Leon Trotsky

In Defense of Marxism

A Letter to John G. Wright [1]

First Published: Leon Trotsky, In Defense of Marxism, New York 1942.
Checked against: Leon Trotsky, In Defence of Marxism, London 1966, p.123.
All footnotes stem from the latter edition.

January 13, 1940

Dear Comrade Wright,

I agree completely with your appreciation of the pamphlet of Comrade Shachtman. [2] It is the weak Shachtman multiplied by factional passion. He lacks a small thing which is called the proletarian point of view. He lives in the realm of literary shadows: when he stands with his face toward the proletariat and Marxism, his shadows are useful because they correspond more or less with reality; now he turns his back to the proletarian majority of the party and to Marxism and as a result every word he writes is a fantastic misinterpretation of facts and ideas. I am obliged now to lose again a couple of days to submit his absolutely extravagant document to a more attentive analysis. I hope to show to the party members including the majority of the minority that Shachtman’s document is in every line a pathetic rupture with Marxism and with Bolshevism.

Yours fraternally,


1. This letter was written by Trotsky in English.

2. The pamphlet referred to is the Crisis in the American Party – An Open Letter to Comrade Leon Trotsky, published in Vol.II No.7 of the Internal Bulletin, dated January 1, 1940.

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Last updated on: 12.4.2007