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Leon Trotsky 19380317 Cain-Dzhugashvili Goes the Whole Way

Leon Trotsky: Cain-Dzhugashvili Goes the Whole Way

March 17, 1938

    [Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-1938, New York 1970, p. 270 f.]

The baseness of the latest show trial at times pales before its stupidity. Stalin still thinks that with the help of a trick invented by him and Yagoda he can deceive all of humanity. The whole idea of the show, the fictitious political plans of the "conspirators," the distribution of roles between them—how crude and vile it all is, even from the angle of legal forgery!

From behind the back of the "great" Stalin there looks at humanity the Tiflis petty-bourgeois Dzhugashvili, a limited and wily boor. The mechanics of worldwide reaction has armed him with unlimited power. No one dares to criticize him or even give him advice. His assistants, the Vyshinskys and Yezhovs, nonentities rotten to the marrow, have not taken up their high posts in the system of totalitarian tyranny and depravity by chance. The accused, the majority of whom are several heads higher than the accusers, ascribe to themselves plans and ideas sprung from the genius of a contemporary Krechinsky and worked out by a clique of gangsters. Driven by the logic of capitulation and degradation, physically and morally crushed, terrorized by fear for dear ones, hypnotized by the political impasse into which the reaction has driven them, Bukharin, Rykov, Rakovsky, Krestinsky, and the others are playing terrible and wretched roles according to the illiterate scripts of Yezhov. And behind the scenes Cain-Dzhugashvili rubs his hands and cackles evilly: what a trick he has thought up to deceive the whole solar system!

But will Stalin be able to go on sniggering behind the wings? Won't an unforeseen turn of events take the wind out of his sails? True, he is fenced off from the world by a wall of ignorance and fawning. True, he is accustomed to think that world public opinion is nothing, the GPU everything. But threatening symptoms are multiplying, visible even to him. Less and less can the Troyanovskys, Maiskys, Suritses—and the Yezhov agents assigned to watch them—report to the Kremlin comforting news from abroad. Ever sharper uneasiness is seizing the working masses of the whole world. Ever more frequently and in increasing numbers the rats called "friends" are hurrying to leave the sinking ship. The international clouds are thickening. Fascism wins victory after victory, and its chief ally on all the world's roads is Stalinism. Terrible military dangers knock at all the gates of the Soviet Union. But Stalin is destroying the army and trampling on the country. Cain is forced to go the whole way. He hastens to besprinkle his hands with the blood of Bukharin and Rykov. Today he can still permit himself that luxury. But he is increasingly less able to taste the "sweetness" of revenge. It is becoming ever more difficult for the old fox of Tiflis, thrown by a turgid wave of history onto the throne of Thermidor, to laugh. Hatred is accumulating around him limitlessly, and terrible revenge hangs over his head.

A terrorist act? It is quite possible that the regime, which has exterminated all the best heads of the country under the pretext of a struggle against terrorism, will indeed encourage terrorism against itself. Yet more can be said: it would be against the laws of history if the ruling gangsters did not bring up against themselves terrorists of despair and revenge. But the Fourth International, the party of world revolution, has nothing in common with despair, and individual revenge is too little for us. What political or moral satisfaction for the proletariat can be given by the murder of Cain-Dzhugashvili, who can be replaced with ease by the next bureaucratic "genius" in turn? To the extent that the personal fate of Stalin interests us at all, we can only wish that he will live to see the destruction of his system. He doesn't have too long to wait. The victorious workers will remove him and his gangster collaborators from under the debris of the totalitarian abomination and make them account for the crimes committed by them at a real court. The human tongue will not find words at the hour of the last judgment which could do service to the most sinister of Cain's stories. The monuments he built to himself will be destroyed or put in museums of totalitarian gangsterism. But the victorious working class will look through all the trials, public and secret, and erect on the squares of the liberated Soviet Union monuments to the unfortunate victims of the Stalin system of baseness and dishonor.