Where the Line of Trotskyism is Leading By G. Zinoviev
Some Facts Regarding Brest and the First Party Conference after
The Differences of Opinion in October and M y M istake at That Time.
To replace Leninism by Trotskyism, that is the task which Comrade Trot
sky has set out to accomplish. In this respect he had already in 1922,
in his book, "1905," attempted "to attain something by allusions." So
long as Comrade Lenin held the threads in his hand, Comrade Trotsky
decided not to undertake a direct attack. Comrade Trotsky has now
obviously decided that "the moment has arrived." Ac cording to all the
rules of strategy, bef ore one strikes the decisive blow, one must
prepare the way by artillery fire. The attack upon the so-called right
wing of Bolshevism is intended as a smoke screen, particularly re
garding the October failures of the writer of these lines.
It is an actual fact that at the be ginning of November, 1917, I
commit ted a great error. This error was freely admitted by me and made
good in the course of a few days. As, how ever, these days were not
ordinary days but very fatef ul days, as this was a time of extremest
tension, the error was highly dangerous.
In any event I will not minimize the extent of this error.
It was precisely because of the ex traordinary tension of these times
that Vladimir Ilyitch so energetically opposed our error. All these
extreme ly draconic punitive meansures, which he at that time proposed
against us, all the passionate chastising which he infilicted, were of
course thoroly jus tified. In the shortest time af ter these events,
some weeks afterwards, at the commencement of the disputes over the
Brest peace, Vladimir Ilyitch, as the whole C. C. and all the leading
circles of the party are aware, regard ed these diff erences of opinion
as com- pletely liquidated.
In his speech on "Trotskyism or Leninism," Comrade Stalin very right ly
remarks that in the September-Oc tober period as a result of a number
of circumstances, the revolution en deavored to carry out every step
un der the form of def ense. This was to be understood af ter all the
shilly shallying connected with the Kornilof period.· I, who at that
time was liv ing illegally, f ell a victim to my fail ure precisely
owing to this peculiarity of that phase of October.
When Comrade Lenin reverted to our error, three years af ter it had been
committed, he wrote as follows :
"Immediately before the October revolution, and soon af terwards, a
number of excellent Communists in Russia committed errors, of which one
does not like to be reminded. Why not ? Because it is not right, except
on a special occasion, to ref er to such errors, which have been
completely made good. They showed hesitations in the period in question
in that they feared that the Bolsheviki would iso late themselves and
undertake too great a risk in holding aloof too much from a certain
section of the menshe viki · and of the social revolutionaries.
The conflict went so far that the comrades in question, as a
demonstration, resigned from all responsible posts, both in the party
and in the Soviet, to the greatest joy of the enemies of the social
revolution. The matter led to the most bitter polemics in the press on
the part of the C. C. of our party against those who had resigned. And
after some weeks, at the most af ter some months, all these comrades
per ceived their errors and returned to their responsible posts in the
party and the Soviets." (Lenin, Collected Works, Volume XVII., Page
Comrade Lenin makes no ref erence whatever to a "right wing."
For myself , I endeavored more than once, bef ore the party and bef ore
the whole Comintern, to deal with my er ror. I spoke of it, for example
at the opening of the 4th World Congress of October as follows :
"Allow me to say a word regarding a :personal matter. It seems to ·me
that I, particularly now on the 5th an niversary of the revolution, am
called upon to say that which I am about to say. You are aware comrades
that five years ago I, along with some other comrades, made a great mis
take, which, as I believe, was the greatest mistake I have ever made in
my lif e. At that time I failed to es timate. correctly the whole
counter revolutionary nature of the menshe viki. Therein lies the
nature of our mistake bef ore October 1917. Altho we had fought against
the mensheviki for over ten years, nevertheless, I, as well as many
other comrades, could not at the decisive moment get rid of the idea
that the mensheviki and
S. R., altho they were only the right fraction and the right wing,
neverthe less f ormed a portion of the working class. As a matter of
fact they were and are the "lef t," extremely skillf ul. pliable and
therefore especially dan gerous wing of the international bour geoisie.
I theref ore believe, comrades, that it is our duty to remind all our
comrades. . . etc."
I spoke of our error in the most widely circulated book from my pen,in
the "History of the R. C. P." and on numerous earlier occasions.
To consider the writer of these lines as belonging to the "right .wing"
of the Bolsheviki, is simply absurd. The whole of the Bolshevik Party is
aware that I, working hand in hand with Comrade Lenin in the course of
nearly 20 years, never once had even a sharp diff erence of opinion with
him, except in the one case men tioned. The epoch of the years 1914-
1917, from the commencement of the imperialist war up to the commence
ment of the proletarian revolution in our country, was a not unimportant
epoch. Precisely in these years there took place the decisive
regroupings in the camp of the international labor movement. The books,
"Socialism and War" (1915) and "Against the Stream,'' are sufficient
witness that during that time I in no way came for ward as
representative of a right wing of Bolshevism.
At the April conf erences of 1917, the importance of whiCh Comr Trotsky
misrepresents, I had not the smallest diff erence of opinion with
Comrade Lenin. In the dispute be tween Comrade Trotsky on the one side
and Comrades Kamenev, Nogin and Rykov on the other side, I was wholly on
the side of Comrade Lenin, as was to be seen from a number of my reports
and speeches at the April conf erence. The whole dispute was naturally
confined within the limits of Bolshevism - as Comrade Lenin and the
party regarded it-and only under the pen of Comrade Trotsky does it
assume the form of a strug gle of a "right wing" against the party.
Not the least diff erences of opinion occurred between myself and Com
rade Lenin during and af ter the July days. We had the opportunity to
test this at our leisure in the course of several weeks as long as I
lived together with Vladimir Ilyitch in hid ing. The diff erence of
opinion was noticed by me at the beginning of October, af ter the
liquidation of the Kotnilov period, af ter the article of Comrade Lenin,
"On Compromises" (in this article Lenin proposed, un der certain
conditions, an agreement with the mensheviki and the S. R.) . My error
consisted in the fact that I endeavored to continue the line of the
article "On Compromises" some days later. In all only a few days, but
the days at the time counted as months.
In the famous sitting of the Central Committee of the 10th of October,
at which the revolt was decided on, and at which for the first time diff
erences of opinion regarding the time to be fixed for the revolt and as
to judging the prospects in the constitutional as sembly arose between
me and Kam enev on the one side and the rest of, the members of the C.
C. on the other side, the first political bureau of the
C. C. for the leadership of the revolt was created. The seven following
comrades were elected to the polit bureau : Lenin, Zinoviev, Kamenev,
Trotsky, Stalin, Sokolnikov and Bub nov. In the no less important joint
meeting of the Central Committee and a number of Petrograd functionaries
on October 16, af ter the debates be tween Comrade Lenin and ourselves,
19 votes were cast for the motion of Comrade Lenin in its final form ; 2
were against and 4 neutral ; while my motion was introduced by Comrade
Volodarsky as an amendment to the motion of Comrade Lenin. My amend
ment read that "in the next five days bef ore meeting our comrades and
be fore discussion we must not arrange any revolt." My written motion,)
which was submitted to the vote at this meeting, read : "Without post
poning the measures for investigation and preparation, it be decided
that no action be permitted bef ore consult ation with the Bolshevist
section of the Soviet Congress."
It was at this time that Comrade Lenin wrote his famous article against
us. I continued to work dil igently for the Pravda. When the action was
finally decided on, in order to silence the exaggerated rumors which had
appeared in the press re gard ing our diff erences I wrote a short
letter to the editor which was published by the central organ with a
comment of the editor that the dis pute was ended and that in
essentials we were and remained of one mind. ( Pravda, Nov. 21, 1917.)
The unsigned leading article which appeared in our central organ, Rabot
shi Putj (The Path of the Workers), which appeared in place of Pravda,
on the day of the revolt, Oct. 25, was written by me. The second article
was likewise written by me and was· signed by me. In this last article
we read :
"It is a great task which conf ronts the second Soviet congress. The
events of history are following each other with breathless speed The/\
final hour is approaching. The least further hesitation brings the
danger of immediate collapse. "
"The last hopes for a peacef ul solu tion of the crisis are past. The
last peacef ul hopes which-I must confess u p to the last days were
cherished by the writer of these lines, have been dispelled by facts."
"All Power to the Soviets.-lt is here that everything is being
concentrated at the present historical moment."
In the number of our central organ, Rabotshi Putj, which appeared on Oc
tober 26, a short report was published of my first speech af ter the
period of illegality in the sitting of the Petro grad Soviet on Oct. 25,
the day of the revolt. Here we read as follows:
The Speech of Zinoviev.
"Comrades, we are now in the period of revolt. I believe however that no
doubt can exist regarding the out come of the revolt-we shall be vic
"I am convinced that the over whelming portion of the peasantry will
come over to our side as soon as they become acquainted with our pro
posals regarding the land question.
"Long live the social revolution, which is now beginning. Long live the
Fetrogard working class who still achieve the final victory.
"Today we have paid our debt to the international proletariat and de
livered a terrible blow to the war, a blow at the breast of all
imperialists, the greatest blow at the breast of the hangman, Wilhelm.
"Down with the war ; long live inter national peace!"
Sharp diff erences arose in our cir cle again in the first days of
Novem ber (according to old calendar ) at the moment when the right S.
R. and mensheviki were already shattered and when it was the question
whether we would not succeed in bringing over the lef t S. R. and the
best sec tion of the mensheviki to the side of the Soviet power. In
these days I had to take part with other comrades in the famous
negotiations with the then existing organization of the rail waymen.
These negotiations led to a complete agreement of the C. C. of our party
with the then Central Ex ecutive Committee of the Workers' and
Peasants' Councils. These diff er ences lasted actually from two tol
three days, but during this time they were exceedingly heated.
On Nov. 2, 1917, the C. C. of our party, in the presence of Comrade
Lenin, adopted a resolution which, among other things, stated :
"The C. C. confirms that, without having excluded anybody from the
Second Soviet Congress it is even now fully prepared to note the return
of the Soviet members who have re signed (as is known the right S. R.
and the mensheviki withdrew from the Second Soviet Congress) and to
recognize the coalition with those who have withdrawn from the Soviets
that, theref ore the assertions that the
Bolsheviki will not share power with anybody are absolutely devoid of
"The C. C. confirms that on the day of the formation of the present gov
ernment, a f ew hours bef ore its form ation, it invited to its session
three representatives of the lef t S. R. and formally invited them to
participate in the government. The ref usal of the lef t S. R., even tho
it was only limited to a certain time and subject to cer tain
conditions, places on them the f ull responsibility for the agreement
not being arrived at." ( Pravda, No. 180. Vol. 4, Nov. 17, 1917.)
This paragraph of the resolution, which was doubtless written by Com
rade Len n. must be specially noted by the reader in order the better to
understand that which follows:
In the Pravda (the central organ of our party was on October 30 again
named the Pravda) we read in No. 180, of Nov. 4, the following extract
from my speech which I delivered at the session of the Central Executive
Committee of the S. R. and of the so cial democrats on Nov. 2, ·1917:
"In the name of the C. C. of the Rus sian social democratic labor party
(at that time our party was not yet a Communist Party) , I declare that
the comrades of the S. R. (it was the question of the lef t S. R. whom
C. C. of our party, with Comarde Len in at the head, tried at that time
to induce to participate in the first So viet government) should not
have started to criticize us Bolsheviki while events were taking place
in the streets of Moscow regarding which our Moscow delegates have
reported today. (At this time the struggle for the Soviet power was
still going on in Moscow.) On this occasion we re mind the comrades of
the S. R. that bef ore we published the composition cf our government we
called upon them to take part in the government, but they declared that
they would take part in the work of the govern ment, but for the time
being would not enter the government."
At the session of the Petrograd So viet of Nov. 3, 1917, the writer
stated : "Comrades, there are among us comrades from the Red Army,
soldiers and sailors, who in a f ew . hours will hasten to the aid of
our Moscow comrades and brothers. (Loud and prolonged applause.) The
revolution ary military committee wished two days ago to send help, but
met with obstacles precisely from those quart ers from which one could
only have expected support. I speak here of some leading circles of the
railway employes, who in these hours so fate f ul for the revolution
have adopted a 'nuetral' attitude. In these terrible hours, however, one
cannot be 'neither hot or cold'-I do not wish to speak too sharply, but
you yourselves will understand comrades, how the future will judge the
"Just recently a transport of troops to Moscow was held up. When the
leaders of the railway workers' union were asked how they act in this
man ner, they replied : We have also held up transports from the other
"We must appeal to the lower sec t1ons of the railwaymen and explain to
them what 'neutrality' means un der present conditions. I do not doubt
that 99 per cent of the lower sections of the railway employes and
workers will side with the fighting soldiers and workers. A whole num
ber of central committees are sitting on the fence. Unfortunately, among
these is the central committee of the railway workers. No one could have
foreseen that the leading organ of the railway workers would preserve 'neu
trality' whilst workers and soldiers were fighting on the barricades.
This state of aff airs must be ended. The railway proletariat must stand
like one man on the side of the fighting workers and soldiers, they must
help them to break the resistance of the bourgeoisie and of the
landowners . . . "Greetings to the comrades who are hastening to the
help of the revolu tionaries in Moscow (long and stormy applause ) .
Now we are giving back to Moscow what it gave the revolu tion in 1905.
At that time the Mos cow proletariat began the revolt, and delivered
the first blow against despot ism. We are happy that we are now able to
help, that we now have the possibility of throwing our victorious troops
on the Moscow front.
"Long live the comrades proceeding to Moscow-all Russia is watching
On the evening of Nov. 3, and on the morning of the 4th, our negotia
tions with the lef t S. R. and with that conf erence which had invited
the leaders of the railway workers' un ion, arrived at the most
critical stage. At this moment we committed the greatest errors. The
famous declara tion of some comrades, among them myself , in the C. C.
of the Bolsheviki and the Council of the People's Com missaires
(regarding the resignation of our responsible posts owing to the
obstinacy of our C. C.) was signed on Nov. 4, 1917, and on Nov. 7, 1917,
my "Letter to the Comrades" was pub lished in the Pravda (No. 183) . In
this letter we said : (I quote the most important part.)
"The Central Committee of the All Russian Soviet Congress placed in the
f oreground a definite plan of agree ment (the resolution of Nov. 3) ,
which I fully agree with, as it demands the immediate recognition of the
decrees regarding the land, peace, workers' control, and the recognition
of the So viet power.
"In reply to the resolution of the C. E. C. the mensheviki submitted a
num ber of preconditions. The C. E. C., as it did not wish to place any
diffi culties in the way, adopted a resolu tion proposed by us which
removed the hindrances in the way of these negotiations.
"In spite of this the other side would not make any concessions to the
C. E. C. The conditions submitted by the latter were rejected by the
mensheviki and the S. R. The at tempt to arrive at an agreement was
consistently carried out in spite of all obstacles; it led, however, to
no re sult. It is now evident that the men sheviki and the S. R. did
not want an understanding and only sought for a pretext to wreck it.
"Now all the workers and soldiers will know who bears the responRi'oil·
ity for the wrecking of the agreement. Now-I am convinced-also t.he lef
S. R. will throw the blame for the wrecking of the understanding upon
the mensheviki and into our govern ment.
"In the present state of aff airs I ad here to the proposition of the
com rades and withdraw my declaration regarding resignation from the C.
"I appeal to my immediate comrades. Comrades. We made a great sacri
fice when we openly raised a protest against the majority of our C. C.
and demanded the agreement. This agree ment, however, was rejected by
the other side. We are liv ing in a serious, responsible time. It is
our duty to warn the party of errors. But we remain with the party, we
pref er to commit errors along with the millions of workers and soldiers
and to die with them than to stand aside from them at this de cisive
There will and shall be no split in our party.
Since Nov. 8, I participated as prev iously in the work of our C. C. On
Nov. 9, I spoke in its name at the All Russian Peasants' Congress, and
on Nov. 10, at the session of the Petro grad Soviet. Here I said that
we would recognize the constituent as sembly, "if the constituent
assembly would give expression to the actual will of the workers,
soldiers and peas ants."
Naturally, now af ter seven years, it seems monstrous to every member
of1 our party how one could deceive him self with regard to the real
forces of the leaders of the railwaymen and those alleged
internationalists from the camp of the S. R. and mensheviki grouped
round the railway leaders. Of course, in order to understand the
situation one must place oneself in the position obtaining at the
time.-It was not until six months af ter the Oc tober revolt that it
became evident that the lef t S. R. had also become a
counter-revolutionary force. In Octo ber, 1917, however, they were
express ly invited by Comrade Lenin and our C. C. to participate in our
first Soviet; government, as they were then con nected with a large
section of the peasants and with a portion of the workers. In fact, even
the negotia tions with the leaders of the railway men's union were, as
the reader has seen, conducted with the approval of the C. C.
The result of the exposure of the mensheviki and of the S. R. on the
occasion of the railway workers' con ference was, that the lef t S. R.,
whom Comrade Lenin had formerly in vain called upon to participate in
the So viet government, now entered into it ; altho some days bef ore
the lef t S. R. had the intention even to resign from the C. E. C.,
which under the condi tions then existing would have meant a severe
blow for the Bolsheviki and would have hindered the winning of the
In Pravda, of Nov 4, we read :
"The fraction of the lef t S. R. in the C. E. C. submitted an ultimative
dec laration regarding the necessity of drawing up of a platf orm in
the name of the C. E. C. The C. E. C. agreed to this demand and in the
name of the C. E. C. a platf orm was drawn up." It was just the
rejection of this platform by the mensheviki and the S. R. at the conf
erence convened by the railway leaders which led to the change in the
tactics of the lef t S. R. in favor of the Soviet power.
At t h is time there was published in the Pravda a number of resolutions
from !-he most important in which we find the following:
···whilst we regard the agreement of the socialist parties as desirable,
we workers declare that the agreement can only be reached on the basis
of the following conditions . . . " (These conditions were practically
the same as our reIJresentatives had submitted to the railway men's conf
In our attitude during these days there was again reflected the hesita
tion of these workers-in this respect our error was not a personal, not
an accid( ntal error.
Now , seven years af terwards, do not the words in the resolution of our
Central Committee that "the asser t ion that the Bolsheviki would not
share power with anybody is devoid of all foundation" sound monstrous
'from our present standpoint ? And ye t these words were written down by
Comrade Lenin on Nov. 3, 1917, and approved by our C. C. Everyone who
reflects over these facts, every
one who remembers that the lef t S. R. at tha t time represented an
import ant section of the peasants, everyone who reflects at all over
the conditions at that time, will understand the ex tent and the
character of our error. It was a great, but nevertheless not a "socia
We, of course do not say that in order to prove that our error was a
small one. We stood outside of the
C. C. of the party only for three days from the 4th to 7th of November.
In spite of this error, as we already said at the opening session of the
4th World Congress of the Comintern, was the greatest error we made in
our life. The only thing we wish to prove is that it is not correct to
draw from this error the conclusion that there existed a "right wing" in
Bolshevism. Every one who experienced those! historical days knows that
these dif ferences, how much they strained the relations of such near
comrades and friends, lef t no bitter feeling behind. Everybody adopted
a sincere attitude towards the others without attempting to "make use
of" these errors for "diplomatic," fractionist purposes. Everybod y
understood that only the exceptional moment led to exceptional means of
solving diff erences, which arose like a whirlwind but which, like a
whirlwind soon calmed down with out causing great damage.
These diff erences were swept away by th e avalanche of fresh events
they remained isolated with the lead ing circles of the party. A few
days passed and the error was admitted by those who had committed it and
the general staff of the party and the whole party could proceed to the
solu tion of actual tasks. These diff erenceb have lef t behind such
little traces in the party that at the first party con ference (seventh
) which took place af ter the October revolt (which dealt already with
the question of the Brest Peace) , nobod y mentioned a single word
regard ing these diff erences.
Nobod y reproached us regarding this error, altho it so happened that I,
on behalf of the C. C., had to fight en ergetically against Comrade
Trotsky and the "lef t," ( *) and it is clear that the part y under the
fresh impres sion of the d iff erences, would have at tacked the
guilty ones if they had es timated this guilt as Comrade Trot sky does
Comrade Trotsky now says in the "Lessons of October," seven years af
ter these events, that our attitude to the question of the Brest Peace
was one of capitulation. What did Trot sky himself say on this 7th
party con gress some weeks af ter the October diff erences:
"Bef ore the last journey to Brest Litovsk we discussed during the
whole time the question of our f urther tac tics. And there was only
one vote in the C. C. in favor of immediately signing the peace : that
of Zinoviev. (We assert that there was not only one vote, but also
Lenin, Stalin and Sverdlov said the same thing; Com rade Kamenev was
arrested in Fin lond. G. Z.)
( ·) It is interesting to men tion the result of the election of the new
C. C. at this party conf erence. The writer of these lines received only
one vote less than Comrade Lenin.
What he said was, from his stand point, quite correct. I was fully in
agreement with him. He said, that hesitation would only render worse the
peace conditions, and that they mus.t be signed at once." ( Min utes of
the 7th Party Conf erence, Page 79.)
If the proposal to sign the Brest Peace was a "capitulation," then Com
rade Lenin was .a "capitulator." (As a matter of fact, the tactics of
Trot sky at that time would have led to the downf all of the
revolution, i. e., to an actual capitulation.) If Comrade Trotsky
himself spoke in the above mentioned way as to this aff air, who can
give credit to his present ultra polemic remarks? Is it not evident
that all this has been discovered af terwards?
At the 7th Party Congress the de bates turned upon quite other ques
tions. It was Comarde Trotsky this time who submitted a declaration re
garding his resignation from all re sponsible posts.**
(**) "The party conf erence, the highest authority of the party, has
indirectly repudiated the policy which I, with other. comrades from our
Brest-Litovsk delegation f ollowed, and which from two sides had a
certain in ternational repercussion ; both among the working class and
among the rul ing class. This policy rendered the name of the members
of this delega tion the most hated by the bourgeoisie of Germany and
Austria. Today the whole German and Austro-Hungarian press is f ull of
accusations against the Brest-Litovsk delegation, and particu larly
against me personally ; they de clare that we are responsible for the
collapse of the peace and for all the further unf ortunate results.
Whether this is the view of the Party Conf er ence or not, it has by
its last vote con firmed this assertion and I theref ore resign every
responsible post with1 which the party has hitherto entrust ed me."
(Speech of Comrade Trot sky at the 7th Party Conf erence, March 1918.)
Against Trotsky and against the "lef t" Communists, there was di rected
the resolution of Lenin and Zinoviev ( Minutes Page 3) , and as re
gards resignation f rom the C. C. in general, Comrade Lenin said the f
ol lowing words :
"I also found myself in a similar sit uation in the C. C. when the
proposal was adopted not to sign the peace, and I kept silent without
closing my eyes to the fact that I could not take over responsibility
for this. Every member of the C. C. is free to repudi ate
responsibility without resigning from the C. C. and without creating a
scandal. It is, of course, permissable under certain conditions, and is
some times even unavoidable; but whether that was necessary just now,
with this organization of the Soviet power which enables us to control
in so far as we do not lose contact with the masses, there can only
exist one opin ion."
At the 7th Party Congress Comrade Trotsky, who at that time had only
been six months in our party, pro voked the first Trotsky crisis. Since
that time, unf ortunately, these crises occur periodically.
II. Revision of Leninism under the Flag of Lenin.
The last attack of Comrade Trot sky (the "Lessons of October") is
nothing else than a f airly open at tempt to revise-or even directly to
liquidate-the f oundation of Leninism. It will only require a short time
and this will be plain to the whole of our party and to the whole
International. The "novelty" in this attempt con sists in the f act
that, out of "strateg ical" considerations, it is attempted to carry
out this revision in the name of Lenin.
We experienced something similar at the beginning of the campaign of
Bernstein and his followers, when they began the "revision" of the foun
dation of Marxism. The ideas of
Marx were already so generally recognized in the international labor
move men t, that even their revision, at least at the beginning had to
be un dertaken in the name of Marx. A quarter of a century was
necessary before the revisionists could finally throw aside their mask
and openly pronounce that, in the field of theory, they had entirely
broken away from Marx. This took place in a most open manner, in
literature, only in the year 1924, in the recently published collection
of articles devoted to the 70th birthday of Kautsky.
The - ideas of Leninism at present predominate to such an extent in the
international revolutionary movement
-and particularly in our country that the "critics" of Leninism con
sider it necessary to have recourse to similar methods. They undertake
the revision of Leninism "in the name of Lenin," citing Lenin,
emphasizing their fidelity to the principles of Len m1sm. This
"strategy" however does not help. It is alread y seen through; by the
Leninist party. It only needs a few weeks and all the sparrows on the
house-tops will be twittering over the collapse of this remarkable strat
egy. Comrade Trotsky has overlooked one trifle : that our party is so
Lenin ist and so mature that it is capable of distinguishing Leninism
from Trot skyism.
The attack on Comrade Trotsky is an attack with inadequate means. Nobody
will succeed in liquidating the foundations of Leninism, or carry ing
out even a partial revision of the principles of Leninism, or even suc
ceed in getting Trotskyism recognized as a "justifiable tendency" within
Nobody will succeed in convinc ing the party that we now need some sort
of synthesis of Leninism and Trotskyism. Trotskyism is as fit to be a
constituent part of Leninism as a spoonf ul of tar can be a constituent
part of a vat of honey. What is Leninism ? Leninism is the Marxism of
the epoch of the imperial ist wars in the world revolution which began
in a country where the peasantry perponderate. Lenin was from head to
foot a proletarian revo- 1utionary. But he knew at the same time that he
had to work in a coun try in which the peasantry predomin ated, and in
which the proletariat therefore can only be victorious when it adopts a
correct attitude towards the peasantry. Af ter Lenin already in the
revolution of 1905 had issued the slogan of "the democratic dicta
torship of the proletariat and of the peasantry," he did not cease for a
single moment to be a proletarian rev olutionary ; he made no
concession to bourgeois democracy (the mensheviki, among them Comrade
Trotsky, ac cused Comrade Lenin at that time that he, who called
himself Marxist, was an ideologist of bourgeois dem ocracy ) , but he
was the only one who not with mere words, but by deeds, prepared the way
for the socialist revolution in a situation when bour geois democracy
was still a force and was capable of shattering czarist des potism.
Lenin f elt himself at that time to be the recognized leader of the
prole tarian revolution-and this he was in f act. He knew and believed
that the Bolshevik Party, that is, the gen uine advance-guard of the
proletariat, would help the working class as far as possible on the road
to the realiza tion of its class aims, that is to pro ceed on the road
to the victory of the proletarian revolution. He knew that he and his
party, in every country, would do everything possible to ex tract from
this situation the maximum\ f or the final aim of the proletarian
revolution. He so understood the con nection between the
bourgeois-demo cratic and the proletarian-socialist revolution, that
the first precedes the second, that the second solves in pass ing the
questions of the first, that the second confirms the works of the first.
And as Lenin knew this, he man euvered with the mastership of a gen
ius in three revolutions, always at the head of the working class,
always concretizing his tactics so that every suitable historical
situation is used to its f ullest limits in the interests of his class.
Lenin was, on Oct. 24, 1917, not the same man that he became on Oct. 26,
1917. "Who laughs last, laughs the longest" wrote Lenin some days before
the October revolution in an article on the party program.
Therefore Lenin defended at that time among other things the necessity
of retaining the minimum program. But on the morrow, af ter the victory
of the October insurrection, the ingenious commander of the working
class was not the same as he was one day before this victory. My class
has become stronger, the enemies of my class have become weaker, the
forces of the workers' revolution have in creased, hence theref ore,
more press ure, more boldly forwards! That is the real Lenin! He knows
that it is a very difficult way along which one has to lead millions of
workers, be hind whom, if we wish to be victor ious, there must foll
ow the millions and millions of peasa nts of our coun try.
From the great slogan : "demo cratic dictatorship . of the proletariat
and of the peasantry" (1905-1907 ) via the "dictatorship of the
proletariat and the poorest peasants" (1917 ) to the actual
"dictatorship of the prole tal'iat" which will be realized on the basis
of "alliance with the peasantry"
-that is the road of Leninism.
From menshevism of · the Axelrod type (1903-1905) via the "permanent"
(1905-1907 ) variation of menshevism, to the complete abandonment of the
revolution and its substitution by the menshevik free coalition
(1909-1914) , to the policy of vacillations (block with Tzeid se and
fight against the Zimmerwald Lef t ) during the war (1914-1917 )-that is
the road of old Trotskyism.
If one considers the literary history of Bolshevism, one can say that it
is essentially contained in the following works of Lenin : From "The
Friends of the People," along with "Develop ment of Capitalism," to
"What is to be Done ?" along "Two Kinds of Tactics" to the "State and
Revolution" with "The Renegade Kautsky." These are the most important
literary sign posts of Leninism.
Let us consider what these sign posts indicate ? "The Friends of the
People" and "The Development of Capitalism" constitute a penetrating
analysis of the theory of Marxism and the most concrete, prof ound study
of economics and of the social structure of that country in which
Bolshevism commences to come into action. "What is to be Done ?" along
with "Two Kinds of Tactics" is the incomparable criticism of social
democratic optim ism, the unsur passed elucidation of the role of the
workers' party in the revolution together with the laying down of the
tactics of the proletariat in a peasant country on the eve of the
bourgeois-democratic revolution which one must endeavor so to carry thru
that it begins as soon as possible to develop into the socialist
revolution The "State and Revolution" and the "Renegade Kautsky" are the
applica tion of Leninism to the world arena, are along with the book
"Imperial ism, the Latest Stage of Capitalism" the most prof ound
analysis of the latest imperialism and the laying down of the tactics of
the already be ginning socialist revolution, which grows out from the
first, i. e., the bourgeoif -democratic revolution.
Compare all this with Trotskyism !
If Lenin is the classical type of the proletarian revolutionary, Trotsky
is the "classical" type of the intellectual revolutionary. The latter
has of course certain strong features, he suc ceeds sometimes in
combining with the proletarian mass, but that which forms the nature of
his political ac1 tivity is the intellectual revolutionar ism.
We give below a compressed politi cal description of the lif e of
Trotsky ism which possesses the authority of coming from the pen of
"He, Trotsky, was in the year 1903 a menshevik, lef t this party in
1904, returned to the mensheviki in 1905 and paraded round with ultra-revolu
tionary phrases. In 1906 he again abandoned this party ; at the end of
1906 he again def ended the election alliance with the cadets and in the
spring of 1907 he stated at the Lon don Conf erence that the diff
erence be tween him and Rosa Luxemburg rath er constituted a diff
erence of individ u al shades of opinion than a diff erencej of
political tendency. Today Trotsky borrows some ideas from the one frac
tion and tomorrow from the other and theref ore considers himself as a
man standing above both fractions." (Leni in's Collected Works, Vol. XI,
Part II. Page 308-309.)
"Never in a single serious question of Marxism has Trotsky had a firm
opinion, he always squeezes himself in a division between this or that
diff erence of opinion and always runs from one side to the other. At
pres ent he is in the company of the 'Bund' and of the liquidators."
Thus wrote Lenin in an article in the revue, Enlightenment, published in
"However well meant the intentions of Martow and Trotsky may be sub-I
jectively, objectively they support by their tolerance Russian
imperialism." Thus wrote Lenin in the Socialdem okrat, No. 1, October,
Let us compare the literary sign posts of Bolshevism with those indi
cating the road to development of Trotskyism. These are the following
books of Comrade Trotsky : "Our Political Tasks" ( 1903) , "Our Revolu
tion" ( 1905-1906 ) , then his collabora tion to the liquidatory jou
rnal, Nasha Sarja (Our Dawn ), then a bright mo- ment-the book over
Kautsky (1919 ) which was followed by the "New Course," and "The Lessons
of Octo ber" (1923-1924 ) . The retrograde de velopment of Comrade
Trotsky finds particular sharp expression in the two last named works.
What was the book : "Our Political Tasks ?" This book which appeared
with the dedication of the menshevist patriarch, P. A. Axelrod, was the
most vulgar menshevist book which the his tory of menshevist literature
has ever known. In this book Comrade Trot sky came to th e conclusion
of a lib eral labor policy.
And what was the book : "Our Rev olution," the most lef t of the books
of Trotsky in the first epoch ? In this book (see also his book "1905")
there was laid down the notorious theory of the "permanent revolution"
which Comrade Trotsky is now attempting to impose upon Bolshevism. This
"theory" was regarded by Comrade Lenin and all the Bolsheviki as a
variety of menshevism. Not every bod y will remem ber that in this "lef
t" book in which Comrade Trotsky to a certain extent def ended the
"workers" revolution against the Bolshevik idea of a democratic
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. Trot sky wrote :
"But how far can the socialist pol1 icy of the working class go under th
e economic conditions of Russia ? One can ti1ay one thing with
certainty: it will much rather encounter political hind rances than be
supported by the technical backward ness of the coun· try. ·without
direct state support of
the European proletariat the working class of Russia will not be able to
maintain power and transform their temporary rule into a long enduring
socialist dictatorship. One cannot doubt this for a moment." (Trotsky: 1
"Our Revolution," 1904. Russian edi tion, Page 277-288.)
What is the meaning of the state support of the European proletariat ?
In order to possess the possibility of aff ording state support to the
Russian revolution, the European proletariat would first have to capt
ure power in Europe. In the year 1905, and in gen eral u p to the war
1914-1918, there could be no talk of this. But Trot sky preached the
"permanent" revolu tion in the year 1905.
What is to be inf erred from this? Only this that Trotsky in the year
1905 either did not seriously believe in any permanent revolution or
that he preached the permanent revolution in 1905 only under the
condition that the European proletariat aff orded us "state support,"
which meant that Trotsky "postponed" the workers rev olution in Russia
until the victory of the proletarian revolution in Europe. In the latter
case Trotsky appears as the representative of the most stereo typed
social democratic standpoint : Let "them" first make the revolution and
then "we" will "immediately" make the workers' revolution.
Trotsky wrote in those times a great deal as to a victorious Russian
revolution being only possible as a part of a victorious international
revo lution, for western European capital supported czarism with loans,
etc. There was a grain of truth in this and here Trotsky only repeated
that which the Bolsheviki said. But Trotsky as usual conceived this
connection of the Russian revolution with the interna tional revolution
Comrade Trotsky did not grasp the concrete way of the revolution in our
country. He does not even yet grasp the actual importance of the
peasantry in our revolution. If any proof were necessary for this,
Trotsky has pro vided this in his last work, "The Les sons of
October." We quote the f ol lowing :
"It was precisely the unripeness of the revolution under the thoroly
unique conditions created by the war which delivered the leadership over
to the petty bourgeois revolutionaries which consisted in the f act that
they def ended the historical claim of the bourgeois to power. This,
however, does not mean that the revolution could only follow that road
which it followed from February to October, 1917. This last road
resulted not merely from the class relations but from those temporary
conditions cre ated by the war.
"As a result of the war the peasantry appeared in the organized and
armed form of the army comprising many millions. Before the proletariat
could organize itself under its own flag in, order to draw the masses of
the vil lage behind it, the petty bourgeois revolutionaries f ound a
natural sup port in the peasant army exasperated by the war. With the
weight of this army of millions which everything immediately depended
the petty bour geois revolutionaries exercised press ure upon the
proletariat and at first drew it af ter them. That the course of the
revolution could have been dif f erent with the same class bases is
best proved by the events which pre ceded the war." (Lesson of October,
The road from February till Octo ber 1917, resulted, as you can see,
not only from the class relations, but also from those temporary ( !)
conditions created by the war. What is the meaning of this brain wave ?
It as sumes that the war did not arise from the class relations, that
is to say it was a mere chance event. Now, the Russo-Ja panese war, out
of which grew 1905, the general rehearsal of 1917-was it also a chance ?
Was that not also created by the tempor ary conditions? What prof
undity of thought!
If there had been no imperialist war-and Leninism teaches that the
imperialist war is the inevitable out come of imperialism, as the
latest stage of capitalism, theref ore of the course of the class war ;
if Russia had not been a peasant country and there fore its vast army
had not been a peasant army of a dozen millions; if this peasant army
had not been rend ered desperate by the imperialist war which the
bourgeoisie had to conduct ; if the weight of more than hundred millions
of peasants had not exercised pressure upon the whole course of the
social-political lif e of the countrY then the development of the
revolu tion would have proceeded according to Trotsky and the
astonished human ity would have experienced the apotheosis of
It apparently has never occurred to our author that "if if s and ands
were pots and pans" if there had not been an imperialist war with all
its inevit able consequences, there would prob ably never had been the
revolution of 1917, and no such relatively easy vic tory. Our author is
also obviously un aware that precisely the development of the
revolution from February to October, 1917, confirmed "in passing" the
already obvious truth that the whole Trotskyism with its theory of its
"permanent" revolution was noth ing else than a cleverly thought-out
intellectual scheme which was cut ac cording to the requirements of
Let us ref er once more to Comrade Lenin :
"Hence their (the mensheviki) mon strous, idiotic, renegade idea that
the dictatorship of the porletarfat and· of the peasantry contradicts
every course of economic development. With us there appears at every
crisis of our epoch (1905-1909 ) a general democratic movement of the
mushik and to ig nore thi would be a profound error which in f act
would lead to menshe vism." Thus wrote Lenin in Decem ber, 1909.
But Comrade Trotsky even in the year 1924 does not understand that the.
role of the mushik in such a crisis. as 1917 was not by chance not re
moved from the course of the class struggle.
It is obvious that it has also never occurred to our author that the
course of the great _revolution between Feb ruary and October, 1917,
confirmed Leninism, . among other things· in that section ill which
Lenin with the theoretical ruthlessness pe culiar to him, deals with
the Trotskyist variety of menshevism.
A collaborator of Comrade Trotsky and the "editor" of his book, 1917,
Comrad e Lenzner, asserts in all seri ousness that already in the
articles written by Trotsky at the beginning of March, 1917, in America
in the paper, Novy Mir ( New World ) , he an ticipated the attitude to
the questions taken by Comrade Lenin in his fam ous "Letters from
Abroad." Comrade Trotsky did not even know what the question was whilst
Comrade Lenin in his truly famous "Letters from Abroad" already
submitted to the Russian working class the scheme of the real October
worked out in almost all details.
But this is only half the trouble. The present trouble is that Comrade'
Trotsky can say nothing better than if there had been no imperialist war
and if the peasantry had not predom inated in our country, then
Trotsky ism would have been right as opposed to Leninism.
Is any f urther proof necessary that Comrade Trotsky · understood the
Bol shevist attitude to the question of the peasantry as little as he
understands it now ?
The "Lessons of October" have clearly shown one thing : that even now in
the eighth year of the proletar ian revolution Comrade Trotsky has not
grasped the true nature of Lenin ism, and that he now as previously is
revolving round in the same circle in the question of the peasantry-in
the question which is the chief source of the false conclusions of
Comrade Trotsky beginning from his error of Brest to his error in the
question of the trade unions in 1921, ending with his errors at the
• • •
In the "Lessons of October" there!. are almost as many erroneous asser
tions as there are assertions at all. Therefore the Communist Youth had
little difficulty in detecting that Com rade Trotsky confounded Lenin
with Hilf erding (in the question of the con stituent assembly and the
so-called combined type of the constituent as sembly and the S6viets.*
Hence it comes that Comrade Sokolnikov dem onstrated to Comrade Trotsky
that the "lef t" errors of Comrade Bogdat jev were ascribed by the
esteemed au thor of the "Lessons of October" to Comrade Lenin ( the
history of the demonstration of April 1917.) Hence it comes that Comrade
Kuusinen can easily prove by means of documents that Comrade Trotsky in
the question of the German revolution** said the exact contrary in
January, 1924, to what he now says in the "Lessons of October."
(*) For the rest we learn from the second part of "1917" that as late as
Oct. 29, 1917, Comrade Trotsky him self on behalf of the Council of
Peo ple's Commissionares wrote in an ap peal : "The only thing which
can save the country is the constitutional as sembly which consists of
representa tives of the working and exploited classes of the people."
It is permitted to ask in which respect this is better than the
"combined type ?" ("1917," second part page 133.)
(**) One example suffices: "We have seen there (in Germany ) in the
second half of the past year a classical demonstration of the fact that
a most extraordinary favorable revolutionary situation of world
historical imporq ance can be missed," thus wrote Com rade Trotsky in
September, 1924, in the "Lessons of October."
"If the party (the C. P. of Germany )
had declared the revolt in October (last year) as the Berlin comrades
have proposed, it would now be lying with a broken neck." We read these
words in the draf t thesis of comrades Radek and Trotsky in January,
1924. In such a question one cannot have two opinions, one in January,
1924, and another in September, 1924. If however, one has two opinions
regard ing such a question, one must not so attack the E. C. C. I. as
Comrade Trotsky has done.
Hence it comes that such important episodes of the revolution as the
ques tion of the July demonstration, as the fight for Kronstad t and
even the ques tion of the July days are described by Comrade Trotsky af
ter the manner of Suchanov and the paper, Denj (The Day, bourgeois), and
not as they act ually occured. Hence it comes that the question of the
tactics of the Bol sheviki with regard to the preliminary parliament
and the democratic con ference are dealt with in an equally incorrect
and biased manner.
These "small" errors have been suf ficiently ref uted by authoritative
wit nesses of the events. Perhaps we shall be able on another occasion
to give an exact description of some of the very important episodes of
Was There a Right Wing in the Bol shevist Party ?
We must give a clear answer to this question. Everybody who is familiar
with the real history of Bolshevism wiH, without hesitation, give the
fol lowing answer : There was none and there could be none.
There could be no right wing be cause the Leninist fundamental prin
ciples of the structure of the Bolshe vist party excluded every
possibility of a right and of a lef t wing.
There could be no right wing be cause the first split between Bolshe
viki and mensheviki had already tak en place in 1903 on the eve of the
fi rst revolution of 1905.
Comrade Lenin wrote regarding the Italian socialist party that even its
first splitting from the extreme chau vinists which took place some
years bef ore the world war-that even this superficial split which was
far from being complete, helped it in the first period of the
imperialist . war, in the year 1914, to adopt a more commend able
standpoint than the standpoint of those social democratic parties who up
to the year of 1917, and even later remained united. Every one who has
read the articles of Comrade Lenin from the years 1914-1915 on German
social democracy ("Against the Stream") will remember how passion ately
Lenin advocates the splitting of the German social democracy, what great
hopes he placed on this split, how he explained the complete col lapse
of German social democracy among other tb,ings as being due to the
belated split between the lef t and right wings.
"The type of the socialist parties of the epoch of the Second Interna
tional was the party which tolerated opportunism in its midst, which
dur ing the ten years of the period of peace continually grew in
numbers but which hid itself and adapted it self to the revolutionary
workers from whom it took over its Marxist term inology and avoided
every clear de finition of principle. This type out lived its time.
"In Italy the party was an exception for the epoch of the Second
Interna tional ; the opportunists with Bisso lati at the head were
expelled from the party. The result of this crisis was excellent . . .
We, in no way, idealize the Italian socialist party and do not guarantee
that it will prove to remain firm in the event of Italy com ing into
the war. We are not speak ing of the future of this party, we are
speaking now only of the pres ent. We aff irm the indisputable fact
that the workers of the majority of the European countries were deceived
by the ficticious unity of the oppor tunists with the revolutionaries
and that Italy is a happy exception-a country where at the present
moment there is no such deception. That which for the Second
International was a fortunate exception, must and will be a rule for the
Third Interna tional. The proletariat will always so long as
capitalism exists-be in contact with the petty-bourgeoisie. It is
unwise, sometimes to reject a tem porary alliance with them, but to
unite with them, to be united with the opportunists can at present only
be def ended by the enemies of the proletariat in the present epoch."
("Against the Stream" p. 36.)
Think over what Comrade Lenin has written for .example regarding the
period of the emigration time of the party. He said : The great va
riety of political tendencies in emigra tion-mensheviki, S. R.
anarchists, maximalists, which were again divid ed into sub sections,
had the eff ect that all non-Bolshevist elements were withdrawn, as by a
plaster, from the bod y of the party. The same was the case in the
period of legal and illegal existence of our party between Feb ruary
and October, 1917. At that time we saw the same variety and multipli
city of political parties, fractions and minor fractions, which
inevitably ab sorbed everything that was not thoro ly Bolshevik. In
this manner the Bol shevik party became a crystallization point only f
or Bolsheviki. Hence our party was one indivisible whole.
It involves a complete ignorance of Lenin and of Leninism to admit the
possibility that Lenin, even if only for a short time, had tolerated the
existence of a right wing in the Bol shevik party. And what is still
more important is, that Leninism is irrecon cilable with the existence
of a right wing in the Bolshevist party.
It could be argued that there were Bolshevik "reconciliators" who great
ly resembled a right wing of Bolshe vism. Yes, that is a f act. The
Bolshevik "reconciliators" played an episodal role at the commencement
of the split between the Bolsheviki and the men sheviki (1903-1904) ,
and then also in the years of the counter-revolution (1910-1911) . But
at the moment of this hesitating attitude of the Bol shevik
"reconciliators" it came essen tially to a direct split between us and
them. The Bolshevik party, un der Lenin's leadership, was ready to
amputate this small fragment from its body, and this it did in order to
re main a homogeneous Bolshevik party
The overwhelming majority of these reconcilors are at present in our
ranks and nobody thinks of asserting today that they recollect there
being in any way a sort of right tendency in the party. Their most
prominent leader was I. F. Dubrovinsky, and no body who knew him would
pretend tha t he represented in any way a right wing. From one prison to
another, from one banishment to another, went such comrades as Dubrovi
nsky and Nogin ; and in the period between the one prison and the other
they made many passing errors regarding ques tions of organization. Of
course, these comrades could have fallen victims to opportunism if their
errors had un dergone a logical development. This however, did not
happen. Lenin put the question bluntly : Either expulsion or submission
to the decisions of the Bolshevik leadership,
That does not mean that in the long years of the history of Bolshe vism
there were never any diff erenc es and various tendencies between the
most prominent functionaries of the party. There were, of course, such
diff erences. In 1906 Kamenev advo cated the boycott of the Duma ( a
"lef t" attitude), while Comrade Lenin recommended participation in the
Duma. In the plenum of the C. C. in 1910 (the last joint plenum with the
mensheviki) a section of the Bol sheviki attempted unity with Trotsky,
whilst Comrade Lenin and other Bol shevik leaders, (among them the
pres ent writer) were emphatically against this attempt. These,
however, were only episodal diff erences of opinion.
But the diff erences which we had with the people grouped round the
paper "Vperjod" (Forward ) in 1908 and which lasted for some years,
could not be regarded as episodal. These alleged "lef t" people, as a
mat ter of f act, def ended opportunist tactics, that is, they
abandoned the fun damental basis of Bolshevism. The group was expelled
from our organiza tion and only those have returned who have thoroly
recovered from the "Vperjod" sickness.
Also those diff erences cannot be characterized as being episodal which
arose in connection with the war, and which extended only to a f ew
prominent Bolsheviki at me beginning of the imperialist war. Bolshevism
as a whole adopted a thoroly correct at titude towards the imperialist
war and was conscious of the world-historical slogan : "Conversion of
the imperial ist war into civil war." A f ew im portant Bolshevist
functionaries, for example, I. Goldenberg, vacillated re garding the
question of the charac ter of the war, and it came to an or ganizatory
break with these comrades. Goldenberg was not able to return to the par
ty until 1921, af ter he had thoroly recognized his fault.
·what is the explanation of some of the errors committed in the first
days of the February revolution ? The gen eral staff of the Bolsheviki,
af ter years of imperialist war and white terror, came together from
various parts of the earth, af ter the central function aires of the
Bolsheviki had lived se parated from their best friends. All were
overwhelmed by the world his torical events. Many things turned out
diff erently from what had been expected. In the first days of the
revolution the Bolsheviki themselves were in the minority among the
Petro grad workers. The mood of the sol diers, whom Lenin later called
"hon est defenders of their country," creat ed great tactical
difficulties f or us.
\Ve asked ourselves how we could a p proach these masses, how we could
at least get them to listen to us. All this led to those difficulties
which were responsible for the errors of the "Pravda" in the first days
af ter the February revolution, before the arrival of Comrade Lenin.
Can one from this inf er the exist ence of a right wing in the
Bolshevist party, which Comrade Trotsky at tempts to represent as a
"social demo cratic," "semi-menshevist" wing. On ly he who does not
know the Bolshe vist party can say such a thing, who judges the party
from the outside, who for fif teen years has fought against this party,
and who in 1924 again declares war against the party. There were serious
diff erences among the Bolsheviki in the period from April to Septem
ber, 1917. Groups could hav e been formed out of these d iff erences if
the comrades who had erred had not conf essed their errors, if events
had not quickly l:quidated these errors, if the party had not
unanimously repudiated these errors, if the party had not had a Lenin.
Then a split would have occurred, but in no event would a right wing
have been formed.
There were sharp diff erences among the Bolsheviki in October and Novem
ber, 1917. During this time the pres ent writer was among those
comrades who had erred. If the errors had not been immediately
recognized as such, if the party had not unanimously cor rected these
errors, and again, if the party had had no Lenin, then these sharp diff
erences could have led to serious results. But as a matter of fact the
contrary of all this occurred.
The first split between the Bolshe viki and the mensheviki began in
1903. Since about 1910 the Bolshevist party has had a completely
indepen dent organizatory lif e. Between 1903 and 1910 Bolshevism
experienced a period of insufficient organizatory growth. From 1910 to
1917 this could no longer be the case. There was and could be no right
wing in the Bolshevist party.
Is the Formation of a R ight W ing in the R. C. P. Possible at the
Present Time ?
A really serious question. Our re ply to this is: Yes, an attempt is
now being made to create such a right wing in the R. C. P. and in the
Com intern. The leading figure in these eff orts is Comrade Trotzky.
The real problem is whether we can tolerate the formation of such a
wing, and if not, how we can avoid it.
From whence can a right wing, a right fraction, a right tendency arise?
It would be absurd to explain this by the personal responsibility of
this or that comrade. No, there exist indis· putable objective
pre-conditions there for.
What constitute the essential diff er ences between the present state
of af· fairs in our party and the position of our party bef ore the
October revolu tion ?
First : The mensheviki, the S. R.
the anarchists and the remaining groups have disappeared from the open
political life of our country. In the interest of the successf ul carry
ing out of the proletarian dictatorshi p, the victorious working class,
under the lead of our party, had to render illegal the S. R. the
mensheviki, the anti-Soviet section of the anarchists, and other groups
opposed to the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Only the
Russian C. P. is legally ac tive. Today it cannot be otherwise. With
such a state of aff airs it is un· avoidable that many elements enter
our party, who, in the event of the existence of other legal parties,
would not be with us.
Second : We have ideologically shattered two important parties which
during two decades were our rivals; the S. R. and the mensheviki. Some
ten thousand members of these par ties have come over to our party
among them many very active mem bers, as for instance Comrade Trot
zky. A considerable portion of these comrades have been completely
assim ilated by our party and now are good Bolsheviki. But we must not
disguise the fact that the annihilation of the
S. R. and the mensheviki as legal par· ties does not serve to promote
the homogeneous composition of our party.
Third : Our country is passing thru a transition period. Up to October,
1917, the situation was in many re spects more difficult, but clearer.
The party was conf ronted with an imme· diate task : the overthrow of
geoisie. The present situation is more complicated. The Nep, the
bourgeois environment, all these factors render our situation extremely
complicated. Never in the history of the struggle of the international
working class was a workers party in such complicated transition period.
Fourth : The social composition of the party has become heterogeneous.
Up to October, 1917, our party was al most entirely a party of workers.
Af· ter 1917, the situation has changed. We have at present over a
hundred thousand peasant members, some thousands of members from the
high er educational institutions, and many thousands of Soviet
What is the meaning of all our ef· forts to purge our party, the Lenin
recruitment ? The aim of all these eff orts is to render the composition
of the party as homogeneous as possible, to prevent a dilution of its
social com· position.
All these together create the pre· requisites under which the formation
of a right wing is possible in the party created by Lenin-and is now
with· out Lenin.
When we deal with the attacks of Comrad e Trotzky upon the Bolshevist
C. C. with the greatest objectivity, then we see that their content is
the following: During these years Com rade Trotzky gave expression to
everything which is not strictly Bolshe vist, and which f eels itself
cramped within the frame of the old Lenin tac tics. Trotzky is
sincerely convinced that the old methods of Leninism can no longer today
f ulfill their task, when the party is acting in such a vast arena.
According to his opinion, the party must become a block of various
tendencies and fractions.
VIe all know that all those process es which are developing in our
coun try are reflected in our party, which is in possession of power
and which has suppressed all the other, anti Soviet parties. We
Leninists draw from this the conclusion that it is all the more
necessary to preserve the greatest possible homogeneity of the party,
the greatest firmness of leader ship and the greatest possible devo
tion to Leninism. To maneuver, some times even to make concessions, is
un avoidable. But it is necessary that the party shall always remain
Bol shevist. Trotzky, on the other hand, draws diff erent conclusions
from the complexity of our present situation. It seems to him that the
earlier "sec tarianism," steel-firmness, is leading the country to the
edge of the abyss. According to his view, the party must become a
combination of various tend encies and fractions, and that it sball not
immediately conduct the state and economic apparatus, but leave more
scope for bourgeois specialists, etc.
This idea of Comrade Trotzky would in the present international and
inner political situation, logically lead in the best case to the
substitution of the Bolshevik Party by a "broad" "labor party," af ter
the model of the English MacDonald labor party in a "Soviet edition." It
is quite possible that Com rade Trotzky has not thought out his idea to
its logical conclusion, but he is steering in this direction, unless he
returns to Bolshevism.
A party which has to work under such conditions needs a number of
transmission belts to secure its influ ence upon the peasantry, upon
the employees, upon the intelligenzia, etc. Th e system of levers which
secures the dictatorship of the proletariat is , complicated ( Soviets,
trade unions, etc.) . Bu t it does not follow from this that the party
can become a block of tendencies, a sort of "parliament of opinions."
It is a matter of course that the Bol shevik Party in the year 1924,
cannot simply copy the Bolshevik Party of , say 1914, or even of 1917.
We cannot limit ourselves merely to admitting workers into our party as
members. By means of the Lenin recruitment we did everything possible in
order to increase the num ber of industrial workers in our party. For
some years we held back the influx of peasants into our party. But we
have now come to the conclusion that we must again admit a considerable
number of pea- ants. A workers party which gov erns the state in a
peasant country, must have among its mem bers a cer tain percentage of
The regulation of the composition of our party is a complicated and
diffi cult task. It is closely connected with the most difficult and
sometimes the most delicate political problems. The party must maneuver
in this connec tion. At the present epoch the party cannot be so
homogeneous as it was before the seizure of power.
Therefore, the policy, and also the leadership of the party, must be as
Bolshevik as it has been hitherto, as Lenin has taught us. The working
class realizes its hegemony in the re volution, and the party is the
leading advance guard of the class possessing this hegemony.
From this there arises the question of the inner orientation of the
party. The Bolshevist Party of 1924 must base itself upon the picked
troops of its members, upon the workers. No other section outside the
workers can serve as the barometer f or the policy of our party.
Must we therefore permit the exist ence or the formation of a right
wing in our party ?
We must not !
It does not in the least follow that be cause we have to be content with
a non-sufficiently homogeneous social composition of our party, that
because we have to attract a certain number of non-workers into our
party, we can water down the policy of the party, that the leadership of
the party must also be heterogenous. On the con trary! Precisely
because the party, under the present conditions, cannot be so
homogeneous in its composition as it ws bef ore the seizure of power,
the pollcy of the party must, more strictly than ever, base itself upon
the workers; and precisely therefore, the leadership of the party must
be spe cially firm and Leninist.
The objective conditions under which our party must work at present are
such that there exists the dan ger of the formation of a right wing. He
who wishes to remain true to the spirit of Leninism must exert all his
forces in order to help the party to withstand these tendencies. With a
skillf ul and correct applil;ation of the principles of Leninism to the
present situation, we will succeed in preven t ing the f ormation of a
right wing in our party.
Those comrades, however, who, like Comrade Trotzky, not only do not re
sist these tendencies, but become their representatives, those comrades
who oppose the Leninist central committee which clearly perceives the
danger and has to maneuver in a complicated situation, thereby become
the enemies of Leninism.
Whether this is their intention or not, it is all the same. Whether they
clearly recognize this or not, it is also all the same. Let us take, for
example, two prom inent comrades (let us say comrades A and B) . Both
comrades are the most disciplined and excellent com rades. Comrade A,
however, came over to Bolshevism at another time and by other ways than
comrade B. Comrade A came from the peasant movement. Comrade B came from
the workers' movement, he has been a Bolshevik for twenty years. Our
party needs both. When, however, comrade A begins to develop within the
party in a certain manner, as so of ten hap pens, and begins to demand
that the policy of the party shall be based, not upon the workers but
upon the pea sants, or when he begins to demand that the general staff
of the party should be transformed into a block of various groups-what
would our party say to this comrade A in this event ?
Something similar, but in a more serious form, is now being done by
Comrade Trotzky. He is g1vmg ex pression to everything in the party
which is not Bolshevik.
Can the party tolerate this ? Is it to be wondered if the party admin
iste.rs such a severe rebuke to Com rade Trotsky ?
Whither is the Present Development of Trotsky Leading?
Comrade Trotsky, as an obvious in dividualist, has of course many fea
tures of character which are only characteristic f or him personally.
Comrade Trotsky of ten sets up such a political platf orm that only one
per son can stand on it : Comrade Trot sky himself , as upon this
platform there is no room f or anybody else. It would be a mistake,
however to see in this standpoint of Trotsky ' only the individual.
There is no doubt that he represents a f airly broad section of the
factor of our situation
the improvisations of Comrade Trot sky there comes to light one
Let us imagine for a moment what would be the state of our country if
our party, instead of energetically re sisting the proposals of Comrade
Trot sky, had accepted his most important proposals since 1921. This
would have meant :
1. The trade unions would have be come state institutions, there would
have taken place the notorious "fu sion" of the trade unions with
official state nd economic organs. The trade unions, which today
constitute our broadest basis and embrace 6 mil lion workers and
employees, would have been converted into a bureau cratic append age of
the official ma chine. In other words, we would have created a basis f
or menshevism and undermined with our own hands the dictatorship of the
2. The party would have become ex cluded from the immediate leadership
of the economic and state organs. The Soviet apparatus would have become
mor-e independent. "The emancipa tion of the Soviets from the party"
would not merely have remained on paper, in the writings of the emi
grants, but would have been partly realized. It is hardly necessary to
point out to a Bolshevik that such a tendency would have had innumerable
3. The bourgeois specialists would have won a far greater influence in
all branches of our work, and not only on the military field. It is
almost su perfluous to point out that that was one of the most
important features of the political platf orm of Comrade Trotsky, and
one of the most impor tant points of his diff erences with our party.
Of course it is absolutely necessary that we attract honest specialists
into our work, and that we create such an atmosphere as will enable them
to render usef ul service for our cause. If , however, the question of
specialists had been solved, not according to Lenin but according to
Trotsky, it would have meant the greatest polit ical concession to the
1. In the questions of the inner lif e of the party we would have had to
recognize that, not the workers at the benches but the youths in the
high schools constitute the barometer of the party; the youths in the
high schools, among whom there are ex cellent proletarian elements, but
among whom there are not a f ew peo ple who are connected by a thousand
social ties to the petty bourgeoisie and, through them, to the Nep and
the new bourgeoisie.
2. We should not have carried out the currency reform because, accord
ing to Trotsky, "first" industry had to be restored , and then the
currency ref orm was to be taken in hand. It is not necessary to mention
that if we had accepted this "ingenious" pro posal, the weight of the
socialist ele ment upon the economy of our coun try would only have
been red uced and the new bourgeoisie would have there by become
3. As regards the question of our relation tc the peasantry, we should
have committed the greatest errors. Instead of the beginning of an
alliance with the peasantry, we should be al together estranged from
them. The peasantry, alienated by our errors, would have sought another
political leader, and of course would have found it in the new
No comrade will be able to say that we have invented the above six
polllts. Every serious Bolshevik will have to admit that the struggle
between the Leninist C. ·C. and Comrade Trotsky turns precisely upon
these points, and not upon the question of "personal prestige", as the
'Vhat would be the state of aff airs in our country if , in these six
ques tions, we had f allowed the road urged by Trotsky ? It would have
become a Russia of the Nep, in the sense and to the extent which the
ideology of the new bourgeoisie reckoned upon. And the prospects of the
transf ormation of Russia of the new economic policy into a socialist
Russia would have been very remote, and would even have entirely
If we add to all this the opportunist errors of Comrade Trotsky in the
questions of international politics, (over-estimation of the democratic
pacifist era, over-estimation of the miraculous peace-making quality of
American super-imperialism, under estimation of the counter-revolution
ary nature of social democracy, under estimation of the duration of
fascism ) and the fact that he supported all right, semi-social
democratic elements in the various sections of the Comin tern, then it
is clear in what direction Comrade Trotsky is drawing our party.
In this heaping up of one error upon another Comrade Trotsky has his own
"system". As a whole that system is: right deviation.
The new bourgeoisie of our country is precisely a new and not the old
bourgeoisie. It has seen a variety of things and has also learned
something from the "Lessons of October". It saw the masses in action. It
saw the ruthless hand ling of the bourgeoisie by the Bolsheviki in the
first period of the October revolution, and the con cessions of the
Bolsheviki to the bour geoisie in 1921, when these same ruthless
Bolsheviki were compelled to introduce the new economic policy. It now
knows the value of the real re lation of forces which, among others
consists in the international boufl geois environment of the first
Soviet country. It has its new intelligenzia, educated f or the most
part in our edu cational establish ments. It has learned to penetrate
into the struggle of tendencies within our own party, it has learned to
take advantage of Soviet legality.
It is a bourgeoisie which has passed through the fire of the greatest
revo lution ; a bourgeoisie which under stands how to bring about its
alliance with the leaders of the international bourgeoisie. In one word,
it is a bour geoisie with a keen class-conscious ness; an adaptable
bourgeoisie, which has become more clever through the experiences of the
revolution and bet ter understands the importance of the workers' party
and the currents with in this party.
We must not disguise the f act: the social composition of our state
appar atus is such, that an important part of the personnel of this
apparatus must be considered as an agency of this new bourgeoisie. The
same must be said regard ing a certain section of the students and of
the intelligenzia in general.
To demand from the Bolshevist Party in the years 1921 to 1924, in the
period of transition, the before men tioned six points, means nothing
less than to help, even if unwillingly, the new bourgeoisie.
Comrade Trotsky has taken a wrong turning. He wants to fight against the
exaggerated "sectarianism" of the old Bolsheviki, which appears to him
as "narrow-mindedness", and in re ality he is fighting against the
bases of Bolshevism. As a matter of fact, of course without wishing it,
he is ren dering the class enemy an invaluable service.
We ask the former and present fol lowers of Comrade Trotsky, whether
they are aware that every attack of Comrade Trotsky against the Bol
shevik C. C. since 1921 has been hailed throughout the whole of the
non-bol shevik camp with ever-increasing joy ? Marx has already said
that one can express the feeling of the petty bour geoisie without
oneself being a small shop-keeper. Of course, Comrade Trot sky has the
best intentions. But the way to hell is paved with good inten tions.
Comrade Trotsky must once and for all give up "saving" our party from
alleged errors. He must under stand and admit his own political errors,
which for the greater part arise from the remnants of his political
ideology of the time from 1903 to 1917,when Comrade Trotsky was an open
opponent of Bolshevism. He must cease from stirring up periodical
"crises", with the regularity and the punctuality of a calendar, every
year, and recently every six months. He must understand that nobody will
suc ceed in crushing Leninism by f orce under Trotskyism. In one word,
it must be understood that Bolshevism remains Bolshevism.
What is to be done ? Split ? Nonsense! There can be no talk of such a
thing! Our party is more united than it ever was.Disciplinary measures?
That is also absurd ! Nobody needs this; some a thing! Our party is more
united than it ever was.
Disciplinary measures? That is alsoabsurd ! Nobody needs this; some
thing else is necessary at present. It is necessary that the party
secure itself against a repetition of the "at tacks" upon Leninism.
Serious party guarantees are necessary that the de cisions of the party
shall be binding for , Comrade Trotsky. The party is not a debating
society, but a party, which moreover is in a very compli cated
situation. The slogan of the present day is:
Bolshevizing of all strata of the party ! Ideological struggle against
And before all: enlightenment, en lightenment and again enlightenment!
Our party consists f or the greater part of relatively new members. It
is necessary that the party study the question of Leninism and
Trotskyism. It is necessary that the party clearly see that here it is a
question of two fundamentally diff erent systems of tactics:
It is not merely a question of the past history of the party. It is here
a question of two methods of dealing with present-day politics, which
are closely connected with such cardinal questions as the question of
the re lation between the working class and the peasantry. And we
cailnot avoid thanking Comrade Trotsky that he has at any rate provided
the party with a good opportunity of analysing a deviation from Leninism
and thinking more deeply into the fundamentals of Leninism.
Of course, the party must insist that party d iscipline is also binding
for Comrade Trotsky; and we are con vinced that the party will be able
to im;ist on this. The more clearness there is in the party regarding
the question of Leninism and of Trotsky ism, the less ground there will
be for such an attempt as Comrade Trotsky ism, the less ground there
will be forsuch an attempt as Comrade Trotskyhas undertaken. The less
response there is in the party to this attempt the less desire he will
have to repeat it. And the response this time is very small. Comrade
Trotsky has so changed the f orm of his "platf orm" that there is only
room for one man upon it-Comrade Trotsky himself.
During the last discussion Comrade Trotsky declared the student youth to
be the reliable "barometer". We did not agree with hini then and we do
not agree with him now. But it must be stated that even this, not
entirely ideal, barometer has not responded this time as in recent
years, which proves that the student youth do not wish to replace
Leninism by Trotsky ism.
The best means to hold Comrade Trotsky back f rom f urther errors, which
will estrange him still further from Bolshevism, is f or the whole party
as olie man to repudiate his dev iation, and then we hope he will soon
retrieve his errors.
It is to be hoped that Comrade Trot sky, when he perceives the harmf
ul ness of this tendency and the unanim ity of the party against his
enormous errors, will turn back from his wrong path.
Comrade Lenin more than once formulated the "law" of the political
evolution of Comrade Trotsky. If things are going well, Comrade Trot
sky approaches the Bolshevist lin6 ; when things are going bad, then
Com rade Trotsky inclines to the right. In order to keep him back from
turning to the right, the ideological def ense of the whole party is
The party will say its final word, and once again the premature hopes of
the enemy will be disappoin ted. The Bolshevist party will receive a new
and more powerf ul steeling, and true Leninism will become the
ideological equipment of the whole party down to the last member.
Speech by Comrade Stalin -------