The Reply of Trotsky to Weisbord

(October 1931)

Written: 10 October 1931.
Source: The Militant, Vol. 4 No. 33 (Whole No. 92), 18 November 1931, p. 4.
Alternative Translation: Letter to the Communist League, Class Struggle, Vol. 1, No. 5, December, 1931.
Transcription/HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive ( 2013. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 .

To Albert Weisbord
New York, N.Y.

(Copy to National Executive Committee,
Communist League of America (Opposition))

Dear comrade:

I have received a number of documents and letters from you. I apologize for answering so late and in German at that; to write in English would be too long and too ungrateful a task. Now to the point.

I cannot adopt your standpoint. Your criticism of the League seems to me one-sided, artificial and terribly exaggerated. You throw the League and the Right wing together, which shows that you utterly disregard the fitness of things. You make fun of the publishing activity of the League and contrapose your “mass action” to it. Have you any mass activity behind you? Before one turns to the masses, one must construct a principle basis. One begins as a propaganda group and develops in the direction of mass action.

In addition, your international connections, sympathies and semi-sympathies speak against you. For even if I cannot claim to be an adept in present day American affairs, still I know well enough what the Landau group and the other similar groups in Europe mean. “Tell me with whom you go, and I will tell you who you are.”

The International Opposition has no use for two organizations in America. Your group is new, has only recently split off from the Right, differs from the Left Opposition on a number of questions and flirts with those elements which split themselves off from the International Left Opposition. Can you ask us to prefer you to the Communist League of America?

You declare yourself obedient to the International Left Opposition. Organizationally this is not the case. This can therefore be understood only in the sense of a general solidarity of ideas. But now you must ask yourself a question, how this will be expressed organizationally. In your letter to the League Conference, you propose a united front but without the leading comrades. This is the famous united front from below which the Stalinists practice (in words) toward the social-democrats and the trade unions. On top of this you attack the League for not applying the policy of the united front. This does not give the impression of being serious. If the solidarity of ideas with the Left Opposition really means anything to you, you must build a bridge back to the League in common. This by no means excludes internal criticism on the basis of a healthy revolutionary democracy.

Kadikoy, October 10, 1931

With Communist Greetings,

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Last updated on: 11.2.2013