Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Toufan: Condemn the Massacre of the People of Gaza

Condemn the Massacre of the People of Gaza by the Israeli Zionists!
On Saturday December 27, 2008, hundreds of Israeli F-16 jetfighters and helicopters invaded Gaza Strip.
Hundreds of sites including police stations, residential areas, hospitals, refugee camps, Interior Ministry,
higher education centers, and mosques are targeted. According to the available statistics, more than 300
people have been killed and 2000 are wounded. Children, women, elders, and civilians are among dead or
injured. The heavy bombardment of Gaza by the Hitlerite army of Israel continues unabated and the
number of dead or injured is increasing hourly.
The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) strongly condemns the barbaric Israeli aggression against the people
of Gaza.
The Israeli criminals claim that their aggression is a response to Hamas' rocket fire at the Israeli towns. This
claim is not worth a penny. The hand-made missiles in Gaza, each with a few kilograms of primitive
explosives, have neither the power to do substantial damage to Israeli towns nor the range to hit the Israeli
strategic positions. The fact is that the Israeli rulers cannot live without occupation of Palestine, without the
expansionist policies, or without the oppression of the people of the region. Aggression and enmity with
Arabs are in the nature of Zionism. For six decades, the Israeli rulers have used similar excuses to massacre
the people of Palestine.
The recent Israeli aggression is neither the first nor will be the last aggression against the Palestinian
people. As long as racism and Zionism have grip on Israel, the killing, massacre, and genocide of the
people of Palestine will continue.
The six-month cease-fire in Gaza was expired a week ago. The Zionist government of Israel violated the
cease-fire many times. For more than three years, Gaza has been under tight blockade by air, sea and land.
One and a half million Palestinian people in Gaza have been faced with shortage of food, fuel, medicine
and other basic necessities. In this situation, the Israeli government "wants" cease-fire with Palestinians, a
ceasefire in which one side has to be destroyed in order to satisfy the expansionist and criminal goals of the
other side.
The criminal Israeli gangs have taken their barbarism to an unprecedented level; the more oppression or
killing of the Palestinian people, the higher chance of winning the elections!
The Israeli governments would not have been able to carry out or sustain their aggressions without
financial and military assistance from the US imperialists. The US administrations have always
encouraged, instigated, and backed the Israeli wars against the people of the Middle East.
The recent Israeli aggression in Gaza has been carried out at the time when the US imperialists have been
defeated in the Middle East, and are facing deep economic crisis and public dissatisfaction. In this situation,
the extension of the war to other areas of the Middle East has alarmed the entire humanity, particularly the
people of region. The western imperialists headed by the US, together with the Israeli Zionists, do not stop
short of committing horrendous crimes against the people who fight for their freedom, independence and
national sovereignty.
The barbarism of the blood thirsty rulers of Israel has not left without response. People of many countries
have expressed their disgust and anger for the Israeli butchers. Activists in the US, Canada, Germany,
France, Turkey, Greece, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Israel, England, Syria, and many other countries have
demonstrated in solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza. We must mobilize the people to continue,
expand, and intensify the protest actions.
Once again, the Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) condemns the brutal Israeli aggression against the people
of Gaza. We call on all freedom loving people to raise their voice against the destruction and killing in
Gaza. The destruction and killing in Gaza must stop immediately and the blockade must be ended.
The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan), Foreign Office
December 29, 2008

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Statement of the PC(AP) on the Events in Gaza

Translation found in The Red Republic (

This is a translated statement from Eduardo Artés, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Chile (Proletarian Action) on the bombings of the Gaza Strip and Gaza City by the Israeli Army. All translation errors are my own. The original copy can be found on the PC (AP) website or in La Mochila.

The year is almost finished and so no one can forget their criminal nature, the Zionist-fascist government in Israel is conducting a new and vicious crime against the Palestinian people; they are bombarding Gaza City, and the entire Gaza Strip. American-made Israeli fighters have sown death and mass destruction, there is talk of more than 170 dead and nearly 400 injured. The Israelis did not threaten to stop until they have reached their goal. But what is this goal, to annihilate the heroic Palestinian people?

The current bullying and criminal action is just months after having seiged Gaza, leaving it without drinking water, electricity, food and medicine. This situation obligated the government in Chile to send recently, medicine and medical equipment.

The Zionist criminals believe through their killings they will place a dignified and patriotic people on their knees, a people who are only demanding their sovereignty and freedom.

The Israeli Zionist Army, which practices state-terrorism, does not act alone or without the permission of U.S. Imperialism and without the support and blessing of the Pentagon, We must unmask them, denounce and combat American imperialism.

The Democrats, Communists and revolutionaries around the world must immediately place in the center the defense of the lives of the Palestinian people, we must quickly come up with concrete actions, In the Communist Party (Proletarian Action), PC (AP), we are already preparing ourselves for the measures needed to fulfill our internationalist solidarity and human duties.

Stop the genocide against the Palestinian people!
Today we are all Palestinians!
Eduardo Artés: Presidential Candidate from the Chilean Communist Party (Proletarian Action) --

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Solidarity to Palestine people from Greece

Today, Monday 29 December 2008, the "Intifada" Association along with many left and communist organisations organise a demostration outside the Israel Embassy in Athens at 18:00 (local time)
The association send to the press a press release with title "The Israeli state spread death once more". The release can be found in our Greek blog.

The "Movement of the Reorganisation of the Communist Party of Greece 1918-55" participates in the demonstration. Yesterday we translated the communique of the Worker's Communist Party of Tunisia (PCOT) [it ca be found in our Greek blog] and released in the press. We are planning to do the same today with the communiqué of the Worker's Communist Party of France (PCOF).
Long live the international solidarity!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

14th Plenary of the Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO)

English translation found in The introductionary paragraph is from the blog.

The following is a translated statement by the ICMLPO on the current crisis of capitalism, it was originally published in Spanish on Dec. 3, 2008 in the International Section of En Marcha. The ICMLPO calls for the unity of all progressive and revolutionary forces to face capitalism and demand our economic and social rights, which they are slashing as we speak.
The Plenary was held in Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana and under moderation by the Communist Party of Labour. All translation errors are my own.

In the Dominican Republic and under the responsibility of the PCT, on November 14, 2008; the Plenary of the ICMLPO took place.

In an environment of camaraderie and openness important conclusions and resolutions were developed.

The discussions put emphasis on the treatment of the current crisis of capitalism and imperialism. The participating parties and organizations expressed their concerns on the issue and exchanged views. The Conference concluded by noting the existence of significant levels of unity in the analysis of the crisis and also recorded some differences of assessment with regard to some secondary problems.

For our parties it is clear that the extent and depth of the crisis will be prolonged and that the forces of the monopolists and imperialists to quickly resolve it will demand considerable time and resources.

We believe the crisis will hit the workers and the peoples hard, but simultaneously creates much more favorable conditions for organization and the struggle for the working class, peasant, and youth and creates a new challenge for the proletarian revolutionaries, who must work hard to use the conditions generated by the crisis to advance the revolutionary process.

The conference adopted a declaration on the crisis that we must agitate in the struggle against its effects. The conference designated a part of its work to analyze the experiences of our parties in the organization of the youth in the perspective on the Revolution.

Our Parties are actively involved in the task of organizing the working-class youth and the people to be victorious in bringing the larger sections of the masses to win The Revolution; in this task we face the anti-communist offensive of the bourgeoisie and international imperialism, and the reformist positions of Social Democracy which must be unmasked and cornered by revolutionary positions.

We welcome the congresses of our sister parties in Mexico, Brazil, and Turkey. To balance the work of the Conference, and the parties we registered important advances to progress the ideological, political, and organizational characteristics. We affirmed the internationalism of our parties, the need for cooperation and mutual support, duties, responsibilities and rights in the face of the Conference.

Statement of the International Conference of Marxist Leninist Parties and Organizations on the current crisis of capitalism in its imperialist phase

When the tragic events occurred; characterized by the collapse of the former socialist bloc countries in Eastern Europe, led by the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the spokesmen of imperialism and reaction sang victory everywhere, once more they sang the "Requiem" to the doctrine of Marxism; declared that the revolution was a thing of the past, that humanity had reached the "end of history" that capitalism was able to exist, develop without difficulty and it was a eternal social order.

There was no need to wait much longer for the essential falsity of all this confusion and lying. The dynamics of the bourgeois system itself has been responsible for its burial. From this moment, crises and conflicts took place unabated: 1993, 1997, 2001, 2003 accompanied with the stagnation in the European and Japanese economy, leading to the current crisis that expressed all the accumulated problems earlier.

Bourgeois economists have recognized that the current crisis can be compared to that which occurred in 1929. A feature of this crisis, which distinguishes it from the previous one, is that it has been generated in the United States, and from here is spreading to all parts of the world. It is a crisis of grand dimensions expressed initially in the area of circulation and finance, but that originated in the productive economy. This is a crisis of over-production that accumulates on large stock of goods that cannot be realized due to the lack of money in the hands of the working class and people in general, it is limited in the extreme degree to consumer goods and services that capitalist system produces in an anarchist fashion.

In a short time we have seen the economies of the United States, England, Germany and other powers experience negative growth, including in industrial production. All of this reduces the chances of capitalism to cushion the effects of the crisis as it did before. In 2001 they were able to resolve the crisis with financial measures, which are not possible today.

We affirm that the crisis will be prolonged and deepened; no country will be outside of its effects, despite short-term developments. This crisis stems from the intensification of irresolvable contradictions of capitalism: anarchy in production, competition and the social character of production with private accumulation of wealth. This crisis demonstrates the failure of neoliberal politics. This crisis included the crisis of real estate, energy, food and environmental which contributed to its deepening effects.

Economic, Political and Social Consequences

Monopolists seek to transfer the brunt of the crisis on workers of all countries, peoples and dependent nations. The fundamental contradictions (capital-labor, imperialism-the people, international monopolists and international imperialist) of the capitalist system and its imperialist aggression is increasingly deepened.

Despite significant financial support from public funds by the imperialist states, big banks and financial institutions are bankrupt, large and medium industrial enterprises are closed upon, mergers of banks and new businesses occur for the benefit of a few monopolists at the expense of others. The crisis hurts the workers: hundreds of thousands of workers are being thrown to the streets in all countries, in the U.S. this year more than 2 million workers have been fired; wages slashed, social rights and achievements cut, if not eliminated.

The crisis demonstrates once again that development and social progress of the people under capitalism is not possible and also shows that the liberation of the working class and the people can only be achieved by Socialist Revolution.

The Struggle

As Marxist-Leninist Communists, we proclaim our condemnation of those responsible, and the beneficiaries of the crisis: the imperialists and monopolists, who are mostly Americans. We condemn the policy of transferring the crisis to the workers and because of the consequences we are struggling to make the monopolists and the rich pay.

We call on the workers to form a large front against layoffs and cutbacks and union busting. We demand increased wages and salaries. It is necessary to achieve the great unity of the people against imperialism in opposition to the payment of foreign debt, and the privatization of fundamental services.

We call for the unity of the democratic, patriotic, and revolutionary left forces to face this crisis.

Only the fight will give us what capitalism and imperialism seek to deny us.

Santo Domingo

Dominican Republic

November 2008

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vive la révolte des jeunes et la lutte des travailleurs de Grèce A bas le gouvernement assassin

L’assassinat le 6 décembre d’un jeune de 15 ans par un policier a déclenché une immense vague de colère dans toute la Grèce. Tous les témoins ont accusé le policier d’avoir tiré sur un groupe de jeunes de sang froid. Seul le gouvernement défend la thèse de la « légitime défense ».

Depuis le 6 décembre, les manifestations succèdent aux manifestations dans toutes les villes de Grèce. Les cibles des manifestants, ce sont les forces de l’ordre, qui jouissent d’une totale impunité, les locaux du parti au pouvoir, un parti que les forces de gauche qualifient de monarco-fasciste, les banques, coresponsables de la crise… qui viennent d’empocher 28 milliards d’euros du gouvernement.

Le gouvernement « couvre » sa police qui n’a jamais été débarrassée des hommes et des méthodes fascistes de la dictature des colonels. C’est à coup de gaz lacrymogènes, de balles en plastique, de charges et d’arrestations sauvages que la police veut briser la mobilisation. Celle-ci ne faiblit pas. Jeunes, travailleurs, parents, enseignants se retrouvent coude à coude pour dénoncer la violence policière, le gouvernement qui les traite « d’ennemis de la démocratie » !

Les colères sociales n’ont cessé de s’exprimer et de s’accumuler ces dernières années. Les étudiants ont massivement combattu la réforme de l’université qui appliquait les orientations de la directive européenne dite de Lisbonne, qui démantèle dans tous les pays de l’UE l’université publique au profit des universités privées, qui liquide la gratuité de l’enseignement et qui impose la présence des patrons dans les organes de direction des universités. Les étudiants se sont heurtés aux policiers matraqueurs. Cela rappelle les mobilisations contre la LRU.

Il y a quelques semaines, ce sont les prisonniers qui se révoltaient contre les conditions inhumaines dans lesquelles ils sont entassés dans les prisons que la politique répressive du gouvernement ne cesse de remplir.

Les travailleurs, les paysans se battent contre la politique néolibérale qui a fait exploser les chiffres du chômage et qui liquide les paysans. Les syndicats avaient appelé le 10 décembre à une journée de grève générale, avant l’éclatement de la révolte des jeunes, pour dénoncer la politique de privatisation, la réforme des retraites, et pour exiger une hausse des salaires. Cette grève a été largement suivie et elle a permis une liaison entre le mouvement de la jeunesse et celui des travailleurs.

La révolte de la jeunesse de Grèce est suivie avec une très grande sympathie par les jeunes des autres pays qui se reconnaissent dans son combat.

Nous exprimons notre totale solidarité avec les jeunes, les travailleurs, le peuple de Grèce qui affrontent un régime réactionnaire, néolibéral.

Nous soutenons l’exigence de démission de ce gouvernement réactionnaire et nous appelons toutes les forces de gauche à s’unir pour soutenir ce mouvement et pour proposer une politique de rupture avec le néolibéralisme, une politique en faveur des jeunes, des travailleurs, des paysans, des couches populaires durement touchés par les conséquences de la crise.

Nous condamnons le silence des gouvernements et des instances européennes qui cautionnent la politique de répression du gouvernement grec.

Nous appelons à exprimer la solidarité avec le mouvement des jeunes, le mouvement syndical, le mouvement populaire de Grèce.

Paris, 10 décembre 2008

Parti Communiste des Ouvriers de France

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Down with the government provocateur and killer of youth

In Greek/English/German/Danish/Norvegian: communication_grendedkno.pdf (application/pdf)


Athens, 9/12/2008

Down with the government of blood and scandals
Down with the government provocateur and killer of youth
Down with the fascist murderous violence of the reactionary government of the monarchist-fascist party of Nea Democratia

We welcome the spontaneous anti-fascist upheaval and fight of the youth
Let's intensify the class struggle against the fascist violence, terrorism and oppression, the struggle against unemployment, hunger and misery

The “Movement for the Reorganization of KKE 1918-55” denounces to the youth, the working class and the entire Greek people the cold-blooded murder of the young pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos and condemns, in the strongest and most decisive manner, the reactionary government Karamanlis, as the cold-blood killer. A murder which is the culmination of the government's policy of the most extreme fascistisation of the reactionary bourgeois state and social life; starting from the well known aphorism «officer, the state is you», the notorious «restoration of the state» i.e. the restoration of the state of the monarchist-fascist Right (staffed, now, by fascists of New Demokratia and the Nazis of “Golden Dawn”-LA.OS, etc.), the “praetores urbanis”, the allusion of the ridiculous individual called Polydoras (the former Minister for Public Order) to the police force and the beating of unprecedented brutality of the Cypriot student in Thessaloniki, the torture of foreigners in police stations and many other cases of fascist violence and police terror, up to the heinous murder of the young pupil and the hypocritical resignations of the, also ridiculous, rambling and petty professor P. Pavlopoulos and the fascist threats by Karamanlis posing a la Duche , after his visit to the President.

It also condemns the brutal, fascist attacks by police using tear gas and clubs against pupils, students and other demonstrators and the large scale use of plastic bullets that resulted in the injury of many people who had to be transferred to hospitals, among them a journalist. In addition, it condemns the provocative presence of the riot police (MAT) in the cemetery, even during the funeral of the young pupil, with a mission to "fire at terrorists".

The cold-blooded murder – in the absence of any prior incidents, clashes or demonstrations - highlights the fact that the fascistisation of the society has reached its apogee; the strengthening of the police rule and the increase of the fascist murderous violence has gone too far, cause the justifiable anger and indignation of the entire student youth and lead thousands of students to a militant rebellion in tens of cities. Police stations and banks are their major symbolic targets: the former as symbols of fascist oppression and police terror, and the latter as symbols of exploitation (a 28 billion Euros "dowry" was given to them according to a recent government decision), the pillars of large capital, responsible for the mass unemployment, poverty and misery that great part of the population experiences.

The reactionary government of the monarchist-fascist party of Nea Democratia realizes that constantly loses ground among the people – a fact reflected in the polls – and tries desperately to regain some momentum by resorting to fascist violence; on the occasion of the cold-blooded murder of the 15-year-old pupil it behaved as a common provocateur seeking politically:
first, to distract attention from the big scandal involving the Vatopedi monastery
second, to overcome the deep crisis that Nea Demokratia party is in.

third, to demonstrate that it follows a policy of strong repression and brute force in view of the major upsurge of popular struggle and the additional problems caused by the international financial crisis, openly flirting with the idea of fascist deviation (the declaration of state of emergence has already been mentioned).

fourth, not having, amidst a period of deep economic crisis, offered even a single euro to the lower-middle classes which are ruined by the extreme neo-liberal economic policy, to attempt to win them back by providing them «peace, order and security», from the so-called demonstrators «terrorism»; that’s why it has employed the coordinated action of the hooded plain clothes policemen for the en masse devastation of shops (it is typical, in this regard, that all cultural institutions remain completely unprotected)
fifth, to extort the opposition parties’ consent, succeeding up to a certain extent. The more extreme case is the Social-Democrat leader of “K”KE A. Papariga who, instead of condemning the government as a murderer, blamed SYRIZA for “encouraging the hooded rioters”: “the leadership of SYRIZA should stop encouraging the hooded rioters” (statement after the meeting with Karamanlis, 9.12.2008), proving, once again, that she is the most infamous lackey of capital and backer of Karamanlis and the monarchist-fascist Right.

The student and working youth, the working class and the peasants must intensify their fight against terrorism, the police violence and also the policy of fascistisation and defend their class interests by refusing the burden of crisis to be placed on them.
We urge the Greek people to participate in all rallies and demonstrations in the following days.

Movement for the Reorganization of KKE 1918-55

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ned med Karamanlis-regeringen, der er badet i blod og vold

Den græske befolkning koger af  raseri over endnu en afskyelige forbrydelse, begået af statens sikkerhedsstyrker.  Denne gang var ofret en uskyldig 15-årig skoledreng, Alexis Grigoropoulos.
Han blev skudt ned med koldt blod af en politibetjent i Exarchia-distriktet i centrum af Athen.
Den tragiske hændelse fandt sted lørdag aften, den 6. december ved ni-tiden, hvor to politifolk, der patruljerer i området,  kom i konfrontation med en gruppe unge. Efter deres anholdelse hævdede politifolkene,  at de blev overfaldet og tvunget til at affyre varselsskud i selvforsvar.

Imidlertid var der ifølge mange øjenvidner ingen voldsepisodefør det øjeblik, hvor de to politibetjente nærmede sig de unge og begyndte at overfuse dem med grove tilråb. På dette tidspunkt trak en af betjentene sin pistol frem og skød mod gruppen. Kuglen ramte Alexis direkte i brystet og dræbte ham øjeblikkeligt.
Regeringen og det regerende monarko-fascistiske parti Nyt Demokrati er direkte og fuldt ud ansvarlig for mordet på den uskyldige dreng..
Det er den reaktionære Karamanlis-regering, der har bemyndiget politiet til at udøve vilkårlig brug af magt imod indvandrere, demonstrerende studerende, lærere, arbejdere, og endog civile, der ikke kan mistænkes for noget som helst.
Nyheden om mordet på Alexis udløste et voldsomt udbrud af harme over hele landet.
Søndag og mandag protesterede tusindvis af vrede mennesker i Athen, Thessaloniki, Patra, Heraklion og andre byer imod en regering, der er badet i blod og vold
I mange tilfælde stødte demonstranter sammen med politiet, og i Athen fortsatte sammenstødene til sent søndag aften. (Nye uroligheder udviklede sig mandag og i forbindelse med begravelsen af Alexis  tirsdag, kpnet)

Hvor alvorlige optøjerne har været ses udfra den bulletin,  brandvæsenet skrev og mandag morgen, hvor man meddelte, at bl.a. følgende skader var forårsaget af oprøret indtil midnat søndag:

Biler i brand i Athen 6. december
Athen 6. december

I Athen: Afbrænding af 24 banker, 35 butikker, 22 biler, 12 boliger, 63 skraldebeholdere, 7 bus stoppesteder og hærværk mod Nyt Demokrati´s lokale organisations kontor.
I Patras: En bank, en politi-patrulje bil, fire biler, et køretøj tilhørende præfekturet, 14 affaldscontainere og en politiparkeringsplads
I Thessaloniki: 9 banker, et pressekontor for myndighederne,  7 biler, 40 skraldebeholdere, Aristoteles-universitetets kantine, Nyt Demokratis lokale partikontor og tre metrobyggepladser
I Heraklion, Kreta: To banker og fire affaldscontainere
I Chania:  en præfekturs bil og 8 skraldebeholdere
I Kavala: Et lokalt kontor for ND og politiets paskontor
I Chryssoupolis: En grænsevagtpost.

Skydende politi sat ind mod demonstranter
Væbnet politi mod demonstranter

Brandvæsenet præciserer, at ovennævnte skader hovedsageligt blev forårsaget af molotovcocktails, og at denne  skadesrapport ikke omfatter ødelæggelser, forårsaget af kasteskyts i form af sten, træ, marmor og andre genstande under optøjerne Athen.

Athen 8. december 2008  

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A bas le gouvernement du sang et de la violence

Athène, 8 décembre 2008

Le peuple grec est plein de colère car les forces de police de l’Etat ont commis un nouveau crime abject. Cette fois, la victime est un jeune lycéen  innocent de 15 ans, Alexis Grigoropoulos, tué de sang froid par un officier policier du district d’Exarchia, au centre d’Athènes.
Ce tragique événement a eu lieu samedi soir, 6 décembre, vers 9 du soir, quand deux officiers de police qui patrouillaient dans la région s’en sont pris à un groupe de jeunes. Après leur arrestation, les policiers ont prétendu avoir été attaqués et qu’ils avaient été obligés de faire feu pour se protéger. Selon plusieurs témoins, il n’y a eu aucune violence avant que les policiers ne s’approchent des enfants et qu’ils se mettent à les injurier. A ce moment-là, un des policiers a sorti son arme et a tiré
vers le groupe. La balle a touché Alexis, à la poitrine, le tuant sur le champ. Le gouvernement du parti monarchiste et fasciste « Nea Demokratia », est directement et entièrement responsable du meurtre ce cet enfant innocent. C’est le gouvernement réactionnaire de Karamanlis qui a autorisé la police à faire un usage indiscriminé de la violence contre les immigrés, les étudiants qui manifestent, les enseignants, les travailleurs et même de simples citoyens. La nouvelle de la mort d’Alexis a provoqué
l’explosion de colère dans tout le pays. Le dimanche et le lundi, des milliers de personnes ont manifesté avec beaucoup de détermination à Athènes, Thessalonique, Petra, Héraklion et d’autres villes, contre le gouvernement du sang et de la violence.
Dans plusieurs villes, les manifestants se sont affrontés avec la police et à Athènes, les affrontements se sont prolongés jusqu'à dimanche soir.
Voici quelques éléments qui donnent une idée de l’ampleur des affrontements.
Dans un bulletin paru lundi matin, la brigade des pompiers annonçait que les dégâts occasionnés par les émeutes enregistrés jusqu’à dimanche soir étaient les suivants : à Athènes, 24 banques ont été incendiées, 35 magasins, 22 voitures, 12 habitations, 63 poubelles, 7 stations de bus, ainsi qu’un office d’une organisation locale du parti au pouvoir « nouvelle démocratie ». A Pétra, une banque, une voiture de patrouille de la police, quatre voitures, un véhicule de la préfecture d’Achaia, 14 poubelles et un
parking de la police ; à Thessalonique, 9 banques, l’office de presse du ministère de la Macédoine et de la Thrace, 7 voitures, 40 poubelles, la cantine de l’université d’Arestotelion, un local du parti Nea Domkratia et trois chantiers du métro, à Heraklion, en Crète, deux banques et 4 poubelles, à Chania, une voiture de la préfecture et 8 poubelles ; à Kavala, un local du parti au pouvoir, une poubelle et le local de la police qui délivre les passeports ; à Chryssoupolis, un poste de police de quartier.
La brigade des pompiers a expliqué que les dégâts ont été principalement commis à l’aide de cocktail momotov et que la liste ne comprend pas les dégâts causés par des jets de pierre, de morceaux de bois, de marbre, etc. contre d’autres édifices.

Mouvement pour la réorganisation du Parti Communiste de Grèce, 1918-55

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La profonda crisi che ha colpito il sistema capitalistico viene fatta pagare dalla borghesia ai proletari e alle masse popolari.

I padroni vogliono che le masse popolari si rassegnino a subire in silenzio.

Quando i proletari  si ribellano alla prospettiva della miseria e dello sfruttamento la borghesia ricorre alla repressione e all'assassinio legalizzato.

E' la storia della repressione che ha insanguinato le piazze dell'Italia "democratica" negli ultimi 60 anni, è quanto sta accadendo in Grecia con il brutale assassinio di ANDREAS GRIGOROPOULOS, di 15 anni.

Ma stanno trovando pane per i loro denti!

Portiamo in piazza assieme alla condanna del governo reazionario di Berlusconi anche quella del suo omologo Karamanlis!

Prima saranno cacciati per le loro malefatte, meglio sarà per i nostri popoli!

Il migliore omaggio che si possa fare ad un compagno caduto è quello di dare gambe solide
e un percorso vincente alla lotta affinché il cambiamento sociale possa affermarsi!

Per cambiare non bastano le idee se non si ha l'organizzazione che lotta per realizzarle.

Ecco perchè ci battiamo per la ricostruzione del partito comunista!


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Down with the government of blood and violence!

Athens, 8 December 2008

The Greek people are burning with rage as the security forces of the state committed another despicable crime. This time the victim was an innocent 15-year old schoolboy, Alexis Grigoropoulos, who was shot in cold blood by a police officer in Exarchia district, in the centre of Athens. The tragic event took place on Saturday evening, 6th of December, around 9 pm when two police officers patrolling in the region engaged in altercation with the group of youths. Following their arrest, the policemen claimed that they were attacked and had to fire warning shots as a means of self-defense. However, according to many eye witnesses, there was no violent episode before the moment when the two police men approached the children and started swearing very crudely at them. Then, one of the officers pulled out his gun and fired against the group. The bullet struck Alexis, directly on the chest, killing him instantly. The government of the monarchist-fascist party of Nea Demokratia is directly and fully responsible for the murder of the innocent child. It is the reactionary Karamanlis government that has authorized the police to make indiscriminate use of force against immigrants, demonstrating students, teachers, workers and even unsuspected civilians. The news of Alexis’ murder caused a burst of outrage throughout the country. On Sunday and Monday thousands of people passionately protested in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra, Heraklion and other cities against the government of blood and violence. In many cases, the demonstrators clashed with the police and in Athens the riots continued until late on Sunday evening.
The seriousness of the riots is indicative by the following. The Fire Brigade, in a bulletin issued on Monday morning, announced that the damage caused in the rioting, up until midnight Sunday, included: in Athens, the burning of 24 banks, 35 shops, 22 cars, 12 homes, 63 trash receptacles, 7 bus stops and a ruling New Democracy local organisation office; in Patras, a bank, a police patrol car, four cars, a vehicle belonging to the Achaia prefectural authority, 14 dumpsters and a police parking log; in Thessaloniki, 9 banks, the Macedonia-Thrace ministry's press office, 7 cars, 40 dumpsters, the Aristotelion University's canteen, an Nea Demokratia local organisation office, and three Metro construction sites; in Heraklion, Crete, two banks and four trash bins; in Chania, a prefectural car and 8 dumpsters; in Kavala, an ND local office, a trash receptacle and the passport office at the police directorate; and in Chryssoupolis, a border guard post. The Fire Brigade clarified that the above damages were incurred chiefly by molotov cocktails, and the damage listed did not include destruction caused by rocks, wood, marble and other items thrown at targets during the riots.

Movement for the Reorganisation of the Communist Party of Greece 1918-55

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Antonis Vratsanos (1919-2008)

Comrade Antonis Vratsanos (Aggeloulis) was born in 1919 in Larisa.

Vratsanos joined the Greek Resistance against the Italo-German occupation and became a saboteur in the Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS), the military branch of the National Liberation Front. In ELAS he had rank of second lieutenant. Antonis Vratsanos and his sabotage squad (Olympus), with their operations made against the enemy's trains and other means of transport, railway lines and bridges, caused great damage to the conquerors.

A very comprehensive review of his resistance action includes:
1. Approximately 48,900 meters of blasted bridges.
2. Blasting of 36 railway bridges.
3. Blasting of 47 railway facilities.
4. Destruction of 20 trains.
5. Destruction of 12 locomotives.
6. 3,066 enemy casualties.
7. Stop traffic for 1,324 hours.

His most important achievement as a revolutionary and member of the National Resistance was the blasting, on February of 1944, of a German train, full of soldiers and officers, on their way to the Eastern front. This single heroic act cost Wehrmacht 450 dead, including 150 officers and a general with all his staff. This action is considered as one of the biggest sabotages in Europe, against the German occupation.

After the end of World War II, he followed the Communist party’s directions and joined the Democratic Army of Greece, where he continued his action as saboteur against the Anglo-American imperialists and the Greek monarch-fascists.

Following the retreat of the Democratic Army, he went to Tashkent and later to Romania, where he lived for 33 years. He remained an adversary of Khrushchevian revisionism and adherent of the revolutionary line of Stalin and Zachariades until the end of his life. He defended Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism against the treacherous counterrevolutionary current of Khrushchev-Brezhnev-Gorbatschev and their Greek collaborators Kologiannis-Florakis-etc. In Romania the revisionists asked him to hand them important documents he was holding since the end of the World War II and he denied. He spent two years in jail in Bucharest for this attitude. He was set free because the revisionists were afraid of the reactions of the Greek communists, since his name was a legend among the communists and the Greek people.

In December 1991 he participated in the committee of communists, members of the heroic KKE 1918-55, with Dimitris Vissios, Vassilis Aspridis and Petros Touloudis, which organised the funeral of Nikos Zachariadis in Athens, whom the revisionist clique of Brezhnev-Florakis murdered in Surgut, Siberia after 17 years of exile in 1973 and his body was send to Greece after 18 more years. This ruined the fiesta the local revisionists Papariga-Florakis tried to organise by presenting Zachariadis as their comrade.

In 1997 he led an action with more than a hundred former partisans of the Democratic Army and members of KKE 1918-55 in establishing the “Pan-Hellenic Union of Partisans and Friends of the Democratic Army”, which defended the revolutionary line of the KKE in 1946-1949 and Nikos Zachariadis. After the fall of the military Junta in 1974 none of the revisionist parties took similar actions for the Democratic Army, although unions of of Greek Resistance fighters, political refugees and exiles to remote Greek islands were established since the early ’80s.

On February 28 2007, he was awarded by the President of the HellenicRepublic, Karolos Papoulias "Senior Commander of the Order of Honor" for his action of resistance against foreign occupation troops in the years 1941-44.

He died on Tuesday, on 25th of November, at 9:30 pm in Athens, never treating his beliefs and values. He stood till his death a great revolutionary communist.

November 2008

The Political Committee of the Movement for the Reorganisation of the Communist Party of Greece 1918-55
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Farewell of Vasilis Papasotiriou to the legendary saboteur of Olympus Antonis Vratsanos

26 November 2008

My dear comrade and beloved friend Antonis,

Forced to stay in bed these days, I bid you the last farewell from afar.

At this moment of silence, the mountain peaks of Kissavos and Olympus, Siniatsikos and Pieria, Grammos and Vitsi, your favorite straights of the Tempi valley, bid you, the legendary saboteur of Olympus of ELAS and DSE, farewell.

The thousands of partisans of ELAS and DSE, the two hundred communists of Kessariani, the tens of exiles in Siberia and the many thousands of Greek communists from Tashkent and other People’s Republics who rose against Krushchevian revisionism, bid you farewell.

Fellow-fighter Antonis Vratsanos.

- We found ourselves together in the trenches of the Greek-Italian war against the Italian fascist invaders following the call to arms made in the historic letter of Nikos Zachariadis, the country’s chief partisan and architect of the epic National Resistance.

- We were together in the trenches of EAM-ELAS fighting, under the guidance of KKE, against the Italian, German and Bulgarian occupiers and, then, against the English imperialists.

- We found ourselves together in the ranks of the glorious Democratic Army of Greece fighting, under the guidance of KKE headed by Nikos Zachariadis, against the monarchists-fascists and the Anglo-American imperialists.

- We found ourselves together, after the retreat of DSE, in the Soviet Union of the great Stalin and in other socialist countries carrying on the revolutionary struggle in new conditions and forms in the ranks of our heroic party, the revolutionary KKE liquidated by the barbarous Krushchevian interference in 1955-56.

- We found ourselves together, since the mid1950’s, in the front line of struggle against the counter-revolutionary Krushchevian revisionism – that destroyed socialism in the Soviet Union and other countries and ruined the international communist movement – adhering to the revolutionary line of Joseph Stalin and Nikos Zachariadis whom the revisionist clique of Brezhnev-Florakis murdered in Surgut, Siberia after 17 years of exile.

My dear comrade and beloved friend Antonis,

Despite the persecutions by the Krushchevian revisionists’, you remained always a courageous, untiring and unyielding revolutionary communist until the last moments of your life; a firm and recalcitrant opponent of the Greek and international Krushchevian revisionism, who set a shining example for the new generations.

You will live forever in the history of our country and the revolutionary struggles of our workers and peasants, of our people.

Vasilis Papasotiriou

President of the Movement for the Reorganization of KKE (1918-1955) and publisher of the newspaper “Anasintaxi”.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Antonis Vratsanos the legendary saboteur of ELAS-DSE, revolutionary communist and an opponent of Krushchevian revisionism, passed away.

On Tuesday, on 25th of November, at 9:30 pm, Antonis Vratsanos the legendary saboteur of the National Liberation People’s Army (ELAS) and the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE), revolutionary communist and an opponent of Krushchevian revisionism, died in an Athens clinic.

Comrade Antonis Vratsanos was born in Larisa in 1919 and he took part in the war against the Italian invaders in 1940 as a second lieutenant. His most important achievement as a revolutionary and member of the National Resistance was the blasting, on February of 1944, of a German train, full of soldiers and officers, on their way to the Eastern front. This single heroic act cost Vermacht 450 dead including 150 officers and a general with all his staff.

He remained an adversary of Krushchevian revisionism and adherent of the revolutionary line of Stalin and Zachariades until the end of his life.

His funeral took place at the Kessariani cemetery on Thursday.

The Political Committee of Movement for the Reorganisation of KKE (1918-1955)

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Monday, November 24, 2008


By D. N. Pritt K.C., M.P.

The trial of Zinoviev, Kamenev, Yefdokimov, Bakaief, and twelve other persons accused of participation in terrorist conspiracies against the Government of the Soviet Union, which was held in Moscow in the latter part of August 1936, resulting in all the accused being sentenced to death and executed, has given rise to a good deal of criticism in Great Britain. Some of this criticism was frankly unscrupulous, and a great deal of it was based on unjustified assumptions that the Soviet authorities had been guilty of any and every abuse; but much of it was made in good faith. It seems clear, too, that some criticisms were unfortunately brought about in whole or in part by inaccuracies in or misunderstanding of the reports which reached this country. Indeed, the more I study the whole of the available material, with the advantage both of my professional training and of having been present at the hearing, and compare it with the very condensed reports which were all that was before most of the critics when they wrote at any rate their earlier criticisms, the more forgiving I feel even towards some of the critics whose conclusions have to my mind been most unsound. The criticism comes, of course, by no means solely from those observers of whom it is right to say that all they have ever either reported or prophesied about the Soviet Union has been wrong; the critics include both newspapers and individuals of very high reputation for fairness. It should be realised at the outset, of course, that the critics who refuse to believe that Zinoviev or Kamenev could possibly have conspired to murder Kirov, Stalin, Voroshilov, and others, even when they say themselves that they did, are in a grave logical difficulty. For, if they thus dismiss the whole case for the prosecution as a "frame-up," it follows inescapably that Stalin and a substantial number of other high officials, including presumably the judges and the prosecutor, were themselves guilty of a foul conspiracy to procure the judicial murder of Zinoviev, Kamenev, and a fair number of other persons. Of course, the less scrupulous critics will be delighted to support that theory; they would always prefer to blacken the rulers of a Socialist country rather than people who confess to having sought to assassinate those rulers; but some of us with memories will find their sudden affection and admiration for Zinoviev and all the cc Old Guard " a little comic.

Turning now to the criticisms, it is of course important that whatever their source they should be answered fully and fairly. We are not merely living in an epoch in which one country after another is in danger of economic collapse or Fascist barbarism, or both, if it cannot achieve Socialist government; but in narrower and more immediate politics it is of tremendous importance to peace and progress that no misunderstandings, particularly no manufactured or engineered misunderstandings, should arise between U.S.S.R. and the Western democracies. As I have had the advantage of having studied Soviet legal procedure pretty thoroughly for some years past, and also of having attended the trial in question, I would like to state and answer as briefly and as clearly as I can the main criticisms that have been made in Great Britain.

Probably the most general and important criticism that has been made is the simple one that it is incredible that men should confess openly and fully to crimes of the gravity of those in question here. Associated with this criticism there comes the suggestion that the confessions must have been extracted by "third degree " or other improper means. I can deal with these two points more or less together, starting with the more general one.

The critics seem to accept almost as a proof that there must be something ungenuine about the prosecution, the fact that the accused (with minor exceptions which I will discuss later) pleaded guilty, and admitted their misdeeds fully and frankly; and, however difficult one may find it to follow the logic of this, it would be wrong to ignore the fact that the apparent abjectness and eagerness of the confessions make curious reading to the student more accustomed to English procedure. This latter point is, I think, sufficiently explained when one bears in mind the very great differences in form and style that naturally exists between one race and another.   If one asked an educated Frenchman, an educated Englishman, and an educated German, to state in his own way, and as briefly or as fully as he thought convenient, any simple concept, or even any set of concrete facts, the three results would be very different indeed in length, form, style, and even content. The more important point, and the one to which I wish to give a good deal of care, whether I concede it any logical strength or not, is the point that in the circumstances the pleas of guilty themselves suggest that there is something wrong or fictitious in the prosecution. Now, it will surely be conceded that in all countries, even in those most fully supplied with able and ingenious defence lawyers, prisoners do sometimes plead guilty to charges, even to serious charges, when they see that the evidence against them is overwhelming. My friends in U.S.S.R. tell me that this is more common in their country than in some others, and they speak with not too tolerant contempt of systems under which accused persons who are obviously guilty will consume precious time and energy in wriggling and putting up technical defences; and I am bound to say, as some confirmation of this assertion, that in conversations I have held in Soviet prisons with accused persons awaiting trial on substantial charges, I have not infrequently been struck by the readiness with which they have stated to me in the presence of warders that they are guilty and cannot complain if they are punished. (And, of course, we often hear, even in England, of prisoners being congratulated on having pleaded guilty, and sometimes treated more leniently because they have not taken up time putting forward unsubstantial defences.) Soviet procedure gives the accused ample opportunity to see what the strength of the prosecution's case is, as does the English, although the two systems are somewhat different in respect of the preliminary proceedings. In England and the countries which derive their system from England, the evidence in cases of any importance is, so to speak, rehearsed in open court before the magistrates in the proceedings prior to committal for trial. In very many countries, however, including U.S.S.R. and, I think, every other European country that has a regular procedure, there is no proceeding in open court before the trial, but the evidence is prepared and developed privately in preliminary proceedings by way of investigation, which generally includes a detailed examination of the accused. From the course of this investigation, and in particular from a study of the dossier or record and of the indictment, which he has a right to see after the preliminary proceedings have been closed, the accused or his advocate has full opportunity to gauge the strength of the prosecution's case. Both these systems of procedure have their advantages and their disadvantages from the point of view of the prisoner's prospects of acquittal and from that of the efficient administration of justice in the public interest; opinions differ as to their respective merits, and to discuss the point in detail would be a long task, but the responsible critic will guard himself against the assumption that there must be some serious defects in any procedure which does not follow closely the lines of the English system which he has been brought up to revere with the same unquestioning loyalty that his father or his grandfather devoted to the blind acceptance of the efficiency of the British Navy. Indeed, I do not gather that the critics of the present trial complain as a matter of principle that there is anything wrong in the Soviet courts employing substantially the system of other Continental countries instead of that of the English jurisdictions—it may well be, of course, that many of them do not know anything about the two procedures or the differences between them—and for our present point it is enough to say that the two systems are alike in giving the accused full opportunity to see clearly the strength of the case against him and to make up his mind whether he will plead guilty or not.

If, then, it may be taken to be normal, in U.S.S.R. or anywhere else, for accused persons who know in their own minds that they are guilty to consider whether they will admit their guilt, and in some cases

at any rate to decide to admit it when they see that the prosecution can prove it quite clearly if they do not, and we proceed to consider the present case in the light of this fact, we arrive at several somewhat interesting conclusions. The first is this, that if one studies the matter revealed in the indictment itself, the questions put to the accused by Vyshinsky (the public prosecutor), and their answers, the long uninterrupted narrative statements made by most of the accused in their examination by Vyshinsky, and still more the occasionally vigorous contradictions of one accused by another when some point was being thrashed out by the men concerned in the course of these examinations (which occupied practically three out of the five days of the hearing), one forms the view (for a reason which I will state in a moment I deliberately use this apparent understatement), that the evidence available against each of the accused, including in that evidence, as every European jurisdiction would without hesitation include, the testimony of others of the accused, was evidence of real strength and substance. When I use the moderate phrase, " one forms the view," I do so because it is of crucial importance, when attempting to criticise or to appraise this case in general or the actual strength of the prosecution's evidence in particular, to bear in mind that, as all the accused pleaded guilty to the whole charge (with definite but minor reservations on the part of two of them, Smirnoff and Holzman), there was no necessity either for the prosecution to adduce in open court all the available evidence going (o establish the whole case, or for the court to consider and weigh the evidence against the other fourteen of the accused for the purpose of deciding their guilt. All that was done, and all that was attempted, was to develop the facts and evidence before the court merely to the extent necessary to enable the judges to decide the exact degree of legal guilt of the two men in question and to form a view of the moral guilt of all the sixteen accused, in order to decide properly on the penalty. When a critic from whom one is entitled to expect both clarity of judgment and fairness of criticism tells his readers that the trial was wholly unconvincing and that the evidence consisted solely of confessions, one realises how easy it is for less well-informed critics, and for the thousands of readers who justifiably look to critics for some guidance in forming their conclusions, to form a view that there was no real proof of the case at all ; but the truth is that over nearly the whole area of the case the available proof did not require to be brought forward. One can well imagine that the Soviet Government, so far as concerns the point of view of properly informing foreign criticism, would much have preferred that all or most of the accused should have pleaded not guilty and contested the case. The full strength of the case would then have been seen and appraised; the hearing would, of course, have been longer, the criticisms perhaps shorter. So far as concerns evidence that did emerge at the hearing, it is not easy to give briefly an idea of the matters corroborative of the guilt of the accused, and it is, of course, not possible even to know (save in so far as they appear in the indictment) what further facts there were in the record that were not adduced at all. But it would be useful just to indicate one or two examples of the sort of corroboration that did appear. Let us start by having our minds clear as to what a confession is. One must not be misled by the use of the word "confession," or its association with forced and groundless admissions of crime, nor judge any confession without weighing the exact nature and effect of the words used. Bare admissions of guilt may vary very much in their cogency, not merely in relation to the circumstances in which they are given but also according to the attitude of mind of the critic; but where an accused person gives a long and detailed account of his movements and conversations which is found to fit in with accounts given by other accused of related movements and some or all of the same conversations, two things must almost of necessity follow. The first is that the confession becomes very much more convincing as against the party making it, and the second is that each such confession, if maintained in open court, becomes, if it should be needed, direct evidence implicating the other persons whose movements and conversations are thus being described by the" confessor" in the capacity of a witness against them as well as in that of a man pleading guilty for himself. In this manner, in the present case, there proves on careful study to be corroboration of considerable weight in the statements of various of the accused. To give an example, it was part of the prosecution's case that two of the accused had had a conversation in which a highly incriminating phrase was used; the two accused in question, by no means friendly to one another, each admitted that such a conversation had taken place and that the incriminating words were used, but each of them said that the other was the actual author of the phrase. It does not require much experience in the weighing of evidence to realise that such a circumstance as that offers considerable evidence of the guilt, and considerable reinforcement to the plea of guilty, of either or both of the accused in question.

Thus, this most important part of the study of the criticisms, in respect of which I do not think I need apologise for writing at some length, has now been carried to this point, that the evidence was pretty strong, that the accused when confronted with it, having the opportunity to consider it and to make up their minds, elected to plead guilty. They were experienced, intelligent, and educated men, and they said that they were guilty; that might well be the end of the matter. But for many of the critics it seems rather to be the beginning; for the confessions, they suggest, may have been extorted by brutality, by threats, or by promises. We are asked to assume this, apparently; assuming what one desires to prove is one of the oldest of the unconscious tricks of criticism, and certainly saves a good deal of trouble. We know, of course, that the obtaining of confessions by such methods is only too common in too many countries; some of us have had to study in detail, for example, the statutory provisions relating to the criminal procedure in British India, designed to thwart such methods, and the success or failure of such provisions; but what iota of evidence is there that anything of the sort actually happened in this case? I do not pause to state or to examine in detail the tributes to Soviet procedure that have been paid in the past by persons who, having personally experienced investigations by the police or judicial officials of the Soviet Union, and being free to speak without having any motive to misrepresent the facts, have asserted that nothing in the nature of" third degree " was applied to them, nor do I ask that any particular weight should be given to the personal tribute that I feel it my duty to pay to the great sense of public duty and the high character that I thought I found in personal conversation with and study of various officials under whose control such investigations of accused persons are held. It is sufficient, I think, in this instance to confine oneself to considering the circumstances of the present case. It seems plain to me, on a number of different grounds, that anything in the nature of forced confessions is intrinsically impossible. In respect of most of the accused, it must be remembered that we are considering the case of stubborn and infinitely experienced revolutionaries, men who knew from the best of all sources, that of personal contact, most kinds of prisons and most kinds of investigations, and who were also fully acquainted above all with the mentality and outlook of the authorities who were dealing with this case. If it were the practice of the People's Commissariat for Home Affairs, which has taken over the staff and the functions of the G.P.U., to extract confessions by false promises of lenient treatment (which I do not know and do not believe, but which others who equally do not know are at liberty to believe), surely no one would be better able to estimate the complete worthlessness of such a promise under the circumstances of this case than the experienced revolutionaries whom I saw in the dock. If, again, it were the practice of this department to attempt to extract confessions by violence (which I do not think any competent observer believes) no one would be better able than these men to support the violence and subsequently to expose it before the world in the sure hope of discrediting their enemies and gaining sympathy for themselves. If any trickery or deceit, simple or complicated, were employed in an effort to trap any of these men into confession, surely they would be better fitted than anyone else on earth to detect and circumvent the plot.

It was, moreover, obvious to anyone who watched the proceedings in court that the confessions as made orally in court could not possibly have been concocted or rehearsed. Such a farce would doubtless not be beyond the mental powers of normal men to stage in the case of a small set of well-defined facts, which could be memorised by one or two people and parroted without any basis of truth. But in the present case sixteen men were involved, and dozens of conversations and incidents spread over years and over thousands of miles, now one, now another, or two or three or more of the accused being involved. I doubt whether, even if they had to deal with the relatively slow tempo of an English trial, more than one or two of the accused could successfully master their role in such a farce without betraying the whole thing; certainly sixteen could not hope to do so. But, in fact, the proceedings before a Soviet court move with great rapidity, due partly to the lack of formality, partly to the judges not having to take long notes, and partly to the absence of a jury; and the proceedings in this case were no exception to the rule. And in the middle of the examination of one of the accused, when he said something that implicated another or denied something to which another had previously testified, that other would come to his feet spontaneously or would be called upon by the prosecutor, and then and there the point would be fought out with a quick cross-fire of question and answer, assertion and counter-assertion. Months of rehearsal by the most competent actors could not have enabled false participants in such a contest to last ten minutes without disclosing the falsity; nor indeed would any stage manager risk a breakdown by allowing the farce to play 30 quickly. The employment of this procedure (normal, of course, in the Soviet Union), without the keenest critic finding a false note, is a most convincing demonstration of the genuineness of the case. (I observe in one eminent newspaper the statement that the accused seemed to be repeating a well-learned lesson as if hypnotised; but I am unable to understand how any correspondent, however far away he was from the court-room, can have obtained such an impression. I am more impressed by the Moscow correspondent of a Conservative Sunday paper, who reported: "It is futile to think the trial was staged and the charges trumped up. The Government's case against the defendants is genuine.")

Another point of some substance in favour of the genuineness of the confessions is the complete absence of that very usual feature of proceedings in most countries (including England) in which it is common to allege that confessions have been improperly obtained: to wit, the attempt by the accused at some stage of the trial to withdraw all or part of his confession. One may repeat that if either intelligence or courage were needed for such withdrawal, the accused in this case possessed both. If experience or common sense were needed to make clear to the accused that, so long as their confessions stood unwithdrawn and unchallenged, the chances of, at any rate, most of them escaping the death penalty were infinitesimal, they, above all, possessed it. And it is worth while realising the number of opportunities they had to make such a withdrawal. They could have done so after the indictment was read. If they chose to let that pass, they were each of them separately examined during the first three days, and could have made any withdrawal then. Moreover, throughout those examinations, each of the accused was allowed to come to his feet and address the court almost whenever he liked and for as long as he liked, whilst one of the other accused was really under examination, to explain,  or contradict, or amplify, or modify. Further, when these examinations were over, and before the prosecutor's final speech, each of the sixteen defendants was called upon, in accordance with the usual procedure, to state his defence. Naturally and reasonably enough, as they were not in the strict sense making a defence at all, and as the universal rule of Soviet procedure gives accused persons always the right to the last word, they preferred not to say anything at that stage, when the prosecutor would have the full opportunity to answer anything they put forward, but to reserve what they wanted to say until their " last word " should come. And, finally, when the prosecutor had made his final speech, vigorous in substance, however quiet and well-controlled in form, each one of the sixteen had the right of the last word, the right to address the court freely and at any length he desired. They exercised this right, of course. Some of them spoke briefly, some at length; some addressed themselves to the court, as it was their duty to do; some turned quite frankly away from the court and addressed the public in the body of the hall, without being called to order for doing so; interruptions of these speeches by the court or the prosecutor certainly did not take up one-tenth of one per cent of the time. If, with all these successive opportunities, these resourceful  and  experienced,  and,  however criminal, brave men did not even suggest (except to the extent that Holzman at the outset stated that he, like Smirnoff, denied direct complicity in terrorist acts, although during the investigation he had admitted it) that they desired to withdraw any part of their confessions, or that anything improper had gone to their procuring (and let it be remembered that if the old-fashioned trick of getting A to confess by telling him that B has already confessed were employed, and were not detected at the time, it would inevitably be detected at the hearing); and if, above all, this attitude of making no withdrawal continued at the end of the case, when the prosecutor had very emphatically asked for the death sentence as to all the accused, and the whole nature of the case made it impossible, save perhaps for one or two of them, to cherish the slightest hope of leniency, surely the inference is inevitable that they confessed because they were guilty, and without threats or promises, or third degree. Where is there any justification for the assertion of one well-known critic that the confessions were "worthless in the circumstances"? It is, above all, the circumstances that demonstrate how they must be genuine. Why are we not to assume, of such men as these, that if they said nothing against the Government and against the investigators, and nothing in favour of themselves, it was because there was nothing to be said ? And where, we may ask still more cogently, is there any ground for the categorical assertion that comes from one very distinguished quarter, that the "confessions were extracted by means which have not yet been properly disclosed"? I understand how it is conclusively assumed, without proof, that the confessions were extracted," because experience has taught me how oddly even intelligent people will reason; but what is this complaint of non-disclosure? The accused, of course, might have disclosed how they came to confess; indeed, they did in effect disclose that they confessed because they were guilty and could not hope to escape conviction. But apparently this critic demands that the means of investigation employed should be published to the world. Is it part of the duty of the judicial authorities to publish reports showing exactly how they have conducted preliminary investigations of which the persons who are at once most interested and best informed, viz. the accused, make no complaint? Can he tell us of any case in any country where this has been done, or even demanded? He is far too experienced and intelligent to make observations that have no meaning; but I have great difficulty in understanding what is the real meaning of this one.

But the reasons for rejecting these criticisms have not even now been wholly stated. There remains an answer which requires a little care to state it and to understand it, but which, when that care is taken, is perhaps as convincing as any that has yet been stated. That answer is to be found in a study of the more or less immediate past history of four of the accused, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Yefdokimov, and Bakaief. The circumstances of this history demonstrate that these four men possessed, and exercised in very important circumstances, the tactical wisdom, when confronted with evidence which clearly implicated them, to confess exactly what they could not evade, and no more, however much more they might in fact have done.

In the present case, of course, confronted with the evidence, they all confessed to being directly implicated in the murder of Kirov at Leningrad in December 1934; but it is important to follow the history of the discovery of their guilt, and of their confession of it, stage by stage. The first judicial proceeding in respect of Kirov's death was instituted by an indictment presented on the 25th December, 1934, against the actual murderer and some thirteen other persons directly implicated; in that indictment none of these four persons was included (although investigations into their activities were being pursued), since evidence implicating them was not forthcoming.

The more extreme critics might perhaps pause at this stage to consider the weight of these facts. If the views which they put forward so readily, although without any apparent ground, about Soviet procedure were correct, if Stalin and his associates were the sort of persons who would readily engage in a conspiracy to procure the judicial murder of their old rivals, and if confessions were as easily obtained as the critics suggest, surely a little thing like the absence of evidence would not have deterred the prosecuting authorities at that stage. They suspected the four men; their confession, conviction, and punishment at that time would have been of the greatest possible value from the point of view of prestige and propaganda; and the moment was psychologically the most favourable imaginable for unscrupulous men to engineer the elimination of opposition. Such men as the critics suggest that Stalin is, would not have hesitated for a moment; they would have procured a confession, a simple enough task. It only involved a promise of leniency; or some simple trick like telling each of them that the other has confessed ; or a dose of the famous drug invented by one of the more unscrupulous of the slanderers at the time of the Metro-Vickers' trial, which compels men to tell the truth, or to tell a lie, or anyhow to tell something; a little hypnotism, or a little torture; or a simple fabrication of evidence. It would seem, indeed, that nothing but a desire to administer justice fairly and properly could have hindered them. Nevertheless, in sober fact, the Soviet authorities, just as if they were civilised people, having no evidence against the four men, did not then indict them; and, as there was no evidence with which to confront them, the four did not of course confess. (Zinoviev, indeed, sent to Pravda a somewhat fulsome obituary on the man in whose murder he was later to admit direct complicity, but it was not printed.) Soon after the trial of the fourteen persons, however, the investigating authorities discovered further facts, and on the 13th January, 1935, the four men, with others, were indicted for the crime involved in their membership of the "Moscow centre " of a terrorist organisation, in touch with the " Leningrad centre" which had been responsible for the murder of Kirov. There was still nothing to show that any of them had consented to or given instructions for the murder; and, confronted with what evidence there was then available, the four men deliberately, and no doubt very wisely, confessed to what could be proved— to far less, of course, than was subsequently discovered. Zinoviev in his confession stigmatised the persons who were then already implicated in the Kirov murder as degenerate miscreants, and Kamenev called them a gang of bandits, thus carefully circumscribing their confessions. They were not even then sentenced to death, as they might have been, but to imprisonment; so far as Zinoviev and Kamenev were concerned, it is not unfair to attribute this leniency to respect for their great services to the revolution, but it is to be remembered that this and many other instances of leniency towards these two men and their associates is inconsistent with the suggestion that excuses were being sought to destroy them. They were probably never of less weight as a serious political opposition, whatever their danger as inciters to individual assassination, than they were in 1936. There seems no reason to doubt either the truth of the confessions of January 1935 or the propriety of the investigations which led to them; and if that is so it is difficult to see why such doubts should be entertained about the confessions of 1936, or the methods of obtaining them. They seem but a consistent following, by clear and cool-headed men, of a prudent course; let the investigators show them what can be proved, and they will confess that and no more.

I am nearly at the end of my discussion of the first main criticism; but before I part with it I should add a point which is largely one of personal impression, although it need not for that reason be wholly unimportant. At the hearing I studied over long periods the demeanour of the defendants. They were an interestingly varied group. One looked like a German watchmaker, one like a book-keeper, one like an intelligent German prince, one like an English cavalry officer, one like a pugilist, one like a popular actor, one like an alert business man. But all of them, at every stage, save two, of the five long days of the hearing showed a complete absence of fear, or embarrassment. The haggard face, the twitching hand, the dazed expression, the bandaged head, normal ornaments of the prisoners' dock in too many modern jurisdictions, were all alike absent. As soon as one entered the court, one was struck by their apparent ease. Treated with courtesy and patience equally by the court, the prosecutor, the guards, (even strolling out of court for a few moments when they wished), they spoke up freely when they wanted to, disputed minor and major points of difference with one another with vigour if not violence of speech, and displayed no signs of pressure or repression. The two stages at which, as I have mentioned, this was not wholly the case were natural enough, the one coming during the strong final speech of the prosecutor, and the other during the accused's own last words. In the first of these, always a depressing period for the accused in any criminal case, four or five of the accused sat with their eyes closed or their heads in their hands, not fidgeting but rather drearily motionless. The journalists present varied in their views as to whether they were sleeping, or merely bored, or greatly affected. For my part, as a lawyer, I was satisfied that they were undergoing the experience of many accused persons; however clearly they might have thought before that they realised the strength of the case against them and the peril of their position, the final speech of the prosecutor was bound to make that realisation more clear and more depressing. In the other stage, the final speeches of the defendants, it was natural enough to find that some of them, but some only, were somewhat affected by emotion.

On the whole, then, examining the two main and, at first blush, most weighty criticisms with all the care and skill that I can command, I confess that I can find no solid ground for either, of them.

It is noticeable, of course, that both in their testimony during their examination by Vyshinsky and in their " last words," most if not all of the accused, although speaking naturally, freely and spontaneously, did make their confessions with an almost abject and exuberant completeness. This strikes English observers, particularly those accustomed to judge any form of procedure by the simple test of its resemblance to or difference from the elaborate {and cautious procedure of the English courts, as very curious, indeed, as "un-English"; and they are apt to go on from that to conclude that this very feature constitutes evidence that the confessions were in some way not genuine. But, apart altogether from the extreme danger of judging persons of different temperaments as if they had the good fortune to be English, it has to be realised that all the pretty formidable arguments already advanced to show that the accused were in truth guilty operate with equal strength here; for if they were guilty their confessions were not false, however fulsome. This of itself really eliminates any improbability derived from the fulsome manner in which the confessions were delivered in court. And it must be remembered of Zinoviev and Kamenev, too, that their confessions in I9353 equally genuine although incomplete, had been equally fulsome. It is, in truth, largely a difference of outlook  and  temperament,  and  I  have  certainly noticed similar abjectness of confession in ordinary non-political cases of relative unimportance in U.S.S.R. One notices that the language of self-accusation was more complete and abject in the " last words " than it had been earlier, in the course of the examinations; and this is, I think, natural and consistent. At the time of the examinations, when the demeanour of the accused was noticeably bright and unembarrassed, they still had the interest and stimulus derived from the not unsubstantial conflicts between some of them as to the respective degrees of guilt to be borne by each other, and as to the accuracy, of their respective testimonies on points involving' two or three or more of them, and the case had not then gone far enough to deprive all of them of all reasonable hope of escaping death. In the latter stage, however, after the emphatic speech of Vyshinsky, and after four long days of hearing, when such disputes as there were had sorted themselves out, and there was little room left for doubt or hope, the natural reaction (in the absence of any reasonable possibility of putting up a fight on any question either of principle or of detail) would be towards a more complete unburdening of everyone's mind. Whatever impression may be made on the purely English mind by this curious psychical attitude, it seems difficult on full consideration to see how it can, in the light of all the circumstances of the present case, convince any observer of the falsity of the confession, of the innocence of the accused, or of the existence of any impropriety in the preliminary examination of the accused.

The next criticism that should be dealt with can be answered more shortly. It takes the form, briefly, that the whole story is simply incredible, and that nobody, least of all old revolutionaries, could possibly have behaved as these men are said to have behaved. There would be some weight in this argument if the men had denied the charge, and the evidence in support of it had proved to be weak; but in the circumstances I hope I shall not be thought flippant if I say that it reminds me of the man who, when first confronted with the Grand Canal at Venice in a beautiful sunset, bluntly said that he did not believe it. The odd thing, moreover, about this criticism is that it comes mainly from people who for years have been saying that both the Government of Soviet Russia and its economic conditions are so bad, and its people in such a state of seething revolt, that only the most ruthless employment of force prevents a revolutionary outbreak at any moment. Such critics should surely receive news of plots to murder the heads of such a Government as the most natural and inevitable thing in the world, instead of offering a blank incredulity which at once insults the Soviet judicial authorities and evidences the critics' real belief in the stability of the Soviet Government. Still, it is well to answer the criticism by reasoning, so far as it is solid enough to admit of such treatment. In the first place, surely the most sceptical examination imaginable of the evidence available, both within the limits of this case and without, must convince anyone that Trotskyite and Zinovievite centres or groups of a more or less conspiratorial character have been in existence for some time; and the real question is as to how far some or all of these centres were prepared to go to achieve their aims. It is, alas, beyond question that some of them were prepared to go, and did go, as far as to arrange for and achieve the murder of Kirov; and if one takes account also of the confessions and of the mass of genuinely corroborative evidence which, as above mentioned, can be deduced from the indictment and from such evidence as was actually brought out in court, there is a good deal to show that the terrorist conspiracy did exist; and one does not need to be a student of psychology to realise how far, over long periods, a frustrated longing for power, or a sense of injustice or defeat, will ultimately demoralise ambitious men. In the absence of confession or proof it would seem prima facie unlikely, although not impossible, that such men should go so far in defiance of Marxian doctrine and of common humanity—about as unlikely, perhaps, as it was in 1913 that Carson and Smith and others should apparently be prepared to commit high treason; but confession and corroboration are not absent. The most cogent repudiation of this criticism, however, seems to me to lie in this, that it is surely not merely unlikely but utterly impossible that any intelligent group of persons engaged in the government of a country should let loose all the fears and doubts, the heart-searchings and criticisms, the innumerable misunderstandings and misrepresentations, that must follow in the train of a case such as this, on any ground whatsoever other than that the conspiracy was clearly and definitely shown to exist by the evidence finally forthcoming. It is worth while pausing here to consider for a moment the internal political setting into which the discovery of this conspiracy has intruded (or, to take the extreme critics' point of view, in which the Soviet Government, regardless of morals or common honesty or its own reputation, has staged a ghastly farce, in which one gathers that the sixteen men volunteered to play parts, for the sole or main purpose of destroying the sixteen men). The Soviet Union has recently, and in particular in this present year of 1936, entered upon a new phase not merely of economic but also of political advancement. Economically, its standard of living, still low in comparison to those of several of the more fortunate countries, is nevertheless almost miraculous in comparison to what it was two decades back, and is almost incredible even in comparison to two years ago. Politically, such an event as the complete and unreserved concession of the franchise to all members of the " deprived " classes, which friendly critics thought and hoped might come about in the next eight or ten years, will almost certainly be accomplished before 1936 is gone. Direct election by secret ballot, right through the whole series of Soviets and other bodies so long elected by the indirect system, is also pretty certain to come this year. Moreover, both in the administrative and in the judicial sphere, concessions have been or are being made which, taken as a whole, amount to a very great surrender of executive power. (One knows that few Governments have ever surrendered willingly any part of their executive power, be it large or be it small, and that almost every Government in the world to-day is seeking to enlarge its executive powers.) Such further points as freedom of speech and assembly, freedom from arrest, and inviolability of correspondence, are also at any rate formally a matter of early concession. These proposals and tendencies, in the existing world-political situation, constitute an almost defiant assertion in the face of the world that the Soviet Union is politically and economically so stable that it no longer needs any exceptional executive power to safeguard itself, the long and stubborn, if circumscribed, heresies of the Trotskyite and Zinovievite fractions having apparently come to an end, the bulk of their leaders, even those involved in grave counter-revolutionary activities, having recanted fully and publicly, and been forgiven and reinstated in the Communist party. A summer sky indeed, one in which no one could want a thunderstorm, in which no one would, above all, attempt to precipitate a thunderstorm. Suddenly, tragically, the storm bursts; the recantations are seen to have been false, and the heretics are shown to have taken advantage of their reinstatement, not merely to continue propaganda for their point of view (thus alas almost forcing the Government to wonder whether lenient treatment of hostile elements was not a mistake after all, and whether it would not be compelled in the interests of public safety to re-investigate the activities of all known or suspected ex-Trotskyites and ex-Zinovievites at present holding responsible posts in different parts of the country), but also to conspire actively to bring about the assassination of a number of the principal leaders of the country in a fashion likely to produce the maximum of confusion, terror and bloodshed, for the sole purpose of themselves seizing power. Surely even the worst paranoiacs and morphiomaniacs of Central Europe would appear to be mild and sober citizens in comparison to the rulers of a great country who would at such a time announce the discovery of such a conspiracy and proceed to the public trial of the conspirators on any ground other than the overwhelmingly compelling one that the facts were there, the conspiracy proved, and the nettle had to be grasped.

I can now turn to the criticisms that are not unfairly to be implied from the telegram which was sent by the Labour and Socialist International and the International Federation of Trade Unions to the Council of People's Commissaries of U.S.S.R. just before the trial. What these two bodies think right to state on such a matter calls for the most respectful consideration. They begin by expressing their regret that this trial should be held just at the time of the grave struggle in Spain, which the whole Socialist world is watching with such anxiety. In this particular point, they find themselves in some degree of harmony with much criticism from capitalist quarters, which enquires why the trial should be held at this particular moment. I am as capable as most men of thinking out an obscure reason for something, and ignoring the obvious one; but why it should be thought that the prosecution was launched just at the time it was, for any other reason than that the evidence had not been discovered earlier but had been discovered then, I do not know. I presume that, when they sent this telegram, they were not acting on the assumption that the whole charge and trial were bogus; and, if I am right in that, what do they mean by their remarks ? Do they mean that, however grave the offence, and however cogent the evidence, the case should not be tried at all, but the potential assassins should be left free whilst ordinary criminals go to prison? Or do they mean that the trial should be postponed from month to month and even from year to year, whilst the prisoners remain in a remand prison, until there is nothing in the troubled atmosphere of Europe to make a trial inopportune in the eyes of the draftsmen of the telegram ? Such a delay would not merely run counter to the incessant efforts of the judicial authorities throughout the Union to insure cases being investigated and brought to trial promptly; it would also excite the indignation of all liberal democracies. Surely either of the two possible meanings of this part of the telegram has little basis in common sense or in law. It can only be additional proof of the genuineness of the case, if additional proof be needed, that the trial does come at the time of Spain's agony. If and only if the charges were in any way staged or fabricated, the stage manager would find it easy to select the production date.

The authors of the telegram then proceed to demand that " judicial guarantees " or " legal guarantees " be given. The implication must be that unless some powerful outside influence is brought to bear, the trial will be an unjudicial and improper proceeding; and, indeed, one of the authors has since stated that the meaning was that the case " ought to be tried in accordance with the ordinary canons of justice and humanity."

I confess that I find this request, and the criticism implied in it, very difficult indeed to justify. The Soviet Union is a civilised country, with a developed legal system, and some very fine lawyers and jurists. Its criminal procedure is at least the equal of that of very many other countries. There was not and is not, in my humble opinion, the slightest ground for fearing that, in any public trial (and it was announced from the outset that this trial would be public), it would deviate from civilised procedure. I am aware that provisions exist in its procedure for secret trials, and for the withholding of counsel and witnesses for the defence in secret trials for counter-revolutionary offences. I regret the existence of such provisions, and have never concealed my regret. Defenders of the Soviet system can, of course, urge in defence that every country in the world provides in greater or less degree for secret trial, and that the practice of depriving a prisoner, arraigned on charges of high treason or similar offences, of the right to counsel or witnesses has prevailed in a great many countries and a great many ages; they could even say that this practice lasted for some centuries in England. But in truth all that is not to the point; for in this public trial there was never any intention of depriving, and I think that there was not even any procedural opportunity to deprive, the accused either of counsel or of the right to make their defence or to call witnesses if they desired. There is now, normally, no difference whatever in the procedure in public trials between political and non-political cases; the right to counsel in public trials is universal, and is a real, not merely a theoretical right, because a prisoner's poverty cannot prevent him having counsel as of right. The independence of judges and advocates is being constantly increased, and already compares favourably with that prevailing in many European countries. There was surely no reason for the authors of the telegram to assume that the defendants would not be given the fullest opportunity to employ counsel, to call witnesses, and to make their defence, exactly as they wished. If the anxiety of the draftsmen of the telegram was not so much on a specific matter of allowing counsel or a defence, but was more in the nature of an appeal to the Council of People's Commissaries (the Executive), to secure a fair trial of the accused by the judiciary, I suggest that it was really a most ill-advised communication. Every foreign critic who has studied the Soviet legal system has reported that, taken as a whole, it is good and fair; everyone who studies it at all knows that year by year it progresses steadily towards greater facilities for the prisoner, greater independence of judges and counsel, and greater technical efficiency. Even with the difficulties which must always exist in securing a fair trial in political cases, where the feelings of everyone must be deeply engaged (difficulties which are, of course, far smaller when the jury system is not in vogue), why should it, once again, be assumed that everything is being and will be done wrong. Such an attitude from a Press lord suffering from acute Communistophobia, which is the modern equivalent of the horror felt by our respectable grandfathers in the 'eighties when they heard of men who voted Radical, would be quite comprehensible; but it is regrettable to find anything like it in Socialist quarters. To put the matter at its lowest, the self-interest of the Soviet Government would surely ensure that a public trial at this time on a charge of the greatest gravity, brought against old servants of the revolution, would be held with the fullest possible degree of fairness.

I might diverge for a moment here to point out that the statement that the defendants were not allowed counsel appeared in several English newspapers, including the one that was obviously the fairest of all in its attitude, whilst the statement also appeared in reputable papers that they were not allowed to make a defence. These two statements, or rather mis-statements (for there is clearly no foundation for them), must plainly be bona fide errors, and I can well imagine that they may have coloured the whole feelings and attitude of commentators; so, perhaps, once again in journalistic history, a pure error has led people, acting in the utmost good faith, to a line of criticism which they would never otherwise have adopted. In truth, of course, the accused were at liberty to make any defence they liked; two of them did make or attempt a defence as to part of the charges, as I have already stated, and otherwise they all elected not to do so. They all expressly renounced counsel; and I do not think that counsel, however eminent, could have done more for them than they did for themselves. To put up a defence in the strict sense was hopeless; the only thing that could possibly do any good was to make a strong final speech, and all or almost all of the defendants were men of considerable education and mental alertness, and very fine speakers.

Returning to this not unimportant telegram, we find next a request that the accused shall be allowed counsel who shall be "independent of the Government." We are entitled to assume knowledge in the authors that the accused were entitled to counsel, so that the whole emphasis of the request obviously falls on the point of 11 being independent of the Government." Counsel in U.S.S.R. are not government servants, but one must obviously look to substance and not to form, and I take it that the implied or hinted meaning is that, unless some special precautions are taken, any counsel whom the accused might select would, either out of fear of the Government or out of deference to popular feeling, not " pull his weight" for his clients. That suspicion of my much-maligned profession is entertained, I suppose, in every country in every political case, and perhaps in non-political cases too. There is never as much in it as laymen suspect; there is perhaps more in it than honest lawyers believe. Whether there is anything in it in U.S.S.R. or not is, of course, not easy to say; all that I can contribute to its elucidation is that I investigated it with care four years ago and came to the conclusion that a political defendant had as good a chance of getting reliable counsel in U.S.S.R. as anywhere else (see Twelve Studies in Soviet Russia, p. 159; and S. and B. Webb's Soviet Communism, p. 138). I may, of course, have been wrong, although I do not think I was. If I was right the request in the telegram was unnecessary, and to that extent somewhat insulting. But the more important question arises if one assumes that I was wrong, and that any counsel the accused could find would not in the effective sense be "independent." What is the good of the request in that case? What is the use of asking the executive of the U.S.S.R. to provide from among the available group of lawyers who are in effect afraid of it someone who will not be afraid of it ? If after all these years of experience, the skilful, talented and courageous counsel whom I have been honoured to meet in Moscow are frightened of the Government, what assurances can the Government possibly give to them or to the accused (or to the authors of the telegram) which will eliminate all their fears? I understand, indeed, that one of the authors of the telegram so far agrees in the existence of this difficulty that he has subsequently stated that what he had in mind was the admission of some foreign counsel. To that, I think, two observations may fairly be made: the first is that I do not know how the recipients of the telegram could possibly be expected to read that meaning into it; and the second, that I do not know where in.the world outside U.S.S.R. one could hope to find a counsel whose grasp of Russian would be perfect enough to enable him to take part in a trial that moved so quickly, and who would be able to understand the atmosphere of the case sufficiently to be of the slightest real use to his clients.

The next request to be found in the telegram is that no death sentences be "promulgated."  Doubtless, owing to questions of translation, it is not clear whether the request is that the court should not pronounce the sentence or merely that no such sentence should be carried out. The former request would mean that the executive Government was being asked to interfere with the judiciary and arrange that, in the event of the prisoners pleading guilty or being convicted, the judges should not pass a sentence which it was part of their authority to pass if they thought fit; the latter would be more in the nature of an appeal for leniency. Now, let me say at once that I hate the death penalty. (I thought, indeed, in my simplicity, that everyone did, until I had the opportunity of observing the attitude and behaviour of a good many Members of Parliament when any suggestion was made for its abolition in England.) But this request is made in a world where most States still retain the death penalty for some offences; and if there ever were a case in which any State which still kept upon its statute book provision for inflicting such a penalty would be likely to inflict it, it is a case of a treasonable conspiracy to murder the half-dozen principal members of the Government. And the regrettable probability, or virtual certainty, that most States would inflict the penalty in such a case would only be increased by the circumstances that most of the men involved were men who had been forgiven and reinstated in the Party and in important posts once, twice, thrice, after expressing regret for past disloyalty and offering the most sweeping assurances as to their future conduct, intending all the time to use the opportunities thus secured to continue terrorist conspiracies against the State. Most States would, I feel, think this request was in truth a piece of impertinence.

Lastly, we find in the telegram a request that no procedure should be applied which excludes the right of appeal. This sounds eminently reasonable, but in truth it is not so very reasonable. Soviet legal procedure provides a pretty full range of appeals in criminal cases, more than the majority of countries and certainly more than England or the British Empire generally. There is, I think, only one court in the whole Union from which there is no appeal, apart from a petition for clemency; that is the highest court of all, the Supreme Court of U.S.S.R. Appeals have to stop somewhere; in this case they stop at the top. In some countries it happens that the highest of all the courts has only appellate jurisdiction ; in others it has some first-instance jurisdiction as well, and countries of both kinds will no doubt be regarded as equally civilised. The Soviet Union happens to be one of those countries in which the Supreme Court has a certain amount of first-instance jurisdiction; and to that court cases of the type with which we are dealing here are invariably taken at first instance, for the very good reason that it is thought that the most important cases should go to the most highly qualified court. As an incidental result, there is no appeal to another court; and in those circumstances this particular request is made. Did the authors of the telegram know the practice? If they did not, then surely they should not have sent such a telegram, implying an insufficient system of courts, without informing themselves. If they did, then what were they asking the U.S.S.R. Government to do? To erect a new special court of appeal above their existing Supreme Court? Or to arrange that the case should be specially tried in an inferior court, in order that there might then be an opportunity of carrying it at second or later instance to the court to which it should normally go at first instance? Such a request in such circumstances naturally gives ground for the suspicion that something was being asked for which it was known could not be granted, in order to found plausible but unjustified criticism. And such suspicion is all the more likely to be entertained when the United Front movement in England is alarming the right-wing Labour movement almost as much as it is alarming the Press lords.

There remains one criticism coming from a responsible quarter which is at once of considerable importance and to me almost incomprehensible; it is to the effect that it "is puzzling to know why the opposition was brutally crushed" before the bringing into force of the new draft Constitution, which has been (as is usual under the Soviet "dictatorship") the subject of wide public discussion for some months and will presumably be brought into actual force in November next. All that need be said of this Constitution here is that both in its spirit and in its actual provisions it goes a very long way further on the pretty rapid, although necessarily long, journey of the new State along the road to the fuller establishment of that personal freedom and security to which many of us attach very great importance. Now, the critic enquires why the opposition was brutally crushed just at this moment. I have already stated at length the grounds, to my mind overwhelming, for holding that the proceedings can only have been launched for the most genuine and cogent reasons; but I do not understand why the detection and punishment of a conspiracy for multiple assassination should be described as the brutal crushing of the opposition, merely because the conspiracy was opposed to the Government and several of the conspirators had in the past been among the leaders of the opposition. Why are we to assume that men guilty of conspiracy to murder are shot because they are or were in opposition rather than because they are guilty of conspiracy to murder? If three or four Yorkshiremen were hanged for murder, would this critic regard it as an attack on the Three Ridings? It should not be overlooked, either, that if the more important of these men be regarded as " the opposition," which is not unreasonable, they are rather the opposition of the past than of the future. They had been definitely proved to be wrong in the controversy which had made them into an opposition; they had been, instead of being crushed, forgiven over and over again, as if no one wanted to be harsh to them; and as an opposition they were perhaps less to be feared than at any previous time. If, of course, the critic described their execution in this curiously specialised way because he wants to suggest that the charge was faked, I have dealt with that point already. If he does not suggest that, the only other meaning that I can think of is that he takes the view that leaders of the opposition, because it is the opposition, ought to escape the consequences of their crime, in order that they may continue to function as the opposition. I take it that this cannot seriously be meant, and yet I do not know what other meaning can be attached to it. But I am puzzled in any case as to why the critic should think there must be some connection between the prosecution and the new Constitution. Does he really think that the whole opposition has been murdered in order that an apparently " liberal " Constitution may be introduced by cynical murderers in the certainty that there will never be any opposition to which anyone need be liberal ? Surely, to put the argument on the lowest plane, he would credit to the experienced men in the Government of U.S.S.R. the knowledge that the murder of part or even all of the leaders of an opposition group is no guarantee that there will never be another opposition, especially in a country which is known to have had, almost all through its nineteen years, continuous and healthy differences in its Government and its Party on substantial questions of policy. For myself, I prefer to see in the present position a much more encouraging feature, namely, that the Soviet Government, undeterred by its knowledge of the conspiracies just unearthed, is going forward unperturbed in the introduction of its new Constitution because it really believes both in the principles of that Constitution, in its own fundamental stability, and in the support of the great mass of the people. I am moved indeed to wonder whether, among all the Governments in this tortured world, there are more than one or two who would not, in these circumstances, have put back the clock of progress a decade or two by announcing that the advances proposed in the draft Constitution towards freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, inviolability of the person and of the home, secrecy of correspondence, secret ballot, direct election and other advantages, are shown by recent events to have been premature and must be postponed, and that the strong arm of the executive must once again be reinforced rather than weakened, in order to deal effectively with the dangers exemplified by this conspiracy. Historians may yet have occasion to praise the Soviet Union for having held steadfastly on the path to personal freedom at this time.

I should perhaps notice one other suggestion that has been put forward, to the effect that the conspiracy was invented by the Government, and the trial staged, in order to divert the attentions of a supposedly anxious people from the fact that for a period in the hot summer of 1936 the increase of industrial production has been proceeding rather less rapidly than was expected. One could write a long answer to that somewhat fantastic suggestion, but it can perhaps be left to answer itself.

Perhaps I may be forgiven if I say two things in closing. The first is to draw attention to the almost complete absence from the more hostile criticisms of any expression of sympathy or regret at finding the men who have for some years been guiding this tremendous new State through a whole series of great struggles and advances menaced by the assassin's bullet with apparently no better motive than to get the job of government transferred to someone else. The second is to remind readers that, when in 1933 Dimitroff and his friends were about to be tried in Germany on the charge of burning the Reichstag, and certain persons outside Germany, instead of publishing half-informed criticisms on the charge and the procedure, spent some days in London publicly investigating the facts with the assistance of material witnesses, in order that criticism might be well informed, the very people who are now most vigorous and not too well informed in their attacks on the Soviet Union, strongly assailed the holders of the enquiry in London on the ground that they were unjustifiably interfering in the domestic affairs of a foreign country ! But now none of these critics seem to think it an unjustifiable interference with the domestic affairs of the Soviet Union to subject it to a storm of often ill-informed and hostile criticism. Is it because it is a Soviet country, and everything possible must be done, honestly or dishonestly, to hinder its progress?

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