Leon Trotsky

Trotsky Defends Asylum in
Slashing Reply to Toledano

(November 1938)

Written: 10 November 1938.
First Published: Socialist Appeal, Vol. II No. 50, 19 November 1938, p. 4.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2015. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 12. – Vigorously defending; himself against the latest Stalinist drive to destroy his asylum in the sole country of the globe willing to receive him, Leon Trotsky yesterday tore away the clumsy framework of a typical Lombardo Toledano, calumny, exposing, the crude lies upon which this Stalinist lackey based himself. Comrade Trotsky’s statement is as follows:

In his speech at the Palace of Fine Arts on Nov. 8, Toledano declared: “... Something that I have never affirmed, because I am not crack-brained, is to say that Trotsky had proposed a general strike during the petroleum conflict ...” It is to be presumed that the report of the speech in El Popular has been edited by the orator himself with the necessary care. [Lombardo Toledano is editor of El PopularEd. Note] It is not possible to desire anything more categorical than the refutation cited above: “because I am not crack-brained !!!” Nevertheless we shall try to check what Mr. Toledano says.

In the newspapers of May 31, 1937 (El Universal, first section, page 8, Excelsior, first section, page 4, El Nacional, first section, page 6, La Prensa, page 6) in the report of Toledano’s speech at a meeting held May 30, 1937, in the Theater of the People, it was stated:

“We are not going to follow those who label themselves of the extreme left and wish to carry us into a general strike in the Republic. We are not going to follow Trotsky who represents the counter-revolution. The general strike, is against the government.”

Cracked Brains

In these four newspapers we encounter the same phrase. It is clear that the text has a character if not official, at least not less than authoritative. Neither the discourse as a whole nor the phrase which interests us have ever been disavowed by Mr. Toledano.

In the same newspaper is printed my declaration of June 26, 1937, in which I said:

“Mr. Toledano in a series of public declarations attributes to me various acts of intervention in the internal life of Mexico (particularly, for example, a call for ... a general strike). In such statements there is not one word of truth.”

Yet after this, Mr. Toledano did not publish a single rectification of his speech. We had to wait a year and a half for Toledano to find it necessary in a new speech to declare that he is not “crack-brained” and that he had not made such statements. He is not correct this time either. The facts and the texts speak in another manner. The refutations of Mr. Toledano, as we see, are distinguished by the same exactitude as his affirmations. But minus times minus equals plus.

Mr. Toledano does not want an investigation of his accusations made by an impartial commission. In place of this, he has begun to refute them himself. Personally, I do not have any objection to these methods, and accept with gratitude the testimony that the only ones able to accuse me of wishing to provoke a general strike against the government of General Cardenas – according to Mr. Toledano – are the crack-brained. I add only that the other accusations launched against me have the same value.

Coyoacan, D.F., June 18, 1938

Leon Trotsky

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Last updated on: 12 September 2015