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Leon Trotsky 19390100 Suggestions for a Reply

Leon Trotsky: Suggestions for a Reply

from the Pan-American Committee and the IS

January 1939

[Writings of Leon Trotsky, Vol 11, 1938-1938, New York ²1974, p. 279 f.]

Dear Comrade:

Your letter of January 7, announcing your desire to resign from the Fourth International, is an absolutely unexpected and unmotivated blow to us.

You indicate that the Pan-American Committee did not define the character of your work and that this contributed to your "complete inactivity," which in its turn created misunderstandings which could be exploited by our enemies.

Permit us to say, dear comrade, that all this is far from corresponding to reality. The only misunderstanding which could have been produced by the overly general formulation of the decision concerning you was eliminated by the official interpretation of the Pan-American Committee, which was published in our press. This interpretation indicated that our congress was far from the idea of depriving you of your right to participate in the Mexican movement. It depended entirely on you whether or not this right would be used in the given transitional stage.

You also agreed with the delegation of the SWP that Comrade C., delegated on your personal initiative, would collaborate with you as closely as possible. We considered this collaboration as the most important lever for the restoration of our Mexican section.

Finally, with your full agreement, you, together with other comrades, were delegated as our representative on the editorial board of Clave. It is not necessary to indicate here the importance of this review for all Spanish-speaking countries and for the entire Fourth International. We can see, with full satisfaction, that far from "complete inactivity," you contributed very important theses, articles, and notes to Clave.

If the character of your practical participation in the daily work appears unsatisfactory to you, you can propose any change you find reasonable. Needless to say, we will give any such proposals the greatest attention.

In view of these facts and circumstances, we cannot see how our enemies can exploit your further participation in the Fourth International, the only revolutionary organization, existing now under the blows and persecutions of innumerable enemies. On the other hand, it is absolutely clear that a resignation will give these enemies ammunition for their slanders and intrigues.

A resignation from a revolutionary organization can be justified in only one case, namely that of irreconcilable, principled divergences. However, even in this case, the separation should nominally be preceded by a friendly discussion of the points of difference, with a sincere desire on both sides to assure collaboration as far as is humanly possible. From your letter we see with great satisfaction and pleasure that you remain "in complete sympathy with the Fourth International." Under these conditions we cannot but consider your resignation as a complete misunderstanding, provoked by secondary episodes.

Dear Comrade Rivera, we do not accept your resignation. We continue to be in complete sympathy with you, not only as a great painter, but as a fighter for the Fourth International.