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Leon Trotsky 19301100 The Fight Against War Can Allow No Illusions

Leon Trotsky: The Fight Against War Can Allow No Illusions

Published November 1930

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 3, 1930-1931, New York 1973, p. 70]

The trial of the saboteurs has brought out with great immediacy and in an unusually concrete way the danger of military intervention. To use these revelations as a way of arousing the masses, strengthening the international solidarity of the revolutionary vanguard, and posing the concrete problems of the struggle against the war danger is now a task of utmost importance. But the first condition for carrying out this task is to fight ruthlessly against illusions, and especially against empty boasting. Instead of that, Pravda, forgetting everything Lenin taught, is sowing illusions. In the November 21 issue a special box, with large, boldface type, carries the following excerpt from a letter by some Czechoslovak workers:

"In the event of war you can firmly rely on the conscious workers of Czechoslovakia. A declaration of war on the Soviet Union will be the signal for civil war to start the very same day."

Similar quotations from letters by workers in other countries are being published. That the authors of these letters are for the most part completely sincere, and that a section of them are actually ready to fight — of that there can be no doubt But when they promise that the day war is declared on the Soviet Union will be the day that civil war begins in the capitalist countries, they merely show that they do not know what war is like, what the first day of a war is like, or what civil war is like. It was in the same light-minded way, although in most cases equally sincerely, that the question was posed before the world war by the French anarcho-syndicalists. They of course did not get any civil war going, and the majority of them, having lost their bearings, turned into patriots.

Pravda's job is not to lead the Soviet workers astray with the help of illusions held by young Czechoslovak workers but, on the contrary, to expose these illusions to the lancet of Bolshevism and to explain how preparations for a revolutionary struggle against military intervention by the imperialists must actually be made.