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

Document 57 - Letter from the Communist League of South Africa to the Workers' Party of South Africa, 13 January 1936

                                                                                                        The Communist League of South Africa.

                                                                                                                                        35, Waterkant Street,


                                                                                                                                            13th January, 1936

General Secretary,

Workers' Party of South Africa,

P.O.Box 1940,


Dear Comrade,

Your letter of the l0th December has received the careful consideration of a business meeting of the Communist League.

All comrades expressed great satisfaction at the friendly tone and the evident agreement on the desirability of unity as expressed in your letter.

We agree to your suggestion that a special bulletin be attached to our respective organs, in which the problems affecting the revolution in South African be discussed.

We feel, however, the need that immediate steps be taken to bring this proposal into reality, and propose that you elect a sub-committee to act in collaboration with a sub-committee elected by the above mentioned meeting, to arrange the production and editing of the Bulletin, also to continue the discussions begun through this correspondence. We feel that otherwise there is a grave danger of prolonged negotiations before anything is really done.

We fail to understand your reasons for rejecting our "United Front" proposals. On attitude towards the Italo-Abyssinian War is that of all the Fourth International Groups and of the Left Opposition, i.e. opposition to League Sanctions, for a Workers' Boycott and Workers' Sanctions. We are confident that you cannot differ from that attitude.

As regards our attitude to the Native Bills, whilst you will find it outlined in the January issue of the "Workers' Voice," we can hardly credit your statement that you do not know our attitude to these Bills. Surely you cannot seriously doubt our strenuous opposition to Bills which threaten to further degrade the native masses.

Apart from the above considerations, we feel that only by and through "United Front" actions can theory be tested, and if necessary, corrected. It is precisely because we are confident that the unity of our organisations must come, that we stress the importance of presenting a "United Fourth International Front," on questions which are to-day rousing the masses of Africa to action on a scale unprecedented in modern times.

The members of the Sub-committee appointed to meet you, are: Comrades Davison, Gool, Averbuch, and H. M. van Gelderen.

We hope that you will agree to this proposed co-ordinatery committee.

                                                                                                              FOR THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL,

                                                                                                                                     p.p. H. M. van Gelderen,

                                                                                                                                    GENERAL SECRETARY