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Leon Trotsky 19300500 G. Mannoury and the Comintern

Leon Trotsky: G. Mannoury and the Comintern

Published May 1930

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 13. Supplement (1929-1933), New York 1979, p. 37-39]

The Dutch Communist, Comrade G. Mannoury, was expelled several months ago from the Comintern for “Trotskyism.” Mannoury vainly tried to get a proper consideration of his views and objections through the party hierarchy. His trial was conducted behind his back, in the manner of a court-martial. G. Mannoury has published in a pamphlet a series of documents dealing with his expulsion, and he does not deliver a defensive speech.

All the “Trotskyism” of Mannoury consisted of the fact that he did not agree with the defamation of the Russian Opposition, its expulsion from the Comintern, and the repressions that followed against the Oppositionists. Mannoury’s own point of view on the disputed questions is very vague. In one of the documents he even claims that on the internal questions of the USSR he stands closer to Stalin than to Trotsky. It is necessary in this connection to keep in mind that this was written in the period when Stalin was allied with Bukharin, that is, before the present left course.

In whatever touches the theoretical realm, Mannoury appears an eclectic: he combines dialectical materialism with psychoanalysis, turning it into a philosophical system, and with idealist morality. There is no need to point out that all this is very far from the theoretical foundations on which the Marxist Opposition rests.

From these same documents of Mannoury we find out that the official representative of the Communist International proclaimed the most outstanding representative of “Trotskyism” in Holland to be … Wijnkoop, who always was only a left (now and then ultraleft) Social Democrat and, evidently, has remained so even to this day.

It is no wonder that Comrade Mannoury asks several times in the course of his pamphlet, “Just what do you personally mean in the final analysis by Trotskyism?”

In order to give an idea of Mannoury’s mode of thought, we will cite several quotations from his pamphlet.

Trotskyism is your invention. No one is always correct and no one is totally correct, neither Trotsky, nor Lenin, nor Marx. But in the main question Trotsky is correct, namely, that the revolution has hardly begun, and that communism has barely been born…. I know nothing of your ‘scissors,’ do you understand? Nothing, except what I have read about them in your own slanderous articles against Trotsky from November 1924 to the present day, and every line of your sophistical and empty argumentation convinced me more of your wrongness, and every word of the phrases, very scanty and tom out of context, that you were forced to cite from the works of Trotsky made my conviction more solid.”

In another place Mannoury demands the demolition of the Lenin mausoleum and the cremation of Lenin’s remains, in which we have to sympathize with him, although, of course, this question is not the most urgent.

We discover from the pamphlet that the executive committee of the [Dutch] party demanded of Comrade Mannoury that he discontinue “political and organizational ties with Trotsky.” The fact that such ties never existed made it all the easier for Mannoury to repudiate them. In this same document Mannoury declared that “in the majority of tactical and party-political disagreements between the adherents of Trotsky and the supporters of Stalin he [Mannoury] leans more toward the latter than toward the followers of Trotsky.” But the leaders demanded of Mannoury that he acknowledge Trotsky an enemy of communism and declare an irreconcilable struggle against him. Mannoury refused to do this. In the end they expelled him. This whole story is in the highest degree characteristic of the customs of the Comintern and of its Dutch section.

Mannoury enters this struggle as an unquestionably sincere and idealistic person, having, however, nothing in common with the Communist Left Opposition, either in theoretical premises or in political conclusions. As we already know, this in no way prevented his being expelled as a “Trotskyist.”