June 8, 2018

Eighth Plenary Meeting of the Comintern Executive, 1927

ON THE STATEMENTS OF TROTSKY AND VUYOVICH AT A PLENARY MEETING OF THE ECCI*

(Adopted at the Eighth Plenary Meeting of the Comintern Executive, 1927)

The Plenary Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Communist International declares before the Communist workers of the whole world that in the present extremely serious situation, in face of the enemy’s attack, some former leading members of the Comintern have ventured to make gross and impermissible assaults on the Bolshevik Party, a party of world-wide importance. The actions of these leaders of the opposition complicate and impede the settlement of the revolutionary problems of the present moment: the mobilisation of all revolutionary forces and the rousing of the entire international working class against the imperialist war.

The Fifth World Congress of the Communist International condemned Trotskyism as a “petty-bourgeois deviation”. The Seventh Extended Plenary Meeting of the ECCI in December 1926 adopted a resolution on the Soviet Union in which it condemned the opposition bloc as embodying a “Social-Democratic deviation” whose aim is to “continue fostering defeatist sentiments and a capitulationist ideology in the Party”. The Plenary Meeting pointed out that “these views are incompatible with the fundamentals of Leninism” and declared that the platform of the opposition runs counter “to the principles of true internationalism and to the fundamental line of the Communist International”. 

The Seventh Enlarged Plenary Meeting declared that “the opposition bloc has become a rallying centre for all bankrupt trends inside and outside the CPSU(B) that have been condemned by the CPSU(B) and the Comintern”. The Plenary Meeting branded particularly the disorganising activity of the opposition bloc.

In spite of their own solemn pledge given in the declaration of October 16, 1926, in spite of the clear-cut decisions of the Party membership and of the Fifteenth All-Union Conference of the CPSU(B), and in spite of the decisions of the Seventh Extended Plenary Meeting of the ECCI, instead of ceasing their factional activity directed against the policy of the Comintern, Trotsky and Zinoviev have stepped it up.

Inasmuch as Zinoviev has been barred from all activity in the Communist International by decision of the Seventh Extended Plenary Meeting and has thus been unable to attend the present session, Trotsky has come forward as the spokesman of the opposition bloc. Using unprecedentedly sharp words he repeated the attacks of the opposition bloc on the Leninist policy in all the fundamental questions of the revolution.

A deep and unbridgeable gulf lies between the policy represented by Trotsky and Vuyovich at the present Plenary Meeting of the ECCI and fully endorsed by Zinoviev and Radek, and the policy of the Communist International substantiated by Lenin. The main features of this opposition, anti- communist line are:

(1) Disruption and discrediting of the struggle of the Communist International against the menace of war. The Trotskyites do not direct their energy against the imperialist instigators of war. On the contrary, Trotsky declared that “the greatest danger of all is the Party regime”. Under this slogan Trotsky preaches what, in. effect, is reactionary defeatism, contraposing it to the cause of the proletarian revolution. At the same time, in spite of repeated cautions, he has not swerved an inch from his old anti-Leninist standpoint in regard to fundamental questions of revolutionary tactics in the first imperialist world war. It was precisely the divergences then existing between Trotskyism and Lenin (repudiation of revolutionary defeatism, rejection of the slogan calling for turning the imperialist war into a civil war, and rejection of the slogan calling for fraternisation) that during the world war formed the dividing line between Bolshevism and all shades of Social-Democratic opportunism. Contrary to Lenin’s directive that the maximum attention should be given to real practical work against the menace of war, Trotsky did not submit to the Plenary Meeting of the ECCI a single practical proposal concerning the struggle against the imperialist war. He confined himself to the demand, repeatedly rejected by the Communist International, to break up the Anglo-Russian Committee, which at this moment would only facilitate the designs, lying in the same plane, of the reformist betrayers of the British working class,


(2) An utterly wrong estimate of the character of the Chinese revolution running counter to Lenin’s basic ideas about the tasks of the Communists during a bourgeois democratic revolution in backward, semi-colonial countries. Defeatist exploitation of individual and partial setbacks of the Chinese revolution, particularly of the Chiang Kai-shek coup, tin order to spread petty-bourgeois liquidationist panic moods. Gross misrepresentation of the policy of the CPSU(B) and the Communist International before and after the Shanghai uprising for the purpose of charging them with betraying the Chinese revolution. At the Plenary Session of the ECCI Trotsky, who on the threshold of the proletarian revolution in Germany in 1923 opposed the formation of Soviets, insisted on the immediate establishment of dual power in the form of Soviets and steering towards the immediate overthrow of the Left-wing Kuomintang Government. This outwardly ultra-Left but actually opportunist demand is nothing but a repetition of the old Trotskyite standpoint of skipping the petty- bourgeois-peasant stage of the revolution, which Trotsky advocated as early as 1905 jointly with the Mensheviks against Comrade Lenin.

(3) A complete political and organisational alliance with the Maslow-Ruth Fischer group of renegades, who have been expelled from the Communist Party of Germany. Their immediate reinstatement- in the Comintern was proposed by Comrade Trotsky, and their Information Bulletin is 
continually supplied with material by the opposition leaders. Thus, not only the expelled ultra-Left groups, but also all other class enemies regularly receive from the opposition leaders distorted information on the internal affairs of the Party heading the proletarian dictatorship. 

The alliance between the Trotskyites and renegades of the Maslow type acquires a purely disorganising significance in view of the fact that the Maslow group intends to publish an anti-Communist daily newspaper, preparing to form a party hostile to the Comintern and working to 
set up a counter- revolutionary “Fourth International”.

(4) The insistence that in the struggle against the menace of war the orientation of the Comintern should be towards the anarcho-syndicalist elements. The revolutionary united front tactics, the Bolshevik line of winning over the proletarian masses, which is today more necessary than ever before in face of the direct threat of war, is thus substituted by a sectarian policy of rapprochement with e international anarcho-syndicalism, which is using the foulest means to fight the Comintern and the Soviet Union side by side with the worst whiteguard elements.

(5) Deliberate defamation and discrediting of the Communist International, which Trotsky charges with pursuing a hangman’s policy against the Chinese proletariat. He calls the leadership (of the Comintern) an institution of bourgeois-liberal “public criers of a national bloc”, and opposes its policy on the grounds that it is a “disgraceful policy”. Deliberate defamation and discrediting of the Soviet Union, whose policy Trotsky labels as “national conservative narrowness”. This lie is the direct complement to the bourgeois-Social-Democratic incitement campaign against the alleged “Red imperialism” of the Soviet Union.

All these attacks by Trotsky on Leninism are the continuation of the struggle against the inner-Party “regime” of the CPSU(B) and the Communist International under the false banner of “freedom of opinion” borrowed from Menshevism, a struggle that has been condemned by the Fifth World Congress and the Seventh Extended Plenary Meeting. The sole aim of these attacks by Comrade Trotsky is to shatter the discipline of the Bolshevik organisation of the  revolutionary proletariat, undermine its unity, impair its prestige in the eyes of the working class and weaken it inface of imperialist and social-traitor enemies.

Trotsky tried in vain to disguise his Menshevik attacks by “revolutionary”, pseudo-radical Left phraseology, by hypocritical assurances of his willingness to submit to the decisions which have been made and by dishonest offers “to settle the conflict” in order to conceal his desertion from the Communist workers. The futility of such manoeuvres is particularly evident in Trotsky’s latest pronouncement, in which he openly declared: “We will fight this course to the end.” He sought in vain to disguise his divisive policy by suggesting with the help of ludicrous, spurious verbiage, that he was not upholding the Social-Democratic standpoint, but rather that the Comintern was pursuing an opportunist policy.

Trotsky and Vuyovich endeavoured to wreck the Plenary Meeting of the ECCI by continuously circulating anti-Party factional material, by systematically interrupting the meeting and' having recourse to other disorganising actions.

The Plenary Meeting of the ECCI is sitting at a time when the international situation is extremely serious and critical. The distinctive feature of the present world situation is not only the growing acuteness of all class struggles but, above all, the immediate danger of a predatory attack of the British imperialists and their vassals on the Soviet Union, the intervention of the imperialists against the national liberation struggle in China which is already in full swing, the joint fierce offensive of all reactionary forces against the Comintern, the attempt of the bourgeoisie to suppress and crush the working-class movement and the Communist parties in the leading capitalist countries.

This is the moment that Trotsky and his followers have chosen to launch a most violent attack on the Comintern, which is the only leading organ of the world revolution, and against the Soviet Union, the only state-organised form of the world revolution. At a moment like this the Trotskyites accuse a Communist Party of world importance of treachery and make the charge of degeneration against the state of the proletarian dictatorship. This attack of the Trotskyite opposition follows the same lines as the onslaught of the bourgeoisie and its agents designed to destroy the key strongholds of the proletarian world revolution.

The present situation makes it incumbent on the entire Communist International to repulse this attack of the opposition bloc, ensure firm, unshakable unity in its ranks and concentrate all its forces on the preparations for the struggle against the imperialist war, on a most active defence of the world’s only proletarian state and on the utmost support for the great Chinese revolution.

The Plenary Meeting of the ECCI replies to Trotsky attacks, which are nothing but a desperate struggle by individual political deserters against the front of the Communists of the world, with an inexorable determination to put an end to these divisive intrigues. The basic line of the opposition leaders, like their actions, constitutes sabotage of the Communist struggle against the imperialist war. The attitude of Trotsky and of those who share his views is imbued with the spirit of solidarity with renegades, with the spirit of Menshevik wobbling between the camp of the proletarian revolution and the camp of the imperialist counter-revolution. This wobbling, which is characteristic of Trotskyism, is a crime in the present aggravation of the class struggle. The Comintern feels in duty bound to put an end once and for all to this ultra-Left Social- Democratic trend and to the continuous hostile attacks of this group of bankrupt leaders, who are going farther and farther away from the proletarian movement.

Therefore, the Plenary Meeting of the ECCI resolves:

(1) The ECCI declares that the principal policy as well as the actions of Trotsky and Vuyovich are incompatible with their position as member and alternate-member of the ExecutiveCommittee of the Communist International.

(2) The ECCI categorically forbids Trotsky and Vuyovich to continue the factional struggle inany way.
(3) The Plenary Session of the ECCI empowers the Presidium of the ECCI and the International Control Commission to effect the formal expulsion of Trotsky and Vuyovich from the ECCI if this struggle is not discontinued.

(4) The ECCI instructs the Central Committee of the CPSU(B) to take resolute measures to safeguard the CPSU(B) against the factional struggle waged by Trotsky and Zinoviev.


The CPSU in Resolutions etc.,
6th Russ. ed., Part II, pp. 791-93