Lenin on Trotsky

Lenin on Trotsky

 This is a compilation of quotes by Lenin on Trotsky, comprehensively assembled by the deceased Klo Mckinsey.

Judge for yourselves.

by Klo Mckinsey

One need only read all 45 volumes of Lenin’s Collected Works as well as some of his other writings to see that he often criticized and vehemently denounced Trotsky. Those who seem to think Trotsky was the proper carrier of Lenin’s torch definitely need to read the following 10 postings in this regard. But first we should note Lenin’s compliments of Stalin.

A few noteworthy instances are the following.

In a 1913 article in the Social Democrat entitled The National Programme of the R.S.D.L.P. Lenin stated, “Why and how the national question has, at the present time, been bought to the fore…is shown in detail in the resolution itself. There is hardly any need to dwell on this in view of the clarity of the situation. This situation and the fundamentals of a national programme for Social-Democracy have recently been dealt with in Marxist theoretical literature (the most prominent place being taken by Stalin’s article.” He is referring to the writing by Stalin entitled Marxism and the National Question. 

At the 11th Congress of the R.C.P. (B) in 1922 Lenin was more flattering toward Stalin when he said, “It is terribly difficult to do this; we lack the men! But Preobrazhensky comes along and airily says that Stalin has jobs in two Commissariats. Who among us has not sinned in this way? who has not undertaking several duties at once? And how can we do otherwise? What can we do to preserve the Nationalities; to handle all the Turkestan, Caucasian, and other questions? These are all political questions! They have to be settled. These are questions that have engaged the attention of European states for hundreds of years, and only an infinitesimal number of them have been settled in democratic republics. We are settling them; and we need a man to whom the representatives of any of these nations can go and discuss their difficulties in all detail. Where can we find such a man? I don’t think Comrade Preobrazhensky could suggest any better candidate than Comrade Stalin. Lenin’s Collected Works, Vol. 33, page 315

In a February 1913 letter to Gorky Lenin said in regard to Stalin, “We have a marvellous Georgian who has sat down to write a big article for Prosveshcheniye, for which he has collected all the Austrian and other materials.” Lenin’s Collected Works, Vol. 35, page 84. 



It is very important to note that the following statements about Trotsky’s ideas, tactics, and personality were made by Lenin, not Stalin.

At the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P in 1903 Lenin said in the Third Speech in the Discussion on the Agrarian Programme, “Therein lies the fundamental difference between us and the liberals, whose talk about changes and reforms ‘pollutes’ the minds of the people. If we were to set forth in detail all the demands for the abolition of serf-ownership, we should fill whole volumes. That is why we mention only the more important forms and varieties of serfdom, and leave it to our committees in the various localities to draw up and advance their particular demands in development of the general programme. Trotsky’s remark to the effect that we cannot concern ourselves with local demand is wrong, for the question…is not only a local one.”

At the same Congress Lenin made an extremely important and farsighted comment with respect to Trotsky’s theoretical wisdom. He stated, “To come to the main subject, I must say that Comrade Trotsky has completely misunderstood Comrade Plekhanov’s fundamental idea, and his arguments have therefore evaded the gist of the matter. He has spoken of intellectuals and workers, of the class point of view and of the mass movement, but he has failed to notice a basic question: does my formulation narrow or expand the concept of a Party member? If he had asked himself that question, he would have easily have seen that my formulation narrows this concept, while Martov’s expands it, for (to use Martov’s own correct expression) what distinguishes his concept is its ‘elasticity.’ And in the period of Party life that we are now passing through it is just this ‘elasticity’ that undoubtedly opens the door to all elements of confusion, vacillation, and opportunism. To refute this simple and obvious conclusion it has to be proved that there are no such elements; but it has not even occurred to Comrade Trotsky to do that. Nor can that be proved, for everyone knows that such elements exist in plenty, and they are to be found in the working class too…. Comrade Trotsky completely misinterpreted the main idea of my book, What Is To Be Done? when he spoke about the Party not being a conspiratorial organization. He forgot that in my book I propose a number of various types of organizations, from the most secret and most exclusive to comparatively broad and ‘loose’ organizations. He forgot that the Party must be only the vanguard, the leader of the vast masses of the working class, the whole (or nearly the whole) of which works ‘under the control and direction’ of the Party organizations, but the whole of which does not and should not belong to a ‘party.’ Now let us see what conclusions Comrade Trotsky arrives at in consequence of his fundamental mistake. He had told us here that if rank after rank of workers were arrested, and all the workers were to declare that they did not belong to the Party, our Party would be a strange one indeed! Is it not the other way round? Is it not Comrade Trotsky’s argument that is strange? He regards as something sad that which a revolutionary with any experience at all would only rejoice at. If hundreds and thousands of workers who were arrested for taking part in strikes and demonstrations did not prove to be members of Party organizations, it would only show that we have good organizations, and that we are fulfilling our task of keeping a more or less limited circle of leaders secret and drawing the broadest possible masses into the movement.”

In an article written in 1905 entitled “Social-Democracy and the Provisional Revolutionary Government” Lenin spoke of Parvus and said, “He openly advocated (unfortunately, together with the windbag Trotsky in a foreward to the latter’s bombastic pamphlet ‘Before the Ninth of January’) the idea of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship, the idea that it was the duty of Social-Democrats to take part in the provisional revolutionary government after the overthrow of the autocracy.”

Later in the same article Lenin stated, “It would be extremely harmful to entertain any illusions on this score. If that windbag Trotsky now writes (unfortunately, side by side with Parvus) that a Father Gapon could appear only once,’ that ‘there is no room for a second Gapon,’ he does so simply because he is a windbag. If there were no room in Russia for a second Gapon, there would be no room for a truly ‘great’ consummated democratic revolution.”

In a 1904 letter to Stasova, Lengnik, and others Lenin stated, A new pamphlet by Trotsky came out recently, under the editorship of *Iskra*, as was announced. This makes it the “Credo” as it were of the new Iskra. The pamphlet is a pack of brazen lies, a distortion of the facts…. The pamphlet is a slap in the face both for the present Editorial Board of the C.O. and for all Party workers. Reading a pamphlet of this kind you can see clearly that the “Minority” has indulged in so much lying and falsehood that it will be incapable of producing anything viable….”

In a 1905 article entitled “Wrathful Impotence” Lenin stated, ‘We shall remind the reader that even Mr. Struve, who has often voiced sympathy in principle with Trotsky, Starover, Akimov, and Martynov, and with the new-Iskra trends in general and the new-Iskra Conference in particular–even Mr. Struve was in his time obliged to acknowledge that their stand is not quite a correct one, or rather quite an incorrect one.”

At the 1907 Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P Lenin stated, “A few words about Trotsky. He spoke on behalf of the ‘Centre,’ and expressed the views of the Bund. He fulminated against us for introducing our ‘unacceptable’ resolution. He threatened an outright split, the withdrawal of the Duma group, which is supposedly offended by our resolution. I emphasize these words. I urge you to reread our resolution…. When Trotsky stated: ‘Your unacceptable resolution prevents your right ideas being put into effect,’ I called out to him: ‘Give us your resolution!’ Trotsky replied: ‘No first withdraw yours.’ A fine position indeed for the ‘Centre’ to take, isn’t it? Because of our (in Trotsky’s opinion) mistake (‘tactlessness’) he punishes the whole Party…. Why did you not get your resolution passed, we shall be asked in the localities. Because the Centre (for whom Trotsky was speaking) took umbrage at it, and in a huff refused to set forth its own principles! That is a position based not on principle, but on the Centre’s lack of principle.”

Speaking at the same Congress Lenin objected to Trotsky’s amendments to the Bolshevik resolution on the attitude towards bourgeois parties by saying, “It must be agreed that Trotsky’s amendment is not Menshevik, that it expresses the ‘very same,’ that is, bolshevik, idea. But Trotsky has expressed this idea in a way that is scarcely better (than the Menshevik–Ed.)…. Trotsky’s insertion is redundant, for we are not fishing for unique cases in the resolution, but are laying down the basic line of Social-Democracy in the bourgeois Russian revolution.”

While later discussing the same issue (the attitude the party should have toward bourgeois parties) Lenin said, “The question of the attitude of Social-Democracy towards bourgeois parties is one of those known as ‘general’ or ‘theoretical’ questions, i.e., such that are not directly connected with any definite practical task confronting the Party at a given moment. At theLondon Congress of the R.S.D.L.P, the Mensheviks and the Bundists conducted a fierce struggle against the inclusion of such questions in the agenda, and they were, unfortunately, supported in this by Trotsky, who does not belong to either side. The opportunistic wing of our Party (notice that that is the group with which Trotsky allied himself–Ed.) like that of other Social-Democratic parties, defended a ‘business-like’ or ‘practical’ agenda for the Congress. They shied away from ‘broad and general’ questions. They forgot that in the final analysis broad, principled politics are the only real, practical politics. They forgot that anybody who tackles partial problems without having previously settled general problems, will inevitably and at every step ‘come up against’ those general problems without himself realizing it. To come up against them blindly in every individual case means to doom one’s politics to the worst vacillation and lack of principle.” And it is quite clear to which philosophy Trotsky adhered. 



Our list of statements about Trotsky by Lenin continues:

In 1909 Lenin wrote an article entitled “The Aim of the Proletarian Struggle in our Revolution” and said the following, “As for Trotsky, whom Comrade Martov has involved in the controversy of third parties which he has organized…we positively cannot go into a full examination of his views here. A separate article of considerable length would be needed for this. By just touching upon Trotsky’s mistaken views, and quoting scraps of them, Comrade Martov only sows confusion in the mind of the reader…. Trotsky’s major mistake is that he ignores the bourgeois character of the revolution and has no clear conception of the transition from this revolution to the socialist revolution. This major mistake leads to those mistakes on side issues which Comrade Martov repeats when he quotes a couple of them with sympathy and approval. Not to leave matters in the confused state to which Comrade Martov has reduced them by his exposition, we shall at least expose the fallacy of those arguments of Trotsky which have won approval of Comrade Martov.”

Later in the same article Lenin states, “Trotsky’s second statement quoted by Comrade Martov is wrong too. It is not true that ‘the whole question is, who will determine the government’s policy, who will constitute a homogeneous majority in it,’ and so forth. And it is particularly untrue when Comrade Martov uses it as an argument against the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. Trotsky himself, in the course of his argument, concedes that ‘representatives of the democratic population will take part’ in the ‘workers’ government,’ i.e., concedes that there will be a government consisting of representatives of the proletariat AND the peasantry. On what terms the proletariat will take part in the government of the revolution is quite another question, and it is quite likely that on this question the Bolsheviks will disagree not only with Trotsky, but also with the Polish Social-Democrats.” Notice how Lenin does not consider Trotsky to be a bolshevik.

And finally, Lenin also states in the same article, “In any case, Comrade Martov’s conclusion that the conference agreed with Trotsky, of all people, on the question of the relations between the proletariat and the peasantry in the struggle for power is an amazing contradiction of the facts, is an attempt to read into a word a meaning that was never discussed, not mentioned, and not even thought of at the conference.”

In 1910 Lenin wrote several articles in which he said the following: Article= “Faction of Supporter of Otzovism and God-Building” in which he said, “The ‘point’ was that the Mensheviks (through the mouth of Trotsky in 1903-04) had to declare: the old Iskra and the new ones are poles apart.”

Article= “Notes of a Publicist” in which he said, “With touching unanimity the liquidators and the otzovists are abusing the Bolsheviks up hill and down dale. The Bolsheviks are to blame, the Bolshevik Centre is to blame…. But the strongest abuse from Axelrod and Alexinsky only serves to screen their complete failure to understand the meaning and importance of Party unity. Trotsky’s resolution only differs outwardly from the ‘effusions’ of Axelrod and Alexinsky. It is drafted very ‘cautiously’ and lays claim to ‘above faction’ fairness. But what is its meaning? The ‘Bolshevik leaders’ are to blame for everything–this is the same ‘philosophy of history’ as that of Axelrod and Alexinsky…. This question needs only to be put for one to see how hollow are the eloquent phrases in Trotsky’s resolution, to see how in reality they serve to defend the very position held by Axelrod and Co., and Alexinsky and Co…. In the very first words of his resolution Trotsky expressed the full spirit of the worst kind of conciliation, “conciliation” in inverted commas, or a sectarian and philistine conciliation…. It is in this that the enormous difference lies between real partyism, which consists in purging the Party of liquidationism and otzovism, and the‘conciliation’ of Trotsky and Co., which actually renders the most faithful service to the liquidators and otzovists, and is therefore *an evil* that is all the more dangerous to the Party the more cunningly, artfully and rhetorically it cloaks itself with professedly pro-Party, professedly anti-factional declamations.” Lenin’s Collected Works, Vol. 16, pages 209-211

Later Lenin stated, “The draft of this resolution was submitted to the Central Committee by myself, and the clause in question was altered by the plenum itself after the commission had finished its work; it was altered on the motion of Trotsky, against whom I fought without success.” Ibid. page 215

And this was later followed by, “Here you have the material–little, but characteristic material–which makes it clear how empty Trotsky’s and Yonov’s phrases are.”

Referring to Trotsky’s stance while discussing liquidationism Lenin says, “Of this we shall speak further on, where it be our task to demonstrate the utter superficiality of the view taken by Trotsky….”

In another stinging indictment in the same article Lenin says, “Hence the ‘conciliatory’ efforts of Trotsky and Yonov are not ridiculous and miserable. These efforts can only be explained by a complete failure to understand what is taking place. They are harmless efforts now, for there is no one behind them except the sectarian diplomats abroad, except ignorance and lack of intelligence in some out-of-the-way places.”

Continuing in the same vein, Lenin states, “The heinous crime of *spineless ‘conciliators’* like Yonov and Trotsky, who defend or justify these people, is that they are causing their ruin by making them more dependent on liquidationism…. That this position of Yonov and Trotsky is wrong should have been obvious to them for the simple reason that it is refuted by facts.”

In an article entitled “How certain Social-Democrats Inform the International About the State of Affairs in the R.S.D.L.P.” Lenin stated, “Yes, it is the ‘non-factional’ Comrade Trotsky, who has no compunction about openly advertising his faction’s propaganda sheet.”

In an article written in 1910 entitled “An Open Letter to All Pro-Party Social-Democrats” Lenin said about Trotsky, “If Trotsky and similar advocates of the liquidators and otzovists declare this rapprochement ‘devoid of political content,’ such speeches testify only to Trotsky’s *entire lack of principle*, the real hostility of his policy to the policy of the actual (and not merely confined to promises) abolition of factions.” 


Our list of denunciations of Trotsky by Lenin continues:

In a 1911 letter “To the Central Committee” Lenin said, “We resume our freedom of struggle against the liberals and *anarchists*, who are being encouraged by the leader of the ‘conciliators,’ Trotsky. The question of the money is for us a secondary matter, although of course we do not intend to hand over the money of the faction to the bloc of liquidators+anarchists+Trotsky, while in no way renouncing our right to expose before the international Social-Democratic movement this bloc, its financial ‘basis’ (the notorious Vperyodist ‘funds’ safeguarded from exposure by Trotsky and the Golosists).”

Later Lenin says, “There has been a full development of what was already outlined quite clearly at the plenum (for instance, *the defence of the anarchist school, by Trotsky* + the Golosists). The bloc of liberals and anarchists with the aid of the conciliators is shamelessly destroying the remnants of the Party from outside and helping to demoralize it from within. The formalistic game of ‘inviting’ the Golosists and Trotskyists on to the central bodies is finally reducing to impotence the already weakened pro-Party elements.” 

In a 1911 article entitled “Historical Meaning of Inner-Party Struggle in Russia” Lenin commented, “The theory that the struggle between Bolshevism and Menshevism is a struggle for influence over an immature proletariat is not a new one. We have been encountering it since 1905 in innumerable books, pamphlets, and articles in the liberal press. Martov and Trotsky are putting before the German comrades *liberal views with a Marxist coating*….” Trotsky declares: ‘It is an illusion’ to imagine that Menshevism and Bolshevism ‘have struck deep roots in the depths of the proletariat.’ This is a specimen of the resonant but empty phrases of which our Trotsky is a master. The roots of the divergence between the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks lie, not in the ‘depths of the proletariat,’ but in the economic content of the Russian revolution. By ignoring this content, Martov and Trotsky have deprived themselves of the possibility of understanding the historical meaning of the inner-Party struggle in Russia.”

Later in the same article Lenin states, “For the same reason Trotsky’s argument that splits in the International Social-Democratic movement are caused by the ‘process of adaptation of the social-revolutionary class to the limited (narrow) conditions of parliamentarism,’ while in the Russian Social-Democratic movement they are caused by the adaptation of the intelligentsia to the proletariat, is *absolutely false*. Trotsky writes…. This truly ‘unrestrained’ phrase-mongering is merely the ‘ideological shadow’ of liberalism. Both Martov and Trotsky mix up different historical periods and compare Russia, which is going through her bourgeois revolution, with Europe, where these revolutions were completed long ago.”

Subsequently Lenin says, “As regards boycotting the trade unions and the local self-government bodies, what Trotsky says is *absolutely untrue*. It is equally untrue to say that boycottism runs through the whole history of Bolshevism…. *Trotsky distorts Bolshevism*, because he has never been able to form any definite views on the role of the proletariat in the Russian bourgeois revolution.”

In the same article Lenin said regarding Trotsky, “It is not true. And this untruth expresses, firstly, *Trotsky’s utter lack of theoretical understanding*. Trotsky has absolutely failed to understand why the plenum described both liquidationism and otzovism as a ‘manifestation of bourgeois influence on the proletariat’. Secondly, in practice, this untruth expresses the ‘policy’ of advertisement pursued by Trotsky’s faction. That Trotsky’s venture is an attempt to create a faction is now obvious to all, since Trotsky has removed the Central Committee’s representative from Pravda. In advertising his faction Trotsky does not hesitate to tell the Germans that the Party is falling to pieces, that both factions are falling to pieces and that he, Trotsky, alone, is saving the situation. Actually, we all see now–and the latest resolution adopted by the Trotskyists in the name of the Vienna Club, on November 26, 1910 proves this quite conclusively–that *Trotsky enjoys the confidence exclusively of the liquidators and the Vperyodists*. The extent of *Trotsky’s shamelessness* in belittling the Party and exalting himself before the Germans is shown, for instance, by the following. Trotsky writes that the ‘working masses’ in Russia consider that the ‘Social-Democratic Party stands outside their circle’ and he talks of ‘Social-Democrats without Social-Democracy. How could one expect Mr. Potresov and his friends to refrain from bestowing kisses on Trotsky for such statements? But these statements are refuted not only by the entire history of the revolution, but even by the results of the elections to the Third Duma from the workers’ curia…. That is what Trotsky writes. But the facts are as follows…. When Trotsky gives the German comrades a detailed account of the stupidity of ‘otzovism’ and describes this trend as a ‘crystallization’ of the boycottism characteristic of Bolshevism as a whole…the German reader certainly gets no idea how much subtle *perfidy* there is in such an exposition. Trotsky’s Jesuitical ‘reservation’ consists in omitting a small, very small ‘detail.’ He ‘forgot’ to mention that at an official meeting of its representatives held as far back as the spring of 1909, the Bolshevik faction repudiated and expelled the otzovists. But it is just this ‘detail’ that is inconvenient for Trotsky, who wants to talk of the ‘falling to pieces’ of the Bolshevik faction (and then of the Party as well) and not of the falling away of the non-Social-Democratic elements!…. …Trotsky, on the other hand, represents only his own personal vacillations and nothing more. In 1903 he as a Menshevik; he abandoned Menshevism in 1904, returned to the Mensheviks in 1905 and merely flaunted ultra- revolutionary phrases; in 1906 he left them again; at the end of 1906 he advocated electoral agreements with the Cadets (i.e., he was in once more with the Mensheviks); and 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”. One day Trotsky *plagiarizes* from the ideological stock-in-trade of one faction; the next day he plagiarizes from that of another, and therefore declares himself to be standing above both factions. In theory Trotsky is on no point in agreement with either the liquidators or the otzovists, but in actual practice he is in entire agreement with both the Golosists and the Vperyodists. Therefore, when Trotsky tells the German comrades that he represents the ‘general Party tendency,’ I am obliged to declare that Trotsky represents only his own faction and enjoys a certain amount of confidence exclusively among the otzovists and the liquidators. The following facts prove the correctness of my statement.”

After listing his facts and referring to ‘Trotsky’s anti-Party policy’ Lenin states, “Let the readers now judge for themselves whether Trotsky represents a ‘general Party,’ or a ‘general anti-Party’ trend in Russian Social-Democracy.” 



Our on-going expose of Lenin’s Opinion of Trotsky continues:

In an article entitled “Letter to the Russian Collegium of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. Lenin attacked Trotsky by saying, “Trotsky’s call for ‘friendly’ collaboration by the Party with the Golos and Vperyod groups is *disgusting hypocrisy and phrase-mongering*. Everybody is aware that for the whole year since the Plenary Meeting the Golos and Vperyod groups have worked in a ‘friendly’ manner against the Party (and were secretly supported by Trotsky). Actually, it is only the Bolsheviks and Plekhanov’s group who have for a whole year carried out friendly Party work in the Central Organ. Trotsky’s attacks on the bloc of Bolsheviks and Plekhanov’s group are not new; what is new is the outcome of his resolution: the Vienna Club (read “Trotsky”) has organized a ‘general Party fund for the purpose of preparing and convening a conference of the RSDLP This indeed is new. It is a direct step towards a split. It is *a clear violation of Party legality* and the start of an adventure in which Trotsky will come to grief. This is obviously a split…. It is quite possible and probable that ‘certain’ Vperyod ‘funds’ will be made available to Trotsky. You will appreciate that this will only stress the adventurist character of his undertaking. It is clear that this undertaking violates Party legality, since not a word is said about the Central Committee, which alone can call the conference. In addition, Trotsky, having ousted the C.C. representative on Pravda in August 1910, himself *lost all trace of legality*, converting Pravda from an organ supported by the representative of the C.C. into a purely factional organ…. Taking advantage of this, ‘violation of legality,’ Trotsky seeks an organisational split, creating ‘his own’ fund for ‘his own’ conference.”

After this critique of Trotsky, Lenin really comes down solid on him by stating, “You will understand why I call Trotsky’s move an adventure; it is an adventure in every respect. It is an adventure in the ideological sense. *Trotsky groups all the enemies of Marxism*, he unites Potresov and Maximov, who detest the ‘Lenin-Plekhanov’ bloc, as they like to call it. *Trotsky unites all to whom ideological decay is dear*, *all who are not concerned with the defence of Marxism*; *all philistines* who do not understand the reasons for the struggle and who do not wish to learn, think, and discover the ideological roots of the divergence of views. 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*. The more openly this attempt is made, the more spectacular will be the defeat. It is an adventure in the party-political sense. At present everything goes to show that the real unity of the Social-Democratic Party is possible only on the basis of a sincere and unswerving repudiation of liquidationism and otzovism. It is clear that Potresov and the Vperyod group have renounced neither the one nor the other. Trotsky unites them, basely deceiving himself, *deceiving the Party, and deceiving the proletariat*. In reality, Trotsky will achieve nothing more than the strengthening of Potresov’s and Maximov’s anti-Party groups. The collapse of this adventure is inevitable.”

And Lenin concludes by saying, “Three slogans bring out the essence of the present situation within the Party:… 3. Struggle against the splitting tactics and the *unprincipled adventurism of Trotsky* in banding Potresov and Maximov against Social-Democracy.”

In a 1910 article entitled “The State of Affairs in the Party” Lenin again attacks Trotsky’s anti-Party stance by saying, “…Trotsky’s statement of November 26, 1910…completely distorts the essence of the matter. Martov’s article and Trotsky’s resolution conceal definite practical actions–actions directed against the Party…. Trotsky’s resolution, which calls upon organizations inthe localities to prepare for a “general Party conference” independent of, and against, the Central Committee, expresses the very aim of the Golos group–to destroy the central bodies so detested by the liquidators, and with them, the Party as an organization. It is not enough to lay bare the anti-Party activities of Golos and Trotsky; they must be fought.

In the same article Lenin states, “When Trotsky, in referring to the Meeting’s decisions on Pravda, fails to mention this fact, all one can say about it is that *he is deceiving the workers*. And this deception on the part of Trotsky is all the more *malicious*, since in August Trotsky removed the representative of the Central Committee from Pravda…. Therefore, we declare, in the name of the Party as a whole, that Trotsky is pursuing an anti-Party policy…. Trotsky is trying again and again to evade the question by passing it over in silence or by phrase-mongering; *for he is concerned to keep the readers and the Party ignorant of the truth*, namely that Potresov’s group, the group of sixteen, are absolutely independent of the Party, represent expressly distinct factions, are not only doing nothing to revive the illegal organization, but are obstructing its revival, and are not pursuing any Social-Democratic tactics. *Trotsky is concerned with keeping the Party ignorant of the truth*, namely, that the Golos group represent a faction abroad, similarly separated from the Party, and that they actually render service to the liquidators in Russia…. Trotsky maintains silence on this undeniable truth, because *the truth is detrimental to the real aims of his policy*. The real aims, however, are becoming clearer and more obvious even to the least far-sighted Party members. They are” an anti-Party block of the Potresovs with the Vperyod group–a bloc which Trotsky supports and is organizing.”

Lenin later states, “We must again explain the fundamentals of Marxism to these masses; the defence of Marxist theory is again on the order of the day. When Trotsky declares that the rapprochement between the pro-Party Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks is ‘devoid of political content’ and ‘unstable,’ he is thereby merely revealing *the depths of his own ignorance*, he is thereby demonstrating *his own complete emptiness*.”

Lenin later follows this up with, “…Trotsky, who is in the habit of joining any group that happens to be in the majority at the moment…. Trotsky’s policy is adventurism in the organisational sense; for, as we have already pointed out, it violates Party legality….” 



Our continuing revelation of Lenin’s Opinion of Trotsky proceeds apace:

In a 1911 article entitled “Judas Trotsky’s Blush of Shame” Lenin states, “At the Plenary Meeting *Judas Trotsky* made a big show of fighting liquidationism and otzovism. He vowed and swore that he was true to the Party. He was given a subsidy…. Judas expelled the representative of the Central Committee from Pravda and began to write liquidationist articles…. 
And it is this Judas who beats his breast and loudly professes his loyalty to the Party, claiming that he did not grovel before the Vperyod group and the liquidators. Such is Judas Trotsky’s blush of shame.”

In a leaflet published in 1911 entitled “Resolution Adopted by the Second Paris Group of the R.S.D.L.P. on the State of Affairs in the Party” Lenin addressed this same theme by saying, “People like Trotsky, with his inflated phrases about the R.S.D.L.P. and his *toadying* to the liquidators, who have nothing in common with the R.S.D.L.P., today represent ‘*the prevalent disease*.’ They are trying to build up a career for themselves by cheap sermons about ‘agreement’–agreement with all and sundry, right down to Mr. Potresov and the otzovists…. Actually they preach surrender to the liquidators who are building a Stolypin labour party.”

And in the 1911 article entitled “From the Camp of the Stolypin Labour Party” Lenin revisits this issue by saying, “Hence it is clear that 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 deceive the workers*, *cover up the evil*, and make it impossible to expose the evil and to remedy it. *Whoever supports Trotsky’s puny group supports a policy of lying and of deceiving the workers*, a policy of shielding the liquidators. Full freedom of action for Potresov and Co. in Russia, and the shielding of their deeds by ‘revolutionary’ phrase-mongering abroad–there you have the essence of the policy of ‘Trotskyism’.” 

In an article entitled “The New Faction of Conciliators, or the Virtuous” Lenin stated, Trotsky expressed conciliationism more consistently than anyone else. He was probably the only one who attempted to give the trend a theoretical foundation, namely: factions and factionalism express the struggle of the intelligentsia “for influence over the immature proletariat”…. For a long time now, Trotsky–who at one moment has wavered more to the side of the Bolsheviks and at another more to that of the Mensheviks–has been persistently carrying on propaganda for an agreement (or compromise) between all and sundry factions. “But after it, every since the spring of 1910 Trotsky has been *deceiving the workers in a most unprincipled and shameless manner* by assuring them that the obstacles to unity were principally (if not wholly) of an organizational nature. This deceit is being continued in 1911 by the Paris conciliators; for to assert now that they organizational questions occupy the first place is sheer mockery of the truth. In reality, it is by no means the organizational question that is now in the forefront, but the question of the entire programme, the entire tactics and the whole character of the Party…. The conciliators call themselves Bolsheviks, in order to repeat, a year and a half later, *Trotsky’s errors* which the Bolsheviks had exposed. Well, is this not an abuse of established Party titles? Are we not obliged, after this, to let all and sundry know that the conciliators are not Bolsheviks at all, that they have nothing in common with Bolshevism, that they are simply inconsistent Trotskyites? The only difference between Trotsky and the conciliators in Paris is that the latter regard Trotsky as a factionalist and themselves as non-factionalist, whereas Trotsky holds the opposite view…. Trotsky provides us with an abundance of instances of scheming to establish unprincipled “unity…. Trotsky was merely revealing the plan of the liquidators whom he serves faithfully….”

In a 1911 article on the same theme entitled “Trotsky’s Diplomacy and a certain Party Platform,” Lenin states, “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 errors of both these trends; in his case the thing to do is to expose him as a *diplomat of the smallest caliber*.”

In an article entitled “Fundamental Problems of the Election Campaign” Lenin states, “There is nothing more repugnant to the spirit of Marxism than phrase-mongering….”
And later on he states, “But there is no point in imitating Trotsky’s inflated phrases.”

In a 1912 pamphlet entitled “The Present Situation in the R.S.D.L.P. Lenin stated,“ This is incredible, yet it is a fact. It will be useful for the Russian workers to know how *Trotsky and Co. are misleading our foreign comrades*.”

In another 1912 pamphlet entitled “Can the Slogan ‘Freedom of Association’ Serve as a Basis for the Working-Class Movement Today?” Lenin responds by saying, “In the legal press, the liquidators headed by Trotsky argue that it can. They are doing all in their power to distort the true character of the workers’ movement. But those are hopeless efforts. The drowning of the liquidators are clutching at a straw to rescue their unjust cause.”

In a 1912 pamphlet entitled “Platform of the Reformists and the Platform of the Revolutionary Social-Democrats” Lenin stated, “Look at the platform of the liquidators. Its liquidationist essence is artfully concealed by Trotsky’s revolutionary phrases.” “The revolutionary Social-Democrats have given their answer to these questions, which are more interesting and important than the *philistine-Trotskyist* attitude of uncertainty; will there be a revolution or not, who can tell?…. Those, however, who preach to the masses their *vulgar, intellectualist, Bundist-Trotskyist scepticism*–’we don’t know whether there will be a revolution or not, but the current issue is reforms’–are already *corrupting the masses, preaching liberal utopias to them*.”

In the 1912 pamphlet entitled “The Illegal Party and Legal Work” Lenin again referred to Trotsky by saying, “We have studied the ideas of liberal labour policy attired in Levitsky’s everyday clothes; it is not difficult to recognize them in *Trotsky’s gaudy apparel* as well.”
In a letter to the Editor of Pravda in 1912 Lenin said, “I advise you to reply to Trotsky throught the post: ‘To Trotsky. We shall not reply to disruptive and slanderous letters.’ Trotsky’s dirty campaign against Pravda is one mass of lies and slander. The well-known Marxist and follower of Plekhanov, Rothstein, has written to us that he received Trotsky’s slanders and replied to him: I cannot complain of the Petersburg Pravda in any way. But this intriguer and liquidator goes onlying, right and left. P.S. It would be still better to reply in this way to Trotsky through the post: ‘To Trotsky. You are wasting your time sending us disruptive and slanderous letters….”

In a 1913 article in Pravda Lenin really blistered Trotsky on the question of Party unity by saying, “It is amazing that after the question has been posed so clearly and squarely we come across Trotsky’s old, pompous but perfectly meaningless phrases in Luch No. 27 (113). Not a word on the substance of the matter! *Not the slightest attempt to cite precise facts and analyze them thoroughly!* Not a hint of the real terms of unity! Empty exclamations, high-flown words, and haughty sallies against opponents whom the author does not name, and impressively important assurances–that is *Trotsky’s total stock-in-trade*. That won’t do gentlemen…. The workers will not be intimidated or coaxed. They themselves will compare Luch and Pravda…and simply shrug off Trotsky’s verbiage…. You cannot satisfy the workers with mere phrases, no matter how ‘conciliatory’ or honeyed. ‘Our historic factions, Bolshevism and Menshevism, are purely intellectualist formations in origin,’ wrote Trotsky. This is the *repetition of a liberal tale*…. It is to the advantage of the liberals to pretend that this fundamental basis of the difference was introduced by ‘intellectuals.’ But *Trotsky merely disgraces himself by echoing a liberal tale*.

In a 1913 article entitled “Notes of a Publicist” Lenin states, “Trotsky, doing faithful service to liquidators, assured himself and the naive ‘Europeans’ (lovers of Asiatic scandal-mongering) that the liquidators are ‘stronger’ in the legal movement. And this lie, too, is refuted by the facts.”

Lenin again blasted Trotsky in an article published in 1914 entitled “Break-up of the ‘August’ Bloc” by stating, “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…. Actually, under cover of high-sounding, empty, and obscure phrases that confuse the non-class-conscious workers, Trotsky is defending the liquidators…. But *the liquidators and Trotsky…are the worst splitters*.”

And in an article entitled “Ideological Struggle in Working-Class Movement” Lenin states, “People who (like the liquidators and Trotsky) ignore or falsify this twenty years’ history of the ideological struggle in the working-class movement do tremendous harm to the workers.” 



Our ongoing revelation of what Lenin thought of Trotsky proceeds on schedule.

In a 1914 article named “Disruption of Unity” Lenin stated, “Trotsky’s ‘workers’ journal’ is Trotsky’s journal for workers, as there is not a trace in it of either workers’ initiative, or any connection with working-class organizations…. The question arises: what has ‘chaos’ got to do with it? Everybody knows that *Trotsky is fond of high-sounding and empty phrases*…. If there is any ‘chaos’ anywhere, it is only in the heads of cranks who fail to understand this…. And that fact proves that we right in calling Trotsky a representative of the ‘worst remnants of factionalism’. Although he claims to be non-factional, Trotsky is known to everybody who is in the least familiar with the working-class movement in Russia as the representative of ‘Trotsky’s faction’. Trotsky, however, possesses no ideological and political definiteness, for his patent for ‘non-factionalism’, as we shall soon see in greater detail,is merely a patent to flit freely to and fro, from one group to another. To sum up: (1) Trotsky does not explain, *nor does he understand, the historical significance of the ideological disagreements among the various Marxist trends and groups*, although these disagreements run through the twenty years’ history of Social-Democracy and concern the fundamental questions of the present day (as we shall show later on); (2) Trotsky fails to understand that the main specific features of group-division are nominal recognition of unity and actual disunity; (3) Under cover of ‘non-factionalism’ Trotsky is championing the interests of a group abroad which particularly lacks definite principles and has no basis in the working-class movement in Russia. All that glitters is not gold. *There is much glitter and sound in Trotsky’s phrases, but they are meaningless*…. But joking apart (although joking is the only way of retorting mildly to Trotsky’s insufferable phrase-mongering). ‘Suicide’ is a mere empty phrase, mere ‘Trotskyism’…. If our attitude towards liquidationism is wrong in theory, in principle, then Trotsky should say so straightforwardly, and state definitely, without equivocation, why he thinks it is wrong. But Trotsky has been evading this extremely important point for years…. Trotsky is very fond of using, with the learned air of the expert, *pompous and high-sounding phrases* to explain historical phenomena in a way that is flattering to Trotsky. Since ‘numerous advanced workers’ become ‘active agents’ of a political and Party line which does not conform to Trotsky’s line, Trotsky settles the question unhesitatingly, out of hand: these advanced workers are ‘in a state of utter political bewilderment,’ whereas he, Trotsky, is evidently ‘in a state’ of political firmness and clarity, and keeps to the right line! And this very same Trotsky, beating his breast, fulminates against factionalism, parochialism, and the efforts of intellectuals to impose their will on the workers!” “Reading things like these, one cannot help asking oneself; *is it from a lunatic asylum that such voices come*? Trotsky is trying to disrupt the movement and cause a split.

Later in the same article Lenin states, “Those who accused us of being splitters, of being unwilling or unable to get on with the liquidators, were themselves unable to get on with them. The August bloc proved to be a fiction and broke up. By concealing this break-up from his readers, *Trotsky is deceiving them*.”

Still later, Lenin confronted a problem I have often encountered by stating, “*The reason why Trotsky avoids facts and concrete references is because they relentlessly refute all his angry outcries and pompous phrases*…. Is not this weapon borrowed from the arsenal of the period when Trotsky posed in all his splendor before audiences of high-school boys?”

And finally, in the same article Lenin shatters Trotsky, his theory of Permanent Revolution, and his all consuming equivocating, with which I am thoroughly familiar, by saying, “Trotsky was an ardent Iskrist in 1901-03, and Ryazanov described his role at the Congress of 1903 as ‘Lenin’s cudgel.’ At the end of 1903, Trotsky was an ardent Menshevik, i.e., he deserted from the Iskrists to the Economists. He said that ‘between the old Iskra and the new lies a gulf’. In 1904-05, he deserted the Mensheviks and occupied a vacillating position, now co-operating with Martynov (the Economist), now proclaiming his **absurdly Left permanent revolution theory**. In 1906-07, he approached the Bolsheviks, and in the spring of 1907 he declared that he was in agreement with Rosa Luxemburg. In the period of disintegration, after long ‘non-factional’ vacillation, he again went to the right, and in August 1912, he entered into a bloc with the liquidators. He has now deserted them again, although in substance he reiterates their shoddy ideas.”

In another 1914 article entitled “Objective Data on the Strength of Various Trends” Lenin commented, “One of the greatest, if not the greatest, faults (or crimes against the working class) of the Narodniks and liquidators, as well as of the various groups of intellectuals such as the Vperyodists, Plekhanovites and Trotskyists, is their subjectivism. At every step they try to pass off their desires, their ‘views’, their appraisals of the situation and their ‘plans’, as the will of the workers, the needs of the working-class movement.”

In a article published in 1914 entitled “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination” Lenin stated, “**The obliging Trotsky is more dangerous than an enemy!** Trotsky could produce no proof, except ‘private conversations” (i.e., simply *gossip, on which Trotsky always subsists*), for classifying ‘Polish Marxists’ in general as supporters of every article by Rosa Luxemburg…. Why did Trotsky withhold these facts from the readers of his journal? Only because it pays him to speculate on fomenting differences between the Polish and the Russian opponents of liquidationism and to *deceive the Russian workers* on the question of the programme.”

And now comes another comment that blows off Trotsky’s doors. “**Trotsky has never yet held a firm opinion on any important question of Marxism**. He always contrives to worm his way into the cracks of any given difference of opinion, and desert one side for the other. At the present moment he is in the company of the Bundists and the liquidators. And these gentlemen do not stand on ceremony where the Party is concerned.”

In an article first published in 1917 Lenin noted that Trotsky made a number of errors by saying, “A number of Trotsky’s tactical and organizational errors spring from this fear….”

Still later, Lenin confronted a problem I have often encountered by stating, “*The reason why Trotsky avoids facts and concrete references is because they relentlessly refute all his angry outcries and pompous phrases*…. Is not this weapon borrowed from the arsenal of the period when Trotsky posed in all his splendor before audiences of high-school boys?” It seems to him that to desire Russia’s defeat means desiring the victory of Germany…. To help people that are unable to think for themselves, the Berne resolution made it clear that in all imperialist countries the proletariat must now desire the defeat of its own government. Bukvoyed and Trotsky preferred to avoid this truth…. *Had Bukvoyed and Trotsky done a little thinking, they would have realized that they have adopted the viewpoint on the war held by governments and the bourgeoisie, i.e., that they cringe to the ‘political methodology of social-patriotism’, to use Trotsky’s pretentious language*. Whoever is in favour of the slogan of ‘neither victory nor defeat’ [Trotsky] is consciously or unconsciously a chauvinist; at best he is a conciliatory petty bourgeois but in any case he is an enemy to proletarian policy, a partisan of the existing governments, of the present-day ruling classes…. Those who stand for the ‘neither-victory-nor-defeat’ slogan are in fact on the side of the bourgeoisie and the opportunists, for they do not believe in the possibility of international revolutionary action by the working class against their own governments, and do not wish to help develop such action, which, though undoubtedly difficult, is the only task worthy of a proletarian, the only socialist task.”

And in another 1915 article labeled “The State of Affairs in Russian Social-Democracy” Lenin comments, “Trotsky, who as always entirely disagrees with the social-chauvinists in principle, but agrees with them in everything in practice….”

In the article entitled “Socialism and War” Lenin states, “In Russia, Trotsky, while rejecting this idea, also defends unity with the opportunist and chauvinist Nasha Zarya group. 



More on Lenin’s Opinion of Trotsky will now be presented.

In 1915 article in the Social Democrat entitled “On the Two Lines in the Revolution” Lenin comments on Trotsky’s failure to realize the importance of the peasantry by saying, “This task is being wrongly tackled in Nashe Slovo by Trotsky, who is repeating his ‘original’ 1905 theory and refuses to give some thought to the reason why, in the course of ten years, life has been bypassing this splendid theory. From the Bolsheviks Trotsky’s original theory has borrowed their call for a decisive proletarian revolutionary struggle and for the conquest of political power by the proletariat, while from the Mensheviks it has borrowed ‘repudiation’ of the peasantry’s role. The peasantry, he asserts, are divided into strata, have become differentiated; their potential revolutionary role has dwindled more and more; in Russia a ‘national’ revolution is impossible; ‘we are living in the era of imperialism,’ says Trotsky, and ‘imperialism does not contrapose the bourgeois nation to the old regime, but the proletariat to the bourgeois nation. …The length *Trotsky’s muddled thinking* goes to is evident from his phrase that by their resoluteness the proletariat will attract the ‘non-proletarian popular masses’ as well! Trotsky has not realized that if the proletariat induce the non-proletarian masses to confiscate the landed estates and overthrown the monarchy, then that will be the consummation of the ‘national bourgeois revolution’ in Russia; it will be a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry!…. This is such an obvious truth that not even the thousands of phrases in scores of Trotsky’s Paris articles will ‘refute’ it. *Trotsky is in fact helping the liberal-labour politicians* in Russia, who by ‘repudiation’ of the role of the peasantry understand a refusal to raise up the peasants for the revolution!”

In a 1921 pamphlet entitled “The Trade Unions, the Present Situation and Trotsky’s Mistakes” Lenin drops a whole series of bombs on Trotsky’s theoretical analyses by saying, “My principal material is Comrade Trotsky’s pamphlet, The Role and Tasks of the Trade Unions. When I compare it with the theses he submitted to the Central Committee, and go over it very carefully, I am amazed at the number of *theoretical mistakes and glaring blunders* it contains. How could anyone starting a big Party discussion on this question produce *such a sorry excuse for a carefully thought out statement*? Let me go over the main points which, I think, contain the original *fundamental theoretical errors*. Trade unions are not just historically necessary; they are historically inevitable as an organization of the industrial proletariat, and, under the dictatorship of the proletariat, embrace nearly the whole of it. This is basic, but Comrade Trotsky keeps forgetting it; he neither appreciates it nor makes it his point of departure…. Within the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the trade unions stand, if I may say so, between the Party and the government. In the transition to socialism the dictatorship of the proletariat is inevitable, but it is not exercised by an organization which takes in all industrial workers. Why not?…. What happens is that the Party, shall we say, absorbs the vanguard of the proletariat, and this vanguard exercises the dictatorship of the proletariat…. But the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised through an organization embracing the whole of that class, because in all capitalist countries (and not only over here, in one of the most backward) the proletariat is still so divided, so degraded, and so corrupted in parts (by imperialism in some countries) that an organization taking in the whole proletariat cannot directly exercise proletarian dictatorship. It can be exercised only by a vanguard that has absorbed the revolutionary energy of the class…. From this alone it is evident that there is something fundamentally wrong in principle when Comrade Trotsky points, in his first thesis, to ‘ideological confusion’, and speaks of a crisis as existing specifically and particularly in the trade unions…. *It is Trotsky who is in ‘ideological confusion’*, because in this key question of the trade unions’ role, from the standpoint of transition from capitalism to communism, he has lost sight of the fact that we have here a complex arrangement of cogwheels which cannot be a simple one; for the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised by a mass proletarian organization. It cannot work without a number of ‘transmission belts’ running from the vanguard to the mass of the advanced class, and from the latter to the mass of the working people. …When I consider the role of the trade unions in production, I find that Trotsky’s basic mistake lies in his always dealing with it ‘in principle,’ as a matter of ‘general principle.’ All his theses are based on ‘general principle,’ an approach which is in itself fundamentally wrong…. In general, Comrade Trotsky’s great mistake, his mistake of principle, lies in the fact that by raising the question of ‘principle’ at this time he is dragging back the Party and the Soviet power. We have, thank heaven, done with principles and have gone on to practical business. We chatted about principles–rather more than we should have–at the Smolny. The actual differences, apart from those I have listed, really have nothing to do with general principles. I have had to enumerate my ‘differences’ with Comrade Trotsky because, with such a broad theme as ‘The Role and Tasks of the Trade Unions,’ **he has, I am quite sure, made a number of mistakes bearing on the very essence of the dictatorship of the proletariat**. …I must say that had we made a detailed, even if small-scale, study of our own experience and practices, we should have managed to avoid the hundreds of quite unnecessary ‘differences’ and *errors of principle in which Comrade Trotsky’s pamphlet abounds*. …While betraying this lack of thoughtfulness, Comrade Trotsky falls into error himself. He seems to say that in a workers’ state it is not the business of the trade unions to stand up for the material and spiritual interests of the working class. That is a mistake. Comrade Trotsky speaks of a ‘workers’ state.’ May I say that this is an abstraction. It was natural for us to write about a workers’ state in 1917; but it is now a patent error to say: ‘Since this is a workers’ state without any bourgeoisie, against whom then is the working class to be protected, and for what purpose?’ The point is that it is not quite a workers’ state. That is where Comrade Trotsky makes one of his main mistakes…. This will not do. For one thing, ours is not actually a workers’ state but a workers’ and peasants’ state. And a lot depends on that. …Well, is it right to say that in a state that has taken this shape in practice the trade unions have nothing to protect, or that we can do without them in protecting the material and spiritual interests of the massively organized proletariat? No, this reasoning is theoretically quite wrong. It takes us into the sphere of abstraction or an ideal we shall achieve in 15 or 20 years time, and I am not so sure that we shall have achieved it even by then. …At any rate, see that you choose fewer slogans, like ‘industrial democracy,’ which contain nothing but confusion and are theoretically wrong. *Both Trotsky and Bukharin failed to think out this term theoretically and ended up in confusion*. …I say: cast your vote against it, because it is confusion. Industry is indispensable, democracy is not. Industrial democracy breeds some utterly false ideas. The idea of one-man management was advocated only a little while ago. We must not make a mess of things and confuse people: how do you expect them to know when you want democracy, when one-man management, and when dictatorship. But on no account must we renounce dictatorship either…. 



But to go on. Since September we have been talking about switching from the principle of priority to that of equalization…. …Priority implies preference for one industry out of a group of vital industries because of its greater urgency. What does such preference entail? How great can it be? This is a difficult question…. And so if we are to raise this question of priority and equalization we must first of all give it some careful thought, but that is just what we fail to find in Comrade Trotsky’s work; *the further he goes in revising his original theses, the more mistakes he makes*. Here is what we find in his latest theses:…. This is *a real theoretical muddle. It is all wrong*…. The fourth point is disciplinary courts. I hope Comrade Bukharin will not take offence if I say that without disciplinary courts the role of the trade unions in industry, ‘industrial democracy,’ is a mere trifle. But the fact it that there is nothing at all about this in your theses. *“Great grief!’ is therefore the only thing that can be said about Trotsky’s theses and Bukharin’s attitude, from the standpoint of principle, theory and practice*. I am confirmed in this conclusion when I say to myself: *yours is not a Marxist approach to the question.* This quite apart from the fact that there are a number of theoretical mistakes in the theses. It is not a Marxist approach to the evaluation of the ‘role and tasks of the trade unions,’ because such a broad subject cannot be tackled without giving thought to the peculiar political aspects of the present situation. After all, Comrade Bukharin and I did say in the resolution…on trade unions that politics is the most concentrated expression of economics. …Comrade Trotsky says in his theses that on the question of workers’ democracy it remains for the Congress to ‘enter it unanimously in the record.’ That is not correct. There is more to it than an entry in the record; an entry in the record fixes what has been fully weighed and measured, whereas the question of industrial democracy is from having been fully weighed, tried and tested. Just think how the masses may interpret this slogan of ‘industrial democracy.’ …*Trotsky’s theses, whatever his intentions, do not tend to play up the best, but the worst in military experience*. It must be borne in mind that a political leader is responsible not only for his own policy but also for the acts of those he leads. …The last thing I want to tell you about–something I called myself a fool for yesterday–is that I had altogether overlooked Comrade Rudzutak’s theses. His weak point is that he does not speak in ringing tones; he is not an impressive or eloquent speaker. He is liable to be overlooked. Unable to attend the meetings yesterday, I went through my material and found his leaflet called: ‘The Tasks of the Trade Unions in Production’. Let me read it to you, it is not long…. (Lenin then read Rudzutak’s pamphlet and says,–Ed.), I hope you see not why I called myself names. There you have a platform, and *it is much better than the one Comrade Trotsky wrote after a great deal of thinking*, and the one Comrade Bukharin wrote without any thinking at all. All of us members of the Central Committee who have been out of touch with the trade union movement for many years would profit from Comrade Rudzutak’s experience, and this also goes for Comrade Trotsky and Comrade Bukharin. The trade unions have adopted this platform.
(Lenin concludes his article on the trade unions by saying–Ed.)

The net result is that *there are a number of theoretical mistakes in Trotsky’s and Bukharin’s theses*: they contain a number of things that are wrong in principle. Politically, the whole approach to the matter is utterly tactless. *Comrade Trotsky’s ‘theses’ are politically harmful*. The sum and substance of his policy is bureaucratic harassment of the trade unions. Our Party Congress will, I am sure, condemn and reject it.”

At the Second All-Russia Congress of Miners in 1921 Lenin wrote, “The morbid character of the question of the role and tasks of the trade unions is due to the fact that it took the form of a factional struggle much too soon. This vast, boundless question should not have been taken up in such haste, as it was done here, and *I put the chief blame on Comrade Trotsky for all this fumbling haste and precipitation*. To illustrate my point, and to proceed at once to the heart of the matter, let me read you the chief of Trotsky’s theses. (Lenin then reads Trotsky’s short statement–Ed.). I could quote many similar passages from Trotsky’s pamphlet. I ask, by way of factional statement: Is it becoming for such an influential person, such a prominent leader, to attack his Party comrades in this way? I am sure that 99% of the comrades, excepting those involved in the quarrel, will say that this should not be done. …What sort of talk is this? Is it the right kind of language? Is it the right approach? I had earlier said that I might succeed in acting as a ‘buffer’ and staying out of the discussion, because it is harmful to fight with Trotsky–it does the Republic, the Party, and all of us a lot of harm–but when this pamphlet came out, I felt I had to speak up. …Even if there is a spirit of hostility for the new men, one should not say a thing like that. *Trotsky accuses Lozovsky and Tomsky of bureaucratic practices. I would say the reverse is true*. …Even the best workers make mistakes…. Comrade Trotsky says that Comrades Tomsky and Lozovsky–trade unionists both–are guilty of cultivating in their midst a spirit of hostility for the new men. *But this is monstrous. Only someone in the lunatic fringe can say a thing like that*. That is just why *Trotsky’s whole approach is wrong*. I could have analyzed any one of his theses, but it would take me hours, and you would all be bored to death. *Every thesis reveals the same thoroughly wrong approach*…. 



In another 1921 article on the same topic entitled “Once Again on the Trade Unions” Lenin states, “*Comrade Trotsky’s theses have landed him in a mess*. That part of them which is correct is not new and, what is more, turns against him. That which is new is all wrong. I have written out Comrade Trotsky’s correct propositions. They turn against him not only on the point in thesis 23 but on the others as well. …Can it be denied that, even if Trotsky’s ‘new tasks and methods’ were as sound as they are in fact unsound, *his very approach would be damaging to himself, the Party, the trade union movement, the training of millions of trade union members and the Republic*? …I decided there and then that policy lay at the root of the controversy, and that Comrade Trotsky, with his ‘shake-up’ policy against Comrade Tomsky, was entirely in the wrong. …But ‘shake-up’ is a real ‘catchword’, not only in the sense that after being uttered by Comrade Trotsky at the Fifth All-Russia Conference of Trade Unions it has, you might say, ‘caught on’ throughout the Party and the trade unions. Unfortunately, it remains true even today in the much more profound sense that it alone epitomizes the whole spirit, the whole trend of the platform pamphlet entitled The Role and Tasks of the Trade Unions. Comrade Trotsky’s platform pamphlet is shot through with the spirit of the ‘shake-up-from-above’ policy. …but after its publication we had to say: *Comrade Trotsky is essentially wrong on all his new points*. This is most evident from a comparison of his theses with Rudzutak’s which were adopted…. They are fuller and more correct than Trotsky’s, and *wherever the latter differs from Rudzutak, he is wrong*. …The fourth point is that ‘industrial democracy’ is a term that lends itself to misinterpretation. It may be read as a repudiation of dictatorship and individual authority. It may be read as a suspension of ordinary democracy or a pretext for evading it. Both readings are harmful, and cannot be avoided without long special commentaries. …Trotsky’s ‘production atmosphere’ is even wider of the mark, and Zinoviev had good reason to laugh at it…. Comrade Trotsky’s ‘production atmosphere’ has essentially the same meaning as production propaganda, but such expressions must be avoided when production propaganda is addressed to the workers at large. The term is an example of how not to carry it on among the masses. …Defence or camouflage of the political mistake expressed in the shake-up policy, which runs through the whole of Trotsky’s platform pamphlet, and which, unless it is admitted and corrected, *leads to the collapse of the dictatorship of the proletariat*. …That is where Zinoviev and myself, on the one hand, and Trotsky and Bukharin, on the other, actually stand on this question of politics and economics. I could not help smiling, therefore, when I read Comrade Trotsky’s objection in his speech…. Comrade Trotsky thought these words were ‘very much to the point.’ Actually, however, *they reveal a terrible confusion of ideas, a truly hopeless ‘ideological confusion*.’ …Comrade Trotsky’s political mistakes, aggravated by Comrade Bukharin, distract our Party’s attention from economic tasks and ‘production’ work, and, unfortunately, make us waste time on correcting them and arguing it out with the syndicalist deviation (which leads to the collapse of the dictatorship of the proletariat), objecting to the incorrect approach to the trade union movement (which leads to the collapse of the Soviet power), and debating general ‘theses’ instead of having a practical and business-like ‘economic’ discussion…. Once again we find political mistakes distracting attention from economic tasks. I was against this ‘broad’ discussion, and I believed, and still do, that it was a mistake–a political mistake–on Comrade Trotsky’s part to disrupt the work of the trade union commission, which ought to have held a business-like discussion. *For Trotsky has made the Party waste time on a discussion of words and bad theses*…. We who are breaking new ground must put in a long, persistent and patient effort to retrain men and change the old habits which have come down to us from capitalism, but this can only be done little by little. *Trotsky’s approach is quite wrong*. In his December 30th speech he exclaimed: ‘Do or do not our workers, Party and trade union functionaries have any production training? Yes or no? I say: No. This is a ridiculous approach. It is like asking whether a division has enough felt boots: Yes or no? It is safe to say that even ten years from now we shall have to admit that all our Party and trade union functionaries do not have enough production training…. …And it is this rule that Comrade Trotsky has broken by his theses and approach. *All his theses, his entire platform pamphlet, are so wrong that they have diverted the Party’s attention and resources from practical ‘production’ work to a lot of empty talk*. …Trotsky’s mistake is ‘insufficient support for the school-of-communism idea’;…. …Whether you take it in the form it assumed at the Fifth All-Russia Conference of Trade Unions, or as it was presented and slanted by Trotsky himself in his platform pamphlet of December 25th, you will find that his whole approach is quite wrong and that he has gone off at a tangent. He has failed to understand that the trade unions can and must be viewed as a school both when raising the question of ‘Soviet trade-unionism,’ and when speaking of production propaganda in general…. On this last point, as it is presented in Trotsky’s platform pamphlet, the mistake lies in his failure to grasp that the trade unions are a school of technical and administrative management of production. …the trade unions, whichever way you look at them, are a school. They are a school of unity, solidarity, management and administration, where you learn how to protect your interests. Instead of making an effort to comprehend and correct *Comrade Trotsky’s fundamental mistake*, Comrade Bukharin has produced a funny little amendment. …let me say that Comrade Trotsky’s fundamental mistake is that he treats (rather maltreats) the questions he himself had brought up in his platform pamphlet as administrative ones, whereas they could be and ought to be viewed only from the administrative angle…. The state is a sphere of coercion. *It would be madness to renounce coercion, especially in the epoch of the dictatorship of the proletariat*…. The Party is the leader, the vanguard of the proletariat, which rules directly. *It is not coercion but expulsion from the Party that is the specific means of influence and the means of purging and steeling the vanguard.* The trade unions are a reservoir of the state power, a school of communism and a school of management. The specific and cardinal thing in this sphere is not administration but the ‘ties’ ‘between the central state administration,’ ‘the national economy and the broad masses of the working people. The whole of Trotsky’s platform pamphlet betrays an incorrect approach to the problem and a misunderstanding of this relationship. This is essentially a political question. Because of the substance of the case–this concrete, particular ‘case’–*it is impossible to correct Trotsky’s mistake by means of eclectic little amendments and addenda*, as Bukharin has been trying to do, being moved undoubtedly by the most humane sentiments and intentions. *Trotsky and Bukharin have produced a hodgepodge of political mistakes in approach*, breaks in the middle of the transmission belts, and unwarranted and futile attacks on ‘administrative steerage.’ It is now clear where the ‘theoretical source of the mistake lies, since Bukharin has taken up that aspect of it with his example of the tumbler. His theoretical mistake lies in his substitution of eclecticism for dialectics. His eclectic approach has confused him and has landed him in syndicalism. **Trotsky’s mistake is one-track thinking, compulsiveness, exaggeration and obstinacy**. …Incidentally, Comrade Trotsky says in his theses that ‘over the last period we have not made any headway towards the goal set forth in the Programme but have in fact retreated from it.’ That statement is unsupported, and, I think, wrong. …And Trotsky has no one but himself to blame for having come out–after the November Plenary Meeting, which gave a clear-cut and theoretically correct solution–with a factional pamphlet on ‘the two trends’ and proposed a formulation in his thesis 41 which is wrong in economic terms. Today, January 25, it is exactly one month since Comrade Trotsky’s factional statement. It is now patent that this pronouncement, inappropriate in form and wrong in essence, has diverted the Party from its practical economic and production effort into rectifying political and theoretical mistakes. But it’s an ill wind, as the old saying goes. In this one month, Petrograd, Moscow and a number of provincial towns have shown that the Party responded to the discussion and *has rejected Comrade Trotsky’s wrong line by an overwhelming majority*. While there may have been some vacillation ‘at the top’ and ‘in the provinces’, in the committees and in the offices, the rank-and-file membership–*the mass of Party workers–came out solidly against this wrong line*. …In any case, his January 23 announcement shows that the Party, without so much as mustering all its forces, and with only Petrograd, Moscow and a minority of the provincial towns going on record, has *corrected Comrade Trotsky’s mistake promptly and with determination*. The Party’s enemies had rejoiced too soon. They have not been able–and will never be able–to take advantage of some of the inevitable disagreements within the Party to inflict harm on it and on the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia.

In a January 1921 article entitled The Party Crisis Lenin states, “The Central Committee sets up a trade union commission and elects Comrade Trotsky to it. He refuses to work on the commission, magnifying by this step alone his original mistake, which subsequently leads to factionalism….” 



During a 1921 “Speech on the Trade Unions” Lenin stated, “Comrade Trotsky now laughs at my asking who started it all, and is surprised that I should reproach him for refusing to serve on the commission. I did it because this is very important Comrade Trotsky, very important, indeed; your refusal to serve on the trade union commission was *a violation of Central Committee discipline*.”

In a 1922 article entitled “Reply to Remarks Concerning the Functions of the Deputy Chairmen of the Council of People’s Commisars” Lenin said, “Some of Trotsky’s remarks are likewise vague (for example, the ‘apprehensions’ in paragraph 4) and do not require an answer; other remarks made by him renew old disagreements, that we have repeatedly observed in the Political Bureau…. As regards the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection, *Comrade Trotsky is fundamentally wrong*…. As regards the State Planning Commission, *Comrade Trotsky is not only absolutely wrong but is judging something on which he is amazingly ill-informed*. …The second paper from Comrade Trotsky…contains, first, an extremely excited but profoundly erroneous ‘criticism’ of the Political Bureau decree on setting up a financial triumvirate…. Secondly, this paper flings the same fundamentally wrong and intrinsically untrue accusations of academic method at the State Planning Commission, accusations which lead up to *the next incredibly uninformed statement by Comrade Trotsky*….”

In a letter to Lyubimov written in 1909 Lenin stated, “As regards Trotsky, I must say that I shall be most vigorously opposed to helping him if he rejects (and he has already rejected it!) equality on the editorial board, proposed to him by a member of the C.C. Without a settlement of this question by the Executive Committee on the Bolshevik Centre, no steps to help Trotsky are permissible.”

In a letter to Alexandra Kollontai written in 1917 Lenin really blasted Trotsky by saying, “Pleasant as it was to learn from you of the victory of N.Iv. and Pavlov in Novy Mir (I get this newspaper devilishly irregularly;…it was just as sad to read about the bloc between Trotsky and the Right for the struggle against N. Iv. *What a swine this Trotsky is*–Left phrases, and a bloc with the Right against the Zimmerwald Left!! He ought to be exposed (by you) if only in a brief letter to the Social-Democrat!”

In another Letter to Kollontai written after August 1915 Lenin stated, “Roland-Holst, like Rakovsky…like Trotsky, in my opinion, are all the most harmful ‘Kautskians,’ in the sense that all of them in various forms are for unity with the opportunists, all in various forms *embellish* opportunism, all of them (in various way) preach eclecticism instead of revolutionary Marxism.”

In an equally powerful letter to Inessa Armand written about the same time Lenin states, “…Trotsky arrived, and *this scoundrel* at once ganged up with the Right wing of Novy Mir against the Left Zimmerwaldist! That’s it!! *That’s Trotsky for you!! Always true to himself==twists, swindles, poses as a Left, helps the Right, so long as he can*….”

In a 1911 article entitled “The State of Affairs of the Party” Lenin stated, What is the attitude of the other factions abroad? Trotsky, of course, is solidly behind the liquidators…. There are Party people, and liquidators who have broken away and set up a separate group. Groups abroad, like those of Golos, Trotsky, the Bund, and Vperyod, want to cover up the break-away of the liquidators, help them to hide under the banner of the R.S.D.L.P., and help them to thwart the rebuilding of the R.S.D.L.P. It is our task at all costs to rebuff the liquidators and, despite their opposition, recreate the R.S.D.L.P…. The ‘conciliators’ put their trust in Trotsky, who has clearly executed a full turn towards the liquidators…. We Bolsheviks have resolved on no account to repeat the error of conciliationism today. This would mean slowing down the rebuilding of the R.S.D.S.P, and entangling it in a new game with the Golos people (or *their lackeys, like Trotsky*), the Vperyodists and so forth.”

In 1911 Lenin stated in an article, “We know that there are people who, while recognizing the need to fight the liquidators, object to a complete break with them and continue (even now!) to speak of ‘conciliation’ or ‘agreement’. Among these people are not only *the ‘loyal servitors’ of Trotsky, whom very few people now take seriously*.”

In a 1912 “Report on the Work of the International Socialist Bureau” Lenin stated, “I was no longer about able to talk to the Golos people and looked at Trotsky with disapproval, especially over the letter.”

In a 1915 letter to Herman Gorter Lenin stated, “I congratulate you on your splendid attacks on opportunism and Kautsky. Trotsky’s principal mistake is that he does not attack this gang.”

In a letter to Kamenev Lenin stated, “What is the purpose of our policy now, at this precise moment? To build the Party core not on *the cheap phrases of Trotsky and Co.* but on genuine ideological rapprochement between the Plekhanovites and the Bolsheviks.”

In a March 1916 letter to Henriette Roland-Holst Lenin commented, “What are our differences with Trotsky? This must probably interest you. *In brief–he is a Kautskyite*, that is, he stands for unity with the Kautskyites in the International and with Chkheidze’s parliamentary group in Russia. We are absolutely against such unity…. Trotsky at present is against the Organizing Committee (Axelrod and Martov) but for unity with the Chkheidze Duma group!! We are decidedly against.”

In a 1909 Letter to Zinoview Lenin stated, “As regards Pravda, have you read Trotsky’s letter to Inok? If you have, I hope it has convinced you that Trotsky behaves like a despicable careerist and factionalist of the Ryazanov-and-Co. type. Either equality on the editorial board, subordination to the CC and no one’s transfer to Paris except Trotsky’s (the scoundrel, he wants to ‘fix up’ the who rascally crew of Pravda at our expense!)–or break with this swindler and and exposure of him in the CO. He pays lip-service to the Party and behaves worse than any other of the factionalists.

In a 1916 letter to Zinoviev Lenin said, “We had better deal with Trotsky in Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata; he has to be dealt with at greater length.”

In another letter to Zinoviev in the same year Lenin stated, “…It’s ghastly. I don’t know what to do. Yet something has still to be written about opportunism (I have 1/2 of it ready), about defeatism, and about Trotskyism (including the Duma group + P. S. D.).

In a March 1916 article entitled The Peace Programme Lenin stated, “What about Trotsky? He is body and soul for self-determination, but in his case, too, it is an empty phrase, for he does not demand freedom of secession for nations oppressed by the ‘fatherland’ of the socialist of the given nationality; he is silent about the hypocrisy of Kautsky and his followers.’

In a July 1916 article entitled The Discussion on Self-determination Summed Up Lenin stated, “No matter what the subjective ‘good’ intentions of Trotsky and Martov may be, teir evasiveness objectively supports Russian social-imperialism.”

In a report to the 7th Congress of the R.C.P. (B.) Lenin stated, “What I predicted has come to pass; instead of the Brest peace we have a much more humiliating peace, and the blame for this rests upon those [e.g. Trotsky] who refused to accept the former peace.” 


And we must certainly not forget the following opinions of Lenin expressed by Trotsky in a 1913 Letter to Chkeidze in which he stated, “The wretched squabbling systematically provoked by Lenin, that old hand at the game, that professional exploiter of all that is backward in the Russian labour movement, seems like a senseless obsession…. The entire edifice of Leninism Is built on lies and falsification and bears within itself the poisonous elements of its own decay.“