Primary Source

Antifascism and Leftist Politics


In February of 1942, in the middle of World War II, the Mexican feminist, educator, and archaeologist Eulalia Guzmán wrote to Raúl Cordero Amador, president of the organization Acción Democrática Internacional (International Democratic Action). Guzmán prefaced her letter by emphasizing that this antifascist organization was doing important work to fight Nazism and totalitarianism more broadly. However, the purpose of her letter was to request that Cordero Amador condemn the unfortunate events that had transpired at the organization’s last Congress. There in the anti-Stalinists Victor Serge, Julián Gorkin, and Marceau Pivert were physically assaulted. This source attests to intellectual exchange in at least three ways. It helps to locate important venues for exchange (Acción Democrática Internacional’s Congress). It attests to the widespread use of letters as a form of communicating ideas during this period. And, finally, it reveals just how interwoven “national” intellectuals such as Eulalia Guzmán were to the antifascist exile community in Mexico during the late 1930s and 1940s. This source is a part of the Intellectual Exchange methods primer.


Sr. Prof. Raúl Cordero Amador, Presidente de Acción Democrática Internacional. Presente. Muy estimado señor: Debo darle a usted las gracias por la oportunidad que me ofrecieron de poner mi grano de arena en la lucha contra las ideas totalitarias en el 1er. Congreso Antinazista que ustedes organizaron a fines de enero, y de haber oído valiosas exposiciones de temas relacionados con la misma lucha. Pero aprovecho la ocasión para decirle que he seguido recapacitando sobre ciertos incidentes que se suscitaron en el seno del Congreso, de los cuales solo presencié el del día 1. de febrero, o sea el último del Congreso. Me refiero al que provocaran elementos de filiación comunista-stalinista, en contra de tres personas a quienes ellos acusaron de agentes nazis: Víctor Serge, Julián Gorkin y Marceau Pivert. A estos señores poco conozco. Del primero he leído dos de sus últimos libros, y una vez me lo presentó una amiga mis. También le oí reciente conferencia en Bellas Artes. Ni en estas ocasiones de conocer sus ideas ni en la única conversación que ha tenido conmigo le he notado que sea nazista…”


Prof. Raúl Cordero Amador President of International Democratic Action Very Esteemed Sir: I must thank you for the opportunity you offered me to do my part in the fight against totalitarian ideas in the 1st Anti-Nazi Congress that you organized at the end of January, to have heard valuable presentations on topics related to the same struggle. But I take this opportunity to tell you that I have continued to reflect on certain incidents that arose within the Congress, of which I only witnessed the one on February 1, that is, the last day of the Congress. I am referring to the provocation of elements of communist-Stalinist affiliation, against three people whom they accused of being Nazi agents: Victor Serge, Julian Gorkin and Marceau Pivert. I know little of these gentlemen. Regarding the first man, I have read two of his latest books after a friend of mine introduced him to me. I also heard him recently lecture in Fine Arts. On neither of these occasions of learning about his ideas nor in the only conversation he has had with me was I given reason to think that he is a Nazi ... "


Eulalia Guzmán to Raúl Cordero Amador, Mexico, February 7, 1942. GENN MSS 238, Box 1, Folder 38, Victor Serge Papers. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Annotation by Ian Merkel.

How to Cite This Source

"Antifascism and Leftist Politics," in World History Commons, [accessed August 8, 2022]