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Trotsky The Traitor
Alex BittlemanA Path of Treachery
TROTSKY, Zinoviev, Piatakov and Co. are "Old Bolsheviks",
some people say. They are the "fathers" of the Russian revolution, it is claimed. On this false basis, the question is asked: How is it possible for these "founders" of the Soviet system to try to betray it, and to join for this pur· pose with the worst enemies of socialism?
Those who genuinely ask such questions apparently do not know that this gang of counter-revolutionary bandits have had a long history, that their transformation into allies of fascism is no sudden or overnight affair. They were moving in that direction for a long time.
State Prosecutor Vyshinsky, in his summing up speech, stated the thing very clearly:
"Like a moving picture film operated backwards, this trial has called to our memory and has shown us again all the basic stages of the historic path of the Trotskyites and of Trotskyism which spent more than thirty years to prepare at last this final transformation into the storm troops of fascism."
This historic path of Trotskyism was a path of struggle against Lenin and Bolshevism, a path of double-dealing and treachery. It is worse than ridiculous therefore to speak of Trotsky, whom Lenin branded as a Judas, and of his agents, as "Old Bolsheviks".
Just a few high lights of this "historic path of Trotskyism": As far back as 1904, almost 33 years ago, Trotsky started on his historic path. He published four pamphlets entitled: Our Political Tasks. In these pamphlets Trotsky challenged Bolshevism. He denounced and slandered the Bolshevik path to victory over tsarism and capitalism outlined by Lenin and accepted by the Bolsheviks. He had the brazenness to attack Lenin as "a leader of the reactionary wing" of the Party.
Between 1904 and 1911, Lenin and Stalin were busy training the future Bolsheviks who led the people to victory over the tsar and capitalism; they were busy organizing the working class and its a1lies in daily struggle against their exploiters. Thus they have built the Bolshevik Party.
What was Trotsky doing? Fighting Lenin, Stalin and the Bolsheviks, organizing combinations of all sorts of opportunists and servants of capitalism to block the road of proletarian victory.
In 1911-12 Trotsky organized the infamous "August Bloc", the prototype of the latter day "Trotsky-Zinoviev Bloc". The chief aim of the "August Bloc" was to fight Lenin and the Bolshevik policies. And who were the people that went into the making of this "August Bloc"? Mensheviks, agents of capitalism in the labor movement, people thrown out of the ranks of the Bolshevik Party.
Study Lenin's writings and you will see how much time and energy he had to devote to unmasking and combating Trotsky, the Judas. Twenty years ago Lenin found it necessary to warn the workers against Trotsky in these words:
"The young generation of workers should know well with whom they are dealing."
Recalling these facts of the Trotskyite path of treachery, State Prosecutor Vyshinsky asked :
"Is it an accident that the Trotskyites were finally transformed into a nest and hot-bed of degeneration and thermidorian policy, as Stalin once said? Is it an accident that Trotsky who, after the Revolution made his way into the ranks of our Party, slipped up and adopted a counter-revolutionary Menshevik position and was thrown out beyond the borders of our state, beyond the borders of the Soviet Union?"
By this time, the reader should be in a position to answer this question for himself. And to answer the correct way, the way Vyshinsky did.
"It is not an accident because prior to the October Revolution as well, Trotsky and his friends fought against Lenin and Lenin's Party as they fight now against Stalin and the Party of Lenin and Stalin.
They come to their shameful end because they have followed this role for many years, have sung the praises of capitalism and have lacked faith in the success of socialist construction and in the victory of socialism.
"That is why they come finally to develop a program of capitalist restoration. That is why they proceeded to betray and sell our native land."
Trotsky never believed in the possibility of socialism in the Soviet Union. He always claimed-and that can be found in all his writings-that in a backward agricultural country like old Russia, where the peasantry was predominant and the peasantry could not be won to support the socialist revo] ution, socialism was impossible. This is the foundation of Trotskyism.
Holding such views, it was not at all surprising to see Trotsky propose in 1922 that the industrial plants of the Soviet Union he mortgaged to private capital in order to secure the much needed credits at the time. In fact, Trotsky quite freely theorized on this question. He declared-and that again is a matter of public record-that the Soviet economy was "more and more fusing with capitalist economy", that the Soviet Union "would all the time be under the control of world economy".
Recalling these incidents of the "historic path of Trotskyism", Vyshinsky recalls the answer which Stalin had given:
"Capitalist control, said Stalin, means political control. It means the destruction of the political independence of our country and the adaptation of the laws of our country to the interests and tastes of international capitalist economy."
Trotsky was willing to accept that. Not Stalin. Not the Bolsheviks. Stalin made that quite clear at the time. He said:
"If it is a question of such real capitalist control, then I must declare that such control does not exist and .never will exist here as long as our proletariat is alive and as long as we have the dictatorship of the proletariat here."
Some ''clever" writers are exhausting their ingenuity in trying to construct a "fight for power" between Stalin and Trotsky as individuals. It is not that at all. Trotsky defames Stalin and plot" against him, organizes terrorist acts against Stalin, "to remove him", using the conspiratorial language of the Trotskyites, because Stalin leads in the building of socialism, because under his daily guidance socialism in the Soviet Union became triumphantly victorious.
Yet, if it will help some people to understand the matter more easily by looking at it as a struggle between two individuals for power, all right, let us grant that for a moment. And having done so, we must ask: And what are these individuals fighting about? What do they want power for and what do they propose to do with it? This is a fair question. And when you try to answer it, where do you get? Exactly where we were a while ago. You discover once more that it is a fight of a group of counter-revolutionists and allies of fascism, led by Trotsky, against the Soviet Union and its socialist system, headed by Stalin. You find out again that "Trotsky fights Stalin" because Trotsky seeks the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union which Stalin opposes, which he has opposed all the time in "his fight against Trotsky" and Trotskyism.
Yes, some people say; but Trotsky and the Trotskyites are Socialists. No, is the answer. They are not. What is true is that they say they are Socialists. But so does Hitler. His fascist party calls itself "The National German Socialist Workers' Party". And what does that prove?
The Russian revolution (and not only the Russian) has many examples to show how people calling themselves "socialists" were in reality the worst enemies of socialism.
There were the "Socialist Revolutionaries" who joined with White Guard generals and foreign intervention to def eat the socialist revolution and to dismember Russia. There were the Mensheviks who, in the Ukraine and the Caucasus, called upon the Kaiser's Germany and upon England to come in and help destroy the socialist revolution and to establish there foreign imperialist rule. Trotsky and the Trotskyites are fallowing a similar path.
Once more it is necessary to keep in mind that this latest chain of treason did not come of a sudden. It is the culminating point of the historic path of Trotskyism.
Already more than ten years ago--ten years-the Trotsky Zinoviev combination began to resort to open crimes against the Soviet government, crimes punishable by Soviet criminal law. The so-called "New Opposition", headed by Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev, and participated in by Piatakov, Radek, Serebriakov, Muralov, Sokolnikov, Drobnis and Boguslavsky, the defendants in the January trial, took the path of struggle against the Soviet government into the streets. They tried to organize demonstrations and to involve the masses in the fight. And it was not their fault that they failed. The masses were against them.
It will be recalled that at that time the Soviet government was meeting with a number of difficulties in the construction of socialism. The Trotsky-Zinoviev bloc attempted to exploit these difficulties in order to deliver a blow at the Soviet government. In 1932, also, the Soviet government was struggling to overcome certain difficulties, and the Trotsky-Zinoviev bloc was on the job again-waiting for difficulties and seizing upon them to fight the Soviet government and the socialist system.
State Prosecutor Vyshinsky summed up on the "socialist past" of these criminals in a very convincing way.· He said:
"The question may arise in some minds-how is it that these people who fought for socialism so many years can now be accused of these monstrous crimes? Perhaps these people are accused of something that by the very essence of their whole past socialist revolutionary Bolshevik activity they cannot be accused of?
"I answer this question. We accuse these gentlemen of being traitors to socialism. We motivate this accusation not only by what was committed (this is the subject of the accusation) but we say the history of their downfall began long before they organized the so-called 'Parallel Center', this off-shoot of the criminal Trotskyist-Zinovievist united bloc.
"The organic link is here at hand. The historic link is here at hand. From the platform of 1926, from anti-Soviet street demonstrations, illegal print shops, and the league with White Guard officers which they also accepted then, to destructive work, espionage, terror and betrayal of the fatherland-from 1932 to 1936 is one step. And they took this step."
They took this step and became the allies of fascism, plotters for the defeat of the Soviet Union ; bandits dismemberment collaborators with Hitler Germany and military-fascist Japan; terrorists, assassins and wreckers.
Some still maintain that if Trotsky did come to assassination and individual terror as a "method" of struggle against the Soviet government, he must have come to it all of a sudden and at the last minute. But this too is not so. Vyshinsky quoted at the trial from articles in the Trotsky Opposition Bulletin, numbers 36 and 37 from October, 1934, such statements as this:
"It would he childish to think that the Stalinist bureaucracy can be removed with the help of the Party or of the Soviet Congress. There are not left any normal constitutional ways for removing the ruling cliques. They can be forced to hand over power to the proletarian vanguard ... only by force."
Never mind the brazen audacity of the Trotskyites calling themselves "the proletarian vanguard". They called themselves Socialists, also, and Communists. The important thing is the open call to force and violence to compel the Soviet government "to hand over power" to Trotsky so he can restore capitalism; the open call to force "to remove" the Stalinist leadership. The murder of Kirov was the fruit of this appeal. The terroristic conspiracies exposed at the August and January trials are the result and further development of Trotsky's call in 1934 for force and violence.
Together with Trotsky, Hearst and Lloyd George may deplore the fact that there are in the Soviet Union "no normal constitutional ways" for overthrowing the Soviet government, for restoring capitalism, or for selling out the territories of the Soviet Union to German fascism and to military-fascist Japan. All honest workers and sincere progressives will say: thank the dictatorship of the proletariat that there are ·'no normal" and easy ways of attempting to destroy the Soviet Union. Trotsky, Hearst and Hitler will continue to miss these "normal ways". Progressive and genuinely democratic humanity will applaud this fact in the full realization that the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union, embodied in the new Stalinist Constitution, has proven most effective in building socialism, and in creating a powerful fortress for peace and democracy throughout the world.
Confessions and Objective Evidence
HEARST and Trotsky have been trying hard to invalidate the confessions of the defendants at the January trial. Trotsky and Hearst, and some others who trail behind them, have been talking of "torture" by the "Gay-Pay-Oo", promises of "leniency" to those who confessed, "confession gases", and what not.
The reactionary capitalist press in this country, taking its cue from the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Goebbels, was using all the tricks of corrupt journalism in its editorials and comments to becloud the trial, to ridicule it, to throw suspicion upon its genuineness.
But to no avail. The correspondents of these papers, who were present at the trial, were telling in their dispatches one thing, while the editorials and comments were telling a different thing. The correspondents, most of them unfriendly to the Soviet Union and highly suspicious of it could not help but be impressed with the truth. They heard the confessions and testimony of defendants and witnesses, they saw them in Court, they listened (no doubt very critically) to the examination of the prosecutor and to his summing up speech, and the impression they carried away was: it was genuine and real from beginning to end. And this was what they wired to their newspapers.
Very revealing was the reaction of Walter Duranty (Moscow correspondent for The New York Times) to the confession of Radek. Duranty wrote:
"It is a sad and dreadful thing to see your friends on trial for their lives. And it is sadder and more dreadful to hear them hang themselves with their own words. . • • Radek taught me so much and helped me so often-how could I believe him guilty until I heard him say so? Stalin himself had confidence in Radek until the evidence and Radek's own confession made doubt impossible." (The New York Times, January 25.)
Of the testimony of Piatakov, Duranty wired that it "carried conviction to the most obdurate hearers". Listening to this testimony, a foreign diplomat told Duranty: "If this is lying, then I have never heard the truth."
Perhaps the opinion of l\fauritz Hallgren, a leading editorial writer on the Baltimore. Sun and formerly one of the editors of The Nation, who for a while was doubtful and even joined the so-called "American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky", from which he now resigned-perhaps the opinion of Hallgren should carry even more weight. And this was what he wrote of the testimony of the defendants in his letter of withdrawal from the Trotsky Committee:
"The very unanimity of the defendants, far from proving that this trial is also a 'frame-up', appears to me to prove directly the contrary. For if these men are innocent, then certainly at least one of the three dozen, knowing that he faced death in any case, would have bJ.urted out the truth. It is inconceivable that out of this great number of defendants, all should lie when lies would not do one of them any good. But why look beyond the obvious for the truth, why seek in mysticism or in dark magic for facts that are before one's very nose? Why not accept the plain fact that the men arc, guilty? And this fact, if accepted with regard to the men now on trial, must also be accepted with regard to the men who were executed after the first trial."*Why I Resigned from the Trotsky Defense Committee, p. 5,
Trotsky, sitting in Mexico, shouts ''frame-up" through the columns of the Hearst press and other papers. He claims to be in possession of "evidence" that would show him to be innocent. Yet, despite the fact that correspondents of numerous papers are at his service to broadcast far and wide his testimony, he has not yet disclosed any of his "evidence". What is he waiting for?
All fair-minded people expect him to go to Moscow and give his testimony there. The Supreme Court of the Soviet Union is the only competent tribunal to hear and judge Trotsky. Why doesn't he go to Moscow and face the Soviet Court?
While failing to disclose anything that would successfully contradict the evidence at the Moscow trial, Trotsky. and his agents shout for "objective evidence". The declarations and testimony of the defendants and witnesses are not enough for them.
State Prosecutor Vyshinsky, in his summing up speech, went into the question of objective evidence as follows:
"What proofs have we in our arsenal from the viewpoint of juridical claims? The character of the present case is such that specific proofs possible in the case are determined by its character. We have the plot. We have in front of us a group of people who prepared to carry out a coup d'etat. The question can be placed as follows: You speak of the plot, hut where are your documents? You speak of the program, but where is this program? Do these people anywhere possess a written program? You say that this is an organization ( they call themselves a party), hut where are their deciiions, and the material proofs of this plotting activity-statutes, protocols, seals, etc.?"
The question of evidence and its possible nature are placed here clearly. And what is the answer? Said Vyshinsky:
"I take the liberty to affirm, in accordance with the primary demands of the science of criminal ,law, that such claims cannot he made in cases of plotting. In the case of plotting of a coup d' etat it cannot be demanded that the matter be approached from a viewpoint such as: show us your protocols, decisions, membership cards and number of membership cards. Yes, we have a number of documents with regard to this. But even had we not possessed that, we would have all the same considered ourselves in the right to make the charge on the buis of the testimonies and declarations of the accused and witnesses, and, if you wish, on circumstantial evidence."
Is this something unheard of? Is it only the practice of the Soviet Union to indict and convict people, in cases of treason to the state, only, or largely, on the basis of the confessions of the accused themselves? That's what Hearst and Trotsky say. The truth is that nearly everywhere, this is the procedure, the only possible procedure in most instances of treasonable plots. And this is what Trotsky and his agents are accused of. The Nation, which certainly cannot be charged with "too much" sympathy for the Soviet Union, and which at first was rather doubtful about many angles of the trial, has this to say:
"Nor is there anything unusual, even outside Russia, in basing a conviction upon confessions. In both English and American law all that is needed to prove treason is two witnesses to the overt act or a confession in open court." ( The Nation, February 6.)
All that is needed in American law to prove treason is two witnesses or, if there are no witnesses, a confession in open court.
Let's remember that. And let's also remember that the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union had before it: confessions in open court, and witnesses and documents and an overwhelming mass of circumstantial evidence. And circumstantial evidence, as most Americans know, is in most cases more decisive for proving guilt than is direct evidence. Experts are agreed on that. But the Soviet Court had circumstantial evidence and objective evidence. Said Vyshinsky:
"I spoke of the program and I showed you, comrades and judges, Trotsky's Bulletin in which he printed this very program. But identification here will be much easier than that which you carried out identifying certain persons from the German Intelligence Service from photographs. We are basing ourselves on a number of proofs which in our hands can serve to verify the statements of the accused.
"First of all, there are the historic connections, which confirm the thesis of the prosecution, on the basis of the past activities of the Trotskyites."
Recall "the historic path of Trotskyism"-the path of treachery to the people.
"We have in mind further the testimonies of the accused which in themselves are the greatest proof. In the trial, when one of the proofs was the testimony of the accused themselves, we did not restrict ourselves to the Court's hearing only statements of the accused: we used all the means possible and accessible to us to verify these statements."
But, if one should still contend that the testimony of the accused is not convincing enough, that would mean that the defendants were accusing each other falsely. And if that were so, one would have to find a reason for it. Why should they have accused each other falsely? What could they gain by it?
It should now be clear to every fair-minded person that, following the execution of the conspirators of the first trial in August, 1936 (Zinoviev, Kamenev & Co.), none of the defendants at the second trial could have had any expectations of securing gain or advantage by falsely accusing the other. The only reason they confessed their crime, and why their testimony agrees on the whole, is because they were guilty .
Soviet Democracy Vindicated