November 30, 2017

IV The Opposition and the Question of Party Unity

The Seventh Enlarged Plenum of the E.C.C.I
I pass to the last question, the question of the opposition bloc and the unity of our Party.

How was the opposition bloc formed?

The Party affirms that the opposition bloc was formed by the passing over of the "New Opposition," the passing over of Kamenev and Zinoviev, to Trotskyism.

Zinoviev and Kamenev deny this, and hint that it was not they who went over to Trotsky, but Trotsky who came over to them.

Let us turn to the facts.

I have spoken of the Fourteenth Conference resolution on the building of socialism in our country. I said that Kamenev and Zinoviev renounced that resolution, a resolution which Trotsky does not and cannot accept, and renounced it in order to come closer to Trotsky and to go over to Trotskyism. Is that true or not? Yes, it is true. Did Kamenev and Zinoviev try in any way to controvert that assertion? No, they did not. They passed over the question in silence.

We have, further, the resolution of the Thirteenth Conference of our Party which qualifies Trotskyism as a petty-bourgeois deviation and a revision of Leninism. This resolution, as you know, was endorsed by the Fifth Congress of the Comintern. I said in my report that Kamenev and Zinoviev had renounced this resolution and, in their special statements, had declared that in its struggle against the Party in 1923 Trotskyism was right. Is that true or not? Yes, it is true. Did Zinoviev and Kamenev try in any way to controvert that assertion? No, they did not. They passed it over in silence.

Here are some more facts. In 1925, Kamenev wrote as follows about Trotskyism:

"Comrade Trotsky has become the channel through which the petty bourgeois elemental forces manifest themselves in our Party. The whole character of his pronouncements and his whole past history prove that this is so. In his fight against the Party he has already become a symbol in the country for everything opposed to our Party." . . . "We must take every measure to prevent this non-Bolshevik teaching from infecting those sections of our Party which it reckons to capture, namely, our youth, those who will have in the future to take the destiny of the Party into their hands. It must therefore be the immediate task of our Party to adopt every means of explaining the incorrectness of Comrade Trotsky's position, that it is necessary to choose between Trotskyism and Leninism, that the two cannot be combined"* (see Kamenev, "The Party and Trotskyism," in the symposium For Leninism, pp. 84-86).

Would Kamenev be bold enough to repeat those words now? If he is prepared to repeat them, why is he now in a bloc with Trotsky? If he does not venture to repeat them, is it not clear that Kamenev has deserted his old position and has gone over to Trotskyism?

In 1925, Zinoviev wrote this about Trotskyism:

"Comrade Trotsky's latest pronouncement (The Lessons of October) is nothing but a fairly open attempt to revise or even directly liquidate the fundamentals of Leninism.* It will not be very long before this becomes clear to our whole Party and the whole International" (see Zinoviev, "Bolshevism or Trotskyism," in the symposium For Leninism, p. 120).

Compare this quotation from Zinoviev with what Kamenev said in his speech—"We are with Trotsky because he does not revise Lenin's fundamental ideas"— and you will realise the full depth of Kamenev's and Zinoviev's fall.

In that same year, 1925, Zinoviev wrote this about Trotsky:

"The question now being decided is, what is the R.C.P. in 1925? In 1903, it was decided by the attitude towards the first paragraph of the Rules, and in 1925 by the attitude towards Trotsky and Trotskyism. Whoever says that Trotskyism may be a 'legitimate shade' in the Bolshevik Party, himself ceases to be a Bolshevik. Whoever now wants to build the Party in alliance with Trotsky, in collaboration with that Trotskyism which is openly coming out against Bolshevism, is retreating from the fundamentals of Leninism.* It must be realised that Trotskyism is a stage of the past, that the Leninist party can now be built only in opposition to Trotskyism" (Pravda, February 5, 1925).

Would Zinoviev be bold enough to repeat those words now? If he is prepared to repeat them, why is he now in a bloc with Trotsky? If he cannot repeat them, is it not clear that Zinoviev has deserted Leninism and gone over to Trotskyism?

What do all these facts show?

That the opposition bloc was formed by the passing over of Kamenev and Zinoviev to Trotskyism.

What is the platform of the opposition bloc?

The platform of the opposition bloc is the platform of a Social-Democratic deviation, the platform of a Right-wing deviation in our Party, a platform for gathering together all kinds of opportunist trends for the purpose of organising a fight against the Party, against its unity, against its authority. Kamenev speaks of a Right-wing deviation in our Party, hinting at the Central Committee. But that is a trick, a crude and dishonest trick, designed to screen the opportunism of the opposition bloc by means of loud accusations against the Party. In actual fact, it is the opposition bloc that is the expression of a Right-wing deviation in our Party. We judge the opposition not by its statements, but by its deeds. And the deeds of the opposition show that it is a rallying centre and hotbed for all kinds of opportunist elements, from Ossovsky and the "Workers' Opposition" to Souvarine and Maslow, Korsch and Ruth Fischer. The restoration of factionalism, the restoration of the theory of freedom of factions in our Party, a rallying of all the opportunist elements in our Party, a fight against the unity of the Party, a fight against its leading cadres, a fight for the formation of a new party—that is what the opposition is now driving for, if we are to judge from Kamenev's speech. In this respect Kamenev's speech marks a turning point from the opposition's "statement" of October 1926 to a resumption of the opposition's splitting policy.

What is the opposition bloc from the point of view of Party unity?

The opposition bloc is the embryo of a new party within our Party. Is it not a fact that the opposition had its own Central Committee and its own parallel local committees? In its "statement" of October 16, 1926, the opposition gave assurances that it had renounced factionalism. But does not Kamenev's speech show that it has gone back to the factional struggle? What guarantee is there that the opposition has not already re-established its central and local parallel organisations? Is it not a fact that the opposition collected special membership dues for its treasury? What guarantee is there that it has not resumed this splitting course?

The opposition bloc is the embryo of a new party, undermining the unity of our Party.

The task is to smash this bloc and liquidate it. (Stormy applause.)

Comrades, at a time when imperialism is dominant in other countries, when one country and only one country has succeeded in breaching the front of capital, under such conditions the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot exist for a single moment without a united party armed with iron discipline. Attempts to undermine the Party's unity, attempts to form a new party, must be rooted out if we want to preserve the dictatorship of the proletariat, if we want to build socialism.

The task therefore is to liquidate the opposition bloc and consolidate the unity of our Party.


V
Conclusion

I am concluding, comrades.

If we sum up the discussion, we can arrive at one general conclusion that is beyond all doubt, namely, that the Fourteenth Congress of our Party was right when it said that the opposition is infected with disbelief in the strength of our proletariat, disbelief in the possibility of victoriously building socialism in our country. That is the general residual impression and the general conclusion which the comrades cannot have failed to form.

Thus, you have before you two forces. On the one hand, you have our Party, which is confidently leading the proletariat of the U.S.S.R. forward, building socialism and summoning the proletariat of all countries to the struggle. On the other hand, you have the opposition, hobbling along behind our Party like a decrepit old man with rheumatic legs, an aching back and a pain in the head—an opposition that sows pessimism around it and poisons the atmosphere with its twaddle to the effect that nothing will come of socialism in the U.S.S.R., that over there, among the bourgeois, everything is all right, and that over here, among the proletarians, everything is all wrong.

Those, comrades, are the two forces confronting you. It is for you to make your choice between them. (Laughter.)

I have no doubt that you will make the right choice. (Applause.)

The opposition, in its factional blindness, regards our revolution as something devoid of all independent strength, as a sort of gratuitous supplement to the future revolution in the West, which has not yet won victory.

That is not the way Comrade Lenin regarded our revolution, the Republic of Soviets. Comrade Lenin regarded the Republic of Soviets as a torch which illumines the-path of the proletarians of all countries.

Here is what Comrade Lenin said on this score:

"The example of the Soviet Republic will stand before them (that is, the proletarians of all countries. — J. St.) for a long time to come. Our socialist Republic of Soviets will stand secure as a torch of international socialism and as an example to all the labouring masses. Over there—conflict, war, bloodshed, the sacrifice of millions of lives, capitalist exploitation; here—a genuine policy of peace and a socialist Republic of Soviets" (see Vol. XXII, p. 218).

Around this torch two fronts have formed: the front of the enemies of the proletarian dictatorship, who are striving to discredit this torch, to upset and extinguish it, and the front of the friends of the dictatorship of the proletariat, who are striving to hold the torch aloft and to fan its flame.

The task is to hold this torch aloft and to make its existence secure for the sake of the victory of the world revolution.

Comrades, I do not doubt that you will do all you can that the torch may burn bright and illumine the road of all the oppressed and enslaved.

I do not doubt that you will do all you can to fan this torch into full flame, to the terror of the enemies of the proletariat.

I do not doubt that you will do all you can so that similar torches may be lighted in all parts of the world, to the joy of the proletarians of all countries. (Continuous and prolonged applause. All delegates rise and sing the "Internationale," followed by three cheers.)

Pravda, Nos. 285, 286, 294, 295 and 296; December 9, 10, 19, 21, and 22, 1926