David North
The Heritage We Defend

Trotsky’s Proletarian Military Policy

In his critique of the SWP’s conduct of the Minneapolis sedition trial, Grandizo Munis also objected to the following statement made by Cannon:

We consider Hitler and Hitlerism the greatest enemy of mankind. We want to wipe it off the face of the earth. The reason we do not support a declaration of war by American arms is because we do not believe the American capitalists can defeat Hitler and fascism. We think Hitlerism can be destroyed only by way of conducting a war under the leadership of workers.[1]

Munis replied:

To say that “we do not support a declaration of war because we do not believe the American capitalists can defeat Hitler and fascism” is to give the understanding that we would support it if we believed in that defeat; this induces those who believe in the victory of the United States to support it. Our rejection of the war is based on the character of the social regime that produces it, not on this or that belief about the defeat of fascism.[2]

Munis’ objection to Cannon’s formulation was a piece of puerile sophistry. The position of the SWP, upheld by Cannon during the trial, was that the Trotskyists did not support a war against Hitler waged by American imperialism. However, were a workers’ government established in the United States, the SWP would support a military struggle against Hitler—just as it supported the war waged by the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany. In response to the questions of the government prosecutor, Cannon defended the antiwar line of the SWP:

Q: And you will seek to utilize war, during the war, to destroy the present form of government, will you not?

A: Well, that is no secret, that we want to change this form of government.

Q: And you look forward, do you not, to the forthcoming war as the time when you may be able to accomplish that?

A: Yes, I think the forthcoming war will unquestionably weaken the imperialist governments in all countries.

Q: You said, I believe, that you will not support the war? You do not believe in national defense at all, do you?

A: Not in imperialist countries, no.

Q: I am speaking of this country.

A: I believe 100% in defending this country by our own means, but I do not believe in defending the imperialist governments of the world —

Q: I am speaking about the government of the United States as it is now constitutionally constituted. You do not believe in defending that, do you?

A: Not in a political sense, no.

Q: You do not believe in defending it in any sense, do you?

A: I explained the other day, that if the majority of the people decide on war, and participate in the war, our people and the people under our influence will also participate in the war. We do not sabotage the war, we do not obstruct it, but we continue to propagate our ideas, calling for a cessation of the war and calling for a change in government.[3]

If these formulations constitute a betrayal of the strategy and tactics of revolutionary defeatism, the blame must be attributed to Leon Trotsky. Cannon based himself on the “military policy” which had been worked out by Trotsky during the final months of his life.

On June 12, 1940, Trotsky initiated a discussion with the leaders of the SWP on its political line in relation to the imminent entry of the United States into World War II. (This is the same discussion which eventually dealt with the problem of the SWP’s attitude toward the Stalinists in the 1940 elections. Banda cites this part of the discussion, as we have already shown, to counterpose Trotsky, falsely, to the SWP. But on the question of capitalist militarism, he finds it convenient to ignore what Trotsky said.)

Trotsky advocated a crucial development in the political agitation of the SWP—away from abstract condemnation of imperialist war toward a concrete program for the preparation of the proletariat, on the basis of the inevitable war, for socialist revolution.

Militarization now goes on on a tremendous scale. We cannot oppose it with pacifist phrases. This militarization has wide support among the workers. They bear a sentimental hatred against Hitler mixed with confused class sentiments. (They have a hatred against the victorious brigands.) The bureaucracy utilizes this to say help the defeated gangster. Our conclusions are completely different. But this sentiment is the inevitable base for the last period of preparation. We must find a new realistic base for this preparation. We must oppose sending untrained boys into battle. The trade unions not only must protect the workers in peaceful times and protect their industrial skill, but they must now demand the possibility of learning the military art from the state.

For instance in the trade union we can argue like this: I am a socialist and you are a patriot. Good. We will discuss this difference between us. But we should agree that the workers be trained at government expense to become military experts. Schools should be set up in connection with the trade unions—at government expense but under the control of the trade unions. This kind of approach would give us access to the workers, who are 95 to 98 percent patriotic even at the present time.

Only with this perspective, not abstract opposition to militarism, can we have success in the trade unions and the military organizations. We can find in this way new routes and sympathies for illegal situations. Of course the technical side of underground activity is important but it is only a small part of illegal activity.[4]

If Cannon is to be accused of political capitulation “to the backward sections of the US working class,” the responsibility for this act of “political cowardice” must lie with Trotsky, who counseled the SWP leader to take into consideration the patriotic sentiments of 9.8 out of every 10 workers in the America of 1940.

As far as Trotsky was concerned, the chief danger facing the SWP was not that its opposition to imperialist war would weaken, but that this opposition would become transformed into pacifism, and thus politically disarm the SWP in the face of its revolutionary tasks, which did not consist in radical phrasemongering but in preparing the overthrow of US imperialism. “Any confusion with the pacifists,” he declared, “is a hundred times more dangerous than temporary confusion with the bourgeois militarists.”[5]

Trotsky’s argument was based on the conception that the Fourth International must utilize the imperialist war for the purpose of preparing the socialist revolution. Thus, in reply to Cannon’s question, “Can we be called militarists?” Trotsky said, “Yes—in a certain sense—we are proletarian socialist revolutionary militarists.”[6]

On August 7, 1940, Trotsky conducted a discussion with members of the SWP in which he analyzed the political situation on the eve of the United States’ entry into World War II and the tasks which would confront the party once the war began. Proceeding from the inevitability of American involvement in the conflict, Trotsky sought to develop a series of transitional demands through which the SWP could find an approach to the American working class under conditions of war.

For Trotsky—though not for Munis—the policy of “revolutionary defeatism” was not merely a phrase. To work politically for the defeat of “one’s own” ruling class in time of war required the concrete elaboration of specific policies and tactical initiatives aimed at accelerating the break of the working class with all forms of chauvinism.

Trotsky drew a highly significant distinction between the general formula, “Turn the imperialist war into a civil war”—which expressed the objective logic of historic development and indicated the essential revolutionary tasks confronting the proletariat—and the specific and transitional formulations and slogans employed by the party in its struggle to mobilize the masses against the bourgeoisie.

Trotsky poured scorn on pacifism precisely because it amounted to nothing more than a “personal” rejection of capitalist militarism which leaves the mobilized masses to their fate. He insisted that party members eligible for military service accept the draft and participate in the war with their generation:

We should understand that the life of this society, politics, everything, will be based upon war, therefore the revolutionary program must also be based on war. We cannot oppose the fact of the war with wishful thinking; with pious pacifism. We must place ourselves upon the arena created by this society. The arena is terrible—it is war—but inasmuch as we are weak and incapable of taking the fate of society into our hands; inasmuch as the ruling class is strong enough to impose upon us this war, we are obliged to accept this basis for our activity.[7]

Trotsky turned to the specific problem of the political consciousness of the American working class under conditions of war:

Now the capitalists wish to create this tremendous army of millions, to create officers, to create a new military spirit, and they have begun with full success to change the public opinion of the nation toward militarism. At the time that Roosevelt made his campaign speech, there was an outburst of public opinion for isolationism, but now all this sentiment belongs to the past—to the childhood of the nation—in spite of the fact that it took place only a few months ago.

Now the national feeling is for a tremendous army, navy and air force. This is the psychological atmosphere for the creation of a military machine, and you will see it become stronger and stronger every day and every week. You will have military schools, etc., and a Prussianization of the United States will take place. The sons of the bourgeois families will become imbued with Prussian feelings and ideals, and their parents will be proud that their sons look like Prussian lieutenants. To some extent this will also be true of the workers.

That is why we must try to separate the workers from the others by a program of education, of workers’ schools, of workers’ officers, devoted to the welfare of the worker army, etc. We cannot escape from the militarization but inside the machine we can observe the class line. The American workers do not want to be conquered by Hitler, and to those who say “Let us have a peace program,” the worker will reply, “But Hitler does not want a peace program.” Therefore we say: We will defend the United States with a workers’ army, with workers’ officers, with a workers’ government, etc. If we are not pacifists, who wait for a better future, and if we are active revolutionists, our job is to penetrate into the whole military machine. …

Furthermore, our comrades should be the best soldiers and the best officers and at the same time the best class militants. They should provoke in the workers a mistrust of the old tradition, the military plans of the bourgeois class and officers, and should insist upon the necessity of educating workers’ officers, who will be absolutely loyal to the proletariat. …

It is absolutely correct that in the first period we will have an explosion of chauvinistic patriotism, and that we will be isolated even more than now, and that this period of activity will inevitably be limited by repressions, but we must adapt ourselves to the situation. That is why it would be doubly stupid to present a purely abstract pacifist position today; the feeling the masses have is that it is necessary to defend themselves. We must say: “Roosevelt (or Willkie) says it is necessary to defend the country; good! only it must be our country, not that of the Sixty Families and their Wall Street. The army must be under our own command; we must have our own officers, who will be loyal to us.” In this way we can find an approach to the masses that will not push them away from us, and thus to prepare for the second step—a more revolutionary one.

We must use the example of France to the very end. We must say, “I warn you, workers, that they (the bourgeoisie) will betray you! Look at Petain, who is a friend of Hitler. Shall we have the same thing happen in this country? We must create our own machine, under workers’ control.” We must be careful not to identify ourselves with the chauvinists, nor with the confused sentiments of self-preservation, but we must understand their feelings and adapt ourselves to these feelings critically, and prepare the masses for a better understanding of the situation, otherwise we will remain a sect, of which the pacifist variety is the most miserable.[8]

Trotsky returned to these issues repeatedly during the closing days of his life, suggesting various ways the SWP could develop its anti-imperialist propaganda while, at the same time, striving to preserve as long as possible its ability to conduct its work legally. On August 12, 1940, he wrote to an SWP member:

We, of course, cannot imitate the Stalinists who proclaim their absolute devotion to the bourgeois democracy. However, we do not wish to furnish any pretexts for persecutions.

In this case, as in any others, we should speak the truth as it is; namely, the best, the most economical and favorable method for the masses would be to achieve the transformation of this society by democratic means. The democracy is also necessary for the organization and education of the masses. That is why we are always ready to defend the democratic rights of the people by our own means. However, we know on the basis of tremendous historical experience that the Sixty Families will never permit the democratic realization of socialist principles. At a given moment the Sixty Families will inevitably overthrow, or try to overthrow, the democratic institutions and replace them by a reactionary dictatorship. This is what happened in Italy, in Germany, and in the last days in France—not to mention the lesser countries. We say in advance that we are ready to reject such an attempt with arms in hands. …

This position corresponds to the historical reality and is juridically unattackable.[9]

One day later, on August 13, 1940, Trotsky wrote another letter, in which he again stressed the significance of the events in France, where the bourgeoisie had established a pro-Nazi dictatorship under the leadership of Marshal Petain in Vichy.

The Fourth International, he explained, should call on workers to

categorically refuse to defend civil liberties and democracy in the French manner; the workers and farmers to give their flesh and blood while the capitalists concentrate in their hands the command. The Petain experiment should now form the center of our war propaganda. It is important, of course, to explain to the advanced workers that the genuine fight against fascism is the socialist revolution. But it is more urgent, more imperative, to explain to the millions of American workers that the defense of their “democracy” cannot be delivered over to an American Marshal Petain—and there are many candidates for such a role.[10]

Still another letter on this subject followed. On August 17, 1940 he commented on the “advantages” of the anti-pacifist position of the SWP: “First, it is revolutionary in its essence and based upon the whole character of our epoch, when all questions will be decided not only by arms of critics, but by critiques of arms; second, it is completely free of sectarianism. We do not oppose to events and to the feelings of the masses an abstract affirmation of our sanctity.”[11]

Clearly, Trotsky’s perspective for the development of revolutionary work under conditions of war was the basis for the military policy adopted by the Socialist Workers Party. Without making any compromises to social-chauvinism, Trotsky repeatedly urged the SWP to find a way to appeal to the American workers’ genuine and justified hatred of Hitlerite fascism.

Involved here were not merely tactical considerations. Precisely because the imperialist war expressed the greatest intensification of all the contradictions of world capitalism, and these contradictions were the objective ground of future revolutionary explosions, Trotsky was above all concerned with the preparation of the party for the sharp changes in class relations to which the war would give rise.

He was grappling with this problem on the very day of his assassination on August 20, 1940. In an unfinished article upon which he was working when the GPU killer Ramon Mercader arrived at the villa in Coyoacan, Trotsky made the following observations:

The present war, as we have stated on more than one occasion, is a continuation of the last war. But a continuation does not signify a repetition. As a general rule, a continuation signifies a development, a deepening, a sharpening. Our policy, the policy of the revolutionary proletariat toward the second imperialist war, is a continuation of the policy elaborated during the last imperialist war, primarily under Lenin’s leadership. But a continuation does not signify a repetition. In this case too, a continuation signifies a development, a deepening and a sharpening.[12]

Trotsky analyzed the historical context within which Lenin developed his conception of revolutionary defeatism. He pointed out that even on the eve of the February revolution of 1917, Lenin did not anticipate a socialist revolution in the foreseeable future. The formulations adopted by Lenin, Trotsky explained, reflected the view that the Bolsheviks constituted the “extreme left opposition” to imperialist war, not “contenders for power.”

Between the eruption of the first imperialist war in August 1914 and the outbreak of the February revolution, the struggle for workers’ power was seen as “a question of an indefinite historical perspective and not of tomorrow’s task.” This outlook necessarily affected the exposition of Bolshevik policy toward the war.

The attention of the revolutionary wing was centered on the defense of the capitalist fatherland. The revolutionists naturally replied to this question in the negative. This was entirely correct. But while this purely negative answer served as the basis for propaganda and for training the cadres, it could not win the masses, who did not want a foreign conqueror.

In Russia prior to the war the Bolsheviks constituted four-fifths of the proletarian vanguard, that is, of the workers participating in political life (newspapers, elections, etc.). Following the February revolution the unlimited rule passed into the hands of defensists, the Mensheviks and the SRs. True enough, the Bolsheviks in the space of eight months conquered the overwhelming majority of the workers. But the decisive role in this conquest was played not by the refusal to defend the bourgeois fatherland but by the slogan “All Power to the Soviets!” And only by this revolutionary slogan! The criticism of imperialism, its militarism, the renunciation of the defense of bourgeois democracy and so on could have never conquered the overwhelming majority of the people to the side of the Bolsheviks. …[13]

Trotsky reviewed the prospects for revolutionary struggle within the United States:

It is quite self-evident that the radicalization of the working class in the United States has passed only through its initial phases, almost exclusively in the sphere of the trade union movement (the CIO). The prewar period, and then the war itself, may temporarily interrupt this process of radicalization, especially if a considerable number of workers are absorbed into war industry. But this interruption of the process of radicalization cannot be of a long duration. The second stage of radicalization will assume a more sharply expressive character. The problem of forming an independent labor party will be put on the order of the day. Our transitional demands will gain great popularity. On the other hand, the fascist, reactionary tendencies will withdraw to the background, assuming a defensive position, awaiting a more favorable moment. This is the nearest perspective. No occupation is more completely unworthy than that of speculating whether or not we shall succeed in creating a powerful revolutionary leader-party. Ahead lies a favorable perspective, providing all the justification for revolutionary activism. It is necessary to utilize the opportunities which are opening up and to build the revolutionary party.

The Second World War poses the question of change of regimes more imperiously, more urgently than did the first war. It is first and foremost a question of the political regime. The workers are aware that democracy is suffering shipwreck everywhere, and that they are threatened by fascism even in those countries where fascism is as yet nonexistent. The bourgeoisie of the democratic countries will naturally utilize this dread of fascism on the part of the workers, but, on the other hand, the bankruptcy of democracies, their collapse, their painless transformation into reactionary dictatorships, compel the workers to pose before themselves the problem of power, and render them responsive to the posing of the problem of power.[14]

Trotsky, clearly, was attempting to infuse the principle of revolutionary defeatism with the most active, concrete and dynamic content; to establish a living and practical connection between the struggle against imperialist war and the actual winning of the leadership of the working class and the conquest of power.

The American working class is still without a mass labor party even today. But the objective situation and the experience accumulated by the American workers can pose within a very brief period of time on the order of the day the question of the conquest of power. This perspective must be made the basis of our agitation. It is not merely a question of a position on capitalist militarism and of renouncing the defense of the bourgeois state but of directly preparing for the conquest of power and the defense of the proletarian fatherland.[15]

The subtlety of Trotsky’s dialectical reasoning was certainly lost on Munis, who simply saw in the slogan of “revolutionary defeatism” an occasion for petty-bourgeois radical histrionics. In reality, Munis, despite his left-sounding denunciation of Cannon, did not really believe in the viability of “revolutionary defeatism” as a concrete program of action around which the masses could be rallied.

The defensive formulations which he attacked were aimed at penetrating the consciousness of the American workers and transforming their hatred of fascism into a lever for revolutionary struggle against American imperialism.

The Minneapolis trial, which the renegade Banda denounces as a “criminal betrayal,” is part of the revolutionary heritage defended by the International Committee of the Fourth International. The Socialist Workers Party was the only tendency in the workers’ movement in the United States which opposed the imperialist war while unconditionally defending and supporting the Soviet Union in its struggle against German fascism.

Aside from Munis, the only criticism of the SWP’s military policy came from Max Shachtman’s petty-bourgeois “Workers Party,” that misbegotten product of the 1940 split. It proclaimed that the SWP’s policy was “a concession to social patriotism” and an “abandonment of the revolutionary internationalist position” (New International, January 1941).

For all its bombastic “leftist” rhetoric, the real class content of Shachtman’s denunciation of the SWP’s military policy was middle-class pacifism. This was exposed in the famous August 12, 1940 issue of Labor Action, in which Shachtman enthusiastically endorsed the opposition of John L. Lewis to the draft. “In the fight against conscription we are with Lewis 100%.”

Trotsky penned a scathing reply: “We are not with Lewis for even a single per cent, because Lewis tries to defend the Capitalist Fatherland with completely outdated means. The great majority of the workers understand or feel that these means (professional voluntary armament) are outdated from a military point of view and extremely dangerous from a class point of view.”[16]

As history would eventually prove, Shachtman’s petty-bourgeois ultraleftism was merely one point on a political trajectory which would eventually place him in the orbit of American imperialism. This was instinctively recognized by the American bourgeoisie, which did not view his sectarian rhetoric with undue alarm and never moved to initiate state proceedings against the Workers Party during World War II.

Following the trial, the SWP maintained and developed its defeatist line. James P. Cannon issued a statement on the US entry into World War II that was published in the February 7, 1942 issue of The Militant:

The considerations which determined our attitude toward the war up to the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and the Axis powers retain their validity in the new situation.

We considered the war upon the part of all the capitalist powers involved—Germany and France, Italy and Great Britain—as an imperialist war.

This characterization of the war was determined for us by the character of the state powers involved in it. They were all capitalist states in the epoch of imperialism; themselves imperialist—oppressing other nations or peoples—or satellites of imperialist powers. The extension of the war to the Pacific and the formal entry of the United States and Japan change nothing in this basic analysis.

Following Lenin, it made no difference to us which imperialist bandit fired the first shot; every imperialist power has for a quarter of a century been “attacking” every other imperialist power by economic and political means; the resort to arms is but the culmination of this process, which will continue as long as capitalism endures.

After explaining that the SWP did support the struggle of the USSR against German imperialism and the struggle of the Chinese masses—despite Chiang Kai-shek—against Japanese imperialism, Cannon wrote:

None of the reasons which oblige us to support the Soviet Union and China against their enemies can be said to apply to France or Britain. These imperialist “democracies” entered the war to maintain their lordship over the hundreds of millions of subject peoples in the British and French empires; to defend these “democracies” means to defend the oppression of the masses of Africa and Asia. Above all it means to defend the decaying capitalist social order. We do not defend that, either in Italy and Germany, or in France and Britain—or in the United States.

Banda’s claim that the SWP adopted a semidefensist policy—an allegation upon which he bases a whole series of subsequent attacks aimed at discrediting the Fourth International—is an out-and-out lie.

The SWP waged an indefatigable campaign to expose American imperialism and its allies. A review of The Militant during the war period provides a model example of how Marxists conduct anti-imperialist propaganda and agitation within the working class.

Among the most persistent themes to be found in the SWP’s press was its unrelenting exposure of the war-time persecution and lynch-law violence directed against American blacks, the brutal increase in exploitation by the capitalists in pursuit of military superprofits, and the violent suppression by British imperialism of the struggles by the Asian masses for self-determination. The Militant gave banner headline coverage to the crimes of the British governor, Sir Andrew Caldecott, in Ceylon, and publicized the suppression of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party.

At the same time, it continuously upheld the struggle by the Indian masses against British imperialism. A statement by the SWP National Committee in 1942 declared:

On its first anniversary the “Atlantic Charter” stands exposed as a threadbare curtain behind which the British Empire hides its tyrannical rule over the colonial masses. The Indian masses are getting their first taste of the “four freedoms” of Churchill-Roosevelt in the form of tear gas and bullets. We demand that the terror and violence against the Indian people be halted immediately!

The self-styled “democrats” who yesterday pleaded with the rulers of Britain that some small concession be thrown to the Indian masses today are denouncing the movement and justifying repressions against it in the name of the war of “democracy against fascism.” They merely expose their so-called slogan as counterfeit and themselves as prostituted tools of imperialism.[17]

The SWP fought all those within the workers’ movement who sought to legitimize US intervention in the war by claiming that it was the only way fascism could be stopped. When social democrat Norman Thomas dropped his pacifism immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, as Cannon had predicted, and declared in January 1942, “I can see no practical alternative today to the war as a means of stopping the worldwide triumph of fascist totalitarianism,” the SWP issued a caustic reply:

Victory in this war for the Anglo-American allies would halt the slide into hell even less than their victory in the last war. The root-cause of all political, social and economic reaction today lies in the decomposition of world capitalism. The war is causing so much destruction that the capitalist system can only go from bad to worse, from one degree of reaction to a deeper one, whichever capitalist coalition comes out on top. Hitlerism is not necessarily the most frightful phenomenon capitalist degeneration can produce! Nor is a victory for Britain and the US any kind of guarantee against the establishment of fascism in these countries!…

In this statement Thomas strips himself not only of socialism, but also of the pacifist phrases with which he duped his followers before the war. … He now stands forth for what he really is: a mealy-mouthed hypocrite, who drags in the rear of the social-patriotic procession headed by the Stalinists, Social-Democrats and official labor leaders.[18]

The stand of the Trotskyists infuriated the Stalinists of the American Communist Party, who were then functioning as Roosevelt’s political police within the labor movement. They sought to organize lynch mobs to murder members of the SWP. A typical example of the Communist Party’s war-time activity against the Trotskyists was a factory leaflet which was headlined “Hitler’s Agents At Your Gates!”

The leaflet declared: “The Militant is a Nazi propaganda organ. No patriotic American worker will dirty his hands by accepting a copy of this Fifth Column sheet.”[19]

Despite innumerable provocations of this kind, the Stalinists were unable to stop the sale of The Militant outside the big factories. Once the Roosevelt administration realized that the Trotskyists could not be silenced despite the jailing of their main leaders, it moved to block the distribution of The Militant through the post office by revoking the newspaper’s second-class mailing rights. In a letter dated December 28, 1942, addressed to the Postmaster General, the Attorney General of the United States, Francis Biddle, explained the reasons for his punitive action:

As part of the joint cooperation which has existed between your Department and this Department in the enforcement of statutes in which both have a common interest, I am transmitting for your consideration information relating to The Militant, a weekly publication issued by The Militant Publishing Association, 116 University Place, New York, N.Y.

Since December 7, 1941 this publication has openly discouraged participation in the war by the masses of the people. It is permeated with the thesis that the war is being fought solely for the benefit of the ruling groups and will serve merely to continue the enslavement of the working classes. It is urged that this war is only an imperialistic clash for spoils at the expense of the lives and living standards of the people who should, therefore, not support it. The lines in the publication also include derision of democracy and the “four freedoms” as hypocritical shams, anti-British attacks, charges of Fascist collaboration by the United States, stimulation of race issues and other material deemed divisionary in character and appearing to be calculated to engender opposition to the war effort as well as to interfere with the morale of the armed forces. I am enclosing a memorandum consisting solely of excerpts taken from The Militant since December 7, 1941.

I suggest that you may wish to consider the issuance of an order to show cause why The Militant should not be denied the second-class mailing privilege. In this connection you will recall that in previous cases I called your attention to Section 3 of Title I of the Espionage Act of 1917 and to the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Milwaukee Publishing Company v. Burleson, 255 U.S. 407 (1921), upholding the right of the Postmaster General to suspend or revoke the second-class mailing privilege of a publication which, over a period of time, consistently publishes seditious matter.

This department offers you its complete cooperation in any action which you may deem advisable.[20]

This document from the desk of Roosevelt’s attorney general is the most irrefutable reply to Banda’s denunciation of “Cannon’s political cowardice” during World War II.


James P. Cannon, Socialism on Trial (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1973), p. 119.


Ibid., p. 120.


Ibid., p. 105.


Leon Trotsky, Writings of Leon Trotsky [1939–40] (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1973), p. 253.


Ibid., p. 256.


Ibid., p. 257.


Ibid., p. 331.


Ibid., pp. 332–34.


Ibid., p. 343.


Ibid., p. 344.


Ibid., p. 392.


Ibid., p. 411.


Ibid., pp. 411–12.


Ibid., pp. 412–13.


Ibid., p. 414.


Leon Trotsky, In Defence of Marxism (London: New Park Publications, 1971), p. 231.


The Militant, 15 August 1942.


The Militant, 14 February 1942.


The Militant, 14 March 1942.


The Militant, 30 January 1943.