Leon Trotsky

Manifesto of the Fourth International

(May 1940)

Written: 28 May 1940.
First Published: Fourth International, Vol.1 No.5, October 1940, p.124.
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Transcriber’s Comments
This letter is a part of a series of letters published in this issue of Fourth International
under the heading of Trotsky’s Last Letters,
D.W., 2002.

(Trotsky had nearly completed the Manifesto of the Fourth International on The Imperialist War and the Proletarian Revolution, when the May 24 machine-gun attack on his house occurred. The Manifesto was adopted by the Emergency Conference of the International and is available in pamphlet form. “Comrade Hank” arrived to supervise reorganization of the defenses of the household.)

May 28, 1940

Dear Comrades,

You have now, I hope, the full text of the Manifesto in English. I was very sorry about the delay occasioned one time by a bad state of health, then by the length of the document and finally by the attempt. If you have already approved the document, as I hope (with some changes possibly), it is necessary in my opinion to undertake immediately a serious international action on the basis of the Manifesto. My general proposals are as follows:

  1. Publish the Manifesto in English as a special issue of the Socialist Appeal or of the Fourth International in an enlarged edition.
  2. Apart from the general channels of circulation I propose to send copies to all the labor publications, trade union offices, liberal and radical papers and magazines, etc. with a special letter which should in a very friendly manner invite the respective gentlemen and ladies to take a position toward the document in view of the importance of the matters treated therein. The letters should be signed by the General Secretary of the Party.
  3. Simultaneously the document should be translated in New York into German, French and if possible into Spanish and published in foreign languages at least in the form of a bulletin because we cannot hope that it would be published in Europe during the next period.
  4. The document should be seriously studied and discussed in Party branches.

* * *

The length of the document is determined by the necessity to present again our whole program in connection with the war. The Party cannot preserve its tradition without periodical repetitions of the general ideas of our program.

* * *

I hope to receive the text of the translation before its publication because secondary misunderstandings are inevitable in a text of such length.

With warmest greetings,

P.S. Comrade Hank came just in time. Not necessary to say how useful was his presence here this week.

The resignation of Burnham is, an excellent confirmation of our analysis and prognosis concerning the ex-Minority. We don’t believe that it is the last separation. – L. T.

return return return return return

Last updated on: 22.4.2007