The Defence of Terrorism (Terrorism and Communism): A Reply to Karl Kautsky

By L. Trotsky | Go to book overview
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THE origin of this book was the learned brochure by Kautsky with the same name. My work was begun at the most intense period of the struggle with Denikin and Yudenich, and more than once was interrupted by events at the front. In the most difficult days, when the first chapters were being written, all the attention of Soviet Russia was concentrated on purely military problems. We were obliged to defend first of all the very possibility of Socialist economic reconstruction. We could busy ourselves little with industry, further than was necessary to maintain the front. We were obliged to expose Kautsky's economic slanders mainly by analogy with his political slanders. The monstrous assertions of Kautsky-- to the effect that the Russian workers were incapable of labour discipline and economic self-control--could, at the beginning of this work, nearly a year ago, be combated chiefly by pointing to the high state of discipline and heroism in battle of the Russian workers at the front created by the civil war. That experience was more than enough to explode these bourgeois slanders. But now a few months have gone by, and we can turn to facts and conclusions drawn directly from the economic life of Soviet Russia.

As soon as the military pressure relaxed after the defeat of Kolchak and Yudenich and the infliction of decisive blows on Denikin, after the conclusion of peace with Esthonia and the beginning of negotiations with Lithuania and Poland, the whole country turned its mind to things economic. And this one fact, of a swift and concentrated transference of attention and energy from one set of problems to another--very different, but requiring not less sacrifice--is incontrovertible evidence of the mighty vigour of the Soviet order. In spite of political tortures, physical sufferings and horrors, the labouring masses are infinitely distant from political decomposition, from moral collapse, or from apathy. Thanks to a régime which, though it has inflicted great hardships upon them, has given their life a purpose and a high goal, they preserve an extraordinary moral stubbornness and ability unexampled in history, and concentrate their attention and will on collective problems. To-day, in all branches of industry, there is going on an energetic struggle for the establishment of strict labour discipline, and for the increase of the productivity of labour. The party organisations, the trade unions, the factory and workshop


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