Alfred Rosmer 1924

Letter to the Party Secretariat

Translated: for by Mitch Abidor.

To the Party Secretariat
To the Leadership Committee

It was not without surprise that at the last conference of federal secretaries we saw a storm of slanders and threats fall down upon us, threats supported by and registered in two resolutions:

We can’t allow these things to be said without protesting vigorously:

  1. That we re-opened the discussions on the Russian and German crises and the English situation of a few months ago;
  2. That at the last conference we raised political objections, serious or benign, to the decisions of the 5th World Congress;
  3. That we have demonstrated a wish to harm the Party, to splinter and break it apart; that we have hindered its political and re-organizational work on the basis of cells in enterprises;
  4. That we are anti-communist elements, new Frossards, agents of the Bloc des Gauches.

Sémard has dared to declare that we provoked an “explosion of Trotskyism,” and Cadeau that we were henceforth nearly outside the Party. In its accounts l’Humanité has falsified, when it didn’t squash, our interventions.

It can be understood that overcoming our own disgust we insist on re-establishing before the Leadership Committee and all the members of the Party the exact meaning of these interventions, as well as establishing our position as militants of the first hour; more disciplined and more devoted than any of those who accuse us.

At no time have we risen up against the decisions of the 5th World Congress.

The International has pronounced itself on the previous discussions. There is nothing for us to do but to bow before it, and we have already done so.

There exists no task laid out by the French Party that we are not ready to assist in.

And we will do this with even more joy since the proletarianization of the parties, through their re-organization on the basis of enterprise cells, and the fight in favor of international union unity respond to our long-standing wishes.

The ten immediate tasks assigned to the French party will find us in the ranks of the most tenacious workers.

Those who credit us with democratic-pacifist illusions have themselves been victims of an illusion. Revolutionary syndicalists of yesterday, we have never been poisoned by the democratic spirit. Before the war, the Bolsheviks bore testimony to this.

We today note that the International, by turning toward the trade union left in England, and in placing such great hopes in it, not only confirms our idea that the English trade union left cannot be identified with the German Social-Democratic left, but the C.I goes even further than us. We follow it in its great hopes.

We approve the position taken by the Communist International concerning Hoglund and his friends. Not a one of the decisions of the 5th Congress had been the object of a protest or a reservation on our part, not even the sanctions taken against Comrade Souvarine.

At the Conference of Federal Secretaries, the first national assembly of the Party since the return of the delegation to the 5th Congress, Monatte did not raise again the question of this sanction. He restricted himself to pointing out the inconsistency of the French delegation in officially proposing at the World Congress a motion for expulsion for which it had neither asked for nor received a mandate from the Saint Denis National Council.

In addition, he remarked that among the complaints about Souvarine was the publication of “The New Course” by Trotsky, a publication for which he shared the responsibility with other comrades. Is it at all surprising that Monatte accepted his part, our part of the responsibility? It is the contrary that would have been surprising!

On the subject of the united front Monatte limited himself, at the Conference of Federal Secretaries, to asking Sémard if the declarations favorable to the united front from above that the July 29 issue of l’Humanité credited him with in its account of the Congress of the International of Red Unions was exact.

So it can be seen that claiming that our declarations at the last conference tended to re-open old discussions and that they characteristic of serious political opposition to the decisions of the 5th Congress is a pure lie.

How did we manifest our desire to harm the Party, to splinter it, to break it apart?

We can affirm that we did precisely the contrary, and it isn’t difficult to prove it.

While the delegation was at the 5th Congress, who was it who issued circular 37 to the federations? Who published in the Bulletin Comuniste of July 18 the article “A Necessary Stage,” under the signature of the Seine Federation? Who was it that undertook the undoing of the centrist faction and its leadership of the Party? Rieu wasn’t alone at the time. At the leadership Committee Rieu, Cadeau, Calzan, Sauvage, and Ilbert acted in solidarity. And there were only two members at a meeting of the Leadership Committee, Mahoury and Monatte, both members of the so-called right, who protested against the raising of as serious a question as that of the financial deficit behind the backs and in the absence of the main interested parties, and of doing this publicly in the press before the question had been thoroughly examined by Party organizations and at a time when the Party demanded of its members the sacrifice of one day of work.

Who then really harmed the Party? Who sought to split it, to break it up by using the vitriol of financial questions? Not us. To the contrary, we were alone in rising up against this dirty work.

We are the ones marching in the steps of Frossard, of Paul Lévi; we are the ones doing the dirty work of the Bloc des Gauches?

Not very likely!

Frossard, Lévi and tutti quanti have returned to the socialism or the social-democracy from which they came. Those who so grossly slander us only do this with the goal of preparing the party for our expulsion. But we know full well, and they know this too, that one only returns to the place from where we came, that is, there where we were but a handful in 1914 to safeguard internationalism, in 1915 to spread the slogans of Zimerwald, in 1917 to defend the nascent Russian Revolution, in 1919 to join, from its very beginning, the Third International, in 1922 to defend the united front.

Agents of the Bloc des gauches? You make us laugh! This is so much the case that we were surprised to see the Party and l’Humanité not use the police fusillade on the strikers of Bizerte as striking proof that the government of the Bloc des Gauches was a government of assassins. For us Bizerte is the pendant of Martinique, where Waldeck-Rousseau and Millerand covered with a first pool of the worker’s blood the government of republican defense of the era.

This is how we understand our role as agents of the Bloc des Gauches. And so we allow ourselves reject these slanders.

We entered the Party to serve the revolution. It was not up to us that we serve it anywhere but in the ranks. They will not succeed in having us pass for saboteurs of the Party and of the revolutionary preparation of the proletariat.

P. Monatte
V. Delagarde