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Fourth International, August 1941


Manager’s Column


From Fourth International, Vol.II No.7, August 1941, p. 194.
Transcribed, edited & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.


A year has passed since the assassination of Leon Trotsky. People who saw in Trotskylsm a movement based solely upon admiration for the genius of a man predicted a rapid disintegration of our forces after the Old Man’s death.

Yet this year has not only gown an inner solidification of the Trotskyist movement, but has brought an extension of the influence of our press throughout the world. The very process of social and political decay which drives capitalist reaction to persecute us also drives the world working class to assimilate Marxist theory.

The great hunger of the proletariat for an understanding or Its life process has never and will never go unsatisfied. The wealth of proletarian revolutionary science will spread – and does spread. The devices a desperate and dying bourgeois world uses to hinder this spread may be subtle or openly terroristic; they are all equally futile historically.

* * *

Excerpts from three communications are illustrative of the opinions of the readers in this country:

“In these times of darkness and chaos the Fourth International stands out as a light of hope and Inspiration. But more than that, the Fourth International – like The Militant – is today, even more than before, a living, breathing, fighting instrument of the working-class struggle. We must keep living, breathing and fighting.”

“Believe me, after reading for three weeks the filth of the bourgeois press, the columns of the Fourth International and Militant were like a breath of fresh air.”

“You comrades are doing a fine Job of getting out both revolutionary organs. It will be up to the comrades on the battle front to see that money comes in so the Fourth International can come out.

* * *

The letters which occasionally find their way through social disorganization, war and censorship give us significant insights into the way in which the movement carries on under all conditions.

One comes this month from Asia Minor. It reads in part:

“I turn to you with a request that you send us your papers and other publications with regularity. Among us there is a group which is very much interested in your theoretical explanations which are very new for us but of great fascination.

“The publications we received until the end of last year were completely read by us. Please now send us your latest journals.”

From England we again get a request for a change of address “because of enemy action” and find at the end of the short, business-like note: “The material has been reaching us quite regularly and we are very glad to have it. We find the material on the Military Policy most useful and we are looking ahead with confidence now in the new turn of events.”

Our most cherished letter of the month, however, has the following to say:

“A lot of water has passed through London, and a lot of water has been poured on London, since we last met. That seems a devil of a while ago to me.

“My main purpose in writing is to express my thanks and gratitude to everyone concerned for the way in which you have all endeavored to breach the gap in recent times. I cannot express all I feel about the matter but I would like you to know how very much I have appreciated all the items which you have sent me so regularly. I thank you for those that reached me and I must thank you for those that did not reach me – for I know of course that there have been losses, as you will know too. Many a time during very depressing periods your publications have been most welcome I can assure you. They have helped to break down that feeling of isolation, and in the midst of most trying circumstances have been a beacon of light in an abominable gloom.

“The death of L.T. was a great blow, something anticipated and yet not expected.

“You were no doubt informed that a Memorial Meeting was held here in London. During the meeting an air-raid warning took place, so the process of the meeting had to be held up (according to regulations) to allow anyone desirous of seeking shelter to do so. But needless to say no one left the meeting for that; they had come to pay their tribute to a great leader and preferred to stay.

“Thanks again for all the interesting and enlightening material which you have sent me. I would like to send you quite a number of news Items, but you know how things are with us, and anyway, judging from American publications, you must often know more about what has been on than we do over here ourselves.”

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Last updated on 13.9.2008