SLP leader?s eulogy

In praise of Stalin

?The Socialist Alliance are counterrevolutionary Trotskyite wreckers. Without a single word of self-criticism or explanation of why they have abandoned their previous line, they are putting up candidates now, not because they have any chance of winning - they have not - but solely to wreck the challenge posed by the Socialist Labour Party to Labour.?

With these words, comrade Harpal Brar concluded a speech to a 50-strong meeting of the Stalin Society held in Conway Hall on Sunday May 20.

For the benefit of those readers who might be puzzled as to why the Socialist Alliance and the SLP should find their way into a speech devoted to ?The Moscow trials? of the 1930s, we should explain that comrade Brar is not just the guru of the Stalin Society - ?a broad front that brings together those who take pride in the achievements of the Soviet Union under the Bolshevik leadership of Lenin and Stalin? - but also the London regional president of the SLP and perhaps the most important political figure in the party after Arthur Scargill himself.

Sunday?s meeting was attended by at least five of the London SLP?s 15 candidates in the general election: Brar himself (Ealing Southall), Iris Cremer (Brent East), who chaired the gathering, Ella Rule (Hornsey and Wood Green), Carlos Rule (Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush) and Joti Brar (Holborn and St Pancras). SLP literature, including the party?s general election manifesto, the latest edition of Socialist News and the SLP youth journal Spark, was on sale alongside pamphlets and books such as Lies concerning the history of the Soviet Union and Another view of Stalin.

What follows is a brief summary of some of the points made in Brar?s address. Essentially, it was a recapitulation of the ninth chapter of his book Perestroika: the complete collapse of revisionism, first published in 1992 and dedicated to ?JV Stalin, Fearless and Faithful Friend of the International Proletariat and Resolute Defender of Socialism?. Comrade Brar is nothing if not consistent in his frank and passionate espousal of unreconstructed Stalinism.

The tenor of comrade Brar?s remarks reflected publicity material circulated in advance of the meeting: ?Misinformation concerning the Moscow trials abounds in the bourgeois media and in the papers of various Trotskyite outfits who sought then, as now, to undermine the achievements of the USSR.?

The purported purpose of his presentation was to give ?ample evidence of the truth concerning the trials?. And the truth according to Scargill?s right-hand man was that the Moscow trials were ?a revolutionary purge ... against those who ... collaborated with imperialist powers in order to bring about the restoration of capitalism in the USSR?.

The comrade?s thesis, delivered with fluid intensity, was fundamentally a simple one. JV Stalin was the true heir and defender of Leninism in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks); LD Trotsky was the devil incarnate. All the misfortunes brought about by Trotskyism go back to Trotsky?s theory of permanent revolution. From saying that ?socialism cannot be built in one country?, he and his followers came to believe that ?socialism should not be built in one country?. The restoration of capitalism in some form was, therefore, the logical outcome of their position.

According to the comrade, the transcripts of the trials (?most fantastic reading - better than any fiction because they are real?) provide the key to understanding a process of social psychology or socio-pathology, whereby the minds of Trotskyites were affected by thinking in a particularly erroneous way.

First, they constituted a deviation in the party, then an organised opposition and finally a treacherous, counterrevolutionary conspiracy. Utterly lacking in principle and totally unscrupulous, the Trotskyites - characterised by a pervasive pessimism and general hopelessness - recognised that they could only achieve their vile ends by illegal means. It was the ?Trotskyites? Zinoviev and Kamenev who recruited Nikolayev as their agent in the foul murder of Kirov in 1934; it was the Trotskyites who arranged the murder of Gorky and Kuibyshev, among many others.

Investigations into the murder of Kirov gradually uncovered evidence of a wide-scale conspiracy that culminated in the execution of 62 prominent traitors following the three main trials, trials that had nothing in common with ?purges? - although purges are ?a quite justifiable means for the removal of rotten elements in the party such as careerists?. The trials represented an entirely normal way of dealing with people who had broken the law of the USSR.

Telling his audience that ?it would be lovely to conduct a Moscow trial myself?, the comrade - a lawyer - was full of praise for the brilliant speeches of Vyshinsky, from which he quoted extensively to demonstrate the guilt of the accused. The ?baseness and loathsomeness? of Zinoviev, for example, were amply shown by Vyshinsky?s masterly denunciation of this degenerate. The moral degradation of such figures as Radek and Pyatakov - co-conspirators in the anti-Soviet Trotskyite centre - was exemplified by their utmost cynicism and hypocrisy in calling for the execution of Zinoviev and Kamenev.

From the transcripts it is perfectly clear that all the accused were guilty, and the various objections raised by Trotskyites and bourgeois commentators are without any foundation. Not a single one of the accused made any complaint about being tortured, so it clearly did not happen. Were the trials orchestrated in order to discredit Trotsky? No. Trotsky was already totally discredited in the eyes of the Soviet working class. Indeed, ?It was only the ice pick that actually saved Trotsky, by making him a martyr.? Were the trials a ?judicial play?, scripted by the NKVD? No. The British QC Dudley Collard, from whose book comrade Brar quoted, attended the trials and was convinced that it was impossible. Why should the accused have cooperated in such a ?drama?, since they knew they were going to get a bullet anyway? And as to the customary comment that ?all revolutions end up devouring their children?, this was not the case in regard to the Moscow trials.

With a couple of exceptions, the comments from the floor after comrade Brar?s talk were adulatory of him and, of course, of Stalin. Comrade Carlos Rule (SLP candidate for Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush), for example, pointed out that bourgeois history is totally unreliable. Kirov was a true Stalinist, so why on earth should Stalin have wanted him dead? There may have been some ill-treatment of the accused but the proletariat and peasantry were justly enraged by the activities of these wreckers and traitors. Yes, there were some excesses, there was a bit of forced collectivisation, but Stalin himself was not involved and disapproved of it. Comrade Ranjit Brar, Harpal?s son and editor of Spark, the SLP youth journal, pointed out that the Moscow trials constituted a necessary defence of the revolution from the activities of treacherous counterrevolutionaries who were justly punished for their crimes. Now, as then, it was the foreign bourgeoisie and the Trotskyites who were intent on blackening the name of Stalin and the CPSU.

A comrade called Wilf caused a frisson of excitement in the meeting when he pointed out that purges would always and must always have a place as a means of cleansing the party. Yes, degenerates and traitors would have to be shot, and ?tired? party activists would have to be removed. It was a pity that Khrushchev, another degenerate and coward, had not been unmasked as a revisionist traitor and given a bullet before he initiated the process that logically led to the ultimate treachery of Gorbachev.

Whatever else one can say about them, one cannot accuse these people of hiding their passionate adherence to their mentor.

Maurice Bernal