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Leon Trotsky 19351018 Letter to Jean Rous

Leon Trotsky: Letter to Jean Rous

October 18, 1935

[The Spanish Revolution (1931-39). New York 1973, p. 206 f., title: “Letter to a Comrade”]


The most recent issue of La Batalla contains the manifesto of the Unification Congress of the Workers and Peasants Bloc with the Left Communists. I direct your attention to the one paragraph that speaks of international affiliation.

The new party claims adherence to the [London Bureau for] Revolutionary Socialist Unity (IAG). It is natural for Spain as it was natural for Holland; in these two cases, the majority had belonged to the IAG before the fusion. But the explanation of this adherence in the manifesto is most inadequate. The document affirms that this international organization (IAG) "works objectively for the reconstruction of the unity of revolutionary forces on a new foundation." What does this "objectively" mean? One could say that the proletariat is objectively forced to take the road of revolution: by that, one would be referring to the laws of capitalist development. But how can one speak of the same "objective" necessity for small propaganda organizations? The whole meaning of their existence is in their subjective effort: What is their program? What is their goal? These subjective criteria determine entirely the role that they can play in the workers' movement.

But precisely these decisive questions are unanswered. They speak only of "revolutionary unity on a new foundation." But we are interested in knowing what this "new foundation" is. That of the SAP or that of revolutionary Marxism and of the Fourth International? In the Dutch party, a bitter struggle is developing on this question. The longer the new Spanish party refuses to make its formulas precise in this discussion, the more heated and destructive the conflict that will inevitably engulf the contradictory tendencies.

We can only insist in a friendly way on the need for theoretical and political precision in the interests of the future of the new Spanish party.