Leon Trotsky 1929

Letter on the Opposition Press in France

Source: Gérard Rosenthal, Avocat de Trotsky. Paris, Robert Laffont, 1975;
Translated: by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2009.

The French followers of Trotsky founded their own review in 1929, “La Vérité,” under the editorship of Alfred Rosmer. Shortly thereafter, they formed the Ligue Communiste, with an executive committee made up of Rosmer, Pierre Naville, Gérard Rosenthal, Gourget, Levine, Frank and Obin. Trotsky kept a close eye on the French group and its journal, giving precise recommendations as to how it should be written and what the group should do, as attested to by this letter to Gérard Rosenthal:

October 22, 1929
Dear Comrade Gerard:

No news from you. We rejoice every week when we receive “La Vérité.” The general impression we get from it, inevitable at its beginnings, is that the journal is still too far from the masses, too journalistic, insufficiently proletarian and political. The first thing is to know what is going on in the working class, in its unions, and in the first instance in the Party. Whatever the cost, you must find or create liaisons with those around the Party. I think that the lack of ties and information is explained by a certain tradition in the Opposition that consisted not only in denigrating, but also in ignoring or not taking an interest in what is happening within the Party and around it. And so the section “The Political Week,” which is well done journalistically, would gain much from its first article every week being dedicated to some episode or event from working class or Party life.

Allow me to ask of you a small service in the shortest possible time. For a study I absolutely need the results of the latest French elections, which I can’t find in the little documentation I have here. So I am counting on you to provide me with the figures of the votes in the legislative and municipal elections of 1924, 1925, 1928, and 1929 (total votes, Socialists, Communists). I will ask of you the greatest precision and the greatest diligence.


P.S. Figures for France, Paris, and the Seine. Perhaps also, if it’s not too much and too long a labor, for the North.