The crisis we are living offers huge opportunities and challenges. The struggles of the people and the working class will set the dynamic of the period that is beginning. With those struggles, a process of deep radicalization and a shift towards the left will come, opening the perspective to build important revolutionary organizations. However, the existence of advantageous conditions for the completion of this task does not automatically guarantee its success. This depends on our ability to have a proper response, from our analysis to our politics and tactics.
The debate surrounding the different orientations for building international organizations is of the outmost importance today. From the International Socialist League, we tried to bring the debate to the Conference convened by the FITU. Unfortunately, it was not considered in all its importance by the other organizations, which is why we want to expand our opinions on the matter in this article.
Two Misguided Notions
The crisis and atomization of the Trotskyist movement after WWII had two important consequences for the organizations that claim the legacy of the Fourth International. To sectarian and opportunist mistakes, one must add the development of misguided notions on how to face the issue of building revolutionary organizations on a national and international level.
One of these was the tendency to think and act as if the problem of the proletariat’s leadership could be resolved from a national leadership. We have named this practice “national-Trotskyism” and it has led to abandoning the construction of an international current. This depicts very clearly the current position and the history of the Partido Obrero (PO – Argentina). The Conference evidenced their almost non-existent international development.
But this is nothing but the consequence of a profound notion rooted deeply within that organization. PO things that, in solitude, their leadership has managed to solve the main theoretical and political issues of our time, and that, on their own, they can guide the specific politics for each national situation. Needles to say, the problem of the international leadership of the proletariat is already solved: it’s PO. What’s left is simply for the other revolutionary organizations and the proletariat to acknowledge them.
They presented the FIT-U Conference the task of solving the problem of the proletariat’s leadership from this misguided notion. This over-inflated orientation prevents the Conference from acting effectively on reality, with modest objectives. At the same time, it reduces the analysis and actual political debate to a list of ‘multipurpose’ slogans, applicable to every situation of the class struggle.
Another misconception, one which we have named the international “mother-party,” is a dogmatic and misguided generalization of the tactic of supporting the creation of revolutionary nuclei and their development in each country, from a more consolidated party. The post-war Trotskyist crisis derived in the creation of defensive groups, international tendencies surrounding a more developed party. But creating a method out of this necessity is a huge mistake.
The Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores (PTS – Argentina) and their Trotskyist Fraction show this orientation in the most thorough way. Their international organizations are built from the adhesion not only to a given program and a strategic conception, but to a theoretical-political tradition that includes a political canon to interpret the classics and the history of the Trotskyist movement. This, again, implies assuming that their own leadership has solved the main problems of the moment and that all other traditions and currents of the Trotskyist movement have nothing to contribute to a collective construction.
Izquierda Socialista (IS – Argentina) and the UIT-CI, on the other hand, have arrived at a similar current, as a result of their notorious conservatism, which leads them to hold on, dogmatically, to previous conclusions. This not only strips them of the possibility of interpret an ever-changing reality, but it also stagnates them in a defensive construction that only allows those who come from Morenism. Notoriously, that’s opposite of what Moreno himself tried to do in the international Trotskyist movement.
The ISL Project
In the International Socialist League, we stand for a different model of international construction. We understand that the extent and magnitude of the radicalization process that we are now entering surpasses all current international organizations’ possible solutions. Therefore, it is essential to build an organization that is open to the convergence of revolutionary socialist organizations that come from different backgrounds.
The international Trostkyist movement has gone through a series of crisis throughout the decades, the analysis of which goes beyond this article. Objective and subjective reasons led to a fragmented movement and to defensive groups, each of which – frequently through bureaucratic methods – stands by their interpretation of the programmatic and theoretical legacy, and the history of their current.
This reality has become a major factor blocking a possible qualitative advance of Trotskyism in the face of the crisis of counter-revolutionary and reformist currents and apparatuses. Suffice it to say, this is not the only factor: objective reasons operate as well. Yet, on this point we can act more directly; doing so is decisive.
In the ISL, we seek to build an international organization that can respond to these challenges that currently face us. We have proved, through action, that the conditions for national parties and international groups from different traditions within the Trotskyist movement to converge do exist. Moreover, from a common experience, a new tradition may emerge, one that takes the best from the older ones and improved on them. This calls for a real openness to work together, despite our differences.
The basis for this project is a common comprehension of the current tasks, a clear program that goes back to the essential teachings of revolutionary socialism and a strategic delimitation of the defense of the socialist revolution and the Leninist party. From that starting point, there are differences and debates. That’s why it is also necessary to function in a way that allows these discussions to develop democratically with common interventions.
We need a solid international organization, one that debates and elaborates collectively. The contribution of different perspectives is essential to build a scientific analysis of reality. Only through a collective construction will we be able to effectively transform it.