Letter to James P. Cannon, May 17, 1938

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On C. L. R. James

Dear Jim:

I enclose an excerpt of a letter from Alexander, who is now in France, not in England, but connected with the English organization. This letter gives a picture of the state of the English groups. The very important point concerns James. In his book, which I unfortunately never read, he criticizes Comrade T[rotsky] very sharply from an organizational point of view, as I have been told by a friend. I suppose that this criticism at that time was a theoretical justification of his own policy toward the Independent Labour Party, but that is not of importance. I suppose that he now considers his own criticism as a hindrance to friendly collaboration with us. That was one of the reasons why I insisted that you invite him to the Pan-American Conference (a proposition you accepted), but it seems that this decision like some others was forgotten during the trip from Mexico to New York. In any case it is very important to convince James that his criticisms are not considered by any one of us as an item of hostility or an obstacle to friendly collaboration in the future. It would be very bad if under the influence of this fact and some others he finished with a rupture from us and an alliance with Field, with whom he is, as Alexander affirms, already in contact.

I should also add that some British comrades at one time had the impression of having been treated a bit without respect by Comrade Shachtman during his visit to London. They haven't forgotten it even to this day. We can regret such a mood but it is necessary to reckon with it in the future.

We wait with the greatest impatience a letter from you concerning your trip to Europe.

Comradely, Hansen [Trotsky]