Among many other debates that took place at the FITU conference, one of them was about political tactics and their relation to building revolutionary parties. Here is our opinion.
By Sergio Garcia
Debates on this subject need to be serious, with respect among revolutionaries, far removed from mockery and low level statements that were unfortunately seen in parts of the conference. For example, we heard public figures of the PTS, PO and IS stating supposed claims about the MST that “worked with Pino Solanas,” and how wrong this was because the MST had “the doors to the FIT wide open,” or how wrong it was to have “participated in governmental organizations in Venezuela.” We also heard that the FIT-U model is the best for everyone.
The method of debating with falsehoods and mockeries is more akin to university militancy in times of elections and voting lines. Relying on fallacies and a significant dose of self-proclamation does not lead to anything positive and shows certain inability to carry out significant theoretical and political debates among militants and organizations of the left. Far removed from this method, in the MST we speak from a different perspective.
We debate party building, interventions in real processes in which the vanguard and left wing activists intervene while still going through the experience with other leaderships. We debate political tactics and their relation to the construction of the revolutionary party.
The presence of the ISL and the MST testifies to the fact that we build revolutionary parties every day. It is our strategic task at the national and international levels. This is what we do in the MST and it is what all of our sister organizations do. The other parties of the FIT-U say they have no differences on this point. We all sustain, as does the resolution that we voted, that revolutionary organizations must be built.
The issue under discussion is another one: whether or not, in certain situations and processes, adopting political tactics helps to strengthen revolutionary parties, weaken reformist and possibilist leaderships. Or whether, as some comrades believe, it is better to remain outside of any process that is not 100% socialist and anti-capitalist, and to believe that this is the best way to fight against those leaderships.
The PO and Brazil, nothingness itself
For example, the PO comrades believe that it was wrong to found the PSOL in Brazil and to continue fighting now from its left wing. They criticize the fact that we have been doing this for years and propose instead to act from outside de PSOL. They forget one detail; with their political thesis they have not been able to build anything at all in Brazil during these same years, much less to build anything superior to the PSOL. They have not passed the test of reality: Where is the revolutionary organization that advanced so much outside the PSOL? Nowhere. While inside the PSOL, a strong political struggle is taking place against its majority leadership. Within that left block, we are building our revolutionary organization and we will see later how, in common with others, we are advancing even more while we are putting up a real political struggle in the Brazilian left and not a non-existent one from Buenos Aires.
What can be accomplished outside processes?
On the other hand, the comrades of the PTS and the Trotskyist Faction make a similar mistake in Venezuela. They criticize those of us who decided years ago to have tactics on the political organizations of the revolutionary process, doing so in an independent, organized way and without recognizing any authority of the government, which we never participated in and always criticized publicly, as can be verified in our materials. With that tactic, our current has a real presence in Venezuela, even in very difficult situations. The TF comrades, during the most advanced stage of the process, as well as now, at its worst moment, were always a very small group of militants and were unable to overcome that stage. Yet they advise others with the supposed authority of someone who has built a great organization, something that, in Venezuela, is not their case.
Falsehoods and inconsistencies
On the other hand, IS explained its criticism of the MST and Proyecto Sur, a 2011 electoral tactic. But it did so with falsehoods and inconsistencies. Today, the Peruvian section of the UIT-CI participates in the Frente Amplio, whose program is clearly center-left and mistaken. Proyecto Sur in 2011 had a very positive anti-imperialist platform based on five causes that included not paying the debt, standing against the mining, oil and private services corporations among other very correct issues, and that is why it received the support of the left´s social base, and why it was correct to be part of that movement, to have a political tactic for the phenomenon and to dispute it´s direction. And when Solanas was abandoning that program, the MST harvested in different provinces the correct intervention that we had made by being part of that process. The incoherent and untimely criticism that IS makes today has nothing to do with Proyecto Sur, in fact it would only be useful to apply it on itself, to what the UIT-CI is now mistakenly doing in Peru with a center-left program.
IS also misrepresents reality when it says that the FIT had its doors open for the MST. It simply did not. The FIT was set up, according its founders, only to overcome the PASO primaries. From then on, after a good electoral result, it had a closed policy during all the following elections. In fact, the MST repeatedly proposed in 2013 and 2015 to reach an agreement. It did so again in 2017, forming Izquierda Al Frente after the FIT´s refusal. For years we published numerous public appeals and requests for meetings that were never accepted by the FIT. The “open doors” never existed. Only when the FIT began to show lower electoral results and the MST to improve its performance in several provinces, were we able to advance toward a national agreement.
Returning to political tactics in general and the contradiction of saying or doing different things from place to place, there is also the example of the PTS comrades, who correctly criticize those who, like the USFI, defend the strategy of broad parties, but mistakenly criticize those who adopt tactics toward those constructions; while at the same time they participated in the NPA in France, which emerged driven by the inventors of the broad party thesis. We are coherent; we do not criticize the fact that the TF-FI, which the PTS is part of, has participated in the NPA during this time. What is incoherent is that they do it there but criticize those of us who sometimes promote similar political tactics in other countries, without ever ceasing to build our revolutionary party.
The FIT-U, progress and limits
Finally, a reflection on the proposal of the PO to spply the FIT-U in all countries like a formula. As we said, it is not about going around the world with pedantry saying what to do, without acknowledging specific political realities, the traditions and forces that act on the grund, the composition of the left in each place and its own force to promote this or that project. This is a national Trotskyist conception of PO that also has an opportunist face. We cannot forget that the FITU is an important step, an achievement that must be defended and strengthened, but also has much to improve and change. It is still an agreement of an electoral nature, that is, limited and insufficient. It still does not act in common in the class struggle nor does it have a common strategy to intervene at all levels, as it should. Many times disputes prevail over loyal work. That is why it cannot be presented to the world as “the model to follow.” Rather we have to try to make it better, change it, and improve it much more. If we can achieve that, perhaps we can make a better contribution to the international movement. And for that, among other things, we have to see the world and learn from other experiences as well. It would also be useful in countries like Chile, Spain, Venezuela or France, where there are several currents, to take concrete steps towards political fronts and a common intervention. That would be worth more than a thousand words.
In short, we are building revolutionary organizations internationally and in each country. On this basis, following the best traditions of Leninism and Trotskyism, we have tactics to better connect with advanced sections of the working class and the youth. We can make experiences, use entryism, be an organized tendency in a broader movement, or be part of a front if it plays a positive role at a given moment even if its program is not exactly ours. That is precisely why it is a tactic, limited in time, and not a strategy. To use them boldly is one more way to contribute to disputing the leadership of workers and youth with the reformist or centrist organization, and to build, through that political struggle, a strong group of revolutionary cadres and militants. The dynamic international construction of the ISL and the MST with a solid work implanted throughout the country, are a contribution and show that building revolutionary parties and having political tactics are complementary and not opposed.