Barta 1936

Letter From Bucharest to Trotsky

Source: M.I.A. Section franšaise Barta Archive;
Transcribed: by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2009.

May 22, 1936,
Dear Comrade L.D.,

Our activity, despite the extremely feeble resources we disposed of upon the formation of the B.L.[1] group in Romania, has allowed us to arrive at two essential results:

1: The formation of an illegal apparatus, now sufficiently experienced and ideologically educated to be able to combat in all areas of revolutionary activity.

2: Liaison with working class strata, a fact that has allowed us to break with the petit- bourgeois elements that prevent the healthy development of a revolutionary organization.

You have surely been informed about this activity by the I.S.[2]: political education work of militants, publication of brochures and the recent public discussions, posting of flyers, etc... We have surely committed errors, but they were inevitable and we believe we now have the clarity needed to succeed in our struggle. The best proof of our maturity (quite relative, it goes without saying) is that they fear us and avoid public discussions with us (the Unitaries, Stalinists and socialists form an unavowed united front on this question.)

Here in a few words is our situation in relation to other organizations:

In the CP there are quite a few honest revolutionary elements, but because of the zigzags and the total lack of culture they are incapable of thinking. Illegality is also a powerful brake that hinders contact with them. At present our activity in the party is nil.

The SP is made up of reactionary elements that play more the role of police than of militant reformists. The influence of this party among the workers is extremely limited. The only activity possible in the SP would be illegal activity. We cannot carry out this activity for the moment for a number of reasons (we can’t lay them out here).

The Unitary Party[3] is in its death throes. Non-existent in all areas, it still survives only through the ambition of two or three intellectuals who want to be “chiefs” and have their “party.” Everything that could be done in the Unitary Party (in Bucharest) we did in other locales; we will examine the possibilities. The only thing we can still use is their tribune, from which we criticize them and make appeals for the 4th [International.]

We have two elements in the unions and we will attempt to carry out an action, which demands much experience and prudence.

This is why our principal effort must be aimed at fresh – apolitical – strata and begin educational work with ABC – a labor that is long and which demands much patience.

In summary: Our principal task consists in the education of elements that are nearly virgin politically (this obviously doesn’t exclude a long and devoted practical activity on their part, a practice carried out by their own means, without a plan or coordination). For this we must constantly enrich our political capital and print pamphlets. We have already published some. But except for one (“Popular Front or Proletarian United Front?”) all were on a general level, valid for all countries. We would very much like to print a pamphlet on Romania (a general analysis of the situation and the tasks of the vanguard), but the total lack of theoretical traditions forbids us from doing so with our own forces (it’s a matter of writing a simple – and correct – analysis that can be understood by the workers – which demands a complete maturity of thought).

As you can see, this letter isn’t only to inform you (poorly, by the way). It actually has a “selfish” goal. We would like to establish a liaison with you (we have tried to do so in the past, but unfortunately your health didn’t allow it) in order to discuss our future work and especially so that you contribute in this work in writing.

If your time allows you to do it, we request that you send your answer to Adolphe, who will forward it to us. We await your questions on the situation here, information that will allow you to precisely know the situation and draw the necessary deductions.

Accept, dear comrade, our revolutionary greetings,

For the CC, Barta

1. Bolshevik-Leninsts, i.e., Trotskyists.

2. International secretariat of the 4th International.

3. PSU (Partidul socialist unitar) product of the fusion of the PSI (Partidul socialist independent) of Romania, issue of a split in September 1931 from the Romanian Socialist Party and the group around Constantin Popovic, it too descended from social democracy.