John Ross Campbell

John Ross Campbell

John Ross Campbell, the son of John Campbell and Mary Stevenson Campbell, was born in Paisley, Scotland, on 15th October 1894. His father was a journeyman slater. Educated at an elementary school in Paisley, he started work at fourteen as an apprentice grocer's assistant. He became interested in politics and in 1912 he joined the British Socialist Party where he came under the influence of John MacLean. (1)

Campbell became interested in politics and in 1912 he joined the British Socialist Party where he came under the influence of John MacLean. According to Alison Macleod, "in his youth, he educated himself by helping out at a bookshop, and he developed a passionate interest in literature." (2)

On the outbreak of the First World War he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He was wounded at Gallipoli and was permanently disabled at the battle of the Somme, where he lost all the toes from one foot. During the war Campbell was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery. (3)

Campbell returned to Glasgow in 1918 and immediately became a member of the Clyde Workers Committee and joined in the struggle against the government. Campbell had been impressed with the achievements of the Bolsheviks following the Russian Revolution and in April 1920 he joined forces with Tom Bell, Willie Gallacher, Arthur McManus, Harry Pollitt, Arthur Horner, Helen Crawfurd, A. J. Cook, Rajani Palme Dutt, Albert Inkpin and Willie Paul to establish the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). McManus was elected as the party's first chairman and Bell and Pollitt became the party's first full-time workers. (4)

John Ross Campbell and Worker's Weekly

Campbell played a leading part in the Clyde Workers' Committee movement, editing its weekly paper, The Worker. In 1923 was elected to its central executive committee. In 1924 he moved to London and became acting editor of the Communist Party's Worker's Weekly. On 25th July 1925, the newspaper published an "Open Letter to the Fighting Forces" that had been written anonymously by Harry Pollitt. The article called on soldiers to "let it be known that, neither in the class war nor in a military war, will you turn your guns on your fellow workers, but instead will line up with your fellow workers in an attack upon the exploiters and capitalists and will use your arms on the side of your own class." (5)

After consultations with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General, Sir Patrick Hastings, it was decided to arrest and charge, John Ross Campbell, with incitement to mutiny. The following day, Hastings had to answer questions in the House of Commons on the case. However, after investigating Campbell in more detail he discovered that he was only acting editor at the time the article was published and began to have doubts about the success of a prosecution. (6)

The matter was further complicated when James Maxton informed Hastings about Campbell's war record.
Hastings was warned about the possible reaction to the idea of a war hero being prosecuted for an article published in a small circulation newspaper. Tom Bell argued that the arrest of Campbell had "created a tremendous reaction throughout the Labour movement" and that this was the reason the case was dropped: "The mass pressure engendered was reinforced by the disillusionment amongst wide sections of the workers as to the Labour Government, and forced the Government to withdraw its case against Campbell." (7)

At a meeting on the morning of the 6th August, Hastings told Ramsay MacDonald that he thought that "the whole matter could be dropped". MacDonald replied that prosecutions, once entered into, should not be dropped under political pressure". At a Cabinet meeting that evening Hastings revealed that he had a letter from Campbell confirming his temporary editorship. Hastings also added that the case should be withdrawn on the grounds that the article merely commented on the use of troops in industrial disputes. MacDonald agreed with this assessment and agreed the prosecution should be brought to an end. (8)

On 13th August, 1924, the case was withdrawn. This created a great deal of controversy and MacDonald was accused of being soft on communism. MacDonald, who had a long record of being a strong anti-communist, told King George V: "Nothing would have pleased me better than to have appeared in the witness box, when I might have said some things that might have added a month or two to the sentence." (9)

Ramsay MacDonald and the Soviet Union

David Lloyd George signed a trade agreement with Russia in 1921, but never recognised the Soviet government. On taking office the Labour government entered into talks with Russian officials and eventually recognised the Soviet Union as the de jure government of Russia, in return for the promise that Britain would get payment of money that Tsar Nicholas II had borrowed when he had been in power. (10)

Edmund D. Morel, the Labour Party MP for Dundee, was involved in these negotiations. He told his friend, Bob Stewart, that it was very difficult to reach a negotiated agreement with the Soviet representatives because of the demands being made by the Conservative Party: "The Tories vehemently against. They demanded compensation for British property in the Soviet Union which had been nationalised by the Soviet government, and also trading rights for British firms on Soviet territory. The first was realisable, but naturally the Soviet government would not entertain the latter." (11)

A conference was held in London to discuss these matters. Most newspapers reacted with hostility to these negotiations and warned of the danger of dealing with what they considered to be an "evil regime". In August 1924 a wide-ranging series of treaties was agreed between Britain and Russia. "The most-favoured-nation status was given to the Soviet Union in exchange for concessions to British holders of Czarist bonds, and Britain agreed to recommend a loan to the Soviet government." (12)

Stanley Baldwin, the leader of the Conservative Party, and H. H. Asquith, the leader of the Liberal Party, decided to being the Labour government down over the issue of its relationship with the Soviet Union. On 30th September, the Liberals condemned the recently agreed trade deal. They claimed, unjustly, that Britain had given the Russians what they wanted without resolving the claims of British bondholders who had suffered in the revolution. "MacDonald reacted peevishly to this, accusing them of being unscrupulous and dishonest." (13)

John Bernard Partridge, Punch Magazine (October, 1924)
John Bernard Partridge, Punch Magazine (October, 1924)

The following day, Conservatives put down a censure motion on the decision to drop the case against John Ross Campbell. The debate took place on 8th October. Ramsay MacDonald lost the vote by 364 votes to 198. "Labour was brought down, on the Campbell case, by the combined ranks of Conservatives and Liberals... The Labour government had lasted 259 days. On six occasions the Conservatives had saved MacDonald from defeat in the 1923 parliament, but it was the Liberals who pulled the political rung from under him." (14)

Campbell played an active role in the 1924 General Election. Along with Helen Crawfurd, Campbell spoke for Bob Stewart, the Communist Party candidate in Dundee. Stewart later claimed that Campbell always had to open his meetings with an apology: "I would much rather have discussed the election without dragging in personalities, but I will have to because if I don't, you will." Stewart added that Campbell "filled the meetings to capacity" and that he was "always in top form." (15)

The Daily Mail published the Zinoviev Letter on 25th October 1924, just four days before the 1924 General Election. Under the headline "Civil War Plot by Socialists Masters" it argued: "Moscow issues orders to the British Communists... the British Communists in turn give orders to the Socialist Government, which it tamely and humbly obeys... Now we can see why Mr MacDonald has done obeisance throughout the campaign to the Red Flag with its associations of murder and crime. He is a stalking horse for the Reds as Kerensky was... Everything is to be made ready for a great outbreak of the abominable class war which is civil war of the most savage kind." (16)

Dora Russell, whose husband, Bertrand Russell, was standing for the Labour Party in Chelsea, commented: "The Daily Mail carried the story of the Zinoviev letter. The whole thing was neatly timed to catch the Sunday papers and with polling day following hard on the weekend there was no chance of an effective rebuttal, unless some word came from MacDonald himself, and he was down in his constituency in Wales. Without hesitation I went on the platform and denounced the whole thing as a forgery, deliberately planted on, or by, the Foreign Office to discredit the Prime Minister." (17)

Ramsay MacDonald suggested he was a victim of a political conspiracy: "I am also informed that the Conservative Headquarters had been spreading abroad for some days that... a mine was going to be sprung under our feet, and that the name of Zinoviev was to be associated with mine. Another Guy Fawkes - a new Gunpowder Plot... The letter might have originated anywhere. The staff of the Foreign Office up to the end of the week thought it was authentic... I have not seen the evidence yet. All I say is this, that it is a most suspicious circumstance that a certain newspaper and the headquarters of the Conservative Association seem to have had copies of it at the same time as the Foreign Office, and if that is true how can I avoid the suspicion - I will not say the conclusion - that the whole thing is a political plot?" (18)

David Low, The Plot Press (1924)
David Low, The Plot Press (1924)

Bob Stewart claimed that the letter included several mistakes that made it clear it was a forgery. This included saying that Grigory Zinoviev was not the President of the Presidium of the Communist International. It also described the organisation as the "Third Communist International" whereas it was always called "Third International". Stewart argued that these "were such infantile mistakes that even a cursory examination would have shown the document to be a blatant forgery." (19)

The rest of the Tory owned newspapers ran the story of what became known as the Zinoviev Letter over the next few days and it was no surprise when the election was a disaster for the Labour Party. The Conservatives won 412 seats and formed the next government. Lord Beaverbrook, the owner of the Daily Express and Evening Standard, told Lord Rothermere, the owner of The Daily Mail and The Times, that the "Red Letter" campaign had won the election for the Conservatives. Rothermere replied that it was probably worth a hundred seats. (20)


Ralph Darlington has argued that Ramsay MacDonald and other right-wing members of the Labour Party, decided that they wanted scapegoats, and who better than the communists? At the Labour Party conference following the election it was decided to exclude, not only the Communist Party as an organization, but also individual members. (21)

On 4th August 1925, Campbell and 11 other activists, Jack Murphy, Wal Hannington, Ernie Cant, Tom Wintringham, Harry Pollitt, Hubert Inkpin, Arthur McManus, William Rust, Robin Page Arnot, William Gallacher and Tom Bell were arrested for being members of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and charged with violation of the Mutiny Act of 1797. The hearing at Bow Street was before Sir Chartres Biron, described by Gallacher as "an ideal subject for Dickens, majestic, pompous, fully convinced of his high responsibility as custodian of the law and safety of the realm." (22)

While the men were on remand the CPGB had a secret meeting. Bob Stewart later recalled what happened: "After discussion it was decided to elect an acting executive and officials, and that no publicity would be given to this, because naturally the new leaders could easily follow the twelve into prison, so an entire silence was maintained. To my astonishment I was elected acting general secretary . This was a new role for me, and also in new conditions. Before, I was always one of those in jail looking out at the fight. Now I was outside and with a heavy responsibility." (23)

Claims that it was a political trial was reinforced when Rigby Swift was appointed as judge. He was a member of the Conservative Party and was elected to represent St Helens in December 1910 but was easily beaten by James Sexton in the general election that followed the end of the First World War. In June 1920 he was appointed by his friend, Frederick Smith, Lord Birkenhead, the Lord Chancellor, as judge of the High Court of Justice. The decision was welcomed by the right-wing press. The Daily Mail wrote that "Mr. Rigby Swift has long been marked out for judgeship" and The Times added that "no appointment could be met with greater approval". (24)

Tom Bell, the author of British Communist Party (1937), the CPGB responded as if it was a political trial. "The Political Bureau discussed the procedure of the trial and decided that Campbell, Gallacher and Pollitt should defend themselves; their speeches were prepared, and approved by the Political Bureau." (25) Their three speeches "made an exposition of Communist politics, theory and practice which thousands of workers read with appreciation." (26)

Pollitt's 15,000 word speech took three hours. He argued that the political motivation behind the prosecution was the proposed General Strike as the "government sought to remove from the political arena the most effective exponents of united action by the working class to aid the miners". He then warned the jury against the newspaper build-up of prejudice against the Communists. Pollitt went on to say that "the destruction of Monarchies, of Tsarism, not as the result of Communist propaganda, but as the result of conditions created by capitalism." (27)

To challenge the legality of the proceedings Sir Henry Slesser was engaged to defend the others. During the trial Judge Rigby Swift declared that it was "no crime to be a Communist or hold communist opinions, but it was a crime to belong to this Communist Party." It was argued that the Soviet Union had given the CPGB £14,000. During the trial Gallacher showed this money was the income from the sale of newspapers and fees paid by the 5,000 members. (28)

After a trial that lasted eight days, the twelve defendants were found guilty on all charges. Judge Swift told the men: "The jury have found you twelve men guilty of the serious offence of conspiracy to publish seditious libels and to incite people to induce soldiers and sailors to break their oaths of allegiance. It is obvious from the evidence that you are members of an illegal party carrying on illegal work in this country. Five of you, Inkpin, Gallacher, Pollitt, Hannington and Rust will go to prison for twelve months."

Judge Swift then went on to say: "You remaining seven have heard what I have had to say about the society to which you belong. You have heard me say it must be stopped.... Those of you who will promise me that you will have nothing more to do with this association or the doctrine it preaches, I will bind over to be of good behaviour in the future. Those of you who do not promise will go to prison." (29)

Jack Murphy, Ernie Cant, Tom Wintringham, Arthur McManus, Robin Page Arnot, and Tom Bell all refused and were each sentenced to six months. (30) As one commentator pointed out: "And there it was, men supposedly found guilty of the worst charges in the crime calendar were to be let off all they had to do was to cease being Communists. Very touching, but it gave away the aim of the whole trial, which was to try and destroy the Communist Party and so behead the working-class movement." (31)

Campbell later wrote: "The Government was wise enough not to rest its case on the activity of the accused in organising resistance to wage cuts, but on their dissemination of 'seditious' communist literature, (particularly the resolutions of the Communist International), their speeches, and occasional articles". The idea of a "an ex-Tory M.P. sitting in judgement upon the Communists and offering them liberty at the price of apostasy" aroused considerable criticism. Walter Citrine, Secretary of the TUC said: "In my view a most unsuitable judge was selected" and the Liberal Party MP, William Wedgwood Benn argued that "the sentences are perfectly iniquitous". (32) Judge Swift's biographer rejected these criticisms claiming that "the plain fact is that when a barrister who has been a party politician ascends to the Bench he sheds his politics completely". (33)

Policy Towards the Labour Party

After the General Strike, some leaders of the Communist Party, like John Ross Campbell, J. T. Murphy and Arthur Horner, favoured working closely with left-wing members of the Labour Party, such as Arthur Cook and James Maxton. However, others like William Gallacher, thought it was important to try and persuade these men to join the CPGB. "Maxton and his friends are barely on speaking terms with me, but they are very friendly with Johnny Campbell and Arthur Horner. Maxton needs the CP for material but wants it from Johnny and Horner... Cook is as cunning as they make them and as unscrupulous... We can I think just about finish off the ILP (the left-wing of the Labour Party)." (34)

(Back Row): Jack Murphy, William Gallacher, Wal Hannington; (Middle Row)Harry Pollitt, Ernie Cant, Tom Wintringham, Albert Inkpin; (Front Row)John R. Campbell, Arthur McManus, William Rust, Robin Page Arnot, Tom Bell.
(Back Row): Jack Murphy, William Gallacher, Wal Hannington; (Middle Row)
Harry Pollitt, Ernie Cant, Tom Wintringham, Albert Inkpin; (Front Row)
John R. Campbell, Arthur McManus, William Rust, Robin Page Arnot, Tom Bell

Rajani Palme Dutt, working under the orders of Joseph Stalin, argued that the CPGB should stop working with the Labour Party and attack it relentlessly. The most bitter abuse must be reserved for the ILP, whose views and aims were closest to those of the Communist Party. Moscow even instructed the CPGB to describe these left-wing socialists as "social fascists". Dutt argued that it was imperative that the CPGB had to conduct an "unceasing ideological warfare" against the Labour Party. (35)

This policy was opposed by Campbell. He was supported by J. T. Murphy, who argued that the Labour Party, far from being a decaying political force, was "increasing in strength as the workers become more class-conscious", and it was not a good idea to attack them. Murphy believed Labour's left-wing should be seen as "the indicator of where friendship for our party lies" and argued it was necessary to support these politicians because "if we attack the left-wing leaders we attack the mass with a similar outlook and drive them away from the party". (36)

Campbell was elected to the Executive Committee of the Communist International. However, while he was in Moscow, he was attacked by Palme Dutt for not being critical enough of the Labour Party and accused him of treating people such as Arthur Cook and James Maxton as friends. (37) When this sectarian "new line" was implemented he formally accepted it, but worked with Harry Pollitt "to check its worst effects on communist influence in the trade unions". (38)

Stalinism and the Communist Party

J. R. Campbell eventually became a loyal supporter of Joseph Stalin in his attempts to purge the followers of Leon Trotsky in the Soviet Union. In 1936 he defended the proposed trial of Lev Kamenev, Gregory Zinoviev, Ivan Smirnov and thirteen other party members who had been critical of Stalin. Later that year all sixteen men were found guilty and executed. As Campbell was the CPGB representative in the Soviet Union, it is unlikely that he was unaware of what was really going on. (39) Along with Rajani Palme Dutt and Denis Nowell Pritt, Campbell were "enthusiastic apologists for the Moscow frame-up trials". (40)

Campbell wrote on 5th March 1938: "Every weak, corrupt or ambitious enemy of socialism within the Soviet Union has been hired to do dirty, evil work. In the forefront of all the wrecking, sabotage and assassination is Fascist agent Trotsky. But the defences of the Soviet Union are strong. The nest of wreckers and spies has been exposed before the world and brought before the judgement of the Soviet Court. We know that Soviet justice will be fearlessly administered to those who have been guilty of unspeakable crimes against Soviet people. We express full confidence in our Brother Party." (41)

In 1939 the Left Book Club published Campbell's Soviet Policy and its Critics, in defence of the Great Purge in the Soviet Union. He argued that the main issue between Trotsky and Stalin was over the issue of "socialism in one country". He quoted Stalin as saying: "Our Soviet society has already, in the main, succeeded in achieving Socialism... It has created a socialist system; i.e., it has brought about what Marxists in other words call the first, or lower phase of Communism. Hence, in the main, we have already achieved the first phase of Communism, Socialism." (42)

Campbell explained that in his book, The Revolution Betrayed (1937) Trotsky pointed out that what had been achieved in the Soviet Union was merely a "preparatory regime transitional from capitalism to socialism". He went on to say that this preparatory regime is engendering growing inequalities between the members of society and that it is being controlled by a growing bureaucracy. Before this transitional society can develop towards Socialism, Trotsky asserts, it is imperative that there should be "a second supplementary revolution - against bureaucratic absolutism" and this "bureaucracy can be removed only by a revolutionary force. And, as always, there wall be fewer victims the more bold and decisive is the attack". (43)

Campbell argued that the opponents of the Show Trials had failed to understand the political development of Trotsky: "Most of the critics of the Moscow Trials disqualify themselves straight away by ignoring the historical development of Trotskyism. They learnedly discuss the 'mystery' of why the Trotskyists turned against the Soviet Government when the key to the mystery is partially disclosed in the earlier public writings of Trotsky himself. They assert the improbability of Trotsky organising the assassination of Stalin, at the very moment when Trotsky in his published work is describing how all power is being concentrated in Stalin's hands and is demanding the removal of Stalin by armed revolution. But if the armed revolution is slow in coming, would not the assassination of the man who has concentrated so much power in his hands accelerate the process?" (44)

It was later argued that Campbell had good reason to be uncritical of the Soviet government. He married Sarah Marie Carlin in 1920. He acted as father to five children from a previous marriage. Sarah encouraged her oldest son, William, to go to the Soviet Union and help build socialism. According to Francis Beckett, the author of Stalin's British Victims (2004), "with his stepson as a sort of hostage in the Soviet Union" he was not in a position to tell the truth of the way that loyal Bolsheviks were being persecuted. (45)

On 23rd August, 1939, Joseph Stalin signed the Soviet-Nazi Pact with Adolf Hitler. However, Campbell, felt he could no longer support this policy. "We started by saying we had an interest in the defeat of the Nazis, we must now recognise that our prime interest in the defeat of France and Great Britain... We have to eat everything we have said." Other leaders of the CPGB agreed with Campbell a statement was issued that "declared its support of all measures necessary to secure the victory of democracy over fascism". (46)

The Second World War

Harry Pollitt, the General Secretary of the CPGB, published a 32-page pamphlet, How to Win the War (1939): "The Communist Party supports the war, believing it to be a just war. To stand aside from this conflict, to contribute only revolutionary-sounding phrases while the fascist beasts ride roughshod over Europe, would be a betrayal of everything our forebears have fought to achieve in the course of long years of struggle against capitalism.... The prosecution of this war necessitates a struggle on two fronts. First to secure the military victory over fascism, and second, to achieve this, the political victory over the enemies of democracy in Britain." (47)

On 24th September, Dave Springhall, a CPGB member who had been working in Moscow, returned with the information that the Communist International characterised the war as an "out and out imperialist war to which the working class in no country could give any support". He added that "Germany aimed at European and world domination. Britain at preserving her imperialist interests and European domination against her chief rival, Germany." (48)

At a meeting of the Central Committee on 2nd October 1939, Rajani Palme Dutt demanded "acceptance of the (new Soviet line) by the members of the Central Committee on the basis of conviction". He added: "Every responsible position in the Party must be occupied by a determined fighter for the line." Bob Stewart disagreed and mocked "these sledgehammer demands for whole-hearted convictions and solid and hardened, tempered Bolshevism and all this bloody kind of stuff."

William Gallacher agreed with Stewart: "I have never... at this Central Committee listened to a more unscrupulous and opportunist speech than has been made by Comrade Dutt... and I have never had in all my experience in the Party such evidence of mean, despicable disloyalty to comrades." Harry Pollitt joined in the attack: "Please remember, Comrade Dutt, you won't intimidate me by that language. I was in the movement practically before you were born, and will be in the revolutionary movement a long time after some of you are forgotten."

Harry Pollitt then made a passionate speech about his unwillingness to change his views on the invasion of Poland: "I believe in the long run it will do this Party very great harm... I don't envy the comrades who can so lightly in the space of a week... go from one political conviction to another... I am ashamed of the lack of feeling, the lack of response that this struggle of the Polish people has aroused in our leadership." (49)

However, when the vote was taken, only Campbell, Harry Pollitt, and William Gallacher voted against. Pollitt was forced to resign as General Secretary and he was replaced by Rajani Palme Dutt and William Rust took over Campbell's job as editor of the Daily Worker. Pollitt, then agreed to disguise this conflict and issued a statement saying it was "nonsense and wishful thinking the attempts in the press to create the impression of a crisis in the Party". (50)

Over the next few weeks the newspaper demanded that Neville Chamberlain respond to Hitler's peace overtures. Palme Dutt also published a new pamphlet, Why This War? explaining the new policy of the CPGB. Campbell and Pollitt were both removed from the Politburo. (51) Campbell also "subsequently rationalized the Comintern's position and publicly confessed to error in having opposed it." (52) Douglas Hyde claims that Palme Dutt was clearly the "most powerful man in the Party". (53)

David Low, The Plot Press (1924)
Daily Worker senior staff: Left to right: George Allan Hutt, Walter Holmes,
William Rust, John Ross Campbell and Douglas Hyde (1939)

On 22nd June 1941 Germany invaded the Soviet Union. That night Winston Churchill said: "We shall give whatever help we can to Russia." The CPGB immediately announced full support for the war and brought back Harry Pollitt as general secretary. As Jim Higgins has pointed out Palme Dutt's attitude towards the war was "immediately transformed into an anti-fascist crusade." (54)

In the early stages of the Second World War, the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, banned the Daily Worker. Following the German army's invasion of the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, in June 1941, a campaign supported by Professor John Haldane and Hewlett Johnson, the Dean of Canterbury, began to allow the newspaper to be published. On 26th May 1942, after a heated debate, the Labour Party carried a resolution declaring the Government must lift the ban on the newspaper. The ban was lifted in August 1942. (55)

As Francis Beckett has pointed out: "Suddenly the Communist Party was popular and respectable, because Stalin's Russia was popular and respectable, and because at a time of war, Communists were able to wave the Union Jack with the best of them. Party leaders appeared on platforms with the great and the good. Membership soared: from 15,570 in 1938 to 56,000 in 1942." (56)

Editor of the Daily Worker

Campbell became assistant editor of the Daily Worker. Officially, William Rust remained in charge, however, Douglas Hyde, the news editor, later recalled: "We would sit in a room, just half a dozen of us, and talk about the political issues of the day." However, it was Rajani Palme Dutt who decided on the newspaper's policy. "When we had all had our say, Dutt would drape his arm over the arm of his chair - he had the longest arms I have ever seen - bang his pipe out on the sole of his shoe, and sum up. Often the summing up was entirely different from the conclusions we were all reaching, but no one ever argued." (57)

Rust attempted to turn the Daily Worker into a popular mass paper. According to Francis Beckett: "He was a fine editor: a cynical boss who thumped the table in his furious rages, he nonetheless inspired journalists' best work. A tall and by now heavily built man, Rust was one of the Party's most able people, and one of the least likeable." Sales of the newspaper reached 120,000 in 1948. (58)

Alison Macleod worked for the newspaper after the war. In her book, The Death of Uncle Joe (1997), she claimed that in private Campbell was highly critical of the actions of Joseph Stalin. He agreed with Tito in his dispute in June 1948 but in his articles he "refused to say that the Soviet Government was right, stopped short of making any public protest". Campbell argued that if you "were serious about wanting Socialism or you weren't. If you were serious, you couldn't attack the one country which had achieved it." (59)

David Low, The Plot Press (1924)
Rajani Palme Dutt and John Ross Campbell (1948)

William Rust, aged 46, died of a massive heart-attack on 3rd February 1949. John Ross Campbell once again became the editor of the Daily Worker. (60) According to one source he was an excellent journalist: "Johnny Campbell, who took over as editor after Rust's death in 1949, was in the great Scottish Communist tradition of worker intellectuals, a man. (61)

Campbell was liked and respected by his staff. One of his young sub-editors wrote: "Since then I have met several editors who put on matey airs. They imagine (as they lunch at the Savoy Grill) that the reporters lunching at the Wimpy Bar adore them. Campbell's matiness was real. He was interested in people. He would sit in the canteen we all used, and talk to compositors, tape boys or the latest recruit to the staff. Nobody could be better suited to keep the loyalty of a temperamental team, and hold it together amid external attacks." (62)

Khrushchev's de-Stalinzation Policy

During the 20th Party Congress in February, 1956, Nikita Khrushchev launched an attack on the rule of Joseph Stalin. He condemned the Great Purge and accused Stalin of abusing his power. He argued: "Stalin acted not through persuasion, explanation and patient co-operation with people, but by imposing his concepts and demanding absolute submission to his opinion. Whoever opposed this concept or tried to prove his viewpoint, and the correctness of his position, was doomed to removal from the leading collective and to subsequent moral and physical annihilation. This was especially true during the period following the 17th Party Congress, when many prominent Party leaders and rank-and-file Party workers, honest and dedicated to the cause of communism, fell victim to Stalin's despotism." (63)

Harry Pollitt found it difficult to accept these criticisms of Stalin and said of a portrait of his hero that hung in his living room: "He's staying there as long as I'm alive". Francis Beckett pointed out: "Pollitt believed, as did many in the 1930s, that only the Soviet Union stood between the world and universal Fascist dictatorship. On balance, he reckoned Stalin was doing more good than harm; he liked and admired the Soviet leader; and persuaded himself that Stalin's crimes were largely mistakes made by subordinates. Seldom can a man have thrown away his personal integrity for such good motives." (64)

James Friell (Gabriel), the political cartoonist on the Daily Worker, argued that the newspaper should play its part in condemning Stalinism. Gabriel drew a cartoon that showed two worried people reading the Khrushchev speech. Behind them loomed two symbolic figures labelled "humanity" and "justice". He added the caption: "Whatever road we take we must never leave them behind." As a fellow worker at the newspaper, Alison Macleod, pointed out in her book, The Death of Uncle Joe (1997): "This brought some furious letters from our readers. One of them called the cartoon the most disgusting example of the non-Marxist, anti-working class outbursts." However, Macleod went on to point out that a large number of party members shared Friell's sentiments. (65)

Khrushchev's de-Stalinzation policy encouraged people living in Eastern Europe to believe that he was willing to give them more independence from the Soviet Union. In Hungary the prime minister Imre Nagy removed state control of the mass media and encouraged public discussion on political and economic reform. Nagy also released anti-communists from prison and talked about holding free elections and withdrawing Hungary from the Warsaw Pact. Khrushchev became increasingly concerned about these developments and on 4th November 1956 he sent the Red Army into Hungary. (66)

Peter Fryer, the Daily Worker journalist in Budapest was highly critical of the actions of the Soviet Union, and was furious when he discovered his reports were censored. Fryer responded by having the material published in the New Statesman. As a result he was suspended from the party for "publishing in the capitalist press attacks on the Communist Party." Campbell now sent the loyal Sam Russell to report on the uprising. (67)

Malcolm MacEwen, one of the journalists drafted a petition on the reporting of the uprising and persuaded nineteen out of the thirty-one staff of the newspaper to sign it. MacEwen made reference to Edith Bone, a journalist from the Daily Worker who had been in a Budapest prison since 1949. "The imprisonment of Edith Bone in solitary confinement without trial for seven years, without any public inquiry or protest from our Party even after the exposure of the Rajk trial had shown that such injustices were taking place, not only exposes the character of the regime but involves us in its crimes. It is now clear that what took place was a national uprising against an infamous police dictatorship." (68)

Campbell turned on MacEwen. He later commented: "I don't think I've ever loved anybody more than I loved Johnnie Campbell". He was shocked when his best friend was suddenly transformed into his worst enemy, denouncing him so venomously that he knew what Laszlo Rajk and Rudolf Slánský must have felt. He felt he could not carrying on like this and he resigned from both the newspaper and the Communist Party. (69)

Fryer told Campbell he must resign from the newspaper. Campbell pleaded with him to stay. He told Fryer that he had been in Moscow during the purges of the 1930s; he had known what was going on. But what could he do? How could he say anything in public, when the war was coming and the Soviet Union was going to be attacked. Alison Macleod, who watched this debate going on later commented: "This might have been some excuse for silence. However, Campbell was not silent in the 1930s. He wrote a book: Soviet Policy and its Critics, which was published by Gollancz in 1939. In this he defended every action of Stalin and argued the purge trials were genuine." (70)

James Friell condemned John Ross Campbell for supporting the invasion. He told Campbell: "How could the Daily Worker keep talking about a counter-revolution when they have to call in Soviet troops? Can you defend the right of a government to exist with the help of Soviet troops? Gomulka said that a government which has lost the confidence of the people has no right to govern." When Campbell refused to publish a cartoon by Friell on the Hungarian Uprising he left the newspaper. "I couldn't conceive carrying on cartooning about the evils of capitalism and imperialism," he wrote, "and ignoring the acknowledged evils of Russian communism." (71)

Campbell pleaded with the other journalists who were considering leaving the newspaper: "I am one of those who detest any possibility of a return to Stalinism. I have a very simple request to make to any comrades planning to leave the paper. Think it over for 24 hours! Do not do it in a way which will inflict the maximum injury on our paper... If a leading member of the staff leaves the paper at this moment it is not an ordinary act but a deadly blow." (72)

Over 7,000 members of the Communist Party of Great Britain resigned over what happened in Hungary. One of them later recalled: "The crisis within the British Communist Party, which is now officially admitted to exist, is merely part of the crisis within the entire world Communist movement. The central issue is the elimination of what has come to be known as Stalinism. Stalin is dead, but the men he trained in methods of odious political immorality still control the destinies of States and Communist Parties. The Soviet aggression in Hungary marked the obstinate re-emergence of Stalinism in Soviet policy, and undid much of the good work towards easing international tension that had been done in the preceding three years. By supporting this aggression the leaders of the British Party proved themselves unrepentant Stalinists, hostile in the main to the process of democratisation in Eastern Europe. They must be fought as such." (73)

Campbell left the Daily Worker in 1959 and remained loyal to the Soviet Union until what became known as the Prague Spring. In January 1968 the Czechoslovak Party Central Committee passed a vote of no confidence in Antonin Novotny and he was replaced by Alexander Dubcek as party secretary. Soon afterwards Dubcek made a speech where he stated: "We shall have to remove everything that strangles artistic and scientific creativeness." During the next few weeks Dubcek announced a series of reforms. This included the abolition of censorship and the right of citizens to criticize the government. Dubcek described this as "socialism with a human face". (74)

Newspapers began publishing revelations about corruption in high places. This included stories about Novotny and his son. On 22nd March 1968, Novotny resigned as president of Czechoslovakia. He was now replaced by a Dubcek supporter, Ludvik Svoboda. The following month the Communist Party Central Committee published a detailed attack on Novotny's government. This included its poor record concerning housing, living standards and transport. It also announced a complete change in the role of the party member. It criticized the traditional view of members being forced to provide unconditional obedience to party policy. Instead it declared that each member "has not only the right, but the duty to act according to his conscience." The new reform programme included the creation of works councils in industry, increased rights for trade unions to bargain on behalf of its members and the right of farmers to form independent co-operatives. (75)

In July 1968 the Soviet leadership announced that it had evidence that the Federal Republic of Germany was planning an invasion of the Sudetenland and asked permission to send in the Red Army to protect Czechoslovakia. Alexander Dubcek, aware that the Soviet forces could be used to bring an end to Prague Spring, declined the offer. On 21st August, 1968, Czechoslovakia was invaded by members of the Warsaw Pact countries. In order to avoid bloodshed, the Czech government ordered its armed forces not to resist the invasion. Dubcek and Svoboda were taken to Moscow and soon afterwards they announced that after "free comradely discussion" that Czechoslovakia would be abandoning its reform programme. (76)

John Ross Campbell, no longer reliant on the financial support of Moscow, condemned the invasion. So also did other leaders of the Communist Party of Great Britain including John Gollan, the general secretary. Gollan was on holiday at the time and it was left to his deputy, Reuben Falber, to issue a statement calling for the troops to be withdrawn. Falber later argued: "We had no doubt what we should do. It was our responsibility to declare publicly our total opposition to the Soviet-led intervention." Chris Myant, who claims that Falber was the man responsible for collecting funds from the Soviet Union, pointed out: "So the official who collected the Soviet money found himself on the steps of the party offices personally handing out the statement to the waiting reporters condemning the actions of his paymasters." (77)

Monty Johnstone, who had been "shut out of top-level CP affairs for almost a decade for asking awkward questions" published a pamphlet under the title Czechoslovakia's Struggle for Socialist Democracy. The previously loyal Sam Russell was sent to Czechoslovakia, by George Matthews, the editor of The Morning Star, to produce some pro-Soviet articles. These articles did not placate Moscow and decided to cut back on the funding of the CPGB. (78)

John Ross Campbell died on 18th September 1969.

Primary Sources

(1) John Ross Campbell, Workers’ Weekly (16th January, 1925)

One of the most important features of Lenin’s teaching is that concerning the role of a revolutionary party in the struggles of the workers. Lenin’s theory, based upon a long experience of the Labour Movement, comes up against not only the principles advocated by the Social-Democracy, but also those advocated by certain Marxian schools in Great Britain.

The existing moderate Socialist parties attained their greatest development in the years before the war, when capitalism was expanding and the profits of colonial robbery were flowing in a steady stream into the hands of the big capitalists in the leading capitalist countries. Those capitalists were able to grant a number of social reforms to the workers and to spread amongst them the illusion of a steady progress, under capitalism, to a greater state of well-being.

As a consequence of this development there arose in the Socialist Movement the “Revisionist” school who contended that the Marxian analysis was wrong, that capitalism was not moving to a crisis, and that the class struggle so far from intensifying was softening down.

This Revisionist doctrine was never fully accepted by the Continental Socialist parties in theory. In their programmes Marxist doctrine continued to have a place of honour allotted to them. Marxist phrases were widely used in speeches and in the press. The practice of these parties, however, were completely revisionist. Thus there was in the Social-Democratic Parties a complete disharmony between theory and practice.

As the parties were mainly concerned with getting electoral majorities, the question of discipline was naturally a secondary one. Groups with the most diverse views of Socialist theory and policy sheltered under the same expansive Social-Democratic umbrella. The result was that the Social-Democratic parties contained groups and schools waging continuous war against each other. There was no ideological unity.

Against this method of party organisation Lenin waged unrelenting war. The conditions in Russia were such that only a disciplined party, ideologically united under strong central direction, harmonising theory with practice, could lead the workers in the struggle.

This idea of the role of a party was naturally more acceptable in Russia, where the workers were organising and struggling illegally, than in the countries of Western Europe, in which Liberal ideas had infected the Labour Movement.

Since the war, however, the expansion of Western European capitalism has stopped. It is no longer able to throw sops at the workers, but it can only live by intensifying their exploitation and their misery.

We are therefore in Western Europe also entering upon a period of mass struggle leading up to the conquest of power.

One only requires to envisage the problem of bringing large masses into the struggle effectively to realise that unless those masses are under the influence of a trained and disciplined leadership their efforts will be sporadic chaotic, and aimless.

A Communist Party is a party, embracing or aspiring to embrace all the advanced members of the working class. It incarnates the collective experience of the working class gained in the struggle against capitalism. Such a party must be closely linked up with the workers, understanding their problems, sensing their moods, and assisting, them in the every-day struggle. It is fatal for a workers’ party to pursue a policy which does not take into consideration the state of mind of the masses.

It must be in contact not with the more active workers in the trade union branches and the Local Labour Parties, but must also be in contact with the masses of workers in the workshop. (Hence factory groups.)

A revolutionary party must, however, lead the workers. It must not allow itself to he dragged along by the masses, but must understand the development of events, give its lead to the workers in order that their struggle can be waged in the most effective and revolutionary fashion. It must become the political leader of the working class.

(2) David Marquand, Ramsay MacDonald (1977)

On July 30th, the director of public prosecutions brought the article to the notice of the attorney general, Sir Patrick Hastings. Hastings was a brilliant advocate, but a novice in Labour politics; he appears to have given no thought to the effect which a prosecution might have on the Labour movement. He decided that the article was an incitement to mutiny, and he instructed the director of public prosecutions to bring such proceedings under the incitement to Mutiny Act as he thought fit. The following Saturday, a warrant was granted for the arrest of the editor, John Campbell. The news was reported in the press; and on August 6th, Hastings had to answer questions about it in the House of Commons. There were angry protests from the Labour benches. Maxton asked whether the prime minister had read the article and whether he was aware that the point of view expressed in it was shared by a large number of Labour members; Buchanan pointed out that the article expressed "the views and findings of Labour party conferences"; Scurr and Lansbury threatened to raise the matter in the debate on the Appropriation Bill. After questions, Hastings saw Maxton and some of his colleagues in his room at the House. They told him that Campbell was only the acting editor, and that he had an excellent war record; it can be assumed that they also told him that if he persisted with the prosecution, he would incur bitter hostility from the left wing of his own party.

(3) Judge Rigby Swift, closing speech (24th November 1925)

The jury have found you twelve men guilty of the serious offence of conspiracy to publish seditious libels and to incite people to induce soldiers and sailors to break their oaths of allegiance. It is obvious from the evidence that you are members of an illegal party carrying on illegal work in this country. Five of you, Inkpin, Gallacher, Pollitt, Hannington and Rust will go to prison for twelve months.

You remaining seven have heard what I have had to say about the society to which you belong. You have heard me say it must be stopped.... Those of you who will promise me that you will have nothing more to do with this association or the doctrine it preaches, I will bind over to be of good behaviour in the future. Those of you who do not promise will go to prison.

(4) John Ross Campbell, Labour Monthly (August, 1926)

The case against the General Council is that it refused to prepare against the O.M.S. strike-breaking weapon of the Government, and that it absolutely succumbed to the Coal Commission strike-breaking weapon of the Government. In all the months between the granting of the subsidy and the issue of the Coal Commission Report, the General Council refused to elaborate any consistent wage policy to be pursued in relation to the mining dispute. The reason for this was obvious. Nothing that the Coal Commission could do could alter the basic facts of the mining industry, namely that present wages could not be paid without either the adoption of a drastic system of nationalisation and unification without compensation, or by a continuation of the subsidy. Both of these methods of retaining mining wages were ignored because both of them involved a challenge to the normal principles on which capitalist industry is carried on, and involved preparation to bring pressure to bear on the Government.

The result of their refusal to adopt a consistent wage policy was that the General Council simply drifted along, hoping that the Report of the Coal Commission which the Government intended to use as a weapon against the miners would in some miraculous way turn out to be a weapon directed against the mineowners and the capitalist offensive.

(4) John Ross Campbell, Daily Worker (5th March, 1938)

Every weak, corrupt or ambitious enemy of socialism within the Soviet Union has been hired to do dirty, evil work. In the forefront of all the wrecking, sabotage and assassination is Fascist agent Trotsky. But the defences of the Soviet Union are strong. The nest of wreckers and spies has been exposed before the world and brought before the judgement of the Soviet Court. We know that Soviet justice will be fearlessly administered to those who have been guilty of unspeakable crimes against Soviet people. We express full confidence in our Brother Party.

(5) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) pages 20-22

The difference between Lenin and Trotsky as to the character of the revolutionary party soon extended itself
to a difference on the character of the Russian revolution. That the revolution would be in its first phase a bourgeois revolution was recognised by the adherents of the two trends of Russian Social Democracy which emerged in definite shape after the 1903 Congress. The Mensheviks (reformist Socialists) held that as the revolution was clearly a bourgeois revolution the tactics must be to push the capitalists into power and to maintain pressure upon them in order to keep them to the fulfilment of the basic aims of the revolution, i.e., the abolition of all aspects of feudalism, the setting up of a constitutional and democratic government, and the granting of full rights to the organisations of the working class. It was necessary, the Right-Wing Socialists contended, for the workers to pursue a policy that would secure the co-operation of the capitalist parties. It would be fatal, they argued, for the working-class to pursue a policy that could in any way alarm the capitalists or drive them into the arms of the Tsar. On the other hand they argued that, because it was a bourgeois revolution, the working class could not take part in the revolutionary government, but must remain in opposition, mobilising all the necessary pressure on the government to ensure that it did not shrink from carrying through the democratic revolution to the end. To the Mensheviks the main forces of the revolution were the capitalists, the workers, and the middle class of the towns, and as it was a bourgeois revolution it must, they thought, be under the leadership of the capitalists.

The Bolsheviks - the revolutionary Marxists - held that while the coming revolution was a bourgeois revolution in respect of its aims, it did not follow that it must be under the leadership of the capitalist class. On the contrary, the
more the revolutionary tide rose, the more the capitalists would feel the danger of it sweeping away their privileged position, and the more they would be inclined to make a deal with Tsarism. To hold the workers back from militant
action in order not to alarm the capitalists would, they contended, be equivalent to holding back the revolution itself. In the situation that was growing up in Russia, the working class was the only consistent revolutionary class.

It must not seek a subordinate position to the capitalists in the revolutionary struggle. On the contrary, it must put itself at the very head of the movement, striving to win a commanding influence over all sections of the Russian people, particularly of the peasantry who constituted the overwhelming majority of the population. So far from the working class avoiding governmental responsibility it must take part in the revolutionary provisional government, "the revolutionary democratic dictatorship of workers and peasants", because only in this was the guarantee of the revolution being carried through to the end. Contrary to the Mensheviks, the Bolsheviks saw that the closest ally of the working class was the peasantry and not the capitalist class. They did not envisage a democratic revolution and then a long period of capitalist development.

On the contrary, they emphasised that there was no inseparable barrier between the democratic revolution and the Socialist revolution, and that the class struggle of the workers and the poorest sections of the peasantry could carry the one over into the other.

Trotsky occupied a position that was formally different from both Bolshevism and Menshevism, though in all practical questions closer to the latter. He agreed with the Bolsheviks in their estimate of the Liberal capitalists; he would not have them as an ally. He agreed with the Mensheviks in their estimation of the peasantry; they too were more than doubtful as an ally. Of course, the spontaneous movement of the peasantry might help in the struggle against Tsarism, but Tsarism could only be replaced, not by a revolutionary dictatorship of workers and peasants, but by a Workers' Government. This Government would move forward to attack private property, including the private property of the peasants. In doing so it would rouse the resistance of the peasantry. On the other hand, it would stimulate the workers in the advanced European countries to seize power and establish Socialism, and in turn they would come to the assistance of the Workers' Government in Russia in its difficulties. This theory, known as the theory of "permanent revolution", was long the subject of bitter controversy between Trotsky and Lenin.

(5) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) pages 85-86

That great changes have been brought about in the Soviet Union as a result of the Five Year Plans is admitted by friend and foe alike. Everyone acknowledges that the Soviet Union is now in possession of scores of important industries which it did not previously possess, that a mighty technical revolution has taken place in agriculture. But what do these changes mean with regard to the relations of man and man in society? Is it true that the foundations of Socialism have been well and truly laid and that the rate of advance is without parallel in capitalist society?

The leaders of the Soviet Union claim that it is so. "Our Soviet society has already, in the main, succeeded in achieving Socialism," says Stalin. "It has created a socialist system; i.e., it has brought about what Marxists
in other words call the first, or lower phase of Communism. Hence, in the main, we have already achieved the first
phase of Communism, Socialism" (Stalin, Speech on Soviet Constitution, November 25th, 1936).

This estimation is violently opposed by Trotsky, who declares that what has been achieved is merely a "preparatory regime transitional from capitalism to socialism" (The Revolution Betrayed, p. 52). He alleges that this preparatory
regime is engendering growing inequalities between the members of society and that it is bossed by an uncontrolled
bureaucracy. Before this transitional society can develop towards Socialism, Trotsky asserts, it is imperative that
there should be "a second supplementary revolution - against bureaucratic absolutism" (p. 272); "the bureaucracy can be removed only by a revolutionary force. And, as always, there wall be fewer victims the more bold and decisive is the attack" (p. 271). The victory over the bureaucracy inside the Soviet Union and the advance towards Socialism depends to some extent on the prior victory of the revolution in the rest of Europe (p. 274).

This is the second version of the thesis that Socialism in a single country is impossible, replacing as we will see
a previous version which the entire development of the Soviet Union has now completely discredited. It is this aspect of Trotskyism that is today served for public consumption and is a "left" camouflage for the real tactics of Trotsky, which while being based on the same thesis are far from being "Left" either in their content or their aim.

We are compelled to deal with Trotsky's arguments, not because they express his real aims but because those
arguments arc the source of most of the anti-Soviet propaganda of today. They are utilised by the German and Italian Fascists who are preparing a military attack on the Soviet Union. "See, my friends," says Goebbels in effect to the German Socialists and Communists, "what Trotsky is saying about the Soviet State. It is no longer a Socialist State worthy of your support but a State dominated by a parasitic bureaucracy, living on the Russian people." These and similar arguments are broadcast by the Fascists, not only to weaken the faith of the masses in the Soviet Union, but also to weaken the masses' faith in themselves.

They are also seized upon eagerly by the opponents of Communism in the Labour Movement. The Right Wing trade union leaders, in increasing conflict With their own progressive rank and file, are glad to borrow anti-Soviet arguments from the arsenal of Trotsky, because it is necessary to weaken the sympathy of active trade unionists for Communism. The same arguments are served up by middle-class radicals, who, not understanding the revolutionary content of present day Communist policy, imagine that they are criticising Communism from the Left. It is because Trotskyism is the source of all those streams of "criticism" which confuse and weaken the working class, that it is necessary to deal with it at some length.

(5) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) page 92

The well known American Trotskyist Max Eastman - one of the friends of Trotsky - makes the astonishing allegation that "the first phase of Communism" is an invention of the Stalinists. This is typical of what passes for "criticism" amonst the Trotskyists. The fact that Lenin in State and Revolution, and in The Great Initiative and other works refers to "Socialism, the first phase of Communism" cannot have escaped the notice of Max Eastman; but the developments in the Soviet Union, upsetting their previous theory of the impossibility of building Socialism in a single
country, have reduced leading Trotskyists to a condition of complete irresponsibility in word and in deed.

"If we were to ask ourselves in what way Communism differs from Socialism," said Lenin, "we would have to reply that Socialism is the society which grows directly out of capitalism, that it is the first form of the new society. Communism, on the other hand, is a higher form of society, which can develop only when Socialism has taken firm hold. Socialism implies the performance of work without the aid of capitalists, it implies social labour accompanied by tlie strictest accounting, control and supervision on the part of the organised vanguard, the most advanced section
of the toilers. Moreover, it implies that standards of labour and the amount of compensation for labour must be determined." {Selected Works, Vol. VIII, p. 239.)

It will be difficult for the most unscrupulous to deny that what exists in the Soviet Union at this moment does not differ substantially from the description of Socialism given by Lenin above.

(5) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) page 195

So that when after the Party has thrown him out and Trotsky sees a real attempt, in the Five Year Plan to liquidate the remaining capitalist sections in Russia, he prophesies defeat as certain. "The adventurist policies of Stalin are leading the country to its doom," he shrieks.

When the capitalist elements are liquidated and the doom does not materialise, Trotsky goes over to the stand-point of the most bitter Right-Wing "Socialist" opponents of the Russian Revolution; accuses the Bolshevik leaders of pursuing a policy which must lead the country to economic chaos and civil war. To reverse this "dangerous" policy which is based on the "assumption" that Socialism can be built in a single country, he first demands the reform of
the Soviet Government, and then advocates its armed overthrow. He seeks to prepare the mind of the working class abroad for the moment when his terrorist policy has to come to the surface by launching a vile public campaign
in which he accuses the Soviet leaders of his own disease - viz., Bonapartism. All the apparently " Left" criticisms of the Soviet Union contained in The Revolution Betrayed are but a preparation on an international scale for the coup
which Trotsky and his allies are preparing inside the Soviet Union.

That is the evolution of Trotsky as shown in his public writings. Is there therefore anything incredible in the standpoint that once having overthrown the existing Bolshevik Government he would regard it as necessary to resort to a measure of capitalist restoration?

Yet most of the critics of the Moscow Trials disqualify themselves straight away by ignoring the historical development of Trotskyism. They learnedly discuss the "mystery" of why the Trotskyists turned against the Soviet Government when the key to the mystery is partially disclosed in the earlier public writings of Trotsky himself. They
assert the improbability of Trotsky organising the assassination of Stalin, at the very moment when Trotsky in his
published work is describing how all power is being concentrated in Stalin's hands and is demanding the removal of Stalin by armed revolution. But if the armed revolution is slow in coming, would not the assassination of the man who has concentrated so much power in his hands accelerate the process?

These considerations do not prove that Trotsky is guilty of what he was charged with in the Moscow Trials. That is a matter for the evidence itself. But they do most emphatically discount the suggestion that it is politically incredible that Trotsky and his allies could have engaged in such activity.

From the moment he was expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Trotsky could see nothing but impending economic collapse and civil war. In 1928 we find him writing from his exile to the Sixth Congress of the Communist International in the following terms: "Instead of telling them (i.e., the Russian Workers) fibs about having realised 90 per cent socialism, we must say to them that our economic level, our social and cultural conditions, approximate to-day much closer to capitalism, and a backward and uncultured capitalism at that, than to socialism. We must tell them that we will enter on the path of real socialist construction only when the proletariat of the most advanced countries will have captured power, that it is necessary to work unremittingly for this, using both levers — the short lever of our internal economic affairs and the long lever of international proletarian struggle" (L. Trotsky, On the Draft Programme of the Comintern, 1928). Note that the Soviet Union cannot in Trotsky's opinion even enter on a socialist path without the support of a workers' revolution in other countries.

(5) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) page 205-207

This whole defeatist policy of Trotsky and the Rights was in the sharpest opposition to that of the Soviet Government
and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which did not run around shrieking about the necessity for retreat, the
abandonment of all but the most successful collectives and the abandonment of the policy of "liquidating the
kulaks". On the contrary, the Communist Party was beginning its bold and courageous struggle to grapple with the
difficulties that were being experienced in the field of collectivisation, to make all collective farms successful, and to continue without faltering the policy of eliminating all capitalist elements from agriculture. It was about to mobilise 25,000 trusted Party members for work in the policy sections of the collective farms; the duty of these sections, with the aid of all the Communists and of the great majority of the peasants, was to smash the saboteurs, and to see that everyone pulled his or her weight either in the Machine and Tractor Station or on the farm, and to give active help in the solution of all the problems with which the collective farms were confronted. The result was the overcoming of the difficulties and the mighty advance in Soviet agriculture from 1934 onwards.

But around the Trotskyist programme many of the known defeatists in the Party were gathering. There were no
workers amongst them. They were drawn for the most part from those strata of Soviet society that were most out of
touch with the workers. Zinoviev and Kamcnev were naturally present in any grouping based on a policy of retreat before difficulties; many of the former Trotskyist leaders like Radck and Pyatakov had returned to their vomit, and these proceeded to establish relations with the Right-Wing group led by Bukharin, Tomsky and Rykov.

The rapprochement between the Rights and the Trotskyists was facilitated by the fact that Trotsky, to use Bukharin's
phrase, had shed his left uniform and was adopting a position indistinguishable from that of the Rights whom he had formerly derided. This was by no means the first occasion on which the Rights and the Trotskyists and Zinovievists had entered upon conversations with a view to elaborating a common policy.

When in 1928 Bukharin was feeling his way to developing opposition to the first Five Year Plan, particularly on the
peasant question, he approached Kamanev with a view to forming a bloc against the Party line. "Stalin's policy leads
to civil war," he declared to Kamanev, "They will have to drown risings in blood." Here is a similar hysterical prognosis to that of Trotsky.

The Rights and the Trotskyists found a more or less common basis in the Ryutin platform (referred to in Bukharin's statement quoted above), which was circulated at the height of the difficulties connected with kulak resistance to collectivisation in 1932. Ryutin, a Right-Winger who had been secretary of the Moscow Regional Committee, was in prison at the moment when this document was in circulation, and it is certain from the admissions of the defendants in the third Moscow trial that it was a collective production, embodying the views of the leading Right-Wingers in the Party.

The essence of the Ryutin programme was that it demanded the dissolution of the collective and State farms, and the leasing of Soviet factories to foreign capitalists. The document was notable, however, in that it contained an incitement to terrorist acts, particularly against Stalin, against whom the document directed a particularly vindictive diatribe. Alongside the Right-Wingers who were caught circulating this document were a number of Trotskyists of second rank. The leaders of the Right Wing, who as we know now had exhaustively discussed the document, remained in the background, while Zinoviev and Kamenev had been caught with "the goods on them" and had been expelled from the Party.

About the beginning of 1932 the position of the opposition groupings was as follows:

1. A mixed Trotskyist and Zinovievist group, which was exposed at the first Moscow trial in August 1936. Most prominent in this group were Zinoviev and Kamenev, the leaders of the former Leningrad opposition; I. N. Smirnov, one of the most resolute supporters of Trotsky during the discussions of 1923-27, and A. E. Dreitzer, on whose shoulders fell die bulk of the day-to-day organising work of this group.

Trotsky characterises the latter as follows: "Dreitzev was an officer of the Red Army. During and after my expulsion he had, together with ten or twelve of the officers, organised a guard around my home." Other followers of Trotsky in this group were S. V. Mrachkovsky, E. S. Holtzmann, V. A. Ter-Vaganyan, V. P. Olberg, R. V. Pickel, M. Lurye, N. Lurye, K. B. Bernan-Yurin. The Zinovievists were I. P. Bakayev, LI. Reingold, G. E. Evdokimov.

2. A parallel centre of Trotskyists which was exposed at the second trial in January 1937, consisted of Y. L. Pyatakov, K. B. Radek, G. Y. Sokolnikov, L. P. Serebryakov, N. I. Muralov, Y. A. Livshitz, Y. N. Drobnis, M. S. Boguslavsky, I. A. Knyazev, S. A. Rataichak, B. O. Norkin, A. A. Shestov, M. S. Stroilov, Y. D. Turok, I. Y. Hrasche, G. E. Pushin, V. V. Arnold.

This group held much more important positions in Soviet Economy than the first mentioned group. Pyatakov was vice-commissar of Heavy Industry, and was able to place other members of the group in key positions, Ralaichak was chief of the Central Administration of the Chemical Industry, and was able to do likewise.

3. The bloc of Rights 'and Trotskyists exposed at the third trial in March 1937. The predominant group in this combination was composed of the Right-Wing leaders N. I. Bukharin, A. I. Rykov and G. G. Yagoda. Bukharin had been regarded as one of the theoreticians - although a devilishly unstable one - in the Party. At the time of his arrest he was engaged in responsible scientific and journalistic work and had an international reputation acquired through his popularisations - and deformations - of Marxism. Rykov was an ex-prime Minister of the Soviet Union, and Yagoda, up till 1936, had been the head of the political police. The Trotskyist element in this centre was composed of leading diplomats and ex-diplomats like K. G. Rakovsky, ex-ambassador in London and Paris; N. N. Krestinsky, ex-ambassador in Berlin; S. A. Bessonov, A. P. Rosengoltz. A number of bourgeois nationalists who had joined the
Communist. Party of the Soviet Union believing that it was leading in the direction of capitalist restoration, and who, as the Five-Year Plan unrolled, became increasingly hostile to the Soviet Government, were the close allies Of the Right in this grouping. G. F. Grinko, A. Ikhramov and F. Khodjaycv were prominent representatives of this tendency. M. A. Chernov was an ex-Menshcvik who maintained connections with the Menshevik centres abroad. Then there was a group of doctors under the influence of Yagoda, Drs. L. G. Levin, D.D. Pletnev, I. N. Kazakov, V. A. Maximo-Dikovsky.

I. A. Zelenskv was the former head of the Ail-Union Administration of Co-operatives. Others of lesser political
importance, spies and tools of the dominant leadership, were V. I. Ivanov, P. T. Zubarev, P. P. Bulanov, P. P. Krvuchkov and V. F. Sharangovich.

4 A military group whose best known leaders were M. N. Tukhachevsky, I. E. Yakov, I. P. Uboreyitch, A. G. Kork, R. P. Eidemann, B. M. Feldman, V. M. Primakov and V. K. Putna. These operated in a measure independently but maintained contacts principally with the Right groups.

A contact centre was established in 1933 through which the groups exchanged information and co-ordinated policy. The first three groups were in constant contact with the exiled Trotsky.

These groups were united in a common purpose, to stop the rapid industrialisation, to return to individual farming over wide tracts of the country and to effect a gradual return to capitalism. Their economic programme, as outlined by Radek at his trial, was a ruthless development of that publicly outlined by Trotsky in Soviet Economy in Danger, and was similar to the Ryutin programme. In the sphere of industry, said Radek, it meant :"not only the granting of concessions on industrial enterprises of importance to capitalist States, but also the transfer, the sale to private capitalist owners, of important economic enterprises to be specified by them.

Trotsky contemplated the issue of debenture loans, i.e., the admission of foreign capital for the exploitation of those factories which would formally remain in the hands of the Soviet State. "In the sphere of agrarian policy, he (i.e., Trotsky) quite clearly stated that the collective farms would have to be disbanded, and advanced the idea of giving tractors and other complex agricultural machinery to individual peasants in order to revive a new kulak stratum. Lastly
it was quite openly stated that private capital would have to be revived in the cities. It was clear that it meant
the restoration of capitalism.'' (Trial of Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Centre, 1937, pp. 113-4).

(5) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) page 210

Trotsky expressed very great satisfaction when I told him about Sokolnikov's conversation with Tomsky and my conversation with Tomsky, and also about the contacts Radek and I had with Bukharin. He said that this was not only a tactical measure, that is to say, unity in the struggle against one and the same enemy, but that this unity had some significance in principle" (Trial of Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Centre, 1937, pp. 65-6).

Bukharin explained: "If my programme stand were to be formulated practically, it would be, in the economic sphere, State capitalism, the prosperous muzhik individual, the curtailment of the collective farms, foreign concessions, surrender of the monopoly of foreign trade, and, as a result - the restoration of capitalism in the country.... "Inside the country our actual programme - this I think must be said with all emphasis - was a lapse into bourgeois-democratic freedom, coalition, because from the bloc with the Mensheviks, Socialist- Revolutionaries, and the like, it follows that there would be freedom of parties, freedom of coalition, and follows quite logically from the combination of forces for struggle, because if allies are chosen for overthrowing the government, on the day after the possible victory they would be partners in power. A lapse not only into the ways of bourgeois-democratic freedom, but in the political sense into ways where there are undoubtedly elements of Caesarism" (Trial of Anti-Soviet Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites, pp. 381-2).

In reply to an intervention by Vyshinsky, Bukharin admitted that what he meant by Caesarism was Fascism: "Since in the circles of the 'bloc of Rights and Trotskyites' there was an ideological orientation towards the kulaks and at the same time an orientation towards a 'palace revolution' and a coup d'etat, towards a military-conspiracy and a praetorian guard of counter-revolutionaries, this is nothing other than elements of Fascism" {Trial of Anti-Soviet Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites, p. 382).

Another group was working in. the same direction - for the restoration of capitalism - but this group also aimed at the setting up of separate national States on this capitalist basis. At the trial in March 1938, Grinko stated that he and
other Ukrainian nationalists had joined the Communist Party in the period of the New Economic Policy, but
"continued to adhere to and later intensified our bourgeois-nationalist position". At first the group merely carried out
"political reconnoitring", because at this stage: "We considered that the evolution of the N.E.P. in the direction we desired was not excluded. On the other hand, we did not see in Europe the forces in alliance with which we could advance more resolutely" {Trial of Anti-Soviet Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites, March 1938, p. 69).

Later, when "even the blind could see" that the New Economic Policy was not leading to capitalism, "we gradually put out feelers for foreign political forces that could help us." In this period "the Ukrainian nationalist organisation had entirely taken up the position of the Rights on general political questions, that is to say, the position of fighting industrialisation and collectivisation."

In 1935 and 1936 Grinko's group established connections with the Rights and Trotskyites, being already in touch
with "certain States hostile to the Soviet power". The common position of the Rights, the Trotskyites and the nationalist organisations was that they looked to "the military aid of aggressors ""This meant undermining the power of defence of the Soviet Union, undermining activities in the army and in the defence industry, opening the front in the event of war and provoking this war; it meant extending connections with aggressive anti-Soviet elements abroad;
it meant consenting to the dismemberment ot the USSR, and compensating the aggressors at the expense of the border territories of the U.S.S.R." {Trial of Bloc of Rights ana Trotskyites, March 1938, p. 76).

(5) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) page 213-215

The Trotskyists and the Rights, who reorganised their ranks and drew bourgeois-nationalist organisations into
association with them in 1933, were confirmed in their course by the coming of Fascism in Germany. To the dark peasant and bourgeois-nationalist counter-revolution which they were trying to develop inside the country, was now
added the prospect of Fascist invasion backed with all the resources of a highly industrialised Germany. These hidden thoughts of Trotsky find a certain expression in several passages of an otherwise carefully camouflaged resolution on "The Soviet Union and the Fourth International" written in the autumn of 1933.

"It is clear in any case," he says, "with the further decline of the world proletarian movement and the further extension of the Fascist domination, it is not possible to maintain the Soviet power for any length of time by means of the internal forces alone." This estimation is of course qualified by the demagogic declaration: "The fundamental condition for the only rock bottom reform of the Soviet State is the victorious spread of the world revolution."

In The Revolution Betrayed Trotsky in a measure repeats this diagnosis: "If the war should remain only a war, the defeat of the Soviet Union would be inevitable. In a technical, economic and military sense, imperialism is incomparably more strong. If it is not paralysed by revolution in the West, imperialism will sweep away the regime which issued from the October Revolution" (p. 216}.

Trotsky of course qualifies this by declaring that war cannot be taken by itself, for war will give rise to revolution. But he continues to predict that without world revolution, Soviet economy is doomed even if the Soviet Union is victorious in a war. "No military victory can save the inheritance of the October Revolution if imperialism holds out in the rest of the world" (p. 220).

In 1933 Trotsky was even more explicit: "The first social shock, external or internal, may throw the atomised Soviet Society into civil war. The workers having lost control over the State and economy may resort to mass strikes as weapons of self-defence. The disripline of the dictatorship would be broken down under the onslaught of the workers and because of the pressure of economic difficulties the trusts would be forced to disrupt the planned beginnings and enter into competition with one another. The dissolution ot the regime would naturallv find its violent and chaotic echo
in the village and would inevitably be thrown over into the army. "The Socialist State would collapse, giving place to the capitalist regime, or, more correctly, to capitalist chaos" (The Soviet Union and the Fourth International).

This was more than a prophecy. It was the objective of the conspirators. It is clear, therefore, that the Trotskyists were convinced (1) that the Soviet Union, because of its drive for Socialism, was rushing headlong to disaster; and (2) that in the event of a war its defeat was certain unless, as Trotsky is careful to add for public consumption, the international revolution would come to its aid.

But whatever phrases may be retailed for public consumption the basic conception of the Trotskyists leads directly to the policy as disclosed by Radek and Pyatakov at their trial.

Those who argue that terror and sabotage are weapons foreign to genuine Marxism are perfectly correct; but this
is not to sav that they are weapons foreign to a group of people who, after deserting Marxism, had arrived in 1933
at the following conclusions: "The bureaucracy can be compelled to yield power into the hands of the proletarian vanguard only by force....

But the Soviet Union, in Trotsky's view, is menaced by Fascist intervention, is indeed already in a state of "half
collapse". Would it not be advisable to make a deal with the Fascists by promising them, in the event of a Trotskyist
victory, some very important territorial and economic concessions in order that they adopt a favourable attitude to the new regime?

But perhaps the "external shock", i.e., war, would come first. Trotsky proposed to co-operate with the Fascists to
secure their victory, so that, in the breakdown that followed, the Trotskyists could come to power on the basis of con-
cessions to Fascism.

Bukharin's estimate of the meaning of Fascism and of the necessity of making an agreement with it went even further than Trotsky dared to go in public. Speaking of Bukharin, Ivanov, one of the accused in the third trial, said: "You know, he (Bukharin) said, that capitalism has now entered a new phase of development, and at this new stage capitalism is displaying fairly high elements of organisation and planning. Capitalism, he said, is revealing new and fresh strength, expressing itself in the progress of technique, which actually amounts to a technical revolution and the rejuvenation of capitalism, as it were. And that, correspondingly, we must revise our view of the contradictions, of the classes, of the class struggle, and so on. Fundamental amendments must be introduced to Marx. Marx's treatment of the question of proletarian revolutions was no longer suitable. The doctrine of Lenin and Stalin that the epoch of imperialism is an epoch of proletarian revolutions was, he said, a most harmful Utopia. This, in fact, was the position from which we proceeded, and which led us to Fascism.... Bukharin said that I had not thought over this question
deeply enough. Fascism, he said, corresponded to the latest trends in the development of capitalism. We arrived directly at Fascism" {Trial of Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites, pp. 118-119) .

In the trials, both Radck and Sokolnikov gave the most detailed evidence as to their conversations with German
diplomats who were exploring the strength of the agree- ment with Nazi Germany and Japan that had been
arrived at by Trotsky.

(5) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) page 217

It may be objected that there was nothing in the previous political position of such people to make them change into such despicable traitors. They may, it is contended, have doubted the possibility of building Socialism in the Soviet Union; they may have desired the slowing down of industrialisation and collectivisation; they may have believed that the defeat of Soviet Russia in a war with the Fascist States was inevitable, and that therefore a compromise must be sought with the Fascists (1) from the point of view of enabling the group to come to power and realise its programme; and (2) from the point of view of securing that the Soviet Union would not be completely overrun by Fascism; but why, it is asked, should they turn out to be such out-and-out degenerates and traitors?

"Verily it may be said," wrote Lenin on one occasion, "that a small mistake persisted in, learnedly demonstrated and "carried to its logical conclusion", will grow into a monstrosity." In the same way a large mistake, persisted in, learnedly demonstrated and carried to its logical conclusion may grow into a monstrous crime. When the various opposition groups began to come together in 1932, they were mainly concerned with changing the policy of the Government which they believed was driving the country to ruin, but the logic of their struggle carried them step by step to a position when they became little more than the traitorous puppets of foreign Fascism.

"We considered," declared Sokolnikov, "that Fascism was the most organised form of capitalism, that it would
triumph, would seize Europe and stifle us, it was therefore better to come to terms with it, it was better to consent to a compromise in the sense of retreating from Socialism to capitalism. All this was explained by the following argument: better make certain sacrifices, even very severe ones, than lose everything. I should explain, emphasise this principle, because without it, it would be quite impossible to understand how the bloc and the centre of the bloc could have entered upon the course of terrorist struggle, of wrecking struggle, of diversive acts, on a defeatist position" (ibid., p. 151).

That was the attitude of the bloc when it first entered upon establishing relations with the Fascists. "We had to decide a political problem which consisted of only one point," continued Sokolnikov, "could we by adopting this most painful course, which in regard to the existing Party leadership, in regard to the Soviet power, in regard to the Soviet Union, represented, as we understood full well, a series of the most heinous crimes, of the most shameful crimes, represented treason and so forth - we had to decide whether after paying this price we would be able to utilise this hostile force."

(5) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) page 234-239

Thus, at last the full logic of Trotskyism, of the doctrine of the impossibility of building Socialism in a single country,
of reliance on those sections of the population who did not want to see Socialism built, finds its finished expression.

On the other hand, it was the working class, intent on building Socialism in the Soviet Union, that administered
the sharpest blows to the Trotskyists. It was in the great enterprises of Leningrad, Moscow and the Don Basin
that the Trotskvists suffered their sharpest defeats in the discussion of 1925-7. We have seen how Trotsky estimated
the advanced non-Party workers chosen by their comrades in workshop, mine and office, who entered the Bolshevik Party after the death of Lenin, as "raw human material, without experience, without independence, and yet with the old habit of submitting to the authorities" {The Revolution Betrayed, p. 97). Obviously, anyone who did not bow down before the super-aristocrat Trotsky was only a piece of "raw human material". In the Party discussion of 1927, only 4,000 people could be found to vote for Trotsky, as compared with the 724,000 who voted for the line of the Party. The young administrators drawn from the working class were equally hostile, as Trotsky regretfully admits (The Revolution Betrayed, p. 276).

How fantastic it is to present Trotsky as the "leader of the workers against the bureaucracy". The workers always fought shy of him. For the ten years previous to 1917 he was the 'leader of a tiny splinter group standing between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, objectively supporting the latter. When, from 1923 onwards, he began to come out against the Party, he completely failed to get working-class support. His principal supporters are drawn from that stratum of the population whom he designates as the bureaucracy. They are Party and State intellectuals, despising the "raw human material" and contemptuously under-estimating the force of the Russian masses. Trotskyism is not the struggle of Socialism against bureaucracy; it is the struggle of bureaucratic degenerates (representing the forces of capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union) against the Soviet workers and against the drive to Socialism.

Not all harmful and degenerate bureaucrats are Trotskyists or Rights. They are, however, a recruiting ground for
Trotskyism. Their attitude to the workers might well give the Trotsky wreckers a foothold if it was not ruthlessly
combated. That is one of the reasons why the Soviet workers have launched a struggle against reactionary bureaucratic methods in every phase of Soviet life.

In the greater struggle for the realisation of the Five-Year Plans, many local and district leaders were so absorbed in attaining economic successes that they forgot all else. Why have Party meetings, the regular election of Party organisations, the regular reporting of Party leaders to the members? "Things are going on all right. We are attaining great successes. Let's get on with the job." This attitude could lead, not only to a neglect of big political questions, but also to the diminution of working-class control over the various aspects of Soviet life. This tendency had to be checked, working-class self criticism stimulated, and the control of the Soviets and the Party consolidated. The stimulation of a mighty movement of self-criticism exposed the harmful tendencies that had resulted from the neglect of the big political questions on the basis of "let's get on with the job". It revealed that certain officials had been lax in their duties, and, as a consequence, allowed a considerable scope to the Trotskyist wreckers; that officials finding control somewhat relaxed had misrepresented the achievements of the enterprises under their control; that others had
indulged in personal self-aggrandisement; and that in some places a tyrannical attitude had been adopted with regard to the workers. The working class of the Soviet Union had not only to smash the Trotskyist wreckers but had to deal drastically with that section of administrators whose complacency, negligence and self-aggrandisement constituted a direct aid to Trotskyism. They had to clear out of important posts people with a good Party record, but who were "square pegs in round holes" and were holding back the rapid advance to Communism. This is what the Daily Herald calls "Russia's Tragic Purge".

It is no doubt sad that the advance to Socialism cannot take place smoothly with all the members of the exploited
class joyously and wholeheartedly participating in the march to the new life. But it is in the nature of class society
that it cannot be so. The expropriated classes will resist. Difficulties will begin to accumulate, and leaders of the
working class shrinking back from the difficulties will become - unconsciously at first - the supporters of policies which aid the remnants of the hostile classes which are resisting. Very sad, but, in the nature of class society,
unavoidable - for the Socialist transformation is a question of class struggle and not of harmonious progress of all
classes hand in hand to the new social order. It will therefore be necessary for the workers to dismiss those people who are not prepared to face all the implications of the struggle. And that, as the Daily Herald says, is a purge.
But whether it is tragic or not depends upon who is purging whom. If the Russian Purge was directed against people
who were working to develop the Socialist Society, then it would indeed be tragic. For that would mean the abandon-
ment of the New Constitution and the beginning of a return to capitalism. But as it is directed against people who are
impeding the development of Socialist Society, how can it be described as tragic?

It is unfortunate that these people were in important positions. It is not unfortunate that those who were traitors
have been executed and those who were degenerate and inefficient removed. The Trotskyist traitors also believed
in a purge, a purge possible only on the basis of a Fascist victory, promoted by treachery. Then the purge would
have been truly tragic, for it would have denoted a purge directed against the leaders of Socialist Society. But the
present successful purge means the consolidating of Socialism, the unhampered development of the New Constitution, the overcoming of one more obstacle in the path of the development of Socialist Society to Communism.

It is a purge confounding all the sceptics as to where the Soviet Union is going. Some of those saw the downfall
of Soviet power when the Brest-Litovsk Peace was signed with Germany; they hailed the New Economic Policy as
"Bolshevism in Retreat"; they saw the resistance of the Kulak as the end of the Soviet regime, and when all these prophecies were shattered, they predicted the emergence of a triumphant bureaucracy that would emancipate itself from control and steer Soviet economy on to capitalist rails. The purge is the final and crushing answer to this fantasy. It reveals, not the triumph of bureaucracy, but the triumph of Socialist Democracy. It reveals the people of the Soviet Union against faint-hearts, renegades and deserters.

It is the triumph of the real revolutionaries; of those who did not flinch from the difficulties of Socialist construction in a backward country; of those who did not scare themselves with the fear of the dark peasant counter-revolution; of those who remained at the helm in the midst of the storm, when the Trotskyists and Bukharinites lost their heads and started to scream: "All is lost" or "Save the ship by sailing it into an enemy port". Such traitors and deserters are not "heroes of the revolution". The heroes are those who remained unflinchingly at their posts and, under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, brought the ship into the harbour of victory.

The moscow trials were undoubtedly good copy for the capitalist press, which used its opportunity to the full. There was no attempt to understand the political meaning of the activities of the prisoners. Whatever the journalists considered to be of melodramatic value was stressed and the headlines (not always corresponding with the body of the story) did the rest, so that when the unfortunate reader came away from a perusal of the reports, he had the impression of a script of a third-rate Hollywood melodrama. In reporting trials in Britain the journalist - in order to avoid contempt of court - has to keep closely to the facts. In dealing with the Moscow trials he could use his imagination to the full.

It would be an instructive exercise for the reader to peruse the verbatim report of the trial of the Metro-Vickers Engineers, the Radek-Pyatakov, or the Bukharm-Rykov-Yagoda trials, and then compare these records with the press reports. He would have very great difficulty in realising that he was reading about the same events, for ever since the trial of the Shakty wreckers in 1928 the press has laboured unceasingly to create a prejudice against Soviet justice. It is this prejudice that the henchmen ot Trotskyism seek to exploit in order to throw doubt on the evidence and admissions at the trials.

Whv, it is asked, in spite of this large-scale conspiracy has so little been accomplished? One Party leader, Sergei
Kirov, openly assassinated; three others, Gorky, Kuibyshev and Mcnzhinskv, killed by inappropriate medical treatment, and that is all. And yet some of the curators stood at the head of the Red Army, the G.P.U., the
diplomatic service and heavy industry.

Now even if that were the total extent of the conspirators' achievements it would not prove that the conspiracy was
exaggerated. To take British history, it is a fact that in the reigns of William and Mary and of Anne, after the
glorious bourgeois revolution of 1688, there were men in the highest posts in the State who were conspiring for the
return of the Stuarts, and at a certain stage, during the reign of Anne, there were many who believed that the conspiracy would succeed. And yet in the end it came to nothing because the main body of the capitalist and land-lord classes found that the parliamentary monarchy, established by the "glorious revolution", accorded best with their interests. But it would be folly for a historian to deny the complicity of leading soldiers and statesmen in the plans for a Stuart restoration on the ground that their plans came to nothing.

In this case, however, it would be entirely wrong to confine the "achievements" of the conspirators to the murders which were carried out at their instigation. They were able to do serious damage to industry and agriculture by the methods of sabotage - the classic weapon of a dispossessed class in a Socialist society - to which they had
recourse. And so Trotsky in the course of his "defence" tries to convince the world that there was no sabotage
whatever. The Dewey Commission which was set up by the American Committee for the Defence of Leon Trotsky
declares, "The Commission finds from the evidence in its possession that the wrecks, delays, and damages charged
against the accused in the Moscow trials are explicable in terms of haste, inefficiency and over-reaching, and that
the charges of sabotage, wrecking and diversion as far as they concern Leon Trotsky, stand not proved and not credible."

(5) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) page 244-249

If murder and sabotage took place, what implicates the defendants in the three trials? There is firstly their admissions before the examining authority, repeated by them in court, and there is the corroborating evidence.

A great deal of the criticisms of the trials consists of an attempt to deny the validity of the admissions ot the accused. Consider the admissions. In the Zinoviev-Kamanev trial there were sixteen defendants, fifteen of whom pleaded guilty of all counts. In the Pyatakov-Radek trial there were seventeen defendants, all of whom pleaded guilty. In the Bukharin-Yagoda-Rykov trial there were twenty-one defendants, who pleaded guilty.

There were fifty-four defendants in all, some ot them old revolutionists; some of them, like Mrachkovsky and Muralov, were men of outstanding physical courage. Yet the people who reject the genuineness of the plea ot guilty, tell us that all of these people sat in court for a week or more, and admitted crimes (punishable by death) that they had never committed. The trials took place in a large hall packed bv foreign journalists, and yet out ot fifty-four people, from whom (according to the hypothesis) a spurious confession had been extracted, not one was prepared to denounce the methods by which the confession was extracted. We are told that the leading group of those fifty-four were people who were opposing Stalin from the "Left", that they wanted an attack on bureaucracy, and a break with the policy of alliance with bourgeois States. Yet these men are seen talking freely in court for a week. Not only do they not give the listening world an account of the alleged political programme for which (according to the hypothesis) they are about to die, but Zinoviev, Pyatakov, Radek, Bukharin and the others give an account of their adherence to a quite different programme - a programme of capitalist restoration.

These men had a certain revolutionary reputation in the past. Their names were household words with millions of workers in the capitalist world. They had the opportunity to tell these workers that they had carried on a struggle against Stalin because he was "betraying the revolution"; and yet instead of doing this, they exposed themselves as people who had themselves betrayed the revolution.

And we are actually told by some critics, as we will see, that they did this in order to oblige Stalin. Is not the assertion that these men were guilty a thousand times more credible than the fantastic hypotheses that are brought forward to explain away their admissions?

Trotsky has tried to score a point by contrasting the difference between the admissions at the Zinoviev-Kamenev trial and those of the Radek-Pyatakov trial. "The trial of Zinoviev-Kamenev was concentrated upon terrorism." The trial of Pyatakov-Radck placed in the centre of the stage, no longer terror, but the alliance of the Trotskyists with Germany and Japan for the preparation of war, the dismemberment of the U.S.S.R., the sabotage of industry and the extermination of workers.

How to explain this crying discrepancy? For after the execution of the sixteen we were told that the depositions
of Zinoviev, Kamenev and the others were voluntary, sincere, and corresponding to the facts. Moreover, Zinovicev
and Kamenev demanded the death penalty for themselves.

"Why then did they not say a word about the most important thing; the alliance of the Trotskyists with Germany and Japan and the plot to dismember the U.S.S.R.? Could they have forgotten such 'details' of the plot? Could they themselves, the leaders of the so-called centre, not have known what was known by the accused in the last trial, people of a secondary category? The enigma is easily explained; the new amalgam was constructed after the execution of the sixteen, during the course of the last five months, as an answer to unfavourable echoes in the world press" (The Revolution Betrayed, pp. 295-6).

But it is precisely the fact that Kamenev and Zinoviev only told what had already been exposed from other sources, and that they kept back important information which has since come to light, that shows we are in the presence not of a frame-up, but of a plot whose full scope is only gradually discovered.

Sergei Kirov, one of the most important leaders in the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, was assassinated in December 1934. The actual shots were fired by one Nicolaiev, who was an active member of the Zinoviev organisation. As a result of the investigation, a part of this organisation is discovered and some of its members are shown to have been in touch with Zinoviev and Kamenev. Zinoviev and Kamenev admit "moral responsibility" for the murder of Kirov in the sense that they had created such a frame of mind amongst their adherents in relation to the Soviet Government as provided a stimulus for such actions as that of Nicolaiev.

That was the extent of their admission of guilt and they were sentenced accordingly. When people in Britain
declare "It is almost incredible that old Bolsheviks should take to assassination against their opponents in the Party"
they are only echoing what was the general opinion in the Soviet Union in January 1935- People were perfectly
willing to accept the statements of Zinoviev and Kamenev that while they had sowed hatred against the policy of
the Soviet Government they had not directly organised assassination. There were no proofs to the contrary discovered at that moment, and everyone was prepared to give Zinoviev and Kamenev the benefit of the doubt. It was only as a result of the discovery of other terrorist groups that the participation of Zinoviev and Kamenev in the organisation of assassination was fully revealed.

Zinoviev and Kamenev at each stage only admitted as much as was already known from other sources. The full
aims of the plot, the full meaning of the plotters' association with Nazi Germany, they concealed to the end. Such
behaviour is not consistent with the theory that the O.G.P.U. first fabricated a plot and then - for reasons which are perfectly grotesque - forced a number of old revolutionists to confess to it.

But it is perfectly consistent with the fact that there was a widespread plot, the full extent of which was only gradually discovered. The people concerned were old revolutionaries who knew how to build an illegal organisation and to conceal its workings from the authorities.

They were people who had been in conflict with the Party but had publicly made their peace with it and were given responsible work. Pyatakov became vice-commissar for Heavy Industry; Zinoviev commenced to write articles
for the leading Party organ, the Bolshevik (which incidentally bore the stigmata of his previously incorrect political
attitude) ; Bukharin became active on scientific and cultural questions. The Party took their adherence to the Party line at its face value, welcomed them back to the ranks and gave them important and congenial work to do. And therefore when the shooting of Kirov took place and the Party called for increased vigilance it was still far from appreciating the depths of treachery to which the opposition had sunk. It was only prolonged and careful investigation which led step by step to an unmasking of the main lines of the conspiracy. The same applies to Bukharin and Rykov. They were mentioned by defendants in the first trial but denied complicity, and their denial was for the time being believed.

If the prisoners were not guilty why did they confess to crimes dishonouring of their reputation not only as revolutionists but as decent human beings? Here Trotsky, seeking desperately to exonerate himself, while at the
same time concealing those sections of the conspirators who are still undiscovered, has resorted to different explanations at different times.

In 1936 Trotsky appeared before a Norwegian court as a witness in a case where some local Fascists were alleged
to have attempted to raid the house where he was staying. The court was obviously more interested in Trotsky than
in the local Fascists and allowed him to range over a wide variety of subjects including the Zinoviev-Kamanev

Dealing with the reasons for the admissions of Zinoviev and Kamenev, Trotsky said: "All the accused, without exception, have declared that Trotskv from abroad, had addressed to them clandestine appeals to terrorism, had given terrorist instructions and had even sent executors into the U.S.S.R .

"My participation in terrorism is common to all the admissions. This is the minimum that the GPU could not renounce. It will only give its victims a chance of their lives on condition that it obtains this minimum." In other words the prisoners were promised their lives if they made the admission that the Government required only to be double-crossed and shot.

This "explanation", given out in the hope mat the remaining conspirators would accomplish their object, became grotesque when the second batch of conspirators were caught and made admissions. Still for want ot a better "explanation", he persists in this one. In an article date-lined Coyacan, Mexico, January 21st, 1937, he says. "But can one admit that Radek, Pyatakov, Sokolmkov, Serebryakov - and others - enter on the path of confessions after the tragic experience of the sixteen! Zinoviev and Kamenev had a hope of being saved. They were tricked. They paid by physical death for the confessions which signified their moral death.... To Radek, to Pyatakov, to the others one leaves the faint hope of a chance - "But you shot Zinoviev and Kamenev" - "Yes, we have killed them because it was necessary, because they were concealed enemies, because they have refused to admit their relations with the Gestapo. But we have no need to shoot you. Quite the contrary. You must aid us to liquidate the opposition once and for all and to liquidate Trotsky. That service will be worth your life. We will even give you work at a later moment."

When the majority of the defendants at the second trial are shot, Trotsky picks up the explanation of the gutter
press and declares that the defendants were tortured. In a speech read at the New York Hippodrome on February
9th, 1937, he said: "Who led these people into a state in which all human reflexes are destroyed, arid how did he do it?" asks Trotsky. "There is a very simple principle in jurisprudence, which holds the key to many secrets... he who benefits by it, he is the guilty one. The entire conduct of the accused has been dictated from beginning to end, not by their own ideas and interests, but by the interests of the ruling clique. And the pseudo-plot, and the confessions, the theatrical judgment and the entirely real accusations, all were arranged by one and the same hand" (The Revolution
, p. 300).

Here is a truly desperate attempt to cloud the issues. The interests of the "ruling clique" and of the people of the Soviet Union could only have been served by the discovery of a real plot against them. But Trotsky would try and have us believe that a whole series of entirely innocent men, working quietly at their posts - some of them in key positions in the country - were arrested and forced to confess to a plot which had no existence in reality. Why? What purpose could this serve? The trials gave the capitalist press of the world an opportunity which they used to the full to throw mud at the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Government was perfectly well aware that they would do so, and yet it is alleged to have gratuitously
presented capitalism with this opportunity by inventing a monstrous plot which had no existence in fact. And people
who accept this monstrous nonsense dare to talk of "credibility"; "Who led these people into a state in which all human reflexes are destroyed?" Who indeed? What proof is there that the prisoners were other than in their normal state of physical and mental health? They answered questions for hours on end. The testimony of the one was
carefully compared with the testimony of the other before a crowded court. When they are asked if they were tortured
in order to confess, what do they say?

Vyshinsky (State Prosecutor): "I am interested in knowing why you decided to give truthful testimony. Examining the record of the preliminary investigation, I see that at a number of interrogations you denied any part in underground work. Is that so?"

Muralov: "Yes. Up to December 5. Eight months.

Vyshinsky: "Why, then, in the end did you decide to give, and did give, truthful testimony? Explain the motives that led you to the decision to lay everything on the table - if you have laid everything on the table."

Muralov : "I think there were three reasons which held me back and induced me to deny everything. One reason
is political, and profoundly serious; two of an exclusively personal character. I shall begin with the least important, with my character. I am very hot-tempered and resentful. That is the first reason. When I was arrested, I became embittered with resentment."

Vyshinsky: "Were you badly treated?"

Muralov: "I was deprived of my liberty."

Vyshinsky: "But perhaps rough methods were used against vou?"

Muralov: "No. No such methods were used. I must say that in Novosibirsk and here I was treated politely and no cause for resentment was given. I was treated very decently and politely" {Trial of Anti-Soviet Trotskyite
, January 1937, pp. 231-2)...

Bukharin in his last plea told the listening world: "Repentance is often attributed to diverse and absolutely absurd things like Tibetan powders and the like. I must say of myself that in prison, where I was confined for over a year, I worked, studied, and retained my clarity of mind. This will serve to refute by facts all fables and absurd counter-revolutionary tales. Hypnotism is suggested. But I conducted my own defence in Court from the legal standpoint too, orientated myself on the spot, argued with the State prosecutor; and anybody, even a man who has little experience in this branch of medicine, must admit that hypnotism of this kind is altogether impossible" {Trial of Anti-Soviet
Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites
, March 1938, p. 777).

(5) Dudley Collard, Soviet Justice and the Trial of Radek and Others (1937) page 244-249

If the

(5) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) page 293-294

There are two immediate possibilities and two only in Europe today. The first is that the countries opposed to Fascist aggression remain split and that Fascism attacks them one by one, seizing parts of their territory, destroying
the democratic rights of their peoples and in some cases ending their existence as independent countries. Such
successful Fascist aggression would be not only a shattering blow at the people in the conquered countries but would rivet the chains still more firmly upon the limbs of the German and Italian people.

The second is that the Soviet Union and the capitalist countries which are opposed to Fascist expansion, build
up a peace combination strong enough to hold the Fascists in check and to give the people in the Fascist countries the opportunity of gathering their forces for attack on their oppressors.

The Fascists and their allies in the democratic countries work desperately to prevent the realisation of this latter policy, bringing forward all types of argument in favour of the anti-Fascist countries remaining disunited in face of the combined drive of the Fascist States. The Trotskyists reinforce the Fascists by carrying on similar propaganda inside the Labour movement, giving their arguments a pseudo-Socialist colour. Both aim at the same thing - the perpetuation of the disunity of anti-Fascist forces in the face of united Fascist attack.

The Trotskyist "Fourth International" published a long and tedious thesis on the duty of revolutionaries in war. There is only one thing missing - namely, what is the policy that the workers in non-Fascist countries should pursue in the teeth of the advancing allied Fascist counter- revolution?

Denunciation of the positive peace policy of the Soviet Union, predictions of the economic collapse of the Soviet Union in the event of it being involved in a war, boastings as to what the Trotskyists will do in the event of war breaking out; but on positive activities to be undertaken now there is nothing, unless the frenzied denunciation of the peace policy of the Soviet Union can be regarded as a positive policy "Keep away from the Soviet peace policy; denounce as counter-revolutionary all attempts to check Fascist aggression; prepare for revolutionary activity in the war which must come" that is the essence of the Trotskyist policy. Despite its revolutionary phrases it is an out and out pro-Fascist policy, for it means that it is a matter of indifference to the workers whether Fascism advances in Europe or not, the only thing to be concerned with is the Revolution. It is clear that this is a doctrine evolved for the express purpose of duping the masses, because it is evident that unless the advance of Fascism can be stopped all immediate prospects of revohuion will be destroyed.

"The task of the European proletariat," declares Trotskv in the course of a fierce attack on the peace policy of the Soviet Union, "is not the perpetuation of boundaries, but on the contrary, their revolutionary abolition, not the status quo but a socialist united states of Europe" {The Fourth International and War).

Can there be a more transparent evasion of the question in the interests of Fascism? The workers ask: "What is our
duty in view of the open Fascist preparations for an attack on the European status quo?" and they receive the answer: "We are not for the European status quo, we are for the Socialist United States of Europe." It is self-evident that the working class cannot attain its emancipation on the basis of the European status quo - either territorial or social. The working class requires to change the European status quo in a progressive direction, but surely that involves it taking up a definite attitude to the Fascist imperialist attempt to change the status quo m a reactionary direction by means of war. Is it not evident that the Fascists succeeded in changing the European status quo they would create infinitely more national injustices than exist at present, and would make it infinitely more difficult to change the status quo in a revolutionary direction?

The leaders of the working class movement in Germany and Italy were only too well aware that any Fascist successes in changing the status quo can only strengthen the regime of bestial terrorism within the Fascist countries. The policy of seeking to restrain the Fascists from going to war to change the status quo, is a policy which aids the European working class to gather its forces to overthrow Fascism by revolutionary means, thus changing the status quo in a progressive direction. It is manifest therefore that the Trotskyists, in trying to convince the workers that they are not interested in the preservation of the European status quo, are really seeking to convince them that they are not interested in impeding the advance of Fascism in Europe.

(5) John Ross Campbell, Socialist Solution to the Crisis (1948)

It is not enough to reject Churchill, Hudson and Eden. It is also necessary to guard against the dangers of a thinly-camouflaged Tory policy being gradually introduced into the Labour movement by Messrs. Attlee, Bevin, Morrison and Cripps.

We know that there are working people who appreciate some of the social reforms which the Government has placed on the statute book, who appreciate the shorter working week, who in the lower paid industries appreciate the increases in wages. But our Party has the duty to convince these workers that all these things which they are cherishing today are in jeopardy because of the failure of the Government to tackle the growing economic crisis. Indeed, all these things are being whittled away day by day by the Government itself.

Last week we saw the opening of an attempt to put a most brazen swindle across the working class of this country. The Government White Paper on wages was perfectly clear. No wage increases except in the undermanned industries. And when some undermanned industries apply they will be told, “Why, you’ve just had a wage increase—you’ve had it, chum.” Freezing of wages. Refusal to peg prices. Refusal to increase the food subsidies. That is the Government’s policy.

(6) John Ross Campbell, The Communist Record (1960)

At the Labour Party conference in October, 1925, the reactionary forces organised by MacDonald rejected, by an overwhelming vote, a resolution calling for Communist affiliation to the Labour Party and endorsed previous decisions that no Communist could represent his union in any Labour Party organisation, and that no Communist should be allowed to be an individual member of the Labour Party. This was a signal to the Government.

So a few days later it arrested twelve Communist leaders on a charge of “seditious conspiracy”... Arthur MacManus (Chairman); William Gallacher (Vice-Chairman); Albert Inkpin (Secretary); Harry Pollitt, J. R. Campbell, Tom Bell, William Rust, J. T. Murphy (members of the Political Bureau); Ernest Cant (London Organiser); Walter Hannington (Secretary of the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement); Robin Page Arnot (of the Labour Research Department who had been active in preparing the miners’ case, and Tom Wintringham (Assistant Editor of the Workers’ Weekly). Harry Pollitt was Secretary of the National Minority Movement and J. R. Campbell was Acting Editor of the Workers’ Weekly.

The Government was wise enough not to rest its case on the activity of the accused in organising resistance to wage cuts, but on their dissemination of “seditious” communist literature, (particularly the resolutions of the Communist International), their speeches, and occasional articles. Campbell, Gallacher and Pollitt defended themselves. Five of the prisoners who had previous convictions, Gallacher, Hannington, Inkpin, Pollitt and Rust, were sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment and the others (after rejecting the Judge’s offer that they could go free if they renounced their political activity) were sentenced to six months. The sentences did not intimidate the Communist Party. An emergency leadership, which included Bob Stewart, George Hardy, Andrew Rothstein, Aitken Ferguson, and Emile Burns took over, and the entire activity of the Party was intensified. The circulation of the press grew; new members were made. A powerful campaign for the release of the prisoners was launched, in which 300,000 signatures were collected; but the main activity of the Communist Party was to induce the working class movement to prepare for the next round of the struggle.

(7) John Ross Campbell, The Communist Record (1960)

The British Battalion of the International Brigade was in all the main battles of the Spanish civil war and proved itself to be a hard hitting dependable force. During the life of the Brigade British comrades like Peter Kerrigan, Bill Alexander, D. F. Springhall, Sam Wild, Walter Tapsell, Bert Williams, William Paynter, William Rust and Bob Cooney were active in command. Harry Pollitt visited the battalion five times during the course of the war. One thousand, five hundred men served in its ranks. Five hundred and thirty-three were killed and the majority of the others were wounded at one time or another. One half of the members of the Battalion were Communist Party members as were one half of the dead.

During this period the Communist Party was to participate in one more effort to promote working class unity in the struggle against fascism. Conversations were held with the Socialist League, in which Sir Stafford Cripps, Aneurin Bevan, Barbara Castle, and Michael Foot were prominent members, and the Independent Labour Party with Fenner Brockway, James Maxton, John McNair at the head. An agreement on the lines of the campaign was drawn up and powerful enthusiastic demonstrations were held throughout the country. As usual the right-wing bureaucracy threatened the members of the Socialist League (affiliated to the Labour Party) and the character of the campaign had to be changed to protect these comrades. Nevertheless, the vast anti-fascist activity was having a tremendous effect inside the Labour Party. Local Labour Parties were clamouring for the right to elect their delegates directly to the constituency section of the National Executive Committee, instead of the entire conference, including the trades union delegations with their block votes electing them. At the 1937 Conference at Bournemouth they won this precious right and Sir Stafford Cripps, D. N. Pritt, and Harold Laski were amongst the lefts elected to the N.E.C.

(8) John Ross Campbell, The Communist Record (1960)

Even when it became clear that Hitler was about to attack Poland the Chamberlain Government refused to build an effective political and military front. Under the pressure of public indignation they pretended to be anxious to discuss the formation of a bloc of peaceful states, including the Soviet Union. They even sent a mission of fourth-rate military personalities by slow boat to the Soviet Union, but these had no firm propositions to discuss and it was only too clear that the government still hoped to divert the Nazis against the Soviet Union; and so the Soviet Union, in self-protection, had to sign the Soviet-German non-aggression pact.

The Anglo-French declaration of war in September, 1939, did not basically challenge the aggressive plans of fascism. The aim of the “phoney war” was to force Germany to a compromise in the West and to encourage it to turn East against the Soviet Union. Thus, although France and Britain had superiority in the West, they did not attack, and remained passive when the Germans were over-running Poland.

The capitalist press naturally sought to divert attention away from the British Government’s refusal to agree to a bloc with the Soviet Union by denunciation of that state. During the Finnish war it made such bellicose anti-Soviet propaganda that it was clear that a section of the British imperialists, while failing to develop the struggle against the Nazis, were enthusiastic for a war against the Soviet Union. They rushed planes and equipment to Finland and sought Norwegian permission (which was refused) to send a British force across Norway to fight alongside the Finns against the Soviet Union. Indeed, until France and Britain were defeated in the offensive of the Nazis in May, 1940, there were strong elements in both countries who argued that it was necessary to “switch the war” against the Soviet Union.

Throughout this period the Communist Party fought for adequate air raid protection for the people, defended the workers’ interests by building up powerful shop stewards’ organisations; demanded the suppression of war-profiteering; denounced the repressions in India; combated the anti-Soviet lies and kept the way open for an understanding with the Soviet Union, which was ultimately made possible by the strong resistance trends emerging in Europe and by the warlike hostility of the Nazis to the Soviet Union (which they recognised was an obstacle to their plans), culminating in their declaration of war in June, 1941.

Student Activities

The Outbreak of the General Strike (Answer Commentary)

The 1926 General Strike and the Defeat of the Miners (Answer Commentary)

The Coal Industry: 1600-1925 (Answer Commentary)

Women in the Coalmines (Answer Commentary)

Child Labour in the Collieries (Answer Commentary)

Child Labour Simulation (Teacher Notes)

1832 Reform Act and the House of Lords (Answer Commentary)

The Chartists (Answer Commentary)

Women and the Chartist Movement (Answer Commentary)

Benjamin Disraeli and the 1867 Reform Act (Answer Commentary)

William Gladstone and the 1884 Reform Act (Answer Commentary)

Richard Arkwright and the Factory System (Answer Commentary)

Robert Owen and New Lanark (Answer Commentary)

James Watt and Steam Power (Answer Commentary)

Road Transport and the Industrial Revolution (Answer Commentary)

Canal Mania (Answer Commentary)

Early Development of the Railways (Answer Commentary)

The Domestic System (Answer Commentary)

The Luddites: 1775-1825 (Answer Commentary)

The Plight of the Handloom Weavers (Answer Commentary)

Health Problems in Industrial Towns (Answer Commentary)

Public Health Reform in the 19th century (Answer Commentary)

Classroom Activities by Subject

The Middle Ages

The Normans

The Tudors

The English Civil War

Industrial Revolution

First World War

Russian Revolution

Nazi Germany


(1) Monty Johnstone, John Ross Campbell : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(2) Alison Macleod, The Death of Uncle Joe (1997) page 18

(3) Francis Beckett, Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party (1995) page 24

(4) James Klugmann, History of the Communist Party of Great Britain: Formation and Early Years (1969) pages 38-50

(5) Harry Pollitt, The Worker's Weekly (25th July, 1925)

(6) Austen Morgan, J. Ramsay MacDonald (1987) page 114

(7) Tom Bell, British Communist Party (1937) page 98

(8) Austen Morgan, J. Ramsay MacDonald (1987) pages 114-115

(9) Harold Nicolson, King George V (1952) page 399

(10) Zara S. Steiner, The Lights that Failed: European International History, 1919-1933 (2007) page 173

(11) Bob Stewart, Breaking the Fetters (1967) page 155

(12) William D. Rubinstein, Twentieth-Century Britain: A Political History (2003) page 146

(13) Martin Pugh, Speak for Britain: A New History of the Labour Party (2010) page 180

(14) Austen Morgan, J. Ramsay MacDonald (1987) page 118

(15) Bob Stewart, Breaking the Fetters (1967) page 158

(16) The Daily Mail (25th October 1924)

(17) Dora Russell, The Tamarisk Tree (1977) page 178

(18) Ramsay MacDonald, statement (25th October 1924)

(19) Bob Stewart, Breaking the Fetters (1967) page 161

(20) A. J. P. Taylor, Beaverbrook (1972) page 223

(21) Ralph Darlington, The Political Trajectory of J. T. Murphy (1998) page 128

(22) John Mahon, Harry Pollitt: A Biography (1976) page 123

(23) Bob Stewart, Breaking the Fetters (1967) page 166

(24) E. S. Fay, The Life of Mr Justice Swift (1938) pages 26 and 54

(25) Tom Bell, British Communist Party (1937) page 109

(26) John Mahon, Harry Pollitt: A Biography (1976) page 124

(27) William Gallacher, John R. Campbell and Harry Pollit, The Communist Party on Trial: Speeches of William Gallacher, John R. Campbell and Harry Pollit (1925)

(28) Bob Stewart, Breaking the Fetters (1967) page 167

(29) Judge Rigby Swift, closing speech (24th November 1925)

(30) The Times (25th November 1925)

(31) Bob Stewart, Breaking the Fetters (1967) page 168

(32) John Mahon, Harry Pollitt: A Biography (1976) page 124

(33) E. S. Fay, The Life of Mr Justice Swift (1938) pages 178-79

(34) Francis Beckett, Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party (1995) page 36

(35) Rajani Palme Dutt, Communist International: Number 8 (August, 1924)

(36) J. T. Murphy, Communist International: Number 9 (September, 1925)

(37) Francis Beckett, Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party (1995) page 36

(38) Monty Johnstone, John Ross Campbell : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(39) Francis Beckett, Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party (1995) page 74

(40) Jim Higgins, International Socialism (February 1975)

(41) John Ross Campbell, Daily Worker (5th March, 1938)

(42) Joseph Stalin, speech on Soviet Constitution (25th November, 1936)

(43) Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed (1937) pages 271-272

(44) John Ross Campbell, Soviet Policy and its Critics (1939) page 195

(45) Francis Beckett, Stalin's British Victims (2004) page 149

(46) Statement issued by the Communist Party of Great Britain (2nd September, 1939)

(47) Harry Pollitt, How to Win the War (1939)

(48) John Mahon, Harry Pollitt: A Biography (1976) page 251

(49) Minutes of the Comunist Party of Great Britain Central Committee (2nd October 1939)

(50) Harry Pollitt, Daily Worker (13th October, 1939)

(51) Francis Beckett, Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party (1995) page 96

(52) Monty Johnstone, John Ross Campbell : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(53) Douglas Hyde, I Believed (1951) page 154

(54) Jim Higgins, International Socialism (February 1975)

(55) John Mahon, Harry Pollitt: A Biography (1976) page 266

(56) Francis Beckett, Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party (1995) page 98

(57) Douglas Hyde, I Believed (1951) page 154

(58) Francis Beckett, Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party (1995) page 118

(59) Alison Macleod, The Death of Uncle Joe (1997) page 15

(60) Monty Johnstone, John Ross Campbell : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(61) Francis Beckett, Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party (1995) page 127

(62) Alison Macleod, The Death of Uncle Joe (1997) page 20

(63) Nikita Khrushchev, speech at the 20th Communist Party Congress (25th February, 1956)

(64) Francis Beckett, Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party (1995) page 144

(65) Alison Macleod, The Death of Uncle Joe (1997) page 95

(66) Asa Briggs, Modern Europe: 1789-Present (2003) page 326

(67) Francis Beckett, Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party (1995) page 134

(68) Malcolm MacEwen, petition on the Hungarian Uprising (3rd November, 1956)

(69) Chris Hall, The Independent (16th May, 1996)

(70) Alison Macleod, The Death of Uncle Joe (1997) page 101

(71) Mark Bryant, Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (2000) pages 81-82

(72) Alison Macleod, The Death of Uncle Joe (1997) page 176

(73) Peter Fryer, Hungarian Tragedy and Other Writings on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (1997) page 90

(74) Bernard Wasserstein, Civilisation and Barbarism: A History of Europe in our Time (2007) page 600

(75) Kieran Williams, The Prague Spring and its Aftermath (1997) pages 10-11

(76) Matthew J. Ouimet, The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy (2003) pages 34–35

(77) Chris Myant, The Independent (30th May, 2006)

(78) Francis Beckett, Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party (1995) page 165