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March 1914

All who are interested in the working-class movement and Marxism in Russia know that a bloc of the liquidators, Trotsky, the Letts, the Bundists and the Caucasians was formed in August 1912.

The formation of this bloc was announced with tremendous ballyhoo in the newspaper Luch, which was founded in St. Petersburg—not with workers’ money—just when the elections were being held, in order to sabotage the will of the majority of the organised workers. It went into raptures over the bloc’s “large membership”, over the alliance of “Marxists of different trends”, over “unity” and non factionalism, and it raged against the “splitters”, the supporters of the January 1912 Conference.

The question of “unity” was thus, presented to thinking workers in a new and practical light. The facts were to show who was right: those who praised the “unity” platform and tactics of the August bloc members, or those who said that this was a false signboard, a new disguise for the old, bankrupt liquidators.

Exactly eighteen months passed. A tremendous period considering the upsurge of 1912-13. And then, in February 1914, a new journal—this time eminently “unifying” and eminently and truly “non-factional”—bearing the title Borba, was founded by Trotsky, that “genuine” adherent of the August platform.

Both the contents of Borba’s issue No. 1 and what the liquidators wrote about that journal before it appeared at once revealed to the attentive observer that the August bloc had broken up and that frantic efforts were being made to conceal this and hoodwink the workers. But this fraud will also be exposed very soon.

Before the appearance of Borba, the editors of Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta53 published a scathing comment stating: “The real physiognomy of this journal, which has of late been spoken of quite a lot in Marxist circles, is still unclear to us.”

Think of that, reader: since August 1912 Trotsky has been considered a leader of the August unity bloc; but the whole of 1913 shows him to have been dissociated from Luch and the Luchists. In 1914, this selfsame Trotsky establishes his own journal, while continuing fictitiously on the staff of Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta and Nasha Zarya. “There is a good deal of talk in circles” about a secret “memorandum”—which the liquidators are keeping dark—written by Trotsky against the Luchists, Messrs. F.D., L.M., and similar “strangers”.

And yet the truthful, non-factional and unifying Editorial Board of Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta writes: “Its physiognomy is still unclear to us.”

It is not yet clear to them that the August bloc has fallen apart!

No, Messrs. F.D., L.M., and other Luchists, it is perfectly “clear” to you, and you are simply deceiving the workers.

The August bloc—as we said at the time, in August 1912—turned out to be a mere screen for the liquidators. That bloc has fallen asunder. Even its friends in Russia have not been able to stick together. The famous uniters even failed to unite themselves and we got two “August” trends, the Luchist trend (Nasha Zarya and Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta) and the Trotskyist trend (Borba). Both are waving scraps of the “general and united” August banner which they have torn up, and both are shouting themselves hoarse with cries of “unity”.

What is Borba’s trend? Trotsky wrote a verbose article in Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta No. 11, explaining this, but the editors of that liquidator newspaper very pointedly replied that its  “physiognomy is still unclear”.

The liquidators do have their own physiognomy, a liberal, not a Marxist one. Anyone familiar with the writings of F.D., L.S., L.M., Yezhov, Potresov and Co. is familiar with this physiognomy.

Trotsky, however, has never had any “physiognomy” at all; the only thing he does have is a habit of changing sides, of skipping from the liberals to the Marxists and back again, of mouthing scraps of catchwords and bombastic parrot phrases.

In Borba you will not find a single live word on any controversial issue. This is incredible, but it is a fact.

The question of the “underground”? Not a word.

Does Trotsky share the views of Axelrod, Zasulich, F.D., L. S. (Luch No. 101) and so   forth?
Not a murmur.

The slogan of fighting for an open party? Not a single word.

The liberal utterances of the Yezhovs and other Luchists on strikes? The annulment of the programme on the national question? Not a murmur.

The utterances of L. Sedov and other Luchists against two of the “pillars”54? Not a murmur. Trotsky assures us that he is in favour of combining immediate demands with ultimate aims, but there is not a word as to his attitude towards the liquidator method of effecting this “combination”.

Actually, under cover of high-sounding, empty, and obscure phrases that confuse the non- class-conscious workers, Trotsky is defending the liquidators by passing over in silence the question of the “underground”, by asserting that there is no liberal labour policy in Russia, and the like.

Trotsky delivers long lectures to the seven Duma deputies, headed by Chkheidze, instructing them how to repudiate the “underground” and the Party in a more subtle manner. These amusing lectures clearly point to the further break-up of the Seven. Buryanov has left them. They were unable to see eye to eye in their reply to Plekhanov. They are now oscillating between Dan and Trotsky, while Chkheidze is evidently exercising his diplomatic talents in an effort to paper over the new cracks.

And these near-Party people, who are unable to unite on their own “August” platform, try to deceive the workers with their shouts about “unity”. Vain efforts.

Unity means recognising the “old” and combating those who repudiate it. Unity  means rallying the majority of the workers in Russia about decisions which have long been known, and which condemn liquidationism. Unity means that members of the Duma must work in harmony with as the will of the majority of the workers, which the six workers’ deputies55 are doing.

But the liquidators and Trotsky, the Seven and Trotsky, who tore up their own August bloc, who flouted all the decisions of the Party and dissociated themselves from the “underground” as well as from the organised workers, are the worst splitters. Fortunately, the workers have already realised this, and all class-conscious workers are creating their own real unity against the liquidator 
disrupters of unity.

V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, pp. 158-61

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