What Vladimir left out

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Wed Oct 9 11:35:12 MDT 1996


What Vladimir omitted from his Deutscher citations:
--------------------------------------------------
"Lenin's misgivings proved all too justified. As the years passed the
intervention of the Russian members of the Executive in the affairs of
foreign communism grew even more *meddlesome*. Zinoviev ruled
the International with relish, flamboyance, lack of tact and scruple.
But *even Trotsky himself*, as member of the Executive, involved in
the exercise of a tutelage which was *inherent* in the situation. As
chairman of the French commission of the Comintern, he supervised
*with plenary power* the day-to-day work of the French communists.
The German, the Italian, the Spanish, and the British parties eagerly
sought his advice on every major issue and even on the detail of their
activity; and he gave his advice freely.

This led him to make pronouncements and to engage in a voluminous
correspondence which in themselves form a running commentary on
the history of these crucial years, a commentary rich in thought,
sparkling with wit, and often astonishingly far-sighted. But parts of
the correspondence also reflect the tutelage. Here, for instance, he
summons peremptorily Frossard, the French leader, to face grave but
not unjustified charges at the International's assizes in Moscow.
THERE HE CENSURES COMMUNIST EDITORS AND EVEN PRESCRIBES THE TACTICAL LINE AND
THE STYLE FOR THEIR NEWSPAPERS. There he chides L'Humanite for publishing
the writings of dubious contributors. There again he *lays down a
date* by which the French party must expel, as he had undertaken to
do, all Free Masons and 'all careerists.' On several occasions he acts as
umpire to rival groups and lays down the law for them."

Commentary:
----------
Vladimir, you should never leave pertinent information like this out. I
am the kind of person who will drop everything and go to the library
to discover what you left out. What you left out is precisely what
prompted me to track down the letter to Ker. Deutscher makes it clear that
in this passage that Trotsky was micromanaging the affairs of foreign
communist parties and I presented an example with the Ker letter.

This kind of behavior is a recipe for bureaucratic disaster.

What I am going to do now is come down to that university where you
are working for tenure, take you by the ear, and lead you around
campus, shouting, "See, how shoddy a scholar Vladimir is."

By the way, how are those Walter Benjamin translations going? I am
sure that the Russian working-class is waiting for bated breath for
those pearls of wisdom. Make sure that you include the letter from
Benjamin to Adorno on "The Hermeneutics of Chewing Tobacco."
This is something the coal-miners need to advance their struggle.


Louis Proyect



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