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FT-CI Summer Schools in Europe: More than 1,000 Young People and Workers Discuss the Challenges of Building Revolutionary Currents

The Trotskyist Fraction is moving forward with renewed strength toward our task of converging with the most advanced sectors of the working class and the youth who are looking for a real alternative to the madness and injustice of the capitalist system. 

Josefina L. Martínez

September 14, 2023
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Over the last week of August and the first weekend of September, the summer schools of Révolution Permanente in France (750 participants), of the Current of Revolutionary Workers (CRT) in the Spanish State (140 participants) and of the Revolutionary Internationalist Organization (RIO) in Germany (170 participants) were held, with the participation of delegation from the Revolutionary Internationalist Fraction (FIR) from Italy. In all, over a thousand workers and youth gathered and debated, with the aim of building revolutionary parties in those countries. These summer schools marked a great step forward in Europe for the Trotskyist Fraction, of which the international network of La Izquierda Diario/Left Voice is a part.

These meetings marked an important leap for the construction of our international current, notably in France, but also with developments in Germany and in Spain. Overall, attendance was up considerably across all of the summer schools. Révolution Permanente increased its summer school enrollments from 500 in 2022, to 750 in 2023. The RIO, in Germany, also increased its enrollments by 50%, while the CRT in the Spanish State went from a gathering of 100 young people and workers last year, to more than 140 this year.

On the whole, the presence of over a thousand workers from various sectors, along with young students and precarious workers, and with a high participation of women, queer youth and immigrants, as well as several notable intellectuals, shows the dynamism of a current that is in dialogue with the youth and the most exploited sectors of the working class.

Over the course of several days and in dozens of workshops, we had discussions and debates on the international political situation, on class struggle in each country, the role of imperialism, the advance of the far right, and the role of the bureaucracies and reformist organizations. At the same time, we also carried out numerous workshops on Marxism, covering different topics such as strategy and party, ecosocialism, socialist feminism, capitalist crisis, anti-racism, debates with autonomism and anarchism, history of the revolutions, and much more. Many of these talks were coordinated by very young comrades of each group.

Our groups in Europe have also been working hard to contribute to the elaboration of Marxist theory across different fields. This is demonstrated by the translations and publications of Ediciones Communard.e.s, coordinated by Marina Garrisi, or the recent launching of Ediciones IPS in the Spanish State. This is also exemplified with the publication of significant books, such as La victoire était possible: Réflexions stratégiques sur la bataille des retraites de 2023 (Victory was possible: Strategic reflection on 2023 pension battle) by Juan Chingo, our book on socialist feminism, Patriarcado y Capitalismo (Patriarchy and Capitalism) published by Editorial Akal, or the recent publication of Mujeres, Revolución y Socialismo (Women, Revolution and Socialism), in addition to the publication of many opinion columns in the media across various countries. The participation of renowned intellectuals and left-wing activists in the Network for the General Strike in France and in the Summer University of RP, with whom we were able to exchange ideas and fraternally debate differences, is also an expression of our continued development of revolutionary theory. The task of forming a new generation of Marxist intellectuals is a strategic task that we undertake with enthusiasm.

The militants of the FT-CI in Europe are especially proud that the denunciation of the reactionary role of our own imperialist states, the military interventions on the African continent, the oppression of the Palestinian people, and the plundering of entire regions of Latin America and the rest of the world by multinational corporations, through the usurious mechanisms of debt, IMF adjustment plans and extractivism, occupied a prominent role in our summer schools. Likewise, we are proud to have had several comrades from our international currents attend, including militants from Mexico (Socialist Workers Movement, MTS), Argentina (Socialist Workers Party, PTS), Chile (Revolutionary Workers Party, PTR), and the United States (Left Voice).. Together with the participation of comrades of March to Socialism (MTS) from South Korea, and the presence of comrades from the different European groups of the FT in each school, they contributed to a concrete and militant internationalism.

The European continent is going through a moment of important political upheaval, a year after the beginning of the war in Ukraine, with a monumental increase of NATO’s imperialist militarism and escalating inflation affecting large sectors of the working class. The groups of the FT in Europe have been leading  a campaign against imperialist militarism and sustaining an independent position against the war: “No Putin, no NATO, no war!” At the same time, we  have continued to point out the necessity of confronting the far-right tendencies that are advancing in many countries; have maintained a position of class independence; and have pointed out the failures of the neo-reformist projects (like Syriza or Podemos) that are in decline today, and which have  served as saviors of the political regimes in crisis.

In this context, important strike actions took place in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Greece, as well as significant mobilizations in defense of health and education in Spain, which we have reflected in our newspapers with correspondents for the entire international network. The huge days of struggle against the pension reform in France were a milestone in the class struggle. 

Révolution Permanente, a young organization founded in December 2022 after the expulsion of its militants from the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (New Anticapitalist Party, NPA), intervened boldly in the battle of the pensions against Macron. If class struggle is a test for all organizations, the comrades of RP overcame this challenge with flying colors. For several months, they confronted the politics of the union leaderships and  reformists like  Melenchon, and defended a program to develop the general strike and for the unity of the working class. They pushed for the Network for the general strike along with left trade unionists, workers of different sectors, and recognized intellectuals of the French left like Frederic Lordon and the actress Adèle Haenel. This significant intervention was also expressed in the increase of visits to the newspaper of Révolution Permanente (part of the International Network of the Daily Left) and in the fact that important French media, such as Le Monde and Libération reflected the influence of the workers and youth referents of the RP such as Anasse Kazib, labor lawyer Elsa Marcel, Ariane Anemoyannis, spokesperson of the youth group Le Poing Levé (The Raised Fist), and Sasha Yaroplskaya, spokesperson of Du Pain et Des Roses (Bread and Roses). This is a sign of the advances in the emergence of a new revolutionary socialist current in France. This sentiment was also expressed by Daniela Cobet at the plenary on party at the French Summer University, where she used many arguments to appeal to all the sympathizers present to take a step forward and commit themselves to political militancy. She pointed out that the big task ahead is to build a revolutionary party in France and to rehabilitate the communist project.

At the University, there was also an opportunity to debate with comrades who are members of one of the two groups currently claiming the name of the NPA in France, formed by currents such as L’Etincelle, A&R and Revolutionary Democracy. In the debate, comrades proposed to them to find spaces of common intervention in class struggle, while also pointing out our strategic differences and urged them to draw the lessons of the failure of the NPA. While it can sometimes be worthwhile for revolutionaries to work within such formations as the NPA, as we did for many years, we disagree with the notion that the Left must always support on principle the construction of “broad parties,” or that the formation of such parties is a prerequisite for revolutionary organization. These debates are fundamental for the French and international far left. The lessons on the class struggle in France also occupied a prominent place in the summer schools in Germany and Spain, with the participation of militants of Révolution Permanente in several tables and workshops.

In Germany, after a year of intense activity undertaken by the comrades in RIO against imperialist rearmament and the advance of the Far Right, and in support of the workers’ struggles and in the student movement, the summer school showed a notable advance. The political struggle against the reformist and pro-imperialist course of Die Linke culminated with the participation of a dozen young people who broke with the youth of that organization and embraced the ideas of Trotskyism. As Stefan Schneider, a leader of RIO, emphasized, the school was marked by the presence of many young people from different cities, in some cases where we are opening work through our groupings, but also in cities where until now we did not know anyone, along with the large and qualitative participation of workers (especially young people), most notably from the education and health sector from places where we already have some work as well as others, like the women workers of the university hospital in Munich. Comrades like Ines Heider, a social worker fired for organizing; Leonie Lieb, an obstetric nurse and union activist of the service union, and Tabea Winter, national leader of the RIO youth group Weapons of Criticism, are some of the recognized RIO militants who carry on these fights.

In the Spanish state, the CRT has been advancing along with its youth groups Contracorriente and Pan y Rosas, and has achieved an important presence in several universities and high schools in different cities, as well as in some workplaces in the hotel and catering industry, fast food chains like Telepizza, and with new work in education and health, teachers, and precarious workers. This has been a year marked by the regional and municipal elections of May 28, with the growth of the Right and the Extreme Right of VOX and the general elections of 23J, which resulted in an uncertain scenario for the formation of a government. The CRT has just given an important political struggle, proposing that the reactionary and patriarchal Right Wing must be confronted by recovering the struggle of women, the working class, and the youth in the streets, without falling into the traps of the “lesser evil,” because it is the “progressive” government of PSOE-Podemos that opens the way to the Right. This was addressed by Lucía Nistal, Santiago Lupe, and Pablo Castilla at the event on the situation of the Spanish State and the challenges of the CRT, which brought together more than a hundred militants and sympathizers. In the school, there were also important debates on strategy and party by Diego Lotito; on a workers movement in transition by Cynthia Burgueño; on ecology and socialism with Irene Thunder, Adrian Cornet from France, and Juan Duarte from the PTS of Argentina; besides others on autonomism and socialism, Trotsky and the struggle against fascism, feminism and LGBTQ struggles, and on the international situation, coordinated by Josefina Martínez together with comrades of the FT. The result was an enormous militant enthusiasm and joy for the shared experiences and reflections.

The comrades of the Italian group, FIR, had an outstanding participation in the three international schools, with delegations led by Giacomo Turci and Scilla Di Pietro. They contributed reflections on the political situation in Italy, with the government of the far right, as well as on important workers’ struggles in which they have been participating, such as that of the occupied factory GKN in Florence.

With our socialist feminist groups of Bread and Roses, Du Pain Et Des Roses, Brut und rosen, Il Pane e le Rose, we have, throughout this year, developed campaigns and participated in mobilizations against sexist violence, homophobia and transphobia, and for a feminism of class struggle and socialism. We had important demonstrations on March 8 in several countries, and we propose now to carry forward an international campaign against the Far Right and the attacks on feminism and trans people, with the perspective of self-organization and collective working-class struggle. 

Our groups also highlight a constant denunciation of Fortress Europe, which has transformed the Mediterranean into a cemetery for thousands of migrants every year, which reinforces its internal racism, and increases police violence against poor neighborhoods and communities of color, while criminalizing workers’, youth, and environmental struggles. We see the struggle against all oppressions as part of a socialist strategy of working class hegemony together with all the oppressed layers of society. We are proud to say that these political and strategic fights are also expressed in the militant composition of our groups, which have a large number of women, people of color, and queer folks among their sympathizers, militants, and main leaders.

In all the meetings, we also shared reflections on the important activity of our international current in Latin America. At the Summer University of Révolution Permanente, we received the video greetings of Myriam Bregman, candidate for president for the PTS in the Left Front-Unity of Argentina, with much enthusiasm, as she raised the challenges for revolutionary socialists in that country. We were also able to reflect on the important intervention of the PTS in class struggle, especially in the revolt of the people of Jujuy and against extractivism. Similarly, in the German school, there was a special talk on the experience of the class struggle in Chile in 2019 and the intervention of the PTR. It was also a joy to have a delegation of comrades from the MTS of Mexico and Left Voice, our sister group in the United States, who are fighting for a socialist perspective in the heart of the imperialist beast. In the schools in France and Spain, we also had comrades from March to Socialism from South Korea with whom we were able to exchange politically and get to know each other in greater depth, and who will also visit the comrades from Germany in the coming days.

We recently passed another anniversary of the Fourth International, founded by Leon Trotsky and his friends in 1938 in the vicinity of Paris. We are proud to take up again that legacy to fight for revolutionary socialism from below. We are taking some steps forward and we have a future to conquer. As a general assessment, we can say that we begin the new political course with renewed strength, with the joy of having shared these internationalist meetings and the conviction that we Trotskyists can advance in the next period in the task of converging with thousands of workers and youth who no longer expect anything from this capitalist system and who trust less and less in the deceptions of the reformists. In many of the countries in which we intervene, we propose to organize to fight the Far Right and prepare to confront them in the streets, through the mobilization of the working class, women and youth. We are entering a new phase in the epoch of wars, crises, and revolutions and the need to build a world party of the socialist revolution (IV International) in the imperialist countries and the countries subjugated by imperialism has more urgency. We are excited and determined to keep contributing from the FT to this task, seeking to merge with revolutionaries and the revolutionary vanguard everywhere.

Originally published on September 9 in La Izquierda Diario.

Translated by Sou Mi

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Josefina L. Martínez

Josefina is a historian from Madrid and an editor of our sister site in the Spanish State, IzquierdaDiario.es.



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