Letter to Jan Frankel, November 26, 1933

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Intervening in the SP

Dear Friend:

Best thanks for your letter, which was excellent in every respect. If we had a monthly magazine, it could be published with few changes as a dispatch. Hopefully we’ll get to that stage yet. … Even after reading the letter over most carefully, I could not observe one line with which I would not be in agreement. That goes for the transitional stages toward fascism as well as for the necessity of a much more concrete, more lively intervention in and around the [French] Socialist Party.

That the party apparatus will now attempt to proceed against every nucleus forming in the party is absolutely clear. Whether that will be successful in the long run is doubtful. The contradictions in the party and surrounding the party are too strong, and with the first split they will still not be resolved by a long shot. The fact that the Frossard grouping remains within the party supplies sufficient yeast for fermentation. Consequently, I think that the policy of fraction-building has some prospect for success, especially if one proceeds very carefully in the first stage, i.e., not taking a step forward without first testing out the ground well.

The defense against the real or alleged attacks on the part of the Patriotic Youth, etc., still appears to me to be a promising matter. Only this work, too, must be formulated quite concretely and must be adapted to the psychology of the young workers. It seems to me local staffs should be organized whose purpose first and foremost is observation of the opponent organizations. This task should keep the young workers engaged in active work alongside of their ideological education. An oath should perhaps also be devised, expressing the idea that we revolutionary workers will not allow the fascists, royalists, etc., to raise their heads, repress the workers’ organizations, etc.

You complain about those comrades who immediately began with the slogan for the Fourth International among the youth. Naturally, that was not correct. I have been told that Craipeau also made this error. On the other hand he appears to possess a genuine active revolutionary temperament, and the ability to influence and inspire young workers and intellectuals. Since it is excluded that you — at least in the next period — play an active role within the Socialist Party, perhaps you could share the work more closely with Craipeau. But the practical and personal possibilities are much clearer to you than to me.

I will wait with the greatest interest for the continuation of your letter. Hopefully, the second part will not be so long in coming as was the first.

It would be very important to stenograph Walcher’s talk to the Socialist Party, at least the most characteristic points. You will certainly be aware that the SAP has gradually slipped into a principled discussion with us. We must carry out this discussion as thoroughly as possible. And since these people are far more careful in dealing with us (and especially in what they write) than with the Social Democrats, it is very important to “take them at their word.”

With warmest greetings.


Onken [Leon Trotsky]