“The world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterized by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat.” (Leon Trotsky, The Transitional Program)
It is almost two decades into the new millennium and the international situation is marked by the crisis of the imperialist capitalist system. Its decadence is visible both in the central and the peripheral countries. In most of them there are strong social polarizations, with political phenomena to the right and to the left, with an important imperialist economic counter-offensive that attacks the living conditions of hundreds of millions in all continents, and an important response of workers, popular, women and youth struggles, with logical inequalities around the world.
Far from living a new era of prosperity, imperialist capitalism lives a pronounced period of decline. Despite the restoration produced in the ’90s in Eastern Europe, China’s re-entry to the world capitalist system and the economic counter-offensive driven globally, imperialist capitalism has not achieved a new cycle of prolonged growth nor a qualitative leap of accumulation which would allow a genuine development of the productive forces. On the contrary, along with the global crisis and its economic counter-offensive, living conditions on the planet are increasingly deteriorating. This phenomenon is even more evident since the crisis of 2008 in the central countries and not only in the peripheral countries.
The capitalist system is constantly proving that it is not capable of overcoming the economic crisis, imperialist wars and the escalated class struggle. The imperialist system attacks workers’ rights and democratic liberties, stirs up ethnic and religious bloodshed, carries out invasions, advances in the environmental destruction of the planet, and brings sexist, homophobic, nationalist and religiously authoritarian capitalist leaders to power to try to overcome its crisis and deadlock. Its theses on the final victory of the market and liberalism, the end of history and the class struggle -declared as indisputable truths after the collapse of the USSR in 1991- were swept away by the 2007-8 crisis which revealed itself in the collapse of the financial bubble in the United States, due to the flight of productive capital toward speculation because of the sustained fall of the rate of profit of the large corporations. Today, over ten years since that crisis began, the capitalists are rapidly taking us to a new catastrophe.
Reversing this course is of the utmost importance, because, in the next period, the decisive fights of the class struggle will spread and be tougher. The exploited workers and the youth who have been robbed of their future will not accept being smashed by the gears of the system. Neither will the women, who are protagonists of a great surge of the class struggle. Their anger, protests and radicalization are inevitable. The tendency of imperialist capitalism toward authoritarianism and repression will also gain strength. We witness an increasingly polarized world. New opportunities that we must make use of for advancing the revolutionary struggle of proletariat and the building of the revolutionary leadership will present themselves.
Without a socialist revolution in the next historical period, a catastrophe threatens the whole culture of humankind. The strategic task of the international revolutionary leadership is not reforming capitalism but overthrowing it. This is why its political aim is the conquest of power by the proletariat for the purpose of expropriating the bourgeoisie and founding a regime of workers´ democracy. However, the achievement of this strategic task is unthinkable without the most considered attention to questions of tactics. All sections of the proletariat, all its layers, occupations and allied groups must be drawn into the revolutionary movement.
Strengthening an international revolutionary alternative
The chief obstacle in the path of transforming a pre-revolutionary into a revolutionary situation is the character of the reformist leaderships: its petty bourgeois cowardice before the big bourgeoisie and its perfidious connection with it even in its death agony. In all countries the proletariat is racked by a deep disquiet. The masses again and again enter the road of revolution. But each time they are blocked by the bureaucratic machines.
The crisis of capitalism, in many cases, also leads to a left shift of the masses. However, because of the crisis of the revolutionary leadership, that wave crashes against the breakwater of the union bureaucracy, left populism and neo-reformism. This is expressed, for example, by the rise of leaders like Sanders in the context of the rejection of the Trump government, and Corbyn, amid the Brexit crisis. At the same time, since both of them moderate their politics to conciliate with the system, their shift to the right leads sectors of the vanguard to go through a rapid experience with them and advance toward positions closer to the revolutionary left, on the condition that the revolutionary adopt politics toward this activism.
In France, the wavering of the Communist Party and Melenchon towards the yellow jackets favor Macron and Le Pen. In Germany, the adaptation of Die Linke-Left Party to neo-liberalism, paves the way for extreme right-wing AfD. Similarly, the Italian Rifondazione Comunista left the streets to the right wing populist 5-Star Movement and the far right North Alliance. In Greece, the Euro-Communist Syriza became the savior of the bourgeoisie. In Brazil, the PT government made the victory of the semi-fascist Bolsonaro’s possible. In Argentina, Kirchnerism opened the door to Macri. In Venezuela, the Maduro government feeds the pro-imperialist Guaido. In India, the Stalinist reformists of the CPI and CPI (M) have prepared the ground for the authoritarian right-wing populist Modi. In these examples, and others, the reformist parties have supported neo-liberal policies consisting of social austerity packages and privatizations. In the absence of a strong revolutionary socialist alternative, the anger and frustration of masses allows the right and the far right to grow. Without fighting against and defeating these forces in the struggle for the leadership of the mass movement, it is not possible to turn the capitalist crisis into social revolution.
In this context, refusing to build Bolshevik Parties and adopting the perspective of establishing large mass parties with reformist forces as a permanent strategy, like the United Secretariat and other forces propose, is nothing but an adaptation to reformism. On the contrary, the unity of revolutionary socialists must separate itself from the reformist and centrist left, as well as from the skeptical sectarians who block the advance of the struggles and the revolutionary leadership where they achieve certain influence. This does not mean not adopting adequate tactics for different processes that may develop in determined circumstances, but those tactics cannot become strategies or be opposed to the building of revolutionary parties in every country.
It is also necessary to overcome the vices that some tendencies carry. It is not possible to build a current based on an hegemonic party with subordinated parties in other countries, a method which is opposed to internationalism. Though we may come from different traditions, the revolutionary Marxists of the world must unite behind political, ideological and action principles. An international league with no debates or differences expresses a kind of bureaucratic nationalism, opposed to a dialectical and revolutionary praxis. We must base ourselves on fraternal debate, testing politics in the class struggle and learning from that process. An international organization with common principles on the concrete problems of the global class struggle, which builds instruments for the struggle and internationalist campaigns based on those demands, may achieve real advances.
The historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership. Today, the central task of revolutionary socialists is to build revolutionary parties with mass influence to promote permanent mobilization, the formation of organs of workers´ self-government and the destruction of bourgeois power. Denying this in name of a “new era” means disarming the revolutionary vanguard. At the same time, a Leninist party cannot be built only on a national scale: proletarian internationalism is not abstract, it implies real solidarity and a real struggle. We call on organizations and activists who wish to be a part of this new international revolutionary construction to take up this challenge together to fight for a socialist future. The program we present is at the service of this strategy.
1 For the rights of the working class
- Against all programs of austerity.
- Against unemployment: reduction and distribution of working hours without pay cuts, prohibition of layoffs and suspensions, and nationalization of non compliant companies under workers’ control.
- Against low wages: minimum wage equal to the cost of living, regularization of all workers, automatic adjustment of wages according to inflation and living retirement pensions.
- Against all labor flexibilization reforms. Annulment of trash contracts. Permanent contracts for all workers. Against raising the age of retirement and the privatization of pension systems. For converting welfare programs into effective jobs with living wages.
- For gender equality in wages, access to employment.
- For the publishing of companies’ accounting books and workers´ control of production.
- Against labor bureaucracy; for workers’ democracy: freedom of organization without State interference, decision-making power in assemblies, rank-and-file elected negotiators, integration into union leaderships of all currents according to proportion of votes in union elections, return to work of union officers after two mandates. For a new militant, classist and democratic labor leadership.
- Against class-conciliation. Strike committees, pickets, organized self-defence forces, inter-regional or inter-union coordination and active general strikes a methods of struggle.
2. For the rights of women and sexual dissidence.
- Against sexist violence and femicide. For emergency budget to finance free comprehensive assistance, refugee centers, and subsidies for victims, under the control of women’s organizations.
- For comprehensive sex education with a gender and sexual diversity based approach.
- For legal, safe and free abortion, as part of the public health system. No restrictions in countries where abortion is already legal. For free birth control.
- Against human trafficking, procuring and the State´s complicity. For social reinsertion programs for the victims, job alternatives for those who want to abandon prostitution and social rights for sexual workers.
- Against any kind of discrimination towards members of the LGBT community. For equal rights and an employment quota for trans people.
- For the acknowledgment and socialization of unpaid domestic work, and retirement rights. For, day and night shift schooling, and the establishment of quality community preschools, diners, laundries and nursing homes.
- For a secular State, the annulment of all privileges and State subsidies given to religious institutions and private and religious education. Against all religious fundamentalism.
3. For the rights of the youth and other popular sectors
- For free, secular, mandatory State schooling at every level, with quality school food and scholarships.
- Against precarious internship programs. For programs of youth labor insertion.
- For unrestricted access to public university, university autonomy and academic freedom. University co-government with student majority and direct election and recall of all authorities. Independent public scientific and technological state research without corporate interference.
- Against police persecution of the youth and militarization of popular neighborhoods.
- For a free public single payer health care system and public production of medicine.
- Against land concentration and the plundering of peasants´ small farmers´ lands by landlords and corporations. For agrarian reform and the expropriation of large landowners, redistribution of land and affordable credit.
- Against all discrimination towards migrants and refugees. For documentation and social inclusion programs.
- Against racism and the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities and native peoples. Restitution of ancestral lands to native peoples, and respect for their language and culture.
4. For the right to self-determination of oppressed nations and socialist unity
- For the right to self determination, including desired independence and separation, such as Catalonia and Euzkadi.
- Against the oppression of Kurdish people. In defense of al rights incuding self determination.
- Against NATO, US and Russian intervention in the Middle East.
- Against the Zionist State of Israel. For a single, democratic, secular, non-racist Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital city. Down with the all dictators in the Middle East.
- For the independence of the existing colonies.
- No to the capitalist MERCOSUR; for the unity of workers´ and the peoples´ of Latin America.
- Against Russian and US intervention in Ukraine and the rest of the ex-Soviet republics.
- For the free union of the people in federations of socialist democratic republics by region or continent: Latin America and the Caribbean, Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle east, the ex-Soviet Union, the Asian South-East and the Indian subcontinent.
5. Against all imperialist intervention and domination
- For a social audit, moratorium, abolition and cancellation of the illegitimate and fraudulent foreign debts. For a front of debtor countries.
- For the nationalization under workers’ and users’ control of privatized public services without compensation.
- For the annulment of the NAFTA, free trade agreements and all other imperialist pacts that tie peoples to the imperialism.
- Against the US blockade of Cuba. The US out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. Imperialists out of Malvinas, Guantanamo, Ceuta, Melilla, and other enclaves and military bases in other countries.
- Against the existence of foreign troops in Haiti, Cyprus, Rojava, Yemen and other countries.
- Against the European Union and its Central Bank. For a Europe of workers and the people.
- Against imperialist multinational organizations, financial (IMF, World Bank, IDB), as well as commercial (WTO, OECD), political (UN), or military (NATO), and their programs of plunder and austerity.
- Against US threats to North Korea and its interference in South Korea. Against both governments, the southern pro-US puppet and the Northern totalitarian bureaucracy. In pursuance of a unified socialist and democratic Korea.
- Against China’s imperialist policies and its Stalinist and capitalist restaurationist government.
- After extraordinary periods like imperialist wars, military coups, economic crises, civil wars, etc., for working class’ solutions instead of the “normalization” which secures the interests of the bourgeoisie.
- For the political and organizational independence of the revolutionary party from the bourgeois and petit bourgeois forces (i.e. Kemalism, PKK, Peronism).
6. For defence of democratic rights
- Down with monarchies, military-civic dictatorships, single-party regimes, senates, constitutional tribunals and all other anti-democratic institutions. Defense the free elections, without creating illusions on bourgeois liberal parliamentary systems.
- The working class cannot restrict itself to bourgeois democracy. To guarantee full democratic rights, the only solution is permanent revolution until achieving socialism.
- For complete democratic freedom of speech, organization and mobilization. Trials and life sentences to those responsible of genocide.
- For support of, acknowledgment and legalization of independent, community, popular and working class alternative media.
- Against the persecution of working class and popular activists. For the liberation of political prisoners.
- For independent commission of inquiry to investigate any public official accused of corruption and/or abuse of authority.
- For the election of a sovereign and free Constituent Assembly for the people to decide democratically how to reorganize the country on new grounds. Support of constituent processes based on workers´ and peoples´ participation.
- For the democratization of the Judicial system: election of judges and prosecutors by universal suffrage, limited and recallable mandates and trials by popular juries.
- For the dismantling of the repressive apparatus: the armed forces, police, security and secret services. For the democratization and the right of the rank-and-file to unionize. For the people´s self defense and arming.
7. Eco-socialism against the destruction of the environment
- Against the market economy´s anarchism based on the pursuit of profit, the exploitation of workers and the plundering of natural resources by transnational corporations. For a democratically planned economy based on meeting human needs and conserving nature.
- Against extractivism and water, land and air pollution. For the prohibition of open air mining, fracking and agrotoxins. For an ecological agriculture and the sustainable industries.
- For the conversion of polluting industries and a restructuring of their work force with job and wage continuity assured by the government.
- Against global warming: immediate and qualitative gas emission reduction aimed at its eradication.
- For a plan of conversion of the current nuclear and hydrocarbon based energy system to another model based on clean and renewable energy, under social control.
- Against indiscriminate urban development, deforestation. For the protection of glaciers and other fresh water sources.
8. For workers’ states, regimes and governments
- For the destruction of bourgeois state, which, whatever form it takes (dictatorship, democracy etc.) represents the interests of bourgeoisie. For a workers’ state.
- For a truely democratic regime which can only come from the working class democraticly organised through its own organisations, created in the heat of the struggle against bourgoisie and imperialism.
- For workers’ and peoples’ governments.
- For an emergency economic plan of substantial measures, such as an agrarian reform, ending payments of the foreign debt, expropriating and nationalizing big industry under workers´ control and nationalizing the banking industry and foreign trade.
- Workers’ and peoples’ government must strive to strengthen the revolution in its country and extend it abroad.
- e do not consider the bourgeois nationalist and/or populist governments of Maduro, Evo nor the past governments of Correa and Lula-Dilma, nor those of Syriza in Greece or Podemos in Madrid and Barcelona, as our own.
9. For international socialism
- The capitalism in crisis brings the world’s masses increasing hunger and misery, war and colonialism, oppression and sexist violence, destruction of the environment, barbarism and even puts the survival of humanity at risk.
- Only the destruction of that inherently unjust and savage system, based on the interests of the 1%, and its replacement by a socialist society without exploitation or oppression, will be able to usher a new age of progress for all humanity.
- To achieve this goal, workers must become the leading class. Along with the women, the youth and other popular sectors struggle until the defeating capitalists and their accomplices in each country and take economic and political power into their own hands.
- Workers will introduce a political regime of broad liberties, opposed to the bureaucratic totalitarianism of the misnamed “real socialism”, which ended up restoring free market economy and private property. At the same time, expropriating corporations, nationalizing the means of production, and organizing production democratically, will allow a rational planning of the economy to meet working class and popular needs.
- Internationalist solidarity and mutual respect will replace imperialist pillaging. It is imperative to support the revolutionary struggles against all oppressors across the world to definitely overthrow capitalism and undertake the worldwide construction of socialism.
10. Building revolutionary parties and a revolutionary International
The global capitalist offensive and the restoration in the third of the world where the bourgeoisie had been expropriated, did not reverse the regression of the forces of production. Therefore, despite the huge changes which have taken place, we are still in the same era of crisis, war and revolution that began between 1914 and 1917.
Due to this combination of objective and subjective factors the following quote by Trotsky maintains validity: “The crisis of humanity is the crisis of its revolutionary leadership.” Our main task is, therefore, to build revolutionary parties with the working class, youth and women vanguard based on The Transitional Program and the Theory of Permanent Revolution, with democratic centralism. To achieve this goal, it´s imperative to adopt different tactics of unity of action, united fronts, revolutionary united fronts, broad anticapitalist parties or fronts, etc.
This is the challenge revolutionary socialists face across the world today, opposed to opportunist sectors -who postpone the building of revolutionary parties to an uncertain future- and also to sectarians -who refuse to adopt broad tactics to take advantage of new phenomena that emerge on the Left.
We are launching an international tendency disposed to uniting with everyone who shares the strategy of building revolutionary parties and a revolutionary International.