proposed amendments to the "draft of the programmatic thesis for the congress for the refoundation of the IV international"



21 April 2004  

The world situation

Amend point 1 as follows:

1. The characteristics distinguishing the present historical stage [are determined by the imperialist epoch opened at the end of the nineteenth century, the period of long-term capitalist disequilibrium and crisis opened in the early 1970s (1), the capitalist offensive from the late 1970s, culminating in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the restoration of capitalism in nearly all of the former Soviet bloc, and the partial revival of the struggles of the workers and the oppressed since the mid-1990s.]

[The capitalist offensive against the working class and capitalist restoration in the former Soviet bloc and, rapidly, in China have] reinforced competition within the world working class, as hundreds of millions of workers [are thrown against each other in] the world market. [The strength of the workers' movement in the capitalist countries and] the expropriation of capital [in Russia, Eastern Europe, China and elsewhere], by limiting competition through [class-struggle,] revolutionary [and sometimes bureaucratic] means, had signified progress in the struggle of the working class against the capitalist class for the allocation of world income.

[Footnote: (1) In 1921-22 the Communist International discussed revolutionary perspectives, following the defeat of three waves of European revolutionary struggle in 1918, 1919 and 1921. Leon Trotsky, incorporating the empirical observations of Nikolai Kondratiev and others, developed the concept of capitalist equilibrium and disequilibrium to explain the apparent "long waves" in the curve of capitalist development. In a report to the Third Comintern Congress Trotsky explained this concept.

"With the imperialist war we entered the epoch of revolution, that is, the epoch when the very mainstays of capitalist equilibrium are shaking and collapsing. Capitalist equilibrium is an extremely complex phenomenon. Capitalism produces this equilibrium, disrupts it, restores it anew in order to disrupt it anew, concurrently extending the limits of its domination. In the economic sphere these constant disruptions and restorations of the equilibrium take the shape of crises and booms. In the sphere of interclass relations the disruption of equilibrium assumes the form of strikes, lockouts, revolutionary struggle. In the sphere of interstate relations the disruption of equilibrium means war or -- in a weaker form -- tariff war, economic war, or blockade. Capitalism thus possesses a dynamic equilibrium, one which is always in the process of either disruption or restoration. But at the same time this equilibrium has a great power of resistance, the best proof of which is the fact that the capitalist world has not toppled to this day." (Trotsky, "Report on the World Economic Crisis and the New Tasks of the Communist International," 23 June 1921, in The First Five Years of the Communist International, 2nd ed., New York: Pathfinder Press, 1972, vol. 1, p. 174, original emphasis)]


Capitalist restoration in the former degenerated/deformed workers' states

Amend points 2 and 3 as follows:  

2. [Capitalism has been restored in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, although the market does not yet function smoothly there and the state bureaucracy intervenes in the economy much more than is usual in the advanced capitalist countries. China and Vietnam remain deformed workers' states, but ones in rapid dissolution. North Korea and Cuba retain their previous character as deformed workers' states, although they cannot survive indefinitely in their current isolation.]

[The restorations occurred essentially through a combination of the isolation of these states in an imperialist world and the domination of the state bureaucracy over the working class. The isolation, not relieved by socialist revolution in the advanced capitalist countries, meant relentless imperialist pressure. The bureaucratic domination, not terminated by workers' political revolution, led to internal rot. The restorations confirmed the words of the 1938 Transitional Program: "The political prognosis has an alternative character: either the bureaucracy, becoming ever more the organ of the world bourgeoisie in the workers' state, will overthrow the new forms of property and plunge the country back to capitalism; or the working class will crush the bureaucracy and open the way to socialism".]

The capitalist restoration signifies, as a whole, that is, independently of the partial and relative results it may have had in this or that country, a historic regression of the productive [relations] imposed by the [dominant social order, capitalism].

3. The restoration of capitalism, [realized in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and well underway in China,] has widened the radius of exploitation for international capital. The opening up of the former workers' states has offered capital a new possibility for exploitation, involving hundreds of millions of people (China) or the possibility of appropriating, moreover, a sophisticated technical park (Russia). But this onset of a [hypothetical] solution for the saturation of the world market has [in fact] been accompanied by a greater saturation of that same world market itself.

[The rest of the point unchanged with regard to capitalist restoration.]


World economy

Amend point 10 as follows:

10. [The world capitalist economy grew relatively rapidly during the 1950s and 1960s based on the equilibria established during and after World War II: between the capitalist class and the working class, among the imperialist states, between the imperialists and the semicolonies, and between the imperialists and the workers' states. These class and state equilibria permitted the capitalists to reestablish an economic equilibrium. They invested profitably to rebuild the means of production destroyed during the world wars and the 1930s depression, to exploit the technological advances of the twentieth century, and generally to fill the available economic space.]

The world economic phase initiated around the time of the seventies is not only to be distinguished from that which took place in the post-war by [a flattening] of the general curve of development of production. It is characterized by [sharp] cyclic recessions, financial crises of unusual amplitude, [and a brutal widening of the gap between the imperialist countries and the rest of the world and between the capitalists and the workers and peasants in every country. The 1997-99 financial crises from Thailand to Brazil, the 2001 recession and ensuing stagnation, and the 2002-03 deflation of the speculative financial bubble in the advanced capitalist countries ended the capitalist "euphoria" sparked by dissolution of the USSR and the proclamation of the "new world order".]

The world economy, as a whole, is characterized by the tendency towards greater [economic] crises, [more intense interimperialist economic rivalry, a higher rate of exploitation of the working class, and more suffering for the workers and the oppressed]. World politics, in turn, is conditioned by these tendencies of the economy.

Antiglobalization and antiwar movements

Amend point 13 as follows:

13. Since the mass demonstration of Seattle, in 1999, a great international movement of struggle against imperialism has been placed in evidence. This irruption constitutes one of the most noteworthy expressions of struggle in the present world crisis. The anti-globalization movement debuted denouncing "the dictatorship" of the organizations of international finance and commerce, but right away also motorized huge mass mobilizations against the imperialist war in the Balkans and in Iraq. Objectively, it has been a factor of popular intervention in the political crises that have affected the imperialist powers involved in the war.

Although the presence of working class youth predominates in the anti-globalization mobilizations, the proletariat does not intervene in it as a class, with consciousness as such, that is, with its banners, its demands or even with its organizations. When on some occasions the trade union bureaucracy appears, [it has tried to keep] the movement [in] the camp of imperialism. There is no doubt, however, that it constitutes a stage in the maturity of the current generation of workers.

[Behind the "pluralism" alleged by the movement a struggle is taking place between political currents that put] forward the regulation of finance capital and pacifism, understood as a factor of pressure of "public opinion", even pro-UN, [and political currents that genuinely want, often in a confused way, "another world". The former include the leaders of various NGOs and the reformist political parties behind the scenes. The latter include most of the movement's ranks.]

[Partly as a result of this struggle, the antiglobalization movement takes enormously inconsistent positions.] For example, it opposes agricultural free trade, alleging defense of the [sparse] French peasants, but supports free trade when it is proposed by the underdeveloped agricultural countries, managed by Cargill or Dreyfus. It denounces international organizations [that] are in charge of the regulation of capital but itself demands that regulation in order to confront the growing capitalist anarchy and even to put an end to poverty. It rejects "globalization" in name of the defense of "national identities", but confronts nationalism, even of the oppressed nations, invoking the need for "another globalization". [deletion] It criticizes FTAA but defends Mercosur, which, dominated by the big corporations, has no other aims than those of serving as a bridge towards a trade alliance with the United States or Europe. [deletion]

[The antiwar movement also takes enormously inconsistent positions. Its main demands are "End the occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine! Bring the troops home now! Jobs, not war!" But bourgeois and petty-bourgeois forces constantly pressure it to support imperialist "humanitarian" interventions under UN cover and "progressive" bourgeois parties and politicians.]

[The antiglobalization and antiwar movements are arenas in which revolutionary Marxists must struggle to win the hundreds of thousand of youth mobilizing at antiglobalization and antiwar events and in their organizations.]

Submitted by: Peter Johnson y Franco Grisolia (Progetto Comunista)  



Votes against: Majority

Votes in favor: 8 votes

Abstentions: 2 votes



Votes against: Majority

Votes in favor: 2 votes

Abstentions: none

Observation: the Presidium of the Congress don't record the figure of the majority votes