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The New International, February 1936


Victims of Stalinist Repression and Terror

From New International, Vol. 3 No. 1, February 1936, Inside front cover.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


THE WALLS of Stalinism are beginning to crack in the strongest fortress – the Soviet Union.

Comrade Trotsky writes:

“The letters and documents recently published by comrades Tarov and Ciliga have served to stimulate highly the interest in the repressions of the Soviet bureaucracy against the revolutionary fighters. Eighteen years after the October revolution, at a time when, in accordance with the official doctrine, Socialism has conquered ‘finally and irrevocably’ in the USSR, revolutionists who are unwaveringly devoted to the cause of communism but who do not recognize the dogma of the infallibility of the Stalinist clique, are clapped into jail for years; incarcerated in concentration camps; compelled to do forced labor; subjected, if they attempt to resist, to physical torture; shot in the event of real or fictitious attempt to escape; or deliberately driven to suicide. When hundreds of the prisoners, in protest against the intolerable hounding, resort to the terrible means of a hunger strike, they are subjected to forced feeding, only in order to be placed later under even worse conditions. When individual revolutionists, finding no other means of protest, cut their veins, the GPU agents, i.e., the agents of Stalin, ‘save’ the suicides only in order then to demonstrate with redoubled bestiality that there is no real salvation for them.”

For the first time since mass expulsions, imprisonment and exile of oppositionists began under Stalin in 1927, Bolshevik-Leninists have escaped from Siberia and made their way abroad.

For the first time the truth of conditions in the concentration camps, penitentiaries and solitary confinement cells has come to us from the mouths of the victims themselves.

And what a terrifying tale! Hundreds, thousands of the best Bolsheviks, whose names are inseparable from the Russian revolution, co-workers of Lenin, heroes of the civil war and the struggle against foreign intervention, cast into prison, tortured in a manner that would make the Inquisition blush for shame, exiled to barren Siberian territories, cut off from family, friends and the movement, their sentences interminably and indefinitely prolonged, many of them assassinated in cold blood.

And not Russian Bolshevik-Leninists alone. The dragnet of the GPU and its supple agent, the CI, reaches out into foreign countries where revolutionary critics are inticed to the Soviet Union ostensibly to “iron out differences”, thrown into jail with no means of release – prisoners for life.

Stalin has transformed the Soviet Union from a haven of refuge for revolutionists persecuted by capitalist reaction into a land where a rebel may enter only at peril of his life: for this alone he will go down into history as the worst enemy of the international working class.

Stalin and his clique have destroyed the party of Lenin, crushed the Soviets as organs for mass expression, buried the trade unions as representatives of the workers’ interests, and how he is engaged in the physical extermination of irreproachable revolutionists.

Yes, Stalin is destroying the Russian revolution, even as he has destroyed the Comintern as an instrument of proletarian revolution. For without revolutionists there can be no revolution. Lackeys, yes-men and courtiers have never made nor carried through a revolution. They will flee to their holes at the first shots of the class enemy. Men whose interests in the Soviet state is the fleshpot will cringe and betray when their skins are at stake.

But ideas cannot be killed by dungeons, torture and exile. The very intensity of the repressions and the bestiality of the treatment meted out to the Bolsheviks is a great testimony that the principles of Marx and Lenin are thriving in Russia. Their forces are growing, numbering probably in the tens of thousands.

Let the forces of the Fourth International take heart. Even as larger sections of the working class are finding their way against the social-patriotism of Stalinism into the camp of revolutionary struggle against war, so too in the Soviet Union a vast proletarian movement is arising to fight the Stalinist bureaucracy in its most entrenched stronghold.

Their power is invincible. Their victory inevitable. Let us aid them for their cause is ours. Together we will build the mighty international which will carry to triumph the great banner of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky!

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