A Proposal to Professional Slanderers

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Author(s) Leon Trotsky
Written 14 May 1940

[Writings of Leon Trotsky, Vol 12, 1939-1940, New York ²1973, p. 182]
Keywords : Mexico, Press, Slander

Futuro magazine and the daily El Popular have been systematically and consciously printing slanderous stories about me (preparing a general strike directed against the Mexican government, connection with Cedillo and a certain Dr. Atl, participation in the electoral campaign and in the anti-revolutionary conspiracy, etc., etc.). Lately they dwell on my secret relations with the U. S. Dies Committee "against the Mexican people" (see El Popular, May 13).

It would not be worthwhile here to disprove all the "accusations" , because there is no substance to them, no concrete deeds, nor even a precisely spelled-out charge. Moreover, after each refutation on my part, with exact references to documents, the accusers have continued, without a change of expression, to repeat the same slanders or even directly opposite ones (today, "agent of fascism;" tomorrow, "agent of die imperialist democracies"). Neither will I assess the personal morality of the "accusers," yesterday intrepid fighters against fascism, today its most servile defenders. This is not what interests me Nevertheless, I believe I have the right to demand from these public accusers proofs that are as public as their accusations.

During my three and a half years of residence in Mexico, I have often proposed to these gentlemen that they present their "accusations" to an impartial commission for public investigation. I am willing to appear before such a commission any day, any hour, as long as it is formed by the Mexican authorities, the National Committee of the PRM [the Mexican Revolutionary Party, Mexico's ruling party], or any other body of known impartiality. Thus far I have never received an answer to my proposal. I repeat it again, and at the same time I predict that they will not accept it. They dare not accept. They have nothing: neither deeds, nor dates, nor even a well-thought-out charge. In plain language, they lie because their boss in the Kremlin orders them to attack me, and each one tries to demonstrate greater shamelessness than his competitors.

After the publication of this formal proposal, which I am making for the last time, I will wait seventy-two hours for an answer. T believe that after that time span, any honorable person will have the right to call these people contemptible slanderers.