The crushing of Kronstadt 1921

Alibis in Action, from Lenin, Trotsky and Zinoviev to the ICC

Bolchevic troops over the ice attacking Kronstadt

Interpretation and alibis of Lenin, Trotsky and Zinoviev

In his substantiation of the “Initial Draft Resolution of the Tenth Congress of the CP of Russia on the Unity of the Party”, Lenin argues:

“The example of the Cronstadt uprising, when the bourgeois counter-revolution and the White Guards in all the countries of the world have shown themselves ready to adopt even the slogans of the Soviet regime for the sake of overthrowing the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia, when the SRs and the bourgeois counter-revolution in general have used in Cronstadt the slogans of the insurrection, allegedly promoted for the sake of Soviet power against the Soviet Government in Russia, it has shown in the most obvious manner that the enemies of the proletariat exploit all deviations from the strict and consistent communist pattern”.

At another point in the Tenth Congress Lenin adds in his Report:

“As the ruling party, we could not but fuse the ‘high spheres’ of the party with those of the Soviets – they are fused and will remain so.”

Lenin argues that the uprising is the work of “SRs and White Guards from abroad” which, in combination with “petty-bourgeois anarchist” approaches, leads to a “petty-bourgeois counter-revolution”. Zinoviev knowingly lies in denouncing that “the white general Kozlovski had treacherously taken Kronstadt”. Lenin also says something similar.

In one of his speeches at the Tenth Congress, Lenin states that the demand of the insurgents consists of “nebulous slogans of ‘freedom’, ‘freedom of trade’, ’emancipation’, ‘Soviets without Bolsheviks’ or new elections to the Soviets, or liberation from the ‘party dictatorship’, etc., etc.”. Then he adds:

“Both Mensheviks and SRs declare Cronstadt’s movement ‘theirs’. (…) All the elements of the White Guards are instantly mobilised ‘in favour of Cronstadt’ with a rapidity that can be described as radiotelegraphic. The White Guards among Cronstadt’s professional military men, a whole series of specialists, not only Kozlovski, are making a plan for the landing of troops at Oranienbaum, a plan which frightens the vacillating mass of Mensheviks, SRs and non-partisans. More than half a hundred White Guards newspapers published abroad in the Russian language are waging a furious ‘pro-Cronstadt’ campaign. The big banks, all the forces of finance capital are opening subscriptions in support of Cronstadt”.
Quoted in :

Let us turn to Trotsky

“Only a completely superficial person can see in the Makhno bands or in the Kronstadt revolt a struggle between the abstract principles of anarchism and ‘state socialism’. In reality, these movements were convulsions of the peasant petty bourgeoisie which wished, of course, to free itself from capital, but which, at the same time, did not accept to subordinate itself to the dictatorship of the proletariat. The petty bourgeoisie does not know concretely what it wants and by virtue of its position cannot know.”
(Trotsky “Alarm over Kronstadt“)

In Trotskyist media we read: The counter-revolutionary conspiracy

“Far from being a “spontaneous” rebellion, there was a counter-revolutionary conspiracy which, wanting to make use of the discontent of the Kronstadt sailors, had its own plans.
Trotsky points out that “The logic of the struggle would have given predominance to the extremists in the fort, i.e., to the counter-revolutionary elements. The need for supplies would have made it directly dependent on the foreign bourgeoisie and its agents, the white émigrés. All the necessary preparations for this purpose were being made”. The archives confirm this.
… “The Bolsheviks did not fail to see honest motives in the protest, they understood the calamitous situation the whole country was going through and were not afraid of the economic demands of the movement. But the actions of the leaders, followed by the sailors, turned into an armed rebellion which, whatever its intentions, could not but help the forces of capitalist restoration, and forced the Bolsheviks to suppress it.
The defenders of the Kronstadt mutiny constitute a united front ranging from the anarchists, to the White guards and French imperialism.”

[Further] We read, Trotsky recalls:

“The whole leading layer of the workers had left Petrograd. Hunger and cold reigned in the deserted capital, perhaps even more furiously than in Moscow. A heroic and tragic period! Everyone was hungry and irritable. Everyone was discontented. In the factories there was a dull discontent”.
In one of his speeches to the Tenth Congress, Lenin denounced the existence of “white guards” who “seek and know how to disguise themselves as Communists, even the most left-wing, in order to weaken and demolish the bulwark of the proletarian revolution in Russia”.
…Trotsky himself would only slightly qualify his position in 1939, shortly before his death, stating that “what the Soviet government did unwillingly in Krontadt was a tragic necessity” and acknowledging that the anarchist leaders, including Majno, “may have had good intentions, but they acted decidedly badly”.
Kronstadt: una victoria pírrica del bolchevismo de dramáticas consecuencias

The alibi of the “tragic mistake” (ICC)

The ICC, for its part, in left Trotskyism, spoke of a “tragic mistake”:

“… such a decision remains a tragic mistake, since it was exerted against workers who had risen up to defend the main weapon in the conscious political transformation of society, the vital organ of the proletarian dictatorship: the power of the Soviets.”
ICC, A hundred years after the Kronstadt uprising

But in isolation one revolutionary formation does not attack another with military means and terror on their relatives, threats and shootings against strikers in St. Petersburg and Moscow, interventions banning proletarian meetings, assemblies. …. Something does not fit …. In reality the RCP(b) was afraid of losing its positions of power if elections were held in the soviets, and also had to block manu militari a possible support of sailors, soldiers and workers from Kronstadt, armed and resentful against the RCP(b) and its state, to the disgruntled proletarians and strikers in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The EC of the RCP(b) had already worked out the NEP plan and in it they tried to consolidate state capitalism and their positions in it against the private and cooperative capitalist forms which did not fit in with their plans, which they knew had to exist, and therefore their aim necessarily had to be to subordinate them to state capital, not to annihilate them, because they fulfilled a necessary role in the economic structure of capitalist relations in Russia first and later in the USSR.  The political, economic and military measures demanded by the Kronstadt Soviet interfered with such a project, and if they were allowed to prosper, the state privilege of the Bolshevik party would collapse.

That all this is taking place in a context of war, economic chaos and proletarian misfortunes, when the process has become isolated in Russia and there is no sign of the international proletariat rising up, is obvious and must be accorded its great importance, but to use it as an alibi to justify directly or indirectly a line of action against the proletariat … is infamous and typical of shameful Leninism. Bolshevism did not want to ask the working class what to do, and to allow the working class to decide and take the consequences, it devoted itself to serving capitalism and developing it through its pre-eminent state role, with its substitutionist justification as ideology, claiming above all that they would control the uncontrollable, state capitalism, and then improve the proletarian situation. …. And what came was Stalinism. 

Aníbal  (24-03-2021)

2 Comments on “The crushing of Kronstadt 1921

  1. Pingback: O outro aniversário – Kronstadt – Vento Sueste

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