In the mid-1930s workers in France were heading towards a showdown with the capitalist class and their government, including organized rightist forces emboldened by Hitler's victory in Germany. The struggle reached a peak in May-June 1936 with a massive wave of strikes and factory occupations involving two million workers - one-fourth of all wage earners.
In letters and articles to a group of several hundred revolutionary fighters in France, Leon Trotsky discusses a range of political, tactical, and practical questions central to the building of a communist party. He explains how even a small proletarian party - armed with a revolutionary programme and tested in the class battles of the day - could grow and win the leadership of the working-class movement as the struggles unfolded. He discusses why internationalism is essential in combatting pressures of imperialist war preparations and how the leadership of a workers party must function in order to advance the political confidence and striking power of the movement.
Leon Trotsky, a central leader of the Russian revolution, was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929 by Joseph Stalin for seeking to continue the communist course of the revolution under V.I. Lenin. By the early 1930s he had helped organize a nucleus of a new international communist movement. He was murdered by Stalin's secret police in 1940.