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The Fourth International in Mortal Danger


The Fourth International (United Secretariat as it is still often called) is the largest of the Trotskyist organisations in the world, and therefore its discussions and debates are often commented upon by organisations outside its fold as well. The following text is by the leadership body of OKDE. There are two organisations in Greece, both named OKDE. OKDE was the section of the Fourth International in Greece till a split resulted in a minority being recognised as the Section. The section is known as OKDE Spartakos (after its aper). The other rganisation is called OKDE, and its paper is Ergatiki Palli. For many years this organisation saw itself as a revolutionary organisation oriented to the Fourth International. As its article below argues, it has moved off in a different trajectory.

The 4th International in mortal danger

 

1. It is some years now that the 4th International is in a deep crisis which is growing worse and deepening day after day. The 15th World Congress (February 2003), with the change of the statutes that took place in it, was decisive and it determined, in great extend, the crisis of the 4th International and its course to disintegration. Today, it is a question whether it exists as an entity (a body), not to mention as a revolutionary organization, as its founders wanted it to be, as well as the tens of thousands of revolutionary militants who fought for its construction, under very difficult circumstances. A work which they considered being – and so it is – identical to the emancipation of the proletariat and the victory of the socialist revolution.

2. In the past, the 4th International went through many serious crises. However, none of them can be compared to the current one, as the majority of the leadership aims – probably consciously – at its disintegration (something that they confess, all the more openly) and its replacement by a New International. The problems that the 4th International is facing today are not only organizational, but deeply ideological and political ones. For some years now, perhaps since the middle ’80s and particularly since 1989-90, there is a steady and gradual abandonment of all the fundamental principles of revolutionary marxism and of the historic and programmatic gains of the 4th International. The changes in the statutes of the 4th International result from this ideological and political treason and they have been transforming the World Party of the Socialist Revolution into a “pluralistic” organization which fights for socialism. This course of mutation, that the 4th International is following, is in complete contradiction to the principles and tasks of revolutionary marxism, the deep crisis of the world capitalist system, the rising course of class struggles and the changes that are taking place inside the labor movement, as well as to the task of overthrowing the capitalist system and preparing the socialist revolution.

A course incompatible with the principles of marxism

3. The construction of the international organization (World Party of the Socialist Revolution) is a product of the socialist programme, which includes the goal of the World Socialist Society. This goal was served by the 1st, the 2nd and the 3rd International, as well as, of course, by the establishment of the 4th International. For, socialism cannot be realized in a single country, without the world revolution, in the same way that a national revolutionary socialist party cannot be fully completed without being an active member of the world party of the socialist revolution. This by large theoretical principle (based, however, on the evolution of world economy and on the historic interests of the world proletariat) was confirmed in practice, initially by the degeneration of the Socialist Revolution of October and finally by the collapse of the so called “existing socialism”.

4. Today, more than ever before in history, the political and economic problems of world capitalism, its crises, its wars, the environmental destruction, have an international character. This has been understood, to a large extent, by the bourgeoisie as well. However, the solution to these problems - within the framework of the anarchic capitalist mode of production, whose goal is to make profit for the benefit of a small class of exploiters - results in poverty, hunger, wars, the strangulation of democratic rights and civil liberties, environmental destruction, even in the danger of having the human race disappeared.

5. On the other hand, with the level of development that the productive forces have reached, the objective circumstances for the organization of society, economy and production at a level extremely higher than the barbaric and ineffective capitalist organization, have grown more than mature. On world scale, there are all the preconditions needed for the socialist organization of society and the planned world production, which is directly connected to the broad needs of the masses and of humanity. However, this cannot happen automatically, not even by national revolutionary parties, or an international organization of federal/social-democratic character, whose members (militants, organizations and parties) have nothing in common and act as they wish. A common world programme, a common strategy and policy, as well as a common material force – which can only be the organization of revolutionary marxists, the World Revolutionary Party – is necessary.

A course incompatible with the deep crisis of the capitalist / imperialist system

6. The world capitalist system was unable to get out of its 35-year-old crisis, despite the stirring events of the two previous decades: the great retreat of the labor, revolutionary and anti-imperialist movement, especially after the collapse of the countries of the so called “existing socialism”; the disintegration of Stalinism; the ideological and political mutation of social-democracy into a bourgeois neo-liberal current, almost throughout the world; the transformation of a big part of trade union bureaucracy into bourgeois; the reunification of world economy - if not of the entire capitalist system; the potential of imposing and implementing, almost completely, strategic choices and general solutions to the system as a whole; the suffocating control over the policies and the market, through neo-liberalism and the imperialist organizations (W.T.O., I.M.F., World Bank, monopoly of credit). And – perhaps the most important of all – the psychological shock and the shock of consciousness that the masses suffered by the collapse of the “existing socialism” and, partly, by the mutation of social-democracy. All these have created to the broad popular masses the impression that the capitalist system is superior, or, even worse, that any pursuit of alternative solutions out of the capitalist system is dead.

7. Despite this extremely favorable environment, which the world capitalist/ imperialist system has functioned in, the result has been the worsening of its crisis as well as of the crisis of the international bourgeois leadership. Today, we can say that this has been the result of mainly two factors:  a) The crisis or the dispute of all the strategic choices (Neo-liberalism, Globalization, New Order and War), regardless of the form they took, from the collapse of the “existing socialism” until September 11th. This failure of general solutions has been piling up, as expected, new sufferings for humanity (impoverishment, unemployment, dramatic shrinkage of social and democratic rights and of civil liberties etc.), and new big dead-ends to the function of the world capitalist / imperialist system (intensification of inter-imperialist competitions, emergence of a series of new, powerful competitors, such as China, India, Russia, but also of other key-countries for the world capitalist system such as Brazil, Mexico etc., expansion of the geo-economic and geo-political chaos). Especially after the failure of  September 11th policy, that is, the failure of the solution of the crisis “ala Hitler” (constant war, preventive wars, militarization of the american society – and not only of it – the dogma “either with us, or against us” etc.), everything is indicating that within the imperialist camp - and, particularly in the  Bush’s and neo-liberals’ USA. - there is a gap of strategy, or – at the best - a lack of strategy for dealing with or handling the crisis of the capitalist/ imperialist system. All these, in a period when the USA economy is being constantly downgraded and piling up debts, formidable competitors have been emerging, globalization tends to turn into a boomerang for its instigators and, finally, the relation of class forces, imposed in late ’80s – early ’90s undergoes breaches and changes. b) The rising course of labor struggles, the labor movement and the movements at international level, especially in some regions and countries (Europe, Latin America, France, Greece, Venezuela, Bolivia etc.); the resistance of peoples (Iraq, Middle East, etc.), which have resulted in a series of bigger or smaller successes and victories (European Constitution, CPE, constitutional article 16 (for public and free education) in Greece, victory of the masses in Lebanon in the war against Israel, stagnation of imperialists in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan etc.); overall defeats of neo-liberalism in a series of countries in Latin America and reemergence of alternative solutions, which are in practice against capitalism (at least in Venezuela); and even revitalization of the socialist perspective.

8. It is, however, true that, as long as the world relation of class forces does not change – in spite of the breaches and changes it has suffered, partly or generally - , neo-liberalism will manage – though with difficulty (in fact, with increasing difficulty)  – to impose its domination and its barbaric policy. All these presented above do not mean that capitalists/imperialists did not have significant successes during the last 20 years, at the expense of the political and social rights and of 150 year-old gains, as well as, of the national and sovereignty rights of the peoples. What we believe – and it is a reality nowadays – is that all those factors which determined the last two decades, either do not exist any more, or have failed, or do not have the same power as before. Therfore, not only are the latitudes to solve the crisis of the system getting dramatically narrower, but, also, we should be expecting an even bigger worsening of the crisis. This situation, combined with the strategic gap presented in the imperialist camp, is creating an unsteady transitional balance and period, during which the dispute of the imperialist domination is in the agenda by a lot of sides and powers (capitalist and anti-imperialist ones, the labor and popular movement etc.) and the dilemma “Socialism or Barbarity” is becoming seasonable again. This means that, on the one hand, bourgeoisie and imperialists will try to crush the world proletariat in order to get their system out of the crisis, which is extremely difficult in the current circumstances, in which the social weight of the exploited and oppressed masses has increased considerably - and, on the other hand, socialist revolution is called upon to put an end in capitalist domination. The majority of the leadership of the 4th International has made tragic mistakes in evaluating the crisis of the world capitalist/imperialist system, as well as the power of the working class, the labor and popular movement and the ideas of revolutionary marxism. It has underestimated the crisis and the potentials of the labour movement etc. and, thereafter, it was easy for it to fall into an omphaloskepsis, which has led it to the classical revisionist – social-democratic views. Instead of preparing the 4th International – and the world proletariat along with it – for the newly created circumstances, the new circumstances for conducting the class struggle, developing the revolutionary process and constructing the word party for the revolution, it has taken up a course of abandoning the principles of revolutionary marxism and demolishing all the programmatic gains of our movement. It has abandoned the Dictatorship of the proletariat/ the Socialist Democracy for the sake of “Democracy”. It has abandoned the marxist revolutionary position of critical support to the movements and backward countries against imperialism and it has taken a “neutral position”, or, even worse, it has come out for the intervention of imperialists or the United Nations Organization (East Timor, Yugoslavia, etc). It has abandoned Democratic Centralism supposedly for the sake of a “democratic” pluralistic function, which, in reality, is the triumph of individualism, factions, cliques and the dictatorship of uncontrolled leaderships, whether bureaucratic or not. It has taken up a criticism of the Revolution of October which is not at all different from the criticism of social-democracy and not only of it.

A course incompatible with the rising of the proletarian struggles and the changes in the labour movement

9. Nowadays, struggles are not only more and qualitatively superior compared to the past, there is also a tendency of reinforcing the dispute of the system, in the way it is functioning today and it is understood by the masses through experience: Neo-liberalism, “Globalization”, imperialistic aggressiveness and war, environmental destruction. There is even a tendency of stabilization of this dispute and a change in the mood of the masses towards a consciousness directed to the movement and the struggle. This evolution is bringing the labor and popular movement, as well as the cause of proletariat, back to the foreground of society, from the backstage where they had been expelled during the previous years. The victories of the labor movement, bigger or smaller, in different countries, regions etc. of the planet, the stagnation of imperialists, or even their defeats – particularly in political level – in different areas and especially in the Middle East, where the greatest aggressiveness is being manifested, all these have been reinforcing, step by step, the confidence of the masses, have been forming a new mood and a new culture, which is not only one of resistance and militancy, but also one of changing the situation in private, social and political level and, more than that, to quest for alternative solutions against neo-liberalism, imperialism and the imperialistic dependence. However, these changes in broad masses’ mood and consciousness, obvious in the recent years, have a lot of weaknesses, which, combined with the weaknesses of the organized trade union and labor movement, have been resulting in a relative instability, contradictory behaviors, big gaps/periods of “indifference” and “apathy”, return to “nagging”, to the electoral illusions and to the “solutions” of the type “each one for itself”. Of course, in all periods there are gaps, “nagging”, electoral illusions etc., as the masses’ consciousness has its ups and downs, the necessary and unavoidable interruptions created by every-day life. However, in the current conjuncture, there has not been yet a stabilization of this consciousness and mood due to the absence of a strong labor movement. The latter is the basic factor for the formidable changes we have been witnessing, not only in the Stalinist and social-democratic parties and trade union bureaucracy, but even in revolutionary movements and centrist organizations, for example, the Communist Refoundation, but also in the Brazilian, the Portuguese and the Italian sections of the 4th International, as well as in parts of many other sections and in parts of the 4th International leadership.

10. The bankruptcy of the social-democratic and Stalinist parties is not related only to the historic failure of their strategic plan for socialism. They have also failed in defending the immediate interests, as well as the democratic rights and the civil liberties of the working people, the poor, lower-class popular layers, the youth and the Third World countries. With some exceptions concerning Stalinist parties, they have even participated energetically in the demolition of labor rights (plural left, centre-left etc.), in the imperialistic expeditions and in the wars. This overall bankruptcy has contributed to the decrease of the influence that these parties have on the masses, to loosening their links with the organized labor movement and, even more, with the unorganized one and particularly with the younger generations of working people and the youth. This has facilitated the development of movements outside these parties and against them, something extremely difficult or exceptional in the past. Moreover, the development of the movements has been increasing the crisis, narrowing incredibly the maneuvering limits of these parties and reinforcing the centrifugal forces in them, on the one hand – and, on the other hand, it has been offering revolutionary Marxists the possibility to exercise their policy in practice, demonstrate their ability and their credibility to conduct small or bigger struggles etc., without painful “co-operations” or co-operations with the reformists.

11. This overall bankruptcy of social-democracy and Stalinism, the quantitative and qualitative development of struggles, the relative stabilization of a militant mood and consciousness of the masses, the development of a tendency to dispute neo-liberalism and certian aspects of capitalism – all these have helped in the appearance of significant changes inside the labor movement. The social and – to a lesser extend- political weight of the far and revolutionary left has been increasing, in an international scale, at a pace which varies from country to country. Especially in some countries where these forces have been playing a significant role in the movement and have had a policy more or less anti-capitalist (in practice and not only in words), the changes have been quite a lot and significant. This is an important element that the revolutionary marxists must take seriously into consideration when forming a new strategy and practice, not only in a national level, but also in an international one.

A course tarnished by the participation of sections of the 4th International in bourgeois and imperialist governments

12. The majority of the 4th International leadership seems to have an orientation towards the anti-capitalistic forces – this is also what more or less the “decisions” of the 15th World Congress say. However, in fact, this is not the case. What is really implemented is an abolishment of the strategic goal of building new sections and the 4th International itself, as well as the replacement of this goal by the construction of “anti-capitalist” parties and a New International. Even worse, the tactic of a special form of the united front with anti-capitalist organizations – which in the current conjuncture is a crucial element for the development of the labor movement and the construction of our organizations – has been replaced by merging with those organizations, or even with radical petty-bourgeois currents, which is the vast majority of the cases.  The abolishment of the principles of revolutionary marxism and of the programmatic, strategic and tactical gains of the 4th International, as well as the implementation of a popular front policy, both in the content and in the form, have led to phenomena unprecedented for our movement, as the blatant cases of the Brazilian, the Italian, or even the Portuguese section (which are not the only ones). The participation of the Brazilian section in the bourgeois Lula government and of the Italian section in the imperialist Pronti government (there is a slight differentiation in the latter’s attitude, lately) - that is, in governments which vote for reactionary measures against working people, the poor, lower-class popular masses, the youth and the world proletariat – as well as the participation of the Portuguese section in the right wing reformist formation of the European Left Party – after leaving from the European Anti-capitalist Left and disintegrating itself in the Left Block – constitute a complete treason and a disgrace to our movement. The critical articles of some comrades – referring exclusively to the case of the Brazilian section - are superficial, do not concern the essence of the strategy, the policy and the practice and do not refute the devastating responsibility of the majority of the 4th International leadership. A consequence of the “new” ideas which dominate in the majority of this leadership is the weakening of many sections, the disintegration of others in petty-bourgeois currents and the abolishment of the independent and open struggle for their construction, the closure of newspapers and journals of the sections and the 4th International and, finally, the disappearance of sections with a great tradition and history (for example in Britain, Latin America, Australia etc.), often to the advantage of other currents which appear as trotskyist.

 

The danger is reaching a climax

 

14. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Internationals were not just a solidarity network of the world proletariat. They had taken up the gigantic work of equipping the world proletariat with a strategy, a programme, a tactic and a revolutionary leadership, which would be able to carry out the shattering of the capitalist/imperialist system and the establishment of Socialism. This is the legacy that the 4th International inherited, not as acceptor of a museum piece, but with the aspiration to carry out this work in the current circumstances. History has theoretically justified this aspiration and this gigantic effort. Trotsky summarized the problem of our epoch as follows: “The current crisis of the human civilization is a crisis of the proletarian leadership”. Having this as a guide, he dedicated the last years of his life to the effort to overcome the crisis of the proletarian leadership, in the only way this could be done, by constructing the 4th International.  At present, the crisis of the civilization is greater than ever in the history of humanity – even its survival is at stake – due to the crisis of the proletarian leadership. The disintegration of Stalinism and the mutation of social-democracy - that is, of the two main tendencies of the labor movement - as well as of many centrist currents, have worsen this crisis, since Trotsky’s era and the post-war period and have made the duty of overcoming it even more urgent. All the more, because the crisis of the proletarian leadership has permeated the former core of the World Party for the Socialist Revolution, the 4th International, as it becomes obvious by the blatant cases of Brazil, Italy and Portugal, as well as by the popular front policy and the disintegration of sections. The phenomenon of the formidable changes taking place in centrist currents, such as the Communist Refoundation, the Sandinistas etc., is, also relevant.

15. The majority of the 4th International leadership has seriously deviated - not only through the statutes - from the principles of revolutionary marxism, the programme and the traditions of the movement. The danger for a complete disintegration is now obvious and it cannot be treated either by the temporary adherence of masses, or by the dynamic of one organization or more, or by the intense activity and mobilization, or by some strict organizational and statutes’ rules. It can only be treated by a return to the principles of revolutionary Marxism, which are nowadays trodden by the majority of the 4th International leadership. Before it is too late, it is necessary for all the sections and the militants that can see the dangers:

a) to coordinate their efforts and stop this course of degeneration and disintegration

b) to start an effort of working out political positions and a plan of construction for the sections of the 4th International

 

c) to start a big campaign to revive the debate around the crisis of the 4th International and the Trotskyist movement

 

d) to start immediately the effort of building up sections in the countries where the movement has had forces traditionally, as well as in the rising key-countries of the capitalist system.

 

9/5/2007

 

The Central Committee of OKDE

(Organization of Communists Internationalists - Greece)

Amendments to the resolution "Role and Tasks of the Fourth International"


The first text (below) is my motivation for my amendments to sections 5 and 6 of the Role and Tasks of the FI text. The detailed amendments are in a separate section at the end. Davies (Socialist Resistance, Britain)

The first text (below) is my motivation for my amendments to sections 5 and 6 of the Role and Tasks of the FI text. The detailed amendments are in a separate section at the end. Davies (Socialist Resistance, Britain)

The Role and Tasks text has been under discussion for a year in the Bureau, at an expanded meeting of the Bureau and then at the IC. I have been critical of it at each stage and it was very contentious amongst a number of the European sections at the expanded Bureau meeting. When it came to the IC I was one of only two votes against. There were modifications made to the text in the course of this which took out some of worst examples of the problems I was raising, but in my view this did not change the overall character of the text.

My problem is not with the general political framework of the text on world politics and the crisis. It does do a good job in integrating the twin crises of ecology and economy.

I have a problem with the call it makes for a new international and what it implies as to the character of such an international.

The EC text presents two possible ways in which the new international it advocates could emerge. One is that it could emerge out of a coming together of the various broad parties which have emerged to the left of Social Democracy in recent years — at least from those which are anti-capitalist in character. This would be an anti-capitalist international comprised of anti-capitalist parties, presumable with the sections of the existing FI inside them.

This perspective is expressed in section 5 as follows: “The Fourth International is confronted, in an overall way, with a new phase. Revolutionary Marxist militants, nuclei, currents and organizations must pose the problem of the construction of anti-capitalist, revolutionary political formations, with the perspective of establishing a new independent political representation of the working class. That is true on the level of each country scale and at an international level.” (My emphasis)

This is also reflected in the following quotation from section 7: “In the new anti-capitalist parties which may be formed in the years to come, and which express the current stage of combativeness, experience and consciousness of the sectors that are the most committed to the search for an anti-capitalist alternative, the question of a new International is and will be posed”. (My emphasis)

It is true that this is contradicted in other parts of the text but this sentence is absolutely clear — that the existence of these broad and diverse parties objectively poses the question that they should come together at some stage and form a new international organisation.

Of course we all want a bigger stronger and more effective Fourth International with bigger stronger and more effective national sections. And we want an international which is politically broader than the current FI and politically broader than Trotskyist tradition itself — although the Trotskyist tradition has a very important role to play. In fact this process has already started to happen and we need to ensure that it continues.

The point of principle, however, is that it continues to be a programmatically based revolutionary international as spelled out in the statutes of the FI. Even if an international comprising of anti-capitalist organisations was possible — which seems very unlikely given the diversity and instability of most such organisations — it would not be a revolutionary international as outlined above and would not be an alternative to the existing FI.

If it happened against the odds it would be an important development and one to which the FI would have to relate, but not by dissolving into it or using it to replace our own international.

It is important, therefore, that we recognise the difference between revolutionary organisations/internationals and anti-capitalist formations, and avoid conflating the two. Revolutionary formations are those which reject capitalism and put forward both a socialist alternative and a revolutionary means of making the transition between the two. Anti-capitalist organisations are those which see capitalism as the problem and socialism as the answer but have no agreed programme for transition.

The second possibility posed by the text is that a new international could emerge out of the various European far left organisations via the process initiated by the NPA last year with the Conferences of the Radical Left held in Paris. This proposition is contained in section 6: “We must discuss how to strengthen and transform the Fourth International in order to make it an effective tool in the perspective of a new international grouping. We already have started, with limited results it has to be admitted, conferences of the anti-capitalist left and other international conferences.” But this is equally unlikely. The Paris meetings were a collection of actively rival far left and revolutionary organisations competing with each other at both the national and international with no detectable sign of a change in this which could bring about such a convergence. The conferences included the IST the CWI. There were 12 separate competing organisations from Greece. And whilst these meetings did have value in terms of an exchange of ideas amongst the far left the idea that they could initiate a process out of which could come a new united international was excluded. Neither the IST or the CWI were there as a part of any convergence process. They were there because the emergence of the NPA was a very important development and they wanted to know what was going on. And even if a process of convergence was possible amongst the revolutionary left it would be a very different thing from the coming together of anti-capitalist forces, it would be a process of revolutionary unity.

In the same paragraph the document lists a number of other initiatives we have been involved in at an international level including meetings held around the world social forums and the European Anti-capitalist Left (EACL) as if these initiatives were all a part of a process towards a new anti-capitalist international. But they are not and never have been. Some have formed the radical left intervention into the global justice movement and others have been attempts to influence emerging organisations to the left of Social Democracy in a radical direction.

The EACL was certainly never seen that way. It was an important initiative but it was never more than a co-ordination aimed at strengthening the process of the emergence of broad parties through practical collaboration and the exchange of ideas. In any case the EACL has been overtaken by events and the last meeting of the Bureau proposed that it be closed down — so it is not useful to list it as one of the ways that a New International might emerge.

There is no difference here over the importance of building of broad parties. It is crucial that task of building broad parties to the left of Social Democracy should remain central to our response to the current stage of the crisis of capitalism and of Social Democracy. But the text talks almost exclusively about broad ANTICAPITALIST parties and some of the most important of these parties are not anti-capitalist but left reformist, or radical left reformist parties — the most important being Die Linke.

Remarkably Die Linke is not even mentioned in the text although it is amongst the most important of such parties. In fact throughout the discussion around this text there has been a reluctance to recognise the importance of Die Linke and even scepticism about it.

Of course we can say that we prefer a radical left party to be anti-capitalist rather than left reformist but it is a meaningless observation. We are in favour of broad parties to the left of social democracy but we cannot determine, in most cases, what the character of those parties will be. Their character will be determined by the state of the class struggle and the political conditions in the country in which they emerge. The history and shape of the labour movement and whether there has been a mass CP will also be a factor.

When we set ourselves the task of building and working inside broad left formations at either the national or the international our own organisation needs to more defined better organised and more politically coherent in order to do so. Working through a broad organisation may be more effective than simply raising our own banner but it is also more complex and demands a lot more political resources.

In working inside broad organisations we need to have a twin objective. The first is to address the crisis of working class representation which becomes increasing acute in today’s conditions. The second, which is generally a more long term perspective, is to win the broad organisation, when the conditions are right to our own revolutionary politics. This implies that when we work in such organisations we remain organised in our own right and ensure that our politics are a factor in its development.

This is also the case if we want to be a facilitator of convergences amongst other organisations as is outlined in section 9 or to generally play a role in the development of the radical left.

To this end section 10 of the text which deals with strengthening our own structure is very welcome. Whilst it is true that we are a small organisation it is also true that we are not meeting the potential which exists as far as a revolutionary alternative is concerned.

Amendments to parts 5 and 6 of the Draft Resolution on the role and tasks of the Fourth International

Deletions are in italics and additions are in bold.

5. This is the aspiration in which the problems of building the Fourth International and new anti-capitalist parties and new international currents are posed. This is the context in which the problems of building the Fourth International are posed. We expressed it in our own way, from 1992 onwards, so in the last two world congresses, with the triptych “New period, new programme, new party”, developed in documents of the International. We confirm the essential of our choices at the last World Congress in 2003 concerning the building of broad anti-capitalist parties to the left of Social Democracy. The Fourth International is confronted, in an overall way, with a new phase. Revolutionary Marxist militants, nuclei, currents and organizations must pose the problem of the construction of anti-capitalist, revolutionary such political formations, with the perspective of establishing a new independent political representation of the working class. That is true on the level of each country scale and at an international level. On the basis of the experience of the class struggle, the development of the global justice movement, defensive struggles and anti-war mobilizations over the last ten years, and in particular the lessons drawn from the evolution of the Brazilian PT and of Communist Refoundation in Italy and from the debates of the French anti-liberal left, revolutionary Marxists have engaged in recent years in the building of the PSOL in Brazil, of Sinistra Critica in Italy, of the new anti-capitalist party in France, Respect in England and Die Links in Germany. In this perspective we have continued to build the experiences of the Bloco de Esquerda in Portugal and the Red Green Alliance in Denmark. The common goal, via different paths, is that of broad anti-capitalist parties to the left of Social Democracy. It is not a question of taking up the old formulas of regroupment or revolutionary currents alone. The ambition is to bring together forces beyond simply revolutionary ones. These can be a support in the process of brining forces together as long as they are clearly for building anti-capitalist broad left parties. Although there is no model, since each process of coming together takes account of national specificities and relationships of forces, our goal must thus be to seek to build broad left anti-capitalist political forces, independent of social democracy and the centre left, formations which reject any policy of participation or support to class-collaborationist governments, today government with social-democracy and the centre left. It is on the basis of such a perspective that we must be oriented. What we know of the experiences of differentiation and reorganization in Africa and Asia point in the same direction. It is through this process that we can make new advances. It is this question which must form the framework of the next congress of the FI. On this level, we created bonds of solidarity with the Brazilian PSOL in its break with Lula’s PT. We have supported the efforts of our Italian comrades to build an anti-capitalist alternative to the policies of Communist Refoundation in Italy. (Moved from paragraph 6)

6. This is the framework in which we must approach the question of the relationship between the building of the Fourth International and a policy of anti-capitalist coming together at the national, continental and international levels. We must discuss how to strengthen and transform the Fourth International in order to make it an effective tool in the perspective of a new international grouping. At the same time we have to work towards greater understanding and cooperation between both the revolutionary left and broad left organisations at the international level. We already have started, with limited results it has to be admitted, conferences of the anti-capitalist left and other international conferences. On the international level, we have initiated, on this political basis, many conferences and initiatives of international convergence and coming together: the constitution of the European Anti-capitalist Left (EACL), with the Portuguese Left Bloc, the Danish Red-Green Alliance and the Scottish Socialist Party. We worked with organizations like the English SWP. Other parties - even left reformists of who had at one time or another a political evolution “to the left”, like Communist Refoundation in Italy, tor Synaspismos, also took part in these conferences. We also held international conferences of revolutionary and anti-capitalist organizations, on the occasion of the World Social Forums at Mumbai in India and Porto Alegre in Brazil. These few elements show the type of orientation that we want to implement. The different conferences this year such as those in Paris or Belem show the necessity and the possibility of joint action and discussion by a large number of organizations and currents of the anti-capitalist left in Europe. It is now necessary to continue a policy of open meetings and conferences on topics of strategic and programmatic thinking and joint action through campaigns and initiatives of international mobilization.

THE TRITIUM CONTAMINATION AT KAIGA EXPOSE THAT EVERY NUCLEAR PLANT IS A POTENTIAL CHERNOBYL. PHASE-OUT NUCLEAR ENERGY LEADING TO ITS ELIMINATION!


We are alarmed by the recent contamination of at least 55 workers at the Kaiga nuclear power
plant. Around 55 employees working in Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka have suffered nuclear radiation after drinking contaminated water in the plant, and have been hospitalised after they reportedly suffered radiation poisoning. These employees, working in the first maintenance unit of the plant were given treatment for increasing level of tritium. The results showed that the tritium level was above the normal range and the employees felt uneasiness after drinking water from a water cooler in the operating area. There are 1,689 permanent employees and around 5,000 contract workers, all with access to the area where the Tritium had been stored as well as to the dispenser.
The Atomic Energy Commission did not have any clue about the cause of the accident and in an attempt to play down the security lapses; its Chairman Anil Kakodkar said that the contamination could have been an inside job. It is indeed appalling to note that the excuses presented by in the nuclear establishment have been rather derisory and pathetic. The official explanations of a “disgruntled” employee causing “mischief” raise more questions than it answers. Calling the radiation exposure at the Kaiga power plant in Karnataka an act of mischief Mr. Kakodar additionally alleged, ‘it is a mischief-maker who is responsible for this. It is a criminal act and a punishable offense under Atomic Energy Act of India. There is no danger to either to the exposed workers or to the environment or to people who come in contact with these workers. It is a serious operating procedural lapse.’ The Kaiga power plant authorities have issued a statement saying that a thorough survey of the plant did not indicate any heavy water leak from any of the reactor systems.
It is equally shocking to note the attempt to suppress all information about the gravity of the situation. The media got hold of the story on November 28th whereas the incident occurred on the 25th of November. It seems that despite the best of the efforts of the nuclear establishment, the information could not be fully suppressed since a lot of employees needed hospitalisation. Also, in an attempt to immediately assuage public fears, the level of tritium activity found in the urine samples taken from the affected workers were expressed as mild and no concrete number was ever mentioned in public.
The dangerous impacts of Tritium radioactivity have always been underscored by the nuclear establishments - both nationally internationally. However, Tritium is a dangerous toxin because it is chemically identical to hydrogen. Hence, it is part of water and can go anywhere in the body and, with the human body being composed of over 70 percent by water, the effects can be cataclysmic. In addition, tritium can sometimes get bound to organic molecules and spend very long time in the body. Also, it can cross the placental border and severely affect growth and development of babies in the womb. This is why it is the most likely suspect in the spate of congenital deformities observed around CANDU type nuclear power plants and other military nuclear facilities that use tritium to produce thermonuclear bombs.
The point is whether it is “accident” or “sabotage" is hardly any consolation for the actual or potential victims. And if it is “sabotage”, which could not be prevented, it only goes to show that it can happen again. And a more serious "sabotage" could have a disastrous impact with immediate and intense effects on hundreds of thousands of lives, as in the case of Chernobyl (in Ukraine of the erstwhile USSR) on April 26 1986.
A much larger fear is that with the proposed nuclear expansion very much in the cards, such
incidents are bound to become a regular feature in the future. And therefore, every nuclear power plant is a potential Chernobyl.
We are worried about the known and yet-to-be-known serious health, environmental, social, psychological and economic impacts of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy and being conscious of the inextricable link between nuclear energy and the development of nuclear weapons we demand an immediate abolition of nuclear weapons and a phase-out of nuclear energy leading to its elimination.
We are concerned about the presentation of nuclear energy as a safe and clean alternative, and as a solution to climate change when it is neither safe nor clean as it undermines climate protection by wasting time and taking resources away from more effective, clean and safe solutions. It results in the dumping of this expensive and unsafe nuclear technology throughout the world and it decreases global security as volumes of nuclear waste are disposed with no safe method of disposal.
We are alarmed at the long-term implications of the over-consumption model of development , and the failure to adequately conserve energy & resources and consequently, we demand a ban on the exploration, mining and export of uranium, phasing out of the use of nuclear reactors for the production of medical isotopes, instituting a fair and just transition programme for workers, including scientists, affected by the abolition of nuclear weapons and by the phasing out of nuclear energy and most importantly guaranteeing the rights of future generations to a world free of the danger of nuclear weapons and of nuclear energy.

Radical Socialist
December 2, 2009

Greece: Renewed Repression on 1st Anniversary of December 2008 Revolt


Statement by the Workers Revolutionary Party, Greek Section of the Coordinating Committee for the Re-foundation of the Fourth International

On the 6th December 2009,  1 year after the assassination of the 15 years old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by the Greek police, the 1st anniversary of  the December  2008 revolt, the riot police of the new elected “socialist” government of George Papandreou savagely attacked the demonstrators in Athens, Thessalonica, Patras and other cities of the country. Hundreds have been arrested.

In the 40.000 strong demonstration in Athens, a motored unit of the Special Delta Force of the riot police attacked with their vehicles, globs and chemicals the contingent of the EEK. The barbarian custodians of the capitalist State have broken the legs and the hands of 5 comrades and nearly killed a long standing member of EEK and wife of the editor of our paper, comrade Angeliki Koutsoumbou. The policeman broke with his motorbike the left shoulder of comrade Angeliki and when she was fallen in the street without consciousness the same policeman continued to attack her with his glob and kicking her head. The same policeman has broken the head and the arm of two other comrades who came to help her. There was a street fight with the police force and 8 comrades- 2 of them CC members- were arrested and are now in prison at the central headquarters of the Police facing serious charges. Several other comrades of EEK together with youth of libertarian groups were arrested in Thessalonica and Patras.

The police prevented even the ambulance to come and take comrade Angeliki. When, finally she was transferred to the hospital, they allowed only Savas Michael-Matsas, the general secretary of EEK, who was present during the entire clash, to accompany her. She has a serious cerebral hemorrhage and her left shoulder completely broken. The government had the hypocrisy to send the vice minister of Public Order Mr. Vouyias to visit her in the hospital but comrade Savas kicked him out of the room shouting: “we do not allow the butchers to visit their victims!” Comrade Angellki Koutsoumbou is a well known Trotskyist fighter, member of EEK from the ‘60s, and she who was imprisoned and tortured during the last military dictatorship of the colonels. Her husband comrade Thodoros Koutsoumbos is a historic leader of EEK and the editor of our paper NEA PROOPTIKI (New Perspective).

We want to remind that on November 20, 2009, a fire bomb attack was waged against the house of a CC member of EEK, comrade Yannis Yannatsis in Petralona, Athens, at 3.30 am when the entire Yannatsis family was sleeping. There is no doubt that our Party EEK has become the selected target of the State forces of repression because of our role in the class struggle, particularly from the December revolt onwards. As Greece is financially bankrupt and a workers’ revolt is on the agenda, the capitalist class, their State and government try to give preventive blows to the vanguard fighters to intimidate the entire workers and popular movement.

The situation is very tense. 400 schools and many universities are now occupied all over the country. A new mass demonstration is planned in Athens and other cities for tomorrow Monday, December the 7th.

We call the revolutionary workers movement and all fighters all over the world to express again their solidarity as they did during our December revolt.

Women Workers Organise Massive Rally in Delhi

Thousands of women workers, mostly from the unorganised sector, converged on Delhi on 27 November. A huge gathering met at the Ramlila Maidan and marched to the Indian Parliament. According to some reports, the demonstration was larger than the one by sugar-cane growers organized by Ajit Singh on 19 November.

Women workers came from various areas and various types of workplaces. They included women bidi-rollers, women employed by Anganwadis (government sponsored child-care and mother-care centres), Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers, striking women workers from Gurgaon, as well as women workers from the organized sectors, like bank and insurance workers, government employees, women in the medical profession, and others. Among their central demands were equal pay for equal work, ending sexual harassment at the workplace, maternity benefits for al working women, and a hike in the salaries of Anganwadi and ASHA workers.

The Finance Minister, who met a delegation of the women, told them that while their demands were legitimate, it was difficult to say how far the demands could be met. But of course, sir. Your ministry, as well as the other ministries, are bending over backwards to meet the demands of the capitalists. How can you meet the demands of the workers – and women workers at that. Reform of the antiquated labour laws is in everyone’s lips these days. What they mean was clearly expressed by the Wall Street Journal in an article of November 24, 2009 (Deadly Labor Wars Hinder India's Rise), when it wrote that “Manufacturers have long complained that it can take years to dismiss their permanent employees, leading to bloated work forces and hampering companies' ability to respond quickly to changing business conditions. Executives and industry groups say relaxing the labor laws would allow companies to hire more workers and would attract more manufacturers to India, ultimately underpinning a rise in wages”. The contradiction between the demand and the conclusion could not have been more glaring. Allow us to sack the permanent workers, who have some minimum rights – so goes the refrain. What will be the consequence? More workers will be hired and wages will rise!! The shock therapy in Russia led to a devastation of the Russian economy. Indeed, in no country has labour shared the benefits with capital in the neoliberal era. Instead, the hard-won rights of the earlier periods have been under attack. This is what the women workers were resisting when they came out on the streets.

The demonstration was organized by the All India Trade Union Congress – dominated by the CPI. The AITUC has suggested levying a cess on industry to create a maternity benefit fund for women workers in the unorganized sector. At the same time, we would argue that the state has the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of all residents f the country, and therefore it has to arrange the maternity benefits. It is not the task of trade unions who are entirely outside the power structures to decide how the money should be raised, except to say that the demand is not a shifting of resources within the working class, but from capital to labour.

Rome: occupation of the factory and Mario Monicelli


Osvaldo Coggiola

 

Eutelia, one of the most important factories in Italy’s information technology sector and located in Tiburtina, the industrial outskirts of Rome, was shut down by its owners, laying off 1200 workers. For over a month the factory was occupied by the workers and production continued. On 10th November, the workers thwarted an attack from bands of police officers ("vigilantes"). On 25th November, a one-act festival was held at the factory, with speakers and musical groups, for obtaining solidarity and making people aware of the struggle. I was there, to extend my support and to understand what was happening.

The programme was quite small. Spokesmen from the trade- union (FIOM-CGIL) appealed to the sensitivity of the authorities, blasted the owners for their "mismanagement of the company" and criticised the media. Then an elderly speaker took the floor and he blamed capitalism energetically and called for a unity among the occupants of Eutelia and other workers in Italy, especially the Venetians and Sardinians in the Alcoa company, struggling for the same reasons (the latter two groups clashed with the police while  demonstrating in the streets of Rome).

Who was he? None other than Mario Monicelli, director and screenwriter of "L'Armata Brancaleone" (For Love and Gold), "I Compagni" (The Organizer), "I Soliti Ignoti" (Big Deal on Madonna Street), "Brancaleone nelle Crociate" (Brancaleone at the Crusades), "Romanzo Popolare" (Popular Romance), "Amici Miei" (My Friends), "Parenti Serpenti" (Relatives and Snakes) and many other films, which have become part and parcel not only of classic Italian cinema, but also of  universal culture (turned to expressions used in everyday language). The only Italian "director" to have brought together Autogrill Sordi and Totò, the two all-time greatest comedians of the Italian cinema, in one single film.

There he was, with his 95 years (yes, ninety-five), talking with the energy of a boy, calling for workers’ unity, highlighting and encouraging the role of women in the class struggle. This was the man who made the fantastic film "I Compagni" in 1961 (featuring Mario Monicelli, Marcello Mastroianni, Renato Salvatori, Annie Girardot: it will take a long time to make another film featuring four geniuses such as them ...), when the European and global feminist movements were just latent.

I talked to him while he sat among the workers, the winner of the Venice and Berlin film festivals, drinking his coffee. The conversation was not easy, he has started to have hearing problems (although he refuses to use any hearing device), but it was long enough for him to tell me that he was still "more communist than ever." And he spoke with anyone who wanted to talk to him, myself included.

I thought: I am not from the generation of the Internet, cell phone, hi-phone and skype. I do not understand them much (I neither understand nor take them with me), though it’s easy to take them for any trip whatsoever , and I do not consider myself lucky for it (on the contrary), but I am from a generation which Monicelli (and a few others of his stature) taught after the periods of fascism and war ended, things that today make us smile when we see (or read, or watch) "deconstructions” 'of' “Occidentalism” '(and "orientalism" ad hoc), defenses of "multiculturalism" or "re-inclusion" of the "excluded from history" – in a festival of third-rate paternalistic intellectual populisms, which are considered as “innovative”. Not to mention those “creative” films, Hollywood-style or otherwise, which, compared to Monicelli’s work, seem like projects made by disoriented students of cinematography, in their first year at the ECA-USP (School of Communications and Arts, University of Sao Paulo) ...

Monicelli made us live the sublime and the ridiculous lives of the unemployed / amateur thieves of today's capitalist world (in "I Soliti Ignoti"), and showed us how the "outsiders" happened to "include" themselves on their own (in "I Compagni") and merged with the party worker, the revolutionary intelligentsia ... and also the naive (Mastroianni!), precisely because they were revolutionaries. And the two "Brancaleone" films are much more than "Italian comedies", decades before the genre became "fashionable".  Monicelli blasted all the Euro /Christian centrisms with bursts of laughter. Monicelli / Gassman - meetings like this happen only two or three per century (another genius of the twentieth century, who unfortunately had a premature death - Bernard-Marie Koltès, ended up with all the anti-Arab racism that rages in Europe, with a single sentence: "If there were Arabs in France, it would be equal to Switzerland ").

Monicelli, the only intellectual present in the Italian factory occupation, all with his 95 years, is one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century, and also the 21st, who directed "Letters from Palestine"(2002), and "Desert Rose" (2007). Although almost a hundred years old, he is a young man, because he is an artist and a communist.

 

There are some photos of the occupation of Eutelia, the struggle of the workers of Alcoa against the police, and one of myself with Monicelli in the festival. Unfortunately these are not very clear since they were taken with a Chinese (but not communist) cellular phone.

Good bye, great Mario. We shall meet each other in the next factory occupation, to talk about internationalism and communism. Monicelli stayed until the end of the programme. Then we accompanied him for some time until he left alone in a taxi that took him home. I walked to my bus stop. After all, I am a teenager.

 

"Cinema will never die, it was born and cannot die. The cinema hall will die, perhaps, but I definitely don’t care about that. "

(Mario Monicelli was the recipient of the Golden Lion for Career award at the 1991 Venice Film Festival)

Transated into English by Suchandra De Sarkar

Orissa: The Struggle Against POSCO Continues


The seven-day long padayatra against corporate invasion of coastal
Orissa has gained momentum on it way with more and more local
villagers joining the protest march to mark their solidarity with the
movement.

On 2 December, the fourth day of the padayatra, which started from
Dhinkia on 29 November, the original procession of 600 protestors had
swelled to over 750 with people joining all along the way. In
Machchagan alone over a hundred new villagers joined, including over
40 women.

“Though many of these villagers are not directly affected by any of
the mega-projects in coastal Orissa they can understand what it means
when possession of land or one’s livelihood is affected,” said Abhay
Sahoo, leader of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samithy.

As they wind their way over rough village roads, through rice fields
and along water canals the padayatris are receiving enthusiastic
response everywhere. Local people presented flowers to the protest
marchers in many places.

Though a bulk of the padayatris are from the anti-POSCO movement
representative of over 14 movements in Orissa are also participating.
The distance from Dhinkia to Puri, the destination of the padayatra,
is nearly 140 kms and every day the marchers are covering an average
of 20 kms. Though this is tough going for many of the older people
they are persevering nevertheless as the issues on hand are a matter
of life and death for them. On the fourth day, the padayatris had to
walk for another 3 km to stay for night since the Jagatsinghpur
District collector canceled the booking of Gorai School.

While food for the padayatris is being arranged mainly by local
villagers along the route, a major problem facing the padayatra right
now is the lack of adequate resources to pay for accompanying
vehicles, generators, sound systems E for campaigning, tents for
sleeping where needed and other related expenses. PPSS leader Abhay
Sahoo has appealed to all those in solidarity with the struggle of the
local people to urgently send financial support. Those wishing to
contribute to the padayatra can contact Prashant Paikray,
spokesperson, PPSS at Ph: (0) 9437571547. For further information see
http://orissaconcerns.org

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