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Leon Trotsky 19380609 Letter to Alexis Bardin

Leon Trotsky: Letter to Alexis Bardin

June 9, 1938

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 14, New York 1979, p 774 f., title: “Molinier and the International Conference”]

Dear Comrade:

I am writing you this letter after much hesitation, for experience has shown me that it is very difficult to convince the French comrades of the necessity of careful and energetic maneuvers toward this or that opponent. They let themselves be carried away by their feelings, by a purely psychological "intransigence," and in the end it comes to nothing.

The problem is always the Molinier organization [the PCI]. It is the greatest obstacle for the development of our section. This impostor throws an extremely unfavorable light on the Fourth International and repels the workers. They tell themselves: Yes, these are good ideas, but these people are capable of nothing.

We must know how to use the next [international] conference to settle this troublesome question. I suppose that Molinier will make an attempt to participate in the conference. Our section will naturally be opposed. But that is not sufficient. A purely negative attitude would leave everything as it is now, that is, in very bad shape. Moreover, the international conference could not respond with an outright rejection to any organization whatsoever that proposes to join. That is why I think that the conference should name if need be a special commission to analyze the character of the PCI (its composition, its policy, its financial sources, etc.). The same commission should of course also pose the personal question of Molinier. If the commission's investigation shows that the majority of the PCI is seeking nothing but to demur to the Fourth International, we could very well formulate some conditions. For example, that Molinier leave France and go to the United States, and remain there for two years without being accepted by the American section. For two years he would demonstrate through his attitude his right to be reinstated. The new members of the PCI can enter the POI as full members. The former members, those who left the POI, must pass through a provisional period, let us say six months. All this is just an example. I do not believe we can settle the whole question definitively, but we certainly could shake up the obstacle posed by the PCI, and if Molinier and his friends refuse to accept the decision of the conference, the latter could adopt a motion based on full knowledge of the situation and thereby strike a decisive blow against the Molinier group. In passing, we can disarm Vereecken and others like him who have begun to flirt with the PCI. The advantage of such a procedure is enormous. But it requires a calm, firm, and intelligent attitude on the part of the leadership of the POI, which must not oppose setting up the commission, not rush through the investigation, not compromise the plan through careless articles or even conversations before or during the conference. In the event that Molinier and his friends do refuse, you would hold all the cards; the decision forbidding Molinier from engaging in political activity retains full force and his disloyalty is obvious.

This letter is strictly confidential. I would consider its disclosure directly or indirectly by any comrade as a disloyal act.

My sincerest greetings,