Buenos Aires

Big closing meeting of the Fifth Conference of the FT-CI

August 05, 2008

Online videos: Closing meeting

Between July 20 and 27, the Fifth Conference of the Fracción
Trotskista - Cuarta Internacional took place with the participation
of delegations from the LOR-CI of Bolivia, the LER-QI of Brazil,
Clase contra Clase of Chile, the LTS of Mexico, the LTS of
Venezuela, Clase contra Clase of the Spanish State, the PTS of
Argentina, and comrades from Germany and Italy. Comrades from the
Liga de la Revolución Socialista of Costa Rica, which has been added
as a section of the FT, and from the Groupe CRI (Groupe Communiste
Révolutionnaire Internationaliste) of France, which has been added
as a sympathizing section, also participated.

For a week, the delegates intensely discussed the documents
submitted for debate, on the world economy and the situation of
imperialism; the situation of the workers’ movement, the class
struggle and Marxism; and the situation in Latin America. These
documents will soon be available on the Internet.

The Conference began with two sessions in which we discussed the
present state of the economy, the structural reasons that are behind
the current crisis and the atypical phenomenon of recent years when
the rate of profit recovered, but with weak capitalist accumulation;
the most current phenomena of the economic situation, notably the
rescue by the state of the two gigantic US mortgage firms and the
implications these bankruptcies could have for the banking system
and the economy more generally; China’s role in the economic
recovery of recent years, but indicating that, because it is a
country dependent on foreign investments, that owes its place in the
world economy to its enormous reserve of cheap labor, it cannot play
the role many analysts hope it will play. The big discussion on the
causes and probable consequences of the crisis underway, culminated
in a debate around the perspectives that are opening up, bearing in
mind that, unlike recent crises (like that of 2000-2001), this one
displays bigger contradictions in the heart of world capitalism and,
if it worsens and turns into an open and generalized recession, it
will lead to greater tensions between the states and a sharpening of
the class struggle. The other big theme of discussion was the
situation of the working class, its level of organization and the
situation of revolutionary Marxism. We started by explaining that in
recent years there was a social and trade-union recomposition of the
working class, compared with the years of neo-liberalism, but this
has still not led to the rise of significant tendencies toward
political independence of the working class, nor to revolutionary
tendencies. This political weakness is a result of the defeats
suffered after the revolutionary ascent of 1968-1981, which was
betrayed by the historical leaderships of the workers’ movement,
that allowed the neo-liberal offensive inaugurated by Reagan and
Thatcher at the beginning of the 1980’s and strengthened after the
capitalist restoration in the former USSR, Eastern Europe and China.
This involved a big setback in the levels of struggle, of
organization and also of class consciousness of the workers, on
which capitalist propaganda relied to eradicate the perspective of
social revolution from the struggle of the exploited.

The economic crisis underway will undoubtedly open new perspectives
on the terrain of class struggle and lead to radicalized phenomena,
for which we are preparing ourselves from now on, through
theoretical, ideological, strategic and political struggle for the
construction of revolutionary parties and the reconstruction of the
Fourth International.

The Conference also debated the situation and perspectives that are
opening up for Latin America, in the context of the effects of the
crisis of the world economy, of the deterioration of the populist
governments, like that of Evo Morales or Chávez and of the rise of a
new right wing that is seeking to appropriate most of the income
produced by natural resources and raw materials, like hydrocarbons
and food, that has already led to political confrontations between
factions of the ruling class, as for example the conflict between
the government and the agricultural bosses in Argentina. And
especially, starting from some elements like the struggle of the
SIDOR workers in Venezuela, we discussed the possibilities that
workers’ conflicts will develop to a higher level than we have seen
so far, and sectors of the workers will draw leftist conclusions
from their experience with the "national and popular" governments.

Finally, in this conference, the Liga de la Revolución Socialista of
Costa Rica was incorporated as a section of the FT, after a process
of discussion, where we tackled the main questions of strategy,
program and politics. The Groupe CRI of France was also incorporated
as a sympathizing section of the FT, starting from big agreements,
both strategic and political, although some significant differences
still persist, that we will deal with in the next period, at the
same time we are acting together both in France and internationally.
The Conference also approved four international campaigns: against
persecutions of immigrant workers, against the presence of
Brazilian, Argentinean, Uruguayan, Chilean, and Bolivian troops in
Haiti, support for the struggle of Zanon under workers’ control, for
its definitive expropriation, and for the reconstruction of the
Fourth International, seventy years after its foundation.

The Conference closed with a meeting that took place on July 26 in
the Federación de Box, in front of an audience of workers and youth
that completely filled the premises and expressed their
revolutionary enthusiasm at the greetings and interventions by the
different groups that spoke. In this issue of La Verdad Obrera, we
want to share with our readers the most outstanding paragraphs from
the speeches and greetings that were conveyed in this
internationalist meeting.

Translation by Yosef M.