Spartacist English edition No. 62

Spring 2011


The article “Marxist Principles and Electoral Tactics” in Spartacist (English edition) No. 61 (Spring 2009) implies on page 20 that Trotsky is referring to municipal elections in his May 1924 introduction to The First Five Years of the Communist International when he hails the French Communist Party (PCF) getting about 900,000 votes as “a serious success, especially if we take into account the swift growth of our influence in the suburbs of Paris.” In fact, as stated in the French (No. 39, Summer 2009) and Spanish (No. 36, November 2009) editions of Spartacist, “Trotsky was likely referring to a parliamentary election that had been held that month.” However, as we also noted, “the PCF’s ‘influence’ in the suburbs also included its administration of several municipalities.” Just after the above quote, Trotsky’s “Nationalized Industry and Workers’ Management” is correctly dated as 12 May 1939, though the subsequent paragraph incorrectly refers to 1938. On page 18, the caption implies that the drawing of Nikolai Shablin is to the left and that of Amadeo Bordiga to the right; it is rather the converse.

In “Trotskyism vs. Popular Frontism in the Spanish Civil War” in the same issue (page 42), we wrote: “When an I.S. delegation led by Jean Rous arrived in Spain in August 1936 and distributed the issue of the French Trotskyists’ La Lutte Ouvrière containing ‘The Treachery of the POUM,’ Fosco was no less incensed than the POUM leaders.” In fact, as we determined upon further investigation, Trotsky’s “The Treachery of the POUM” was not among the anti-POUM polemics then published by the French La Lutte Ouvrière, notwithstanding the reference to this article in a footnote to the account by Fosco (Nicola di Bartolomeo), “The Activity of the Bolshevik-Leninists in Spain and its Lessons,” as published in the Labourite journal Revolutionary History (Vol. 4, No. 1-2, Winter 1991-92). It would have been better to simply quote Fosco’s venomous attack on the Fourth Internationalists, as we did in the French and Spanish editions: “Writing several years later, Fosco complained bitterly that when an I.S. delegation led by Jean Rous arrived in Spain in August 1936, the delegation brought with it a statement by Trotsky ‘on the POUM and against “the traitors Nin and Andrade,” to distribute it to the Bolshevik-Leninists and amongst the POUM. That alone was enough to condemn the entire policy of the International Secretariat’.”

The article on the Spanish Civil War contained a few other inaccuracies. Trotsky’s “Is a Rapprochement with Nin Possible?” (page 30) should have been dated 3 June 1936, not 3 June 1935. On page 31, the article wrongly states that the International Left Opposition “reconstituted itself as the International Communist League” in 1934; this actually happened in 1933. The photo credits on pages 35 and 36 should read Agustí (not Augustí) Centelles, as is correctly given for the photos on pages 44 and 45. The author of an article “in the POUM’s La Batalla (7 October 1936)” cited on page 36 is Indigeta (not Indegeta) and the correct date is 8 October 1936. Also, the quote on page 45 from the 4 May 1937 leaflet by the Spanish Trotskyists as published in the International Bureau for the Fourth International Information Bulletin (July 1937) had a translation error, which we carried over when we wrote: “the Trotskyists urged the workers to seize the ‘revolutionary offensive’ and to form ‘committees of revolutionary defense in the shops, factories, districts’.” In the original leaflet, the last phrase reads: “in the shops, factories, barricades, etc.”

Finally, it should be noted that the figure for the number of people killed in the 1965 anti-Communist bloodbath in Indonesia is over one million, not “over half a million” as stated in the article “Women Workers and the Contradictions of China Today” (page 51).