Given the unexpected victory of Donald Trump, the Trotskyist Fraction organized an emergency conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina in March of 2017, to discuss new definitions about the shifting international situation. Representatives from Argentina, France, Chile, Brazil, México, United States, Spanish State, Germany, Bolivia, Venezuela and Uruguay attended. The conference began by discussing Trump’s victory and its global implications. Afterwards, representatives discussed the specific political situation in each country and the challenges ahead for each group.
At this meeting we reaffirmed the strategic basis for the Manifesto for a Movement for an International of Socialist Revolution (Fourth International), which we published in 2013. You can read it here.
The following text summarizes some of the primary definitions and resolutions voted at the meeting of the Trotskyist Fraction. It is the third of several parts.
Donald Trump’s arrival to the White House marks an essential turning point in the new phase of history that began with the start of the capitalist crisis. The return of economic nationalism within the world powers anticipates a sharp turn in the global situation characterized by heightened inter-imperialist disputes, Bonapartist phenomena, and greater class struggle and political radicalization.
In the current situation, it has become essential to build strong revolutionary parties who can intervene as events unfold.
However, a large part of the groups that claim to be revolutionary Marxist organizations have spent the past few years building “broad parties” that are not rooted in class struggle or defined strategically by adapting to either nationalist, bourgeois, and populist leaderships, like Chavism, or to variations of left-wing reformism, such as the Front de Gauche, Podemos or Syriza, thereby replacing the strategy of proletarian revolution with those of “anti-austerity” or “anti-neoliberal” governments. Syriza, which has implemented a series of austerity measures since it came to power, has shown the absolute bankruptcy resulting from subordination to these projects.
The return of imperialist nationalism has made the development of proletarian internationalism and anti-imperialism increasingly urgent. Internationalism is not an abstract principle, but a strategic matter. The construction of an international for socialist revolution is one of the main duties of revolutionaries in this new phase that has begun. As our experience in the 20th century has shown, there can be no “national” revolutionary party separate from the struggle for the construction of an international revolutionary party.
The Trotskyist Fraction for the Fourth International emerged in the late 1980s during a phase of retreat, marked by an imperialist offensive and capitalist restoration in former workers’ states, at a time at which most of the organizations who claimed to advance Trotskyism were in fact abandoning it. We regrouped as an organization based on Trotskyist principles with the objective of defending a revolutionary theory, program and strategy, seeking to increase our influence in the workers’ movement and among the youth vanguard and to develop an internationalist practice.
We are well aware that no currently existing organization that claims to be revolutionary can take on this historical task alone. Contrary to any sectarian self-proclamation, we believe that the construction of revolutionary workers’ parties and the establishment of an International for the socialist revolution, which in our view means the refounding of the Fourth International on new revolutionary bases, will not be the result of the progressive development of our organizations or of our international fraction, but of the merger of the left wings of revolutionary Marxist organizations and sectors of the workers’ and youth vanguard that support social revolution, which will tend to emerge and become widespread as a result of the crisis and class struggle.
With this objective, in 2013 we launched a manifesto in which we began a discussion on the need to promote a Movement for an International for Socialist Revolution. In this process, we have started discussions with comrades in Peru, Costa Rica and Europe and more recently with comrades from Italy.
As we said at the time, the manifesto published in 2013 was not meant to be a finished program, but a presentation of the main strategic and programmatic foundations that, from our view, should define the revolutionary left, along with the test of political practice and class struggle.
Among them is the need for a program of transitional demands to confront the crisis, consistently combined with a perspective which exceeds that of bourgeois legality, or which questions private property and capitalist profit. Radical democratic demands, aimed at accelerating the masses’ experience with their democratic illusions by confronting the regime and bourgeois state in order to facilitate the transition towards workers’ power, also have an essential role to play. Another of these foundations is the impossibility, as shown by the “Arab Spring,” of “democratic revolutions” which fail to provide a definitive answer to the demands associated with the masses’ living conditions or to put an end to the root causes of the issues related to these demands – primarily imperialist oppression. The consistent struggle for political independence of the working class and against imperialism is also essential.
These foundations also include the need to build revolutionary and internationalist parties. Associated with this need is the development of revolutionary fractions within unions, the struggle for a workers’ united front, and self-organization. Also essential are the fight against gender oppression, homophobia, racism,xenophobia, and all forms of oppression and discrimination, as a fundamental part of the working class’ struggle to build hegemony in its fight against bourgeois domination. Contrary to the programs of “left-wing governments” that include class collaboration and conciliation with imperialism, we must take up the tactic of a “workers’ government” (the highest form of the united workers front) as an anti-bourgeois and anti-capitalist rallying cry, associated with an insurrectional workers’ strategy for the establishment of a revolutionary workers’ government based on the self-organization of the masses through workers’ councils (called Soviets in Russia). The socialist revolution is national in form but international in content and, therefore, coming to power in one country is not an end in itself, but a strategic means in the struggle for international revolution, an indispensable condition for advancing towards the construction of communism, a society of “free and associated producers.”
Changes in the global situation have increased the need for a revolutionary regrouping that cannot be based solely on general principles, but must instead be rooted in agreement upon the great strategic questions which have arisen among the global left as a result of the capitalist crisis and, most recently, by Trump’s election. It is on these foundations that we are calling for debate and joint action in class struggles to build a great Movement for an International for Socialist Revolution.
Translation: Marisela Trevin