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Moscow Show Trials

Letters: Two Readers Write about the Russian Trials


 In the article “What is Wrong with Russia?” published in the March The Socialist Standard, the point was made that Communists, having themselves advocated lying and double-dealing as a form of activity, have no reason for being indignant because they are suspected of having used these methods against prisoners in the series of trials. A Glasgow reader asks us for our authority for the statement that such methods were advocated. It will be found in Lenin's Should Communists Participate in Reactionary Trade Unions? written in 1920. The following extract is taken from the edition published by the American Communists (“Workers' Party of America”): —

    COMMUNISTS MUST BE TACTFUL.

Book Review: 'The Prophet Outcast'

More about Trotsky

'The Prophet Outcast', by Isaac Deutscher, Oxford University Press, 45s.

This is the last of the three volumes of Deutscher's magnum opus -  the biography of his hero Leon Trotsky.

Book Review: 'Keeping My Head'

Harry was a Bolshie

'Keeping My Head', by Harry Wicks. Socialist Platform £5.95

Subtitled "The Memoirs of a British Bolshevik" this is a posthumous autobiography, based on tape recordings, of a pioneer British Trotskyist who died in 1989 covering the period 1920-46. At first sight not a title likely to appeal to Socialists like ourselves who fought the influence of Bolshevism on British workers since day one, but no one can write an account of working-class politics in this period without mentioning the Socialist Party.

Wicks grew up in the Battersea area of London which was in a sense the birthplace of the Socialist Party, as he himself explains:

More Light on the Russian Confessions

The widespread disbelief in the genuineness of the "confessions" made by prisoners of the Russian dictatorship has had the good effect of bringing more information to light. The International Review, which has published much valuable material during its short existence (published in New York. P.O. Box 44, Sta. O, New York City. 15 cents a month, 1 dollar 75 cents a year) reproduces in its August issue extracts from a statement made before an unofficial committee of inquiry in Prague by a German Communist named Wolf, who lived for considerable periods in Russia. Through casual contact with another Communist who fell foul of the Russian police, Wolf suddenly found himself arrested and urged to plead guilty to Trotskyite and Nazi activities. Here is a typical passage describing how "confessions" were extracted from him: -

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