The Marxist Civil War Part II

Chris Burford cburford at
Wed Aug 16 23:10:06 MDT 1995

The Marxist Civil War Part II

In Part I Stalin's official works provided interesting evidence that
between 1921 and late 1923 there were no formal criticisms by Stalin
of Trotsky except in early '21 a robust but comradely critism as
part of a Party debate on trade unions, and a short sarcastic but private
letter to Lenin about Trotsky's proposals on industrialisation.

An article published in Pravda on 6th Dec 1923, the month before Lenin's
death, actually supports Trotsky and defends him from an apparent
misquotation. But within 9 days war had broken out with an article by
Stalin in Pravda on Dec 15th.

The article is entitled "The Discussion, Rafail, The Articles by
Preobrazhensy and Sapronov, and Trotsky's Letter."

It starts confidently that the discussion on the situation in the party
that began a few weeks previously is drawing to a close. Petrograd and
the main districts of Moscow have declared in favour of "the line of
the party". "The opposition, which is a bloc of a section of the "Left"
Communists (Preobrazhensky, Stukov, Pyatakov, and others) with the so-
called Democratic Centralists (Rafail, Sapronov and others), has
suffered a crushing defeat."

The last five pages are perhaps shrewdly, reserved for Trotsky.

"The resolution of the Central Committee and the Central Control
Commission on internal Party democracy, published on December 7, was
adopted unanimously. Trotsky voted for this resolution. It might have
been expected, therefore, that the members of the Central Committee,
including Trotsky, would come forward in a united front with a call
to Party members for unanimous support of the Central Committee and its
resolution. This expectation, however, has not been realised. The other
day Trotsky issued a letter to the Party conferences which cannot be
interpreted otherwise than as an attempt to weaken the will of the
Party membership in supporting the Central Committee and its position."

"Judge for yourselves.

"After referring to bureaucracy in the Party apparatus and the danger
of degeneration of the old guard, i.e. the Leninists, the main core
of our Party, Trotsky writes:

'The degeneration of the "old guard" has been observed in history more
than once. Let us take the latest and most glaring historical example:
the leaders and parties of the Second International. We know that
Wilhelm Liebknecht, Bebel, Singer, Victor Adler, Kautsky, Bernstein,
Lafargue, Guesde, and others, were the immediate and direct pupils of
Marx and Engels. We know however, that all those leaders - some partly,
and others wholly - degenerated into opportunism.' ....

'We, that is we 'old ones', must say that our generation, which naturally
plays a leading role in the Party, has no self-sufficient guarantee
against the gradual and imperceptible weakening of the proletarian and
revolutionary spirit, assuming that the Party tolerates a further
growth and consolidation of the bureaucratic-apparatus method of policy
which are transforming the younger generation into passive educational
material and are inevitably creating estrangement between the apparatus
and the membership, between the old and the young.'

'The youth - the Party's truest barometer - react most sharply of all
against Party bureaucracy.' ... 'The youth must capture the revolutionary
formulas by storm...'

Part III follows

Chris B, London

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