From Fourth International, Vol.2 No.6, July 1942, p.162.
Transcribed, edited & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.
The Nazi attack upon the Soviet Union resulted in a rude awakening for many people, not all of them fellow-travelers of the Stalinite regime. A large number of people suddenly realized that they had taken much too lightly the theories of Leon Trotsky and the Fourth International.
The result has been that we have for the last several weeks been receiving innumerable requests for old copies of our magazine containing analytical articles on the nature of the Soviet state and especially on the forces which drove Stalin into his short-lived pact with Hitler. Libraries and research groups have written us for hack numbers and have asked us to supply them with copies of Fourth International. Young students, interested in political matters, have come to our office to look through our files of material.
There must be thousands of politically developed workers in the United States hungry to know how they can link their instinctive determination to defend the achievements of the October revolution with a class-conscious resistance to imperialist war. These workers must be reached by our comrades in every part of the country. The time is short and the awakening of the masses must be swift.
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Generally speaking, the task of eliciting prompt responses from our branches in the payment of current bills is completely “liquidated.” Almost every city pays its bill for the current bundle as soon as the shipment arrives.
But there still remains the very valid question of old bills, accumulated before we underwent the Great Reform in our attitude toward financial responsibilities. We are now in a state where the mark which divides the good from the bad is the old debt.
Some cities put their noses to the grindstone and ground down their blemishes long ago, and have been careful not to mar the serenity of their countenances since then. Among them are: Allentown, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Fresno, Hutchinson, Minneapolis, Newark, Plentywood, Portland, Quakertown, Reading, St. Louis, St. Paul and Youngstown.
Others have fallen into the dissolute habit of paying current accounts and hoping that the business office will fail to notice what went on in the past. These cities of course range from those who are simply waiting for the old debt to reach a nice round number to those whose behavior is downright scandalous. We heap them all together into one stigmatized pile and find: Akron, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Flint, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New Haven, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, San Diego, San Francisco and Texas. There is no time like the present to clear one’s conscience.
It is hardly necessary for us to mention the extreme need this moment has brought for the continued publication and extended distribution of our literature. If all of our literary efforts in the last two decades had any objective at all, it certainly was to be able to speak with the loudest and clearest voice possible at such a moment as this. And that requires conscientious financial support to the Trotskyist press. We have never failed to get it before and we know that no city will rest until the debts owing to Fourth International have been completely wiped off the books.
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From the international arena of war and class politics came an interesting news item this month, slowly and by a devious route via our German comrades strewn in exile across the continent of Europe.
The shocking news of the GPU assassinatou of Leon Trotsky finally made its way to the Isle of Man, lying off the Northwest coast of England, where the British democratically provide a detention camp for German and Austrian workers. Among those there detained were members of the Trotakyist organization of Germany.
Our comrades determined upon a memorial lecture to be deliver-ed by one of them for any of the other prisoners who might be sufficient interested in revolutionary working class politics to attend.
When word got round among the others that such a gathering was to be organized, a number of other prisoners, members of other working class parties, requested that they be allowed to cooperate in the arrangements. They were immediately welcomed by our comrades and preparations went forward for a memorial meeting in honor of Leon Trotsky.
Almost six hundred inmates of the internment camp on the Isle of Man came together that evening. One of the followers of the Old Man spoke and a number of others, members of other working class groups, stood before their fellow-victims of imperialism and spoke in honor of the great revolutionary fighter who had died the victim of Stalin’s murder machine.
The meeting, which had been planned as a simple lecture on the life and teachings of Leon Trotsky, became a memorial testimonial participated in by workers whose diverse political views could not blind them to one fact – that the greatest revolutionary in the world had been slain by Stalin.
Last updated on 13.9.2008