‘The Trial of the Trotskyite Agents of Fascism’ by I. Amter from The Communist. Vol. 16 No. 3. March, 1937.

“They are marching to their death!”

Israel Amter, leading Communist Party functionary, defends The Case of the Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Center, or the Pyatakov-Radek Trial, of seventeen Party leaders was in January 1937. Thirteen defendants, including Pyatakov, were executed by early February. The other four, including Radek, would be killed by 1939. The accused were Karl Radek, Georgi Pyatakov, Gregory Sokolnikov, Leonid Serbriakov, Yacob Lifshitz, Nikolai Muralov, Jacob Drobnis, Mikhail Bugoslavky, Ivan Knaizev, Joseph Toruk, Stanislas Raitachack Alexis Shetsov, Boris Norkin, Gavril Pushin, Ivan Hrasch, Mikhail Stroilov, and Valentin Arnold. The poem below is from the poster above.

“They are marching to their death!” Artist V. N. Denis; poems by Demyan Bedny, 1937.

Judas Trotsky beard
Soaked in furious saliva.
This vile bastard is a godsend
To fascists raving about war:

“Here, here is your sure booty!
Yes, declare war on her!
Judas hisses, pointing his finger
To our powerful country.

We keep a close eye on our enemies.
They are insane, she-she-she:
They are animal steps
They walk towards their death.

We will deprive the Nazis of aplomb,
Clamping them in a dead vise,
A completely different color bomb
They will all be cut to pieces.

‘The Trial of the Trotskyite Agents of Fascism’ by I. Amter from The Communist. Vol. 16 No. 3. March, 1937.

THE Radek-Piatakov trial, preceded by the Kamenev-Zinoviev trial, is clear proof of how world imperialism is making incessant efforts, not only to mobilize world opinion and world reactionary forces against the Soviet Union from without, but as well to use all disgruntled, degenerate elements within the Soviet Union for undermining the country and the Soviet machinery from within. This one can easily understand. The sharpest contradiction exists between capitalism on the one hand and socialism on the other. Capitalism itself is undermined by its own contradictions, as well as through clashes with the workers and farmers of their own countries and the colonial people subject to the imperialist powers. The struggle of imperialism against the Soviet Union will continue and hence one should not be surprised at the continued efforts to discredit and assail the Soviet Union.

The trials of August, 1936, and January, 1937 are not two isolated instances of these efforts. Nor are the trials announced to take place very soon the end of these efforts. On the contrary, the imperialists have tried, from the beginning of the existence of the Soviet Union, to undermine and overthrow it by intrigue and plots within the country as well as by armed forces from without.


It must be stated in advance that these trials were open trials. At the trial last August, there were present representatives of the capitalist press of the entire world, including the New York Times, Herald Tribune, Associated Press, etc. United States Ambassador Davies also attended the trial. An even more extensive representation of the press was provided for at the last trial. Not only were the above papers and press services represented, but even Hearst had direct representatives in Moscow. Ambassador Davies attended the trial every day. The whole world knows of what transpired at these trials. The reports in the capitalist press were all favorable. They could not but report everything that took place. Therefore any attempt on the part of the fascist Trotskyites to pretend that the press was deluded or could not understand falls aside as a ridiculous argument.

This same press, however, in its editorial pages and through special articles, took pains to “interpret” what took place in Moscow in an entirely different light. There was no point of agreement between the reports sent by their correspondents in Moscow and what appeared in the editorial columns. This shows the venom with which the capitalist press looks upon the Soviet government and how the entire capitalist press of the United States—from Hearst to the small town papers—took the Trotsky conspirators under their wing as an ally in the struggle against the rights of the workers, against democracy, against the Soviet Union.

Further—let it be understood that the defendants were offered legal counsel, but all of them, except three, rejected it, declaring they would de- fend themselves. Surely Kamenev, Zinoviev, Radek, Sokolnikov, Piatakov needed no aid for their “defense”.


‘We will eradicate the spies and saboteurs, the Trotskyite-Bukharinist Agents of Fascism, 1937.

Let us briefly summarize what was proven at these trials:

1. At the Kamanev-Zinoviev trial it was definitely proven that emissaries of the Kamenev-Zinoviev “united center”, through the mediation of Trot- sky’s son Sedov, in Berlin, met Trotsky in 1932 at the Hotel Bristol in Copenhagen—a cafe that has a common ENtrance with the Grand Hotel Kobenhavn. Since 1931, it was proven in the trials, Trotsky has been the directing head of the conspiracy within and without the Soviet Union.

2. On the basis of the conspiracy hatched, not only were the corrupt, degenerate Trotsky-Kamenev-Zinoviev agents organized within the Soviet Union, but agents were sent to the Soviet Union from abroad. With the aid of the secret police of Berlin and of Warsaw, passports were secured for these agents into the Soviet Union. As a result of their plots, one of the best Bolsheviks of the Soviet Union, Sergei Kirov, was murdered. For this, Kamenev and Zinoviev took responsibility, working under the direction of Trotsky. An attempt to assassinate Comrade Stalin at the Seventh World Congress, which failed; the plot to bomb Stalin, Kaganovich, Vorishilov, Molotov and others when they stood upon the mausoleum reviewing the parade on May Day, 1936, which failed—show how far these rats and scoundrels can go.

At this trial other names and evidence were mentioned as co-conspirators. This led to the second trial, of Radek-Piatakov and Company, the so- called “parallel center”.

3. The Radek-Piatakov trial established the following:

(a) That they had been guilty of the wrecking of Soviet industry—mining, railroad, food, etc.—as a result of which hundreds of workers were killed and crippled, Red Army soldiers were murdered.

(b) Sabotage was engaged in with the aim of reducing the productivity of Socialist industry.

(c) Trotsky agents stole documents of the Soviet government and especially of the military commissariat, furnishing them to the Japanese government.

(d) Further attempts were made to assassinate leading Communists—Molotov, Voroshilov, etc.

(c) Piatakov visited Trotsky in December, 1935, as corroborated by the Norwegian paper Tidans Tegu, in its issue of January 27, 1937. At this visit he was given distinct instructions to proceed with assassinations. This was also communicated to Radek by means of writing in invisible ink.

(f) Radek was informed by Trotsky that he, Trotsky, had made an agreement with Hitler and Japan for war against the Soviet Union in 1937.

These facts show the degeneracy and complete moral and political bankruptcy of the Trotskyite bandits.


What was the basis for this degeneracy? The argument of the Trotskyites runs as follows: (1) Socialism is not being built in the Soviet Union. It is nothing more than “capitalist industrialism”. Very smart Trotskyites declare that this is even embodied in the new Soviet Constitution in that it allows personal property to be accumulated; that there is a difference in salaries between the higher and lower categories, etc. This is sheerest charlatanry and humbug, since the whole world knows, and the capitalists particularly heed the fact that industry is almost 100 per cent socialized, agriculture is collectivized. The means of production and distribution have been socialized. (2) In face of the rise of fascism in the world, the Trotskyites declare that, in view of the international fascist alliance—of Hitler, Mussolini, Japan, and other smaller states of Europe—fascism is invincible. (3) Being invincible and faced with economic need from within, fascism must resort to war. (4) Therefore, war is inevitable and is directed against the Soviet Union. In this war, the Soviet Union will and must be defeated.

Radek’s mugshot.


In view of these “theories,” based upon a lack of faith in the working class, in the belief that the democratic peoples of the world cannot and will not unite against fascism and war, the bandit wreckers, supposedly being op- posed to “capitalist industrialism” in the Soviet Union and pretending to want to establish “genuine” socialism, organize to do their part in the destruction of the Soviet Union. Therefore, by wrecking, spying and assassination, they begin their work. They cannot deny that wrecking did take place, that spying was carried out, that Kirov was assassinated. There appeared at the trial workers of the railroad and mining industries who were maimed and crippled for life by these bandits. Kirov is dead. The Japanese government has procured documents through these Trotskyite agents. Dare these murderers and wreckers deny it?

They hoped through wreckage and sabotage to be able to create distrust toward the Soviet government. Radek admitted at the trial that these outlaw groups could procure no mass base among the workers. They had been defeated and discredited in the minds of the masses of the Soviet people. But they hoped by means of wreckage and sabotage to be able to place the blame upon the government and prove that it is an “inefficient” government; an “incompetent” government; a “bureaucratic” government.

As a result of this work and aiding the fascist governments, which through a victorious war against the Soviet Union would overthrow the Soviet government, they, the Trotskyite fascists, would rise into power. This they justified, as Radek, quoting Trotsky, declared, on the basis of the Clemenceau thesis. In 1918, when the Kaiser’s troops were fast approaching Paris and the defense was weakening, Clemenceau returned to dictatorial power in France. So, too, Trotsky, riding on the crest of the wave against the Soviet Union, would become the “dictator” of Russia, in order to “save” Russia. In return for this fascist cooperation with Trotsky, certain concessions were to be made to Hitler and Japan. The Ukraine, including 1,500,000 Jews, was to be handed over to Hitler; the Urals, with its rich iron, coal and other ore resources, to Hitler; parts of Siberia to Japan; the Sakhalin Islands with its tremendous oil resources to Japan, not only for war against the Soviet Union but also for eventual war against the United States.

Vyshinsky reads the verdicts.

This is the diabolical conspiracy hatched by the wreckers and murderers together with the bloody Hitler, Mussolini, and Japanese fascists! Are these merely conjectures and suppositions on the part of honest workers? Let us prove our contentions.


1. Let us quote the Trotsky Opposition Bulletin Nos. 36-37 of October,1934: “It would be childish to think that the Stalinist bureaucracy can be removed with the help of the party or the Soviet Congress. There are not left any normal constitutional ways for removing the ruling clique. They can be forced to hand over power to the proletarian vanguard [meaning the Trotskyites] only by force.”

2. At the Kamenev-Zinoviev trial there was produced in evidence a postcard written by a French Trotskyite to his friend, declaring, “Death to Stalin”.

3. At the meeting called by the “Committee for the Defense of Trotsky” at Hotel Delano (jim-crow hotel) on December 18, 1936, Max Eastman, one of the first Trotskyites in the United States, declared: “The new Constitution [Soviet Constitution] is nothing but a crude and obvious political side-show…the caricature of representative government. Does it not compare with the totalitarian states of Hitler and Mussolini? From that date it has ceased to be a workers’ republic…As to socialism being achieved in the Soviet Union, exactly the opposite is the truth. The foundations of socialism are effectively washed out and nothing but a political revolution will restore it.”

4. In a voluminous, scurrilous tract, trying to disprove the evidence at the Kamenev-Zinoviev trial, Max Schachtman, Trotskyite, leading Socialist, and American editor of Trotsky’s writings, declares on page 131 of Behind the Moscow Trials the following: “The Stalin bureaucracy has itself wiped out the possibility of the peaceful reform of the regime…The despotism which is killing the regime can only be removed by revolutionary methods—it has left the proletariat no other alternative.”

Leaders of the Left Opposition. Leon Trotsky, Lev Kamenev, Grigory Zinoviev, Christian Rakovsky, Nikolai Krestinsky, Nikolai Muralov and Yevgeny Preobrazhensky, 1925.

5. In February, 1936, Maurice Spector and Lyman Paine, American Trotskyites, visited Trotsky in Oslo. Upon his return to the United States, Spector made a report to the Trotsky caucus, to which was invited a former member of the Workers Party, now a member of the Communist Party, Arnold Johnson. At this meeting Spector made a report stating that Trotsky’s arguments were that there are “class lines” in the Soviet Union and the only way to destroy the “upper classes” represented by Stalin was to organize a counter- revolution. According to the report of Comrade Johnson, published in the Daily Worker of January 17, 1937, Spector was asked by another Trotskyite, Gould, “Did Trotsky mean a definite violent counter-revolution?” Spector replied, “Yes” and emphasized that “he was careful to get this right”.

6. In an arranged speech from Mexico over the telephone to the Hippo- drome meeting in New York on February 9, a speech which he did not deliver, Trotsky said: “For our part, we consider the Stalinists as traitors to the interests of the Soviet masses and the world proletariat…The question is: to aid the demoralized bureaucracy against the people or the progressive forces of the people against the bureaucracy…Stalin’s regime is doomed. Will the capitalist counter-revolution or workers’ democracy replace it?”

This statement shows the zealous desire of Trotsky to overthrow Stalin and put an end to the Soviet government.

From Mexico comes the word of Trotsky himself—in a signed article in Hearst’s press given to the Universal Service—the Hearst telegraph service— and published in the New York American on January 26, 1937. We read the following: “Stalin is fighting against the Socialists who dare to criticize the despotism of the privileged bureaucracy…This is equivalent to an alliance with the enemies of socialism…Inside the [Communist] party Stalin has put himself above all criticism and above the state…It is impossible to displace him except by assassination.”

Can there any longer be any question as to where these murderers stand, beginning with Trotsky in 1931 and ending with Trotsky in Mexico in 1937, planning, plotting, organizing overthrow of the Soviet government and assassination of the leaders of the Communist Party and the Soviet government?


Anti-Trotsky poster. 1937.

Who supports the Trotskyites?

1. Hearst, the enemy of labor, the enemy of the trade union movement, the friend of Hitler and Mussolini. Hearst has opened his whole press to the Trotskyite underminers of the labor movement and of the People’s Front.

2. The whole capitalist press, ranging from Hearst down to the so- called “liberal” papers like the New York Post which, while pretending to help the labor movement, give equal consideration to all enemies of labor. The reactionary New York Herald Tribune, in an editorial on February 11, states, “The democratic nations have been persuaded by these trials that Russia is in the hands of a Negro or a Caligula. If Trotsky has any light—however lurid and sulphurous— to throw on the anti-Trotsky pogrom in the Soviet Union, the outside world wants it.”

3. It is necessary to mention in particular the semi-fascist George Sokolsky who, while doing everything in his power to stab the auto workers’ strike in the back, at the same time wrote an article on Trotsky in the Herald Tribune. In this article he significantly declared that if in 1918 Trotsky had been a member of the “Big Five’, the Soviet Union would have returned to the side of the allies!

Thus the whole capitalist press, which features Trotsky on its front pages, and the whole reactionary capitalist class take Trotsky under their wing. To use Trotskyism as a destructive element in the labor movement; to cause doubts regarding the Soviet government and socialism; to sow discontent and prevent unity of the working class; to obstruct the building of the People’s Front—are of tremendous importance to the capitalist class.


Certain liberals of the United States were for a time enticed by the “ultra-revolutionary” phrases of Trotsky. Some of them joined the Trotsky “Defense Committee”. It is gratifying, therefore, that nine members of this committee have already withdrawn. This was initiated by the brilliant statement of Mauritz Hallgren, con- tributing editor of the Baltimore Sun, who in the midst of his declaration states, “Here are men awaiting death on charges that Trotsky says are utterly false and here is Trotsky who contends that he can prove that they are false—and yet he withholds this indispensable proof for the sake of a book, or for the sake of an international inquiry not yet arranged!”

Bukharin and Trotsky as fascist dogs, 1938.

Truly it can be said that Trotsky, allied with fascism and his counter- revolutionary supporters in the Soviet Union, and having five months between the first and the second trial, has withheld this “information” and let these conspirators go to their death without raising his voice. Is this not proof again that Trotsky has no proof, has no evidence but only that which would have trapped him and his colleagues in the Soviet Union still more and made him, Trotsky, useless to the fascists throughout the world!

Following upon Hallgren’s statement Louis Gannet, literary editor of the Herald Tribune, Leroy Bowman, President of the Parent-Teacher Association of New York, Sam Jaffe, prominent actor, have resigned from the Trotsky “Defense Committee”. Why did they resign? Because, as Hallgren says, “The American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky has, perhaps unwittingly, become an instrument of the Trotskyites for political intervention against the Soviet Union.”

The result of this has been that some 70 liberals, thus far, not associated with the Trotsky Defense Committee, have come out firmly against the Trotskyites, for defense of the Soviet Union.

Thus, Trotskyism is exposed through its own words, its own deeds, its own plots, its own intrigues, as a degenerate, corrupt, bankrupt political group of scavengers, now in the employ of the fascists, in plots against the progress of the people.


Is this due to momentary aberrations of the Trotskyite fascists? Not at all. The theoretical basis of this bankruptcy lies in Trotsky’s theory of the “permanent revolution,” announced as early as 1905. This so-called theory declares that socialism cannot be built in one country alone. On the contrary, the working class of one country must receive “state aid” from the workers of other countries, in order to maintain itself. In other words, permanent revolution means world-wide revolution within a short time. This is based upon a lack of faith in the workers, a lack of confidence in their ability to destroy capitalism and build the new system of society.

Lenin taught us, and the Sixth and Seventh World Congresses of the Communist International emphasized it, that we are living in an era of war and proletarian revolution. In this era the working class breaks through first where the imperialist chain is weakest. This was old Russia. From that time on, the working class moved forward in revolutionary struggle. But the movement is not a straight line. It is a zigzag course pushing forward, suffering setbacks, gathering strength, and pushing on once more until the goal is achieved.

Kamenev 1934 mugshot.

The correctness of this Leninist theory is borne out by the maintenance and growing strength of the Soviet Union in the nineteen years of its existence, and the building of socialism in the midst of an imperialist world. Nevertheless, in 1922, five years after the Russian Revolution, Trotsky, in the second edition of his book, declared that “history has confirmed the correctness of my theory”. History only confirmed the bankruptcy of his theory.


Trotsky furthermore has no faith in the peasantry. In 1926-27, during the struggle against the correct line of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Preobrazhensky, the “theoretician” of the Trotskyites, declared that the relationship of the workers to the peasantry is that of an imperialist country to a colonial country; namely, that of a plunderer, exploiter, robber of the resources and man-power of a colonial country. This is a sign of open hostility and enmity to the peasantry.

Lenin, on the other hand, laid down the correct thesis that the working class leads the revolution and has as its natural ally the peasantry—especially the poor peasants and the agricultural workers—all those who suffer under capitalism, even though they have a petty-bourgeois ideology characterized by a desire for ownership of the soil. Lenin declared that it is the duty of the revolutionary party of the working class to win over these natural allies, and either win over the petty bourgeoisie of the city—liberals, intellectuals, students, small business men, etc., who also have an interest in the struggle against capitalism—or at least neutralize them. This was the basis of the success of the Russian Revolution. It is the liberation and mobilization of these forces today, on a program meeting the immediate needs and in the struggle for the political and economic needs of the masses and all progressive people that is called the People’s Front.

left to right: Leonid Serebryakov , Karl Radek , Leon Trotsky , Mikhail Boguslavsky and Yevgeny Preobrazhensky ; standing: Christian Rakovsky , Yakov Drobnis , Alexander Beloborodov and Lev Sosnovsky. Left Opposition, 1927.


Trotsky and Trotskyism are in open enmity to the People’s Front. Trotsky- ism damns the People’s Front in Spain and in France, as a “betrayal of the working class”. But if there were no People’s Front in Spain today, fascism would rule. The actions of the Trotskyites in Spain and their efforts to split the People’s Front are actions of treason to the people, for which the Spanish and the Catalonian government are making them pay as traitors. If there were no People’s Front in France, French fascism, with the aid of Hitler, would have established a fascist dictatorship. It is the growing movement for a People’s Front in Mexico that has brought Trotsky into negotiation with Louis Cabrera, a reactionary leader, and into opposition to the People’s Front, the National Revolutionary Party, which is part of the People’s Front, and President Cardenas. Treason, wherever these Trotskyites appear and operate!


The struggle against the correct Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist line is not a new struggle of Trotsky and Trotsky- ism. As early as 1903, at the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Party, an apparently “simple” organizational question was the center of discussion, namely, what constitutes membership in the revolutionary par- ty. Lenin declared that to be a revolutionist one must (1) accept the pro- gram of the party, (2) pay dues to the party, and (3) carry out revolutionary activity under the discipline of a unit of a party.

Workers at the Dynamo factory vote to condemn the ‘Trotsky-Zinoviev’ defendants in 1936, the banner reads: ‘Wipe the trotsky-zinovievist band of murderers off the face of the earth – thats the judgement of the working people!’.

Trotsky and others took the position that it was sufficient to accept the program and pay dues to the party. How could one imagine a revolutionary party aiming to build a machine capable of leading the working class to the destruction of capitalism, unless there were coordinated activity of every member of the party, who, after discussion has been held and decisions have been made, carries out the decisions together with every other member of the party! This is obvious. The result was that at this Congress, Lenin, leading the majority, laid down the line for a revolutionary party. The majority (Bolshevik) defeated the minority (Menshevik).


But Bolshevik and Menshevik mean something more than majority and minority, respectively. Bolshevik means one who adheres loyally and devotedly to the party line and carries it out fully. Menshevik means careerist, opportunist, individualist, who decides for himself what he shall or shall not do. This is characteristic of Trotsky and Trotskyism who disregard all party authority, all party decisions, embark upon adventures of their own against the party and against the interests of the working class.


From 1903 on Trotsky fought against Lenin. Lenin continually polemized against Trotsky and the Mensheviks. Trotsky only joined the Communist Party in July, 1917, a few months before the proletarian revolution. In every critical period in the struggle of the Party, both before and after the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship, Trotsky and Trotskyism were in opposition: 1918— Brest-Litovsk—opposition to signing the peace treaty, refusing to carry out the decisions of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party on the military front and consequent removal of Trotsky from four fronts. 1921, on the trade union question, proposing to make the trade unions organs of the state and not, as Lenin declared, schools for socialism. 1923-24, Opposition to the New Economic Policy, which gave a breathing space to the Russian working class. Upon the death of Lenin, open struggle against the Party and its leaders. 1926-27, organization of underground groups, illegal press in the Soviet Union and abroad to undermine the Party and the Soviet government. Since that time and after his exile, open plotting against the Communist Party and the Soviet government.

Zinoviev and Kamenev a few days before the armed uprising on November 7, 1917—these scoundrels went to the capitalist press and exposed the fact that the Central Committee of the Communist Party was organizing the masses for the armed uprising, because they disagreed with it. Branded by Lenin as strikebreakers, they recognized their mistakes and Lenin pro- posed that they be put into the committee for organizing the armed uprising. Radek, Piatakov and others united with these oppositionists in underground, illegal activity against the Party at every critical movement in the consolidation of the Soviet power and the building of socialism.

Soviet anti-Trotsky cartoon, 1937.

Where then is the “brutal”, “despotic”, “bureaucratic” hand of Stalin and the Central Committee, who after the Party expelled them, re-admitted these men into the ranks of the Party, once, twice, three times, believing that they had recognized their wrong. Expelled—readmitted; expelled—readmitted. This is so-called “despotism” that rules the Soviet Union.

But who can imagine deeper hypocrisy than that of Kamenev, Zinoviev and Radek? Radek and Zinoviev admitted at the trial that they were part of the plot and had helped to organize the murder of Kirov. Yet this did not restrain them from writing obituary articles for the Pravda and Izvestia. Radek, who also was involved in the plot, did not hesitate, after the Kamenev and Zinoviev admissions, to write crucifying articles demanding that this scum be wiped off the face of the earth. Yet Radek himself was part of the plot! Such degeneracy has rarely been heard of.

Trotsky howls; “old Bolsheviks” are being wiped out of the Communist Party. The capitalist press protects these scoundrels, and sheds crocodile tears over the execution of these “old Bolsheviks”. They are not old Bolsheviks. They are degenerates, assassins whom the united, determined Soviet people have wiped out without hesitation. They will exterminate any of their confreres whom they uncover in plots against the Soviet fatherland.


How does it happen that these “old Bolsheviks” could not and did not stand up and “expose’’ Soviet justice? Because they had involved themselves so deeply in plots and their steps were so fully uncovered that they could not but admit every word in the indictment preferred against them by Comrade Vyshinsky. They amplified the indictment. Had they stood upon just grounds, if they had been firmly convinced of their innocence, why did they not act like Georgi Dimitroff, who stood alone before the Nazi court in Leipzig and denounced Nazi and world fascism! Simply because they could not.


It is well known in history that wherever a crisis arises in a country, weaklings, opportunists and careerists vacillate and topple over. Was not Mussolini before the world war an “ardent”, “militant” Socialist dissatisfied with the Socialist Party? Did he line up with the incipient Communist Party? No, he became the fascist dictator. Was not Pilsudski another “old Bolshevik”, banned to Siberia by the Russian tsars? And yet he died as Marshal Pilsudski, dictator of Poland. Plekhanov, one of the first Russian Marxists, the teacher of Lenin, lined up with Lenin against the Mensheviks in 1903. He cooperated with Lenin in the editorial staff of the Iskra. Disagreements followed and by 1914 Plekhanov, the “Marxist”, supported tsarist imperialism in the world war. Ramsay McDonald, leader of the British Labor Party, is now a member of the National Government.

Zinoviev, taken by the NKVD after his arrest in 1934.

Who forgets John Spargo, Charles Edward Russell, William English Walling, who deserted the S.P. in 1917 at the time of America’s entrance into the war? Today John Spargo is national committeeman of the Republican Party for the State of Vermont. Who does not remember Aaron Burr and Benedict Arnold, traitors and betrayers of the American revolution of 1776? Every country at a period of revolutionary crisis has its traitors. The Soviet Union has its Kamenevs, Zinovievs, Smirnovs, Radeks, Piatakovs, Sokolnikovs, Serebriakovs, etc.


During the last trial the names of Bukharin and Rykov were mentioned as Tomsky’s was mentioned in the first trial. Bukharin and the other “Rights” in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were against the rapid collectivization, thereby giving aid to the kulaks and other capitalist remnants. They came into opposition with the Party due to their failure to understand Lenin’s line for the Communist Party. Today they are linked up with the plots of the Trotsky centers, being given special functions for intriguing among certain parts of the population. It was not remarkable, therefore, that here in United States, those who before were associated with Bukharin line up against the C.P.S.U. and Comrade Stalin in connection with the trials and against the People’s Front in Spain. Thus the Lovestonites, through their organ, the Workers Age, print scurrilous, cynical articles about the trial in Moscow, presumably by an author “who must remain anonymous”. They, at the same time, have made of their organ an organ for the Spanish Trotskyites who are openly splitting the People’s Front in face of the fascist military onslaughts on the Spanish democratic republic. They print resolutions of the P.O.U.M., the so-called “Workers Party of Marxist Unity”. They write articles against the Communist Party of Spain and the United States on the question of the People’s Front. Upon the closing of the Trotskyites’ broadcasting station and the suppression of their press, and the announcement that Trotskyite leaders may be put on trial by the Madrid government for treason, the Workers Age declares, “This is the logical culmination of the prosecution of the P.O.U.M. for its insistence on a revolutionary [!] line”. The splitting of the People’s Front is revolutionary! Any decent-minded worker has only one term for their counter- revolutionary cooperation with the fascists—treason!


From Mexico, Trotsky hurls defiance at the C.P.S.U. and particularly Stalin. He shouts that the Soviet Union is sabotaging aid to the Spanish people —when the whole world knows that materially and politically it is the Soviet Union, and to a lesser degree Mexico, that are giving real aid to the Spanish government. Trotsky declares that Stalin is preventing real defense of the Spanish government. Trotsky wants to provoke the Soviet government and facilitate armed attack upon the Soviet Union by the fascists. From Mexico he attacks the Soviet Union, declaring that anti-Semitism is rampant today, and that the Jews must look elsewhere for a national home.


Through the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Trotsky in a signed statement on January 23, 1937, declared: “You ask me whether there still exists the Jewish question in Soviet Russia. Yes, it does…The almighty bureaucracy chokes the development of national culture, as well as culture in general. Furthermore the land of the great proletarian revolution now lives in a period of deep reaction…Since 1925 and particularly since 1926, black anti-Semitic demagogy is in operation and goes hand in hand with symbolic trials against the open pogrom makers…An important part of the Jewish petty bourgeoisie has been taken into the immense apparatus of the government in industry, commerce, co-operatives, etc. This creates a spirit of anti-Semitism and the leaders are operating with great ability and experience to divert the discontent of the masses towards these middle class Jews instead of themselves.”

Soviet cartoon against Radek, Zinoviev, Bukharin, and Trotsky. 1937.

We quote further: “But the Jewish people cannot exist without a territory of their own. Zionism is based on this idea.”

To be sure Trotsky declares that Palestine may not serve the purpose. Nonetheless, with anti-Semitism rampant in the Soviet Union, according to Trotsky, and Zionism as the hope of the Jews, it is obvious that this is indirect help to Zionism and the world imperialism as against the policy of the Soviet Union and the building of Biro-Bidjan.

Trotsky speaks in the tone of tsarism. He takes the position of the imperialist fascists and tries to conceal the fact that anti-Semitism and acts of anti- Semitism are penal offenses within the Soviet Union.

What is the purpose of this attack upon the Soviet Union? It occurs at a time when Hitler is intensifying his brutal oppression on the German Jews; when 3,500,000 Jews in Poland are passing through bloody pogroms; when in Hungary and Rumania attacks are being made upon the Jews; when Mussolini raises his voice against Jews; when in the United States Father Coughlin and the reactionaries are fanning a wave of anti-Semitism. At this time, when the Jews of all over the world look with love to the Soviet Union as the only country that has a correct policy on national minorities; when the national minorities are recognized as a co-equal part in the Soviet government; when the Soviet government helps develop the national culture of every national minority— Trotsky defames Stalin and the Soviet Union.

The purpose of this is clear: (1) To assist the reactionary governments in their attacks upon the Jews as a means of evading the discontent that is aroused among the masses because of the economic crisis and the denial of civil rights; (2) to create distrust of the Jews throughout the world toward the Socialist Fatherland; and (g) as part of this, to try to deny the correctness of the line of Lenin and Stalin on the national minority question. Trotsky was prepared, as already stated, to hand over a million and a half Jews in the Ukraine to the bloody mercy of Hitler!


Thus, too, the Trotskyites are trying to work among the Negroes to undermine their growing faith in the Soviet Union. But Trotsky and Trotskyism are making very little headway, for the Negro peoples of the world have seen Mussolini rape and sack Ethiopia. The same Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, and the fascists of the world are trying to destroy democracy in Spain. Hence we see in Spain 500 Ethiopians fighting at the front for the Spanish government. Prince Gehvet of Ethiopia, embarking for Spain, declared, “I remember the airplanes flying over Ethiopia, slaughtering women and children. I made up my mind to come to Spain to fight with the Spaniards and defend their republic against fascism.”


The American Trotskyites have proven by their actions to be disrupters, disorganizers and supporters of fascism. They have attempted to break the Workers Alliance and the American League Against War and Fascism. They assailed the leaders of the marine strike, both on the West Coast and in the East, in an effort to break the strike.

Vyshinksy, chief prosecutor.

They have sabotaged in steel and rubber. In the name of the Socialist Party, the Trotskyites in Akron, Ohio, and Paterson, N.J., issued leaflets with illustrations declaring that the People’s Front in Spain is stabbing the Spanish people in the back. Is there any question then that these wreckers, assassins, disrupters, plotters, spies and traitors have no place within the working class and must be driven out?

We Communists have very definite tasks in the struggle against fascism and Trotskyism. The question of Trotskyism is not one to be raised only where the small number of Trotskyites are to be found. On the contrary, the capitalist class has shown its ability to use the worst degenerates as stool pigeons and spies. They are making of Trotsky not only a “martyr” but a “hero” since he is of invaluable assistance to reaction today. Therefore, Trotskyism must be raised among the broadest masses of people and the full meaning of Trotskyism explained. In doing so we must fully analyze the trials in Moscow, the background of the conspirators, so that the workers will understand what these people are.


Our tasks consist of:

1. Thorough discussions in the Party and Y.C.L. ranks to acquaint particularly the new Party members with the meaning of Trotskyism.

2. The raising of the issue in every trade union and mass organization in order to stimulate and intensify the struggle against reaction and fascism, and their ally Trotskyism—to uncover and drive them out. The question should be discussed with the comrades in these organizations and plans worked out as to how to bring it into every organization.

3. We should reach the liberals, who readily will follow the line of the Communist Party if the facts are brought before them, and who will comprehend what an ally Trotskyism is to fascism. Plentiful use of the statement of Mauritz Hallgren, forums and discussions will help to clarify.

4. We have, above all, the task of helping the honest Socialists, not only in regard to Trotskyism as such, but above all to clean their ranks of the Trotskyite counter-revolutionary disrupters. The Trotskyites are doing everything in their power to capture or split the S.P. The Socialists’ convention is less than a month hence. It is our job to meet with the honest Socialists, furnish them with facts and argument and, above all, rally them for action against the disrupters and for a united front on Spain and all economic issues.

Pyatakov presents bread and salt to the German Nazis next to Trotsky by Mikhail Khrapkovsky, 1937.

5. This is tied up with not only more serious reading of the Daily Worker and Sunday Worker by our Party and Y.C.L. members, but also a broadening of the circulation of the Party press among the broadest sections of the working class. Along with this is the reading and circulation of the Party literature on this and allied subjects. And particularly important in this connection is the spreading of the speech of Comrade Stalin on the new Soviet Constitution, which is the best answer to all the Trotskyite plots and intrigues against the building of socialism.

6. This entails, however, a more intensive study of Marxism-Leninism, so that our Party members are grounded not only on the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union but on the theories and policies of our Party and the Communist International. Thus, in the midst of the struggle against fascism and Trotskyism, they will become better Communists, we will train more leaders and furnish our Party with the needed strength to carry on the struggle against our enemy.


7. In the midst of this struggle, with the masses responding, we must carry on an intensive. recruiting campaign. When the struggles are sharp, the workers take sides. The bringing of Trotskyism into the world arena on the side of fascism shows how acute the situation is. Hence, with proper attention, we can recruit thousands of new members into the Party and Y.C.L.

The struggle against Trotskyism is not, as the liberals pretend, a “difference of opinion” between followers of the Communist International and the Trotskyites. It is a struggle against fascism in all of its ramifications.

This year will be a decisive year. Every Party member must be on the alert. The struggle against fascism and war; for support of democracy in Spain; the building of the Farmer-Labor Party, and defense of the Soviet Union are on the order of the day. Building the trade union movement, strengthening the Workers Alliance; fighting for the civil rights of the people, will make it possible for us in the United States to rally the masses of the people, together with the democratic people of Europe, in cooperation with the Soviet Union, to smash fascism and Trotskyism and to prevent war.

PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/communist/v16n03-mar-1937-The-Communist.pdf

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