THESES ON THE CRISIS
OF THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL AND THE TASKS OF CONSISTENT TROTSKYISTS
Adopted by the Second International Conference of the International Trotskyist Opposition
5 September 1998
Point 1. Orthodox Trotskyism rests on the firm foundations laid in the documents elaborated -- following the line of the theses and resolutions of the first four congresses of the Communist International -- by the first three international meetings of the Fourth International: the Conference of the Movement for the Fourth International (1936); the Founding Congress (1938); and the Emergency Conference (1940).
In the documents of these international meetings, the general programmatic, strategic, and tactical lines are indicated which, as developed and brought up to date on the basis of the historical evolution of the subsequent decades, still constitute the political foundations of orthodox Trotskyism.
Point 2. The death of Leon Trotsky and World War II struck hard blows at the International. Not only did the war mean the cessation of direct relations among the different sections, but a bloodbath wiped out many of the International's most important leaders, in particular in Europe.
The International Secretariat, under the leadership of the Socialist Workers Party of the United States (SWP/US), was able only partially to fulfill its responsibilities of political and organizational leadership of the international Trotskyist movement.
Nevertheless, the Fourth International met the test of the war, politically and organizationally, and, during the period of reorganization (1943-1946), corrected the opportunist deviations which had developed in some sections, for example, the French section.
Point 3. In the period following World War II, notwithstanding a certain growth in membership and increase in the influence of almost all its sections, the International did not become a mass organizing center, as, before the war, Trotsky and the entire Trotskyist movement had erroneously predicted would happen. The International attempted to deal with this fact by substituting a voluntarist orthodoxy for dialectical method: under the leadership of Pablo, the International acted as if the crisis of proletarian leadership were approaching resolution and the development of the International as a mass organization could be easily realized.
At the same time, the principal section of the International, the SWP/USA -- using as the reason the reactionary Voorhis Act, which prohibits any American organization from maintaining an international affiliation -- came to isolate itself from the rest of the movement. In taking this stance, the SWP expressed what were actually federalist positions on questions of international organization.
Nevertheless, despite all its mistakes, the International continued to base its politics on orthodox Trotskyism. The theses of the Reorganization Conference (1946) and the Second World Congress (1948), although containing errors, should be included as part of the historic legacy of our movement.
Point 4. The first serious opportunist failure on the part of the International occurred in 1948 on the occasion of the break between Yugoslavia and the Kremlin.
Instead of limiting itself to defending Yugoslavia against any possible military attack by the USSR, the International treated Tito's break with Stalin as an expression of the revolutionary potential of the Yugoslav Communist Party. The Yugoslav CP was characterized as "left-centrist" and was regarded as moving towards Trotskyism, while over and over attempts were made to reach agreement with either the Yugoslav CP or with pro-Tito forces in capitalist countries. With an ultimate perspective of the affiliation of the Yugoslav CP to the Fourth International, these policies were maintained until 1950. Clearly this involved a total misunderstanding of the nature of the Titoist bureaucracy, resulting from the desire to find, at any cost, a shortcut to reaching the masses. Still, the desire to win the Yugoslav CP to the Fourth International makes clear the difference between the policy of 1948-1950 and classical Pabloism from 1951 forward. The opportunism of 1948 opened the way to Pabloite revisionism but definitely did not reach the depth of the opportunism of actual Pabloism.
Point 5. Pabloite revisionism, which emerged at the end of 1950 and triumphed at the Third World Congress in 1951, represented an opportunist deviation of a centrist type. Drawing a false lesson from the unexpected events of the postwar period (the consolidation and expansion of Stalinism with the creation of deformed workers' states through the social transformations in the countries occupied by the "Red" Army and in the victorious revolutions in Yugoslavia and China; the cold war; and the failure of development of the Fourth International), Pabloite positions went so far as to deny the necessity of the struggle to build mass Trotskyist parties in all the countries of the world. The role of the revolutionary instrument was, in effect, assigned to the ruling bureaucracy of the USSR and the Stalinist parties, driven to assume this role by the revolutionary pressure of the masses and confrontation with imperialism and the "inevitable" formation and possible triumph of internal centrist tendencies. The sections of the Fourth International, placed within the Communist parties according to the strategy of "entrism sui generis", had to limit themselves to functioning as small groups for discussion among cadres, in order to aid the objective development of the revolutionary process under the leadership of the Stalinists. In this way, disappointment over the lack of success in achieving transformation into a mass organization led to political liquidationism.
Point 6. The counterposed theses presented at the Third World Congress (1951) by the majority of the French section, although containing some mistakes and lacking a balance sheet of the previous errors, constituted a defense of orthodox Trotskyism against Pabloite revisionism. The cost to the French section of the defense of its positions was its expulsion from the International in 1952.
Point 7. Only the emergence of ultra-Pabloite internal tendencies, which carried liquidationism to its extreme, drove the British section and the SWP/US to launch, in 1953, the struggle against Pablo. Conducted on the basis of the SWP's federalist conceptions, and so on the basis of relations among the separate national leaderships, this struggle did not come near to achieving all the results which were possible.
On 16 November 1953, using Pablo's bureaucratic methods as the reason, the SWP, with an open letter, broke with the Pabloite leadership on the eve of the Fourth World Congress, so refusing to wage a struggle to win the majority of the International to opposition to Pablo. One week later, on 23 November, the expelled majority of the Parti Communiste Internationaliste (PCI/France), the English section, the Swiss section, and the SWP founded the International Committee of the Fourth International (IC), which declared Pablo and his International Secretariat removed from power, proclaimed itself the new leadership of the movement, and invited Trotskyists all over the world to group themselves under its banner. This call received a positive response from a few sections of the International (China, Canada), from the faction led by Moreno (Argentina), and from small minorities in a few other sections. The refusal of the anti-Pabloites to wage a struggle to win the majority, combined with incorrect tactics at the moment of the split, meant that two-thirds of the International remained with Pablo.
Point 8. In practice, the International Committee, based on organizational federalism, did not in any way represent a Bolshevik response to Pabloism. It proved incapable of drawing the slightest lesson from the crisis of the International. The successive policies of its different organizations (the entrism of Moreno's organization in the Peronist movement; the policy of the French PCI in relation to Algerian nationalism and, later, in relation to social democracy; the more and more marked adaptation of the SWP to petty-bourgeois intellectual circles in the US; the zigzags of the British section in its work within the British Labour Party; etc.) clearly demonstrated that the International Committee itself -- even if obviously in a less serious form than the Pabloite International Secretariat -- suffered from opportunist deviations of a centrist type, which its federalist character could only exacerbate.
Point 9. The reunification achieved in 1963 between the Pabloite International Secretariat and a wing of the International Committee led by the SWP/US, was the product of capitulation by the SWP to Pabloism, originating in the revisionist SWP's own ongoing shift to the right. A fundamental element in this shift had been the impact of the Cuban revolution, which the SWP understood in impressionistic rather than Marxist terms, going so far as denying, at least with regard to Latin America, the necessity of the struggle to build mass Trotskyist parties, and openly abandoning the Leninist strategy of proletarian revolution. At the same time, the International Secretariat, which agreed with the SWP and its allies (Palabra Obrera/Argentina, Partido Obrero Revolucionario/Chile, etc.) on the analysis of the Cuban Revolution and Castroism (which was presented as a revolutionary Marxist current, although with theoretical limitations), continued to be based essentially on the entire policy of liquidationist Pabloism. In fact the International Secretariat had discarded only a few elements of Pablo's analysis (for example, the imminence of a third world war) which had obviously been shown to be false, while its fundamental positions remained the same as in 1951, in fact with a more open capitulation to petty-bourgeois nationalism in the colonies and former colonies -- positions which were connected to an impressionistic evaluation of the new period of capitalist development which followed the war. From 1964 on, this evaluation would lead to the theory of "neocapitalism" with the consequent underestimation of the actuality of the socialist perspective and the revolutionary role of the proletariat in the imperialist countries.
Despite such areas of political agreement, the 1963 reunification represented an unprincipled bloc, insofar as a number of fundamental political issues (such as entrism "sui generis" in Stalinist and social-democratic parties in Europe), on which profound differences persisted between the International Secretariat and the wing of the International Committee led by the SWP, were not confronted, in order to avoid disturbing the process of unification, while in essence an agreement was established which guaranteed the reciprocal independence of the original Pabloites with regard to Europe and the SWP with regard to the US.
Significantly, it was precisely in the period immediately preceding and following this reunification that important splits took place from the right wing of Pabloism: the split in 1962 of the Posadas faction of the International Secretariat, still attached suprahistorically to all the formal aspects of original Pabloism, including the imminence of a third world war, and evolving toward openly pro-Stalinist positions; the expulsion in 1964 of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), numerically the most important section and the only section of the United Secretariat with a large mass base, which had gone over to counterrevolutionary reformism, entering the bourgeois government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike; and in 1965 the split of the Revolutionary Marxist Faction, led by Pablo himself, at the time an adviser to the Ben Bella government of Algeria, which carried to an extreme the position of the United Secretariat (USFI) on the priority of the colonial revolution over the proletarian revolution in the advanced capitalist countries and capitulated to Khrushchevism, among other things supporting the USSR in polemics with China, over against the rest of the USFI.
Point 10. The struggle within the International Committee against the capitulation of the SWP was conducted primarily by the Socialist Labour League (SLL) of Britain and the Parti Communiste Internationaliste (PCI/France; later, in 1963-1981, becoming the Organisation Communiste Internationaliste [OCI/France]; since 1981, again the PCI; finally, the Internationalist Communist Current [CCI] of the Workers Party [PT] of France). This struggle, however, was not based on a genuine balance sheet of the experience of the postwar Trotskyist movement or of the International Committee itself. In effect the SLL and OCI combined sectarian attitudes (on the unification itself -- refusing to participate in the reunification in order to fight Pabloite revisionism within a united International, as would have been correct to do -- as well as on the character of the Cuban state) with the maintenance of essentially left-centrist politics.
The International Committee, maintained by the SLL and OCI with the support of a few other organizations (Greece, Hungary, and a left minority in the SWP), although attempting in its initial period (1963-1966) to draw certain lessons from its own past history, did not have a qualitatively different political character from the International Committee of 1953-1962.
Point 11. The Third Conference of the International Committee (1966) decisively blocked any possibility of the leftward evolution of the International Committee. In fact, the Conference reaffirmed the federalist character of the organization (a rule requiring a unanimous vote for a proposal to be adopted) and signaled the suppression of serious political discussion with the exclusion of the Spartacist League of the US for expressing generally correct positions on a number of fundamental questions, including the nature of Pabloism and the crisis of the Fourth International, the origin of the deformed workers' states and the character of the Cuban state, and the evaluation of international economic and political perspectives.
The essentially bipolar condominium of the SLL and OCI established at the 1966 Conference contained in embryo the premises of the split of the International Committee into two counterposed blocs. The deepening of the differences between the two blocs' policies (the OCI's adaptation to international social democracy, its opportunist spontaneism, and its conception of the united front as a general strategy; the SLL's national Trotskyism, verbal sectarianism -- in particular regarding the Labour Party question -- and idealist conception of the relationship between party and class) in fact provoked first political paralysis and then the definitive breakup of the International Committee in 1971.
Point 12. The USFI also revealed itself to be an unstable structure, although to a lesser extent than the International Committee. At the end of the 1960s an acute factional struggle developed in the USFI, which, in reality, recreated the division between the old Pabloite component, on the one hand, and the SWP and its allies, on the other hand. The first component, the majority, adapted to the petty-bourgeois "gauchisme" which dominated the radicalized sector of the student youth. It adopted a line of vanguard guerillaism for Latin America. And subsequently, during the 1970s, it theorized the "imminence of the decisive clash", in which the role of revolutionary leadership would be played by the so-called "new vanguard with mass influence", that is, the confused mixture of spontaneist and centrist organizations built from the youth radicalization.
To this the SWP and its allies -- among which the Argentinean Socialist Workers Party (PST) acquired more and more importance -- counterposed the defense of formally "orthodox" positions. This was, in reality, an expression of a deeper adaptation to the political framework of bourgeois democracy and a more classic revisionism, as shown during the Portuguese revolution of 1974-75 and the Argentinean crisis of 1975-76.
This factional fight developed in unexpected ways in the second half of the 1970s. On the one hand, the Argentinean PST, clearly more determined than the SWP to lead a struggle against the USFI majority and rejecting the more openly opportunist positions of the SWP, built its own international faction, the Bolshevik Faction (BF). On the other hand, the SWP made a complete change of line, shifting to a Castroite position and deepening this until it finally broke with the USFI in 1990.
The sharpening of the factional fight in the USFI led to a split by the Bolshevik Faction in 1979 over the adaptation of the USFI majority to the leadership of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and its consequent open condemnation of the activity of the Nicaraguan and other Latin American Trotskyists who had intervened in Nicaragua on the basis of the policy of the Bolshevik Faction.
Point 13. The crisis of the Fourth International provoked more and more organizational division (which we do not examine in detail in this document) but did not mean a shift of the forces of the Trotskyist movement to the ground of reformism and the acceptance of capitalist society or bureaucratic rule.
In fact, only two organizations broke decisively with the perspective of international socialist revolution: the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) of Sri Lanka, which entered the People's Front Government of Bandaranaike in 1964, and the Posadaist "Fourth International", now reduced to a political ghost, which shifted to a semi-Stalinist position following its support for the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Some other organizations, without shifting to the ground of reformism or Stalinism, have broken with their Trotskyist origins. They represent, at their present stage of development, organizations of a centrist type. The most important examples of these are the Socialist Workers Party of Britain (SWP/Britain) and its international allies, the Workers World Party (WWP) of the US, and the SWP/US. The SWP/Britain was born in a split from the British section of the Fourth International at the beginning of the 1950s. It takes a "third-camp" position in relation to the struggle between imperialism and Stalinism and regards the societies dominated by the latter as "state capitalist". The WWP was born in a split from the SWP/USA at the end of the 1950s and is characterized by pro-Stalinist positions.
However, the great majority of organizations that present themselves as Trotskyist have gone through a more limited process of political degeneration, which has led them to express politics of a centrist or left-centrist type without having broken their fundamental links with the Trotskyism. These organizations live a contradiction between their Trotskyism and the centrist character of their policies. Taken together with the forces remaining on the ground of consistent Trotskyism, they form the world Trotskyist movement, the present Fourth International.
The Fourth International, although divided into separate organizations -- which should be considered, more exactly, separate factions of the same organization -- and dominated by various types of revisionist politics, is not dead. It can and must be politically regenerated and organizationally reconstructed.
Among the numerous and various forces of the world Trotskyist movement there are six major international organizations that contain the large majority of the militants who identify themselves as Trotskyists.
A. The United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USFI)
The United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USFI) is the main political heir of liquidationist Pabloism. This is expressed, first of all, by its denial of the need to build mass-based Trotskyist parties in every country as necessary instruments for the victory of the socialist revolution. Absolutely consistent with this, the USFI's goal is not the building of a mass Fourth International, but rather the building of a so-called "New Revolutionary International", without a complete and consistent programmatic basis.
In reality, the USFI continues the old Pabloite project of liquidating the Trotskyist movement into a confused centrist amalgam or even left reformism. The failure of this project is due to the fact that the various "partners" sought by the USFI, even when they really existed and were not merely figments of its imagination, were not interested in an international perspective, even of a centrist or left-reformist type, because that went far beyond their nonrevolutionary programmatic and political horizons.
For forty years the Pabloites have searched for mythological "centrist trends evolving to the left" with which to fuse, but they have never found them, because the trends either were, in reality, more or less nonexistent, like the "left currents" in the Communist Parties in the 1950s or the "new vanguards with mass influence" in the 1970s, or were not evolving to the left.
This Pabloite policy led the USFI to adapt itself politically, programmatically, and organizationally to various centrist and left-reformist forces. The type of adaptation has varied from one period to another. So, from 1968 to the mid-1970s the USFI capitulated to the confused forces of the spontaneist centrist organizations produced by the "New Left" youth radicalization. But at the end of the 1970s the USFI changed direction and began to adapt politically to the social-democratic and Stalinist leaderships of the mass movements.
The leaderships of the USFI and its most important sections once more began to see their relationship with the working class as necessarily mediated by the leaderships of the mass parties and trade unions or by particular sectors of these leaderships. From this derives the myth of the "unity of the proletariat", interpreted as the need for strategic unity of the organizations of the workers' movement, unconditional support for the formation of national or local "left" governments -- for example, the initial attitude of the USFI's French section, the LCR, toward the Mitterrand government in France in 1981 -- and adaptation to the reformist left of the trade unions in various countries.
This policy has continued in the framework of the new situation of general crisis of the international workers' movement. The opportunist policy of the USFI particularly addresses itself to the left reformists. Examples are the uncritical support the USFI gave to the former leader of the French Communist Party, Juquin, in 1988 and to the Green Voynet in 1995, and its attitude toward the reformist majority of the Workers' Party (PT) of Brazil and toward the leadership of the Italian Party of Communist Refoundation (PRC) in the period in which it was in opposition to the "technical" government of Dini and also in the first phase of its alliance with the center-left in 1994-96.
In the oppressed nations the USFI maintains an adaptation to the policy and the ideology of the radical petty-bourgeois nationalist movements, as shown by its uncritical political support for the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, which it presented as the regime of a proletarian dictatorship in the framework of a healthy workers' state.
In all the nonproletarian mass movements the USFI tends to adapt itself to the dominant petty-bourgeois ideology and positions.
In the degenerated and deformed workers' states the USFI for a long time has adapted to the reformist oppositional forces.
The revisionist positions of the USFI majority are based on the objectivist conception of the revolutionary process that Pabloism developed at its origin. This conception involves an undervaluation of the decisive role of the conscious, subjective factor -- the Trotskyist party and its program -- and the need for a conscious, organized, and determined struggle to develop revolutionary socialist consciousness in the masses. This objectivism necessarily means the misrepresentation of the active Trotskyist perspective of permanent revolution as a sort of objective and more or less automatic process.
But in its process of development the revisionism of the USFI leadership has gone so far as to challenge some key elements of revolutionary Marxism. These include the role of the vanguard party as a necessary instrument for socialist revolution and the understanding of proletarian democracy as counterposed to any form of bourgeois democracy.
The revisionist development of the positions of the USFI leadership was shown clearly in the attitude it took toward the crisis of international Stalinism. After decades of adaptation to Stalinism under the pressure of the petty-bourgeois attitude dominant in the official workers' movement and also among the masses, the USFI shifted to a Stalinophobic attitude. The USFI showed itself incapable of developing a policy based on the intransigent defense of collectivized property in the means of production and on the counterposition of the perspective of the democracy of workers' councils to both the bureaucratic dictatorship and the shift toward formal democracy of the bourgeois type. On the contrary, the USFI leadership has fallen into a fully centrist democratism, confusing bourgeois and proletarian democracy and applying formalistic criteria to the problem of the self-determination of the republics of the former USSR and Yugoslavia.
Beginning with the international crisis of Stalinism, the politics of the USFI have shifted further to the right. Far from taking from the events as a confirmation of the Trotskyist prognosis and an opening, even on the basis of a serious defeat of the proletariat, of a new opportunity for the Fourth International, the USFI has drawn liquidationist conclusions, confusing the fall of Stalinism with the defeat of the socialist perspective. Thus, under the pressure of reformist and petty-bourgeois democratic "public opinion", it has come to speak of the closing "for a historical phase" of the perspective of socialist revolution and to characterize the strategic perspective for the workers' movement in the next phase as a utopian "radical democracy". Although joined to formally more "orthodox" elaborations (and with the possibility that developments in the class struggle may push the USFI a little more toward the left, as happened at the end of the 1960s), this is the essential frame of reference of the USFI today.
This aggravates further the negative function of the USFI, as evidenced by the fact that, while its politics move more and more away from Trotskyism and while this moving away is even affirmed openly, the USFI still maintains the pretence of presenting itself formally as "the Fourth International". Thus the content and the form of the historical perspective of the Trotskyist International are mocked at the same time, and the pretence is maintained instead, with the aim of preventing its refoundation on a consistent basis. In this is expressed one of the most antirevolutionary aspects of the USFI and its nature as an obstacle to the development of the international revolutionary Marxist project.
Inside the United Secretariat, some sections have a general line to the left of the international leadership and have defended some basic Trotskyist positions and opposed the erroneous line of the international leadership on some questions (for example, support for the current political line of the Irish republican movement): the International Socialist Group (ISG) in Britain, Socialist Action in the US, and Socialist Democracy in Ireland. Nevertheless, these sections have not conducted a consistent international struggle, they have supported the wrong line of the international leadership on some questions (for example, on ex-Yugoslavia), they have at times developed their own erroneous positions (for example, the ISG has tended to adapt to the Labour Party milieu, developing an entry with a strategic character, and had a position worse, in fact, than that of the international leadership on the reunification of Germany), and they have had, in general, a hostile attitude toward the ITO.
To the left of these organizations, which together represented the principal minority tendency at the last congress of the USFI (1995), are some other significant forces, essentially the "Revolution!" Tendency of the French section (LCR) and the Indian section, the Revolutionary Communist League (ICS). The "Revolution!" Tendency for years has developed a clear, sharp critique of the opportunist policy of the LCR majority, with a globally correct approach to the decline of the class struggle in France and to the tasks of building a revolutionary workers' party, starting from the important electoral successes of the Trotskyist forces and the objective conditions. But it needs to consolidate on a theoretical and programmatic plane its opposition to the revisionism of the LCR and the USFI, generalizing its activity to the international plane and following through on its decision to present an oppositional text at the 1995 World Congress. The ICS of India expresses a genuinely Trotskyist global position close to that of our international current. If it develops its activity on this basis, the ICS could represent the axis for realizing a real struggle for consistent Trotskyism inside the USFI.
B. The Committee for a Workers International (CWI)
The Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) developed as the international projection of the British "Militant" Tendency (MT), led historically by Ted Grant, starting from the significant success the MT had in its "entrist" work in the Labour Party from the 1960s to the 1990s.
The MT had its origins in the majority faction of the British section of the Fourth International in the 1940s, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). In the World Congresses of 1946 and 1948, the RCP developed a generally correct critique of the political analysis of the International leadership, in particular on the questions of the capitalist recovery in the West and the expansion of Stalinism in the East.
The faction led by Grant had been marginalized in the International, because, ironically, it had not followed the policy of total entry into the Labour Party proposed by the International Secretariat and applied with its support by a large minority which split from the RCP. Because of this, the Grant faction was not directly involved in the split of the Fourth International in 1953. For more than ten years after that, a contradictory relationship existed between the group led by Grant and the Pabloite International Secretariat, subsequently the USFI. After the mid-1960s the Grant group separated from the USFI, and what became the Militant Tendency, from the name of its newspaper, had its own autonomous development, first as a national organization and subsequently with its own international extension, being known by the "popular" name International "Militant" Tendency (IMT).
The IMT was characterized by a general strategy of decades-long "deep entry", first into the British Labour Party and then, internationally, into forces of a social-democratic type. In this period the IMT expressed extremely sectarian positions toward the other forces of the Trotskyist movement, calling them "the sects".
The IMT's deep entry strategy produced a policy of adaptation, partly formal, partly real, to reformist positions, for example, on the nature of the bourgeois state and the necessity of a revolutionary mass insurrection to destroy it. Developing a spontaneist conception of the "socialist consciousness" of the working class, the IMT openly criticized the Leninist conception of the party expressed in What Is to Be Done? Claiming to apply the method of the Transitional Program, the IMT has tended in reality to limit itself to general propaganda, without trying to transform transitional demands into agitational slogans, where possible.
The IMT developed a serious adaptation to imperialism, particularly to British imperialism, masked by a demagogic "socialist" and "internationalist" rhetoric. This is shown clearly in its attitude toward the Irish question. The MT demagogically and moralistically condemned the actions of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), equating the IRA activists with Loyalist paramilitaries and calling them "green Tories". In the Malvinas war in 1982 the IMT took an effectively dual-defeatist position: no support to Britain, but for "workers' sanctions against Argentina" and for the abstract hypothesis of a "socialist war" against Argentina. The IMT refused to give consistent support to the Palestine liberation struggle.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the CWI made a left turn. The basis of the turn was the long process of expulsion of MT supporters from the British Labour Party, including the two MPs elected to Parliament. The turn was realized through a faction fight which put the former leader Ted Grant, who remained linked to the totality of the old positions, in a small minority. The large majority of the British section lined up against Grant, under the leadership of Peter Taafe. In most of the other national sections the balance of forces was more equal, although even there a majority lined up with Taafe.
The left turn was caused by the rupture of the political glue of entrism in the Labour Party and in various social democracies on the international plane, with the constitution of independent organizations, in first place the Socialist Party (SP, previously Militant Labour, [ML]) in Britain. The turn also brought to an end the absolute sectarianism toward the other revolutionary Marxist organizations.
On other grounds, however, the turn has been very partial. The most evident change is that the CWI has developed a serious attitude toward the struggles of the specially oppressed, although that only brings it to positions that the majority of the far left has been expressing for many years. The CWI opposed the Gulf War and the more recent imperialist mobilizations against Iraq, but it has not modified its position on Ireland. Its recent willingness to work with other political forces is positive, but this exposes the CWI to the pressures of forces not only to its left but also to its right. In general, the CWI continues to express a tendency to adapt to democratist positions, particularly on the questions of revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. And it continues to express strong elements of adaptation to the level of spontaneous consciousness of the masses.
C. The International Workers League (LIT)
The International Workers League (LIT) exists mainly in Latin America. Its principal leading figure was Nahuel Moreno, who died in the mid-1980s. Historically, its leading section was the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS, formerly the PST) of Argentina, which Moreno led. Today, instead, the center of the LIT has moved to the United Socialist Workers Party (PSTU) of Brazil, produced by the 1995 exclusion of the important Morenoist tendency from the reformist Workers' Party (PT).
The LIT is the political heir of the old Bolshevik Faction of the USFI, constituted after a short period of formal unification with the Lambertist current from 1979 to 1981.
The Morenoist tendency has been characterized by wide variations and contradictions in its political positions, both over the course of its history and in different countries at the same time. An extremely wide range of perspectives has been put forward by the LIT and its predecessors: from a very marked adaptation to the trade union bureaucracy to anti-unionism, from open support of a popular-front policy to rejection of any united-front tactic toward reformist or petty-bourgeois nationalist organizations, and from embellishment of Stalinist regimes to a form of Stalinophobia.
The basis of this chaotic zigzagging was an opportunist lack of scruples, the true and proper "ideology" of "Morenoism", which has been a chameleonic current incapable of developing the process of building revolutionary parties on sound Trotskyist foundations.
The Argentinean MAS, like its predecessors, has had in fact a record of consolidated centrist politics, characterized, despite oscillations and left turns, by adaptation to the trade union bureaucracy, bourgeois nationalism, and popular-frontism, and by masking the revolutionary character of its program. For many years, moreover, the MAS followed a policy of an electoral and political bloc with the Communist Party of Argentina, in this case too with some zigzags. Starting from an erroneous conception of the united front, the Morenoists transformed their bloc with the CP from a specific tactic for concrete objectives into a strategy, despite the CP's reformist political character and bureaucratic organizational character.
On the central question of the building of the Fourth International as the leadership of the future international socialist revolution, the LIT, despite its criticism of the opportunism and liquidationism of the USFI, expressed confused and contradictory positions, which were also potentially liquidationist. For example, the LIT put forward in its 1986 International Manifesto the perspective of an "extra-Trotskyist" mass international, which would regroup diverse forces, in which the Trotskyists (meaning those with Trotskyist positions) might be a minority.
In the 1980s and 1990s the LIT was marked by an analytical approach to reality characterized by a hyperoptimistic evaluation of the situation in the class struggle and a catastrophist conception of the situation of capitalism. So, at the height of the difficulties of the international workers' movement, it spoke of the development of a prerevolutionary or even revolutionary situation on a world scale. Confronting the developments in the East, the LIT picked out only the phenomenon of the fall of Stalinism (in itself positive) and not that of the capitalist-restorationist counterrevolution, the historical success of world imperialism. It spoke -- in ambiguous and substantially non-Marxist terms, in the given conditions -- of the "triumph of the democratic revolutions", dreaming of nonexistent revolutionary mass movements and denying, for a phase, the process of capitalist restoration.
The clash with reality of the whole of these analyses and the perspectives that didn't follow were the cause of a series of crises that struck jointly, upsetting both the LIT and the Argentinean MAS. Thus in recent years the LIT has given rise to diverse international organizations, all claiming the Morenoist tradition.
In Argentina the failure of the absurd hypothesis advanced in the mid-1980s of a revolutionary development in which the leading role would be played by the MAS, in alliance with the Communist Party or without it, led to the explosion of this party -- once numerically the strongest in the international Trotskyist movement -- into a good dozen organizations of varied consistency, of which the most significant today is the Socialist Workers Movement (MST) of which we will speak later.
In the recent period the leading group of the LIT (centered now around the Brazilian PSTU) has evolved positively, beginning with a break with the previous hyperoptimistic approach, recognizing -- with not only an implicit self-criticism -- the process of capitalist restoration in the East and, therefore, the defeat of the proletariat on this ground. It also reaffirmed, against movementist and revisionist positions developing inside the Argentinean MAS (or rather what remained of it), a general defense of the traditional Leninist and Trotskyist positions. The Brazilian PSTU has finally broken with its preceding adaptation to the popular front, which led it briefly to join the "Frente Brasil Popular", the first form of inter-class alliance realized by the PT with "progressive" petty-bourgeois sectors.
The whole of this development has led the LIT to a break with what remains of the Argentinean MAS. This break occurred when the latter -- under the influence of the Italian organization Revolutionary Socialism (SR), which for years was a section of the LIT -- put in question the very fundamentals of Leninist and Trotskyist theory and, therefore, of revolutionary Marxism, with the development of movementist "libertarian" positions (in words, since the Italian SR has a totally repressive internal regime), revising the traditional Trotskyist analysis of the Stalinist and "democratist" bureaucracy and defending and developing the most negative past LIT analyses of the major world events of the last historical period.
After this absolutely positive breakup, the LIT and what was by then its preponderant force, the PSTU, found itself in a situation with the power to deepen the left turn realized in the last years -- which, in reality, depends on their positively distancing themselves from the Morenoist tradition. If they realize this, the LIT could develop an important role in the process of refounding the Fourth International.
D. The International Workers Union (UIT)
The International Workers' Union (UIT) was born in 1996 through the fusion of the most important of the organizations originating from the crisis of the Argentinean MAS, that is, the Socialist Workers Movement (MST), a few organizations connected with it (essentially in Latin America), and the small current -- of distant "Lambertist" origin -- centered around the Revolutionary Workers Party (POR) of Spain, led by Anibal Ramos.
The split of the MST in 1992 had its fundamental base of departure in the explosion of the MAS. The MST took with it, in particular, the majority of the trade union cadres of the party and its representative in the national parliament (Luis Zamora). Compared to the MAS in progressive decomposition, the MST has represented a relatively stable organization, which has sought to reproduce the old traditional Morenoist politics, above all in their opportunist aspects. In particular, the MST has resumed and maintained a strategic bloc with the Argentinean PC under the name United Left (Izquierda Unida [IU]), with an ambiguous policy toward the forces of the Argentine center-left.
The POR of the Spanish state (centered essentially in Catalonia), on its side, in breaking definitely with a past of self-proclamatory sectarianism, has joined the reformist bloc of the Spanish Izquierda Unida on terms that express, however, an opportunistic adaptation to left reformism.
With a complex policy that mixes an undialectical, hyperoptimistic, and catastrophist analysis of the real situation and concrete opportunism, the UIT is the real political continuity of "Morenoism", and the historical critique of this current of the Trotskyist movement refers today essentially to this international tendency.
E. The International Center of Reconstruction (CIR)
The International Center of Reconstruction (CIR) expresses on an international plane the French Internationalist Communist Current (CCI) of the Workers Party (PT, previously Internationalist Communist Party [PCI] and before that the Internationalist Communist Organization [OCI] of France). The historic leader of the CIR and its French section is Pierre Lambert. In practice, all the sections of the CIR are strictly subordinated to the French section, which is marked by a deep national-Trotskyism.
The CIR's politics are characterized principally by capitulation to international social democracy; political adaptation to the trade unionist level of consciousness of the working class; transformation of the tactic of the workers' united front (and the anti-imperialist united front in oppressed countries) into a permanent strategy; Stalinophobia; and political-economic catastrophism with the perpetual theory of "imminent revolution", today modified into an opposite approach, but equally impressionistic.
The CIR is characterized by a complete lack of any real internal democracy, especially in the French section. Its leaders are notorious for slander campaigns and gangster methods used against political adversaries, particularly on the occasion of the major international splits of the predecessors to the CIR: the Organizing Committee for the Reconstruction of the Fourth International (CORQI, 1972-1980) in relation the splits that gave life to the organization led by Varga in 1972-73 and the Fourth Internationalist Tendency in 1979; and the short-lived bloc with the Morenoist tendency in the Parity Committee (1979-1980) and the Fourth International (International Committee) (QI[CI], 1980-1981).
Developing more and more anti-Leninist positions, the CIR, like the other revisionist tendencies, liquidates the perspective of building Trotskyist parties in every country and building a mass Fourth International.
The CIR, in fact, seeks to create the conditions for unifying the so-called "legitimate tendencies of the workers' movement", claiming to base itself on the tradition of the First and Second Internationals, in counterposition to the "organizational sectarianism" of the Third International.
In developing this perspective, the CIR mixes extreme opportunism -- linking itself with tendencies and organizations marginal on an international scale and essentially reformist or semi-reformist, like the Venezuelan MIR -- with the most demagogic bluffs. Thus in January 1991 the CIR, with only its own forces plus some tiny reformist and petty-bourgeois allies, proclaimed a so-called "Workers' International Alliance for the Workers' International" and a continental section, the "European Workers' Alliance".
In France in November 1991 the PCI proclaimed, on a minimalistic and semi-reformist basis, a so-called "Workers Party", which was supposed to unify the consistent Trotskyists, anarchists, socialists, and communists. This Workers Party was nothing more than a structure bureaucratically controlled by the PCI, which regrouped essentially its own members and strict sympathizers plus a small number of individual worker militants deceived by the Lambertists' demagogy.
The Algerian section of the CIR utilized this opportunist and demagogic policy so far as to launch the proposal for a unitary government of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) and of the Liberation National Front (FNL) as a utopian -- and in any case reactionary -- way to resolve the explosive situation existing in the country.
F. The Internationalist Communist Union (Lutte Ouvričre)
The Internationalist Communist Union (UCI) is the international projection of the French organization Lutte Ouvričre (LO) with small groups in the US, the "French Antilles", and the African immigrant communities in France.
The LO originated from a group formed in France during World War II on sectarian positions (the Communist Group-Class Struggle, after World War II the Communist Union), which in 1944 refused to unify with the other Trotskyist tendencies in the new French section of the Fourth International.
LO's politics are characterized by an economism rejects the method of the struggle for transitional demands and only occasional makes use of the transitional program. This economism is accompanied by an abstract popular propagandism on the communist perspective, partly positive, but not connected dialectically -- that is, with the transitional method -- with daily struggles. LO has a myth of building a "genuine workers' party", wrongly identifying the cause of the crisis of the Fourth International -- a crisis that it considers to have originated in the period of the formation of the Fourth International -- in the petty-bourgeois composition of the organization. This conception shows LO's national outlook, because, although the French section had this objective problem at the end of World War II, other sections had a much larger proletarian composition -- for example, the British RCP, the Belgian section, the SWP/US, the Bolivian POR, and the LSSP of Sri Lanka -- and this prevented neither the crisis of the Fourth International nor the national degenerative processes.
On the basis of those positions, LO adopted non-Leninist methods of intervention, organization, and internal functioning. Its politics are characterized by a constant underestimation of the level of social crisis and class struggle and by a misconception of the potential that the political-social crises offers to the workers' movement. This was particularly true in the revolutionary crisis of May 1968 and, above all, in the ascent of the mass movement in autumn 1995, in which all the centrist limits of LO's politics came to light.
LO has traditionally had a semi-state-capitalist analysis of the degenerated and deformed workers' states, recognizing the USSR as a degenerated workers' state -- a characterization which it still proposes ahistorically for the states produced by its explosion -- but considering the deformed workers' states as state-capitalist.
LO's workerist positions lead it to abstain from many political struggles. This has extremely negative consequences for its positions on special oppression, especially women's oppression and lesbian/gay oppression. With regard to these, LO largely reflects the reactionary positions of backward sectors of the masses.
Despite the centrist limits of LO's politics, its capacity to develop abstract communist propaganda, the coherence of its constant independent electoral presentation -- even in the face of the serious opportunist errors of the other Trotskyist forces in France -- and its maintenance a clear opposition to reformism have led LO to gain, beginning in 1973, an electoral success that in the last years has consolidated, reaching 4-5 percent of the total vote (between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 votes). But LO has been unable to exploit this important success for the construction of a true revolutionary party of the proletariat. In fact, it has ridiculously minimized the significance of its success in order to safeguard its present political-organizational reality and not put in question its own organizationally anti-Leninist and sectarian characteristics.
G. The Organizations of the Trotskyist Left
In addition to the six major tendencies we have indicated, there are many minor tendencies. Some are national organizations, in some cases with a relatively significant role in their own country, and some are international tendencies, formally or informally constituted.
Some of the most significant of these forces situate themselves to the left of the major international tendencies -- at times with limits and errors -- on the ground of consistent Trotskyism. Other than our current, these are essentially the Partido Obrero (PO) of Argentina, the organizations connected with it for some time, mainly in Latin America (the most important being the Partido da Causa Operária [PCO] of Brazil), and the Revolutionary Workers Party (EEK) of Greece.
In past analyses of the positions of the PO of Argentina, we have indicated the divergences existing on some important political problems. One concerns the matter of the "Anti-Imperialist United Front", which, under the influence of the historical leader of Bolivian Trotskyism, Guillermo Lora, the PO interprets so as to hypothesize the possible inclusion of bourgeois-nationalist forces. Another divergence is the PO's openness to united-front electoral blocs that appear to confuse the question of the construction of the revolutionary Marxist party with that of the workers' or anti-imperialist united front. Finally, the PO's refusal for a period to advance a concrete international project led us to believe that it tends to slide -- after the preceding negative experiences with Lambertism and with Lora -- into national-Trotskyism.
In recent years the PO has made a positive clarification on these grounds. The break of the PO with Lora and, much later, a definitive balance-sheet of the experience of its Bolivian organization contributed to this clarification. On the first two subjects, although there has not been a clear theoretical balance sheet, the revolutionary practice of the PO in Argentina shows that its policy tends to be, in fact, substantially correct. A theoretical redefinition also needs to be realized in order to avoid errors originating from confusion over the question of the relationship between the united front and the construction of the vanguard party, like the tactical error of the Brazilian PCO in deciding to support in the first round of the 1998 Brazilian presidential elections the reformist leader Lula, instead of initially posing the question of a revolutionary candidacy and eventually supporting the PSTU candidate Zč Maria. As for the problem of national-Trotskyism, if it has ever existed, the facts and the engagement in the fight for the refoundation of the International show that it has been superceded.
There remain, instead, problems and differences in two other areas. The first is the PO's sectarian attitude toward the other forces of the Trotskyist movement. In particular, it presents the United Secretariat as organically counterrevolutionary. In general, it tends to approach the analysis of the forces of the workers' movement in ideological and literary terms, instead of with regard to their social and political role in the class struggle, and to renounce in sectarian terms some fundamental interpretative categories of revolutionary Marxism, like that of "centrism". This sectarianism is often more verbal than real. Nevertheless, it negatively affects relationships with other revolutionary Marxist sectors and is an obstacle to activity for the refoundation of the Fourth International.
The other area of important difference is analysis of the capitalist crisis and the development of the mass movements. The PO and the other organizations linked to it tend to have a catastrophist view of the economic-financial crisis of capitalism. Equally and linked to this, they tend to overestimate the significance of the political crisis and the response -- actual or potential -- of the masses to the capitalist crisis. In this area too the PO is somewhat dialectical and is far from the hyperoptimistic views developed in the past by other tendencies of the Trotskyist movement, for example, the Morenoist tendency with which the PO polemicized with theoretical acuteness in this area in the past. But these analytical errors need to be critiqued on behalf of a more coherent and dialectical approach to reality as a basis for elaborating correct tactics for the activity of consistent Trotskyists.
The EEK of Greece expresses analogous positions in these areas, at times more accentuated than those of the PO. It is valid to say that for the EEK, even more than for the Argentinean party, there is a positive gap between its catastrophist analyses and its serious and thoughtful concrete political activity in the Greek class struggle.
The divergences existing on these points must be confronted clearly. But we must not forget the essential elements of political commonality that exist between our tendency and the organizations in question. The basis of this relationship is in the common approach to the revolutionary perspective. Unlike the various revisionist organizations, the ITO, the PO, the EEK, the PCO, etc., coherently direct our activity to the struggle for the conquest of power, for the dictatorship of the proletariat, for the construction of the Leninist vanguard party, and for the conquest of its hegemony of the masses, fully utilizing the method of transitional demands.
This is the basis of the important common activity that we have begun to develop jointly for the refoundation of the Fourth International. The critique of the erroneous positions of our allies must, therefore, aim not to stress our divergences in a sectarian manner but to see how best to develop our joint struggle for the refoundation of the Fourth International, seeking to involve other forces that have already placed themselves on the ground of consistent Trotskyism or are near it, for example, the minorities of the LCR and LO, the group Voix des Travailleurs (VdT) in France, and the USFI Indian section in its entirety.
Point 14. The Fourth International has suffered a grave process of political degeneration and organizational fragmentation. As a united, organized revolutionary political force, as the body of the international proletarian leadership, as the world organization of genuine revolutionary Marxism, it has obviously ceased to exist. This fact poses the fight for the international proletarian leadership in an extremely elemental form as the primary task facing proletarian revolutionaries today. The first question of international strategy which the consistent, orthodox Trotskyists must, then, take up is the question of how actually to proceed in this elemental fight for the international proletarian leadership.
While politically degenerated and organizationally fragmented, the Fourth International has not died politically. Despite its acuteness, the historical crisis of the Fourth International still differs qualitatively from the historical crises of the Second and Third Internationals.
In August 1914 the betrayal of proletarian internationalism by almost all the national social-democratic parties at the outbreak of World War I signaled the conversion of social democracy into a counterrevolutionary agent of the imperialists within the workers' movement, whose primary political function was to prevent the revolutionary unity of the proletarians of all countries and the revolutionary seizure of power by the working class of any country. The social-democratic program of reforms, real and illusory, became primarily a means of inhibiting the militant development of the proletarian class struggle and tying the workers of each nation to "their own" bourgeoisie and the economic development of "their own" national capitalism. The essentially counterrevolutionary role of the social democracies was confirmed by their responses to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the revolutionary situations that developed throughout the world in the aftermath of World War I.
In 1933 the most important section of the Third International outside the Soviet Union, the German Communist Party, thanks to the grotesque "third period" line of the Stalinist Comintern, proved utterly incapable of mounting a serious struggle against Hitler's seizure of power. Instead of openly drawing the lessons of this catastrophic failure, the entire Third International pretended no serious political errors had been committed, while moving, initially behind closed doors, from the bureaucratic ultimatism and adventurism of the late 1920s and early 1930s to the crassly opportunist policies of popular-frontism in 1934-1936. Popular-frontism and global class-collaborationism became the fundamental strategy of the Third International, to which the actual organization of the Third International itself was sacrificed in 1943.
The incapacity of the German Communist Party or the Comintern to respond in any sort of communist fashion to the victory of Hitler led Trotsky in 1933 to turn from the strategy of fighting to regenerate the bureaucratic-centrist Third International to the strategy of fighting to build a Fourth International, seeing the Comintern as still bureaucratic-centrist but no longer capable of regeneration. And with the adoption by the Stalinist government and Comintern of policies openly endorsing the "right to national self-defense" of the "democratic" imperialists, the Comintern became itself, by the time of its seventh world congress in 1935, a counterrevolutionary force, in practice social-patriotic and committed to preventing world proletarian revolution.
In the aftermath of World War II, Stalinist parties betrayed the working classes throughout Europe and Asia, preventing or aborting revolutionary struggles. The bureaucratic extension of collectivized property in Eastern Europe and, eventually, East Asia and Cuba, did not alter the essential character of Stalinism as an international counterrevolutionary force.
The Fourth International has not gone through such a decisive transformation. Its degeneration and fragmentation have led to the development of a set of organizations which, with a few exceptions -- essentially the LSSP of Sri Lanka and the Posadists -- cannot be regarded as consolidated counterrevolutionary organizations within the workers' movement. The international and national organizations presenting themselves as Trotskyist differ qualitatively from the essentially counterrevolutionary social-democratic and Stalinist formations.
The great majority of the forces which have degenerated from Trotskyism maintain politics which are generally revisionist and centrist -- or, in a few instances, ultraleft-revisionist -- without breaking openly and completely with revolutionary Marxism.
The Pabloites have distorted the Trotskyist program and adapted it to various nonrevolutionary petty-bourgeois and bureaucratic currents. They have subordinated or denied the role of Trotskyist parties as the necessary expression of the political independence of the working class, in favor of adaptation to these nonproletarian and nonrevolutionary forces. The organizations of the International Committee of 1963-1971 tended to combine national-Trotskyist adaptationism with extreme forms of national-Trotskyist sectarianism (Lambert most clearly characterized by capitulation to social democracy, Healy by collapse into crazy sectarianism).
But from both sides of the 1953 split and in the various fragments from the successive breakups -- or previous breakups, as in the case of LO of France -- organizations and tendencies survive whose opportunist and sectarian revisions of Trotskyism have not yet produced a complete and decisive break with the programmatic bases of revolutionary proletarian politics. These organizations continue to relate themselves positively, in various ways, to the Transitional Program of 1938. Programmatically they still advance, even though in some cases with many contradictions, the perspective of the proletarian dictatorship based on soviet democracy, still formally reject popular-frontism, still declare their commitment to proletarian internationalism, even while revising and distorting these principles and adapting to currents hostile to them. They are essentially centrist organizations, but centrist organizations of a special kind.
In continuing to proclaim their adherence, even in a distorted fashion, to the revolutionary program of Trotskyism, these organizations continue to attract militants breaking towards revolutionary politics from social democracy, Stalinism, and conventional forms of centrism.
The actual and potential role of these "Trotskyist-centrist" organizations as apparently revolutionary Marxist poles of attraction to advanced workers internationally and in the majority of individual countries, creates a highly contradictory, complex and historically unprecedented situation with fundamental implications for the strategic perspectives of orthodox Trotskyists fighting for the political regeneration and organizational reconstruction of the Fourth International. Not only do these organizations themselves vacillate between revolutionary and opportunist policies. In continuing to claim to base themselves on the Transitional Program, they retain the capacity to expose cadres, however inadvertently, to actual Trotskyist positions. Their constant vacillation between Trotskyist and revisionist policies tends to generate not only frequent splits but also frequent clashes of internal tendencies and factions, in which, over and again, some militants rise to the defense of at least some Trotskyist positions against revisionist ones.
All of this means that, even though, by and large, the leaderships of these organizations are hardened in their revisionist and adaptationist positions, these organizations, viewed as a whole on an international scale, tend: to contain militants who are moving toward orthodox Trotskyist positions; to be subject to a constant process of limited struggles for Trotskyist positions; and to display a constant tendency to draw toward themselves advanced workers searching, in reality, for the revolutionary alternative of Trotskyism.
For the orthodox Trotskyists to turn their backs on the advanced workers being drawn toward Trotskyist positions by the "Trotskyist-centrist" organizations and the militants fighting for Trotskyist positions within them, would be an act of sectarianism of historically tragic proportions. Rather, the task of orthodox Trotskyists is to develop an international tendency oriented strategically toward reconstructing the Fourth International through linking up with, supporting, and organizing every struggle for Trotskyism, every genuinely Trotskyist development throughout the world, both within and outside the major "Trotskyist-centrist" organizations.
In situations in which they find themselves organized independently, orthodox Trotskyists must develop exemplary work in the class struggle in ways that will make them genuine poles of attraction to advanced workers, both outside and within the "Trotskyist-centrist" groupings. Within the "Trotskyist-centrist" organizations, Trotskyist factions must fight for the political regeneration of these organizations, basing themselves in particular on struggles arising from the problems of revolutionary intervention in the ongoing proletarian class struggle.
In the sense that in all the organizations derived from the crisis of the Fourth International and claiming to base themselves on the Transitional Program, some conscious struggle for the political regeneration of the Fourth International has taken place, is taking place, and must take place in the next period -- in this sense, we must recognize and define the contours of a somewhat amorphous international movement in which consistent Trotskyists must fight to develop and unify all the genuinely Trotskyist forces in the regenerated and reconstructed Fourth International.
By this perspective we do not mean that orthodox Trotskyists in any way identify or confuse their program with the concrete program and policy of either Pabloite or anti-Pabloite revisionists. Nor do we mean that any form of centrism or revisionism, can somehow in and of itself be treated as a consistent, revolutionary Marxist trend. Nor do we mean that these "Trotskyist-centrist" organizations derived from the crisis of the Fourth International should be the sole arena of the struggle to regenerate the Fourth International. An international Trotskyist faction could decide to enter as a whole into one international "Trotskyist-revisionist" organization, to work primarily within a number of such organizations, to function primarily as a group of independent organizations, and so on -- all depending on the concrete conditions best favoring the struggle to regenerate the Fourth International.
What the recognition of the special character of these centrist groupings does mean is that orthodox Trotskyists must maintain a strategic orientation toward them. Further, their special character has a number of specific practical implications.
Within the "Trotskyist-centrist" organizations, we must promote the formation of orthodox Trotskyist factions, united on an international basis with each other -- independently of the various international or national organizations in which they may respectively be intervening -- and with the independent orthodox Trotskyist organizations, all the components together forming an international Trotskyist faction, organized on a democratic-centralist basis both internationally and in its national sections.
The Trotskyist factions working within the "Trotskyist-centrist" organizations should, as a general rule, have neither an orientation committed in advance to short-run entries aimed at quickly splitting these organizations nor an orientation never under any circumstances to split these organizations. Rather, the main tactical orientation of such Trotskyist factions should be to fight in a disciplined way for their political ideas within the rules of these organizations and to make the centrist leaders clearly responsible for any administrative measures, such as expulsions.
Such tactical considerations do not imply that there is a clearly established, guaranteed course of action which necessarily leads to the revolutionary regeneration and reorganization of the Fourth International. Nor do such considerations imply that it is inevitable or even probable that we will actually succeed in regenerating any one or more of the extant "Trotskyist-revisionist" formations. However, only the flexible, dialectical strategy of such a struggle for political regeneration, combining independent work in the proletarian class struggle with factional intervention within the "Trotskyist-revisionist" organizations, will allow us to complete the actual complex process, however it may develop concretely, which -- through splits, fusions, partial regenerations, and growth of independent work -- will enable the consistent Trotskyist forces to win the political majority of the militants orienting to Trotskyism throughout the world and be transformed into the regenerated Fourth International.
A whole series of practical alternatives for the development of the activity of orthodox Trotskyists will present themselves. Trotskyists must be prepared to adjust their tactics to the concrete development of the struggle to regenerate the Fourth International and the concrete development of the international struggle of the working class -- on the sole condition that they maintain the absolute political independence of the consistent Trotskyist forces.
Today the ITO is engaged fully in the process for the refoundation of the Fourth International undertaken starting from the Genova Declaration of March 1997. It sees all the difficulties, but also the opportunities. It wants to carry it forward, trying to involve, on a principled basis, the widest arc of forces of the Trotskyist movement and also sectors originating from other forces of the proletarian vanguard which seek a revolutionary Marxist response to the defeats of the past and a perspective for the future.
It is in this sense that the ITO considers its current role important, however modest its forces. The ITO is neither the nucleus of the future refounded International nor the international orthodox Trotskyist faction, but rather a transitional regroupment structure of consistent Trotskyist militants in a struggle to develop, without opportunism or sectarianism, the fight for the Fourth International. Although the development of the ITO is central to this aim, it remains our firm intention to dissolve ourselves not only when Fourth International is refounded, but also when the process toward the refoundation leads to a broader regroupment than ourselves on a politically and organizationally consolidated basis.