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Leon Trotsky 19380306 Why So Many Centers? Why Do They All Submit to Trotsky?

Leon Trotsky: Why So Many Centers? Why Do They All Submit

to Trotsky?

March 6, 1938

    [Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-1938, New York 1970, p. 224-226]

In August 1936 the world learned of the existence of the "United Center" of Zinovievists-Trotskyists, which directed possible and impossible crimes. In January 1937, the "Parallel Center," or purely "Trotskyist Center" (Pyatakov-Radek) entered on the scene. To explain the appearance of this center, Radek, the chief herald of Prosecutor Vyshinsky, explained that Trotsky did not sufficiently trust the Zinovievists and therefore wished to have "his own" center.

This explanation was shot full of holes. First, ex-Trotskyists of more serious proportions than Pyatakov and Radek belonged to the Zinoviev-Kamenev Center. Secondly, Sokolnikov, former ambassador to England, a man who had never been connected with the Trotskyists, belonged to the so-called "Trotskyist" Center. But we will not carp at such "details." Let us concede that the parallel "Trotskyist Center" was really created for the more important and conspiratorial matters and that Sokolnikov wound up in this center by pure accident. But in March 1938 not only has the world learned of the existence of a third "Trotskyist-Right Center," but we are unexpectedly told that it is precisely this center, entirely unknown to the preceding two centers, which is the most powerful and conspiratorial organization. To this we must add that the members of these three independent centers had known each other for twenty or thirty years, lived in the same city of Moscow, and in general executed one and the same "work": terrorism, espionage, sabotage, defeatism, and the dismemberment of Russia. In particular, all these centers in turn assassinated Kirov.

But a difficulty arises here. If I created a Trotskyist Center (Radek-Pyatakov) because I did not sufficiently trust Zinoviev-Kamenev, then how could I have trusted Rykov and Bukharin, who until the very day of my expulsion from the USSR were in close alliance with Stalin and led the whole struggle against Trotskyism, including my arrest and exile? Apparently during the period when I lived in Moscow and was a member of the Political Bureau and the government I was powerless to convince Bukharin and Rykov of the correctness of my views. They voted against me, they made hostile speeches against me at mass meetings, Bukharin wrote several hundred rabid articles against me. Both leaders of the Right voted for my expulsion from the party, for my banishment to Asia, and later for my expulsion from the USSR. But when I reached Turkey, and later France, Norway, and Mexico, and found myself separated from Moscow by thousands of kilometers, then Rykov and Bukharin, as in general all the defendants in the last trials, not only began definitely to agree with me, but also decided to carry out my "instructions" without reservation. Members of the government, ambassadors, generals of the Red Army, became foreign spies "upon the instructions of Trotsky." In this manner exactly acted Rykov, the former head of the government, and Bukharin, the former head of the Communist International. No other explanation of their monstrous and absurd "crimes" are proffered by the defendants.

During this trial Rykov and Bukharin tried to deny direct responsibility for the assassination of Kirov, who, as has been stated before, was killed in turn by all oppositionist groupings in the USSR. But Henry Yagoda, the former head of the GPU – who, before he sat on the defendants' bench, shot several hundred men for the assassination of Kirov – immediately declared Rykov and Bukharin to be lying. "They, as I," Yagoda stated, "really opposed the assassination of Kirov in the beginning. But instructions came from Trotsky and we submitted."

One becomes literally numb with amazement upon reading these words of yesterday's inquisitor. Assertions as to the omnipotence of "instructions" sounded sufficiently absurd on the lips of Pyatakov and Radek. But these men, at least, had been my partisans eleven years ago. It is true that they repudiated me and became my bitter enemies. But Prosecutor Vyshinsky asserts that this enmity was "fictitious," that actually a fervent personal devotion to Trotsky guided these ex-Trotskyists. Of course, it is incomprehensible how and why this fervent devotion so quickly cooled off in prison and permitted Pyatakov and Radek to paint me in the darkest colors. But we will push all this aside. Let us grant that the old ties actually assured me a hypnotic influence across continents and oceans upon my former partisans. But how explain the relation with Rykov and Bukharin? How and by what means can the fact be explained that they became obedient students of Trotsky only after they had expelled me from the USSR?

Especially mysterious, however, is the case of Yagoda. This man was, you see, against, the assassination of Kirov but immediately capitulated to my "instructions." Since when has Yagoda learned to carry out my instructions? As the head of the GPU he directly supervised all repressions against the Opposition; destroyed my secretariat; harassed two of my secretaries to suicide; shot my pupils and young friends, Blumkin, Silov, Rabinovich; hounded several members of my family to an untimely death; arrested and expelled me; prepared the Zinoviev-Kamenev trial; supervised frame-ups and crimes against the Opposition. Now it appears that he performed all these deeds as "camouflage." In reality he was a secret Trotskyist and carried out my "instructions."

No, this is too much! Not even the omnivorous "friends of the USSR" will swallow that. They swallowed the Zinoviev-Kamenev proceedings; they swallowed the Pyatakov-Radek proceedings; but I very much fear that they will choke on the testimony of Yagoda.