Alfred Rosmer

Enough of Mud! Enough of Blood!


From Socialist Action, Vol. II No. 17, 23 April 1938, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Alfred Rosmer, author of the following article, was a member of the Executive Committee of the Communist International in the days of Lenin and Trotsky. Be was also at one time the editor of L’Humanité organ of the French Communist Party. As a member of the International Commission of Inquiry into the Moscow Trials, he had an opportunity of studying closely Stalin’s frame-up methods. In this article he tears a wide rent in the most recent of Stalin’s frame-ups, the trial of the twenty-one which ended with the execution of Bukharin, Krestinsky, Rykov and other prominent Russian Bolsheviks.Ed.

Krestinsky, alone, among the latest batch of men destined by Stalin for death, displayed an outburst of indignation and anger at the beginning of his examination. His resistance had not been completely broken; he could not endure hearing himself described as a spy and traitor. A night passed, and he agreed to “confess,” that is to say, to play his role in the lugubrious and nauseating play staged by Stalin-Yezhov. If the correspondent of the Temps is to be believed, Krestinsky was then “very lively” and, speaking “rapidly and with animation,” he told, among other things, that he received from von Seeckt an annuity of 250,000 rubles of which he transmitted important sums to Magdeleine Paz and Rosmer in Berlin, at the Hotel Excelsior, in 1928.

These Moscow Trials are so coarsely fabricated that each time a specific fact is alleged – in the indictment or during the court hearings – it is possible to make a decisive refutation.

Commission Exposes Lies

The International Commission of Inquiry, which met in New York during 1937, definitely established, with an impressive abundance of proof, that the very bases of the indictment in the first two trials (August 1936 and January 1937) were nothing but lies.

Stalin answered with a big new trial in every way similar to its predecessors, with the single difference that the inventions are even more delirious. Having shared in the work of the International Commission of Inquiry, I know very well how the Stalinist police plots are manufactured, on what lies and distortions they are erected. Today, I must examine my own case, since Krestinsky alleges he transmitted to me – to Magdeleine Paz and myself – important sums of money intended for Trotskyist propaganda, and he states that this took place in Berlin, at the Excelsior Hotel, in 1928. But:

The Real Facts

I did not go to Berlin at any time during 1928.

I was not in Berlin with Magdeleine Paz nor did I ever meet her there.

I never visited Krestinsky in Berlin.

Moreover, although I resided for an extended period in Moscow between 1920 and 1924 and belonged to leading bodies of the Communist International and the Red Trade Union International, although I directed 1’Humanité – when it was communist – and consequently was in contact with many Bolsheviks, it is a fact that I met Krestinsky only once, in 1924, entirely by chance. During this accidental encounter, which lasted only a few minutes, I did not have an opportunity even to speak to him. After that date, I never saw Krestinsky again, either in Berlin or elsewhere.

Finally, in 1928, I was on the fringe of the Communist Opposition, but in no way participated in its activity.

Stalin’s Reasons

All I have just stated is easily verifiable. Then why, it will be said, should they lie so stupidly? Why should we be associated, Magdeleine Paz and myself, since we did not work together politically? The explanation is not hard to find.

Magdeleine Paz was one of the first to protest against the “Moscow trials”; above all, she courageously led the battle in search of the truth within the League for the Rights of Man, one of those organizations that Stalinism needs most for its present policy. Magdeleine Paz is dangerous. Therefore, they must try to discredit her, to ruin what influence she might have, by saying that Krestinsky gave her a part of the money he allegedly received from von Seeckt: that is the link.

And through me, they are aiming at the International Commission of Inquiry and seeking to strike it a blow. The Commission made a report that is overwhelming for the accusers. The conscientious and searching investigation made by the Commission throws full light on the Moscow trials. The French press has kept silent about its work and its conclusions – the press of the right as well as of the left. But this has not been true everywhere. The American press, among others, has reproduced at length and commented on the revelations and decisions of the Commission. The real criminal has appeared: Stalin. And that just at the moment when Stalin is trying to win the leading political circles of Washington and to assure a large base for his propaganda throughout the country.

New Falsehoods Needed

There is no possibility of refuting the report and conclusions of the Commission: its work was too well done and too solid. The only remaining possibility is to try to discredit its members by showing them to be, for instance, the accomplices of those executed. Thus it was necessary to lie again, to mobilize a dead man – von Seeckt – and make the Reichsmarks, the pounds sterling, and the yen circulate. But these new lies will in their turn be denounced, and exposed? What of it? The great problem for Stalin is to stifle the truth, to prevent it from being heard.

His press will shout the lie every morning, everywhere. He has considerable means at his disposal; his openly Stalinist press is reinforced by a camouflaged press, the finest sample of which is doubtless Ce Soir, which gives itself out as a “great independent daily,” keeps stubbornly silent about its financial backers, and shows only discreetly the snouts of its Stalinist directors.

The first two trials did not, at least in France, arouse great feeling. The voices that rose to denounce these monstrous parodies of justice found slight echo.

Friedrich Adler, stigmatizing them as witchcraft trials, had small following among the parties of his own International. Organizations whose first duty should have been to intervene in defense of the accused were evasive, or even went so far as to cover up without courage or frankness Soviet “justice.” They tried to regard these trials as episodes, disagreeable to be sure, but peculiarly Russian, with which they had no occasion to concern themselves further.

Protests Widening

This time it is different. The circle of protests is widening, refutations come from all sides, resolutions are being voted. The sinister, unending “purge” had already occasioned a growing disquietude, and now there is a new Moscow trial. Too much mud and too much blood! Only the professional Stalinists, with strong stomachs, can still swallow it without wincing. One wonders: Has Stalin gone mad? Has his omnipotence deprived him of reason? Has he lost his head and sunk into a particularly cruel form of sadism? Possibly.

But what is henceforth clear is that his policy, on which everything is dependent, is a dangerous poison for the labor movement, and that its ravages are already great. It degrades Bolshevism, it soils socialism, compromising its growth and its future to an extent that no fascist assassin could even dream of attaining. The most pressing task today is to help the workers – alarmed by this systematic massacre of old Bolsheviks, painfully troubled in their attachment to the Soviet Union and the conquests of the October Revolution – help them to understand that a new society, a socialist society cannot be built on lies, with the blood of its pioneers.

Last updated on 30 July 2015