This text is a transcription of a speech made by Moreno at LIT’s Congress in 1985.
Comrade Joaquin, of MPS – Dominican Republic, brought us a good document, which greatly touched me. But I have to confess that when I read it I was awfully frightened. It was the opposite of our Colombian comrade’s speech [Pan y Libertad], who harshly criticized us, and it made me happy, and pleased me completely when he pointed out that it was necessary for us to come together so we could carry on militancy.
On the other hand, I confess that in Joaquin’s document I read something innocuous. But frankly, fellow Joaquin’s intervention was also of a high political level, because it brought an issue on which many of the comrades at LIT have been on: [if our privileged tactics is] the revolutionary united front, why don’t we start [to call the construction] of the Fourth International, or something similar?
I will answer to the problem of the “Fourth International” starting from the number. This issue of the number – First, Second, Third and Fourth International – is not a whim. Just as it is not a matter of whim that someone tell their age when asked; the question is asked to know exactly how old the person is. What do I mean? Do we propose to found the Fifth International, or not? The two problems are closely linked. First we must decide whether or not we should have an International. Then, we have to deal with the name. Everyone has a name and age. We must decide on the name and age we can give it. Is it the Fourth or the Fifth?
The various International were founded complying with deep needs of the class struggle’s process. The first was established – almost independently of Marx – through an objective process. At that time Germany was a very backward country and France as well. The workers used to go to England, especially the Germans and Italians. Germany exported a lot of manpower, as currently do Colombia or Bolivia, the Turks, the Portuguese, the Spanish.
One year before the founding of the First International, there were many immigrant workers in England. When the French workers, passing through England, got in touch with the English trade unions, they started to build relationships around a major problem: the European workers who immigrated to England. It started with such a relationship and ended up in the founding of the First International. Then it was the result of an objective process, the birth of the world proletariat, in this case, the European one. It was the first international organization of national workers’ organizations that existed at the time. It was formed based on union and political leaders, not just political leaders. This labor movement suffered a terrible defeat in the Paris Commune. It was its first major defeat. The International stumbled on it and, as such, disappeared shortly after.
Similarly, as part of an objective process, the Second International arose: all capitalist countries had socialist and Marxist parties. It was the International of the Socialist parties, the Marxist parties. In the beginning many of them did not call themselves Marxists. The word “Marxist”, this way, fanatical, orthodox, was imposed by Kautsky (some day the young Kautsky, the great leader of the proletarian current, will be claimed).
And why does the Third International arise? Because the World War of 1914, another objective fact, destroyed the Second International. The parties in the Second International fought against each other. They fought under fire in separate blocks. The German Socialist Party supports its government in favor of the war, and the others do the same. Objectively, the II International’s militants were shooting each other. Could [the International] have survived under these circumstances? It was destroyed by an objective fact, as well as the reformism and the labor aristocracy.
The Third International was founded due to this real fact. [And it destroyed itself because] Stalinism allowed Hitler to rise to power and provoked the greatest historic defeat of the German proletariat. The Nazism victory in Germany is not anything of minor significance. It is not equivalent to the rise to power of military officers such as Pinochet in Chile. It was the most profound historical defeat that the world proletariat has ever experienced. The German proletariat was the vanguard of the world proletariat, along with the Russian one. Shortly after Hitler’s, the other major world proletariat defeat was the Soviet Union’s proletariat under Stalin. This means that the two fundamental phalanxes of the world proletariat were defeated by the counter-revolution. The first one by the capitalist counter-revolution and the other by the bureaucratic counter-revolution. This objective process leads to the collapse of the Third International.
The destruction of the Third International and the need for founding the Fourth International is part of this counter-revolutionary process. What is the need of a Fourth International foundation? To lead the world socialist revolution, the permanent revolution, and to preserve the principles of Marxist internationalism: the workers’ democracy, the Transitional Program, the proletarian morale … (the Third International, the Communist International, had begun to do it in its first four Congresses). To preserve the legacy of Marxism is the very first: to have an International. This thought line was entirely correct, so much so that Stalin dissolved the Third International as soon as he could (not to mention that at this point, he no longer summoned their congresses). Under Stalinism, the congresses were increasingly scarce. On the peak period of the civil war, Lenin and Trotsky used to hold an International Congress every year. Soon after Stalin took the Third International, the Congresses were held every five, six or seven years.
The Fourth International is therefore a necessity; it has to do with the present time. [No matter] that it is weak or not: it is a programmatic issue. And it must be called Fourth International because it is the international of the world socialist revolution, which would occur after the second imperialist world war. This is the essence of Trotskyism, Trotsky’s call to found the Fourth International. This is so important that Trotsky wanted to found it when [the internationalists] were nearly nothing.
This confirms an issue on which we insisted today, when talking with our fellows of Lutte Ouvriere: there can’t be Trotskyists who do not belong to, who do not found it, who are not actively acting, who do not participate in or do not have a tendency to intervene organically in an international organization. Even only a league, no matter there is sixty participants: ten in one country, four in another, etc.., but an International. The examples demonstrate it. Before the First International there were the League of Communists and other variants. This brings us to the essence of Marxism, because there can’t be even a correct national development if there is not an International Organization; if it were not so, we might consider ourselves as gods.
If I had to run the Argentinean party without the International, in all my reports to the party I would say: “This isolated direction, without the world party, must have made a huge amount of mistakes; please try to find them, because we are a very bad leadership, we are the direction of just a national party”. And indeed I did it. Any fellow of the old guard is well aware that our reports were so, and that Posadas used to laugh. He used to publish reports saying, “Who shall come to an organization where its own leadership says he’s a disaster because of his national characteristics?”
The problem of the Fourth International is not quite as simple as to add or remove the name “Fourth International”. The problem of the Fourth International is a historical task to be accomplished. We must put this name because it is programmatic. But we could take out the name “International Workers’ League,” why not? We could get any other name. What we cannot remove is “Fourth International” until there are very objective and deep reasons for such.
Let us suppose large mass, revolutionary and non-Trotskyist parties arise advocating the creation of an International. According to Trotsky’s advice, we would participate in it. But only if these parties were mass parties, even if they make mistakes or have a program a bit opportunistic. We would participate in, because in the mass parties we must adopt a policy different from the policy we adopt towards the vanguard parties.
The theoretical and programmatic issue is very important but not decisive, because the presence of the masses decides everything. But we would fight to be named “Fourth.” And if they did not accept, we would demand that they put a number, i.e., that they stated if it was the “fourth” or the “fifth”, and that they explained the succession, that they explained to which genealogical tree they belonged to because this genealogical tree is part of the science.