Leon Trotsky‎ > ‎1938‎ > ‎

Leon Trotsky 19380629 Letter to Rae Spiegel

Leon Trotsky: Letter to Rae Spiegel

June 29, 1938

[Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-1938, New York ²1976, p. 370 f., “For an Open Polemic with the Liberals”]

Dear Rae:

Joe communicated to me the news from your letter that my article on morals provoked great dissatisfaction in Dr. Dewey, Sidney Hook, and others, and that they intend to smash my bad philosophy. I am very glad to hear this.

With the honest liberals and radicals we have a "united front" with a practical aim: to unmask a frame-up. But in every honest united front neither of the two parties renounces its right to free criticism. Dr. Dewey made great use of this even in his announcement of the verdict over the broadcasting system. In this respect our comrades were more reserved, even too reserved, in my opinion. An open polemic will reestablish things in their natural proportions and relations. I hope that Max Eastman also will answer. The very confused and equivocal character of his friendship to us is extremely prejudicial to our movement. Friends who say about us: "They are very good people, intelligent, honest, admirably courageous, but . . . their theory is bad, their politics are false, they are incapable of creating an organization, etc., etc.," are the worst, most dangerous enemies of the Fourth International. Better to say that they are the more dangerous the more diplomatic and tolerant we are.

An open delimitation from these friends is absolutely necessary. Every young worker or intellectual who is interested in us must know that those friends belong to the camp of the radical bourgeois democracy and not to the revolutionary camp of the proletariat. Only under these conditions can the "friendship" in certain cases be useful for both sides. The same is doubly true in regard to such a miserable philistine as Eugene Lyons, who participates in the banquets of Pioneer Publishers and immediately after this makes a lecture before the White Guard Russians and explains to them that the poor "Trotskyites" are only remnants of a condemned past. No, God save us from such friends.

My warmest greetings to you and Max. Where are you? Have you found a job? We here are working hard with Sara on the Stalin book, which is progressing very rapidly.

Best greetings, Leon Trotsky