IV Conference of the FT-CI

For a revolutionary workers’ strategy

March 03, 2007

The attendance showed the consolidation of the international
organization to which the PTS of Argentina belongs. At the III
Conference in 2005, the Juventud de Izquierda Revolucionaria (JIR)
joined, and is now a public faction of the Partido Revolución y
Socialismo (PRS) of Venezuela. In this Conference, the comrades of the
group Clase contra Clase, from the Spanish state, participated for the
first time. Clase contra Clase, together with comrades living in
France, headed the European delegation, which held a pre-conference
with militants living in Germany, Italy and Great Britain. Leaders of
the Liga de Trabajadores por el Socialismo (LTS) of Mexico, the Liga
Obrera Revoluionaria por la Cuarta Internacional (LOR-CI) of Bolivia,
Clase contra Clase of Chile and the Liga Estrategia Revolucionaria por
la Cuarta Internacional (LER-QI) of Brazil, together with those
organizations already mentioned, formed most of the 40 delegates present.

In these pages, we are reporting, in an abbreviated form, on three
central aspects discussed at the Conference. In the next issue of La
Verdad Obrera, we will present the main resolutions adopted.

(1) Debate on strategy on the left, political consequences and
struggle for the reconstruction of the Fourth International
February 28, 2007, from La Verdad Obrera (Buenos Aires) 223

The connecting thread of the Fourth Conference was dealing with the
theoretical and political activities of the member organizations of
the FT-CI from the point of view of a revolutionary workers’ strategy
and the new challenges presented by the general situation of
capitalism and the particular situation of the working class, at the
beginning of the 21st century. From this angle, we dealt with the main
discussion developing on an international level: "the return of the
question of political strategy," as Daniel Bensaïd, the main
theoretician of the LCR, Revolutionary Communist League of France and
of the USec, the United Secretariat, calls it, in the organizations
that claim to be revolutionary Marxist. In the recent issues of the
theoretical and political journals of the LCR (Critique Communiste)
and of the British SWP [1] and its international current
(International Socialism), articles by the main leaders (D. Bensaïd,
A. Callinicos, F. Sabado, F. Sitel, A. Artous, etc.) continue to be
published where different "anti-capitalist" strategic hypotheses are
formulated, and as a result of this current political programs and
projects are raised, and they are leading to a fierce factional
struggle in the LCR [2]. In the Fourth Conference of the FT-CI we
discussed the articles in question, taking up again the polemic that
we developed several years ago in the journal Estrategia [3], that involves a broad range of questions in the history of
revolutions and class struggle (they consider the insurrectionary
strategy of the Russian Revolution and the Third International of
Lenin and Trotsky to be obsolete, putting it on the same level as the
strategy of "prolonged people’s war," which arose from experiences of
China and Cuba; they take the tactic of "workers’ government" from the
Third International to justify participation in bourgeois center-left
governments), from political philosophy (the question of "the
citizens" and "the general will"), from the theory of the state (the
relation between organizing soviets [workers’ councils] and universal
suffrage) from program and from building parties. All these subjects
will be tackled in articles in coming issues of Estrategia Internacional.

Here we only want to indicate that the point of view we are developing
begins with disputing the assertion, shared by the LCR as well as the
SWP that "consistent anti-neoliberalism is anti-capitalism," without
indicating that the programs defined as "anti-neoliberal" correspond
to the interests of bourgeois and petit-bourgeois sectors,
"marginalized" by the big monopolies, and are counterpoised to the
interests of the working class. This position corresponds to the fact
that these organizations include in their programs demands of these
sectors, in the interest of seeking to converge with them in "broad
anti-neoliberal parties" (like PSOL of Brazil [4]), in permanent
political fronts (like Respect in Great Britain, promoted by the SWP),
or by supporting Chávez in Venezuela. Theorizing about the "struggle
for democracy to the finish" or considering "universal suffrage" as a
democratic principle higher than considerations of class, serves to
leave aside nothing more nor less than the revolutionary struggle for
power for the workers, that involves destruction of the bourgeois
state. When the LCR took the slogan of the "dictatorship of the
proletariat" out of its program some years ago, it was not "a question
of form," of how better to present a revolutionary strategy, but of
abandoning the struggle for the workers’ revolution that has
characterized Marxism since its origin. In this way, leaders like
Bensaïd set out the need to construct a political regime where the
"general will" is expressed through parliamentary institutions based
on universal suffrage, combined with workers’ institutions like the
Soviets or workers’ councils were, without making the fundamental
differentiation that Lenin pointed out, between organs of the
bourgeois dictatorship and those of workers’ revolution and workers’
government. Against this vision, which dissolves the interests of the
proletariat in all the "citizens," we do not present a "workerist,"
corporate strategy; rather, we affirm that it is necessary to build
revolutionary workers’ parties to struggle so that the working class
is capable of raising a program to allow it to unite its ranks and
place itself as the hegemonic class, so that it can lead the rest of
the oppressed and exploited sectors of society in struggle for the
overthrow of the bourgeois state. For that, it is essential that the
workers raise a program to include the demands of the other oppressed
sectors, beginning with the democratic demands of the broad masses.

We are witnessing a new "liquidationist wave" (of destroying parties)
in the Trotskyist movement. If the first wave led to the breaking up
of important sections in the communist parties after the Second World
War (what was known as "entrism sui generis" of "Pabloism"), and the
second wave was a product of the bungling and adaptations that in the
1980s led to the disappearance of big parties of the United
Secretariat like the Mexican and Spanish PRT, and its German section,
now we are witnessing a new liquidationist wave, the product of
pressure on the organizations that claim to be Trotskyist from the
remnants of European reformism or from pseudo-nationalists like Chávez
or Evo Morales. The broad majority of the USec section in Brazil
joined Lula’s government, while a minority formed the PSOL.

In the Fourth Conference of the FT-CI, we reaffirmed the powerful need
to struggle for the reconstruction of the Fourth International,
ideologically as well as politically. As part of this battle, we
decided to make proposals to the currents of the Trotskyist movement
like the LIT [5], the CRI-PO [6] or the POR of Bolivia that, for
instance, criticized subordination to chavismo totally or partially.
Beyond the big political differences that we have, we will make every
effort to present the strongest possible center to raise a program of
consistent anti-imperialist struggle, with the perspective of a
workers’ government, an alternative to bourgeois pseudo-nationalism.

The big theoretical and political problems of the present situation
that are at issue in the present debate, should be tackled with the
method of Lenin and Trotsky, who sought to respond to new problems
from a revolutionary socialist and workers’ strategy, suggesting, for
example, different tactical ways for building revolutionary workers’
parties. Trotsky proposed to the Trotskyists in France, the US or
Spain, during the 1930s, that they should enter the ranks of the
socialist parties (which thousands of workers who were turning to the
left were entering), or that they should promote a Workers’ Party (in
the US, at the end of the 1930s), fighting inside that party for a
revolutionary program and against reformism and opportunism. This
shows that we revolutionaries are not opposed on principle to
participating, as a tactic in building revolutionary parties, in
"broad" parties, whose program and leadership are not revolutionary
(as, for instance, a labor party), while their program has a
(proletarian) class character and they express in their composition
a real tendency of sectors of the workers’ movement to the left,
within which we fight openly for a revolutionary program and for
forming a consciously revolutionary wing. Therefore, from the FT-CI,
we have promoted building an Independent Workers’ Party in Venezuela,
or building a Political Instrument of the Workers in Bolivia, where
militant unions can commit themselves to promoting a political
organization that, at a minimum, would clearly be class-conscious.

(*)Translation by Yosef M.