Leon Trotsky

Unifying The Left Opposition

Written & Dated: 9 February, 1930
First published: The Militant, Vol. III, No. 13, March 29, 1930, p. 7.
Translated: The Militant, unknown.
Transcription/HTML Markup: D. Walters
Editing/Proofreading: Some corrections to grammer and spelling were made to the text. Sub-heads are all original from The Militant
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2011. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 .

The French Left Opposition grouped around La Verité has, at the insistence of a number of organizations in other countries, taken the first step toward the international unification of the Communist Left Opposition.

The proposals stated in issue number 24 can be summarized as follows:

  1. It is necessary to begin seriously preparing for an international conference of the Left Opposition.
  2. With that end in view, it is primarily necessary to create an international information bulletin.
  3. The editorship of this bulletin must rest in a secretariat especially created for this purpose.

Such a program may appear too modest and cautious. We can certainly start by creating an international liaison bureau, with which the secretariat that edits the bulletin would be connected. We do not believe this question to be decisive. Of primary importance is —to start.

An International Organ

We can start with the secretariat and the bulletin for the purpose of creating, in accordance with the response from the different national organizations, a regular bureau to prepare for the conference. For this reason we support the proposal of La Verité, inasmuch as there can be no difference of opinion on the first step.

The editorial board of the Biulleten Oppozitsii, which maintains contact with the comrades in struggle in the USSR, does not doubt for an instant that the more energetic and decisive the initiative of the French comrades is, the warmer the support of the Russian Opposition will be.

Preparation for the conference is not purely an organizational step; it is primarily a political and theoretical task that may require several months.

It is not a question of a mechanical gathering of groups, especially of small divergent groups, but of the unification of the international faction whose essential homogeneity is verified in theory and practice.

La Verité is right in stating that the pages of the bulletin must, within the bounds of material and technical possibilities, be open to all groups who adhere to the Communist Left Opposition. The bulletin is an instrument (one of the instruments) for preparing the conference. In its unification, the Opposition must proceed on a democratic course. This means that, with the aid of the bulletin, every Oppositionist must have the opportunity to be informed and to learn about the ideas and activity of all the Left Opposition groups in order to conscientiously and firmly decide whom to support. In other words, the bulletin must serve as an instrument for unification on a clear-cut principled basis.

Unity upon Principle Agreement

The German experiences of the last year are of exceptional importance to us in determining the course and perspective for the international unification of the Opposition. The policies of the Urbahns faction have led to a split with the comrades who solidarize with the views of the Russian Opposition, La Verité, The Militant, etc. This split took place before the eyes of the International Opposition as an outgrowth of an intense ideological struggle which assumed, to a certain extent, an international character. The magnitude of the differences was confirmed by experience, and the two parties have drawn the necessary conclusions. It is clear that an international conference that wishes to minimize similar questions in the name of “unity” will fail from the start.

Marxist policies “in one country” are as impossible as the construction of a socialist society “in one country”. Any group that attempts to develop a political line confined to national questions is inevitably doomed to sectarian degeneration. That is why we know that none of the truly revolutionary groups will remain aloof, but will adopt a clear-cut position on all the controversial questions and will sustain the initiative of La Verité in the preparation of an international conference.

It is extremely desirable that the first issue of the Bulletin, whose publication can perhaps be assigned to La Verité, until the secretariat is formed, appear as soon as possible and that it contain the opinions of all the European Opposition groups, at least on the question of the conference. The replies from America, Asia, etc., can be published in the following issue of the international Bulletin. This would be an important beginning.



The Editoral Board of the
Russian Bulletin of the Opposition (Bolshevik-Leninists)

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Last updated on: 1.9.2012