Leon Trotsky‎ > ‎1938‎ > ‎

Leon Trotsky 19381030 Letter to James P. Cannon

Leon Trotsky: Letter to James P. Cannon

October 30, 1938

[Writings of Leon Trotsky, Vol 11, 1938-1938, New York ²1974, p. 267-269]

Dear Friend,

I must occupy you with the question of Diego Rivera. He is extremely dissatisfied with the resolution of the congress

1) Diego Rivera protested most emphatically against the last paragraph of the resolution, which recommends that Rivera not belong to the Mexican section and that he work directly under the supervision of the Latin American subcommittee.

How did this decision arise? For a year I observed the work of Diego Rivera in the League. It represented for himself a series of useless personal sacrifices and personal offenses. Repeatedly I expressed my opinion in this sense that Diego should not occupy any administrative posts in the League. But as a member of the League he was continually nominated to posts and he couldn't find the possibility to refuse. And then the conflicts, the source of which you know, began again. In this way arose the idea that Diego should not be considered as a member of the Mexican League but as a member of our Pan-American staff. This was my personal idea. I discussed it with Diego himself. He didn't oppose it. At that time he found himself that the best for him as a painter and as a revolutionary would be not to be intricated in the routine work of the Mexican League. In this sense I discussed the question with you. My formulation was, as you surely remember yourself: "Diego is too precious an acquisition of the Fourth International for us to allow the political fate of this acquisition to rest in dependence upon the attitude of Galicia and company." You, Shachtman, and Dunne were completely of the same opinion

I am absolutely sure that this is the origin of the last paragraph of the resolution.

But I must recognize that the formulation is not happy and can give pretext to misinterpretations and insinuations. I personally don't believe that if was necessary to publish this part of the resolution. But it is done and now it is necessary to explain the real meaning of this decision, namely: (a) The conference didn't of course forbid Diego to belong to the Mexican League. Such a decision would be really incompatible with his revolutionary dignity. As a matter of fact every member of the Fourth International is obliged to belong to the national section. The conference made an exception for Diego, giving him the right and the advice not to belong to the Mexican section but to develop his activity on a larger arena: Pan-American and international. The reason for that decision was that some Mexican leaders didn't understand enough the importance for the Fourth International as a whole of such a world figure as Diego Rivera.. I believe that in one form or another this idea, which is the genuine sense of the decision of the conference, should.. be expressed in our international press. It could be for example done In the form of a statement of the Pan-American Committee in answering questions upon the real meaning of the decision concerning Diego Rivera. In my opinion it should be done as early and as categorically as possible.

2) The other objections of Diego Rivera made in personal discussions with me before the publishing of the resolution seem to be blown away by the text of the resolution: (a) Galicia's league is not recognized as our section; (b) The new section- should be reconstructed on the base of real work of everyone in accordance with the decisions of the conference, especially in the trade union work. Galicia and Fernandez are deprived of the right to occupy during a year any responsible post in the Mexican section. (c) C. is appointed as the representative of the International Bureau in Mexico.

All these decisions correspond in my eyes to the propositions we elaborated here in agreement with Diego himself. (I would for my part oppose putting Fernandez on the same level a s Galicia: I would for example prefer that he be demoted for six months only. But this is not important.)

Comrade C. says that all former members of the League are trying to reestablish their reputation. We should not be too confident. The experience of the past here is very bad. For my part I am almost convinced that Galicia will rebegin his maneuvers. The resolution of the conference arms us enough in order to prevent such maneuvers and not to permit him again to win the support of the overwhelming majority of the organization. The future will show how the selection can go on. Carefulness, caution are now obligatory. But it is clear that the whole Mexican experience begins now on a new, higher level and under the supervision of our international organization. This new experience will have a great educational value for the members of the future Mexican section.

Concerning the theoretical magazine it should in my opinion remain absolutely independent from the future Mexican section. Clave is destined for all Spanish-speaking partisans and sympathizers of the Fourth International. The editorial board is composed of three members of the Fourth International (Diego Rivera, C., and myself) and three sympathizers (the Zamora brothers and Ferrel). For the next period I believe the magazine should continue as it is. This is also the opinion of Diego and C. It would be good that the Pan-American Committee confirms us in the composition of the editorial board and the direct dependence of us three on the Pan-American Committee.

Comradely,

Comments