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Leon Trotsky 19390719 Letter to the POI Central Committee

Leon Trotsky: Letter to the POI Central Committee

July 19, 1939

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 14, New York 1979, p. 826 f.]

Dear Comrades:

Thank you for your letter of June 30. I don’t think it is necessary to discuss here your statement that I regard the PSOP as a “haven.” For me it is a tactical step that could yield greater or lesser results depending on a whole series of circumstances. I consider it a patent crime, however, to break with the Fourth International on account of this tactical step.

You write that this break is a temporary one and that you have no intention whatsoever of harming the work of our comrades within the PSOP. I consider that declaration to be very important and of great value, and I would hope that it will not remain only on paper.

However, I know from long experience that when a political group, seized by animosity, factional conservatism, or ambition, carries out a split that has no principled justification, very often it finds itself obliged to seek such a justification and even to invent it. The only difficult part in the split is the first step; then the elements that have split begin to go downhill. That is the danger that is facing you. I hope from the bottom of my heart that you will avoid it. But how? The creation of your own faction inside the PSOP would in my opinion be an unprincipled and criminal action. The workers’ movement has a broad arena. Since you think it is necessary to maintain an independent organizational existence in the present period, you must find a field of action for yourselves outside the PSOP and thereby establish a sort of division of labor. Only in that way can the negative consequences of the split be reduced to a minimum. For my part, I am prepared to apply all my influence in overcoming the split at the earliest possible opportunity.

One final remark. From an absolutely reliable source I have received new confirmation that the GPU has a great many special agents to provoke dissension and splits within the Fourth International. I would advise you to examine very carefully the identity of those “intransigents” who are trying with all their power to embitter our internal relations through false insinuations and accusations, and all kinds of gossip, etc. I don’t doubt that vigorous inspection will reveal the GPU’s tracks.

Bolshevik greetings,