Trotskyist Bulletin No. 8





Document 2c.4

Letter to William

The following is James Robertson’s response to William C.’s objections. Note that Robertson suggests that if the PDC proposal were accepted it would be the Afghan government’s “problem” to implement it. This suggests that Robertson was also heavily discounting the possibility that the PDPA might take the PDC up on its offer. This impression is reinforced by the suggestion that it was “feasible” that the PDC could recruit “10,000 armed committed men” for the venture. This letter was originally published in the iSt’s International Discussion Bulletin No. 19, March 1989.

(Fax) by Jim
07 February 1989, 7:40 p.m. (local time)

Dear William,

No, William, I don’t think we’ve gone completely mad. This is not Stalin’s government vis-à-vis Spain in 1936. But I do think we could recruit military detachments for the Kabul government. If you think about it, a pretty motley lot—from Shining Path (now that the Russians are out) to Gurkhas to Sikhs. Possibly you know people who don’t know whether to kill Le Pen or join him. They can find their soul in Afghanistan. If the soul slides to the right, they may come back only as leathery shrunken heads, the object of a vigorous polo game.

As you noted, “I have some difficulty in remembering that the Trotskyists have ever called for the formation of international brigades.” I do too, I think that this is essentially a Tukhachevskyite operation, not a political one. Nahuel Moreno sent such a brigade to Nicaragua, but only at the moment of victory.

While we know many places to seek recruits, involving rather fairly large and certainly psychotic groups of people, basically I would see our role as catalytic. We can propose, but should the Afghan government accept, then it’s their problem. Have you ever talked to a Druze militant?

In the seventh paragraph of the first page of your letter you use the word “construct.” I would have said “recruit.”

We are in a sea of imponderables; but it does in fact seem to me that 10,000 armed committed men, not least deeply embittered Iranian émigrés, might make the difference. It is feasible. Transit, e.g., out of India, could be coequal to recruitment in difficulty.

I was thinking of hitting the psycho wards in the VA hospitals with the pitch: “This time, be on the right side! Fight for Communism!”

I have a slogan, “Free all political prisoners everywhere—Send them to Afghanistan!”

Hopefully for good and mayhap victory, certainly some of our own members will be among those who seek to turn the future of war in the face of Russian betrayal. Does glasnost extend to recruiting kiosks in Leningrad and Moscow?

I am thinking of a private effort, not a public one.

We did link in our statement to Kabul the PDC with the iSt.

I’m glad some comrades have a residual trace of sanity, but is that always good? Lenin never said socialism stopped at Russia’s borders.


P.S. If Green is North, is South Red?