This work is the systematization of a debate which began two years ago, during the PTS schools of cadres, and it reflects the positions held by the Political Bureau of our party. It is important so far as it has allowed us to be homogeneous in a critical vision of our own political-theoretical past: delimiting ourselves from the current of the trotskyist movement we come from, Morenoism, and at the same time we think we have taken up again Trotsky’s method and theory.
We did it, however, without giving in to those who wanted to speed up that break in an anti-dialectic way, denying absolutely all continuity with the past. From Nahuel Moreno’s theoretical legacy we vindicate those works product of his principled debate against revisionism, among them: “Revolutionary Dictatorship of Proletariat” against Ernest Mandel’s United Secretariat, fighting the revisionist theory of the “socialist democracy” in the workers states; and “The betrayal of the OCI,” where Moreno defends a trotskyist policy against Pierre Lambert’s “theory of the progressive bourgeois camps”.
Our polemic is centered in the theoretical revisions Moreno did, mainly in the 80s, of the Theory of the Permanent Revolution by Trotsky. Moreno, who had the merit of honestly saying that he was revising Trotsky, gave way with this revision to present theoretical, political and programmatic blind alley of the Liga Internacional de Trabajadores (LIT, International Workers’ Ligue) and is one of the fundaments of its present implosion.
Following the same method Moreno recommended of saying clearly what you are revising, we are going to do it with his theory of revolution.
Far from the vision that Moreno left “a strong framework” for the construction of a principled international trotskyist current, the present collapse of the International shows that the theoretical bases elaborated in the 80s, openly breaking with Trotsky, did not help to understand the new events from 1989 on. Far from overcoming Trotsky’s theory, they have shown themselves useless to interpret reality and to have a correct revolutionary strategy. Even more, they served as theoretical cloak for the great programmatic and political capitulations of the LIT and its national sections. That is why any possible revolutionary regeneration of the LIT (and its sections) can only be accomplished by coming back to the theoretical bases and the method sketched by the founder of the 4th. International, Leon Trotsky.
THE CURRENT CRISIS OF THE LIT AND ITS POLITICAL AND THEORETICAL CAUSES
The attempts to explain the deep crisis of the LIT are shallow. All internal tendencies and factions seem to coincide with the fact that ’89 events, regardless of how each of them evaluate them, have triggered the present disaster. However, when trying to find out the cause of why the crisis still goes on (four years after the events!) and why the LIT scatters with no balance on ’89 events, it is in the end explained by “Moreno’s death” or by “social pressures”.
The Left Faction, leaded by the SR (Revolutionary Socialism from Italy) and composed by the majority of the Spanish party, strikes the note. They say LIT troubles, and in general all Trotskyist movement troubles, come from ” the exaltation of a historical exception and its presuppositions. Having raised the October Revolution to the model of all revolutions, having assumed its way as an inviolable paradigm, has been the mistake(…) that has confined revolutionary Marxism (…) to a fatal minority situation (…). the Russian Revolution was nothing but an absolutely exceptional episode due to “where” and “how” it had taken place (…) Above all, because transforming 1917 into an ideology meant and means to clash with the differentiated, rich and concrete development of class struggle and revolutionary processes”.(1)
We, the Internationalist Faction, reject sectarian dogmatism. But we categorically say, contrary to what the SR says, that the main Trotskyist movement cancer has been and is, all types of revisionism expressed in the history of post war Trotskyism, under Yalta order. Revisionism like today’s SR’s which, increasingly moving away from Trotskyism and Marxism, based in its “new epoch” characterization different to the epoch of the socialist revolution set forward by the October Revolution, shapes itself as an “aggiornado Trotskyism”, adapted to the “new lefts”, whose goals are the “democratic revolutions” in the whole world.
For our Internationalist Faction (FI), the main reason for present LIT crisis really lies (and this is the only thing that bounds us to the SR) in the theoretical, political and programmatic bases the LIT had to face ’89 events.
But our position is opposite to the SR-Left Faction: those bases, did not have the problem of “having raised the October Revolution to the model of all revolutions”; LIT bases were impregnated of revisionist elements about the lessons of October Revolution, from which Trotskyism took its theory and program.
On the new events, the revolutionary content of Marxism practised in 1917 October Revolution and in the class struggle stage opened up to 1923, when there was a revolutionary International: the IIIrd., and there were programmatic lessons from its first four Congresses, was not developed. Moreno’s Trotskyism is based on a theory of the revolution adapted to the model of the 43-48 stage revolutions (stage which, as we will demonstrate, was truly “exceptional” due to “how” and “where” they had taken place” and which Moreno “exalted” , to say it in SR’s words) and the post war revolutions, which Moreno called “triumphant Februaries”, and this theory direct child rounded up in the 80s: ” the democratic revolution”.
We consider the 43-48 stage was the one in which the theoretical hypothesis of the Transitional Program took place, in the “worker and peasant government” chapter: “under the influence of completely exceptional circumstances (war, defeat,financial crack, revolutionary pressure of the masses, etc.) the petty bourgeois parties, Stalinists included,might go further from what they want in the way of a break with the bourgeoisie”.
Moreno extended this stage, which gave place to the new post war workers states in East Europe, Yugoslavia, China and Korea, to the whole postwar period. In that period there have been only two triumphant revolutions among many defeated and betrayed ones: Cuba and Vietnam, correctly characterized by Moreno and a part of the IVth. International as deformed workers states, against sectarians who denied them because they had not arisen in the same conditions as the Russian October Revolution.
The theoretical basis of present LIT crisis is due to the fact that they transformed this exception into a programmatic rule when they said:…”Today we have to formulate that it is not compulsory that the working class and a revolutionary Marxist party is the one that leads the democratic revolution process towards socialist revolution…”(2)
Even more, in the 80s, on the dictatorships collapse surge like Somoza’s in Nicaragua, the Argentine Military Junta’s and south Latin America ones’, processes which did not end in bourgeoisie expropriation and which set up bourgeois democratic regimes, the LIT went further adapting itself to these processes with the “democratic revolution” theory. As Moreno defines it in “20th. Century Revolutions”: “…a revolution in the political regime: to destroy fascism in order to conquer the freedoms of bourgeois democracy, even in the field of bourgeoisie’s political regimes, of bourgeois state.” (3)
We will show here that the LIT revises in an antitrotkyist way the foundational programmatic-theoretical tools of the IVth. International: Theory of the Permanent Revolution and the Transitional Program.
No internal LIT faction has said this.
On the contrary, they all reaffirm this Theory of the Permanent Revolution revision, on one pole, it is the TBI of the LIT, faction leaded by the Colombian party, who after ’89 events unbelievably beholds that “everything was foreseen”.
On the other pole it is the Italian SR and its Left Faction; starting from the same theoretical matrix, they take this logic to unbelievable limits, calling ,in nowadays Italy , to “prepare a democratic revolution” (4)
We must say the SR is bold: a “democratic revolution” not against fascism ( we will demonstrate this is a nearly reformist conception) but in the bourgeois democratic and imperialist Italy! What does it mean to call for a “democratic revolution” in nowadays Italy , where the character of this democracy if the monopolies , which control and buy functionaries and parties, has been unmasked for millions in the world? Would it mean, for the SR, the FIAT or OLIVETTI “democratization”?
These “Marxism’s schemes” theoretic overcomers are simple empiric impressionists. They are the universal democratic revolutions apologists and they, also base on a “historical exception”, not in the 1917 Russian October, not even in the revolutions which conquered the post war deformed workers states, but in the 1989 low intensity revolutions.
These revolutions, were peaceful, bloodless mobilizations – Rumania excepted -, with proletariat diluted in the people’s surge, without neither double power organisms nor revolutionary leadership. But they knocked down stalinism and its regime of political oppression, due to the structural weakness of those regimes and the bureaucracy’s state apparatus, due to the incapacity of intervention of bureaucracy’s army. But these revolutions, at the same time, showed themselves impotent to defeat the whole bureaucracy and the restaurationist section in particular.
The esserits have transformed this exception into the universal and “undisputable model” of revolution; which, as the Red Army enlistment after Yeltsin’s bonapartist coup and his repression to Parliament putsch show, it will not repeat itself. These people, who call themselves Trotskyists, tell the Russian proletariat and the proletariat of the nations from the ex-USSR [it is necessary] “to definitely overcome the unfortunate insurrectionary opinions”. (5).
They have raised up the spontaneous ’89 revolutions into a program, where “civil society” is all powerful, and counterrevolution, state and its repression organisms, are nothing.
The other LIT groups argue against these anti-Leninist positions. But they cannot be consistently fought if one does not attack their revisionist theoretical bases, where the reformism nurtures from. In the end, as we will try to show in this work, there is an esserist in every cadre armed with the anti-Trotskyist conception of the “democratic revolution”.
Of course we do not believe that only a correct theory and program are the guarantee of success and good hits. But a leadership not proved in class struggle, as LIT leadership defined itself even when Moreno was alive, and fundamentally based in Latin America, Argentina and Brazil; subject to social and counterrevolutionary apparatuses pressures, like any other, even the most revolutionary ones; if it has an incorrect program and theory, the hostile influence of the enemy classes come into it and that organization is shaken by events, as it happened with the LIT in 89.
For the FI, the LIT regeneration must start from a theoretical, political and programmatic rearmament, in the sense the foundational basis of the IVth. International. For this task, we make a call to all LIT file and rank and cadres who coincide with our positions to re-group ourselves in a tendency for Trotskyism. This rearmament and coming back to Trotskyism cannot be done without liquidating the revisionist elements contained in “Morenism”.
1. “DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION” OR PERMANENT REVOLUTION?
The “democratic revolution” is, for Moreno, a new and specific kind of revolution, that becomes necessary with the appearance of fascism in imperialist countries and dictatorships in semicolonies.
In “20th. Century Revolutions”, he defines it this way: ” What Trotsky did not put forward, even when he made a parallel between Stalinism and Fascism, was that it was also necessary to make a revolution in the political regime in capitalist countries: to destroy Fascism in order to conquer the freedoms of bourgeois democracy, even in the field of the bourgeoisie’s political regimes , of bourgeois state. Concretely, he did not put forward that a democratic revolution was necessary to liquidate the Fascist totalitarian regime, as part or first step towards the socialist revolution, and so [he] left pendant this serious theoretical problem.” (6)
First, it is false that Trotsky left this problem out. You can be against his theoretical legacy, but you cannot hide it. We will give only two quotations, categorical enough, from the tens which answer the theoretical problem Moreno puts forward in the same way.
This is what the founder of the IVth. International answered to Pietro Tresso and the Italian oppositionists, who put forward in Mussolini’s Italy a position similar to Moreno’s:
“Regarding the “anti-Fascist revolution”, the Italian question is more than ever intimately linked to the fundamental problems of world Communism, that is to say to the so called Theory of the Permanent Revolution .”
“From all before said, the ‘transitional’ period problem arises in Italy. Firstly, you have to answer clearly: transition from what to what? A period of transition from the bourgeois revolution (or ‘popular’) to the proletarian revolution, is one thing. A period of transition from the Fascist dictatorship to the proletarian dictatorship, is another thing. If you watch the first conception, the question of the bourgeois revolution is put forward in first term, and it is only to determine the proletariat role in the same one. Only after that the question of the transitional period towards proletarian revolution will be put forward. If you watch the second conception, then the problem of a series of battles, convulsions, changing situations, abrupt turns, are put forward, that in its whole constitute the different stages of proletarian revolution. There might be many stages. But it would never mean the bourgeois revolution or that mysterious hybrid, the ‘popular’ revolution.
“Does this mean that Italy cannot change again, during a period, into a parliamentary state or into a ‘democratic republic’? I consider -and I believe that we totally coincide on this- that eventuality is not excluded. But it will not be the fruit of a bourgeois revolution but the abortion of a premature and not mature enough proletarian revolution. If a deep revolutionary crisis breaks up and there are masses battles in the course of which the proletarian vanguard does not seize power, possibly the bourgeoisie will restore its dominion on ‘democratic’ bases.” (underlined by us) (7)
Let us see Trotsky’s method, in this case not in an “anti-fascist revolution”; in 1929 he writes in “The Permanent Revolution”, referring to the first revolution in Germany: “…Regarding the 1918 German revolution , it is evident that it was not the democratic crowning of the bourgeois revolution, but the proletarian revolution beheaded by Socialdemocracy, or to say it more precisely: a bourgeois counterrevolution obliged by circumstances to dress itself, after proletariat’s victory, with pseudo-democratic forms” (8)
It is clear enough that Trotsky does not close his eyes to a possible break up of a “deep revolutionary crisis” product of “masses battles” against fascism, and he neither doubts in calling “proletariat’s victory” Kaiser’s fall in 1918 Germany.
For Trotsky, it was not discarded that after Fascism fall, Italy “can change again, during a period, into a parliamentary state or into a ‘democratic republic’ “.
There is not a whit of “unilaterality” or “sectarism” in these quotations.
In this same sense, we have characterized the collapse of the only Stalinist party during 89-91 in the East and in the ex-USSR as “revolutions” due to its likeness with the “February revolutions” , opposite to the sectarians that call them counterrevolutions. Against them, our Internationalist Faction vindicates the great definition of “February revolution” made by Trotsky in “Wither France?”.
“After war, there were a series of revolutions which meant brilliant victories: in Russia, in Germany, in Austria-Hungary, later in Spain. But only in Russia proletariat took power completely in his hands, expropriated his exploiters, and thanks to it, knew how to create and keep a Worker State. In all the other cases, proletariat in spite of his victory stopped, due to leadership, half way. The result of this was that power escaped from his hands and, moving from left to right, ended up as the booty of Fascism. In a series of other countries, power fell in the hands of a military dictatorship. In each of them, the Parliament has not shown having the capacity of conciliating the class contradictions and ensuring the peaceful way of happenings. The conflict was solved weapons in hand” (9).
But for the founder of the IVth. International, the fact that masses would conquer only “the freedoms of bourgeois democracy…in the field of bourgeois state” would be the product not of a “triumphant democratic revolution”, as independent stage previous to socialist revolution, but the “abortion of a proletariat revolution premature and immature enough” in the Italian case; or of a “bourgeois counterrevolution obliged by circumstances to dress itself, after proletariat’s victory, with pseudo-democratic forms” as he characterized 1918 Germany’s.
What do the different LIT factions think? Are they with Trotsky in calling this “abortion of the proletarian revolution” or with Moreno in calling it a “triumphant democratic revolution”?
Contrary to what Moreno thinks, it is clear that Trotsky did answer to the question of the “anti Fascist revolution” , and that, besides, it was “intimately linked” to the Theory of the Permanent Revolution for him. About it, he put forward that there were two opposite conceptions in how to define the “transitional period” between the fight for overthrowing Fascism and the proletariat dictatorship: one conception considers “a period of transition from the bourgeois revolution (or popular) to the proletarian revolution”, the other “a period of transition from the Fascist dictatorship to the proletarian dictatorship”.
Moreno places himself in the first conception when he says that: ” it was necessary to make a revolution in the political regime (…) even in the field of the bourgeoisie’s political regimes , of the bourgeois state”. The consequences of such a position are, for Trotsky, unavoidable:” If you watch the first conception, the question of the bourgeois revolution is put forward in first term, and it is only to determine the proletariat role in the same one”.
Moreno, not falling into Menchevism’s etapist theory based on the necessity of a historical stage from the point of view of bourgeois economical development, falls into an etapism justified, according to him by the own development of masses mobilization: it is necessary a stage to “conquer the freedoms of bourgeois democracy”.
According to this theory, the “anti Fascist revolution” is not an anti feudal, bourgeois revolution. It is anti capitalist, not proletarian but democratic. That is to say, it is a “hybrid”, a neither proletarian nor bourgeois revolution, like the “popular” revolution Trotsky mentioned in Italy.
Concerning proletariat’s role in the “anti Fascist revolution”, if you follow Moreno’s logic, it would be limited to respecting the margins of a revolution “in the field…of the bourgeois state”. The programmatic consequences, if this is taken to the end, could not be more grave: the open break with Trotskyism, with its strategy.
The one who does not distinguish a bourgeois democratic regime from Fascism, because they are both forms of capital dictatorship, falls into an ultra leftist characterization and into a sectarian policy like Stalinism in the “third period”, its “Social-Fascism” theory, which defined both Socialdemocrats and Nazis as counterrevolutionaries, and its denial to the worker’s united front with the first ones to fight the latter in the streets.
But the one who beholds that, as “the first step of the socialist revolution” we must make a revolution “….in the field of the bourgeoisie’s political regime, of the bourgeois state” is near to reformism. Moreno falls into the opposite mistake to the ones who equal democracy and fascism: he sees them as two totally antagonic regimes.
There is a foreign to Marxism conception underlying, which is close to bourgeois sociology, which does not define states according to its class character (social content) but to its function (political form). For this conception, the essential distinction is not between proletarian and bourgeois states, but between “totalitarian” and “democratic” states. This is completely opposite to Marxism and its theory of state: both the totalitarian regime Moreno speaks about and the bourgeois democracy are two forms of the capital dictatorship.
This program-theory of a revolution limited to the political regime divides the task of defeating the fascist dictatorship from the fight of overthrowing the bourgeois state, and thus renounces beforehand to the fight for proletarian dictatorship, central knot in all revisionism in Marxism. So, it is an entirely etapist theory because it already liquidates, in a first stage, the fight for proletarian dictatorship, question which will be posed for after Fascism’s fall, in a second stage.
No need to say that this takes to capitulating to the “democratic reaction” course with which bourgeoisie diverts masses mobilization, and, as it did in Argentina after dictatorship fall, it resets bourgeois state, considered as repression apparatus. In the case of Fascism in Europe it would have taken to adopt, in facts, the policy of the “anti Fascist front” together with the bourgeoisies of the “democratic” imperialisms. That was the form adquired by the policy of “popular front” extended to worldwide scale,which Trotsky criticized to Stalinism with his famous sentence “it is worthless to ally with the devil to fight the tail and the horns of the devil”.
It is necessary to stop here to see the positions beheld by Moreno and the LIT in relation to Trotskyism’s policy in Spain in 1936 and the Second World War. Moreno applies the theory of the “democratic revolution” to both cases. Or better said, he adjusts reality to that theory.
In “20th. Century Revolutions” it is said: “Anyway the Spanish Revolution showed up to what degree the bourgeois democratic regime was antagonic to Fascism, not only the working class and its organizations.”
“The Second World War presents, at least, similar elements. Without developing the case, we think that it must be studied seriously whether it was not the intent of extending the imperialist fascist counterrevolution to the whole world, mainly defeating the Soviet Union, but the European and American bourgeois democratic regimes also. What we are saying is that it must be precised well, same as in the Spanish civil war, which the determinant factor was. Was the fight of the fascist regime essentially against the USSR but also against bourgeois democracy? Or was it the economical factor, the fight among imperialisms for the world market control…?” (10)
Later, in the same book, we read: “It must be precised if the allied armies, in spite of themselves, did not perform a progressive role either, for Hitler’s defeat was the most colossal revolutionary triumph in all humanity history”. (11)
The lessons of Spain
We must clarify what “the Spanish revolution showed” truly. It is clear that Moreno lets a glimpse that “the determinant factor” in Spain was the antagonism between the bourgeois democratic regime and fascism.
For Trotsky, “up to what grade the bourgeois democratic regime was antagonic with fascism…” in 1936 Spain?
He says in 1937: “According to the Stalinists and socialists conception , Mensheviks of the first and second gang, the Spanish revolution could only solve the democratic tasks, so a front with the ‘democratic’ bourgeoisie had to be done. Any proletariat attempt to get out from the bourgeois democracy limits was, from this point of view, not only premature but ill-fated.
“Besides, the fight against Franco was the point, not the revolution. Fascism is a bourgeois reaction, not a feudal one, and Menchevism, a branch of the bourgeois thought, does not want and cannot appropriate the notion that you cannot successfully fight against that bourgeois reaction but with the proletarian revolution force and methods.” (12)
First, in relation to the Spanish Revolution, Trotsky held the same logic we saw before for Italy: he fights against the revolution by stages, against the idea of a revolution not surpassing the bourgeois democratic boundaries.
But, which was the “determinant factor” in Spain? Was not the armed fight between the Republic and Fascism?
According to Trotsky, “…in Spain territory, two unyielding programmes confronted. On one side, the program of private property salvation at any price against proletariat, and as far as possible the salvation of democracy against Franco. On the other side the program of private property destruction through the conquest of power by proletariat. The first expressed the program of the capital and through the worker’s aristocracy, of upper sectors of petty bourgeoisie and above all of soviet bureaucracy. The second programme translated into Marxist language the tendencies, not totally aware, but vigorous, of the masses revolutionary movement. For revolution misfortune, the counterrevolutionary wall of the Popular Front was in between the Bolsheviks handful and the revolutionary proletariat”. (13)
But, how are we to understand the confrontation between Franco’s fascist regime and the republic regime?
“The social question of this (revolution) had been, in the course of the last six years, the growing offensive of the masses against the bourgeois and semi feudal property. It was necessary the need to defend this property to precisely sent bourgeoisie on to Franco’s arms. The Republican government had promised the bourgeoisie to defend the property through ‘democratic’ measures, but it fell, mainly in July 1936, in a complete brankruptcy”. (14)
Last, what did the Spanish revolution show?
“The Spanish revolution shows once more that it is impossible to defend democracy against the revolutionary masses other way than through the fascist reaction methods, and inversely, that it is impossible to carry a true fight against fascism other way that by the proletarian revolution methods” (15)
The Spanish revolution special feature is that there were two fields, republican and fascist, militarily confronted by a civil war. This is a “determinant factor” of the revolutionaries tactic. Obviously the trotskyist policy was to be in the first place in the republican military side against Franco’s fascist military side. But it is clear that for Trotsky, in contrast with Socialdemocrats and Stalinists, and with what Moreno thinks, in Spain the antagonism between the bourgeois democratic regime and fascism was subordinated to the antagonism between the bourgeois counterrevolution and the proletarian revolution. This is the “determinant factor” of the revolutionary strategy.
That is why, even when participating in it, Trotsky’s policy did not have a whit of confusion in what the goals of that civil war were for the working class and those fighting in the republican military side: “The conditions for the masses victory in the civil war against the oppressors, in the end are very simple.”
Which was the first condition for Trotsky?
“The revolutionary army combatants must have complete conciousness that they are fighting for their complete social emancipation and not for the reestablishment of the old (democratic) exploitation form”.
That is to say, to take part in the republican military side with an independent strategy for the socialist and worker revolution.
Even more, “The civil war strategy must combine the military art rules with the social revolution tasks”.
What did this mean for Trotsky?
“The revolutionary army must, not only proclaim, but take immediately to action in the conquered provinces, the most urgent measures of the social revolution: expropriation and reimbursement to the needies of the existent food reserves.., redistribution of houses in benefit of workers and above all of the combatants’ families, land and agricultural tools expropriation in benefit of the peasants, establishing workers control of production and soviet power in the place of the old bureaucracy”. (16)
As we see, not a “democratic revolution” strategy limited to the margins of “the political regime of the bourgeoisie, of the bourgeois state”.
What is the position of the different LIT currents?
Are they with Trotsky in defining that, even when there are militarily confronted sides and we participate in the republican military side, the main antagonism is between the bourgeois counterrevolution and the proletarian revolution? Or are they with Moreno in that the “determinant factor” is the antagonism between the fascist regime and the bourgeois democratic one?
A world war of regimes?
One thing is to say that in a state, like Spain, WITH an armed confrontation between two sides, there is a civil war that confronts, in facts, two types of regimes and that you have to fight in one side of the military factions, which is correct; and a very different thing is to transfer this situation to world scale.
The Second World War , a “world war of regimes “? Of which state ?
A regime is the political form that a social content adquires in a determinate state. The state is established nationally, and a civil war like Spain’s adquired the form, given by the republican leadership, of war of regimes within a same national state. The political regime is a lower superstructure to the state superstructure. A war of regimes presupposes a higher superstructure, a estate, that contains it.
But there is no world state!! Lenin already fought the anti Marxist Kautsky’s theory about a super imperialism.
If there is the possibility, put forward by Moreno, of world war of regimes, and that this is what the Second World War was a determinant factor, he is questioning, besides, the own Leninist definition of imperialism and its laws. Why? Because for Lenin, imperialism was not a world state which eliminated the inter state fight; on the contrary, imperialism exacerbated that fight as an expression of the confrontations among the different imperialist bourgeoisies for the colonies and world market control. That is, the state in the imperialist epoch not only plays the role of internal repression organism, but it is the apparatus of the different bourgeoisies for the conquest and robbery war also. Lenin based on this when foreseeing an epoch of “crisis, wars and revolutions”; and Kautsky’s peaceful and reformist perspective was based on.the theory of superimperialism, a kind of world state.
That “crisis, wars and revolutions” epoch, defined by Lenin, which presupposes interimperialist wars, was mediated during a stage: the reign of the world order of Yalta consolidated the hegemony of American imperialism and its economical, political and military supremacy with which it had emerged of the Second World War. But you cannot mistake a junctional hegemony of one imperialism with a superimperialism or world state which eliminates wars among the different imperialisms. On the contrary, thanks to the last war American imperialism consolidated its hegemony.
If one does not want to fall into the theory that fascism is a new type of social system different to capitalism, based on more reactionary production relations than capitalism (of “slave type”), to justify being on capitalism side against that more reactionary “new property regime” ; one must accept the Marxist definition of fascism as a concentrated expression of financial capital, of imperialist capitalism.
Only the first point of view can sustain seriously that”…the allied armies, in spite of themselves,…also performed a progressive role…”. On the contrary, the war of Germany against England, France and USA, is an interimperialist fight, which in certain countries, nationally, it adquires characteristics of “regimes fight” given that the Nazi occupation armies cannot impose the German financial capital domination over other countries through the bourgeois democracy. But always, the “determinant factor” is defined by the social content of the fight and at world scale, to precise afterwards the political forms this fight adquires at the national level. The former defines the estrategy; the latter, the tactic.
Moreno ends, with his characterization of the Second World War, dangerously coming nearer to the Stalinist policy of support to “democratic” imperialism against the fascist imperialism.
Even though he did not get there, Moreno’s position, at least, does not leave stone upon stone of Trotsky’s policy about fascism, and the IVth. International’s about the World War, which, in spite of some national deviations, we Trotskyists define as having passed the war test thanks to the political-theoretical legacy of its founders.
Were not like this, the different LIT factions should answer to us, which bases should the IVth. International be reconstructed upon in the post war? Surely not on its foundational bases. So, why the need of reconstructing the IVth.? Is this why none of the LIT tendencies fight for the reconstruction of the IVth. International?
A scandalous school
The book “Cadres School- Argentina 1984” was published by the MAS leadership in 1992, after Nahuel Moreno’s death. It is presented by the MAS national leader, Eugenio Greco. There he says: “…we reaffirm that these works, which must be taken as part of a whole in which the works written by the author are decisive, are the most advanced ones Moreno produced regarding to the theory of the revolution and, so, they are fundamental point of reference to advance go on further on in new and superior theoretical developments.”
There are innumerable anti-Trotskyist nonsense in it, which cover a great number of themes, including even a favorable position to the revolutionaries’ participation in the “democratic side” of an eventual war between Alfonsin’s Argentina and Pinochet’s Chile. We are not going to argue with all these positions. We also consider “the works written by the author are decisive”. Nonetheless, if as Greco says, “these works (…) are the most advanced ones Moreno produced regarding to the theory of the revolution “, we are going to argue with this publication because, gangs of Trotskyist cadres have been and are being educated with this revisionist poison.
We particularly want to quote, a truly scandalous affirmation done in that book.
“There is here a grave political problem, tremendous (…) It seems that the fact that capitalist counterrevolution has raised again the need of having a democratic revolution. And to ignore that, what it is set forward in the advanced countries where there are counterrevolutionary regimes, it is also posed is also a democratic revolution, is maximally, it is as grave as ignoring the bourgeois democratic revolution in the backward countries. (…) If it is right, the whole formulation of the Thesis of the Permanent Revolution has to be changed. I think it is correct and that Trotsky pointed there.
“If it is correct it changes all our strategy with reference to opportunist parties and, to some extent, to bourgeois parties which oppose to the counterrevolutionary regime. As a step towards socialist revolution, we are in favour of a bourgeois regime to come, totally different to the counterrevolutionary regime. As we were in favour of the bourgeois democratic revolution, and we said it was different to the other, to the socialist revolution, that it had to be done, the Czar had to be overthrown, that it was a specific bourgeois democratic task, we have to discuss if now there is also a specific bourgeois democratic task, which is overthrowing the counterrevolutionary regime to let come, even, a bourgeois regime”. (17)
Break-off with Trotskyism is here evident.
“If it is correct (the theory of the democratic revolution )changes all our strategy with reference to opportunist parties and, to some extent, to bourgeois parties which oppose to the counterrevolutionary regime” is said. This is a total attack to the strategy, the programme and -if put into practice- to the Trotskyist party as an proletariat party of proletariat. A directly conciliating attitude of the revolutionaries with the “opportunist”…and “bourgeois” parties is put forward!!!
From the letter of the Italian left oppositionists, talked about before, we quote (if there is need of such a quotation in a discussion among Trotskyists) the following: “What is the long term goal of Anti-Fascist Concentration?” This one foresees the fall of the fascist state under a proletariat and general oppressed masses insurrection, and it prepares to stop that mobilization, to paralyze it and divert it, so that the triumph of the renewed counterrevolution appears as a supposed victory of the bourgeois democratic revolution. If this dialectic of the live social forces is out of sight for a moment, there is the risk of irremediably getting into a mess and diverting from the right road. I think there must not be any misunderstanding among us.” (18)
Trotsky leaves no doubt what our attitude must be in front of the “anti-fascist” bourgeoisie.
What strategy do the LIT factions have in front of the “antifascist” bourgeoisie? Trotsky’s or Moreno’s?
And regarding the “opportunist parties…which oppose to the counterrevolutionary regime”? Trotsky clearly defines the danger of the role of the opportunist party in the fascist Italy, the socialdemocracy, in a moment in which the official leadership of the Communist Party (Stalinist) affirmed that this one had disappeared.
“Fascism does not liquidate socialdemocracy; on the contrary, it preserves it. To the masses eyes, the socialdemocracy, partly a victim of the regime, it is not responsible of fascism’s prevail. They thus gain new adepts and fortify the old ones.” And further:”Only a complete fool or a traitor would try convincing the proletarian vanguard of Italy that the Italian socialdemocracy cannot still perform the same role the German socialdemocracy performed in the 1918 revolution.” That is to say, that for Trotsky the opportunist party would perform the same role in the fascist Italy that in 1918 Germany. Let us remember: “…a proletarian revolution beheaded by socialdemocracy.”
And he finishes: “Even more important, we cannot forget that since 1920 there have passed ten years, and since the coming of fascism , eight. The children who were ten and twelve in 1920-1922 and who saw fascism acts are the new workers and peasants generation who will fight fascism heroically, but which does not have political experience. The communists will only enter totally in contact with the mass movement during the revolution and, in more favorable circumstances, they will need months to unmask and demolish socialdemocracy, which -I repeat- was not liquidated but preserved by fascism”. (19)
We do not understand, honestly, what real base Moreno’s supposition did have that “Trotsky pointed there” and he was going in the same way of his conclusions that “it changes all our strategy regarding the opportunist parties…” Trotsky’s policy pointed “to unmask and demolish socialdemocracy “, which of course included, the unique workers front tactic to confront fascism in the streets and with the weapons.
In Argentina We could check that Trotsky pointed well. In this case it was not an opportunist party but a bourgeois one, the radical party, directly, which was truly preserved and not liquidated by the military dictatorship. The new generations, who awakened to political life fighting against dictatorship, did not know the Bambin’s anti workers denounces in 1976 about “the factory guerrilla” and his public call for the coup. They were ten or twelve then. The Alfonsin UCR changed in 1982, at the dictatorship’s fall and after Malvinas defeat, into the main “democratic reaction” tool; it recomposed the bourgeois state, diverted these new generations to peacefulness and, later, gave the favour back to the Armed Forces “preserving” them with the laws that prevented the judgement of the genocides. These generations, this time, should remember that experience.
Are the LIT factions with Trotsky in the strategy of “unmasking and demolishing” the opportunist parties under fascism and military dictatorships ? Or are they with Moreno in “changing our strategy regarding the opportunist and bourgeois parties”?
A break with Lenin
It is evident that the quotation from the “Cadres School” not only denies Trotsky’s policy towards fascism guided by his Theory of the Permanent Revolution. It is an open break with Lenin either, not with 1917 “April Thesis” Lenin but with the 1905 one, the “etapist” Lenin who still considered theoretically that after the revolution against the Czar there should be a first stage, previous to proletariat dictatorship, under the form of a supposed “democratic dictatorship of workers and peasants”.
The revolutionary events in Russia demonstrated that “democratic dictatorship of workers and peasants”, which, as Trotsky says, “…it was assignable a certain algebraic character consciously, which should let place to arithmetic unities more concrete in the process of the historical experience”; was not fulfilled but as a ” proletariat dictatorship dragging behind itself the peasant masses”, as it happened in the October leaded by the Bolsheviks, and it will be formulated after by Trotsky in the Thesis of the Permanent. (20).
The first proletarian revolution has already demonstrated that Moreno’s assertion is false, that “the bourgeois democratic revolution…was different to the other, to the socialist revolution”. They were not “different”, understood as independent stages, but they combined in an only revolution upon the proletariat dictatorship triumph:”The democratic revolution transforms directly in socialist, convertine thus in permanent” (21)
Even for that Lenin it was absolutely clear that first revolution, which according to him would have a bourgeois democratic character and not a socialist one, could not be done together with the liberal bourgeoisie and its Kadete party.
For Lenin, the bourgeois democratic revolution in Russia was not only the question of “overthrowing the Czar”.
Moreno says: “the Czar had to be overthrown, which it was an specific bourgeois democratic task”, and from there he makes an analogy of the democratic revolution in Russia with the fight for overthrowing a fascist dictatorship, saying that “…overthrowing the counterrevolutionary regime to let come, even a bourgeois regime” is also a specific bourgeois democratic task.
This is far from being an “exaltation” of the October Revolution, for the SR happiness. It is directly a falsification of even the Russian revolution.
The only ones to put forward the question of “the Czar had to be overthrown..to let come, even, regime a bourgeois ” ., like Moreno does, were the Mensheviks:”…the Mensheviks conceived the bourgeois revolution mainly as a reform of constitutional-liberal kind”, says Trotsky in “The Permanent Revolution” (22)
The really “specific” bourgeois democratic task of the Russian Revolution was the question of the land in a backward and mainly peasant country. Obviously to give a solution to all the Russian masses problems, and above all to the land one, the Czar had to be overthrown. Lenin did not discuss only about how to conquer the formal democratic freedoms crashed by the zarist autocracy, but , and fundamentally, around a structural task of the bourgeois democratic revolution: the solution to the agrarian question, the liquidation of the tenant class and the revolutionary transformation of the land ownership.
As Trotsky pointed out:” Lenin put forward with a truly revolutionary boldness the agrarian problem, which touched the interests of the whole majority of population, and which conditioned the capitalist market problem at the same time. As the liberal bourgeoisie, hostile to workers, is tied up to the great agrarian property with innumerable ties, the true democratic emancipation of the peasants could only be done, logically, through the revolutionary union of peasants and workers, and according to Lenin, the joint upsurge of both of them against the old society would conduct, in case of triumph, to the instauration of the ” workers’ and peasants’ democratic dictatorship”. (23)
For that, the ” workers and peasants democratic dictatorship” formula, even when it was “algebraic”, that is to say it did not establish who leaded the dictatorship, the workers or the peasants;it did point out the reciprocal relationships among proletariat, peasants and bourgeoisie: the revolutionary alliance of the former two against the liberal bourgeoisie.
For this reason, Lenin, even with an incorrect theory, had a revolutionary policy and could correct, in April 1917, his “etapist” strategy: he always followed a policy of class independence of proletariat and of separating the peasants from the influence of bourgeoisie. And it was precisely that Lenin’s unyielding attitude toward kadets and “antizarist” liberal bourgeoisie which divided Bolsheviks from Mensheviks in the pre-revolutionary Russia, and which was refracted in the discussion on the type of party: either a centralized one for the strategy of seizure of state power, or a lax one to organize proletariat as companion to the “antizarist” liberal bourgeoisie. If we have to insist again on “October lessons” it is not because of pedantry or academic goals, it is because revisionism has come to 1917.
Which side are the different LIT factions in? Are they with Lenin and Trotsky and their non conciliatory attitude with the “antifascist” and “antizarist” bourgeoisie in a dictatorship, or with Moreno in “changing our estrategy regarding…the bourgeois parties which oppose to the counterrevolutionary regime”?
Our Internationalist Faction makes a call to raise a independent strategy of proletariat in all circumstances, and to repudiate this anti Trotskyist affirmations with which new revolutionaries cadres have been and are being educated. No single misunderstanding must exist on this.
If in Moreno’s life this was not taken to the programme and to the political practice to its end, after his death it has become, at least the theoretical cover of each opportunist deviation each LIT section has done and does alternatively.
Is not this the quotation which made “school”, the one that covers the Convergencia Socialista from Brazil, which was the left leg of “antiCollor” bourgeoisie in 1992 mobilizations? Are not the “No Plazas” or the capitulations to the “anti Menemist” bourgeois opposition of the MAS in Argentina justified with these affirmations?
Our call for the construction of a Tendency for Trotskyism in the LIT must start from banishing these positions which, at its time, are the logic consequence of an anti Trotskyist revision of the theory of the Permanent Revolution.
An objetivist theory of revolution
At the beginning of the century, the Mensheviks, and the Stalinists later, beheld the inevitability of passing a first bourgeois democratic stage in the revolution, historically necessary from the point of view of the bourgeois development in the backward countries. The Mensheviks held from 1905 that the socialist revolution in Russia was not in agenda till after a stage of capitalist development which would liquidate the feudal remnants and strengthen proletariat, so: a first stage was necessary to accomplish the economical conditions of the advanced countries, like Germany or England, and their political conditions, a bourgeois democratic Republic. In that first stage the proletariat should play a role subordinated to the liberal bourgeoisie.
The Stalinists, who Trotsky called “our days’ menchevism” , later extended that theory to world level distinguishing “mature and non mature countries for the socialist revolution”, placing the colonial and semicolonial countries in the “non mature” ones.
The both based their etapist theory in a mechanical logic: a country with backward bourgeois development, with feudal remnants or a colony of imperialism, are not mature for the socialist revolution and a “first stage” of bourgeois democratic revolution corresponds, where proletariat follows the bourgeois leadership.
The Theory of the Permanent Revolution explicitly fights against this distinction between mature and non mature countries, for it places colonial and semicolonial countries in the epoch of the world imperialist dominion and socialist revolution: “Imperialism, on creating a world market, a worldly division of work and world productive forces, takes charge by itself of preparing the world economy in its whole for the socialist transformation” (24).
Thus the bourgeois democratic tasks, mainly the structural democratic ones like the land for the peasants and the national liberation from imperialist submission, which the bourgeoisie could not, and will not be able to, resolve in those countries, can only be resolved by the proletariat imposing its dictatorship, by the socialist revolution.
Moreno’s “theory of revolution”, adopted by the LIT, starts from the following aspect of the theory of the Permanent Revolution: any democratic task in a semicolonial country is anti capitalist due to the economical basis of that semicolony, for it is in the framework of capitalist world economy, and so, it is objectively socialist.
So far, it is correct.
But from this, and from the post war revolutions where counterrevolutionary parties expropriated the bourgeoisie, Moreno takes the conclusion that “…facts have demonstrated that in this postwar what the text of the Permanent Revolution said did not take place: that there would only be socialist revolutions if they were done by the working class leaded by a Bolshevik party. That was a tremendous mistake because there have been processes of permanent revolution that expropriated the bourgeoisie, made a working and socialist revolution with no working class leadership and without revolutionary communist party. That is, the two Trotskyt’s subjects, the social and the political one, did not come to the historical date. We have to formulate today that it is not compulsory that is the working class and a revolutionary Marxist party the one who leads the democratic revolution process towards socialist revolution…” (25)
That is, Trotsky’s “tremendous mistake” is, will add later, in structuring the theory of the Permanent Revolution “over the subjects and not on the objective process” (Idem).
How to characterize a revolution?
A similar methodological critic to Moreno’s -but to say in 1928 that in China the revolution should be bourgeois democratic- has the Russian oppositionist Preobrajenski when he points to Trotsky that “your fundamental mistake lies in the fact that you determine the character of a revolution on the basis of ‘who makes it’, which is the class, that is, by the effective subject, while you give only secondary relevance to the objective social content of the process” (26)
Moreno repeatedly agreed with Preobrajenski “in this central knot” of his critic to Trotsky.
Leon Trotsky argues with Preobrajenski, about the tasks of the Chinese revolution, and we think, he answers to that logic:” How to characterize a revolution? By the class that leads it or by its social content? There is an underlying theoretical trap on opposing the first to the latter in such a general way” (…)”The November revolution in Germany was the beginning of the proletariat revolution but it was stopped in its first steps by the petty bourgeoisie leadership, and it only got some very few questions which were not fulfilled by the bourgeois revolution. How do we call the November revolution: bourgeois or proletariat? Both answers are incorrect. The place of the October revolution will be reestablished when we establish the mechanic of this revolution and we determine its results. There will be no contradiction in this case between mechanic (enclosing under this label , of course, not only the motive power but the leadership also) and the results: they both have a ‘sociologically’ undetermined character” (…) “The quid question lies precisely in the fact that even though the political mechanic of the revolution depends lately of an economical basis (not only national but international), it cannot, nontheless, be deduced with an abstract logic from this economical basis. Firstly, the same basis is very contradictory and its “maturity” does not let the estatistical determination by itself; secondly, the economical basis and the political situation must be focussed not in the national but in the international framework (…); thirdly, the class struggle and its political expression, developing on economical bases, it also has it imperative logic of development which cannot be skipped over” (27)
Let us stop in this quotation. How must a revolution be characterized according to Trotsky? The “social content” of the revolution can only be defined once we “establish the mechanic of this revolution and determine its results”. That is, it cannot be deduced beforehand starting from an “abstract logic of the economical base”; so its “character is sociologically undetermined”. That is: bourgeois democratic tasks do not determine a bourgeois revolution with a bourgeois leadership (there it was October revolution to show it), it will depend on class struggle and parties: the results of the fight among the live forces of revolution and counterrevolution, national and international ones, and its “political expression”, that is, their leaderships.
That is why he says in that letter to Preobrajenski: ” I take leave to put forward the question.: How would you call the 1919 Hungarian revolution ? You will say: proletarian. Why? Was not the ‘social content’ of the Hungarian revolution capitalist? You will answer: that is the social content of counterrevolution. Right. Now apply this to China. The ‘social content’ under the proletariat dictatorship (based on an alliance with peasantry) can remain during a period as not socialist ‘yet’, but the road to the bourgeois development from the proletariat dictatorship can only be done through the counterrevolution. For this reason, while it concerns to the social content, it is necessary to say:’wait and see” ” (28)
In this way Trotsky answers to Preobrajensky who gave the future Chinese revolution a bourgeois democratic character deducing it from its backward economical base. That is, he started from an “abstract logic of the economical base” to determine the “social content” of revolution.Same as the Mensheviks in Russia at the beginning of the century or, more precisely, like the “old Bolsheviks” in April 1917, he saw necessary a stage of “democratic dictatorship of workers and peasants” which social content would not surpass the democratic tasks, that is, intermediate to the proletariat dictatorship. Trotsky answers to him that this position could no longer be held, not only due to the truth test the Russian revolution had meant, but for the different experiences that had taken the second Chinese revolution to failure in 1927.
“…what must a Chinese communist say to himself under these conditions? He can think this way “the social content of the Chinese revolution can only be bourgeois (as it is demonstrated by such and such statistical tables), so, we cannot pose the task of the proletariat dictatorship; the ‘social content’ prescribes, in the most extreme case, a dictatorship of coalition between proletariat and peasants. But for a coalition (what it is here in question, of course, is a political coalition and not a ‘sociological’ alliance of classes) a comrade is needed. Moscow taught me that the Kuomintang is a comrade. However, no left Kuomintang has materialized. What to do? Obviously, it is only left to me, Chinese communist, to comfort with the idea that ‘it is impossible to say today if the Chinese petty bourgeoisie will be able to create any kind of party’… or if it will not do it. What if it suddenly does so?
A Chinese communist who would think according to such a scheme would behead revolution” (29)
For Trotsky the theme was that the Communist Party had the conviction that “the third Chinese revolution can reach to a successful end only by the proletariat dictatorship under the leadership of the Communist Party…And with reference to the rhythm socialism will be constructed in China, this…” is a question of waiting and seeing’..”
Moreno also starts from an “abstract logic of the economical base of the revolution” like Preobrajenski, only that turned over: Preobrajenski, due to the backward economical base of China, says that the bourgeois democratic tasks corresponds to an inevitable bourgeois democratic revolution; Moreno, due to the international mature economic base for the socialist revolution, and as all democratic revolution goes against capitalism, it is inevitably socialist. For the former, the revolution is sociologically determined nationally; for the latter, it is determined internationally.
Both Moreno and Preobrajenski, on deducing in a direct way the social content of revolution from the economic base, make the same analogous mistake. They both degrade the need of the revolutionary party to lead the peasant-worker alliance against the bourgeois and petty bourgeois leaderships that take revolution to defeat. This is the common base of Preobrajenski’s and Moreno’s attack to the presumed “Trotsky’s subjectivism”.
The political consequences are also analogous.
Preobrajenski falls into the Comintern’s policy for China: as the revolution was bourgeois democratic the Chinese proletariat should seek an ally in the “left wing” of Kuomintang or should wait for the upsurge of an independent peasant party.
Moreno, on acting with the same method of falsely opposing the social content of revolution with the class who leads it- “a theoretical trap” according to Trotsky- converts it from an objectively socialist revolution in automatically socialist. With that, he becomes an objetivist, splitting the tasks of a revolution from the class and leadership who makes it. As Trotsky said to Radek, his contradictor, in “The Permanent Revolution”:”…you have sustracted so considerably from the ‘political institutions’ that you have forgotten the ‘fundamental thing’ of any revolution: who leads it and who seizes power.” (30)
Moreno, on affirming that “… it is not compulsory that is the working class and a revolutionary Marxist party the one who leads the process of the democratic revolution towards socialist revolution…” gives to peasants a revolutionary character independent from the working class and embellishes the role of counterrevolutionary parties , like stalinism.
From there to the theory that the revolution can be done by ” a group of resolute men” there was only a step, which the MAS leadership took in 1990 with all personality (see Correo Internacional No. 40 on China). Every objetivist ends up capitulating to any subject.
A false history of the postwar revolutions and conterrevolutions
The objetivist theory we have previously seen was based on the objective and subjective conditions of the revolutions of 1943/1948 period . On that base More makes an incorrect revision of the essential aspects of the Trotskyist theory-programme of the Permanent Revolution, and it took the LIT to a road with no way out. To justify it they are obliged to make a “particular” interpretation of the history of postwar revolutions forcing the facts.
Moreno beholds that the “theoretical possibility that under the influence of completely exceptional circumstances (war, defeat, financial crack, masses revolutionary pressure, etc.), the petty bourgeoisie parties, including the Stalinists, could go further than what they would like to in the way to a break with bourgeoisie”, pointed out in the Transitional Programme, was the central characteristic of postwar revolutionary processes.
From there, in 1982, he defines in “20th Century Revolutions”: ” The new revolutionary stage, which begins with the Stalingrade defeat of the Nazi army and opens a stage of triumphant revolutions that extends up to now (…) We have called this stage as that of the “imminent revolution”, because different to the stage opened up with the Russian revolution, which reduced it effects to some countries in Europe and Orient, in this one, the revolution blows up and occasionally succeeds, in any part of the globe…” (31)
As it is clearly seen, this is not an “exaltation” of October revolution but an exaltation of the triumphs obtained with the new postwar deformed workers states.
Exception and rule
Moreno affirms that what Trotsky foresaw as an exception was the rule in the postwar. Facts demonstrate this is completely false.
The theoretical possibility of the Transitional Programme generalized in the ’43/’48 period, not in the whole postwar.That period was really exceptional because it combined an enormous masses upsurge due to resistance to fascism with the extreme weakness of the principal imperialisms, product of the war in the framework of a deep economical crisis (hyperinflation) and unlimited poverty for the masses (famine and food rationing in the proletariat and the middle classes). To the previous conditions contemplated in Trotsky’s hypothesis ( “war, defeat, financial crack, masses revolutionary pressure”) the paradoxical and unforeseeable element was added: that stalinism which had underwritten the Molotov-Ribenttrop pact, and in spite of Stalin’s disastrous military policy which cost 20 million death people for the USSR, was left as Nazism’s executioner, prestiged and strengthened in front of the masses movement and with the Red Army occupying East Europe.
This one, as every exceptionality, it was not the product of one only element, but of a group of combined conditions, that is, not an event but a structure as Trotsky correctly defines.
The principal European imperialisms were left destroyed in the war and the bourgeoisies’ forces weakened. That situation is the result of defeat in war of the imperialisms which had influence in Oriental Europe and part of West Europe (the south of Europe): German imperialism, firstly, and the Italian one, secondly. Even when they were in the triumphant side, France and England are left very weakened by the excessive war effort which explains, in the latter’s case, the opening of exceptional conditions for Mahatma Ghandi to become the liberator of the main English colony, India.
Italy, France and Greece combined that weakness with the existence of armed resistance leaded by masses CPs. In the East, the backward bourgeois development countries combined their states destruction by the Nazi invasion with the Red Army occupation, and even thus, Stalinists deny expropriating till 1948. In Yugoslavia’s case, where a worker state was conquered against Moscow’s will, there was a civil war against the collaborationist “ustachi” and insurrectional resistance to the Nazi occupant. In the ’48/’49 Chinese revolution, the defeat in war of the the main oppression imperialism, Japan, with the existence of a masses peasant guerrilla leaded by Mao, allied to Moscow, and USA’s incapability of intervention, due to its immediate post war crisis product of a workers’ upsurge in its own country and to the uprising of American troops in the whole world against the continuity of war. Besides, because USA centered in Europe’s reconstruction. Indochina, North Korea, North Vietnam were the expansive wave of the Chinese revolution.
This ’43/’48 period as we -lightly and undoubtedly insufficiently- describe, opened exceptional conditions due to the greatest world war suffered by humanity, and it was then when Stalinists were forced to ” further than what they would like to in the way to a break with bourgeoisie”. In this period, what Trotsky did not discard as an exceptionality in certain countries, rendered as an exceptional situation at world level, generalized, and great conquests for the proletariat and masses of the world were attained: the new “deformed workers states” of China, East Europe and Korea.
It was thus because there have never been such favorable objective conditions for the defeat of imperialism which, using the LIT ’85 Thesis expression, was like a “paper tiger”.
But at the same time, in this situation stalinism shows its most treacherous counterrevolutionary role, liquidating the European revolution, disarming the maquis and partisan resistances in France and Italy, the guerrilla in Greece; and using all the weight and prestige of the masses CPs to put working movement to work for the capitalist reconstruction of the central countries, essential condition that made possible that the capitals coming from the Marshall Plan could let the capitalism stabilization in Europe and the economic “boom” stage to open. On the other side, in the countries where stalinism expropriated, it imposed deformed workers’ states which drowned any attempt of independent organization of masses and proletariat.
In a synthesis, in that exceptional objective situation at war end, or in other words, when the greatest historical possibility was given , up to now, for working movement and the oppressed peoples of the world to check mate imperialism, the latter can survive because it stands on the strongest counterrevolutionary leadership ever known.
That is, Stalinism’s betrayal in the ’43/’48 period is a thousand times superior to socialdemocracy’s in 1914( when the latter took proletariat to the Ist. World War,) or to the one Socialdemocracy, together with Stalinism, did in the previous defeats of France and Spain revolutions (which could have stopped the IInd World War) because it takes place in an offensive , not defensive situation of the masses movement.
That is why we say that in this situation, precisely in the ’43/’48 period, due to the exceptional objective conditions for the world revolution, it is where the basic premises of the Transitional Programme that “the humanity crisis is the crisis of its revolutionary leadership” adquire greater force, not lesser.
The rule during Yalta
This exceptional period closes in 1948 with the consolidation of the Yalta and Postdam pacts between stalinism and imperialism, the most counterrevolutionary agreement ever known at world scale, with soviet bureaucracy now strengthened (inside the USSR , controlling workers movement in the West, and as an interstate system in the East), acting as underwriter of that new world order.
We are not saying that stalinism was more counterrevolutionary than Hitler; we are referring to a world cooperation agreement between stalinism and imperialism to stop a revolution never seen before; superior even to the services the bureaucracy has rendered to bourgeoisie in the previous years, like the Laval-Stalin pact or the betrayal of the Spanish revolution, among them.
This agreement not only froze the forces relation in Europe, liquidating the revolution in the central countries as a return for a amortiguation zone or glacis for the USSR, both from the imperialist pressures and the revolutionary processes; but the revolution moved to the periphery as a sub product of Yalta agreements. There it is demonstrated that the rule in the colonies and semicolonies was that of aborted , diverted and taken to defeat revolutionary processes both by Stalinists and bourgeois and petty bourgeois nationalist movements. Stanilism blackmailed, diverted, paralyzed, and in most cases, beheaded revolutionary processes opened up in colonies and semicolonies, and in the workers’ boom of ’68/’74,in the central countries. Different to what Moreno said, this was the rule from Yalta agreements on.
We challenge all LIT currents to demonstrate with facts that “the stage opened in 1943 is a triumphant revolutions stage extending up to now” as it is affirmed in “20th. Century Revolutions”. If facts were like that, they would deny for Moreno and the LIT the following thesis of the Permanent Revolution:” Whichever were the first episodic stages of the revolution in the different countries, the realization of the revolutionary alliance of proletariat with the peasant masses it is only conceivable under the political leadership of the proletarian vanguard organized in the Communist Party…”
Let us see the facts after 1948.
The de-colonization processes in Africa: Mau Mau insurrection in Kenya, ex-English colony in 1952/1954 and the Patricio Lumumba national liberation movement in Congo, ex-Belgian colony in 1958-1960; they only got their formal independence as semicolonies of their former oppressors. In Algeria in 1963, which got to a “peasant and worker government”, it went back afterwards to reconstruct the semicolonial bourgeois state. Another illustrating example is the Portuguese colonies in Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Biseau, where the petty bourgeois movements leading the fight for national liberation, like the Angolan MPLA, not only did not set up a deformed worker state, but did not even reach Trotsky’s exceptional variant of break with bourgeoisie. Even Moreno correctly called them “Stalinist bourgeois regimes” The same happened in Ethiopia.
In the semicolonial world there were two types of processes. First, there are the “classic” revolutions following the “model” of the Russian one; they were the defeated proletariat revolutions in the semicolonies like 1952 Bolivia due to the betrayal of MNR bourgeois nationalism; 1973 Chile, where stalinism had a masses weight and took to defeat a process with soviet embryos in the “industrial chains”, as in 1973 Uruguay, where the CP conducted a strike surge with factories occupation to a blind alley. Secondly, the popular or peasant based processes and non proletarian leaderships like Nicaragua and Iran in 1979, where they did not get to break with bourgeoisie; in the first case, not only due to the class incapability of the FSLN, but to the decisive influence of Moscow’s and La Habana’s stalinism.
There are other examples where stalinism and the petty bourgeois leaderships took revolutions to failure like Indonesia’s which ended up with the massacre of hundreds of thousands communists, the betrayal of salvadorenian revolution, Stalinist support to the Arabian nationalist bourgeiosies in Libya, Syria and the Bath Party in Irak, together with the acknowledgement of Israel state betraying the national liberation cause of Palestina.
In the 1968/1974 workers’ surge, eventhough it was the end of the postwar “boom” and the beginning of the bureaucracy’s crisis, stalinism went on paying duly services to the world bourgeoisie: betraying the more than a month long general strike against De Gaulle’s government in May 1968 in France, at the same time preventing that the west proletariat surge go into the workers states, bloody repressing Checoslovaquia’s upsurge known as the “Prague Spring”.
Eventhough imperialism was suffering its worst military defeat in Vietnam, stalinism together with socialdemocracy, played again a first type counterrevolutionary role in Portugal in 1974. In this revolution, which Moreno defined as “classic” in the sense of the Russian revolution “model”, the role played by stalinism under Yalta conditions is synthesized: taking to defeat a process which combined the colonies liberation -Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau- with the socialist revolution in the metropolis.
We must add to these sea of defeats of the proletarian revolution, the uprisings of the workers states masses (besides already mentioned Checoslovaquia): the political revolution attempts directly crushed by bureaucracy in 1953 Berlin, where workers marched under the “metallurgical government” banner, 1956 Hungary revolution and later, the liquidation through Jaruzelsky’s coup, supported by imperialism, of Poland 1980-1981 of the mobilization which posed the possibility that Solidarity seized power.
We will not burden up with examples, but this brief summary shows that it was not the exceptional possibility of the Transitional Programme what prevailed in the post war as Moreno says. Moreno’s mistake is, first, in generalizing for the whole post war period (“…from 1943…up to now”) what it was determinant only in a short period from 1943 to 1948, before the consolidation of Yalta world order. Exceptional situation which, due to the existence of the world Stalinist apparatus, can only reach up to the expropriation in the secondary countries and in a brutally contradictory way.
The very few national exceptions to this world rule of betrayals and defeats are the Cuban and the Vietnamese revolutions. In Cuba, due to imperialism pressure, castrist leadership was obliged to expropriate. The revolution in Vietnam was the product of a war where a semicolony militarily defeats imperialism, helped by the anti-war mobilizations in USA, thus contained in the theoretical possibility of the Transitional Programme.
The Cuban or Vietnamese exceptions cannot counterbalance the tens of defeats in the semicolonies from 1948 up to now, and they do not give factual base to a revision of the theory of the Permanent Revolution, on the contrary they confirm it.
Evidently, you cannot draw a law from these isolated events, or a theoretical generalization, as Moreno does when he says: “We have to formulate today that it is not compulsory that it is the working class and a revolutionary Marxist party the one who leads the democratic revolution process towards socialist revolution…”
Being Moreno’s an incorrect revision of the Trotskyist theory, it does not interpret the own reality: the absence of revolutionary parties at the head of postwar revolutionary processes was the central cause for the enormous majority of them having been defeated.
We do not behold that the liberation of a colony from its imperialist oppression, like Africa’s decolonization or the dictatorships fall, like Somoza’s in Nicaragua, means defeats to the masses movement; on the contrary, they are partial successes, the maximum the heroic masses struggle can achieve without proletarian leadership, or even in spite of their counterrevolutionary leaderships. Let us remember we are arguing with a conception saying that there have been “triumphant revolutions” from the bourgeoisie expropriation point of view, from the “…process of the democratic revolution to the socialist revolution”, and that it is not necessary neither the working class nor the revolutionary party to lead. We are speaking about defeats in relation to the proletarian and socialist revolution, that is, where Moreno defines triumphs of the same.
For us, as rule, the Thesis 4 of the theory of the Permanent Revolution revealed itself absolutely correct, the one that Moreno’s “theory of the revolution” liquidates. Let us remember it: ” Whichever were the first episodic stages of the revolution in the different countries, the realization of the revolutionary alliance of proletariat with the peasant masses it is only conceivable under the political leadership of the proletarian vanguard organized in the Communist Party…”
Anyone supporting the opposite is denying the facts of 50 years class struggle with the object of making an apology of the role played by Stalinists and petty bourgeoisie guerrilla armies.
What is the LIT factions position? Are they with the Thesis of the Permanent Revolution or with Moreno’s Theses that “it is not necessary that the working class and the revolutionary party leads” justified with a “fantastic” version of the history of revolutions of the last half century?
The base of Moreno’s mistake is in the total incomprehension of the agreements between imperialism and bureaucracy, which gave place to that world order as we have described it before. This was a characteristic of the majority of the Trotskyist movement in the post war.
It is known in the Trotskyist movement the argue between Moreno and the lambertist leader Stephen Just. There the unilaterality of the Trotskyist movement can be synthesized there. Just said that from Hitler’s defeat up to 1953, counterrevolution had advanced more and more because stalinism, the counterrevolutionary leadership, was strengthening; and the situation only began to change into a revolutionary one in 1953 because there was the Berlin workers rise against bureaucracy in East Germany. Evidently it was a subjectivist and sectarian position: Just did not take into account the Chinese revolution, which had obtained the workers state in the biggest country in the world, and the conquests the new East European workers states meant. It was a position that it did not interpret reality either: in 1953 Europe was already estabilized, product of the same element he was taking, the strengthening of stalinism which allows the Yalta agreements in 1948.
We are with Moreno and those who correctly argued with Just at that time, determining the periodization of the world situation, essentially by objective factors. But we believe that after that Moreno falls into an unilaterality when he abstracts the objective factor and gives an unlimited value to it, without seeing how the subjective factor (the counterrevolutionary leadership) influenced, upon the same conquests: today it can be seen up to what degree the bureaucracy influenced, drowning the worker states.
” The opportunist way of thinking, as the sectarian one, has a common feature: they take from the complexity of circumstances and from the present forces one or two factors which seem the most important to them -and sometimes they are really so-, they isolate from the complex reality and they attribute an unlimited and unrestricted force to them” (32)
All attacks to the theory of the Permanent Revolution, not from stalinism yet but the ones coming from revisionism in the Trotskyist movement, are based in the appearance of new workers states in postwar under Stalinist or guerilla armies leadership, the deformed workers states.
From then there appeared on one side, the ones adapting to those events denying the need of the IVth. and Trotskyist parties, being “pablism” the most consequent, liquidationist wing. On the other side, those denying the post war revolutions because they normatively only considered the subjects of the theory of the Permanent Revolution. Objectivists ones, exalting those conquests of the world working class, minimizing the “deformed” character of those new workers states; subjectivist the others, denying its “worker” character. Both anti dialectical conceptions prevented comprehending the concrete reality and taking from it a policy and a programme for the building of the IVth. and the Trotskyist parties. Ones because they yielded to stalinism or to non proletarian leaderships who leaded revolutions; the others because they liquidated essential part of the programme: the unconditional defense of those conquests of the world proletariat.
The consequence of this false interpretation of the history of the “XX century revolutions and counterrevolutions” is that, as we have already seen, it vulnerates essential aspects of the theory of the Permanent Revolution.
Theory that, as a necessary condition, must help to explain the facts, but which is a theory-programme also.
It is in this sense also that the exceptions must be analyzed, there where the Stalinists and petty bourgeoisies went “further from what they wanted in his way to breakage with bourgeoisie”, and the political consequences of those revolutions for the world proletariat.
The triumphs achieved with the post war workers states, far from being “colossal” were so contradictory, so very little “economical” for the working class, that they deepened the world leadership crisis of proletariat; on strengthening stalinism as a world counterrevolutionary apparatus, they helped to consolidate the “American pax”, they denigrated the socialist ideals on proletariat’s conscience and ended up falling down in such a contradictory way as we are watching today where the bureaucracy plays the determinant role to decompose the social basis of these states (see International Theses).
Because the revolutions, exceptional ones, not done under the proletariat vanguard’s conditions organized in a Trotskyist party, were done under the bureaucratic caste conditions and its Stalinist parties. What under the theory-programme of the Permanent Revolution “did not happen”, it was done under the conditions of the theory of “socialism in one country” applied to those states.
We must clearly say that the counterrevolutionary bureaucracies in the post war deformed workers states, leaded “their way” the “process of democratic revolution towards socialist revolution”.
One: Eventhough they concentrated and increased numerically the proletariat in backward developed countries, they did it ensuring their political fragmentation, splitting it from the working class in the west and in the world, and liquidating the role of the conscient vanguard.
Two: they gave land to peasants, but destroying the strategic alliance between peasants and proletariat as it could be seen in China. Three: they got great economical successes with the expropriation of bourgeoisie for “the nation” but weakening foreign market monopoly from the first day. Four: they disarmed people and created a professional parasites army instead of workers militias, which weakened the workers state defense absorbing great part of its richness. Five: instead of proletariat internationalism and the need of transforming the worker state into a trench of the world revolution, they organized the objectives of the state to defend the bureaucratic caste interests negotiating the revolutionary processes with imperialism as money change, isolating and preparing the defeat of the same workers state.
Those were the conditions imposed to world proletariat with the post war “colossal triumphs” , as they were called by Moreno and are still called by the current leaded by the Colombian party of the LIT.
Due to all this, from the Internationalist Faction -FI- we have always said that the political revolution in those states was “something more” than attaining “the democracy” in them, and we opposed to the 1988 formula of “socialism plus democracy” formulated by the LIT.
And it was not only “workers democracy” due to the role of bureaucracy which had made masses gains in the worker states to go back. That is why the prediction of the Transitional Programme is that “a new upsurge in the USSR will fundamentally start under the banner of the fight against the social inequality and the political oppression.”
That and not any other is the sense of the slogan of the same Programme for the political revolution: “revision, from feet to head, of the planned economy in the interest of producers and consumers.”
With a programme of political democracy only, in the end, trotskyism role was limited to being the party of a “democratic revolution” in the deformed workers states regime, which had been already conquered, like in the post war revolutions, by the Stalinists or guerrilla armies, supporting themselves in the peasants or other popular sectors.
Instead of saying that the Theory of the Permanent Revolution failed, as the LIT does, one must take position about the historical verdict that divided bolshevism and stalinism from ’24 on in the USSR. With a cost of thousands of deaths and the backwardness of the proletariat revolution, the Stalinist bureaucracy confirmed “his own way” the Theory of the Permanent Revolution.
What do the different LIT tendencies say? Theory of the Permanent Revolution or Theory of Socialism in one country?
In the end, if the “democratic revolution” in the fascist countries is a concession to “democratic” bourgeoisie and its regime, the “Theory of the Democratic Revolution” applied to workers states, and confronted to the political revolution conception, an integral part of the permanent revolution, is a concession to the “theory of socialism in only one country”, and fundamentally, to the practice of Stalinist bureaucracy. The theory of the “democratic revolution” did not survive to the 1989 events test.
The LIT and 1989: The collapse of the theory of the “Democratic Revolution”
For our Faction, in 1989, the theory-programme of the “triumphant democratic revolution”, in which Moreno revised Trotsky and the theory of the Permanent Revolution, crashed with reality.
This theory of the revolution of “Moreno’s trotskyism” had its application to the political revolution in the workers states. In “Updating the Transitional Programme”, Nahuel Moreno said: “…If we take Checoslovaquia and Hungary into account, we see that the (political) revolution begins with the popular and working movement for the conquest of democracy in general, joining all unconformist. It is going to be a working and popular movement for democracy: all united against the bonapartist government and bureaucracy…
“We think it will begin with this first February revolution, which will give place to democracy in general, and in this process the workers power organs will appear (…) and parallel the Trotskyist party will strengthen, the only one which can do the true political revolution, October’s (…) This party will fight against all restaurationist petty bourgeois currents… These ones (…) will hardly fight against the imposition of a revolutionary proletariat dictatorship in this lapse between February and October (..) The October political revolution of Trotskyism will be carried on probably against that restaurationist front…”
Prediction and programme
First, great part of that prediction was liquidated beforehand due to a method problem: that “democracy in general” stage could not appear because that type of democracy does not exist and has never existed in reality and, on having existed, facts would have denied Marxism, for the latter defines democracy, like any superstructure, for its class character, as worker or bourgeois. As we have previously seen, the bourgeois sociology infictionated the Marxist definition of state in “Moreno’s trotskyism”; here it is transferred to the political regimes.
Second, we must categorically say that events had nothing to do with the prediction the LIT had in the ’80s.
The new uprising regimes in the East in 1989, like the ex-USSR’s after August 1991, even though they appeared after the masses had overthrown the Stalinist only party regime, they were not the result of the bureaucracy liquidation as a whole, and in that sense they were not “triumphant”. The new East governments, not to speak about Russia and the republics from the ex-USSR, are full of old nomenklatura people transvestite..
The prospect of “everybody united against bureaucracy” proved to be false. Moreno’s prediction of a “working and popular movement for democracy” presupposed the existence of two fields in “the first February revolution”: one where the Trotskyist would be together with ” restaurationist petty bourgeois currents”, and the other of the “bonapartist government and the bureaucracy” .
The real scenery we have seen, from Gorbachev’s rise, was that bureaucracy did not appear to the masses eyes as an only block. A section headed and diverted the “working and popular movement for democracy” , and it was bureaucracy, at the same time, the main restaurationist force, and not the “petty bourgeois currents” essentially. Those bureaucracy’s wings headed, together with petty bourgeois currents, “the restaurationist front” which seized power expropriating the masses triumph against the only party regime.
Besides, that “restaurationist front” worked from the very first moment, before February, and not in “the lapse between February and October”, “hardly confronting the imposition of a revolutionary proletariat dictatorship” and preventing the upsurge of “organs of workers power”. .
In the end, LIT’s prediction presupposed that 1980 Polish revolution conditions would repeat, where bureaucracy acted homogeneously around Jaruzelsky’s counterrevolutionary coup, which was supported by Kremlin and imperialism, and where the mass movement around Solidarity was leaded by Walessa as Church agent and by petty bourgeois currents. The LIT did not see that the most clever bureaucracy’s wing learnt from the Polish lessons and prepared itself for the change scared by the possibility of being swept over by the masses upsurge: Gorbachev’s bismarckist attempt appeared thus.
LIT did not include this great event in its prediction of the international policy of middle 80s: the glassnost and the perestroika. From that it would have been clear that bureaucracy, having at the same time a wing bannered with democracy, was the principal restaurationist force in the worker states, and not the “petty bourgeois currents” in general, according to Moreno’s scheme. Without this, the supposed “everybody for democracy” block was destined to capitulate to the “democratic” wing of bureaucracy, and thus to one of the capitalist restoration attempts.
Gorbachev first and Yeltsin later took LIT’s banners of “democracy in general”. So the most important problem is not that of a wrong prediction, but of an entirely etapist programme for the political revolution. With the theory-programme of the “democratic revolution” the political revolution is also liquidated, as an specific type of revolution, which while being a part of the world socialist and permanent revolution, it combines the task of the revolutionary overthrow of bureaucracy with the simultaneous defense of the social basis of the workers state. And this is really serious. If the policy of being part of the democratic side with bourgeois or petty burgeois currents, against a military dictatorship in a burgeois state, takes to capitulation to the “democratic reaction” used by bourgeoisie and its parties to divert revolution and to take care of capitalist state interests, in spite of the forms adquired by capital dictatorship, its regimes; in a workers state it means to capitulate to the ones, such as bureaucracy, imperialism and all restaurationist forces, who want to make proletariat gains go back, that is expropriation of the bourgeoisie, the social bases of the workers state, because democratic reaction there comes together with a social and economical counterrevolution.
From the “democratic revolution” theory it was taken that the Trotskyists’ programme for the workers states should not be Trotsky’s Transitional Programme to fight for the organs of workers power from the very start of mobilization, but a “democratic” one which did not fight the Stalinist bureaucratic wings which were reconverting, nor the restaurationist petty bourgeois currents, only after the first February stage. That is, it capitulated from the very beginning.
To show this the programmatic conception is the fact that the LIT far from fighting for a soviet policy of building up organs of workers power , it beheld “freedom of parties” in general, that is, including the restaurationist and bourgeois ones; and not, as Trotsky advises in the Transitional Programme: “legalization of soviet parties” or the ones the workers ballot. This same policy is still beheld by the LIT for the Cuban workers state , when not only restaurationist forces like “Democratic Convergence” but the “worms” from Miami want to be legalized; instead of fighting for the “legalization of the parties defending revolution” and at the same time calling for the formation of “soldiers, peasants and workers councils”, this latter slogan completely absent in the LIT programme for the political revolution in Cuba.
We also think that it was due to an incorrect evaluation not only of the political revolution prospects in the workers states, but of this one as part of the world situation in the ’80s: the LIT, while Moreno was alive, centered as it was in the Centreamerican revolution process, did not see the consolidation of the thatcherism-reaganism reaction in the central countries (the LIT insisted upon seeing a pre-revolutionary stage in Europe, when the English miners’ strike in ’85 was defeated in a framework of extreme isolation and of working class gains loss in the metropolis), the refraction of this phenomenon into the workers states, and specifically, the passage of bureaucracy to restoration as direct Thatcher and Reagan agent, which gorbachovism meant. It did not see also, on the other hand, the possibility of this phenomenon moving the world revolution center to the USSR and the East, and thus taking it from the semicolonial world. To confirm this the ’85 LIT Thesis, year when perestroika began, did not speak about the problem. So, the LIT deviation did not begin with the 89 processes. Not even when our current, the TBI by then, alerted on the first manifestations of the political revolution with Armenia’s events in ’88 while the MAS was preparing for an “almost-strategic” front with argentine stalinism. Those were only the political manifestations of a coherent orientation voted in the 1985 World Congress, which we were not able to see then.
While a bureaucracy wing together with imperialism was preparing the “revolution from above” attempt, of peaceful and graded counterrevolution attempt really, utopian project which eventhough it failed, played its important counterrevolutionary role in cheating the East and USSR masses and in counfounding proletariat vanguard, the LIT, far from answering to this problem, it orientated itself to the fusion with the FUR policy ( Revolutionary United Front) with whichever philo-Stalinist current was walking in our continent. What it is really important, is not the balance of the FUR with the neighboring bureaucrat America Baroa in Mexico in itself, and with the guerrilla petty bourgeois currents in Colombia with “A Luchar”, which is enough *. What it is important is that, while sectors of the Trotskyist movement where openly acting as gorbachovism left leg, like Mandel’s US, the LIT was the “capitulator of capitulators” on not attacking this strategy of the revisionist majority of trotskyism.
* The FP (Front of the People) between MAS and Argentine CP, even though it was not presented under the FUR policy, was on the same way of the LIT general orientation.
The “Democratic Revolution” on the germany events test
But is not it that the political revolution has got democratic tasks to do? Completely true. But the question must be done like this: Can these democratic tasks be solved in an “all for democracy” movement together with the “restaurationist currents” and in the framework of a revolution conquering a fictitious “democracy in general”?
Let us see the example of a political revolution which had an enormous democratic task to resolve. The revolution process in 1989 Germany began after the banners of political democracy and the central democratic task in that artificially divided nation by the Yalta pacts: national unity.
In Germany Moreno’s theory was consequently put forward by the LIT and was subject to the events test. On the GDR masses mobilization which overthrew Honecker and Berlin wall, the ordenating slogan in LIT programme was ” German reunification NOW!”. That is, not ” Workers or socialist reunification of Germany” , which was the way of putting forward the democratic task of Germany national unity, to which East masses aspired and mobilized for, in the transitional sense to the socialist revolution in the West, not only reunification alone, that is, bourgeois-imperialist.
Against those like Mandel’s US and the majority of the German left who tried to support the Berlin Wall, going against the legitimate masses aspiration and their will for the national unification, the LIT developed an opposite deviation.
For the LIT, by then, “if both (German) working classes unite, they will form the strongest proletariat in the continent, which will be a thousand times stronger to fight for socialism in Germany and in all Europe” (33)
This was a perfect synthesis of the Menshevik theory and programme adapted to our times. They said that in Russia a first revolution to set up a bourgeois democratic republic had to be done, where proletariat would strengthen, in order to, in a second stage, fighting for power. For the LIT, guided by this new Menshevik theory version of revolution by stages, the “democratic revolution”, the fight for socialism is after to reunification, which would not be the product of proletariat revolution, but under democracy, not “in general” now, but imperialist.
The etapist conception of the “triumphant democratic revolution” which guided the LIT during 89 events takes, as it showed the class struggle in Germany, to abandoning the Trotskyist principle that says that bourgeoisie in the imperialist epoch cannot resolve the democratic questions but in a reactionary way. Consequently with its etapist theory and programme, the LIT did not fight the German workers illusions standing on their just democratic aspirations, but yielded to those illusions and in that way to imperialism policy, German in this case, being this one “reaction in all the line” as the Transitional Programme says, that is, against the exploited masses from both Germanies and their aspirations, as was later shown by reality.
Of course the “socialist and workers reunification” slogan could not, by itself, act as a magic spell which could guarantee the triumph of the political revolution. But it would have ensured the historical destiny of the LIT and the German Trotskyists fighting for it, at least. It would possibly have allowed that we Trotskyists, not the recycled Stalinists of the German PDS or the SPD socialdemocrats, were the ones to strengthen, as it is going on, on the fall of the masses illusions in Kohl in the ex-GDR.
The “Democratic Revolution” and the national question
In the 1989 revolutions process, the “national question” emerged as the main question for a whole period in the stage opened with the fall of the Yalta Order. Our Internationalist Faction considers that the IVth. International theoretical and programmatic legacy allowed a methodological and principled starting point to consider this “laberynthical expression of class struggle”, to say it in Trotsky’s words. The different LIT currents showed themselves incapable of answering to this problem which was put forward again for us Trotskyist nowadays.
All LIT tendencies denied raising the slogan, like Trotsky did for Ukraine’s independence in 1939, of ” Worker and Socialist Independent Republic”, that is a policy for “soviet independence”, to fight both against the oppressor bureaucracy and the imperialist powers interests, to which republics are handed on the hands of the bureaucratic or petty bourgeois nationalist leaderships.
This time the division given in Trotskyist movement between the ones who, with the argument of defending the social bases of the workers state, are really defending bureaucracy; and those who placing themselves in the democratic logic against bureaucracy play for the restaurationists and imperialism, was inside the LIT.
On one side, the majority leadership behold the “self determination or national independence” slogan, alone, that is, the same etapist logic applied in Germany, with the known results, but programmatically capitulating this time to the reactionary leaderships, restaurationist and nationalist ones, of the progressive movements of the oppressed masses (Muslims, slovens, croacian in a first moment, etc.)
On the other side, the Colombian party and its present tendency, the TBI, were not for the national independence fight of the oppressed by the great Russian bureaucracy republics and nationalities, mainly in in the ex-USSR, or they were directly on the great serbian butchers against Muslims in Yugoslavia. The Colombians base their negative to fight for the masses of the oppressed workers republics and for independent workers states, using the argument that it is preferable a”federation of socialist republics”, both from the economical and political point of view, for the wars among workers states are fratricide and prevent the united fight of all nationalities masses against bureaucracy.
We do not say that a workers states federation is superior to an isolated workers state. But, up to 1989, existing workers states federations (like Yugoslavia and the USSR) were sustained by the guns of the oppressive bureaucracies. The “Federation” slogan was defended by bureaucracy against the masses. The political revolution began, in a certain way, as a fight against bureaucracy’s political national oppression. That is, against those “federations”. In that concrete situation, rising up the “Federation” slogan, not as an strategy we accord with, but in first term, has the problem of intenting to resolve the national conflicts with the slogan that set them free. We think this latter conception, key and foundational point of the Colombian party current, is product of the ’80 LIT slogan:”Democratic Federation of existing working states”.
That slogan did not only refer to the USSR republics but to all workers states (USSR, the East, China, etc) in an only federation. It was presented in the “Theses for the reconstruction of the IVth. International” of Moreno’s and Lambert’s CICI in 1980, as follows:”This slogan could tend to politically unify all the workers states in an only block against imperialism and for the bureaucracy liquidation, opening the prospect of free relations, deprived of violence, which would end thanks to the unity and the democratically controlled planification by revolutionary committees and councils, upon the whole workers states economy.” In this way, according to the same Thesis, “a live and transitional content [could be given] to legitimate national demands.”
This slogan, which is tactically disputable on a concrete possibility of war between China and the USSR, taken as an strategy is simply defensist of bureaucracy and subordinates the liberation aspirations from Stalinist rule of the oppressed nationalities to economical advances.
Moreno falls here in an economicist argument Trotsky argued largely against. For the latter, the advantage of Ukrania’s separation from the USSR in 1939 should not be measured in relation to the economical advances, but in relation to the crashing of Ukrainian people by Kremlin bureaucracy. ” The great ukrainian people masses are unsatisfied with their nation situation and want to change it drastically. This is the fact from which the revolutionary policy must start ,different to the bureaucratic or sectarian one.” (34)
To the idea of “unifying the workers states in a block against imperialism”, put into action by stalinism not only through an economical block (COMECON) but through a military one (Warsaw Pact), Moreno and Lambert added the LIT formulation of “Cuba plus democracy” or “socialism plus democracy”, thus depriving “committees and councils” of all revolutionary content and being called to play a control role in a “COMECON plus democracy”.
Thus, more than a block “for the liquidation of bureaucracy”, difficult thing to obtain with the same bureaucracy leading the “existing worker states”, they were playing with the idea that the productive forces advance would open “the prospect of free relations deprived of violence” among the Kremlin, the oppressed nationalities from the USSR and the East countries.
It is shown that the economical crisis of “socialism in one country” exacerbated the subduing of national rights. In the ex Yugoslavian federation, due to the dramatic crisis of the 70s (20.000 million dollars of debt with IMF) which took serbian bureaucracy to apply a terrible adjusting plan, in 1988 unemployment raised up to 57% of Kosovo population, while the Yugoslavian unemployment rate was 16%.
It is very difficult to prove otherwise: that the economical development, in the bureaucracy’s hands might mean automatically lesser national oppression. The USSR history shows the opposite. In the 1930 decade, USSR economical successes (its industrial power was levelling Germany’s) were not only financed by the working class being paid half a salary, but on the clashing of the nationalities masses, greatly peasants, with the forced collectivization. That was why Trotsky,acknowledging the advances, argued with the ones seeing that the Left Opposition programme had been taken by Stalin, that it did not matter the “what” was being done with economy , the “how” it was applied or the “who” directed that programme, if soviets or bureaucracy.
With the “Existing workers states federation” slogan, Moreno thus subordinated the demands of the nationalities oppressed by bureaucracy and the East states suffering national oppression from the USSR, to the “progressive task” of rejoining all productive forces in an only centralized plan, even bureaucratically centralized. Here we have again, an objetivist logic which splits the socialist tasks from the subject, the class and the party who make them. The etapist logic appears again: first stage, existing worker states federation; second stage: obtain workers democracy in them.
This meant in facts the replacement of the Stalinist theory of “socialism in one country” for the centrist theory of “socialism with democracy in an existing worker states federation”. Again, another variant of the theory of the “democratic revolution” applied to workers states.
In the end, this conception prevented LIT from seeing the beginning of the political revolution which began to show itself under the national fight way and that this one could transform either in a powerful tool for the political revolution or could be used by the bureaucratic-imperialist counterrevolution.
Nontheless, what we consider a programmatic-theoretical revisionism in Moreno, does not prevent LIT leadership of their responsibility for the political crime of having fired, in 1988, while crying :”Off to Armenia!”, the ones now being part of the Internationalist Faction.
In a synthesis, in 1989, the theoretical-programmatic LIT conception of the “democratic revolution”, opposed to Trotsky’s “political revolution”, fell down. Those who still behold it today, denying that revolutionary processes are truth tests for theories and programmes, are condemned to either close their eyes upon reality or to turn into apologists of any type of revolution with any leadership. The MST argentine current before, now outside the LIT, and now the Italian SR inside it, are the ones which are taking to the end Moreno’s theory of the “democratic revolution”. You cannot fight currents like these without coming back to Trotsky and trotskyism.
The LIT alternative is clear: taking up again the foundational basis of the IVth. International, coming back to trotskyism, or going away from them , in the road the SR proposes: “democratic revolution” or Permanent Revolution.
2. TRANSITIONAL PROGRAM OR MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM PROGRAM?
This LIT conception of revolution presupposes the abandonment of the Transitional Program of the IVth. International and its replacement by a democratic-minimum program for action (or for the first stage of revolution) and a socialist-maximum program for the propaganda (or for the second stage).
On denying Trotsky when he says that “democratic demands, transitional demands and the socialist revolution tasks are not separated in the fight by historical stages but they rise immediatly ones from the others”, (35), all LIT tendencies, through different mean, break the Trotskyist program, building a wall between democratic and socialist slogans and liquidate the Transitional Program for the proletariat revolution.
We have already seen Germany example where this program objectively took to capitulation to Kohl’s imperialist reunification plan. We have seen how, in case they did have parties in Europe, they would have gone after the bureaucracy’s currents or wings who seized power in the “first stage” of the political revolution, demagogically rising the antibureaucratic, national, democratic banners to take masses from the workers states after the capitalist restaurationist program.
And it would have been thus because the LIT did not put up an action program which, as the Transitional Program says, was useful to “help masses in the every day struggle process, to build a bridge between their present demands and the revolution process”. A program which “invariably took them to a conclusion: the seizing of power by proletariat” (36).
All LIT tendencies, even though they say they adhere to Transitional Program ,abandon it in facts. All those who, like the argentine MAS or the Socialist Convergence, or the extreme Italian SR, use the democratic slogans as strategical ones. They are the leaders of the “general elections” in Brazil, of the Constituent Assembly as a privileged way to socialism in Argentina, the “independence of [oppressed] nationalities” slogan in the workers states separated from the defense of the state social bases. Like the ones on the other pole, like the Colombian party, consider the democratic slogans a hindle for mobilization and not a transitional lever to socialist revolution, as in the ‘national question’ in Yugoslavia.
For our Internationalist Faction, only Trotsky’s Transitional Program, which erases at once the etapist theory of the “democratic revolution” is the one that allows to fight an “implacable war” against bourgeois, bureaucratic and reformist leaderships in action, not in the “second stage” of revolution but from the very beginning of mobilization upsurge.
3. INDEPENDENT TROTSKYIST POLICY OR CLASS CONCILIATION POLICY?
The LIT continuously falls into the capitulation to apparatus, in popular front policies and it sails with no destination without an independent proletariat strategy.
In Argentina, the remembered “No Plaza” to Menem, the alliance with the Communist Party and the bourgeoisie’s lawyer Vicente in IU, the lack of a systematic denounce to bourgeois bipartidism and above all to the “radical” opposition party and, again, its place in the “anti-menemist” front headed by the UCR in the prolegomena of the radical-peronist “Constitutional Pact” against workers and people. In Brazil, their place in the “opposition bourgeois front” which prepared the Itamar’s bourgeois drive in the anti-Collor demonstrations in 1992, and at present, with the PSTU happily taking place in the “for ethics” demonstrations, which places them in the anti-corruption field of the ones who want to wash up and embellish Brazilian parliament.
These orientations, which eventhough they do not rise to the Stalinist theory of the “progressive bourgeois fields”, start from a similar “field” logic and place them, in practice, in ;the field of class conciliation and in the abandonment of a clear class independence strategy.
The same logic can be seen in the tendency of the Colombian party and its place in the “workers state defense field” together with Milosevic when the latter, supported by American imperialism, massacrated the bosnian Muslims.
The FI, without denying precise unity of action with bourgeois sectors which would allow masses mobilizations against the exploiters’ government of the time, without leaving our place unconditionally in the military side of the national bourgeoisie or the workers state bureaucracy in case of an imperialist attack, being in the front in the military side together with a bourgeoisie which in case of a civil war like 1936 Spain’s, confronts fascism with weapons in hand, we fight irreconcilably against any bureaucratic or burgeois variant.
We put forward a policy that allows the class independence of proletariat to fight with its own methods and thus lead the whole exploited ones, the peasants and the popular sectors; taking them away from the “opposition”, “nationalist”, “democratic”, “republican” bourgeoisie or the workers state bureaucracy.
The FI fights to banish from the LIT the deadly germens of class conciliation, to reagroup the revolutionaries not yielding to the “mermaid’s songs of the popular front” and to march to the reconstruction of the IVth. with an independent Trotskyist strategy.
4. WORKER AND PEASANT GOVERNMENT OR BOURGEOIS-WORKER GOVERNMENT?
It is not strange that, starting from an objetivist theory of socialist revolution, in the best case, when not directly from a democratic revolution “in the field of the bourgeois state”, that all LIT factions make a “democratic” use of the “worker and peasant government” slogan.
“The main accusation the IVth. International makes against the traditional proletariat organizations is that they do not want to desvinculate from the political semi-corpse of the bourgeoisie. In these conditions, the demand systematically addressed to the old leadership, ‘Break with bourgeoisie, take power’, is an extremely important weapon to undress the traitor character of the Amsterdam, Second and Third Internationals. Thus so, the “worker and peasant government” is only acceptable for us in the same sense it had for the Bolsheviks in 1917, that is, as an anticapitalist and antibourgeois slogan, but never with the democratic sense the epigons gave to it, transforming it from a bridge towards socialist revolution into the main trouble in their way”. (37)
All the LIT tendencies interpret the “worker and peasant government” slogan in a “democratic” sense similar to what Trotsky criticized to the Comintern when the latter revived the old “worker and peasant democratic dictatorship” formula for China, as a previous stage to proletariat dictatorship, or “first stage” of the socialist revolution. As we have already made clear, the difference is in that Stalinists considered this first stage as historically necessary from the the point of view of bourgeois development of capitalism in the backward countries. “Moreno’s trotskyism” considers it a political stage, not economical, necessary from the mass mobilizations point of view, who, given the revolutionary leadership crisis and the “objectively socialist” dynamics of the revolution in the whole world, begin the socialist revolution with counterrevolutionary leaderships, following the “model” of postwar revolutions leaded by stalinism or by guerrilla armies, which gave place to the deformed workers states.
This theoretical discussion has an enormous political importance as far as the possibility of a popular front bourgeois government headed by Lula in Brazil, the most inestable country in the continent, comes closer. All theoretical revision of the Transitional Program slogan may lead to direct political capitulation to the eventually coming bourgeois government where the working organizations or leaders may participate; or capitulating indirectly, confining the Trotskyist policy to making pressure on the counterrevolutionary PT or CUT leadership, so that this one goes “further from what they want in their break with bourgeoisie” in a worker and peasant government.
On this perspective it is orientated the LIT in Brazil. In Convergencia magazine, CS No. 380, it is said: ” But will a Lula government , even with the enormous pressure of peasants, popular and workers movement, attend to our demands, break with the bourgeoisie and stimulate and support itself in the workers’ auto organization to carry out an anticapitalist program to eradicate poverty and famine from our country?…only history will show if Lula will fall to the demands and vindications of the masses or if he will remain imprisoned by bourgeoisie institutionally and patrons”.
This open door to Lula’s evolution towards a break with bourgeoisie prepares a new LIT capitulation in Brazil to PT leadership. But this time it would be worse than in 1992 process, because it would be doing it with a counterrevolutionary leadership which would be in government, administrating the bourgeois state.
Will the CS or the PSTU support that popular front government as the POUM did in Spain, against Trotsky’s policy? Will it stay in the opposition, but it will press upon it waiting for Lula and the CUT leadership to start a revolutionary course? Will the PSTU, tied up to that strategy, dilapidate the possibility of developing organisms of workers power in the new opportunities the Brazilian revolution opens, superior to the ones they dilapidated with the Belo Horizonte meeting?
The hard critic we are making, from the Internationalist Faction, is in order to avoid that possibility and for the honest rank and file of the CS not to have the same disastrous destiny of the ones leaded by Andres Nin.
The course of the CS from 1992 up to date, and its present policy, does not show encouraging perspectives. In the anti-Collor mobilizations, the CS did not put forward the “worker and peasant government” slogan; we believe it would be a correct formulation in Brazil :” CUT and PT government, breaking with bourgeoisie and imperialism”. On the contrary, to a power alternative of the working class, CS had the central policy of ” General Elections”. When the PT stood by the Itamar Franco’s bourgeois government, and thanks to PT leadership there is a way to the 1994 “general elections”, the LIT Brazilian section reduced the Trotskyist slogan of the Transitional Program to the formula: ” Lula to govern”, making a three times deformation. First, they formulate it without demanding “break with bourgeoisie and IMPERIALISM”, curious enough in the case of a semicolonial country and with the excellent relations between PT leadership (as all members of the San Pablo Forum) and the American embassy. In this way (and linked to the CS “general elections”), Lula’s assumption can only result in the best case in a bourgeois-worker government, or directly in a bourgeois popular front government; but never in a worker and peasant government. Bourgeois-worker government, according to the IIIth. International definition, is a government of the reformist workers parties under the institutions (army, police, parliament), rules and laws of capitalism, as left administrators of bourgeois State and capitalists’ business.
What is the difference between the Lula government the CS proposes and Mitterrand’s in France, Felipe Gonzalez’ in Spain or the traditional socialdemocrats’ in Sweden?
Second, with the excuse of “personifying” the worker and peasant government to “make it more concrete for the masses”, they are calling for a government of the traitor leaders and not of the peasants’ and workers’ mass organizations, parties or unions they lead, the PT and the CUT in this case.
We vindicate the tradition of having risen the slogan of “All power to the COB!” in Bolivia in 1952 and 1985, against those like Lora who agitated the abstract formula of “dictatorship of the proletariat” and called to build up “soviets”, ignoring the real form the organization of the fighting working masses had adquired, dragging behind the peasants, and transforming the rutinary character of the unions, in spite of and against Lechin. We vindicate the “All power to Solidarity” slogan in Polland in 1980 (which it was not “Walessa’s government”, variant given later, when Walessa headed the restaurationist plans in the Polish workers state), because it expressed the fight for that organism, which unified fighting masses outstretching the limits of an union, to extend itself to soldiers and get armed, in spite of and against Walesa.
We reject the position of the sectarians who did not want to rise those slogans, because of the counterrevolutionary character of the COB and Solidarity leaderships, precisely because “All power to the COB” and “All the power to Solidarity” was the best policy for workers to break with Lechin and Walesa, and never to feed masses illusions in them.
The same way, Lenin demanded Mensheviks and social revolutionaries, between February and October 1917 , “Break with bourgeoisie, off the ten capitalist ministers”, as a circumstantial tactic, when they still were the soviets leadership and were taking them to conciliation with bourgeoisie participating in Kerensky’s popular front bourgeois government . He put it forward like a possibility of government of those workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ organisms which would break with capitalists, not like a “Tseretelli government”. Even worst, the CS is set in a fight for the Lula-Osmarino formula for the PT in 1994 elections (the latter is an important peasant leader from the PSTU).”Our proposal is that Osmarino becomes candidate to vice president, together with Lula, in the sense of personifying the alliance between city and country workers, between proletariat and peasants, against the whole bourgeoisie.” (38)
We are not against an electoral tactic expressing a class alternative, but with this the ‘worker and peasant government’ slogan has been simplified (taken all its revolutionary content) by the CS up to the point of having been converted into a presidential formula…and without even putting forward the minimum demand that the CUT should be, in a base delegates Congress, the one to vote those candidates and its program!
Third distortion. Due to what we have already said, this slogan in the hands of the Brazilian section of the LIT does not fulfill, obviously, with the role given by Trotsky in the Transitional Program, like “an extremely important weapon to undress the traitor role” of the working movement leaderships. On the contrary, far from having this great educative value, put it forward this way, on one way, it feeds instead of fighting workers’ illusions on Lula and, on the other, that through bourgeois elections way all masses problems in Brazil will be solutioned, a Brazil where class struggle is shaping more violently , where the bourgeoisie is making embryo civil wars against the masses in the city and in the field, and where sectors of the Armed Forces are preparing for a counterrevolution in case the popular front dam fails.
Against the most scandalous aspects of this policy of the Brazilian section, very warm cries rise from the argentine MAS and from the tendency leaded by the Colombian party. Without, unhappily, coming out of the same logic, they demand Convergencia to call to impose it with the masses mobilization and that, to the “Lula government” formulation , “responsible to the CUT” should be added. This is, on one side, to add pression (mobilizing masses) upon a counterrevolutionary leadership, and on the other side a kind of workers control on the future capitalist state administrators.
None of the internal factions of the LIT puts it forward, they cannot do it without breaking up with their “democratic” program, with Trotsky’s and the Transitional Program method : to educate in the classes war, in the break of masses with the bourgeoisie and imperialism, in the sense of developing the organisms which will overcome the limits of the bourgeois regime and as an instrument to unmask reformist leaderships of the working class. That is, understanding that, in case of concretion, we will defend that government from bourgeoisie’s attacks but without any kind of participation “and without assuming any political reponsability for him”, that is, as a transitional tactic towards proletariat dictatorship.
5. SOVIET STRATEGY OR ADAPTATION TO BOURGEOIS DEMOCRACY?
The etapist logic and the absence of a transitional demands program on LIT side, takes them to an adaptation to bourgeois democracy and to the abandonment of the soviet strategy, that is: proletariat dictatorship.
Trotsky in the Transitional Program says:”none of the transitional demands can be completely achieved with the bourgeois democratic regime maintenance…how can the different demands and fighting methods even within the limits of an only city be armonized? History has already answered to this problem: through all fighting groups. Nobody has put forward, up to now any other organizational form and it is doubtful that any other could be invented. The soviets are not linked by any apriori program. They open their doors to all exploited ones. Through these doors come all the layers representatives who are dragged by the general fight stream… All political tendencies of the proletariat can fight for the soviet leadership on the base of the widest democracy. That is why that the soviets slogan is the crowning of the transitional demands program.” (39)
In 1988 the MAS, when it was still the leader in the LIT sections, came to the utmost on beholding the theoretical aberration that the party, through its “bastions”, contained or replaced the soviets embryo in Argentina!
From then on, too much has been said in the LIT about their “yielding to bourgeois democracy”, but the origins have been sought in social causes. Without recognizing those causes, we behold that the working class alone, enfused with legalist and petty bourgeois prejudices by their bureaucratic and bourgeois leaderships, cannot be the only, not even the main, reassessment against adaptation to the bourgeois political regime. The policy of “going to the working class”, by itself, without a program combating its leaderships, does not resolve anything; the adaptation to the regime is not to bourgeois democracy “in general” but to concrete institutions” conciliatory unions, reformist parties and bourgeois leaderships of the mass movement. The adaptation to the bourgeois democracy is called PT in Brazil, it was called CGT and now it is called CTA-UCR in Argentina. We behold that one claudicates to those leaderships because you do not rise a strategy and a program pointing to overcoming the limits of bourgeois state, a soviet strategy.
The Internationalist Faction does not fall in the soviet fetichism as dogmatics do. But on following Trotsky we try to see which the existing organisms are that can perform the role of the Russian councils from 1905 to 1917.
On the contrary, the class struggle has shown that once again, the LIT, in Argentina in 1990 or in Brazil in 1992, adapts itself to masses organisms built in peace epoches, conciliating unions or reformist working parties, like the argentine CGT and CTA and the Brazilian CUT and PT, as they are, part of the bourgeois democratic regime, and that way they adapt to the regime as a whole.
Like the POUM in the Spanish revolution which confronted Trotsky in its fight for the “revolutionary juntas” or like the American SWP during the Portugal revolution in 1974 which denied to make a point in its program with the formation of the tenants, soldiers and workers’ committees; the LIT puts aside an strategy based on soviet organisms and the fight for these ones to develop, have a revolutionary program and leadership, and that they arm themselves making them irreconcilable with the bourgeois state.
From this proletariat dictatorship strategy directly abhors the SR, when it affirms that its “model” is that of “socialism which will be a state non state “in its first stage”, and replaces it for a “socialist democracy (which) will be the superstructure of the whole society for the whole society” and that “could [even] include some institutions born from bourgeois democracy” (40)’
It seems that the “state non state” put forward by the SR is not a new contribution to revolutionary Marxism. It is as old as the “combined State” theory with which Hilferding, the right wing of German socialdemocracy in 1919 wanted to combine workers councils of the proletarian revolution with the Constituent Assembly of the bourgeois democracy. The ‘Rosa [Luxemburg] friends’ are here his declared enemies.
For the rest of the LIT reagroupments the proletariat dictatorship is replaced by the “worker and peasant government” slogan, not as a tactic or as a popular name for the proletariat dictatorship, but as a strategy of a first stage towards the proletariat dictatorship, as we have already seen.
6. TROTSKYIST PARTIES OR POUMIST PARTIES?
All Trotskyist theory and program points to one goal: overcoming the greatest humanity crisis, its revolutionary leadership crisis.
What does revolutionary leadership crisis mean?
First, it does not mean “leadership vacuum”, as it has been beheld for a long time in the LIT. Revolutionary leadership crisis in the imperialist epoch on the contrary means for us, the capacity imperialism has to coopt,buy, corrupt and use as transmission belt of his policy the leadership of the masses and workers movement . That is, it means not a lack or leadership vacuum, but the conformation of counterrevolutionary apparatus of the bureaucracy and the working aristocracy in the proletariat heart, from unions and parties to worker states leaded by counterrevolutionary.
Lenin brilliantly defines the worker aristocracy phenomenon in the central countries as a subproduct of the imperialism uprising and explains in which social forces was the II International opportunism was based on: with the scraps of the profits it extracted from the colonies superexplotation, the imperialist bourgeoisie buys a layer of the working class in the metropolis and their leaders.
This takes a qualitative step forward in the “crisis, wars and revolutions” epoch, of the socialist revolution, different to the reformist epoch previous to World War I, when I and II International were constituted. Before 1914, German socialdemocracy was an opportunist current, but from the moment they voted the credits for the war needed by their imperialist bourgeoisie to carry proletariat as cannon meat for their robbery war, it transformed into counterrevolutionary.That is, it began to act according to their imperialist bourgeoisie interests. In the end, when the principal acting forces are revolution and counterrevolution, yesterday’s opportunism directly changes into reformism. The same happened with Mensheviks in Russia: with revolution they passed from claudicating to the liberal bourgeoisie, before the Czar fall, to openly oppose to the Bolshevik revolution first, and after October, to directly participate in the “white” army. The evolution, later on, of the soviet bureaucracy from “bureaucratic centrism” in 1923 to “passed with arms and baggage” caste to counterrevolution in 1933 with the German revolution betrayal, allowing Hitler assumption; and in the last decade to capitalism restaurationists in the workers state, is another example.
This is the tendency law of capitalism in the imperialist epoch in relation to workers movement organizations: if world socialist revolution does not go forward and liquidates imperialism, counterrevolution goes forward upon the worker movement, not only making it go back in their economical gains, but also buying and coopting their organizations more and more. If this is a tendency law and not an absolute one is because, on one side, for the own capitalism contradictions, which due to the low profit rate is obliged to permanently attack working movement and socavates thus its own agents’ basis, as we have recently seen in the East and in the ex USSR; and on the other side, because the masses attacks achieve partial gains liquidating o driving into crisis those apparatus, as it is also deduced from the 1989 lessons. It is only in this last sense that, as Trotsky said, “history laws are stronger than any apparatus”.
Starting from above, how do you fight for a revolutionary class conscience and build a revolutionary leadership?
LIT majority sector stresses “the worsening of leadership crisis” which supposedly provoked the 1989 revolutions process. This affirmation is based upon “the conscience backwardness” not only the one with which masses participated in those revolutions, but also the one these provoked when generating esceptiscism in workers’ and popular vanguard sectors in socialism idea.
For our Internationalist Faction, contrary to the LIT, the fall of stalinism does not worsen but sets the basis for the overcoming of the revolutionary leadership crisis. This is so because, in spite of the brutal Eastern and ex USSR masses conscience backwardness, which we do not obliterate, we consider world Stalinist apparatus fall and the masses spontaneity force, which were tied up and which this fall is freeing, the main factors for the superation of the leadership crisis, as the present uprising in West Europe is showing.
This is so because the apparatus has fallen, the one that for example made the fifth column in the Spanish civil war, with the Stalinist GPU massacrating Trotskyists fighting for the proletarian revolution forces to overcome the limits imposed by the counterrevolution policy through popular front. Let us see how Trotsky defines the role of stalinism in the Spanish revolution:” When the situation in the private property front became more threatening in the military front, all kind of democrats, anarchists included, bowed before Stalin, and the latter did not find in his arsenal other methods than Franco’s. Without persecutions to Trotskyists, poumists, revolutionary anarchists and left socialists, the ignominious calumnies, the forged documents, the tortures in the Stalinist prisons, the back assassinations, the bourgeois banner could not have sustained not even two months under the republican banner. The GPU found itself the owner of situation only because it defended in a more consequent way than others, that is with more traps and cruelty, the bourgeoisie’s interests against proletariat”. (41)
As the role of stalinism shows in the Spanish revolution case, the fight for a class revolutionary conscience means the political and physical fight to death against the workers movement counterrevolutionary apparatus.
On the contrary, LIT position, semi idealist, takes to complete capitulation to counterrevolutionary apparatus.To begin with, where does the huge conscience level backwardness of the Russian and east masses come from, if not from the Stalinist apparatus existence which oppressed and repressed them, creating a hostile conscience to socialism? On the other side, let us call things by their name: the negative definition of conscience backwardness, is, on the positive, pro-capitalist conscience. And this latter one, where does it come from if not from the counterrevolutionary apparatus like socialdemocracy, petty bourgeois currents and mainly the own bureaucracy who, with Gorbachev from the state apparatus, poisoned masses conscience sowing it with illusions in the capitalist reforms?
From that interpretation of the conscience backwardness comes an anti-Leninist conception: for the LIT, the fight for a revolutionary class conscience is not a fight against the apparatus, but an ideological fight, through the propaganda for socialism. We would not be Trotskyists, and we would not be making this polemics, if we were to deny political theoretical fight and the need of propaganda to organize in our files conscient workers, but this is an essential component in the Trotskyist movement, only if it is put in order to the fight against counterrevolutionary apparatus in the workers movement. That is, to put into practice “the maximum expression of class struggle: the political fight between parties”, as Lenin said. That political fight between parties, that by the end of last century and at the beginning of present one, showed itself like ideological fight, it manifestates now in tone with the “crisis, wars and revolutions” epoch in the middle of violent confrontations between classes. As the Transitional Programme says, it is a “war to death”, even physically, against counterrevolutionary apparatus that lead workers movement.
It does not get to a revolutionary class conscience the one who does not understand that he must confront within the workers movement those organizations which, with money and paid bullies are going to buy or openly repress the vanguard, to prevent its way to revolution.
Unless one thinks that the class revolutionary conscience is a “socialist conscience” in general. For us, that “socialist conscience”, separated from the intransigent fight against reformist or bureaucratic leaderships, is neither revolutionary nor of class, it is a bourgeois conscience like the Italian PDS voter one. That is why the essential difference between a class revolutionary conscience and the “socialist conscience” adquired through propaganda, is that the first one is built up fighting against the counterrevolutionary apparatus and the latter is made under their shadow, adapting to them.
All LIT tendencies adopt the policy voted in their 1985 Congress: the FUR, Revolutionary Unique Front.
That orientation was presented in that Congress as a “tactic to build up revolutionary parties”. Curiously enough, almost a decade after it is still being presented as a tactic, so that we would be in the presence either of a strategy or a tactic for a whole stage, that is the negation of a tactic.
An honest revolutionary can see in the FUR policy a way to take steps towards overcoming the revolutionary leadership crisis of proletariat..
What it is true is that each LIT section vindicates this “tactic” for itself to do whatever they like. Some years ago in Mexico and Colombia, it was used to capitulate to a populist current of a Mexican neighboring leader America Baroa, and to the Colombian guerrilla petty bourgeois currents in “A luchar”; even those currents dragged a section of the Colombian PST leadership to the guerrilla.
That policy was of no use to build up revolutionary parties, simply because they capitulated to those organizations. As Moreno defined it in the “Speech to the I Congress” of the LIT: “The Revolutionary Unique Front is the unity of all those ones who put up revolution against the capitalist regime”.
Those ones were proposed “a minimum revolutionary program”. That is, guerrilla organizations, Maoist or philo-Stalinist ones, which have the accustomed method of physical liquidation of their internal opponents, were proposed a “minimum” program of general definitions “against the capitalist regime”, and what definition was required from them in relation to stalinism and Castrism who were liquidating the centreamerican revolution? Even if you add a lot of “socialist propaganda” to this, it is a claudicating. The FUR program is “minimum” but it is not revolutionary. The “minimum” program delimits from the bourgeoisie and its parties but it is not revolutionary because it does not separate from the bourgeoisie agents in the workers movement.
To see up to what extent this policy can take, let us see the LIT section in Brazil case. Socialist Convergence has begun, from 1992 mobilizations, a speedy course towards right. Today, it says “the use of the FUR tactic can have more possibilities of concretion in the process we are living today, than before. We are characterizing a masses movement recomposition from its beginnings, from the overthrowing of East dictatorships. It is probable that we are going to meet more vanguard sectors breaking with the apparatus and coming to revolutionary positions than before.” (42) And it sets to build up the FUR in a party, the Brazilian PSTU(Socialist Party of the Unified Workers).
In synthesis, CS says something like “before, when stalinism existed, it was more difficult to concrete the FUR”, being this a complete balance of the claudicating of the FUR then “concreted”. It affirms later that now, ” from the overthrowing of East dictatorships [there are] more vanguard sectors breaking with the apparatus and coming to revolutionary positions…”
Convergencia transforms the general tendency to mediations weakening, due to stalinism fall as world apparatus, in an absolute law. They fall again in the “leadership vacuum” conception. They say this while building up a unique party with union bureaucrats from the CUT!!
Convergencia has signed a “principles” Letter with the component currents of the FUR-PSTU. There is no mention there to the fight against concrete counterrevolutionary apparatus acting in Brazil. There is no declaration about the bureaucracy of the Cuban worker state, or about its counterrevolutionary role in the continent. There is no mention to the San Pablo Forum, where not only the PT participates, but all the “aggiornados” Stalinists, castrists and socialdemocrats of Latin America. The “Principles” Letter does not define anything of the above, really to let the door open to all those sectors.
All the chatter about the FUR policy to build up a revolutionary party is shown as what it is. The PSTU is the bridge taking from Convergencia to a “poumist” type of party with the scraps of “aggiornado” Stalinists like the PLP, philo-castrists like the Liga and all kind of unionists.
In 1931 Spain, Andres Nin’s POUM signed with the Catalan Federation, the Declaration of the so-called “Farmer and Worker Block”. The likeness of POUM action and Convergencia is striking. That POUM declaration, like the “Principles” letter of the PSTU, did not delimit itself from the reformist apparatus. Trotsky’s critic the, was:” The Socialist Party has not been mentioned in the Declaration. It is not said, also, a word on the anarcho-syndicalists, and the official communist party is not even mentioned, one would say that the “farmer and worker block” is ready to act in the emptiness.”(43)
The POUM ended supporting the Popular Front. This did not prevent them from being attacked by the Stalinist GPU. In 1937 Trotsky said:”If the POUM fell victim of a bloody and cheating repression is because the Popular Front could not perform its mission of sofocating the socialist revolution, but crashing its own left side.” (44)
In another chapter of this work we have seen how the CS, which is hegemonic in the PSTU, is dangerously binding to a capitulation policy to a probable Popular Front government headed by Lula in Brazil. Will the CS-PSTU have the same tragic destiny as Nin’s POUM? Would the CS have begun with the PSTU a course to be followed by the LIT in the building up of poumist type parties?
Only the resolute fight of a faction for trotskyism in the LIT can stop the Convergencia course, the present maximum expression of a policy yielding to reformist leaderships.
Our Internationalist Faction considers essential in the way to IVth. reconstruction to have block policies with centrist groupings developing towards left, that could lead to later principled fusions.
Trotsky and the International Left Opposition, in 1933, together with three centrist worker parties, signed the so-called “Declaration of the Four” and constituted the “Block of the Four”.
What was this IVth. International founders’ policy like?
Trotsky’s method had nothing to do with the LIT and its FUR. To begin with the Left Opposition did not sign any “minimum” program; it only signed a declaration compromising to “elaborate a programmatic manifest which be the principled base of the new International”. Second, the declaration called for the formation of a new International, on principled bases, and not to a centrist grouping with those organizations. And lastly, the most important thing, no general declarations about the capitalist regime and the revolution in the LIT sense; the own declaration included overwhelming definitions in relation to the counterrevolutionary apparatus: the II Socialdemocrat International and the Stalinist Comintern. What has this got to do with the unprincipled front of the FUR of the LIT?
What is the position of the LIT currents? Are they with Trotsky’s method in the “Block of the Four” as a policy to reconstruct the IVth. International or with Moreno’s FUR which does not delimit itself from the counterrevolutionary apparatus and takes to trotskyism melting in centrist groupings?
Finally for such a theory and such a program, such parties and such a policy of international construction. LIT policy is a centrist one which does not struggle consequently counterrevolutionary apparatus in within the workers movement, with an strategy of reconstruction of the IV International.
In the call we are making to the International Executive Committee of the LIT, we are asking admission to our current, the Internationalist Faction (FI) in the pre-Congress discussions and in the LIT Congress. Our intention: regrouping those who want to fight for the LIT to become an international tendency in the service of the reconstruction of the IV International on principled basis. Our goal: unite the left wings of Trotskyist movement in a Movement for the Reconstruction of the IV International expurgated from revisionists. In this work we have tried to fundament theoretically and politically the bases what we consider the principled basis for that regrouping within the LIT.