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Leon Trotsky 19301012 Letter to the Executive Committee of the Belgian Opposition

Leon Trotsky: Letter to the Executive Committee of the Belgian Opposition

October 12, 1930

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 3, 1930-1931, New York 1973, p. 47 f.]

Copy to the International Secretariat in Paris and to the Opposition Group of Charleroi

Dear Comrades:

I can hardly believe that after a year of ideological struggle anything fundamental can be added in this letter to what has already been said on both sides in the press. I will restrict myself here to one question only, namely, to the perspectives of one or two parties in Belgium.

The struggle for the Communist International is the struggle for the vanguard of the world proletariat, for the heritage of the October Revolution, and for the preservation of Bolshevism. We are not at all inclined to believe that the revolutionary heritage of the past is at present incorporated in the "ideals" of the Urbahns group or of some of the Brussels comrades. The revolutionary heritage is mighty. We must learn how to realize it

Our general line does not exclude the possibility for us in one or another country, according to the relation of forces, to assume the role of an independent political party. Such an exclusive condition in one isolated country would not, however, change in the least our fundamental orientation to regenerate the Comintern. The independent party of the Bolshevik-Leninists in one country would have to act as a section of the Comintern and regard the weaker official party as a faction, applying the tactic of the united front in order to demonstrate to the workers where the responsibility for the split lies.

As you see, this position has nothing in common with the one you defend. But as a perspective for Belgium, the possibility which I regarded as a hypothesis has proved to be unattainable. Two years ago the Belgian Opposition certainly represented a force that had to be taken seriously. But the present Brussels leadership has manifested during this time a lack of decisiveness in principle, an unpardonable wavering on every question, and an inclination to support every group that has opposed the International Opposition on fundamental questions. Openly or in secret, you have supported Urbahns, Paz, Monatte, and others against the Left Opposition, although these groups have nothing in common with each other except their hatred of the Bolshevik-Leninists. The consequences of such a policy are obvious. While in all other countries without exception the Opposition has made serious progress in every direction or at least consolidated itself ideologically, in Belgium the Opposition has become constantly weaker. You can well understand that the International Opposition has no reason to put the responsibility for this tragic state on anyone but the Brussels Executive Committee

In the minutes of the April international conference I read the following statement of Comrade Hennaut: "I believe that if the Charleroi comrades persist in their irreconcilable point of view, it will be impossible for us to cooperate any more. For the basis of a common struggle, there must be a minimum of confidence" The International Opposition must apply these words to the Brussels EC today.

The International Secretariat is not a letter-box. It is an organism which unites a faction with common ideas on an international scale As you well know, I insisted last year that the Charleroi comrades continue to cooperate with you. Together with the French comrades I had hoped that on the basis of the experiences of collaboration, a conciliation could be brought about. This hope has not been realized. Nothing remains but to say what is, above all, that we do not belong to the same faction, and to draw the necessary conclusions.

I therefore subscribe to the conclusion brought before me by the Charleroi comrades, by the editors of La Vérité, and by Comrade Obin in their criticism of your declaration.

With communist greetings,

L. Trotsky