Ideas & Debates
Open Letter to the Trotskyist Fraction
Members of the International Revolutionary Fraction recently broke with PCL (Workers Communist Party) in Italy. Here is an open letter they wrote to the Trotkyist Fraction, an international that includes the PTS of Argentina (Party of Socialist Workers), MTS of Mexico (Movement of Socialist Workers), PTR of Chile (Party of Revolutionary Workers), CCR (Revolutionary Communist Current) of France among others.
May 30, 2017
Dear comrades of the Trotskyist Fraction,
We write this letter to your organization to finally answer your debate and proposal for possible joint effort in class struggle, as expressed in “For a Movement for a Revolutionary Socialist International – The Fourth International” (2013) and the recently published addendum.
As you know, following our congressional and factional battle inside the PCL (Workers Communist Party), we fought for an immediate break from the national isolation in which were de facto confined after the decadence, freeze, and actually, the political death of the CRFI (Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the Fourth International): an international “organization” that never practically operated on the basis of democratic centralism and did not conquer any new class vanguard sector to the cause of revolutionary Marxism (actually losing entire groups over the years, confining itself to its national groups in Argentina, Italy, Turkey, Greece, other micro-groups, or associated individuals). In various forms and measures, the organizations has replicated the defects of groups that have been the protagonists of the degeneration and dissolution of the Fourth International as the international party of revolutionary socialism: bureaucratism, sectarianism, federalism, national-Trotskyism, theoretical eclecticism, organizational laxity.
In the limited horizon of Italian politics, we can concretely verify the unavoidability of the development of defects and political degenerations of a “Trotskyist” organization that does not build itself upon solid foundations, does not infer from them a coherent type of organization, and does not develop itself starting from an organically international and democratic-centralist policy – not just abstractly invoked and hoped for.
One of the clearer symptoms of this regression has been the lack of response to your manifesto (which in primis singled out the CRFI) and, already before, the denial of your request to join the MRQI constituent process, the regrouping phase that preceded the CRFI. Last May, the PCL itself committed to responding to your manifesto, but immediately after, we recalled this resolution, proposing that the party take immediate concrete efforts without postponing a serious internationalist policy anymore. Actually we were asked to dissolve our fraction, guilty of pursuing “anti-statute policies”–in political substance, only guilty of the will for an open fight against the deeply mistaken political positions and practices of leading cadres of the PCL. This picture is clear to anyone who reads the documents approved by PCL fourth congress, and knows at least a bit of its history and real activities.
Aware that the defects linked to years of militancy inside an organization with these problems cannot be erased in a moment, we are fully convinced to work towards an all-around break with sectarian and windbag attitudes–even more so, being in a situation of national isolation that we inherited from our previous militancy.
In our balance of the Fourth Congress of the PCL, we have already argued our perspectives on the state of international organic crisis of capitalist society, the current renewed scenario of international “war and revolution,” and the continuous revolution of the means of production and social bonds, which is moving towards epochal and lacerating contradictions between economic-productive potential and scientific progress on the one hand and the relations of production on the other.
This puts as the order of the day, and not as an abstract necessity for a vague future, an internationalist and international political line and organization to concretely carry on with a revolutionary regrouping policy on revolutionary Marxists grounds, based on the worldwide class vanguard.
Furthermore, we are aware of the tragedy of “orthodox” Trotskyism of the last century, and the liquidation of the United Secretariat, which has been busy with its direct participation in bourgeois “center-left” governments (from Lula’s Brasil to Prodi’s Italy) and authored the self-liquidation of its main national branch (LCR in France) with the goal of founding the NPA. It has reproduced the ongoing cycle of “left parties” throughout Europe without a revolutionary strategy, with the spokesperson Besancenot dreaming of a “Guevarist, libertarian, ecologist and feminist” party, in other words a common environment for revolutionaries, centrists and left reformists; a lab for a politically suicidal fusion between Marxism and petit bourgeois, anti-proletarian of different orientation and origin.
Facing the wreckage of historical Marxism and the “back to Marx” campaigns set up by scholars and intellectual clubs, all with the goal of removing the Marxist tradition from the ranks of the workers’ movement, it is an urgent task to recover the political heritage of Marxism and its development through the history of the Internationals. We see as crucial the restoration of the Marxist method of building a political revolutionary political direction of the workers movement, starting from the scientific analysis of capitalism, from the strategic tasks that stem from it for the working class and the communists, from a program and a political organization that follow these premises.
We are against every “party” sectarianism based on group, clan contrasts, or ostracism based on historical, tactical political errors (errors, and not general political degenerations), unable to overcome its own and others’ limits through debate and political polemic.
We are not interested in building an organization which, hypothetically, in the middle of 1917 would have kept Lev Trotsky out, or would have expelled Vladimir Lenin, in the name of its own supposed un-dialectical “orthodoxy,” and of its bureaucratically altered and ossified “democratic centralism.”
We are not interested in a political eclecticism that tries to reconcile those who claim the program and counterrevolutionary degenerations of Stalinism and of other parodies of Leninism within the same party, and instead claim the political principles, program, and safeguarding of Bolshevism operated by the Fourth International at the moment of its foundation, before the triumph of the opportunists inside it.
The Fourth International represents, for us, the historical continuity of revolutionary Marxism in the epoch of its negation, of its attempted destruction at the hands of global counterrevolution, fascism and Stalinism. A project which never assumed the stage of global class vanguard party (as the past Internationals were) and so is to be reclaimed and developed, being valid the historical general premises on which it was based, and being proven that no other political project has been able to answer to the revolutionary leadership crisis of the working class, of all the toilers and oppressed.
In this sense, we believe that the continued outcome of positions opposing the interests of the working class, among the different souls of the “left” is the most striking confirmation of great revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg’s statement, “The future everywhere belongs to Bolshevism” – so, we must not abandon the heritage and political teachings of the Third and the Fourth Internationals.
Therefore, we see the task of merging Marxism and the workers’ movement as more relevant than ever, i.e., raising the working class vanguard’s political conscience in order that it recovers and handles the heritage of revolutionary Marxism – not as an academic understanding, but as a tool in order to lead and win the class struggle against the bourgeoisie, to establish its own government and to start the vanishing of the State.
The undeniable usefulness of Marxism for the global proletariat’s practical, organizational and strategic tasks brings us to agree with you when you state that “the revolutionary re-grouping that we need now cannot be based only on general principles, but must proceed from agreements on the big strategic matters that the capitalist crisis has already put in debate on the worldwide left,” in order to avoid every unprincipled-bloc policy, mixed with federalism and opportunism.
A method which, moreover, facing the strategic issues which directly pertain to the working class and social vanguards, allows to revolutionary re-grouping non to build an asylum for revolutionary invalids, but an attractive pole for every fighter against exploitation and oppression caused by capitalism, for every worker, for the youth, women, oppressed minorities. A party which proves itself useless to organize, enlarge, deepen social struggles, making them merge in a class struggle – such a party has no importance to the real movement and to the cause of socialist revolution. In this sense, and we have already discussed this in our political documents, we agree in recognizing the centrality of the building of revolutionary fractions, inside unions and movement milieus where revolutionaries act: without them, one tends to “reach the masses” (not being rooted and politically organized among those masses, among their large organizations and movements) through electoralist profiles and tailist tactics towards reformist (even bourgeois ones) organizations.
Precisely starting form an organized intervention with the goal of polarizing vanguard sectors in revolutionary tendencies and fractions, communist can obtain growing successes as for stimulating and leading the general struggle against bureaucracies inside the workers movement: against every attempt to subordinate unions to the bourgeois State, against every sectarian temptation to build little “revolutionary unions” as replaced party, for the renewal of the leading bodies in unions with the ascent of combative cadres, representative of the lower strata of the working class, often lacking unionization, or not adequately represented. We also recognize the historical necessity of inter-union and extra-union re-grouping through the self-organized bodies of workers’ struggle and organization, which the reorganization of the industrial cycle, from the formal division of workers among littler companies, tertiarization (especially for imperialist countries like Italy), makes even more relevant.
Within the overall strategy, necessary to revolutionaries to put up a scientific praxis, we agree with the restoration of, and the theoretical level of the Bolshevik-Leninist united front tactic in all of its shades, being that in the past decades opportunist parodies of it were born, altering its spirit and applications; a restoration which must not be the mere replacement of the historical addressees of that tactic, using deliberately abstract categories (such as “reformism” with no historical, economic, political specification of the concept) to leave room for windbag and opportunist policies.
The restoration of the heritage of the Fourth International and the task of building revolutionary parties as branches of a global proletarian International seems to us urgent and fundamental. Especially considering that, as in the post-1929 epoch of crisis that saw the rise of fascism and the race towards world war, today, spaces for compromise solutions, reformist policies, and the peaceful management of class contradictions are increasingly closing up, leaving room for the development of a gigantic reactionary wave all over the world, as a direct consequence of the crisis of international finance, of the long-time historical falling-back of the workers’ movement in entire continents, and of the resulting strategic all-around offensive by the bourgeoisie, with the goal of re-taking every concession made in the last fifty years, and of erasing as many traces as possible about the past revolutionary workers movement.
An epoch which physiologically generates political polarizations, large potentials for anti-capitalist evolutions of conscience and organization among the toilers masses, and at the same time a fertile ground for the spread of the “classic” capitalistic ideological, i. e. the nationalist one, bound to national traditional segments of the global bourgeoisie: there, we think, are the cornerstones of the new “Trump era” which you outline, and effectively US president Donald Trump embodies the spirit of our times: a weak Bonapartism, pushed by the bursting magma of class conflict in American, and by the uncertain perspectives of US policy as an hegemonic imperialist global power.
We believe that it is not completely casual that the first translation into Italian of the “Open Letter for the Fourth International,” 80 years after its publication, was curated by comrades who then founded the FIR: then and today the thread of an international organization based on revolutionary Marxism was broken and to be taken up; the sense of the task of “re-founding the Fourth International” lies precisely in the absence of such an organization that could rally the global class vanguard, and in the historical inability by the leaders of “Trotskyism” to carry on a program and a strategy, so a party, loyal to the political principles of Marxism, able to form a crowd of professional revolutionaries, of people’s tribunes.
Starting from the sharing of communism as the goal of our politics, the dictatorship of the proletariat as an unavoidable phase for the socialization of production and the vanishing of social classes, the claim of the heritage of revolutionary Marxism as it has evolved through the Four Internationals, and so from the theoretical bases and from the set of experiences necessary to set a strategy and to structure all the appropriate tactics – starting from all of this, we believe it is time to begin a coherent discussion which, beginning with a debate on the analysis of the main strategic issues which this organic crisis of capital puts on the agenda of the working class and Marxists, verifies a process of possible programmatic convergence and of common practical action in the international class struggle arena, being part of a larger process of discussion and debate which has to involve other currents which claim the heritage of the Transitional Program, like, for example, the “left” of the United Secretariat, recently founded on the basis of the document entitled, “Build an International for Revolution and Communism.”
In this sense, after our participation as guests at the congress of your Spanish branch, CRT, we have already confirmed a great strategic convergence on the international analysis, the transitional programmatic method, the organizational profile, and the political intervention inspired by the Bolshevik-Leninist one.
We are therefore at your disposal for the organization, first of all, of internationalist debate meetings in the short run.
International Revolutionary Fraction