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Emanuel Garrett

Stalin’s Agents in France Plant Forged Document

GPU Invents New Lies Against Trotsky

(19 April 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 16, 19 April 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

A crude forgery purporting to be a “testament” in which Leon Trotsky turned his back on the proletarian revolution and the ideas he had championed in a life dedicated to socialist struggle, was recently planted by his assassins in March 21 issue of the Paris weekly, France Dimanche, one of the numerous newspaper channels used by the Stalinists in France.

Eight years have passed since the great revolutionary leader was struck down at his work-desk by a GPU agent who completed his part of a plot directed from New York, as disclosed a year ago in the revelations of ex-Daily Worker editor, Louis Budenz. But the murderer, Stalin, is still tormented by the vitality of his victims ideas.

There is reason to believe that the “rediscovery” of the “testament” was planned to coincide with the publication in France of Trotsky’s biography of Stalin, and was also arranged to buttress a full dress campaign to justify the infamous Moscow Trials.

More Forgeries Possible

There is as well reason to believe that additional forgeries will soon see the light of day. While the Nuremberg Court was in session, a petition, signed by scores of internationally prominent men and women – labor leaders, writers, scientists,etc. (Max Shachtman, Workers Party National Chairman was among the signers) – was presented to the Court asking that the Nazi defendants, notably Rudolph Hess, be interrogated with respect to accusations made in the Moscow Trials linking Stalin’s victims with a Hitler conspiracy. Natalia Trotsky asked the Court for permission to be represented in person or by counsel in questioning the defendants about charges made against Trotsky and other revolutionists, charges which were proved to be palpable frame-ups by the Commission of Inquiry, chaired by the noted philosopher, John Dewey.

The petition was unanswered. It is certain that the Russian prosecutor would not permit any such interrogation. Had the accusations in the Moscow Trials had so much as a grain of truth in them, the Russian prosecutor would certainly have seized upon the opportunity to justify the Moscow Trials before world opinion which holds these trials to have been monstrous frame-ups. However, what Stalin did not dare attempt in open court, he may now attempt where there cannot be examination of the evidence. The Russians have announced that they are publishing a counterpart to the U.S. documents on Nazi-Russian relations. It is possible that in these Russian published documents, forgeries designed to justify Stalin’s murder of revolutionists, will be included. Labor Action warns its readers of this in advance. The forgery published in Paris may be a trial balloon for greater frauds to come!

Also, so anxious is Stalin’s murder machine to justify the Moscow Trials after its failure to do so at Nuremberg, and so anxious are his agents to offset the effects of Trotsky’s book on Stalin in the volatile French situation, that they have launched a sweeping campaign to put over the Stalinist fabrication concocted by Kahn and Sayers, and published in this country as The Great Conspiracy.

Publishers Discard Book

The Great Conspiracy fell flat here. Nowhere outside of Stalinist circles was it given a moment’s attention.

In an act almost unparalleled in publishing history, THE PUBLISHERS, LITTLE BROWN, WASHED THEIR HANDS OF THE BOOK COMPLETELY, REASSIGNING IT TO THE AUTHORS ON APRIL 29,1946, LESS THAN TWO MONTHS AFTER ITS PUBLICATION. Various court challenges of the book were threatened. The publishers had to admit that they had not checked the facts and threw the book back at the authors, since when it has been peddled exclusively by Stalinists (with Wallace’s endorsement!).

Publication of the forgery is, apparently. connected with publication of the French edition of the Kahn-Sayers book. The Stalinists are going to great lengths to put its filth over. There are reports that a room at the Sorbonne (France’s big university) has been taken to either study the book or “investigate” the Moscow Trials, with the obvious intention of lending the name of the Sorbonne to the scurrilous findings of Stalinist “students.” The forgery would thus appear to serve as an attempt to provide a “logical” basis for the Moscow slanders, on the theory presumably that the man who in 1940 discarded his ideas in writing might have done so in practice earlier.

The forgery itself is so “clever” as to be self-defeating. It “cleverly” simulates Trotsky’s style by the simple device of lifting from PUBLISHED writings of Trotsky, and twisting a phrase or adding a sentence.

The very manner of its “discovery” explodes the fake. According to France Dimanche, “toward the end of July 1940 a Soviet agent succeeded in securing a copy of the testament which Trotsky had entrusted to one of his intimate friends and the document was transmitted to Moscow.” But France Dimanche also reports that, “This document, so extraordinary in every respect, has remained secret for eight years. It was believed to have been destroyed.” In other words, Moscow had the document in 1940, but “it was believed to have been destroyed.” Now, why in the name of any kind of intelligence would Moscow, which a month later was to send a murderer to the home of the great revolutionist, “destroy” this evidence against him?

(The date they chose to give the document is interesting. Trotsky was killed in August. The “testament” was supposedly written on “May 20, 1940 at the time when Hitler was winning the battle of France.” The only ones who knew that a “testament” would be needed that year were the GPU agents who planned the assassination which was finally committed by Jacque Van den Dreshd-Mornard-Jacson on August 20, 1940.)

Further, the document presumably came to light because Trotsky entrusted three copies to Victor Serge, and one of Serge’s friends “has just brought it to Europe.” The forgery gets more confusing: (1) Serge did not arrive in Mexico until thirteen months after Trotsky died. How could the document have been entrusted to him? (2) Trotsky had all manner of political collaborators, of which Serge was not one. Why did he not give this important “testament” to one of those who, at least,would have been able to transmit the document to the movement Trotsky built? (3) The document is sent to Moscow in 1940. It is “believed” destroyed. It is “just brought to Europe.” One thing is certain: it was never destroyed for the good reason that it was just written! That is why it “just arrived.”

Obvious Distortions

The “testament” is hardly worth quoting at length. The gist of it is:

“I am a veteran of the revolution who in the last hours of his life finds himself compelled to revise all the ideas and conceptions which he had formerly held. I firmly believed in the regeneration of mankind through the proletarian revolution. I begin to doubt that the class on which I placed all my hopes is capable of attempting the colossal task which history wants to assign to it.”

There is a certain caution here, aimed at making the “testament” authentic. The Stalinist forgers are using restraint. Their next “discoveries” will be less so. Here they do not have Trotsky engaging in acts of conspiracy with Hitler (as they charged in the Moscow Trials), but merely reflecting on the impossibility of proletarian revolution, on the correct vision of “certain elements in the left wing of the Socialist movement.”

The biggest part of the revelation purports to show that Trotsky had changed his mind on defending Russia. As anyone who has the slightest knowledge at all knows, Trotsky was then engaged in a fierce polemic with those of us who founded the Workers Party because WE felt that it was wrong for revolutionists to defend Russia in the imperialist war. Trotsky was in our view wrong, but the fact remains that whether or not he would have changed his mind had he lived, Trotsky polemized against our view while he lived.

The forgers have also taken a section of a document (In Defense of Marxism) which Trotsky wrote AGAINST a view then being developed by the Workers Party that Russia was a new kind of exploitive state, bureaucratic collectivism, and changed it to read: “This [the victory of the Stalinist bureaucracy] will be the epoch of a new exploitive class, born from the Bonapartist bureaucracy of Stalin.” And the forgers have added a sentence completely foreign to Trotsky (and the Workers Party!) that the “bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet Union brings with it proof of the congenital incapacity of the proletariat to become a ruling class.”

What Worries Stalin

Everything Trotsky wrote up to the day he died stands in contradiction to that forgery. Trotsky never lost his socialist faith in the ability of the working class to lead humanity, and, constitutionally, he could not lose that confidence in the working class. Hence the forgeries. For Trotsky also was confident that the working class would in time destroy the Stalinist bureaucracy. It is a thought that Stalin cannot tolerate!

It is not enough to have killed Trotsky. The Kremlin butcher must kill as well any idea that the workers whom he has placed in bondage, and whom he seeks to place in bondage, can lift themselves to freedom. What worries Stalin and his agents is not that Trotsky lost his faith in the working class, but that he did NOT; and that there are others who have not lost and will not lose that confidence until of Stalinism there remains only a fearful memory.

There will be new and grosser forgeries. We must take that for granted. The answer lies in fighting ceaselessly against the bestial totalitarianism of Stalinism!

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