Marx-Engels | Lenin | Stalin | Home Page
PLENARY MEETING OF THE CC RCP(B)
Moscow, January 17-20, 1925150
RESOLUTION “ON COMRADE TROTSKY’S ACTIONS”
Solid unity and iron discipline, a genuine unity of views on the basis of Leninism, have always been the key prerequisite of all the achievements of the Bolshevik Party. Comrade Trotsky’s unceasing actions against Bolshevism now confront the Party with the choice of either renouncing this key prerequisite or putting an end to these actions once and for all.
Abroad Comrade Trotsky’s actions against the Party are assessed by the bourgeoisie and the Social-Democratic movement as a prelude to a split in the RCP and, therefore, to the disintegration of the proletarian dictatorship itself. This is partially the basis on which international imperialism now draws its practical conclusions relative to the USSR, despite the fact that objectively the USSR is now in a stronger position than it has ever been before.
In the country Comrade Trotsky’s opposition actions are regarded by all anti-Soviet and vacillating
elements as a signal to rally against the Party’s policy in order to demoralise the proletarian dictatorship and force it to make concessions to bourgeois democracy.
The anti-proletarian elements in the state apparatus, who are seeking “emancipation” from Party guidance, see their hope in Comrade Trotsky’s ﬁght against the Party CC. Enormous harm is being inﬂicted on the dictatorship of the proletariat and, in particular, on one of Comrade Lenin’s major injunctions, namely, the need to remake the entire state apparatus in the spirit of the workers’ and peasants’ power. In and around the Party, Comrade Trotsky’s active opposition has turned his name into a banner for everything non-Bolshevik, for all the non-Communist and anti-proletarian
deviations and groups.
In the most general outline the sum total of Comrade Trotsky’s actions against the Party may now be
characterised as an aspiration to turn the ideology of the RCP into a “Bolshevism” stripped of Leninism and “modernised” by Comrade Trotsky. This is not Bolshevism. It is a revision of Bolshevism. It is an attempt to supplant Leninism by Trotskyism, i.e., an attempt to replace the Leninist theory and tactics of the international proletarian revolution with the variety of Menshevism that was represented by the old Trotskyism and which is today represented by the currently revived “new” Trotskyism. In point of fact, modern Trotskyism is a falsiﬁcation of communism in a spirit close to the “European” models of pseudo-Marxism, i.e., in the ﬁnal analysis, in the spirit of “European” Social-Democracy.
During the past few .years of Comrade Trotsky’s membership of the RCP, our Party has had to conduct four discussions with him, to make no mention of arguments on a smaller scale on extremely
First discussion—on the Brest Peace Treaty. Comrade Trotsky failed to understand that the peasants neither wanted nor could ﬁght the war, and he pursued a policy which nearly cost the revolution its head. To rectify the error and obtain the Brest “respite”—even on harsher terms— Comrade Lenin had to threaten to resign from the government, and a tense struggle had to be waged at the Seventh Party Congress.
Second discussion—on the trade unions. Actually—the attitude to the peasants, who had risen against War Communism, the attitude to the non-Party mass of workers, generally the Party’s attitude to the
masses at a time when the Civil War had ended. A sharp nation-wide discussion and an energetic campaign by the Party’s entire nucleus headed by Lenin against the “feverish leadership” ofTrotskyism were required to save the Party from errors that might have called in question all the gains of the revolution.
Third discussion—on the “Party apparatus”, on the “plan”, on the alleged “peasant deviation”, in the CC, on the “struggle of generations” and so on. Actually—again on the economic alliance of the proletariat with the peasants, on the prices policy, on the monetary reform, on the need to orient the Party policy on the working-class nucleus, on preserving the Party’s leading role in the economy and in the organs of state, on the struggle against “freedom” of factions and groups, on preserving the leading role of the Party’s Bolshevik cadres, in short, on preserving the Party’s Leninist line during the period of the New Economic Policy. In this discussion Comrade Trotsky quite clearly showed that he was the spokesman of the petty-bourgeois deviation. He made another attempt to steer the Party into a policy which might have destroyed the revolution because it would have nipped the Party’s economic successes in the bud. The petty-bourgeois opposition headed by Comrade Trotsky drove itself into a situation where, because of its reluctance to admit its fundamental errors, it has to reason in accordance with the formula “the worse the better”, i.e., hope that the Party and the Soviet power would meet with setbacks.
A tense struggle was required to repulse this petty-bourgeois onslaught on the fortress of Bolshevism. It is now obvious to everybody that the arguments of the Trotskyites in the autumn of 1923 that the “country was doomed” were nothing more than an expression of petty-bourgeois fright, distrust of the forces of our revolution and utter incomprehension of our economy. The monetary reform, which Comrade Trotsky counterposed with a “plan” and which he said would end in failure, improved the economic situation and was a major step towards the country’s economic revival. Industry is back on its feet, despite the crop failure of 1924. The material condition of the workers is improving. From this test the Party emerged stronger than before. The Lenin Enrolment brought fresh proletarian forces into the Party. But had the Bolshevik Party failed to give such a sharp and unanimous rebuff to Trotsky’s relapse into semi-Menshevism, the real dangers to the country, the working class and our Party would have been incalculable.
In the long run, all of Comrade Trotsky’s actions against the Party’s general line from 1918 to 1924 derived from his semi-Menshevik inability to appreciate the role of the proletariat relative to the non-proletarian and semi-proletarian sections of the people, belittlement of the Party’s role in the revolution and socialist construction, and failure to understand that the Bolshevik Party can carry out its historic mission only if it is really united ideologically and monolithic.
The fourth, current, discussion has brought to light even more serious, all-embracing divergences between Comrade Trotsky and the Bolshevik Party. It is now obviously a matter of two basically opposite systems of policy and tactics. During the present discussion Comrade Trotsky started a direct attack on the fundamentals of the Bolshevik world outlook. He (1) completely repudiates all that Leninism has taught since 1904 about the motive forces of the Russian revolution and on which the entire tactics of Bolshevism in the three Russian revolutions was founded; (2) opposes the Bolshevik assessment of the motive forces of the Russian revolution and Lenin’s teaching of the world proletarian revolution with his old “theory” of permanent revolution, which proved to be totally abortive in the three Russian revolutions (and also in Poland and Germany) and which Comrade Lenin repeatedly characterised as an eclectic (muddled) attempt to coalesce petty-bourgeois Menshevist opportunism with “Left” verbiage and as a striving to leap over the peasantry;
endeavours to persuade the Party that before steering towards the dictatorship of the proletariat Bolshevism had to “rearm ideologically”, i.e., alleging that it had to renounce Leninism and take the road of Trotskyism;
(4) preaches the theory that Bolshevism has “split” in two: (a) Bolshevism prior to the revolution of October 1917, which is allegedly of secondary importance, and (b) Bolshevism since October 1917,
which allegedly had to grow into Trotskyism in order to carry out its historic mission;
(5) “expounds” the history of the October Revolution in such a way as to obliterate the role played by the Bolshevik Party and give prominence to the role of the personality of Comrade Trotsky himself,
according to the “heroes and mob” formula; the claim that there had been a “peaceful uprising” as
early as October 10, 1917 has nothing in common with the Bolshevik view of the armed uprising;
(6) gives an extremely ambiguous picture of the role played by Comrade Lenin in the October Revolution; seeks to give the impression that Comrade Lenin advocated taking power by conspiratorial means behind the back of the Soviets and that the practical proposals made by Comrade Lenin derived from a failure to understand the situation;
(7) utterly distorts the relations between Comrade Lenin and the Party CC, portraying them as a continuous war between two “powers”; Comrade Trotsky tries to make people believe this “version” by publishing (without the permission of the CC) excerpts from various documents giving a false and distorted picture of these relations;
(8) portrays the role played by the entire Party CC as the leader of the uprising in such a light as to sow the most profound distrust in the main nucleus of the Party Headquarters today;
(9) misrepresents major episodes of the revolution from February to October 1917 (April and June demonstrations, the events of July, the Pre-parliament and so on);
(10) distorts the tactics of the Comintern Executive in an effort to blame its nucleus for the setbacks in Germany, Bulgaria and elsewhere, thereby sowing distrust in both the CC RCP and the Comintern Executive.
Comrade Trotsky’s divergence with the Bolshevik Party has thus steadily grown wider from year to
year and, recently, from month to month. The divergence concerns not only issues of the past: the
past itself is “revised” in order to “prepare” a platform for present disagreements on current policies. In particular, Comrade Trotsky retrospectively found a “Right wing” in the old Bolshevism in order to use this as a cover to win for himself the right to form a real Right wing in the RCP today—in the period of the New Economic Policy and at a time when the world revolution has slowed down and the petty-bourgeois menace, favourable to the formation of a Right wing in the RCP and the Comintern, looms large.
The “revision” of Leninism in the question of the motive forces of the revolution (i.e., above all, in the question of the relationship between the proletariat and the peasantry) is the “foundation” of the non-Bolshevik view of the Party’s present policy on the question of the peasantry. All the Party’s discussions with Comrade Trotsky bring us back again and again to his erroneous, anti-Leninist assessment of the role played by the peasants in the revolution. Mistakes in this question become particularly dangerous precisely today, when, in putting into effect the slogan of “facing the countryside”, the Party is making every effort to strengthen the link between urban industry and the peasant economy, draw the peasant masses into Soviet development, activate the Soviets and so on, and when the further success or failure of the revolution depends precisely on whether the relationship between the proletariat and the peasantry is right or wrong.
On basic questions of international politics (the role of fascism and Social-Democracy, the role of the United States of America in Europe, the duration and nature of the “democratic paciﬁst era”, whose assessment by Comrade Trotsky in many ways coincides with that of the Social- Democratic “Centre”, and so on), Comrade Trotsky adopted a stand different from that of the RCP and the whole Comintern, without even taking the trouble to present his views to the CC or the Comintern Executive. With the complete agreement of the CC RCP, the delegation of the RCP to the Fifth Comintern Congress proposed that Comrade Trotsky should state his views on international questions to that congress. Comrade Trotsky refused to do this at the congress, but found it expedient to do so shortly afterwards, at a meeting of veterinary workers over the head of the Comintern and the RCP. In the recent period Comrade Trotsky has not acted in unison with the Party on any major issue. More frequently than not he went against the views of the Party.
An extremely important political task facing the Party is to steer a ﬁrm line towards eradicating elements separating the town from the countryside, i.e., raising in all its magnitude the question of further reducing the retail price of goods manufactured in towns, create the conditions for a real upsurge of agriculture (organisation of land exploitation, land-tenure), give the closest attention to securing a real activation, above all, of the rural co-operative (genuinely voluntary membership, electivity, credits), raise and resolve the question of reducing the taxes paid by the peasants and effecting a reform of the tax policy, and also bend every effort to resolve the problem of improving the political situation in the countryside (stricter electivity, the enlistment of non-Party peasants, and
Charted basically by Comrade Lenin, this is the only policy that can really strengthen state- run industry, ensure its further expansion and promote the growth, concentration and build-up of the social might of the industrial proletariat, i.e., consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat lander the New Economic Policy not by words but by deeds.
The absolute preservation of our Party’s leading role in state and economic institutions and genuine Party unity resting on Leninism are the prime condition for implementing this entire policy.
This correlation between the Party, the working class and the peasantry, a correlation that is decisive in the present situation, is precisely what Comrade Trotsky does not understand.
The inevitable outcome of this state of affairs is that all the non-Bolshevik and anti-Bolshevik elements at home and abroad have begun to inject into Comrade Trotsky’s stand their own content, valuing and supporting Comrade Trotsky exactly for what he is being censured by the RCP and the Comintern. Directing, as it does, the dictatorship of the proletariat in a situation in which all anti- proletarian parties and groups have been deprived of “freedom”, the Party must inescapably have enemies. All these enemies, particularly the spokesmen of the well-to-do petty bourgeoisie, want to see in the present Comrade Trotsky a personality that will shake the iron dictatorship of the proletariat, split the Party, side-track the Soviet power, and so on.
All the leaders of the Second International, those most dangerous servants of the bourgeoisie, are trying to use Comrade Trotsky’s rebellion against the foundations of Leninism to discredit Leninism, the Russian revolution and the Comintern in the eyes of the proletarian masses of Europe and thereby bind the Social-Democratic workers still more ﬁrmly to the chariot of the bourgeoisie. The renegade P. Levi has brought out a German translation of Comrade Trotsky’s book Lessons of the October Revolution with a foreword written by himself, while the German Social-Democratic Party has undertaken to distribute this book, which it is broadly recommending as directed against communism.
Souvarine, who was expelled from the Comintern, is trying to engineer a split in the French Communist Party by spreading counter-revolutionary fables about the RCP. Balabanova, Höglund and other apostates from communism are acting in approximately the same way. The Italian social-fascists from Avanti!, the hirelings of the German bourgeoisie from Vorwärts, the Renaudels and Grumbachs from Quotidien, and other similar elements are trying to make common cause with Comrade Trotsky in his struggle against the CC RCP and the Comintern Executive.
The non-Party workers, who should regard a high-ranking Party functionary as a model of solidarity
with his Party, have, in effect, for the past several years seen Comrade Trotsky shaking unity of the Party with impunity. This undermines elementary class discipline, without which the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be victorious.
The peasants, who should see that there is not the least sign of vacillation in the RCP on the question of the alliance of the working class with the peasantry, that the Party is more united on this question than on any other, ﬁnd the reverse in Comrade Trotsky’s example and become receptive to all sorts of legends in this key issue. This is a deadly threat to the worker-peasant bloc. Our Party has to direct the dictatorship of the proletariat in a peasant country. With Comrade Trotsky confusing the peasants, it is not possible to implement this dictatorship.
The young people, who had formerly regarded Comrade Trotsky as one of the Party’s top leaders, are
now seeing that this leader is dragging them into a “struggle between generations”, to the road of anti-Leninism.
The Red Army and Red Navy, which must see in the army leadership a model of Party discipline and
correct understanding of the relations between the proletariat and the peasants (most of our army is drawn from the peasantry), now cannot help but see the very reverse in Comrade Trotsky.
This is an explosive situation in the army.
The entire Party sees that with this state of affairs there can be no question of preserving genuine Bolshevik unity in the RCP and draws the conclusion that if it continues to tolerate this struggle of Comrade Trotsky against the Bolshevik Party it will be exposed to immense ideological and organisational perils. The Lenin Enrolment, which sincerely strives to assimilate genuine Leninism, ﬁnds that Comrade Trotsky is seeking to supplant Leninism by Trotskyism and demands that the Party clarify the situation.
The whole Comintern sees a prominent member of the RCP obstructing the Bolshevisation of the Comintern sections and actually rendering ideological and political assistance to the enemies of Bolshevism from the camp of the Second International.
In this state of affairs the joint plenary meetings of the CC and CCC ﬁnd that to let matters be when the Party adopts decisions and Comrade Trotsky continues to oppose the Party would mean laying the beginning for the Party’s de-Bolshevisation and even its direct disintegration. In connection with the rebuff to Trotsky, the question is being decided of what is the RCP in l925—a Bolshevik Party moulded of one piece and standing on the ﬁrm foundation of Leninism, or a party in which semi-Menshevik views can become a “legal shade”?
Having considered Comrade Trotsky’s statement of January 15, 1925 to the CC, the plenary meetings of the CC and CCC take note of his willingness to carry out, under Party control, the work that will be assigned to him, and places it on record that in that statement Comrade Trotsky says nothing about admitting his mistakes and, in fact, tries to cling to his anti-Bolshevik platform, limiting himself to formal loyalty.
Proceeding from the above-said and, particularly, from the fact that despite the known decisions of the Thirteenth Congress Comrade Trotsky has again raised the question of a fundamental change of the Party leadership and propounds views that have been categorically condemned by that Congress,
the plenary meetings of the CC and CCC decree:
(1) Comrade Trotsky shall be warned in the most emphatic terms that membership of the Bolshevik Party demands real, not verbal, subordination to Party discipline and total and unconditional renunciation of any attacks on the ideals of Leninism.
(2) Since leadership of the Army is inconceivable without the prestige of the whole Party behind it; since without such backing there is the danger of iron discipline being undermined in the Army;
since the Conference of Political Workers, on the one hand, and the faction of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR, on the other, have already declared for removing Comrade Trotsky from
military work; and, lastly, since in his own statement of January 15, 1925 to the CC Comrade Trotsky acknowledged that the “public interest demanded the speediest release” of Comrade Trotsky “from his duties as Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council”—Comrade Trotsky’s further retention in the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR is to be deemed unfeasible.
(3) The question of Comrade Trotsky’s further membership of the CC shall be deferred to the next Party congress with the warning that in the event of a fresh attempt on the part of Comrade Trotsky to violate or disregard Party decisions, the CC shall be compelled, without waiting for the congress, to pronounce Comrade Trotsky’s further membership of the Political Bureau impossible and raise the question before a joint meeting of the CC and CCC of his expulsion from the CC.
(4) The discussion is declared closed.
(5) The Party shall continue, on a larger scale, its work of explaining to the membership from top to bottom the anti-Bolshevik nature of Trotskyism, beginning from 1903 to the Lessons of the October Revolution, and the Political Bureau shall give the propaganda organs (Party schools and so on) the proper explanation on this score; introduce the explanation of the petty-bourgeois nature of Trotskyism and so forth into the programmes of political instruction.
(6) Parallel with explanatory propaganda in the Party, the Komsomol, etc.—the various trends of Trotskyism with their misconceived aims, which lead to a rupture between the working class and the
peasantry, must be explained in popular form to the broad mass of non-Party workers and peasants.
The CPSU in Resolutions etc.,
8th Russ. ed., Vol. 3, pp. 142-50