History,  Trots

From the Vaults: Blackwood’s Magazine, December 1921

Never forget that the Socialist Workers Party idolise Lenin and Trotsky. As far as they are concerned, Russia only went bad when Stalin took power. This is of course a complete myth. Lenin and Trotsky were brutal. I pity the ordinary Russians who lived under Lenin.

L. Bowler was an Englishwoman who travelled to Russia in 1914. She had lived in one village which the Bolsheviks ultimately decided to set on fire and make the villagers homeless. Because she had some things left in the village she joined an expedition to bring relief to the villagers. This ultimately led to her arrest. She was convinced that the only reason that she was not shot was because she was an Englishwoman. Had she been a Russian, she would have suffered the same fate as countless Russians at the hands of the Bolsheviks, a lethal bullet. Subsequent to pressure on the Russians to release British prisoners, not least from Lord Curzon, the Foreign Secretary under David Lloyd George, she was released from the hellish Bolsheviks prisons.

Bowler recounted her experiences in a 27 page essay published in 1921 in Blackwoood’s Magazine. The extract I copy below is from the concluding section:

AN ENGLISHWOMAN’S EXPERIENCES IN BOLSHEVIK PRISONS

L. BOWLER

BLACKWOOD’S MAGAZINE, No. MCCLXXIV, VOL. CCX, DECEMBER 1921, pp.707-733.

I have seen Bolshevism from its genesis until November 1920. I wish I could say something good about it, but I have experienced such ghastly horrors that I can only say I am thankful to God I have escaped from that hell. I have lived there six and a half years under the Czar and with the Bolsheviks. I know the language, and have the experience necessary to make comparisons, totally unlike those visitors to Russia under Bolshevist auspices, who have joyously described with all the credulity of the wilfully blind the remarkable unanimity of the workmen and the Bolsheviks. The truth is, the strength of the Bolshevik position lies in the fact that no one who opposes them can live. The greater part of the population loathes the Soviet Government, to which it is in abject slavery. The Russians only dissemble loyalty in order to escape arrest. Most of the people do not care who rules – the Whites or the Reds, – it is immaterial to them. They only want peace with the world, which will ameliorate their sufferings. Under Bolshevism personal freedom has vanished – robbery and outrage is its creed.

Force has been openly advocated in England as being the only means by which a speedy “victory” can be gained. We have been recommended by the agitators to follow Russia, where three-fourths of its people are illiterate. After all we have heard of the horrors of Bolshevism, we sons and daughters of free Britain are advised to follow Russia! Lenin and Trotsky were successful in their bloody revolution. The proletariat have overthrown the capitalists, but they have not got what they were promised. They are more oppressed now than they ever were. Lenin and his satellites have brought Russia to a complete economic ruin, and have wrecked the homes, lives, and careers of millions. They have destroyed more people in their three years’ reign than the Czars did in hundreds of years. Their autocracy has brought Russia to starvation, disease and death.

It is to be hoped that the time is drawing nigh when peace and order will come to Russia. Already Bolshevism is dying and disintegrating. Soon Lenin and his despotic partner will be obliged to seek refuge in that land where they have stored up their ill-gotten gold for a “rainy day,” if they do not receive a well-merited punishment before then; and I hope, for the sake of the poor suffering Russians, that the day is not far distant when they will be liberated from these two evil spirits, for they have made a hell of Russia.

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