Forgetful Myasnikov

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Brief News for the Use of Ultra-lefts

Some small ultraleft groups and, among others, Myasnikov (who has no group at all) chatter about the "capitulation" of the Russian Opposition, with Comrades Trotsky and Rakovsky at the head. These ravings are altogether out of place in Myasnikov's mouth and put him in a ridiculous position. We have no wish to engage in useless polemic; we limit ourselves to recalling some recent facts.

1. In June 1929, Myasnikov had preliminary talks with the Soviet consulate in Trebizond about the conditions for his return to the USSR. Myasnikov advanced certain demands for the right of return to the USSR with a guarantee of personal inviolability. For his part, he would abstain from political activity. Receiving no reply, on August 8 Myasnikov wrote this new statement:

"During our preliminary talks on the conditions for my return to the USSR it was agreed that I would return to the USSR if (a) I would be guaranteed personal inviolability; (b) this guarantee of personal inviolability would be made public through the periodical press (newspapers) before my return to the USSR; (c) after my return to the USSR I would have the right to reside in Moscow and Leningrad with the assurance of work; (d) this guarantee of personal inviolability would be granted when, on my return to the USSR, I ended my political activity."

It was only because of Comrade Trotsky's advice that this statement was not sent to the consulate by Myasnikov. It is proper to recall here that Myasnikov was accepting those same terms which Stalin had put to Comrade Trotsky in Alma-Ata just prior to his exile to Turkey, and to which Comrade Trotsky replied with the following firm and precise statement:

"Only completely corrupted bureaucrats could demand such a renunciation from revolutionaries (renunciation of political activity, i.e., of serving the party and the international proletariat). Only contemptible renegades could give such a promise."

2. When the Sino-Soviet conflict broke out, Myasnikov wrote to Comrade Trotsky (November 25, 1929):

"It is not the time for discussions [with the Stalinists] but for battle [against Chiang Kai-shek]. One must tell oneself so, and tell it to the whole world! Forward against Chiang Kai-shek – and forward into battle."

Comrade Trotsky answered Myasnikov as follows:

"I confess to you that your letter has greatly astonished me: you pose the question of the defense of the USSR as if it had arisen for the first time under the influence of the last stage of the Sino-Soviet conflict. However, the Bolshevik-Leninist Opposition has given a categorical answer to this question, particularly in its platform, which says: 'Whoever is against the defense of the USSR is a traitor to the international proletariat.' That does not mean that in the event of weir we must forget all our differences.

"We must fight as if these differences did not exist. But we must preserve our right to reuse even during the war all questions in dispute if the interests of the victory of the revolution demand it. That is why I consider it is impossible for an Oppositionist to renounce his political activity during peace as during war. Greetings. L. Trotsky."

3. Not long ago Myasnikov requested insistently from the "capitulator" Trotsky a preface to his pamphlet. Here is what Comrade Myasnikov wrote on August 3, 1929:

"Your criticism is useful to me and above all to the proletariat of the whole world. I do not fear criticism; on the contrary, I want loyal, honest, and documented criticism. Now there is only you who can give this criticism," etc., etc.

Comrade Trotsky refused to write this preface, not wishing to create the appearance of a political rapprochement where none existed in reality.

All this proves that Myasnikov and his friends should be a little more prudent.