Brezhnevite positions?

A. Yes. You can’t talk to them about a revolution. To talk about the revolutionary potential of this party is not possible in these conditions. Zyuganov has basically taken advantage of the composition of this party. In the beginning many thought that the problem of the CPRF was just the right opportunism of the leadership, that it would be enough to develop agitation among the more progressive rank-and-file membership and get rid of collaborationist and liquidationist policies of Zyuganov and C. Unfortunately, in my opinion, 80% of the membership, by their ideology, are not communists. So it is not only a problem of the leadership. Therefore it is natural that Zyuganov was reelected chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the CPRF almost unanimously at the past 4th Congress, held in April 1997. Inside the CPRF, as well as in other organizations, there are positive forces, but here unfortunately they are especially weak. It is possible that in the future these forces will split from the party that emerged in the beginning as an openly Menshevik, revisionist party. These are the biggest parties of communist orientation in the Russian political spectrum. There are other smaller parties as well. The Russian Communist Party – CPSU (RCP-CPSU), led by Prigarin, is openly right opportunist; they openly advocate market socialism. They deny the revolution, and usually omit the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Their leader, Prigarin, is of the opinion, as are many others, that Stalin supported the concept of market socialism, that Stalin advocated an economy oriented towards the extraction of profit.

Q. Andreeva says the same thing?

A. Yes. From the point of view of Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, these parties do not differ from each other in s substantial way. The Union of Communist Parties – CPSU (UCP-CPSU), led by Oleg Shenin, has recently begun to use some left phraseology. It began to talk about the dictatorship of the proletariat, sometimes even about the necessity of a revolution. But the fact that the leading ideologist of the party is Egor Ligachov, former member of the Politburo of the CC of the CPSU, who just till recently talked about the necessity of private property, is an indication of the ideological status of this party. Shenin was also a member of the CC of the CPSU in Gorbachev’s time, he cooperated with the Politburo and participated in the policies of that time. We never heard a word against Perestroika from Shenin. Their tactics and strategy are very clear and simple: first resurrect the CPSU and then on this basis restore the Soviet Union. Very few people will join this party that holds the name of the CPSU, a name that was discredited after Stalin’s time. In our opinion any attempt of unity on this basis has no future. Because of their populism they are beginning to mention Stalin’s name. In their papers and reports they sometimes quote Stalin. In fact among the rank-and-file communists, and not only among communists, but among the toiling masses, Stalin has become very popular, and his popularity is growing with time. Take Zyuganov, at the last congress of the CPRF. You read his report and you will find not only one, but even two quotations from Stalin. Zyuganov also knows that Stalin is popular among the Russian people. This is dangerous since Zyuganov and the rest tend to revive Stalin as a national-patriot, even as a Christian evangelist.

Q. You say that these parties do not go beyond the CPSU?

A. Yes, of course, since they are in essence splits from the CPSU. As a result ideologically they are not in a position to go beyond the CPSU.

Q. This is also why their understanding of Stalin is made through the mirror of the post-Stalinist period.

A. Yes, of course. They pose Stalin not as a revolutionary, not as a Marxist, not as the theorist of the socialist revolution, of the dictatorship of the proletariat, of Socialist and Communist construction, but as a leader of patriotic, Christian orientation.

Q. What could you tell us about the AUCPB? At its origin the AUCPB played a progressive role. What could you tell us about Andreeva and why the AUCPB has basically collapsed?

A. The AUCPB now is openly a right opportunist party.

Q. But this is a natural development?

A. Yes it is. Also a major role has been played by Nina Andreeva’s personality. Already in the beginning of 1992 you could hear something funny: “the General Secretary of the Bolshevik Party, Nina Aleksandrovna Andreeva.” There were jokes about this: “If tomorrow Socialist forces win in Russia and Socialism is restored but Nina Andreeva is not the General Secretary, then we don’t need this Socialism.” Of course, Andreeva’s stand should be understood as a petty-bourgeois expression, as a result of a petty-bourgeoisie psychology.

Q. What about its program?

A. At the time of its formation, the AUCPB’s program was the most progressive of those put forward by parties and organizations of communist orientation. The AUCPB is not a shadow of what it used to be. You should take into account who advises Andreeva. The main ideologist of the AUCPB, Klushin, was a professor of philosophy in Brezhnev’s time. He used to write her party reports and papers. Now after the virtual collapse of her party has become clear, Nina Andreeva calls for the unification with other revisionist parties and is working on some all-Union conference and has even organized a committee for unification. Now after so many splits and expulsions of members, having lost the support of the progressive mass of communists, now she tries to find a common language with forces like Anpilov. This is just a petty bourgeoisie expression, to remain the head of a political organization and be called General Secretary.

Q. We can conclude that this pseudo-communist movement is rooted in Brezhnevism, and by itself it is not in a position to go beyond the society of Brezhnev’s time which they call socialist?

A. Yes. Brezhnevism, Bukharinism, right opportunism in essence, has swallowed this pseudo-communist movement. However there are in the Soviet Union genuine communist forces among the rank-and-file. We can find good forces in the AUCPB, in the RCWP, some in the CPRF and eventually some in the rest.

Q. Lets move on to the Marxist-Leninist forces. What organizations and forces participate today in the process of unification and formation of the Marxist-Leninist party?

A. This is not a simple question, taking account of the present situation in the communist movement in Russia. I believe that the party will be built on the Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist ideology. Today this ideology has a tremendous force because of the present conditions. This ideology cannot be destroyed. The forces will form the party based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, and we should say also, Stalinism. These principles have been presented in the resolution of the conference last November. I will not repeat these principles here, since this resolution has been published throughout the world in several different languages. The idea of the formation of a revolutionary party, a vanguard party, not a parliamentary party like the CPRF, but one based on Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist principles, sprung up at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the CPSU. Now this necessity has become very acute in view of the present objective and subjective conditions, especially the organizational failure of the attempts of restoring the CPSU. Many real communists, in a mass, are disappointed by the backwardness of their leadership, by the character of the political actions of their parties. These parties do not work among the working class, do not organize the working class, the ever-growing mass strike movement in Russia is developing independently and isolated from the communist movement. The working class now is receptive to communist ideas, but these organizations in fact refuse to work and organize the working class. Many communists dream of the formation of a unified mass Marxist-Leninist, Stalinist party.

Our center struggles against revisionism and its remnants in order to dust off Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, the teaching of the revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, from the influence of decades of revisionism. The essence of Marxism was dismissed by the CPSU and after its collapse by most of the present parties. Now we are gathering Marxist-Leninist forces throughout the whole former Soviet Union. We have a large faction of Marxist-Leninist forces among the rank-and-file of the AUCPB and especially among those groups that split or were expelled from the AUCPB for defending Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, and exposing the right opportunism of its leadership. This is a very important force for the formation of a mass unified revolutionary party and most of all they have recognized the necessity of the formation of a unified revolutionary party. There are also forces among the membership of the RCWP and a few in the CPRF. There also exist smaller organizations that always stood on correct ideological positions, for example, the Leninist-Stalinist Party of Bolsheviks. There are other smaller organizations that actively participate in this process of unification. In other former republics of the Soviet Union we also find parties and organizations based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism. For example, the Party of Communist Bolsheviks of the Ukraine, sections of the CP of Tadzhikistan, in Byelorussia there are also serious forces, and in other republics.

Our main task today consists in the unification of these Marxist-Leninist forces. We are not hoping to construct a big party. This would be a mistake. If one remembers 1908, an analogy with present situation in Russia can easily be made. At that time the Bolshevik Party was much smaller than the Menshevik Party. But this was a party of professional revolutionaries, which underwent many hardships, the first Russian revolution in 1905, exile, jail… This party, thanks to its will and its revolutionary character, despite a smaller membership, accomplished a lot of work, and in 1917 at the time of the revolutionary upheaval, this party grew and made the socialist revolution. We will be obliged to work in semi-legal and possibly, since repression on a revolutionary party is unavoidable, in illegal conditions.

Q. What, in your opinion, is the importance of reading and study the works of Enver Hoxha for the consolidation of Marxism-Leninism in Russia and the struggle against opportunism and revisionism?

A. Unfortunately the works of Enver Hoxha were unknown in the Soviet Union; they were forbidden. Today the vast majority of Russian communists are absolutely ignorant of Enver Hoxha. Although it might not sound very appropriate, we should be grateful to our “democrats” for making possible the collapse of the revisionist CPSU and now the material basis exists to introduce the communist movement to the works of Enver Hoxha. Our center circulates the works of Enver Hoxha. I have to say that communists who are reading his works are giving extremely good responses. Enver Hoxha’s book, “The Khrushchevites,” is having a great response. Many people do not know what Khrushchevism, Brezhnevism means, indeed about the tremendous struggle against them that Enver Hoxha carried out. We are very grateful to the foreign comrades that made the circulation of the Russian translation of this book possible. The works of Enver Hoxha have a major significance for the formation of modern communist concepts.

I would like to summarize. Our center is strongly convinced that the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and their follower, Enver Hoxha, will win over the heart of the common people. It is now that the common people are seeing the real significance of the historical role of Stalin, and the role of Enver Hoxha in Albania. Now wee clearly see that Enver Hoxha undertook a correct struggle against Khrushchevite and Brezhnevite revisionism.

We are sure that victory will be ours.

Workers of the world unite!

Labor’s Champion Bulletin, No. 20, June 1, 1997.

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American Party of Labor: William I. Robinson’s Global Theory of Capitalism – The Problems of Transnational Class and State

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Globalization has become a subject of the utmost interest in recent decades. With the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the rise of capitalist hegemony in its most sincere form, some have argued for an “end of history” in which international capitalism reigns supreme, lead by the the United States, the chief victor of the Cold War. Others have articulated this differently.

William I. Robinson argues that the theoretical understanding of imperialism asserted by V.I. Lenin and upheld by other 20th century Marxists is insufficient for understanding the current state of affairs in modern global capitalist society. Rather, he asserts that a new theory which takes into account a negation of the nation-state as the main vehicle for advancing the cause of capital and fulfilling the profit ends of regional capitalists. He argues that the contradictions within capitalism are being globalized; that nation-states and national capitalists are being integrated into a larger transnational class and state.

It must be noted, however, that Robinson is not the first to make such an argument. Other theorists have made similar arguments in which the old notions of imperialism are replaced with more “global” perspectives which perceive the contradictions within capitalist nation-states taking place globally. These hypotheses would later lead those theorists and their adherents to anti-Marxist, anti-scientific conclusions which would render their theories less useful for a concrete understanding of capitalism on the world stage. There are problems which arise in trying to haphazardly apply intra-national contradictions in an international way. We will examine Robinson’s theory of global capitalism and using similar attempts at assessing capitalism internationally we will argue that the concepts of a “transnational capitalist class” and transnational state are problematic.

In his book, A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class, and State in a Transnational World, Robinson argues that an epochal shift is occurring in capitalism in which the rise of transnational production is leading to the construction of a transnational capitalist class (TCC) and a transnational state (TNS). This theoretical understanding would, at first blush, seem eerily similar to one put forward by Karl Kautsky at the beginning of the century. Kautsky, on the eve of the First World War, argued

“From the purely economic standpoint… there is nothing further to prevent this violent explosion finally replacing imperialism by a holy alliance of the imperialists” (Kautsky, 1914).

This state of affairs is what he referred to as “Ultra Imperialism.”

Vladimir Lenin puts forward a different view in his work Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism:

“The capitalists divide the world, not out of any particular malice, but because the degree of concentration which has been reached forces them to adopt this method in order to obtain profits. And they divide it ‘in proportion to capital’, ‘in proportion to strength’, because there cannot be any other method of division under commodity production and capitalism. But strength varies with the degree of economic and political development. In order to understand what is taking place, it is necessary to know what questions are settled by the changes in strength. The question as to whether these changes are ‘purely’ economic or non-economic (e.g., military) is a secondary one, which cannot in the least affect fundamental views on the latest epoch of capitalism. To substitute the question of the form of the struggle and agreements (today peaceful, tomorrow warlike, the next day warlike again) for the question of the substance of the struggle and agreements between capitalist associations is to sink to the role of a sophist” (Lenin 1916).

Given the continuation of inter-imperialist conflicts throughout the 20th century, Kautsky’s theory has ultimately ended up in history’s dustbin. It is for this reason that Robinson took the time to briefly mention Kautsky and to separate his theory from “Ultra Imperialism” by saying

“My theory differs sharply from Kautsky’s in a number of ways that I cannot take up here except to note that competition has driven capitalist dynamics and will continue to do so” (Robinson 61).

He then goes on to describe how competition on an international scale has lead to mergers and acquisitions across state lines. Nevertheless this is insufficient, because Robinson ignores the issue of inter-imperialist warfare. Has capitalism evolved beyond wars between imperialist powers? Kautsky’s theory would seem to answer in the affirmative and, in a sense, Robinson’s does as well.

Another theoretical outlook which deserves to be examined in comparison to Robinson’s is Lin Biao’s. In his pamphlet Long live the Victory of People’s War! the Chinese politician Lin Biao wrote:

“Taking the entire globe, if North America and Western Europe can be called ‘the cities of the world’, then Asia, Africa and Latin America constitute ‘the rural areas of the world’. Since World War II, the proletarian revolutionary movement has for various reasons been temporarily held back in the North American and West European capitalist countries, while the people’s revolutionary movement in Asia, Africa and Latin America has been growing vigorously. In a sense, the contemporary world revolution also presents a picture of the encirclement of cities by the rural areas” (Lin Biao 1965).

Lin Biao, in an attempt to apply the Maoist concept of people’s war to the international struggle between the proletariat and bourgeoisie, pioneered a version of Mao’s “theory of three worlds” which perceives the world as being a global countryside surrounding a global city, paving the way for later adherents to his theory to apply class labels to entire nations, saying that the “first world” represents a global bourgeoisie and making such claims as “the first world proletariat is a myth.” At this juncture it is important to note that Robinson does not share Lin Biao or his modern-day followers’ understandings of a global countryside or global city, and indeed argues against the sort of assessments which fuel the line taken up by contemporary third-worldists.

We do not seek to label Robinson as a Lin-Biaoist or a Kautskyian. Rather, what we’d like to point out is the common failing of all three of these theories. What these theories demonstrate is that there are problems when one is too quick to apply phenomenon which can be empirically understood at the national level to phenomena occurring internationally.

The chief problem with Robinson’s theory of a “transnational capitalist” class is that Robinson underestimates contradictions among the bourgeoisie internationally, seeing a “bourgeois internationalism” that is not there. Uneven development among nations means that capitalists internationally frequently have different interests and not all of these interests can be met by full integration of their economic activity within the global marketplace. Any alliance, any “unity” within the capitalist camp is subject to how it benefits the profits of the individual capitalists within such an alliance. Unlike workers, who are able to reap benefits from the struggles of workers all over the world, a capitalist isn’t necessarily benefited by the success of other capitalists. As capitalists are forced to compete for what they perceive to be a limited number of material and market resources, the bonds which have formerly bound them begin to deteriorate. Within nations, compromise among capitalists is more possible and prudent. After all, they both have access to the mechanisms of state power and both have a vested interest in keeping the local proletariat in bondage. Yet internationally, inter-imperialist competition and warfare are a viable solution when unity and compromise become too much of a burden. The capitalist often has little to gain and much to lose when the capitalists of other nations are able to seize upon material and markets he desires and potentially has much to gain from their destruction.

Following with this error, Robinson’s theory of a transnational state is equally problematic, in that by concluding that

“[e]conomic globalization has its counterpart in transnational class formation and in the emergence of a TNS, which has been brought into existence to function as the collective authority for a global ruling class” (Robinson, 88)

he underestimates special functions of the state which this new transnational state has no mechanism to fulfill. These special functions include the reinforcement of a common ideology, the maintenance of a military and police apparatus for the defense of private property relations and (to varying degrees between advanced industrialized capitalist countries) some assurance of social welfare. These functions are essential to the maintenance of an economic system built upon class antagonism, for any state to exist and to perpetuate itself, nationally or transnationally, these specific functions need to be effectively managed in a centralized manner. Instead, these important functions are still carried out at the level of the nation-state. The consequence is that the nation-state is itself still an invaluable asset to those capitalists who exert control over it locally. It cannot be abandoned, nor can it necessarily be compromised by the needs of integrating the nation state into a broader transnational state apparatus if the cost of such an integration infringes on the national bourgeoisie maintaining their grips on the local proletariat.

In Robinson’s understanding of a transnational state, Robinson would seem to think of inter-imperialist conflict as a “thing of the past,” when in actuality, the distinct possibility of a clash of powers exists as Western hegemony begins to wane. Sure, Robinson allows for competition between capitalists in his theory, yet any conception of a transnational state would require that competition be limited insofar as it becomes a threat to this state apparatus. There are no guarantees in the current world situation that inter-state rivalries would manifest themselves militarily. Every attempt to build an international body that would prevent such violence has failed and will fail so long as different nation-states have interests which lie outside of a possible collective interest.

As the world situation evolves and new material realities emerge, many are lead to try and perceive what will be capitalism’s “next greatest leap.” From the time of Marx to the time of Lenin we have seen capitalism evolve into a system of imperial capitalism. Now, with the United States emerging as victor in the Cold War and with the evolution of communications technology and international commerce, theorists are tempted to call this the dawn of a “new world order.” The reality is that the rules haven’t changed since the days of rival imperialist powers. Capitalists still thirst for profit and still face differing conditions for the exploitation of the world’s laborers. To say that the world’s exploiters are coming together as a “transnational capitalist class” and are building a “transnational state” to advance the ends of their mutual exploitation is to ignore one facet of capitalism’s character which is most vital: the capitalist is in it for himself, and to defend that self-interest the capitalist is still willing to go to war with other capitalists. When nations are forced to compete for resources, when empire is forced to challenge empire, international relations can and will be placed second to the needs of the national bourgeoisie.

This reality, this inevitability of inter-imperialist struggle, has ensured that attempts at building lasting unity among capitalists abroad are but a mere pipe-dream in the long run. The facade of unity presented after the cessation of another inter-imperialist conflict will ultimately break in favor of the next one. As the leading imperialist power falls into decline in a matter quite reminiscent to the events leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union (economic crisis, ten-year-long occupations of Afghanistan, et al.) other powers will try to assert their dominance. The hope of some sort of unity among the “transnational capitalist class” in the wake of such a shift in powers is meager.

Given the essential problems in William I. Robinson’s conceptions of an emerging “transnational capitalist class” and “transnational state,” we argue that the Leninist model is still the best model for understanding the machinations of the capitalist system internationally — even in this moment where the words “globalization” and “transnational corporation” are on everyone’s lips. While Robinson deserves credit for attempting to assert a new theoretical model for understanding contemporary capitalism on the world stage, his theory is not a suitable replacement for the Leninist model.

Sources

Biao, Lin. Long Live the Victory of People’s War! Foreign Languages Press, 2003.

Kautsky, Karl. Ultra-Imperialism. 1914. Print.

Lenin, V.I. Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. 1916.

Robinson, William. A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class, and State in a Transnational World. John Hopkins University Press, 2004.

Grover Furr reviews Robert Thurston’s “Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934 -1941”

As always, the publication of an article does not necessarily imply an absolute endorsement of the entirety of its content.

– Espresso Stalinist.

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by Grover Furr, from Cultural Logic, Volume 1, Number 2, Spring 1998

Robert W. Thurston, Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934-1941. (London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996). $30.00.

Anti-Stalinism Hurts Workers, Builds Fascism

1. Billions of workers all over the world are exploited, murdered, tortured, oppressed by capitalism. The greatest historical events in the twentieth century — in fact, in all of human history — have been the overthrow of capitalism and establishment of societies run by and for the working class in the two great communist revolutions in Russia and China.

2. The Russian Revolution was the first of them, blazing the trail for all revolutionaries to come. Its history — its successes and failures — are the essential textbook for all workers and others who recognize the need to get rid of exploitation and build a better world run by those who toil.

3. Naturally the world’s capitalists do not want this learning process to happen! So the ruling class try to spread anti-Communist lies, the purpose of which is to demoralize potential revolutionaries and make us passive. These wrong ideas — wrong both in the sense that they are incorrect AND in that they serve the exploiters’ interests, not the interest of workers — include racism, religion, sexism, and anti- communism.

4. The main form anti-communism has taken for the past several decades has been anti-Stalinism. If workers and others can be convinced that any attempt to build a communist society — one based upon need, without exploitation, run by and for the working class — will end up “as bad as or worse than” Nazi Germany, then we will never really make the attempt. This means we will be reduced to struggling only for reforms under capitalism. This reformism is ultimately acceptable to the capitalists since it leaves them in control forever.

5. A second way the bosses use anti-Stalinism is to justify fascist repression and murder of any workers’ attempts to rebel against capitalism. After all, if “Stalinism” is “worse than Nazi Germany”, and if any attempt to build communism can lead only to “Stalinism”, then any and all repressive measures to suppress revolution are justified, including torture, mass murder, and fascism itself. This anti-communism has been the main justification for imperialist slaughter in the period since World War II, as indeed it had been for the Nazis’ aggression and atrocities.

6. Because it is the main ideological form of anti-communism, fighting anti-Stalinism is therefore a vital, life-and-death issue for the world’s workers — for all of us. This review essay will show how a new (1996) book can be useful in doing just that, and it also outlines some of the limitations of that book.

Strengths of Thurston’s Work

7. Thurston’s main points are as follows:

– The mass arrests and executions of 1936-38 in the USSR were not planned, but were panicked reactions to plots against the Soviet government.

– These events were not intended to, and did not in fact, spread “fear and terror” throughout the Soviet population, but rather were carried out against perceived enemies with the support and often the active participation of the Soviet population.

– They occurred at a time when the USSR was under enormous threat from hostile nations. (In addition, communists the world over were being imprisoned, tortured and murdered by capitalist regimes, though Thurston does not refer to these facts.)

– The numbers imprisoned and executed were far less that the inflated estimates claimed by anti-Communist sources.

– Rather than being cowed and demoralized by mass arrests and police activity, the growing Soviet industrial working class enjoyed an active voice inside the factories, encouraged by Soviet leaders to speak out about conditions in the plants and outside.

– The “acid test” of whether the workers and peasants supported Soviet socialism or were alienated from and hostile to it came with the Nazi invasion. Thurston shows that the Soviet people determinedly repulsed this massive onslaught by rushing either to join the Red Army or the factories to increase military production, while the Red Army fought with a dedication, effectiveness and morale utterly unmatched by the best Western capitalist armies.

8. Thurston’s introduction outlines what he calls the “standard version” (xiv) or “orthodox view” (xvi) of Stalin and the USSR in the ’30s, invoking the name of Robert Conquest — which he will then prove wrong. (Conquest, a former British Secret Service agent, is the foremost anti- communist liar about the Stalin years.) He also points out also how the present capitalist rulers of Russia have every motive to build anti-Stalinism.

9. This chapter also demonstrates that the Soviet legal system was evolving along recognizably capitalist lines in terms of its judicial process during the early ’30s. On the one hand, this contradicts the view of the Cold Warriors that the USSR was “totalitarian”, and this is Thurston’s main point: that the USSR was becoming more “liberal”, giving citizens protection against arbitrary police action, for example.

10. It reveals, however, how much the Bolsheviks relied on Western capitalist models, in the judicial system and elsewhere (education, culture, industry), for models of how to build a communist society. Here, the Bolsheviks’ view of communism was, as we can see now in hindsight, in many respects a “reformed” version of capitalist relationships. Learning from the Bolsheviks’ shortcomings as well as from their own experience, left forces within the Chinese Communist Party later challenged reliance on police and courts with reliance on the working class and poor peasants through political struggle, public trials, and an emphasis on self-criticism and being held accountable to the masses — a process that eventually reached its high point during the Cultural Revolution before it was finally defeated.

11. Chapter Two disposes of some ancient anti-Communist lies. Thurston shows there’s no evidence Stalin murdered either his second wife in 1932 or Politburo colleague Sergei Kirov in 1934. Both of these fairy-tales have been refuted by other scholars before Thurston but are still accepted without question as true by anti-Stalinists. Concerning the three big “Show Trials” of 1936-38, Thurston highlights the evidence that the basic charges against the defendants were in fact true. This was generally accepted even by keen Western observers at the time, like Joseph Davies, sent by President Roosevelt to check out the Soviet government (see his book Mission to Moscow), and confirmed long ago too by staunch anti-Communist scholars like Robert V. Daniels (see his Conscience of the Revolution, 1960).

12. Thurston shows that there was “wrecking” — industrial sabotage — in the economy under Yuri Pyatakov, whose confession to this effect is also shown to have been voluntary, not coerced (46). Even the charges against Nikolai Bukharin, main defendant in the 1938 trial, are shown to have been true in the main, as documents from Bolshevik archives prove (35-42). Thurston also states that some accusations against the defendants were “fabrications”, but he never gives any evidence to support this charge. In fact — though Thurston does not discuss this — it is quite likely that suspicions of “wrecking” were exaggerated by the recklessness built into the industrialization campaign, caused by the emphasis on “increasing productive forces” by sharpening wage differentials, privileges, and therefore class antagonisms: in short, by socialism, the mixture of communist and capitalist elements which communists since the days of Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program had believed was a necessary interim stage between capitalism and a classless society.

13. Finally, Chapter Two also reaffirms that the massive arrests did not take place until after the arrests and executions in June 1937 of the military commanders led by Marshal Tukhachevsky. Stalin and the Bolshevik leadership clearly believed there was a real conspiracy, and there’s much, though not conclusive, evidence that such a conspiracy indeed existed. Chapter Three demonstrates that the Soviet government reacted in panic to the disclosure of such high-placed treason. There’s no evidence at all that Stalin was out to “terrorize the country”.

14. Nikolai Ezhov, the leader of the political police (or NKVD), was the person most directly responsible for the massive arrests and executions. Usually demonized by Cold-War historians, Ezhov was a long-time Communist with an honorable record, a worker since the age of 14, before being entrusted by the Politburo with the task of directly overseeing the repression of what all believed to be a massive counter-revolutionary plot.

15. Ezhov set high quotas for executions, which the police felt had to be met. There were many examples of police arresting and executing people either to “meet quotas” or from outright corruption. Recent research by Thurston ‘s colleagues suggests that between six and seven hundred thousand persons were executed during 1937-38. (See the article by Getty, Rittersporn, and Zemskov in American Historical Review, October 1993).

16. A few comments are in order here. First, the concept of “quotas” for executions appears to come from Lenin’s practice during the Civil War, although Thurston does not say so. After the Bolsheviks revolution privileged and propertied people throughout Russia opposed the Bolsheviks and Red Army, and White (anti-Communist) forces routinely executed Communists, workers who supported them, and all Jews. Under Lenin’s urging the Bolsheviks would take hostages from among the upper classes, threatening to execute them if the Whites opposed them.

17. It should be clear that such “quotas for execution” were completely inappropriate in a situation in which the Bolsheviks held state power and could confine anyone suspected of anti-Communist activity until their cases could be investigated. Such executions, whether of the guilty or, as was inevitable, of the innocent as well, serve no mass political function, as would public trials, investigations, and a concept of justice based upon the direct participation of the working class — an issue noted by Vyshinsky himself.

18. Anti-Communist “scholars” have repeatedly produced fantastically high figures for Soviet executions and jailings during the “purges”. Thurston challenges those inflated numbers with strong archival evidence. On page 137 he explicitly states that the inflated estimates are too high. On page 11 Thurston has a chart showing there were 1,196,439 camp inmates in 1937, a slight decline from the previous year (this included criminals as well as those arrested for political crimes, but does not include prison inmates). For purposes of comparison, we should note that this is much smaller than the US prison population today! While it seems clear to us now that many of those prisoners charged with political crimes (104,826, or 12.8% of the total) were not in fact guilty, that prison population is a long way from the Cold-War anti-Communist “guesstimates” of between 7 and 15 million prisoners — and some guess much higher still, 20 or 30 million!

19. Thurston shows there were, in fact, other real anti-Soviet plots in addition to the “Tukhachevsky Affair” (mass arrests and executions of military officers), including some spies within the NKVD itself. He also provides overwhelming evidence to show that the arrests targeted elite sectors — managers, specialists, intellectuals, party officials, and not “workers or poor peasants, the favored children of the new regime” (76). Naturally communists should not support unjust accusations against anyone, regardless of their class background. What this fact shows is that socialism — the continuation of capitalist relations of production and a capitalist notion of economic development — involved the continuation of class antagonisms under somewhat different forms, class antagonisms that found expression in the mass arrests and executions.

20. Thurston puts these events squarely in the context of the aftermath of the extremely violent years of 1914-21 (the beginning of World War I to the end of the very bloody Civil War) and, more immediately, of the sharpening international situation of the late ’30s, when Nazi Germany and all the imperialist countries were unmistakably bent upon surrounding and destroying the USSR.

21. However, even at that Thurston underplays the danger facing the Communist movement. On pages 34-5, he mentions the German reoccupation of the Rhineland in March 1936, unchallenged by the French who wanted Hitler to rearm, so as to pit him against the USSR. He mentions the start of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936, but not the huge military support given to Franco, leader of the Spanish fascists, by Nazi German and fascist Italy, nor the phony “neutrality” of England, France, and the USA which cut the Spanish Republic off from international aid. He mentions fascist Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in December 1935, unchallenged by the other imperialists, but never the Japanese fascists’ seizure of Manchuria in 1931 or the Anti-Comintern Pact between Germany, Japan and Italy (1936-37), or the Japanese invasion of China (1937). Stalin would later express the Soviet view that the other imperialists were encouraging the Germans to attack and destroy the Soviet union:

“They kept on urging the Germans to go farther and farther east: ‘You just start a war against the Bolsheviks, and all will be well’” (quoted in Alexander Werth, Russia at War, p. 39).

22. Also left out is the Nazi decimation of the German Communist Party, the largest in Europe, beginning in 1934. In 1936, when the Soviet “purges” began, German Communists were being tortured and murdered by the thousands in German concentration camps, and similar treatment was being meted out to Communists and workers in dozens of other capitalist lands — as, in fact, it still is. Little wonder that the Soviets weren’t prone to treat too kindly those it considered to be German spies and agents!

23. And Thurston repeats, time and again, what his sources show him: the Soviet government favored workers and poor peasants over all others in the population, while they were being exploited, killed, etc., in every other country in the world! Thurston’s own evidence shows that the USSR was a “dictatorship of the working class”.

24. Some police agencies treated evidence as very important, though many did not. Conditions in the labor and punishment camps, the so-called “Gulag”, Thurston argues, were bearable both before and after the period 1937 to 1938, but very bad during this period, reflecting the fact that most police, and even prisoners, were convinced those arrested during this time were traitorous conspirators who deserved the worst treatment.

25. By January 1938, Thurston shows, complaints of unjustified repression were flooding the Central Committee, and the Plenum began to demand that expulsions from the Party be reviewed for unfairness. The next month Andrei Vyshinsky, formerly the head prosecutor at the “Show Trials”, complained about conditions in the labor camps and demanded punishment of camp officials who permitted bad conditions. He also insisted that those who fabricated evidence be arrested. In fact a number of trials of such fabricators did take place this year and the next, often with great publicity.

26. The need to pay greater attention to physical evidence, as opposed to confession, was re-emphasized. By the middle of 1938 the great period of panic, mass arrests, and executions was over. Police procedures were regularized; conditions in the camps improved; many of those falsely arrested were released and exonerated. Trials of NKVD men who had tortured and framed people were held, and the NKVD purged of such people.

27. Certainly the Soviet state was justified in acting to arrest preemptively, in times of crisis, anyone suspected of treason. But there was no reason for executing people on the same flimsy basis; they could certainly have been imprisoned pending a serious review of their cases. Had this been done, many or most executions would not have taken place. What is more, well-publicized trials of those who were guilty, with evidence publicly given, would have raised political consciousness, as did the Chinese Communist Party’s public trials of landlords in the period after their seizure of power, in which peasants openly accused those who had exploited and murdered them.

28. Chapter Six, “Life in the Factories”, shows that the Stakhanovite movement was, in fact, a mass movement which gave all workers the opportunity to gain recognition for improving production and technique, rather than a cynical way of “speeding-up” the workers, as it has been described by anti-Communists. Thurston argues that, in fact, Stakhanovism gave workers more power. Workers’ views and criticisms were respected; supervisors and foremen ignored them at their peril.

29. But here too we see that “socialist” relations of production were basically a reformed version of capitalist relations of production. While acknowledging the communist, collective aspects of the Stakhanov movement, we can see in retrospect how it inevitably became associated with speed-up, given the retention of a wage system. Thurston’s book neglects this aspect of the movement.

30. Thurston quotes some American workers who had also worked in the USSR as saying that conditions of work, and the atmosphere in the factories, were better for Soviet workers in the 1930s than for workers in the US (192). But he then undercuts their view — far more informed than his own — in the next sentence, where he writes that “Soviet workers were hardly better off or freer than their American counterparts”.

31. Ironically, he has already cited evidence on page 170 that at least some Soviet workers had shorter working hours than US workers. At the time, many people thought Soviet workers were, in fact, better off than were American workers. One of them was Walter Reuther, later the anti-Communist president of the United Auto Workers, who worked in a Soviet auto factory in the 1930s. In a passage not cited by Thurston, Reuther wrote home:

Here are no bosses to drive fear into the workers. No one to drive them in mad speed-ups. Here the workers are in control. Even the shop superintendent had no more right in these meetings than any other worker. I have witnessed many times already when the superintendent spoke too long. The workers in the hall decided he had already consumed enough time and the floor was given to a lathe hand to who told of his problems and offered suggestions. Imagine this at Ford or Briggs. This is what the outside world calls the “ruthless dictatorship in Russia”. I tell you … in all countries we have thus far been in we have never found such genuine proletarian democracy… (quoted from Phillip Bonosky, Brother Bill McKie: Building the Union at Ford [New York: International Publishers, 1953]).

32. Thurston says nothing about free medical care, cited in many studies of and novels about the Soviet Union in the 1930s. And much of his chapter shows how Soviet workers had a tremendous amount of input and right to criticize. Thurston also doesn’t mention that millions of US workers were unemployed in the ’30s, while the Soviets had a labor shortage. He omits the fact that US workers trying to unionize for better conditions were being violently attacked, and often killed, by the police, the military, and employer-hired goons. Conditions for the working class in Europe generally were even worse, with fascist or virtually fascist regimes, all viciously anti-working class, in most countries.

33. The final chapter deals with the response of the Soviet population to World War II. Here too Thurston concludes that the Soviet regime retained much loyalty and enthusiasm among the population. Soviet soldiers fought against the Japanese in Mongolia with high morale in 1938, where their military leadership was excellent, and against Finland and then the German Wehrmacht in 1940 and 1941, where both political and military leadership was initially poor and led to larger casualties than necessary. In the opening days of WWII, the Red Army fought well, counterattacking against far superior Axis forces, often fighting to the last man, rarely surrendering unless surrounded or demoralized by huge casualties and a hopeless situation. German officers uniformly remarked that the Soviets fought far better than any Western army (215).

34. Civilian morale was generally high in June 1941, even in Soviet-occupied Eastern Poland. The Polish fascist state had been racist towards Jews and Ukrainians in Eastern Poland, and therefore many of the Ukrainian population were supportive when the Soviets marched in, especially since the Soviets mainly repressed the enemies of the workers and peasants — landowners, Polish officers, and police — and did not collectivize the peasantry. But Ukrainian nationalists in Poland had already basically turned towards the Nazis, so many “Western” Ukrainians welcomed the Nazi invasion. German officers recognized that the Ukrainians in Soviet territory were very different, much more loyal to the USSR and often very hostile to the pro-Nazi West Ukrainians, as Thurston shows.

Shortcomings

35. The research reported in this book because it will help to combat anti-communism and lies against Stalin and the USSR generally during his time. However, Thurston’s work also suffers from serious shortcomings. First, while he combats many anti-Communist lies with good evidence, Thurston also makes many statements critical of the Bolsheviks without any evidence. There are many instances of this.

36. Even more serious are Thurston’s historiographical shortcomings. Not a Marxist of any kind, Thurston frames his analysis entirely in bourgeois historical terms. Therefore, Thurston’s book is valuable when, and only when, he bases his conclusions on primary source evidence. Even when he does, this evidence must be put into an historical materialist, scientific framework in order for important lessons to emerge clearly.

37. Like all the other works of the anti-Cold War researchers — called “revisionists” or “Young Turks” — who have helped to refute anti-Stalin and anti-Communist lies, this is a work of bourgeois history. These works of research take capitalism for granted, and so have a capitalist bias from the outset. Though they come up with important evidence, and often use it well, they do so from an academic perspective. They may refute egregious Cold-War lies, but they never reject anti-communism, the fundamental premise of capitalist scholarship.

38. Most important for our purposes, the “revisionists” do not ask the questions which Marxists, and all those convinced that capitalism must be overthrown, need answers to: namely, What can we learn, positively and negatively, from the history of the USSR? What were the Bolsheviksí successes? Why did these dedicated communists fail?

39. Although it can’t provide answers to the questions revolutionaries need to ask, Thurston’s work, like those of other more objective, though bourgeois, researchers, can help us if we use them according to historical materialism, the scientific method of Marxism or communism.

40. After all, to learn the correct lessons, both positive and negative, from the Bolsheviks’ experience, the history of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union and why it eventually turned into its opposite, we need something in addition to the Marxist method of understanding history, or dialectical and historical materialism. We also need an accurate account of what, in fact, happened, not a farrago of anti-Communist lies and horror stories.

41. It is here, in refuting anti-Communist lies, as well as in discovering what did happen in reality, that Thurston’s work, and that of other honest bourgeois historians, can be very helpful. Let me give two brief examples.

1. Capitalist Relations and Class Antagonisms within the USSR:

42. Thurston shows time and again that those most likely to have been arrested and executed during the panic of 1937-38 were officials, leaders, managers, officers, and “higher- ups” in general. This fact shows that there was a considerable divorce between “leaders” and ordinary workers and other citizens. How could this be?

43. Marx recognized that “all history is the history of class struggle”. The Bolsheviks believed that everything must be subordinated to the fight for industrialization and production. After the early ’30s they used “material incentives” to reward workers and managers, developing large wage differentials and, therefore, differences in living standards among workers and between workers and managers, Party leaders and rank-and-file members, and in every other aspect of society. Believing too that productive technique was “class-neutral”, they kept capitalist production relationships in the factories and capitalist relationships of hierarchy and inequality generally in society. Women still did all the housework as well as their jobs, putting real limits on the extent — real, also — to which sexism could be fought.

44. In short, social relationships in the USSR were “reformed” capitalist relationships more than they were truly communist egalitarian relationships. This had to give rise to new class antagonisms and create resistance to the disappearance of old ones.

45. Thurston’s research can help us see that the mass arrests and executions of 1937-38, which were “concentrated among the country’s elite” (232), reflected these class antagonisms at the same time Stalin and the Soviet leadership believed they had abolished class struggle. Without these capitalist relations the “panic” of the late ’30s and, in fact, the future evolution of the Soviet Union towards, first, state capitalism and, as now, “free-market” capitalism, would not have been possible.

2. Elitist Relations within the Party:

46. In 1938 and thereafter specific cases of police corruption, neglect of evidence, frame-ups, and other negligence were publicized and those guilty punished. Many cases of rehabilitation, both of the living and of those unjustly executed, took place. Nevertheless the Bolshevik leadership under Stalin never really underwent a thorough, public self-critical review of how any injustice could have happened, in order to get to the bottom of it.

47. There is also the question of why people like Zinoviev, Bukharin and others were in important positions of power to begin with. They had demonstrated rotten politics for years. Zinoviev had quit the party in fear rather than take part in the October Revolution. Bukharin had lied many times — Thurston documents this — and had even plotted with the Socialist Revolutionaries against Lenin during the Civil War. (The S-R’s then plotted to overthrow Lenin, and very likely tried to kill him.) They had been expelled from the Party.

48. What was the point of handing them major leadership posts? The Bolsheviks should have trained other members to do their jobs and not relied on these particular intellectuals. Perhaps the concept of a party of “professional revolutionaries”, a “cadre” party — Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin and others had worked for the Party all their lives — had not yet been entirely abandoned for the better concept of a mass party of the working class.

Conclusion: Fight Capitalist Lies

49. Thurston’s work is useful in debunking anti-Communist lies. And his work is only one of a growing body of what has been called “revisionist” research on the history of the USSR. These works use the same kind of bourgeois historical methodology, rules of evidence, logic, and documentation, commonly used in less contentious fields of history, but hardly ever in the study of the communist movement.

50. For the first time, an outline of the major events in the USSR during the Stalin years is beginning to emerge, although the anti-Communist “Cold Warriors” — often joined by enthusiasts for Leon Trotsky — are still actively spreading their lies and contesting every bit of research which contradicts their preconceived ideas, what is virtually a “Cold-War Party Line”.This is exciting, and heady, material!

51. But it is for revolutionaries and workers of today to use research like Thurston’s towards this end. Neither this work nor any others like it can provide the historical materialist framework without which human history will not reveal its truths.

Revisionists’ Research on Soviet History: A Brief Bibliographical Note(Note: It is a daunting task to keep abreast of the exciting research into the history of the Soviet Union during Stalin’s leadership. The “revisionists”, of which Thurston is a leading representative, have split the field of bourgeois Soviet history, and there is much animosity on both sides. In addition, it’s very helpful to be able to read Russian, both in order to look at original sources, and to follow the research now being published in Russia that Getty is publishing there, for example. What follows is only a brief introduction.)

1. There are a number of strands in the “new” history of the Soviet Union during the Stalin years. The work of the late E. H. Carr, and of his successors at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Russian and East European Studies, led by R. W. Davies, and represented heavily in the journal Soviet Studies (since volume 45, 1993 retitled Europe-Asia Studies); the research of Jerry Hough, Sheila Fitzpatrick, and Roberta Manning, the inspiration and, in some cases, the teachers of the younger “revisionists”; and the younger cohort themselves. I will concentrate on this third group.

2. The book under review is an excellent place to begin. But, to my mind, the first and groundbreaking work of this school is John Arch Getty, Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-1938 (Cambridge University Press, 1985). A much revised version of his Ph.D. dissertation at Boston College, 1979, under Roberta Manning, this work is fundamental. One has to read it to get a feel for how completely the “accepted” version (Conquest-Solzhenitsyn, et al. — what Thurston calls the “standard version” or “orthodox view”) of this period must be rejected, how completely dishonest their “scholarship”, how poor their use of evidence. After Thurston, begin with Getty, and a careful reading of his footnotes.

3. The year after Getty’s book was published, the revisionists achieved recognition as a distinct school within Soviet history with Sheila Fitzpatrick’s article “New Perspectives on Stalinism”, The Russian Review 45, 4 (October 1986), 357-373, which the editors published together with four criticisms by established Cold-War historians, and a reply by Fitzpatrick, “Afterword: Revisionism Revisited”. A year later the same journal published eleven responses to Fitzpatrick’s article, including five by the leading younger scholars (William Chase, J. Arch Getty, Hiroaki Kuromiya, Gábor Rittersporn, and Lynne Viola), two supportive articles (by Jerry Hough and Roberta Manning), and an explicit attack by Conquest.

4. Robert Conquest’s voluminous work is the target, acknowledged or not, of much of the research on this period of Soviet history. Getty leads off his book with a brief exposé of Conquest’s irresponsible methods (Origins, p. 5 and note 12, p.222). The work of Steven G. Wheatcroft on the size of Soviet forced labor camps and number of deaths has developed as a refutation of Conquest and those whose research resembles his, like Steven Rosefielde. This debate continues today, and was launched by Wheatcroft’s article “On Assessing the Size of Forced Concentration Camp Labour in the Soviet Union, 1929-1956″, Soviet Studies 33 (April, 1981), 265-95. Conquest’s typically weak reply, with argument “from authority”, is in Soviet Studies 34 (July 1982), 434-39.

5. Wheatcroft and Conquest continue to criticize each other’s studies vigorously. For Wheatcroft’s research, begin with what appears in Europe-Asia Studies. For example, in “The Scale and Nature of German and Soviet Repression and Mass Killings, 1930-1945″, EAS 48 (December 1996), 1319-1353, Wheatcroft attacks the facile, anti-Communist comparison of Stalin with Hitler. The abstract reads:

     Repression and mass killings carried out by German and Soviet leaderships during the period 1930-45 differed in several respects. It appears that the German leader Adolf Hitler put to death at least five million innocent people mainly because of his antipathy towards Jews and communists. In contrast, Soviet leader Josef Stalin ordered the murder of some one million people because he apparently believed them to be guilty of crimes against the state. He was careful about documenting these executions whereas Hitler did not bother about making any pretence at legality.

6. A few other works which base themselves on recently-published Soviet archival documents and give the lie to Conquest-type horror-stories include: Nicolas Werth, “Goulag: Les Vrais Chiffres”, L’Histoire no. 169 (Septembre, 1993), 38-51; J. Arch Getty, Gábor T. Rittersporn, and Viktor N. Zemskov, “Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Pre-war Years: A First Approach on the Basis of Archival Evidence”, American Historical Review 98 (December, 1993), 1017-49; R.W. Davies, “Forced Labour Under Stalin: The Archive Revelations”, New Left Review, 214 (November-December 1995), 62-80.

7. Other works explicitly critical of Conquest include: Jeff Coplon, “In Search of a Soviet Holocaust: A 55-Year-Old Famine Feeds the Right”, Village Voice, Jan. 12, 1988 (on the web at http://chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/vv.html). Coplon interviewed many of the foremost historians of the USSR, including many “Cold Warriors” as well as some “revisionists”; all rejected Conquest’s phony research on the Ukrainian famine, Harvest of Sorrow (Oxford, 1986), incidentally showing how Conquest was paid by Ukrainian nationalist groups which had collaborated with the Nazis.

8. Thurston was, I think, the first and (to date) the only historian of the Soviet Union to dare to attack Conquest in an academic journal: see Thurston, “On Desk-Bound Parochialism, Commonsense Perspectives, and Lousy Evidence: A Reply to Robert Conquest”, Slavic Review 45 (Summer 1986), 238-244.

9. A six-part series exposing the Nazi origins of the Ukrainian famine myth while remaining critical of Soviet actions from a communist viewpoint, can be found at the Progressive Labor Party website at http://www.plp.org/cd_sup/ukfam1.html; read its notes for scholarly references to that time. Another PLP series, this time in four parts, of Stalin, the PBS television series, and the accompanying book Stalin: A Time for Judgment, by Jonathan Lewis and Phillip Whitehead (New York: Pantheon, 1990), begins at http://www.plp.org/cd_sup/pbsstal1.html. These articles contain yet more references to “revisionist” scholarship, and end with a brief bibliography of suggested further readings, at http://www.plp.org/books/biblio.html. An appreciative but critical review of Getty’s Ph.D. dissertation, the basis of his 1985 book, is at http://www.plp.org/pl_magazine/purges.html.

10. This should be enough for anyone interested in studying the latest critiques of the Cold-War lies about Stalin and Bolshevik history, the wars within the field of Soviet history, and the best results of bourgeois historiography, to sink their teeth into.

11. Finally: there is an important theoretical issue which I deal with briefly towards the end of my review, and which is not apparent in any of the social-historical and empirical research of the past twenty years or so. That question is: How can the method of dialectical and historical materialism be brought to bear on the “facts” as we are coming to know them, in order to draw valid conclusions from the Bolsheviks’ successes and errors, so that future communists may build upon the past without repeating its mistakes?

12. These works can help us learn something about what did happen, and help us refute anti-Communist lies. But the task of learning from the past to build towards a communist future is up to us.

Source

Enver Hoxha on the Titoite Betrayal

enver_hoxha_1974_oil-painting

“Traitors to Marxism-Leninism, agents of imperialism and intriguers like Josif Broz Tito, try in a thousand ways, by hatching up diabolic schemes like the creation of a third force, to mislead these people and the newly-set up states [in Africa and Asia], to detach them from their natural allies, to hitch them up to U.S. imperialism. We should exert all our efforts to defeat the schemes of these lackeys of imperialism.

[….]

U.S. imperialism has given and is giving billions of dollars to its loyal agents, the treacherous Tito gang.

[….]

It has been said that J. V. Stalin was mistaken in assessing the Yugoslav revisionists and in sharpening his attitude towards them. Our Party has never endorsed such a view, because time and experience has proven the contrary. Stalin made a very correct assessment of the danger of the Yugoslav revisionists, he tried to settle this affair at the proper moment and in a Marxist way. The Inform Bureau, as a collective organ, was called together at that time and, after the Titoite group was exposed, a merciless battle was waged against it. Time has proven over and over again that such a thing was necessary and correct.

The Party of Labor of Albania has always held the opinion and is convinced that Tito’s group are traitors to Marxism-Leninism, agents of imperialism, dangerous enemies of the socialist camp and of the entire international communist and workers’ movement, therefore a merciless battle should be waged against them. We, on our part, have waged and continue to wage this battle as internationalist communists and also because we have felt and continue to feel on our own backs the burden of the hostile activity of Tito’s revisionist clique against our Party and our country. But this stand of our Party has not been and is not to the liking of comrade Khrushchev and certain other comrades.

The Titoite group have long been a group of Trotskyites and renegades. For the Party of Labor of Albania, at least, they have been such since 1942, that is, since 18 years ago.

As far back as 1942, when the war of the Albanian people surged forward, the Belgrade Trotskyite group disguising themselves as friends and abusing our trust in them tried their uttermost to hinder the development of our armed struggle, to hamper the creation of powerful Albanian partisan fighting detachments, and, since it was impossible to stop them, to put them under their direct political and military control. They attempted to make everything dependent on Belgrade, and our Party and our partisan army mere appendages of the Yugoslav Communist Party and the Yugoslav National-liberation Army.

Our Party, while preserving its friendship with the Yugoslav partisans, successfully resisted these diabolical intentions. It was at that time that the Titoite group tried to found the Balkan Federation under the direction of the Belgrade Titoites, to hitch the Communist Parties to the chariot of the Yugoslav Communist Party, to place the partisan armies of the Balkan peoples under the Yugoslav Titoite staff. It was to this end that, in agreement with the British, they tried to set up the Balkan Staff and to place it, that is to say, to place our armies under the direction of the Anglo-Americans. Our Party successfully resisted these diabolic schemes. And when the banner of liberation was hoisted in Tirana, the Titoite gang in Belgrade issued orders to their agents in Albania to discredit the success of the Albanian Communist Party and to organize a “putsch” to overthrow the leadership of our Party which guided the National-liberation War and led the Albanian people to victory. The first “putsch” was organized by Tito through his secret agents within our Party. But the Albanian Communist Party frustrated this plot of Tito’s.

The Belgrade plotters did not lay down their arms and, together with their agent in our Party, the traitor Koçi Xoxe, continued the re-organization of their plot against new Albania in other forms, new forms. Their intention was to turn Albania into a seventh Republic of Yugoslavia.

At a time when our country had been devastated and laid waste and needed to be completely rebuilt, when our people were without food and shelter but with high morale, when our people and army, weapons in hand, kept vigilant guard against the plots of reaction organized by the Anglo-U.S. military missions who threatened Albania with a new invasion, when a large part of the Albanian partisan army had crossed the border and had gone to the aid of the Yugoslav brothers, fighting side by side with them and together liberating Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosova and Metohia and Macedonia, the Belgrade plotters hatched up schemes to enslave Albania.

But our Party offered heroic resistance to these secret agents who posed as communists. When the Belgrade Trotskyites realized that they had lost their case, that our Party was smashing their plots, they played their last card, namely, to invade Albania with their army, to crush all resistance, to arrest the leaders of the Party of Labor of Albania and of the Albanian State and to proclaim Albania a seventh Republic of Yugoslavia. Our Party defeated this diabolic scheme of theirs also. Joseph Stalin’s aid and intervention at these moments was decisive for our Party and for the freedom of the Albanian people. Precisely at this time the Information Bureau exposed the Tito clique. Stalin and the Soviet Union saved the Albanian people for the second time.

The Information Bureau brought about the defeat of the conspiracies of the Tito clique, not only in Albania but also in other countries of People’s Democracy. Posing as communists, the renegade and agent of imperialism, Tito, and his gang, tried to alienate the countries of People’s Democracy in the Balkans and Central Europe from the friendship and wartime alliance with the Soviet Union, to destroy the communist and workers’ parties of our countries and to turn our States into reserves of Anglo-American imperialism.

Who was there who did not know about and see in action the hostile schemes of imperialism and its loyal servitor Tito? Everybody knew, everybody learned, and all unanimously approved the correct decisions of the Information Bureau. Everyone without exception approved the Resolutions of the Information Bureau which, in our opinion, were and still are correct.

Those who did not want to see and understand these acts of this criminal gang had a second chance to do so in the Hungarian counter-revolution and in the unceasing plots against Albania. The wolf may change his coat but he remains a wolf. Tito and his gang may resort to trickery, may try to disguise themselves, but they are traitors, criminals and agents of imperialism. They are the murderers of the heroic Yugoslav internationalist communists and thus they will remain and thus they will act until they are wiped out.

The Party of Labor of Albania considers the decisions taken against Tito’s renegade group by the Information Bureau not as decisions taken by comrade Stalin personally but as decisions taken by all the parties that made up the Information Bureau.

[….]

The Party of Labor of Albania remained unshaken in its views that the Titoite group were traitors, renegades, Trotskyites, subversionists and agents of the U.S. imperialists, that the Party of Labor of Albania had not been mistaken about them.

The Party of Labor of Albania remained unshaken in its view that comrade Stalin had not erred in this matter…

[….]

Some comrades hold the erroneous idea that we maintain this attitude towards the Titoites because, they claim, we are allegedly eager to hold the banner of the fight against revisionism or because we view this problem from a narrow angle, from a purely national angle, therefore, they claim, we have embarked, if not altogether on a “chauvinist course”, at least on that of “narrow nationalism”. The Party of Labor of Albania has viewed and views the question of Yugoslav revisionism through the prism of Marxism-Leninism, it has viewed, views, and fights it as the main danger to the international communist movement, as a danger to the unity of the socialist camp.

[….]

The Yugoslavs accuse us of allegedly being chauvinists, of interfering in their internal affairs, and of demanding a rectification of the Albanian -Yugoslav borders. A number of our friends think and imply that we Albanian communists swim in such waters. We tell our friends who think thus that they are grossly mistaken. We are not chauvinists, we have neither demanded nor demand rectification of boundaries. But what we demand and will continually demand from the Titoites, and we will expose them to the end for this, is that they give up perpetrating the crime of genocide against the Albanian minority in Kosova and Metohia, that they give up the white terror against the Albanians of Kosova, that they give up driving the Albanians from their native soil and deporting them ‘en masse’ to Turkey. We demand that the rights of the Albanian minority in Yugoslavia should be recognized according to the Constitution of the People’s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Is this chauvinist or Marxist?

 - Enver Hoxha, “Reject the Revisionist Thesis of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Anti-Marxist Stand of Khrushchev’s Group! Uphold Marxism-Leninism!”

Bill Bland: Enver Hoxha As World Statesman

November 1945, preparing to take Tirana; from p.100

November 1945, preparing to take Tirana; from p.100

Hoxha at the Permet Congress 1944; p.64

Hoxha at the Permet Congress 1944; p.64

On Red Square podium, Novmber 1947, with J.V.Stalin & V.Molotov; p.104

On Red Square podium, Novmber 1947, with J.V.Stalin & V.Molotov; p.104

ALL IMAGES FROM “ENVER HOXHA”; Tirana

(Talk by Bill Bland to an Albanian Society meeting in 1985)

Transcribed by Comrade NS

I feel that the title of my address – “Enver Hoxha as World Statesmen” – must have caused some raised eyebrows. Whether they like their policies or not, most people would accept Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachov as world statesmen. But Enver Hoxha was the leader of a small country, the size of Wales with a population of less than three millions. Can the leader of a small country ever really be a statesman, or stateswoman, of world stature?

But it is only a few years ago that tens of thousands of people were marching through the streets of cities all over the world shouting with approval the name of Ho Chi Minh. Ho’s politics were not the same as those of Enver Hoxha, but he was the leader of a small country which inflicted on the powerful United States of America the first military defeat in its history.

Albania too has successfully resisted attempts at absorption, invasion, dismemberment and destabilisation from Greece, from Yugoslavia, from the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin, from China, from Britain and from the United States. It has constructed a planned socialist economy which is, at present, unique in the world.

How has it come about that Albania has followed, in the last forty years, such a different course of development from that of other countries of south-eastern Europe?

The cause cannot be found in any geographical or historical peculiarities of Albania. It lies in the specific character of the leadership of the political party which has been the leading force in Albanian society during these forty years. And pre-eminent in that leadership over these four decades was Enver Hoxha, who died in April at the age of 76.

Some people have expressed surprised that Hoxha’s death should have been reported with such virulent hostility by almost all our press, radio and television. But they should not be surprised.

The successful construction of a planned socialist society in Albania – a society without profit, without millionaires, without unemployment, without inflation, without taxes and with constantly rising living standards – is a threat to everything which “The Sunday Times” and the BBC hold up as “Western civilisation”.

Enver Hoxha would not have been surprised at his obituaries in the British media. When the British press praises someone who call himself a “socialist”, it is time to question the genuineness of his “socialism”. And, of course, this hostile propaganda does not have entirely the results it aims at. In the week in which these obituaries were published, the Albanian society received more applications for membership than in any month in the past twenty-five years. One miner from South Wales wrote to me:

    “Having read the newspaper reports on the death of Enver Hoxha, my experience of the press over the twelve months of the miners’ strike leads me to want to know more about Albania”.

On the other hand, some people were naturally misled by this propaganda. I received several letters which said, in effect:

    “I do not understand why, in your letter of protest to the BBC, you denied that Enver Hoxha was a ‘dictator’. Surely, the Albanian Constitution defines the Albanian state as a ‘dictatorship’”.

Indeed, it does.

But it defines the Albanian state as “the dictatorship of the working class”, not that of an individual. This simply means that the political power in Albania is in the hands of the working class, that the working class rules. Albanians do not present “the dictatorship of the working class” as the opposite of democracy. On the contrary, using the term “democracy” with its classical Greek meaning of “the rule of the common people”, they maintain that working class power is the only genuine democracy.

The Party of Labour of Albania regards Britain as a dictatorship – as a state in which political power is in reality in the hands of Big Business. But they do not imply by that term that Margaret Thatcher is a personal dictator. Nevertheless, the leader of the ruling party in Britain has somewhat more constitutional power than the leader of the ruling party in Albania: he or she is automatically Prime Minister and has the right to appoint and dismiss Ministers.

The leadership of the Party of Labour of Albania, which forms the core of the Albanian society, has always been a collective one, although Enver Hoxha was pre-eminent in that leadership. But this position of pre-eminence was the result of Hoxha’s outstanding abilities and devoted service to the working people, and the respect and love which flowed from these qualities.

Let us look more closely at the causes of Albania’s unique course of social development.

Today, the social system in Greece is very different from that in neighboring Albania. Yet in 1944 the situation in the two countries was closely similar. Both were under German occupation; both had national liberation movements led by their respective communist parties; both had right-wing spurious “nationalist” movements, supported by British gold and weapons, which fought the national liberation movements in collaboration with the Nazi forces; in both countries British troops landed, ostensibly to “help” in liberation.

It was the different reaction of the two communist parties which gave rise to the different outcome in the two countries.

The leaders of the so-called “Communist Party of Greece” signed a truce with the right-wing collaborators, placed their forces under the command of the right-wing government-in-exile and of the British Commander-in-Chief, welcomed the British troops.

The leaders of the Communist Party of Albania – today the Party of Labour – destroyed the collaborationist forces; they thanked the British troops for their “offer of help’ but insisted that they withdraw from Albanian soil. They did so.

Let us look at another facet of Albania’s unique course of development.

In 1945 the countries of Eastern Europe (except for Greece) were following the model of the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin in constructing planned socialist societies based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

Today only Albania continues to adhere to those principles.

Admittedly, this is not the impression one gets from the pages of “Pravda”. But like our “popular” press, this is now a newspaper which aims not at the truth, but at misleading the masses.

If one studies the specialised Soviet economic journals a very different picture emerges. The so-called “economic reforms” instituted after the death of Stalin have abandoned central economic planning; the profitability of each enterprise has become once more the motive and regulator of production.

True, these profits – as in orthodox “profit-sharing” schemes in the “West” – are shared among the whole staff of the enterprise. But they are distributed according to what is termed “responsibility in profit-making”, which means that the lion’s share goes to management. The latest statistics show that 51% of the profits go to workers (who form 96% of the personnel), while 49% go to management (who form 4% of the personnel).

The restoration of the profit motive in the Soviet Union has meant reliance on market forces, on the laws of “supply and demand”. This means, as elsewhere, that it is often more profitable to produce luxury items for the wealthy than necessities of life for the working people.

Enver Hoxha described contemporary Soviet society as essentially a capitalist society, in which the working people were exploited by a new ruling class, a new capitalist class – the enterprise directors. He noted that all the negative phenomena which are associated with capitalism have began to reappear – crises of “over-production”, inflation, redundancy, etc.

True, the Soviet economic journals do not speak of “unemployment”, only of “surplus labour”. To solve this problem a “youth employment scheme” has been established, and an official campaign that “a woman’s place is in the home”! Letters are published calling – not, of course, for “unemployment benefit”, but for “stipends” for workers who are “between jobs”.

Such development has proceeded – sometimes faster, sometimes slower – in all the formerly socialist countries of eastern Europe, except for Albania.

Whereas the Albanian constitution prohibits foreign aid and credits, the other countries are obliged not only to the Soviet Union, but to Western financial institutions. The hard currency indebtedness of Bulgaria stands at $9 billion, of Hungary at $10 billion, of Yugoslavia at $19 billion and of Poland at $26 billion (on which it cannot pay even the interest due).

Official figures show that in Poland the real wages of the workers fell between 1981 and 1984 by more than 30%.

Inflation in Poland is running at 38% a year, in Yugoslavia at 57%.

Unemployment in Yugoslavia stands at 13% of the work force (30% in the Albanian province of Kosova).

There were, of course, prominent Albanians who sought to lead Albania along this same road of, in Hoxha’s words, “capitalist degeneration”.

It was, above all, Hoxha who led the ideological struggle against the views of these individuals. These struggles are usually portrayed in our press as “personal power struggles”. There were nothing of the sort. There were in each case struggles around principle – with Hoxha standing successfully for the maintenance of independence and socialism for his country.

Whether one is a socialist or not, the question of socialism – how to attain it and how to maintain it – is a question of international importance.

Marxism-Leninism has always held that the state in capitalist countries is always – no matter what its parliamentary trappings – in reality the dictatorship of Big Business. It has always held, therefore, that this state apparatus of force will be used against any attempt to establish a socialist society, so that the working people must be prepared for revolutionary struggle. It has always held that the belief that a fundamental change in society can be attained through the ballot box alone is a dangerous illusion. This does not necessarily mean a bloody and protracted civil war – the number of people who died in the October Revolution in Russia was far less than the number killed on the roads of Manchester on a typical summer Sunday. Hoxha’s famous dictum was:

    “The more the working people are prepared for revolutionary struggle, the greater the possibility of a peaceful transition to socialism”.

Most of the old communist parties, however, have rejected these fundamental tenets of Marxism-Leninism in favor of the concept of “parliamentary transition to socialism”. In Hoxha’s words, they have become “revisionists”, they have “revised” Marxism-Leninism by repudiating its fundamental core.

The leading role in the struggle against this “modern revisionism” was undoubtedly played by Enver Hoxha, who adhered all his adult life firmly to Marxist-Leninist principles. And, as I said, whether one is a socialist or not, these are questions of world importance. Hoxha’s leading role in these questions makes him, in this respect too, a world figure.

Furthermore, he was the author of a whole series of books, not only upon Albania, but on Yugoslavia, on the Soviet Union, on China, on the Middle East, and so on, which are essential reading for any serious student of world affairs.

But it is as the principal architect of Socialist Albania that Enver Hoxha’s qualities of leadership shine most clearly and obviously.

In forty years Albania has been transformed from the most backward country in Europe to an advanced industrialised state.

Where else in the world can one find no unemployment, with the right to work enshrined in the Constitution?

Where else can one find dwelling rents at 3% of income?

Where else can one find no rates, taxes or social service contributions combined with a free health service?

Where else can one find non-contributory pensions at 70% of pay, payable as young as 55 in certain occupations?

A visitor goes from Britain – with its barren industrial waste lands, with its four million unemployed, with its declining social services – to Albania to find a country which is one huge construction site, to a country whose people have well-founded confidence that each year their living standards will improve as production rises.

Some visiting newspaper reporters claim to find Albania “dull’.

They find no Soho “strip-tease” shows, no Mayfair gambling casinos, no pornographic magazines, no heroin pushers, no “pop” music. Enver Hoxha once said:

    “Our young people have no need of drugs to escape from reality”.

Perhaps these reporters find Albanian sporting events dull because one can go to a football match there and cheer for the away team without the risk of getting a knife in one’s back!

Where but in Albania one could go to the cinema for the equivalent of 15 pence?

What other country in the world with a population of less than three millions has 7 symphony orchestras and produces some 15 feature films a year?

Perhaps those who find Albania “dull” have had their cultural values corrupted!

One has only to look at pictures of Albania prior to 1939 – pictures which show its utter backwardness, its poor and illiterate working people, to understand the respect and affection which the overwhelming majority of the Albanian people held for the principal architect of their social progress – Enver Hoxha, to understand the genuine and spontaneous grief which was exhibited at his funeral.

Several monuments to Enver Hoxha are to be erected in Albania.

But the ordinary Albanian may well say – in the words of the inscription to our own Christopher Wren in St. Paul’s Cathedral –

    “If you seek a monument, look around!”

I want to conclude by reading to you the translation of a poem, written the day after Enver Hoxha’s death . . . It expresses eloquently, I feel, the feelings of most Albanians.

Note From Alliance – Regrettably the text of this poem, or its name or identity of its author, is not known to us. 

Source

Enver Hoxha on the Rise of China as an Imperialist Superpower

Enver Hoxha Raised Fist

“With the policy China is pursuing, it is becoming even more obvious that it is trying to strengthen the positions of capitalism at home and to establish its hegemony in the world, to become a great imperialist power, so that it, too, occupies, so to say, the ‘place it deserves.’

[….]

We are now witnessing the efforts of another big state, today’s China, to become a super power because it, too, is proceeding rapidly on the road of capitalism. But China lacks colonies, lacks large-scale developed industry, lacks a strong economy in general, and a great thermo-nuclear potential on the same scale as the other two imperialist superpowers.

To become a superpower it is absolutely essential to have a developed economy, an army equipped with atomic bombs, to ensure markets and spheres of influence, investment of capital in foreign countries, etc. China is bent on ensuring these conditions as quickly as possible. This was expressed in Chou En-lai’s speech in the People’s Assembly in 1975 and was repeated at the 11th Congress of the Communist Party of China, where it was proclaimed that, before the end of this century, China will become a powerful modern country, with the objective of catching up with the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Now this whole plan has been extended and set out in precise detail in what is called the policy of the “four modernizations”. But what road has China chosen so that it, too, will become a superpower?

At present, the colonies and markets in the world are occupied by others. The creation of an economic and military potential equal to that of the Americans and Soviets, within 20 years, and with their own forces, as the Chinese leaders claim they will do, is impossible.

In these conditions, in order to become a superpower, China will have to go through two main phases: first, it must seek credits and investments from US imperialism and the other developed capitalist countries, purchase new technology in order to exploit its local wealth, a great part of which will go as dividends for the creditors. Second, it will invest the surplus value extracted at the expense of the Chinese people in states of various continents, just as the US imperialists and Soviet social-imperialists are doing today.

China’s efforts to become a superpower are based, in the first place, on its choice of allies and the creation of alliances. Two superpowers exist in the world today, US imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism. The Chinese leaders worked out that they must rely on US imperialism, on which they have pinned great hopes of getting assistance in the fields of the economy, finance, technology and organization, as well as in the military field. In fact, the economic-military potential of the United States of America is greater than that of Soviet social-imperialism. This the Chinese revisionists know well, though they say that America is declining. On the course which they are following, they cannot rely on a weak partner, from which they cannot gain much. Precisely because it is powerful, they have chosen the United States of America to be their ally.

[….]

The group ruling today in China lays great stress on the “third world” in which, not fortuitously and not without a purpose, it includes China, too. The “third world” of the Chinese revisionists has a well-defined political aim. It is part of the strategy which aims at transforming China into a superpower as quickly as possible. China wants to rally round itself all the countries of the “third world” or the non-aligned. countries or the “developing countries”, in order to create a large force, which will not only increase the overall Chinese potential but will also help China to counterpose itself to the other two superpowers, the United States of America and the Soviet Union, to carry greater weight in the bargaining over the division of markets and spheres of influence, to gain the true status of an imperialist superpower.

[….]

However, like every country with imperialist aims, China is fighting and will fight harder still for markets in the world. It is striving and will strive harder still to spread its influence and extend its domination. These plans are apparent even now. China is opening its own banks, not only in Hong Kong, where it has had them for a long time, but also in Europe and elsewhere. It will strive especially to open banks in and export capital to the countries of “the third” world.. For the present it is doing very little in this field. China’s “aid” amounts to the building of some cement factory, railway, or hospital, for its possibilities are limited. Only when the American, Japanese and other investments in China begin to yield the fruits it desires, that is, when its economy, trade and military technology are developed, will China be able to embark on a venture of real large-scale economic and military expansion. But to achieve this, time is needed.

[….]

The more China develops economically and militarily, the more it will want to penetrate into and dominate the small and less developed countries by means of its exports of capital, and then it will no longer charge a 1-2 percent interest for its credits, but will act like all the others.

[….]

China cannot carry on positive revolutionary propaganda in the countries of the “third world”, also, because it would come into collision with that superpower from which it is hoping to get investments of capital in China and advanced technology. China cannot conduct such propaganda, also, because the revolution would overthrow precisely those reactionary cliques ruling in a number of countries of the so-called third world, which China is supporting and helping to stay in power.

[….]

China cannot go ahead with its course of transforming itself into a superpower without intensifying the exploitation of the broad working masses at home. The United States of America and the other capitalist states will seek to secure superprofits from the capital they will’ invest there, they will also press for rapid and radical transformations of the base and superstructure of Chinese society in the capitalist direction. The intensification of the exploitation of the multimillion strong masses to maintain the Chinese bourgeoisie and its gigantic bureaucratic apparatus and to meet the repayment of the credits and interest to the foreign capitalists, will undoubtedly give rise to deep contradictions between the Chinese proletariat and peasantry, on the one hand, and the bourgeois-revisionist rulers, on the other. This will bring the latter into confrontation with the working masses of their own country, a thing which cannot fail to lead to sharp conflicts and revolutionary outbursts in China.”

Enver Hoxha, “Imperialism and the Revolution” Excerpts from “China’s Plan to Become a Superpower”

V.I. Lenin on Communist Morality

558969_460823867294695_1659777262_n

“The entire purpose of training, educating and teaching the youth of today should be to imbue them with communist ethics.

But is there such a thing as communist ethics? Is there such a thing as communist morality? Of course, there is. It is often suggested that we have no ethics of our own; very often the bourgeoisie accuse us Communists of rejecting all morality. This is a method of confusing the issue, of throwing dust in the eyes of the workers and peasants.

In what sense do we reject ethics, reject morality?

In the sense given to it by the bourgeoisie, who based ethics on God’s commandments. On this point we, of course, say that we do not believe in God, and that we know perfectly well that the clergy, the landowners and the bourgeoisie invoked the name of God so as to further their own interests as exploiters. Or, instead of basing ethics on the commandments of morality, on the commandments of God, they based it on idealist or semi-idealist phrases, which always amounted to something very similar to God’s commandments.

We reject any morality based on extra-human and extra-class concepts. We say that this is deception, dupery, stultification of the workers and peasants in the interests of the landowners and capitalists.

We say that our morality is entirely subordinated to the interests of the proletariat’s class struggle. Our morality stems from the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat.

The old society was based on the oppression of all the workers and peasants by the landowners and capitalists. We had to destroy all that, and overthrow them but to do that we had to create unity. That is something that God cannot create.

This unity could be provided only by the factories, only by a proletariat trained and roused from its long slumber. Only when that class was formed did a mass movement arise which has led to what we have now — the victory of the proletarian revolution in one of the weakest of countries, which for three years has been repelling the onslaught of the bourgeoisie of the whole world. We can see how the proletarian revolution is developing all over the world. On the basis of experience, we now say that only the proletariat could have created the solid force which the disunited and scattered peasantry are following and which has withstood all onslaughts by the exploiters. Only this class can help the working masses unite, rally their ranks and conclusively defend, conclusively consolidate and conclusively build up a communist society.

That is why we say that to us there is no such thing as a morality that stands outside human society; that is a fraud. To us morality is subordinated to the interests of the proletariat’s class struggle.”

- V.I. Lenin, “The Tasks of the Youth Leagues”

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia on Wilhelm Pieck

okt53_pieck

Pieck, Wilhelm 

Born Jan. 3, 1876, in Guben; died Sept. 7, 1960, in Berlin. Prominent figure in the German and international workers’ movements and in the party and state organizations of the German Democratic Republic.

The son of a worker, Pieck was a carpenter by trade. He joined the woodworkers’ union in 1894 and the Social Democratic Party of Germany in 1895. From 1899 to 1906 he was chairman of a district organization of the party, and from 1906 to 1910 he was secretary of the party’s city organization in Bremen. In April 1910 he was elected second secretary of the party’s Central Educational Committee and secretary of the Central Party School in Berlin. Pieck was an adherent of the party’s left wing, which was led by K. Liebknecht, R. Luxemburg, F. Mehring, and K. Zetkin, with all of whom he was closely associated. In the summer of 1913 he condemned the approval of military expenditures by the Social Democratic faction in the Reichstag. After the beginning of World War I, he joined the struggle against the annexationist policies of German imperialism and against the policy of Burgfrieden, or civil truce, of the party’s right-wing leaders. Pieck was arrested several times. Along with Liebknecht and Luxemburg, he made a substantial contribution to the cause of uniting the left-wing Social Democrats. After the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, he called on the German working class to make use of the revolution’s experience. In November 1918 he entered the central leadership of the Spartacus League. He took an active part in preparing and carrying out the November Revolution of 1918 in Germany.

Pieck was one of the founders of the Communist Party of Germany (CPG). At the party’s Constituent Congress, which was held from Dec. 30, 1918, to Jan. 1, 1919, he was elected a member of the Central Committee of the CPG; he remained a member right up to the formation of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. He belonged to the party’s Marxist-Leninist nucleus, which, led by E. Thälmann, waged a consistent struggle against H. Brandler’s right-opportunist group and later against the “ultra-leftists.” Pieck made an important contribution to the transformation of the CPG into a mass party. From 1921 he was repeatedly elected to the Prussian landtag. From 1928 he was elected to the Reichstag, and from 1929, to the Berlin municipal council and the Prussian state council. He utilized the parliamentary rostrum of the bourgeois state to carry on propaganda for the political program of the CPG. At the Sixth Congress of the Comintern in 1928, he was elected to the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI). In 1931 he became a member of the Presidium and the Secretariat of the ECCI.

After the establishment of the fascist dictatorship in Germany in 1933, Pieck worked for the creation of a united front against fascism. In accordance with a decision of the Central Committee of the CPG, he left Germany in May 1933. Together with F. Dahlem and W. Florin, he formed in Paris the leadership abroad of the CPG. At the Seventh Congress of the Comintern in 1935, he presented the report of the ECCI. He fought for the implementation of the Popular Front policy and for the development of a broad antifascist movement. At the Brussels Conference of the CPG in 1935, Pieck was elected chairman of the party’s Central Committee. At that conference, he showed the need for the creation of a united workers’ front and a popular antifascist front in Germany. In a report at the Bern Conference of the CPG, which was held from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, 1939, he called on all patriotic forces to unite to save the German people from the danger of war, and he spoke in support of the program for a new, democratic republic in Germany.

During World War II, Pieck denounced German imperialism’s claims to world domination and called on the German people to overthrow the fascist dictatorship and take their fate into their own hands. As one of the leaders of the national committee Free Germany, which was established in the USSR in 1943, he carried on much explanatory work among German prisoners of war in the USSR, particularly among senior officers and generals.

After the liberation of the German people from fascism, Pieck took an active part in the work to democratize and denazify Germany and to eliminate the consequences of fascist rule. He played an important role in ending the schism in the workers’ movement, in unifying the CPG and the Social Democratic Party in the eastern part of Germany, and in the creation of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in April 1946. From 1946 to 1954, Pieck and O. Grotewohl were cochairmen of the new party. Between 1949 and 1960 he was a member of the Politburo of the Central Board and later of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the party. He was president of the German Democratic Republic from its formation in October 1949. He was a tireless fighter against war, for peace and security among nations, for the construction of socialism in the German Democratic Republic, and for the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and the CPSU and between the peoples of the German Democratic Republic and the USSR.

Pieck was granted the title of Hero of Labor in 1951. He was awarded the Order of Karl Marx, the gold order For Services to the Fatherland, the Banner of Labor, and other orders.

WORKS

Gesammelte Reden und Schriften. vols. 1-3, 5. Berlin, 1959-72.
Reden und Aufsätze: Auswahl aus den Jahren 1908-1950, vols. 1-4. Berlin, 1950-55.
Der neue Weg zum gemeinsamen Kampf für den Sturz der Hitlerdiktatur. Berlin, 1957.
Im Kampf um die Arbeitereinheit und die deutsche Volksfront, 1936-1938. Berlin, 1955.
Zur Geschichte der Kommunistischen Partei Deutschlands: 30 Jahre Kampf. Berlin, 1949.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizv. Moscow, 1956.

REFERENCES

Pieck, W. Bilder und Dokumente aus dem Leben des ersten deutschen Arbeiterpräsidenten. Berlin, 1955.
Pieck, W. Gedenkbuch. Berlin, 1961.
Vosske, H. Wilhelm Pieck. Leipzig, 1974.
Hufeld, D. W. Pieck: Bibliographie. [Rostock, 1960.]

V. I. TSAPANOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.