From a world in turmoil to world revolution
Statement by the International Secretariat of the CRFI, Istanbul June 28, 2007
1. The entire world is in turmoil. The Middle East volcano is in a permanent eruption producing new imperialist wars and national rebellions. Latin America, the backyard of Yankee imperialism, is shaken by tremendous upheavals, from Venezuela and Ecuador to Argentina, Peru, Chile, and Mexico. In Europe, unprecedented mass youth mobilizations in France and in Greece as well as the Sarkozy election mark a new phase of major social confrontations. Political regime crises erupt in Italy, Turkey, Spain, Britain, above all in the United States. Tensions rapidly grow between Russia and the United States reminding the Cold War. Fiscal crises, financial bubbles and enormous economic imbalances function as time bombs in the world capitalist economy. Hundreds of millions all over the planet, both in the center and in the periphery, face mass impoverishment, unemployment, over-exploitation, and deterioration of all living conditions. Class war is on the agenda.
World Capitalism is shaken by convulsions constantly disrupting all relations among classes and between States, breaking all social, political or economic equilibrium and making re-stabilization precarious and temporary.
World developments are characterized in the current period above all by spasmodic, sharp zigzags.
The stalemate of US imperialism in Iraq and the recommendations of the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton report for a staged withdrawal from the Iraqi swamp were answered by Bush-Cheney's bellicose "surge", the sending of 30.000 supplementary troops in Baghdad - and the obvious failure of this escalation to achieve its aims.
The defeat of the Zionist Israeli Army in Lebanon in 2006 was followed by the deepest crisis and political-moral disintegration of the Zionist regime and then, with new attempts to destroy the Palestinian national cause by barbaric attacks on the scattered Palestinian civilian population, the acceleration of building of the apartheid Wall and the mobilization of Fatah forces under Abbas to destroy Hamas and popular resistance in Gaza, an attempt that has failed.
In Europe, the feverish zigzags of the situation are manifested above all in its political heart: in France. The biggest youth movement after May '68, the mass mobilization in February-March 2006 against the CPE (Contract of First Employment) that obliged the right wing government to retreat was followed by the electoral victory of the right wing populist Sarkozy who pledged to "terminate the legacy of May '68".
This over all instability and sudden turns to the left and to the right are manifestations of a social system, world capitalism, in its historical decline and crisis. Its material bases are undermined by the accumulation and exacerbation of all the contradictions of the capital system.
Finance capital globalization associated with the process of capitalist restoration in China and Russia did not open a long term way out from the systemic crisis but created an ocean of debt covering the entire planet, functioning as real time bombs. Some of the innumerable bubbles of the recent period, a decade after the 1997 Asian crash, for ex. the greatest housing bubble in US history are already in the process of bursting. In its annual report the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bankers' bank, sounded the alarm that "the conditions which led up to the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Asian crises in the 1990s were reflected in the current environment." (Daily Telegraph, London, 26 June 2007). Over-accumulation, as showed by the monstrous developments of fictitious capital, is turning from a blessing for the speculators and the financial oligarchy of bourgeois parasites into their worst nightmare.
The axis connecting a rapidly expanding China as the most important center of accumulation of global capital with an over-indebted US economy burdened with huge deficits, while it worked in the years after the financial shock of 2000 as the driving fore of recovery, is starting now to be shaken by tremors such as the meltdown of February 27 in the Chinese stock markets and later on May 30, 2007.
As the CRFI previously has stressed, the infamous "war on terror' launched by the Bush Administration with the pretext of the 9/11 attacks, first against Afghanistan, then against Iraq and now threatening to be extended in more countries, was driven by the urgent need to find a way out of the global crisis of the system in the post Cold War chaotic world. US imperialism above all needed to reshape the political map of the oil producing Middle East and Central Asia to establish under new terms US world supremacy against its present or potential rivals.
Six years later, this world-wide imperialist war campaign has miserably failed and has backfired producing regime crises both in belligerent and non belligerent countries.
2. The imperialist war on terror: a gigantic failure
Despite the enormous sufferings inflicted on the civilian population by the Occupation Forces, their "willing allies" and their private armies of mercenaries, imperialism cannot effectively control any area outside (even inside) the Green Zone in Baghdad and Kabul.
In Afghanistan, the barbaric actions of the US / NATO troops not only failed to stop the new upsurge of the guerillas in the South but have destabilized completely the Musharraf regime in Pakistan and the entire situation in the Indian subcontinent.
In Iraq, with the "surge" of 30.000 new troops ordered by Bush, his desperate effort to change the chaotic situation in favor of the US hasn't obtained any results. The US has less control than ever. The Maliki government of stooges exists only in name inside its US protected offices in Baghdad. Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias are the real actors in most of the country- apart from the Kurdish North. The US, despite its gigantic military offensive, has to rely mainly on the support of Talabani's and Barzani's Kurdish Peshmergas (apart from the 160.000 US soldiers and the 180.000 US paid private contractors) to surf on the chaos. This fact has enormous side effects: it provoked tensions between Ankara and Washington as the Turkish Army officially declares that it prepares for an invasion in the Iraqi North to attack the PKK Kurdish guerilla bases. These war preparations precipitated a regime crisis, which was building up for a long time, and early elections as the Army clashed with the moderate Islamist Erdogan government.
The other pillar on which US imperialist presence in Iraq stands is the Shiite religious leaderships under the influence of Teheran used as a buffer and as a weapon against the mainly secular, Baathist led Sunni insurgency. While Shiite militias are far from being obedient to the US occupation authorities and have clashed many times militarily with them, at the moment that Teheran's influence on Iraqi Shias is most needed by Washington, the neo-conservatives in the US Administration and Pentagon are pushing for a military offensive against Iran. Vice President Cheney, Bush's former UN Ambassador John Bolton, large numbers of the religious Right and of the Zionist lobby in US, as well as of the Zionist hawks in Tel Aviv are demanding a war against Iran, with the pretext of its nuclear program. The same ultra reactionary warmongers call for new wars against Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as against Syria.
The impasse is accumulating conditions for new war explosions and threats to all the peoples in the region and internationally. But at the same time the war deadlock drives deeper the political regime crisis in America itself. It ignites the anti-war feelings of the popular masses, as it was clearly shown in mass mobilizations as well as in the electoral defeat of the Republicans in the midterm elections of November 2006. It deepens the splits within the US ruling class and within the State, sharpening and spreading the conflicts between the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. The escalation of the regime crisis is manifested with the CIA-gate, the scandalous protection of Libby's criminal activities, after his condemnation in court by the President himself, the forced replacement of a number of neo-conservative "super-stars" (Pearle, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz), the clash between the Judiciary and the Attorney General Gonzalez.
It is the worst regime crisis in United States after the Vietnam War and Watergate. The 2008 elections and a possible return of the Democrats to power cannot defuse it as the international program of the Democratic Party supports the continuing occupation of Iraq, albeit in a disguised form (military bases) and maintains a staunch support to Zionism; there is no essential difference between the two imperialist Parties. The international repercussions in the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, Russia and China are immense. America has become not solely the centre of the world economic crisis of capitalism but also of its political crisis.
3. Gaza, a turning point
The world turmoil finds the most explosive form today in the Middle East volcano. The central question in the Middle East crisis is the Palestinian Question: the expulsion of the Palestinian people from its lands by Zionism, occupation and repression, the expropriation of Palestinian national rights, including the right of return of all refugees to their homes.
The recent dramatic events in Gaza, marking a decisive turn in the situation in Palestine, in the region and internationally, have to be seen in a historical perspective to draw a strategic line for an alternative program for emancipation.
The Palestinian people had passed through a series of recurrent Nakbas- catastrophes. First in 1948 with the establishment of the Zionist State of Israel. Then in 1967, when with the 6-Day War the occupation of Palestinian lands was completed. The infamous Oslo "peace process" was introduced to stop the popular 1987 Intifada; it was a Nakba in slow motion trying to impose a phony "mini-state" of disconnected Palestinian Bantustans with a phony "consensus" of the oppressed forced upon them by their oppressors with the complicity and treachery of their nationalist leaders of the "Palestinian Authority". The process failed as it produced the explosion of the Al Aqsa Intifada in 2000.
The political contradictions and bourgeois nationalist limits of the Palestinian national movement, the corruption of the secular nationalist PA leadership, the sinister role of Dahlan and its Palestinian "security" forces co-opted by Israel and the CIA has pushed the Palestinian masses to find a kind of alternative way out to that worked out by political Islam and Hamas, which triumphed in the elections in January 2006. The recent events in Gaza are the direct result of the genocidal economic embargo and the blockade of the Territories imposed by the United States, the European Union and Israel condemning the Palestinian population to starvation, misery, lack of medical and other social services, and death as a means to overthrow the Hamas government. Gaza, particularly, was transformed into an open air prison of desperate, jobless, starving dispossessed people.
The Second Lebanese War in 2006 itself started as a consequence of the US-Zionist campaign to overthrow the elected Hamas Palestinian government; as the Lebanese Hezbollah was the only Arab force that actively intervened in defense of Gaza under attack, the Israeli Generals activated their already prepared plans to destroy Hezbollah, as a dress rehearsal for a wider offensive against Iran and Syria.
As the Lebanon War led to a humiliating military-political defeat of Zionism, it precipitated its internal disintegrating crisis. The Saudi initiative to form a Palestinian national unity Hamas-Fatah government collapsed, mainly because of Israeli intransigence. The Bush and Olmert governments moved to finish with Hamas by military means using as Contras Mohamed Dahlan's troops, armed and financed by the American, Zionist and Egyptian regimes. While Dahlan was in Egypt to complete the preparations to implement the imperialist-Zionist planned coup, Hamas in self-defense made a pre-emptive counter-attack. Fatah forces were defeated and evicted form Gaza with ferocious force by the Hamas militiamen.
It is a lie propagated by imperialist, Zionist and Arab reactionary media that a Hamas coup took place; as a matter of fact the coup engineered by US, Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Abbas was defeated and imperialism received a blow.
The brutalities and the violent separation of Gaza from the West Bank controlled by Abbas are the byproducts of the criminal policy of US, Zionist and E.U. imperialists helped by their local stooges. The cynical talk on "Hamastan" and "Fatahland" tries to cover up the imperialist strategy to transform Palestinian national self-determination into a national self-destruction of pulverized enclaves.
This strategy now tries to take advantage of the Hamas/Fatah strife to achieve its goals. The Bush Administration, the Olmert government, the EU immediately gave their full political, financial and military support to Abbas and to its fake "government of emergency", while Gaza under siege is threatened to die either through starvation or by a new military aggression. The defense of Gaza under siege from a Zionist aggression is the first priority for all anti-imperialist and working class forces internationally.
The implemented imperialist strategy is a continuation of the original Bush "roadmap to peace" and Sharon's "cantonization plan". It was presented by Israeli PM Olmert in the US Congress in May 2006, just before the invasion in Lebanon. Its aim is the establishment of "a truncated Palestinian 'state' comprised of four disconnected cantons, three in the West Bank and Gaza. By annexing its major settlement blocs defined by the wall, Israel thereby expands onto 85% of the country leaving the Palestinians confined to impoverished enclaves on the remaining 15% of the land. In such a 'two state solution' Israel would control the borders, external and internal Palestinian movement, the 'greater Jerusalem' area, all the water resources, the air space, the communications sphere and even the Palestinian state's foreign policy" (Jeff Halper, " Keeping a Steady Course in Apartheid", Media Monitors Network , 25/6/ 07). With the separation of these would be 'cantons' between a Hamas controlled area and a West bank under Abbas/ Fatah control, even this "two state solution" is imploding. There is a plan B elaborated by the US and Israeli Foreign Ministers Condoleezza Rice and Tzipi Livni, which is now advanced calling "for the unilateral declaration by the US of a 'provisional' Palestinian state with no fixed borders, no meaningful sovereignty and no viable economy, squeezed between the Wall, Israel's eastern 'demographic' border incorporating the settlement blocs, and the Jordan valley, Israel's eastern 'security' border." (Op. cit).
The fiction of a "two state solution", much cherished by pacifists, Stalinists, NGO activists, centrists of all kinds etc. is now in ruins. Some people applying in a mechanical way the South African experience are returning to a bourgeois version of a "one State solution", which is nothing more than a "democratization" of the existing State of Israel to become "a democratic Republic of all its citizens". Zionism cannot be "de-zionized", it must be defeated. The more its crisis worsens, the more militaristic and undemocratic it becomes, threatening not only Syria and Iran but the entire region with new "preventive" wars and driving towards a "final solution of the Palestinian problem" by escalating repression and plans of forced "transfer".
Hamas cannot provide an alternative solution. Religious nationalism is an expression both of despair and of disintegration of bourgeois secular nationalism. While we resolutely oppose the imperialist-Zionist campaign to destroy Hamas, we reject the assumption that a Palestinian brand of the right wing Muslim Brotherhood, initially aided by the Saudi monarchy and even Mossad against secular nationalism and the PLO, opens the road to national and social emancipation. The position taken by the British SWP/IS Tendency is a vulgar manifestation of the opportunist capitulation of this tendency to the Muslim bourgeoisie and to their electoral allies in the British Muslim Association dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.
All the bourgeois fake "solutions" in Palestine represent a lethal dead end for the Palestinian cause. The CRFI's strategic orientation and program opens the only way out. The moment of the implosion of the 'two state" fallacy is potentially a moment of transition from disintegration to a new revolutionary rise.
Death squads should not be allowed to divide and terrorize the Palestinian population; the Palestinian people has to rise, give an end to sectarian divisions and fragmentation, arm itself under the supervision of People's Committees as those functioning during the 1987 Intifada. Demolish the Wall and all the apartheid "regulations"! Immediate withdrawal of IDF troops from the Territories and dismantlement of the settlements! For a common struggle of the Palestinian national movement and of the Jewish workers and poor against the common enemy who oppresses and dispossesses the Palestinians and condemns the Israeli Jews to impoverishment and permanent military adventures! For the right of national self-determination of the Palestinian people, for the right of return of all Palestinian refugees to their homes!
Zionism has revealed itself to be a bastion of imperialism in the region, a camp of extermination for Palestinians and a death trap for Jews, a powerful and poisonous driving force of racism and anti-Semitism. The Zionist State machine of ethnic cleansing and war has to be smashed and a democratic, secular and socialist Republic has to be established in the entire historic territory of Palestine as a crucial step in the establishment of a Socialist Federation of all the freely associated peoples of the Middle East!
4. A new "Cold War"?
War in the Middle East and Central Asia was always connected with imperialist strategic considerations for control of the gigantic oil and gas resources, pipelines and distribution network, and together with it, for control of the vast former Soviet space, Russia and China in the process of capitalist restoration. So, the setbacks that imperialism has suffered in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, the emergence of Islamic Iran as an unavoidable power broker in these wars as well as its rise into the position of a regional hegemonic power, the revival of Russia's role and the restoration of its State apparatus under Putin have as a result the mounting of new rivalries and tensions between Russia and America leading some commentators to talk about a "new Cold War".
This superficial characterization ignores the historical nature of the Cold War systemic antagonism between imperialism and the Soviet Union in the particular international relationship of class forces after the end of World War II as well as the depth of the disintegration and fall of Stalinism. Putin's Bonapartism represents not a return to Soviet times and a rebirth of the Soviet Union; it is not a coming back to a distorted form of transition to Socialism but another road to Capitalism and of integration to the world market, following the impasse and collapse of the first stage of capitalist restoration under Yeltsin's "shock therapy" during Russia's default in August 1998. Putin's regime was obliged to partially re-nationalize the strategic sectors of the economy, particularly the energy sector, and revitalize some industries; it benefited enormously from the astronomic rise of the oil prices in the 2000-2006 period to create a Stabilization Fund to pay back the external debt of the country, pay the arrears for pensions and accumulate provisions for future financial shocks. The enormous growth of the State under the supervision of the former KGB, now FSB, is the product of the external pressures of international financial capital and the internal pressures from the disintegration of social economic life. But semi-state-ization of strategic sectors of the economy combined with blows to some oligarchs does not mean a return to the pre-1991 Soviet period, even if Soviet Stalinist forms of rule, including the all powerful secret services, are used for other purposes: to stabilize the economy and make it work on capitalist lines. No significant part of the Stabilization Fund was used to renew either the infrastructure or social services for the people; the main concern was to pay the world bankers and co-operate with the demanding global financial capitalist environment. To combine an economy of extraction of oil and raw materials with a strong link with international finance capital is not a road to Socialism, not even to national sovereignty as Putin pretends. Inequalities between the regions have grown and only the elite, particularly in the Central Region of the Federation around Moscow, has benefited from the economic recovery. Putin's authoritarian regime remains the enemy of the people to be fought and defeated by the masses. But this fight has nothing in common with the goals and conspiracies of the oligarchs or of the pro-capitalist liberals around Kasparov, Yavlinsky et al. The dividing line is not between pro-Putin and anti-Putin camps but the class line for or against capitalist restoration. The salvation of the workers' and popular masses from the devastation of capitalist restoration and from the transformation of the country into a semi-colony, source of raw materials for the West and subservient to international finance capital is in the road of organization and mobilization of the working class, the youth and all the oppressed to defeat the restorationist forces by revolutionary means on the basis of a genuine socialist program and an internationalist perspective. The future of Russia and all the former Soviet bloc countries (including China) will be settled in struggle in the international arena.
It is true that imperialism, particularly US imperialism is warring on the course of Russia, strengthened under Putin and with a re-affirmed role in world politics, in the Middle East, Europe, the Balkans; above all it is warring for the uncertainties of Russia's re-absorption into the world capitalist market. Imperialism is the enemy not of Putin but of the Russian people. This is the real target of the new ballistic missile system that the United States imperialism wants to install in Europe, in the Czech Republic and Poland. The aim is not to prevent an Iranian missile attack on London, New York or Washington but the re-colonization of the former Soviet space and world hegemony. The workers' and anti-war movements in Europe and internationally have to fight back against the installation of the new ballistic missile system, for the dismantlement of NATO and of all its military bases and facilities that threaten humanity once again with the specter of a nuclear holocaust.
5. Europe after the French elections
Europe and its old, declining Capitalism has become a focus for all the pressures emanating from the world capitalist crisis, from the competition of America, the theater of the renewed conflict between America and post Soviet, restorationist Russia, the direct recipient of the impact from the Middle East explosions - and the arena for a new stage of mass class confrontations. The rejection of the EU Treaty in the referendums in France and Netherlands in 2005 and the mass youth movements in France and Greece in 2006-2007 are the lightning before the storm.
The crisis of the entire EU is clearly shown in France. The bourgeoisie supported the right wing populist Sarkozy to lead to electoral victory a hard line Right, incorporating the electoral base of the far right of Le Pen, with a program of class war against the French working class and youth as well as a rallying call for a class war all over Europe to finish with all the social resistances to neo-liberal policies manifested so far.
The driving force behind Sarkozy's ascent to power and for his anti-working class, anti-youth, anti-immigrant, anti-"May '68" program is the decline and crisis of European Capitalism and particularly of French Capitalism, which faces a rapid deterioration in every aspect and an enormous public debt over-shadowing that of Italy's.
Sarkozy pretends that he is a new Thatcher marking a decisive turning point for a capitalist offensive against all workers' rights in France and Europe. He wants to achieve his goals by precipitating a series of anti-popular counter-reforms in the first 6 months to defeat the social resistances of the masses. He wants to hit many aims with just one shot in his gun. If he fails the result will be disastrous for the bourgeoisie in France and in Europe. The hubris of his arrogant position has provoked reactions even during the electoral battle. When its was announced between the two rounds of the parliamentary elections that an increase of the VAT from 19% to 25% will be implemented, the right wing ruling Party of Sarkozy lost " about 60 seats in Parliament" according to the former French right wing PM Raffarin, preventing a landslide electoral victory. In any case, the ascent of Sarkozy's populist Right to power marks a new phase of escalation of class confrontations not solely in France but on the entire European Continent.
To be a new Thatcher, Sarkozy has to clash and defeat the working class and the youth and overcome the new financial and economic crisis that are building up in the main centers of the world economy. Sarkozy cannot be a new Thatcher. Thatcherism was the starting point of the international neo-liberal offensive of capital, the initial stage of the finance globalization at the end of the 20th century to defeat the trade unions and the strength of the working class, to stop the revolutionary wave world wide that followed the collapse of the post war Bretton Woods settlement. Sarkozy comes after the exhaustion of that period of offensives initiated by Thatcher and Reagan; an exhaustion manifested by a series of financial shocks, failure of the neo-liberal policies to give a solution to the systemic crisis, the generalized instability of today's world capitalist economy as well as by political crisis, mass rebellions and wars.
Sarkozy's strength is filling the vacuum left by the disintegrating center left Socialist Party and even of the far Left. While a social radicalization of the masses and a left turn was expressed in the victory of the "No" in the referendum on the EU Treaty, in the rebellions in the ghettos around Paris and other metropolitan centers, in the movement against the CPE, the entire political system of the country turned to the right: Sarkozy's UMP incorporated the far right racist program and constituency of Le Pen; Segolène Royal's Socialist Party called for class peace, promoted a liberal program indistinguishable form the Right's, and came closer to a section of the Right around Bayrou pretending to be the "Center"; the majority of the far left tail-ended the Socialist Party and Royal and called (including Besancenot's LCR and Laguiller's Lutte Ouvrière) to vote for her in the second round.
The electoral collapse of most of the left, from the Communist Party to Lutte Ouvrière (LO), was not the consequence, as the claim goes, solely of the of its fragmentation, the lack of a unitary Presidential candidate etc., of their adaptation to the Socialist Party as the "lesser evil" and as "line of resistance" to Sarkozy's offensive. LO, particularly, after its previous electoral triumphs in 1995 and even 2002 with more than a million and a half votes, manifested a growing political conservativism, rejecting its own project for a new workers' party as "premature", expelling all those supporting such a project, rejecting any fight for the Fourth International, remaining in a short sighted day to day syndicalist routine adapted to the national environment, tail-ending most of the time the French Communist Party and later Segolène Royal's candidacy in the second round.
The relative success of the independent candidacy of Olivier Besançenot of the LCR, surpassing by far in votes the Communist Party and LO, was achieved because it refused the open capitulation to a strong tendency within the LCR itself to support the perspective for a future new "plural left" Center Left government of the SP supported by the CP and most of the anti-globalization movement. A strong minority of the French Section of the USFI (41% in the last Congress of the LCR in June 2006 when a 59% majority voted for Besancenot's independent candidacy) openly fought against the independent candidate of their own organization, some of them (such as the Cliffites supporters of the IS Tendency and other movementists within the League) fanatically advocating the candidacy of Jose Bové, the agrarian syndicalist, anti-globalization hero for the movementists, who defended the "national sovereignty of French food" and called from the beginning for a vote to Royal in the second round.
Despite his success, Besancenot himself made the same call in the evening of the first round, while his electoral campaign never superseded programmatically the framework of a militant, democratizing reformism.
The so-called "radical left" in France, as previously in Italy or in Brazil is becoming or tends to become a force sustaining bourgeois Center Left governments of class collaboration. In Italy, Bertinotti, previously hailed as the leader not only of Rifondazione Comunista but of the "no-global" "movement of the movements" has joined together with his Party and most of the internal factions, including the supporters of the USFI, the Center Left Prodi government and gave it repetitively a vote of confidence, even when this government renewed the presence or sent imperialist troops in Afghanistan and Lebanon. "Sinistra Critica", which incorporates the USFI Italian Section in Rifondazione Comunista, after voting many times its "confidence" to this imperialist government, only lately took its distance, while still refusing to orientate itself into the building of a new independent workers' Party. Our comrades of the Italian Section of the CRFI, on the contrary, became the target of a vicious witch hunt after their leader Marco Ferrando's courageous anti-imperialist position on Iraq and Palestine, breaking from the Rifondazione Comunista when it joined the bourgeois government, and launching the movement to constitute an independent Communist Workers Party, the Partito Comunista dei Lavoratori (PCL).
The CRFI had warned last year: "There is a right wing drift of the Parties of the so-called "European Anticapitalist Left" merging with the "European left party" that unites the social reformists and re-cycled Stalinist parties in the European Union. These so-called "mass anti-capitalist parties" from the start had a political orientation to unite in a common "intermediary" organization forces of a reformist political origin with those coming from a revolutionary tradition. Now, in the new conditions of class polarization in Europe, there is not much space for an "intermediary" space and this orientation leads into abandonment of a relatively autonomous position, accommodation with reformism and integration to the bourgeois political system, including in some cases such as in Italy, integration to bourgeois governments." (CRFI Executive Council Statement, August 29-September 3, 2006).
The CRFI calls all the class struggle organizations and fighters of the Left opposing capitulation to imperialism, to the Center Left and class collaboration, to discuss the political challenges posed by the changes in the international situation and to work jointly with the CRFI for a European Conference to elaborate our revolutionary tasks today.
6. Latin America, a pre-revolutionary period
While the world's attention finds itself centered on the crises and catastrophes shaking the Middle East and Central Asia to its foundations, in Yanqui Imperialism's own back yard events of revolutionary proportions are unfolding which arouse enormous interest among working class and popular fighters all over the world. Latin America as a whole is passing through a pre-revolutionary period, whose progress could bring about an acceleration in the political crisis and new popular awakening in the United States.
The Latin American revolution is a fundamental historic process in the present world crisis.
The characteristics of a pre-revolutionary situation are clear: the popular rebellion of 2001 in Argentina and a new ascent in the struggles now underway at the present time; various rebellions and two mass insurrections in Bolivia, which have modified the historic relationship between the classes and a regime crisis and crisis of the State; the popular uprising and the forming of the Oaxaca Commune, in Mexico, as well as the mobilizations against election fraud; the continuous regional popular uprisings in Peru, especially in its mining zones; the historic intervention of the Venezuelan masses against the military coup of April, 2002 and against the capitalist lock out of December, 2002 - February, 2003. In last place, but more and more important, is Chile, shaken by the youth rebellion in education, the growing mining strikes and the irrefutable manifestations of a definitive exhaustion of the political regime of the Demo-Christian-Socialist Coalition and Bachelet´s government.
Since Latin America was, during the nineties, the favorite test bed for international finance capital piloted by the IMF, the conclusion, of international scope, emerging from this is that the capitalist crisis gives rise to rebellions, insurrections and revolutionary situations. Almost two decades after the dissolution of the USSR the main force behind the world political crisis is more than ever the irreversible historic decline of the capitalist organization of society.
Under such conditions, Latin America is the stage for a political experience, unique in its history, of a combination of center-left governments, in one case constituted by the historic left, like the PT of Brazil and the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) of Uruguay, and in other cases by that same left integrated with military or indigenist nationalism, as occurs in Bolivia, Venezuela and, partially, in Ecuador, or in the case of Argentina, making an amalgam of part of Peronism with the traditional left. The immense majority of these forces in the government have their origins in the same political womb-the home of the so-called São Paulo Forum for what will soon be twenty years.
The general conclusion of this experience is irrefutable: the democratizing left in the government has capitulated shamefully before Imperialism. Both the PT (Workers Party) of Brazil and the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) of Uruguay reached office through an alliance with the bourgeoisie in the framework of a popular front, which counted on the support of the left worldwide-including especially that extreme left which has a folkloric relationship with Trotskyism. Another even more important conclusion is that popular fronts do not always constitute 'weak' governments, condemning them to be the midwife of revolutionary crises. On the contrary, in the majority of cases, they end up being an efficient instrument for braking working class struggles, demoralizing the workers and bringing about a popular reflux, especially due to the fact that there does not exist an independent or revolutionary party which combats the popular front. Above and beyond its domestic political function, as occurs in the case of Brazil, Lula´s government has been the principal international tool in the hands of capital with which to combat tendencies towards political radicalization in countries such as Venezuela or Bolivia. On October 17, 2003, a mediating commission formed by Kirchner and Lula intervened before the social and political Bolivian leadership with the aim of having them accept a constitutional succession to the overthrow of Sánchez de Lozada; before that, towards the end of 2002, Lula had piloted the formation of the 'friends of Venezuela' group of countries, in order to force a mediation between the government and the pro-coup right-wing opposition. The reflux of the Brazilian proletariat, the most important in Latin America, has contained, both geographically and in terms of radicalization, the political awakening of the masses throughout the continent.
In this context, the Venezuelan and Bolivian experiences stand out as a new attempt on the part of Latin American nationalism to conquer national autonomy and turn itself into the exclusive representative of the oppressed masses. What has occurred up till now makes it plain, however, that both the Bolivarian and the Indigenous experiences are to be found historically below what Argentine Peronism and the Bolivian MNR represented in their time, or the Peruvian military government of Velazco Alvarado towards the end of the sixties. The recent nationalizations in the telecommunications and power sectors in Venezuela have compensated the monopolies at market value, which includes installed capital as well as expectations of future earnings. Although the terms of the proposal for a new partnership with the international oil monopolies for the exploitation of the Orinoco basin are not yet known, they are indistinguishable from what has been negotiated in Russia or in Algeria. These are strategic accords for the exploitation of the world market in the conditions created by a huge increase in the prices and therefore in the profits to be obtained from hydrocarbons. In the case of Bolivia the partnership with the oil conglomerates has not been finalized, but in this case the monopolies have reserved the right to register as their own a large part of the reserves and even have the possibility of conditioning contracts to be signed in the future. In Venezuela a huge process of increases in the incomes of the impoverished poor majority of the population is underway, but this does not occur at the cost of capital, or as a result of the modification of the relations between capital and labor, but rather due to the application of enormous amounts of tax revenue. But the recourse to tax revenue has created insurmountable contradictions in the Bolivarian process, made manifest in an ever-increasing rate of inflation, which could disintegrate the social machinery, and in an incredible level of corruption among the Chavista bureaucracy, both civil and military. In the workplace, meanwhile, the dictatorship of capital over labor power continues firmly in place.
Viewed as a whole, the ongoing processes in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador are related to the experiences of the Brazilian and Uruguayan popular fronts in one fundamental aspect: in those countries as well the nationalist style governments have been able to block the revolutionary tendencies of the masses and to attain political stability at the cost of a reflux among the workers. This is what has been occurring over the last two years, in Venezuela since the referendum ratifying Chavez, and in Bolivia since the inauguration of the Constituent Assembly.
As has occurred with all the nationalist movements, ever since they first came into being historically, they make every effort to represent the masses exclusively, which means controlling their organizations. This is what is happening in Venezuela with the official attempt to bring the UNT under state control and with the formation of a single party run from within the state. As the CRFI we declare this to be the fundamental problem facing the exploited working class and we declare ourselves in favor of the total independence of the class of the UNT and in favor of its right to convene free elections in order to designate its leadership bodies. With regard to the single party, we declare it to be a move aimed at regimenting and declare that the socialists should organize their own party. On the basis of a party and press of its own it may be valid to enter the single party in order to develop from within the work of socialist political differentiation. The CMI (Committee for an Marxist International, the Alan Woods-The Militant tendency) and the UIT (to which the Argentine MST belongs), on the other hand, have decided to enter the single party as sustainers of the nationalist process and government, repeating the ill-fated Stalinist experiences dating back to the Chinese Kuomintang of the twenties in the last century. The propaganda published by these tendencies in favor of a 'permanent revolution' under the leadership of Chávez and the Venezuelan armed forces insults the intelligence.
The CRFI sustains, on the basis of the perspective of new international and financial crises and of the insurmountable contradictions of the present center-left processes, whether nationalist or pro-IMF, the need to prepare for new political convulsions and a radicalization of the popular process, building revolutionary workers parties and working untiringly for the development of working class and peasant organizations and for their political independence. While Imperialism conspires unceasingly in order to reverse the present pre-revolutionary stage, the CRFI warns, in the light of all the historical experience of Latin America, that not one gram of confidence should be placed in the capacity of nationalist governments to protect the peoples from Imperialist conspiracies. Only a firm lack of confidence towards them will unleash the initiatives and the anti-imperialist energies of the masses, chief among them the need to take up arms in order to defeat the permanent conspiracies of Imperialism.
Only a deepening of the Latin American revolution may afford Cuba the possibility of emerging from its social impasse. The entire experience of the Cuban revolution is the sum of failed experiments on the part of its governing bureaucracy, from the extreme zafras (harvests) to the liquidation of the sugar crop; from the mechanical economic subordination to the Russian bureaucracy to the legalization of the dollar. Social differences are on the rise in Cuba, without limit; a minority (among it the bureaucracy) is on the way towards solving its social problems while the majority suffers from enormous want. These social differences form a base of support for restorationist attempts. It is not Kirchner and Lula´s support which will serve as a protective shield against Imperialism or restorationism, or the ALBA, which has no practical concreteness apart from a few accords for the cheap provisioning of oil. Venezuela´s accords with the MERCOSUR have given rise to huge business deals (purchase of the Argentine debt), but have failed as a statement of national autonomy and today is to be found in complete crisis. The defense of Cuba against Imperialism and as an attempt at revolutionary Socialism is linked to the alliance of the workers and peasants of Latin America.
The turmoil in the contemporary world, from Venezuela and Latin America to Palestine and the Middle East, from France and Europe to Central Asia, Russia and China clearly marks a transition from a previous period dominated by the direct effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Stalinism through a new rise of social and national struggles internationally at the end of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st, to a polarization of social forces climaxing into major historical confrontations all over the world.
On the 90th anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution, the first act of the world revolution, as Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks stressed, the world enters a new stage of the world socialist revolution. To lead this new upsurge to victory, to complete the work of revolutionary transformation started by the breaking of the weakest link of world imperialism in Russia in 1917, we need now more than ever a workers' revolutionary International: the Fourth International refounded.
CRFI:n Kansainvälinen Komitea kokoontui Istanbulissa 18.-25. kesäkuuta 2007
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