[from David Dallin, “The Outbreak of the Civil War,” chapter 7 in The Mensheviks: from the Revolution of 1917 to the Second World War, ed. Leopold H. Haimson, Hoover Institution Publications 117 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), 178-180]
The Odessa Menshevik organization, headed by P. A. Garvi, was not in favor of intervention when the French landed there in the fall of 1918. However (as Garvi explained years later, when Moscow was gathering compromising material in preparation for the Mensheviks’ trial):
We had to reckon with the immutable fact of Allied occupation, just as we had to reckon earlier with the fact of German occupation…. With the intervention of a cruel fact of military-political reality, some comrades, including myself, conceived for a time the hope that the interventionists would adopt a more democratic policy thanks to the pressure upon their governments of democratic elements in the Allied countries, in the first place the socialist parties.
Garvi was referring to the French socialists and the British Labourites who, as members of their governments, could have been expected to ensure a “democratic” attitude toward Russia. When a congress of French socialists protested against the French intervention in Russia, Garvi was solely disappointed. He wrote[…]:
The last congress of the French Socialist party, at which Longuists [left socialists] had the majority, has passed a sharp resolution protesting against Allied interference in Russian affairs. No doubt this was prompted by goodwill toward Russia and profound respect for the principle of national sovereignty. Nonetheless we must state categorically that the decision of the French socialist congress profoundly contradicts the interests and duties of international democracy generally and socialist democracy especially.
Either the French socialists are blind and deaf to what is going on in Russia and consider the Soviet state [sovdepiia] a normal form of human community life—and if so, their decision is reactionary since it directly or indirectly supports a tyranny perhaps unequaled in the history of modern times. Or else the French socialists know what is going on in Russia, know that there reigns a reaction the like of which has not been seen in Europe for a long time, but refuse to interfere, postulating the principle of national self-determination—and if so, their decision is also reactionary, for even the best formula for progress and liberalism easily turns into Pilate’s formula if the reality to which one applies it is disregarded.
Socialists should support intervention more actively than nonsocialists, Garvi insisted. Noninterventionism was a product of bourgeois hypocrisy.
Until now we used to think that the unconcern of diplomats and ruling cliques with horrors perpetrated in “allied” countries was a feature of bourgeois politics, which has sanctified the motto of nonintervention and even built a serious liberal tradition around it. How could this false and hypocritical ideology have seeped into the socialist milieu? Marx and the Marxism of his time were strangers to this reverence for the fetishes of international politics. Whether Marx was correct or not in that particular case, he had the moral right to demand a military campaign against Russia to demolish the Cossackry.
When the CC’s decisions on the issue of intervention reached Odessa, Garvi said at a meeting of the local Social-Democratic organizations on 9 January 1919:
The allies did not come here because they were invited—they were drawn here by definite interests of their own. It would be madness and avantiurizm to fight them. Democracy must mobilize its forces and get together with the democracy of the countries of the Entente to try to bring about a rupture between the Allies and the reactionary Russian circles and a democratic orientation of their policy toward Russia.
Priboi, organ of the Sebastopol and Tauris [Crimea] regional committees of the RSDRP (the French zone), addressed the French and British socialists:
You are against military intervention, you want to disarm those who are fighting bolshevism? Very well. But begin by disarming the Bolsheviks. Force them . . . to relinquish power to the Constituent Assembly, and let the elections take place under your control. Save the Russian people from lawless executions by Chekas made up of criminals and psychopaths, and from the criminal experiments in socialization that are destroying the national economy.
It is time to be done with the illusions that the democracy and the working class of Western Europe nourish about the Russian Bolsheviks.
The Ufa Golos Rabochego said during the Czech occupation:
A military agreement between the central government of renascent Russia and the Allies for a resolute struggle against German imperialism operating under the Soviet flag, and the working masses’ active participation in this struggle, can ensure both the restoration of Russia’s unity and independence and genuine non-interference of outside powers in internal affairs.