Left Opposition

The Left Opposition was a faction within the Russian Communist Party (b) from 1923 to 1927[1] headed de facto by Leon Trotsky. The Left Opposition formed as part of the power struggle within the party leadership that began with the Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin's illness and intensified with his death in January 1924. Originally, the battle lines were drawn between Trotsky and his supporters who signed The Declaration of 46 in October 1923 on the one hand and a triumvirate (also known by its Russian name troika) of Comintern chairman Grigory Zinoviev, Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin and Politburo chairman Lev Kamenev on the other hand.

The Left Opposition argued that the New Economic Policy had weakened the Soviet Union by allowing the private sector to achieve an increasingly important position in the Soviet economy while in their opinion, the centrally planned, socialised sector of the economy languished (including the mostly state-run heavy industries which were seen as essential not only for continued industrialisation but also defense). The platform called for the state to adopt a programme for mass industrialisation and to encourage the mechanization and collectivisation of agriculture, thereby developing the means of production and helping the Soviet Union move towards parity with Western capitalist countries, which would also increase the proportion of the economy which was part of the socialised sector of the economy and definitively shift the Soviet Union towards a socialist mode of production.[2]

There was also the Right Opposition, which was led by the leading party theoretician and Pravda editor Nikolai Bukharin and supported by Sovnarkom Chairman (prime minister) Alexei Rykov. In late 1924, as Stalin proposed his new socialism in one country theory, Stalin drew closer to the Right Opposition and his triumvirate with Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev slowly broke up over the next year (Zinoviev and Kamenev were both executed in 1936). The Right Opposition were allied to Stalin's Centre from late 1924 until their alliance broke up in the years from 1928–1930 over strategy towards the kulaks and NEPmen. Trotsky and his supporters in the Left Opposition were joined by the Group of Democratic Centralism to form the United (or Joint) Opposition.