Publication of the Trotskyst Fraction - Fourth International
Five years after the beginning of the capitalist crisis, an international scene marked by big upheavals, political crises and potentially explosive social situations is taking shape. In the context of a tendency of the intensification of the Great Recession that is affecting not only the United States and the European Union, but that is extending its shadow over China, Brazil and the so-called “emerging economies,” of which the only possible “outcome” for the bourgeoisie is unloading their crisis on the exploited, the class struggle is returning the political stage. Workers’, young people’s and poor people’s resistance that has been developing in the European countries most affected by the crisis, like Greece and the Spanish State, followed the 2011 “Arab Spring.” Part of this new situation of the class struggle that is growing is the entry into activity, although still with partial demands, of the most numerous proletariats in the world, like that of China and India, and of others with a great tradition of struggle, as we have seen in the strike of the miners of the Lonmin multinational in South Africa.
As has not happened since the rise of 1968, with the exception of the movement for “another world” at the end of the 1990’s, we are witnessing the development of a new phenomenon that has spread from the emergence of young people that, from the student movement in Chile, Mexico and Quebec, to the Spanish “indignant ones” and the youths of Occupy Wall Street, is a fundamental component of the struggles against the offensive of capital, and will probably point to more acute class confrontations.
However, we are only in the initial stages of a new historical period. The working class has not yet responded on the level of the magnitude of the capitalist crisis, widespread phenomena of political radicalization have not developed, and the burden of decades of retreat and bourgeois restoration still weighs on the workers’ movement and the revolutionary left.
The majority of the tendencies of the international left that claim to be Trotskyist, some time ago became skeptical of the revolutionary ability of the working class. If this skepticism led a large part of these tendencies to adapt themselves to Chávez’ bourgeois nationalism or Evo Morales’ populism, this is now expressed in their adaptation to episodic phenomena, mainly to reformist variants of the left, like Syriza in Greece or the Front de Gauche in France.
Far from this skepticism and its political, opportunist or sectarian consequences, we believe that, with the capitalist crisis and the new phenomena of the class struggle, recovering the best of the strategic thought of revolutionary Marxism and putting these great periods of training and conclusions at the service of building revolutionary workers’ parties, as part of the reconstruction of the Fourth International, that will be able to lead the decisive fights that, if current tendencies intensify, very likely will develop in the coming period, is posed with complete urgency. In the final instance, the key to resolving this historical stage, opened up by the crisis, lies in the possibility that the working class will emerge as a political subject capable of winning hegemony over all the exploited and oppressed strata and leading the struggle against the capitalists and their states.
In this new issue of Estrategia Internacional, we present a series of elaborations that, from Marxist theory, the debate over strategy, political practice, and polemics over program, are at the service of this aim.
In the section “Marxist Theory,” we present the note, “Trotsky and Gramsci: Strategic debates about the revolution in the ’West,’” by Emilio Albamonte and Matías Maiello, in which, through the counterpoint between the strategic thought of Trotsky and Gramsci, formulated around the balance sheet of the defeat of the German Revolution in 1923, the authors resume the key discussions of the Third International about strategy and tactics, especially about the “workers’ united front” and its highest expression, “the workers’ government.” Returning to these debates allows one to see how revolutionary Marxists were thinking out the relationship between the defensive and offensive struggles of the working class, in its preparation for the seizure of power and insurrection, the strategic lessons of which are essential for the period that is opening up.
These discussions became relevant with the debate in the international left around Syriza and its policy of a “government of the left,” since some Trotskyist tendencies tried to use the tactic of a “workers’ government” in an opportunistic manner, to justify their support for this left reformist variant. In the note, “Class struggle and new political phenomena in the fifth year of the capitalist crisis,” by Claudia Cinatti, we polemicize with these positions, from the standpoint of the Third International’s concept of the workers’ government. In this article, that opens the section “Economy and international politics,” the profound reasons for the crisis of the projects of "anti-capitalist parties," that several tendencies of the European far left promoted, like the French NPA, with the building of parties not based on the class struggle, but rather on electoral spaces of the bourgeois regime, are also discussed.
In the note, "The end of the ’miraculous solutions’ of 2008-2009 and the increase of rivalries in the international system," by Juan Chingo, an analysis of the economic crisis, its geopolitical consequences and the prospects that are opening up, is presented, starting from the fact that the mechanisms with which the capitalist states have been managing the crisis are tending to be exhausted and that, far from the visions that absolutize the ability of the imperialist states to intervene in a coordinated way, what is beginning to be obvious behind the discussions between Obama and Merkel is the conflict between the United States and Germany, to settle who will end up paying the costs of the crisis.
The third note of this section, titled, "Economy, politics and war: That obscure (neo-)Keynesian object," by Paula Bach, develops a profound polemic against Paul Krugman’s ideas, expressed in his most recent book “End This Depression Now!” showing that, over and above the forms, neo-Keynesians and orthodox economists agree that the exploited will be the ones who will carry the cost of bailing out capitalism.
Finally, the note, "After a year and a half of the ’Arab Spring,’" by Simone Ishibashi and Eduardo Molina, is included, in which a balance sheet of these processes is drawn up, and a polemic with the left is developed, mainly with the LIT’s definition of a "democratic revolution," which led these tendencies to consider that there was a great democratic victory in Libya, despite the NATO intervention.
In the notes, "Argentina: The limits of Cristina’s ’Bonapartism’ and the challenges of the revolutionary left," and "Notes from the PTS about the construction of a revolutionary party in Argentina," we present an analysis of the economic and political tendencies and the tendency of the development of the class-conscious left in the workers’ movement. In that framework, we discuss the ways to build a revolutionary workers’ party and the role of the PTS in that task as part of the far left, beginning with the importance won in the workers’ and young people’s vanguard, where the consistent fight for class independence and the need to set forth transitional politics, to develop workers’ militancy, expressed in the slogans of "unions without bureaucrats," and "a workers’ party without bosses," stands out.
In the section, "Emergence of the youth," the reader will find notes about the intervention of the groups of the FT-CI in the main processes of struggle of the youth and student movement, as part of the fight, because this will be linked to the working class. The section begins with the note, "Chile: Between the abrupt inrush of the class struggle and the crisis of the neo-Pinochet regime," by Pablo Torres, where there is presented a balance sheet of the impressive struggle of the Chilean student movement for free public education as part of a more widespread confrontation with the legacy of Pinochet, and the big intervention of the PTR in this conflict, that allowed it to be part of the vanguard that confronted the Communist Party’s student bureaucracy, and to consider ways for the emergence of Trotskyism in Chile, beginning with convergence with the most advanced groups of these young people, who stirred up the struggle and political life.
Secondly, the article, "Spanish state: The worsening of the economic and political crisis, and the emergence of the class struggle," by Cynthia Lub and Santiago Lupe, is included, in which are analyzed the Spanish crisis, the emergence of the young people’s struggle, and the workers’ resistance in the general strikes, especially in the struggle of the miners of Asturias, as well as the intervention of Clase contra Clase in this youth phenomenon, with a strategy of convergence with the workers in discussion with the projects of the autonomists and anarchists, enemies of this perspective, who have influence in the movement of the indignant ones.
Finally, we present the note, “Mexico: The elections and the emergence of a new phenomenon of young people,” by Pablo Oprinari, about the outbreak, in the middle of the election campaign, of the movement “#yosoy132,” that displayed profound democratic demands, shared not only by the student movement, but also by broad groups of workers, and the politics of the LTS, for the independence of that movement from employers’ variants, like López Obrador’s PRD.
In the book reviews, we are publishing Esteban Mercatante’s commentary about Andrew Kliman’s most recent book, where the author develops his vision of what the causes of the Great Recession are, from the viewpoint of the fall of the rate of profit, debating other Marxist explanations of the crisis. The section also includes a review by Edison Salles of Henry Kissinger’s book China.
Finally, in the note by Andrea Robles, we present the launching of Leon Trotsky’s Selected Works, an undertaking of the Leon Trotsky Center for Studies, Research and Publications, edited jointly with the Casa Museo León Trotsky, in Mexico, and which has the sponsorship of Esteban Volkov. This collection, of which two titles have already appeared – Stalin, the Great Organizer of Defeats, and My Life – will have twenty volumes that will bring together the main works of the great Russian revolutionary, whose legacy retains all its relevance for guiding action in the current fights.
We hope that this magazine will be a means of developing reflection and intensifying the efforts to build revolutionary parties with deep roots in the working class, as part of the struggle for the rebuilding of the Fourth International.