Trotsky Greets Red Flag,
British Organ of L.O.

(May 1933)

Written: 19 May 1933.
Source: The Militant, Vol. VI No. 36, 22 July 1933, p. 1.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive ( 2015. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

Dear Comrades,

You have begun the publication of a little monthly, the Red Flag. This is a modest step forward. We must hope that other steps will follow.

The advance of Communism in Great Britain is no way corresponds to the rate of decay of British capitalism. The conservative traditions of British politics, including the politics of the working class, are in themselves obviously insufficient to explain this fact. We only declare what is true and cannot be confuted when we say that above all, and, alas, with greater success, than by any other factor, the progress of Communism during the last years has been hindered by the leadership of the British Communist. They, of course, have not acted independently, but have only followed blindly the orders given by the leaders of the Comintern. But this fact does not free the British Communist bureaucracy from its responsibility, nor lessen the damage it has done.

The study and critical examination of the policy of the British Communist Party during the last eight or ten years constitutes a most important task in the education of the Left Opposition itself. You should carefully study the official publications of the Party throughout this period, digest them, and bring out clearly the Party line on the main strategical problems: its attitude towards the Labour Party, the trade unions, the Minority Movement; the colonial revolutions; the united front policy; the I.L.P., etc. Even the mere selection of the most striking quotations, and the presentation of them in chronological order, would lay bare not only the glaring contradictions of the ‘general line’, but also the inner logic of these contradictions, i.e., the violent vacillations of the Centrist bureaucracy between opportunism and adventurism. Every one of these tactical zigzags pushed Communists, sympathizers, and potential friends back, to the Right, to the Left, and finally into the swamp of indifference. We can say without the least exaggeration, that the British Communist Party has become a political thoroughfare and that it retains its influence only with that section of the proletariat which has been forcibly pushed to its side by the decomposition of both capitalism and reformism.

Along with the new printed organ you have at your disposal a hectographed (excellently hectographed !) bulletin, The Communist. It would be extremely desirable to devote the greatest possible space in this publication to the examination of the policy of the British Communist Party along the lines indicated above, and also to the discussion of controversial questions within the Left Opposition itself. While persistently striving to widen our influence among the workers, we must at the same time make it a point to work for the theoretical and political education of our own ranks. We have a long and laborious road in front of us. For this we need first-class cadres. With all my heart I wish you success.

Prinkipo, 19th of May, 1933

Leon Trotsky

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Last updated on: 22 October 2015