Weber (Jacobs) Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Jack Weber

To the Editors of the Nation

(3 April 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 20, 19 May 1947, p. 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Editors, The Nation
20 Vesey Street
New York, N.Y.

I read with mingled feelings not easily described, the review of the Budenz book by James T. Farrell in your issue of March 29. My mind went back to the shabby performance of the editors of The Nation after the second Moscow Trial at the beginning of 1937. It was just after that, if recollection serves me correctly, that James T. Farrell became persona non grata to The Nation because of his known sympathies and antipathies. What made The Nation turn to him now for a review of the book by Budenz which uncovers one small part of the dastardly plot against the life of Leon Trotsky?

Trotsky himself in January 1937 did his best from his newly found place of exile in Mexico to unmask the bloody frame-ups being perpetrated by Stalin in Moscow. The second trial tried in the crude fashion of the GPU to transfer part of the supposed terrorist plot to Norwegian soil. The Russian revolutionist thereupon propounded a series of questions which he demanded be put to Pyatakov by the chief prosecutor, Vyshinsky, to explode the fakery of the trials. Trotsky asked the press everywhere, in the interests of truth and justice, to appeal to Moscow riot to carry out the execution of Pyatakov until such questions could be put to him. These questions and an accompanying article were at once submitted to The Nation. Please bear in mind that Trotsky had been a distinguished contributor of The Nation up to the Moscow Trials, in which he was now being accused of having committed the most vile deeds. The editors declined to publish so urgently and timely an article, thus closing their columns at such a moment to any possible defense on the part of a previous Nation writer. The Nation was already turning in the direction of “totalitarian liberalism.” The action of the Editors in this and other instances lowered the standards and prestige of the previously courageous magazine enormously. I venture to say that it has never since recovered its former place of respect.

Do the editors think that they make some vicarious atonement at this late date by having Farrell review the Budenz book? Doesn’t that book itself call for a searching of souls among the editors of The Nation themselves? From where I stand, without some real mental and moral purgation the situation of those editors can only become worse rather than better with the passing of time.


Yours truly,
Jack Weber

New York, April 3, 1947

P.S. – The last item from the pen of Trotsky to appear in The Nation was a copy of a letter sent by him to Trygve Lie. It could very well be republished right now.


(The letter above was sent to The Nation. It is here published in view of the fact that it has not appeared in The Nation, though five weeks have elapsed. The Trotsky article, referred to in the postscript, will appear in a coming issue of Labor Action.)

Weber (Jacobs) Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 29 October 2022