Trotskyist Bulletin No. 8
AFGHANISTAN & THE LEFT
Worldwide Effort for Jalalabad Tops $40,000
The following is excerpted from an article in Workers Vanguard, No. 480, 23 June 1989
In early February, as the Soviet army completed its withdrawal, with basic social gains at stake, the PDC wrote the Afghan Embassy with the urgent offer to organize an international brigade to fight to the death in defense of these rights in Afghanistan. This offer raised eyebrows and sneers from some, including a few who claimed to support the Soviet army fight against the mujahedin. But our offer came straight out of our revolutionary heritage. Scores of Trotskyists fought in the trenches of the Spanish Civil War, with the Lenin Column on the Aragon front, for example. The founding conference of the Fourth International in 1938 sent a message of greetings to the Fighters in Spain which said in part:
It [the conference] recalls with pride that the first effective practical aid in the form of volunteers, while the Popular Front parties were still babbling away abort neutrality, was given by the sections of the Fourth International, particularly the French and the Belgian sections. It salutes its members who fell in the first days of the fight against Franco.
In response to our offer to organize international brigades the Afghan government said military assistance was not needed at this time. Then, a few weeks later, it approached us with an appeal for humanitarian assistance for the besieged civilians of Jalalabad who were in desperate need of food, medicine and clothing.