The Defence of Terrorism: Terrorism and Communism
 1138015296, 9781138015296

Table of contents :
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Original Title Page
Original Copyright Page
Table of Contents
1 The Balance of Power
2 The Diɛtatorship of the Proletariat
3 Democracy
4 Terrorism
5 The Paris Commune and Soviet Russia
6 Marx and ...... Kautsky
7 The Working Class and Its Soviet Policy
8 Problems of the Organisation of Labour
9 Karl Kautsky, His School, and His Book
In Place of an Epilogue

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Routledge Revivals

The Defence of Terrorism

The Defence of Terrorism, originally written in 1920 on a military train during the Russian Civil War, represents one of Trotsky’s most wideranging and original contributions to the debates that dominated the 1920s and ‘30s. Trotsky’s intention is "far away from any thought of defending terrorism in general". Rather, he seeks to promote an historical justification for the Revolution, by demonstrating that history has set up the ‘revolutionary violence of the progressive class’ against the ‘conservative violence of the outworn classes’. The argument is developed in response to the influential Marxist intellectual Karl Kautsky, who refuted Trotsky’s ‘militarisation of labour’ and Lenin’s wholesale rejection of a ‘bloodless revolution’. The introduction, written for the second edition of 1935, presents Trotsky’s reflections on the similarities between Kautsky and the burgeoning British Labour Party: specifically, it recapitulates Trotsky’s belief that revolution conducted according to the norms of Parliamentarianism is no revolution at all.

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The Defence of Terrorism Terrorism and Communism: A Reply to Karl Kautsky

Leon Trotsky




Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

First published in 1921 Second edition 1935 by George Allen & Unwin Ltd This edition first published in 2014 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 1921 George Allen & Unwin Ltd All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Publisher’s Note The publisher has gone to great lengths to ensure the quality of this reprint but points out that some imperfections in the original copies may be apparent. Disclaimer The publisher has made every effort to trace copyright holders and welcomes correspondence from those they have been unable to contact.

ISBN 13: 978-1-138-01529-6 (hbk) ISBN 13: 978-1-315-79447-1 (ebk) Additional materials are available on the companion website at



Terrorism and Communism A REPLY TO KARL KAUTSKY BY











Introduction To the Second English Edition


HIS book was written in 1920 in the car of a military train and amid the flames of civil war. This circumstancethe readermust keep before his eyesif he wishes rightly to understandnot only the basic material of the book, but also its harsh allusions, and particularly the tone in which it is written. The book was written as an attack on Karl Kautsky. To the younger generation this name does not mean much, although indeed Kautsky is still alive among us: not long ago he kept his eightieth birthday. Kautsky at one time wielded a very great authority in the ranks of the Second International as the theorist of Marxism. The war soon showed that his Marxism was only a method for a passive interpretation of the process of history, but not a method of revolutionary action. So long as the class struggle flowed between the peaceful shores of parliamentarism,Kautsky, like thousandsof others, indulged himself in the luxury of revolutionary criticism and bold perspectives: in practice these did not bind him to anything. But when the war and the after-war period brought the problemsof revolution onto the field, Kautsky took up his position definitively on the other side of the barricade. Without breaking away from Marxist phraseologyhe made himself, insteadof the champion of the proletarian revolution, the advocateof passivity. of a crawling capitulation before Imperialism. In the period before the war Karl Kautsky and the leaders of the British Labour Party seemedto be standingat opposite poles of the Second International. Our generation, which then was young, in the fight against the opportunism of MacDonald, Henderson,and their brethren,not seldom made use of weaponstaken from Kautsky's arsenal. But in truth even in those days we went a great deal further than that wavering and ambiguous teacher was willing to go. Even before the war, Rosa Luxemburg,who had a closer knowledge of Kautsky than others,had ruthlesslyexposedthe pinchbeck in his radicalism. These last years, anyhow, have thrown a

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full light on the facts: politically Kautsky belongs to the samecamp as Henderson. If the former still goes on quoting from Marx, while the latter chooses rather the psalms of King David, this difference in habits does no harm whatever to their solidarity. All that is essentiallyutteredin this book against Kautsky can likewise almost unreservedlybe applied to the leadersof the British trade union movementand of the Labour Party. One of the chaptersin the book is given to the so-called Austrian school of Marxism (Otto Bauer, Karl Renner, and others). Essentially this school fulfilled the same function: with the help of sterilised formulae from Marxism it gave shelterto a policy of cowering opportunismand, coward-like, it refusedto make those bold decisionswhich were inevitably called for by the course of the class struggle. Events put both Kautskianism and Austrian Marxism to a ruthless test. The once powerful social-democraticparties of Germany and Austria, raised (against their own will) by the revolutionary movement in 1918 to the heights of power, freely yielded up bit by bit their positions to the bourgeoisie, until they were seen to have been ruthlessly crushed by it. The history of thesetwo partieswill be found to be a priceless Illustration in the questionof the part played by revolutionary and counter-revolutionaryviolence in history. For the sake of continuity I have kept the title for the book under which the first English edition came out: "The Defenceof Terrorism." But it must at once be said here that this title, which is that of the original publishersand not the author'S,is too wide and may even give groundsfor misunderstanding. What we are concerned with is not at all the defenceof "terrorism" as such. Methods of compulsion and terrorisationdown to the physical extirpation of its opponents have up to now advantaged,and continue to advantage in an infinitely higher degreethe causeof reaction,as represented by the outworn exploiting classes,than they do the causeof historical progress, as representedby the proletariat. The jury of moralists who condemn"terrorism" of whateverkind hav!' their gaze fixed really on the revolutionary deedsof the per'>ecutedwho are seeking to set themselvesfree. The best example of this is Mr. Ramsay MacDonald. In the name


Terrorism and Communism

of the eternal princip1es of morality and religion he was unwearied in condemning violence. But when the collapse of the capitalist system and the sharpening of the class struggle made the revolutionary fight of the proletariat for' power an actual and living question for England also, Mac. Donald left the Labour camp for that of the Conservative bourgeoisie with just as little bother as when a passenger changes from a smoking compartment to a non-smoking. To-daythe piousenemyof terrorismis keeping up by the help of organisedviolence a "peaceful" systemof unemployment, colonial oppression,armed forces and preparation for fresh wars. The presentwork, therefore, is far away from any thought of defendingterrorism in general. It championsthe historical justification of the proletarian revolution. The root idea of the book is this: that history down to now has not thought out any other way of carrying mankind forward than that of settingup always the revolutionaryviolence of the progressive class againstthe conservativeviolence of the outworn classes. The incurable Fabians, it is true, keep on saying that, if the argumentsof this book are true for backwardRussia,they are utterly without application to advancedlands, especialIy to old democracieslike Great Britain. This consolingillusion may haveworn a cloak of persuasiveness up to fifteen or ten years ago. But since then a wave of Fascist or militarised police dictatorships has overwhelmed a great part of the Europeanstates. The day after I was exiled from the Soviet Union, on February25, I929, I wrote-not for the first time, indeed-with referenceto the situation in Europe: "Democratic institutions have shown that they cannot withstand the pressureof present-dayantagonisms,both international and national-moreoften, both together.... On the analogy with electrical sciencedemocracymay be defined as a system of safety switches and fuses to guard against too strong currents of national or social hostility. There has never been one period in the history of mankind even within the slightest degreeso filled with antagonismsas our own. The overloading of the current shows itself more and more at various points in the Europeansystem. Under the too high tension of class and international oppositions the safety

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switches of democracyfuse or burst. This is the essenceof the short-circuit of dictatorship. The first to give way, of course,are the weakestswitches. Internal and world oppositions, however, are not losing strength, but growing. It is hardly a ground for consolation that the process has taken hold only of the edge of the capitalistic world; gout begins with the big toe, but, once it has begun, it reachesthe .heart." In the six years that have gone by since these lines were written the "short-circuits" of dictatorship have arisen in Germany, Austria, and Spain-in this last after a short-lived revolutionary flowering of democracy. All those democratic illusionary dreamerswho tried to explain Italian Fascismas a passing phenomenonthat had arisen in a relatively backward land as the result of an after-war psychosis,met with the sternest refutation from the facts themselves. Among the great European countries the parliamentary regime is now left only in Franceand in England. But after what has happenedin Europe anyonewould have to be extraordinarily blind if he believes Franceand England to be safe from civil war and dictatorship. On February 6, 1934, French parliamentarianismwas given its first warning. Extraordinarilysuperficialis the ideathat the comparatively strong resisting power of the British political system arises out of the great age of its parliamentarytraditions, and that as the years go on it automaticallydraws fresh strengthfrom these for resistance. It has nowhere been found that old things, other circumstancesbeing the same, are set firmer than new things. The fact is that British parliamentarianism holds together better than the others amid the crisis of the capitalist system only becausetheir former world dominion allowed the ruling classes of Great Britain to heap up an immense wealth, which now goes on lighting up the gloom of their days. In other words: the British parliamentary democracy holds together not through a mystic power of tradition, but from the plump savings which have been handeddown from thriving times. The future lot of British democracy dependsnot on its inner characteristics,but on the lot of British and world capitalism. If the jugglers and wonder-workers in power were really to find out the secretof giving youth to capitalism,


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there is no doubt that along with it bourgeois democracy would find its own youth again. But we see no grounds for believing in the jugglers and wonder-workers. The last imperialistic war, indeed, came as an expression, and at the same time a proof, of the historical truth that world capitalismhas drunk its progressivemission to the last drop. The development of the productive powers comes to rest against two reactionary barriers: private ownership of the meansof production and the frontiers of the national state. Unless these two barriers are swept away, that is to say, unlessthe meansof productionare concentratedin the hands of the community, and unless there is an organisedplanned economy, which can gradually enfold the whole world, the economic and cultural collapse of mankind is foredoomed. Further short-circuitings by reactionary dictatorshipswould in such a case inevitably spread to Great Britain also: the successeswon by Fascism are seen to be no more than the political expression of the decay of the capitalist system. In other words: even in England a political state of things is not impossiblewherein some coxcomb such as Mosley, will be able to play an historical part like that played by his teachersMussolini and Hitler. From the Fabianswe may hearit objectedthat the English proletariat have it quite in their own hands to come to power by way of Parliament, to carry through peacefully, within the law and step by step, all the changescalled for in the capitalist system, and by so doing not only to make revolutionary terrorism needless,but also to dig the ground away under the feet of counter-revolutionaryadventurers. An outlook such as this has at first sight a particular persuasivenessin the light of the Labour Party'svery important successesin the elections-butonly at first sight, and that a very superficial one. The Fabian hope must, I fear, be held from the very beginning to be out of the question. I say "I fear," since a peaceful, parliamentarychange over to a new social structurewould undoubtedlyoffer highly important advantagesfrom the standpoint of the interests of culture, and therefore those of socialism. But in politics nothing is more dangerousthan to mistake what we wish for what is possible. On the one hand, a victory for the Labour Party

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at the electionswould by no meansbring with it the immediate concentrationof real power in its hands. On the other hand, the Labour Party does not, indeed, aim at full power, for, as representedby its leaders,it has no wish to expropriatethe bourgeoisie. Henderson, Lansbury, and the others have nothing about them of the great social reformers; they are nothing else than small bourgeois conservatives. We have seensocial democracyin power in Austria and Germany. In England we have twice beheld a so-called Labour Government. To-day therearesocial democraticGovernmentsat the headof Denmark and of Sweden. In all these casesnot one hair has fallen from the head of capitalism. A HendersonLansburyGovernmentwould not differ in the slightest from a Hermann Muller Governmentin Germany. It would not dare to lay a finger on the property of the bourgeoisie,and would be doomed to try paltry reforms, which, while disappointing the workers, would irritate the bourgeoisie. Farreaching social reforms cannot be carried out amid the conditions of crumbling capitalism. The workers would be more and more insistent in demanding more determined measuresfrom the Government. In the parliamentarysection of the Labour Party the revolutionarywing would split off; the right wing would be drawn more and more openly to a capitulation on the MacDonald pattern. As a counterweight to the Labour Government and a safeguardagainst revolutionary action by the masses,big capital would set about energetically supporting (this it has already begun to do) the Fascistmovement. The Crown, the House of Lords, the bourgeois minority in the House of Commons, the bureaucracy, the military and naval commands,the banks,the trusts, the main body of the Press,ever ready to bring up the bands of Mosley or of some other more efficient adventurerto help the regular armed forces. In other words the "parliamentary outlook" would inevitably and fatally lead along the road to civil war, a civil war which, the less the leaders of the Labour Party were ready for it, would threatenthe more to take on a long-drawn, embittered, and for the proletariat, unfavourablecharacter. The conclusionto be drawn from all this is that the British proletariat must not reckon on any historic privileges. It

vii Terrorism and Communism will have to strugglefor power by the road of revolution and keep it in its hands by crushing the fierce resistanceof the exploiters. There is no other way leading to Socialism. The problems of revolutionary violence, or "terrorism," thereforehave their practical interestfor Englandalso. That is why I agreedto a new English edition of this book. At the Genevaconference(1922) the French representative Cobrat stated: "Soviet Russia, which has brought the land to the brink of an economiccrash, has no right to teach the other countries Socialism." But to-day he would find it hard to repeat these words. The Soviet Union since then hassucceeded in showingin practicehow greatarethe economic possibilities that lie in the nationalisation of the means of production. This proof is the more striking since we have to do with a backward land, and one without any reservesof trained workers and technicians. At the time of the civil war, when this book was written, the Sovietswere still underthe flag of "military Communism." This system was not an "illusion"-as the Philistines often maintainedafterwards-butan iron necessity. The question was how the wretched resourceswere to be applied, mainly for the needs of the war, and how production, on however small a scale, was to be kept alive for these same ends and without any possibility of the work being paid for. Military Communismfulfilled its mission in so far as it made victory a possibility in the civil war. "Illusions," so far as this word has any application at all here, are rather what we may call those economic hopes which were bound up with the development of the world revolution. The common and inseparableconviction of thewhole party at thattime was that the speedyvictory of the proletariat in the West, beginning with Germany, would reveal vast technical and cultural possibilities, and thereby leave the ground free for a direct passagefrom militant Communismto a Socialistic system of production. The ide~ of five-year plans was not only formulated in that period, but in someeconomicdepartmentsit was also technicallyworked out. The slow developmentof the revolution in the West brought about a far-reachingchangein the economic methodsof the

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Soviets. The period of the New Economic Policy started. It led on the one hand to a generalquickeningof the economic life, and on the other to a new birth of the small bourgeoisie, especialIy of the kulaks. The Soviet bureaucracyfor the first time felt itself less dependenton the proletariat. It was now standing "between the classes," regulating their relations to one another. At the same time as this it was losing piece by piece its trust and interest in the Western proletariat. It is from the autumn of 1924 that Stalin, in utter contradiction with the party traditions and with what he wrote himself as late as the spring of the same year, puts forward for the first time the theory of "Socialism in one country." Bukharin supplementsit by a theory of the "gradual growth of the kulak into Socialism." Stalin and Bukharin go along arm in arm. The difficulties of the revolution, the deprivations, the sacrifices, the death of the best workers during the civil war, the slow coming of economic successesled in those days to an inevitable reaction among the massesof the population. The loss of hope in the Europeanworkers made greater the dependenceof the Russianworkers on their own bureaucracy. On the other hand the reaction arising out of weariness amongthe massesfavoured a further growth of independence in the machinery of government. Taking its stand on the conservativeforces among the smalI bourgeoisie,and making every use of the defeat of the world proletariat and of the fallen spirit among the Soviet masses,Stalin's section, that staff of the bureaucracy, comes down with a heavy hand on the so-calIed left opposition ("the Trotskyites"). The October revolution enters on the stage of bureaucratic degeneration. But the kulak is not at all allured by the vision of a "peaceful growth into Socialism." What he wishesis the restoration of freedom to trade. He accumulatesin his hands the wheat supplies and refuses them to the Government. He demands paymentagainst the notes he was given by the bureaucracy during the struggle with the opposition of the left. From an ally he becomesa foe. The bureaucracyis driven to defend itself. It starts a campaignagainstthe kulak, whose existenceit had yesterday

,x Terrorism and Communism denied,and againstthe right wing of the party, its ally in the struggle with the opposition of the left. The new political course which was set in 1928 threw a strong light on the dependenceof the Soviet bureaucracyupon the economic foundationslaid by the Octoberrevolution. Unwillingly and always struggling, it was forced to take the road of industrialisation and collectivisation. Here for the first time it brings to light those unboundedproductive possibilities that are the necessaryresults of the concentrationof the means of production in the handsof the State. The wonderful, though very uneven, successesof the fiveyear plan naturally raised the self-confidenceof the bureaucracy. The collectivisation of millions of small peasantholdings gave it at the sametime a new social basis. The defeats suffered by the world proletariat, the growth of Fascist and Bonapartist dictatorships in Europe all helped towards the successof the doctrine of "Socialism in one country." The bureaucracy succeeded, indeed, in breaking up the Bolshevist Party and the Soviets, too, which were left only in name. The power passedfrom the masses,from the party, to a centralised bureaucracy;from this to a close supreme authority; and in the end to one man as the embodimentof an uncheckedbureaucracy. Many onlookersare astoundedand repelled by the worship of the "leader" which so humiliatingly brings the Soviet system of to-day not far away from Hitler's system. The "party" in Russiaand Germanyalike has one, and only one, right: the right to agreewith the leader. The party meetings become nothing else than demonstrationsof a unanimity that is assuredbeforehand. In what way is the Soviet order of things better than the Fascist?is the question put by the democrats,the pacifists, the idealists, who are none of them capableof looking below the political superstructure. Without in the slightestwishing to defend the bureaucraticcaricature of the Soviet system, we will answer this one-sided criticism of it by pointing to its social basis. Hitler's system is seento be the last and truly desperateform of self-defence taken by a capitalism rotting to destruction. Stalin's system is seen to be the misshapenbureaucraticform of self-defence takenby': a Socialismthat is rising. Thesetwo arenot the same.

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In so far as the Soviet bureaucracyis forced in its own interest to preservethe frontiers and the institutions of the RussianSoviet republic againstfoes without and within, and to give heed to the developmentof the nationalisedproductive forces, this bureaucracyis still fulfilJing a progressive historical task, and has so far a right to the support of the workers of the world. But the root of the matter is this: that the farther ahead the tasks of economic and cultural construction lie, the less capal)le are they of being carried through by bureaucraticmethods. The distribution of productive forces and materialsis now carried out by the authorities under orders from above, without any share by the workers in deciding those questions on which their labour and their life depend. Caseswhere there is a lack of proportion or ill-adjustment in managementgrow more and more. The raising of the standardof life among the massesgoes on exceedingly slowly and unevenly, and lags far behind technical achievementsand the output of energy by the workers. Thus, economic successes,while for a time they strengthenthe bureaucraticautocracy,in their further development turn more and more against it. The Socialistic economy must be directed to ensuring the satisfaction of every possible human need. Such a problem it is impossible to solve by way of commands only. The greaterthe scale of the productive forces, the more involved the technique;the more complex the needs, then the more indispensableis a wide and free creative initiative of the organised producers and consumers. The Socialist culture implies the utmost development of the human personality. Progress along this path is made possible not through a standardisedcringing before irresponsible"leaders," but only through a fuIJy consciousand critical participation by all in a Socialistic creativeactivity. The youthful generationsstand in need of independence,which is wholly consistentwith a firm leadershipbut rules out any police regimentation. Thus the bureaucraticsystemin crushingthe Soviets and the party is coming ever more clearly into opposition with the basic needsof economicand cultural development. The workers' state has come into existence for the first time in history. Neither its forms and methods, nor the


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stagesit must go through could be, and they cannot now be, laid down beforehand. Bourgeois society developeditself in the courseof centuriesand came into power by steppinginto the place of scores of political systems. There are good grounds for believing that the Socialist societywill reach its full development by an incomparably shorter and more economical road. But it would, anyhow, be a poor kind of illusion to imagine that an "enlightened bureaucracy" is capableof leading mankind by the bridle in a straight line to Socialism. The workers' state will more than once again reform its methods before it becomes dissolved in a Communist society. The great historical reform whose turn has now come demandsthat the Soviet state be set free from bureaucraticabsolutism; in other words: the restoration of the creative character of the Soviets on new and deeper economic and cultural foundations. This task cannot be carried through unless the working massestake up the fight againstthe usurping bureaucracy. The historical part playedby governmentviolence naturally changesalong with changesin the characterof the workers' state. So far as bureaucraticviolence, however grim it may sometimesbe, is defending the social foundations of the new system, it is historically justified. But to defend the Soviet state and to defend the positions of bureaucracywithin the Soviet stateis not one and the samething. As time goes on the bureaucracyhas recourse more and more cynically to terror against the party and the working class, so as to defend its economic and political privileges. Its object, of course, is to make its caste defence look like the defence of the highest interests of Socialism. Hence comes the evergrowing falsenessof the official ideology, the repulsiveworship of the leaders and the downright deception of the working massesthrough political and legal forgeries. It is the policy of the Soviet bureaucracyin relation to the international proletariat that has a peculiarly criminal character. Having in reality long ago given up any hopes for a world revolution, the bureaucracyis keepingsectionsof the Communist International in a purely military subordination, and turning them into auxiliary instrumentsfor its diplomacy. The revolutionary defenceof the Soviet Union has long been

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exchangedfor the lawyers' defence of all the actions of the ruling Soviet heads. The leadersof the Komintem more and more show themselvesto the workers as officials independent of the masses. The German Communist party, which had seemed so imposing, was found, when it was brought against real danger, to be a political cipher. Blind obedienceis not a thing to be proud of in a revolutionary. The Komintern has been robbed of life, personality,and soul. If in England, in spite of the highly favourable conditions, the Communist party is still an organisation without importance, without influence, without authority, and without a future, then the responsibilityfor this lies aboveall with the Sovietbureaucracy. Everything in England is heading for a revolutionary explosion. A happy issue from the economiccrisis-andthis is quite a possibility in itself and even inevitable--could never have more than a transitory character, and would quickly yield once more to a fresh and devastatingcrisis. There is no way to salvation through capitalism. The coming into power of the Labour party will have only this meaning for progress, that once more it will show-and infinitely clearer even than before-the bankruptcy of the methods and illusions of parliamentarianism amidst the crumbling ruins of the capitalistsystem. And so the absolute need for a new, a truly revolutionary party will stand forth clear-cut before our eyes. The British proletariat will enter upon a period of political crisis and theoreticalcriticism. The problems of revolutionary violence will stand in their full height before it. The teachingsof Marx and Lenin for the first time will find the massesas their audience. Such being the case, it may be also that the presentbook will turn out to be not without its use. L. TROTSKY

January 10, 1935

Contents IntroduCtion I The Balanceof Power 2 The DiCtatorshipof the Proletariat 3 Democracy 4 Terrorism 5 The Paris Communeand Soviet Russia 6 Marx and ......Kautsky 7 The Working Classand Its Soviet Policy 8 Problemsof the Organisationof Labour 9 Karl Kautsky, His School,and His Book In Placeof an Epilogue


13 21 28 46 65 85 91 118 164 174

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HE origin of this book was the learnedbrochureby Kautsky with the samename. My work wa~begunat the most intense period of the strugglewith Denikin andYudenich,and more than once was interrupted by events at the front. In the most difficult days,when the first chapterswerebeingwritten,all the attention of Soviet Russiawas concentratedon purely military problems. We were obliged to defendfirst of all the very possibility of Socialist economic reconstruCtion. We could busy ourselveslittle with industry, further than was necessaryto maintain tlle front. We were obliged to expose Kautsky's economic slandersmainly by analogy with his political slanders. The monstrousassertionsof Kautskyto the effeCl that the Russianworkers were incapableof labour discipline and economicself-control-could,at the beginning of this work, neariy a year ago, be combatedchiefly by pointing to the high Slateof discipline and heroismin battle ofthe Russianworkersat the front createdby the civil war. That experiencewasmore than enough to explode these bourgeoisslanders. But now a few months hava goneby, andwe can turn to faCts and conclusionsdrawndireClly from the economiclife of Soviet Russia. As soonas the military pressurerelaxedafter the defeat of Ko1chak andYudenich and the infliClion of decisive blows on Denikin, after the conclusionof peacewith Esthoniaand the beginningof negotiations with Lithuania and Poland,the whole country turned its mind to things economic. And this one faCl, of a swift and concentrated transferenceof attention and energy from one set of problems to another-verydifferent, but requiiing not less sacrifice-is incontrovertible evidenceof the mighty vigour of the Sovietorder. In spite of political tortures, physical sufferings and horrors, the labouring lllasses·nreinfinitely distantfrom political decomposition,from moral collapse,or from apathy. Thanks to a regime which, though it has infliCled greathardshipsupon them,hasgiven their life a purposeand a high goal, they preservean extraordinarymoral stubbornness and ability unexampledin history, and concentratetheir attentionand will on colleClive problems. To-day, in all branchesof industry, there is going on an energeticstrugglefor the establishmentof striCt labour discipline, and for the increaseof the produchvity of labour. The party organisations, the trade unions, the factory and workshop

Terrorism and Communism 8 administrativecommittees,rival one anotherin this respect,with the undivided support of the public opinion of the working-classas a whole. Factory after factory willingly, by resolution at its general meeting,increasesits working day. Petrogradand Moscow set the example,andtheprovincesemulatePetrograd.CommuniStSaturdays and Sundays-thatis to say, voluntary and unpaid work in hours appointedfor rest-spreadever wider and wider, drawing into their reachmany,manyhundredsof thousandsof working menandwomen. The industryand productivity of labourat the CommuniStSaturdays and Sundays,accordingto the report of expertsand the evidenceof figures, is of a remarkablyhigh standard. Voluntary mobilisationsfor labourproblemsin the party andin the Young CommunistLeagueare carriedout with just as much enthusiasm as hitherto for military tasks. Voluntarism supplementsand gives life to universallabour service. The Committeesfor universal labour servicerecentlyset up havespreadall over the country. The attraction of the population to work on a massscale (clearing snow from the roads,repairingrailway lines, cutting timber, choppingand bringing up of wood to the towns, the simplestbuilding operations, the cutting of slate and of peat) becomemore and more widespread andorganisedeveryday. The ever-increasingemploymentof military formationson thelabourfront would bequiteimpossiblein theabsence of elevatedenthusiasmfor labour. True, we live in the midst of a very difficult period of economic depression-exhausted, poverty-stricken,and hungry. But this is no argumentagainstthe Sovietregime. All periodsof transitionhavebeen characterisedby just such tragic features. Every classsociety (serf. feudal, capitalist),having exhaustedits vitality, doesnot simply leave the arena,but is violently swept off by an intensestruggle,which immediately brings to its participantseven greater privations and sufferingsthan thoseagainstwhich they rose. The transition from feudal economyto bourgeoissociety-astep of gigantic importancefrom the point of view of progress-gaveus a terrifying list of martyrs. Howeverthe massesof serfssufferedunder feudalism.howeverdifficult it has been,and is, for the proletariatto live undercapitalism,neverhavethe sufferingsof the workersreached sucha pitch as at the epochswhen the old feudal order was being violently shattered,and was yielding place to the new. The French


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9Revolution of the eighteenth century, which attained its titanic dimensionsunderthe pressureof the massesexhauSl:edwith suffering, itself deepenedand renderedmore acutetheir misfortunesfor a prolongedperiodand to an extraordinaryextent. Canit be otherwise? Palacerevolutions, which end merely by personalreshuffiings at the top, can take placein a short spaceof time, having praCtically no effect on the economiclife of the country. Qyite anothermatterare revolutions which drag into their whirlpool millions of workers. Whateverbe the form of society,it reSl:s on the foundationof labour. Draggingthe massof the peopleaway from labour,drawing themfo.' a prolongedperiod into the Sl:ruggle, thereby deSl:roying their connection with production, the revolution in all these ways slrikes deadly blows at economic life, and inevitably lowers the Sl:andard which it found at its birth. The more perfect the revolution, the greaterare the massesit drawsini and the longer it is prolonged,the greateris the deSl:ruCtionit achievesin the apparatusof production, and the more terrible inroads does it make upon public resources. From this there follows merely the conclusionwhich did not require proof-thata civil war is harmful to economiclife. But to lay this at the door of the Soviet economicsySl:em is like accusinga new-born humanbeing of the birth-pangsof the motherwho broughthim into the world. The problemis to makea civil war a shortonei and this is attainedonly by resolutenessin action. But it is juSl: againSl: revolutionary resolutenessthat Kautsky'swhole book is directed. Sincethe time that the book underexaminationappeared,not only in Russia,but throughoutthe world-andfirSl: of all in Europe-the greateSl:eventshavetakenplace,or processesof greatimportancehave developed,underminingthe laSl: buttressesof Kautskianism. In Germany,the civil war has beenadoptingan ever fiercer character. The externalSl:rengthin organisationof the old party and trade union democracyof the working-classhasnot only not createdconditions for a more peacefuland "humane" transition to Socialismas follows from the presenttheory of Kautsky-but,on the contTary, has served as one of the principal reasonsfor the long-drawn-out characterof the Sl:ruggle, and its conSl:antly growing ferocity. The more German Social-Democracybecamea conservative,retarding force, the more energy,lives, and blood have had to be spentby the

Terrorism and Communism


Germanproletariat,devotedto it in a seriesof sySlematicattackson the foundationsof bourgeoissociety, in order, in the processof the struggle itself, to create an actually revolutionary organisation, capableof guiding the proletariatto final victory. The conspiracyof the Germangenerals,their fleeting seizureof power, and the bloody events which followed, have again shown what a worthless and wretchedmasqueradeis so-calleddemocracy,during the collapseof imperialism and a civil war. This democracythat has outlived itself has not decidedone question,has not reconciledone contradiction, has not healed one wound, has not warded off risings either of the Right or of the Left; it is helpless,worthless,fraudulent,and serves only to confuse the backwardsectionsof the people, especiallythe lower middle classes. The hopeexpressedby Kautsky, in the conclusionof his book, that the Westerncountries,the "old democracies"of Franceand England -crowned as they are with victory-will afford us a picture of a healthy,normal,peaceful,truly Kautskiandevelopmentof Socialism, is oneof the mostpuerileillusions possible. The so-calledRepublican democracyof victorious France,at the presentmoment, is notlling but the most reaCtionary,graspinggovernmentthat has ever exiSted in the world. Its internal policy is built uponfear, greed,andviolence, in just asgreata measureasits externalpolicy. On the otherhand,the French proletariat, misled more than any other class has ever been misled, is more and more enteringon the path of direCt aCtion. The repressionswhich the governmentof the Republic has hurled upon the General Confederationof Labour show that even syndicaliSl Kautskianism-i.e., hypocritical compromise-hasno legal place within the framework of bourgeoisdemocracy. The revolutionising of the masses,the growing ferocity of the propertiedclasses,and the disintegrationof intermediategroups-threeparallel processeswhich determinethe charaCterand herald the coming of a cruel civil warhave been going 011 before our eyes in full blast during the last few monthsin France. In Great Britain, events,different in form, are moving along the self-samefundamentalroad. In that country,the ruling classof which is oppressingand plunderingthe whole world m:)re than ever before, the formul