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Provocations in the service of the Nazis

To prepare for the Nazi war of aggression, Stalin and the Bolsheviks had to be overthrown. By defending this thesis, Trotsky  became an instrument in the hands of the Hitlerites.  Recently, during a meeting at the Free University of Brussels (ULB), a ranting Trotskyist  yelled: `Those are lies! Trotsky  always stated that he unconditionally defended the Soviet Union against imperialism.'

Yes, Trotsky  always defended the Soviet Union, assuming that destroying the Bolshevik Party was the best preparation for defence! The essential point is that Trotsky  was calling for an anti-Bolshevik insurrection, from which the Nazis, and not the handful of Trotskyists,  would profit. Trotsky  could well preach insurrection in the name of a `better defence' of the Soviet Union, but he clearly held an anti-Communist line and mobilized all the anti-socialist forces. There is no doubt that the Nazis were the first to appreciate this `better defence of the Soviet Union'.

Here are Trotsky's  exact words about `a better defence of the Soviet Union'.

`I cannot be ``for the USSR'' in general. I am for the working masses who created the USSR and against the bureaucracy which has usurped the gains of the revolution .... It remains the duty of a serious revolutionary to state quite frankly and openly: Stalin is preparing the defeat of the USSR.'


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

`I consider the main source of danger to the USSR in the present international situation to be Stalin and the oligarchy headed by him. An open struggle against them ... is inseparably connected for me with the defense of the USSR.'


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

`The old Bolshevik Party was transformed into a caste apparatus ....

`Against the imperialist enemy, we will defend the USSR with all our might. However, the gains of the October Revolution will serve the people only if it shows itself capable of acting against the Stalinist bureaucracy as it did previously against the Tsarist bureaucracy and the bourgeoisie.'


Trotsky,  Lettres aux travailleurs d'URSS (May 1940). La lutte, pp. 301--302.

`Only an uprising of the Soviet proletariat against the base tyranny of the new parasites can save what is still left over in the foundations of the society from the conquests of October .... In this sense and in this sense only, we defend the October Revolution from imperialism, fascist and democratic, from the Stalin bureaucracy, and from its ``hired friends''.'


Trotsky,  The Twenty-First Anniversary (14 November 1938). Writings, vol. 11, p. 111.

From these citations, it is clear that the words `we support the USSR against imperialism' were pronounced by an anti-Communist who had to say them if he wanted to have the slightest chance of being listened to by the masses who were ready to defend the socialist régime to the bitter end. But only politically blind people could be confused by the meaning of this `defence'. In fact, this is how traitors and enemies prepare defence: `Stalin will betray, he is preparing defeat; so Stalin and the Bolshevik leadership have to be eliminated to defend the USSR.' Such propaganda perfectly suited the Nazis.

Trotsky  `defended' the Soviet Union, but not the Soviet Union of Stalin and the Bolshevik Party. He pretended to defend the Soviet Union `with all our might', i.e. with his few thousand followers in the USSR! Meanwhile, these few thousand marginals should have prepared an insurrection against Stalin and the Bolshevik Party! Good defence, to be sure.

Even a hardened anti-Communist such as Tokaev  thought that Trotsky's  writings played into the hands of the German aggressors. Tokaev  was anti-Communist, but a partisan of British imperialism. At the beginning of the war, he made the following reflexions:

`The peoples of the U.S.S.R., guided by their elemental feelings in the face of mortal danger, had made themselves one with the Stalin régime .... The opposed forces had joined hands; and this was a spontaneous act: the average Soviet outlook was: `Side even with the Devil, to defeat Hitler.'  ... opposition to Stalin was not only harmful to the international anti-Axis front but was also equivalent to antagonism to the Peoples of the U.S.S.R.'


Tokaev,  op. cit. , p. 188.

With the approach of World War II, Trotsky's  main obsession, if not the only one, became the overthrow of the Bolshevik Party in the Soviet Union. His thesis was that of the world far-right: `whoever defends, directly or indirectly, Stalin and the Bolshevik Party, is the worst enemy of socialism'. Here are Trotsky's  declarations:

`The reactionary bureaucracy must be and will be overthrown. The political revolution in the USSR is inevitable.'


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

`Only the overthrow of the Bonapartist  Kremlin clique can make possible the regeneration of the military strength of the USSR .... The struggle against war, imperialism, and fascism demands a ruthless struggle against Stalinism, splotched with crimes. Whoever defends Stalinism directly or indirectly, whoever keeps silent about its betrayals or exaggerates its military strength is the worst enemy of the revolution, or socialism, of the oppressed peoples.'


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

When these lines were being written in 1938, a fierce class struggle was developing on the world scene, between fascism and Bolshevism. Only the most right-wing ideologues of French, British or U.S. imperialism or of fascism could defend Trotsky's  thesis:

`Whoever defends Stalinism directly or indirectly ... is the worst enemy'.

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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995