International Courier Supplement
Written by the International Secretariat – IWL-FI
May 8, 2014
Between the 5th and 12th of April, the XI Congress of the IWL-FI, the highest instance of the our International, was held and it took place within the framework of a very rich and dynamic reality,
On the one hand, this reality is brand marked by the continuity of the impact of the economic crisis initiated in 2007. Even if it is not at its lowest point, especially not in the USA, it still continues on almost recessive levels in Europe and it now affects the so-called “emerging countries”, among those in Latin America, while the brake on the Chinese economy is increasingly evident.
On the other hand, together with the continuity of the process of class struggle stemming out of the previous years, as what is going on Europe (with all their contradictions) and in the Arab countries, especially in Egypt and Syria now marked instability can be seen in Latin America. The relative tranquillity of the previous years, the one that had put an end to the revolutionary processes of the early XXI century is now clearly perceivable. This is how a strong crisis. This is how strong crisis, or at least a remarkable erosions of several populist or popular front governments, or left populist that in the previous years dominated undoubtedly dominated the political scenario on the continent. This is how the ascent and, within this process, there is important erosion of the Castro-Chavist trend. Together with this, unlike what was happening in the early XXI century, in 2013, Brazil joined in with the “June Days” expressing the deep dissatisfaction of important sectors of Brazilian society.
The specific process of this process is its spontaneity and the antiparty features that can only be understood if we take the crisis of the revolutionary leadership and the confusion that lingers on in many sectors after the fall of the “real socialism”. Actually, this feature (crisis of the leadership) is also perceivable in all the remaining processes and explains many of the contradiction and much of the unevenness as those in the case of the Arab world.
A new moment of the IWL-FI
Another observation at the Congress was the continuous development and growth of the IWL-FI.
Just as we have pointed out, the crisis of revolutionary leadership and its refractions in each country are the ultimate explanation of the way the processes develop and with all the extremely strong contradictions and unevenness.
At the same time, as Trotsky put it in the Transitional Program, the answer to this crisis of revolutionary leadership is the most strategic and, at the same time, the most urgent task for revolutionaries. This task is expressed by the IWL by the means of the proposal of “Reconstruction of the IV International”.
This is why the world revolutionary situation is opening more possibilities of intervention for the IWL-FI and, together with this, of growth and its development. The Congress discussed the need for marking the difference between the spaces for the intervention of the party and the specific tasks of construction.
Within the framework of this discussion, we could verify that the IWL-FI continued developing since its previous Congress by extending its areas of activity to new countries and regions.
At this Congress, this was expressed through the incorporation of the Senegalese section, that could only come in the end of the Congress, but were welcomed with a great ovation. There was also the small but great headway (because we had started from zero) in the intervention in the processes in the Arab world, especially in the Syrian civil war; or in the presence of a representative from Turkey, with the new reality in that country and its enormous importance as a connection between Europe and the Muslim world.
On the other hand, the insertion and participation of several of its sections in the processes of class struggle (strikes, demonstrations, confrontations) and other facts of real life, such as legalization and electoral participation of several sections. These developments are proof of the maturation of these organisations.
We can bring up the example of the Brazilian PSTU like when it took active part in the June 2013 processes and it being a promoter of a trade union central – small but a real and dynamic one, such as CSP Conlutas, or there’s the simultaneous electoral participation of three Central American (PT of Costa Rica, PST of Honduras and UST of El Salvador).
In the case of Europe, that had been voted as a priority at the previous Congress, we could see the sections growing in strength: several of them will take part in the European elections, (such is the case of MAS of Portugal and Red Trend in Spain) and take active part in the processes of reorganisation through their participation in Cobas and in Hay Que Pararles Los Pies, and in Italy, where No Austerity, a coordinating organisation of struggles, is being promoted.
This rich and dynamic reality was submitted to analysis at the different points of the Congress. And, as it could not be otherwise, very intense debates took place at various moments. These debates cropped up because of the different approaches and perceptions of reality, and this in turn led to different tactics or proposals of action.
Such was the case, for example, during the discussion of the points on Syria and Egypt. When Syria was under discussion, the debate hinged around the general dynamics, the definition of each one of the camps, the meaning of the direct takeover by the military, and how to act in the face of the repression against the Muslim Brotherhood. Another point under strong debate was when we analyzed the best tactics and forms of organisation for the struggle against the oppression of women.
Other intense debates pertained to Europe, especially regarding the best tactics and programs to intervene in the struggles and to develop our organisations. And as for Brazil, it was about how to best respond to the situation that started in June 2013.
These debates, shades, and differences took place against the background of a deep and strategical unity. They resemble the intense debates and discussions of the Russian Bolshevik trend that it had throughout its entire history and that moulded the party that led the Russian Revolution in 1917. They are an expression of a living international organization that is, at the same time, most complex because of its insertion in the different realities and due to the dissimilar perception of these realities.
Building revolutionary parties
Another that ran across the Congress is decisive for the construction of proletarian organisations in this period.
This capitalist crisis and development and the polarisation of class struggle provide revolutionaries great possibilities of growth. Broad sectors of the proletarian and young vanguard are making headway towards fighting positions and are becoming increasingly radical. They join the revolutionary processes with all their might and freshness and yet also with the false illusions regarding the “deepening of democracy”. They admit no reference of socialism or of destruction of capitalism.
It is on these limitations of awareness that the brutal pressure that the bourgeoisie and its mechanisms exert on all the organisations (revolutionary as well as centrist and reformist) as the space fir their growth accrues. This is unavoidable for it is a law of reality: the more an organisation progresses, the greater are the pressures exerted over it by the institutions of bourgeois democracy, electoral processes, mass media, trade union apparatuses, etc.
This has always been so but it becomes deeper as the class struggle turns sharper. The immense majority of the left anticapitalist organisations, even those who come from Trotskyism (as the United Secretariat) capitulate to these pressures and abandon strategies, programmes and the conception of party and International and turn intoelectioneering, reformist and economistic organisations.
This is not an abstract problem. For example: anyone who gains access to union office begins to receive pressures to be “moderate” or “to “Stay out of politics.” Anyone who is elected to the parliament begins to enjoy the access to the media, financial means at his disposal, to “be important” and enjoy differential treatment suffers the pressure of gaining votes no matter what… and what we say about individuals is twice as valid for organisations and the temptation of seeking “shortcuts” towards the masses and the construction of the party.
It is what we called the “an opportunistic barrage” what led many of them to capitulate to Chavism a few years ago just as they now capitulate to the Greek Syriza that get more intense as the situation evolves. And this is what we confront from the IWL.
These pressures that have changed the character of these organisations also affect revolutionary parties and even ourselves. The future and the character of any organisation are determined by its capacity to confront these pressures. The first step to fight against them is to admit them and identify them. As a rule, capitulation to these pressures begins with denying them.
It is not all about adopting the “purity” of the sectarians who, in order to avoid being polluted do not participate in the processes. We have no vocation of a sect.
It is all about intervening with all our capacity, fighting boldly so that our organisations can grow, develop, augment their influence without abandoning our programme, our policy and the character of a revolutionary organisation and still fighting against pressures and perils. Even if there are not prescriptions of schemas, it is good to remember the premises that Nahuel Moreno used to pose. “Be more of a proletarian, more Marxist and more internationalist than ever” as a mechanism to oppose against of the pressures in real life.
The theoretical and programmatic preparation
Among the aspects highlighted by Moreno one was especially outstanding: the conclusion that we shall not be able to make headway and simultaneously fight against the pressures if we do not begin at a deep study of international reality and national realities as from there we advance in the elaboration of theoretic and programmatic answers proceed to work out theoretic and programmatic responses of this reality particularly regarding the new processes and phenomena as derivatives from the restoration of the former USSR and East Europe.
Together with this response to reality, this work must be in the service of ideological struggle against the bureaucratic and reformist trends, against the backwardness in the awareness of the masses that is a foothold for these trends to gain support.
The belief that ideological struggle is only for “days of tranquillity” and not for days of the most intense class struggle. We should always bear in mind what Frederic Engels posed as a criterion: that revolutionaries should always boost three kinds of struggle: economic, political and ideological.
Actually, it is in the most algid flashpoints of class struggle that the ideological battle is most necessary because these are the moments when our parties have the greatest possibility of growing and the dispute with other trends becomes the toughest.
One of the aspects of this work is a deep and permanent study of the previous revolutions. Here we relied on Trotsky had highlighted when he said that it would have been impossible for the Bolsheviks to lead the Russian Revolution in 1927 if they had not studied the processes from the French Revolution up to the processes on 1905 in Russia herself.
Consistently with this analysis, one of the main definitions of the Congress was to vote the study of and work on the theoretic-programmatic update. Together with this, the Congress resolved to devote significant resources of cadres and funds of the International and to use such tools as seminars and courses.
As important as the above was assigned to the reassertion of the need to proletarise the International and its sections (implant it in the working class) as a strategy for construction that will strengthen once more our belonging to the class and our character of revolutionaries.
Once more, following Moreno, we get linked to and inserted in the proletariat as the only guarantee to build very solid organisation, not subject to the ideological “fashion” so habitual on the left. And also because our model of socialism with proletarian democracy can only be achieve through permanent and self-determined mobilisation of the masses under the leadership of the working class. This is what we understand by “being more proletarian than ever”.
An enthusiastic finale
So, tired because of the intensity of the sessions and debates but satisfied with the work accomplished, representatives and invited guests marked the end of the Congress singing the International in several languages. It was a way of saying, “we are steady and full of enthusiasm to go on fighting now that we are politically better armed after the rich debate and the preceding resolutions.
Later on we celebrated with music and dance; this ensured fraternization and fun after all this hard work. As the old man Marx used to say, “Nothing human is alien to us.”