“The world party is the number one priority of the workers movement because there is a world economy and a world policy to which the national realities are subordinated […] The existence of a world policy is characteristic of capitalism and, since it is a question of overthrowing it, an instrument in accordance with that reality and that task is needed […]”.
Nahuel Moreno, 1986.
Forty years have passed since that infamous meeting of revolutionaries from different countries. The central resolutions passed by attendees became an important step towards overcoming what Leon Trotsky defined in 1938 as the most important problem of all humanity: the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the proletariat. The meeting was held in Bogota, Colombia. It took place between January 5 and 11, 1982, and founded what today is called the International Workers League (IWL-FI).
By Daniel Sugasti
At first, the assembly was called an “International Consultation Meeting.” The call was made to leaders from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, United States, France, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Sweden, Uruguay and Venezuela. Comrades from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Greece, Belgium, Germany and Turkey were unable to attend but sent their support.
Most of those present were members of the former Bolshevik Faction (Facción Bolshevik, FB), a revolutionary organization of international character which had as its main builder and leader the Argentine Trotskyist Hugo Miguel Bressano Capacete, known as Nahuel Moreno. This current, for many years, had been part of the then-called Unified Secretariat of the Fourth International (SU), the majority organization within the Trotskyist movement since its reunification in 1963. Ernest Mandel was one of the most well-known supporters of the SU. The break with the former SU, as we will see in the articles in this special, took place in 1979, in the middle of difficult programmatic, political, and, above all, moral polemics.
In 1980, the sector led by Moreno tried to unify with another led by Pierre Lambert. But this attempt was short-lived given the capitulation of the Lambertist current to the Mitterrand government, which took office in 1981.
Not all those present in Bogota had been part of the former FB. That meeting, which once again had the purpose of regrouping the orthodox Trotskyists, was also attended by the Venezuelan Alberto Franceschi and Ricardo Napurí, then two important leaders of the former CORCI (an organization headed by Lambert). One of the central motives of the “International Consultation Meeting” was to organize the defense of Napurí’s revolutionary honor, slanderously attacked by Lambert and Jorge Villarán, leader of the Partido Obrero Marxista Revolucionario (POMR), the Peruvian Lambertian organization.
In this sense, the meeting approved two texts: “The International Consultation Meeting demands that the Protocol be respected” and “Against the slanderers, in defense of the revolutionary honor of Ricardo Napurí and of proletarian morality.” But there was a third decision of strategic character. Participants voted to convert that international meeting into a World Founding Conference of the International Trotskyist Organization.
This Conference, in addition to discussing the balance sheet on the latest attempts at unification of the Trotskyist movement and the perspectives of its orthodox wing, deliberated on the principles, program, statutes, publications, name, and leadership of a new revolutionary international organization.
The central premise for this undertaking, later expressed in the form of a thesis, stated categorically:
“The greatest material and objective need of humanity, the world socialist revolution, has a subjective correlate: a world revolutionary leadership. Without the latter, the former is impossible. Thus, the crisis of humanity worsens day by day without a solution […] The absolute objective necessity of the world socialist revolution is concretized, embodied, in the absolute subjective necessity of a revolutionary -not bureaucratic- international leadership”.
Convinced of this historical understanding, from the deliberations of this Conference the current International League of Workers-Fourth International -IWL (FI)- was born. This name was determined, anecdotally, by a narrow margin of two votes, in opposition to another proposal: “International League of the Socialist Revolution-Fourth International.”
A new Leninist-Trotskyist revolutionary international organization thus appeared on the scene, facing the present and with a whole future ahead of it. The joy took hold of those few dozens of comrades present, all of them self-sacrificing militants, hardened by the harsh vicissitudes of the class struggle in their countries. The final speech of the 1982 Conference, brief and emotional, closed paraphrasing Trotsky’s last words: “We are sure of the victory of the Fourth International.” Tears ran down more than one face. Fists were clenched and raised. At the end of the conference, despite tremendous fatigue after seven intense days, everyone hugged each other, jumping and singing: “If this is not the Fourth, the Fourth where is it…”. Nahuel Moreno, quite rightly, could state: “The existence of an orthodox Trotskyist tendency is a fact.”
Thus, we were born. Thus, arose this international current, whose past and present we claim with immense militant pride.
Starting today, and during the following weeks, we will present to our readers a series of articles to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of our international organization.
These articles will have the objective of rescuing certain elements of our militant trajectory, our principles, and main political experiences. Among other topics, we will offer a history of the IWL-FI up to our days; we will deal with the need and possibility of a world socialist revolution; the intervention of the Morenoist current, with almost 80 years of existence, in the workers’ movement; the meaning and role of proletarian and revolutionary internationalism; democratic centralism as the organizational regime of the vanguard parties; the militant character necessary for revolutionary parties. In this sense, we will raise the debate on what it means to be a militant of a revolutionary organization; the attitude of Marxism on oppressions; the legacy and the present of our current in the elaboration on Palestine and the conflicts in the Middle East; the role of classic Stalinism and its new variants; the role of reformism, its new forms and the attitude of Trotskyism before this enemy tendency of the workers’ and socialist revolution.
Some articles will be accompanied by videos as an introduction. We invite everyone to visit and spread the special with comrades. In this way, appropriating our past for the future, we will commemorate the last four decades of the IWL-FI, a Trotskyist current with a working-class, socialist and internationalist program, at the service of the reconstruction of the Fourth International founded by Leon Trotsky.
Go to our Special celebrating 40 years of the IWL-FI https://litci.org/en/40years/