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Leon Trotsky 19350621 Letter to the International Secretariat and all youth sections

Leon Trotsky: Letter to the International Secretariat and all youth sections

June 21, 1935

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 14, New York 1979, p. 595 f., title: “Please Pay Attention to the Youth Question”]

To the International Secretariat and all youth sections

Dear Comrades:

It is only now that I have understood how the Stockholm Bureau, so called even though it resides in another country, functions. What is the cause of this? The most important of the organizations, the Swedish [Socialist Youth League], refused from the beginning to extend hospitality to the international youth secretariat in order to preserve themselves from the criminal nucleus of Leninists. This single fact is completely sufficient to assess the Swedish youth leadership at its real worth. I think we made a serious error right from the start in accepting this unworthy and humiliating condition. A revolutionary organization can never be based on equivocation and bureaucratic maneuvering, even when the bureaucrats are very young.

After “expelling” the secretariat from its country, this organization found it necessary to transmit its mandate to Mot Dag, that is, to a numerically very weak organization without the least revolutionary merit. This arrangement sufficiently demonstrates how much importance the young Swedish bureaucrats accord to the international organization. Everything -is based on fictions and manipulations. Can anyone truly believe that with such a “base” the working class youth can be won on a world scale?

The political attitude of Mot Dag is pernicious from all points of view. Not only did the representative of our youth, Comrade Held, have to protest with vehemence and demand that the Swedes withdraw their mandate from Mot Dag, but even the representative of the SAP, Brandt, found it necessary this time to sign Comrade Held’s protest.

The Swedes have not yet officially responded. Held supposes that they would rather not disown those to whom they have entrusted their mandate, who are besides no more opportunistic than the Swedes themselves. It can be supposed that negotiations are right now being held between the Swedes, Mot Dag and Brandt — unbeknownst to our Comrade Held — to settle the affair amicably, that is, to the detriment of revolutionary principles and of our organization.

It would be absolutely criminal on our part to adapt to the SAP representative, who himself wants to adapt to the Swedes, even though they are inclined to adapt to the Mot Dag group. Held has proposed that we set up for the interim period a provisional youth secretariat in Paris (one representative of the IS, one representative of the Bolshevik-Leninist youth of France, one representative of the SAP) to convene as soon as possible an international youth conference, which should on its part set up a new international bureau. It seems to me that we have to decide as soon as possible for the proposal of Held or for an analogous combination to get us out of this untenable compromising situation. I beg you, comrades, to give your attention to this very important question, which is inextricably tied to the renewal of our campaign for the Fourth International.

Crux [Leon Trotsky]