The document which follows is a translation from the French original. It was sent to us in the facsimile version kept in the NKVD files in Moscow by comrades of the Workers’ Group in the USA. The official stamp shows that the NKVD had received it by 8 July 1932 and, no doubt, it later played a part in sealing the ultimate fate of Gavril Miasnikov. Our translation is based on this version.
At the time we had forgotten that we already held the same document in the “brochure” Le Groupe ouvrier du Parti communiste russe 1923-37 by our comrade Michel Olivier.1 We are indebted to his pamphlet for some of the comments which we make here.
The Document’s Take on the Russian Revolution
We don’t intend here to go into the remarkable biography of Gavril Ilyich Miasnikov as this has been done several times by others, like Paul Avrich.2 The Workers’ Group (of the Russian Communist Party) was more than one individual, however famous and prolific, but this document was a product of Miasnikov’s years of exile from the USSR. It is also more wide-ranging and penetrative in its analysis of the decline of the revolution in Russia than his earlier Manifesto of the Workers’ Group of 1923. Here we just want to make some observations on the document itself to set it in its proper context. Even if we are nine decades too late in responding to Miasnikov’s invitation for criticism, there is no doubt that it is a thought-provoking contribution, both to an understanding of the counter-revolution which followed the isolation of the workers’ revolution in Russia, and to any future programme which the working class furnishes for itself in the next revolutionary wave.
We use the word “programme” advisedly since this document is not just a platform as the title implies, i.e. a series of points gleaned from the past lessons of working class struggle around which a new political organisation is formed. Miasnikov had greater ambitions here. In calling for a Communist Workers' International (perhaps as an echo of the German KAPD’s earlier attempt to do the same?)3 he poses a series of actions which he considers the working class should follow in order to develop its new revolutionary order. In short it is more a programme for a revolutionary revival of the working class in the 1930s than just a platform for a new communist international in the midst of a terrible counter-revolution.
The ideas in it were, for the most part, not new to Miasnikov. They are the same ones that the Workers’ Group, of which he was the principal animator, had maintained for a decade. And there can be no doubt that what guided Miasnikov above all was his actual experience of the Russian Revolution, a revolution which found him at the very centre of action. As a Bolshevik militant from 1905 onwards, his conclusions are of considerable interest since he could see that the party he had helped build, which he had seen as the epitome of the working class had, from 1920 onwards, taken a wrong course.
Why 1920? Those who have made the most detailed studies of the Revolution usually focus on March 1918 (signing of Brest-Litovsk, adoption of one-man management, etc.) or March 1921 (Kronstadt, adoption of the New Economic Policy, and the failure of the March Action in Germany signalling that the revolutionary wave was dying) as significant turning points. Miasnikov though focuses on the Ninth All-Russian Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) as a “coup d’état” against soviet power. This is a repeated theme in many of the documents that he was involved in drafting.
What happened at the Ninth Party Congress that Miasnikov found to be so significant? He gives a hint in the document:
"The offensive of the global bourgeoisie against the Russian proletariat had shifted the balance in the relations between class forces and moved it from the proletariat to the petty bourgeoisie. This is what has produced this petty bourgeois coup d’état. The decision of the Ninth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) dissolved the few Soviets of Workers’ Deputies that still existed. The proletariat was demoted from its rank of dominant class; the Soviets of Deputies of Workers’ and Peasants’, the cornerstone of the November Revolution, “essential nucleus of the Workers’ State” (Programme of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik)), were dissolved and replaced with bureaucracy."
In short, having to fight a war against international capitalism (the Russian Civil War) the working class had been weakened so that by 1920 the interests of the peasantry had come to dominate the Russian Communist Party. This now carried out a “coup d’état” against workers’ soviet power in favour of “bureaucracy”. How accurate was this picture of the situation in 1920?
Miasnikov was not alone in understanding the crisis of the regime as the Civil War appeared to be coming to an end. The Ninth Congress took place in August 1920 and, not for the first time, various groupings on the left of the RCP(B), including the Democratic Centralists and the embryonic Workers Opposition, voiced their disquiet at the direction the revolution had taken since the start of the civil war.
The October Revolution had brought about the establishment of soviet power and the Bolshevik Party, as the only significant party to unambiguously support “all power to the soviets”, had established themselves as the overwhelmingly working class party in those soviets. Under their inspiration the first 6 months of the revolution saw the extension of soviet power and a great deal of working class initiative. It was not the Bolsheviks who pushed for “nationalisation” of the means of production (the Bolsheviks thought control of the banks would be enough), but the workers in the factory committees who called on the Soviet government to recognise their seizures.
Of course everyone, from Lenin to the workers’ in the factories, knew that without an international revolution there could be no hope of a socialist revolution succeeding in Russia. The whole idea of the October Revolution took that fact as its premise. Its failure to appear is the ultimate explanation of why the revolution failed. No workers’ bastion can hold out against world capitalism in isolation. Stalin’s pronouncement in 1924 that “socialism in one country” was now possible was in fact the epitaph of the October Revolution. However, in those first six months of the revolution such an outcome was unthinkable inside the Russian working class (and not just in the Bolshevik Party). In this period there was an enormous outburst of self-activity of the working class in Russia. The Left Socialist-Revolutionary, Isaak Steinberg, who became Commissar for Justice in this period, described it thus:
"All aspects of existence – social, economic, political, spiritual, moral, familial – were opened to purposeful fashioning by human hands. Ideas for social betterment and progress that had been gathering for generations in Russia and elsewhere seemed to wait on the threshold of the revolution ready to pour forth and permeate the life of the Russian people. The issues were not only social and economic reforms and thoroughgoing political changes: with equal zeal the awakened people turned to the fields of just and education, to art and literature. Everywhere the driving passion was to create something new, to effect a total difference with the “old world” and its civilization. It was one of those uncommon moments of self-perception and self-assertion. The storm passed nobody by; neither those who hailed it as a blessing nor those who spurned it as a curse."4
And through it all Lenin and the Left of the Party sang from the same hymn sheet. Lenin repeatedly encouraged the workers to make the revolution themselves:
"Creative activity at the grassroots is the basic factor of the new public life. Let the workers set up workers' control at their factories. Let them supply the villages with manufactures in exchange for grain… Socialism cannot be decreed from above. Its spirit rejects the mechanical bureaucratic approach: living creative socialism is the product of the masses themselves."5
This was the revolution most Bolsheviks, including Miasnikov and his comrades in the not-yet-formed Workers’ Group, supported. However, from the spring/early summer of 1918 onwards, the revolution began to unravel. Although some historians exaggerate the significance of the setback of signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the real problem lay in the dire economic catastrophe the revolution had inherited from the previous two regimes. The 1917 harvest had been a disaster. Only 12-13% of the normal food supply was reaching the cities. The shortage of food forced many workers to leave work, and the city, to forage for food. Many first generation workers returned to their villages. 40% of the working class had abandoned “Red Petrograd” by April 1918. Of those who remained 60% were unemployed. Any party based in the working class had to share the same fate. Of the 43,000 who were in the Bolshevik Party in Petrograd in October 1917 only 13,472 remained by June 1918.6
Many of these were factory committee members, delegates of the working class in the factories. Now the links between them and the factory which delegated them ceased to mean anything. Little wonder then that the lifeblood was being sucked from soviet power at the grassroots even at this early stage. After June 1918 there were fewer new soviet elections. Even some of those which did take place were annulled or ignored as the dictates of war had now been reduced to the single question of support for the Red Army against the Whites and their imperialist backers. And in order to feed the starving workers forcible food requisitioning was employed against the peasantry, leading to what amounted to a class war in the countryside. A new state bureaucracy (aided partly by the members of the old bureaucracy) slowly began to replace local soviet initiative, just as one-man management gradually became the dominant feature of the new economic life in the factories, and the Red Army (where bourgeois military “order” was restored) replaced the workers’ militias. These developments did not immediately kill the revolution but set in train a process which only a world revolution could have reversed. And the longer this held off the deeper the RCP(B) sank towards the mire of counter-revolution.
As it was, by 1920 economic chaos was still staring the soviet regime in the face, and some workers, as well as peasants, were beginning to turn against the Bolsheviks. This was reflected in the divisions inside the RCP(B)’s Ninth Party Congress. Whilst Trotsky was once again arguing (as he had at the Eighth Congress in 1919) for compulsory labour through its “militarisation”, the Democratic Centralists were calling for a restoration of the original initiatives of the revolution based on working class self-activity in which the soviets dominated. Members of the future Workers' Opposition (which formed only after the Ninth Congress) also stressed the need for the class to once again be responsible for running the system, but their chosen instrument was the trade union. The role that the trade unions should now play in the organisation of labour was uppermost in the debate in the Ninth Congress.
With the civil war all but won, Trotsky thought that the methods that brought military triumph could be used in the economic sphere as well. Unions should become part of the state’s management for disciplining the workforce (curiously similar to the actual process that was then in train throughout the world as unions passed over from being collective bodies fighting for workers’ living standards to managers of the labour force on behalf of the needs of capitalism). Trotsky’s whole emphasis was on raising production and solving economic problems. If that demanded compulsion and the direction of workers here and there like an army (but now, of industry) that did not conflict with the future establishment of socialism. This separation of ends from means was to become a fixture in Trotsky’s methodology. He had already given a taste of how he expected the unions to operate as state agencies with the formation of the Tsektran union (uniting workers in both rail and water transport under one body). It acted as an agent of the state in the economy. His argument was that as Russia was a “workers’ state” then there was no need for bodies to defend workers against that state. The obvious speciousness of this argument is that if the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic was really a “workers’ state” then there would be no need for compulsion let alone militarisation at all.
Opposing Trotsky, the Democratic Centralists and the members of what would soon become the Workers Opposition both pointed out that socialism could only come about by giving free rein once again to the creative energies of the class itself since it was only the working class who could build socialism. The weakness of their position was that the working class as a real force was now much weaker than it had been in the final days of 1917, and once the “self-activity” of the class had died, exhortation alone could not restart the process. In the meantime, the economic crisis was only getting worse. In short, in the absence of a European or even world revolution, and with workers’ more and more dragged into the administration of the state, the Revolution in Russia faced a terrible dilemma. Lenin’s solution was to look at what was practically the most effective way to proceed and initially appeared to fully endorse Trotsky’s position. In his Opening Address to the Ninth Congress he said:
"In our fight against falsehood, we introduced labour conscription and proceeded to unite the working people, not hesitating to use coercion. For no revolution has ever been effected without coercion, and the proletariat has a right to exercise coercion in order to hold its own at all costs."
And he took careful aim at the demands of the Democratic Centralists (specifically Sapronov) for an end to one-man management and the return to a more corporate or collegial management system:
"…we are now being dragged back on a matter that was decided long ago, a matter which the All-Russia Central Executive Committee endorsed and explained, namely, that Soviet socialist democracy and individual management and dictatorship are in no way contradictory, and that the will of a class may sometimes be carried out by a dictator, who sometimes does more alone and is frequently more necessary. At any rate, the attitude towards the principles of corporate management and individual management was not only explained long ago, but was even endorsed by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee. In this connection our Congress is an illustration of the sad truth that instead of advancing from the explanation of questions of principle to concrete questions, we are advancing backward. Unless we get away from this mistake we shall never solve the economic problem."
However, whilst at the Ninth Party Congress Lenin appeared initially supportive of Trotsky’s idea as a way to solve the economic crisis he eventually came out against Trotsky’s “errors”. Lenin, despite the fact that he generally agreed with measures to make production more efficient, such as the need for one-man management and “scientific methods” of production like Taylorism, understood perfectly well that this would not, in itself, bring about socialism. He rejected both the “syndicalist” suggestions of Tomsky, Lomov and Shliapnikov that the unions should take over the management of production, on the one hand, and Trotsky’s idea to reduce them to a disciplinary force in the working class on the other. At the Ninth Party Congress Lenin had a different view:
"Our trade unions have been of tremendous assistance in building the proletarian state. They were a link between the Party and the unenlightened millions."
But that was their sole function. He went on to add that:
"it is essential for the Central Committee to be constituted in such a way as to have a transmission belt to the broad masses of the trade unions (we have 600,000 Party members and 3,000,000 trade union members) to connect the Central Committee simultaneously with the united will of the 600,000 Party members and the 3,000,000 trade union members. We cannot govern without such a transmission belt."7
And at the Eighth Soviet Congress (December 1920) he pointedly distanced himself from Trotsky by pointing to the “bureaucratic” distortions which already existed in the “workers’ state”:
"The whole point is that it is not quite a workers’ state. That is where Comrade Trotsky makes one of his main mistakes … ours is a workers’ state with a bureaucratic twist to it. We have had to mark it with this dismal, shall I say, tag. There you have the reality of the transition."8
He went on to add, a little paradoxically given that he had already said the unions were “part of the state” that unions were “schools of communism and any 'governmentalisation' of them would be a grave mistake as it would undermine the role of the unions in the eyes of the rank and file."9
Miasnikov rejected the idea that the unions would be “schools of communism” under the arrangements made at the Ninth Congress. Miasnikov’s position on the unions was not really consistent either. In that very same 1920 he had accurately argued that unions were really unimportant in the life of the working class both before and after the October Revolution:
"Prior to the October revolution of 1917 the trade unions hardly even existed and played no significant role."10
For him, at that time, the only reason to retain unions was to impress workers’ abroad who were massed in unions and still regarded them as workers’ organs. However by 1930 he had concluded that the setting up of the Workers’ and Peasants Inspectorate (Rabkrin), and its strengthening at the Ninth Party Congress, was, in fact, not real workers’ inspection at all but just another bureaucratic answer to bureaucracy. In this he had a point since Lenin himself denounced its failures before he died. In Better Fewer But Better he announced that:
"Let us say frankly that the People’s Commissariat of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection does not at present enjoy the slightest authority. Everybody knows that no other institutions are worse organised than those of our Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection, and that under present conditions nothing can be expected from this People’s Commissariat."11
He puts his finger on the problem as one of choosing the right personnel (it seems that the workers chosen for this task were often those who had shown incompetence or proved untrustworthy elsewhere!). Lenin had little faith in it but still stuck to the idea of reforming it. Miasnikov though, despite some contradictory comments in the Draft Platform12 , had long reached the conclusion that the only solution to the “social bureaucracy” was to allow the soviets to run production, and the cooperatives to deal with distribution whilst the unions role would be precisely to keep a check on what the soviet was doing instead of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate. This would then obviate the need for yet one more layer of bureaucracy. This was his model vision of how the system could move towards socialism.
Miasnikov saw the Ninth Party Congress which confirmed the practice of one-man management and the institution of the Workers and Peasants’ Inspectorate as the final overthrow of soviet power. There is something exaggerated in his talk of a coup d’état, since all the changes took place in the heat of a debate in a Bolshevik Party still full of many different tendencies, but by 1930 Miasnikov could look back on that decision as the moment when he parted company with what was being done in the name of revolution.
The document presented here contains some fine insights made with the benefit of hindsight. For example, by 1930 Miasnikov had come to understand one of the first errors of the Revolution was to create Sovnarkom, or the Council of People’s Commissars, as a government which was above the soviets. His remedy was clearly stated. The soviets themselves should:
"elect an executive committee accompanied by a bureau and necessary sections, but with no bourgeois bureaucratic complement such as a council of ministers or a council of people’s commissars."
In November 1917 though few saw any problem as Sovnarkom took very few initiatives which were not also approved by the All-Russian Soviet Executive Committee (VTsIK).
The other features of the document which readers will readily identify for themselves are his clarity that the USSR had become “state capitalist”, his rejection of the “infamous opposition” of Trotsky, the idea that there would be more than one party in existence (this was in continuity with his constant calls in the period 1920-23 for freedom of the press) and that he still envisages a role for money in the transitional period.
There is much more that we could comment on such as his view that parliament could be used by revolutionaries or his notion that only under socialism would “national liberation” be possible (rather than seeing the need for state and national boundaries to be abolished in a communist world). There is much here that gives food for thought but in the depth of the counter-revolution there was no echo to this Draft Platform. Miasnikov remained in France until 1945 (probably working for a while as a slave worker during the German occupation).
During the Second World War though, he did call for the defence of the USSR, which shows that his analysis of its state capitalism did not logically carry over into seeing it as part of the imperialist alliance system, despite its membership of the League of Nations after 1934, and its division of Poland in the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939. His support for the USSR in the war and the fact that his three sons died fighting for it may have led him to believe there was no danger in accepting an invitation to return to Moscow at the end of the war. He was to be quickly disillusioned. He was immediately arrested on arrival, interrogated for several days13 then found guilty of treason. The sentence was passed with no right of appeal, and he was shot on 16 November 1945.
We leave to others to make their own judgements about the character and political judgement of this extraordinarily tenacious worker turned theoretician. He was, after all, one of the few Bolshevik oppositionists not to condemn the Kronstadt rebellion and it has to be recognised that he continued to fight all his life for the ideals which the “November Revolution” (he always used the new calendar) had promised. This document serves as his final testament.
Communist Workers' Organisation
Draft Platform and Statutes of the Communist Workers’ International
The development of the forces of production, which the bourgeoisie has feebly championed, has made every national economy a part of the global economy, whilst the proletarian movement has become international.
The tasks of the national movement are the same as those of the international movement, and, conversely, the tasks of the international proletarian movement are those of the national movement.
Two rival Internationals, the Second and the Third, grouping millions of proletarians together, claim to represent the working class of the whole world.
By its whole nature – its theory and moreover its deeds – the Second International is not a workers’ International, but an anti-worker, anti-proletarian one. Far from reaching for the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie and for the victory of the domination of the proletariat, it endeavours, through clichés about socialism and the struggle, to reconcile the proletariat with the regime of exploitation, by making socialism out to be some sort of Christian paradise. It seeks to suffocate the inextinguishable revolt of the proletariat against the system of wage slavery. The socialist rhetoric aims to make the proletariat believe that the Second International opposes the regime of exploitation; meanwhile, appearing to fight it for miniscule reforms, for a more tolerable capitalism, is supposed to prove the congruence of its actions and its words. It wants, by way of these reforms, to make capitalism less barbaric in its exploitation, and, consequently, less abhorrent and more durable. But if, in spite of all the efforts of the Second International, the proletariat seeks to shake off the yoke of slavery and to commit itself to the path of revolution, the parties of the Second International, all the while following their policy of socialist rhetoric and reformist struggles, will resort to a more decisive argument to keep the proletariat in its place: repression by force.
There is no bourgeois country whose representatives in the Second International are not officially at the service of the bourgeois state as vigilant guardians of the regime of exploitation, supervisors, watchdogs and tamers of the proletariat. The Gallifets, executioners and butchers of the bourgeoisie are undoubtedly exceeded by the bloody reprisals against the proletariat by Noske’s socialist executioners and butchers. However, the latter are as yet only most noted and the Second International has not said its final word. The Severings and Zöergiebels of all countries continue the work of their glorious predecessors in their apparent goal of breaking all records, the fruits of which are now apparent.14 The role of the Second International in the defence of capital is so important that it can be stated, without fear of error, that it has saved, and continues to protect the bourgeoisie from the attacks of the proletariat. The dissolution of the Second International would leave the path to revolution free to the victorious proletariat. The fall of the Second International will mark the fall of bourgeois domination and the triumph of the revolution.
The Third International, born in the torment of wars and revolutions, had in its hands all the ingredients it needed to make it the leadership of the proletariat, but, since it tied itself to the fate of the November Revolution in Russia, it became the International of the bureaucracy, whose ideals and special methods it soon adopted. It fights against the bourgeoisie and the Second International, not for a Workers’ State, but for state capitalism, for a state and a bureaucratic rule with a one-party administrative system. It seeks to overthrow the bourgeoisie in order to replace it, not with the organised proletariat as a class, but with bureaucracy. It has to dominate in production (economic rule) and in the state (political rule). It wants to get there by revolution, thanks to which a single party formed of all their functionaries would then become the omnipotent sovereign. It stifles with violence every proletarian tendency that puts itself forward as the dominant class. It strips the proletariat, the peasantry and the intelligentsia of their minimum rights and legal liberties in the forms that bourgeois countries afford them: freedom of organisation, freedom of the press, of speech, of meeting, etc., and passes off its own domination as that of the proletariat.
The acute crisis of the Communist International and the appearance of several organisations which have split from it are a testament not to a crisis in Marxism and communism, but to a crisis of social-bureaucracy. And this fact indicates the growing need felt by the proletarian masses for a proletarian political organisation which would be their own, which could march under the flag of the workers’ revolution, of the struggle for the specific interests of the working class, for the Workers’ State.
Communist Workers’ Parties and organisations clearly leaning towards an international alliance have arisen and continue to arise in various countries. The Workers’ Group of the USSR understood the necessity of a definitive break from the organisation of the Communist International and, from a simple fraction of the Russian Bolshevik Communist Party, has transformed itself into an independent party, the Communist Workers’ Party, thus turning itself towards founding the Communist Workers’ International.
But the Communist Workers’ International could not be born and avoid being subjected to the massacre of innocents perpetrated by one of the other of the Internationals if it had not been supplied with a “passport”, a “residence permit”, a political birth certificate, with both a programme and tactics. It is only thus that it could be called to play a great historic role in the future struggles of the proletariat against the world of the exploiters.
Why is the Communist Workers’ International entering into struggle? How should it fight? Only the ideas responding to these questions in a concrete form justify the existence of the Communist Workers’ International.
We must respond clearly and not settle for the clichés about the Workers’ State, the dictatorship of the proletariat and workers’ democracy, hackneyed by the bureaucracy of the USSR, or the clichés about socialism and struggle, of which the Second International is hypocritically charged.
Following the decisions of its governing bodies and in order to satisfy the pressing needs of the proletariat, the foreign representation of the Provisional Central Bureau of the Organisation proposes for the attention of comrades a Draft for the Platform of the Communist Workers’ International.
However we must recognise that we possess neither the infallibility of the Roman Pope, nor that of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), nor even that of the infamous opposition led by Trotsky. We have not delved into the secrets of the absolute science that allows us to prepare a concoction of absolute truths for the use of uninitiated proletarians. We therefore believe that, far from being a crime of lèse-majesté (prohibited by Article 58 of the Penal Code of our “very socialist” party and thus suppressing support15 for the daring few who make themselves guilty and their dangerous critical ideas), all criticism, including organised ones emerging from a group, fraction, or party, is the duty of every revolutionary, of every Marxist. If our Draft for the Platform of the Communist Workers’ International passes victoriously through the crucible of the most ruthless revolutionary criticism, only then could it face the historic test of the critique of facts, of life itself.
But by inviting the whole thinking proletariat to criticise our “draft”, we would like to warn them that we are always ready to respond to like with like.
Having passed the test of criticism, subject to modifications and a final edit, the “draft” shall become the Platform of the Communist Workers’ International and will be presented for the evaluation of factual critique, of life itself.
The theoretical principles of this “draft” are laid out in my works: Brief Critique of the Theory and Practice of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) and The State in the USSR, but if these seem insufficient, we are prepared to provide lengthier documents that demonstrate the Marxist and philosophical bases of this “draft”.
But beside this theoretical work of elaboration of the definitive platform of the Communist Workers’ International, we should also set about a preparatory organisational effort, which presupposes the necessity of founding a Provisional Bureau of the Communist Workers’ International, composed of representatives of the communist workers’ parties and groups, supporters of the organisation of the Communist Workers’ International and adhering to all of the bases of the “draft”.
This Bureau must put itself forward for everyone to contribute their means to the greatest study possible of the “draft” and the convocation of its constituent assembly.
"The emancipation of the workers is the task of the workers themselves! Workers of the world, unite!"
Draft Platform of the Communist Workers’ International
The epoch through which we are currently living is an epoch of imperialist wars and proletarian revolutions.
All the efforts of the proletarian groups and parties must extend to the mobilisation of the proletarian forces for the purpose of the final decisive battles with the world of exploitation, violence, and international and civil wars.
"The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air."
If the slaves of antiquity could only win supremacy through civil war, through revolution against the ancient nobility; if the feudal people revolted against their lords; if the bourgeoisie have won power in revolutionary battles, in implacable civil wars, the proletariat, which has ruptured more radically than the previous classes from the old property relations, will only be able to achieve its emancipation through civil war and a revolution more ruthless than any that history has seen before.
"All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority."
"The first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy."16
1. The proletariat, organised as a class through the medium of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies grouped together in one country (or a few united countries), places these soviets at the head of the state and of the expropriated production in place of the annihilated bourgeoisie.
2. The Cooperative17 , the second organisation of the proletariat which, during the course of the revolution, becomes a mass organisation liberated from all bourgeois opportunist prejudices, a revolutionary organisation, is placed at the head of the redistribution and the bourgeois redistributive apparatus by the proletariat.
3. The trade unions, which currently only comprise a tiny minority of the proletariat, will be transformed during the course of the revolution into an ever increasingly vast organisation of the masses and, breaking the strict principles on which organisations grouped by profession are based, will replace them with the principles of the production unions encompassing the entire proletariat, unions which will take up the management of the state, controlling the activity of the Soviets and the Cooperative.
4. The eviction of the petty bourgeoisie from the domain of production and of redistribution is not an absolute condition of the achievement of the proletarian revolution, on the contrary, the proletarian revolution is the absolute condition of the dissolution of the production and the property of the petty bourgeoisie. And it is only in the development of the collective economy and in the course of this struggle with private property that the petty bourgeoisie will gradually wither away. And throughout the transitional period from capitalism to communism there will inevitably exist petty bourgeois organisations of rural Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies and municipal Soviets (modelled after those existing in the USSR) which will at once be local autonomous administrations and organisations of the state taking part in the administration of the country with the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies of Enterprises.
The victory of sovietised production and of redistribution by the Cooperative will lead to the withering away of the petty bourgeoisie and, as a consequence, its organisations, and the whole of society will be transformed into a free association of producers.
5. Agriculture is the sector of the national economy in which up to now there has been less progress in mechanical production than in other domains; petty bourgeois property and production are particularly influential in agriculture, so it befits us to elaborate an agrarian programme as well as the relations of the proletariat to the peasantry.
a. The land, the subsoil and the forests will belong to the state.
b. All the land of the great exploiters of agriculture cultivated by the proletariat with the aid of complicated agricultural machinery will be returned directly to the state and is administered by the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies (agricultural) of these exploitations.
c. All other land will go to the peasants and is distributed by the Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies according to the principles of the enjoyment of the land through work.
d. The maximum liberty concerning the production and disposal of products will be guaranteed to all peasants.
e. The greatest liberty will be guaranteed to all agricultural groups: companionships for the cultivation of the fields, associations for communal use of machines, collectivities, communes, as well as to all buyers and sellers and credit cooperatives.
6. All the banks will be expropriated and run directly by the state. The Executive Committees of Soviets nominate the administrative councils for the management and administration of the banks and all banking operations are managed by a single State Bank with its industrial and Cooperative sections.
7. All city and village homes that are a source of profit and of exploitation are to be confiscated and placed at the disposal of the local Soviets. In each one of them a house committee shall be elected by the tenants, which shall be responsible for the entirety of the building before the Executive Committee (of the city or district). All habitable space will be distributed according to a norm established by the Soviets. The bourgeoisie is transported en masse from their palaces into the attics and basements while the inhabitants of the latter shall settle in their place. All buildings that may serve a public function (meetings clubs, party committees, etc.) will be placed at the disposal of workers’ organisations.
8. Throughout the transitional period from capitalism to communism, the economic policy of the Workers’ State is inevitably one of free circulation of commodities resting on the monetary system. This policy will give rise to a struggle between sovietised production and redistribution by Cooperatives on the one hand, and the vestiges of the old world, petty bourgeois production and distribution, on the other. Only little by little, incrementally on the technical basis of the collectivised economy, will petty bourgeois production and distribution be driven out of all spheres of production and distribution and replaced by socialist forms of economy, as the advantage, efficacy and superiority of sovietised production and distribution by Cooperatives in daily practice become apparent. This will lead to the abolition of the monetary system and the market. Everyone will work for each person and each person for everyone. Productive work will no longer be an obligation imposed on a certain class, but a natural human need, for, over the course of this development, the difference between physical labour and intellectual labour will dwindle. So too will the difference between the city and the countryside diminish.
9. Over the course of this triumphant ascension of the social economy, the state functions will disappear one after the other into the Soviets, the Cooperatives and the trade unions, which will be transformed into organisations managing the processes of production, distribution and regulation. The world of private property, of hate, of envy, of desire, of evil and of wars will no longer exist. It will take with it to its grave all the products of the life of private property: theft, fraud, pillaging, political class struggle, and with those, prisons, tribunals, executioners, the police, lawyers and judges, the army, which makes a profession and a duty of homicide, and all industry creating the apparatus of destruction. The flag of solidarity of work and free creative activity will fly joyfully over the territory!
Over the course of this development, the political parties will be transformed gradually and indifferently into technical parties, rivals in the realisation of the processes of production, distribution and regulation that will have been increasingly perfected.
10. The Workers’ State cannot put in place a system of administration by a single party, the unlimited power of a single party depriving the whole population of the right and the freedom of organisation of parties, of speech, of press, of meetings, etc. On the contrary, only the Workers’ State guarantees the enjoyment of this right and this liberty to the Soviets, Cooperatives and trade unions, not only in its juridical sense and its pure form, as it appears in bourgeois states (America, England, France, etc.), but effective and real, in placing at the disposal of workers and their organisation the printing presses, the paper, the means of transport, of communication, and the locations for committees and meetings, without which legal rights are but an illusion. For the first time in recorded history, it is precisely the Workers’ State that will give workers freedoms and rights of the kind that the world has never seen before. Only such an organisation as the state serves the real interests of all workers and emancipates them from the physical and moral yoke. And it is only for such a state that the labouring masses will engage in a painful struggle full of sacrifices.
11. The right of nations to self-determination and to declare their independence can only be realised under the Workers’ State, the only state capable of following this phrase to its conclusion. Only the Workers’ State comes up against no obstacle to the autonomy and independence of nations. Its form of administration by multiple parties gives the right and the possibility to each of these national groups to indulge in absolutely free propaganda in favour of separation and to free agitation for independence which makes the Union of Socialist Republics so extraordinarily powerful, compact, indissoluble, in the same way as a voluntary army is stronger than an army recruited by force.
12. State power is based on the principles of workers’ democratic centralism, according to which groupings depend on each other, according to their degree of importance (the district depends on the department, the department on the province, the province on the centre, the centre on a republic at the centre of the Union). The principle of homogeneity is fundamental to the composition of each one of these organs: an executive committee accompanied by a bureau and necessary sections, but with no bourgeois bureaucratic complement such as a council of ministers or a council of people’s commissars. Such is the organ of power from the districts to the centre. The executive committees are elected by assemblies of Soviets (the municipal executive committees by the municipal soviets). At all levels the elections will take place under scrutiny.
13. The working class does not seek revenge on its exploiters, nor to put them to death. It seeks to annihilate the objective possibility of exploitation and oppression, the possibility to transform the work of many people into wealth for a tiny number, and the Workers’ State will achieve this result by the complete expropriation of the bourgeoisie. But it shall crush even the smallest attempt to restore oppression and exploitation. All the old exploiters and their devoted servants who demonstrate a willingness to submit peacefully to the Workers’ State can rely on protection by its laws. This is why justice in the Workers’ State will be delivered publicly and will guarantee to anyone accused of a crime the possible use of all means of defence permitted. The justice of the Workers’ State will punish real attempts at restoring the oppressive regime with armed force, and the publication of legal debates and the administrative system of the Workers’ State by multiple parties will prevent the instrumentalisation of these debates as political revenge by this or that political group or party.
Extrajudicial punishments are only permissible in the districts in which exploiters’ revolts arise or civil war breaks out, and can only be applied to exploiters.
14. Religion is the personal affair of each individual. However, given the historic role of all religions as forces for the conservation, policing and protection of the ideology of the exploiting classes, the sanctification of all forms of torture employed by the dominant classes to keep the oppressed workers in fear of them, equating the power of exploiters of all kinds with divine power (all power comes from God, submit yourself to the bearers of authority), and declaring all revolt and struggle against exploiters and their States the work of the devil, punishable by hell in the next life and all kinds of torture in this one – all political parties of the working class are obliged to lead a political struggle of the most active kind against religious narcotics. The Workers’ State must ensure the greatest possible atheist propaganda for groups and parties, without however resorting to repressing anyone, remembering that violence weakens atheistic agitation and propaganda instead of reinforcing them. Therefore the Workers’ State will declare freedom of religious propaganda as well as of atheist propaganda. However, at the same time, the Workers’ State will not align its preference with one or another religion, it will only favour science and must contribute to its penetration of the popular masses, hence schools must be nurseries of science and not ecclesiastical pulpits; religious teaching must be absolutely forbidden.
All houses of prayer are declared the property of the State and can be rented to any group of any which belief following a special contract of obligation to produce an inventory of all precious objects contained in the temples.
Religion will wither away with the classes and the State.
Part II: Relations with the USSR
1. The November Revolution was a proletarian revolution because, thanks to it, the proletariat was elevated to the rank of the dominant class, conquering democracy, giving its organisations – the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies – the management of production and the State, to the Cooperatives that of redistribution, and to trade unions that of inspection. The organisation of the rural Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies, the Soviets of Soldiers’ Deputies and the municipal Soviets took part under the influence of the revolutionary proletariat. Proletarian hegemony spread so far that the proletariat instilled the forms of its organisation in the Soviets in the millions of peasants, in the urban petty bourgeoisie and in the army. The fate of the revolution was decided thus: it is not the big bourgeoisie that lured the petty bourgeoisie by instilling in it the parliamentary forms of its organisation of domination, but the proletariat. And these organisations of the petty bourgeoisie, annexed into the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies of enterprises, became state organisations.
2. The expropriation of the printing presses, paper mills, means of transport and communication, houses and clubs has allowed the transformation of legal liberty, in its form in the bourgeois state, into real liberty by placing these material means at the disposal of the workers and their organisations. And even during the most difficult periods of an intense civil war, the workers did not lose this liberty of organisation of parties, of groups, of speech, of press, of meetings etc. And the only condition posed by the proletariat and the masses that followed them to the legal existence of parties was the renunciation of armed combat against the soviet power.
This was the case until 1920.
3. Since the first days of November, the global bourgeoisie, alarmed by the resounding echoes of the thunder of the November Revolution, had moved by a ferocious and inextinguishable hatred against the Russian proletariat who had dared to overthrow the exploiters and organise their lives without them. The fear of losing their supremacy and a fierce hatred for the November Revolution united the global bourgeoisie. The network of barbed wire erected in various countries was hastily torn down, the Treaty of Versailles was dashed off in a hurry, a proportion of the military forces was employed to snuff out the proletarian movement brought about by the war and the Russian Revolution, while the majority of the army was launched against the Russian proletariat.
And for three long and terrible years, Capital’s hordes roamed the immense country from end to end, exterminating everyone in their path… Finally they had been driven out of the country. Victory!
But this victory cost the Russian proletariat dearly. They paid for it with their supremacy. It had reversed the gains of November.
4. The relatively weak proletariat of this country with its backwards economy was reduced, after these three years of this merciless and extraordinarily cruel war, to a fistful of workers who were exhausted, famished and freezing to death. Industry, the basis of the proletariat, was destroyed or halted due to lack of raw materials, fuel and provisions. The peasantry, having received the land, shared it and was strengthened. The agricultural proletariat disappeared, making way for the petty bourgeoisie.
These three years of civil war, with their disastrous effect on industry, had the same economic repercussions on the primitive economy of the rural petty bourgeoisie.
The dependence on the proletariat and industry that had escaped the massacre of His Majesty the Keeper of raw materials, fuel and provisions was historically unprecedented. The offensive of the global bourgeoisie against the Russian proletariat had shifted the balance in the relations between class forces and moved it from the proletariat to the petty bourgeoisie. This is what has produced this petty bourgeois coup d’état. The decision of the Ninth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) dissolved the few Soviets of Workers’ Deputies that still existed. The proletariat was demoted from its rank of dominant class; the Soviets of Deputies of Workers’ and Peasants’, the cornerstone of the November Revolution, “essential nucleus of the Workers’ State” (Programme of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik)), were dissolved and replaced with bureaucracy, the trade unions were removed from control, taken over from that point by the bureaucracy organised as “The Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspectorate”, while the trade unions became the “school of communism”, that is, the tribune of bureaucracy. The Cooperative was then reduced to a pitiful annexe of State Commerce, the right of the proletariat and all workers to self-organisation in parties, the right to speech, to press, were all abolished, while a new theory was put in place: the dictatorship of the class (of the proletariat) is the dictatorship of the party. The one party system of the social bureaucratic state was attributed to the Workers’ State, to the dictatorship of the proletariat. Woe betide those who challenged this affirmation! Yet it is undeniable that the process of shifting the focus of relations of class forces from the proletariat to the petty bourgeoisie went hand in hand with the development of tendencies towards an administrative form of social bureaucratic state by a single party.
5. The petty bourgeoisie can only reign through the bureaucracy, and the turning over to it of all resources of urban industry that had been expropriated by the November Revolution, made it the sovereign ruler of the country.
It was thus, under the glorious symbol of November, that the bureaucracy seized power.
6. One of the consequences of the coup d’état, that had a decisive influence on all the theory and practice of the Communist International, was to give us a state capitalist regime dominated by an omnipotent bureaucracy in theory and practice, which is at the head of the state and at the head of production. Clearly, in the eyes of the bureaucracy, this state of affairs seems ideal.
The proletariat of the USSR must raise itself to the heights of November and continue to this end: 1) the organisation of Soviets of Workers’ Deputies which must direct production and become the “essential cell of the state”; 2) the attribution of the management of redistribution to the Cooperative, investing into it the rights and obligations, equipment and capital of the commercial institutions of the state; 3) the attribution of the management of control of the state to the unions, transferring to them all functions of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspectorate; 4) the legalisation of all parties and groups rejecting the armed struggle against Soviet power; 5) the abolition of all secret repressions of the proletarians, peasants and independent intellectuals by the State Political Directorate (GPU), and of all its judiciary functions, and its transformation into a police research apparatus; 6) amnesty for all politically detained members of parties and groups rejecting the armed struggle against Soviet power and the review of the dossiers of all other political prisoners by public tribunal in order to establish their true culpability; 7) economic freedom for all peasants, and as much extension as possible of agricultural exploitation through improved mechanisation; 8) the reorganisation of the state apparatus in accordance with the principles of this programme; 9) whereas in capitalist countries the realisation of our programme can only be achieved by revolution, in the USSR, a country of state capitalism, it can be achieved peacefully, through reforms, which implies imposing pressure by the global proletariat.
According to its class character, the realisation of our programme will occur through revolution, given that its aim is the overthrow of one class (the bureaucracy) by another class (the proletariat); depending on methods, it could occur through reforms.
7. The existing contradictions between the state capitalism of the USSR resting on the monopolisation of the means of production by the state and the capitalism of private property of all bourgeois countries are irreconcilable and inevitable. The triumph of one is the defeat of the other. They engage in an ever increasingly fierce battle. For twelve years the global bourgeoisie has enveloped the USSR in a financial and economic bloc and attempted by all means available, including armed force, to restore the bourgeois regime in this country. This attempt at counter-revolution by the bourgeoisie is supported by the parties of the Second International.
The bureaucracy of the USSR (to which the notorious opposition18 is connected) seeks to impose on the proletariat of all these countries its aims, its tasks, its ideas and its methods of realisation. It seeks to tie it to the social bureaucratic chariot, to make it fight, not for the Workers’ State but for the social bureaucratic state, for a regime of state capitalism, and all this through the intermediary of the Comintern.
The international proletariat must free itself from the grip of bourgeoisie and, rather than garnering support from its counter-revolutionary attempts at restoration and from the armed struggle against the USSR, it must aid the proletariat in raising itself anew to the heights of November in acting against the interests of its own bourgeoisie, that is, in the interests of its overthrow and the founding of the Workers’ State.
The orientation towards civil war, towards a war of hovels against palaces, towards the revolution for the Workers’ State in all advanced capitalist countries is the only real guarantee of the defence of the USSR against restoration, but also the only aid to the proletariat of the USSR in the brutal battle it wages against the bourgeoisie for the gains of November.
The orientation towards the war of hovels against palaces, towards the civil war, towards the revolution is necessary for all workers’ parties throughout the epoch of proletarian revolution. However long this epoch lasts, whatever the variations in the economic situation, whatever the ebbs and flows of reaction, the slogans integral to the revolutionary proletarian programme and tactic remain in effect.
Maintaining this orientation, during the war against the USSR as well as during the war of the bourgeois countries amongst themselves, will inevitably transform the latter into a war between the classes, into a war of the hovels against the palaces, into civil war, into revolution, which will ultimately end in a world of international wars and class wars.
Furthermore, by following this orientation, the proletarian movement will emancipate itself from the tutelage of the bureaucracy of the USSR, from the imposition of its aims, its tasks and its tactics on the international proletariat and prevent the utilisation of the legitimate discontent of the proletariat for bureaucratic aims. On the contrary, the existing contradictions between the bureaucracy and the bourgeoisie serve to strengthen the proletarian movement in directing the stream of the discontent of the proletariat of bourgeois countries into the torrent of the revolutionary struggle for the Workers’ State, for the aims of the proletarian class.
Part III: Tactics
1. The workers’ revolution is the task of the workers themselves. Only the majority of the organised proletariat can reach the solution to the historic problems of the proletarian class.
The attempts of the minority of the proletariat to orchestrate a revolutionary overthrow against the will of the majority are doomed to fail and can only weaken the proletariat in delaying its hour of victory.
Only the proletariat organised 1) into Soviets of Workers’ Deputies 2) into unions 3) with a massive Cooperative at its disposal and 4) an unwavering majority of supporters of the workers’ revolution, can approach the practical solution to this historic task that, only under these conditions, becomes a practical, strategic task, assimilating the art of insurrection. (Quantity transforms into quality.)
2. Over the course of the development of the revolution the proletariat instils its forms of organisation in the soldiers by creating the Soviets of Soldiers’ Deputies, which it incorporates into its ranks; combining and concentrating the forces of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies and the Soviets of Soldiers' Deputies, it will acquire an armed force and dissolve that of the bourgeoisie, and clear the way for the arsenals to arm the workers en masse.
3. The proletariat instils its forms of organisation in the petty bourgeoisie of the countryside and villages; by creating the Rural Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies and Urban Soviets, by incorporating them into its ranks, it neutralises at least these layers of the population and prevents the bourgeoisie from holding them in reserve for its counter-revolutionary hordes.
4. Under these conditions, the victory of the proletariat is guaranteed by a skilful combination of the general political strike and the insurrection (the strike halts when it comes to ensuring the transport of revolutionary troops, it is particularly fierce and goes hand in hand with all means of sabotage when it comes to transporting counter-revolutionary troops; it halts when there is need for communication by telephone, telegraph, post, telegram, car or other means between revolutionary forces, but it doubles down when this communication is required for the counter-revolutionary forces).
5. After its victory, the proletariat and its leading parties change their tactics abruptly: having supported up to that point ruthless civil war and revolution, they become the champions of peace and the patient constructors of the state on new foundations, drawing on all their strength to consolidate the Workers’ State, rejecting all that could destroy it or hamper its development.
6. But the revolution prepares its decisive battle through partial battles and skirmishes of different sections of the proletariat translating into strikes, demonstrations and insurrections. They take place on the basis of partial demands: shortening the working day, increasing wages, the fight for social security, for raising unemployment benefits, etc., and, given their mass character, inevitably lead to general political problems, and to the revolutionary solution to all proletarian problems.
It is this that reveals the dialectical unity of the proletarian movement which reflects the dialectical unity of the proletarian existence: the relationship between their immediate everyday interests and their general aims.
7. The ideals of the proletarian class are a consequence of their situation of wage slavery under capital. Without the numerous poverties, vexations, and injustices by which it is overwhelmed, without all the suffering which comes from this situation, the proletariat would not have forged these ideals, it would not feel the necessity to struggle against capitalism.
The artificial detachment of the ideals of the proletarian class from its everyday existence, their artificial opposition to the struggle for minor, partial demands, for reforms, to the revolutionary movement, tends to fracture the proletarian movement and moreover weaken the revolutionary movement.
8. Under these conditions, the parties protecting the capitalist regime, the parties of the Second International and the fascists have handily exploited and continue to exploit the everyday poverty and suffering of the proletariat with the aim of reinforcing the capitalist regime by directing the discontent of the proletariat towards the strictly peaceful struggle for minor reforms of capitalism.
9. This is why the alliance of the struggle for partial demands with the struggle for the general ideals of the class is the only way to reach the proletariat when they are under the nefarious influence of the ideals of the bourgeoisie and bureaucracy, and turn them towards revolution.
All the workers’ communist parties must take part in the everyday work of the unions, the Cooperatives, in parliamentary elections, they must defend the interests and immediate needs of the proletariat and agitate at the same time for the organisation of Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, for the reorganisation of trade unions into production unions, for mass participation in unions and in the Cooperatives, for the war between hovels and palaces. Revolutionary work must not be envisaged as the opposition of the struggle for revolution to the struggle for partial demands, rather it should be guided by these partial demands by utilising the discontent of the proletariat to breathe revolutionary spirit into it, to intensify it by making its target the capitalist regime, by making it revolutionary.
This confers on the revolutionary movement an extraordinary force and power, capable of bringing down the walls of the capitalist Jericho.
10. But while working in the proletarian organisations – unions and the Cooperatives – is the essential duty of the workers’ communist parties, dictated by the historic role of these organisations in the workers’ revolution and soon by its accomplishment, participating in parliamentary elections should only take place until the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies have been organised, after which point all focus should be shifted to the Soviets, which become the organisations whose decisions should replace parliamentary decisions for the proletariat and their organisations. The Soviets and their struggle against parliaments should henceforth absorb all forces and authority of the proletarian parties. They must be the rival power to the bourgeois power. And thus they initiate the decisive struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
11. Every movement aiming for the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the victory of the supremacy of the proletariat must be supported by us, the workers’ communist parties.
The workers’ communist parties can finalise longer or shorter agreements and blocs with organisations, groups and parties recognising the necessity of the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie, in order to resolve the problems posed by the revolutionary movement, attempting thus to make the blows dealt to capitalism more effective, without however ceasing in any case to defend their programme and without sacrificing their organisational independence.
22nd March 1930
- 1It can be found online at leftcommunism.org.
- 2Beside the work cited above readers can consult P. Bourrinet, left-dis.nl, and in English Paul Avrich, libcom.org, and Malcolm Archibald, katesharpleylibrary.net, as well as the book The Russian Communist Left 1918-30 (International Communist Current).
- 3The organisation was founded in 1922, following a split in the KAPD, by members of the Essen Tendency, including Herman Gorter and Karl Schrőder, the Berlin Faction holding that the formation of an international was premature. It was joined by Sylvia Pankhurst's Communist Workers’ Party, the Communist Workers’ Party of the Netherlands, the Left Communists in Russia (who accordingly renamed themselves the Communist Workers’ Party), the Communist Workers’ Group in Russia and some communists in Belgium and Bulgaria. The Communist Workers' Group left it over its refusal to countenance a united front with the Comintern and it virtually ceased to exist in 1927 with the demise of the Essen Tendency though publications were still put out in its name in Holland in the early 1930s. The current document appears to be an attempt to revitalise that project (in 1928 Miasnikov's Worker’s Group, Sapranov’s ‘Group of Fifteen’, and remnants of the Workers’ Opposition, held a conference which resolved to “constitute the central bureau of the Workers’ Group as the central organising bureau for Communist Workers’ Parties of the USSR", see: leftcom.org).
- 4Quoted in R. Stites, Revolutionary Dreams, p. 39
- 5Lenin, Collected Works Vol. 26, p.288
- 6S.A. Smith, Red Petrograd, p. 244
- 7All quotes previous to this one taken from marxists.org
- 8Lenin, The Trade Unions, The Present Situation and Trotsky’s Mistakes
- 9See R. V Daniels, The Conscience of the Revolution, p.132
- 12In Part 1 of the document of the Draft Platform (point 3) he seems to suggest the unions will actually run production which was closer to the position of the Workers’ Opposition with which many of the Workers’ Group had been associated.
- 13The transcript of which can be found in Archibald (above) and at marxists.org
- 14The premeditated massacre of revolutionary workers in Germany by the Social Democrat Noske at the head of troops loyal to the Army High Command and the former monarchy is well known. Miasnikov adds here the later actions of socialists like Karl Severing (1875-1952) who became Minister of the Interior for Prussia and also the Weimar Republic. He had earlier done a secret deal with General Von Seeckt to create a secret army (and also secretly trained in the USSR after The Treaty of Rapallo). He later drew up the first emergency law for the defence of the Weimar Republic (1930) which was a precursor of Hitler’s Enabling Law. The other name is that of Karl Zöergiebel (1878-1961), Chief of the Berlin Police, ordered the police to fire on May Day demonstrators in 1929 killing 32 of them, an event known thereafter as “Bloody May”. He followed this up with a blockade of the working class districts of Wedding and Neukölln.
- 15In the French original it says “suppression of support for their hats” (couvre-chef) which we can only assume is an ironic reference.
- 16This and the preceding quote are taken from The Communist Manifesto.
- 17In the original Miasnikov refers constantly to the “Coopération” which we have translated as “Cooperatives”. Given the prevalence of many of these in the actual Russian Revolution itself this seems to be justified.
- 18The reference here is to the Trotskyist Left Opposition, which Miasnikov saw as a "left" face of the bureaucracy.