Correspondence between Nora Connolly O'Brien and Leon Trotsky

These letters, dated 28 April and 6 June 1936, were first published in Workers Republic, journal of the League for a Workers Republic, Dublin, no 122, 1989. The spelling in Trotsky's letter has been corrected where necessary.

Both of these letters are currently in print in Revolutionary History, Volume 6, no 2/3 along with much other invaluable information on the Trotskyism movement in Ireland. See the Archives above for their Website.

Nora Connolly O'Brien to Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky to Nora Connolly O'Brien


36 Belgrave Square
Rathmines
Dublin
Ireland

28 April 1936

Dear Comrade,

A comrade here has promised to get this letter to you.

First to introduce myself. I am the daughter of James Connolly, a worker in the Socialist movement all his life, and as you know, Commandant General in the Rising of Easter Week in 1916. He was executed.

I learn that you are extremely interested in Ireland, and the development of the revolutionary movements here. If you desire it, I would gladly supply you with whatever items of information you require. There is not at present any Labour paper, but there will be by the end of May. I will send you copies if you wish them. There is one paper issued by the National Revolutionaries, the Irish Republican Army, and one issued by the CP. These also I will send if you wish.

I hold an official position in the Irish Citizen Army, I am a member of the Irish Labour Party, and am in close touch with the officials of the Irish Republican Army.

The Labour Party recently adopted a new programme and constitution, the first step towards achieving the leading role in the revolutionary movement in Ireland. The new programme is not yet a correct revolutionary one, but it is such an enormous advance on the previous one, that we are not indulging in any carping or cavilling criticism. Through it they can supply an alternative to Fianna FáiI (the majority Republican party in the Irish parliament, An Dáil) as by adopting James Connolly's doctrine of the twin ideals of national and social independence they have ended the divorce between the national and Labour movements. This programme will be ready shortly. I could also send you a copy.

This is not much of a letter, really it is only to establish contact.

Nora Connolly O'Brien

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Norway

6 June 1936

Dear Comrade,

I was very touched by your kind letter. A great deal of circumstances prevented me from writing to you immediately. I always have been greatly interested in Ireland, but unfortunately my interest remained only platonic. I never had the opportunity to study in detail Irish history and politics. Since my early days I have got, through Marx and Engels, the greatest sympathy and esteem for the heroic struggle of the Irish for their independence. The tragic fate of your courageous father met me in Paris during the war. I bear him faithfully in remembrance. I made up my mind to read your book about your father in the very next time.

The revolutionary tradition of the national struggle is a precious good. Would it be possible to imbue the Irish proletariat with it for its Socialist class struggle, the working class of your country could, in spite of the numerical weakness of your population, play an important historical role and give a mighty impulse to the British working class now paralysed by the senile bureaucracy.

I take the liberty to send you in the same time my little book, In Defence of Terrorism.

Leon Trotsky


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