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Leon Trotsky 19380126 Letter to Jan Frankel

Leon Trotsky: Letter to Jan Frankel

January 26, 1938

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 14, New York 1979, p 752 f., under the title “Thomas's Letter and Dewey's Speech”]

Dear Friend:

I sent you a copy of my letter to Wendelin Thomas. His letter to me is very stupid and arrogant. Even now he continues to affirm that the [Dewey] commission cannot avoid expressing its opinion that the Stalinist policy is the result of Bolshevism. How can he make such assertions after the decision has been arrived at?

I am a bit disquieted about this, especially in connection with the speech of Dewey. Contrary to the opinion of some comrades, I must say that it was not very loyal on the part of the "old man" to vociferate his own political views in the name of the commission. It was doubly disloyal because I trusted to him the reading of my cable which sorrily abstained from any political enunciations. What Dewey said did not represent the decision of the commission and was contrary to the opinion of some members of the commission: Rosmer, Zamora, to a large extent Ruehle and, I believe, also Tresca. Not all the members are liberals. Not all of them believe that the decay and degeneration of the Soviet bureaucracy disqualifies communism and that the decay of democracy proves the vitality of liberalism.

I will explain this in an article written against Dewey but I am a bit concerned with the supposition that Wendelin Thomas may have been successful in introducing some such "naivetes" in the text of the commission. It is absolutely necessary to verify the text from this point of view. If the text includes tendentious political appreciations from the liberal point of view, it is necessary to warn the editors that we will consider it as an abuse of confidence and that we will appeal to Rosmer, Zamora, Ruehle for reconsideration of the corresponding part of the text. I hope my disquietude is without foundation; all the better! But the most attentive verification is absolutely necessary.

It is superfluous to say that all this is very confidential and that I would be unhappy to disturb my friendly relations with the commission members by some incautious step. Please speak also with Comrade Cannon on this matter.

In enduring friendship, Your Old Man [Leon Trotsky]