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Capitalist restoration is impossible

In the beginning of 1935, Trotsky's  position was the following: the restoration of capitalism in the USSR is impossible; the economic and political base of the Soviet régime is safe, but the summit, i.e. the leadership of the Bolshevik Party, is the most corrupt, the most anti-democratic and the most reactionary part of society.

Hence, Trotsky  took under his wing all the anti-Communist forces that were struggling `against the most corrupt part' of the Bolshevik Party. Within the Party, Trotsky  systematically defended opportunists, careerists and defeatists whose actions undermined the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Here is what Trotsky  wrote at the end of 1934, just after Kirov's  assassination, just after Zinoviev  and Kamenev  were excluded from the Party and sentenced to internal exile.

`(H)ow could it come to pass that at a time like this, after all the economic successes, after the ``abolition'' --- according to official assurances --- of classes in the USSR and the ``construction'' of the socialist society, how could it come to pass that Old Bolsheviks ... could have posed for their task the restoration of capitalism

`Only utter imbeciles would be capable of thinking that capitalist relations, that is to say, the private ownership of the means of production, including the land, can be reestablished in the USSR by peaceful methods and lead to the régime of bourgeois democracy. As a matter of fact, even if it were possible in general, capitalism could not be regenerated in Russia except as the result of a savage counterrevolutionary coup d'etat that would cost ten times as many victims as the October Revolution and the civil war.'


Trotsky,  The Stalinist Bureaucracy and the Kirov  Assassination: A Reply to Friends in America (28 December 1934). Writings, vol. 7, p. 116.

This passage leads one to think. Trotsky  led a relentless struggle from 1922 to 1927 within the leadership of the Party, claiming that it was impossible to build socialism in one country, the Soviet Union. But, this unscrupulous individual declared in 1934 that socialism was so solidly established in the Soviet Union that overthrowing it would claim tens of millions of lives!

Then, Trotsky  claimed to defend the `Old Bolsheviks'. But the `Old Bolsheviks' Zinoviev  and Kamenev  were diametrically opposed to the `Old Bolsheviks' Stalin, Kirov,  Molotov,  Kaganovich  and Zhdanov.  The latter showed that in the bitter class struggle taking place in the Soviet Union, the opportunist positions of Zinoviev  and Kamenev  opened up the way for the old exploiting classes and for the new bureaucrats.

Trotsky  used the age-old bourgeois argument: `he is an old revolutionary, how could he have changed sides?' Khrushchev  would take up this slogan in his Secret Report.


Nikita S. Khrushchev.  The Crimes of the Stalin Era: Special Report to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Secret Report). The New Leader (New York), 1957, p. S32.

However, Kautsky,  once hailed as the spiritual child of Marx  and Engels,  became, after the death of the founders of scientific socialism, the main Marxist  renegade. Martov  was one of the Marxist  pioneers in Russia and participated in the creation of the first revolutionary organizations; nevertheless, he became a Menshevik leader and fought against socialist revolution right from October 1917. And what about the `Old Bolsheviks' Khrushchev  and Mikoyan,  who effectively set the Soviet Union on the path of capitalist restoration.

Trotsky  claimed that counter-revolution was impossible without a bloodbath that would cost tens of million lives. He pretended that capitalism could not be retored `from inside', by the internal political degeneration of the Party, by enemy infiltration, by bureaucratization, by the social-democratization of the Party. However, Lenin  insisted on this possibility.

Politically, Kamenev  and Zinoviev  were precursors of Khrushchev.  Nevertheless, to ridicule the vigilance against opportunists such as Kamenev,  Trotsky  used an argument that would be taken up, almost word for word, by Khrushchev  in his `Secret Report':

`(The) ``liquidation'' (of the former ruling classes) concurrently with the economic successes of the new society must necessarily lead to the mitigation and the withering away of the dictatorship'.


Trotsky,  The Stalinist Bureaucracy and the Kirov  Assassination, p. 117.

Just as a clandestine organization succeeded in killing the number two of the socialist régime, Trotsky  declared that the dictatorship of the proletariat should logically begin to disappear. At the same time that he was pointing a dagger at the heart of the Bolsheviks who were defending the Soviet régime, Trotsky  was calling for leniency toward the plotters.

In the same essay, Trotsky  painted the terrorists in a favorable light. Trotsky  declared that Kirov's  assassination was `a new fact that must be considered of great symptomatic importance'. He explained:

`(A) terrorist act prepared beforehand and committed by order of a definite organization is ... inconceivable unless there exists a political atmosphere favorable to it. The hostility to the leaders in power must have been widespread and must have assumed the sharpest forms for a terrorist group to crystallize out within the ranks of the party youth ....

`If ... discontent is spreading within the masses of the people ... which isolated the bureaucracy as a whole; if the youth itself feels that it is spurned, oppressed and deprived of the chance for independent development, the atmosphere for terroristic groupings is created.'


Ibid. , pp. 121--122.

Trotsky,  while keeping a public distance from individual terrorism, said all he could in favor of Kirov's  assassination! You see, the plot and the assassination were proof of a `general atmosphere of hostility that isolated the entire bureaucracy'. Kirov's  assassination proved that `the youth feels oppressed and deprived of the chance for independent development' --- this last remark was a direct encouragement for the reactionary youth, who did in fact feel `oppressed' and `deprived of the chance for independent development'.

next up previous contents index
Next: In support of Up: Trotsky and counter-revolution Previous: `Destroy the communist

Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995