We reproduce the speech of comrade Ángel Luis Parras, Caps, in the 22-years commemoration of PSTU, Brazilian section of IWL-FI.

 

Dear comrades:

It is an honor and a pleasure to salute you in name of the IWL-FI.

22 years of PSTU, a party that reaffirms its reason of existence is the struggle for the revolution and socialism, from and with the working class.

Does it make sense nowadays, in the XXI century, to reaffirm these marks of our identity?

The PSTU was founded in a very hard decade. It was the decade that opened with the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the neoliberal offensive grew all over the planet.

We were told it was “the end of history”, that “capitalism is the only possible social system”, that “democracy is reaffirmed as the universal form of government”, that “the new world has overcome the blocks”, and with it, the dangers of wars; that the advances in the new technologies guaranteed an unlimited progress.

It was supposed to be like “a Marvelous World”.

But 22 years later, their world is the world of the greater economic crisis since 1929; a world of wars and revolutions, which are still the distinctive mark of this epoch.

Their world is featured by more than 400.000 dead in the genocide of the Syrian people; the world of the shameful image of death and desolation represented by the massive arrival of refugees to the costs of Europe, and the despicable treatment given by the “civilized” European Union.

Their world is the world of the Legion of the Unemployed; of hunger salaries and eliminated social rights; of slavery of millions of women and girls; of the destruction of the ecosystem.

And it is in front of this social catastrophe situation when the struggle for socialism reaffirms its full validity.

We do not defend the current necessity of revolution and socialism by dogma, faith, or pseudo-religious devotion. To us, what gives scientific bases to this current necessity is that under this system, humanity has entangled in an infernal spiral; human progress has stopped in a dead end alley.

With every step, the capitalist system exposes its essential contradiction: the one between the each time more social nature of the production, and each time more individual appropriation of such production. It is this contradiction that generates concentration of wealth in an each time smaller pole, while misery grows in the other pole, each time bigger. The growing social inequality is not a defect on the system; it is part of its essence.

A system based on the exploitation of work is not even capable of guaranteeing a job for their salaried workers.

Thus, it is only through the expropriation of the big means of production and exchange that we can reorganize the economy, implement economic planning, and make the production and appropriation social.

There is no other way of guaranteeing food, work and housing for millions of human beings, and end with the wars and the barbarianism, than through the struggle for socialism in the present.

And that is when the propagandists of the system appear, to affirm that to talk about socialism is frowned upon by people, and generates rejection.

Listening to these arguments, one cannot stop wondering: if socialism is so frowned upon, why is it that the star of the electoral campaign in the U.S is a character like Bernie Sanders, who claims to be a socialist? Why, in great part of Europe, the parties in the governments or aiming to get there still call themselves “socialists”? Although ones and the others are as socialist as Eduardo Cunha is an honest benefactor…[1]

They say we did not learn that “socialism has failed”. We will not respond with Marx, Lenin or Trotsky quotes, but with arguments of a young Argentine filmmaker: who has told you socialism has failed? I am passionate for Romeo and Juliet. If I walk into a theatre to see this play and the scene is terrible, the director is a disaster and several actors mix their roles, do I have to right to say Shakespeare failed?

What failed was the Stalinism, its theory-program of the Socialism in One Country. What the workers and peoples of East overthrown were the dictatorships, that infamous and bloody worldwide apparatus the Stalinism was, that restored capitalism through blood and fire, transforming the old bureaucrats into millionaire, prosperous business men.

What the workers and peoples of East put down was that kind of “world government”, the pact signed after WWII by Stalin and the representatives of the world imperialism, UK and US. A pact that allowed for almost half a century the imperialism to recover the main European economies, plunder the colonies, sink the workers’ revolutions in blood, build the Zionist State, and restore its dominance all over the world.

But the Stalinism paid a high price for its betrayal. If the Russian Revolution showed the working class could take the power and give the first steps toward the construction of socialism, the fall of Stalinism reaffirmed the thesis of Trotsky, and showed, as he used to say, the laws of history are stronger than the bureaucratic apparatus.

There is no way to understand the current political crisis, the revolutions and the revolts of these years, from Egypt to Syria, from Greece to France, from Mexico to Turkey, passing through the debacle of the European Union and the social polarization joining the current economic crisis, if the World Pact which defined the destiny of the world since midst XX century had not reach an end.

Thus, where many see a defeat, the fall of Stalinism and the end of its existence as a world apparatus is to us, together with the defeat of Nazism, the greater victory in the history of humanity.

But nothing is more wrong than believing “dead the dog, rabies has ended[2]. Stalinism left its DNA impregnated even in many of those who claim to be fervent anti-Stalinists.

First, because many of those who lead the so-called “new parties”, the Syrizas and Podemos, were educated in the Stalinism ranks, and specially in the European Communist Parties, of the so-called Euro-Communism.

They present themselves as advocates of the “new policy”, and they call us sectarian and obsolete. They say: how can it be you defend the currency, in its essence, of the Communist Manifesto, a program that has nearly 170 years? How can you defend as your model the first triumphant workers’ revolution, the Russian Revolution, which next year will turn… 100 years!

They propose, in exchange, the real Democracy. But… what democracy are they talking about? According to them, we need to go back to the Greek Agora, to the public squares of Ancient Greece, where the citizens debated and resolved it all: such is the “democracy in its pure essence”.

Well, excuse our ignorance, but… how can you call us obsolete because of defending the essence of revolutionary programs and experiences of over a century, to propose right away a model of over 2500 years? Comparing, ours is the last novelty of modernity next to your pre-Flood model.

It is on this vindication of ‘democracy in general’ they show the essence of what they really are. They forget slaves, foreigners, women and poor could not participate of that democracy. It is, in its essence, the slave-holding democracy, the regime of democracy for the big owners.

We defend the only real democracy humanity has known, the workers’ democracy, the democracy of those who produce the social wealth; the democracy implemented through the Soviets, the Workers’ Government, in the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Like the old reformists, the ones of the “new policy” are undeclared defenders of the capitalist system. They locate the central contradiction of the system in the stage of distribution. Their programs stop at the distribution of wealth, a better split, without questioning the production; that is to say, the social relations of property.

But what they show the most is how the Stalinism left its DNA imbued in all that ‘left’, by their generalized use of the “fields theory”.

The deep crisis that started in 2008 intensified all the social contradictions, including the inter-bourgeois disputes. From this true fact, as long ago for the Mensheviks and later the Stalinism, the conception of “fields” and the struggle between them, which is beyond class struggle, becomes a theoretical, programmatic and political conception.

Every time the crisis and the social tension enter the scene, from Venezuela to Brazil, from Spain to Portugal, their conclusion is to bet on the unity of all the “democratic, progressive” forces. The class struggle disappears, and consequent with it they bet on the formation of class collaboration governments between bosses and workers.

They dedicate their effort to convince the workers they must join the caboose of the “progressive bourgeoisie” to not “tease with the right”.

The drive popular and workers’ protests to the fold of the institutions of the bourgeois parliament, erasing all trace of class struggle, and avoiding for the working class to enter the scene independently.

Like the old reformists, they mix the power with the government. This is why, when they get to the government, they are nothing more than managers of the system. Yet, unlike the old German Social-Democrats, of the Social Democracy of post-war Europe, the capitalism is engulfed in its own decay, and its managers, far away from reforms, end up being the governments of the counter-reforms. Thus, like Syriza, they take ahead the greater plan of social cuts (well known in Modern Greek history) and generating three general strikes against it in barely one year.

Something similar can be said about Podemos and the new municipal governments in the Spanish State, that far from expressing any change they end up guaranteeing the presence of big construction companies, the privatization of public services, and facing strikes of public transportation workers in Catalonia, or the fair demands of re-municipalization of the street sweepers and the gardeners of Madrid.

They justify the cowardice and submission to the system by saying we are living a conservative wave around the globe, and a setback in the consciousness of the masses.

They say: otherwise, how to explain the development of the electoral extreme-right in Europe?

They first deny the class struggle, and they are one millimeter away of saying that “each people have the government they deserve”.

As they are tied to their commitment with the bourgeoisie in the middle of this electoral growth of the extreme-right, they cannot explain the role of the European left refusal to confront the Troika; the refusal to demand the split of the European Union and the Euro. They do not explain why over and over again they suffocate the strikes and demonstrations to lead them to the fold of each time more anti-democratic elections. They do not explain their explicit resignation to struggle against the payment of the shameful debt, plundering the workers; and they do not explain their refusal to raise a social emergency plan to rescue the workers and the people. They do not explain, either, how all of this influences the workers’ consciousness.

They blame the others and try to explain the situation by the setback of the consciousness. Actually -let us say things as they are- the only setback of the consciousness is the one they suffered. They try to explain the state of the world like to old Idealists did: instead of going from existence to consciousness, they do the other way around.

They endeavor to dissolve the existence of social classes at each step they give, and then they claim the working class does not acknowledge itself as a class. They implement bourgeois right policies when they get to the governments, and then they claim the people does not differentiate right from left.

We can and must ask the workers and the people what we can actually ask them to do: struggle. What more proof of struggle during all these years do they want? From Syria to Palestine, from Egypt to Turkey, from Mexico to Poland, from France to Greece, from Belgium to Spain: what more proof of struggle do they want?

The workers’ consciousness does not emerge spontaneously, it is the product of confrontation, of conscious, tenacious, daily action; and of a revolutionary leadership to dispute that consciousness in each and all those struggles, that fights for a socialist program and solution, not for an uncertain future but for the present.

The famous writer and poet Victor Hugo used to say: Is there anything worse than a hangman? Yes… the hangman helper!

Thus, the construction of a revolutionary leadership, a revolutionary Party, is impossible if not in the daily confrontation with the hangmen and their helpers.

Does it mean we are sectarian and we deny unity with anyone who does not agree with us? Not at all. We never speared, nor will spear, unity of action with anyone, if it is to struggle. We never speared or will spear the necessary efforts for the working class to build its United Front organisms and irrupt independently into the political scene.

But if they are talking about general “unity” with that alleged left that participates in class collaboration fronts or supports bourgeois parties; or to present together to bourgeois elections as the center of our policy… for such unity, do not count on us.

We do not believe ourselves to be the only revolutionaries of the world; we are convinced behind all those heroic struggles there are many workers, poor, young people and oppressed people, to enlarge the ranks of the revolution, and that is what we work for. But we have seen many times revolutionary parties dissolve in the name of “wide unity”.

If there are more revolutionary parties… pleased to meet them! Let them tell us their name, and put the program on the table, show us what they do every day, and then we will be pleased to debate and work together for unity.

But to dissolve or split a revolutionary party aiming unity with all that alleged left supporting bourgeois governments, waiting for changes based on the election of more and more deputies and leaving the tasks of the socialist struggle for an uncertain future, it is a political crime.

I would not like to end without mentioning, explicitly, the latest events in the PSTU. The unjustified decision of a group of splitting the PSTU and form another party is, without a doubt, a strike, and that is how we feel it in the IWL. We told them our differences, although deep, were not finished nor proved in reality; there were all kind of democratic guarantees for them to defend their opinion inside the IWL-FI and the PSTU. Unfortunately, the comrades decided to consummate what they had been preparing.

We say, as Espinoza: we do not laugh nor cry; we try to understand. We take notes, and move forward.

The old Trotsky said the worse defeats are not when the enemy defeats you but, on his own way, he convinces you.

There is no space for trickery: the IWL-FI has one section in Brazil, and it is called PSTU.

Comrades of PSTU, thank you very much for this beautiful commemoration, which reaffirms our conviction in this party. We were convinces the PSTU would overcome the strike, and this event is the best proof that it will. And we knew this, because this party is not any party.

This party is made of special wood: the wood forged in the factories, poor neighborhoods, among black people, struggling women and precarious youth; among the oppressed people. And it is this wood the great works are made of.

But also, it is an internationalist party. And be sure, comrades of PSTU, the IWL-FI has memory; we will not leave you alone, as you did not leave us alone while we went through the worst, in the middle of the opportunist gale. So count on us for whatever you need.

Comrades: Long live PSTU! Long live the IWL! Long live the Fourth International! Long live the working class struggle!

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Notes:

[1] Eduardo Cunha, President of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil until May 2016, when he resigned after 5 days removed from office, facing corruption charges linked to the Lava Jato Operation [money laundry].

[2] Popular saying meaning when you eliminate the cause, the effects of it end too.

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Translation: Sofía Ballack.