Leon Trotsky
In Defense of Marxism

A Letter to John G. Wright

This letter was written by Trotsky in English

January 13, 1940

Dear Comrade Wright,

I agree completely with your appreciation of the pamphlet of Comrade Shachtman.[1] 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,



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.