Minutes of the Commission: III

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Frank: On the draft letter to the Spanish. Erwin’s reply favorable. French League’s reply: no personal signatures, puts forward concept of a IS meeting.

Trotsky: The personal signatures are a big mistake; we must correct the error and explain that the letter is addressed to the leaderships of sections. We have no need of a collection of signatures of isolated individuals. We must send the letter to the the leaderships of the sections. If it is adopted and signed with the names of the leading members, it will carry more weight than if simply signed by the section. But what is unacceptable is the signatures of isolated individuals; we don’t want a faction within a faction.

Frank reads Souzo’s letter on the Spanish question.

Trotsky: Lacroix retracts his mistakes with respect to the second party, recognizes his error, but fights those who are fighting against these errors. Here is what might be said in the letter:

Some comrades, like Lacroix, recognize that the decisions of the national conference represent tendencies toward the formation of a second party, but instead of denouncing those tendencies, these comrades fight the foreign sections that have correct positions.

The quotation from Lacroix in Souzo’s letter (acknowledging the error of the national conference decisions) can be misleading, but it is “lip service”; he acknowledges it in order to defend his section against the others. Nowhere does he recognize clearly and in writing that it is wrong. Lacroix recognized the error only in a personal letter; he said nothing in Comunismo. This double dealing should be noted in the letter.

Souzo’s suggestions on the whole are correct. The question of the two parties can be amplified somewhat in the letter. It must be emphasized that the criticism of the conference resolution by Lacroix serves only to provide him with a cover for the errors of his comrades.

As for the suggestions of the French League, I don’t think it is necessary to call an enlarged IS session at the present time. It’s an appropriate idea, but more suitable for a later stage. It is necessary to create in the Spanish Left Opposition a current critical of the errors that have been made; and on the basis of this process a meeting of the IS, enlarged to include the representatives of the various tendencies of the Spanish Left Opposition, would be very useful. At the present time, it is a big effort just to get the letter ready, let alone do more; an enlarged IS will have great importance after some responses have been received, after the proposal has been discussed internally. (The letter will, moreover, be the instrument for this.) At the present time, it is not a useful way to proceed. On the other hand, I am in general agreement that enlarged IS conferences should be convened periodically to resolve important political issues.

(On L. D. [Trotsky]’s proposal, the following was decided:)

1. To eliminate immediately the misunderstanding over the use of strictly personal signatures. What is wanted is decisions by the leaderships of national sections. (It was desirable at this stage to avoid an appeal directed to all members, in order not to unnecessarily complicate things.)

But to demonstrate to the Spanish comrades that it is an action taken with due deliberation and analysis, each member of the leadership of the sections should take responsibility.

2. To use the suggestions of the Italian comrades in editing the letter.

3. To endorse the proposal of the French League concerning the calling of an enlarged IS. To consider this proposal as an appropriate one, but to postpone it until the results of the letter and perhaps a trip by a preparatory commission of the IS have created favorable conditions for such a session of the IS.

4. At this time we propose to broaden the proposal of the French League of calling sessions of the enlarged IS periodically (every month or two), except in emergency situations as determined by events (for example, before Amsterdam [the antiwar congress]).

Frank: The French League disagrees on the question of the control commission. I wrote to the League: During the peace of Prinkipo we nominated a control commission that has never functioned and now Mill is taking advantage of this.

Trotsky: You can’t spread harmful accusations about the organization, without proof, like old gossips.

(With respect to the work on the draft platform: the new documentation has not yet arrived.)

Frank reports on the present work of the commission on the trade union question, presenting excerpts from resolutions and discussions of the Comintern.

See L. D’s theses in La Vérité; L. D.’s contribution to the discussion on trade union unity (in La Vérité); the minutes of the Profintern.

At first the Comintern encompassed unions, then it formed a trade union section of unions adhering to the Comintern, and then the Red International of Labor Unions [RILU or Profintern] was created. The exact relations [between party and unions] were not very clear at first: at the Third Congress there was still talk of a single International, grouping the Communist parties and the other forms of workers’ organizations.

On the other hand, with respect to trade union unity, this unity was to extend to the international sphere.

Trotsky: With respect to the relations between the party and the trade unions, a much more rapid development was anticipated at the Third Congress — the transitional period had been prolonged, and the Communists instead of gaining had lost ground.

As for unity internationally: if unity is to be achieved on the national level, why not have a fusion of the RILU with the Amsterdam trade union federation? Not at the top, of course, for that would be a caricature of unity.

Van noted the work done so far on the question of the united front. The first three congresses contribute little to this question. It was put on the agenda with the situation in 1921, and the events surrounding it. An important article by Zinoviev posed it and at the Executive Committee’s meeting in February 1922 an important resolution was voted on this question, but following that there are no documents.

Field examined the following material on workers’ control:

The First and Second Congresses of the Comintern and the first three conferences of the German CP.

The issue was ignored after the Fourth Congress. We also have what L. D. wrote on this question with respect to Germany. But on the question of nationalization there is a lack of material.

Promises to present a draft resolution on the question at the next meeting.

Present: Trotsky, Field, Frank, Otto, Van (secretary).

Excused: Frankel.

The commission did not have time to look over the minutes. They are the responsibility of the secretariat [at Prinkipo] (Frank and Van). The secretariat is to communicate them to the IS as information.