Tag Archives: Kamenev

Eyewitness accounts: The Moscow Trial was Fair

"Mankind can free itself from suffering only by the road pointed out by Stalin and with his help." Mao Zedong studying the writings of J. V. Stalin in the Yenan base area during the Chinese Revolution

The following was sent by a comrade as a contribution to The Marxist-Leninist‘s ongoing ‘pro-Stalin ideological offensive’, which kicked off with the article commemorating Joseph Stalin’s 130th birth-anniversary, “Long Live the Universal Contributions of Comrade Joseph Stalin“:

The Moscow Trial was Fair

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By D. N. PRITT, K.C., M.P.

I STUDIED the legal procedure in criminal cases in Soviet Russia somewhat carefully in 1932, and concluded (as published at the time in “Twelve Studies in Soviet Russia”) that the procedure gave the ordinal accused a very fair trial. Having learnt from my legal friends in Moscow on my return this summer that the principal changes realised or shortly impending were all in the direction of giving greater independence to the Bar and the judges and greater facilities to the accused, I was particularly interested to be able to attend the trial of Zinoviev and Kamenev and others which took place on August 1923.

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Harry Haywood: Trotsky’s Day in Court

The following examination of Trotskyism by the great African American Marxist-Leninist, Harry Haywood, is from “Trotsky’s Day in Court”, Chapter 6 of Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist (1978), which takes place while Harry Haywood is studying in Moscow at the KUTVA, The University of the Toilers of the East. For a more thorough Marxist-Leninist examination of Trotskyism, read M.J. Olgin’s outstanding 1935 book, Trotskyism: Counter-Revolution in Disguise, which is perhaps the best treatment of the subject:


Trotsky’s Day in Court

Apart from our academic courses, we received our first tutelage in Leninism and the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the heat of the inner-party struggle then raging between Trotsky and the majority of the Central Committee led by Stalin. We KUTVA students were not simply bystanders, but were active participants in the struggle. Most students – and all of our group from the U.S. – were ardent supporters of Stalin and the Central Committee majority. 

It had not always been thus. Otto told me that in 1924, a year before he arrived, a majority of the students in the school had been supporters of Trotsky. Trotsky was making a play for the Party youth, in opposition to the older Bolshevik stalwarts. With his usual demagogy, he claimed that the old leadership was betraying the revolution and had embarked on a course of “Thermidorian reaction.” (1) In this situation, he said, the students and youth were “the Party’s truest barometer.” (2)

But by the time the Black American students arrived, the temporary attraction to Trotsky had been reversed. The issues involved in the struggle with Trotsky were discussed in the school. They involved the destiny of socialism in the Soviet Union. Which way were the Soviet people to go? What was to be the direction of their economic development? Was it possible to build a socialist economic system?  These questions were not only theoretical ones, but were issues of life and death. The economic life of the country would not stand still and wait while they were being debated.  

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