Declaration of the Executive Council of the CRFI
THE CAPITALISTS MUST PAY FOR THE CRISIS! THE WORKERS MUST TAKE POWER!
1. The proletariat and the popular masses of the world are facing an unprecedented crisis and a unique historical situation, in this Mayday 2009, the Day of the international working class.
The world capitalist crisis destroys the lives of millions of people all over the planet condemning them to expropriation, unemployment, destitution, misery, and furthermore, wars and State repression. But at the same time, although the weight of the crisis is bitterly felt, resistance to capitalist barbarism is growing. There is an ascending wave of social struggles, mass strikes, occupations, and popular rebellions such as in Greece or Guadeloupe.
The Coordinating Committee for the Re-foundation of the Fourth International (CRFI) calls the international working class and all oppressed and exploited to mobilize to put an end to that social catastrophe, to refuse to be buried under the ruins of the world capitalist bankruptcy. The capitalists must pay for the crisis of their system! The capital expropriates our lives, let us expropriate capital and open a socialist way out from the current devastation!
2. The capitalists themselves had to admit that the current crisis that erupted in 2007 with the burst of the US sub-prime mortgage market bubble and the international credit crunch is not simply a cyclical one or a conjectural disturbance. It is the worst crisis from the 1929 Crash and the Great Depression. It has historical dimensions in scope and depth; it affects globally the world economy, while its end is unseen in the horizon.
It is clear now that it does not affects only the financial sector but the entire capitalist economy dominated by a decades long over-expansion of finance capital invading, interconnecting and controlling all aspects of economic life globally.
The crisis that manifested itself in 2007-2008 first in the financial sphere driving the international banking system to bankruptcy now is driving a ‘Great Recession' (the term is forged by Martin Wolf of Financial Times) engulfing the entire so-called "developed" capitalist world and bringing big industries, such as General Motors and the car industries in the US, Europe and Asia, into the abyss. It is only the unprecedented State interventions, bail outs, and packages of the last period that prevented, so far, according to Martin Wolf, the Great Recession to turn into a Great Depression.
The IMF's World Economic Outlook, in April 2009, predicts a contraction of world economy by a 1. 3%, revising downwards its previous prediction of 0.5% made in January 2009. A year before, in 2008, the IMF was predicting a 3.8% growth of world's GDP in 2009... More than 60 million new jobless will be added.
The Organization for the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its recent interim Economic Outlook stresses that "the world economy is in the midst of its deepest and most synchronized recession in our lifetimes, caused by a global financial crisis and deepened by a collapse in world trade". As the Financial Times reports, "in the US, the rate of decline of manufactured output compares of that of the Great Depression. Japan's output of manufactures has already fallen by almost as much as in the US in the 1930s" (FT 21/4/09). Britain and the Euro-zone countries are already in recession. The IMF current predictions for the Euro-zone economy expect a 4.2 % contraction in 2009 and a worst recession in 2010, while unemployment will jump to 10.1% this year and 11.5% in the next. The OECD predicts that the German economy might shrink by as much as 5.3% in 2009. "The 5.3 contraction would represent the biggest decline for Germany-excluding the immediate post-World War II devastation of 1945 and 1948-since the depths of the Great Depression in 1932, when the economy shrank by roughly 7.5% Considering that Germany's GDP equals three times the combined output of its central European neighbors, the slump is certain to have immense effects on the rest of Europe" (Stratfor, 21/4/09)
The world recession expresses not solely a crisis of capital over-production but also the fact that the basis upon which the world process of capital accumulation was structured in the last historical period has collapsed.
It is not just a failure of the so-called "neo-liberal model" of the "excesses of finance speculation. Finance capital globalization itself was the outcome of a long historical process of development of all the contradictions of capitalism during the imperialist epoch of capitalist decline, of wars and revolutions, from the Great War, the October Revolution and the 1929 Crash to the post -world war two period and the crisis following the collapse of the Bretton Woods framework in the early '70s.
3. The shift to finance capital from the '80s and its globalization in the last decades, marked by successive shocks and crashes (1984, 1987, 1989, 1997), produced a gigantic fictitious capital pyramid to sustain the reproduction of the system. This process reached its climax in the 2002-2007 periods, after the 1997-2001 international turmoil, with the production of all sorts of bubbles and exotic (now "toxic") financial instruments. The derivatives market reached the mythical proportions of a 550 trillion dollars ocean while, comparatively, the world GDP is about 60 trillion. The disproportion between this parasitic, non value-producing Leviathan of fictitious capital that exacerbated the crisis of over-accumulation of productive capital on the one side, and on the other side, the available global surplus value to be pumped out from the exploitation of direct producers put enormous obstacle to the valorization process. Capital finds its historical limits to itself.
Although the crisis is driving the tendency to raise enormously the rate of exploitation (the rate of relative and absolute surplus value) with every old and new means of "flexible" labor relations etc., the disproportion is such that makes it unable to overcome the crisis. It is not the established techniques of pumping out of surplus value that have reached their limits; it is surplus value itself as social form of the surplus product, and with it the law of value as regulative principle of economic life, that demonstrates its historic limits, its outmoded character.
For capital, crisis is the only way out from crisis. It has to destroy the gigantic accumulated sums of capital to restore the rate of profit and re-start the accumulation process. The catastrophic process has already started: in its latest Global Financial Stability Report, the IM estimates that capital of 4.1 trillion US dollars has been lost so far in the financial sector and losses are mounting. This sum, although huge, represents an infinitesimal part of fictitious (and productive) capital that has to be destroyed according to the laws of capital accumulation.
The catastrophe in progress means the massive destruction of surplus capital, of the world productive forces, and first of all of the most important social force of production, the working class itself.
It is by its own nature a protracted process, not an instantaneous, automatic collapse, nor an eternal fall in an endless abyss. The current world crisis marks a period of historic upheavals; it involves not simply economic- technical re-arrangements and adjustments, control of "financial excesses" and "off shore fiscal havens" etc. but a vast process of de-stabilization, disintegration and re-organization of all social relations through sharp political conflicts and violent clashes nationally and internationally.
Transition is not a linear series of successive points but a dialectical development of all contradictions with sharp conflicts, zigzags, continuities and breaks in continuity, leaps.
The current crisis becomes an unresolved riddle if its is separated from the transitional character of our epoch of capitalism in decline
The huge Tower of Babel of fictitious capital, the global credit structure that was erected the last decades, has been transformed from an instrument of global expansion into a dominant factor of global disintegration and crisis. It is the highest manifestation of transition in history, from capitalism to world Socialism and communism as Marx had foreseen:
"The credit system appears as the main lever of over-production and over-accumulation in commerce solely because the reproduction process, which is elastic by nature, is here forced to its extreme limits [...] the self-expansion of capital based on the contradictory nature of capitalist production permits an actual free development only up to a certain point, so that in fact it constitutes an immanent fetter and barrier to production, which are continually broken through by the credit system. Hence, the credit system accelerates the material development of the productive forces and the establishment of the world market. It is the historical mission of the capitalist system of production to raise the material foundations of the new mode of production to a certain degree of perfection. At the same time credit accelerates the violent eruptions of this contradiction-crises- and thereby the elements of disintegration of the old mode of production.
The two characteristics immanent in the credit system are, on the one hand, to develop the incentive of capitalist production, enrichment through exploitation of the labor of others, to the purest and most colossal form of gambling and swindling, and to reduce more and more the number of the few who exploit the social wealth; on the other hand, to constitute the form of transition to a new mode of production" (K. Marx, Capital, vol. III p. 441 Progress, Moscow 1977)
4. After the irruption of the current world capitalist crisis, particularly after its acceleration in September 2008, the capitalists and their governments tried to find a way out in three directions:
a. By searching to establish new international regulations, a "new financial architecture" or a "Bretton Woods II"
b. Looking to China whose impressive growth rate of the last years made her appear as a possible "locomotive" to take the world economy out of the slump
c. Above al , by intense State intervention, injecting huge "rescue" packages to the crumbling banking system and industry, introducing nationalizations etc.
The results so far are disappointing for capitalism.
Hopes for a new Bretton Woods to establish a new world economic order out of the present chaos proved to be chimerical. The first G20 meeting in November 2008 in Washington DC ended as a fiasco. The recent G20 summit in London avoided an open shipwreck but it did not achieve any of its desired goals (new international financial regulations, stimulus packages in Europe). The most significant achievement was only the G20 pledge to increase the IMF reserves by $500 billion up to 1.1 trillion dollars, including $250 billion of credit lines in Special Drowning Rights to help it in a more active role in "rescuing" countries under the immediate threat of default, first of all the Eastern European countries. The European banks have already an exposure of 1.6 trillion dollars to that countries and Turkey. Not only the sums are insufficient but provided by the IMF are always tied to draconian measures that will exacerbate social suffering and mass unrest.
Centrifugal forces, protectionist tendencies, and imperialist antagonisms are far to be dissipated undermining any attempt for a new international regulation.
The US definitely uses its historically established hegemony in world capitalism and the role of the US dollar as international reserve currency to print huge amounts of dollars to sustain its packages like the previous Paulson Plan or the current Obama plan. But the ocean of "toxic assets" is so limitless, unpredictable and poisoning that the entire endeavor becomes Sisyphean.
The US has up to now injected about 1.2 trillion dollars in its economy. US over-indebtedness and deficits took astronomic dimensions and pressures are building up threatening with collapse not only the US currency but all the international monetary relations. The European Union blames the US that by depleting world resources to bail out its own bankruptcy builds up unbearable pressures threatening the EU and the European Monetary Union with dislocation.
5. China, from the other side, has proven to be much more part of the problem than a solution.
World recession has hit hard the Chinese economy. January 2009 showed the worst drops in import (-41.3 % on year) and foreign direct investment (-32.7%), as well as a fall in exports of -17.5%.
Despite a bold and much publicized $500 billion stimulus plan, the Chinese Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2009 fell to 6.1 %, half of 2007's 13% and smaller than 2008 fourth quarter numbers. The days of double digit, 12% and 13 % annual growth rate look to be over. The fall of the GDP is reaching levels considered already by the Chinese CP -State authorities as dangerous for igniting social unrest and upheavals both in the urban centers and the countryside.
Their worries are shared by analysts in the imperialist West seeing the danger of "growing dissent that can erupt into protests and riots" (Stratfor April 15, 2009). The reasons for a social explosion are routed in the social economic structure itself: "At the most basic level, China' economy has been structured over the past three decades to be fuelled by exports and inputs of foreign investment. Together, these remain the backbone of the Chinese economy. They are strength in times of global economic activity, but a lead weight in times of global slowdown. Domestically only about a quarter of China's 1.3 billion are really in the economically active" middle class" and above/ While that still is a massive number, it leaves nearly a billion people on the receiving end..."( Stratfor 15/4/09).
The fall of world demand for Chinese exports because of the contraction of world trade, the flight of foreign capital because of the progressing world bankruptcy and the lack of a developed capitalist domestic market make China vulnerable to the pressures of the world crisis. A turn to develop a domestic market cannot be effectuated without exacerbating all the contradictions between the country side and the cities leading to mass unrest and social explosions. The capitalist restoration process produced super-profits for foreign capital and for the rising local middle class, and the illusion of a China rising to world hegemony later in the 21st century. As the social structure of China is succumbing to the pressures of world crisis, not only past illusions are now has been shattered but also the prospect of a new social revolution in this vast country re-appears in the horizon.
The capitalist restoration process in China played a key role for US imperialism to finance its gigantic deficits and sustain the weak upturn of the world economy in the period 2002-2007. Now the crisis is shattering this US-Chinese economic interconnection with enormous implications both internationally and in China.
Russia has entered also in its worst crisis from the times of the 1998 default, shaken by the fall of the oil price, the collapse of the rubble and the bankruptcy of most of its oligarchs under the pressure of world finance capital. Eastern Europe has been transformed into a black hole threatening to shallow the European banking system. The euphoria in the imperialist West following the collapse of the former bureaucratized workers states in 1989-91 and the opening of the road to the integration of the vast former Soviet space into the world capitalist market has been transformed from the historic dream of capitalism into a nightmare in early 21st century.
5. After decades of neoliberal "deregulation" and privatization, State intervention occupies again the center of the stage, starting from the unprecedented capital injections, interest rate cuts, bail outs and State intervention nationalizations in 2007-2008 in the US and Britain and then extended in one country after another all over the world.
There is no a return to the post-war Keynesianism nor a revival of the Welfare State in the developed capitalist countries ; the State does not "expand" but destroys public services (hospitals, education, etc) by privatizing them and accumulates deficits and public debt to secure resources to bail out the bankers and other capitalists. In fact, there is a strengthening of the role of the capitalist State as the "savior of last resort" of capitalism in bankruptcy. The success of its regulatory intervention in the economy is more than doubtful. "The market may be bust but so is the state", wrote Philip Stephens in Financial Times (6/4/09).
Capitalist nationalizations, "the negation of capitalism within the capitalist system itself", are an extreme action to rescue capital from bankruptcy. Within the framework of the actual social regime, nationalization puts the charge of the crisis on the shoulders of the working people through the increase of the public debt, unemployment, inflation etc. From the other side, it's an objective manifestation of the process of preparation and transition to the collective property of the producers under the control and management of the direct producers themselves.
The fetish of the State, supreme expression of the commodity and capital fetishism, creates illusions to the capitalists themselves. For them the State, an expression of social relation, is transformed into a thing or a supreme power able to absorb all the debts and sustain all the capitals in bankruptcy: the bankruptcy of the State (the liquidation of public credit, the default of the public debt, the sinking of the monetary system, the disruption of all inter-state relations) is now in progress as a condensation of the crisis. For the working humanity, the crisis put objectively the question of the State i. e. the question of political power itself.
The State, coming forward as the mediator of the systemic contradictions, becomes the center of intense political conflict both between and with different competing groups of private capitalist interests as well as with the workers and popular masses. The question "who will pay for the crisis?" becomes the most central and disputed political question. At the same time, the question "who rules society?" and thus the centrality of state power itself becomes the apple of discord.
Clashes between the State, the capitalist group interests and the masses fuel political instability and regime crisis. Repressive Bonapartist tendencies are growing; at the same time, all sorts of bourgeois democratic maneuvers, like those introduced by the new Obama Administration, are made to deflect and neutralize popular discontent, rising social movements and anti-imperialist resistances.
6. World capitalism has entered in this new explosive stage of crisis having already behind it a decade of imperialist wars that devasted the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia without making possible to imperialism to achieve its goals.
The imperialist war drive, an expression itself of the unresolved and sharpening contradictions of the system in the post-Cold War period, produced new impasses. The "war on terror" terrorist Crusade launched by the Bush Administration led to the swamp in Iraq and to a dead end in Afghanistan that destabilized completely Pakistan and the entire Indian sub-continent. The US war strategy under the Obama Administration shifts its focus to Central Asia not solely by a surge of US and NATO troops but also by building new diplomatic bridges and uplifting a strong network of alliances, which encompasses Turkey, Russia, and Iran.
The position of US imperialism is undermined both by the world capitalist crisis, whose center is located precisely in the US, as well as by the military reverses in Iraq and Afghanistan. Imperialist antagonisms and rivalries are intensifying. But this does not imply that a new capitalist superpower could replace US as world hegemon: American capitalism represents the highest point of the historical development of world capitalism and of its decline. Humanity is still confronted with the volcanic eruptions of a declining US capitalism which cannot find any internal equilibrium without establishing a new world equilibrium under its supremacy.
The new US strategic shift finds acute problems with the emergence of the most extreme right wing, racist, obscurantist Zionist government in Israel, in February 2009, three years after the defeat of the Zionist Army in Lebanon in 2006 and in the aftermath the genocidal massacre of the Palestinian civilians in Gaza at the end of December 2008-early January 2009. The election of an extreme reactionary Zionist coalition government is an expression of the crisis and impasses of the Zionist and imperialist colonial project itself. Together with it, the so-called "two states solution" of a Palestinian statelet of impotent Bantustans surrounded by the Zionist settlers and Army has been buried.
The Palestinian national movement has to be emancipated from the collaborators of Zionism and imperialism in the so-called Palestinian Authority, as well as from the religious fundamentalist leadership of Hamas, to be re-armed with a revolutionary strategy and tactics, fighting for freedom to all political prisoners, the demolition of the apartheid Wall and the dismantlement of the settlements, for the right of the return of all Palestinian refugees to their lands, for the right of self determination and for a secular, socialist Republic in the entire territory of Palestine, in the framework of a Socialist Federation of the Middle East.
The revival of the Arab workers movement as it was seen in the mass strike movement in Egypt with the presence of secular and socialist forces is a positive sign that the conditions develop for an overcoming not only of the bankrupt bourgeois secular nationalist leaderships but also of the reactionary Islamist groups that occupied so far the scene.
The new stage of the world capitalist crisis re-shapes the social landscape providing new possibilities for revolutionaries in Palestine and the Middle East to unite beyond religious and ethnic divisions, and fight imperialism and Zionism under the banner of the Permanent Revolution.
7. In Latin America, the world crisis has had repercussions in a continent already immersed un profound mobilizations and political crises, linked to the world economic crises of the last decades of the twentieth century, culminating in the "Argentinazo" of 2001. The traditional bourgeois parties were in complete bankruptcy.
The nationalist/indigenist regimes of the Andes region were the expresion of the profundity of the crisis, and not its solution. Their policy of partial (and compensated) nationalizations of big capital, and of limited mobilization of the masses against the traditional right and against imperialism, is failing in the historic task of structuring an independent national State, and is now seen to be affected by the vertiginous fall in the world prices of raw materials, which questions the basis of the "social policies" taken up to conquier the support of the poor masses of the city and the countryside and at the same time discipline them.
Being obliged to establish a line of contention based on alliances with governments originating on the left (as in the case of Brazil, or Michelle Bachelet in Chile) was the expression of the political retreat of imperialism, as a complement to, and not as a source of contradiction, with the support of right-wing and paramilitary regimes (Mexico, Colombia), and the reactivation the Third Fleet of the US Navy, patrolling the eastern coast of the continent. Obama not only lends continuity, but deepens Bush's policy, when he takes the "Great International Agreement" to the point of initiating the dissolution of the blockade against Cuba, which constitutes, apart from the attempt to preserve imperialist dominion in conditions of exceptional crisis, a historic defeat of half a century of agression and provocations by the US against the Caribbean island. With the bilateral commercial treaties, the U.S. also gave continuity to the economic colonization of the continent, destroying the local bourgeois nationalist attempts of "integration".
This line of precarious co-existence with governments previously denouced as being part of the "evil axis" had hardly been drawn when the world crisis dealt it a tremendous blow. The crisis not only affects the economic basis of the nationalist petite-bourgeois regimes, but also that of the "left-wing firefighter" governments (Lula, Kirchner, Bachelet) giving them the perspective of a gigantic crisis, and even that of a situation of political disolution (Argentina).
Since the world bankruptcy now in course errupted in Latin America after a series of capitalist bankruptcies, political crises and uprisings during the last decade, all social classes and all states have received it in an extraordinary state of tension. The nationalist experiences (including their "radical" versions: Chávez, Evo Morales, Correa) have once again failed in their attempt at structuring a national independent State and at initiating a process of autonomous capitalist industrialization, let alone destroying the supremacy of finance capital and placing the workers and peasants as political power. Not only have they failed to create, and neither have they had the capacity to create, a national bourgeoisie, but neither have their nationalizations been able to structure a period of transition towards that objective, under the hegemony of the State. The nationalizations will only take on a revolutionary character if they transfer capital accumulated by the finance oligarchy to the nation and if they place the exploited in political power. The utilization of state funds to compensate nationalized capital, on the other hand, blocks all possibility for independent development and obliges the nation to make greater sacrifices; foreign capital, forced out of the sphere of industry, returns under the form of finance capital, bailing out the purchase of public debt.
Nationalism has used the nationalizations, not to convert the workers into the ruling class, but rather to impede their independent organization and to subjugate their leaders to the tutelage of the State, availing themselves of nationalist demagoguery as well as repression. The "nationalist" bureaucracies have hardly waited an instant in order to line their pockets, falling into frequent scandals of corruption, as denounced in Venezuela and Bolivia, where the nationalizations of Evo Morales have not been an act of sovreignty against imperialist penetration; on the contrary, they have eased it. According to Evo Morales the oil conglomerates "are now our partners". But this, far from opening a period of prosperity and peaceful cooperation, deepens the integration of Latin America into the world economy, and its crisis. The world capitalist crisis, which in the 20th century spurred the emergence of nationalist movements and governments, now, in this new period of generalized international bankruptcy, threatens to become their tomb. The failure of nationalism returns all timeliness to the demand for the United Socialist States of Latin America - a federation of worker and peasant governments.
8. The lifting of the blockade against Cuba would be a historic victory for that country, for having overcome imperialist sabotage, even occasioning a very high price for it. But this lifting forms part of an international accord aimed at solving the contradictions in the development of Cuba by means of a restoration of dominion of capital. The question is, who orients the interchange with the world economy needed by Cuba's economy, the bureaucracy or the workers of the cities and the countryside? Which leads to an even more decisive question: Que should decide in the historic crisis of the oppressive relations between the United States and Latin America: the petite-bourgeois governments of capital, or the alliance of workers and peasants? The world crisis has placed squarely upon the table all the historic relations between Yanqui Imperialism and Latin America. The historic conditions for the abolition of semi-colonial submission are at hand. But this abolition affects the interests of the native capitalist classes and a fraction of the petite-bourgeoisie, that takes it for granted that it has already attained its social aspirations. The Latin American bourgeoisies have placed themselves at the head of a rescue operation for this semi-colonial relationship, by means of their center-left governments. In a relatively short time this operation is bound to fail: the minimal national autonomy aimed at by Latin American governments will be swept away by the world crisis or by the attempts by Yanqui imperialism to reconvert itself into the counter-revolutionary axis of a solution to the crisis. The destiny of the Cuban Revolution is in the hands of the Latin American socialist revolution.
But the political crisis also drags the center-left governments into the wake of its continental (and world-wide) standard bearer, the government of Lula in Brazil. While the northern ex-worker travels all over the world as the solver of all problems, he has a time bomb planted in the politics of his own country. The enormous trade surpluses are a thing of the past, in the next few months the country has registered tax revenue shortfalls. The subsidies given to big industrial and finance capital by Lula's government amount to billions of dollars in "tax revenue cancelations" and are eating into foreign currency reserves. This points to a perspective of financial crisis (cessation of payments) and social catastrophe. A monumental political crisis is in the works for the 2010 presidential succession. Lula and his apparatus (including his pre-candidate Dilma Roussef), are confronting it by putting forward a popular front coalition extending rightwards without limit, with which to face the bourgeois candidates.
One expression of that crisis are the percentages of over 10% attributed by the public opinion election polls to the PSOL - with it candidate Heloísa Helena - a label holding together a coalition of left-wing and movementist tendencies , which has even served as a model for political adventures on other continents (inside the NPA of France, first of all). This transitory phenomena may, however, create a political earthquake, and can be explained by the brutal gutting of the PT (and the bureaucratization of the CUT) rather than by the intrinsic virtues of the "party-front" model of the PSOL, with no program and based on accords between small left-wing apparatus and parliamentary groups. This position, actually, hides a perspective which seeks to close the crisis with a bourgeois program (in Brazil, the reduction of the interest rates, a demand of a whole sector of the bourgeoisie, and monetary devaluation), a party with a bureaucratic and personalist internal regime, and the sacrifice of any vestige of class independence, in open alliance with the bourgeois and pro-Church parties (Heloísa Helena, for example, repudiates the right to abortion). This right-wing alliance-ism is the natural consequence for a "party of tendencies" which repudiates the revolutionary organization of the workers and the struggle for the socialist consciousness of the working class to replace accords between chieftans. Facing the PSTU of Brazil is a choice between defending class independence or sacrificing it in the name of the "left-wing front" headed by the PSOL - and dominated by the alliance with the shadow of the bourgeoisie. The revolutionary and workers international vanguard must combat the refloating of the idea of a "party bus" (an anti-party having the form of a party), and even harder that of the International, classless and lacking a program, the World Social Forum (WSF), which ended up fully integrated into the bourgeois and imperialist policies of its principal example, the PT of Brazil, cheerleader and host of the WSF in its various editions.
A new stage in the mobilization of the exploited in Latin America can be seen on the horizon. The struggle for their most basic needs (wages, defense of jobs, access to land, and the most basic natural resources) comes to the fore under the imperious necessity for the conquest of their political independence from bourgeois and petite-bourgeois nationalism, for an independent (revolutionary) worker's party, and for the social reorganization upon new (socialist) foundations, by means of the power of the exploited themselves.
The recovery of all of the natural and economic resources, continental unity in order to value them - time and again put forward and then destroyed by nationalism - will be achieved by means of their socialist unity, the bridge over which the struggle of the Latin American masses will join together with the anti-Capitalist fight of the exploited of the whole world. La preparación de la revolución socialista en América Latina ha recorrido un largo proceso histórico, con experiencias antiimperialistas profundas, como la revolución cubana. El entrelazamiento entre la bancarrota mundial y el agotamiento de las experiencias nacionalistas permitirá culminar esta etapa histórica. Es de este modo que el socialismo revolucionario delimita sus posiciones con el imperialismo y sus agentes, de un lado, y con las tentativas nacionalistas, del otro, y se propone como candidato a la lucha por el poder político. La tarea más urgente en América Latina es producir un reagrupamiento socialista de fuerzas en el cuadro de la crisis mundial. ]
9. The CRFI had pointed out the development of a process of "latinoamericanization" of Europe itself, not only in the sense of a rapid deterioration of social conditions and the existence of ghettoes and Third World zones of misery and police repression within the metropolis itself but also by a growing tendency to rebellion of the oppressed masses, particularly by a new generation of workers with precarious, low-paid work, was manifested, from the revolt in the "banlieue" in 2005 and the combative mobilization against the CPE in France in 2006 to the youth mobilization against the privatization of the universities according to the EU directives in Greece in 2006-2007 to the December 2008 revolt.
The new, contradictory but ascending wave of radicalization clashes with the old bureaucratic apparatuses of Social democracy and the recycled Stalinist CPs. The disastrous experiences of the social-liberal, third way¨, center left or "plural left" governments in Britain, Italy, France, Greece etc. have discredited the traditional reformist Left and their satellites in the so-called radical Left. A new political space has been formed for revolutionary politics.
But as the masses are moving to the left, centrist forces that have exhausted their historical potential in the past by tail ending the bureaucracies, try to meet these radicalized strata by moving themselves further to the right. A number of ‘broad anti-capitalist parties or fronts' were formed the last period: the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), Respect in Britain, Red-Green Alliance in Danemark, Bloc of the Left in Portugal, and lately the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) in France. The parliamentary reformist parties of Rifondazione Comunista in Italy and of SYRIZA in Greece are usually included in that list. Most of these "anti-capitalist" parties or fronts of far left origins turned openly to reformism becoming parts of the European Left Party (Bloc of the Left, Respect). Some already knew devastating crises and splits. It is the case of Respect, of the SSP, and of the Rifondazione Comunista in Italy, considered for a long time as the leading force of the radical anti-capitalist left in Europe before collapsing after its treacherous collaboration in the Prodi government.
Olivier Besancenot´s NPA in France, founded formally in February 2009 after an initiative taken by the self-dissolved LCR, advocates a regroupment of various left forces and traditions superseding the old, historical divisions between opposite currents in the workers movement. Avoiding carefully the demarcation line between revolution and reform, it speaks about a "revolutionary transformation of society" and it proclaims as its strategic goal "socialism of the 21st century". It is not just a flattering reference to Chavez but a conscious break from any continuity with the 1917 October Revolution, the Bolshevik communist tradition, and Trotskyism. The rejection of the dictatorship of the proletariat, already done by the LCR years ago, is now completed. While that rejection was done under the pretext that the dictatorship of the proletariat was discredited by Stalinism, now it becomes crystal clear that this rejection is motivated mainly by an adaptation to bourgeois parliamentary democracy, which they try to extend and improve by a combination of renewed parliamentary institutions of a representative democracy based on general elections and the direct democracy of social movements from below.
The problems of the current explosive situation in France and in Europe are approached from the standpoint of this vague left democracy. Support to social struggles and movements has to be reflected into an electoral ascent of the anticapitalist vote and a good electoral result has to lead to new social struggles and movements. A combination and alternation of electoralism and movimentism is proposed as a political strategy for social emancipation!
As far as the European Union is concerned, in sharp contrast to its crisis and the centrifugal forces that threaten to disintegrate it, the NPA rejects the revolutionary program for the socialist unification of the Continent by a social revolution and the formation of a United Socialist States of Europe; it substitutes it with a call for "a social and democratic Europe" advancing a series of anti-neoliberal demands, which leave the capitalist framework intact, and postponing the demand for a socialist Europe as a proposal to a future "democratically elected by universal suffrage" European Constituent Assembly...
No revolutionary transformation of society in France, in Europe or in any part of the world could ever be achieved with such a fetishism of democratic rhetoric.
10. The explosive impact of the world crisis on the life and the struggle of the exploited and oppressed produces rapid, often unexpected changes in the movement and the consciousness of the masses. There is a non linear process of radicalization.
Mass sackings, factory closures, and unemployment create initially confusion, frustration and a defensive attitude. The trade union bureaucracies are entirely incapable and unwilling to confront the capitalist debacle or even to organize a partial mobilization against it. They lean to the capitalists and the State for an impossible compromise through concessions and retreat, abandoning many of the gains and positions won though struggle by the workers' movement. Trotsky has analyzed that "exceptional circumstances, independent from the will of individuals and parties are needed for the discontent to break from the chains of conservative spirit and for the masses to erupt into rebellion. Consequently, the rapid changes in the opinion and mood of the masses in time of revolution have their origin not in the elasticity and flexibility of the human psyche but, on the contrary, in its deep conservativism. Ideas and social relations are in a chronic delay in relation to the new objective conditions until the moment when they are collapsing as in a cataclysm[...] the class acquires consciousness of the problems posed by the crisis and the masses are orientated into action by the method of successive approximations"( History of the Russian revolution). This movement of radicalization can be reversed when "this impetus is broken on objective obstacles".
We are in a stage of radicalization which has not been defeated by reaction or unsurpassable obstacles; in a transition where it is absolutely necessary for the revolutionary parties to study in detail every particular moment of development of the economic and political crisis, every manifestation of workers' and popular resistance, from the smallest defensive struggle to mass mobilizations, general strikes and rebellions like that in Greece or Guadeloupe, by a systematic intervention in the movement, establishing a constant dialogue with the masses and their demands, old and new, advancing the program needed for the development and victory of the struggle, and preparing by the methods of propaganda, agitation and organization the revolutionary struggle for workers' power and Socialism.
The world crisis is increasing the tendency to social explosions posing on the agenda the open question of a transition to social revolution and revolutionary transformation of society- or to barbarism.
The Greek revolt summarizes many of the problems to be resolved in that transition. It is clear that the revolt was not directed by any political party, or organized force on the basis of a political project and program. It is false to see just an expression of spontaneity of a youth rebelling against police repression. There were conscious attempts by vanguard forces to advance into a general political strike. Many experiences of past struggles were revived and superseded; the bureaucracies were challenged and ousted from the local offices in many occasions. Together with the monopoly of the violence by the State, it was challenged the control of the ruling class on information, mass media, and culture. For the first time, demands for a re-organization of the social relations on new socialist bases, for the re-appropriation of life in all its manifestations were expressed in many occupied sites, open general assemblies and centers of action.
But the limits of the December revolt became very soon visible: there was no a unifying political revolutionary organization of the masses and of its vanguard to channeling the energy of the rebellion into a revolutionary "assault to heaven". PASOK, the official center left bourgeois opposition was naturally hostile to the rebellion, being sometimes on the right of the right wing government blaming it as "incapable" to impose effective police state measures. The PASOK trade union bureaucracy of GSEE (the General Confederation of Labor) boycotted the general strike and opposed the rebellion. The Stalinist KKE stood on the sides of the bourgeois State as a Party of Order. The rebelled masses left far behind the other left forces, including the anarchist networks. Conservative tendencies appeared within the far left, which turned from direct action to the formation of electoral blocs for the next elections. While the class conscious bourgeois newspaper Le Monde wrote with fear that ¨Greece is without a State" (10/12/08), the working class was not politically and organizationally prepared or ready for the overthrow of a shaken bourgeois regime by seizing political power and its fate in its hands.
Nevertheless, the December rebellion in Greece remains undefeated, a dress rehearsal for the next stage of confrontation in Greece, in Europe and internationally, and a source of inspiration for revolutionaries all over the world for the coming historic confrontations.
The world crisis has put the questions ¨who will pay for the crisis?" and "who rules society?" on the agenda. The answer can be given only by starting from a world point of departure. Now more than ever the task is posed clearly: we need a revolutionary workers International, the re-founded Fourth International!
Buenos Aires, April 14, 2009