July 21, 2024

    A Letter to John G. Wright [1]

    First Published: Leon Trotsky, In Defense of Marxism, New York 1942.
    Checked against: Leon Trotsky, In Defence of Marxism, London 1966, p.123.
    All footnotes stem from the latter edition.

    January 13, 1940

    Dear Comrade Wright,

    I agree completely with your appreciation of the pamphlet of Comrade Shachtman. [2] It is the weak Shachtman multiplied by factional passion. He lacks a small thing which is called the proletarian point of view. He lives in the realm of literary shadows: when he stands with his face toward the proletariat and Marxism, his shadows are useful because they correspond more or less with reality; now he turns his back to the proletarian majority of the party and to Marxism and as a result every word he writes is a fantastic misinterpretation of facts and ideas. I am obliged now to lose again a couple of days to submit his absolutely extravagant document to a more attentive analysis. I hope to show to the party members including the majority of the minority that Shachtman’s document is in every line a pathetic rupture with Marxism and with Bolshevism.

    Yours fraternally,


    1. This letter was written by Trotsky in English.

    2. The pamphlet referred to is the Crisis in the American Party – An Open Letter to Comrade Leon Trotsky, published in Vol.II No.7 of the Internal Bulletin, dated January 1, 1940.