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Leon Trotsky 19301000 Letter to all sections of the International Opposition

Leon Trotsky: Letter to all sections of the International Opposition

October 1930

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 2, 1930, New York 1975, p. 393 f., title: “On Convoking a European Conference”]

To all sections of the International Opposition

Dear Comrades:

The growth of our ranks, the strengthening of our organizations, the adherence of new national sections, place new tasks before us and impose new obligations on us.

Up to now our work had an essentially critical and propagandist character. We have subjected and still subject to criticism the sorry experiments in policy of the centrist bureaucrats and their direction of the Comintern. This aspect of our activity should not only be continued with the same emphasis in the future, but should be broadened and deepened. At the same time the Left Opposition should participate more actively in struggles of the proletariat, formulating on each occasion its evaluation of the situation and the slogans that flow from it.

It is quite evident that this task requires a far closer international consolidation of the Opposition ranks. That is why the International Secretariat considers preparation of the world conference one of its most important tasks.

We consider the convoking of a European conference to be especially pressing. In the framework of the world as a whole, Europe represents not only a geographic unit but also an economic and political unit! It is unnecessary to recall that the slogan of the Soviet United States of Europe is based on this fact. It is precisely now that the problem of Europe as such is posed in a particularly acute form. The knot of the problem is Germany, its fate, its ultimate development Recent elections in Germany have revealed with unprecedented acuteness that the extremely unstable equilibrium of forces in German society can develop in the next period into the proletarian revolution or into the fascist counterrevolution. In either case, Europe — Europe above all — will be drawn into the whirlpool of great events. The International Opposition must work out a consistent analysis of the situation in Germany, in Europe, and in the entire world, and raise for the different countries well-coordinated slogans, flowing from a uniform general conception.

That is why we think the convoking of a preparatory European conference at the very beginning of next year is indispensable. The two or two and a half remaining months should be used for the most serious and detailed preparation for this conference.

The conference of our German section now taking place [October 11-12] will certainly furnish us with the most important material for the evaluation of the political situation and the tasks of the Opposition. The preparation for the conference of the French Communist League will be made in the same spirit. Its resolutions will be communicated in time to all the sections. The theses sent by the editors of the Russian Biulleten Oppozitsii on "The Turn in the Communist International and the Situation in Germany" should be considered a document intended for discussion in all the sections in their preparatory work for the conference. We intend to devote number 3 of the International Bulletin principally to questions concerning the European conference. We invite all the sections to send us immediately documents and other material that clarify their position and their work in the domain of current tasks, and also to declare their positions on any documents already sent and on those which they may send later containing amendments, counter-proposals, and additions.

It is self-evident that we are concerned with a conference of organizations that stand on a common basis of principle, tested by experience in struggle and international discussion. It would be absolute nonsense to return at this conference to questions already settled (one or two parties, the class character of the USSR, the class content of the Chinese revolution, etc.), since the line of demarcation inside the Opposition has already been established in these fields. Only that which is acquired through struggle is solid and durable. The task of the conference does not consist in reopening to question acquired positions, but, on the contrary, in formulating clearly and precisely the ideas and methods common to us, and in making them the cornerstone of the Opposition program. In this manner the European conference will mark a great step forward — preparation for the most important task of the world conference — a program obligatory for all the sections.

We hope that our initiative will meet with your approval and your support. However, we ask you to send us, as soon as possible, your definite reply on the subject of the desirability and importance of holding the conference in January 1931.