Monday, March 7, 2016

Appeal to All Members of the KPR(b)

What appears below is my translation from German of a translation from Russian of the so-called Ryutin Appeal, which is essentially a condensed version of the Ryutin Platform of two years earlier. Given that it's a translation of a translation, all the standard caveats apply.

The source is: Annette Vogt, "Eine bestechende Analyse, eine fundierte Kritik, aber ... -- die Tragik des Martemjan Nikititsch Rjutin," in Ketzer im Kommunismus: 23 biographische Essays, eds. Theodor Bergmann and Maria Kessler (Hamburg: VSA Verlag, 2000), 140-61.

To all members of the Communist Party of Russia (Bolsheviks) [KPR(b)]


The party and proletarian dictatorship have been led by Stalin and his clique into an impasse of the worst possible extent, and they are currently experiencing a deadly dangerous crisis. With the help of misdirection, slander, and duping of party members, with the help of extraordinary force and terror, flying the flag of struggle and of purity of Bolshevik principles and party unity, based on a powerful, centralized party apparatus, Stalin has over the last five years removed from leadership and isolated the best and most sincere Bolshevik cadres. He has, in the KPR(b) and in the whole country established a person dictatorship, broken with Leninism, and gone on a course of unbridled adventurism and wild personal despotism. Therewith he has driven the Soviet Union to the brink of disaster.

If in the first decade of Soviet power, under the collective leadership of the Central Committee and the entire party of the working class under the heroic efforts of their powers, could undertake the greatest achievements in the issue of the development of socialist organization, the improvement of all working people and the consolidation of proletarian dictatorship, so it was the opposite that Stalin worsened the situation in the Soviet Union with every year systemically and at a rapid pace. Chaos and disorganization of the economy of the country, regardless of the establishment of a dozen major enterprises, assumed an unprecedented level. The faith of the masses in the cause of socialism was undermined, their preparedness, selfless defending the proletariat revolution against all enemies, weakens from year to year.

The pace of industrialization brings a colossal reduction in the wages of laborers and workers, unsustainably high overt and covert taxes, inflation, price increases and the deflation of the ruble with it. The means of incredible acts of violence and terror aimed at collectivization and de-kulakization, primarily targeting the masses of rural small and medium-size farmers, and at long last leading, with expropriation of villages by any means necessary and compulsory levies on the whole country, to the deepest crisis to date. It has led in the village, as in the cities, to egregious impoverishment of the masses and to starvation.

Industry works with only half the capacity of the machines and also to significant extent with surrogates (substitutes). The result of the quest to meet the exaggeratedly fast pace is an extraordinarily low quality of the products. The labor productivity of hungry workers have fallen sharply. In the country, the wages might not be paid for a few months,<156> it is difficult to squeeze taxes from the impoverished population; reduction of the numbers of laborers and workers began. Before the proletariat lies the specter of approaching massive unemployment of the fullest extent; the raw materials base is essentially undermined.

Perspective threatens further paralysis of industry and shrinking of capital construction, as well as the deterioration of the financial resources of industry with each passing day. In the future, it will come to further impoverishment of the proletariat and an increase in hunger.

Even gloomier and more complicated is the picture in the villages. The plunder of the rural population and the forced collectivization lead to not more than 30% of the livestock remaining from 1927, of which the remainder, in the kolkhozes and sovkhozes, will also die because of the food shortage. New rural establishments cannot be built or the older ones conserved, and a large number are being plundered. The agricultural inventory has been smashed and destroyed. The farmers have only half the seeds they need, the soil is bad and frequently not worked at all; there are not enough draft animals.

Any personal interest in the management of agriculture is smashed, the work is only be carried out through force and pressure, forcibly created kolkhozes are destroyed. All youth and health flees the village, millions of people, who have been turned away from production activities, roam through the country, the cities flood. The population remaining on the land is hungry and eats substitutes.

Epidemics begin to spread. There will be in the future in the country a further impoverishment, destitution and migration. In the coming year, the greatest famine yet threatens.

Domestic trade finds itself as well in chaotic condition: the ruble is worthless, the unprincipled price policy changes hands helplessly; the prices increase. On the basis of missing goods, hunger and disruption of the country's economy drives speculation in all regions and rampant counterfeiting.

The foreign trade balance has an enormous deficit; exports are basically undermined and indeed are only maintained at the expense of the impoverishment of the masses. The plan policy has generally transformed into swindles and deceit; everywhere yawn unpaid debts, for which the Stalinist leadership makes the employees responsible; the plans are only 60 to 70 percent fulfilled, the possibility of forward movement and controllability of the economy approaches zero. The rural economy is disorganized, and any possibility of development has been left to the power of elemental forces.

At the same time, at the 17th All Union Party Conference of the Stalinist<157>officials, the party, the proletariat and all working people are shamelessly and cynically mocked, it is explained, that we have reached the stage of socialist society and that "with us, the national incomes of the capitalist states are growing at an uncontrollably fast pace, unemployment and poverty are eliminated, the 'price cuts' as well as the distinction between city and country is disappearing, from year to year the prosperity and the cultural level of the workers and toiling peasants are growing."

The whole country is muzzled, injustice, despotism, and violence hover as a permanent danger over the head of every worker and farmer. Any revolutionary justification is trampled! Any belief in tomorrow will be lost! The working class and the working people of the country are driven to the brink of despair by the Stalinist policies.

Hatred, malice, and disgust of the masses cooks and seethes under the firmly bolted lid of terror. The rebellion of the farmers, among them the party members and Komsomol, poured in past years in unstoppable waves over the whole Soviet Union. Worker strikes, regardless of the raging terror, arrests, dismissals, and provocations, burn sometimes here, sometimes there.


The teachings of Marx and Lenin are shamelessly distorted and falsified under Stalin and his clique. Science, literature, art have been reduced the level of a lower servant and prop of the Stalinist leadership. The struggle against opportunism is trivialized and turned into a caricature, by means of slander and terror, and proceeds against the independently thinking party members. The rights of the party are usurped by a tiny clique of unprincipled politicians. Democratic centralism are exchanged for the personal discretion of the leader and the collective leadership and for a system of representatives. The Central Committee becomes the advisory body to an "infallible" dictator, the regional committees appendages without rights, under the management of regional party secretaries. The Politburo, the central committee of the Komsomol, the secretariat of the regional committees transform as the result of changes in party life and "Stalin's 18th of Brumaire" into a gang of unprincipled, mendacious, and cowardly politicians. Stalin, however, transforms into an unrestricted and irremovable dictator -- compared with any arbitrary absolute monarch -- which comes in his ten times more mindless arbitrariness, his despotism, and his criminal violence exerted on the masses.

Through the system of threats, terror, and fraud, the party is forced into the role of a mute, blind tool of Stalin to achieve his personally ambitious plans. The masses of party members are set in the overwhelming majority against the Stalinist policies; however, the party apparatus is used to intimidate and incite them.<157>Every lively Bolshevik party idea is threatened through exclusion from the party threatened, as well as strangled with dismissal from work and withdrawal of all necessarily existing means. All Leninist ideas are driven underground, unadulterated pure Leninism has been significantly affected by prohibition, thus becoming illegal ideology. The party apparatus transforms itself, in cycles of development of inner party struggles and the expulsion of one leading group after another, into a self-sufficient power standing above the party and ruling over it, with conscious and violently oppressive will. In the area of party work dominate instead of the most confident, most honest, most true to principles, instead of those who are ready to defend anybody and everybody and their views to defensive, dishonest, cunning, unprincipled party members, who are ready, on order of the leadership, a dozen times to change their convictions -- careerists, submissives, toadies.

The appearance and essence of proletarian dictatorship are falsified. The workers councils are lately repurposed as a miserable appendage of the party apparatus, from which the nearby masses and related organs an unscrupulously bureaucratic machine was created. The unions, schools of communism in which the workers continue their education, in the spirit of a conscious relationship with the socialist enterprise and to achieve the defense of corruption and, at the same time, must defend the bureaucratic corruption of the worker state, are turned into an auxiliary organ that the places the workers under duress and penalizes dissenters.

The press, the enormous instrument of communist education and weapon of Leninism becomes, in the hands of Stalin and his clique, an insane factory of lies, deception, and terrorization of the masses.

The anti-Leninist policies of the party leadership is supplemented by an anti-Leninist leadership of the Communist International. The Comintern, the staff of world revolution, becomes a primitive office of Stalin's, in which cowardly officials sit, who, obedient to the will of their leaders, carry out the affairs of that communist parties are not qualified to handle. The crisis of the KPR(b) leads to the crisis of the Comintern. All communist parties, except for the German party, are not larger but smaller. Their influence decreases, as the examples of the election to the English Parliament and the Reichstag election in Germany show. The central committees of the communist parties are forced to lie to the masses regarding the factual situation in the KPR(b), as well as the situation in the Soviet Union over all. This deceit, which comes to light in this or that way, brings schism and disappointment to the masses.

The unprincipled, adventurist policies within the USSR are lately also accompanied by unprincipled sleight-of-hand in solving international problems. The position of the KPR(b) and the Comintern regarding the behavior of Japan in Manchuria and Shanghai was obviously<158>marked by opportunism. Regarding the currently growing threat of war, there are no suitable means to bring about a mobilization of the awareness of the masses to the solution of this problem. The apparat-implemented measures and restrictions evoke a senses of disappointment among the workers. For Stalin and his clique, it no longer possible to return to the true Leninist path, for them there is no way out, they are hopelessly entangled in lies and have run into an impasse. They furthermore waver helplessly from side to side and are always more entangled and otherwise confused, they do not allow the will of the party to be exercised, further complicating and aggravating the situation. They defend their rule over the party and country with lies and deception, executions and arrests, guns and rifles, with all possibilities and means, because they consider all of this their domain. Objectively considered, Stalin's role is that of Azef to the party and proletarian dictatorship and socialist organization are equated. Not even the most daring and ingenious provocateur, who worked for the end of proletarian dictatorship and the discrediting of Leninism, could have worked out better than the leadership under Stalin and his clique.

The masses of the party and the labor force are obliged to salvage the cause of Bolshevism, they are obliged to take their fate into their own hands. Stalin and his clique will not yield and will not leave their offices by their own free will; therefore, they must be eliminated with all available force. It would be shameful and disgraceful for the proletarian revolutionaries to endure further the Stalinist yoke, his arbitrariness and mockery of the party and the toiling masses. Whoever does not recognize this yoke and does not feel this despotism and the urgency, in whom no outrage is triggered, make themselves into slaves and not into Leninists; into serfs and not into revolutionaries.

We, the members of the KPR(b), who have come together at this All Union Conference, have decided to fight against Stalinism, to restore the rights of the party and proletarian dictatorship, to return the party to the proven Leninist course of socialist organization, to found a "Union of Marxist-Leninists." This "union," a union for the defense of Leninism, part of the KPR(b), has no intention to split off from the interests of the party masses and the working class. On the contrary, it will more consistently and energetically express and defend those interests. It is not against the party, only Stalin and his clique.

The "Union of Marxist-Leninists" represents the viewpoint of urgent and systematic development of the industrialization of the country, on the basis of an actual improvement in the material situation of the proletariat and the working people. Currently, its concerns itself primarily with the task of fighting implacably against the methods and the pace of industrialization,<160>upon which the desolation, misery, and famine of the whole country is based. Because this industrialization is not truly socialist and accordingly cannot lead to a socialist society.

The "Union of Marxist-Leninists" represents the intention that the efforts of all of the powers for truly voluntary collectivization by simultaneously systematic support of the development of the industrial-scale organization of poor and middle-class peasant economy must be enforced. Immediately, however, it has as its primary goal to fight against the violent Stalinist collectivization because it contradicts the program of the party and the Comintern and so is suffering a complete bankruptcy.

The "Union of Marxists-Leninists" represents the viewpoint of the incompatibility of class interests between the proletariat and the capitalist elements on behalf of the USSR. The Union is firmly opposed to the cover-up of class contradictions between the working-class masses in the city and country, but it currently faces the task of systematically and dispassionately leading the fight against the anti-Leninist character of the unleashing of class struggle and civil war under the conditions of proletariat dictatorship. Because such a wildfire usurps and disorganizes the worker state and socialist organization.

The "Union of Marxists-Leninists" will resist any opportunist appearance as an enemy, but it is the currently the chief task to proceed unsparingly against the Stalinist trivialization of Leninist teachings about the struggle against opportunism and their transformation into a caricature with the help of deception, lies, and terror, because it discredits Leninism, demoralizes the party, strengthens and increases opportunism.

To achieve the above tasks, everyone must defend Bolshevism, everyone must experience Leninism, everyone must coordinate righteous proletarian revolution. In the light of the events we have experienced, the old inner-party groupings behave hopelessly and lose their importance. History has not asked us the question of the examination of this or that mistake or nuances in understanding individual problems of Leninism, only the existence of the Bolshevik party and the worker state itself. The dividing line in the party today runs not along the line of "for or against Trotsky," "for or against Bukharin," only for the continuation of the Stalinist leadership and the inexorable case of the Leninist party and Soviet power, or for the liquidation of Stalinism, the salvation of the KPR(b) and proletarian dictatorship. The concern of Lenin regarding the disloyalty, dishonesty, and unreliability of Stalin, his incompetence to use power has materialized entirely and completely: Stalin and his clique smother the cause of communism, Stalin's leadership must be ended as quickly as possible.
We call on all sincere Leninists everywhere to organize cells of a union in defense of Leninism and to band together under its flag to liquidate the Stalinist dictatorship.

Get to work immediately! It's time to finish with the state of confusion and fear of reprisals of the brazen, unprincipled politicians and traitors to the cause of Leninism, to end the feeble grousing and grumbling and to begin the selfless struggle. It is pointless to await the beginning of the battle from above, it must begin from below. Bravery and commitment to the great legitimacy of our cause is to oppose terror. Every party member who holds dear the achievements of October and the cause of socialism must, as an organizing core, must unite around himself devoted, honest, hopeful comrades. Every Leninist must everywhere possible, in the shortest possible time, address the challenges propagating before us because events do not wait. Our main slogan must passed on from comrade to comrade, from group to group, from city to city: Away with the dictatorship of Stalin and his clique, away with the gangs of unprincipled politicians and political con men! Away with the usurper of the rights of the party! Long live the KPR(b)! Love live Leninism!

All-Union Conference of "Union of Marxist-Leninists"
June 1932
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Translation of appeal by A. Vogt. Reprinted in: M.N. Ryutin, Na koleni ne vstanu. Moscow 1992, S. 252-259.