Perspectives and Challenges facing the Liaison Committee for an International Conference of principled Trotskyists and revolutionary internationalist workers’ organizations
THE masses that heroically resist the imperialist occupation of Iraq, and check the Ango-American imperialists, see today how the national bourgeoisies reach an agreement with the invaders to force the combatants to give up their arms. But the masses resist.
In the heights of Oruro, in Bolivia, the revolutionary students of the UTO revolt against the agreements signed by the bureaucratic leaders of the COB, and the COD, that with the aid of POR Lora want to concede the gains won by the students in their struggle.
In Argentina, the regime of the Social Pact closes down the remaining vestiges of the revolutionary process that began in December of 2001 with the fall of de la Rúa at the hands of the masses.
In Brazil, the pro-imperialist government of Lula, supported by the union bureaucracy, furthers the implementation of the plans of the IMF and imperialism, despite the growing resistance of workers and poor people with strikes like the that of the workers of the state unions, the strike of private and state banks, the heroic student fight in Bahia, among others, to which Lula and the employer's association responds with persecution and repression.
At each step, the struggle of the masses is contained and betrayed by its leaders, who tie their hands and stop them settling accounts with the imperialistic bourgeois regime. The liquidators and renegades of Trotskyism also do their worst, being subordinated to Castroism, Chavism, the union bureaucracies and the labor aristocracy, to social democracy, and all the reformist leaders assembled in the World Social Forum. They do not leave one stone in place of the theory and program of revolutionary Marxism. Their bankruptcy is total. The crisis of revolutionary leadership of the world proletariat continues to deepen.
Under these conditions, is born the Bulletin of International Discussion of the Liaison Committee for an International Conference of principled Trotskyists and revolutionary internationalist workers’ organizations. This Liaison Committee was formed on the 10 and 11 of July, 2004 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, during the international Pre-conference summoned by the Coordinating Committee of all the Brazilian groups that have taken into their hands the revolutionary struggle for a an International Conference of principled Trotskyists and workers’ organizations. Proudly, in the Act of constitution of this Liaison Committee, we declared war to all the treacherous liquidator and renegade leaders that drag the flag of Trotskyism in the soil, and we raised the flag:
…To fight against the treacherous leaders of the working class, social democracy, stalinism, the labor bureaucracy and labor aristocracy, the great majority of grouped in World Social Forum, that tries to reform the capitalist state.
Against the popular front and the governments of the bourgeois-worker parties in power. Against all class collaboration. To denounce and to confront the counter-revolutionary role of the government of Lula, Castroism, and its continent-wide politics of containment with which they strangle the revolutionary fight of the masses of Latin America and keep in power the client governments and lackey regimes of imperialism.
Confrontation and struggle against the liquidators and renegades of Trotskyism. Against the pseudo-Trotskyist centrism that is actually subordinated to the reformist apparatuses, like for example, in Brazil, supplies ministers in the pro-imperialist government of Lula as does Socialist Democracy (United Secretariat of the Fourth International), or act as pressure groups on the government like the PSTU.In that meeting there participated delegates of Marxist Workers’ Party (Partido Obrero Marxista - POM); the Trotskyist Fraction (FT, member of the TCI); Revolutionary Communist Group (CCR), Workers’ Opposition (OO); Marxist Trench (Trincheira Marxista – TM) and Revolutionaries in Struggle (Revolutas), all of Brazil. Also POR Argentina (member of the TCI); and the delegates of the Fti-ci, represented by the International Workers Group (Grupo Obrero Internacionalista -GOI) and the Trotskyist Workers’ Nucleus (Nu'cleo Obrero Trotskista - NOT) of Chile; the Organizing Committee of International Trotskyist League (Liga Trotskista Internacionalista -COLTI), of Peru '; the Fti-ci in Urus in Action, of Bolivia and Internationalist Workers League –Workers’ Democracy (LOI-CI) of Argentina.
After two days of rigorous, exciting and democratic programmatic debate, we collectively formed the Liaison Committee for an International Conference of principled Trotskyists and revolutionary internationalist workers’ organizations, on the basis of clearly defined agreements, as well as the differences that exist which will be the reason for further deep discussion. The comrades of the Communist Workers Group (CWG) of New Zealand, despite not being able to be physically present at the meeting sent their enthusiastic greetings to the meeting and agreed to join the Liaison Committee.
Those of us who formed this Liaison Committee come mostly from the breakdown of the 4th International, and we are trying to regroup on the basis of the revolutionary lessons of the struggles of the masses and the betrayals they have suffered. In order to regroup the dispersed ranks of revolutionary internationalists, and stop the flags of Trotskyism falling into the hands of the liquidators and renegades who usurp them, we take on the task of convening an international conference on the basis of these lessons and around a revolutionary program, and of creating a transitional and democratic centralist International Center for the regroupment of principled Trotskyists and revolutionary internationalist workers’ organizations on the way to re-building the World Party of Socialist Revolution.
The Bulletin of International Discussion that is today presented, has the objective of defending the common program agreed by the Liaison Committee, as a base line for the regrouping of revolutionary internationalists, and to make public a programmatic debate challenging the world workers’ vanguard and the currents who claim to be revolutionary Marxists, to throw light on the discussions among revolutionaries and to seek in the lessons and revolutionary program confronting the decisive events of the world class struggle the Marxist truth which clearly separates the reformists and centrists from the revolutionaries. The members that sign this Bulletin of International Discussion are also the Editorial Committee of the Bulletin.
A stop forward in the revolutionary struggle for an International Conference principled Trotskyists and workers’ organizations
The formation of the Liaison Committee and the publication of this International Discussion Bulletin are a great step forward that will allow us to begin to advance further the existing achievements of the Call for an International Conference and its program of 21 points.
Two years ago, towards the end of 2002, the revolutionary struggle of the working class and the exploited people of Argentina, the heroic revolutionary struggle of the Palestinian working class and people, the movement of workers all over the world to take an anti-imperialist stand against the colonial war that imperialism was preparing against Iraq, allowed those various healthy forces of Trotskyism, dispersed and seeking a revolutionary path, to recognize as revolutionary internationalists the lessons and the program posed by those explosive events, resulting in the formation of the Collective that put forward the call to the International Conference and its program of 21 points.
Subsequently, the defeat and crushing of the Palestinian workers and people at hands of the genocidal army of Sharon and Bush; the partial counterrevolutionary victories won by imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq; the imposition in Latin America of a containment policy and class collaboration imposed by the reformist leaders, meant that some members of this Collective retreated and it did not pass the test of the new acute events of the world class struggle, such as the rebellion of the Spanish working class after the attacks of Madrid; the electoral triumph of the PSOE, the upsurge in the Iraqi resistance, the situation in Bolivia, the elections to the European Parliament, among others.
In spite of this, the fight for the Call to the International Conference and its program of 21 points, were taken up the hands of new forces and groups greater than those who formed the Collective. Most of these forces we those that met in Brazil on the 10 and 11 of July 2004, forming the Liaison Committee.
Once again, here also, it was the heroic struggles of the working class and exploited people that allowed us to regroup, making sure that the continuation of the fight for the International Conference and for its program of 21 points as the basis for regroupment, was not lost. The rebellion of the Spanish workers; the intensifying of the resistance of the Iraqi masses against the imperialist occupation; the comuneros uprisings in Ilave, Peru, and in Ayo Ayo in Bolivia, alongside the struggle against the pro-imperialistic referendum of Mesa in Bolivia; the struggle of the miners of the Rio Tinto in Argentina; the fight against the pro-imperialist government of Lula-Alencar in Brazil, among other events, created water sheds in the ranks of the international Trotskyist movement, just as they created a demarcation line in all the discussions of 10 and 11 of July in Sao Paulo. The political discussion and debates for frank, fraternal and open in this meeting, allowing us to arrive at principled positions to mark the working class trench line in these events, and to launch the struggle against the treacherous leaderships and the renegades of Trotskyism, which are expressed by the Liaison Committee in the Act of this Pre-conference, advancing the Call for an International Conference.
Today, the Liaison Committee and its International Discussion Bulletin, are a weapon to create a new impulse to the fight for an International Conference that, on the basis of a sound program with clear majorities and minorities, can establish a democratic centralist International Center, for the purpose of regrouping principled Trotskyists revolutionary internationalist workers’ organizations, on the road to the rebuilding of a World Party of Socialist Revolution, that centrists, opportunists, revisionists and Trotskyist renegades have subordinated to the treacherous leaderships for decades. Today, they act like a left wing of the World Social Forum, that gang of counterrevolutionaries that subordinate the working class to the bourgeoisie and prevent the advance towards the proletarian revolution.
Thus, next to the recycled stalinists, and the labor aristocracy and labor bureaucracy of all stripes, the betrayers of Trotskyism constitute the "quarter" of that counter-revolutionary International, that is the World Social Forum, in the same way that Trotsky in the ‘30s called that opportunistic group that was the London Bureau of centrists, "the 3-and-a-quarter International". As Trotsky spoke on them:
… the bourgeoisie, the reformists and the Stalinists will continue to label these creators of the “Fund” as - “Trotskyists or “semi-Trotskyists.” This will be done in part out of ignorance but chiefly in order to compel them to excuse, justify, and demarcate themselves. And they will actually vow, with might and main, that they are not at all Trotskyists, and that if they should happen to try to roar like lions, then like their forerunner, Bottom the weaver, they succeed in “roaring” like sucking doves. The Fenner Brockways, the Walchers, the Brandlers, the Sneevliets, the Piverts, as well as the rejected elements of the Fourth International have managed in the course of many long years – for some decades – to evince their hopeless eclecticism in theory and their sterility in practice. They are less cynical than the Stalinists and a trifle to the left of the left Social Democrats – that is all that can be said for them. That is why in the list of the Internationals they must therefore be entered as number three and one-eighth or three and one-quarter. With a “fund” or without one, they will enter into history as an association of squeezed lemons. When the great masses, under the blows of the war, are set in revolutionary motion, they will not bother to inquire about the address of the London Bureau". (‘A Fresh Lesson – After the Imperialistic “Peace" at Munich, October 10, 1938’ in Writings [38-39] Pathfinder, p. 75)The epoch of national programs is finished
This internationalist struggle is indispensable in order to regroup the healthy forces of Trotskyism to overcome the dispersion of groups country by country and to avoid being dragged into the degeneration by national isolation. The time of national programs is over. The world-wide policy and the economy dominated by imperialism makes a reactionary utopia of all intentions to create groups national that can orient themselves in a revolutionary way without being part of international revolutionary grouping.
Revolutionaries must try to lead the world struggles of the working class which now are made powerless by the counter-revolutionary leaders in the pay of international finance capital, in the same way as the labor aristocracies and bureaucracies.. Opportunists and centrists, swearing allegiance to the Transitional Program of the Fourth International, to the resolutions of the first four Congresses of Third International, have done no more than besmirch all the lessons of international Marxism in the decisive battles of the world class struggle.
How is it possible to make revolutionaries without the lessons of the revolution and the counterrevolution in the face of the most burning facts of the international class struggle? There, in those acid tests acid of class struggle, separates as white from black, those who speak in the name of Marxism and the revolution, and those who kneel before the treacherous leaderships.
The liquidators and renegades of Trotskyism, the new batch of Mensheviks that arose from the decades of decomposition of Fourth International, taking out the Transitional Program on holidays, never do more than fight for minimum programs, while proclaiming to the four winds that they fight "for socialism" and for "the dictatorship of the proletariat". For that reason, today along with 20th century Menshevism –Stalinism –they proclaim: "While fighting every day in order to relieve the toiling masses from the misery which the capitalist regime imposes on them, the Communists emphasize that final emancipation can be gained only by the abolition of the capitalist regime and the setting up of the dictatorship of the proletariat"
Against them Trotsky wrote:
“The Marxist political thesis must be the following: “While explaining constantly to the masses that rotting capitalism has no room either for the alleviation of their situation or even for the maintenance of their customary level of misery; while putting openly before the masses the tasks of the socialist revolution as the immediate task of our day; while mobilizing the workers for the conquest of power; while defending the working organizations with the help of the workers’ militia; the Communists (or the Socialists) will at the same time lose no opportunity to snatch this or that partial concession from the enemy, or at least to prevent the further lowering of the living standard of the workers.”” (‘Once Again, Whither France’, in Leon Trotsky on France, Monad Press, pp. 82-3)
The opportunists and centrists, renounce, in the same breath, the Transitional Program, at a time of crisis, abrupt and convulsive wars, revolutions, leaps forwards and backwards, that: "brings about an immediately revolutionary situation, in which the communist party can try to take power, or the victory of the fascist or semi fascist counterrevolution, or the provisional regime of the right (block of the lefts in France, entrance of the social democracy in the coalition in Germany, coming to the power of the party of MacDonald in England, etc.) to postpone the sharp contradictions which like a razor clearly pose the problem of the power "("Stalin, the great organizer of defeats", Leon Trotsky)
Centrism, as Trotsky said, is the most important factor of our time. Whoever does not have a policy to fight centrism, cannot find a way to the masses and, what is more serious, allows the centrists the room to exist, and so also becomes a centrist. Thus, "centrism very is keen to proclaim its hostility towards the reformists, but never mentions centrism. In addition, it considers our definition of centrism is "unclear", "arbitrary", et cetera; in other words, centrism does not like to be called by that name." (León Trotsky, "Centrism and the Fourth International").
To settle accounts with the liquidators of the Fourth International that every day cause the demoralization of the proletarian vanguard, it is necessary to find a way to the revolutionary masses that enter the struggle. Without this perspective, the small isolated groups that seek a revolutionary road, will only be able to repeat in a more bastardized way the construction of national Trotskyism, lost in the swamp of parliamentarism, and in the impotent trade union swamp.
To create revolutionary insurrectionary parties will be impossible without the fusion of revolutionary internationalists with the advanced workers who are looking for ways to break through in the struggle against opportunism, centrism, and against the treacherous leaders.
For that reason, the fight for an international regrouping on a principled basis, must condemn all types of diplomatic and opportunistic regroupings in the style of "International" federations of the Social-Democratic type, where each "national section" is boss in its country and no-one criticizes any other, or in the style of the Second or 2 and a half "International" where everything in general but nothing in particular is discussed. It must condemn all ‘centrist alchemy’, as Trotsky stated when he wrote:
A Revolutionary resolution for which the opportunists could also vote was deemed by Lenin to be not a success but a fraud and a crime. To him, the task of all conferences consisted not in presenting a “respectable” resolution but in effecting the selection of militants and organizations that would not betray the proletariat in the hours of stress and storm.” (‘Centrist Alchemy or Marxism?’, Leon Trotsky, Writings [34-35] p. 260).The experience of these centrist alchemies has already been condemned by history: the impotence of the International Committee in 1953 to defeat Pabloism that took over the Fourth International; the impotence of federations of small groups, have demonstrated and still demonstrate they have failed the most important tests of the international class struggle.
An international regroupment on a principled basis must also condemn all types of self-proclamation and ultimatism, whether it is of small groups that claim to be "the" International, or Trotskyists who build national ‘mother-parties’ with satellite groups in different countries.
The formation of the Liaison Committee and the publication of its International Discussion Bulletin, is therefore a step forward in this struggle. The forces that compose it, as we show in this Bulletin, have made fundamental agreements to debate publicly before the international workers vanguard, on the nature of the agreements and the differences among us, and to explore therefore the conditions that will make it possible to proceed to an International Conference to create a democratic centralist International Center for the regrouping of principled Trotskyists, that restores the continuity of revolutionary Marxism.
But to take a step in this sense from the Leninist point of view, will only be possible on the basis of the testing of the different positions, on the basis of a public and fraternal debate, in order to convince or to be convinced. We must prove the agreements and the differences that we have, in the face of the world-wide revolution and counterrevolution. There, in life, is, and will be the verdict.
Our Liaison Committee thus constituted with its foundations in revolutionary Marxism, is neither an "international brand" nor a base maneuver of a national group that breaks with the legacy of the Marxism.
The open and public debate, facing the world proletarian vanguard, and this Bulletin of discussion, alongside the evidence of life itself, will be the only arbiter of the currents that we dedicated to revolutionary Marxism.
New global class struggles; new tests for the revolutionary international movement
After the Preconference of July new class combats developed in Latin America and around the world – such as the referendum in Venezuela, the massacre in North Ossetia, as well as others from which it is necessary to give new answers and to extract new lessons and revolutionary conclusions. These are class combats with political and programmatic lessons that once more create watersheds - in the international Trotskyist movement, and also a new and higher challenge for those who are members of the Liaison Committee.
Two trenches have been formed: in one the working class and the exploited masses fight heroically with the principled Trotskyists next to them. In the other trench is imperialism, the subservient bourgeoisies and the treacherous leaders of the masses. Alongside them, are the renegades of Trotskyism and the liquidators of the Fourth International who have taken a further step in their subordination to the World Social Forum: in Venezuela they capitulate to Chávez, saying to the workers that they are in an "anti-imperialist camp" against Bush. They capitulate to the Castroite bureaucracy that introduces capitalist restoration in Cuba. They capitulate to the “democratic” imperialists of France, Germany, and Spain, and now also Kerry, with the argument that they confront the "fascist" Bush.
The liquidationist and revisionist currents of Trotskyism the regimes and the treacherous leaders, including ministers in the Lula government in Brazil that kills the landless farmers, as in the case of the Mandelist current. In Brazil, in Argentina, in France, in the United States, they act like pressure groups on the union bureaucracies.
They are responsible for keeping in power regimes and governments in crisis like that in Bolivia, where POR Lora is already betraying the third revolutionary attack of the workers and farmers in fifty years, supporting the truces of Castro, the Stalinist leaders and the petty bourgeois who support Mesa.
As Trotsky would say, the liquidationists and opportunists of Trotskyism speak of "socialism" and the "dictatorship of the proletariat" when the struggle for power is not yet on the horizon. And when it is on the horizon, when the working class faces the question of power, this new batch of Mensheviks only understands the language of negotiation, truces and pacts. They sing the wedding march at funerals, and the funeral march at weddings.
All the currents that claim to be revolutionary Marxists are being put on approval before the new events of the world-wide class struggle. This first number of the International Discussion Bulletin of the Liaison Committee expresses this fact, and to it we have dedicated a Dossier with articles and controversies on the elections to the European Parliament, the massacre in North Ossetia, and centrally, the challenge of the referendum in Venezuela and the policy of the Trotskyists in the workers defense of the Cuban nation and the program of political revolution against the Castroite bureaucratic restorationists, which is inseparable from the fight for the Latin American revolution and the proletarian revolution inside the United States. Only in the international political struggle of groups and tendencies to regenerate the revolutionary movement, is it possible to find the Marxist truth and to conquer the lessons and the revolutionary program necessary to confront these acute events of the world class struggle.
More advances combats are in preparation, then, in the arena of the struggles of the international working class. The Liaison Committee prepares a new Preconference to be held in January 2005 in Buenos Aires. Our objective until then is to deepen discussion to determine the extend of our political agreement to see if another period of additional discussion in the Liaison Committee is necessary, or if there is sufficient programmatic agreement to enables us to move towards setting a date for the International Conference and to create and International democratic centralist Center.
The Liaison Committee calls on all the healthy forces of Trotskyism and revolutionary workers organizations to join the campaign for an International Conference
The Liaison Committee takes up the challenge to fight for an International Conference to create a transitional and democratic centralist International Center to regroup the healthy forces of Trotskyism and revolutionary workers’ organizations. This regrouping becomes every day more urgent day, with the intensification of the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the proletariat, and every day more indispensable to challenge the liquidationists and renegades all over the world who steal the flag of the Fourth International. A regroupment is necessary as an instrument that creates, as a by-product of the political contest of groups and tendencies, the regeneration of the international revolutionary insurrectionist movement in all the many divided countries so that the proletariat and the exploited people can take the power.
The Liaison Committee calls on all the healthy forces of Trotskyism and internationalist revolutionary workers’ organizations who agree with the basic points, to join the Liaison Committee and to add to the debate and to the campaign for an International Conference. For this, it is a condition, as stated in the Act of the Preconference of the Liaison Committee (reproduced in this Bulletin), to pronounce oneself "on the original call of 21 points, on the points where there is agreement, on the differences and debates raised here, and to publish the 21 points in its printed materials", as well as "the defense of the principles and proletarian and revolutionary morality, as is stated in the 21 points, in particular point 19. It is fundamental that, for the development of a discussion which prioritizes workers’ democracy, all those who have become members of the Liaison Committee affirm that: "(...) to guarantee a democratic discussion, no current, group or tendency that, after the formation of this Committee, expels comrades who raise political differences that adhere to any position of other groups or tendencies of the Committee, can participate". (Act of the Preconference of Sao Paulo.)
The International Discussion Bulletin: the organizer of the debate towards the January 2005 Preconference in Buenos Aires
With the objective of organising the debate, then, we will publish three numbers of this International Discussion Bulletin before the Preconference of January 2005 in Buenos Aires. We put forward here the expected contents of the following numbers of the Bulletin that will continue order and express the debate towards Preconference of January 2005.
The second number of this Bulletin, whose publication is expected at the end of November, will be dedicated to the controversy around the Anti-Imperialist United Front, with texts presented by the TCI, Fti-ci, the POM and Marxist Trench on this question. It will also include the controversy on how characterize the state of the class struggle and how to define a revolutionary situation, developed by the comrades of the POM, the Fti-ci, the TCI and Marxist Trench.
A priority will also be the discussion on Brazil, on the situation in this country, the combat against the government of Lula-Alencar, the fight against the union bureaucracy, and the liquidators of Trotskyism, and on the transitional program of demands that form a bridge between the present needs of the masses and the insurrectionary struggle to take the power. It will also contain a key discussion on the situation in Argentina and the struggle against the government of Kirchner, servant of Bush, and his social pact regime.
We will also included in this number an article that the companions of the Fti-ci put forward for debate in the Liaison Committee, giving account of the advance of the process of the capitalist restoration in Cuba, and raising the program and the policy for the defense of the conquests of the Cuban Workers’ State and for the fight for a political revolution against the restorationist Castroite bureaucracy. As thus also all the contributions to the debate that make the other organizations.
The third number of the Bulletin of Discussion the International, whose publication is expected in mid-December 2004, will be dedicated to the controversy on the world the political situation, the balance of the events of 1989 and the restoration of capitalism, and the present character of the former workers’ states and the program in these states.
An important debate will be on the character of the revolutionary international which needs to be created, since among the forces that belong to the Liaison Committee, there are those who fight for the Fifth International, as is the case of the comrades of the CWG of New Zealand and Workers’ Opposition Brazil; others, fight for the reconstruction of Fourth International, like the comrades of POR Argentina, the FT and the POM of Brazil; whereas others, like the comrades of the Fti-ci fight for the regeneration and refoundation of the Fourth International.
Being the last Bulletin before the Preconference of 2005, it will include all the positions and political discussions and programmatic criticisms of the original program of 21 points, contributed by the different forces and groups that compose the Liaison Committee, as well as those that have joined in the debate since. It will also include the different proposals from resolutions to be debated in this Preconference, and will thus allow us to evaluate whether a further period of programmatic and political discussion is necessary, or if we have managed to conquer sufficient conditions and programmatic agreement to march onwards to the constitution of a Parity Committee that sets a date and puts out the call for the International Conference to create an international democratic centralist Center to work for the regrouping of principled Trotskyists and revolutionary internationalist workers’ organizations.
24 of October of 2004
Ft-vp (TCI) of Brazil; Workers’ Opposition of Brazil; CWG of New Zealand; GOI and NOT of Chile (Fti-ci); Co-lit of Peru (Fti-ci); Fti-ci Bolivia; DO (Fti-ci) of Argentina.
From Class Struggle 59 January-February 2005