We have intentionally devoted this work, above all, to the Trotskyist movement's activity in the area of theory, politics, and organisation relative to half a century of great events -- and to the problems these events have raised in the course of constructing a revolutionary Marxist leadership and revolutionary Marxist parties in every country. We have seen how difficult it is to make progress on the theoretical and political level, how this is possible only at the price of incessant internal debate and discussion, of analysis and re-analysis. But ideas, programmes, and organisations are created by people and kept alive by people. Only in passing have we mentioned the names of the Trotskyist movement's militants.
What books could be written on such a subject! Conditions have been far harsher for Trotskyists than for any other working class tendency -- bourgeois repression being generally a stimulus, while the repression exercised against Trotskyists within their own class, very often by sincerely revolutionary workers misled by bureaucrats who were backed by a powerful workers state, has pushed many able revolutionists into situations where they could not give the best of themselves.
Trotsky's name, to which is inseparably linked that of his companion Natalia, towers over the names of all those who joined the movement he created, and is again beginning to be as celebrated as it was in the heroic days of the revolution. But how many others are there whose names remain stained in the eyes of the workers by the Stalinist slanders, or who remain unknown to the new generations! The Trotskyist movement itself has generally not been very forthcoming about those who fought for the victory of its programme. History will little by little, internationally and in every country, give them their due.
Another result of Stalinism's implacable persecution of the Trotskyists was the confusion and intimidation it sowed in many people over a long period. This drastically reduced the movement's periphery of friends and sympathisers -- a periphery that all vanguard movements need. Thus we also pay homage to those who were our friends in such adversity, as well as to the revolutionary leaders who came out of the Communist International and its parties who, although they did not march with us all the way, or had differences with us, remained faithful to the cause of world revolution to the end of their days.
Among them are:
Alfred and Marguerite Rosmer, in whose home the founding congress of the Fourth International was held.
Maurice Spector, founder of the Canadian Trotskyist movement.
Isaac Deutscher, historian and essayist. He joined the Polish Communist Party in 1926, but was expelled in 1932 for his activities as leader and spokesperson of the anti-Stalinists. In 1939 he came to Britain, where he lived until his death in 1967. Although he opposed the foundation of the Fourth International in 1938, his writings, especially his trilogy on the life of Trotsky -- The Prophet Armed, The Prophet Unarmed, and The Prophet Outcast -- have had an incalculable effect in drawing people to the basic ideas of our movement.
H. Stockfisch (Hersch Mendel), fighter in the 1905 and 1917 Russian revolutions, who founded the Polish Trotskyist movement, to which he won Isaac Deutscher.
Andres Nin, assassinated by the GPU during the Spanish revolution.
Paul Frölich, Arkadi Maslow, Hugo Urbahns, former leaders of the German Communist Party.
André Marty, who established fraternal contacts with us after his expulsion from the French Communist Party.
John Baird, Labour Party MP, who was always on our side.
Roman Rosdolsky, the eminent Ukrainian Marxist.
Elsa Reiss, barely escaped Stalin's assassins in 1937 when they had orders to kill her and her son as well as her companion Ignace (see below). Her book Our Own People (published under the name Elisabeth K. Poretsky) relives the drama of that terrible period of the 'Yezhov terror', during which Stalin exterminated more revolutionary militants than did the capitalist world, including Hitler.
Louis Polk, member of the Central Committee of the Belgian Communist Party, who participated in founding the Opposition in Belgium and who died in the Neuengamme concentration camp.
Tan Malakka who in 1914 was, with Sneevliet, a founder of the revolutionary socialist movement in Indonesia, missing in action during the guerrilla fighting following the war.
Mario Roberro Santucho, leader of the Argentinian PRT/ERP, murdered by security forces in 1976. A genuine revolutionary internationalist, he joined the Fourth International in 1967 through fusion of his group with the section; our failure to convince him of the correctness of the Trotskyist programme, leading to his break with the International in 1973, was a real defeat for our movement.
Sara (Weber) Jacobs, who served as Trotsky's secretary for almost three years from 1931, and again in 1939.
There follows a very incomplete list of those who carried aloft the banner of Trotskyism, and who died in battle:
Nicola di Bartolomeo (Fosco), Italian Communist worker, in exile in France during the fascist regime, participated in the war in Spain. On his return to France, he was turned over to the Italian authorities, who deported him to a concentration camp. Liberated at the end of the war, he rebuilt the Trotskyist organisation in Italy. He died in 1946, at the age of forty-four.
Angel Amado Bengochea (1926- 1964), a leader of the first student revolts in Argentina in the 1940s, leader of the Socialist Youth. A student at the Faculty of Law in La Plata, he organised a Marxist opposition in the Socialist Party, and joined the Trotskyist movement in 1946. In the 1950s he worked in a factory and became a leader in the Peronist unions. Imprisoned for six months in 1957. Linked to the struggle in other Latin American countries, in 1963 he formed a political-military group and was killed during an explosion.
Edith Beauvais, joined the Trotskyist movement in Canada in the early 1960s, then moved to France. Active in building the JCR and the Ligue Communists; but her most important work was in strengthening the international commissions of the Fourth International. She died in a car accident in 1972.
Fernando Bravo, leader of the Bolivian teachers, representative of the Bolivian FOR (Partido Obrero Revolucionario) to congresses of the International, died in the line of duty.
Antoinette Bucholz-Konikow (1869-1946), became a revolutionary socialist at the age of seventeen and joined Russia's first Marxist organisation, the Emancipation of Labour group, led by Plekhanov. Exiled to the USA, she worked in the Socialist Labour Party and later helped to found the Socialist Party with Debs and others, becoming a member of its Women's Commission. She was a founder of the Second International but broke with it after its capitulation to chauvinism in 1914, helping to launch the Communist Party and the Third International. Among the first to rebel against the rise of the Stalinist bureaucracy, she participated in the ten years of activity that culminated in 1938 with the founding of the US Socialist Workers Party and the Fourth International. She was also an early advocate of birth control; as a doctor, she wrote two handbooks on the subject, and in 1928 was arrested for exhibiting contraceptives.
James P. Cannon (1890-1974), joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in 1910. As a supporter of the October Revolution, he joined the Socialist Party in 1918 and was a founder of the CP in 1919. Sent as its president to Moscow in 1922, he participated for eight months in the work of the Executive Committee of the Comintern. At this time he played a leading role in the International Labour Defence, notably in the campaign to save Sacco and Vanzetti.
A delegate to the Sixth Congress of the Comintern, and made a member of its programme commission, he came to hear of the exiled Trotsky's criticisms of the congress programme presented by Bukharin. Won to Trotsky's arguments, Cannon and Maurice Spector (a member of the Canadian delegation) secretly took his text back to North America and published it. Following his expulsion from the CP for Trotskyism, Cannon -- together with Max Shachtman and Martin Abern -- founded the Communist League (Opposition) in May 1929. He was to remain the central leader of the American Trotskyist movement until ill-health reduced him to an advisory capacity in the 1960s.
In 1934 he played a prominent role in the famous Teamster strikes in Minneapolis. Then in the next years he was instrumental in an important expansion of the American Trotskyist forces, first through a fusion with the Workers Party and then through a short spell of entry into the Socialist Party in 1936-37. The expulsion of the Trotskyists from the SP led to the formation of the Socialist Workers Party. In 1938 Cannon participated in the founding congress of the Fourth International, and in 1939-40 he collaborated with Trotsky in the famous struggle against the petty-bourgeois opposition in the SWP led by Shachtman and Burnham. During the Second World War he was imprisoned for sixteen months along with other members of the SWP under the Smith Act.
Cannon was a prolific writer, particularly for the party press (some of his best articles are collected in Notebook of an Agitator). He also wrote several books. Indeed, as a propagandist and agitator he was perhaps the most prominent figure of the American labour movement in the generation which followed Eugene Debs and Bill Haywood.
Tomas Chambi, member of the Central Committee of the FOR in Bolivia, imprisoned during the Barrientos-Ovando dictatorship, freed when the dictatorship ended; he fell in combat in 1971 while leading a column of poor peasants from the La Pat region in the battle against the Banter coup d'etat. On his body was found a note written in his own hand, a kind of testament by this militant whose sole possession was his revolutionary conviction:'I am a member of the Partido Obrero Revolucionario, which taught me to be brave and to fight for a just cause. For national liberation, and forward to the final victory!'
Emile Decoux (1910-1970), Belgian miner and exemplary militant for thirty-seven years. Joined the Jeune Garde Socialiste (Socialist Young Guard) in 1934, then the Belgian section of the Fourth International. Fulfilled important functions during the period of clandestinity.
Vincent Raymond Dunne (1889-1970), joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) at the age of 17; a founder of the US Communist Party in 1919 and, in 1928, participated in the founding of the US Trotskyist movement. At the head of the great Minneapolis Teamster strikes in 1934, which were a forerunner of the mighty trade union upsurge of the following years. In 1938 participated in discussions with Trotsky preparatory to the founding congress of the Fourth International. Imprisoned in 1941 for sixteen months.
Heinz Epe ( Waiter Held), joined the German Left Opposition in 1931 as a student. Forced into exile in March 1933, he organised the first German publication in the emigration, Unser Wort. In 1934 he was one of the secretaries -- along with Willy Brandt -- of the 'International Bureau of Revolutionary Youth Organisations', until the Trotskyists were expelled at Brandt's instigation. In 1934 he organised Trotsky's arrival and stay in Norway. Moving to Sweden after the occupation of Norway, he tried to travel to the US via the Soviet Union in 1941 but disappeared with his wife and child.
Ezio Ferrero (Ettore Salvini) (1938-1976), joined the Italian CP and went to Moscow in 1956 to attend the university. As a result of his stay he developed positions critical of the bureaucracy, and joined the Fourth International in 1962. He was a member of the national leadership of the Italian section, the Gruppi Comunisti Rivoluzionari (GCR), and a delegate to the Eighth World Congress; but was best known as a frequent contributor to our press, especially on the Soviet economy and Italian political and economic problems.
Josef Frey (1882-1957), prior to 1914 journalist on the Vienna Arbeiterzeitung, president of the Vienna Council of Soldiers in the 1918 revolution, broke with Otto Bauer and Fritz Adler to join the CP, expelled from the latter in 1927 as a Trotskyist.
José Aguirre Gainsborg, Bolivian revolutionist in exile, leading member of the Chilean CP. Founder of the Bolivian FOR in 1934 -- which he armed theoretically. For many years lived in exile and in prison; died at the age of thirty-four.
Renzo Gambino (1922-1972), a member of the Socialist Party when fascism was overthrown, joined the Italian section of the Fourth International in 1949 and was a member of its national leadership until his death. He was a delegate to many world congresses and for a long time a member of the International Control Commission, becoming its secretary in 1969.
Peter Graham (1945-1971), young Irish revolutionary, started out as a member of the Connolly Youth, rapidly developed towards Trotskyism, became a member of the Irish Workers Group, and then participated in founding the League for a Workers Republic and the Young Socialists in Dublin. He came to London where he joined the International Marxist Group (IMG -- British section of the Fourth International) and was a member of the editorial staff of The Red Mole. Barely returned to Dublin for the purpose of building an Irish section, he was assassinated under circumstances that have never been clarified. The IRA and all the militant organisations of the Irish socialist movement paid homage to his memory.
Arturo Gomes, joined the Trotskyist movement in Argentina as a student leader in the midst of the mass mobilisations in 1958-59. Played a central role in winning a base for Trotskyism in the La Plata region. A member of the Executive Committee and Secretariat of the Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores (PST), and a delegate to the Tenth World Congress of the International, he was elected to the IEC with consultative status. Died of a heart attack in 1976 as he was preparing the underground struggle after the military coup.
Jules Henin (1882-1964), miner, member of the Parti Ouvrier Belge (Belgian Workers Party) from 1905. One of the first Belgian Communists in 1919, founder of the Trotskyist organisation in 1927, one of the leaders of the Charleroi miners' strike (1932), as a result of which he was imprisoned. Conducted underground activity during the war. Member of the Control Commission of the Fourth International for many years.
Marcel Hic, joined the French Trotskyist movement (POI and Jeunesses Léninistes) in 1933 at the age of eighteen. He rebuilt the French organisation and published La Vérité starting in August 1940. Secretary of the French section during the occupation, he participated in the founding of the European Secretariat of the Fourth International. Arrested in 1943, he was distinguished by his courageous attitude in the Dora concentration camp, where he died.
Joseph Jakobovic (1915-1943), leader of the Austrian group 'Gegen den Strom' (Against the Stream) during the Hitler occupation. He was tried in October 1943 for high treason and for encouraging disaffection in the armed forces, condemned to death and executed.
Georg Jungclas (1902-1975), joined at the age of fourteen the Socialist Youth of Altona (near Hamburg), which opposed the war and the betrayals of the Social Democracy. Became a member of the Spartakusbund and then of the German Communist Party (KPD), and participated in the revolutionary struggles, notably the Hamburg insurrection in October 1923. A supporter of the left in the KPD, he was expelled in 1928, becoming a member of the Leninbund founded by Urbahns. However he defended Trotsky's positions against Urbahns and in 1930 participated in the creation of the German Left Opposition.
He moved to Denmark after Hitler's rise to power, and participated in the Danish Resistance until his arrest by the Gestapo in 1944. Saved from death only by the collapse of the Nazis, he struggled almost alone after the war to rebuild the German section in the choking atmosphere of the Federal Republic. From 1948 he participated in all the world congresses of the International and was elected to its International Executive Committee and its Secretariat. Among the first to begin organising the immigrant workers in Germany, he was also at the centre of activity in support of the Algerian revolution.
Zavis Kalandra, communist historian, denounced the Moscow trials in 1936; secretary of the Czechoslovakian section of the Fourth International, he was arrested and executed in 1950 by the Stalinists as a 'spy'; was rehabilitated during the 'Prague Spring'.
Rose Karsner (1890-1968), joined the US Socialist Party at the age of eighteen. In 1909 she became secretary of the magazine The Masses. She participated in the founding congress of the unified US Communist Party in 1921, and devoted herself to the defence and aid of the victims of repression (notably the Sacco-Vanzetti case). In 1928 she participated in founding the Trotskyist organisation in the United States, to which she was completely committed until the end of her life.
Franz Kascha (1909-1943), leader of the Austrian group 'Gegen den Strom' during the Hitler occupation. He was tried in October 1943 for high treason and for encouraging disaffection in the armed forces, condemned to death and executed.
Rudolf Klement, young German Trotskyist, secretary to Trotsky, assassinated in France by the GPU in 1938 on the eve of the founding congress of the Fourth International, to the preparation of which he had devoted himself.
Robert Langston (1933-1977), a true internationalist and revolutionary intellectual, won to our movement from the chauvinist American Socialist Party on the question of Cuba. After joining the SWP he worked as a staff writer for The Militant from 1968-70 and also devoted himself to the education of cadres. His unstinting financial contribution was an invaluable aid to our work.
Rafael Lasala (Nestor), participated in the student struggles in Argentina in 1958-59, joined the Trotskyist movement in 1967. In 1971 he helped to form the Grupo Obrero Revolucionario (GOR), a sympathising group of the International, and was its representative at the Tenth World Congress. Arrested in August 1974, he was tortured and finally murdered in cold blood at the La Plata prison in August 1976.
Abraham Leon (1918- 1944), born in Warsaw, broke with Zionism and wrote The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation. At the beginning of the war he joined the Belgian Trotskyist organisation, of which he became the main organiser, and participated in founding the European Secretariat. Arrested in June 1944, he died in the Auschwitz concentration camp in September 1944.
Leon Lesoil (11(92-1942), soldier in the Belgian Mission in Russia during the First World War, he came out for the October Revolution and was one of the founders of the Belgian Communist Party. He became a member of its Central Committee in 1923, and then was prosecuted for 'plotting against the security of the state'. He was a founder of the Belgian Trotskyist organisation in 1927; leader of the miners' strike in the Charleroi Basin in 1932; and delegate to the founding congress of the Fourth International. Arrested in 1941, he died in the Neuengamme concentration camp in 1942.
Cesar Lora, leader of the Bolivian miners at the Siglo XX mine; was assassinated on 19 July 1965 by Barrientos's troops.
Sherry Mangan (Patrice), American author and journalist, was a Trotskyist from 1934. He participated in the activity of the French Trotskyist organisation under the occupation and though expelled from France by Petain he maintained liaison among the underground groups during the war. Reduced to very difficult living conditions by McCarthyism, he again participated in clandestine work in France to help the Algerian revolution. A member of the International's leadership for many years, he died in 1961 at the age of 57.
Charles Marie (1915-1971), railroad worker, joined the Trotskyist movement shortly after the end of the war. Impassioned and indefatigable militant, for a long time he was practically alone in defending Trotskyism in Rouen. During the Algerian war, in legal and extra-legal activities, he began to build a resurgence of the movement, recruited young people who, in the aftermath of May 1968, were to make Rouen the largest provincial branch of the Ligue Communiste. A cell of railroad workers in Rouen bears his name. He was named honorary chairman of the second national congress of the Ligue Communiste, held in Rouen.
Jean Meichler, was one of the founders of La Vérité in 1929. Editor of Unser Wort, organ of the German Trotskyists in exile, he was arrested for this and held hostage at the time that France was occupied. He was one of the first hostages executed, dying at the age of 45.
Fernando Lozano Menendez, a 22-year-old student and member of the national leadership of the Frente de Izquierda Revolucionaria (FIR), murdered by the Peruvian police in November 1976.
Luiz Eduardo Merlino (Nicolau) (1947-1971), Brazilian journalist assassinated in July 1971 by the repressive forces in his country. Began his activity as a militant in the student organisations in Santos, then in newspaper circles in Sao Paulo, constantly filling the role of inspirer and leader. In 1968 joined the Partido Operario Comunista (POC -- Communist Workers Party), in which he rapidly rose to a leading position. His experiences led him to the positions of the Fourth International. He organised an opposition for which he wrote theses on national and international questions. Shortly after his clandestine return to Sao Paulo from a visit of several months in France, he was arrested, tortured, and murdered.
Chitta Mitra (1929-1976), a leading member of our Indian section, chiefly responsible for establishing a Trotskyist press in Bengali. He also translated a number of Trotsky's works, and wrote a biography of Trotsky, Tomader Trotsky (Your Trotsky), for young people in very simple Bengali.
Henri Molinier (More Laurent) (1898-1944), was an engineer who participated in the founding of La Vérité and carried out many missions with great discretion. In charge of military matters for the PCI during the war, he was killed by a shell in the course of the fighting for the liberation of Paris.
Georg Moltved (1881-1971), Danish doctor. At the turn of the century he belonged to a petty-bourgeois party, but developed towards Marxism, contributing to intellectual periodicals. After 1933, he aided the German anti-fascist refugees in his country. In 1943, under the occupation, he was one of the main leaders of the illegal CP for the region north of Copenhagen. After the war, he was opposed to the CP's acceptance of ministerial posts in the government and to the CP's reformist policy. Expelled in 1950, he joined the Fourth International in 1955. He translated The Revolution Betrayed into Danish, wrote biographies of Lenin and Trotsky, and often presented Trotskyist viewpoints on the radio. Recognised in his country as an eminent person, Moltved was a man of great intellectual capacity.
Martin Monat (Paul Widelin) (1913-1944), was originally a leader of the Socialist Zionist movement and a sympathiser of the German CP before 1933, but then moved towards Trotskyism and broke with Zionism. He emigrated to Belgium in 1939, where he joined the Trotskyist section. During the war he was responsible for organising fraternisation inside the German army in France, publishing the paper Arbeiter und Soldat (Worker and Soldier). He created a cell of German soldiers in Brest, many of whom were arrested and shot. Arrested by the French police and handed over to the Gestapo, he was shot and left for dead in the forest of Vincennes, but managed with help to reach a hospital. Here however, he was recaptured and killed by the Gestapo.
Moulin, German Trotskyist, killed by the GPU during the civil war in Spain.
Jabra Nicola (Abu Said) (1912-1974), was born in Haifa and joined the Palestinian CP before he was 20. As a member of its leadership, he was given responsibility for its organ in Arabic, At Ittihad, but the party split in 1939 along nationalist lines and he refused to join either wing. He was imprisoned under the British occupation from 1940-42. In 1942 he joined a group of Trotskyists, many of them refugees from Europe, but the dislocation of the Trotskyist organisation in the Middle East after the war led him to rejoin the CP, and he was once again given the editorship of its paper in Arabic. In 1956, however, the CP leadership suspended him from his functions because of political disagreements, and in 1962 he joined with others who had left the CP to form the Matzpen group, from which the Israel section of the Fourth International was to develop. Placed under house arrest after the Six Day War in 1967, he left Israel for London in 1970, where he died.
Jabra Nicola was a member of the IEC of the Fourth International from its Seventh World Congress (1963). A brilliant journalist, he wrote numerous articles and pamphlets and also translated some of the classics of Marxism into Arabic. His contribution, both theoretically and politically, to the Fourth International on the problems of the Arab East and the question of Israel within it was unparalleled.
Pantelis Pouliopoulos, prosecuted for his activity in the Creek army in 1922. He translated Das Kapital into Greek. A delegate of the Creek CP to the Fifth Congress of the Communist International, he became secretary of the CP in 1925, but was expelled as a Trotskyist in 1927. Secretary of the Creek Trotskyist organisation, he went underground following the Metaxas coup d'etat in 1936, but was arrested in 1939. He was shot as a hostage by the Italians in 1943 at the age of 43, making a speech to the Italian soldiers while facing the firing squad.
Art Preis (1911-1964), American Trotskyist, while a student at the University of Ohio founded the Free Voice, which was later banned. In 1933 he organised the unemployed in Toledo, then organised employed workers into trade unions and was a member of the Toledo CIO Council. From 1940 on, he was labour editor of The Militant. Author of Labor's Giant Step. Twenty Years of the CIO, a history of the American trade union movement from 1929 to 1955.
Luis Pujals (1942-1971), young Argentinian revolutionist, joined the Palabra Obrera group in 1961.A founding member of the PRT in 1964, he was elected a member of its Central Committee at its Second Congress and later elected to its Executive Committee. He was in charge of political and military affairs for the Buenos Aires region. Arrested on 17 September 1971, he was sent by the authorities to Rosario and brought back to Buenos Aires on 22 September, at the very moment the authorities were denying that he was in custody. According to all indications, he died under torture.
B. Mallikarjun Rao, participated in the revolutionary movement as a student in Andhra and then in Bombay, and became active in the trade union movement. One of the founders in 1941 of the Mazdoor Trotskyist Party of India, in 1942 he participated in the uprising against British imperialism, went underground, was arrested in 1944 and sentenced to two years in prison. In 1947-48 he took part in the guerrilla movement against the Nizam of Hyderabad until this principality was integrated into the Indian Union. He was elected to a trade union post in 1949; and arrested anew in 1959 for his role in the civil service strike in Andhra Pradesh. In 1965 he was a member of the organising committee of the Socialist Workers Party (Indian section of the Fourth International). He died in 1966 after more than thirty years of militant activism.
Ignace Reiss (Ludwig), Polish communist, hero of the civil war during the Russian Revolution, was one of the principal leaders of the Soviet Union's special services. In 1937, following the first Moscow trial, he broke with Stalinism and returned his medals, declaring,'I am joining Trotsky and the Fourth International'. He was assassinated by the GPU a few weeks later near Lausanne.
Alfonso Peralta Reyes (1939-1977), lecturer and member of the Political Bureau of the Mexican Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores (PRT), assassinated by the 'Liga Comunista 23 de Septiembre' guerrilla group in May 1977 while leading a struggle by the university trade unions against the government's austerity measures.
German Rodriguez Sainz, joined the Trotskyist movement in Spain in 1971 and played a prominent part in the fusion between the LCR and ETA(VI), the revolutionary wing of the Basque nationalist movement. He was an active member of the Workers Commissions and a central leader of the 1973 Pamplona general strike, for which he was jailed for two and a half years. Over 30,000 attended his funeral after he had been murdered by police during a Basque nationalist protest in Pamplona in July 1978.
Wolfgang Salus, young Czechoslovakian communist, participated in founding that country's Trotskyist movement in 1929 at the age of 18. He died in exile after having contributed to the reorganisation of the Czechoslovakian movement after the war.
Leon Sedov (1905-1938), Trotsky's son, was expelled from the CPSU in 1927 and from that time on devoted his life to helping Trotsky in the latter's work. Was a defendant along with Trotsky in all the Moscow trials, in which he was sentenced to death. He died mysteriously in Paris, most assuredly assassinated by the GPU.
Henricus Sneevliet (1883-1942), Dutch working class leader, founder of the Indonesian socialist movement in 1914, then of the Indonesian CP in 1920. He was its delegate to the Second Congress of the Communist International, and representative of the Communist International to the Chinese CP, but broke with Stalinism. A leader of the Dutch trade union confederation NAS, he was imprisoned in 1932 for his support of a sailors' mutiny. A founder of the RSAP, he was arrested during the war, and shot by the Nazis on 13 April 1942. His heroic death has been held up as an example in his country.
Shuji Sugawara (1949-1978), national secretary of the Japan Communist Youth (Trotskyist youth group) and a national organiser for the struggle against the opening of Narita airport, died of a brain haemorrhage.
Chen Tu-hsiu (1879-1942), professor at the University of Peking, was one of the leaders of the democratic revolution of 1911. A founder of the Chinese CP, of which he was secretary from 1920 to 1927, but then joined the Trotskyist Opposition. He was seized by the Kuomintang in 1932 and sentenced to thirteen years in prison. Freed on parole in 1937, he died in 1942. His memory is still slandered today by the leadership of the Chinese CP.
Ta Thu Thau, founder of the Vietnamese Trotskyist movement, leader of the Saigon workers in the years preceding the war and imprisoned during the war. Freed in 1946, he disappeared mysteriously shortly thereafter, probably assassinated by the Stalinists.
Pierre Tresso (Blasco) (1893-1943), member of the Central Committee and the Political Bureau of the Italian CP from 1925, party delegate to congresses of the Communist International. Expelled as a Trotskyist in 1930, he was active as an exile in France; participated in the leadership of the Ligue Communiste, in the Copenhagen Conference in 1932, and in the founding congress of the Fourth International. Condemned to ten years of forced labour during the war by the Marseilles military court, and placed in the Puy prison, he was liberated along with all the others by the Resistance forces, shortly thereafter, as was the case with other Trotskyists, he disappeared while with the Resistance forces, in all likelihood assassinated by the Stalinists.
Humberto Valenzuela (1908-1977), born in the nitrate-mining area of northern Chile, recording secretary of the nitrate miners union in Huara at the age of fourteen. Joined the Chilean CP soon after its foundation, but left after the Trotskyists were expelled to join the Izquierda Comunista (Communist Left), formed in 1931. A leader of the United Construction Union, he also helped in the formation of peasant unions. In 1942 he ran as Trotskyist candidate for the presidency. In 1969, he devoted himself to the foundation of a new Chilean section, the Partido Socialista Revolucionario (PSR); he also worked with the MIR to build organs of popular power and was elected a national leader of the Revolutionary Workers Front. After the coup he continued to work underground, organising resistance committees and Marxist education classes.
Joseph Vanzler (John G. Wright), student in chemistry at Harvard University, joined the American Trotskyist organisation in 1929, translated numerous works by Trotsky, died in 1956 at the age of 52.
Libero Villone (1913-1970), became active in the Italian CP under the fascist regime, when it was illegal. He was expelled from the CP in 1938 for having criticised the Moscow trials. Arrested in 1943, he was freed when Mussolini fell. Readmitted to the CP, he was soon expelled for criticising the policy of class collaboration. He joined the Trotskyist movement in 1945. A teacher, he held various positions in the teachers' union. He was editor of Bandiera Rossa for several years.
Neil Williamson, Scottish militant of the International Marxist Group, who played the key role in leading the IMG to understand the new prominence of the national question in Scotland. His funeral after his death at the age of 26 in a car crash in October 1978 was attended by representatives of every significant section of. the labour movement, testifying to the enormous respect he had won in ten years of unceasing political activity.
Erwin Wolf (N. Braun), Trotskyist of Czechoslovakian origin, Trotsky's secretary in Norway, was assassinated by the GPU during the civil war in Spain.
Niiyama Yukio (1954-1978), member of the Japan Revolutionary Communist League, died of injuries received during the struggle against the opening of the Narita international airport at Sanrizuka.
Joseph Hansen (1910-1979), a central leader of the American Socialist Workers Party and the international Trotskyist movement, died as this book was going to press. From 1937 he spent much time with Trotsky in Mexico, assisting in the preparation of the founding congress of the Fourth International. He was present when Trotsky was assassinated, and prevented his killer from fleeing. A very talented journalist, he was editor of The Militant for several years after 1940. He played a decisive role in reunification of the Fourth International in 1962-63 and was subsequently a regular observer at its congresses and plenums. In the last years of his life his political activity mainly centred on the editing of the weekly Intercontinental Press/Inprecor, which he had helped to launch as World Outlook in the wake of the 1963 reunification.* * *
In ending this most incomplete list at this point, with the observation that the losses of the Trotskyists, relative to their number, are probably greater than those of all other tendencies in the working class movement, let us remember once again the exceptional pleiad of revolutionists who originated the movement, the Soviet Trotskyists, who stood up against all persecution until the day that Stalin decided on their total extermination. The story of their struggle at Vorkuta, of (among others) the great hunger strike conducted by more than a thousand prisoners for 132 days (from October 1936 to March 1937), in the course of which many perished, has come down to us through eyewitnesses returned from the camps. Alexander Solzhenitsyn in The First Circle has given their heroic end a suitable place in the great literature of the world. To their memory, and to the memory of all those who died fighting for the Fourth International, I dedicate this book.
Last updated on: 13.2.2005