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Leon Trotsky 19300326 Letter to the Editorial Board of The Militant

Leon Trotsky: Letter to the Editorial Board of The Militant

March 26, 1930

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 13. Supplement (1929-1933), New York 1979, p. 31 f., title: “Prospects of the Communist League of America”]

To the Editorial Board of The Militant

Dear Comrades:

The visit of Comrade Shachtman, unfortunately too brief, was a great advantage to me, that is, for my information and contact with the American movement. In my recent letter addressed to Shachtman (I hope you have received it) I expressed the assumption, based upon The Militant itself, that the development of the Opposition had become less rapid and perhaps stagnant. Comrade Shachtman confirmed that the development, although not stagnant, was, however, slow. This stage was inevitable after the League had concentrated all the elements prepared by the past for the ideas of the Opposition. Now we have the task of educating a new stratum. That requires a certain time but the second stratum will be more numerous than the first.

In one of my first letters, sent upon the appearance of the weekly, I expressed the opinion that the League can arrive at the necessity to become an independent communist party. The relation of forces explained to me by Shachtman showed me that this “danger” is not imminent. I wish to correct my first assumption, but without any discouragement. If we begin in the United States and Canada with 200 or if we begin with 1,000 members, the difference is almost insignificant. The qualitative difference could be measured only by thousands and not by hundreds. ,

I learn from Shachtman your financial difficulties, which narrow my picture of a powerful America. The retreat from the weekly to a semi-monthly would be a certain defeat, and it is necessary, in spite of the summertime that is approaching, to exert heroic efforts to maintain the weekly, which has become not only of national but of international importance. Unfortunately, for the next period we cannot do all here that we would like to do, but we will do all that is possible. Shachtman will inform you of the details.

I have read your platform, although the unexpected departure of Shachtman found me just before the last section of it. At any rate, I have read the most important parts of it. (Unfortunately, I read it belatedly, not even knowing that the American comrades possessed a platform.) I find the platform by and large very good. Many parts, on the trade union question, for instance, are excellent. Certain doubts on the slogan of the labor party I have already spoken of to Comrade Shachtman; but I must study the question further with materials and more details at hand. But, summa summarum, I am sure and convinced that the platform is sufficient to assure the League political success, and the numerous signs indicate that the situation will become favorable for the genuine proletarian revolutionaries.

I hope that after the visit of Shachtman our relations with you will become closer, and I sign my best greetings and wishes.


L. Trotsky