SEP – Anticapitalist Network Declaration: Call for a New International Organization of Revolutionary Socialists
Emancipation from capitalism, which is a world system, requires an international leadership to lead the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat, which is a global class. This basic theorem of Marxism takes shape via an International, as a world party. Today, the necessity of building an International which will be the international revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat remains the most fundamental issue revolutionary Marxists must resolve. For this reason, it has gained a great urgency for the international revolutionary Marxist movement to take a step toward the building of a world party of the working class to fight for the triumph of revolutionary socialism in the whole world.
The capitalist system is constantly proving that it is not capable of overcoming the economic crisis, imperialist wars and the escalated class struggle. The imperialist system attacks workers’ rights, stirs up ethnic and religious bloodshed all over the world, carries out invasions, strengthens fascist parties, puts democratic rights aside, advances in the environmental destruction of the planet, and brings sexist, homophobic, nationalist and religiously authoritarian capitalist leaders to power to try to overcome its crisis and current deadlock. The last crumbs of prestige of theses like the final victory of the market and liberalism, “the end of history” and the end of the class struggle -declared as indisputable truths after the collapse of the USSR in 1991- were crumpled by the 2007-8 crisis which revealed itself in the collapse of the financial bubble in the United States, due to the flight of productive capital toward speculation because of the sustained fall of the rate of profit of the large corporations.
In an era in which the class struggle rises worldwide, it is vital for revolutionary Marxists to come to the forefront in the field of struggle in order to direct the rising anger against the system into revolutionary channels. This can only be possible with the scope of the construction of a new international organization of revolutionary socialists.
The Capitalist Crisis Brings Opportunities
During the crisis of 2007-8 and its spread to Southern Europe in 2010-2011, the United States and the European Union socialized the debts of finance capital by rescuing bankrupted companies. A low interest rate policy was adopted and 15 trillion dollars were put into the market via the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank in order to ward off the striking effects of the economic crisis. Exporting such capital meant spreading the crisis of the center to the periphery. Global finance capital wanted to obtain more of the surplus value produced in peripheral countries with an extraordinary speculative wave. This time, the result of this has been plunging countries such as Argentina and Turkey into crisis.
On the other hand, in the central countries, black clouds are gathering again on the horizon of the capitalist economy. Eleven years since the crisis began, and not having resolved it, a new financial crisis is at the door. More and more bourgeois economists are confessing that a new crisis is coming, and are warning the bosses of the imperialist capitalist system. This deadlock of capitalist system has inevitably strengthened the class struggle and it will continue to do so. Since the breakout of the 2007/8 crisis, there have already been decisive social struggles in many countries of the world. We have witnessed an escalated class struggle and huge social upheavals in Greece, Egypt, Tunisia, France, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, Iran, Nicaragua, Venezuela and many other countries. There are growing strikes in the U.S., the resistance of the Palestinian people against the Zionist state of Israel has continued, Brexit threatens to tear the EU apart. Unfortunately, we have not had a strong international revolutionary Marxist organization to intervene effectively in those social struggles. Today, changing this fact has gained urgency, because in the next period decisive fights of the class struggle will spread more and be tougher. The exploited workers and the youth who have been robbed of their future will not accept being smashed by the gears of the system. Women as well, will not accept to continue being oppressed and doubly exploited. Their protests, anger and uprisings are inevitable. The tendency of the imperialist capitalist system to attempt to smash these resistances with oppression and repression will also gain strength. We witness an increasingly polarized world. New opportunities that we have to make use of for the sake of the revolutionary struggle of proletariat and the building of the revolutionary leadership will present themselves. Therefore, uniting the forces of the revolutionary Marxist movements that should lead the rising class struggle all around the world in the next period will be vital. The revolutionary socialist unity of the working class and youth is also a necessity for us. The international organization we must build should be shaped around some critical points:
- The international unity will try to build a united front for the resistance and the offensive struggles of the working class by being active in the defense fronts of working class. With the methodology of the transitional program, it will create a line of movement to connect the current struggles to permanent revolution.
- Against the tendency of bourgeoisie governments towards authoritarianism, it will fight to defend democratic rights. This struggle will be organized on the basis of an independent class line.
- It will acutely participate in the working class, youth, women and LGBT+ movements. In these struggles, the attempt to lead these mass movements will go hand in hand with the construction of a Leninist party.
- It will fight against imperialist occupations and interventions, strengthening the anti-imperialist struggle of the proletariat and the oppressed. Against the ethnic-religious fights that the imperialists trigger, it will raise the principle of the unity of the working class and sisterhood of all peoples. It will organize resistances against fascism, chauvinism and every kind of religious fundamentalism.
-It will confront campism in all its variants. Against the governments and regimes, who are nationalist or have conflicts with imperialism but apply austerity measures and repression when its people confront them. In such cases we struggle for the development of independent class initiative and try to break the influence of bourgeois reactionary forces on the movement. parallel to this, we oppose any imperialist intervention.
The international unity of revolutionary socialists should distinguish itself from the reformist left, which does not see itself as the system´s gravedigger but its nurse, and from the centrists, who weave around revolution and reform, as well as from the pessimists and sectarians, who become an obstacle to the development of the class struggle and the revolutionary leadership where they achieve certain influence. Without competing with these forces for the leadership of the labor and youth movements and finally defeating them, it will not be possible to turn the capitalist crisis into a social revolution.
Another important point is the method of construction of the international unity of revolutionary socialists. The methodology must be appropriate for an international revolutionary content. This construction cannot be realized through the efforts of one hegemonic party with small subordinate parties in other countries. The experiences of many years have shown that to us. Such a method refers to a national ground contrary to the meaning of internationalism and, consequently, ends up with the dominance of a national perspective. Besides, this method feeds sectarianism, turfism, splits and weakens the revolutionary struggle in the international revolutionary Marxist movement. Therefore, it is necessary to follow a different method for international revolutionary socialist unity. Though coming from different organizational traditions, revolutionary Marxists from different parts of the world should come together on the basis of political-ideological principles that should lead to international unity. To imagine an international organization without partial differences or discussions is a kind of nationalism and bureaucratic; it does not comply with a dialectical perspective nor a revolutionary practice. Instead of repeating the same words, we should base our activity on comradely discussions, policies tested in the class struggle itself and learning from all these processes. The international organization that establishes common principles around the concrete problems put forward by the international class struggle, builds lively tools of struggle based on the concrete demands raised by the international class struggle, and carries out internationalist campaigns to strike with a single fist, will achieve a breakthrough in the process of building world party.
To Strengthen A Revolutionary Alternative…
The latest evidence of the fact that the ruled no longer want to be managed as they are, and the rulers can no longer manage them as before, has been the Yellow Vests movement in France. Nevertheless, as seen in France, a revolutionary leadership with mass influence, which is the only thing that can solve this contradiction, has not yet been built. The result of the crisis of leadership of the working class can be seen in the rise of racist parties, extreme right and right populist demagogues in most parts of the world. The government of Bolsonaro in Brazil is the latest example of this. Trump, Erdogan, Xi Jinping, Putin etc. are the result of the crisis of leadership of the proletariat as well as the gift of the bourgeoisie that is trapped.
The crisis of capitalism, in many cases, also raises a left shift of the masses. However, under the conditions of the crisis of revolutionary leadership, this wave wastes its power on the breakwater of the union bureaucracy, left populism and neo-reformism. In France, for example, the Stalinist reformist French Communist Party and its top trade unionists in the CGT first tried to discredit the Yellow Vests, and then recommended postponing actions and, most importantly, succeeded in maintaining their appearance by holding small show actions despite the demand for a general strike from the working-class base. What a favor for the terrified bourgeoisie and Macron who was shaken by the Yellow Vests. The left populist Luc Melanchon and his organization La France Insoumise, which has grown thanks to the left shift of the masses, also tried to discredit the Yellow Vests at first, and only declared their support after the movement reached extraordinary dimensions. In view of this attitude of the reformists, union bureaucracy and left populists, the rise of Le Pen in France and the extreme right across the entire Europe is not surprising.
It is worth mentioning more examples. There is no doubt that the shameful performance of the Die Linke-Left Party in Germany, which adapts to neoliberalism, paves the way for extreme right-wing AfD. The Italian Rifondazione Comunista, which had a similar performance, left the streets to the right wing populist 5-Star Movement and the far right North Alliance. The Euro-Communist Syriza and its leader Tsipras became the saviors of the bourgeoisie in Greece. The power of the PT in Brazil made Bolsonaro’s victory possible. Kirchnerism is responsible for Macri´s victory in Argentina. In Venezuela, Maduro feeds the pro-imperialist right. In India, the Stalinist reformists of the CPI and CPI (M) have prepared the ground for the authoritarian right-wing populist Modi to rule. In all these examples, the reformist parties have supported neoliberal policies consisting of social disruption packages and privatizations. The anger and frustration among the working masses is the starting point for the extreme right in the absence of a revolutionary socialist alternative.
The experience of left populist, reformist and nationalist rulers in Latin America has also ended in a terrible way. All the leaders of those experiences incurred in major corruption. In Venezuela and Nicaragua, the bureaucracies became a new bourgeoisie and made their governments authoritarian and repressive in order to defend their privileges and avoid being crushed under the social contradictions they created. In Brazil the PT governed with sectors of the great bourgeoisie and acted in the region to actively help keep the popular rebellions of the turn of the century and the new governments in the limits of capitalism. In Argentina, Kirchnerism -left wing of the bourgeois PJ- acted to keep the revolutionary left from capitalizing the shift left that unleashed the Argentinazo of 2001. What makes Argentina different is that -despite Kirchnerism- revolutionary socialist organizations are influential and widespread, so the masses have revolutionary options. As a result, the extreme right and authoritarian tendencies in Argentina have not been able to strengthen while the revolutionary socialist left has grown, though, because of the pessimism and sectarianism of the FIT toward the rest of the left, a qualitative jump has not been possible.
In the U.S. and Britain, the left-wing masses turned to neo-reformist leaders such as Sanders and Corbyn because of the insufficiency of the revolutionary left. Although reformism does not promise radical changes, it has the appeal of offering accessible targets for the masses who are disappointed by neoliberal policies that have been in practice for many years. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the excitement of the youth towards these reformist leaders, because, after decades, thousands of youth in the heart of imperialism identify with socialist ideas. That is to say, that tactical steps toward processes like these are necessary to get in contact with the masses to accelerate the construction of revolutionary socialism. It is unacceptable for the revolutionary vanguard to become isolationist, sectarian and merely interpret reality. But on the other hand, it is necessary to avoid any kind of attitudes that would support the illusions of the masses in reformist leaders and parties, and also to tell the truth to workers and young people, to never confuse our flags or silence our criticism. Indeed, it is no surprise to witness Sanders and Corbyn becoming more moderate, even being in the opposition. This shift to the right should be interpreted as a kind of preparation to attempt to prove to the imperialist leaders that they are figures who can reconcile with the system. At the same time, this shift to the right helps sectors of the vanguard go through the experience with those leaders faster and advance toward positions that bring them closer to the revolutionary left, so long as the revolutionary left has policies towards them.
The Effect of Centrism
Our basic strategy is to build Leninist parties. In the case of the USFI, the rejection of building Bolshevik Parties and, alternatively, the strategic perspective of establishing large mass parties with reformist forces, is nothing but an adaptation to reformism. In the Leninist party-building process, the revolutionary vanguard can, of course, adopt the tactic of joining such parties, having links with the workers and the masses of youth – without compromising its critical stance for a moment. However, creating illusions about such parties is a serious mistake. These parties have limited programs and struggle for parliamentary presence. Therefore, the closer they are to reaching government at a local or national level, the closer they are to being integrated into the system. These party leaders are only intent on becoming the left-wing rulers of the bourgeoisie and any attempt to cover up this fact would mean deceiving the working class. This is pure reality, not sectarianism.
The main task of the Trotskyist tradition is to build Leninist revolutionary parties with mass influence. These parties will secure the surpassing of the treacherous labor aristocracy that undermines the class struggle, push the elements in struggle forward by ensuring the continuation of revolutionary mobilization; lead the way to the formation of workers’ organs of self-government and, ultimately, the destruction of bourgeois power. Those who deny this fundamental duty with the claim of “a new age” serve to disarm the class vanguard.
The concepts of the Leninist party, democratic centralism, proletarian power, proletarian democracy, the revolutionary vanguard, etc. are highly repulsive to the so-called Marxist parties that have adapted to bourgeois parliamentary systems. These movements have been moderated under the intellectual hegemony of liberal democracy and have moved towards a reasonable point of criticism. The best proof of this is the political support that some organizations that claim to be Trotskyist have given and are still giving to the Syriza government, despite its further betrayals. In summary, in the coming period, we will witness the exacerbation of the capitalist crisis, imperialist aggression and the class struggle. That is why, creating a revolutionary international alternative of the working class stands as our revolutionary task.
We cannot accept the fact that the only alternative for the working class is with reformist parties and the trade union bureaucracy under the domination of the workers’ aristocracy. The consequences will be disastrous for the proletariat of the world. Centrist formations, which are confusing, and are staggering along with the reformist bureaucracy, are equally a dead end for the proletariat.
The building of a Leninist party cannot be carried out only on national ground. Proletarian internationalism is not an abstract principle, but a real struggle and comradeship that have come to life in the class struggle. It is of great urgency to create a global organization of revolutionary Marxists for the class struggle to accelerate globally. SEP and the Anticapitalist Network are on their way to the creation of this organization. We call on socialist organizations and individuals who want to take part in the construction of a new international revolutionary socialist organization to contact us, raise the struggle and the hope for a socialist future.