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Leon Trotsky 19381202 Victor Serge and the Fourth International

Leon Trotsky: Victor Serge and the Fourth International

December 2, 1938

[Writings of Leon Trotsky, Vol 11, 1938-1938, New York ²1974, p. 142]

Several friends have asked us what Victor Serge's relationship is to the Fourth International. We are obliged to reply that it is the relationship of an opponent. Ever since his appearance outside the Soviet Union Victor Serge has done nothing but change positions. There is no other way to define his political position than "changeability." Not on one single question has he presented clear or distinct proposals, rebuttals, or arguments. He has invariably, though, supported those who have moved away from the Fourth International, whether toward the right or the left.

Surprising everyone, Victor Serge declared in an official letter that he was joining the POUM, without ever having attempted to reply to our criticism of the POUM as a centrist organization that has played a miserable role in the Spanish revolution. Victor Serge flirted with the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists in spite of their treacherous role in the Spanish revolution. Behind the scenes, he supported that ill-fated hero of "left" trade unionism, Sneevliet, without ever deciding to openly defend the Dutch opportunist's unprincipled politics. Simultaneously Victor Serge repeated on several occasions that his differences with us were of a "secondary" character. To the direct question of why he did not then collaborate with the Fourth International rather than with its rabid opponents, Victor Serge never came up with an answer. All this, taken together, deprived his own "politics" of any consistency whatsoever and turned it into a series of personal combinations, if not intrigues.

If Victor Serge still speaks, even now, of his "sympathies" for the Fourth International, it is in no other sense than Vereecken, Molinier, Sneevliet, Maslow, etc., do the same, having in mind not the real International, but a mythical one, created by their imagination in their own likeness and form, and necessary to them only as a cover for their opportunist or adventurist politics. With this nonexistent International our actually functioning International has nothing in common, and neither the Russian section nor the International as a whole takes any responsibility for the politics of Victor Serge.