Between July 20 and 27, the Fifth Conference of the Trotskyist Fraction – Fourth International took place with the participationof 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.