Written: 12 January 1935.
Published: The New Militant, Vol. I No. 9, 9 February 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2014. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.
Conditions now permit us to elucidate briefly the latest episodes of the investigation relating to the assassination of Kirov as well as the amalgams (or more exactly, series of amalgams) interwoven with, this affair.
1. The mysterious consul has now turned out to be a Latvian consul: our supposition that a petty consul of a tiny nation would be chosen for the amalgam has been fully confirmed. However, it become necessary to name the consul. – obviously because of diplomatic pressure – and this necessity threatened to blast the amalgam: for, who would believe that a consul of Latvia is the organizer of world intervention against the U.S.S.R. A new version had to be found: the Latvian consul was, as a matter of fact, the agent of Hitler. Quite possible. But, how then to connect Trotsky with Hitler? Stalin did not even attempt to provide an explanation. He left his hirelings abroad to extricate themselves as best they could. But the hirelings are incapable of giving more than nature has endowed them with.
2. The Zinoviev group was arrested in connection with the Kirov assassination. Yet the indictment does not so much as let out a peep concerning a single one of the Zinovievists arrested in Moscow. But why then are they arrested? The foreign lackeys now besmirch Zinoviev with mud as shamelessly as in 1928-25 they crawled on their bellies before him.
3. What charge, politically, may be brought against Zinoviev, Kamenev and their friends? Their capitulation. By this act of political cowardice, they drove the revolutionary youth into a blind alley. The youth has been left without perspectives. At the same time, under the ponderous lid of bureaucratism the youth is not permitted to think, live, or breathe. Under precisely such conditions are terrorist moods bred. Only the growth of genuine Bolshevism, on a world scale, can instil new hopes into the Soviet revolutionary youth and safeguard it from taking the road of despair and adventurism.
4. The gap between the terrorist group and Zinoviev and his friends was to be bridged by the “platform of the Left Opposition” of the year 1926. Citing one of the accused, who obviously mouths the formula of the G.P.U. examining magistrate, the indictment proclaims the “ideological” succession from the “new opposition” of 1926 (the Zinoviev faction) to the Nicolaiev group. But how to link this up with the consul, intervention and the terrorist act?
The “platform” of 1926 has been published in every language. The attitude towards the U.S.S.R. was there set forth with exhaustive clarity. The lackeys, it is true, do not have to bother pondering over this. But class conscious workers, even at this date, can profit, much by acquainting themselves with the 1926 document. Upon acquainting themselves with it, they will draw the specific conclusion that while the bureaucracy did appropriate the most progressive measures from the program it had vilified, the Leningrad terrorists could never derive from this Marxist document any justification for senseless adventurism.
5. There is a specific historical stench to this attempt at connecting the Left Opposition with the idea of intervention. In 1917, Miliukov, Kerensky and Co. accused Lenin, Trotsky and other Bolsheviks of being agents of the German General staff, and serving the interventionist plans of the Hohenzollern. In its time, this moronic calumny made a tour of the entire world. Stalin has been unable to think up a single new word. He slavishly repeats the hoary calumny about the leaders of Bolshevism. He is only the pupil of Miliukov and Kerensky.
6. When, in March 1917, I was arrested by the British naval authorities and incarcerated in a concentration camp in Canada, Lenin wrote in Pravda (No. 34, April 1917):
“Can one for a moment believe in the veracity of the dispatch which the British government: has received, and which purports that TROTSKY, the former chairman of the Petersburg Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, in 1905, a revolutionist, who has unselfishly devoted himself for decades to the service of the revolution – that this man is involved in a plan subsidized by the German government? This is indeed a deliberate, and unheard-of, and unconscionable vilification of a revolutionist!”
These words were written before I joined with Lenin, prior to my election as chairman of the Bolshevik Soviet in 1917, prior to the October revolution, the civil war, the creation of the Third International, and the founding of the Soviet state. Today, after a lapse of eighteen years no agents of British counter-espionage, but Stalinists are repeating this very same “deliberate, and unheard-of, and unconscionable vilification of a revolutionist!” This simple juxtaposition reveals best of all the poison of lies, vilification and fraud which the Stalinist bureaucracy is pouring into the world working class movement!
7. The fourteen who were accused in connection with the Kirov assassination were all shot. Did they all participate in the terrorist act? The indictment answers this question in the affirmative, but does not adduce even the semblance of proof. We do not believe the indictment. We have seen with what brazen and cowardly tendenciousness it has injected the name of Trotsky into its text; and how deliberately it passes in silence over what happened to the consul’s provocation regarding the “letter”.
It is much easier to implicate in the affair a dozen or so Leningrad Y.C.L.ers than to implicate Trotsky. Who are these Y.C.L.ers? We do not know. There is not much difficulty in executing unknown Y.C.L. ers. Among the number there must have also been G.P.U. agents: the very ones who had arranged to bring Nicolaiev together with the “consul” and who had prepared the amalgam, but who, at the last moment, proved negligent, and allowed Nicolaiev to fire the fatal shot. The physical elimination of these agents became necessary in order to remove embarrassing participants in and witnesses of the amalgam. But among those shot there may also have been Y.C.L.ers who were simply critically minded. The task of the amalgam was: to terrorize completely the youth, which was thirsting for independence, by showing it that the slightest doubt about the divine blessings which flow from Stalin, or about the immaculate conception of Kaganovich would meet, hereafter, with the same penalty as terrorist acts.
8. The foreign agents of the G.P.U., who often pass themselves off for friends of the U.S.S.R., and who compromise the real friends of the U.S.S.R., accuse everyone of being in sympathy with (!) the terrorists, who has a critical attitude towards the repressions which have taken place. A revolutionist, can feel nothing but contempt for these toadying methods. It is indubitable that the enemies and stealthy opponents of the October revolution utilize to the utmost, for their own aims, the confused and contradictory statements, as well as the summary measures of repression. But this circumstance should not at all impel us to blind ourselves to the dual role of the Soviet bureaucracy, which, on the one hand, guards (in its own fashion) the conquests of the October revolution against the class enemies; and which, on the other hand, tigerishly defends its own economic and political privileges against criticisms and protests by the advanced workers.
As a tool of the bureaucracy, the G.P.U. directs the weapon of terror both against, the counter-revolutionists, who threaten the workers’ state, and against the Y.C.L.ers who are dissatisfied with the absolutism of the uncontrolled bureaucracy. Identifying itself with the workers’ state – in accordance with the ancient formula, “I am the state!” – the bureaucratic upper crust portrays the terror against the party and the Y.C.L. as terror against the counter-revolution. This is the very goal that the venomous amalgams are intended to achieve.
9. What is here involved is not so much the struggle of the Soviet bureaucracy against Trotsky and the “Trotskyists”; but the question of the moral atmosphere of the world working class movement. The vile amalgam constructed around the “consul” who, apparently, was in the simultaneous employ of three governments, stands today as one of a number of ordinary and normal measures utilized by the Stalinist bureaucracy in the struggle for its caste positions. In 1921, warning his most intimate comrades against electing Stalin as general secretary, Lenin said, “This cook will prepare only peppery dishes.” At that time there could, of course, be no reference as yet to the poisoned dishes of the amalgams. To whom are they being offered today? To the workers. The Stalinists are systematically poisoning the world proletarian vanguard with lies. Can the interests of the workers’ state possibly demand this? Never! But this is demanded by the rapacious interests of the uncontrolled bureaucracy, which seeks to guard at all costs its prestige, its power, and its privileges, by means of terror against everyone in the ranks of the proletariat who thinks and criticizes.
10. However passionate may be one’s devotion to the Soviet Union, it must not be blind; or else it is worthless. The development of the workers’ state proceeds through contradictions, internal and external. The forms and the methods of the workers’ state have already changed several times, and they will continue to change in the future. The bureaucratic stage, for which there were objective causes, is exhausted.
The absolutism of the bureaucracy has become the greatest brake upon the further cultural and economic growth of the Soviets. The lackeys of the bureaucracy who deify its regime play a reactionary role. The Marxists – revolutionists set as their task to free the world proletarian vanguard from the fatal influence of the uncontrolled bureaucratic clique, in order subsequently to aid the workers in the U.S.S.R. to regenerate the party and the Soviets, not by means of terrorist adventures which are doomed beforehand, but by means of the class conscious mass movement against bureaucratic absolutism.
January 12, 1935
Last updated on: 14 November 2014