Main NI Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

New International, September–October 1934


For the Right of Asylum for Leon Trotsky

From New International, Vol. I No. 3, September–October 1934, Inside front cover.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


LEON Trotsky is in danger! Unfounded press dispatches report him to be in several different countries at the same time. Meanwhile, he remains in France under the strictest surveillance of the French police agents, driven from place to place and guarded from contacts or communication with the outer world.

All the reactionary forces of France (the Stalinists included) would like to see no more of him. What further fate his numerous enemies are preparing for him, it is impossible to foretell. In any case, at this very moment he stands in imminent peril of assassination, imprisonment, or enforced exile to some remote French penal colony.

Trotsky must be rescued from the French police! The hands of his enemies must be stayed! A place of asylum must be found for him!

One country after another has refused this supposed “counter-revolutionist” a visa. They fear to harbor him within their borders, although he asks for nothing more than a quiet and comfortable place in which to pursue his literary work. Once again, he becomes “a man on the planet without a visa”.

The right of asylum for political refugees is one of the oldest of democratic rights. Since the flight of the Pilgrims, the New World has been a place of asylum for the refugees of the Old. Remember Carl Schurz, Garibaldi, Kossuth, and today Einstein and the other refugees from Hitler’s Germany. No constitutional barriers stand in the way of Trotsky’s entrance.

The doors of the United States should be opened to Trotsky. He can – and he will – be given permission to settle here. Let us bend all our energies to make the supposedly Democratic administration at Washington grant him a visa as soon as possible.

We are informed that “The Committee for Asylum for Trotsky” is now being organized to work for Trotsky’s admission to this country. A number of noted liberals and intellectuals have already consented to serve on that committee and to sign a petition now being drawn up to request the necessary visa from the State Department at Washington. Quincy Howe, editor of The Living Age, is Provisional Chairman of the Committee. Its address is 22 East 17 Street, N.Y.C.

In its statement, the committee calls upon every democratically-minded person to give his personal, moral, and financial aid to its work. It particularly appeals to American scholars, historians, journalists, artists and writers to come to the aid of a world-famous colleague whose attainments in each of these fields is universally acknowledged to be of the first water.

Every worker is urged to join this campaign for the granting of a visa to one of the greatest of their international leaders. Every supporter and sympathizer with working class activities should come to the aid of this champion of the proletariat. Every friend and reader of The New International is asked to give his support to the work of this committee.

A united effort to obtain the right of asylum for Trotsky should soon succeed. Let us all begin today to help the committee get a visa for him.

“The democratic right of asylum,” Trotsky once wrote, “obviously does not consist in a government’s showing hospitality to people who hold similar views to its own – even Adbul Hamid did that. Nor does it consist in a democracy’s admitting exiles only with the permission of the government that exiled them. The right of asylum consists (on paper) in a government’s giving refuge even to its opponents, provided they undertake to observe the country’s laws.”

Top of page

Main NI Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Last updated on 25 February 2016