Leon Trotsky

A Letter to the Editor
of the Modern Monthly

(October 1937)

Written: 15 October 1937.
Published: Socialist Appeal, Vol. I No. 18, 11 December 1937, p. 5.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2015. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

We reprint below a copy of a letter sent by comrade Trotsky to V.F. Calverton. To date, no reply or acknowledgment has been made to it. – Ed.

October 15, 1937

Mr. V.F. Calverton,
46 Morton St.,
New York City, N.Y.

My Dear Editor:

You propose that I write an article on war for the Modern Monthly. Before entering directly into discussion of your amiable proposition, I am forced to put one preliminary question. In the list of your associate editors is inscribed the name of Mr. Carleton Beals. After his “participation “ in the Inquiry Commission on the Moscow Trials, there cannot be the slightest doubt about the moral physiognomy of this gentleman. Beals’ article on the Commission hearings in Coyoacan was nothing but a series of lies and falsifications dictated by the interest of the G.P.U. I enumerated the most important of these lies and falsifications in an article, a copy of which, so far as I know, was forwarded to you. You have not yet, however, reacted in any way to the attitude of Mr. Beals.

I can give an article to a bourgeois publication without any concern about the other contributors, as I may ride in a bus without concern about the identities of the other passengers. Totally different is the case with a magazine which appeals to Marxism and revolution. Every contributor in this case is bound by a reciprocal bond to all the others. I consider it impossible to carry any responsibility not only for Mr. Beals himself but also for the publication which tolerates him in its ranks.

Stalinism is the syphilis of the workers movement. Anybody who chances to be a direct or indirect carrier of such a contamination should be submitted to a pitiless, quarantine. The hour has struck for the unsparing demarcation of honest people from all the agents, friends, lawyers, publicists, and poets of the G.P.U. Collaboration in a journal like yours is necessary for such as Beals in order to preserve their mask of “independence. “ The less reason has an independent journal to give its cover to such gentlemen.

If the name of Mr. Beals remains on your list only through oversight (and I should be glad to hear from you that this is the case) then you can immediately, correct this error. In the opposite case I shall be forced to ask you to publish this letter in your magazine in explanation for my taking away my name from the roll of your contributors.


Sincerely yours,
Leon Trotsky

return return return return return

Last updated on: 31 July 2015