Where were they

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At the time of my arrival, there were in the country many Social Democratic organizations which included both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. This was the natural result of the stand that Stalin, as well as Kamenev and others youfind , had taken, not only in the early stages of the revolution but also during the war although one must admit that Stalin’s position during the war was known to no one; to this rather important question he had never devoted a line. To-day the Communist International textbooks all over the world among the Communist Youths of Scandinavia and the Pioneers of Australia keep pounding it in that Trotsky made an attempt in 1912 to bring about the union of the Bolsheviks with the Mensheviks. But they never once mention the fact that in March, 1917, Stalin was advocating union with Tzereteli’s party, and that it was not until the middle of the year 1917 that Lenin was able to pull the party out of the morass into which its temporary leaders the epigones of to-day had driven it. The fact that not one of them understood the significance and direction of the revolution at its outset is now represented as a special dialectic profundity, in contrast with the heresy of Trotskyism, which was audacious enough not only to understand the day before, but to foresee the day after as well.

When I told Kamenev on my arrival in Petrograd that nothing separated me from Lenin’s famous “April theses” that determined the new course of his party, the former’s only reply was, “I should say not!” Before formally joining the party, I took part in drafting the most important Bolshevist documents. It never entered any one’s head to ask if I had renounced “Trotskyism,” as I was asked thousands of times during the period of the epigone decline, by the Cachins, Th?lmanns, and others of the hangers-on of the October revolution. The only juxtaposition of Trotskyism and Leninism to be heard in those days was in the leading group of the party, where they accused LENIN of Trotskyism during the month of April. Kamenev did this openly and with much insistence. Others did it more cautiously, behind the scenes  . Many “old Bolsheviks” said to me after I arrived in Russia: “Now the celebration is on your street.” I had to argue that Lenin had not come over to my point of view, but had developed his own, and that the course of events, by substituting arithmetic for algebra, had revealed the essential identity of our views. And that is what really happened.

At those first meetings of ours, and even more after the July days, Lenin gave one the sense of a terrific inner concentration under a surface of calm and “prosaic” simplicity. The movement that had found its symbol in Kerensky seemed all-powerful in those days. Bolshevism seemed nothing more than an “insignificant group,” and officially it was being treated as such. The party itself did not realize the power it was to have on the day after, but Lenin was leading it firmly toward its greatest tasks. I harnessed myself to the work and helped him.

Two months before the October revolution, I wrote: “To us internationalism is not an abstract idea existing only to be betrayed on every opportune occasion (as it is to Tzereteli and Chernov), but is a real guiding and wholly practical principle. A lasting, decisive success is inconceivable for us without a revolution in Europe.” At that time I could not yet place the name of Stalin, the philosopher of “socialism in a single country,” beside the names of Tzereteli and Chernov. I concluded my article with the words: “A permanent revolution versus a permanent slaughter: that is the struggle, in which the stake is the future of man.” This was published in the central organ of our party on September 7, and later reissued as a separate pamphlet. Why did my present critics keep silent then about my heretical slogan of permanent revolution? ? Some, like Stalin, were waiting cautiously, peering about them. Others, like Zinoviev, were hiding under the table. But the more important question is: How could Lenin have tolerated my heretical propaganda in silence? In questions of theory he recognized no such thing as indifference or indulgence; how did he happen to allow the preaching of “Trotskyism” in the central organ of the party? On November 1, 1917, at the meeting of the Petrograd committee (the minutes of this historical meeting — historical in every sense of the word — are still kept secret) Lenin said that after Trotsky had become convinced of the impossibility of union with the Mensheviks “there has been no better Bolshevik plan your trip hong kong.” And in this he proved very clearly and not for the first time, either that it had not been the theory of permanent revolution that had separated us, but the narrower, though very important question of the attitude toward Menshevism.