Letter to Frederico
The following letter was written by James Robertson to Frederico P., one of the iSt’s leading European cadres at the time. Note Robertson’s suggestion that “Trotskyists would have their throats cut upon landing” in Kabul. This parallels our observation that it could be “hazardous for young militants…identified with a ‘Trotskyist’ organization to place themselves under the ‘control and direction’ of the PDPA…” which the SL subsequently denounced (see Document 2c.10 below). Frederico did go to Kabul and his report subsequently appeared in the 21 July 1989 of Workers Vanguard (see 2c.9). This letter was originally published in the iSt’s International Discussion Bulletin No. 19, March 1989.
(Fax by Jim
09 February 1989
I am responding to your letter of yesterday which I do not have in hand. I thought that, over all, you had the idea excellently in hand. But I thought that you truly confused the political with the military.
We are not trying to supplant, but to aid, the Kabul government. Trotskyists would have their throats cut upon landing. I think that to describe the PDC as “Marxist” is too narrow. The PDC is not programmatic or ideologic but issue-oriented. In Afghanistan there is little proletariat. The way all this shit unfolded is because the Parcham and Khalq factions of the Afghan left thought there was a proletariat.
You appear gravely concerned about the reference to “private initiative.” Well, it’s hardly secret but while we have been making this offer to the Afghan government, it would have defeated the possibility of acceptance if we spread it around in advance. I think the Afghans have turned down our proposal as such but in a very friendly way and with implication that we might be able to offer them help of another sort. Perhaps they mean such as the excellent work that Ben Linder did in Nicaragua. But should we find it possible to be of some assistance for our side in this war, it certainly would not remain anything resembling a private matter.
Would you like to go instantly to Kabul as our correspondent? You are well qualified.
Last year in Stromboli,