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Discussion: Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites”

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Denying-History View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard


Joined: 10-Dec-2016
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  Quote Denying-History Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Discussion: Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites”
    Posted: 11-May-2017 at 11:29
I am looking to discuss soviet history as one of my first posts on this forum. For anyone interested on the subject, it's center around the Moscow trials. Anyone with a basic understanding of soviet history knows these primarily as show trials, but they generally do not know the slight hints of truth to the testimonies. Which is the existence of the Bloc, considering that Trotsky denied it's existence. Pierre Broué published an article on the Bloc back in January of 1980. This article is commonly used by Stalin's apologist's to attempt as a defense of the Moscow trials testimonies. One example of such is English professor Grover Furr (a “revisionist” on a career-long quest to exonerate Stalin - Cathy Young):

The late Pierre Broué, one of the world’s premier Trotskyist scholars and a person who enjoyed widespread respect from anticommunist scholars, concluded that t his evidence meant little since it only demonstrated the existence of a bloc in 1932. Broué assumed that because the only evidence that was not successfully purged from the archive happened to be from 1932 that must have been the only time the “bloc” existed. . .In truth Broué did not know that the bloc was “ephemeral,” or that it had existed only in 1932. To be sure, the only evidence of the bloc that remains in the Harvard Trotsky archive is from 1932. But the archive has been purged! Neither Broué nor anyone else has any way of knowing what evidence once existed or how long the bloc lasted.

I am not here to attempt to defend Furr though. I am only wanting to cause discussion around some of his claims or at least have a location where I discuss my issues with his writings. To start I would like to point out a lack of evidence for one of Furr's claims, the trials have no evidence outside the confessions. The evidence that they did present was quite often, generally fabricated. To give an example of what I mean one can look at Trotsky's alleged letter to Holtzman that was found "between the double walls of Holtzman's suitcase" (Report of Court Proceedings p. 127)  However Holtzman rejected this with his own evidence considering  "Trotsky could not put it in writing, and so I accepted it in verbal form and communicated the exact sense on my arrival in Moscow". (p. 101) which means that no letter was to be found. Assuming the letter was not a forgery however also hurts Furr's notion of a terrorist bloc and actually supports Broué's assertion. To quote it "Stalin has lead you to an impasse. You cannot come out on the road without liquidating Stalinism. You must trust the working class, give the proletarian vanguard the opportunity through free criticism from top to bottom to review the whole Soviet system and pitilessly cleanse it of the accumulated rubbish. It is time, finally, to fulfill the last urgent advice of Lenin: to remove Stalin." (Shachtman: Behind the Moscow Trial, p. 80) This is actually in reference not to killing Stalin as the Moscow court insisted, but is actually a reference to Lenin's testament (which has strong evidence for its authenticity, even Stalin viewed the document as being authentic). 

Furr also rejects Pierre Broué's notion of the Bloc being short lived. Although it seems another one of his favorite sources J Arch Getty accepts Pierre Broué notion. Furr's reason for such a rejection if true would be justified, but Furr, however, does not have legitimate evidence for the archives being "purged". His evidence for the archive being "purged" (while also seditiously making a claim that Is arguably contradictory to his assertion) is a recently published article by the Sweedish apologist Sven-Eric Holmström who has attempted to resurrect Holtzman's claims about having met with Trotsky's son at the Hotel Bristol, claiming that a "Bristol Cafe"  was located close to the Copenhagen Grand Hotel. "There is no ‘new evidence’ in Holmström’s paper" (Mike Jones) and it just "Martin Nielsen’s old article from the Communist Party of Denmark’s daily paper and some old photographs which prove nothing." (Mike Jones) No Hotel Bristol existed, and Furr's evidence of the archives being purged is worthless and doesn't amount to proving anything about Trotsky being a Nazi-Japanese collaborator.  The issues with the testimonies are outlined as following by Pierre Broué:

As we know, the indictment, which started from the existence of the “bloc” in 1932, and relied on the confessions extracted by torture and blackmail from broken men, declared that Trotsky had then given “terrorist instructions and directives” to his supporters and, in particular, had organised the assassination of Kirov. Trotsky’s friends, following the line of Sedov and of Trotsky himself, had no difficulty in showing how improbable and stupid was the argument about a “centre” which functioned when practically all its members were in exile or in jail.

So what can we learn from all this? 

1) That the Stalinist position is wrong.

2) That Trotsky had good reason to lie about the block not existing,  why provide Stalin more ammunition for a short-lived block of opposition?

3) That one should not trust the confessions.


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