Written: 8 September, 1955
Source: The Struggle to Reunify the Fourth International Volume I: The First Parity Commission and Peng Shuzi’s “Pabloism Reviewed”. Published as part of the Education for Socialists series of bulletins by the (US) Socialist Workers Party
Transcription/Proofing: David Walters and Andy Pollack
HTML Markup: David Walters
Public Domain: Peng Shuzi Internet Archive 2005. This work is completely free to copy and distribute. Please cite the Marxists Internet’s Peng Shuzi Internet Archive if the contents herein are reproduced
[Transcribers note: This letter is part of a series of correspondence between Peng Shuzi and other leaders of the Fourth International. The letters deals with the political crisis in the Fourth International that started with the expulsion of the majority of the French Section of the Fourth International by the leader of the then-unified Fourth International, Michel Pablo. The series of letters dealing with this and other issues affecting the internal situation inside the Fourth International are part of the document cited in the pubishing information above.]
Dear Smith [Dobbs],
The short letter I sent you on the 2nd of August only to express my basic attitude towards the drafts of the Chinese and colonial questions. Originally, I wanted to write a more detailed article to express my opinion on these two drafts as well as the questions connected with them for your information. But my sickness has prevented me from doing that even now. At present I only express the following opinion on the form we should take in discussing the drafts, which was mentioned in your letter of the 6th of July.
Your letter said: “We recommend that the IC take no formal vote on any draft documents at the present time other than the necessary decision to begin circulating the material for discussion. We also recommend that the material be distributed only to the orthodox Trotskyists. As we understand it, there is all-round agreement that no basis exists for any attempt at discussion with the Pabloites. Our task now is to work out a general political line among the orthodox Trotskyists rallied around the IC.”
I fully agree that the IC take no formal vote on any draft documents at the present time other than the necessary decision to begin circulating the material for discussion to the orthodox Trotskyists. But I consider this kind of discussion should not be limited among the orthodox Trotskyists rallied round the IC.
Of course there is no basis existing for discussion between us and orthodox Pabloites (such as Cochran, Lawrence, [Murray] Dowson, and etc.). As a matter of fact, they not only left the Fl, but also broke with the IS. But for the many Trotskyists who at present still remain in the IS or are dominated by it, I consider that we should and must discuss with them and convince them through the discussion in order to make them completely turn away from the influence of Pabloism and once again return to the standpoint of the orthodox Trotskyist.
I call your attention to the following facts:
1. In Europe the orthodox Trotskyists that rallied around the IC are a minority in all the countries with the exception of France and Switzerland. As far as the majority of France is concerned, it has already been divided into three factions, and even the faction led by Bleibtreu was expelled by the Lambert faction. But it is a well-known fact to us, that the one who led the French majority to fight resolutely against Pablo’s revisionism politically is no one but Bleibtreu (he has the highest political capacity in the French party, though he has some weakness in the organizational sphere.) The Lambert faction, that is, the majority among the French majority, can hardly represent the orthodox Trotskyism, and, on top of that, they have quite a strong tendency to sectarianism. (The main reason of Bleibtreu’s expulsion is because he has uninterruptedly criticized these tendencies). And also on a few important questions: such as the Yugoslav question and especially the Chinese question, Lambert’s faction is very close to the viewpoint of Pablo’s revisionism. (It is sufficiently proved by the opinion expressed by Bloch toward the Yugoslav question in the June Committee of the IC.)
2. On the other hand, the majority of the Frank faction in France, particularly the youth, are made to realize the danger of Pablo’s revisionism, in their struggle against Mestre’s thorough revisionism and liquidationism and in the light of the seeking conciliation [with imperialism] by the Soviet bureaucracy and the French Stalinist party. They come to these conclusions through their own experience: that the assessment of Stalinism by Pablo, etc., is incorrect. It is only Trotskyism that can accomplish the world’s revolution. And they also acknowledge that Cannon, etc., represent the traditional position of Trotskyism. Therefore they demand immediate reunification. The same kind of tendency is very popular in L[ivio]’s faction in Italy. I am not very clear about the condition of J[ungclas]’ faction in Germany, but I believe there are many who can possibly be convinced and return to the direction of the orthodox Trotskyism.
3. The LSSP is completely a Trotskyist party politically. (Moreover it is a party in our movement which really has a mass base.) This fact is acknowledged by all. The reason that they still remain in the IS is only that they are confined by formalism organizationally, but they earnestly desire to have a general discussion through the parity committee in order to sweep away Pablo’s revisionism and reunify all the Trotskyists. Until now the Indian Trotskyists have not yet expressed their attitude, but because of the traditionally close connection they have with the LSSP, it probably is under the influence of the latter.
4. The majority of the organizations in Latin America are still under the control of the IS. In fact, it is under the personal control of Pablo. And it is mainly by blockade and fraudulence that Pablo can control those organizations, so that their rank and file is in no way able to find out the authentic position of orthodox Trotskyism against Pabloism.
The foregoing facts show that we must not be satisfied with the present Trotskyists rallied around the IC. We should go further to rally those who at present still remain in the IS, expecially the LSSP, and do everything possible to convince the rank and file of these organizations, particularly the comrades of Germany, France, Italy, and Latin America. This task can only be fulfilled by the circulation of our orthodox Trotskyist documents to all the organizations controlled by the IS, through the parity committee and holding a general and thorough discussion.
At present, if we refuse or evade such a discussion, then we are objectively helping Pablo to continually control the IS and to deceive comrades and confuse the mass under the name of the Fl, and ruin the Trotskyist movement. It is an inestimable detriment to the future revolution.
Therefore, I consider we should not procrastinate the work of the parity committee (in fact, this work has been procrastinated too long), that is to say, that we should as much as possible circulate our documents through the parity committee to all the organizations controlled by the IS and hold the general discussion. I believe this kind of discussion will never be a loss but a gain to us. It is quite possible that through such a discussion we will liquidate Pablo’s revisionism and rally once again all the Trotskyists, first the Trotskyists of LSSP and India, to the banner of orthodox Trotskyism, because Pabloism, expressed through Cochran, Lawrence, and Mestre, combined with the eagerness of the Kremlin and the Stalinist parties all over the world to seek conciliation with the American imperialists and the bourgeoisies of the other countries, has completely been proved bankrupt. This is an opportunity for us to convince and re-rally all the Trotskyists and restore the unification movement of the FI.
At the same time [regarding the] situation in Europe, especially the situation in France and Italy, on account of the ferment and the intensification of the internal crisis of the Stalinist parties, and the greater and greater dissatisfaction of their rank-and-file party members toward the leadership (this is a result of the opportunist policy and betrayal of the leadership), it is necessary for us to rally all the Trotskyists under one Trotskyist banner to be able to actively influence the rank-and-file party members, pushing them to criticize, revolt, and turn away from their opportunist bureaucratic leadership (concerning this party, we can supply more detailed materials, if you are interested in it).
But the French Lambert faction absolutely ignore this situation. They are not only firmly against the discussion of the political questions with all the Trotskyists controlled by the IS, including the LSSP, and hence attempting the unification, but they also expelled Bleibtreu who can more represent orthodox Trotskyism. They even exploit the letter you sent to Bloch last winter to instigate the Italian comrades to approve their idea. This proves that they are not for the benefit of the Trotskyist movement as a whole but mostly the benefit for their own faction.
Trotsky resolutely fought against all the revisionists, but at the same time he never forfeited any opportunity to do everything possible to convince every comrade or organization in order to rally them to our movement. We should maintain such a spirit.
Your opinion will have a decisive result in the IC. Just because of that, I hope you’ll give careful and serious consideration for the problems stated above.
With comradely greetings,