12th Congress of the MST, international report: we move towards a world with more rebellions, opportunities and challenges

The report of the congress of the MST on the international situation was prepared by Alejandro Bodart, general secretary of the party and coordinator of the ISL. We summarize its main points.

The pandemic has worsened, hitting health and the economy even harder. In the world there are already more than 130 million infected and three million people have died, which shows the decay of capitalism. Vaccination is very scarce and with enormous inequality. As there is no global planning, it is very difficult to achieve herd immunity. There are also humanitarian catastrophes, such as the one in Brazil. In 2020 the world economy fell twice as much as in 2008: GDP fell by more than 4%. Compared to other great crises of capitalism, such as the 1930s, this one has different characteristics and consequences. The previous crises were overcome by means of a great destruction of productive forces, with world wars. And in the second post-war period Europe was rebuilt with a large investment of capital from the emerging imperialism, the US: the Marshall Plan. Today those conditions do not exist. Although there is friction between the U.S. and China, for now a war is not the most likely scenario. Also imperialism does not have that much capital to invest. The money that was poured went into helping the corporations, and the States remain heavily indebted and conditioned by the IMF. Only China reduced its growth without falling into recession. The global economy is still not recovering from the blow of 2008. The money received by the big companies did not go to production but to financial speculation, which prepares new crises. During this period, half a million companies went bankrupt. Half of the world’s formal labor force suffered layoffs, suspensions, wage reductions and more precariousness. The scarce social aid was cut, just like the IFE here. And the loans of the European Union to its countries are on condition of labor reforms and to be paid back. This crisis and its political effects will provoke profound changes. According to a recent IMF report, for the end of the pandemic, governments must anticipate new rebellions and revolutions. This crisis is greater than that of World War II. A strengthened imperialism is not emerging; rather the main one is becoming weaker: the USA. In the face of the crisis and the pandemic there was no global leadership. As our current characterized, US imperialism received a great blow with the fall of Stalinism, which gave a certain stability to the world order. The fall of the USSR, very contradictory, left imperialism alone to deal with all conflicts. The dominant imperialism continues to be the US, more at the military level. Economically it is losing ground to China, which is reinforcing its silk route and is seeking alliance with Russia, Iran and other countries. There is a trade war and growing friction between the two, not to be minimized or exaggerated, in a possible scenario of regional wars. Argentina has an ambiguous relationship with China, with soybean groups that have trade deals with it and projects such as the pork project. According to some sectors, China is progressive compared to the U.S. It is not progressive at all, since it is based on the super-exploitation of workers.

A pre-revolutionary world situation

In 2019 a process of struggles began, the yellow vests in France and rebellions in the Middle East and Latin America: a regional pre-revolutionary situation. In 2020 the crisis became global, and today we are in a global pre-revolutionary situation. Even if we do not use the same categories, in the ISL everyone says that the situation is more favorable. The pandemic tempered the class struggle. But what began in 2019 took a leap in 2020, including the rebellion in the USA. Eastern Europe joined with the rebellion in Belarus and the conflicts in Russia. There is almost no region of the world without processes. When the pandemic is over, class struggle and social polarization will intensify, opening up greater possibilities and challenges. This is the framework in which the right wing moves. Like the revolutionaries, it is the only one that has a plan to get out of the crisis, although the opposite one: to super-exploit. On the other hand, those who pretend to go on the same way are in trouble. All governments, right-wing or populist, are going to make implement more austerity measures. Even the ultra-right will grow, without being a dominant project. Possibilists see fascism everywhere and thus justify joining Biden, the Kirchnerism, Lula or Evo. It is not like that: fascism is only possible if there is a defeat of the working class, which did not happen.

More space for the revolutionary left

Polarization opens more space for the left. Possibilists, posing as leftists, seek to divert struggles into class collaboration. Even organizations that were progressive at one time, become reactionary[i] . Another question is why struggles, rebellions or revolutions do not lead to triumph. In the stage prior to the ’90s there were many February revolutions[ii] or unconscious revolutions that achieved triumphs. They did not manage to defeat capitalism, but governments and regimes fell and progress was achieved. Now in Chile there was a great rebellion, but Piñera remains. The same happens in Lebanon and Belarus. The revolution has been normalizing and it has to do with the fall of Stalinism. Before, this used to allow the petite-bourgeois leaderships to go a little further, because the bureaucracy contained the masses. But today, since Stalinism is no longer there, they are afraid of the mass movement and there are no apparatuses to contain it. That is why instead of moving forward they prefer to turn to the right and burn. If there is no revolutionary party, not only October but February itself is difficult. That is why all the possibilists who say “nothing happens” end up supporting the likes of Biden against the likes of Trump. But when they govern, due to the crisis situation, they are super authoritarian and there is no great difference between the two. This stage of capitalist crisis leaves no room for half measures. That is why we must not give in to those who say that since “the right wing is coming” we must support the “lesser evil”. There is also a debate on consciousness and the working class. In the processes of struggle, soviets do not emerge but rather very weak organizations, and the working class is an actor, but not a hegemonic one. This is due to the problem of leadership. And consciousness does not progress only with the struggle: this opens minds and generates progress, but for it to consolidate and reach a real progress, revolutionary organization is needed.

Build the ISL as a revolutionary pole

From the point of view of the international leadership, today there is a void. The San Pablo Forum collapsed and the Fifth International of Chavism died before it was born. The old Stalinism only groups together to support Maduro, the Cuban and Nicaraguan bureaucracy; and they support China, whose labor force is semi-slave. Nor is there a dynamic pole from the revolutionary left: there is a crisis for not having found the way to turn the processes around, for acting badly, some in a sectarian way and others in an opportunist way. The Fourth [iii] does not act in the class struggle, it acts as a widow of Stalinism. And a new regrouping of “progressive” intellectuals emerged; in the US they propose to return to Kautsky and reformism, which has already failed. But none of them is a pole because they have no real impact on the class struggle. The ISL can become a pole, because it proposes the only viable model to unite the revolutionary forces around a program to build an international. Accepting that there are different traditions and that we must go to a new, overcoming one, with confidence to debate everything and in an anti-skeptical harmony. Because the root of reformism and sectarianism is in not believing possible the dispute for power [iv]. We see good possibilities to transform the ISL into a pole. All over the world there are regroupment processes, a vanguard that wants to organize itself and that allows us to grow. Being a dynamic international current makes it easier for us to capture the vanguard, which looks at what is happening in the world and also if we lead workers’ sectors. Without an international it is not possible to take power anywhere. And if it is taken, an international project is required to support it. That is why we must be more and more internationalist. The MST must play an important role in strengthening the ISL, which in turn strengthens it.

[i] In Greece, Syriza at the beginning played a progressive role, but when it took office it agreed the austerity and collapsed. Podemos in Spain emerged against the caste and the PSOE, but now co-governs with it. The Frente Amplio in Chile, the opposition to Piñera, in the face of the rebellion went on to support him so that he would not fall. And in the PSOL of Brazil, the reformist majority seeks to make it the caboose of the PT.

[ii] By analogy with the Russian February 1917. That revolution overthrew the Tsar, but since the reformists had more weight than the revolutionaries, a bourgeois government took over. As that government did not solve the problems of the masses, in October a new revolution brought the Bolsheviks to power.

[iii] Fourth International – Unified Secretariat.

[iv] The sectarians are not open to tactics towards the new phenomena. They do not interfere and see their international development by copying the recipes of a mother-party. And the opportunists, as they disbelieve in the revolution, go after any reformist project in pursuit of some office.