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The Movement in Mexico

Revolutionary Events as Seen by Our Own Correspondent

(February 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 7, 10 February 1934, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Mexico City. – There is no lack of activity or signs of activity of the Bolshevik-Leninists in Mexico City. In fact, judging by the number of posters, signs, etc., on the street the Internationalists are as active or nearly as active as the Stalinist party.

The first day in town I noticed a statement of our comrades on the Montevideo Congress, printed and pasted all over the workers’ section.

Then in my walking through the town I saw painted in a great number of places “Viva la Oposicio de Izquierda Communista” with sickles and hammers. I also noticed a mimeographed statement of the opposition on the 7th of November all over the working class sections of the city.

There is another sign of activity of the Internationalist Communists. This is the great attention and amount of space given them in the Stalinist organ, the Machete. Every issue of this rag is filled with rabid frothings, lies, slander, provocation, denunciation – this is their “ideological” campaign.

Stalinist Provocation

The four numbers I have seen of this paper each contained lengthy attacks. In one attack, they gave the name of one of the leaders of the group, and where he worked – all the police had to do was pick him up and send him to the Islas de Tres Marias on this information.

When I showed this to a Stalinist party sympathizer he, stated, “Oh, the police don’t bother the Trotskyites”. I said that I didn’t believe him. In a little while you will see the truth of this statement.

The story itself was a delirious lie. The truth is the contrary of all the statements Machete made. Our comrade did not help the boss cut the workers’ wages – he organized the workers against this cut in wages. For this he was thrown out on the street jobless.

It was through this statement that I made contact with the group. I went up to the shop where the comrade was supposed to have done his counter-revolutionary work and asked where I could find this man.

The workers did not manifest any signs of indignation when I said I was his friend. On the contrary, one worker volunteered to show me where he lived and accompanied me there. He did not curse comrade L. or abuse him, but rather spoke of him with affection and admiration. This worker, by his intelligent class conscious conversation, showed that not a faker, or government agent had worked for some time beside him but a class conscious revolutionist.

Young Internationalists

I made contact with our comrade, who at present is working in a little shop. After I showed him your letter and had talked with him, he gave me the following information:

We have in Mexico City a group of 47, about 25 active. The majority are young, none of them work for the government, all are workers. How different from the Stalinist Party: He invited me to a meeting of the group the following night.

I accompanied this comrade on the meeting night. We entered a room, then went upstairs. Everyone who entered was first seen from above.

The first thing I noticed about the comrades was that the majority were young. I mean really young, – 17 to 22 was the majority. There were a few older workers, obviously unskilled laborers, one of whom brought the latest copy of the Machete with a slanderous cowardly attack upon us in it.

The first order of business was the reading of this article and its refutation. Then a class took place in historical materlalism. (This was an educational meeting.) Persecution of Comrades

When the meeting broke up, one of the comrades in conversation with me accidentally let the remark drop that he had done time on the Islas de Tres Marias. I was amazed.

Here was a youngster of barely 17, a child, who had spent six months on the Devil’s Island of Mexico. He had, besides, been arrested innumerable times.

When I expressed my amazement he showed me three other comrades ranging in age from 15 to 22 who bad also been picked up with him and had served time. Two were 22, one was 16, and one 15.

I was rather bitter when I thought of this party sympathizer’s statement: “The police never bother the Trotskyites.” I looked at the child who had contracted dysentry on the islands, and who would never be the same – this was the agent among the working class sent by the government.

Marxist Education

Poverty-stricken, harassed by the government, our comrades in Mexico work on. They are developing all sides of their work. They are educating themselves in Marxism. They are doing work among the masses. They are internationalists and so are preparing a Boycott Hitler Campaign. They are also planning to set up an apparatus for legal work. They are organizing syndicates (unions). They are going to carry on the Boycott Campaign in two ways – first, a statement by the group and then in a united front form. The statement will be printed and distributed by the League and pasted on walls all night, and at great risk, lest the pro-government Trotskyites are picked up by the government they are so devotedly serving and sent by that government to the Island. But our comrades here are internationalists in theory, and in fact – and are willing to suffer for their internationalism if necessary.

The comrades here have something that is unique in our international organization – a group of children organized in a Red Pioneer Group. These children learn about the class struggle both from books and in participating in the battle. They organize demonstrations of the children for free books and papers.

Demagogy of Government

The government, a master in demagogy (it is in reality a Social Democratic government), has, with a loud blast, inaugurated “Socialist Education”. They do not, with all their “Socialist education”, give the workers’ children adequate school facilities or free books or paper, thus making the loudly proclaimed compulsory education illusory. Our Pioneers are educating the struggle of the workers’ children. Some of these grammar school children in the group have more than once seen the inside of the jail of the Mexican Workers and Peasants government (so the government describes itself).

It must be understood that the work has many shortcomings. This is inevitable, granting the conditions. The comrades find it difficult to buy books and read, they are so expensive. The illegal paper, the Izquierda (Left), has difficulty in coming out due to the high cost of stencils and papers.

Trotsky’s Works Popular

The book stores here prominently display Trotsky’s books and they seem to have a good sale among the students and intellectuals. I have seen all of Trotsky’s work on display – printed in Spain and Chile in the main. The tragedy is that they are so expensive. Sixty centavos, which is the cost of the cheapest pamphlet amounts to nearly half a day’s wages for an unskilled worker. It amounts to half a week’s wages for a young worker. Marx’s, Engel’s, Trotsky’s and Lenin’s works are loaned among the comrades until the print on the cheap paper becomes indiscernable and the book is in tatters.

The Militant also plays a great role in the education of the comrades. By dint of great labor important articles are translated and are read to the comrades. Unfortunately, since none of the comrades know English, this can only be done at all-too-rare occasions.

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