Traitor's Open Letter, 1937

Traitor's open letter

“The Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks.

This letter, which I am writing to you now, I should have written much earlier, on the day when "sixteen" were shot in the basements of the Lubyanka by order of the "father of nations" *.

I did not say anything then. I also did not raise voices in protest during subsequent killings, and this silence places heavy responsibility on me. My guilt is great, but I will try to correct it by easing my conscience.

Until now, I walked along with you. I will not take a single step next. Our roads diverge! The one who is silent today becomes an accomplice of Stalin and betrays the cause of the working class and socialism! I have been fighting for socialism since I was 20 years old. Now, on the verge of forty, I no longer wish to live by the mercies of people like Yezhov. (He liked the bloody executioner like Yagoda. - N. Kh.) I have sixteen years of underground activity behind my back. This is a lot, but I still have enough strength to start everything from the beginning. Because it is necessary to “start everything all over again” - to save socialism. The fight ensued for a long time. I want to take my place in it. The hype raised around the pilots over the North Pole is aimed at silencing the screams and groans of the tortured victims at Lubyanka, Svobodnaya, in Minsk, Kiev, Leningrad, and Tiflis. These efforts are in vain. The word of truth is stronger than the noise of the most powerful engines.

Yes, aviation champions will touch the hearts of old American ladies and young people of both continents, drunk with sports, it is much easier than to win the sympathy of public opinion and excite the consciousness of the world! But let them not be deceived on this score: the truth will make its way, the day of truth is closer than the gentlemen from the Kremlin think. The day is near when international socialism will condemn crimes committed in the last ten years. Nothing will be forgotten, nothing will be forgiven. The history is harsh: “The great leader, father of nations, the sun of socialism” will answer for his actions: defeat of the Chinese revolution, red plebiscite (meaning plebiscite in Saxony, demanded by the nazis and supported by German communists. - E. H.), defeat of the German proletariat ( refers to the collapse of E. Telman’s policies. - E. H.), social fascism and the Popular Front, revelations with Mr. Howard (Stalin talked in May 1935 with Roy Howard and denied the world revolution. - E. H.), tender flirting with Laval: one is more ingenious than the other!

This process will be open to the public, with witnesses, with many witnesses, living and dead: they will still speak, but this time they will tell the truth, the whole truth. They will all be brought to justice, these innocently murdered and slandered, and the working international movement rehabilitates all these Kamenevs and Mrachkovskiys, these Smirnovs and Muralovs, these Drobnis and Serebryakoviks, these Mdivani and Okudzhav, Rakovsky and Anders Nin, all these spies and provocateurs, agents Gestapo and saboteurs!

In order for the Soviet Union and the entire international labor movement not to fall completely under the blows of open counter-revolution and fascism, the labor movement must get rid of Stalin and Stalinism. This mixture of the worst of the opportunistic movements — opportunism without principles, opportunism of blood and lies — threatens to poison the whole world and destroy the remnants of the labor movement.

Ruthless struggle Stalinism!

No - the Popular Front, yes - the class struggle! No to the committees, yes to the intervention of the proletariat in order to save the Spanish revolution. Such tasks are on the agenda!

Down with the lies of "socialism in one country taken!" Let's return to Lenin's internationalism!

Neither II nor III Internationals are not able to fulfill this historical mission: fragmented and corrupt, they can only prevent the working class from fighting, they are only assistants to the bourgeois police. The irony of history: the bourgeoisie once advanced from their ranks Cavaignacs and Galfa, Trepovs and Wrangels. Today, it is under the “glorious” leadership of both of its comrades that the bourgeoisie can safely go about their business: “peace and order” reign everywhere; there is also Noske and the Ezhovs, Nengrens and Dias. Stalin is their leader, and Feuchtwanger is their Homer!

No, I can no longer. I return to freedom again. I return to Lenin, to his teaching and his activities. I am going to devote my modest strength to the cause of Lenin; I want to fight, because only our victory — the victory of the proletarian revolution — will liberate humanity from capitalism, and the Soviet Union from Stalinism!

Forward, to new victories for socialism and proletarian revolution! For the creation of the IV International!

Ludwig, July 17, 1937.

P. S. In 1928, I was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for services to the proletarian revolution. I return to you this order attached to the letter. It would be contrary to my dignity to wear it while the executioners of the best representatives of the Russian working class wear it. (Izvestia published in the last two weeks lists of the recipients, whose merits were bashfully silent about: these are the lists of perpetrators of executions.) ”


* This refers to the trial against Zinoviev, Kamenev and other Bolshevik leaders who were sentenced to be shot. - E. H.