Mar - 8 - 2015

Our international organization has just had its annual meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, focusing in the challenges that represent building it in Europe. With the participation of our comrades from Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, Argentina, Spain and France, along with greetings from several countries, we proceeded to vote the following international call. This call intends to regroup the left wing forces of the international Trotskyist movement, since nowadays there are more and more constructive possibilities of building organizations which stand for an intransigent point of view of class independence.

The international crisis of Capitalism has generalized and brought to every single corner of the globe a period characterized by the inrush of a new, and young, working class generation which is making its very first struggle experiences against global capitalism but most especially against the consequences of such crisis. Therefore, the historic cycle initiated by the massive alter-globalist mobilizations and the revolts that shook Latin America at the beginning of the XXI century, was enhanced with the inrush of the «Indignados» movement in Spain, the dozens of general strikes in Greece, the Arab Spring and the mass demos that have been carried out all over the world.

This situation has accelerated the expression in the political scene of the economic crisis, leading to the exhaustion of the Latin American “progressism”, the fall of historical dictatorships in the Middle East, the crisis of the classic European bipartisanship. The outcome of these developments is that they have allowed an unstable situation to arise, a situation  that represents a great opportunity for the Revolutionary Left to take part in, defending an independent program.

This situation has had a direct impact on the Revolutionary Left. On one hand, it has allowed this leftwing movement to intervene on the situation (which has an open ending), making the effort to influence current struggles, and even have a certain impact on the electoral scene in a few cases. But at the same time it has generated a number of strategic debates: Which revolutionary strategy should be adopted? What kind of party should be built? What evaluation do we make of the last decade of massive demos and mobs? And, more in general, a debate around the revolutionary experience of the XX century, an experience from which we must learn for days to come.

It is in this context where some divisions have started to grow among the worldwide Left. Such divisions and fragmentations are inherited from the past and they are obsolete on the present days, as long as we are able to debate, and to intervene political and constructively between organizations from very different traditions. We are standing on this political situation to make this call to reopen the discussions about acting unitedly to face the international capitalist crisis.

A cycle of popular revolts and historical restart. 

The general scenario of the current development of the class struggle, is the period that started at the beginning of the XXI century, which our organization has characterized as a “cycle of popular revolts”. This fundamental definition (which we find of great use) has the objective of emphasizing that we stand on a cycle that is rather different from the one that was open after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union.

There is no doubt that the fall of the Berlin Wall meant a major setback for the left parties and organizations and, of course, of the labor movement. It has also constituted an incentive for the neoliberal counter-revolution movement that had been unleashed several years ago to target the historic conquests of the working class. Also, it should be taken into account, in a more strategic way, what we call “the crisis of the socialist alternative” which is a consequence of both the collapse of the “existing socialism” and the ideological offensive from the bourgeois which consists on the idea of “the end of history”, the “failures of socialism” and the capitalism as the only possible horizon.

The collapse of the USSR meant a worldwide turning on the social, economic and political relationships. It would not be materialistic to ignore the deep consequences that this fact has had on the current labor movement. On the same way, it is decisive to carry on with a theoretical and strategic elaboration that allows us to understand the reason why those states that had once managed to expropriate the capital, had come to such situations.

But what really characterizes these days state of affairs are not the defeats inherited from the past -whose consequences can still be felt-, but the  inrush of a new generation who has been starring the great struggles that we have already named. The incipient re-composition of the labor movement, young and activist is the material base for the restart of the exploited and oppressed experience that has been going on. All this leads us to the battle for the relaunching of the struggle for Socialism.

Popular revolts in Latin America and its subsequent generalization (after the 2008 economic crisis) to the rest of the world are a huge lab of the class struggle, of clarification and political evolution of a broad sector. While having its very first struggle experiences this new generation does not feel attached to the traditional parties, it shows anti-bureaucratic and combative characteristics, and it even sympathizes with the Left.

These set of opinions place us differently from the current major direction of the Unified Secretariat, which emphasizes, in a unilateral way, only the negative features of the period. The leaders of the Unified Secretariat think that we are living in some kind of “slow-motion 30s”, marked by the rising of fascism and the inevitable debacle of the labor class. They are unable of seeing the beginning of the new historic experience, the turning point happening in front of our very eyes in opposition of the 90s defeatism: the potentialities of the new generations that are setting the tone of the current period. Er must understand that while the fall of Stalinism allowed the neoliberal offensive, in strategic terms it also meant the collapse of the strongest counter-revolutionary bureaucratic apparatus of the XX century, and therefore it enables the possibility of relaunching the struggle for Socialism in its most authentic sense.

These are not abstract debates, estranged from the tasks arising from the class struggle. Quite on the contraire, the overall idea we have of this period is the essential starting point when it comes to defining which orientation the revolutionaries should defend to accomplish advances on the experience of the wide avant-garde, among the working class in general, to develop class consciousness. The intensification of class struggle has reopened the strategic debate within the revolutionary left, debate which seemed to be “closed” two decades ago.

The reopening of the strategic debate.

Both the rising to power of an “abnormal” bourgeois governments in Latin America a decade ago (Chávez, Evo Morales, Lula), and the recent victory of Syriza and the climbing of PODEMOS in Spain, have reopen the debate around the revolutionary strategy. These governments have recommenced the discussion of how to become government, on what bases, and how to embark the social transformations needed to start leading towards Socialism.

From that point of view, we do not part from the “degree zero” of the strategy, as it was once (mistakenly) said: there are essential points of reference for revolutionaries that were lost in the chaos that meant the misunderstanding of the fall of Stalinism. Along with the richness of the historic patrimony of the working class’ revolutionary experience, we also count with the experiences of a decade of the “progressism”, mostly embodied by Chavism. We must face the challenges in Europe from the different organizations’ positions regarding this phenomenon, and the teachings that such experience has left that.

When Chavism took the power, wide sectors of the revolutionary left wing capitulated to the project of the “Socialism of the XXI century”. The idea that Chaves’ government would be “in dispute”, or even that “objectively” (as a consequence of the pressure from the masses, Imperialism, etc.) it would be forced “to go even further than wished”,  presented such government as the very first step in the transition towards Socialism; an anti-capitalist government.

Such political standing was the result of two unilateral positions: an “objectivist” approach of the matter of power on one side, and a wrong understanding of the historic period on the other.

Objectivism consisted in considering that, even in the absence of the working class in the centre of the process, with its very own organisms and parties standing up for a truly socialist perspective, these governments could still be, because of the objective conditions and contradictions, a so called “bridge” that would lead to Socialism. Such idea followed, in a way, a theoretical scheme that wreak havoc on the Trotskyite Movement of the post World War II period.

The other unilateral point of view has been the overall idea of the period, as we have already pointed out, by the majority of the Unified Secretariat. They respond to the idea that we would be facing the most adverse conditions since the 30s, with a spiral of decline of the labor movement and the Left, and the immediate perspective of fascism. Under such circumstances, added to the lack of revolutionary perspectives, strategic delimitations between reformists and revolutionaries would not be a current issue. It would be a crime of sectarianism to take such demarcations into account. And what is more, one should have the reformists as a permanent ally (and even merging with it in parties of wide perspective), as a defense from the capitalist’s onslaughts.

Nowadays, these organizations apply the same reasoning proccess to Syriza and Podemos. Without pushing the boundaries of whats “posible to do” they present the «anti-austerity» perspective as the only posibility (an inconsistent and inadequate perspective in the frameworks of capitalism).

In this way, – adding the arguments of «upward dynamics» and «the sympathy» that these organizations seem to produce- criticism, political and programmatic boundaries constrain, as well as the need for class independence against every capitalist Government no matter how «leftist» it might seem. Along the road, the majority of the SU has taken the wrong choice of voting the «legal dissolution» of “Izquierda Anticapitalista”, its Spanish section, accepting PODEMOS undemocratic statutory framework, thereby preventing any confrontation with the reformist leadership of the party.

Our organization believes that this decision was a mistake. We agree  that «progressive» Latin American Governments (to a certain extent, also, Syriza and PODEMOS), are a byproduct of the massive demonstrations that have shaken those countries. This is a distorted and indirect political expression of these rebellions and protests. They reflect a break to the left by a large part of the population from contemporary political parties and the current political reality.. Thus they continue to express this progressive phenomena, which must be understood by the revolutionary left, avoiding all sectarianism regarding the process of political pursuit of youth sectors and workers, to the left of the traditional formations.

But it is a serious mistake to mechanically identify these phenomena with its institutional expression, reformist or «progressive» Governments. The strategic role of these formations is precisely the reformist reabsorption, in the frames of the capitalist system, of popular mobilizations: removing people from the streets to put them in the ballot box, in «participatory democracy» fairy tales, which ultimately lead to inhibit the development of its own independent action, the posibility to create independent organizations from parliamentary institutions.

Such is, for example, the consecuences of 15 years of a Chavist goverment: no structural modifications of the country, and a socio-economic deterioration that has contributed to a dangerous right-wing rise.

This does not imply we refuse to participate and to struggle within these organizations. That would be sectarian, especially when they cluster a really broad sector of avant-garde and left-wing workers in ways that exceed the reformist apparatus as such. Such is Podemos case, whose social base tends to mobilize and which has elements of popular assemblies (as in Madrid), at least until arriving at the Government.

But this intervention must have as strategic perspective: the systematic struggle against the reformist orientation of their leadership. Do not forget that this intervention will only be revolutionary if it is at the service of accomplishing  breakthrough in the  working class political consciousness, in the construction of independent revolutionary organizations as alternatives to the reformists ones.

This is why, as part of the conclusions  we arrived at from the revolutionary experience of the 20th century and the last ten years, we reaffirm that an independent revolutionary strategy is essential. Historical experience has shown that without independent intervention of the working class, without its soar advance as ruling class with its own agencies and parties no transition to socialism is possible.

In this perspective, no historical cut-off or «bridge» will lead to socialism. The main task of our organizations is fighting to accomplish that the workers political recomposition goes foward in a revolutionary sense and to build revolutionary parties which can be independent  from reformism.

Let’s call an International Conference of revolutionary organizations

The cycle of popular rebellions has started several discussions among sectors of Trotskyism, even within the various international organizations. At an international level, the rise of class struggle (now mostly in European countries) is accelerating these processes of potential realignment. This item, together with a number of characteristics of the current situation, raises the need and possibility to advance in a grouping at the international level of revolutionary tendencies.

First, there’s a relative recovery of the left wing in general and trotskism in particular. Not only there is a certain resurgence in world’s public opinion of  «Ecumenical» figures of our tradition such as Marx, but also Trotsky appears as a figure whose «hands aren’t tainted», which was «faithful to the principles» in the middle of «disasters of the last century». This relative political authority, has been combined with (still uneven, with spikes and brownouts) a growth of the radical left wing in some countries in the last decade.

On the other hand, political conditions for a reunification ripen, which were not present when the rise of chavism took place at the beginning of this century. At early 2000’s, different revolutionary organizations attempted to discuss, for example on the occasion of the world social forums. These attempts, which had the healthy concern to respond in a unified way from the revolutionary left to the processes that were beggining to develop, were frustrated.

Mainly, as  we have been pointing out, the majority of Trotskyist organizations were dazzled in greater or lesser extent by chavism and its project of the «socialism of the 21st century». This aborted discussions with organization such as ours, which defended the political independence from these Governments.

In addition, there were illusions in Europe over the so-called «broad anti-capitalist parties», Rifondazione Comunista was in those years the main model.

Nowadays, the European situation provides different features. First, because the Socialist tradition is generally stronger in Europe than in Latin America, weakness that facilitated things to the reformist populism in this last continent.

In second place, because important sectors of the revolutionary left (notably inside of SU) are defending, in real time, an independent position against Syriza’s Goverment and the rise of PODEMOS. We have found ourselves agreeing with many comrades in relation to the policy for the Greek process, which constitutes an essential starting point to any project of revolutionary reunification.

This project takes importance faced with the new and immense tasks we have, and as a matter of fact no Trotskyism organization can proclaim itself as the «Fourth International». On both sides of the Atlantic there are tendencies that claim to be it, but their lack of «measurement», its visible «continental restriction», shows how disproportionate this approach is.

In third place, unlike the Latin American processes, in Europe a real left wing opposition has emerged quickly facing the new reformist organisations.

In Greece this phenomenon is reflected – distortedly – in internal battles within Syriza around the settlement with the EU, the opposition of the left wing with significant events such as the statement of Manolis Glezos, let alone the existence of a revolutionary left coalition as Antarsya, outside of Syriza.

In the Spanish State, PODEMOS leadership has faced from the beginning an organized internal  opposition, in which the revolutionary left plays a role.

Both phenomena are nothing but the tip of the iceberg, «Super-structural» expression of a phenomenon happening below the surface: the fact that Europe seems to be in favorable conditions for an leftist alternative  finds an echo in the forefront of these organizations.

All  of the explained before occurs simultaneously to the promising fact that after a long decade of experience with Latin American progressism, some of the major organizations of the revolutionary left are  growing in certain countries such as Argentina . It’s the FIT and the Nuevo MAS cases (which is located outside this electoral front). A growth which is observed not only in the electoral field, but in the heart of the new working class generation, in the vigorous  women’s movement in that country and the student movement.

These are material bases that make possible, in the current context of  historical restarting experience of the exploited and oppressed, for the revolutionary left to build a unified intervention against the capitalist crisis and within the struggles in course, to transform revolutionary Marxism in a strong current in the bosom of the working class.

We need to overcome the historic fragmentation whitin Trotskyism and step up in the Refoundation of the fourth international on the basis of the present tasks and also, on a more programmatic level, of the teachings left by the experiences of the past century. A confluence that will center to class struggle, to the strategical building of our parties in the working class, while maintaining a non-sectarian approach to struggles like  women’s struggles, that also live a revival and has increased sensitivity to international level, and that we have to integrate and link to the struggles of the working class.

First of all, there’s an urgent need to make a call, as some sectors of the SU are proposing, to an International Conference of revolutionary organizations, addressing the current global situation and proposing political tasks to strengthen a common intervention in the crisis, on class independence basis.

It would be an opportunity to put different experiences that each one of our organizations has achived, to build a real international organization and contribute to a qualitative leap of Trotskyism as a strong political current of the working class.

In a second place, we know that  various sectors of Trotskyism are discussing informally (for example, the PSTU of Brazil), the possibility of creating an  International Marxist publication to exchange experiences and take advantage of this «reception» of revolutionary Marxism that seems to occur between broader than the usual sectors.

If such publication achieved to collect the theorical and political development of different currents in a revolutionary, independent and not eclectic perspective, it could also be a progressive initiative to advance in the common development of the organizations of Trotskyism and give necessary areas of debate to move towards agreater confluence.

We then make these two proposals to  revolutionary organizations who feel identified and are willing to take steps to overcome the historic fragmentation of Trotskyist movement. We reaffirm the need to build a common  international conference that discuss these and other initiatives, and lay the groundwork for collaboration between our organizations.

Socialism or Barbarism International Organization

Buenos Aires, March 2015

Socialism or Barbarism International Current, Buenos Aires, March 2015

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