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

Document 58 - Letter from the Communist League of South Africa to the Workers' Party of South Africa, 18 February 1936

                                                                                                           The Communist League of South Africa,

                                                                                                                                         35, Waterkant Street,

                                                                                                                                                       CAPE TOWN.

                                                                                                                                           18th February, 1936.

The Secretary.

Workers' Party of S.A.,

P.O. Box 1940,


Dear Comrade,

We are extremely disappointed that we have so far had no reply to our letter of 17th January, 1936, relating to our proposals for Unity and a united from against the Native Bills and the Italo-Abyssinian War.

As you are aware, we have several times approached you on this subject as we feel sure that the Fourth International Movement would be enormously strengthened in this country if we combined our efforts. There can be no doubt that the original split in our ranks has produced certain beneficial results, for, dialectically, a conflict of opinion is essential if a correct policy and programme is to be achieved. But, to-day, unity and combined efforts are again indicated.

We appreciate the fact that complete unity on all points may not yet be possible. A great deal of preliminary work and discussion is still necessary. Nevertheless, since we do agree on certain principles, we feel that these principles should form a basis for the discussion of our differences. Moreover, much valuable time is being lost. The crisis rapidly approaching, and should not find us divided.

There may, of course, be some reason, of which we are unaware, why you have not yet replied to our last letter, but in view of the urgency of the position, we must ask you to advise us immediately, one way or another, as to your intentions. In any case,a bare acknowledgement of our proposals is at least indicated. As you are aware from our last letter, we have suggested the concrete proposal that 4 of our comrades should meet a delegation consisting of an equal number of comrades from the Workers' Party. The names of these comrades from the Communist League were also mentioned. We feel sure that this provides a good basis which may eventually bring about the desired unity.

In accordance with your previous suggestion we are publishing in the next number of the "Workers' Voice" our analysis of the economic position of the native in this country, but, as our respective papers are only published monthly, it will necessitate the passage of several months before all our differences have been thoroughly discussed.

We shall appreciate an early reply, as up to now we have been left somewhat up in the air", and that naturally handicaps us in the formulation of our future plans.