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Leon Trotsky 19380204 Letter to J. J. Bleiman

Leon Trotsky: Letter to J. J. Bleiman

February 4, 1938

[Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-1938, New York 1970, p. 160, under the title Letter to an American Youth”]

Dear Friend:

Your difficulty in understanding the great controversy over the Moscow trials comes from a lack of necessary historical study and life experience. For anyone who knows history and its laws, especially the history of revolutions and counterrevolutions, the Moscow trials do not present the slightest mystery. You can say, however, that there are many ladies and gentlemen who in spite of their very mature age and scholarship believe or pretend to believe the Moscow accusations. Yes. But there are people who believe that Eve was made from Adam's rib and that Christ fed multitudes of people with five loaves of bread and two fish, transformed water into wine, and so on. It was mainly for this kind of people that the Moscow trials were devised.

People with an open mind and logical sense are now in the minority, it is true, but this progressive minority will have the privilege of convincing the majority. All genuine progress is made in this way. If you would belong to this progressive minority you must study Marxism and the history of revolutions. You will learn, for example, that the bourgeois, bureaucratic, Thermidorean reaction accused Robespierre, Saint-Just, Couthon, and their friends – all of them unshakable revolutionaries – of being royalists, traitors, and agents of the British monarchy. All of them were guillotined and the majority of people at that time believed the accusations to be correct. Who believes it now?

My best greetings, Leon Trotsky