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Leon Trotsky 19350426 Stalinist Treason in l'Humanité

Leon Trotsky: Stalinist Treason in l'Humanité

Published April 26, 1935

[Writings of Leon Trotsky, Vol 7, 1934-1935, New York 1971, p. 286-290]

The working masses are searching for the political line that will prevent war or, if the war breaks out in spite of the efforts of the proletariat, that will accomplish the overthrow of the capitalist regime, which is responsible for war, and substitute the socialist regime for it.

We wish to show merely by quotations from L'Humanité, the daily paper of the Communist Party of France, which can easily be verified by anyone, what the real political line of the Communist International is toward war.

The international line of the Third International is thus defined in the sixth condition of admission:

"All parties desiring to affiliate with the Third International must denounce not only social patriotism but social pacifism with its falseness and hypocrisy as well; they must systematically reveal to the working class that without the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism no international tribune of arbitration, no debate on the reduction of armaments, no democratic reorganization by the League of Nations can preserve humanity from imperialist war."

That was the line of yesterday.

Today, since the Comintern has been reconstructed (after the expulsion of the Leninists) on the dogma of "socialism in one country," that is to say, independently of the world revolution, the international line of the Third International is the following:

Defense of the peace policy of the USSR, consisting of proposals to disarm addressed to the imperialist nations, and mutual assistance pacts against "any aggressor."

The political line is based on the following premise: there are imperialist nations interested in peace and others interested in war.

"We must know," says Peri in L'Humanité, April 11, 1935, "if the powers who are not interested in war will assure peace through promises of mutual assistance or if they will fall into line with the plans for a new division of Europe conceived by A. Hitler."

From this flows the whole line of the Comintern. Take Peri again in L'Humanité, April 16, 1935:

"What formula alone can make warlike enterprise most difficult under the present system? The best formula, it is evident, would be the general or partial disarmament proposed and defended by the USSR but opposed by all the other powers. Failing a general reduction of armaments, which the USSR has no intention of renouncing, the Soviet government and the proletariat of all European countries with it believe a system of pacts whereby the signatories agree to boycott an aggressor nation would place the greatest obstacles in the way of war. We must see things as they are and realize that any other contractual formula is vain or dangerous."

Under these conditions what is the task of the Comintern? To join Soviet diplomacy in an attempt to convince the various imperialisms "that are interested in peace" of the necessity of mutual assistance pacts.

The following shows how the organ of the French CP goes about the task (l'Humanité, April 2, 1935):

"But what then does the National Union government of France think of the attitude of the National Union government of Britain? It is no longer a secret that Laval is lending his ear to Hitler's propositions. Does he believe that an accord with the Nazis against the Soviet Union would benefit French imperialism? Is he forgetting that the mass movement against war and for the defense of the Soviet Union is much stronger in France than in England?

"Has he already forgotten the time, not so distant, when the French imperialist government was able to pacify the mass movement of the workers and soldiers for the dictatorship of the proletariat only by stopping immediately the war against the Soviets?"

In other words, if French imperialism wishes to survive the war, let it lend an ear to the advice of the pupils of Stalin, let it conclude a pact with the Soviet Union.

To help Laval "understand," Peri becomes positively lively and pressing:

"In the name of the Franco-British Entente, Pierre Laval has lent himself to those criminal evasions that we have so often denounced here and that we must denounce today more vigorously than ever.

"Everything indicates that Laval has given up the Eastern Pact and mutual assistance. The minister of foreign affairs has deliberately renounced the only formula capable of preserving peace and putting a stop to armament His deplorable attitude earned him the felicitations of Der Völkische Beobachter yesterday. But it will rouse against him the anger of all those who sincerely wish to conquer war" (l'Humanité, April 4).

Blum rates Pertinax, of L'Écho de Paris, among the "awkward" friends of the USSR (Le Populaire, April 21) because, bourgeois realist that he is, he considers the question of an alliance with the USSR from the point of view of relative force, without attaching any importance to vague promises. Pertinax is solely concerned with "French" interests. If he were solely concerned with "Russian" interests, he would no doubt write as Peri, true friend of the USSR, writes:

"Others believe that M. Laval together with John Simon would be disposed to replace the project of an Eastern Pact by an Air Alliance open to all the signatories of the Locarno Pact, the USSR and the Little Entente. They boast of having obtained the support of Poland and of Germany for this system.

"Well, without a second thought we can say, this system has nothing to do with peace. Those who support it would precipitate the very rule of cannons that the masses wish to avert at any cost.

"Aggression will not be discouraged if the sole risk to the aggressor is the risk of not being actively assisted. Passivity by itself is an encouragement to adventures.

"In the concrete case under consideration, the system invented by M. Laval would limit itself to an agreement that Germany might carry on its Eastern projects, that France would lend no assistance but, at the same time, would offer no opposition" ( l'Humanité, April 4).

Peri and the CP of France, from the point of view of the national interests of the Soviet bureaucracy, and Pertinax, from the point of view of the national interests of the bourgeoisie, advance, in fact, the same political line.

If, as Thorez has informed us since July 1934, it is the Communists who love their country well, it follows that those who do not love their country, the bourgeoisie, are "the traitors."

This is just what Cachin informs us in an article of April 10, in which he concludes:

"We shall tear off the masks of the exploiters of the country, the worst enemies of the French people, without failing in our duty to defend the peace and bread of their victims."

Cachin, who is a past master when it comes to traitors, is not fully understood by the true patriots, as appears from his denunciation of Taittinger:

Stalinist Treason in L'Humanité "Taittinger, the fascist, divulges with impunity official diplomatic and military communications that he receives in his official positions on the various committees in parliament. Thus he furnishes Hitler with new arguments for rearmament and carries coals to the fires of fascism across the Rhine. A 'patriot' who conducts himself in such a treasonable manner, at the same time, advocates repression against the antifascists!”

From which we conclude that the country, at present under the leadership of the bourgeoisie, does not understand where its real interests lie.

P. Vaillant-Couturier, moreover, makes no effort to conceal it from the country; he undertakes a crusade "to the rescue of French culture."

"If the proletariat, according to Marx, 'has no fatherland,' they have now as internationalists something to defend: that is the cultural patrimony of France, the spiritual wealth, the works of its artisans, its workers, its artists and its thinkers" (L'Humanité, April 13).

In other words, if the proletariat has no fatherland, nevertheless for L'Humanité it has had one for some time — the French patrimony. "Conquer the country" for Cachin and P. Vaillant-Couturier means to reconquer, by means of brainstorms in L'Humanité, their positions of 1914.

From such equivocations can come nothing but treason. Happily for the proletariat, the Comintern and its various sections have just advertised their treason without any equivocation or shame.

The duty of the proletariat in case of war is outlined in the following appeal of the European CPs of April 18:

"We salute the progress made in the military field by the only workers' land, the progress in reinforcing the Red Army of workers and peasants, a true guarantee of peace; we salute every strengthening of the frontiers of the socialist fatherland; we will support, in case of counterrevolutionary war against the socialist fatherland, the Red Army of the Soviet Union by every means, and we will struggle for the defeat of German imperialism and its allies, for the defeat of every power that engages in war against the Soviet Union.

"We will aid by every means, even by the sacrifice of our lives, the victory of the Soviet Socialist Union in its war against all those who attack the land of socialism."

The proletariat is no longer to struggle for the defeat of its own imperialist government, but for the defeat of "German imperialism and its allies."

In other words, the French proletariat will go to war hand in hand with its own bourgeoisie against German imperialism for the defeat of the latter. That is what is known as national defense.

The appeal of the French Cl’ on the occasion of the municipal elections confirms us (l'Humanité, April 21):

"The most sacred duty of the proletarians of the entire world is the defeat of aggressors against the Soviet Union and the defeat of all the aggressors' allies.

"The Communists want the unification of all Frenchmen who work in the factories, docks, offices, stores, laboratories, schools, universities and the workers of all nationalities and races who share the same suffering and the same hopes."

There we are, twice warned. Blind are the workers who do not immediately draw the correct lessons and the consequences thereof.