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RUSSIA: Loud Pedal

4 minute read
TIME

During the acute stage of the Moscow Trials, when one famed old Bolshevik after another was being convicted of “Trotskyism” and shot, newspaper cartoonists in many lands spontaneously got the same idea. They drew the Dictator facing his reflection in a looking glass and shouting: “Traitor, confess! You too are a Trotskyist!” Last week there were epochal goings on in Moscow which made such cartoons even more appropriate than during the Trials.

Zigzag Progress. The right-hand-men of Joseph Stalin have seldom known what his left-hand-men were doing, and vice versa, but the Dictator has been the clear-headed master of Communist Parties all over the world since he became the master of Russia. His famed “zigzag methods.” much criticized in private by Communists, have an inner consistency; i.e. he is out to see that Stalin and Russia come out as nearly on top as possible.

Since 1935. Communists on Stalin’s orders have soft-pedaled the policy known as “The World Revolution Of The World Proletariat,” have loud-pedaled the policy known as “The Popular Front.” Last week in Moscow, highest Soviet dignitaries and cheering mobs used the Red Square as a gigantic sounding board to loud-pedal World Revolution. Occasion was the 21st anniversary of The Bolshevik Revolution.

To loud-pedal World Revolution is the No. 1 tenet of Trotskyism, but whatever Stalin loud-pedals is Stalinism. Last week Stalinists felt no embarrassment in hearing a loudspeaker blare across the Red Square from just back of where the Dictator was standing: “Long live the World Revolution! Long live the Leader [Stalin] of the International Working Class! Long live the Proletarian Revolution!” The vast and disciplined mob, moving across the Red Square wave on wave, took up each slogan as it was rolled out by the loudspeaker and enthusiastically shouted it in chorus.

“Moscow Gold.” Outside Russia these Red Square cries were heartening to great numbers of Communist functionaries.

Even before 1935, when he began to soft-pedal World Revolution, J. Stalin was stingy about dispensing “Moscow gold” in the U. S. and Britain. Since 1935 many Reds have found him a Shylock.

In addition, the monotonous world-wide setbacks to Russian and Communist aims and prestige—from the collapse of Bela Kun in Hungary (1919) to the desperate plight of Spanish Leftists today—has discouraged many a Party member through the world. And since the Sudeten crisis, the latest triumph of Fascism, many devoted revolutionaries have bailed out of the Party.

Some Communists feel that the great danger to Communism today is the possibility that great numbers of Party members outside of Russia may come to believe, as Leon Trotsky does now, that Joseph Stalin is mainly compacted of opportunism, cynicism and a readiness to sacrifice to the national interests of the Soviet Union the international interests of devoted Communists and their class.

The last known really big outpouring of “Moscow gold” in the English-speaking world was when $2,000,000 was openly transmitted from the Industrial Bank of the U. S. S. R. via Lloyds’ and other British banks to leaders of the British General Strike—most of whom were not even Communists, an excruciating pain to the devoted. They watched beefy British Labor leaders who took the money, who were interviewed by London papers as exclaiming “Thank God for Moscow!”, and who then gave up the General Strike with about as much mealy-mouthed reluctance as served Britain to give up Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland without a fight.

Hard J. Stalin is not to be taken that way often. If he means what his Moscow loudspeaker shouted last week, then this is because the Master of Russia is convinced, after Munich, that the enemies of Russia can be held at bay only by subsidizing revolution in their capitalist rear.

That J. Stalin will pay out good money when he sees a chance to get his money’s worth is nothing new. In China, where J. Stalin—an Asiatic—believes the underdogs have guts to fight, the outpouring of money, munitions, war planes and supplies of all kinds from the Soviet Union makes a mere $2,000,000 look like pink chicken feed.

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