Leon Trotsky‎ > ‎1930‎ > ‎

Leon Trotsky 19300500 Official Deceit and the Truth

Leon Trotsky: Official Deceit and the Truth

Published May 1930

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 13. Supplement (1929-1933), New York 1979, p. 40-42]

In January of this year the leader in the Northern Caucasus, the Central Committee member Andreyev, confirmed at a meeting on collectivization that the movement in the direction of collectives “has now proceeded so undeviatingly, has unfolded so powerfully throughout the country, but especially in the Northern Caucasus … that now this movement will break through each and every kind of obstacle in its path.”

And in the very same speech Andreyev complained that the rapacious selling of equipment, cattle, and even seed “before entrance into the collective farm takes on directly threatening dimensions. … We must,” continues Andreyev, “stop this element no matter what.”

Before us appear two “elements”: the irresistible movement into the collectives and the rapacious annihilation of their future productive bases. Is it possible to disclose more sharply the deadly contradictions of the current collectivization? Not wishing that, Andreyev characterizes the psychology of a broad layer of collectivized peasants with the words of a joyless song: “My wagon, it has disappeared/All four wheels.” This is not the psychology of socialist construction.

As if to highlight the picture still more, Andreyev confirms, and on this occasion he is well founded, that if one took a poll of all the kulaks throughout the Northern Caucasus, “the majority would express themselves in favor of joining the collectives.” And here he anticipates: “But this doesn’t mean that the kulak is a partisan of collectivization. There is nowhere to go — he goes into the collective. He enters the collective in order to wreck it from within” (Pravda, January 15). This is certainly correct. But unfortunately, it is not limited to one kulak. The official statistics give 5-6 percent as the number of kulak farms in the Caucasus. The strong middle peasant follows their lead, and is followed, with less vigor, by the ordinary middle peasant, and so forth. If the situation is such that the kulak is prepared to vote for the collective together with the middle peasant, then it is possible to distinguish the kulak from the middle peasant statistically, but not politically. Just what kinds of methods do Andreyev and his teachers use to determine whether the middle peasant enters the collective farm “with all his heart,” or just because “there’s no place to go”? Indeed, this very same middle peasant, who according to Andreyev is breaking through all obstacles on the road to socialism, embarks on his road by liquidating his inventory and also in fact prepares the wreck of the collective. Is he thus deeply differentiated, in this instance, from the kulak, who “enters the collective in order to wreck it from within”?

In order to halt the destruction of farm equipment, Andreyev proposes: “It is necessary to treat such farms (which sell off their cattle and so forth) in the same way that the kulak farms are treated.” Thus Andreyev in essence equates the desire of the middle peasant for socialism with the kulak’s sabotage. No wonder if after several weeks we will read in the same Pravda that the local “bunglers” have offended the middle peasants, deprived them of the right to dispose of their property, expropriated them, taken away their right to vote, etc. But what other ways are there to fulfill the directives of Andreyev, who in his turn merely fulfills the directives of Stalin?

The whole picture in its entirety Andreyev summarizes thus: “The victorious development of the socialist revolution in agriculture is so swift that it upsets our most courageous presumptions concerning collectivization.” This is said a month and a half before the general diagnostician [Stalin] identified the symptoms of “dizziness from success.”

And now, in April, the Northern Caucasus presents a picture of insufficient spring sowing, administrative panic, wailing about excesses, and endless appeals … not to forget about the individual peasant farm, the very one that the diligent Andreyev, without recourse to reason, declared as early as January to have been liquidated.