From: South Africa's Radical Tradition, a documentary history, Volume One 1907 - 1950, by Allison Drew

Document 43 - Letter from T. W. Thibedi to Leon Trotsky, 10 August 1932

                                                                                                                                             10th August 1932.

Leon Trotsky

Prinkipo Islands,



Dear Comrade Trotsky,

I hope that by the time you recieve this letter from me you shall have seen a letter I send to the Communist League of America Opposition. Quite a lot has happened in the communist party of South Africa, private meetings are still continuing, expelled Stalinist and those who are still in the Party are forming a common front in killing the Communist League of Africa (Left Opposition) instead of specialising in fighting against the true enemy of the oppressed people of Africa viz Capitalists they waist time in fighting the most revolutionary (the left opposition) in trying to bluff the left oppositions they tell us that Trotsky is an outcast and that the left opposition only exists in America and no where else and yet if one reads the Militant regularly would soon see through the tactics of the Stalinists worshipers in the Communist Party of South Africa. They tell us that the left Oppositionists are lazy individuals who only sit down in their office criticizing the leadership of the Communist International, that the left opposition is going to help the capitalists when the next war against U.S.S.R. is made by the Capitalists. They consider the Militant a very dangerous paper to be read by the negro workers of Africa in particular. But all those negro workers that has been reading the Militant do not want to part with the same, I hope that by next year we shall be able to start the paper to be written in the languages spoken by the South African negroes, by this I mean a paper for spreading the views of the left opposition in South Africa. We need a lot of articles on the conditions in South Africa to appear in the Militant. We are busy organising the negro trade unions and we are already considering of forming "Artuo"(Africa Red Trade Unions Oppositions) and for the Communist League of Africa (left opposition) we have already taken an office at 9 Berea Street, City and Suburban, Johannesburg, from where these trade unions are being organised, we received few pamphlets from comrade T. Stamm of the communist league of America these we keep in our office for those comrades who cannot afford to by to read at our office we need plenty more literature of the left opposition because the Stalinists bureaucrats has for some years been hiding such a literature to be known by the African Negro workers, I must thank Comrade Victor Danchin who helped to get some of the left opposition translated for me from the Russian left opposition literature, because to day I can a lot in seeing some negro workers to understand the unpardonable mistakes which are purposely being committed by the Stalinists bereacrats who govern in the Communists Party of South Africa.

Perhaps this shall interest the members of the left opposition to hear, there is a great selfishness that is being done by the Stalinists in South Africa, viz students from negro comrades who have proved themselves to be absolutely loyal to the instructions from boss Stalin are now being for their education to moscow but all those who have tried to ague are being expelled from the C.P.S.A. and are being left out not to be given a chance to go and learn but the left opposition in South Africa is quite alive to these manouvering of the Stalinist when these students return shall fight bitterly against the left opposition of South Africa again these creatures refuse us to buy and read the official organ of the E.C.C.I. I think that they are afraid we shall compare it with the Militant.

I joined the revolutionary movement in 1916,and since that time I have been on its E.C. and for many years the only negro comrade. from 1928 I organised the following trade Unions, Laundry Workers Union, Clothing Workers Union, Furniture Workers, Metal Workers, Meat and Cold Storage Workers, Domestic Servants, Dairy workers, Canvas and Rope Workers, Transport Workers, Chemical Workers, International Working Women.

Mechanic and Motor Drivers Union, Etc etc. I also formed the following branches of the Communist Party of South Africa. Pretoria, Potchefstroom, Evaton Vereeniging, Paardekop Bloemfontein, and at Ndabeni Location (Cape Town). We formed the Federation of Trade Unions in October 1928 but to day there is no longer any single trade union under the control of the party almost all the branches are now dead are purposely left to die by the Stalin bureaucrat governing the Communist Party of South Africa, and yet if people oversea reads the official organ Umsebenzi would think that these bureaucrats are doing a splendid job for the revolutionary movement in South Africa. If Joseph Stalin did not know hat he was being told lies about the condition in South Africa left him hear it from the Militant he should also try to fined out why the Negroes are living the Party apart from those who are expelled. They are turning the Official paper of the Party into a lying organ for no one would believe being in south Africa news in the Umsebenzi. Since the beginning of this year a long prayer has been drawn up by Comrade S. P. Bunting signed by Comrade Gana Makabenim Simon Mafisa, Willie T. Twayi, and B. Dau Madiseng all negro comrades some do not know the contents of that prayer to Boss Stalin requesting him to be merciful and reinstate them into the Communist Party of South Africa, I personally was refused admittance the day when that prayer was finally read to be send these immediately created suspicion because I should have been left to hear what it was for I am also an expelled member of the party. So far no reply has been received to that prayer, the drawer of these long prayer is not prepared to join the left Opposition and yet those who signed have no objection in joining the left opp[osition].

We received a letter from comrade Vitte of the International Secreatariate of the Left Opposition but he did not give his address so we can't reply to him direct9, Please tell him that I do not read German or French but read English, Dutch, Zulu, Sesotu, Chiswina, Shangaan, TsiVenda, Xosa and various other negro languages.

Hoping to hear from you,

                                                                                            Yours for the Overthrow of Capitalism in Africa

                                                                                                                                                   T. W. Thibedi

                                                                                                                                                P.O. Box 41 t 3,


                                                                                             Communist League of Africa Left Op[position]