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The Viennese "Pravda"

In the summer of 1907, following the Fifth Congress of the RSDLP, Trotsky had moved to Berlin. Here he became intimate with the right wing-leaders of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany. As his biographer, Isaac Deutscher, expresses it:
"Curiously enough, Trotsky's closest ties were not with the radical wing of German socialism, led by Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebnicht and Franz Mehring, the future founders of the Communist Party, but with the men . . who maintained the appearances of Marxist orthodoxy, but were in fact leading the party to its surrender to the imperialist ambitions of the Hohenzollern empire".
(I. Deutscher "The Prophet Armed Trotsky: 1879-1921"; London: 1970; p.162).
Trotsky contributed frequently to the SPG's daily "Vorwarts" (Forward) and to its monthly 'Neue Zeit' (New Life), on which his influence was strong. 

In those articles Trotsky reiterated his attacks on the "sectarianism" of the Bolsheviks, alleging that the:
"Boycottist tendency runs through the whole history of Bolshevism -- the boycott of the trade unions, of the State Duma, of the local government bodies, etc."
(L.. Trotsky: Article in "Neue Zeit", No.50, cited in: V. I. Lenin: "The Historical Meaning of the Internal Party Struggle in Russia", in: Selected Works', Volume 3; London; l946; p.505),
as a ". . result of the sectarian fear of being swamped by the masses" 
(L. Trotsky: ibid.; p. 505).
To which Lenin replied: -
"As regards the boycott of the trade unions and the local government bodies, what Trotsky says is positively untrue.. It is equally untrue to say that boycottism runs through the whole history of Bolshevism; Bolshevism as a tendency took definite shape in the spring and summer of l905, before the question of the boycott first came up. In August 1906 in the official organ of the faction, Bolshevism declared that the historical causes which called forth the necessity of the boycott had passed. Trotsky distorts Bolshevism".
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 505.)
Trotsky further declared that both the Bolshevik and the actions, and the Party itself were "falling to pieces". To this Lenin replied:
"Failing to understand the historical-economic significance of this split in the epoch of the counter-revolution, of this falling away of non-Social-Democratic elements from the Social-Democratic Labour Party, Trotsky tells the German readers that both factions are 'falling to pieces,' that the Party is 'falling to pieces', that the Party is becoming 'disintegrated'.  
This is not true. And this untruth expresss.. first of all, Trotsky's utter lack of theoretical understanding. Trotsky absolutely fails to understand 'why the Plenum described both liquidationism and otzovism as the manifestation of bourgeois influence over the proletariat'. Just think: is the severance from the Party of trends which have been condemned by the Party and which express the bourgeois influence over the proletariat, the collapse of the Party, the disintegration of the Party, or is it the strengthening and purging of the Party?"
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 5l5)
The German government refused to allow Trotsky to stay in Berlin, and he moved shortly to Vienna. However he maintained his influence in the press of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany, the leaders of which continued to regard him as "the authority", on the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.
"It is time to stop being naive about the Germans, Trotsky is now in full command there.. . It's Trotsky and Co. who are writing, and the Germans believe them. Altogether, Trotsky is boss in 'Vorwarts'".
(V. I. Lenin: "Letter to the Bureau of the CC of the RSDLP", April 16th. 1912, in: "Collected Works"Volume 35; Moscow; 1966; p. 34, 35).
Trotsky remained in Vienna for seven years, and there he became intimate with the right-wing leaders of the Austrian Social-Democratic Party - Victor Adler, Rudolf Hilferding, Otto Bauer an& Karl Renner. He became Vienna correspondent of the daily newspaper "Kievskaya Mysl" (Kievan Thought), and contributed to a number of other papers.

In October 1908, Trotsky began to edit a small run-down paper called "Pravda" (Truth), started in l905, by the pro-Menshevik Ukrainian Social-Democratic League ("Spilika") At the end of 1908, the group abandoned the paper, and it became Trotsky's own journal. Published in Vienna from November 1909, it continued to appear until December 1913.

The principal regular contributors to the Viennese "Pravda", under Trotsky, were Aleksandr Skobolev (a student-who later became Minister of Labour in the Kerensky government) Adolf Yoffe (who committed suicide in 1927-in protest at Trotsky's expulsion from the Party), David Ryazanov (later director of the Marx-Engels Institute) and Victor Kopp (later a Soviet diplomat).

As Lenin commented in October 1911:
"'Pravda" represents a tiny group, which has not given an independent and consistent answer to any-important fundamental question of the revolution and counter-revolution". (V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Concilators or the Virtuous" in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 106).
Under Trotsky the Viennese -"Pravda" became the principal organ of conciliationism, as Lenin repeatedly pointed out, describing Trotsky as a"spineless conciliator"; 
(V. I. Lenin: "Notes of a Publicist", in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 60).

"During the period of the counter-revolution of 1908-11 . . Trotsky provides us with an abundance of instances of unprincipled 'unity' scheming"..
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Conciliators or the Virtuous", in: ibid.; p. 93, l05.)
Trotsky himself admits:
"My inner party stand was a concilationist one. . The great historical significance of Lenin's policy was still unclear to me at that time, his policy of irreconcilable ideological demarcation and, when necessary split, for the purpose of welding and tempering the core of the truly revolutionary party.  
By striving for unity at all-costs, I involuntarily and unavoidably idealised centrist tendencies in Menshsvism".
(L. Trotsky: "The Permanent Revolution"; New York; 1970; p. 173).
In fact, Trotsky elaborated in this period a "theory" of conciliationism, based on the erroneous concept that factions expressed, not the interests of different classes, but "the influence of the intelligentsia" upon the working class:
"Trotsky expressed conciliationism more consistently than anyone else. He was probably the only one who attempted to give this tendency a theoretical foundation. This is the foundation: factions and factionalism-expressed the struggle of the intelligentsia 'for influence over the irmiature proletariat'. . . .  
The opposite view (i.e. the Leninist view - Ed.) is that the factions are generated by the relations between the classes in the Russian revolution".
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Conciliators or the Virtuous", in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 93).
Trotsky attempted to give substance to his "non-factional" pose by articles in which he attacked as "anti-revolutionary" both the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. In 1909, for example, he wrote in Rosa Luxemburg's Polish paper "Przeglad Socjal-Demokratyczny" (Social-Democratic Review):"While the Mensheviks, proceeding from the abstraction that 'our revolution is bourgeois', arrive at the idea of adapting the whole tactic of the proletariat to the conduct of the liberal bourgeoisie, right up to the capture of state power, the Bolsheviks, proceeding from the same bare abstraction: 'democratic, not socialist dictatorship', arrive at the idea of the bourgeois-democratic self-limitation of the proletariat with power in its hands. The difference between them on this question is certainly quite important: while the anti-revolutionary sides of Menshevism are already expressed in full force today, the anti-revolutionary features of Bolshevism threaten to become a great danger only in the event of the victory of the revolution." 
(L. Trotsky: Article in "'Przeglad Socjal-Demokratyczny", cited in: L. Trotsky: "The Permanent Revolution"; New York; 1970; p. 235-36).

However, Lenin pointed out that, under the guise of "non-factionalism", Trotsky was, in fact, forming his own faction:
"That Trotsky's venture is an attempt to create a faction is obvious to all now".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Historical Meaning of the Internal Party Struggle in Russia", in: "Selected Works"; Volume 3; London; l943; p.517).
"We were right in referring to Trotsky as the representative of the 'worst remnants of factionalism'. .  
Although Trotsky professes to be non-factional, he is known to all who are in the slightest degree acquainted with the labour movement in Russia as the representative of "Trotsky's faction" -- there is factionalism here, for both the essential characteristics of it are present: 1) the nominal recognition of unity, and 2) group segregation in reality. This is a remnant of factionalism, for it is impossible to discover in it anything serious in the way of contacts with the mass labour movement in Russia.  
Finally it is the worst kind of factionalism, for there is nothing ideologically and politically definite about it."
(V.I.,Lenin: "Violation of Unity under Cover of Cries for Unity", in: "Selected Works"; Volume 4; London; l943; p. 191, 192).
Trotsky's faction, declared Lenin, vacillated in theory from one of the major factions to the other:
"Trotsky completely lacks a definite ideology and policy, for having the patent, for 'non-factionalism', only means . . having a patent granting complete freedom to flit from one faction to another".
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 191-92).
"Trotsky, on the other hand; represents only his own personal vacillations and nothing more. In l903 he was a Menshevik; he abandoned Menshevism in l904, returned to the Mensheviks in l905 and merely flaunted ultra-revolutionary phrases; in 1906 he left them again; at the end of 1906 he advocated elect-oral agreements with the Cadets (i.e., was virtually once more with the Mensheviks) ; and in the spring of 1907, at the London Congress, he said that he differed from Rosa Luxemburg on 'individual shades of ideas rather than on political tendencies'. Trotsky one day plagiarises the ideological stock-in-trade of one faction; next day he plagiarises that of another, and therefore declares himself to be standing above both factions."
(V. I. Lenin: "The Historical Meaning of the Internal Party Struggle in Russia in: 'Selected Works", Volume 3; London; l946; p. 5l7).
His "political line" asserted Lenin, is mere high flown demagogy, characterised by revolutionary phrases, designed to deceive the workers:
"The Trotskys deceive the workers. Whoever supports Trotsky's puny group supports a policy of lying and deceiving the workers. . . by 'revolutionary' phrase-mongering".
(V. I. Lenin: "From the Camp of the Stolypin 'Labour' Party", in: "Collected Works"; Volume 17; Moscow; 1963; p. 243).
"Empty exclamations, high-flown words. . and impressively important assurances -- that is Trotsky's total stock-in-trade".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Question of Unity", in: "Collected Works", Volume 18; Moscow; 1963; p.553) .
"Trotsky is fond of sonorous and empty phrases. . . . Trotsky's phrases are full of glitter and noise, but they lack content. . . . Trotsky is very fond of explaining historical events in pompous and sonorous phrases, in a manner flattering to Trotsky".
(V. I. Lenin: "Violation of Unity under Cover of Cries for Unity", in: ""Selected Works"; Volume 4; London; 1943; p. 189,192, 194).
This demagogy, asserted Lenin, is used to attempt to conceal the fact that in practice Trotsky's faction supports, and has the confidence of the liquidator Mensheviks and the otzovists:
"People like Trotsky, with his inflated phrases about the RSDLP and his toadying to the liquidators, 'who have nothing in common' with the RSDLP, today represents 'the prevalent disease'. At this time of confusion, disintegration and wavering it is easy for Trotsky to become the 'hero of the hour' and gather all the shabby elements around himself. Actually they preach surrender to the liquidators who are building a Stolypin Labour Party".
(V. I. Lenin: Resolution Adopted By the Second Paris Group of the RSDLP on the State of Affairs in the party", in: "Collected Works", Volume 17: Moscow; 1963; p. 216).
"Trotsky and the 'Trotskyites and conciliators' like him are more pernicious than any liquidators; the convinced liquidators state their views bluntly, and it is easy for the workers to detect where they are wrong, whereas the Trotskys deceivethe workers, cover up the evil. . . Whoever supports Trotsky's puny group supports a policy. . of shielding the liquidators. Full freedom of action for Potresov and Co. in Russia, and the sheltering of their deeds by 'revolutionary' phrase-mongering abroad - -- there you have the essence of the policy of 'Trotskyism'".
(V. I. Lenin: "From the Camp of the Stolypin 'Labour Party'", in: ibid.; p. 243).
"Trotsky's particular task is to conceal liquidationism by throwing dust in the eyes of the workers. It is impossible to argue with Trotsky on the merits of the issue, because Trotsky holds no views whatever. We can and should argue with confirmed liquidators and otzovists; but it is no use arguing with a man whose game is to hide the errors of both trends; in his case the thing is to expose him as a diplomat of the smallest calibre".
(V. I. Lenin: "Trotsky's Diplomacy and a Certain Party Platform", in: ibid.; p. 362).
"Trotsky follows in the wake of the Mensheviks and camouflages himself with particularly sonorous phrases. . .
In theory Trotsky is in no respect in agreement with either the liquidators or the otzovists, but in actual practice he is in entire agreement with both the 'Golos'-ites and the 'Vperyod'-ists. . .
Trotsky . . enjoys a certain amount of confidence exclusively among the otzovists and the liquidators."
(V. I.Lenin : "The Historical Meaning of the Internal Party Struggle" in Russia, in: "Selected Works", Volume 3; London; 1946; p. 499, 517).
The Menshevik leader Yuli Martov endorsed Lenin's estimate of Trotsky in a letter dated May 1912:
"The logic of things compels Trotsky to follow the Menshevik road, despite all his reasoned pleas for some 'synthesis' between Menshevism and Bolshevism. . -. He has not only found himself in the camp of the 'liquidators', but he is compelled to take up there the most 'pugnacious' attitude towards Lenin".
(Y. Martov: Letter, May 1912, cited in: "Pisnia P. B. Axelroda i Y. 0. Martova". (Letters of P. B.Axelrod and Y. 0. Martov); Berlin, 1924; p. 233). \

1909: The Fifth Party Conference -

The Fifth Conference of the RSDLP was held in Paris in January 1909, attended by 18 delegates (6 Bolsheviks, I Mensheviks, 5 representatives of the Social-Democratic Party of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, and 3 representatives of the "Bund").

The conference adopted a Bolshevik resolution which defined liquidationism as:
" . the attempts of a certain section of the Party intelligentsia to liquidate the existing organisation of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party and substitute for it an amorphous association within the limits of legality at all costs, even if this legality is to be attained at the price of an open renunciation of the programme, tactics and traditions of our Party (Resolution on Organisation, 5th. Conference of RSDLP, cited by V. I. Lenin. "Excerpts from the Resolutions of the Prague Conference of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party"; in: "Selected Works"; Volume 4; London; 1943; p. 151),
and instructed the Party to wage a determined struggle against this deviation:
"The All-Russian Conference of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party recognises that the following constitute the fundamental tasks of the Party at the -present time: . . .
3) to strengthen the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party in the shape it assumed during the revolutionary period; . . to fight against deviations from revolutionary Marxism, against the curtailment of the slogans of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, and against the attempts to dissolve the illegal organisations -of the RSDLP that are observed among certain Party elements, which have yielded to the influence of disintegration".
(V. I. Lenin: Draft Resolution on the Present Situation and the Tasks of the Party, in: ibid.; p. 15).

The "Proletary" Conference

In June 1909 the editorial board of the Bolshevik newspaper "Proletary" (The Proletarian) called a conference in Paris to which leading Bolsheviks were invited. Although called officially an "enlarged editorial conference" it was, in fact, a Bolshevik Conference.

The conference adopted a-resolution to the effect that otzovism, ultimatumism,_Machism_and god-building were all incompatible with membership of the Bolshevik faction, and the adherents of these trends were declared to have placed themselves outside the faction:

"At an official meeting of its representatives held as far back as the spring of 1909, the Bolshevik faction repudiated and expelled the otzovists. " 
(V. I. Lenin: "The Historical Meaning of the Internal Party Struggle in Russia", in: "Selected Works", Volume 3; London; 1946; p. 517).

The conference drew attention to the emergence of the "Party Mensheviks", and declared:
"Under such circumstances, the task of the Bolsheviks, who will remain the solid vanguard of the Party, is not only to continue the struggle against liquidationism and all the varieties of revisionism, but also to establish closer contact with the Marxian and Party elements of the other factions."
(V. I. Lenin: Resolution of the Meeting of the Enlarged Editorial Board of "Proletary" - on "The Tasks of the Bolsheviks in the Party", in: 'Selected Works," Volume 4; London 1943; p. 23-24).
The "Vperyod" Group

From August to December 1909 a number of otzovists and god-builders who had been expelled from the Bolshevik faction at the enlarged meeting of the editorial board of in June, held a "school" on the island of Capri (Italy).

The leading figures in the school were Grigori Alexinsky, Aleksandr Bogdanov and Anatoly Lunacharsky, with the participation of Maxim Gorky.

In December 1909 a number of lecturers at the Capri school, together with a number of prominent Bolsheviks including Vyacheslav Menzhinsky, Dmitri Manuilsky and Mikhail Pokrovsky formed themselves into a new faction which they named "Vperyod"(Forward.) The name was selected because it was that of the paper published by the Bolshevik "Bureau of the Committees of the Majority" in l904, in order to lend support to the group's claim that its members were "true Bolsheviks" and that the Leninists were now "betraying Bolshevism".

As Lenin characterised the faction:
"'Vperyod' represents a non-Socialist-Democratic tendency (otzovism and Machism)" ..
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Conciliators or the Virtuous."",Lenin "Selected Works"., Volume 4; London; l943; p. 106).
Analysing the programme put forward by the "Vperyod" group, Lenin criticised it for its deviations towards otzovism in the sphere of political tactics and towards reactionary idealism in the sphere of philosophy:
"The platform of the "Vperyod" is permeated through and through by views which are incompatible with Party decisions. . .
In actual fact otzovist tactical conclusions follow from the view adopted by the 'vperyod' platform.
By putting forward in its platform the task of elaborating a so-called 'proletarian philosophy', 'proletarian culture', etc., the 'Vperyod' group in fact comes to the defence of the group of literati who are putting forward anti-Marxist views in this field. . . .
By declaring otzovism a 'legitimate shade of opinion', the platform of the 'Vperyod' group shields and defends otzovism, which is doing great harm to the Party".
(V. I. Lenin: 'The 'Vperyod' Group", in: "Collected Works"; Volume 16; Moscow; 1963; p.145-6).
"Everyone knows that it is precisely Machism that is really implied by the term ''proletarian philosophy'. In fact, the most influential literary nucleus of the group is Machian, and it regards non-Machian philosophy as non-'proletarian'. . . . In reality, all the phrases about 'proletarian culture' are intended precisely to cloak the struggle against Marxism."
V.I. Lenin: "Notes of a Publicist", in: 'Selected Works', Volume 4; London; l943; p. 35-6).
In the winter of 1910-11 the 'Vperyod' group organised a second 'school' at Bologna (Italy), Here Trotsky acted as one of the lecturers, together with Yuli Martov and Aleksandra Kollontai. 

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