In the second week of March 2023, a new Congress of the International Socialist League will take place. It will be held in Barcelona, Spain. Over one week, delegates and guests from all continents will debate the current situation of the class struggle worldwide, the important changes that have occurred since our previous Congress, held at the end of last year, the latest advances of the ISL and we will prepare to carry out a series of tasks to continue strengthening this project that has proven to be dynamic and exciting.
By Alejandro Bodart
A few months after our previous congress ended, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused enormous changes in the international situation and divided the left throughout the world. The war, when the world had not yet managed to recover from the consequences of the pandemic, exacerbated the economic crisis, produced a leap in the hardships of the masses worldwide and once again put humanity on edge due to the possibility of the aggression escalating to an open confrontation between the different wings of imperialism.
The lack of understanding of the double character of the war, which from the beginning combined the just struggle of the Ukrainian people against the invasion of a foreign power with imperial desires such as Russia on the one hand, and the use of the conflict by the US and NATO to try to expand their influence in the region, provoking an intensification of inter-imperialist friction not seen since the end of World War II on the other, created enormous confusion in part of the left. Instead of supporting the resistance of the Ukrainian people, calling for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and NATO from Eastern Europe, a sector of the left sided with Russia, ignoring its imperialist nature.
As usually happens in the heat of great events in the class struggle, nuances arose within our international organization with our comrades from Turkey who, as events advanced, became important differences in relation to the war and the policy that revolutionaries should hold.
Being the only organization with a section in Ukraine allowed us to have an in-depth discussion, as well as directly participate in events through our comrades of the Ukrainian Socialist League.
In the congress, in addition to analyzing the changes that the war has produced in the world situation, we will discuss in depth the characterization and role of the emerging imperialisms, not only Russia’s but mainly China’s and the dynamics that their increasingly hot “cold war” with the US and the European Union.
The right and new rebellions
An issue that will not be absent from the deliberations will be the emergence and dynamism that different extreme right formations have been taking in practically all regions of the world. This phenomenon, which cannot be underestimated nor superficially overestimated, forces us to study it in depth. These neo-fascist right-wing forces in many countries are reaching government or are becoming stronger as government alternatives. This forces revolutionaries to develop the best policy to combat them, while rejecting the orientation of reformist sectors that, based on this reality, promote and generate expectations for popular-front solutions, as we are seeing in France and Brazil.
Obviously the world is experiencing extreme political and social polarization. Little is being said about the other pole of the situation, which has the working class and poor masses leading rebellions and revolutions in more and more countries and regions, as we are seeing these days in Iran or Peru, but which have been preceded by large uprisings in Sri Lanka, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Lebanon, the US itself and large-scale union struggles in England and other countries in Europe and Asia.
In these processes, the lack of revolutionary leadership continues to be the weakness that prevents categorical victories, at the same time that the depth that these events have been acquiring opens conditions to begin taking leaps in the construction of revolutionary organizations, a debate that will be crucial to develop in our event.
PSOL and NPA
Politics towards the different Broad Parties that emerged in this century, some more anti-capitalist, others less so, in which reformists have coexisted with some revolutionary formations, has been a very important debate over the years. Syriza in Greece was perhaps the one that aroused the most expectations and also the one that produced the most frustration. Beyond the balance sheet of this and that experience, which we have to continue debating in order to draw conclusions, an acute crisis is currently taking place in two broad experiences in which we are involved.
In France the NPA has just split in two. The Mandelist sector provoked the division to ease its shift to the NUPES, the center-left formation led by Melanchón. But the other sector, a regrouping of different extreme left tendencies, has decided to set up a new socialist and revolutionary party, opening a new opportunity for the left.
In Brazil, the leadership of the PSOL, although it has not yet obtained the votes to join Lula’s new government in office, has just voted in its last meeting, almost unanimously, that it will support the government “from outside,” initiating a liquidationist course of a project that had managed to bring together a broad vanguard when it broke with the PT and began a policy independent of the bourgeois and reformist variants.
In our congress, one of the important topics will be the debate of the policy and orientation of our international to accompany the new party that is being born in France and the support for our comrades in Brazil in their difficult struggle against the accelerated course towards a debacle that the PSOL is taking.
One step back, several steps forward, many challenges
The ISL has many challenges ahead. Unfortunately, a founding group of our project, the SEP of Turkey, based on disagreements with the war, decided to disassociate from the international instead of betting on developing the debate and searching for consensus. We will take stock of this experience and we will surely draw useful conclusions for the future.
But the central debate of our Congress, in addition to those that we have already raised and the theoretical and political definitions that we will discuss, will be how to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that have opened up to us from the different incorporations and presence of our international in practically all the continents.
We recently carried out a very successful campaign in support of the people imprisoned and persecuted in Nicaragua by the Ortega dictatorship. This allowed us to link up with the PRT of Costa Rica, a party that has just applied to join the ISL. With them, our Nicaraguan section and comrades in other countries in the region, we have the challenge of expanding to all of Central America.
The unification process of our Colombian youth group with the comrades of the GTS, who have a long tradition and insertion in the working class, is underway. In Brazil, the unification conference between Socialist Alternative and Socialist Struggle has already been scheduled, which will allow us to give much more strength to the struggle against the liquidationist course of the PSOL leadership and offer an alternative to the vanguard that rejects this course.
In Argentina, the MST has the challenge of continuing to develop in a political situation in which the left, through the FITU, can become an alternative for the masses in the coming period.
In Africa, our comrades from Kenya, recently incorporated into our international, have built an important organization and can become a pole of attraction for groups from other countries in the region with which they have increasingly fluid relations.
In Ukraine and all of Eastern Europe, a favorable outcome of the war, which we cannot rule out, can open up a revolutionary situation and allow us to take important leaps in various countries.
In Asia, the development of The Struggle, our Pakistani section, opens up the prospect of building in India and beyond the subcontinent in the near future.
The fraternal relations that we maintain with our comrades from Australia, who have just achieved a very important electoral success, with our comrades from the US and France, immersed in the construction of a new party, broaden our outlook and enrich our elaboration. All these opportunities and those that we have in other countries make our Congress an event of great importance, to collectively elaborate and outline guidelines that can allow us to live up to the situation that we have and the opportunities that lie ahead. The ISL is still a small and very young organization, but with an enormous future if we remain firmly on the path we have decided to follow.