Already as a young man, Pierre joined the French Resistance in the dark days
of the Nazi occupation of France. He later became a militant of the Fourth
International and remains a dedicated Trotskyist to this day. Unfortunately,
recently he has not been in the best of health, and is convalescing in the
picturesque foothills of the French Alps. I found him lively and alert, with a
sharp and very Gallic sense of humour. His revolutionary spirit shines through
in every sentence.
I first asked him about the forthcoming Trotsky Project, with which he intends to collaborate.
PB: The decision taken by In Defence of Marxism to republish the writings of Trotsky is therefore an excellent initiative, to which I give my wholehearted support. The youth must rediscover the extraordinary revolutionary traditions of the past. The publication of My Life would be a good way to start to the project. It explains a great deal about Trotsky himself, about his ideas, and about the great events he lived through.
AW: I understand that you will be writing a Preface to the new edition of My Life.
PB: Of course! I will start work on it just as soon as I get back to my books.
AW: Your latest book is on the Left Opposition. Would you like to say something about that?
PB: This is a very important subject, and I believe that not enough attention is paid to it. It is very important that the young people in particular should know about it.
AW: I am afraid that this book has not been translated into English. In general not many of your books have been made available in English, and that is a great shame. I believe that in future we should publish them.
PB: That would be extraordinary.
AW: Yes, I am thinking particularly of your biography of Trotsky, which is a very good antidote to the rubbish of Deutscher.
Pierre gives an ironic gesture, rather like a man brushing aside a fly. I then asked him how he came into contact with our tendency. He replied:
PB: When I read your material on the In Defence of Marxism website, and on the website of La Riposte, I realised that we should have been in contact and that we should have been working together for a long time. I believe we are on the same wavelength politically. In terms of political analysis and theory, your tendency stands way above all the others. Unfortunately, now that we are finally meeting, I am rather ill, as you can see. I must get well as soon as I can. This is a new beginning for me in many ways.
AW: As you know, Ted Grant has just celebrated his ninetieth birthday. I wonder if you would like to say a few words to him?
PB: Certainly! Ted Grant is known to me for many years, of course. As we say in France, he seems to have been around since the days of Clovis! Unfortunately, I do not believe we have ever met, but we had a mutual friend in Raoul, who was a longstanding militant in the Trotskyist movement in France. He often spoke to me of Ted, and held him in very high esteem. However, for some reason, perhaps for fear of being accused of "factionalism" or whatever - that's the way things happen in the organisation to which we both belonged at that time - he never showed me any of Ted's written material.
Regrettably, I didn't make the effort to get in touch with him at the time. Only in the last few years I have been reading his material, which I found very interesting. Anyway, I am now very much looking forward to working together with your tendency. We must discuss politics, and methods of work, of course, and try to arrive at the fullest agreement. I believe this is quite possible.
To Ted himself, I would like to say:
"Ted, you were always a fighter. You have been struggling for many years. You have always defended revolutionary ideas. This was very important work, and you accomplished a great deal. At ninety years old, you are not a young man any more, but I think I might yet be attending your 100th birthday party!"
Grenoble, October 9, 2003.