A Return to the Party?

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Dear Friends,

I have received your postcard of October 3. The complaints against me are not fully justified. That I should write — I do write; but, alas, not everything gets through. You must take into account that far from everything reaches me as well.

The lofty sounding verbiage going around about how we need to return to the party is either hypocrisy or the height of naivete. “What an opening!” you think. A profound argument is being cited: The right-wing forces are getting stronger. In the centrist apparatus there are many right-wing forces. We must help the struggle against the right wing. Can we really do otherwise?

By our very existence as an irreconcilable opposition we are helping the struggle against the right wing a thousand times more than do all the capitulators, past and future.

Those who have capitulated halfway and the candidates for capitulation argue as follows: While the centrists with the right wing forces conducted a right-wing policy, we could not be in the party. But when it happens that, largely due to our irreconcilability, the centrists have opened up a struggle against the right wing, we must quickly join the party and, moreover, on some sort of favorable terms.

This is nonsense, self-deception, or cowardly duplicity. We must take part in the struggle for the October Revolution; that is true. But the fact of our ideological irreconcilability is itself participation in the struggle against the right wing that is a thousand times more effective than the “help” of Radek, Preobrazhensky, or Smilga, whom no one believes now and whom no one needs. What do they express? Whom can they help with their spines broken? Whom can they convince?

It is absolutely true that tendencies of resistance to a left turn are maturing in the centrist apparatus. How will the upper echelon, made up of the Kalinins, the Voroshilovs, and others react to them? Most likely, it will desert to them as soon as they become stronger. Is Stalin heading toward a new fight with the broader circles of his apparatus or toward conciliation? Who can predict? And what can be built on guesses? What other line can revolutionaries have than to preserve their honor, not betray themselves, not lie to the party, and steadfastly remember all the while that tactical accord with the centrists, even the most complete (which by all appearances does not exist here), even when long-term, does not guarantee unity on strategy. And it is precisely strategy that is of paramount importance.

Rakovsky’s declaration, to which I lent my signature, already represents a bygone stage. I viewed this declaration as an application of the “united front” as regards the different opposition groupings. I explained this in the press. The policy of a united front, however, demands clear recognition of the moment when it is necessary to make an abrupt break with temporary allies. (Remember the experience of the Anglo-Russian Committee!) For some of the signers of the statement it was a bridge to the next half-capitulatory or fully capitulatory document. For us the declaration was a maximum concession to the pacifists.

Yaroslavsky has already uttered his prophetic opinion. The declaration is from a bygone day. All who take a step to the right of this declaration should be helped on their way with a kick.

My warm greetings. I wish you courage and strength.