Leon Trotsky

Not Hollow Preaching –
But Clear Cut Slogans!

(From Leon Trotsky’s Preface to Fred Zeller’s Pamphlet)

(7 November 1935)

Written: November 4, 1935.
First Published: New Militant, Vol. 1 No. 49, 30 November 1935, p. 5.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2018. Creative Commons (Share & Attribute).

In the ebb and flow of our epoch, amid great defeats anddisillusionments, in the growth of the conservative Sovietbureaucracy, the oldest generation of both Internationals has largelyspent itself, become a hollow shell and fallen prostrate. Thebuilding of the new International falls with its main weight upon theyoung generation. The obstacles are great, the tasks colossal. But itis precisely in the struggle against great obstacles that lightingcadres are formed and steeled. The Seine Federation of the Youth andafter it the provinces as well can and should take an honored placein this work. More faith in ourselves, in our forces and in thefuture! Let the philistines howl about the tactlessness, thebrashness and exaggerations of the youth. Cadres of the revolutionaryparty have never yet been educated either in the ballet schools or indiplomatic chancellories. The revolution is not only “tactless”but it is ruthless when need arises. That is why Messrs. Bourgeoishate Leninism (with Stalinism they get along not so badly). Thesocial-patriots translate the bourgeoisie’s fear into thelanguage of sanctions, expelling young Bolsheviks from the party,while the centrist philistines curse on this account – theFourth International. This need not worry us. All those processestake place in the thin layer of the bureaucracy and the workers’aristocracy. One must look deeper into the masses that languish inthe chains of the crisis, hate their slave owners, desire struggle,are capable of struggle and in Toulon and Brest have already madetheir first assault. These masses do not need hollow preaching onunity, not the false “tactfulness” of the salon, butclear-cut slogans and courageous leadership. Let us hope thatZeller’s pamphlet will perform a service in the cause of theeducation of the young cadres of the new International!

Written on Nov. 7, 1935

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Last updated on: 6 February 2018