Letter to James P. Cannon, May 12, 1938

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Europe or San Francisco?

Dear Jim:

1. It is not easy for me to give advice on the alternative, Europe or San Francisco. But I believe that in spite of everything, you could be replaced by other comrades with more success in California than in Europe. I do not doubt that the situation on the Coast is critical and important; but it is, nevertheless, only a local situation, which tomorrow will be repeated in other parts of the States. The question in Europe has a universal character: it is possibly the last meeting before the war; the conference will also give the American section reinforced authority for its action in California as elsewhere. That is why it is my hypothetical opinion that you could send to Frisco such people as Widick or Dobbs or both and that you go to Europe as quickly as possible. You see that I conclude more categorically than I began but it seems to me that it is the only one correct conclusion.

2. We haven't as yet heard a single word concerning the Pan-American Conference and especially its decision on the Mexican question. What is the score? We are all very disquieted about your silence on this matter. Did you forget your obligations? The Galicia clique began a systematic campaign and published a bulletin directed against Diego Rivera and all of us. The lack of a formal decision and of a representative of the Pan-American Secretariat paralyzes our friends here in every respect and can produce the worst results. Please answer immediately on this question.

3. We haven't as yet received the resolutions of the last plenum. But as we understand, it accepted the turn on the labor party question. If so, it is necessary in my opinion immediately to utilize this turn in respect to the Lovestoneites. Some of our comrades seem to be especially embarrassed by the fact that we may have the appearance of capitulating before the Lovestoneites. This appearance can be used with the purpose of sapping the last fundamental base on this matter. We don't deny it. It is purely a tactical question. The situation changed and our attitude also. "But what is now the reason for your opposition to the Fourth International?" and so on. Such an attitude could in one way or another eliminate this obstacle on our path.

4. Suzanne La Follette writes me in a personal way that she is looking for money in order to create a weekly for combatting the Nation and the New Republic. She adds also that she reads with great interest and "profit" the publications of our party. It is an interesting symptom.

Fraternally, Hansen [Trotsky]