Leon Trotsky

Letters to Belgium

A Collection of Trotsky’s writings on Belgium


Written: Between 1929 and 1938
Publisher: The following introduction was published with Trotsky’s letters on Belgium in Revolutionary History, Vol.7 No.1. For the full list of articles in this journal see the past issues in www.revolutionary-history.co.uk.
Translated: Ted Crawford.
Online Version: Marxists Internet Archive, 2002.
Transcribed: Ted Crawford.
HTML Markup: David Walters.


The pieces translated and assembled here were selected from the large number of letters on Belgian affairs published in the French Oeuvres (first series, vol.3, pp.58-62; vol.8, pp.40-3, 192-8; vol.9, pp.66-9, 126-8; vol.10, pp.56-9; vol.15, pp.332-3; and vol.18, pp.271-2, Paris 1978-84, and second series, vol.3, pp.196-7, Paris 1989) and the Cahiers Leon Trotsky (no.16, December 1983, pp.102-3; no.20, December 1984, pp.102-3), but which were unavailable for inclusion in the English series of the Writings of Leon Trotsky at the time of its compilation. Our principle of selection has been based on how far they touch upon broad political ideas and Marxist analysis in general, and how far they shed light upon the narrative historical material we have printed in this issue.

To form a complete picture of Trotsky’s dealings with the Belgian movement, it is obviously also necessary to consult those letters and articles already in print in English. These include The Sino-Soviet Conflict and the Position of the Belgian Oppositionists, 30 September 1929 (Writings of Leon Trotsky 1929, New York 1975, pp.332-6); To the Executive Committee of the Belgian Opposition, 12 October 1930 (Writings of Leon Trotsky 1930-31, New York 1973, pp.47-8); An Open Letter to Vandervelde, 5 December 1932 (Writings of Leon Trotsky 1932, New York 1973, pp.340-2); The Belgian Opposition and Its Newspaper, 20 December 1932 (Writings of Leon Trotsky 1932-33, New York 1972, pp.39-40); Doubts, Hesitations and Fears, Autumn 1933 (Writings of Leon Trotsky 1933-34, New York 1975, pp.132-4); An Offer to Le Peuple, 9 January 1934, The “Belgian” Tradition in Discussion, 22 September 1934 We Should Join the Belgian Young Socialists, 19 November 1934; and After the Belgian Conference, 24 March 1935 (Writings of Leon Trotsky, Supplement 1934-40, New York 1979, pp.439, 527-30, 539-40, 570-1); Austria, Spain, Belgium and the Turn, 1 November 1934; and The Belgian Dispute and the De Man Plan, 2 March 1935 (Writings of Leon Trotsky 1934-35, New York 1971, pp.10l-4, 210-8); To the Editors of Action Socialiste Revolutionnaire, 23 August 1935; An Answer to Comrades in Anvers (Antwerp), November 1935; Tactical Questions and Splits, 18 November 1935; Suggestions for the Belgian Section, 27 March 1936; and Echoes of a Belgian Witch-Hunt, 23 September 1935 (Writings of Leon Trotsky 1935-36, New York 1977, pp.95-7, 190-6, 287-92, 432-3); Two Manifestations of the Same Tendency, 18 May 1937 (Writings of Leon Trotsky 1936-37, New York 1978, p.290); A Test of Ideas and Individuals Through the Spanish Experience, 24 August 1937 (The Spanish Revolution, 1931-39, New York, 1973, pp.269-81); Once More on Comrades Sneevliet and Vereeken, 24 May 1938; and To the Congress of the Revolutionary Socialist Party of Belgium, 22 June 1938 (Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-38, New York 1976, pp.336-42, 367-9). Further correspondence and extracts from letters can be found in G. Vereeken, The GPU in the Trotskyist Movement, London 1976, especially on pp.104-5, 111-2, 270-2, 292-3 and 305-6.

1. First Contact with Belgium
(April 30, 1929)

2. The discussion with Hennaut
(November 16, 1933)

3. Conversation with Paul-Henri Spaak
(February 18, 1934)

4. Letter to Paul Henri Spaak
(April 14, 1934)

5. Against the Confusion of the Antwerp Comrades
(January 4, 1936)

6. Beware Opportunism!
(February 9, 1936)

7. Watch Dauge Carefully
(February 9, 1936)

8. About Manoeuvres
(March 16, 1936)

9. The Faults of the ASR
(March 29, 1936)

10. On Audacity
(March 30, 1936)

11. Belgian Perspectives
(June 6, 1936)

12. Workers and Theory
(November 30, 1937)

13. The Trade Union Question
(August 31, 1938)

Additional Articles

In addition to the articles listed above the following article concerning Belgium has been published elsewhere:

1. Revisionism and Planning
(January 9, 1934)
(New International, March 1945)

back back back back back

Last updated on: 17.9.2008