Monday, April 10, 2017


AFTER the defeat of the "July Days", following the February Russian revolution of 1917, the Provisional Government, under the leadership of Alexander Kerensky, conducted a 'witch-hunt' campaign against Lenin and the Bolshevik party. Lenin and his collaborators were accused of being agents of the German general staff. This anti-Leninist conspiracy influenced many in the Bolshevik party itself. At this time, Trotsky had begun his collaboration with the Bolsheviks. This paper examines the role Trotsky played in the anti-Lenin conspiracy, which reached its high point after the defeats experienced by the working class and the party following the July events.
The aim of the anti-Lenin conspiracy was to remove and isolate Lenin from the Bolshevik leadership, to undermine the party and thus abort any attempts at socialist revolution in opposition to the aim that Lenin had set himself on his return to Russia in April 1917.

The Russian revolutions of 1917, particularly the seizure of power by the working class led by the Bolshevik party in October (November) of that year, changed the world. For the first time, the working class had come to power, thus ushering in a new epoch of world history that reaches down to the present day. These momentous events, i.e. the seizure of power by the working class, were made possible by the untiring work of Lenin and his associates. This work involved, particularly, the struggle against opportunism and revisionism, which laid the foundations for the success of the Bolsheviks in 'October' 1917.
However, when the February 1917 revolution broke out Lenin had been abroad in exile for many years, and had settled in Switzerland. The alliance against Germany during the First World War had refused Lenin permit to return to Russia through territory under their control. However, acting on Lenin's behalf, socialist sympathisers, in particular Fritz Platten, the Secretary of the Swiss Social Democratic Party, had succeeded in arranging with the German government for the return of Lenin to Russia, which meant travelling through Germany. This became known as the journey in the famous "sealed train" of Lenin and his other companions.
These events formed the basis for the propaganda of the Russian counter-revolution that Lenin was a German agent. The real reasons for such slanders against Lenin had more to do, or rather, everything to do with Lenin's views regarding the direction of the Russian revolution and concomitantly his attitude towards the Provisional Government, which had taken over the reins of government after Tsarism collapsed in 1917.
The First World War had underlined the correctness of Lenin's struggle against opportunism. To the surprise of Lenin, international social democracy in all the main belligerent countries had sided with their own bourgeoisie when war broke out in 1914. Even Plekhanov, "the father of Russian Marxism" and one of the early mentors of Lenin, had become a defencist. This betrayal of social democracy continues to be the case down to this day. By supporting the imperialist bourgeoisie in the imperialist war, which broke out in 1914, social democracy confirmed that it had become a pro-imperialist trend within the working class.
The task for Marxists, as Lenin saw it, was to break the working class from following this pro-imperialist tendency. For Lenin this took the form of opposing the war, and calling for the working class to transform this war into a civil war against the bourgeoisie. Lenin was thus, from the start, at loggerheads with the pro-imperialist right wing of the labour movement.
The collaboration of social democracy with the most reactionary imperialist circles in the war meant, for Lenin, that the Second International had collapsed, as far as the socialist revolution was concerned. Revisionism had triumphed in the International. Rather than using the imperialist war to argue for revolution and socialism, these traitors to the working class excused themselves with the argument that socialism in one country was impossible, that it had to be simultaneous in all the advanced countries.
Lenin had shown in his work "imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism" (1916) that the bourgeoisie in all the imperialist countries had created a stratum of privileged workers. This satisfied stratum enjoyed a petty-bourgeois life-style and therefore had an interest in the continuation of imperialism. They were the agents of the capitalist class in the working class movement and socialism. They regarded Bolshevism as the enemy.
The imperialist war of 1914-18 had irreparably split the working class movement into two camps: the defencists, who defended their own imperialist bourgeoisie, and the defeatists, who called for the defeat of their own bourgeoisie. This was the situation when Lenin returned to Petrograd, Russia through Germany in April 1917, where the social-imperialists had dominated the Soviets from the beginning of the revolution.
The elimination of Lenin from the revolutionary leadership was the basic purpose of those who took part in the anti-Lenin conspiracy of 1917. The slander against Lenin and the Bolshevik party was therefore, from this angle, a foregone conclusion. The counter-revolution started to spread rumours that Lenin was an agent of a foreign power, Germany. Since such agents did indeed exist, such rumours were all the more credible in the eyes of many. These rumours were being spread even before Lenin's arrival in Petrograd. In fact, the anti-Lenin conspirators were at work soon after the February revolution broke out, and were to find unexpected allies in the Bolshevik party itself. On his return to Russia, on his way to party headquarters, Lenin
'...stopped repeatedly to address the people, railing against the war, the Provisional Government, and the Mensheviks as "traitors to the cause of the proletariat, peace and freedom". His speeches disturbed many of his listeners. "Ought to stick a bayonet into a fellow like that...Must be a German agent", Sukhanov overheard one angry remark'. (Ian Grey: Stalin - Man of History; p. 91).
April 4 was the first working day for Lenin in Petrograd. He attended a meeting of the reformist dominated Petrograd Executive of the Soviet. Lenin gave an account of his return to Russia through Germany and asked the Executive Committee that the journey be approved by the meeting, but
'Lenin's proposals were not accepted'. (Lenin: A biography; Progress Publishers, Moscow; p.238)  1
The defencist policy of the reformist, opportunist leadership of the Soviets, which was, at the beginning shared by the masses, ensured that the anti-Lenin conspiracy had fertile ground on which to develop. This was to come to fruition after the "July Days", of 1917. Lenin's views on the direction of the revolution not only placed him at odds with the opportunist, social-imperialist majority in the Soviets, but also with many members of the Bolshevik party, so that
'The party was shaken by his aggressive demands for immediate revolution'. (Ian Grey: Stalin-Man of history; ibid.)
And, indeed,
'Pravda denounced it as "unacceptable, in that it starts from the assumption that the bourgeois democratic revolution is ended."'. (Ian Grey: ibid.)
Opposition to Lenin was also because
'Kamenev, Zinoviev, and other leading Bolsheviks as well as many ordinary members opposed not only his main thesis but also his ban on relations with the Mensheviks '. (Ian Grey: ibid.)
Lenin was confronted by the fact that
'...not all the members of the Central Committee shared Lenin's views of the prospect of revolution at that time. Some did not agree that the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia was completed and that there must be a struggle for the transition to a socialist revolution' (Lenin: A biography: Progress Publishers; p.239)
It is clear how the anti-Lenin conspiracy of the bourgeois counter-revolution was to find some sort of support even among some of Lenin's closest supporters at the time. The anti-Lenin conspiracy was formed on a foundation, which had three interwoven strands. The first was that Lenin had travelled through Germany on his return to Russia and was supposedly an agent of the German general staff who wanted to knock Russia out of the war. To some extent, the previous accusations against the Tsarina that she was pro-German were transferred on to Lenin's shoulders. The second strand, related to the first, was that Lenin favoured the policy of revolutionary defeatism. That Lenin espoused the policy of revolutionary defeatism, i.e., calling for the defeat of his own Government served to reinforce the views of the counter-revolution that Lenin was a German agent. In reality, of course, Lenin was calling for the defeat of the imperialist Provisional Government, which would further the cause of world socialism. The third strand in the foundation of the anti-Lenin Conspiracy was that Lenin was calling, in April 1917, for turning the bourgeois democratic revolution into the socialist revolution.
Lenin, therefore, experienced a certain degree of isolation on returning to Russia in 1917, and the struggle to isolate him further found an echo in certain ranks of the Bolshevik party. To his credit, Stalin was one of the first in the Bolshevik leadership to adhere to the new line being advanced by Lenin. Lenin's line was to find another adherent from an unlikely new ally, L. D. Trotsky, whose theory of permanent revolution coincided with the new line Lenin was arguing for: turning the capitalist revolution into a socialist one.

Trotsky had been a long-standing rival of Lenin and opponent of Bolshevism in the Russian revolutionary Marxist movement from about 1903. As late as May 1917, when he returned to Russia, Trotsky, speaking for himself and the group in which he was a member, the Mezhrayontsi, or the inter-district group, said 'I cannot call myself a Bolshevik.... We cannot be asked to recognise Bolshevism '. (See: Lenin Miscellany IV, Russian edition. pp. 302-03)
So that in the period of the 1917 revolution, right down to May of that year, Trotsky was still opposing Bolshevism, i.e. Leninism. This is an important aspect of the anti-Lenin conspiracy, which light will be thrown on later. Even in 1917 Trotsky had still not grasped the significance of Lenin's struggle against opportunism and revisionism. Trotsky, although he had advocated an ultra-radical theory which he had named "permanent revolution", a phrase he borrowed from Marx, had never really understood Lenin's struggle on the question of the party, that is, the importance of forming a party separate from the opportunists and the revisionists. On this issue Lenin fought Trotsky all the way. Nevertheless during the 1917 revolution
'In May Trotsky arrived from abroad and greatly strengthened Lenin's position '. (Ian Grey: Stalin, Man of history; p.91)
Trotsky had put aside his previous differences with Lenin. This new co-operation between both men being based on agreement to take the bourgeois revolution forward to socialism. Gray remarks that
'At the time of his return to Russia, Trotsky was not even a member of the Bolshevik party, but he was soon to be welcomed with enthusiasm and elected at once to the Central Committee '. (Gray; op. cit, p. 92)
Trotsky began to work closely with the Bolshevik party on his return to Russia, formally joining the party at the Sixth Congress in August together with the Mezhrayontsi group, following the July days.
During June 18, in Petrograd, a mass demonstration of about half a million took place against the new offensive which the Provisional Government had ordered on the same date, with most of the demonstrators carrying Bolshevik placards and slogans. In his article "The Eighteenth of June" , Lenin remarked
'In one way or another, June 18 will go down as a turning point in the history of the Russian revolution ', (Lenin: C. W. Vol. 25; p.109)
The June 18 demonstration had revealed the real class polarisation that was occurring, with the bourgeoisie, Mensheviks and Social-Revolutionaries on one side and the working class and the Bolsheviks on the other side. Thus in Lenin's view,
'The demonstration of June 18 was a demonstration of the strength and policy of the revolutionary proletariat, which is showing the direction for the revolution and indicating the way out of the impasse '. (Lenin: Ibid.)
The failure of the offensive and the lives lost, again brought out masses of workers and soldiers onto the streets on July 3-4, demanding a transfer of power to the Soviets. This anti-government demonstration assumed the character of a semi-insurrection. Lenin described the July days as more than a demonstration but less than an insurrection. The result was that the Bolsheviks, contrary to facts, were accused of leading this mass movement in an attempted seizure of power. In reality, the Bolshevik leadership had regarded a seizure of power at this time as premature.
'This demonstration terrified the bourgeoisie and its Menshevik and Social-Revolutionary hangers-on, as well as the counter-revolutionary generals and the Anglo-French imperialists '. (Lenin: A biography: Progress Publishers Moscow; p.249)
The July protests coincided with news of the defeated offensive, which the Provisional Government had ordered at the front. The collapse of this offensive made it easy for the bourgeoisie and their press to start a campaign to prove that Lenin was a German agent. On the night of July 4, the Justice Minister, P. N. Pereverzev revealed documents to the press that falsely implicated Lenin as a German agent. Thus began a period of anti-Lenin, anti-Bolshevik hysteria, and
'The Provisional Government at last decided to take steps to repress the Bolsheviks '.
(Leonard Schapiro: The Communist Party of the Soviet Union; p. 168)
The counter-revolution began to gain confidence as a result of which
'The demonstrators were fired upon and the streets of Petrograd ran with blood '. (Lenin: A biography: Progress Publishers, Moscow; p; 250)
And in the following days
'...mass searches and confiscation of arms were carried out among the workers. Revolutionary regiments were disarmed, arrests were made among the soldiers '. (Lenin: Ibid.)
The Bolshevik printing press was wrecked. On the morning of July 5, Pravda editorial offices were raided.
'Lenin, who had called there just before they raided the place, nearly fell into their hands '. (Lenin: Ibid.)
On July 7, following these raids the Provisional Government
'...issued warrants for the arrest and indictment of Lenin and a number of other Bolsheviks '. (Lenin: Ibid.)
And the counter-revolutionary newspapers both Constitutional-Democrat and Menshevik, etc, demanded
'...that Lenin should appear in court '. (Lenin: Ibid.)
Caught in the middle between revolution from the left and counter-revolution from the right, the provisional Government and their reformist, social-imperialist supporters in the Soviets decided to strike against the left. Lenin's life was obviously in danger at this point. The claim by the bourgeois press that the Bolsheviks were German agents led to a temporary collapse of support for Bolshevism. Bolsheviks were being beaten up on the streets and the party press suppressed. Thus, after the defeats of the July days it was dangerous to call yourself a Bolshevik. The events following the July days were a turning point for Lenin and the Bolshevik party. The counter-revolution was going all out to destroy the Bolshevik party. Lenin had to go into hiding. But
'Certain Bolsheviks, who did not fully understand the situation, also considered that Lenin should not remain in hiding, that he ought to appear in court. If he did not, they said, it would be bad for the Party's prestige '. (Lenin: Op. cit.; p.251).
Trotsky called the July days "The month of the great slander" and writes that
'The attacks upon Lenin at that time became a veritable hurricane '. (Trotsky: The history of the Russian revolution; p.98).
And he continues
'All the insults of the ruling group, all their fears, all their bitterness, were now directed against that party which stood at the extreme left and incarnated most completely the unconquerable force of the revolution '. (Trotsky: op. cit. p.117)
Trotsky relates that in a conversation with Lenin, the latter asked: 'Aren 't they getting ready to shoot us all '. (Trotsky: op. cit. p.104)
And Trotsky's analysis of the situation was that
'Only such an intention could explain the official stamp placed upon that monstrous slander '. (Ibid.)
In other words, in his history Trotsky concurs with Lenin that the campaign against Lenin and the Bolsheviks, following the July days, were aimed at eliminating the Bolshevik leadership. There is nothing to suggest that he did not have this same view during the events themselves.
Trotsky remarks that 'Lenin considered the enemy capable of carrying through to the end the scheme they had thought up, and decided not to fall into their hands '. (Trotsky: The history of the Russian revolution, vol. 2 p.104)
He also reveals that
'On the evening of the 6th, Kerensky arrived from the front all stuffed full of suggestions of the generals, and demanded decisive measures against the Bolsheviks '. (Ibid.)
Therefore there can be absolutely no doubt that Lenin's life, following the July days, was in mortal danger from the bourgeois counter-revolution. By linking the defeats on the Russian front with the July anti-government demonstrations, the counter-revolutionaries were able to argue that the Bolsheviks, in particular Lenin, were working for Germany. This was the essence of the anti-Lenin conspiracy. However, an immediate concern for the bourgeoisie and pro-capitalist reformist leadership of the Soviets was the question of the Petrograd garrison. The struggle to isolate Lenin was partly related to this question.
At the time of the February revolution, which led to the formation of the bourgeois Provisional Government, the Petrograd garrison owed its allegiance to the pro-capitalist leadership of the Soviets, which in turn supported the Provisional Government. However, by summer 1917, this garrison increasingly came under Bolshevik influence. Thus from the bourgeois view measures had to be taken to discredit Lenin and the Bolshevik party in the eyes of the soldiers. There was no better way to do this than to spread rumours that Lenin was an agent working for Germany.
During the anti-Bolshevik hysteria, whipped up by the bourgeois press, and particularly directed at Lenin, the latter
'...was preparing his party for a return to clandestinity '. (Deutscher: The Prophet armed-Trotsky, 1879-1921; p.274)
The aim of the bourgeoisie and their reformist supporters was to block all attempts at a workers revolution. This meant turning the army and the masses against Lenin and the Bolsheviks. The pro-capitalist, social-imperialist leadership of the Soviets demanded from the Bolshevik Soviet faction 'an immediate, categorical and clear condemnation' of the party's leaders, for supposedly instigating an attempted uprising during July 3-4.
At this time the counter-revolution was putting maximum pressure on the Central Committee of the Bolshevik party to hand over Lenin to stand trial on the accusation levelled against him of being a German agent. Trotsky relates that
' the Bolshevik ranks -- at least in the upper circles there was wavering on the subject of Lenin's avoiding an investigation '. (Trotsky: The history of the Russian revolution, Vol. 2; p.106)
And Trotsky recounts that 'July became a month of shameless, unbridled and triumphant slander '. (Trotsky: ibid.)
In summary, the situation was that this slanderous campaign against Lenin was translated into attacks on members or supporters of the party. One Bolshevik, Voinov was killed; his crime, selling a party paper. The Bolsheviks were being driven back and Lenin was in hiding. One of the provincial heads of the intelligence services revealed the attitude of the ruling class by expressing his view that
'The reports of the intelligence services as to the former activities of Lenin, as to his connection with the German staff, as to his receipt of German gold, are convincing enough to hang him immediately '. (Trotsky: The history of the Russian revolution, Vol. 2; p.110)
The lynch mob atmosphere against Lenin was raised to white heat, and Trotsky in his history of the revolution, comments that 'The history of all revolutions and civil wars invariably testifies that a threatened or an overthrown ruling class is disposed to find the cause of its misfortunes, not in itself, but in foreign agents and emissaries '. (Trotsky: op. cit. p.120-121).
In his autobiography, Trotsky wrote that
'...the streets of the capital teemed with slander against the Bolsheviks '. (Leon Trotsky: My Life; penguin books; p.302).
And, 'They did not shoot us down one by one, although they were not far from it. Bolsheviks were being beaten down in the streets and killed '. (Trotsky: My Life; pp. 325-326).

After the July days, the counter-revolution was on the march. For the bourgeoisie, it became clear, if it was ever doubted, that the Bolsheviks represented a mortal threat to its rule. This situation formed the general background to discussions that started in the Bolshevik party about whether Lenin should give himself up and face the charges of treason directed at him. If convicted the penalty for treason would have been death or a long term in prison.  2
This was also the ideal opportunity for those who wanted Lenin out of the way. Those who wanted to remove Lenin from the leadership for either political reasons or reasons of ambition could now hide behind the anti-Lenin conspiracy, which in the party assumed the form of the debate about whether Lenin should turn himself in to the authorities and face the courts.  3
It is obvious, of course, why the imperialists and their reformist social-imperialist stooges wanted Lenin out of the way. Less obvious are the reasons why some in the party wanted Lenin to go, either temporarily or permanently from the scene. On his return from exile, as we have shown, Pravda opposed the direction in which Lenin wanted to lead the revolution. This opposition was led by Kamenev. Trotsky recounts that while Lenin was away in hiding
'...Kamenev's wing was raising its head '. (Trotsky: My Life; p.326)
Kamenev wanted Lenin out of the way for political reasons. He was one of those who together with Rykov and Zinoviev opposed Lenin's new political line, aimed at the seizure of power by the working class. They favoured the continuation of the revolution along bourgeois democratic lines, arguing that Russia had not reached a stage of development, which made socialism feasible. There were Bolsheviks who believed that Lenin should turn himself in to the authorities and counter the charges against him. They argued that this would benefit the party by exposing the anti-Bolshevik slanders. This, however, was a misreading of the nature and purpose of the anti-Lenin conspiracy. The Conspiracy was not concerned about establishing the truth on the basis of facts, but rather the purpose was to destroy the Bolshevik party, reversing its increasing political influence. This would need the arrest and isolation of Lenin from the party and his murder. Lenin had called for a Soviet Inquiry Commission to examine the charges against himself and Zinoviev " conditions precluding the danger of attack from the counterrevolution" . Trotsky writes that
'The disinclination of the Soviet Commission to begin the promised investigation finally convinced Lenin that the Compromisers were washing their hands of the case, and leaving it to the mercies of the White Guards '. (Trotsky: The history of the Russian revolution, Vol. 2; p.105)  4
It is here that we have to look at the role of another person in these events. This person is Trotsky himself. Unlike Kamenev, Zinoviev and Rykov, Trotsky agreed with Lenin that the revolution should be led towards a seizure of power by the working class. Lenin had based this political line on the concrete conditions arising from the imperialist war. Trotsky had based the same conclusion on his abstract theory of "permanent revolution" , although without wartime conditions, a revolution against Tsarism would have taken a different course reducing the chances of the Bolsheviks taking power or at least holding on to it.  5
Although agreement on the seizure of power led Trotsky to work with and later join the Bolsheviks in August, Trotsky had regarded Lenin as more of a rival than as a collaborator. This rivalry had motivated many of Trotsky's actions in the past, that is before the 1917 revolution, and during the revolution. It would continue to do so in future as well. During the revolution, Trotsky's rivalry with Lenin took several forms. It showed itself distinctly three times. The first was when in May, in negotiations to join the Bolshevik party, he declared that he could not call himself a Bolshevik. In effect this was saying that the party should change its name.  6
The second time Trotsky's rivalry with Lenin revealed itself was when warrants were issued for the arrest of Lenin and Zinoviev and Kamenev. Trotsky, instead of going into hiding as Lenin had done, in fact had done the opposite. Trotsky wrote a letter to the Provisional Government requesting the issuing of warrants for his own arrest as well. Thus, Trotsky saw warrants of arrest as a badge of honour, which he had at all cost to wear if Lenin wore one. In this way, we see that Trotsky not only placed his own life in danger, but his own personal glory before the interests of the revolution.
In his autobiography, Trotsky relates how he had informed the counter-revolutionary authorities about his desire to be arrested along with Lenin. He wrote a letter to the Provisional Government remonstrating
'You can have no grounds for exempting me from the action of the decree by virtue of which Lenin, Zinoviev and Kamenev are subject to arrest; you can have no grounds for doubting that I am as irreconcilably opposed to the general policy of the provisional Government as my above-mentioned comrades '.
Trotsky was promptly arrested. Unlike Lenin, he had foolishly handed himself over to the counter-revolution. In order to gain the 'prestige ' of having a warrant out for his arrest, so as not to be out done by Lenin, with whom he was in constant rivalry, Trotsky gave himself up to the Provisional Government. Historically Trotsky obviously wants us to believe that in demanding to be arrested he was expressing solidarity with Lenin, but the best way to have shown solidarity was to remain or to have gone into hiding himself, regardless of whether a warrant was issued for his arrest or not. Trotsky comes out of this small drama looking rather foolish or fearless depending on your point of view.
The third and most dangerous form in which Trotsky's rivalry with Lenin expressed itself was on the issue of whether or not Lenin should turn himself in to the Provisional Government and appear in court  7  This was a question, which divided leading circles in the Bolshevik party. Lenin, at first, had decided to hand himself in and make a court appearance if he could get assurances about his safety. Such assurances were sought from the Executive Committee of the reformist dominated Petrograd Soviet who were in cahoots with the Provisional Government, but no assurances were forthcoming, and Lenin sensibly decided to remain in hiding. Stalin, at first, argued Lenin's line that if there were firm assurances safeguarding Lenin's life, an appearance in court would be possible. Later Stalin came out against Lenin appearing in court altogether. This was noted by Kruptskaya on the evening of July 7.  8
Trotsky's role in the matter of whether Lenin should turn himself in to the counterrevolutionary authorities is a matter of historical controversy. The record suggests that Trotsky was in favour of Lenin appearing in court, i.e., turning himself over to the counter-revolutionary lynch mob, which was baiting the Bolsheviks, and had already attacked and killed members of the party.
The question, which begs itself, is: what was Trotsky's motive in wanting Lenin to hand himself in to the counter-revolution?
The matter of whether Lenin should surrender himself to the authorities was resolved at the Sixth Congress of the Bolshevik party, which was held in secret from July 26 to August 3, 1917.
'The Congress discussed whether Lenin should appear for trial. Kamenev, Rykov, Trotsky and others had held even before the Congress that Lenin ought to appear before the counter-revolutionary court '. (History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [Bolsheviks] short course, Foreign Languages Publishing House Moscow, 1939; p. 198)
We know that Kamenev and Rykov disagreed with Lenin's political line, aimed at socialist revolution. We can therefore surmise that these would have been quite happy or relieved had Lenin been removed from the leadership at this time. However, the question of Trotsky's motives for wanting to see Lenin removed from the leadership of the Bolshevik party cannot be traced to matters of political orientation in regard to the issue of the seizure of power. Unless we assume that Trotsky was completely naïve, and that he actually believed that the bourgeois counter-revolution would deal with Lenin according to the rules of justice, we are compelled to arrive at the view that Trotsky's motives were Machiavellian and of a personal nature.
Trotsky was motivated purely by his personal rivalry with Lenin. Inferentially we can say he was prepared to sacrifice Lenin to the counter-revolution in the interest of his own pursuit of power. That this surrender of Lenin would have entailed his imprisonment and inevitable murder at some point was of secondary importance to Trotsky. As shown, the decision of the Sixth Congress of the party was that Lenin should not appear in court because the court was still in the service of the counter-revolutionary class. Stalin, in particular, fought against Lenin appearing.
'Stalin was vigorously opposed to Lenin appearing for trial’. (History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [Bolsheviks] short course; p.198)
Stalin's view had been the position of the Congress:
'This was also the stand of the Sixth Congress, for it considered that it would be a lynching mob, not a trial '. (Ibid.)
Unlike Trotsky, who wanted to hand Lenin over to the reactionary lynch mob as a means of removing Lenin from the Bolshevik leadership, and hence the leadership of the revolution, the Sixth Congress
'...had no doubt that the bourgeoisie wanted only one thing -- the physical destruction of Lenin as the most dangerous enemy of the bourgeoisie '. (Ibid.)  9
If the Sixth Congress entertained 'no doubt ' that Lenin would have been murdered by the counter-revolution, there is no reason for believing that Trotsky, who knew the histories of revolutions, could have had any doubts about the results of handing Lenin over to the counter-revolutionary officers of the bourgeoisie.
Later when Trotsky wrote a rather bilious account of Stalin's life, he unconvincingly claims, in an attempt to re-write the story of these events, that he had never participated in discussions about whether Lenin should appear in court, i.e., give himself up to the authorities. Trotsky writes casually that
'As a matter of fact, I personally took no part in those conferences, since during those hours I was myself obliged to go into hiding '. (Stalin, an appraisal of the man and his influence, p.212)
But whether Trotsky took part in 'conferences ' is hardly the issue.  10  It remains inconceivable that Trotsky never took part in discussions about whether to give up Lenin to the Provisional Government. He was working closely with the Bolsheviks at this time. It is obvious that he participated in discussions relating to this matter and was in favour of surrendering Lenin to the counter-revolution. Trotsky could hardly have opposed Lenin's surrender to the bourgeois courts, if he had himself written to the Provisional Government inviting his own arrest. We have seen how Trotsky's actions was motivated by his rivalry with Lenin, not out of solidarity as he later claimed.
That Trotsky's action was motivated by his rivalry with Lenin is underscored by his remark that
'Stalin was not arrested and was not even formally indicted in this case for the simple reason that he was politically non-existent as far as the authorities or public opinion were concerned '. (Trotsky: Stalin; p.212)
Trotsky writes that 'During the fierce persecution of Lenin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, myself and others, Stalin was hardly ever mentioned in the press although he was an editor of Pravda and signed its articles '. (Trotsky: ibid.)
All this goes to show Trotsky's competitive streak in his relations with other people in general and Lenin in particular. The question which can be legitimately raised is, if Trotsky was being fiercely persecuted as he suggests above, he would hardly have needed to write a letter to the Provisional Government inviting his own arrest. The letter was written because Trotsky was in rivalry with Lenin, and in this instance, the rivalry took a foolish form of submitting himself to the counter-revolution. This was done to look good in the eyes of history, so to speak.
Trotsky tries to extricate himself from being implicated as one of those who argued for Lenin to hand himself over to the counter-revolution, but fails. Although the suggestion that he had not participated in discussions about whether Lenin should appear in court is obviously disingenuous; had he not participated in such discussions he would certainly have known about them, and his opinions on the matter known. Lunacharsky, who was from the same group as Trotsky -- the Mezhrayontsi, knew about them, participated and in fact changed his position from Lenin appearing in court to one of not appearing. Nogin did the same. Non-participation by Trotsky would have been intentional, in order to help those who wanted Lenin to appear in court.
Trotsky recounts a story told by one General Polotovsev and writes
'To what extent the opponents of Lenin's surrender to the authorities were right was proved subsequently by the story of the officer commanding the troops, General Polotovtsev. "The officer going to Terioki [ Finland] in hopes of catching Lenin asked me if I wanted to receive that gentleman whole or in pieces...I replied with a smile that people under arrest very often try to escape" . For the organisers of judicial forgery it was not a question of "justice" but of seizing and killing Lenin, as was done two years later in Germany with Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxembourg '. (Trotsky: The history of the Russian revolution, Vol. 2; p.212)
Thus, what was being debated was not simply a matter of Lenin appearing in court to defend himself against charges of being a German agent, or of leading the July 'insurrection '. The real issue was Lenin's life and the evidence suggests that Trotsky criminally wanted Lenin to be handed over to the counter-revolution. His own biographer, Isaac Deutscher, reveals that Trotsky thought
'...that Lenin had nothing to hide, that, on the contrary, he had every interest in laying his record before the public, and that in this way he could serve his cause better than by flight, which would merely add to any adverse appearances by which people might judge him '. (Isaac Deutscher: The prophet armed, Trotsky: 1879-1921; p.274)
But Deutscher avoids the question of Trotsky's real motive in wanting Lenin to appear in court, in an attempt to exonerate Trotsky. We assume of course that Deutscher, who is indulgent towards Trotsky, had some notion of Trotsky's intrigue against Lenin during the anti-Lenin conspiracy. The British Trotskyist, Alan Woods, is no better in this respect. On the question of whether Lenin should be handed over to the counter-revolution, he tries to cover for Trotsky. Woods argues that
'The party leaders finally persuaded Lenin to go into hiding. That was undoubtedly the correct line of action. Lenin was more use to the revolution alive than dead or locked up '. (Alan Woods: Bolshevism: the road to revolution; p.565)
Without mentioning the role of Stalin who defeated the camp of those who wanted Lenin to appear in court, Wood writes that
'It is true that a section of the party was in favour of Lenin going on Trial, with the idea of defending himself from the accused's bench, as Trotsky had done in 1906. But such an idea would have been madness '. (Alan Woods: ibid.)
Bu this 'madness ' was fought by Stalin, of whom, in regard to the question of Lenin being handed over to the counter-revolution, Trotsky himself remarks that
'Stalin held out more tenaciously than others and was proved right'. (Trotsky: Stalin; p. 212)
Woods avoids, like Deutscher, raising the thorny issue of Trotsky's real, but concealed motives for wanting Lenin to appear in court. All we are offered in lieu of an explanation, and in way of an apology is that Trotsky defended himself in court in 1906, following the defeat of the 1905 revolution. Nor does Woods raise the question relating to Trotsky's later unconvincing denials about not participating in discussions about whether to hand Lenin over to the counter-revolutionary authorities or not.
Woods writes that
'Later, the majority of the Sixth Party Congress, which met in Petrograd at the end of July, considered the question correctly and concluded that Lenin would never have reached the courtroom, but have fallen to some assassin's bullet, "shot whilst trying to escape" . Even if that were only a possibility, the party had no right to risk the life of Lenin on a gamblers throw '. (A. Woods: Bolshevism, road to revolution; p.565-566)
Woods is right of course, although it was less a question of a "gamblers throw" and more a question of throwing Lenin to the wolves. At the centre of the anti-Lenin conspiracy of 1917 was the question of whether Lenin should make a court appearance, in other words, whether Lenin should be handed over to the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie or not. There can be little doubt that the issue at stake was whether Lenin should live and retain his freedom to act, or to die. This is recognised clearly by Woods who is adamant that
'There can be no doubt that Lenin's life was in danger at this moment in time. The counter-revolution was rampant '. (Alan Woods: Bolshevism, road to revolution; p.566)
That Lenin's life was in danger is obvious to Woods. It was also obvious to the Sixth Congress of the Bolshevik party. In fact it is obvious to any student of the Russian revolution. Therefore, that Lenin's life was in danger must also have been blatantly obvious to Trotsky. Anyone who argues that this was not obvious to Trotsky is arguing that he was an utter naïve parliamentary cretin, which he clearly was not. The danger to Lenin's life eventually became obvious to Nogin, Lunacharsky and of course was obvious to Stalin.
Alan Woods remarks that
'Given the general atmosphere of hysteria and the accusation directed personally against Lenin as a German agent, it would have been the height of irresponsibility to entrust him to the tender mercies of the "law" in a period of counter-revolution '. (A. Woods: Bolshevism, road to revolution; p.566)
For Woods, it would have been only a question of "irresponsibility " to give Lenin over to the tender mercies of the "law" , i.e., throw him to the wolves at a time of counter-revolutionary hysteria. Marxist-Leninists beg to disagree with Alan Woods on this point. What was involved here cannot simply be interpreted as "irresponsibility" in the camp of all those who wanted to surrender Lenin to counter-revolution. Involved here was also a matter of intrigue to remove Lenin from the party leadership. The camp which wanted Lenin to appear in court contained naïve elements as well as intriguers against Lenin's leadership.
What is clear is that the Bolshevik party was, following the July 3-4 demonstrations, or semi-insurrection in Petrograd, polarised between two views. Those in favour of Lenin appearing in court, which was also Trotsky's position, and those against. At the Sixth Congress, Stalin led the camp of those who were against Lenin appearing in a counter-revolutionary court, that is against turning Lenin over to certain imprisonment or assassination, or judicial murder. Theja Gunawarhana upholds the Marxist-Leninist accounts of these events and relates that
'...following a resolution put by Stalin (i.e., for socialist revolution, Ed.) the Sixth Congress next considered whether Lenin should appear for trial since Rykov, Trotsky and Kamenev were contending that Lenin ought to appear before the counterrevolutionary court. The Congress opposed Lenin's appearance for a trial which was bound to be more a lynching than trial '. (Theja Gundawardhana: Khrushchevism; p.103)
It is no exaggeration to say that the Sixth Congress of the Bolshevik Party which assembled between July 26 to August 3, 1917, is probably the most important Congress in Twentieth Century political history, because this Congress, led by Stalin decided the fate of Lenin and consequently the Russian revolution. In these fateful days, Stalin led Sverdlov, Molotov and Ordjonikidze, in fact the majority of the Congress, to protect the life of Lenin. Stalin was able easily to defeat the pro-trial camp because its leaders were in hiding.
If anyone doubts the fateful role played by Stalin in these events at the Sixth Congress, they have only to remember the fate of Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht. Writing on the murder of the aforementioned, Alan Woods, although covering up for Trotsky's intrigue against Lenin and his indifference to the latter's life, remarks that
'Two years later, during the Spartakist uprising in Berlin -- a movement which was strikingly similar to the July Days -- Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht failed to take the necessary precautions and were arrested by counter-revolutionary officers. They did not believe that they would be murdered in cold blood, but that is just what happened. The murder of the two most outstanding leaders of the German working class had a disastrous effect on the whole course of the German revolution and the history of the world. Yes, they showed personal bravery. But what a terrible price was paid for that mistake! If they had gone underground, as Lenin did, the future of the German revolution would have been in safe hands '. (Alan Woods: op. cit. p. 566)
In his anti-Stalin biography, Trotsky tells us cynically that
'The question of who "saved" Lenin in those days and who wanted him "ruined" occupies no small place in Soviet literature '. (Trotsky: Stalin, an appraisal of the man and his influence; p.211)
Although it is clear who saved Lenin's life, that is who argued against a court appearance, i.e., primarily Stalin, Sverdlov, Molotov, Ordonikidze and those they led, it has been less clear who wanted Lenin "ruined" . Bourgeois writers mostly ignore this question. The same applies to Trotskyist writers. This is particularly easy to do because the motives of those who were in favour of handing Lenin over to the counter-revolutionary courts were mixed. Irresponsibility was mixed with naivety and conscious intrigue against Lenin's leadership. The intrigue against Lenin's leadership was itself a combination of straightforward political differences on the question of the seizure of power for socialism (Kamenev) and longing-standing personal rivalry (Trotsky). Trotsky's concealed intrigue against Lenin's leadership is not surprising although it sheds light on his duplicity.
We have already mentioned Alan Woods, who gives no credit to Stalin for the role he played in saving Lenin. There can be no doubt about Stalin's role because Trotsky himself recounts a story told by Krupskaya, Lenin's wife, that on July 7 at the Alliluyev's apartment, Lenin had made up his mind to appear in court, but
'...Stalin and others persuaded Ilyich (Lenin, ed.) not to appear in court and thereby saved his life '. (Trotsky: Stalin -- an appraisal of the man and his influence; p.211)
The attitude of Trotsky to the efforts of Stalin and others to save Lenin's life is remarkable. Trotsky relates a story told by Ordzhonikidze of how he met Stalin at the Tauride Palace, the enemy headquarters, and how both were able to leave unpunished. Trotsky's motive here is to discredit Stalin, because he was not seized at the Tauride Palace. Trotsky does not see that seizing Stalin and Ordzhonikidze at this point would have blown the attempts of the authorities to lure Lenin into their trap. Needless to say, Lenin's close collaborators would have been under close surveillance by the agents of the authorities in the hope that one of them would lead the authorities to Lenin's hideout.
As for the question of whether Lenin should go into hiding, Trotsky remarks indifferently that
'The same old argument was renewed at the Alliluyev's apartment; to surrender Lenin or to hide? ' (Trotsky: Stalin, an appraisal of the man and his influence; p.211)
In the story related by Ordzhonkidze and recounted by Trotsky, we are told that
'More categorical than any other against surrender was Stalin: "The Junkers [military students, equivalent of West Pointers] won't take you as far as prison, they 'll kill you on the way." '
Trotsky writes that 'At that moment Stasova appeared and informed them of a new rumour -- that Lenin was, according to the documents of the Police Department, a provocateur '. According to Ordzhonkidze, Lenin ' " ...declared with the utmost determination that he must not go to jail " '. (Trotsky: ibid.)
Trotsky confesses that those, who like Stalin, was against surrendering Lenin to the counter-revolution, were proved right, but of course can say nothing about his role in the intrigue against Lenin. Trotsky's use of the phrase 'the same old argument was renewed' on the question of Lenin giving himself up or not, certainly does not suggest the attitude of a person who was concerned about Lenin's fate. Although these lines were written some years after the events to which they refer, what they reveal is Trotsky's real feelings, his lack of concern and indifference about the threat posed to Lenin's life at that time.
There were those on the side of Lenin appearing in court who may have been indignant at the thought that Lenin had accepted money from the German Government, according to the rumours spread by the Provisional Government and counter-revolutionary press in Russia. As Leonard Schapiro writes,
'...there were many in the party for whom the acceptance of money from an imperialist power for the purpose of making revolution was contrary to Bolshevik ethics, and the suspicion that Lenin might have done so may perhaps explain their subsequent readiness to jettison him as a leader '. (L. Schapiro: The Communist Party of the Soviet Union; p.179)
Among these there were, no doubt, Bolsheviks who thought that by going on the run Lenin would give credence to the anti-Bolshevik slanders that Lenin was a German agent.
In any event, those who wanted Lenin removed from the party leadership, and there was a mixture of motives at work here, regarded the aftermath of the July days as the best opportunity they had of achieving their purpose. Trotsky's motives, as we explained, was based on ambition. His rivalry with Lenin had kept him out of the Bolshevik party from its foundation. On being invited to join the Bolshevik party on his return to Russia in May 1917, Trotsky made it clear to Lenin that he could not call himself a Bolshevik. This attitude was an expression of the rivalry, which Trotsky had maintained against Lenin for many years.
Regarding Stalin's argument shared by the majority of the party that Lenin should not appear in a counter-revolutionary court, that he would be killed before reaching the courtroom, Trotsky remarks in his biography on Stalin, that
'Stalin was more convinced than the others of the inevitability of a bloody reprisal; such a solution was quite in accordance with his own cast of thought. Moreover, he was far from inclined to worry about what "public opinion" might say '. (Trotsky: Stalin, an appraisal of the man and his influence; p.212)
Trotsky does not reveal what his own views were at the time. His interpretation of Stalin's determined efforts to save Lenin's life in the days of the anti-Lenin conspiracy is certainly the diametrical opposite to Lenin's interpretation. After Stalin and others, on the evening of July 7, had persuaded Lenin not surrender to the counter-revolution, on July 8, Lenin wrote his article entitled: 'The question of the Bolshevik leaders appearing in court '. This article states the following:
'Judging by private conversations, there are two opinions on this issue. Comrades succumbing to the "Soviet atmosphere" often incline towards appearing in court. Those closer to the workers apparently incline towards not appearing.
In principle, the question chiefly boils down to an estimation of what is called constitutional illusions. Anyone who thinks that a regular government and a regular court exist or can exist in Russia, that a Constituent Assembly is likely to be called, may arrive at a conclusion in favour of appearing.
That idea is completely erroneous, however. It is the latest events, after July 4, that have most vividly shown that the Constituent Assembly is unlikely to be called (without a new revolution), that neither a regular government nor a regular court exists or can exist in Russia (at present).
The court is an organ of power. The liberals sometimes forget this, but it is a sin for a Marxist to do so.
Where, then, is the power? Who constitutes the power? There is no government. It changes daily. It is inactive.
The power that is active is the military dictatorship. Under these conditions, it is ridiculous even to speak of "courts" . It is not a question of "courts" , but of an episode in the civil war. This is what those in favour of appearing in court unfortunately do not want to understand.
Pereverzev and Alexinsky as initiators of the "case"!! Isn't it ridiculous to speak of courts in such circumstances? Isn 't it naïve to think that, in such conditions, any court can examine, investigate and establish anything?
Power is in the hands of the military dictatorship. Without a new revolution, this power can only become stronger for a certain time, primarily for the duration of the war.
"I have done nothing against the law. The courts are just. They will sort things out. The trial will be public. The people will understand. I shall appear" .
This reasoning is childishly naïve. The authorities need not a trial but a persecution campaign against the internationalists. What Kerensky and Co. need is to put them in goal and keep them there. So it was (in Britain and France), and so it will be in (in Russia).
Let the internationalists work illegally as much as they can, but let them not commit the folly of appearing in court of their own free will! (Lenin: Collected Works, Vol. 25; pp. 174-175, July 8 [21], 1917).

We have shown that Trotsky, of his "own free will" , wrote a letter to Kerensky inviting the Provisional Government to arrest him, so that he could supposedly demonstrate his "solidarity " with Lenin and the Bolshevik party. This party had been driven under ground by the same Provisional Government. However, in his article, Lenin makes clear that those who are against appearing in court are usually those who are closer to the working class. In other words, Lenin clearly believes that the question: for or against appearing in court, is a class question, at least in the aforementioned circumstances. On the basis of Lenin's arguments, we can say that Stalin's opposition to Lenin appearing in court was determined by his class orientation. On the other hand, most of those who stood for Lenin appearing in court had succumbed to what Lenin called the "Soviet atmosphere" and they suffered from constitutional illusions.  'The court is an organ of power. The liberals often forget this, but it is a sin for a Marxist to do so ', Lenin remarks, and he regards these types as 'childishly naïve'.
Whether or not these points were aimed mainly at Trotsky's supporters, some of whom, like Trotsky, was in favour of Lenin appearing in court, is not clear. In any case, one cannot convincingly argue that Trotsky was overcome by "constitutional illusions" in the aftermath of the July days. This factor would therefore not have affected Trotsky's judgement when he argued that Lenin should appear in court or in other words, hand himself over to the counter-revolution.
A case could be made that Trotsky did, in fact, suffer from "constitutional illusions" , on the basis that he willingly turned himself in, writing a letter to the Provisional Government asking to be taken into custody. Such an argument would be unconvincing because of what we know of Trotsky, and in any case would not withstand serious consideration in view of what has already been said regarding Trotsky's longstanding rivalry with Lenin. It was this rivalry which motivated Trotsky to incite the Provisional Government to take him into custody, i.e., put out a warrant for his own arrest. As was said previously, Trotsky wanted to wear his arrest as a "badge of honour" , rather than risk leaving this "honour" to Lenin alone, and the others who had warrants out for their arrest. Trotsky wanted to ensure he was regarded as someone in the same league as Lenin by being arrested himself. Thus, Trotsky was prepared to sacrifice his own safety out of competition with Lenin. This is confirmed by the fact that he later used the "prestige" of being arrested by the Provisional Government to attack Stalin, because the latter had not been arrested.
In trying to arrive at an understanding of why Trotsky wanted Lenin to appear in court, in a period after the July events, that is, in the period of counter-revolution and mass hysteria against Lenin and the Bolsheviks, whipped up by the bourgeoisie, we need to place Trotsky's motives within the context of his long-standing rivalry with Lenin over the question of leadership of the revolutionary movement, which in 1917 was the Bolshevik party.
Due to his long-standing rivalry with Lenin, which is fully documented, Trotsky, after leading the 'interdistrict group' (Mezhrayontsi) into the Bolshevik party, following the July days, was presented with a golden opportunity to remove Lenin from the Bolshevik party leadership. Trotsky therefore argued that Lenin should appear in court. But he was obliged to pursue a two-track policy. On the one hand, he had to vigorously oppose the slanderous accusation that Lenin was an agent of the German general staff, while, on the other hand, siding with those who wanted Lenin to appear in court to face these charges. In other words, Trotsky sought to turn the anti-Lenin conspiracy to his own advantage. Trotsky supported those, whom for whatever reason, wanted to throw Lenin to the wolves of counter-revolution following the July days. However, Trotsky supported them for his own concealed motives.
Had Lenin, instead of going into hiding, given himself up to the Provisional Government, as Trotsky and others desired, his fate would have been sealed. He would have been murdered by counter-revolutionary elements, as in fact was later to be the fate of Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht, during the Spartakist uprising in Berlin, Germany, 1919, which as the Trotskyist, Alan Woods claims
'...was strikingly similar to the July days... ' (A. Woods: Bolshevism, the road to revolution; p. 566)
Lenin's possible, or rather, inevitable incarceration and murder, had he handed himself over to the bourgeois counterrevolution, as Trotsky and others desired, apparently meant nothing to Trotsky. When Trotsky was cheated of this prize, after Stalin on the evening of July 7 persuaded Lenin to go into hiding, Trotsky had nothing left to do apart from inviting his own arrest by the Provisional Government, which he later displayed for all the world to see. This would ensure that Trotsky, like Lenin, would be regarded by history as one feared by the bourgeoisie, a status, which, due to Trotsky's rivalry with Lenin, he could not leave to Lenin.
To reconcile Trotsky's deplorable behaviour in these events with the generally held view of Trotsky held by many among the left intelligentsia is only possible to those who have made a study of Trotsky's long-standing rivalry with Lenin, a rivalry centred on the question of the leadership of the Russian revolution.
Trotsky had a gift of being able, with a measure of success, to conceal his own opportunism from many. He preened himself in the mirror of history, to mould an image appropriate to the stature and grandeur in which he held himself. Trotsky carefully nurtured his image for posterity with consummate skill, like a Shakespearean hero on stage. However, when this veil is ripped away, what emerges is a man motivated by an irrepressible lust for glory, unconscionable in the highest degree.
To Trotsky, Lenin's imprisonment or murder by an hysterical counter-revolution was a small price to pay if this would ensure the centre stage role Trotsky had marked out for himself.
Before the Russian revolution of 1917, Lenin's nickname for Trotsky was "Judas Trotsky", Judas being one of the disciples who betrayed Jesus to his executioners for a pot of gold. Judas is also a central character in M. N. Saltykov-Shchedrin's novel, "The Messrs. Golovlyovs", who conceals his treachery beneath a screen of hypocritical phrases.
That Lenin had to write an article to defend his stand, which was encouraged by Stalin and others, of not appearing in court, that is, in other words, not handing himself over to the bourgeois counter-revolution, is certainly testimony to the existence of a strong group within the Bolshevik party which based itself on the calculation of using the anti-Lenin conspiracy to remove Lenin from the leadership in the aftermath of the July days crisis. To this grouping Lenin's demise, whether through imprisonment or more likely assassination, was of secondary concern. That these events roughly coincided with the entry of Trotsky's Mezhrayontsi group into the Bolshevik party at its Sixth Congress, July 26 - August 3, can hardly be considered to be purely accidental.
The anti-Lenin conspiracy was organised by those who wanted to keep Russia in the imperialist war of 1914-1918. When Lenin returned from exile in April, he outlined a political line aimed at working class political power. This brought him into conflict with leading Bolsheviks who wanted to continue with the bourgeois democratic revolution.
These elements would have been happy to see Lenin go. Others thought that Lenin could best dispel the charges of being an agent of the German imperialists and of accepting German gold by appearing in court. Trotsky, who was a long-standing rival of Lenin, joined the Bolshevik party after the semi-insurrection of the July days. Trotsky was one of those who argued that Lenin should appear in court. Trotsky's motive was to capture the leadership of the Bolshevik party. This meant surrendering Lenin, throwing him to the counter-revolutionary wolves, so to speak. Thus, Trotsky joined the intrigue to remove Lenin from the Bolshevik party leadership after the July days in 1917.
For Trotsky, Lenin's arrest or assassination by the counter-revolution was a small price to pay if this would ensure him a position of dominance in the leadership of the revolution. This was the reason why Trotsky argued for Lenin to surrender himself to the counter-revolutionary courts in the post-July persecution of the Bolshevik party in 1917. Any argument to the effect that Trotsky was unaware of the mortal threat hanging over Lenin's life at this time cannot be taken seriously. We therefore have to conclude that since Trotsky was well aware of the threat posed to Lenin's life by the counter-revolution and still argued for Lenin to appear in court, that this was a manoeuvre by Trotsky aimed at setting-up Lenin for elimination from the revolutionary leadership.
Those who disagree with this thesis and its conclusion would have to prove satisfactorily that Trotsky was so naïve in 1917 that he could not possibly have been aware of the threat posed to Lenin's life by the counter-revolutionary developments following the July days. This would be the unconvincing argument that Trotsky had extreme constitutional illusions in 1917, extreme enough to endanger Lenin's life.  11  

T. Clark,
Communist Party Alliance.

1.     This edition of Lenin's biography was published under the Soviet revisionists and does not mention Stalin's role in saving Lenin's life in 1917.
2.     On a similar note, in 1916, the Irish Volunteers staged a rebellion in Dublin, proclaiming an Irish Republic. Sir Roger Casement, who appeared in Kerry from a German submarine carrying a consignment of rifles, was caught by the British and executed for treason after his conviction.
3.     Lenin's conviction and execution would have thrown the Bolshevik party into disarray. There would have been no 'October'!
4.     Trotsky later claimed he did not participate in debates about whether Lenin should appear in court. This claim is not supported by direct or even circumstantial evidence. Trotsky's claim, however brings to mind what he claimed the opportunist Soviet leadership did, i.e., "washed their hands" of the Lenin case.
5.     It took the Great War to bring the Bolsheviks to power. Any attempts to realise Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution, even if in the practice of revolution he had corrected his position on the peasantry, in the absence of those specific conditions created by the war, would have had tragic consequence for the Russian proletariat.
6.     The Bolshevik Party did change its name. There is no evidence that Trotsky had anything to do with this. In any case, the name 'Bolsheviks ' was retained in brackets, i.e., CPSU(B)
7.     The basic thesis presented in this paper is that Trotsky concealed his intrigue to eliminate Lenin from the revolutionary leadership behind the anti-Lenin conspiracy of the bourgeoisie and the social-imperialists.
8.     Stalin's own position seems to have been complete opposition from the start to Lenin appearing in court, although for a time he argued Lenin's position of appearing in court if he could get assurances regarding his safety. It seems that Stalin argued Lenin's position reluctantly.
9.     This paper argues that Trotsky must have been aware that the bourgeoisie sought Lenin's physical destruction, which coincided with Trotsky's intrigue to remove Lenin from the revolutionary leadership.
10.   The public clamour for Lenin to appear in court to defend himself would have been known to everyone involved in the politics of the time. For Trotsky to claim he remained silent on this issue because he was in hiding is certainly incredible. If this were true, it would throw doubts on his motives from another angle.
11.   In his autobiography Trotsky made or supported proposals to the social-imperialist leaders for a coalition presidium. Trotsky writes:

'We offered to form a coalition with the Mensheviks and the Populists. Lenin, as we afterwards found out, was displeased at that, because he was afraid that it implied conciliatory tendencies on our part'.
(Trotsky: My Life; Penguin Books, 1975; p. 331).
Trotsky's conciliationist tendencies, which came to the fore when Lenin was in hiding, may also have provided additional, underlining motives for Trotsky at this time to want Lenin out of the way. Trotsky does not say who else was involved with these proposals.

Communist Party Alliance