VI Conference of the Trotskyist Faction – Fourth International

The struggle for the Fourth International and the workers’ vanguard

August 26, 2009

Our starting point is that this historic crisis of capitalism puts questions of program how to advance towards a world party for socialist revolution at the forefront. That is, how to tackle the need for the unification of the workers vanguard across national boundaries with a programme and a strategy to put an end to the attacks of the capitalists, the transnational corporations and imperialism, with the perspective of building an international revolutionary leadership up to the task of the of the struggles ahead and capable of leading the working class to victory against capitalism and imperialism, in the name of international socialism.

We have always considered that the rebuilding of the fourth international will be a product of our unification with radicalized sectors of the vanguard, and with the left wing of the currents that claim to be Trotskyist. We have also focused on the importance of drawing common lessons from the great events of the class struggle in order to converge with sectors of the class moving towards revolutionary positions. The new international scenario and future perspectives make the question of the program a key issue.

In the Conference, reflecting on the importance of the programme and the logic of the tasks needed to build an international organisation in the current preparatory situation, we have made some advances towards a more active policy regarding the rebuilding of the IV International.

This task must be understood as a process of fusion not only with those currents and groups with which we agree programmatically, but which also requires a discussion of political practice, regarding the way in which we propose to fight for the regrouping of the vanguard, against the practice of centrist currents which adapt themselves to syndicalism and bourgeois democracy, an attitude common to many currents which claim to be Trotskyist.

In fact, while the programme is essential, it is not enough; the political practice that emerges from it is equally important. Most of the currents which claim to defend the Transitional Programme, in practice abandon their activity within the working class, and limit themselves to following a leftist trade unionism which only puts forward some isolated slogans and adapts itself to the bureaucratic leadership (although they are critical of their more antidemocratic methods and put pressure with the aim of obtaining a more left wing policy). This is the practice that we see in currents like Lutte Ouvriere or inside the NPA (New Anticapitalist Party) in France, who have been incapable of fighting for a better perspective in the important struggles where they had a leading role, like the case of the Continental Workers or during the uprising of the French colony, Guadalupe. This is also the practice put forward by the PSTU in Brazil, which despite having a leading role with the metal workers of San José dos Campos, proved incapable of preventing the sacking of the more than 4,000 workers in EMBRAER, resulting in a “defeat as a product of a battle which was not fought†, as our comrades in the LER-QI (our section in Brazil) say.

On our part, we think that given the scale of the crisis and the poverty threatening workers, it is of fundamental importance to agitate (not only to make propaganda) for a transitional programme so the capitalist pay the crisis, a programme that should include workers’ control of production, the redistribution of working hours without loss of pay, and the expropriation under workers control of any enterprise that closes or makes workers redundant.

We see this agitation as a step towards conditions where revolutionary socialists can win influence. From support of working class actions and the generalisation of the most advanced experiences to the call for a united front policy to the trade union leadership, we aim for a unified struggle, using whichever tactics are necessary, to advance in a fusion around the transitional programme with the most perceptive sectors of the working class vanguard.

Although we are as of yet only at the level of small propaganda leagues operating at a national level, it is essential to educate ourselves with revolutionary practice within the framework of the Transitional Programme, in a completely different way to that proposed by the centrists and in this way, to be in a much stronger position to rebuild the Fourth International as a world party for the socialist revolution, an historic task that the international working class vanguard needs to take into its hands in order to prepare itself for the international class struggle.

The situation and the tasks for FT-CI

In this struggle we consider ourselves to have advanced. Although we are essentially a Latin American current, the developments of our various sections in creating connections with the worker’s movement and in the elaboration of national programs, along with political theory development, affirms that the FT has begun to convert into a genuine pole of attraction in the struggle for the reconstruction of the Fourth International, no longer just in terms of propaganda, but now also in action. This shows that not longer is it just the PTS, with its construction in terms of activists and rise within the workers vanguard and youth in Argentina-for example the enriching experience of Zanon illustrated by its recent expropriation and the process that workers from various industries and services are going through-, but also, although on a smaller scale, in our other sectors.

We heard the comrades from Brazil explaining the leading role of the LER-IQ in the strike that lasted over 50 days in the University of San Pablo, with pickets and aggressive police repression, and which became into the most important conflict in the country at the time. Our comrade Claudionor Brandao, leader of SINTUSP (Non-teaching Workers Union) was a main figure in the struggle. The young Chilean leaders put forward a lot of energy in facing the challenges presented to Clase contra Clase. We shared the vision of political potential that is opening up to the LTS in Mexico as well as the challenges, which for revolutionaries means the situation in Central America. That challenge, for the LTS in Mexico along with the young LRS in Costa Rica, is to extend the FT in that area of the continent. The comrades from Venezuela spoke of the struggle for worker’s independent politics with the workers from SIDOR. The comrades from Bolivia related their interventions in various processes of self-organization and workers struggles in El Alto, which has put us under attack by the companies, union bureaucrats and the government. With the active intervention of militant comrades and sympathizers in France, an important discussion has developed about the form and criteria necessary to advance towards the reconstruction of the Fourth International in light of the opportunist course taken by the traditional trotskyist movements and processes like the NPA, which beyond its centrist character and semi-reformist program, attracts sectors of workers and the youth.

Our militant comrades in Spain and Germany are also taking steps in this direction, whose work, despite its initial character, is of the utmost importance in order to advance towards construction not only in Latin America but at a real international level.

Reflecting on the experiences that took place during the last period and the political opportunities that opened up, the Conference dedicated various sessions to discussing the situation and the perspectives of the FT groups in different countries.

An important resolution is the elaboration and publication of an International Manifesto that would propose the necessity of the Fourth International and call out to the worker vanguard to take part in this struggle; defend the great proletarian and revolutionary tradition; explain the role and importance of the Transitional Program for the current struggles; present the methods that need to be recovered, from direct action and self organization to a united worker’s front; indicate the paths to advance in the reconstruction of the International; fuse together the program, the lessons of the working class struggle, the worker vanguard and leftwards-moving sectors of the trotskyist movement.

We decided to build an International Executive Committee to coordinate the political activities and propaganda of our international current. The comrades of the different groups within Pan y Rosas (Bread and Rosas, a feminist united front impulse by FT) are also realizing meetings to discuss political and programmatic issues regarding women and to plan and coordinate activities.

Finally, among other resolutions, the Conference decided to step up the powerful international campaign for the defeat of the coup in Honduras, which has already begun calling out to worker’s organizations, students and the left, urging them to unite with new forces. This new force of the campaign includes travelling to Honduras to express our solidarity and strengthening our relationships with sectors of the Honduran resistance.