TBR News December 25, 2016

Dec 25 2016

The Voice of the White House  

Washington, D.C. December 25, 2016:”Having been dissed by the UN, Israel is going to show them a thing or two. They threaten, bluster, roar and demand but Israel is a paper tiger, kept afloat by American military aid and cooperation. The US supplies this, not out of awe at the very thought of Israel’s existence but because of the Jewish vote in America. From a strictly pragmatic view, the blind support by the US of a very aggressive Israel turns Muslim activists against her and could easily lead to acts of terrorism coming to America. The best pragmatic solution would be to leave the Middle East and cease supporting Israel.”

 Israel defiant, vows retaliation after UN settler vote

Israel has vowed to take a host of measures to counteract a UN resolution condemning illegal settlements. Some right-wing members of the government have advocated for annexing parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

December 25, 2016


Israel continued to lash out at the international community on Sunday over a UN Security Council vote last week condemning settlements on Palestinian land.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday summoned the ambassadors from countries that voted in favor of the UN resolution, including permanent members China, the UK and France. The US ambassador was also summoned.

The US abstention opened the way for the Security Council on Friday to pass a resolution demanding “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

The resolution said the settlements had “no legal validity” and were “dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution.”

Chairing a security meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the resolution a “shameful blow against Israel.”

“We feel betrayed, extremely frustrated. We are angry. This is not how you treat friends,” Cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz commented.

US military aid

Critics of Israel’s statements against the United States point to the nearly $3 billion (2.9 billion euros) a year in US military aid to Israel. The US and Israel recently signed a 10-year deal that will increase aid to $3.8 billion a year.

In response to the vote, Netanyahu has ordered officials to develop a “plan of action” against the UN.

Israel has recalled its ambassadors to Senegal and New Zealand for consultations. The two countries had helped sponsor the resolution. On Sunday, a visit by Ukraine’s prime minister scheduled for next week was cancelled as was a meeting with British Prime Minister planned to take place on the sidelines of Davos.

Earlier on Sunday, hard-line Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the Israeli security establishment that rules over Palestinian territories to cease all cooperation on civilian matters with the Palestinians, while maintaining security coordination.

Several right-wing members of the government have suggested Israel should annex parts of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which Palestinians consider the capital of a future state.

While the resolution is largely symbolic and imposes no sanctions, Israel worries it could open the way for the Jewish state to be challenged in the International Criminal Court. It also fears it could lead to economic action targeting goods produced in Israeli settlements.

There are nearly 600,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem living amid some three million Palestinians. The settlements include those that Israel considers legal as well as at least 100 “wild cat” outposts that the Israeli right wants to legalize.

Settlement increase

Since the 1993 peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, the number of settlements has increased threefold, threatening the viability of a two-state solution.  The settlements have turned the land of a future Palestinian state into a patchwork marked by Jewish-only roads, security barriers and military checkpoints.

“We cannot stand in the way of this resolution as we seek to preserve a chance of attaining our longstanding objective of two states living side by side in peace and security,” said Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN.  “The settlement problem has gotten so much worse that it is now putting at risk the very viability of that two-state solution.”


Israel and its backers in the US Congress argue that imposing the terms of peace would be detrimental to future talks.

The UN resolution comes a month before Donald Trump is to take over the White House. Trump responded to the vote by vowing change at the UN, and the Republican leadership has threatened to cut funding to the world body.

Trump has said he wants to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move likely to enrage Muslim countries.

Big Freeze: Earth Could Plunge into Sudden Ice Age

by Charles Q. Choi

In the film, “The Day After Tomorrow,” the world gets gripped in ice within the span of just a few weeks. Now research now suggests an eerily similar event might indeed have occurred in the past.

Looking ahead to the future, there is no reason why such a freeze shouldn’t happen again — and in ironic fashion it could be precipitated if ongoing changes in climate force the Greenland ice sheet to suddenly melt, scientists say.

Starting roughly 12,800 years ago, the Northern Hemisphere was gripped by a chill that lasted some 1,300 years. Known by scientists as the Younger Dryas and nicknamed the “Big Freeze,” geological evidence suggests it was brought on when a vast pulse of fresh water — a greater volume than all of North America’s Great Lakes combined — poured into the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

This abrupt influx, caused when the glacial Lake Agassiz in North America burst its banks, diluted the circulation of warmer water in the North Atlantic, bringing this “conveyer belt” to a halt. Without this warming influence, evidence shows that temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere plummeted.

No time to react

Previous evidence from Greenland ice samples had suggested this abrupt shift in climate happened over the span of a decade or so. Now researchers say it surprisingly may have taken place over the course of a few months, or a year or two at most.

“That the climate system can turn on and off that quickly is extremely important,” said earth system scientist Henry Mullins at Syracuse University, who did not take part in this research. “Once the tipping point is reached, there would be essentially no opportunity for humans to react.”

For two years, isotope biogeochemist William Patterson at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and his colleagues investigated a mud core — a tube of mud — taken from the ancient lake Lough Monreach in Ireland. Because this sediment was deposited slowly over time, each layer from this core effectively represents a snapshot of history, with slices just a half-millimeter thick presenting one to three months.

“Basically, I drive around in western Ireland looking for the right conditions — bedrock, vegetation and lake — to obtain the most complete record of climate,” Patterson explained.

The details

By looking at isotopes of carbon in each slice, the researchers could deduce how productive the lake was. When plants grow in lakes, they prefer carbon-12 to make up their organic tissue — that is, carbon atoms that have 12 protons and neutrons in total in their nucleus. This leaves the lake water with relatively more carbon-13. At the same time, oxygen isotopes give a picture of temperature — when animals or plants produce calcium carbonate, the ratio of oxygen-16 and oxygen-18 isotopes within are related to temperature.

At the start of the Younger Dryas, Patterson and his colleagues discovered temperatures and lake productivity dropped over the course of just a few years.

“It would be like taking Ireland today and moving it up to above the Arctic Circle, creating icy conditions in a very short period of time,” Patterson said.

Their findings also suggest that it may have taken 100 to 200 years before the lake and climate recovered, rather than the decade or so that Greenland ice cores had indicated.

“This makes sense because it would take time for the ocean and atmospheric circulation to turn on again,” Patterson said.

The discrepancies between the evidence from the mud core and the ice cores might be due to disturbances in how material flowed within the ice. “Sometimes there’s melting, and you have percolation of material between layers, which can blur the records,” Patterson explained. “We found a core that had not been disturbed even on a millimeter by millimeter basis, so the sediment had been layered in order since it was deposited.”

Chilly future

Looking ahead to the future, Patterson said there was no reason why a big freeze shouldn’t happen again.

“If the Greenland ice sheet melted suddenly it would be catastrophic,” he said.

This kind of scenario would not discount evidence pointing toward global warming — after all, it leans on the Greenland ice sheet melting.

“We could say that global warming could lead to a dramatic cooling,” Patterson told LiveScience. “This should serve as a further warning rather than a pass.”

“People assume that we’re political, that we’re either pro-global-warming or anti-global-warming, when it’s really neither,” Patterson added. “Our goal is just to understand climate.”

Patterson and his colleagues detailed their findings at the European Science Foundation BOREAS conference on humans in the Arctic, in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Snow, ice and rain from Storm Europa threaten holiday travel for millions in US

Dakotas are under a blizzard warning, parts of Minnesota are under an ice storm warning, and snow is forecast for Idaho, Montana, Utah and north-east Colorado

December 24, 2016

by Edward Helmore

The Guardian

New York-Millions could face weather-related travel complications over the holiday period as winter Storm Europa moves across the Rockies and affects the northern plains and midwest with blizzard conditions, heavy snow, ice and potentially severe thunderstorms.

A large swath of the Dakotas is under a blizzard warning for Sunday and Monday, with the National Weather Service forecasting heavy snow and strong winds. Parts of central Minnesota are under an ice storm warning, and snow is also forecast for much of Idaho, Montana, Utah and north-east Colorado.

Snowy conditions in Appleton, Wisconsin, caused the Minnesota Vikings’ team plane to slid off the runaway Friday. It became stuck in the grass, leaving players waiting for hours to get off the aircraft. The Vikings are still scheduled to play the Green Bay Packers later Saturday.

In Arizona, search crews rescued a Pennsylvania family that got stranded in the snow on a forest road Thursday afternoon while trying to reach the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is closed for winter.

The Coconino County sheriff’s office says searchers early Saturday morning located the mother who had walked approximately 26 miles in search of help. Searchers had earlier rescued the father and the couple’s 10-year-old son. All three were suffering from cold exposure, including frostbite.

A National Weather Service advisory warned that once Europa exits the Rockies and moves out over the Plains, the low pressure will quickly deepen. Strong winds, possibly in excess of 60mph, will cause snow to blow and drift, making travel hazardous – especially across the northern-tier states.

By early next week, according to forecasters, that system will bring snow, rain and freezing rain to the north-east.

The Storm Prediction Center cautioned that warm, humid air could cause severe weather in the lower plains, Arkansas and Oklahoma on Sunday.

The Dakota Access pipeline protest encampment in southern North Dakota will be affected by the blizzard conditions. A Morton County sheriff’s department spokesman said while many left during a blizzard earlier this month, there could be at least 500 people still at the camp.

Southern California, too, has been hit by weather-related disruption over one of the busiest times of the year for travel.

Two storms that moved through the region last week and brought widespread rain have raised hopes that a five-year drought could begin to ease.

The consecutive storms affecting the region into Saturday came from different areas of the Pacific suggesting that last year’s El Niño-related high pressure is no longer blocking weather systems from coming into the Los Angeles basin.

Earlier this year, the National Weather Service announced that the last five years were the driest ever documented in downtown LA since official record-keeping began almost 140 years ago.

But Los Angelenos may also rue their thirst for rain. About 230 flights have been either canceled or delayed this week as the first of the two storms affected travel.

Jesus: Myth and Reality

December 25, 2016

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

Not even the year of Jesus’ birth is known for certain although many theologians have concluded that Jesus was born sometime in the autumn, between 11 and 13 CE.   Also, there is disagreement about where Jesus was born.

Different theologians, as opposed to historians, argue for  Bethlehem in Judea, and Nazareth.

That was prior to certain archeological discoveries in the Dead Sea area.

From the Dead Sea scrolls, we learn that Jesus was born in Alexandria, Egypt, to an Egyptian Jewish father and Egyptian mother.

He was not born in a stable in Bethlehem nor were there any wise men visiting on camels nor did a special star hover overhead.

The basis of all of this revisionist material is clearly set forth in a scroll found at Cave #3 on the Dead Sea in 1953.

It is on parchment (used only for important documents…the rest were on papyrus) and was written at the time of Jesus, about 50-55 CE.

The document is the only extant period reference to Jesus; all the others were created, often out of whole cloth, two hundred years later, and in the case of significant paragraphs in Josephus, later Christian forgeries.

This revealing scroll has been forensically tested as to age, type of ink, handwriting etc and was very clearly created at the time and place indicated.

The text of the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in four different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabataean.

The scroll in question here, from cave #3 is in Nabataean, used from the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE

From this we discover that Jesus was a Jew but born in Alexandria, Egypt, ten years after the date ascribed in the Gospels to his nativity.

‘Bar Nasha’(son of man) was Jesus name for himself.

Jesus was not a Nazerene, as is often stated in the New Testament, but an Alexandrian Jew. His parents immigrated to Palestine, and the young Jesus joined the Essene religious movement where Jesus’ elder brother was a member of this religious and agricultural cult. He subsequently became heavily involved in their revolts against the occupying Roman power, was one of the leaders in a revolt attempt, fled when the Roman troops attacked in a pre-emptive strike, leaving many of his fellow cult members to be captured by the Romans and all later crucified.

He escaped with a small number of Essenes to the desert where he remained until he died.

The interesting aspect of this is that the Essene cult was an all-male agricultural commune and very specifically homosexual in nature and practice.

In the scroll, Jesus’ sexual orientation is specifically addressed and names of his male lovers covered.

It should be noted that the scrolls themselves were prepared by members of the Essene cult who were themselves homosexuals and therefore not critical of Jesus orientation.

After his move to Judea, Jesus became an Essene, and Christianity as we know today evolved directly from this sect of Judaism, with which it shared a majority of ideas and symbols

The Essenes were a religious sect of Judaism that existed from the 2nd century BCE to the the 1st Century CE, in Qumran, a plateau in the Judean desert along the Dead Sea.

The origin of the name Essene is debated. Some credible possibilities are either a version of the Greek word for “holy,” or an Aramaic dialect term for “pious.” In their writings, they refer to themselves as the “Sons of Light”.

The Essenes are discussed in detail by Josephus and Philo. Scholars very clearly believe that the community at Qumran, that produced the Dead Sea scrolls, were Essenes that Jesus was an Essene, and Christianity as we know it today evolved from this sect of Judaism.

The Essenes were, in any case, an agricultural community that had a communistic approach to their life style. There was a common purse and shared wealth and much, if not most, of the first expressed Christian dogma came directly from the Essenes.

Unfortunately for current religious acceptance reasons, like the Spartans and Zulus who were essentially a military community cult, the agricultural Essenes were male-oriented and firmly homosexual in nature.

The Essenes were finally outlawed by the Romans following their participation in on-going revolts, and many members were subsequently crucified in a general crackdown under Titus, not because of their sexual practices but because of their political opposition to Roman rule.

The small remnants of the Essenes either retreated to their Dead Sea area or eventually died out or changed their names and joined other more acceptable Jewish religious groups.

US Army blew up bodies that were donated for medical research

December 23, 2016

by Harley Tamplin


Human bodies that had been donated by their families for medical research were used in bomb simulations by the US army.

Biological Resource Centre (BRC), a company that claimed to donate bodies for research purposes, actually sold each body to the military for $5,893 (£4,800) each.

They were then used to measure the damage caused by powerful improvised explosive devices, the likes of which soldiers could come across in war zones.

The families of people whose bodies were donated only learned the truth following an investigation by Reuters.

Jim Stauffer donated his mother Doris’ body to BRC, hoping that it might help in the search for a cure to Alzheimer’s disease.

He signed a form authorising medical research, but also ticked a box prohibiting military or non-medical experiments.

Mr Stauffer received his mother’s cremated remains – but it turned out to be just her hand, which was amputated and then cremated.

The rest of her body was used in the military experiments.

Mr Stauffer said: ‘It shocks me that the military was involved.’

Maria Yale watched her grandfather Kurt Hollstein sign the same form two months before he died of cancer.

But the Army veteran’s body was also used by the military without his consent.

Ms Yale said: ‘This is almost beyond belief that his entire body went somewhere else without his permission, and especially to a place that he absolutely did not want to be.

‘To go to the Department of Defence is absolutely mind-boggling.’

Records show that at least 20 bodies were used in this way without the permission of families.

BRC is no longer in business, but former owner Stephen Gore, who pleaded guilty to fraud last year, claimed he sent consent forms whenever they were requested.


by Curzio Malaparte

While the strategy of the Bolshevik revolution was due to Lenin, the tactician of the October coup d’Etat in 1917 was Trotsky.

When I was in Russia early in 1929, I had the opportunity of talking to a large number of people, from every walk of life, about the part played by Trotsky in the Revolution. There is an official theory on the subject which is held by Stalin. But everywhere, and especially in Moscow and Leningrad where Trotsky’s party was stronger than elsewhere, I heard judgments passed on Trotsky which differed altogether from those enunciated by Stalin. The only refusal to answer my questions came from Lunacharski, and Madame Kamenev alone, gave me an objective justification of Stalin’s theory, which ought not to be surprising, considering that Madame Kamenev is Trotsky’s sister.

We cannot enter here into the Stalin – Lenin controversy on the subject of the “permanent revolution” and of the part played by Trotsky in the coup d’Etat of October 1917. Stalin denies that Trotsky organized it: he claims that merit for the Commission on which Sverdlov, Stalin, Boubrov, Ouritzki, and Dzerjinski sat. The Commission, to which neither Lenin nor Trotsky belonged, was an integral part of the Revolutionary Military Committee presided over by Trotsky. But Stalin’s controversy with the upholder of the theory of the “permanent revolution” cannot alter the history of the October insurrection, which, according to Lenin’s statement, was organized and directed by Trotsky. Lenin was the “strategus,” idealist, inspirer, the deus ex machina of the revolution, but the man who invented the technique of the Bolshevik coup d‘Etat was Trotsky.

The Communist peril against which governments in modern Europe have to defend themselves lies, not in Lenin’s strategy, but in Trotsky’s tactics. It would be difficult to conceive of Lenin’s strategy apart from the general situation in Russia in 1917. Trotsky’s tactics, on the contrary, were independent of the general condition of the country; their practical application was not conditioned by any of the circumstances which were indispensable to Lenin’s strategy. In Trotsky’s tactics is to be found the explanation why a Communist coup d‘Etat always will be a danger in any European country. In other words, Lenin’s strategy cannot find its application in any Western European country unless the ground is favorably prepared and the circumstances identical with those of Russia in 1917. In his Infantile Disease of Communism, Lenin himself noted that the novelty in the Russian political situation in 1917 “lay in four specific circumstances, which do not at present obtain in Western Europe, and doubtless never will develop either on exactly the same, or even analogous, lines.” An explanation of these four conditions would be irrelevant here. Everyone knows what constituted the novelty of the Russian political situation in 1917. Lenin’s strategy does not, therefore, present an immediate danger to the Governments of Europe. The menace for them, now and always, is from Trotsky’s tactics.

In his remarks on The October Revolution and the Tactics of Russian Communists, Stalin wrote that whoever wished to form an estimate of what happened in Germany in the Autumn of 1923, must not forget the peculiar situation in Russia in 1917. He added: “Comrade Trotsky ought to remember it, since he finds a complete analogy between the October Revolution and the German Revolution and chastises the German Communist party for its real or supposed blunders.” For Stalin, the failure of the German attempt at revolution during the autumn of 1923 was due to the absence of those specific circumstances which are indispensable to the practical application of Lenin’s strategy. He was astonished to find Trotsky blaming the German Communists. But for Trotsky the success of an attempt at revolution does not depend on circumstances analogous to those obtaining in Russia in 1917. The reason why the German revolution in the autumn of 1923 failed was not because it was impossible at that time to put Lenin’s strategy into operation. The unpardonable mistake on the part of the German Communists lay in their neglect of the insurrectional tactics of Bolshevism. The absence of favorable circumstances and the general condition of the country do not affect the practical application of Trotsky’s tactics. In fact, there is no justification of the German Communists’ failure to reach their goal.

Since the death of Lenin, Trotsky’s great heresy has threatened the doctrinal unity of Leninism. Trotsky is a Reformer who has the odds against him. He is now a Luther in exile, and those of his adherents who were not so rash as to repent too late, have hastened to repent- officially-too early. Nevertheless, one still frequently meets with heretics in Russia who have not lost the taste for criticism and who go on drawing the most unexpected conclusions from Stalin’s argument. This argument leads to the conclusion that without Kerenski there could be no Lenin, since Kerenski formed one of the chief elements in the peculiar condition of Russia in 1917. But Trotsky does not recognize that there is any need for Kerenski; any more than for Stresemann, Poincaré, Lloyd George, Giolitti, or MacDonald, whose presence, like that of Kerenski, has no influence, favorable or unfavorable, on the practical application of Trotsky’s tactics. Put Poincaré in the place of Kerenski and the Bolshevik coup d’Etat of 1917 would prove to be equally successful. In Moscow, as in Leningrad, I have sometimes come across adherents of the heretical theory of the “permanent revolution” who virtually held that Trotsky could do without Lenin, that Trotsky could exist without Lenin; which is equivalent to saying that Trotsky might have risen to power in October 1917 if Lenin had stayed in Switzerland and taken no part whatever in the Russian revolution.

The assertion is a risky one but only those who magnify the importance of strategy in a revolution will deem it arbitrary. What matters most are insurrectional tactics, the technique of the coup d’Etat. In a Communist revolution Lenin’s strategy is not an indispensable preparation for the use of insurrectional tactics. It cannot, of itself, lead to the capture of the State. In Italy, in 1919 and 1920, Lenin’s strategy had been put into complete operation and Italy at that time was, indeed, of all European countries, the ripest for a Communist revolution. Everything was ready for a coup d‘Etat. But Italian Communists believed that the revolutionary state of the country, the fever of sedition among the proletarian masses, the epidemic of general strikes, the paralyzed state of economic and political life, the occupation of factories by the workers, and of lands by the peasants, the disorganization of the army, the police and the civil service, the feebleness of the magistrature, the submission of the middle classes, and the impotence of the government were conditions sufficient to allow for a transference of authority to the workers. Parliament was under the control of the parties of the Left and was actually backing the revolutionary activities of the trade unions. There was no lack of determination to seize power, only of knowledge of the tactics of insurrection. The revolution wore itself out in strategy. This strategy was the preparation for a decisive attack, but no one knew how to lead the attack. The Monarchy (which used then to be called a Socialist Monarchy) was actually talked of as a serious obstacle to an insurrectional attack. The parliamentary majority of the Left was very much concerned with the activities of the trade unions, which gave it reason to fear a bid for power out- side the sphere of Parliament and even directed against it. The trade unions suspected Parliament of trying to convert the proletarian revolution into a change of ministry for the benefit of the lower middle classes. How could the coup d‘Etat be organized? Such was the problem during the whole of 1919 and 1920; and not only in Italy, but in almost every Western European country. Trotsky said that the Communists did not know how to benefit by the lesson of October 1917, which was not a lesson in revolutionary strategy but in the tactics of an insurrection.

This remark of Trotsky’s is very important for an understanding of the tactics used in the coup d‘Etat of October 1917, that is, of the technique of the Communist coup d’Etat.

It might be maintained that the tactics of insurrection are a part of revolutionary strategy, and indeed its aim and object. Trotsky’s ideas on this point are very definite. We have already seen that he considers the tactics of insurrection as independent of the general condition of the country or of a revolutionary state of affairs favorable to insurrection. The Russia of Kerenski offers no more of a problem than Holland or Switzerland for the practical application of the October tactics of 1917. The four specific circumstances as defined by Lenin in The Infantile Disease of Communism (i.e., the possibility of combining the Bolshevik revolution with the conclusion of an imperialist war; the chance of benefiting for a short while, by a war between two groups of nations who, except for that war, would have united to fight the Bolshevik revolution; the ability to sustain a civil war in Russia lasting long enough in relation to the immense size of the country and its poor means of communications; the presence of a democratic middle-class revolutionary movement among the peasant masses) are characteristic of the Russian situation in 1917, but they are not indispensable to the successful outcome of a Communist coup d‘Etat. If the tactics of a Bolshevik revolution were dependent upon the same circumstances as Lenin’s strategy, there would not be a Communist peril just now in all the states of Europe.

Lenin, in his strategic idea, lacked a sense of reality; he lacked precision and proportion. He thought of strategy in terms of Clausewitz, more as a philosophy than as an art or science. After his death, among his bedside books, a copy of Clausewitz’s Concerning War was found, annotated in his own writing; and his marginal notes to Marx’s Civil War in France show how well- founded was Trotsky’s challenge of his rival’s strategic genius, It is difficult to see why such importance is officially given to Lenin’s revolutionary strategy in Russia unless it is for the purpose of belittling Trotsky. The historical part played by Lenin in the Revolution makes it unnecessary for him to be considered as a great strategist.

On the eve of the October insurrection Lenin was hopeful and impatient. Trotsky’s election to the Presidency of the Petrograd Soviet and to the Revolutionary Military Committee, and the winning over of the Moscow Soviet majority, had finally set his mind at rest about the question of a majority in the Soviets, which had been his constant thought since July. All the same, he was still anxious about the second Soviet Congress which was due in the last days of October. “We need not get a majority,” Trotsky said, “it will not be the majority that will have to get into power.” And Trotsky was not mistaken. “It would be simply childish,” Lenin agreed, “to wait for a definite majority.” He would have liked to rouse the masses against Kerenski’s government; he wanted to bury Russia under the proletariat; to give the signal for insurrection to the entire Russian People; to appear at the Soviet Congress and override Dan and Skobelov, the two leaders of the Menshevik minority; and to proclaim the fall of Kerenski’s government and the advent of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Insurrectional tactics did not enter into his mind, he thought only in terms of revolutionary strategy. “All right,” said Trotsky, “but first of all, you must take possession of the town, seize the strategic positions and turn out the Government. In order to do that, an insurrection must be organized and storming parties trained. Few people are wanted; the masses are of no use; a small company is sufficient.”

But, according to Lenin, the Bolshevik insurrection must never be accused of being a speculation. “The insurrection,” he said, “must not rest on a plot nor on a party, but on the advanced section of the community.” That was the first point. The insurrection must be sustained by the revolutionary impulse of the whole people. That was the second point. The insurrection must break out on the high-water mark of the revolutionary tide: and that was the third point. These three points marked the distinction between Marxism and mere speculation. ‘‘Very well,” said Trotsky, “but the whole populace is too cumbersome for an insurrection. There need only be a small company, cold- blooded and violent, well-trained in the tactics of insurrection.”

Lenin admitted: “We must hurl all our units into the factories and barracks. There they must stand firm, for there is the crucial spot, the anchor of the Revolution. It is there that OK program must be explained and developed in fiery, ardent speech, with the challenge: Complete acceptance of this program, or insurrection!”

“Very good,” said Trotsky, “but when our program has been accepted by the masses, the insurrection still remains to be organized. We must draw on the factories and barracks for reliable and intrepid adherents. What we need is not the bulk of workers, deserters and fugitives, but shock troops.”

“If we want to carry out the revolution as Marxists, that is to say as an art,” Lenin agreed, “we must also, and without a moment’s delay, organize the General Staff of the insurrectional troops, distribute our forces, launch our loyal regiments against the most salient positions, surround the Alexandra theatre, occupy the Fortress of Peter and Paul, arrest the General Staff and the members of the Government, attack the Cadets and Cossacks with detachments ready to die to the last man, rather than allow the enemy to penetrate into the center of the town, We must mobilize the armed workers, call them to the supreme encounter, take over the telephone and telegraph exchanges at the same time, quarter our insurrectional General Staff in the telephone exchange and connect it up by telephone with all the factories, regiments, and points at which the armed struggle is being waged.”

“Very good,” Trotsky said, “but . . .”

“All that is only approximate,” Lenin recognized, “but I am anxious to prove that at this stage we could not remain loyal to Marx with- out considering revolution as an art. You know the chief rules of this art as Marx laid them down. When applied to the present situation in Russia, these rules imply: as swift and sudden a general offensive on Petrograd as possible; at- tacking both from inside and out, from the workers’ districts in Finland, from Reval and from Kronstadt; an offensive with the whole fleet; the concentration of troops greatly superior to the Government’s forces which will he 20,000 strong (Cadets and Cossacks). We must rally our three chief forces, the fleet, the workers, and the military units to take over the telephone and telegraph offices, the stations and the bridges and to hold them at any cost. We must recruit the most tenacious among our storming parties for detachments whose duty it will be to occupy all the important bridges and to take part in every decisive engagement. We must also form gangs of workers armed with rifles and hand grenades who will march on enemy positions, on the officers’ training schools and on the telephone and telegraph exchanges, and surround them. , The triumph of both the Russian and the world- revolution depends on a two or three days’ struggle.”

“That is all quite reasonable,” said Trotsky, “but it is too complicated. The plan is too vast and it is a strategy which includes too much territory and too many people. It is not an insurrection any longer, it is a war. In order to take possession of Petrograd it is needless to take the train in Finland. Those who start from too great a distance often have to stop halfway. An offensive of 20,000 men from Reval or Kronstadt for the purpose of seizing the Alexandra theatre is rather more than is required; it is more than an assault. As far as strategy is concerned, Marx himself could be outdone by Kornilov. One must concentrate on tactics, move in a small space with few men, concentrate all efforts on principal objectives, strike hard and straight. I don’t think it is so complicated. Dangerous things are always extremely simple. In order to be successful, one must not challenge an unfavorable circumstance nor trust to a favorable one. Hit your adversary in the stomach and the blow, will be noiseless. Insurrection is a piece of noiseless machinery. Your strategy demands too many favorable circumstances. Insurrection needs nothing. It is self-sufficient.”

“Your tactics are extremely simple,” said Lenin: “There is only one rule: succeed, You prefer Napoleon to Kerenski, don’t you?”

The words which I attribute to Lenin are not invented. They are to be found, word for word, in the letters he wrote to the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party in October 1917.

Those who are acquainted with all Lenin’s writings, and especially with his notes on the insurrectional technique of the December Days in Moscow during the Revolution of 1905, must be rather surprised to find how ingenuous his ideas about the tactics and technique of an insurrection are on the eve of October 1917. And yet it must not be forgotten that he and Trotsky alone, after the failure of the July attempt, did not lose sight of the chief aim of revolutionary strategy, which was the coup d‘Etat. After some vacillation (in July the Bolshevik Party had only one aim and it was of a parliamentary nature: to gain the majority in the Soviets), the idea of insurrection, as Lunacharski said, had become the driving power of all Lenin’s activities. But during his stay in Finland where he had taken shelter after the July Days to avoid falling into the hands of Kerenski, all his activity was concentrated on the preparation of the revolution in theory. There seems to be no other explanation for the ingenuousness of his plan to make a military offensive on Petrograd that was to be backed up by the Red Guards within the town. The offensive would have ended in disaster. With Lenin’s strategy checkmated, the tactics of an insurrection would have failed and the Red Guards have been massacred in the streets of Petrograd. Because he was compelled to follow the course of events from a distance, Lenin could not grasp the situation in all its details. Nonetheless, he visualized the main trend of the revolution far more clearly than certain members of the Central Committee of t he party who objected to an immediate insurrection. “It is a crime to wait,’’ he wrote to the Bolshevik Committees in Petrograd and Moscow.

And although the Central Committee in its meeting on October 10, at which Lenin, just returned from Finland, was present, voted almost unanimously for an insurrection (only Kamenev and Zinoviev dissenting), yet there was still a secret opposition among certain members of the Committee. Kamenev and Zinoviev were the only members who had publicly protested against an immediate insurrection, but their objections were the very same as those fostered by many others in secret. Those who disagreed, in secret, with Lenin’s decision brought all their hatred to bear on Trotsky, “the unattractive Trotsky,” a new recruit to the ranks of Bolshevism whose pride was beginning to arouse a good deal of jealousy and attention among Lenin’s old life guards.

During those days Lenin hid away in a suburb of Petrograd and, without losing touch with the situation as a whole, he carefully watched the machinations of Trotsky’s adversaries. At a moment like this, indecision in any form would have been fatal to the revolution. In a letter to the Central Committee, dated October 17, Lenin resisted most energetically the criticisms of Kamenev and Zinoviev whose arguments were intended to expose Trotsky’s mistakes. They said that “without the collaboration of the masses and without the support of a general strike, the insurrection will only be a leap in the dark and doomed to failure. Trotsky’s tactics are a pure gamble. A Marxist party cannot associate the question of an insurrection with that of a military conspiracy.”

In his letter of October 17, Lenin defended Trotsky’s tactics: “Trotsky is not playing with the ideas of Blanqui,” he said. “A military conspiracy is a game of that sort only if it is not organized by the political party of a definite class of people and if the organizers disregard the general political situation and the international situation in particular. There is a great difference between a military conspiracy, which is deplorable from every point of view, and the art of armed insurrection.” Kamenev and Zinoviev might answer: “Has Trotsky not constantly been repeating that an insurrection must disregard the political and economic situation of the country? Has he not constantly been stating that a general strike is one of the chief factors in a communist coup d’Etat? How can the co-operation of the trade unions and the proclamation of a general strike be relied upon if the trade unions are not with us, but in the enemy’s camp? They will strike against us. We do not even negotiate directly with the railway men. In their Executive Committee there are only two Bolsheviks to forty members. How can we win without the help of the trade unions and without the support of a general strike?”

These objections were serious: Lenin could only meet them with his unshakable decision. But Trotsky smiled: he was calm. “Insurrection,” he said, “is not an art, it is an engine. Technical experts are required to start it and they alone could stop it.”

Trotsky’s storming party consisted of a thousand workmen, soldiers and sailors. The pick of this company had been recruited from workmen of the Putilov and Wiborg factories, from sailors of the Baltic fleet and soldiers of the Latvian regiments. Under the orders of Antonov- Ovseienko, these Red Guards devoted themselves for ten days to a whole series of “invisible maneuvers” in the very center of the town. Among the crowd of deserters that thronged the streets, in the midst of the chaos that reigned in the government buildings and offices, in the General Headquarters, in the Post Offices, telephone and telegraph exchanges, in the stations, barracks, and the head offices of the city’s technical services, they practiced insurrectional tactics, unarmed and in broad daylight. And their little groups of three or four men passed unnoticed.

The tactics of “invisible maneuvers” and the practice of insurrectional action which Trotsky demonstrated for the first time during the coup d‘Etat of October 1917 is now a part of the revolutionary strategy of the Third International. The principles which Trotsky applied are all stated and developed in the handbooks of the Comintern. In the Chinese University in Moscow, among the subjects taught, there is “the tactics of invisible maneuvers,” which Karakan, with Trotsky’s experience for guidance, applied so successfully in Shanghai. In the Sun-Yat-Sen University in Moscow, the Chinese students learn the same principles which German Communist organizations put into practice every Sunday in order to get into training for the tactics of insurrection; and they do it in broad daylight, under the very nose of the police and of the sober citizens of Berlin, Dresden, and Hamburg.

In October 1917, during the days prior to the coup d‘Etat, the Reactionary, Liberal, Menshevik and Socialist revolutionary press never ceased to enlighten public opinion as to the activities of the Bolshevik Party, which was openly preparing an insurrection. It accused Lenin and Trotsky of seeking to overthrow the democratic republic in order to set up a dictatorship of the proletariat. They were not trying to disguise their criminal intentions, said the middle-class press, the proletarian revolution was being organized in broad daylight. When Bolshevik leaders made speeches to the masses of workers and soldiers gathered in the factories and barracks they loudly proclaimed that everything was ready and that the day for revolution was drawing nearer. What was the Government doing? Why had Lenin, Trotsky and the other member of the Central Committee not been arrested? What measures were being taken to protect Russia from the Bolshevik danger?

It is incorrect to say that Kerenski’s Government did not take the measures needed for the defense of the State. Kerenski must be given due credit for having done everything in his power to prevent a coup d‘Etat. If Poincarié, Lloyd George, MacDonald, Giolitti, or Stresemann had stood in his place, they would not have acted otherwise.

Kerenski’s system of defense consisted in using the police methods which have always been relied upon and are still relied upon today by absolute as well as by liberal governments. But these police methods can no longer adequately defend the State from the modern technique of insurrection. Kerenski’s mistake was the mistake of all governments that regard the problem of the defense of the State as a police problem.

Those who accuse Kerenski of a lack of foresight and of incompetence forget the skill and courage he showed in the July Days against the workers’ and deserters’ revolt, and again in August against Kornilov’s reactionary venture. In August he did not hesitate to call in the Bolsheviks themselves in order to prevent Kornilov’s Cossacks from sweeping the democratic victories of the February revolution overboard. On this occasion he astonished Lenin: “We must beware of Kerenski,” he said, “he is no fool.” Kerenski must have his due: it was impossible for him, in October, to act differently from the way he did. Trotsky had said that the defense of the State was a matter of method. Moreover, in October 1917 only one method was known, only one could be applied whether by Kerenski, Lloyd George, Poincaré , or Noske: the classical method of relying on the police.

In order to meet the danger, Kerenski took care to garrison the Winter Palace, the Tauride Palace, the Government offices, the telephone and telegraph exchanges, and the General Headquarters with military Cadets and loyal Cossacks. The 20,000 men on whom he could count inside the capital were thus mobilized to protect the strategic points in the political and bureaucratic organization of the State. (This was the mistake by which Trotsky would benefit.) Other reliable regiments were massed in the neighborhood at Tsarkoié Selo, Kolpino, Gatchina, Oboukhovo, and Pulkovo-an iron ring which the Bolshevik insurrection must sever if it was not to be stifled. All the measures which might safeguard the Government had been taken, and detachments of Cadets patrolled the town day and night. There were clusters of machine-guns at the crossroads, on the roofs, all along the Nevski Prospect, and at each end of the main streets, to prevent access to the squares. Military patrols passed back and forth among the crowds: armored cars moved slowly by, opening up a passage with the long howl of their hooters. The chaos was terrible. “There’s my general strike,” said Trotsky to Antovov Ovseienko, pointing to the swirling crowds in the Nevski Prospect.

Meanwhile, Kerenski was not content with mere police measures; he set the whole political machine in motion. He not only wanted to rally the Right but to make assurance doubly sure by agreement with the Left. He was most concerned about the trade unions. He knew that their leaders were not in agreement with the Bolsheviks. That fact accounted for the Kamenev-Zinoviev criticism of Trotsky’s idea of insurrection. A general strike was an indispensable factor for the insurrection. Without it the Bolsheviks could not feel safe and their attempt was bound to fail. Trotsky described the revolution as “hitting a paralyzed man.” If the insurrection was to succeed, life in Petrograd must be paralyzed by a general strike. The trade union leaders were out of sympathy with the Bolsheviks, but their organized rank and file inclined towards Lenin. If the masses could not be won over, then Kerenski would like to have the leaders on his side: he entered into negotiations with them and finally, but not without a struggle, was successful in obtaining their neutrality. When Lenin heard of it he said to Trotsky: “Kamenev was right. Without a general strike to support you, your tactics can but fail.” ‘‘I have disorganization on my side,” Trotsky answered, “and that is better than a general strike.”

In order to grasp Trotsky’s plan one must appreciate the condition of Petrograd at that time. There were enormous crowds of deserters who had left the trenches at the beginning of the February revolution and had poured into the capital and thrown themselves on it as though they would destroy the new temple of liberty. During the last six months they had been camping in the middle of the streets and squares, ragged as they were, dirty, miserable, drunk or famished, timid or fierce, equally ready to revolt or to flee, their hearts burning with a thirst for vengeance and peace. They sat there in a never- ending row, on the pavement of the Nevski Prospect, beside a stream of humanity that flowed on slowly and turbulently. They sold weapons, propaganda leaflets and sunflower seeds, There was chaos beyond description in the Zramenskaia Square in front of the railway station of Moscow: the crowd dashed against the wall, surged back, then forward again with renewed vigor until it broke like a foaming wave on a heap of carts, vans, and tramcars piled up in front of the statue of Alexander III, and with a deafening din which, from afar, sounded like the outcry of a massacre.

Over the Fontanka bridge at the crossroads between the Nevski and Liteyni Prospects, newsboys sold their papers: they shouted the news at the top of their voices, about the precautions taken by Kerenski, the proclamations of the Military Revolutionary Committee, of the Soviet and of the Municipal Duma, the decrees of Colonel Polkovnikov, who was in command of the square and who threatened to imprison all deserters and forbade manifestations and meetings and brawls. Workers, soldiers, students, clerks, and sailors at the street corners debated at the top of their voices and with sweeping gestures. In the cafés and stalovaie everywhere, people laughed at Colonel Polkovnikov’s proclamations which pretended that the 200,000 deserters in Petrograd could be arrested and that brawls could be forbidden. In front of the Winter Palace there were two 75 cm. guns, and behind them the Cadets in their long greatcoats, were nervously pacing up and down. In front of the General Staff building two rows of military motorcars were drawn up. Near the Admiralty, in the Alexander Gardens, a battalion of women sat on the ground around their stacked rifles.

The Marinskaia Square overflowed with ragged and haggard workers, sailors, deserters. The entrance of the Maria Palace, where the Republican Council sat, was guarded by a detachment of Cossacks, their tall black chapkas tilted over one ear. They talked in loud voices, smoking and laughing. A spectator from the top of the Isaac Cathedral could have seen heavy smoke clouds over Putilov’s factories where the men worked with loaded rifles slung round their shoulders; beyond that, the Gulf of Finland; and, behind the island of Rothine, Kronstadt, “the red fortress,” where the blue-eyed sailors were waiting for Dybenko’s signal to march to the aid of Trotsky and slaughter the Cadets. On the other side of the town, a reddish cloud brooded over the countless chimneys of the Wiborg suburb where Lenin was in hiding, rather pale and feverish, wearing that wig which made him look like a little provincial actor. No one could have taken this man, without his beard and with his false hair well glued on to his forehead, for the terrible Lenin who could make Russia tremble. It was there, in the Wiborg factories, that Trotsky’s Red Guard’s expected Antonov Ovseienko’s signal. The women in the suburbs had sad faces and their eyes had become hard. Towards evening, as soon as darkness had swept the streets, parties of armed women moved towards the center of the town. These were days of proletarian migration: enormous masses passed from one end of Petrograd to the other, then came back to their quarters after hours and hours of walking to and from meetings, demonstrations and riots. There was meeting after meeting in barrack and factory. “All power to the Soviets!” The hoarse voices of the orators were smothered in the folds of red flags. Kerenski’s soldiers, manning the machine-guns on the housetops, listened to the hoarse voices below as they chewed their sunflower seeds and threw the shells on to the crowds thronging the streets.

Darkness descended on the city like a black cloud, In the huge Nevski Prospect the stream of deserters flowed towards the Admiralty. There were hundreds of soldiers, women, and workmen camping in front of the Kazan Cathedral, lying full length on the ground. The whole town was in the throes of fear, disorder, and frenzy. And all of a sudden, out of this crowd, men would spring up, armed with knives and mad with sleeplessness, and throw themselves on the Cadet patrols and the female battalions de- fending the Winter Palace. Others would break into the houses to fetch the bourgeois out of his own dwelling, catching him in bed and wide awake. The city was sleepless with the fever of insurrection. Like Lady Macbeth, Petrograd could no longer sleep. Its nights were haunted with the smell of blood.

Trotsky’s Red Guards had been rehearsing in the very center of the town during the past ten days. Antonov Ovseienko it was, who organized these tactical exercises, this sort of dress rehearsal of the coup d’Etat, in broad daylight, wherever the streets were thronging with movement, and round buildings which were of the greatest strategic importance in the govern- mental and political strongholds. The police and military authorities were so obsessed by the idea of a sudden revolt by the proletarian masses, and so concerned with meeting the danger, that they failed to notice Antonov Ovseienko’s gangs at work. Amid such widespread disorder, who should notice the little groups of unarmed workers; the soldiers and the sailors who wandered about in the corridors of the telephone and telegraph exchanges, in the Central Post Office, in the Government offices and General Headquarters, taking note of the arrangement of the offices and seeing how the telephones and lights were fitted? They visualized and remembered the plan of these buildings and studied the means of getting into them suddenly and at a moment’s notice. They reckoned with their chances of success, estimating the opposition, and looking for the places of least resistance, the weakest and most vulnerable places in the defensive organization of the technical, military, and secretarial services of the State. In the general con- fusion, who should notice some three or four sailors, a couple of soldiers, or a stray workman wandering round some buildings, going in and climbing the stairs; people who did not even look at each other when they met? No one even suspected these people of obeying precise and detailed orders, of carrying out a plan or of undergoing exercises directed against the strategic points in the State’s defense. Later the Red Guards would strike effectively because they had conducted their invisible maneuvers on the very ground where the battle would shortly begin.

Trotsky succeeded in getting hold of the plan of the town’s technical services. Dybenko’s sailors, aided by two engineers and engine-room artificers, mastered the underground gas and water piping, the electric power cables and the telephone and telegraph system. Two of them explored the drains under the Headquarters of the General Staff. The isolation of a whole district or even of a mere group of houses had to be made practicable within a few minutes; so Trotsky divided the town into sections, deter- mined which were the strategic points, and allotted the work, section by section, to gangs of soldiers and skilled workers.

Technical experts were necessary as well as soldiers. The capture of the railway station in Moscow was allotted to two squads consisting of 25 Latvian soldiers, 2 sailors, and 10 railway men. Three gangs of sailors, workmen, and railway officials, 160 men in all, were ordered to take over the station in Warsaw. For the capture of other stations Dybenko assigned a number of squads of 20 men each . A telegraphist attached to every squad control1ed movements on the rail- way lines. On October 21, acting under orders from Antonov Ovseienko, who was in close touch with the maneuvers, all the gangs rehearsed the capture of the railway stations, and the general rehearsal was perfectly well-ordered and precise in every detail. On that day, three sailors went to the Main Electricity  Plant near the port: the Plant, run by the city ’s technical services, was not even guarded. The manager asked the sailors whether they were the men whom he had asked the Commander of the Square to send him. He had been wanting a guard for the last five days. The three sailors took over the defense of the Electric Plant, in case of insurrection, they said. In the same way, a few gangs of engineroom artificers took over the other three municipal plants.

Kerenski’s police and  the military authorities were especially concerned with the defense of the State’s official and political organizations: the Government offices , the Maria Palace where the Republican council sat, the Tauride Palace, seat of the Duma, the Winter Palace, and Genera1 Headquarters. When Trotsky discovered this mistake he decided to attack only the technical branches of the national and municipal Government. Insurrection for him was only a question of technique. “In order to overthrow the modern State,” he said, “you need a storming party, technical experts and gangs of armed men led by engineers.”

While Trotsky was organizing the coup d‘Etat on a rational basis, the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party was busy organizing the proletarian revolution. Stalin, Sverdlov, Boubrov, Ouritzki, and Dzerjinski, the members of this committee who were developing the plan of the general revolt were nearly all openly hostile to Trotsky. These men felt no confidence in the insurrection as Trotsky planned it, and ten years later Stalin gave them all the credit for the October coup D’Etat.

What use were Trotsky’s thousand men? The Cadets could so easily deal with them. The task surely was to rouse the proletarian masses, the thousands upon thousands of employees from the works of Putilov and Wiborg, the huge crowd of deserters and the Bolshevik sympathizers in- side the garrison of Petrograd, it was these who ought to be stirred up against the Government. A great rebellion must be started. Trotsky, with his storming parties, seemed both a useless and a dangerous ally.

The Commission considered the revolution much in the same way as Kerenski, as a matter chiefly concerning the police. And, strangely enough, the man who later on created the Bolshevik police (afterwards known as the G. P.U.) belonged to this Commission. Dzerjinski, pale and anxious, studied the defense of Kerenski’s government and decided on the plan of attack. He was the most formidable and the most treacherous of all Trotsky’s critics, and he was as bashful as a woman in his fanaticism. He even denied himself a glance at his hands to see whether they were stained with his deeds. Dzerjinski died at the Bench during his prosecution of Trotsky in 1926.

On the eve of the coup d’Etat, Trotsky told Dzerjinski that Kerenski’s government must be completely ignored by the Red Guards; that the chief thing was to capture the State and not to fight the Government with machine-guns; that the Republican Council, the Ministries and the Duma played an unimportant part in the tactics of insurrection and should not be the objectives of an armed rebellion; that the key to the State lay, not in its political and secretarial organizations nor yet in the Tauride, Maria or Winter Palaces, but in its technical services, such as the electric stations, the telephone and telegraph offices, the port, gasworks and water mains. Dzerjinski answered that the insurrection must be planned to anticipate the enemy’s movements and that the latter must be attacked in his strongholds. “We must attack the Government and beat it on the very ground where it is defending the State. If the enemy withdraws to the Government offices, to the Maria, Tauride, or Winter Palaces, he must be hounded out of them. In order to get possession of the State,” said Dzerjinski, “we must hurl the masses against the Government.”

All important in the Commission’s plan for the Insurrection was the neutrality of the Trade Unions. Could the State really be overthrown without the assistance of Genera1 Strike? “No,” said both the Central Committee and the Commission, ”the strike must be started by getting the masses to take part in the insurrection itself. The tactics of a general insurrection and not those of isolated revolts are going to make it possible for us to hurl the masses against the Government and to promote a Genera1 Strike. “A General Strike is unnecessary,” Trotsky replied. “Chaos in Petrograd is more useful for our purpose than a General Strike. The Government cannot cope with an insurrection when a general disorganization paralyses the State. Since we cannot rely on the Strike, we will rely on the chaos.”

The Commission is said to have objected to Trotsky’s tactics on the ground that his view of the situation was too optimistic. Trotsky, as a matter of fact, was inclined to be pessimistic; he judged the situation to be more serious than most people thought. He did not trust the masses and knew very well that the insurrection would have to be made by a minority. The promotion of a General Strike with the idea of enlisting the masses in a real battle against the Government was an illusion. The insurrection could only be made by a minority. Trotsky was convinced that if a General Strike broke out it would be directed against the Bolsheviks and that in order to prevent such a General Strike, power must immediately be seized. Subsequent events have proved that Trotsky was right. By the time the railway men, the postal, telegraph, and telephone clerks, the secretariats in the Government offices and the employees in public services had left their work, it was too late. Lenin was already in power: Trotsky had broken the back of the general strike.

The Central Committees’ objections to Trotsky’s tactics was a paradox which might have jeopardized the success of the insurrection. On the eve of the coup d‘Etat there were two Headquarters, two plans of action, and two different aims. The Commission, relying on the mass of workers and deserters, wanted to capture the Government in order to seize the State. Trotsky, who relied on about a thousand men, wanted to capture the State in order to overthrow the Government. Marx himself would have considered the circumstances more favorable to the Commission’s plan than to Trotsky’s. But Trotsky had said: “An insurrection does not require favorable circumstances.”

On October 24th, in full daylight, Trotsky launched the attack. The plan of operations had been drawn up by a former officer of the Imperial army, Antonov Ovseienko, who was also known as a mathematician, a chess player, a revolutionary, and an exile. Lenin, referring to Trotsky’s tactics, once said of Antonov Ovseienko that only a chess player like him could organize the insurrection.

Antonov Ovseienko had a melancholy and unhealthy expression. He looked rather like Napoleon before the 18th of Brumaire, with his long hair falling on his shoulders: but his eyes were lifeless and his thin pale face was that of a sad and unhealthy man.

Antonov Ovseienko was playing chess on a topographical map of Petrograd in a small room on the top floor of the Smolny Institute, the General Headquarters of the Bolshevik Party. Below him, on the next floor, the Commission was met to fix the day for the general insurrection. Little the Commission imagined that Trotsky had already launched the attack. Lenin alone had been informed, at the last minute, of Trotsky’s sudden decision. The Commission stood by Lenin’s word. Had he not said that both the 2lst and the 24th would be too early and the 26th too late? No sooner had the Commission met to decide definitely on the date, than Podvoisky came in with unexpected news. Trotsky’s Red Guards had already seized the main telegraph office and the Neva bridges. These bridges had to be held in order to insure the lines of communication between the center of the city and the workmen’s district of Wiborg. Dybenko’s sailors already held the municipal electricity stations, gasworks, and railway stations. Things had happened with unimagined speed and orderliness. The main telegraph office was being defended by some fifty police and soldiers, lined up in front of the building. The insufficiency of police measures was evidenced by those tactics of defense called “service of order and protection,’’ which may give good results when directed against a crowd in revolt but not against a handful of determined fighters. Police measures are useless in the face of a surprise attack. Three of Dybenko’s sailors, who had taken part in the “invisible maneuvers” and knew the ground already, got in among those who were defending, right into the offices; and by throwing a few hand grenades from the window on to the street, they succeeded in creating chaos among the police and the soldiers. Two squads of sailors took up their positions with machine-guns in the main telegraph office. A third squad, posted in the house opposite, was ready to meet a possible counter-attack by shooting in the rear of the assailants. Communications between the Smolny Institute and the various groups working in different districts of the town were assured by armoured cars. Machine-guns were concealed in the houses at the chief crossroads: flying squads watched the barracks of those regiments which had remained loyal to Kerenski.

About six o’clock that evening Antonov Ovseienko, paler than usual but smiling, went into Lenin’s room at the Smolny Institute. “It is over,” he said. The members of the Government, taken unawares by these events, sought refuge in the Winter Palace, defended by a few Cadet companies and a battalion of women. Kerenski had fled. They said he was at the Front to collect troops and march on Petrograd. The entire population poured into the streets, anxious for news. Shops, cafés, restaurants, cinemas, and theatres were all open; the trams were filled with armed soldiers and workers and a huge crowd in the Nevski Prospect flowed on like a great river. Everyone was talking, discussing and cursing either the Government or the Bolsheviks. The wildest rumors spread from group to group: Kerenski dead, the heads of the Menshevik minority shot in front of the Tauride Palace; Lenin sitting in the Tsar’s room in the Winter Palace.

A great crowd surged continuously towards the Alexander Gardens from the Nevski Prospect, the Gorokovskaia and Vosnessenski Streets (those three great roads that meet at the Admiralty), to see whether the Red Flag was already flying on the Winter Palace. When the crowd saw the Cadets defending the Palace, it drew back. The machineguns, the lighted windows, the deserted square, and the motors drawn up in front of the General Headquarters were a disturbing sight. The crowd watched from a distance without grasping the situation. And Lenin? Where was he? Where were the Bolsheviks ?

Meanwhile none of their opponents, whether Liberal, Reactionary, Menshevik, or Socialist Revolutionary, could grasp the situation. They refused to believe that the Bolsheviks had captured the State. These rumors they argued had probably been circulated by paid agents of the Smolny Institute: in point of fact the Government offices had only been moved into the Winter Palace as a precautionary measure; if the day’s news was correct, then there had not been a coup d‘Etat, but rather, a series of more or less successful armed attacks (nothing definite was yet known) on the organization of the State’s and the town’s public services. The legislative, political, and administrative bodies were still in Kerenski‘s hands. The Tauride and Maria Palaces, and the Ministries had not even been attacked. The situation was certainly paradoxical : never before had an insurrection claimed to have captured the State without even attacking the Government. It looked as though the Bolsheviks did not care about the Government. Why were the Government offices not taken over? Could one master the State and govern Russia without even controlling the State’s administration? The Bolsheviks had, of course, captured all the public services, but Kerenski had not resigned. He was still the head of the Government, even if, for the present, the public services, the railways, electric plants, telephone, telegraph, and Post Offices, the State Bank, and the coal, petroleum and grain depots were not under his control. If in actual fact, the Ministers in the Winter Palace were unable to govern ; Government offices were not working, the Government had been cut off from the rest of Russia and every means of communication was in the hands of the  Bolsheviks. All the roads in the suburbs were barricaded; no one might leave the town. General Headquarters were cut off. The Bolsheviks had taken over the main wireless telegraphy station ; Red Guards were quartered in the fortress of Peter and Paul and a number of regiments belonging to the garrison of Petrograd were already acting under orders from the Revolutionary Military Committee. Action must be taken at once. Why was the General Staff idle? It was said to be waiting for Krasnov’s troops which were marching on the capital. All measures necessary for the defense of the Government had been taken. If the Bolsheviks had not yet decided to attack the Government it must mean that they did not yet feel their position to be powerful enough to do so. All was not yet lost.

The next day, on October 25th, during the opening of the second Pan-Russian Soviet Congress in the Smolny Institute, Trotsky ordered Antonov Ovseienko to attack the Winter Palace where Kerenski’s ministers had taken refuge, and now the question was, would the Bolsheviks win a majority in the Congress?

The Soviets of all Russia would not believe that the insurrection has been successful on the mere announcement that the Bolsheviks had captured the State. They must be told that the Red Guards had captured the Members of the Government. Trotsky said to Lenin: “That is the only way of convincing the Central Committee and the Commission that the coup d‘Etat has not been a failure.”

“You have made up your mind rather late,” answered Lenin.

“I could not attack the Government before I was convinced that the garrison would not come to its rescue,” Trotsky answered, “I had to give the soldiers time to come over to our side. Only the Cadets have remained loyal.”

Then Lenin, in his wig, beardless and disguised as a workman, left his hiding-place for the Smolny Institute to take part in the Soviet Congress. It was the saddest moment in his life for he thought the insurrection had failed. Like the Central Committee, the Commission. and the greater part of the delegates at the Congress, Lenin needed proof of the Government’s fall and of the capture of Kerenski’s Ministers by the Red Guards. He distrusted Trotsky’s pride, his self- assurance and his reckless wiles. Trotsky was no member of the Old Guard , he was not an absolutely reliable Bolshevik but a new recruit who joined the Party after the; July Days. “I am not one of the Twelve,” said ’ Trotsky, “but I am more like St. Paul who was the first to preach to the Gentiles.”

Lenin was never greatly attracted by Trotsky. Trotsky was generally unpopular. His eloquence was suspect. He had that dangerous gift of swaying the masses and unleashing a revolt. He could split a Party, invent a heresy – but, however formidable, he was a man they needed. Lenin had long ago noticed that Trotsky relished historical comparisons. When he spoke at meetings or assemblies or took part in one of the Party’s debates, he constantly referred to Cromwell’s Puritan Revolt or to the French Revolution. One must beware of a man who judges and estimates the men and the events of the Bolshevik Revolution by the standard of the men and events of the French Revolution. Lenin could never forget how Trotsky, as soon as he came out of the Kresty prison where he had been shut up after the July Days, went into the Soviet in Petrograd and, in the course of a violent speech, advocated the need for a Jacobine reign of terror. “The guillotine leads to a Napoleon,” the Mensheviks shouted at him. “I prefer Napoleon to Kerenski,” Trotsky answered back. Lenin was never going to forget that answer. Dzerjinsky later on used to say of Trotsky: “He likes Napoleon better than Lenin.”

The second Pan-Russian Soviet Congress was meeting in the main hall of the Smolny Institute, and in the room adjoining it, Lenin and Trotsky sat at a table heaped with papers and journals.

A curl of Lenin’s wig dangled on his forehead. Trotsky could not help smiling at the sight of such an absurd disguise. He thought the moment had come for Lenin to take off his wig, since there was no longer any danger. The insurrection had triumphed and Lenin was virtually the ruler of Russia. Now at least, he could let his beard grow, take his wig off, and make an appearance in public. Dan and Skobelov, the two leaders of the Menshevik majority, passed in front of Lenin on their way to the Congress Hall. They exchanged a look and grew paler at the sight of the little provincial actor in his wig, whom they seemed to recognize as the man who could utterly annihilate Holy Russia.

“It is all over,” Dan said softly to Skobelov. “Why are you still disguised?” Trotsky asked Lenin. “Those who have won do not usually conceal themselves.” Lenin scrutinized him, his eyes half-closed, with an ironic smile just playing on his lips. Who had won? That was the question. From time to time the rumble of artillery and the rat-tat-tat of machine-guns could be heard in the distance. The cruiser Aurora, anchored in the Neva, had just opened fire on the Winter Palace to support the Red Guards who were attacking it.

They were now joined by Dybenko, very tall, blue-eyed, his face framed in soft fair hair: both the Kronstadt sailors and Madame Kollontai loved him for his transparent eyes and for his cruelty. Dybenko brought the news that Antonov-Ovseieniko’s Red Guards had broken into the Winter Palace, that Kerenski’s Ministers were the prisoners of the Bolsheviks, and that the Government had fallen. “At last!” cried Lenin. “You are 1 twenty-four hours late,” answered Trotsky. Lenin took his wig off and passed his hand across his forehead. (H. G. Wells once said of Lenin that his skull was the same shape as that of Lord Balfour.) “Come on,” said Lenin, walking into the Congress Hall. Trotsky followed in silence. He looked tired and a kind of drowsiness dimmed his steely eyes. Lunacharski declares that Trotsky, during the insurrection, reminded him of a Leyden Jar. But now the Government had fallen, Lenin took his wig off, as one lays down a mask. The coup d‘Etat was Trotsky’s feat. The man who profited by it, the Chief and the Dictator, was Lenin.

Trotsky followed him in silence, with a doubtful smile that never grew to gentleness until Lenin died.












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