“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.”
– Trotsky, Letter to Chkeidze, 1913
“During the ten years of my present exile the Kremlin’s literary agents have systematically relieved themselves of the need to answer pertinently anything I write about the U. S. S. R. by alluding to my “hatred” of Stalin. Yet Stalin and I have been separated by events so fiery that they have consumed in flames and reduced to ashes everything personal. Stalin is my enemy. But Hitler, too, is my enemy, and so is Mussolini, and so are many others. Today there remains in me as little personal feeling toward Stalin as toward General Franco or the Mikado.”
– Leon Trotsky, “Did Stalin Poison Lenin?”
“Being an irreconcilable opponent not only of fascism but also of the present-day Comintern, I am at the same time decidedly against the suppression of either of them.”
– Trotsky, Why I Agreed to Appear Before the Dies Committee, 1939.
“Trotsky is the puttana of fascism.”
– Antonio Gramsci
“I know that there are, of course, sages who think they are very clever and even call themselves Socialists, who assert that power should not have been seized until the revolution had broken out in all countries. They do not suspect that by speaking in this way they are deserting the revolution and going over to the side of the bourgeoisie. To wait until the toiling classes bring about a revolution on an international scale means that everybody should stand stock-still in expectation. That is nonsense.”
– Lenin, Speech delivered at a joint meeting of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Moscow Soviet, 14th May 1918, Collected Works, Vol. 23, p. 9.
Revisionism in Russia: Trotsky Against the Bolsheviks
Trotskyism is Not Leninism
Troskyism, in the fight for working class, must be exposed and fought against as an unscientific and reactionary thought. Leon Trotsky himself was an arrogant petty-bourgeois who was expelled from the Communist Party and the Soviet Union for attempting to form factions within Soviet society. As an ideology, Trotskyism is revisionism; it is the perversion of Marxism-Leninism to suit the needs of the exploiters as well as Leon Trotsky. Trotskyites claim that Lenin and Trotsky were comrades before the Russian Revolution who were very much in agreement with one another. Nothing can be further from the truth. Trotsky’s arrogance in his own claims of ideological superiority can be summed up by Trotsky himself the best:
“Among the Russian comrades, there was not one from whom I could learn anything…The errors which I have committed . . always referred to questions that were not fundamental or strategic. . . In all conscientiousness I cannot, in the appreciation of the political situation and of its revolutionary perspectives, accuse myself of any serious errors of judgment” (Trotsky, 184-185).
“At the moment when it seized the power and created the Soviet republic, Bolshevism drew to itself all the best elements in the currents of Socialist thought that were nearest to it’. Can there be even a shadow of doubt that when he spoke so deliberately of the best representatives of the currents closest to Bolshevism, Lenin had foremost in mind what is now called ‘historical Trotskyism?’ . . Whom else could he have had in mind?” (Trotsky, 353).
Lenin also saw through Trotsky’s arrogance:
“Trotsky is very fond of explaining historical events . . in pompous and sonorous phrases, in a manner flattering to Trotsky” (Lenin, SW #4 194).
“What a swine this Trotsky is — Left phrases and a bloc with the Right . . ! He ought to be exposed” (Lenin, CW #35 285).
What is Trotskyism?
To learn about Trotskyism we must firstly learn about Trotsky’s activities as described by the former CPUSA leader William Z. Foster:
“Trotsky, whose whole history stamped him as an unstable petty-bourgeois radical and who did not join up with the Bolsheviks until 1917, was a confirmed factionalist and opportunist. Even after he joined the party, he continued his opposition to Lenin on many points. When Lenin was in his final illness, during the autumn of 1923, Trotsky made a bid to capture the leadership of the Communist Party. He gathered together the several small opposition groups then in the party and issued an oppositional program, the ‘Declaration of the Fourty-Six’. The substance of this was to accuse the party leadership of gross bureaucracy, to instigate the youth against the party, to pronounce the N.E.P. [the New Economic Program in the Soviet Union which was began by V.I. Lenin. -Author] a complete retreat, to demand freedom to build factional groupings, to condemn the party for the defeat of the German and Hungarian revolutions, and blame the many economic difficulties upon party mismanagement, and to pronounce the Russian Revolution itself in a state of ‘Thermidorean degeneration’…” (Foster).
“…the fate of the Revolution in Russia [was] at stake…[and also] the world communist movement. A victory for the Trotsky forces would have been a decisive success for the world reaction” (Foster).
“…Trotsky, who had been expelled from the Soviet Union in 1929, organized abroad the ‘Fourth International’ in 1933, which was composed of skeleton groups in many countries. Among it’s other counter-revolutionary activities, it openly advocated the violent overthrow of the Russian Communist Party leadership and the Soviet government. In Spain, China and elsewhere, Trotskyites were proved to be police spies. [This last sentence was footnoted with a reference to the ‘Communist International’, January, 1939 -Author]” (Foster).
Trotskyites, of course, will begin screaming from the sidelines of the class struggle against the “evils of Stalinism,” not capitalism, when they read these quotes by the militant former leader of the Communist Party USA. Lenin commented that Trotsky and his allies had formed “a group of intellectuals” ready to join in a “most unprincipled alliance of bourgeois intellectuals against the workers” (Lenin 382, 346). Trotsky disguised his unending struggle against the formation of a Bolshevik party in Russia capable of leading the proletariat and seizing power with arguments that his views on the Party and the progress of revolutionary struggle in Russia were a development of Marxism and the ideas of scientific socialism. Lenin pointed out that Trotsky’s tricks were those of a man who knew little of what he spoke:
“Trotsky has never yet held a firm opinion on any important question of Marxism. He always contrives to worm his way into the cracks of any given difference of opinion” (Lenin, CW #17 447-448).
In exposing the Trotskyites, Lenin observed that “they make out all the time that what they ‘want’ and what are their ‘opinions’, interpretations, ‘views’ are the demands of the working-class movement.” This he saw as “one of the greatest, if not the greatest, faults (or crimes against the working class) of the…Trotskyites.” (Lenin, CW #17 382) When we consider the actual objective class forces instead of Trotskyite phrase-mongering, we learn that the Trotskyites attempted to disrupt the united front against fascism and, in this way, they objectively aided world reaction.
“Not for nothing did the founder of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci, when he was in prison and found out that some of the political prisoners were in danger of falling under Trotskyite influence, transmitted his laconic warning through the prison cells: ‘Trotsky is the puttana [a vulgar word for a prostitute] of fascism” (Togliatti 210).
As a working class movement, the proletariat must make a consideration of objective class forces and not be swayed by “revolutionary” Trotskyite phrase-mongering that is rightist in essence. Seven key points must be made to contrast Trotskyism and Marxism-Leninism. They are as follows:
1) Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, do not attempt to “jump over” the various stages of revolution. Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, believe that necessary objective conditions must be present before advancing to the socialist revolution. Leon Trotsky advocated “jumping over” the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia and proposed leaping immediately to the proletarian revolution. History confirms that Trotsky’s line would have condemned the proletariat to isolation in Russia’s bourgeois-democratic revolution and set back the struggle for socialism.
2) Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, join, support, and build the general democratic movements. Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, believe that the struggle for democratic rights under capitalism is important for the working class.
3) Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, believe in the correctness and ability of the working class to have allies to rally and lead in the revolutionary struggle. Leon Trotsky also advocated rejecting the peasantry as a potential revolutionary ally of the working class.
4) Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, are not orientated on “revolutionary wars which export revolution” that do not take into account the objective class relations within a given country. Marxist-Leninists understand that revolutions mature when the class contradictions within a given country are heightened to the point of national crisis and do not believe that revolution can be spread “by red bayonets” from the socialist countries. It must be pointed out that Leon Trotsky advocated provocations which would have proved disastrous to the Soviet Union. Lenin showed that “[Trotsky’s] ringing phrases about ‘revolutionary war’ served as a screen for petty-bourgeois adventurers, who objectively were helping the enemies of the revolution. Addressing the supporters of ‘revolutionary war’, he announced: ‘…In your objective role, you are a tool of imperialist provocation. And your subjective ‘mentality’ is that of a frenzied petty bourgeois.’” (Lenin, CW #27 330).
5) Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, believe that socialism can be built and consolidated in one country. Marxist-Leninists, and not Trotskyites, supported and defended the former socialist Soviet Union. Leon Trotsky and the Trotskyites went to the lengths of asserting that the practice of building socialism in the former Soviet Union would serve the interests of the international bourgeoisie and not the working class.
6) Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, do not swim in the sewer of crude anti-Sovietism and absolute condemnation of the former socialist Soviet Union from 1917-1956. It must be stressed that the history of Trotskyism has been the history of the petty-bourgeois Trotskyite slandering of the former socialist Soviet Union. Throughout the history of socialism, when the anti-communists sought to build up their arguments against socialism, they took to the Trotskyite statements as “undeniable proof” about the “problems” of building socialism. When they wanted to drive a knife into the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and other Communist Parties, they looked to the Trotskyites, who claim the cause of international revolutionary struggle was “betrayed” by the Soviet Union. The anti-communists come in many shades, but their useful puppets are Trotskyites.
7) Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, join, support and build the Communist Parties.
Trotskyism is not a scientific system of philosophical, economic and socio-political views like those that make up the world outlook of the working class. It must be asserted that the theory and practice of Trotskyism is diametrically opposed to Marxism-Leninism. Marxism-Leninism is a scientific system of philosophical, economic and socio-political views that make up the world outlook of the working class. It is a science of revolutionary transformation of the world, concerned with the laws that form the development of nature, society, thought and class society. It provides a guide to action to overthrow capitalism. It is the ideology that has had the only proven success to build socialism. It is a living and breathing theory, a theory forged from the experience of the struggle and creative actions of the masses, and an indispensable guide to action.
Trotskyites do not uphold the the scientific theories pounded by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, nor do they hold onto any unity or principles, as can be shown in their political parties which are known and famous throughout the world for forming factions within factions. Marxist-Leninists, unlike Trotskyites, have never, at any point of history or today, recognized the Trotskyite “Fourth International” as a body of communists.
“The history of the ‘Fourth International’ was the history of wrangling and squabbles between the ill-assorted Trotskyite groups [….] The ‘Fourth International’ was knocked together [in the 1930s] on the basis of an ephemeral union of several Trotskyite groups, who had no sort of organizational ties apart from their statement that they belonged to this ‘International.’ [….] They were recruited, as a rule, from among persons who had been expelled from the Communist parties, or from a variety of adventurers with anti-communist leanings. Every type of renegade, attempting to hide his hatred of the Soviet Union and the Communist parties with a ‘left phrase’, could find a welcome there. They came predominantly out of the petty-bourgeois and bourgeois intellectual circles as far as their social status was concerned…” (Basmanov).
Comrades who wish to uphold Marxism-Leninism, working class practice and the communist movement must define their attitude against Trotskyism.
Further Revisionism of the Trotskyites
Leon Trotsky was a provocateur who advocated that the Soviet Union “carry the revolution on bayonets” to the capitalist world. Trotsky was extremely adventurist and his advocacy for spreading revolution by foreign intervention would have inevitably been to the detriment of the working class.
“He [Trotsky] considered the Great October Socialist Revolution merely as a jumping-off ground for carrying the war into the capitalist world. In his view, the October Revolution could only influence the march of world history if it could immediately provoke, ‘stimulate’ and ‘push’ revolutions [militarily] in the whole world…” (Basmanov).
“…Trotsky also asserted that the Russian proletariat was not ready for revolution, and therefore it would be no great loss if it was unable to sustain a fight with the bourgeoisie. He said: ‘A bourgeois victory against us would be a blow to the revolutionary movement in Europe, but it would not be comparable to what took place after the Paris Commune…The European proletariat is more ripe for socialism than we are. Even if we were destroyed, there is not the slightest doubt that there could not be such a historical gap as there was after the Paris Commune’” (Basmanov).
While advocating world revolution and “revolutionary wars,” Trotsky the provocateur was trying to rob the working class movement of its revolutionary bulwark in the Soviet Union.
“Lenin convincingly proved that these views had nothing in common with Marxism, which rejects the ‘pushing’ of revolutions. Revolutions mature in the first place when class contradictions within a country are exacerbated to the point of national crisis” (Basmanov).
Many people in our nation who may be attracted to communism and Marxism can be unknowingly fooled and misdirected by the numerous Trotskyites. They will be taught to call any revolutionary Marxist-Leninist organization, including ours, “Stalinists” before they retreat from the class struggle. We must try to win over these people with challenges to the Trotskyites on their merits and theories, if they have any. Marxism-Leninism as a working class weapon must destroy all myths propagated by the petty-bourgeois Trotskyites. We must, as a people, expose it for what it is: the puttana of fascism.
“Trotskyism consists of unprincipled maneuvers in various petty-bourgeois strata, and speculation on the weaknesses of the petty-bourgeois section of the revolutionary movement. The history of Trotskyism bears witness to the fact that it has continuously sought help among various strata of the petty bourgeoisie. Like a reckless gambler trying to improve his position by changing his stakes, it has flung itself into the most diverse political combinations, relying on the support of one section of the petty bourgeoisie today, another tomorrow, and a third the day after…”
“…Trotskyism is anti-revolution under the mask of ‘Left’ phrases. For several decades now Trotskyites have shown how it is possible to support the revolution in words, while actually undermining and hindering its realization.”
“Trotskyism is rather like the limplets that cling to the bottom of a ship and travel with it. Sometimes the limpets can even slow down the speed of the ship. The Trotskyites have always tried to attach themselves to the organized revolutionary movement…”
“…At each stage of this political mimicry, the Trotskyites strained every nerve to delay the development of the world revolutionary process.”
“At first this was apparent in their prophecies that the socialist revolution had no prospects in Russia, later in their opposition to the plan for building socialism in the Soviet Union, later still in their malicious attempts to slander the already existing socialist society and undermine the faith of the revolutionary fighters in the correctness of the strategy and tactics of the Communist Parties.”
“’The bible on their tongues, and malice in their hearts’ used to be said earlier of hypocrites and pharisees, who disguised their wicked deeds and vile intentions by alleging that they were moved by the desire to defend the interests of their religion. This is more or less how Trotskyites have behaved and behave now.
“The Trotskyites accompany their disruptive actions in the international revolutionary movement with declarations that this is demanded…by the interests of revolution. Whatever wrong the Trotskyites did—whether the creation of an anti-Bolshevik bloc in the pre-October period [pre-socialist revolution in 1917 Russia], the formation of factions in the Party in the twenties, anti-republican maneuvers in the years of the Civil War in Spain [the Trotskyites didn’t support the popular front government which was fighting the fascists], actual co-operation with the forces of fascism on the eve of the Second World War, or provocations in Peru between 1963 and 1966 and in France in 1968—each time anti-revolutionary activity was justified by the allegation that it was carried out to speed the revolution.”
“Present-day Trotskyites try to present themselves in their propaganda as ‘consistent followers of Marx’. This trick has obviously been calculated to impress those who know little or nothing about the long-drawn-out struggle which Marxist-Leninists have waged and are waging against the Trotskyites, who are the confirmed enemies of the revolutionary cause” (Basmanov).
Trotskyism seems to take on pseudo-leftist slogans, but in reality has no place in the workers’ movement. As a result, Trotskyism has been at no front of revolution like the so-called “Stalinists” in the Third World. This is due to the nature of the parties that tow a Trotskyite line. Very few leadership roles are actually proletarian in nature but in fact are petty-bourgeois or bourgeois intellectuals who naturally impose their views on the proletarians.
“Trotskyism ignores the revolutionary capacities of the working class. Attitude to the working class—the greatest revolutionary force in history—has always been like a watershed, which has made it possible to distinguish between real and false revolutionaries. The true revolutionary raises the proletariat up to class struggle, awakens its revolutionary energy, instills confidence in its forces, and, being himself always in the front ranks, shares with the proletariat the joy of victory and the bitterness of defeat. The false revolutionary, at best, is only capable of paying lip-service to the vanguard role of the proletariat in the anti-imperialist struggle. In practice he is afraid of revolution, and arouses in the working class harmful and dangerous attitudes of distrust in its own strength and an over-estimation of the potential of the class enemy. He belittles successes in the revolutionary struggle, and gloats over misfortunes. His ‘left-wing’ phrases are intricately interwoven with defeatism.”
“Throughout its history, Trotskyism, this typically false form of revolutionism, has remained true to itself. Every time that the course of world class struggle demanded a concentration of forces from the proletariat, an enhancement of its organisation and unity, the Trotskyites came out with political assessments that demobilised and weakened the working class. They frightened people with the difficulties ahead and talked of inevitable defeat” (Basmanov).
In terms of determining the future of the communist movement and the liberation of the proletariat, in the time of imperialism only Marxism-Leninism has proven successful.
Basmanov, M.I. Contemporary Trotskyism: Its Anti-Revolutionary Nature. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1972. Print.
Foster, William Z. History of the Three Internationals. International Publishers, 1955. Print.
Lenin, V.I. Collected Works, Vol. 17. 382, 346, 447-448. Print.
Lenin, V.I. Collected Works. Vol. 27. 330. Print.
Lenin, V.I. Letter to Alexandra Kollontai. Collected Works Vol. 35. Moscow: 1966. 285. Print.
Lenin, V.I. Violation Of Unity under Cover Of Cries for Unity. Selected Works, Vol. 4. London: 1943. 194. Print.
Togliatti, Palmiro. Selected Articles and Speeches. Vol. 1. Moscow: 1965. 210. Print.
Trotsky, Leon. My Life. New York, NY: 1970. 184-353. Print.
Trotskyism: A History of Betrayal
The American Party of Labor, and Marxism-Leninism more importantly, regards Trotskyism as pseudo-communism and a Fifth Column in the working class movement to de-fang and demoralize the struggle for socialism. It is the aim of this work to attempt to expose the counterrevolutionary nature of Leon Trotsky and the Trotskyites, their ultra-leftist and purist revolutionary rhetoric non-withstanding. Marxism and Trotskyism are irreconcilably opposed to one another.
Those claiming to be Marxists must continue to educate and struggle against the widespread falsification of history that is occurring due to the purposeful efforts of the Trotskyites. This work is by no means to be considered a comprehensive history of the betrayal on the part of Trotsky himself or his present-day followers. We positively cannot present a complete and total examination of their views in one work. A book of considerable length would be required for such an undertaking. Instead, we seek to give a quick and hopefully convenient summation of Trotsky and Trotskyism’s past betrayals of socialism and quote key parts and examples of them. By doing this we aspire to impart some further knowledge as to the political history and goals of Trotskyism. The American Party of Labor hopes to make its thesis crystal clear: Trotskyism must be exposed as a reactionary and anti-working class ideology. Trotskyism is not Marxism and certainly not Leninism.
Trotskyism’s main foundation is not the foundation of socialism, but rather sabotaging socialism. No matter the conditions of the country, Trotskyites operate in the same manner—famous Trotskyist CLR James called the USSR a “fascist state” from his safe perch in the United States in 1941, at a time when overseas 26 million Soviet soldiers and civilians were giving their lives precisely to save the world from fascism. Whether Trotskyism manifests itself in Tony Cliff remaining “neutral” on US imperialism slaughtering millions in Korea or the Shachtmanites openly supporting the imperialist occupation in Vietnam, whether Trotskyism manifests in Trotsky himself calling for Stalin’s assassination and collaborating with the Japanese and Germans to do so, or in his friend Diego Rivera turning in Mexican “Stalinists,” or in George Orwell handing a similar list to British Intelligence (happily marking “Jew” next to certain names as we shall show), Trotskyites are the best friends of the bourgeoisie and the fascists.
Briefly on Lenin & Trotsky
One very popular myth is that Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky were comrades-in-arms and were very close both personally and politically. The origins of this idea, regarded in the West as an unquestionable historical dogma, come from the writings and claims of Trotsky himself. It is common to hear teachers in our American schools announce that it was obvious that Trotsky, and not Stalin, was the successor to Lenin, and even that Lenin had wanted Trotsky to be leader after he died. In this narrative, Leninism and Trotskyism are one and the same; Trotsky was the most brilliant Marxist to ever live next to Lenin himself; some go so far as to say Lenin was a Trotskyist. This fanciful myth states that Lenin and Trotsky were two sides of the same coin, that their political beliefs were more or less identical, and had Trotsky come to power rather than Stalin, the world would have somehow turned out for the better. This narrative ends with the tragic Shakespearean tale of Trotsky being deprived of his birthright and place in history as emperor of the Soviet Union by the low-class and mediocre personality of the Machiavellian Asiatic despot Joseph Stalin.
Anyone who has made some study, let alone a deep study, of Lenin’s works cannot help but know of the total falsity of this myth. This historical dogma is a brazen lie, a distortion of facts. As Lenin said:
“Everybody knows that Trotsky is fond of high-sounding and empty phrases. [….] There is much glitter and sound in Trotsky’s phrases, but they are meaningless. [….] Trotsky is very fond of using, with the learned air of the expert, pompous and high-sounding phrases to explain historical phenomena in a way that is flattering to Trotsky” (Lenin, CW 20, 330-5).
It was actually on Lenin’s proposal that the Central Committee elected Joseph Stalin as General Secretary in April 1922. Leon Trotsky was a Menshevik who violently attacked Lenin and Bolshevism every step of the way until they seized power in Russia. Trotsky was the only major Communist Party leader who did not attend Lenin’s funeral. He was never considered for the position of leader of the Party. Trotsky’s program was defeated in a landslide at the 13th Party Congress in 1924 and at the 15th Party Congress in 1927, the latter by a vote of 740,000 to 4,000. Trotsky was expelled from the USSR and the Communist Party after trying to undermine the Soviet state with demonstrations and trying to create a faction in the Party after his program was defeated. Once exiled by majority vote, he planned coordinated sabotage and assassinations of Party leaders and called for a new revolution in the Soviet Union to place himself in power. He escaped to the West, where he served the imperialist powers, including the FBI and Gestapo until his execution at the hands of Ramón Mercader in 1940.
Lenin saw through Trotsky’s opportunism and spoke of him and his theories, including so-called Permanent Revolution, thusly:
“The old participants in the Marxist movement in Russia know Trotsky very well, and there is no need to discuss him for their benefit. But the younger generation of workers do not know him, and it is therefore necessary to discuss him. [….] Trotsky was an ardent Iskrist in 1901—03, and Ryazanov described his role at the Congress of 1903 as ‘Lenin’s cudgel’. At the end of 1903, Trotsky was an ardent Menshevik, i. e., he deserted from the Iskrists to the Economists. He said that ‘between the old Iskra and the new lies a gulf’. In 1904—05, he deserted the Mensheviks and occupied a vacillating position, now co-operating with Martynov (the Economist), now proclaiming his absurdly Left ‘permanent revolution’ theory. In 1906—07, he approached the Bolsheviks, and in the spring of 1907 he declared that he was in agreement with Rosa Luxemburg. In the period of disintegration, after long ‘non-factional’ vacillation, he again went to the right, and in August 1912, he entered into a bloc with the liquidators. He has now deserted them again, although in substance he reiterates their shoddy ideas” (CW 20, 346-7).
“Trotsky has never yet held a firm opinion on any important question of Marxism. He always contrives to worm his way into the cracks of any given difference of opinion” (CW 20, 448-9).
“Trotsky, on the other hand, represents only his own personal vacillations and nothing more. In 1903 he was a Menshevik; he abandoned Menshevism in 1904, returned to the Mensheviks in 1905 and merely flaunted ultra- revolutionary phrases; in 1906 he left them again; at the end of 1906 he advocated electoral agreements with the Cadets (i.e., he was in once more with the Mensheviks); and the spring of 1907, at the London Congress, he said that he differed from Rosa Luxemburg on ‘individual shades of ideas rather than on political tendencies’. One day Trotsky plagiarizes from the ideological stock-in-trade of one faction; the next day he plagiarizes from that of another, and therefore declares himself to be standing above both factions” (CW 16, 391).
Trotskyism is not a form of communism—it is a form of anti-communism, a form of the most opportunistic, Euro-centric, idealist and petty-bourgeois variety. Trotsky announced from the very beginning of the October Revolution that he was not a Marxist:
“I cannot be called a Bolshevik… We must not be demanded to recognise Bolshevism” (Trotsky, “Mezhrayontsi Conference”).
Lenin also did not consider Trotsky to be a Bolshevik:
“Trotsky distorts Bolshevism, for Trotsky never has been able to get any definite views on the role of the proletariat in the Russian bourgeois revolution. Much worse, however, is his distortion of the history of that revolution” (CW 16, 381).
Through many open struggles and unflattering nicknames such as “Judas Trotsky,” Lenin made his opinions about Trotsky well-known:
“What a swine this Trotsky is—Left phrases, and a bloc with the Right against the Zimmerwald Left! He ought to be exposed if only in a brief letter” (Letter to Alexandra Kollontai).
“Trotsky arrived, and this scoundrel at once came to an understanding with the Right-wing of Novy Mir against the Left Zimmerwaldians! Just so! That is just like Trotsky! He is always equal to himself – twists, swindles, poses as a Left, helps the Right, so long as he can” (Lenin, quoted in “Labour Monthly”).
Lenin also criticized
“Trotsky’s utter lack of theoretical understanding” (CW 16, 390)
and said that the
“reason why Trotsky avoids facts and concrete references is because they relentlessly refute all his angry outcries and pompous phrases […] Is not this weapon borrowed from the arsenal of the period when Trotsky posed in all his splendor before audiences of high-school boys?” (Lenin, CW 20, 346).
The words of the father of the Russian Revolution carry over to this day when speaking of present-day Trotskyism. Like his followers today, Leon Trotsky was the friend of anti-Marxists.
“Trotsky unites all those to whom ideological decay is dear, all who are not concerned with the defence of Marxism; all philistines who do not understand the reasons for the struggle and who do not wish to learn, think, and discover the ideological roots of the divergence of views. At this time of confusion, disintegration, and wavering it is easy for Trotsky to become the ‘hero of the hour’ and gather all the shabby elements around himself. The more openly this attempt is made, the more spectacular will be the defeat” (Lenin, CW 17, 22).
Trotsky too, was very clear in his opinions about Lenin and Leninism:
“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” (Trotsky, Letter to Nikolay Chkeidze).
“Trotsky concentrated his energies on fighting Lenin, the Bolsheviks. He frankly stated that he saw this as the main purpose of his political activity. The congratulatory postcard to Joffe (1910) is sufficiently widely known; in it Trotsky urged ‘a great fight’ against Lenin, and threatened that in it ‘Lenin will meet his death.’” (Basmanov).
The opportunism of Trotsky is presented here for all to see. Despite these obvious admissions of not being a Marxist, a Bolshevik, or a communist of any sort, and despite openly being an ardent opponent of Vladimir Lenin, Trotsky and the Trotskyites later tried their best to cultivate the image of the most “pure,” the most “proletarian” and the most “orthodox” Marxists, even going so far as to call themselves “Bolshevik-Leninists,” an ironic label for the followers of a man who had done his best to destroy the world’s first socialist state. Trotsky would go on to write whole volumes trying to set himself up as a loyal follower of Lenin after his death:
“…had I not been present in 1917 in St. Petersburg, the October Revolution would still have taken place—on the condition that Lenin was present and in command. If neither Lenin nor I had been present in Petersburg, there would have been no October Revolution: the leadership of the Bolshevik Party would have prevented it from occurring—of this I have not the slightest doubt” (Trotsky, Diary in Exile 46).
The truth is that Leon Trotsky was a reactionary, his theories lack a Marxist framework and only serve reaction. The issue of Trotskyism and ultra-leftism is important and still a disease plaguing the entire world left. This includes the precious gem of the Trotskyites, what Lenin called the “absurdly Left ‘permanent revolution’ theory.”
“The development of capitalism proceeds extremely unevenly in the various countries. It cannot be otherwise under the commodity production system. From this, it follows irrefutably that Socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois for some time” (Lenin CW 23, 80).
“I know that there are, of course, sages who think they are very clever and even call themselves Socialists, who assert that power should not have been seized until the revolution had broken out in all countries. They do not suspect that by speaking in this way they are deserting the revolution and going over to the side of the bourgeoisie. To wait until the toiling classes bring about a revolution on an international scale means that everybody should stand stock-still in expectation. That is nonsense” (Lenin CW 23, 9).
Lenin frequently spoke about Trotsky and those like him:
“The younger generation of workers should know exactly whom they are dealing with, when individuals come before them with incredibly pretentious claims, unwilling absolutely to reckon with either the Party decisions, which since 1908 have defined and established our attitude towards liquidationism, or with the experience of the present-day working-class movement in Russia, which has actually brought about the unity of the majority on the basis of full recognition of the aforesaid decisions” (Lenin, CW 20, 330-5).
Trotsky violently disagreed with Lenin on many issues, including support of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which allowed Russia’s exit from World War I. The imperialist war had, up until that time, cost millions of Russian lives. Trotsky violated the democratic centralism of the party and unilaterally ceased negotiations, opening Russia up to invasion:
“Trotsky threw up his hands, telling the Germans that he would never agree to what they wanted [in the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty] and urging Lenin to adopt a ‘no war, no peace’ policy in which Russia would neither continue to fight nor agree to Germany’s terms […] The Ukrainian capital of Kiev fell to the Germans on March 1. Trotsky, furious, said that Russia should rejoin the Entente and resume the war. Lenin, fearing the capture of Petrograd and the destruction of his fledgling regime, moved his government to Moscow and said no” (Meyer 619-620).
Even in his death, Lenin was crystal clear about his opinions regarding Trotsky:
“[A]fter Lenin’s death we, nineteen men of the Executive Committee, sat together and anxiously awaited the advice which our leader would give us from the tomb. Lenin’s widow had brought us the letter. Stalin read it aloud to us. As he did so, nobody made a sound. When it came to speak of Trotsky, the letter […] said: ‘His un-Bolshevik past is not an accident.’ All at once Trotsky interrupted the reading and asked: ‘What was that?’ The sentence was repeated. These were the only words that were spoken during that solemn hour” (Ludwig 364).
The conclusion is crystal clear: Lenin and Trotsky were not political allies. Marxism-Leninism and Trotskyism from their very foundations were diametrically opposed to each other.
Trotsky in World War II: “Stalinism” is the Main Danger
On September 24, 1938, with the Nazi Army invading and occupying Czechoslovakia, the leading editorial in the New York Trotskyist newspaper Socialist Appeal declared:
“Czechoslovakia is one of the most monstrous national abortions produced by the labors of the infamous Versailles conference… Czechoslovakia’s democracy has never been more than a shabby cloak for advanced capitalist exploitation… This perspective necessarily entails the firmest revolutionary opposition to the Czechoslovakian bourgeois state, under any and all circumstances” (Kahn and Sayers 325).
Leon Trotsky’s political line against the socialist Soviet Union is echoed to this day by all reactionaries in the classroom, television and in the CIA and Washington. Even in the few short years after Trotsky’s counterrevolutionary scribbles were published it became fashionable for big capitalists to abandon open hatred of communism and instead adopt the position of Trotsky, or criticizing the Russian Revolution “from the left.” While the world faced the full onslaught of blitzkrieg and the genocidal bombing campaigns of the Nazi forces in World War II, and when the USSR with the guidance of the Communist Party and Joseph Stalin was almost single-handedly fighting this threat on behalf of all of humanity, the left-opposition led by the exiled Trotsky did all they possibly could to sabotage and wreck the USSR, even openly advocating terrorism and massive military attacks against the Soviet Union to destroy the Bolsheviks.
Trotsky in his own public pronouncements openly called for the overthrow of the Soviet state and speculated that a foreign invasion might provide the catalyst for a takeover by himself. Trotsky declared:
“[T]he bureaucracy can be crushed only by a new political revolution” (Trotsky, “The World Situation”).
“The reactionary bureaucracy must be and will be overthrown. The political revolution in the USSR is inevitable” (Trotsky, “Le gouvernement”).
“I consider the main source of danger to the USSR in the present international situation to be Stalin and the oligarchy headed by him. An open struggle against them […] is inseparably connected for me with the defense of the USSR” (Trotsky, “Stalin After the Finnish Experience”).
“Only the overthrow of the Bonapartist Kremlin clique can make possible the regeneration of the military strength of the USSR. Only the liquidation of the ex-Comintern will clear the way for revolutionary internationalism. The struggle against war, imperialism, and fascism demands a ruthless struggle against Stalinism, splotched with crimes. Whoever defends Stalinism directly or indirectly, whoever keeps silent about its betrayals or exaggerates its military strength is the worst enemy of the revolution, or socialism, of the oppressed peoples” (Trotsky, “A Fresh Lesson”).
In addition to these quotes, an entire section of Trotsky’s famous tome The Revolution Betrayed called “The Inevitability of a New Revolution” is dedicated to supporting a revolution against the existing state of the Soviet Union. Trotsky claims he seeks to make this revolution in the name of “true” socialism.
However, in calling for a revolution, he is advocating the overthrow and destruction of the existing state. The American Party of Labor believes the Soviet Union at that time was a socialist state in which the proletariat was the ruling class of society. Therefore, if one accepts this thesis, then clearly Trotsky’s plan was for the restoration of capitalism in the USSR. This would also be the dismantling of the Soviet state on the brink of invasion by fascist forces. If one needs further proof that Trotskyists are not communists, one only needs to look at their lack of preference for a socialist state over the bloodthirsty fascist regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito and Franco. To further the bourgeoisie’s ends, Trotsky and his follows began the line of moral equivalency between fascism and communism.
“In the second World War both fronts, the democratic as well as the fascist, are likely to be defeated — the one militarily, the other economically. No matter to which side the proletariat offers itself, it will be among the defeated. Therefore it must not side with the democracies, nor with the totalitarians” (Ruhle).
The word “totalitarians” in this case means both Hitler and Stalin. Of course, what are the “democracies” the author speaks of? Why, the free bourgeois-dominated lands of the UK, the United States and France of course! This is all par for the course with Trotskyism, which uncritically takes up the banner of the imperialist slur “totalitarianism,” a Cold War term invented by liberal intellectuals to find a way to equate the USSR with Nazi Germany. According to them, a socialist state is no better than the Axis Powers, and is much worse than the United States and Britain. Again, Trotskyites side with the imperialists and fascists against Leninism and socialism.
“The American Communist Party had always argued that it had no connections whatsoever with the Soviet government, but the fact of the matter is that the American Communist Party is in the same relation to the Soviet government as the paid agents of Nazi Germany in the United States are to the government of the Third Reich” (Trotsky, “The Comintern and the GPU”).
Despite this phrase-mongering and call for an overthrow, such a political revolution would never manifest. Indeed, Trotskyism has never had a revolution it can call its own. In contrast, all the successes of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics reveal the weakness of Trotsky’s theories and his exile, which left him so stricken with failure that he took money from the class enemies to desperately place himself in power. Marxism-Leninism defeated the Nazis while Trotskyism gave bourgeois academics another angle by which to attack socialism: must one ask which one has been more beneficial to the global proletariat?
Trotsky’s Phony Defense of the USSR
To this day, the Trotskyites insist that Leon Trotsky did not, in fact, call for a revolution against the USSR and the restoration of capitalism for the benefit of the bourgeoisie and fascists. That story is a blatant lie concocted by Stalinists, they insist. Workers Vanguard, a Trotskyite newspaper, said that the
“favorite charge of the Stalinists during this period was always that Trotsky allied with foreign powers to destroy the Soviet state. This was a bald-faced lie, as Trotsky always insisted that true Bolshevik-Leninists must unconditionally defend the historical gains of the October Revolution […]. Every single programmatic document of the Left Opposition, the International Communist League and the Fourth International proclaimed the unconditional defense of the USSR against capitalist restorationist forces and imperialist attack” (“Workers Vanguard”).
However, they immediately contradict themselves by admitting openly in the very same article that
“defense of the Soviet state required above all the ousting of the Stalinist regime which consistently sabotaged that defense” (“Workers Vanguard”).
As the quotes mentioned earlier prove, it is amazingly apparent in Trotsky’s writings that he supported not defense of the Soviet Union, but rather terrorism and wrecking against it.
“Inside the Party Stalin has put himself above all criticism and the State.”
“It is impossible to displace him except by assassination. Every oppositionist becomes, ipso facto, a terrorist” (New York Evening Journal).
“After the experiences of the last few years,” he continued, “it would be childish to suppose that the Stalinist bureaucracy can be removed by means of a party or soviet congress. In reality, the last congress of the Bolshevik Party took place at the beginning of 1923, the Twelfth Party Congress. All subsequent congresses were bureaucratic parades. Today, even such congresses have been discarded. No normal ‘constitutional’ ways remain to remove the ruling clique. The bureaucracy can be compelled to yield power into the hands of the proletarian vanguard only by force” (Trotsky The Class Nature of the Soviet State).
Trotsky insisted that
“[t]he Soviet population cannot rise to a higher level of culture without freeing itself from this humiliating subjection to a caste of usurpers. […] No devil ever yet voluntarily cut off his own claws. The Soviet bureaucracy will not give up its positions without a fight. The development leads obviously to the road of revolution” (Trotsky The Revolution Betrayed, 215).
The testimonies of many co-collaborators speak vividly of Trotsky’s desire to destroy the Soviet Union, kill the leadership and restore capitalism.
“Shortly before they left for Russia, Trotsky’s emissaries, Konon Berman-Yurin and Fritz David, were summoned to special conferences with Trotsky himself. The meetings took place in Copenhagen toward the end of November 1932. Konon Berman-Yurin later stated: ‘I had two meetings with him [Trotsky]. First of all he began to sound me on my work in the past. Then Trotsky passed to Soviet affairs. Trotsky said: ‘The principal question is the question of Stalin. Stalin must be physically destroyed.’ He said that other methods of struggle were now ineffective. He said that for this purpose people were needed who would dare anything, who would agree to sacrifice themselves for this, as he expressed it, historic task. . . .
In the evening we continued our conversation. I asked him how individual terrorism could be reconciled with Marxism. To this Trotsky replied: problems cannot be treated in a dogmatic way. He said that a situation had arisen in the Soviet Union which Marx could not have foreseen. Trotsky also said that in addition to Stalin it was necessary to assassinate Kaganovich and Voroshilov. . . .During the conversation he nervously paced up and down the room and spoke of Stalin with exceptional hatred. . . . He said that the terrorist act should, if possible, be timed to take place at a plenum or at the congress of the Comintern, so that the shot at Stalin would ring out in a large assembly.’” (Kahn and Sayers).
The opportunism of Trotsky and his followers knows no bounds. After his exile, Trotsky began to immediately lay the ground for a century of equating Hitler and Stalin with pronunciations such as:
“…the Soviet bureaucracy is similar to every other bureaucracy, especially the fascist” (Trotsky The Revolution Betrayed).
But even though it was Trotsky himself who was advocating the destruction if the USSR and championing the colonization of all of Europe by Hitler, to his last breath he claimed that co-called “Stalinism,” a slandering term invented by Trotsky for Marxism-Leninism, the very ideology he claimed to be upholding, was actually complicit with fascism:
“Fascism is winning victory after victory and its best ally, the one that is clearing its path throughout the world, is Stalinism” (Trotsky L’appareil, 238).
It should not surprise anyone that Leon Trotsky’s infamous novel The Revolution Betrayed is among the most popular of books among capitalists, fascists and reactionaries, and is a fiercely sold volume in all of the world’s ruling imperialist countries. No Lenin or Stalin will dare be found in your average American bookstore, but Trotsky’s slander remains shelved. Trotsky’s writings have been consistent in their fan base from the start:
“Adolf Hitler read Trotsky’s autobiography as soon as it was published. Hitler’s biographer, Konrad Heiden, tells in ‘Der Fuehrer’ how the Nazi leader surprised a circle of his friends in 1930 by bursting into rapturous praise of Trotsky’s book […] ‘Brilliant!’ cried Hitler, waving Trotsky’s ‘My Life’ at his followers. ‘I have learned a great deal and so can you!’” (Kahn and Sayers 216).
George Orwell’s List
To this day, it is still a practice of students in imperialist countries to be forced to read the mediocre novels of another Trotskyite, George Orwell, whom of course is always widely read and praised by Trotskyites not on the basis of art, but on the sheer basis of crude anti-communism. His writings Animal Farm and 1984 are still taken as an absolute dogma regarding the Soviet Union. The two fictional novels are taken as a realistic portrayal of what life under communism was truly like. This is in spite of Orwell admitting himself:
“I have never visited Russia and my knowledge of it consists only of what can be learned by reading books and newspapers” (Orwell 366).
The anti-Soviet and anti-communist streak of ultra-leftists with Trotskyite leanings such Orwell continues here unabated. After fighting in the Spanish Civil War with P.O.U.M. faction, Orwell fled Spain and submitted names of people he thought were to be communist sympathizers to the British Intelligence service and gave names of people he thought could be trusted to write anti-communist propaganda.
Timothy Garton Ash, a writer for The New York Review of Books, was given access to the archives of the British Foreign Office and was allowed to see the original list. He wrote that
“[t]here are 135 names in all…” (Ash).
Of the list of his former comrades he betrayed to the British imperialists, ash notes that they were
“especially important to anticommunist leftists like Orwell who were convinced, as he himself wrote, ‘that the destruction of the Soviet myth [is] essential if we want to revive the Socialist movement’” (Ash).
This list was assembled at the request of the British government.
“[O]n March 29, Celia came to visit him in Glouces-tershire; but she also came with a mission. She was working for this new department of the Foreign Office, trying to counter the assault waves of communist propaganda emanating from Stalin’s recently founded Comin- form. Could he help? As she recorded in her official memorandum of their meeting, Orwell ‘expressed his whole-hearted and enthusiastic approval of our aims’” (Ash).
This was the same “Celia,” a British agent, whom
“Robert Conquest, the veteran chronicler of Soviet terror, […] shared an office with Celia Kirwan and himself fell ‘madly in love’ with her” (Ash).
Notably, Ash reported that George Orwell felt the need to ethnically identify his communist and pro-Soviet comrades for the benefit of their enemies.
“One aspect of the notebook that shocks our contemporary sensibility is his ethnic labeling of people, especially the eight variations of ‘Jewish?’ (Charlie Chaplin), ‘Polish Jew,’ ‘English Jew,’ or ‘Jewess’” (Ash).
Fittingly enough, one of the benefits Orwell received for writing and submitting the list was promotion of his work by both the British government and the CIA:
“In Orwell’s case, [British Intelligence department IRD] supported Burmese, Chinese, and Arabic editions of his Animal Farm, commissioned a rather crude strip-cartoon version of the same book (giving the pig Major a Lenin beard, and the pig Napoleon a Stalin moustache, in case simple-minded readers didn’t get the point), and organized showings in ‘backward’ areas of the British Commonwealth of a CIA-financed—and politically distorted—animated film of Animal Farm” (Ash).
Aid to the Bourgeoisie & the FBI
There is a wide range of evidence that Trotsky and his followers collaborated with fascism and foreign intelligence services for political gain. It would be naive to dismiss the countless examples that show Trotskyites collaborating with rightists. In recent years, much information has come out on the role Trotskyism has played internationally, from their work with the Japanese occupiers in committing acts of espionage against the Chinese Revolution to Trotsky himself working as an FBI informant. The journal Revolutionary Democracy quotes a Professor William Chase about Trotsky’s dealings with the FBI:
“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” (“Revolutionary Democracy”).
Later, Trotsky accepted an invitation to appear in front of the infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities, a United States government group of witch-hunters linked with fascist figures and Senator Joe McCarthy. He never appeared only because he was denied a visa. The article also reveals that in 1940:
“Robert McGregor of the [United States] 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” (“Revolutionary Democracy”).
In addition, the famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera, the husband of Frida Kahlo and good friend of Trotsky, has been revealed as an FBI informant. Despite Rivera being a celebrated “socialist” painter who famously drew a mural of Lenin and Trotsky for the Rockefeller Center in New York City and helped usher in the Mexican Mural Renaissance, like Orwell and Trotsky, incontrovertible evidence exists that Rivera acted as a tool of the FBI. This information was discovered in the archives of the US State Department and FBI documents.
“Rivera’s FBI file number was 100-155423 [.…] Reed told the Independent the two academics had also uncovered some very damaging stuff about Trotsky” (Davison).
The magazine The Independent reported:
“Two American academics researching for a book on Rivera’s 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.” (Davison).
Friedrich Schuler’s book Mexico between Hitler and Roosevelt: Mexican Foreign Relations in the Age of Lázaro Cárdenas, 1934-1940 says the following about the anti-Sovietism of Diego Rivera:
“A second, very serious blow to Mexico’s left came when Trotsky and his Mexican followers disseminated the rumor that communists and Nazis had formed a coalition in Mexico to prepare a coup against the Cárdenas administration in the context of the approaching presidential elections. This rumor had first emerged in the U.S. Congress’s Dies Investigative Committee, and it gained widespread popular attention on October 2, 1939, through a Ultimas Noticias newspaper article with the title ‘Ofensiva Contra los Stali-Nazis.’ It created a pro-Allied propaganda monster that, in the end, almost convinced Allied governments that its own propaganda were fact. In November 1939, the artist and sometimes Communist party member Diego Rivera reinforced existing fears when he stated that Mexico was already in the hands of the ‘Communazis.’ Right away, conservative Mexican anticommunist senators of Mexico’s Congress jumped on Rivera’s bandwagon and demanded the dissolution of the Mexican Communist Party and the denunciation of its members as traitors to the country. Against the background of the Soviet invasion of Finland, they argued ‘that taking orders from Stalin and to agitate in such a manner as to be subversive in character and to undermine the framework of Mexican Governmental procedure’ was un-Mexican! The debate received new fuel on April 13, 1940, this time during the German invasions of the Benelux countries and France. Again, Ultimas Noticias published an article about ‘outstanding members of the Comintern in Mexico.’ Quoting Diego Rivera, a German exile, and other confidential agents as sources, the article claimed that the Comintern’s goal in Mexico was to foment a civil war through agitation, with the intention of distracting U.S. attention from Europe and, subsequently, preventing the United States from entering the European conflict. Most importantly, it claimed again that Russian and German agents were working together to start a revolt in Mexico” (Schuler 144).
It is worth saying that Rivera was very close to Trotsky and there can be little doubt that Rivera acted in complicity with Trotsky. At the time, Trotsky was living in Rivera’s house and working in close proximity with him and Frida Kahlo (whom Trotsky would have an affair with). Rivera’s actions fit perfectly with Trotsky’s effort to gather favor with the American imperialists in order to obtain a visa and entry to the United States. The journal “Lalkar” reported that:
“Many people were mutual friends of the two [Trotsky & Rivera-Ed], 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…The source relevant to this particular revelation is US State archives – RG 84…According to the Professor [Chase], 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’” (“Laklar”).
As we have already pointed out, Trotsky intended this array of accusations to be brought before the anti-communist Dies Committee, otherwise known as the US Congress House Un-American Activities Committee. Eventually, Rivera’s treacherous politics became too much for even Trotsky:
“Rivera (broke with) Trotsky in 1940. This was a presidential election year and Cárdenas’s choice to succeed him was Manuel Avila Camacho, a former general who was more conservative than Cárdenas and a religious believer to boot. Though Cárdenas had welcomed Trotsky to Mexico, there was a strong Stalinist element among his followers. This faction included labor leader Vicente Lombardo Toledano and…David Alfaro Siqueiros. The Stalinist ring around Cárdenas caused Rivera, much to Trotsky’s dismay, to attack Cárdenas as ‘an accomplice of the Stalinists.’ Rivera also decided to support Avila Camacho’s opponent in the coming election, a general named Juan Andrew Almazán. Almazán was even more right-wing than his opponent, promising to bring the unions into line and enjoying the backing of Mexico’s neo-Nazi movement” (Tuck).
Collaboration & Aid to the Nazis & the Japanese
One of the most controversial charges leveled against Leon Trotsky is that in addition to calling for the destruction of the Soviet Union and betraying communists, he collaborated with the fascist Axis powers. The best sources of information for this charge are the second and third Moscow Trials, which contain the testimonies of members of the Trotskyite Bloc from the years 1936, 1937 and 1938. Of course, the Moscow Trials are universally labeled by Trotskyites and other anti-communists as “show trials” brought about by fabricated evidence and torture of the defendants.
The American Party of Labor would like to point out that there is no evidence whatsoever of torture being used on the defendants, nor of their families being threatened. Because of these common charges however, the Trials have been dismissed out-of-hand and disregarded entirely, and thus all evidence of Trotsky’s collaboration is by association, dismissed. The fact is that a great deal of evidence exists to prove that Trotsky and his followers did collaborate with the Axis powers.
One of the defendants, Radek, said
“Trotsky put the question in this way: the accession of Fascism to power in Germany had fundamentally changed the whole situation. It implied war in the near future, inevitable war, the more so that the situation was simultaneously becoming acute in the Far East. Trotsky had no doubt that this war would result in the defeat of the Soviet Union. This defeat, he wrote, will create favorable conditions for the accession to power of the bloc…” (Radek 239-40).
By reading many similar admissions such as this, it becomes obvious that Trotsky’s political line towards the Axis was far more sinister than mere idealism such as is contained in his writings:
“Hitler’s soldiers are German workers and peasants…The armies of occupation must live side by side with the conquered peoples; they must observe the impoverishment and despair of the toiling masses; they must observe the latter’s attempts at resistance and protest, at first muffled and then more and more open and bold…The German soldiers, that is, the workers and peasants, will in the majority of cases have far more sympathy for the vanquished peoples than for their own ruling caste. The necessity to act at every step in the capacity of ‘pacifiers’ and oppressors will swiftly disintegrate the armies of occupation, infecting them with a revolutionary spirit” (Trotsky, Writings 113).
Indeed, even though Trotsky was not known for particularly good Marxist analyses, this takes his anti-Marxism and de-facto service to fascism to a whole new level. Of course, this quote alone does not automatically prove the argument that he supported fascism; in fact it merely shows his lack of theoretical understanding. Yet, there is a plethora of evidence that later on the Trotskyites sought open collaboration with the Axis in order to become the new rulers of the Soviet Union. At a time when Japan created Manchukuo by force (1931), Italy invaded Ethiopia (1935), and Germany invaded Austria (1938), Czechoslovakia and Poland (1939), Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg (1940), Trotsky helped to organize the “Bloc of Rightists and Trotskyites” in the USSR. His plans continued when Mussolini invaded France and Greece, and in 1941 when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union.
Trotskyites and anti-communists have denied the bloc against the Soviet Union existed and maintain it was merely a ploy for power on Stalin’s part, an excuse to liquidate his political enemies. However, such a bloc in the leadership did exist, which has been proven by the archives of Trotsky’s own correspondence. Scholar J. Arch Getty noted in his book:
“It is clear, then, that Trotsky did have a clandestine organization inside the USSR in this period and that he maintained communication with it. It is equally clear that a united oppositional bloc was formed in 1932. [….] There is also reason to believe that after the decapitation of the bloc through the removal of Zinoviev, Kamenev, Smirnov, and others the organization comprised mainly lower-level less prominent oppositionists: followers of Zinoviev, with whom Trotsky attempted to maintain direct contact” (Getty 121).
“Although Trotsky later denied that he had any communications with former followers in the USSR since his exile in 1929, it is clear that he did. In the first three months of 1932 he sent secret letters to former oppositionists Radek, Sokolnikov, Preobrazhenskii, and others. Although the contents of these letters are unknown, it seems reasonable to believe that they involved an attempt to persuade the addresees to return to opposition.
Sometime in October of 1932, E.S. Gol’tsman (a Soviet official and former Trotskyist) met Sedov in Berlin and gave him an internal memorandum on Soviet economic output. This memorandum was published in the Biulleten’ the following month under the title ‘The Economic Situation of the Soviet Union.’ It seems, though, that Gol’tsman brought Sedov something else: a proposal from Left Oppositionists in the USSR for the formation of a united opposition bloc. The proposed bloc was to include Trotskyists, Zinovievists, members of the Lominadze group, and others. The proposal came from ‘Kolokolnikov’ – the code name of Ivan Smirnov” (Getty 119).
This evidence leads us to the conclusion that the Rightist-Trotskyite Bloc did exist in the USSR and that Trotsky had direct contact with it. It also shows us that by testifying before the Dewey Commission that the bloc did not exist, Trotsky had lied. Getty discovered evidence in the Trotsky archive of Harvard that Trotsky had
“safe contacts in Berlin, Prague, and Istanbul” (Getty 28).
Grover Furr has recently completed an excellent work on this matter. He says that in
“January 1937 Trial defendants Piatakov, Radek, Sokol’nikov, and Shestov all testified to having been given explicit instructions by Trotsky himself concerning collaboration by either Germany or Japan” (Furr 58).
Further, he concludes:
“Trotsky would not have conspired with either German or Japanese officials in writing. As we have discussed above, it was Bolshevik practice that such deeply secret matters should be communicated only orally. We cannot rule out the possibility that Trotsky himself could have met with German or Japanese representatives. But it seems most likely that he would have done so either chiefly or entirely through his son Leon Sedov. Sedov had the motive, means, and opportunity to be his father’s main contact with German and Japanese representatives after 1929 when Trotsky left the USSR” (Furr 161).
Trotsky’s son Leon Sedov met with Golt’sman, a defendant at one of the Moscow Trials, at the Hotel Bristol in Copenhagen. Sedov, and the subsequent generations of Trotskyites which followed, denied this piece of evidence (and by proxy the entire proceedings of the Moscow Trials) by claiming the hotel did not exist. Included in this category is Robert Conquest himself. In fact, a café named the Bristol did exist in the place in which it was testified, in the same building as a hotel. This hotel, the place of the meeting, came to be known to foreigners as the “Hotel Bristol.”
“There is a good deal of suggestive evidence to support [the above] hypothesis. Many of the men whose testimony about direct collaboration with Trotsky we have cited said they did so through Sedov. It was Sedov’s address book containing the addresses of Trotskyists within the USSR that Getty found in the Harvard Trotsky archives (Getty-Trotsky 34 n.16). Twelve people – Gol’tsman, Ol’berg, Berman-Yurin, Piatakov, Shestov, Romm, Krestinsky, Rozengol’ts, Uritsky, Putna, Shnitman and Tukhachevsky – claimed that they were in contact with Trotsky entirely or mainly through Sedov.
The first is the testimony of those who like Nikolai Bukharin and Genrikh Yagoda admitted to participation in a bloc or alliance with others who had first-hand knowledge of Trotsky’s collaboration with Germany and/or Japan but who claimed no ties with Germany or Japan themselves.
We have no evidence that any of the defendants in the three Moscow Trials were tortured. In the best-documented case we know as certainly as we ever can that Bukharin was NOT tortured. Steven Cohen, author of the most famous and influential book about Bukharin, has concluded that Bukharin could not have been tortured” (Furr 161).
“Nikolai Bukharin heard details from Karl Radek about Trotsky’s negotiations and agreements with Germany and Japan. Bukharin never directly communicated with Trotsky or Sedov about this. However, there is no reason whatever to doubt that Radek did tell him about Trotsky’s collaboration. By corroborating Radek’s testimony on this point – Bukharin agrees that Radek did tell him this, as Radek himself had testified, so Bukharin attests to Radek’s truthfulness here– Bukharin also tends to indirectly corroborate what Radek said about Trotsky and what Radek claimed to have gotten at first hand, from Trotsky himself” (Furr 8-9).
In the trials, the defendant Natan Lur’e claimed he had received orders and instructions from the Gestapo, Pyatokov claimed that Trotsky gave a directive to collaborate with and seek support from the “most aggressive” foreign states, including Germany and Japan, for otherwise the bloc could not come to power or hold it. In addition, Trotsky claimed he had already begun establishing the necessary contacts with the Germans and the Japanese by that time. There are also the testimonies from Radek, Sokol’nikov, Krestinsky, Rozengol’ts, Rakovsky, Bessonov, Shestov and Romm that testify to such activities.
“Defendant Valentin Ol’berg claimed that he obtained from the Gestapo a Honduran passport to get into the USSR with the help of his brother Paul, a German agent. He further testified that he was given the money to buy it from the German Trotskyite organization because Sedov had told them to provide it” (Furr 45).
Valentin Olberg’s testimony said the following about Trotsky’s endorsement of such collaboration:
“Confirming also my testimony of May 9 of this year, I emphasize that my connection with the Gestapo was not at all an exception, of which one could speak as of the fall of an individual Trotskyite. It was the line of the Trotskyites in conformity with the instructions of L. Trotsky given through Sedov. The connection with the Gestapo followed the line of organizing terrorism in the U.S.S.R. against the leaders of the C.P.S.U. and the Soviet Government. [….] I wrote a letter to Sedov in Paris telling him about the proposal made by the agent of the Gestapo, and asked him to inform me whether L. D. Trotsky would approve of an arrangement with such an agent. After some time I received a reply sanctioning my actions, that is to say, my understanding with Tukalevsky. Sedov wrote saying that the strictest secrecy was necessary, and that none of the other members of the Trotskyite organization was to be informed about this understanding” (“Pravda” 2).
“V. Olberg arrived in the U.S.S.R. with the passport of a citizen of the Republic of Honduras obtained with the aid of the German Secret Police (Gestapo). On this point V. Olberg, during examination in the office of the State Attorney of the U.S.S.R., testified: ‘. . . Sedov promised to help me to obtain a passport to return to the U.S.S.R. once more. But I succeeded in obtaining a passport with the help of my younger brother, Paul Olberg. Thanks to my connections with the German police and their agent in Prague, V. P. Tukalevsky, I, by means of a bribe, obtained the passport of a citizen of the Republic of Honduras. The money for the passport – 13,000 Czechoslovakian kronen– I obtained from Sedov, or rather, from the Trotskyite organization on Sedov’s instructions.’” [Vol. XXI, p. 262]” (quoted in Furr, 45-46).
“Dreitser, later a trial defendant, said he had received a letter from Trotsky in 1934 about the need to assassinate Stalin and Voroshilov. This letter evidently said nothing about Germans or Japanese. V. Ol’berg, Frits-David, and K.B. Berman-Yurin testified to direct contact with Trotsky. Ol’berg claimed direct contact with Sedov as well. This contact too was about planning assassinations. E. Konstant, a Trotskyist, is quoted as saying that he had contacted Gestapo agent Weitz, but does not claim that Trotsky had urged him to do this” (Furr 47).
There is further evidence of ties with the Japanese militarists to go with this evidence of collaboration with the Gestapo and the German fascists. Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, spoke of the Trotskyites’ sabotaging of the Chinese Revolution by working with the Japanese:
“[O]nly 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” (Mao, quoted in “Revolutionary Democracy”).
Since Leon Trotsky sought to bring himself and his followers into power in the Soviet Union, he foresaw the possibility of riding fascist tanks into power by helping them take out Stalin and the leadership of the CPSU. In Trotsky’s own published writings there is admission of provoking Japanese imperialism to attack the USSR under the excuse that it was militarist and was going to attack the Soviet Union anyway. Trotsky accomplishes this by revealing Soviet spying techniques to the enemy. Refering to the article titled The Tanaka Memorial, the editors say:
“[Comrade] Leon Trotsky has told for the first time the story of how the ‘Tanaka Memorial’ was secured by the Soviet intelligence service from the archives of the Japanese government” (Trotsky, The ‘Tanaka Memorial’).
Trotsky reveals the secrets of Soviet Intelligence to the Japanese militarists by going into detail about how the document was obtained through spies in the Japanese government while he was in the Politbureau. The document gives Japanese war plans to occupy several countries, including China and Indonesia. Trotsky claims that
“[…] the writer of these lines is able to vouch for the following facts. The ‘Tanaka Memorial’ was first photographed in Tokio [sic] in the Ministry of Naval Affairs and brought to Moscow as an undeveloped film” (Trotsky, The ‘Tanaka Memorial’).
He goes on to say he was one of the first persons to see this film and the translations of the resulting transcription of the Japanese war plans. Trotsky also tells that the USSR had the document published through the American press, admitting to the world that the USSR has spies in Japan and leaked Japanese war plans to the United States.
“From Dzerzhinsky I learned that the GPU enjoyed the services of a very trusted functionary who had direct access to the secret archives of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a period of more than a year he had already provided some very valuable information and was marked by great precision and conscientiousness in fulfilling his obligations as a foreign spy. [….] Why do the Japanese authorities pronounce the ‘Tanaka Memorial’ a Chinese forgery? They were obviously unaware of Moscow’s role in the publication of this document” (Trotsky, The ‘Tanaka Memorial’).
Here, Trotsky has committed treason by revealing Soviet spies stationed in the Japanese government as well as Soviet intelligence-gathering methods to the fascists and imperialists. However, the work gets much worse. Trotsky openly admits his revelation in the journal could cause severe difficulties for the negotiations between the Soviet Union and Japan, who at that time in 1940 were trying to forge a non-aggression pact.
“To be sure Moscow had ample reasons in its day to hide its participation in publishing and exposing the ‘Tanaka Memorial.’ The prime consideration was not to provoke Tokio. This explains why the Kremlin took the round-about way in making it public. [….] One has to assume that operating here is the excessive caution which often drives Stalin to ignore major considerations for the sake of secondary and petty ones. It is more than likely that this time too Moscow does not wish to cause any annoyances to Tokio in view of the negotiations now under way in the hope of reaching a more stable and lasting agreement. All these considerations, however, recede to the background as the world war spreads its concentric circles ever wider” (Trotsky, The ‘Tanaka Memorial’).
Trotsky admits here that the reason Stalin hasn’t revealed the document is because it would provoke the Japanese into war with the USSR. So what does Trotsky do? Why, he reveals it to the world of course. To top it all off, he says he cannot be sure he isn’t revealing Soviet spies still active in Japan. As this evidence will show, the methods of Trotsky and the Trotskyites are nothing more than the arrogant, counterrevolutionary posturing of anti-communist philistines.
Since the time of Lenin, Trotskyites have engaged in so much falsification of history that they are rendered unable to produce anything viable. It is no wonder there has never been a Trotskyist revolution anywhere on the planet. Scholars have shown that Trotskyites bear the responsibility for
“the creation of an anti-Bolshevik bloc in the pre-October period, the formation of factions in the Party in the twenties, anti-Republican maneuvers in the years of the Civil War in Spain, actual co-operation with the forces of fascism on the eve of the Second World War [as well as] provocations in Peru between 1963 and 1966 and in France in 1968” (Basmanov).
The list continues:
“During the Korean War (1950-3) the supporters of the Trotskyite Tony Cliff maintained a strict neutrality and blamed US imperialism and ‘Russian imperialism’ equally for the war. In the light of recent revelations of US-backed incursions into North Korea before the war and US atrocities against Korean civilians during it, such a position seems outlandish” (Hearse).
Trotskyism as an ideology infiltrates the ranks of the working class movement as a willing agent of the ruling class. It is used to the advantage of the enemies of the proletariat as much this day as it was in the past. Trotskyites today still support the same political program as the bourgeoisie. Trotskyites are in fact bourgeois politicians and work for the imperialists—still, they find themselves unable to team up with anyone in America or whichever country they inhabit, so they choose to act like communists and claim the crown of communism.
The Trotskyite stances on the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for example, are identical to those of the American government and right-wing reaction. Right-wingers, from the Tea Party Protestors to John McCain, support the “mass uprisings” in Iran, and so do Trotskyites. Right-wingers despise the Jucheist state of the DPRK, and that’s right, so do the Trotskyites. Right-wingers think Stalin was a bloodthirsty dictator and yes, so do the Trotskyites. Two articles by the Trotskyite sect Solidarity should demonstrate this. An article on their website, supposedly on the US imperialist occupation of South Korea and the puppet government there, spends over half the article smearing the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea in the north: “A longer-term result of the Soviet collapse has been the removal of the obstacle of Stalinism” (Sheppard).
Everyone who studies their political line knows no Trotskyist article is ever written without attacking “Stalinism” and the bourgeoisie equally. Here, they express a love for the counterrevolutionary lines of Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Gorbachev and Yeltsin, by saying that the liquidation of socialism in the USSR led to the “removal of an obstacle” for the Trotskyist movement in Korea. In other words, the restoration of capitalism was a good thing. The article, which again is supposedly on the political situation in South Korea, goes on to hail the DPRK as “the worst of Stalinists”:
“[The North Korean leadership] increasingly adopted a personality cult around Kim Il-sung. The regime is among the worst Stalinists in terms of opposition to workers’ democracy and political strategy. They don’t understand that South Korea is capitalist, for example…[they] orient toward a mythical struggle against feudalism, claiming that South Korea is semi-feudal” (Sheppard).
Of course, Solidarity can offer no proof of what it says. No quotes from the North Korean government saying that South Korea is “semi-feudal” can be found, most likely because it is not true. The Trotskyites move quickly from smearing to outright treason soon enough:
“We would like to have contact with North Korean workers, but there is no dissident group of revolutionary workers. What dissidents there are have no base in the working class. Workers so far are absolutely controlled by the party” (Sheppard).
Not only does this quote show that Trotskyites are actively trying to overthrow the anti-imperialist government of the DPRK in service of the bourgeoisie, but it also shows that despite their wishes, the Korean people are unanimously behind the Workers’ Party of Korea. Once again they favor imperialism over “Stalinism.”
The Trotskyites once again enter into open unity with Washington on the question of Iranian politics:
“It should go without saying that socialists anywhere in the world must stand on the side of the Iranian popular democratic resistance to election fraud, violent repression and tyranny” (“Crisis, Repression and Coup in Iran”).
The “violent repression and tyranny” in this case means the kind visited upon the pro-US and pro-Mousavi protestors by the Islamic Republic of course, and conveniently not the neo-colonial violence and tyranny that would be visited upon the nation of Iran and its people should the pro-American reformist candidate be allowed into office. The article, written by a person identified by Solidarity only as “David,” goes on to insist that:
“The U.S. ruling class has no role to play in the struggle for Iranian democracy and freedom” (“Crisis, Repression and Coup in Iran”).
In other words, while they insist they do not support the United States interference in Iran, they seek to support a pro-American candidate. Not to mention this assertion is false—the American financing of the Iranian comprador bourgeoisie is very well-known. The imperialists have had their eye on Iran for quite a number of years now, and just like Operation Ajax, the CIA-funded coup that took down Iran’s Mosaddeq, this protest should be seen in the larger context of the world. The Trotskyites continue to whitewash the attempted imperialist coup in Iran and to undermine Iran’s right to self-determination by accusing them of
“ballot box stuffing [and] unmonitored fraudulent counting” (“Crisis, Repression and Coup in Iran”),
all without citing a single source for such things. This accusation also implies that if it could be proved there was not any ballot stuffing or fraudulent counting, then the bourgeois election would be legitimate.
True Marxist-Leninists do not care one whit about capitalist elections or bourgeois democracy—Marxists believe that the bourgeois state is a dictatorship no matter what form it takes, from republic to oligarchy. The winning of 51% of the population does not fundamentally change this relation, and it is anarchist to say so. The cardinal issue is not whether the voting was “legitimate” by Western liberal standards, but which candidate is anti-imperialist and which has the support of the progressive sectors of society.
The collection of evidence the American Party of Labor has presented above is by no means complete. The information above barely skims the surface in exposing the true anti-communist stance of Trotsky and Trotskyism which they share globally with the imperialist powers and the bourgeoisie. Trotskyism has always sold out the proletariat for an alliance with reactionaries and always will. Trotskyism’s treachery stems from its anti-Marxist foundations and its political strategy, which allows for infinite opportunism as it pleases the Trotskyite. Leon Trotsky’s treachery has forged a weapon to be used against the proletariat by wrapping anti-communist slander of the worst kind in a red flag.
Trotskyism does the work of the bourgeoisie for them and gives them a tool with which to undermine the workers movement, to inspire defeatism and to advance its agenda of crippling workers’ power the world over. Just as Marxist-Leninists rejected the opportunism of the Second International, workers the world over have rejected Trotskyism, seeing it as a vague and hollow theory, with no achievements to its name to back up its lofty rhetoric.
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