Zinoviev and Cannon

David Walters dwalters at igc.org
Fri Nov 22 16:33:02 MST 2002

While it's interesting that the attack against Cannon and Zinoviev has now
extended to Trotsky, I'm sort of glad..as it will, if the discussion is able
to continue, clarify at least how others view Leninism as a whole, as each
now-dead Leninist is condemned to incipient Stalinism...

Where those like Louis condemn Trotsky for words of advice on the French
section of the Comintern, raising this to the level of Zinovievs
Machiavellian machinations in Germany, then the arrow in his bow is aimed
not at Cannon...or Trotsky, but at Lenin. Which is fine, of course, if
that's how you feel...you'd also be falsifying history, or twisting it, to
squeeze out Zinoviev (and of course Trotsky!) from the purity of Lenin's

To raise the criticism of Trotsky, who simply couldn't stand close to
Zinoviev on the day-to-day running of the International, as if they were one
in the same, then indeed, "The Comintern was a mistake" as Louis stated.
Trotsky's VERY pacific words of advice were his duty precisely because so
many communists looked to the Comintern in general, and Lenin and Trotsky
specifically, that NOT to comment would allowed the Bolsheviks to sink into
some sort of academic distancing from the world revolution, some they at
least took very seriously.

How one can look at, say Trotsky's advice to the French, but ignore Lenin's
open call for expulsion of the MAJORITY of the Italian section is beyond me,
really. Zinoviev is condemned here on this list, but not by Lenin, who
endorsed almost all of Zinoviev's actions, at least by the noticeable lack
of inaction on Lenin's part, usually more openly and demonstrably. So we
need to throw in Lenin, on equal par with Zinioviev, if we are to cement our
break with the Comintern's early years. I think this would be fair, don't

As for the Comintern's proposed move to "Western Europe" we must at least be
precise. The Comitern didn't believe in "socialism in one country" as many
of Stalin's epigones later claimed...it had one aim: workers revolution in
Europe, and in Germany in particular. It organized around this, incorrectly
IMO, but tried to facilitate the coming to power of the working class there.
Since Lenin, and Zinoviev, et al, didn't believe the Comintern to be a
"Russian" institution, but an international one, then placing it at the
center of the revolution made sense, and Berlin was the city where they
considered moving it to. I think this is applaudable, not condemnable, on
part of the Russian section of the Comintern.

But I believe Louis, et al, while making completely a legitimate discussion
point about the role of "a communist international" and it's functioning, is
completely wrong in trying to distinguish between the Zinoviev "view" of the
Comintern, and the Lenin "view".

David Walters

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