Farrell Dobbs

“Our task is to first consolidate the forces around the IC on clearly defined political positions”

Letter from Farrell Dobbs to Peng Shezi

September 29, 1955

Written: September 29, 1955
Source: Education for Socialist Bulletin The Struggle to Reunify the Fourth International (1954-1963), Volume I: The First Parity Commission and Peng Shu-ste’s “Pabloism Reviewed” page 12. May 1977
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters

Dear Comrade Peng:

This is a preliminary reply to your letter of September 8. We share your desire to carry our international discussion into the ranks of the parties and groups influenced by Pablo. Your information about the trend towards orthodox Trotskyism in the ranks of Frank’s group in France and Livio’s group in Italy is very heartening. We haven’t had this information before and it bolsters our conviction that once the discussion gets under way in earnest, the Pabloites will be routed completely.

It is our opinion, however, that at this stage our task is to first consolidate the forces around the IC on clearly defined political positions. This has not been done yet. To be sure, many documents have been written by the French, by the Chinese comrades, and by us polemicizing against Pabloite revisionism. These documents have in the main correctly defended Trotskyism as against the liquidation-ists. They have served to delineate the respective tenden-cies and to begin the rearmament of the Trotskyist tendency. But this rearmament has not yet been completed and will not be completed until the discussion we are now engaged in has been further developed among the parties and groups adhering to the IC.

We have made a good beginning here along this line at the plenary meeting of our National Committee. We had a full discussion of the three documents now in circulation and especially on the Chinese resolution. These documents have been approved by the overwhelming majority of the National Committee and we are now submitting them in the name of the Plenum for discussion in our ranks and among the supporters of the IC. We have already supplied the Ceylonese first drafts of the documents and will continue to keep them supplied with all discussion mate-rial.

In the meantime, we will continue the work on the sections of the international document yet to be written. The discussion we are now engaged in is therefore only at the beginning stage. It should run its full course among the Trotskyists, in the leadership as well as in the ranks, until common political positions have been reached.

The one meeting of the parity committee clearly revealed the futility of engaging in a political discussion with the Pabloites at this stage. At that meeting, they submitted all their documents dating back to the Third Congress and offered their bankrupt line as the basis for discussion. although their line has already been repudiated in the internal struggle and split.

The Pabloites will get involved in this discussion whether they like it or not. All we need do is to see that the documents are translated into the necessary languages and circulated among those who are genuinely interested in programmatic clarity.

But we do not see that a parity committee can play any useful role in this process. It can do harm. It would give Pablo an opening to substitute organizational maneuvers in a new attempt to confuse the ideological issues.

We expect to return to a more extensive discussion of the parity committee question in our further correspondence with you.

Comradely yours,
Smith [Dobbs]

P’s. We would appreciate any further information you can give us about internal developments among the various parties and groups on the continent.