Karl Radek

Tom Condit tomcondit at igc.apc.org
Fri Apr 7 08:35:35 MDT 1995


You'll have to forgive me for a total digression from anything
we've been talking about, but in some ways this list seems to me
to be a cross between a graduate seminar and the kind of barroom
conversation in which I got a large part of my political
education.  What follows is somewhat lacking in the rigor and
documentation you'd expect in a seminar, since I learned it all
in bars.

Karl Radek was famous in revolutionary circles in eastern Europe
for his impish sense of humor.  The word "Radek" means "thief" in
Polish, and Radek adopted it as a pseudonym when joining the
German Social Democratic Party after he had been expelled from
another branch of the same party on the charge of stealing a
comrade's trousers.  (No one ever seemed to know any details
about this incident.)

When he became a victim of Stalin's purges, Radek cheerfully
collaborated, and at his trial spun a long tale of meetings with
Leon Trotsky at a hotel in Copenhagen where Trotsky recruited him
to spy on the Soviet Union on behalf of British (or Japanese, or
whichever conspiracy it was the Stalinists were hipped on that
year) intelligence.  After Radek's death, when his confession was
being triumphantly paraded around the world as "proof" of the
validity of the Moscow trials, it came out that the hotel where
he had set his tale had been torn down two years before the
alleged meetings.  Even facing the executioner, Radek had his
little joke on Stalin.

Now that we've settled that, I've never undertstood dependency
theory.  How does it relate to the fact that the bulk of world
trade consists of Department I transfers between industrialized
countries, much of it intra-firm transfers, hmmm?

Make mine a black and tan.

Tom Condit


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