Permanent Revolution Collective to the ITO Conference

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Dear comrades,

The PCL and the CoReP signed two statements together on a major event of the world class struggle: the invasion of Ukraine. The CoReP proposed then to go further and to think of a merger based on a clear program.

After the convergence on Ukraine… we can consider going further, until a merger, if joint statements are adopted… on the important issues of the world class struggle. An internal bulletin can be decided on the three texts of the PCL and on the platform of the CoReP, in order to prepare the international conference on a democratic basis… (CoReP, 1 June)

The CoReP received a refusal, and it was proposed to send two observing delegates to the conference of “reconstitution of the International Trotskyist Opposition”. Opposition in what and to whom?

It would be a “structure for a transitional regrouping of consistent Trotskyist activists in a struggle for the 4th International, without opportunism or sectarianism” (ITO Theses on the crisis of the 4th International, 17).

The 4th International was destroyed as an international center by its own leadership from 1949 to 1953, and no section kept the communist program. More than 60 years later, there is no possibility for rebuilding, reconstructing, reunifying, refounding, regenerating it, no more that the Communist International, the International Workingmen’s Association and the Communist League.

Most of the Trotskyist forces that degenerated maintained a revisionist and centrist politics – or in some cases cases, left ultra-revisionist – without entirely breaking with revolutionary Marxism. (ITO Theses on the crisis of the 4th International, 17)

Well, comrades, we cannot be both “degenerated” and on the ground of “Revolutionary Marxism”. It is not enough to say “I am Marxist” to be a Marxist, to say “I am Leninist” to be a Leninist, to say “I am Trotskyist” to be a Trotskyist.

On practical terms, some the organizations that were invited in that conference, which are bigger than the CoReP, do not share the PCL’s view on Ukraine. These organizations include the half-reformist Argentine’s PO, which defended the Constituent Assembly in 2002, which never organizes self-defense. They also include the Russian RRP which does not condemn its own imperialism.

The Iranian masses have been fighting the Islamic dictatorship for more than a month. Yet in 1978-1979, almost all the workers’ movement was presenting Ayatollah Khomeini as an anti-imperialist and allowed him to led the masses and to prepare a counter-revolution. Treating the US as the great Satan and organizing against the US assembly was enough to convince them. They were supported not only by the Stalinist party Tudeh but also by guerillerists, by the HKS ‘Trotskyist’ group and by Mandel’s and Barnes’ Pabloist ‘4th International’. Thousands of activists paid for that with their lives. Actually, the so-called anti-imperialist Islamist dictatorship was the only possibility for the Iranian bourgeoisie to succeed in containing the masses’ movement, with the Shiite’s clergy reaction, which still kills protestors today. Yet, the British SWP made an electoral coalition in 2004 with the Muslim brothers; yet in 2012 the revolutionary socialists in Egypt supported the Muslim brothers’ candidate in the second round of the presidential election. Yet, Trotskyist groups (IWU-FI, TF-FI …) pretended that the Jihadists were leading a revolution in Syria in 2016.

At the times of imperialism, the bourgeoisie is not progressive anymore, even in countries that are dominated by imperialism. Only the working class is revolutionary. Supporting the national bourgeoisie of a dominated country, or supporting a section of this bourgeoisie, including the agreements with that bourgeoisie in the name of a so-called common fight against imperialism, has always led to disaster, not only in Iran but also in Algeria, in Venezuela, in Bolivia…

It has been more than a century that the Anti-imperialist United front is not in the communist program anymore. At the time the expression was created by Zinoviev and Radek in 1922, it had already been invalidated with the slander of the Communist Party in Turkey by the bourgeois nationalist regime in 1921. The Guomindang-led counterrevolution in China in 1927 had the CI’s International Left Opposition to replace the Anti-imperialist United front with the permanent revolution strategy.

If the Indian revolution will develop on a basis of a union of workers, peasants and the petty bourgeoisie; if this union will be directed not only against imperialism, feudalism, but also against the national bourgeoisie which is bound up with them in all basic questions; if at the head of this union will stand the proletariat, if this union comes to victory only by sweeping away the enemies through armed uprising and in this way raises the proletariat to the role of the real all-national leader – then the question arises: in whose hands will the power be after the victory if not in the hands of the proletariat? (Trotsky, The Revolution in India, May 1930)

In India, as well as in China, Trotsky was defending, against the united front with the bourgeoisie, the alliance between the peasants, the students and the workers, under the proletarian leadership. From 1929 to 1940, no programmatic text of the 4th International mentioned the Anti-imperialist United Front.

But in 1951, Pablo and Mandel passed it officially in a “4th International” congress. Since then, almost all of the forces who claim themselves as Trotskyists have defended the Anti-imperialist United Front, with some alliances, with “tactical supports”, together with the Stalinists, and this always amounts to subordinate the proletariat to the bourgeoisie.

All those “degenerate” of the 4th International stand with those of the 3rd and of the 2nd. They also use the bourgeois opposition between “left” and “right” (furthermore, the French LO thinks that 2022 Russia is not capitalist, the American SL thinks that China is a workers’ state). They adapt the unions’ corrupt bureaucracies. They turn their backs on the workers’ united front and on the soviets. They “forget” a significant part of the communist program (armament of the proletariat, insurrection), and they even support cops’ demands (LO, SPEW…). In general, they tail the “democratic” bourgeois forces while systematically adopting the Constituent assembly catchword when the mass movement threatens the bourgeois state. Like in Tunisia in 2011, in Chile in 2019… Some even trust the UN. In Austria and in France, we saw “Trotskyists” supporting the followers of the conspiracy theory and fascists’ protests against masks and vaccination (RKOB, LO, NPA, CCR-RP), like the 1981 Robertsonists’ ICL-FI. Here are the common bases of the 1963 Pabloist “4th International”, of the 1974 CWI/CIL, of the 1981 Morenoite ITL-FI, of the 1983 Lambertist “4th International”, of the 1984 IST, of the 1997 RCFI… All these eclectic groups broke down since then.

Lenin was worried as soon as March 1917 on the orientation of the leadership of the Bolshevik Party, while he was exiled. He strongly opposed any support of the party to a bourgeois government, any concession to a fraction of the bourgeoisie. He was even ready to split if the party was doing that

It would be an eternal disgrace, a political suicide for the party if it came to accept such a deception… I personally declare, without a doubt, that I personally prefer an immediate split rather than any concession to the social-patriotism of Kerenski and co. or to the social-pacifism and the Kautskyism of Tchkhéidzé and co. (Lenin, “Letter to Hanecki”, 30 March 1917)

We will not regenerate degenerate organizations, we will not turn them into revolutionary organizations. Crystallized centrism is leading towards reformism, it is of no help for solving the leadership crisis. It is an additional barrier against the construction of the revolutionary workers’ international.

For the victory of the world socialist revolution, we need to build a new International on the basis of the experiences of the Communist League, of the general council of the IWA, of the left-wing of the WI, of the first four congresses of the Communist International, of the conferences of the 4th International. Based on the communist program, we need to bring together the proletarian revolutionaries who now are dispersed throughout the world. Let’s make this conference a stage for this enthusiastic process.

To rally these Marxist elements—however small their numbers may be at the beginning—to recall in their name the now forgotten words of genuine Socialism, to call upon the workers of all countries to break with the chauvinists and to come under the old banner of Marxism—such is the task of the day. (Lenin, Socialism and War, August 1915)

October 29, 2022