From Labor Action, vol. 4 No. 21, 2 September 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
The bloodstained assassin of the Kremlin and his jackal hordes of the GPU struck down our Leon Trotsky. By that murderous act they have wounded us in our hearts and in our minds. The loss of L.D. has shorn us of our friend, our comrade, our leader.
We knew Trotsky as the co-worker of Lenin, the leader of the October insurrection, the organizer of the Red army, and with Lenin, the initiator of the once great Communist International. But he was much closer than that to us. He founded the International Left Opposition which began the historic struggle against counter-revolutionary Stalinism. He taught us to fight this cancerous affliction in the workers movement with revolutionary weapons. He founded the Fourth International as the movement of Marxist regeneration. Through all the periods of our existence we came to know our Trotsky. What we have learned we learned from him for he was the Marxist theoretician of our time!
Driven from country to country, a man without a visa, hounded by the decaying ruling classes of Europe, stalked by Stalin and his GPU, he came nearer to us.
Our relations to Trotsky were not impersonal. We came to know him as our genial L.D., warm-hearted, full of pleasant wit, intensely human – the friend of all of us.
There is not a person in the movement of the Fourth International who does not feel a great loneliness, an overwhelming personal loss – this is true for those of us who had the good fortune to know L.D. personally and those who knew him only through his gigantic work.
On so sad an occasion as this we re-echo the words of Friedrich Engels, who, upon the death of Marx, had written:
“BE THAT AS IT MAY, MANKIND IS SHORTER BY A HEAD, HAS LOST THE GREATEST HEAD OF OUR TIME. THE PROLETARIAN MOVEMENT WILL CONTINUE ON ITS COURSE, BUT WE NO LONGER HAVE THE CENTRAL FIGURE WHOM THE FRENCH, THE RUSSIANS, THE AMERICANS AND THE GERMANS SPONTANEOUSLY TURNED IN DECISIVE MOMENTS, AND ALWAYS RECEIVED CLEAR AND IRREFUTABLE COUNSEL SUCH AS NOTHING BUT GENIUS AND PERFECT KNOWLEDGE COULD SUPPLY.”
Comrade Trotsky would not have us abject or sorrowful. His was the spirit of the proletarian warrior and that is the spirit he would have of us.
He has left an enormous heritage. His active life alone would guide us in the days to come. But he has also left us brilliant Marxist writings which will serve as enriching searchlights to guide us in the approaching future, in the struggle for the liberation of mankind. There is but one way to avenge the murder of our heroic Trotsky: To carry on the struggle with audacity, devotion and courage! To fight for the victory of the oppressed masses of the earth! To fight for the victory of the world socialist society! That would be his way, that is how he would have us be.
It is in this spirit that we mourn our loss and pay tribute to the memory of Leon Trotsky, the titanic figure of our time.
And it is in this same spirit that we pay tribute to our Natalia Ivanovna, his great comrade and companion whose life was one with his, through the long decades in which they marched side by side in victory and defeat. Farewell Leon Trotsky ... We are marching on!
Last updated on 6.10.2012