Call for an International Conference of Principled Trotskyists

From Class Struggle 51 July-August 2003

The revolutionary organizations that jointly wrote and signed this document – Lucha Marxista of Peru, Groupe Bolchevik of France, the Communist Workers' Group of New Zealand, the Grupo Obrero Internacionalista (CI) of Chile and the Liga Obrera Internacionalista (CI)-Democracia Obrera of Argentina – agree to call, on the basis of the principles and the programmatic lessons contained in it, an International Conference of Principled Trotskyists and revolutionary workers’ organizations.

We met in the Congress of the COTP-CI [COPT-CI is Committee of Principled Trotskyists - Fourth Internationalist – the grouping of Workers Democracy of Argentina and Workers International League of Chile.] in Buenos Aires in December 2002 and, during the heat of the Argentinean revolution, the heroic fight of the Palestinian people and of the preparations for the war against Iraq, we decided to launch a call for an International Conference on the basis of revolutionary lesson and essential programmatic agreements on these crucial facts of the world class struggle. A first result of these agreements and this common fight, was the joint declaration before the war against Iraq, published on January 22nd, 2003,[Class Struggle # 48 March/April 2003] raising a principled and internationalist position against it, and concentrating the struggle against the treacherous leaderships grouped in the World Social Forum – a real counter-revolutionary international – and against those revisionist Trotskyists and the liquidators of the Fourth International currents whether they are subordinated to the WSF or not.

In the few months since then, the world proletariat has entered into new struggles and suffered new defeats and repeated betrayals such as in Iraq, in Palestine, in Argentina, in Bolivia, in Venezuela.

We, the revolutionary internationalists, must firmly say that the partial victories won by the counter-revolution and the bourgeois-imperialist reaction are not because of the lack of heroism of the exploited in these fights, nor because of the technical and military advances of the genocidal imperialist troops, but the betrayals of the treacherous leaders of our class.

The revolutionary upsurge at the end the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s was a world wide process: themobilization of youth and workers in China; the anti-bureaucratic revolution in Czechoslovakia; the war fought by the Vietnamese people; the general strike in France; the large scale strikes in Italy; the victorious miners' strike in Great Britain, the national movements in Ireland and the Basque Country; the students' movement in Mexico; the revolution in Bolivia; the Cordobazo in Argentina; the fight of the Blacks and anti-war movement in the United States; the revolutions in Chile and Portugal; and so on. But this wave was contained and betrayed by the bourgeois or petty-bourgeois nationalists and the treacherous leaderships of the workers' movement.

From the 1980s, new defeats inflicted on the world revolution allowed the bourgeoisies of the imperialist countries to take the offensive again. A critical turning point was the defeat of the British miners in 1985, but the decisive event was the destruction of the USSR in 1991 and the subsequent restoration of capitalism in the former USSR and Eastern Europe by the Stalinist bureaucracy that had usurped workers' power from 1924.
This historical victory of the world bourgeoisie encouraged American imperialism to lead the coalitions that crushed Iraq in 1991, the Balkans in 1999, Afghanistan in 2002, and Iraq again in 2003.
But the imperialist powers cannot stabilise the situation. At the end of the 20th century, the Palestinian Intifada that began in 1987; the mass demonstrations in East Germany and in China in 1989; the strikes of November-December 1995 in France; the strikes of 1997 in South Korea; the revolutions of Albania and Indonesia in 1997; came one after the other. The 21st century began with powerful mobilizations of the masses, such as the heroic struggle in Palestine in 2000, the revolution in Argentina in 2001, and the rising in Bolivia in 2003. The imperialist mobilisation for war on Iraq was answered by an enormous anti-imperialist mobilization of the masses all over the world, that reverberated in the heartlands of the imperialist countries.Today the workers of Europe put up a fierce resistance to the liquidation of the historic gains won during preceding revolutionary advances.
It is necessary to tell the truth to the masses, no matter how hard and cruel: the defeats, the retreats in the revolutionary processes, the military defeats of the oppressed nations, they all resulted from the treachery of the existing leaderships of the proletariat and the exploited masses, which are in most cases, grouped in the World Social Forum today.
Imperialism, with this succession of counterrevolutionary victories, is looking for a way-out from the world economic crisis, by making the world working class and oppressed peoples produce more surplus value. At the same time each imperialist country is competing against its rivals for the resources and markets of the colonies, semi-colonies of Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and the former workers’ states. It has to be seen yet whether imperialism can resolve its crisis by these means.To achieve this the counter-revolutionary leaderships of all kinds must consolidate the triumph of the counter-revolution by forcing the masses to the conclusion that imperialism cannot be defeated, and therefore must be accommodated.
Therefore, the immediate perspective for revolutionaries in the current world situation is dictated by the reality the working class is experiencing of the wars, economic crises and sharpening of the class antagonisms of the imperialist epoch.
We believe that under these new conditions it is necessary, on the basis of the revolutionary lessons of the many struggles, of the defeats and the betrayals suffered by the world proletariat, to clearly separate the reformists, liquidationists and centrists from the revolutionary internationalists, and to prepare the international proletariat for the coming battles, as the imperialist counter-offensive begun in the mid 1980s, now sharpens against the working class, the workers' states,[countries were capital has been expropriated and which so far survive capitalist restoration. The ‘group of five’ agree that Cuba and North Korea remain ‘bureaucratic workers’ states]and the oppressed peoples of the world.
Under these conditions of economic crisis, war, and revolution, the struggle of revolutionary internationalists to unite on the basis of these lessons and a revolutionary program to prepare for the coming struggles, is a task of utmost urgency.
Today the imperialist war against Iraq –as before it the heroic Palestinian struggle and the Argentinean revolution –has established a new Rubicon not only of the treacherous workers’ leaders, but also of the revisionists of Trotskyism who provide a ‘left cover’ for the class traitors. The various wings of the liquidators of the Fourth International cling to the shirt tails of the UN and the French and German imperialists, collaborate with the stinking corpse of Stalinism and social democracy, with the national bourgeoisie as in Venezuela, and with the radical petty bourgeois nationalist movements such as Hizbollah and Hamas.
In the Argentinean revolution, they are the enemies of the struggle of the masses to create armed, self-organising mass organs based on direct democracy, and they use the minimal and democratic demands of the revolutionary program as a chain around the neck of the masses. They became the servants of the stinking remains of Stalinism and supporters of the notorious, hated regime.
In Brazil, the revisionist currents of Trotskyism and liquidationists of the Fourth International have openly supported and called workers to vote for the class collaborationist government of Lula-Alencar, and some ministers, governors and Secretaries of State of the Brazilian reactionary regime come from their ranks.
In France, these currents support of the imperialist regime of the Fifth Republic: they have openly called workers to vote for "the lesser evil", for Chirac against Le Pen; or they have supported it by of refusing to fight for an election boycott and for a general strike before the second round of the elections. In France, in Spain, in Italy, in Great Britain, etc., these currents are completely subordinated to social democracy, to the new parties of recycled Stalinists, and to the workers’ aristocracy and the trade-union bureaucracies.
These are only some examples how the liquidators of the Fourth International have crossed the Rubicon. These liquidationist and revisionist currents do not leave in place one stone of the theory and the program of revolutionary Marxism. Their bankruptcy is complete.
Because of this bankruptcy we must extract the revolutionary lessons from the past struggles and the betrayals we have suffered. We must prevent the flags of Trotskyism and of revolutionary Marxism from remaining in the hands of these misleading usurpers. We must unite the dispersed ranks of revolutionary internationalists. We must fight to set up Leninist combat parties, and to build a revolutionary international.To achieve all of this, is it necessary to convene an international conference to re-group the healthy forces of the workers’ movement and in particular of those who say they continue to fight for Trotskyism and the Fourth International.
Those who call for this Conference all come from the splits in the Fourth International, and we still have differences that we will publicly debate in our press in the period before this International Conference. The most significant of these differences is over the present character of the revolutionary international.
For the comrades of the CWG of New Zealand, it is necessary to struggle for a new Fifth International. The comrades of the Groupe Bolshevik of France and of Lucha Marxista of Peru say that the organization built by Trotsky, the Fourth International, is dead, but its program is still alive and that militants and regroupments are still seeking to apply the program for the world socialist revolution. Consequently they raise the algebraic expression "for the revolutionary workers’ International" saying that it will be the debate and conscious action of the living forces building this international that will determine its concrete form.
For the Argentinean and Chilean comrades of the COPT-CI, the fight today, more than ever, is for the regeneration and the refoundation of the Fourth International. The theory and program retains their validity and actuality and have passed the test of history. It is the usurpers and renegades of Trotskyism who have not passed this test. Therefore, it is the validity and actuality of its theory, program and strategy that determines the number of an International, as has been demonstrated several times by the experience of the world proletariat since the middle of the 19th century.
But we will discuss these differences –and others that exist before the International Conference –within a common international bulletin, since we are linked by our programmatic agreements facing the explosive events of the international situation: of crisis, revolution and war. So, we are far from any centrist alchemy and from signing agreements with those who will then go away and betray the proletariat.
Therefore, we call for an International Conference to go forward towards setting up an International Center of Revolutionary Marxism. The program we promote here for this Conference is not written for small circles of intellectuals or for the editorial boards of Marxist papers. It is a program that we undertake to develop –and to fight for it –in the heart of the workers’ organizations in our countries. Hundreds of workers’ and class struggle organizations are affiliated to the World Social Forum, tied to the UN and the French and German imperialists by their treacherous leaderships. Our fight will be to win mass support for this revolutionary program from the combat organizations of the working class. They will have an honoured place beside the revolutionary Trotskyists.
The epoch of crises, wars and revolutions will not allow the would-be liquidators of Marxism and of the Fourth International to rest in peace.Our forces are very weak, but our program and the ideas that we defend are the fruit of more than 150 years of struggle by the world proletariat. They deserve to live, and sooner rather than later, they will be adopted by the many millions of exploited who enter into class combat.
Long live the struggle for an International Conference of the healthy forces of Trotskyism and of the revolutionary internationalist workers’ organizations!

July 2003

Collective for an International Conference of the Principled Trotskyism

§Communist Workers’ Group (New Zealand)
§Groupe Bolchevik pour la construction du Parti ouvrier révolutionnaire, de l'Internationale ouvrière révolutionnaire (France)
§Grupo Obrero Internacionalista Cuarta Internacional (Chile)
§Liga Obrera Internacionalista Cuarta Internacional - Democracia Obrera (Argentina)
§Lucha Marxista (Peru)

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