Between 5th and 12th April, the XI Congress of the IWL-FI, the highest instance of the our International was held and it took place within the framework of a very rich and dynamic reality.
On the one hand, this reality is brand marked by the continuity of the impact of the economic crisis initiated in 2007. Even if it is not at its lowest point, especially not in the USA, is still continues on almost recessive levels in Europe and it now affects the so-called “emerging countries”, among them Latin American while the brake on the Chinese economy is increasingly evident.
On the other hand, together with the continuity of the process of class struggle stemming out of the previous years as what is going on Europe (with all their contradictions) and in the Arab countries, especially in Egypt and Syria, a marked instability can be seen in Latin America. The relative tranquillity of the previous years, the one that had put an end to the revolutionary processes of the first five years of the XXI century is now clearly perceivable. It’s beginning a strong crisis, or at least a remarkable erosion of several populist or popular front governments that in the previous years undoubtedly dominated the political scenario on the continent. The rising cycle of these governments is closed and, in this process, the erosion of the Chavez-Castro current begins. Together with this, unlike what was happening in the early XXI century, Brazil joined in with the “June Days” in 2013, expressing the deep dissatisfaction of important sectors of the Brazilian society.
The specific issues of this process is its spontaneity and the antiparty features that can only be understood if we take the crisis of the revolutionary leadership and the confusion that lingers on in many sectors after the fall of the “real socialism”. Actually, this feature (crisis of the leadership) is also perceivable in all the remaining processes and explains many of the contradiction and much of the unevenness as those in the case of the Arab world.
A new moment for the IWL-FI
Another element observed at the Congress was the continuous development and growth of the IWL-FI.
Just as we have pointed out, the crisis of the revolutionary leadership of the revolutionary leadership and its refractions in each country is the ultimate explanation of the way the processes develop with all the extremely strong contradictions and unevenness.
At the same time, as Trotsky put it in the Transitional Programme, the answer to this crisis of revolutionary leadership is the most strategic and, at the same time the most urgent task for revolutionaries. This task is expressed in the IWL-FI by the proposal of “Reconstruction of the IV International”.
This is why the world revolutionary situation is opening ever accruing possibilities of intervention for the IWL-FI and, together with this, its growing and developing. The Congress discussed the need for marking the difference between the spaces for intervention of the parties and of its construction with all their specific tasks.
Within the framework of this discussion we could verify that the IWL-FI continued developing since its previous Congress extending its areas of activity to new countries and regions.
At this Congress, this was expressed through the incorporation of the LPS of Senegal that could only arrive late, when the Congress had already begun and were welcomed with a great ovation. There was also the small but great headway (because we had started from zero) in the intervention in the processes of the Arab world, especially in the Syrian civil war; or in the presence of a representative from Turkey, with the new reality in that country and its enormous importance as the hinge between Europe and the Muslim world.
On the other hand, the insertion and participation of several of its sections in the processes of class struggle (strikes, demonstrations, confrontations) and other facts of real life, such as legalisation and electoral participation of several sections is an evidence of maturing of these organisations.
We can quote the Brazilian PSTU as an example taking active part in the June 2013 processes and promoter of a trade union central – small but real and dynamic, such as CSP-Conlutas or the simultaneous electoral participation of three Central American sections (PT of Costa Rica, PST of Honduras and UST of El Salvador).
In the case of Europe, which has been voted as a priority at the previous Congress, we could see the sections growing in strength: two of them will take part in the European elections, MAS of Portugal and Corriente Roja in Spain, which takes active part in the processes of reorganisation through their participation in Cobas and in Hay Que Pararles Los Pies, and in Italy, where No austerity, a coordination of struggles, is being boosted by the PdAC.
This rich and dynamic reality was submitted to analysis at the different points of the Congress. And, as it could not be otherwise, at different points very intense debates took place that cropped up from the different approaches and perceptions of reality and that in turn led to different tactics or proposals of action.
Such was the case, for example, during the discussion of the points on Syria and Egypt. When Syria was under discussion, the debate hinged round the general dynamics and the definition of each one of the camps, the meaning of the direct takeover by the military and how to act in the face of repression against the Muslim Brotherhood. Another point under strong debate was when we analysed the best tactics and forms of organisation for the struggle against the oppression of women.
Other intense debates referred to Europe, especially regarding the best tactics and programmes to intervene in the struggles and develop our organisations. And as for Brazil, it was all about how to respond best to the situation that started in June 2013.
These debates, shades and differences took place in the background of deep strategic unity. They resemble the intense debates and discussions in the Russian Bolshevik trend throughout its entire history that moulded the party that led the Russian Revolution in 1917. They are an expression of a live international organisation that was at the same time most complex because of its insertion in the different realities and dissimilar perception of these realities.
Building revolutionary parties
Another debate that ran across the Congress is decisive for the construction of proletarian organisations in this period.
This capitalist crisis and development and the polarisation of class struggle provide revolutionaries great possibilities of growth. Broad sectors of the proletarian and young vanguard are making headway towards fighting positions and are becoming increasingly radical. They join the revolutionary processes with all their might and freshness and yet also with the false illusions regarding the “deepening of democracy”. They admit no reference of socialism or of destruction of capitalism.
It is on these limitations of awareness that the brutal pressure exerted by the bourgeoisie and its institutions on all the organisations (revolutionary as well as centrist and reformist), as the space for their growth accrues. This is unavoidable for it is a law of reality: the more an organisation progresses, the greater are the pressures exerted over it by the institutions of bourgeois democracy, electoral processes, mass media, trade union apparatuses, etc.
This has always been so, but it becomes deeper as the class struggle turns sharper. The immense majority of the left anti-capitalist organisations, even those who come from Trotskyism (as the United Secretariat) capitulate to these pressures and abandoned strategies, programmes and the conception of party and International and turn intoelectioneering, reformist and economistic organisations.
This is not an abstract problem. For example: anyone who gains access to union office begins to receive pressures to be “moderate” or “to “Stay out of politics.” Anyone who is elected to the parliament begins to enjoy the access to the media, financial means at his disposal, to “be important” and enjoy differential treatment, suffers the pressure of gaining votes no matter what… and what we say about individuals is twice as valid for organisations and the temptation of seeking “shortcuts” towards the masses and the construction of the party.
It is what we called an “opportunist tidal wave” what led many of them to capitulate to Chavism a few years ago just as they now capitulate to the Greek Syriza that get more intense as the situation evolves. And this is what we confront from the IWL-FI.
These pressures that have changed the character of these organisations also affect revolutionary parties and even us. The future and the character of any organisation are determined by its capacity to confront these pressures. The first step to fight against them is to admit them and identify them. As a rule, capitulation to these pressures begins with denying them.
It is not all about adopting the “purity” of the sectarians who, in order to avoid being polluted do not participate in the processes. We have no vocation of a sect.
It is all about intervening with all our capacity, fighting boldly so that our organisations can grow, develop, augment their influence without abandoning our programme, our policy and the character of a revolutionary organisation and still fighting against pressures and perils. Even if there are not prescriptions of schemas, it is good to remember the premises that Nahuel Moreno used to pose. “Be more of a proletarian, more Marxist and more internationalist than ever” as a mechanism to oppose against of the pressures in real life.
The theoretical and programmatic preparation
Among the aspects highlighted by Moreno one was especially outstanding: the conclusion that we shall not be able to make headway and simultaneously fight against the pressures if we do not begin at a deep study of international reality and national realities. And from there we advance to work out theoretic and programmatic responses of this reality, particularly regarding the new processes and phenomena as derivatives from the restoration of the former USSR and Eastern Europe.
Together with this response to reality, this work must be in the service of ideological struggle against the bureaucratic and reformist trends, against the backwardness in the awareness of the masses that is a foothold for these trends to gain support.
There’s a belief that ideological struggle is only for “days of tranquillity” and not for days of the most intense class struggle. We should always bear in mind what Frederic Engels posed as a criterion: that revolutionaries should always boost three kinds of struggle: economic, political and ideological.
Actually, it is in the most algid flashpoints of class struggle that the ideological battle is most necessary because these are the moments when our parties have the greatest possibility of growing and the dispute with other trends becomes the toughest.
One of the aspects of this work is a deep and permanent study of the previous revolutions. Here we relied on Trotsky had highlighted when he said that it would have been impossible for the Bolsheviks to lead the Russian Revolution in 1927 if they had not studied the processes from the French Revolution up to the processes on 1905 in Russia herself.
Consistently with this analysis, one of the main definitions of the Congress was to vote the study of and work on the theoretic-programmatic update. Together with this, the Congress resolved to devote significant resources of cadres and funds of the International and to use such tools as seminars and courses.
As important as the above was assigned to the reassertion of the need to proletarise the International and its sections (implant it in the working class) as a strategy for construction that will strengthen once more our belonging to the class and our character of revolutionaries.
Once more, following Moreno, we get linked to and inserted in the proletariat as the only guarantee to build very solid organisation, not subject to the ideological “fashion” so habitual on the left. And also because our model of socialism with proletarian democracy can only be achieved by the permanent and self-determined mobilisation of the masses under the leadership of the working class. This is what we understand by “being more proletarian than ever”.
An enthusiastic finale
So, tired because of the intensity of the sessions and debates, but satisfied with the work accomplished, representatives and invited guests marked the end of the Congress singing the International in several languages. It was a way of saying, “we are steady and full of enthusiasm to go on fighting now that we are politically better armed after the rich debate and the preceding resolutions.
Later on we celebrated with music and dance; this ensured fraternization and fun after all this hard work. As the old man Marx used to say, “Nothing human is alien to us.”