[Classics] In Defence Of Marxism

A Letter to John G. Wright

19 December, 1939

Dear Friend,

I read your letter to Joe. I endorse completely your opinion about the necessity for a firm even implacable theoretical and political fight against the petty-bourgeois tendencies of the opposition. You will see from my last article, which will be airmailed to you tomorrow, that I characterise the divergence of the opposition even more sharply than has the majority. But at the same time, I believe that the implacable ideological fight should go parallel with very cautious and wise organisational tactics. You have not the slightest interest in a split, even if the opposition should become, accidentally, a majority at the next convention. You have not the slightest reason to give the heterogeneous and unbalanced army of the opposition a pretext for a split. Even as an eventual minority, you should in my opinion remain disciplined and loyal towards the party as a whole. It is extremely important for the education in genuine party patriotism, about the necessity of which Cannon wrote me one time very correctly.

A majority composed of this opposition would not last more than a few months. Then the proletarian tendency of the party will again become the majority with tremendously increased authority. Be extremely firm but don’t lose your nerve – this applies now more than ever to the strategy of the proletarian wing of the party.

With best comradely greetings and wishes,


Leon Trotsky
Coyoacán, D.F.

P.S. The evils came from: (1) Bad composition, especially of the most important New York branch; (2) Lack of experience, especially by the members who came over from the Socialist Party (Youth). To overcome these difficulties inherited from the past is not possible by exceptional measures. Firmness and patience are necessary.


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