Trotskyist-Zinovievist Antiparty Bloc

Trotskyist-Zinovievist Antiparty Bloc

 

an anti-Leninist opposition group within the ACP(B) in 1926 and 1927. The bloc was formed by Trotskyists, the members of the New Opposition (under the leadership of G. E. Zinoviev and L. B. Kamenev), and sympathizers from the Workers’ Opposition, the Democratic Centralist faction, and other former antiparty factions. Objectively speaking, the bloc reflected the dissatisfaction of the urban petite bourgeoisie with the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The Trotskyist-Zinovievist antiparty bloc was formed by isolated, unstable elements in the ACP(B) who feared that the reconstruction of the national economy along socialist lines would encounter serious difficulties because of the country’s technological and economic backwardness and the heightened threat of military attack by the imperialists. In the opinion of the bloc’s leaders, socialism could not be built in the USSR unless proletarian revolutions also triumphed in the West. Regarding the economy of the USSR as part of the world capitalist economy, the bloc’s leaders thought that the Soviet Union could not overcome its technological and economic dependence on the West and would not succeed in building socialism on its own. They therefore regarded the party’s efforts to build socialism in the USSR as a manifestation of insularism and a rejection of international proletarian revolution. Considering the October Revolution of 1917 to be merely a signal and a starting point for the socialist revolution in Western European countries, the bloc adventuristically demanded the implementation of a “resolute” foreign policy (including, if necessary, the declaration of war against the capitalist countries) in order to push the development of world revolution. They opposed the Comintern’s tactics of a united front in the struggle against imperialism, and they accused the Central Committee of the ACP(B) of failing to devote sufficient efforts to strengthening the Red Army.

In opposition to Lenin’s plan for industrialization that was adopted in 1925 by the Fourteenth Congress of the ACP(B), the bloc members demanded rapid industrialization at the expense of the peasantry, whom they considered to be a hostile, antirevolutionary force. Their other demands included accelerating industrialization, raising the prices of industrial goods, lowering the prices of agricultural products, increasing taxes on the peasantry, and raising the workers’ wages independently of the rate of increase of labor productivity. Had these demands been implemented, they would have broken the alliance between the working class and the peasantry, disrupted industrialization, and, in the final analysis, caused the downfall of Soviet power. The bloc members also demanded freedom for factions within the party, attempted to discredit the party apparatus, slandered the Central Committee of the ACP(B) in order to undermine its authority, and strove to assume the leadership of the party.

During the spring of 1926, the Trotskyists and Zinovievists joined forces in their struggle against the line of the Central Committee of the ACP(B); they organized groups in the provinces, set up underground printing presses, and disseminated oppositional literature. Attempting to use the apparatus of the Executive Committee of the Comintern for factional purposes, they established links with Trotskyist groups in foreign Communist parties. They ceased to advocate their views in a legal way and created an underground organization opposed to the ACP(B).

At the Joint Plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission of the ACP(B) in July 1926, the Trotskyists and Zinovievists issued the Declaration of the 13, which presented the platform of the antiparty bloc. The plenum condemned this action and expelled Zinoviev from the Politburo of the Central Committee. In October 1926 the Presidium of the Executive Committee of the Comintern removed Zinoviev from his post as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Comintern. In the same month the United Plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of the ACP(B) removed Trotsky from membership in the Politburo of the Central Committee. The Fifteenth Conference of the ACP(B) in 1926 stated that the bloc represented a social democratic deviation in the party and that with respect to the most important questions of international and domestic policy the bloc’s platform was a departure from the class line of proletarian revolution (see KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh, 8th ed., vol. 3, 1970, p. 409). The seventh, enlarged plenum of the Executive Committee of the Comintern in November and December 1926 called upon the sections of the Comintern to struggle against the bloc and its followers in all Communist parties.

In May 1927 the opposition leaders presented to the Central Committee of the ACP(B) the slanderous Declaration of the 83, in which they accused the Central Committee of lagging in the development of large-scale industry, causing an increase in unemployment, permitting the kulaks to have undue influence in the soviets, and attempting to eliminate the government’s monopoly on foreign trade; they labeled as petit bourgeois the theory of the possibility of building socialism in one country and made other charges as well. In September 1927, in spite of the clear warning that the bloc’s leaders had received at the United Plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of the ACP(B) in July and August, they intensified their factional struggle and submitted the Platform of the 13 to the Central Committee.

Trotsky was expelled from the Executive Committee of the Comintern by a plenum of the Executive Committee on Sept. 27, 1927. In October 1927 the United Plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of the ACP(B) expelled Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Central Committee. The plenum initiated an intraparty discussion on questions of the agenda for the Fifteenth Congress of the ACP(B). More than 738,000 of the 745,000 Communists who took part in the discussion supported the line of the Central Committee; 4,120 persons (0.5 percent of the party membership) supported the antiparty bloc. On Nov. 7, 1927, the bloc’s leaders attempted to organize demonstrations in Moscow and Leningrad under their antiparty slogans; this action in itself was anti-Soviet.

At a joint session of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of the ACP(B) on Nov. 14, 1927, Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the party. In December 1927 the Fifteenth Congress of the ACP(B) summarized the intraparty discussion; noting that the opposition had completely broken with Leninism and had become a Menshevist group, the congress declared that membership in the Trotskyist opposition was incompatible with membership in the ACP(B). The congress approved the expulsion of Trotsky and Zinoviev from the party, and it expelled in addition 75 active Trotskyists and the 23 members of the group of T. V. Sapronov on the grounds that they were obviously counterrevolutionary. In February 1928 the decisions of the Congress were approved by the ninth plenum of the Executive Committee of the Comintern, which stated that membership in the Trotskyist opposition was incompatible with membership in the Comintern. In August 1928 the Sixth Congress of the Comintern approved the expulsion of the Trotskyists from the international communist movement.

REFERENCES

KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8th ed., vol. 3. Moscow, 1970.
Stalin, J. V. “O sotsial-demokraticheskom uklone v nashei partii.” Soch., vol. 8.
Stalin, J. V. “Eshche raz o sotsial-demokraticheskom uklone v nashei partii.” Ibid., vol. 9.
Stalin, J. V. “Trotskistskaia oppozitsiia prezhde i teper’.” Ibid., vol. 10.
Titov, A. G., A. M. Smirnov, and K. D. Shalagin. Bor’ba Kommu-nisticheskoi partii s antileninskimi gruppami i techeniiami v pos-leoktiabr’skiiperiod 1917–1934. Moscow, 1974. Chapter 3, subsection 5.
Abramov, B. A. “Razgrom trotskistsko-zinov’evskogo antipartiinogo bloka.” Voprosy istorii KPSS, 1959, no. 6.
Istoriia KPSS, vol. 4, book 1. Moscow, 1970.
See also references under TROTSKYISM.

A. G. TITOV