On the weekend of the 3/4 December 2016, in Frankfurt, the RSB and the ISL united to form The International Socialist Organisation (ISO) (website: www.intersoz.org). This constitutes the united section of the Fourth International in Germany. Prior to this saw a long period of separate functioning (from the foundation of the RSB in 1994 and of ISL in 2001) and an approximately three-year process of moves towards the agreement of a common programme, a profile and statute of the new organisation, and an analysis of the current political context and the most pressing tasks of international socialists and of a revolutionary Marxist organisation.
About 70 members and guests from home and abroad were present on the first day and took part in the debates. What became clear was the collective conviction, and indeed the will, of the members of both organisations to create a fresh start and to confront new questions. Some of the invited guests expressed a desire to join the new organisation at the conference itself.
During the years of separation, the primary differences were in respect of organisational culture and approaches to other left forces. Whilst these have not fully been eradicated, there has been, during the fusion process, a clear rapprochement and agreement towards a stable basis for unity. There is a desire in the ISO to respect and make productive any future differences of views and approaches.
Members of the new organisation will also continue to work in The Left Party (Die Linke). Additionally, as a result of this fusion, the ISO will support the publication of The Socialist News (Die Sozialistische Zeitung – SoZ) as an independent organ, and also the development of a website and an organisational magazine. As well as publicity, critical socialist educational work will be undertaken. The emphasis of our (certainly strengthened) activities will continue to be in practical work in industry, trades unions and movements.
At a time when the trades unions and the forces of the political and social left are on the defensive and the political right and extreme right are in the ascendency in many countries, the uniting of active socialist forces, however modest their strength, is a good sign and, hopefully, one which will provide an impetus to other forces on the left.
From International Viewpoint