The International Conference of the ISL has just finished. It wasconvened to discuss the strategy of the revolutionary socialists in a planet in which rebellion is growing.
It opened with words of welcome and a report by Alejandro Bodart of the MST of Argentina on behalf of the ISL Coordination and interventions by Güneş Gümüş of the SEP of Turkey and Umer Shahid of The Struggle of Pakistan. Comrades from over 30 countries from 5 continents participated and comrades from the United States, Russia, Chile, France, Belarus, Western Sahara, Australia, Brazil, Lebanon, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ukraine, Algeria, Spain, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Paraguay intervened.
Below we publish the resolutions that were approved .
Political Resolution of the ISL International Conference of December 2020
SOCIALIST STRATEGY FOR A PLANET IN REBELLION
The COVID-19 pandemic, which left its mark in the year 2020 and will continue in 2021, will go down be remembered as one of the most shocking experiences in human history. We have another long winter season waiting to be overcome in the northern hemisphere and the outlook is still bleak in the South. According to the official figures, the number of people who have lost their lives exceeds 1.6 million up to this moment. Nobody doubts that the real number is much higher than that.
This heavy price has made it clear that capitalism does not work. It has been revealed that the main bourgeois states, which make detailed plans for the imperialist war machine and allocate huge resources for it, have no plans against a global epidemic. All the capitalist regimes and governments have come out in support of large corporations and have prioritized the profits of the few over the health and lives of the working class and the popular majorities. In this historical experience, the capitalist powers, and indeed the system itself as a whole, performed miserably in all areas and all its contradictions became visible. In addition, even if the global public health crisis is overcome with the use of the vaccine, the severe conditions of a major social-economic crisis that millions of workers around the world are already suffering will become qualitatively worse .
Before the effects of the 2008 crisis were overcome, a new global economic crisis knocked on the door in 2020. The pandemic accelerated and deepened it. Today we are witnessing a crisis of a magnitude that can only be compared with that of the end of the 19th century or that of the 1930´s. So where does this tunnel lead? The expectation that its development will produce big and sharp results scares many. According to the scenario of the pessimists, the rise of authoritarianism and fascism are inevitable. The majority of left intellectuals want to attract attention by popularizing such dystopian scenarios. The Trump administration has been shown in a very exaggerated way, as a fascist actor and the end of US democracy. These pessimistic and exaggerated scenarios have been useful tools for directing the masses towards the less evil Democratic Party. For example, left-wing organizations such as the leadership of the DSA and people such as Noam Chomsky and Bernie Sanders have worked hard to direct the growing left wave and class movement in the US to support imperialist Biden. Thus, the development of an independent mass socialist party in the United States was once again prevented, for now. But Trump lost the elections, and today the discourse that “fascism is coming” does not have the same effect.
What about the Left alternative? We are not prophesizing about the mysteries of the future, but we can say that we are entering a period in which the class struggle will intensify when we look at the main tendencies of the developments. Our intention is not to deny the existence of authoritarian tendencies altogether, but things must be measured correctly. What is happening in the world is a growing political and social polarization. One side of this is the existence of important centre-right authoritarian expressions and, still marginally, groups with fascist characteristics. But the other side is the growing resistance of the working class, women, the youth, that from last year to this date have been at the center of real rebellions in several countries, and linked to this the existence of a growing space for Left alternatives. There is a certain correlation between the rise of class struggle and the rise of authoritarian tendencies. It is the economic and political crisis that preceded both trends. We cannot say that every crisis of capitalism automatically causes a rise in the class struggle, but in an environment where the living standards of the people are rapidly falling, the winds are in favor of the class struggle. The leap of authoritarianism towards fascism tends to come to the fore only after the failure of workers’ struggles. In other words, if the movement of the exploited classes and socialists fail in the new world, when the pandemic is no longer the main issue and we will be struggling with economic, social, and political crises, then the danger of the rise of fascism will present itself.
But the left will have to take the stage in the first place. It is inevitable that the class struggle will intensify under conditions where the gap between classes is widening even more and job and income losses pull billions of people below the poverty line. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that 690 million people struggled with hunger in 2019, and 130 million more started to suffer from chronic hunger due to the pandemic. Steadily rising food prices and falling incomes for the last 6 months mean billions of people will be undernourished. Billions of people, who make up the vast majority of the working people, lost their jobs or saw their incomes fall and the vast majority received either no government support or received extremely inadequate aid. Losses and setbacks suffered by the poor in education and healthcare continue to have dramatic consequences. For the vast majority, the problem of access to land and housing is becoming more acute around the world. Lockdowns saw a rise in violence against women. And corporations their aggressions towards the environment to obtain cheap raw materials.
This whole process creates the objective conditions for the strengthening of the class struggle. Some of us think the year 2019 was the scene of a mini ’68, others consider that in Latin America and the Middle East pre-revolutionary situations opened at that time. But, beyond our definitions of the events, in countries such as, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, France, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Sudan, the class struggle took very violent forms. 2020 did not promise any less, but the pandemic has represented a relative necessary break for escalating struggles because all the attention of societies has been turned to the pandemic, and working people have focused on not getting sick in order not to fall prey to poor healthcare systems and face vital risks.
Despite this, anti-racist actions in the USA, that had been preceded by a left turn in the youth, reached unprecedented leves since the 1960s, with a massivity and radicalism that make the USA fragile against systemic ruptures. Due to the scale of the events, that motivated a wave of antiracist mobilizations around the world, and the weight of the US in the world context, we must debate if this event has brought about qualitative change in the world situation. Once again, in this process, labor and youth protests in Lebanon overthrew the government, and in Thailand, although it shook the system, the movement has not accomplished its goals. In Chile the rise in struggles has continued and has struck a death blow to the regime inherited from Pinochetism. In Perú the mobilization of the working class and the youth brought down two governments in one week and put into question the constitution of the Fujimori dictatorship. In Belarus a popular uprising not seen since the 1990’s has not been defeated despite the huge repression unleashed by dictator Lukashenko, and things will never be the same. The Sahraui people, with the youth at the vanguard, has once again rised against the Morroccan occupation. In France, the working class once more breaks into scene, this time against the authoritarian secutiry of right wing Macron.
All this announces the perspective that will open once the pandemic falls to the back of the agenda as we go into 2021. Workers, who are getting poorer and poorer, and the youth that finds no future, will put pressure on the capitalist governments. Protests and strikes that will begin in many parts of the world will manifest a higher class consciousness, the capacity to act collectively, and finally an anti-capitalist tendency of the masses.
On the other side of the coin, we see the fact that capitalist governments are heavily indebted. Numerous countries around the world from Italy, Spain and Portugal to almost the whole of Latin America; Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon, Iran and South Africa, have a nearly unpayable amount of debt. According to the World Bank, low and middle-income countries need 175 and 700 billion dollars annually, respectively. On the other hand, the total debt fund created by the IMF and the World Bank for these countries is $260 billion. In short, the probability of the collapse of the economies of many countries is quite strong, just like Greece, Lebanon and Argentina in the recent past. This will bring along new austerity measures, but it is very, very difficult for workers, who are already becoming poorer during the pandemic, to bear the increasing burden. All these heralds new social explosions.
The question, however, is whether this wave of social opposition will succeed. Of course, the main triumph is socialist revolutions. But in order to pave the way for the working class to seize political power, there must be leaps in the level of development of the revolutionary Marxist vanguard with mass consciousness and organization. Material conditions will become suitable for these leaps to occur in the upcoming period. In this sense, the criterion of success in the short term is the proliferation of labor revolts in many countries of the world in recent years and their progress by gaining maturity. In other words, the reaction of the masses, which has been lacking leadership and a revolutionary program, developed against bourgeois governments and regimes, economic inequalities, authoritarianism, corruption, unemployment, futility and capitalism, must be radicalized and led to socialism by the rise of class consciousness and organized forces. To make progress, the hegemony of socialism must increase in the mass movement; socialism would attract the most qualified workers and youth to its ranks.
The waves of struggle that will explode in the upcoming period will increase global class-consciousness and develop an anti-capitalist sympathy among workers and the youth. Let’s remember that the masses took to the streets with national flags during the riots in 2019. But, with the effect of the developing radicalism in the coming period, if we come across slogans and symbols of socialism more often that will ring the alarm bells for the ruling class.
In this period, accelerating the building of revolutionary Marxist organizations and strengthening and consolidating the existing organizations will be of historical importance. Building the international leadership of the working class can only be possible through such struggles. There is no shortcut to solving the question of leadership. Building revolutionary parties is a long-term process, yet the course of the class struggle is the determinant for the pace of this task. We are entering a new and long phase in which the crisis will deepen and its effects will spread over time. Let’s not forget that in times of crisis and social upheavals, the masses learn very quickly, they experience leaps in their consciousness that make what was previously unimaginable become real.
In this context, it would be a great loss for workers and the youth to limit their struggles to minimal goals in the name of realism. It is necessary to struggle against the illusions of so called “democratic capitalism” among workers and the youth where people have to struggle against bourgeois dictators as well as basic vital problems in underdeveloped countries. The liberal parliamentary welfare state model is no longer valid even in the West. The living standard of the working class in these countries is rapidly declining, democratic rights are suppressed, the far right is raising its head, and right-wing populist demagogue politicians stand out as candidates for dictators. And yet, the demand for democratic bourgeois society in the underdeveloped capitalist countries is more void than ever. We need to make the revolution permanent by defeating big capitalist classes and landowners so that we can solve basic vital problems.
The imperialist capitalist system and bourgeois nation-states are the greatest obstacle for humanity and the greatest threat to the existence of our planet. The strategic task before the working class is to seize political power through socialist revolutions and set out to build global socialism. Achievement of this strategic mission can only be possible with well-prepared tactics. That is why we have to bring the most urgent problems of the day to the center of the struggle and bring more workers and young people into the revolutionary struggle. Some of the most important topics with which the vanguard forces of the class and revolutionary Marxists sharpen the struggle today are as follows:
Urgent Agenda to Raise the Struggle
1. the capitalist bailout packages should be canceled immediately.
Bourgeois states have injected astronomical sums of money (more than $ 10 trillion) into the system to save companies or limit the collapse of the free market. All of these packages that saved companies from bankruptcy correspond to much more than the money they pumped after the 2008 crisis.
These resources are actually a transfer of resources from laborers to a bunch of super-rich people. The pandemic, in which millions lost their lives, turns into an opportunity for capitalists in this way. Global stock markets, therefore, celebrate the victories of the capital class. But there is nothing more than speculation. With these bubbles, some float already sunken zombie companies, while others make sweet profits with stock market speculation. But the FED, which has the ability to print unlimited money, cannot close the ever-growing black holes. The implication is that the working class must target capital.
In the struggle against a small parasitic stratum, which continues to get rich rapidly even under pandemics by seizing the surplus value created by the working class throughout the world, and the bourgeois state mechanisms under their control, the rescue packages are the soft belly of the system. The organized working class must attack this point and demand that all resources be devoted to cover the demands of the popular majorities: bread, health, work, education, land, homes.
2. Lockdown with full income support for workers during the pandemic.
While big capital that was transferred millions in all countries became the first to be saved; taking care of themselves, poverty, working at the risk of death have fallen on the share of the working classes and small business. The pandemic hit the service sector most intensely, where large masses of people work; millions of people around the world who work in sectors such as food preparation and sales, entertainment, childcare, education have become lucky if they can get help from the state. The bourgeois state and capital have forced the working class to work in workplaces where there is a high risk of infection so that the bosses’ wheels of profit turn and the exploitative system works.
Thus, the impact and diameter of the pandemic expanded and the number of deaths rocketed. Therefore, the common demand of the global labor movement should be a full lockdown, except in vital sectors, by providing full income support for formal and informal workers. Together with this we must raise the demand for a ban on layoffs and wage cuts and the nationalization of any factory or company that closes. As much as these demands, which are very legitimate in the eyes of the masses, becomes widespread and a subject of struggle will effectively help to raise the awareness of the conflict of interests between the working classes and the state and capital.
3. The struggle against neoliberal destruction in the healthcare system and inequalities in access to health care.
It is of great importance to create an emergency response program that will support the healthcare infrastructure and services, and to create necessary resources for this. Apart from that, the struggle to ensure fast and free access to vaccines in poor countries and low-incomers is an urgent task.
The Covid pandemic has shown the deadly consequences of neoliberal marketisation, leaving the healthcare system to the greed for profit. All around the world, the public healthcare systems were either completely or partially privatised or left to perish. In all cases they were left at the mercy of capitalists. The lack of personnel, hospitals and intensive care units have been the main determinant that caused high numbers of deaths in pandemic. Socialists must raise the demand for a Single State-owned Health System, nationalizing all private clinics and labs.
On the other side of the coin, the vaccine, which is presented as a prescription for salvation in the pandemic, is again subject to the acquisitiveness of the capital. Drug monopolies, which have already received millions of dollars of incentives for vaccination researches, are seeking profit from the vaccine that is going to be used massively. Vaccination bears the danger of further increasing inequalities both domestically and internationally. In countries such as the USA where the health system is fully privatized, the free vaccination of the entire population or the provision of free vaccines to the third world countries, who are floating in debt, are among the most important demands of the day in terms of international solidarity.
4. Tax the rich and full expropriation for obtaining the necessary resources to solve urgent social problems.
States that allocate the public budget to military spendings and bosses, complain about the lack of resources when it comes to laborers. In the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, we saw that central banks gave large amounts of money almost free of charge to companies so that they could speculate more, and trillions of dollars were spent on junk bonds. Today, it is essential to demand the confiscation of these speculative companies that multiply their wealth while workers grapple with poverty, and the savings of those who run them. We must fight for the nationalization of the banking system and international trade.
On this basis, sovereign non-payment of external debt in the countries that are smothered by them and the demand for progressive taxes on the wealth of individuals and corporations on a global scale is important both to point out the resource for global revolutionary demands of the working class and to bring the capitalist-worker opposition to consciousness.
5. The struggle for the budget for education.
One of the basic needs that the pandemic has hit all over the world has been the right to education. The education system, which was already handicapped by deep inequality, collapsed for the working classes and poor people when it was run online. When the pandemic is over, it will be seen more clearly that the poor who do not have the necessary equipment to access online education are cut off from the education system. On this basis, it is a vital demand for the children of working classes that a much higher budget must be allocated to provide equal, secular, free, scientific, public education to all students and the elimination of all state subsidies for private and religious education.
6. The struggle against governments using the pandemic to attack people’s right to protest.
2019 was a year of global revolts. Despite the pandemic, this wave of struggle manifested itself in the examples of the USA, Lebanon, Thailand, Belarus, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala and France in 2020. The ruling classes, trapped under the devastating effects of the crisis and pandemic, resort to extraordinary measures under the threat of rebellion. Throughout the world, the leading revolutionary demands of the working classes should be the struggle against the attacks on the right to speech, action and organization, and the defense of all the democratic rights of workers, women, the youth, that are curtailed by authoritarian governments and regimes.
7. The struggle against the socio-environmental disaster of capitalism
The capitalist production and consumption matrix, in addition to exploiting workers, destroys nature with the sole purpose of accumulating private profit. The origin of COVID lies precisely in this brutal form of intervention on ecosystems. In turn, the economic crisis amplified by the pandemic, further drives environmental depredation to obtain cheap raw materials and value capital. Global warming and all the consequences of this disaster fall on the working class and the peoples. For this reason, it is the task of socialists to propose a form of production that satisfies all social needs, but in a way that is sustainable for nature and the health of the majorities.
8. The struggle against oppression of women and LGBT people
The conditions created by the pandemic and the lockdowns aggravated the situation of violence against women and LGBT people. The struggle for gender demands is present worldwide. In this framework, we must be part of these struggles by promoting a program that starts from fundamental demands such as equal pay, measures to combat gender violence, the fight for sexual and reproductive rights and legal abortion, and promotes the unity of these struggles with an anti-capitalist and socialist perspective.
9. The struggle against the danger of imperialist war.
The conditions of capitalist crisis escalate the tensions between capitals and the nation-states which they rely upon. This has always been true in the background of the First and Second World War. There is now an extra tension in the international competition between capitals, such as between China and the USA to the point that there is already talk of a new cold war between these two superpowers. Neither side represents any advantage for the workers of the world. The fight between the two largest economies of the world, of course, does not remain between these countries; the trade war led by the US shrinks the entire world economy and aggravates the economic and geopolitical competition. The United States, despite being the main imperialist power, has weakened to the extent that its hegemonic role has started to be questioned. It is clear that the US capital can take the risk of war to avoid giving up its privileges in virtue of domination over the world . Even though the threat of war does not take yet the form of an “all-out war” in our age of nuclear weapons, regional proxy wars continue to unfold such as Syria, Yemen, Libya and Karabakh. The existence of chronic tension points that will trigger large-scale wars in many parts of the world shows how close the imperialist system is to lead humanity to disasters.
It is of great importance that revolutionary socialists win the confrontation against the pro-capitalist left tendencies and against those who preach “possibilism”. These currents will become shackles for the mass movement in the coming period when the class struggle radicalizes even more. The history of the class struggle is also the history of this confrontation. More recently, in the historical crisis that Greece experienced, the most important power that saved the system was none other than the Euro-communist Syriza and we cannot forget the centrist elements that justified their actions. In Spain, the force that legitimizes the regime born of the Francoist constitution of 78 is the “new left” of Podemos, now in government together with the PSOE. The ones who came to the aid of the reactionary Piñeira and the Pinochet regime in the Chilean rebellion were the Frente Amplio and the Communist Party. Without the neoliberal adaptation of the Brazilian PT, the reactionary Bolsonaro would not have risen to power. The sustainers of capitalism in Nicaragua and Venezuela have been the governments of the Sandinista Front and the PSUV. In Argentina, except for Trotskyism, the entire popular-frontist left has rallied behind the bourgeois Partido Justcialista and its populist and possibilist discourse. Similar actors will step in to play similar roles in the upcoming period when class struggle sharpens. The ISL will escalate the struggle against these historical tendencies that set back the mass movement.
- No to Adaptation to Reformism! For an Independent Class Struggle! Independent class perspective should be brought to the fore against opportunist tendencies that direct the actions of the workers and youth to bourgeois channels, as we recently saw in the US with the imperialist Democratic Party and with the MAS in Bolivia.
- Against all forms of oppression, and for the unity of the working class! Within the movements of struggle against gender, racist and national oppression, we fight for a working class, anti-capitalist and socialist perspective that highlights the relationship between all forms of oppression and capitalist exploitation. We reject identity politics and reactionary postmodernism, which divide the working class and drag struggles into dead ends. Socialism is the only force that can unite all the oppressed and exploited under one banner.
- Sectarian turfism should be abandoned. Traditional narrow-mindedness, which does not recognize any revolutionary organization other than its own organization, is stuck on a national ground, spends most of its energy on vicious conflicts with other revolutionary efforts, is a serious disease in the ranks of revolutionary socialists. It is an urgent necessity for revolutionary socialists, who insist on independent class politics, to come together both in the national and international arena and form fronts and unions of struggle to win the working class.
- In the ranks of those who claim to be revolutionaries, sectarian abstentionism, impressionism, and any attitude of adviser from outside the real class struggle must be abandoned. End the keyboard revolutionaries. The main task of this period is to train pioneering cadres who will acquire formation by energetically intervening in every aspect of the class struggle and fighting to win the masses and their vanguard for socialism using all the tactical and strategic arsenal of revolutionary Marxism. We must also struggle against centrist and reformist tendencies who demand or advise left bureaucrats, instead of constructing an independent revolutionary force.
The International Socialist League calls on workers, women, youth and the vanguard elements who are today in the front lines of the struggles that are taking place throughout the world to unite to face the economic and social counterrevolution that the defenders of this decaying capitalist-imperialist system will try to unleash on us all to save the profits and privileges of a shrinking handful of capitalists. And facing the future that lies ahead, the ISL invites you to unite the social struggle with the political struggle and build together revolutionary socialist parties in all countries and an international organization that will fight for a program to destroy capitalism, help form the organs of working class self-organization, the workers’ government and socialism throughout the world.
Resolution in support of the struggle of the Sahrawi people
For several weeks, at the El Guerguerat border crossing, we have been witnessing a new and violent colonialist aggression by the Kingdom of Morocco towards the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
Exercising their legitimate right to defend themselves, the heroic Sahrawi people, with the youth at the forefront, have responded with all the means at their disposal to this new and brutal aggression.
The International Socialist League stands in solidarity with the just struggle of the Sahrawi people in defense of their territory and to exercise the right to self-determination, independence and freedom.
We repudiate this new act of colonialism on the part of Morocco, which has the explicit support of Donald Trump, US imperialism and Israel, the complicity of the European Union and in particular of Spain and France, as well as the cynicism of the UN.
The International Conference of the ISL demands the withdrawal of all Moroccan troops that have maintained for decades an illegal occupation of most of the territory of Western Sahara, which corresponds to the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
Only the Sahrawi people, without any imperial or colonial interference, have the right to decide their own destiny.