The Transitional Program Now, Nahuel Moreno 1980
The Pabloist revisionism not only provoked the most terrible crisis in our International, but also generated an increasing resistance. Unfortunately, that resistance was not carried through by an internationally proofed conduction. It was not possible to oppose a solid international conduction and organisation to the revisionist conduction, due to the weakness of our International itself. Nevertheless, the resistance to the revisionist course has been strong, but it had a national, regional or fragmentary character, due to that lack of an international conduction. Different national parties, or international or regional tendencies, did resist against revisionism. Therefore, the history of the resistance against the revisionist course is a history full of ups and downs, closely connected with the process of the class struggle.
It is the old French section - the PCI (International Communist Party), now the OCI (International Communist Organisation) - which has the historical merit of recognising first the significance of Pabloism as a revisionist current, as a current that betrayed the Trotskyist principles. The French comrades nearly alone started a principled struggle. Rapidly they have been followed by most of the Latin American Trotskyists, except the Bolivian comrades that were feudalized to the IS and Pablo. (We should consider apart the current of Lora, which had an abstentionist policy.)
The SWP of the USA, the Trotskyist party with the highest reputation and tradition, summed up to the battle against Pabloist revisionism in November 1953, when it spectacularly broke up with Pablo. The International Committee (IC) is then founded to defend our International against the revisionist attack of Pabloism.
Nevertheless, the IC never went beyond the character of a defensive unique front, a federative organisation that not even did set up an international tendency, because of the influence of the SWP. The IC had a rather vegetative life, with dangling bonds, unable to oppose a strong centralised conduction that would give a definite battle to revisionism till its expulsion from our ranks.
The Latin American Trotskyists have given a restless battle against that concept of the SWP. Essentially, the position of the conduction of the SWP was that of a federative International or a federative IC of national Trotskyists.
It was not possible to defeat revisionism, although the IC got together eighty percent of the militant Trotskyist forces in the world, because of that nationalist position of the SWP, the hegemonic party in the IC. That nationalist policy of the SWP combined with a changing position of Pabloism between 1956 and 1959. Pabloism changed its position in the course of the Hungarian revolution or because of the Cuban revolution, and it seems that, from then on, the conduction of the SWP applies efforts to a reuniting with the Pabloist IS, without emphasising that it was a clear revisionist tendency.
The SWP urges to break up the IC, disperses its forces, provokes a lot of crises in it, just at the moment when revisionism was at its weakest point. The Pabloist revisionism was saved thanks to the break up of the IC. The reuniting of 1963, that led to the creation of the USec (Unified Secretariat) did have that consequence.
The fact of the class struggle that allowed for the SWP to break up the IC and to play into the hands of Pabloism, was the Cuban revolution, conducted by a petty bourgeois, non Stalinist leadership, Castroism. That event provoked a profound confusion in the Trotskyist movement, and specially in the ranks of the IC. The IC was not able to answer united to that new phenomenon, which roughly matched the analysis of Trotsky about petty bourgeois leaderships that go beyond their aims against the bourgeoisie. The confusion came from the fact that it was not a Stalinist leadership. No current of the Trotskyist movement was able to answer to that new and complex phenomenon with a principled position. Nobody was able to make the following global and principled analysis: Cuba transformed itself into a workers' state when it expropriated the bourgeoisie, but that revolution was done under a petty bourgeois, thoroughly nationalist leadership (although that nationalism had some progressive feature then, being Latin American); hence, the new-born workers' state was bureaucratic from scratch; and hence, a political revolution and the building of a Trotskyist party were at order, since the 'Movimiento 26 de Julio' first, and then the Cuban Communist Party were petty bourgeois and bureaucratic parties. In other words, a petty bourgeois leadership doesn't cease to be so because it isn't Stalinist, not even if it is anti-Stalinist.
The Cuban phenomenon matched the highly improbable hypothesis of the Transition Program, at the same level as all the other bureaucratised workers' states of the actual after-war. To be or not to be Stalinist is a secondary problem. Some comrades in the IC - among them the SWP - emphasised the character of workers' state of the Cuban state and the revolutionary character of Castroism, and they concluded that the building of a Trotskyist party was not at order. Other comrades in the IC negated the character of workers' state and emphasised the opportunist petty bourgeois character of the Castroist leadership and of the '26 de Julio', as well as the need of building a Trotskyist party that should fight them. The fact that the SWP broke up the IC prevented from arriving at a correct and principled position about the Cuban revolution and worsened the generalised confusion.
For Pabloism and Mandelism, the Cuban revolution was an excellent opportunity to fortify and vitalise their revisionism, their negation of the necessity of building Trotskyist parties. Revisionism met the opportunity to hand over to Castroism the role of conducting the socialist revolution, a task it had left in the hands of Stalinism before. Revisionism changed the stage, but remained the same: in the fifties the revolution and the transformation into revolutionary parties passed through Stalinism and all the bureaucratic and nationalist apparatuses of the world mass movement; in the sixties they changed the addressee:
Castroism will set up the revolutionary parties, since it is one of them. The break up between the SU and China leads the IS to state for a time something similar, regarding Maoism.
What is really serious is that the SWP accepts completely that revision of the Trotskyist program and analysis regarding Castroism, even when it continues, correctly, to be opposed to Maoism as a national Stalinist variant.
That's the way the SWP goes to the unification with the IS. The SWP has many correct and principled programmatic statements, as for instance, to recognise Cuba as a workers' state, but behind them is hidden a profound capitulation to Castroism and the abandoning of the very reason to be Trotskyist: the coercive need of building a Trotskyist party in Cuba and in the rest of Latin America to fight Castroism, that petty bourgeois current which is ruling the new workers' state, till obtaining a political revolution of the Cuban workers against it. The political base of the reuniting went through a revisionist agreement: not to fight the Castroist leadership as an enemy of Trotskyism and of the workers' movement.
What was left over from the IC after the splitting manoeuvre of the SWP, was not able to answer with a global analysis and policy to the new phenomenon, fundamentally due to its Healyist leadership. It lasted years to recognise Cuba as a bureaucratic workers' state where a political revolution was at order. It answered to the new revisionist front of the USec with a confused analysis and policy, and so it fortified that front, rather than to weaken it.
The sixties are a decade of great confusion in the Trotskyist ranks, a confusion that allows for revisionism to recover, since the lack of a correct and consequent global analysis brings grist to its mill of revisionist positions and policy: not to fight for the building of a Trotskyist party in Cuba, which should conduct the political revolution against the petty bourgeois leaderships.
The new revolutionary upswing that starts about 1968 urges the forces that claim to be Trotskyist, inside the ranks of the USec as well as in the IC, to give an answer to it. The great general strike in France in 1968, the beginning of the political revolution in Czechoslovakia in that year, the Spring of Prague, the revolutionary upswing in Latin America, specially in the Southern Cone, the incredible struggle of the Vietnam people against the North American invasion as well as its repercussion inside the USA with a huge mass movement to bring back the American soldiers out of Vietnam, all that polarises the forces and is at the origin of a very intense internal struggle, inside the USec as well as inside the IC.
From 1969 on, a struggle opens inside the USec, first tendential and then fractional, between the majority of the USec and what later will be the FLT (Leninist Trotskyist Fraction). This brings its forces near to a break in many opportunities. It starts as a battle - in the Ninth World Congress of 1969 - against the guerrilla strategy for Latin America, sustained by the majority of the USec. Rapidly it comes to the point that it is not merely a strategic discussion, but a principled one, which has to do with all the methodological and programmatic problems of our International. In the centre of the discussion stays, as usual, the problem of the unavoidable necessity of building Trotskyist parties that should give a merciless battle inside the mass movement against the opportunist currents. It's the same as in the fifties when revisionism capitulated to Stalinism and all the counterrevolutionary apparatuses and so abandoned the struggle for the building of Trotskyist parties. It's the same as in the sixties when it capitulated to Castroism. In the seventies, this capitulation meant to abandon the struggle for the building of Trotskyist parties and rather to support the Latin American and European Guevaraist guerrilla, the other petty bourgeois side of the Castroist opportunism.
While the struggle against the revisionist majority of the USec advanced, and new fundamental events of the class struggle appeared, the FLT itself began to split up into an opportunist wing, which had a tendency towards collaboration with the majority of the USec, although its positions seemed to be antagonistic, and a wing which intensified ever more its most intransigent struggle against revisionism. The opportunist wing was headed by the new leadership of the SWP. That it was a new conduction is qualitative, although it doesn't dilute the responsibility of the former conduction, for its policy regarding Cuba and the IC. The former conduction was a Trotskyist one: despite serious deviations of national-Trotskyism, it reflected a Trotskyist and proletarian tradition. The new conduction is issued from the students' movement, and from the beginning it has communicating vessels of social kind with the old and new European revisionist conduction: they are all part of the European or North American students' movement.
The tendencies that face in a frontal way the liquidationist and petty bourgeois course of the SWP are the FB (Bolshevik Fraction) and the TLT (Leninist Trotskyist Tendency). Despite minor differences, both tendencies unite to fight the capitulation course of the SWP. And the SWP decides to put an end on the intransigent struggle of the FLT against the majority of the USec, and makes an unprincipled front with the latter, sustaining so its revisionist method, policy and program.
Inside the IC a similar phenomenon happens: the split of the IC and the emergence of the CORCI (Comisi¢n para la Reconstrucci¢n de la Cuarta Internacional - Committee for the Reconstruction of the Fourth International) are phenomena which are parallel to the crisis of the USec and the emergence and crisis of the FLT, and which answer to the same reasons, the upswing of the world revolution. In this case it's the Healyist sector that has the same revisionist, nationalist role as the SWP inside the FLT. It is not casual that today the positions about Nicaragua of Healy and of the FLT are as similar as two drops of water. The IC splits up in two parts, a sectarian nationalist wing which rapidly transforms itself into a completely revisionist wing, just as the SWP, and another wing, conducted by the CORCI, that intransigently defends the Trotskyist principles.
The new upswing of the world revolution, with the great victories in Iran and in Nicaragua and with the upswing in Latin America in general, definitively blows up the Fourth International of the USec. The Usec, giving unconditional support to the FSLN after the overthrow of Somoza, betrays openly the most elementary principles of Trotskyism such as: the unconditional defence of anybody socially or politically persecuted by a bourgeois government (as is the case with the Trotskyist militants); the systematic struggle against a bourgeois government; the struggle for class independence inside the ranks of the workers' movement, fighting without concessions against petty bourgeois leaderships like the FSLN; the permanent task of the Fourth International to build Trotskyist parties in all countries of the world. That attack has triggered immediately a principled front among the CORCI, the TLT and the FB to organise the unitary defence of the Trotskyist principles. The participants in the Round-Table Committee (Comisi¢n Paritaria - Comite' Paritaire) are conscious from the very beginning that they should not repeat the mistakes of the IC and that a clear program and a centralised conduction are at order to defeat revisionism.
We are facing an ever growing strengthening of the bureaucratic apparatuses in this century of struggles, specially in the actual after-war. If that process would go on indefinitely, there would be no possibility of building Trotskyist mass parties and of overcoming the crisis of leadership. That's why it is fundamental to make a profound Marxist study of that phenomenon as well as of its counterpart: the weakness of the Fourth International.
Before the First World War - during the fifty years of reformist upswing and victories of the workers' movement - the strengthening of the counterrevolutionary apparatuses is accompanied by the development of a revolutionary left that becomes stronger day after day, as is clear by the strengthening of the Bolshevik party and by the delimitation of that left inside the workers' movement of other European countries.
In contraposition to that process, the twenty years of counterrevolutionary victories before the Second World War promote the absolute strengthening of those counterrevolutionary apparatuses. Concretely, the Trotskyist movement became weaker and weaker and Stalinism stronger and stronger, along with the repeated triumphs of the counterrevolution. There was no strengthening of both poles of the workers' movement, as in the former reformist epoch, but only of one of them, the counterrevolutionary one.
In contraposition to the analogy we made between the actual immediate after-war and the former one, it seems that the revolutionary upswing and the victories of the workers' movement served to fortify more and more the counterrevolutionary apparatuses during these last thirty years. That is due to a law formulated in some opportunities by Trotsky himself. The mass movement isn't able to provide on its own a revolutionary leadership in its revolutionary upswing, neither will it go, on its own, towards the tiny, nearly non-inexistent revolutionary nucleus. It is urged to go towards the existing mass parties and to accept them as its conduction in a first instance, although those leaderships are bureaucratic counterrevolutionary apparatuses. That combination of revolutionary upswing with bureaucratic and Stalinist apparatuses and with petty bourgeois leaderships as Castroism, went on for a long time because of our extreme weakness. It provoked that the expropriation of the bourgeoisie in a third part of mankind was conducted by these counterrevolutionary leaderships, in an extreme effort to accompany the mobilisation - up to the expropriation of the national bourgeoisie in many countries - in order to bridle it. By the way, that expropriation of the national bourgeoisie and the emergence of workers' states controlled by the bureaucracy represented a new element which strengthened that bureaucracy and provided it with a new force, unexpected by us. The expropriation of the bourgeoisie - that great revolutionary victory - has been exploited by the bureaucracy to gain a high reputation in the workers' movement of its country and of the world. The fulfilling of that colossal revolutionary task consolidated gigantic counterrevolutionary apparatuses on a planetary scale. The advantage of the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, of the nationalisation of the whole economy, as well as the imperialist economic boom, allowed for those leaders to generate a boom of the economy of the national state they ruled over. This is what made it possible for them to extend their power and reputation along decades.
Fortunately, that combination is critical, unstable, provisory, despite the time it lasts. If it were not so, there would be no historical possibility to overcome the crisis of leadership and to construct the International. As the upswing goes on, it begins questioning and eroding those bureaucratic leaderships. So, it has always been. Always the mass movement ought to make the historical experience of the traditional bureaucratic leaderships before it can throw them away and destroy them. Always the working class went to those mass parties, even when they are at the service of the bourgeoisie, and it goes beyond them only after a more or less long experience.
Therefore, even if we have seen an incredible development and strengthening of the workers' bureaucracy and its apparatuses, at the same time a slow but growing crisis of them started as a consequence of the upswing. A lot of events proof it, among them the beginning of the political revolution in Germany in 1953 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968, as well as the continuous open or hidden crisis of Stalinism on a planetary scale.
Contradictorily, the source of the greatest crisis of the counterrevolutionary apparatuses resides in the actual base of support of its fantastic power, the ruling over the government apparatus of the bureaucratised workers' states. That unlimited source of benefits and privileges for the bureaucracy makes it to be the immediate and direct enemy of the masses of those countries (as long as there are no imperialist attacks). In the bureaucratised workers' states, the bureaucracy cannot deviate the mass movement towards the statement that its enemy is imperialism, the bourgeoisie and the national land lords, since it appears itself to the masses as its immediate, direct enemy. The bureaucratised workers' states unveil the workers' bureaucracy, showing it to be a mortal and frontal enemy of the world workers' movement and its mobilisations. The actual source of the enormous power of the bureaucratic apparatuses is also, for the same reason, the source of its organic, structural, historical weakness. In those countries, any mobilisation of the oppressed, of the working class, of the toilers, goes immediately against the bureaucracy, and the revolutionary upswing faces the counterrevolutionary apparatuses without mediations. If only it moves the SU or China, all counterrevolutionary and bureaucratic apparatuses of the world will begin tumbling, entering into their definitive crisis. This is the stage of the world revolutionary upswing into which we entered, the stage of the definitive crisis of the counterrevolutionary apparatuses of the mass movements, and principally, of Stalinism.
Fundamentally, this is because the bureaucracy has become an absolute obstacle for the economic development of these countries, because it has entered into a continuous economic crisis.
To a certain point, that strengthening of the counterrevolutionary apparatuses explains the weakness, nearly since its very birth, of our International. But other factors combine with the existence of these apparatuses in order to explain our weakness. First, we should stress that the most erroneous point of the analogy we made in the foundation of the International (the analogy between both after war periods) is the point concerning the building of great mass parties. We believe the time necessary to build a revolutionary party, as well as the specific subjective elements that conduct to that formation, have been underestimated. A party can only gain mass influence in a revolutionary upswing, but the opposite is not true: a revolutionary upswing doesn't conduct automatically to mass influence of the revolutionary party. For a revolutionary party to acquire mass influence, many years of upswing are necessary to allow for the construction of a leadership and cadre that may use the upswing to strengthen the party inside the mass movement. That subjective process of party building requires time. Therefore, the appropriate analogy is the one we should make with the stage of formation of the great socialist parties and, fundamentally, of the Bolshevik party. These parties have been built in a long process of decades of upswing of the workers' movement. The fact that it was a reformist upswing, in which minimum tasks were at order, doesn't undo the fact that we had decades of upswing which allowed for the setting up of very strong socialist parties. The same happened with the Bolshevik Party, the only revolutionary Marxist party that came up in that epoch of upswing. It lasted forty or fifty years of struggle for the Russian and the international proletariat to be able to set up that party.
The same is happening with our International, even more if we consider that the awkward counterrevolutionary role of the twenty years preceding the Second World War, and fundamentally of Stalinism, have been underestimated. Stalinism accomplished the role of deleting the legacy of the Russian Revolution from the historical memory of the world proletariat when it destroyed the revolutionary vanguard in the period between the two World Wars. It nearly interrupted the historical continuity, leaving only a very few threads of it, and those few threads were in the hands of our International. Therefore, the setting up Trotskyist mass parties, a task already difficult by itself, was still much more difficult.
At the same time, the existence of Pabloism was a fundamental additional factor, not only to weaken the Fourth International but also to disintegrate it in all its sectors, even in those who resisted to the Pabloist revisionism.
So, it will only be possible to build Trotskyist parties if the revolutionary upswing - the epoch of wars, revolutions and crises - goes on. Even so, it will go on to be a slow process, with spectacular jumps in specific countries. But the new epoch which is now open will make possible to a high degree those spectacular jumps in the setting up of our parties.
This is possible, because after forty years of revolutionary upswing, thousands and thousands of experimented and proofed Trotskyist cadres have emerged, able now to capitalise the historical crisis of the counterrevolutionary bureaucratic apparatuses, principally of Stalinism.
Revisionism has developed the theory of the double nature, in order to justify its support to the bureaucratic and petty bourgeois leaderships of the mass movement: these leaderships would be bourgeois in one sense and proletarian in another sense. Regarding Castroism, that reasoning is extended with a political consideration: Castroism surely will end up in a revolutionary course, if it isn't already revolutionary, for not being Stalinist. This argument of a negative kind - that any leadership that doesn't have Stalinist origin and that expropriates the bourgeoisie is revolutionary - doesn't consider a question as simple as the following: that Castroism did transform itself into a Stalinist party.
That theory, apart from being revisionist, refuses to make a Marxist analysis, a class analysis of the political events. The petty bourgeois and bureaucratic currents of the workers' movement reflect a privileged sector of the mass movement, one that came up in the imperialist epoch and that is antagonistic to the workers' and popular base. Even if Engels did point out the problem, neither he nor Marx was able to study thoroughly the stratification of the working class, produced by the development of capitalism at the end of the former century, that means, the emergence of a workers' aristocracy. Much less were they able to study a phenomenon they didn't even suspect: the emergence of a powerful workers' bureaucracy. Capitalism in its imperialist stage, in its final stage, goes on using methods that characterised it all along its existence and that have to do with its merchant, negotiating character. It has been and it is characterised by negotiations with sectors of adverse classes, in order to try to corrupt them and to incorporate them into its system. That's the way it did with feudalism. It obtained support from feudal land lords and absolute monarchs, and so divided the feudal class. The same it did with the working class. That class is the most homogeneous one of contemporary society, much more homogeneous than the bourgeoisie or the petty bourgeoisie, but the bourgeoisie managed it to be no longer monolithic, to have different sectors. “Grosso modo” we may state that there are three clearly delimited sectors linked to the working class, that emerged in the imperialist epoch: the bureaucracy, the aristocracy and the workers' base. The aristocracy as well as the base is part of the working class, they are working in the capitalist companies. But the bureaucracy doesn't work in the capitalist companies, it is not structurally part of the working class, but rather a modern middle class according to Trotsky's definition. Anyhow, since it lives from its wage, from its salary, we may define it according to Marx as a “particular” sector of the working class. The important question is not that, but rather to stress the role of the bureaucracy, its function in society today. The nature and the function of the bureaucracy should not be confounded with its social location.
One should not believe that the contradictions provoked by its origin and location may change its true nature. The bureaucracy is the agent of the counterrevolution inside a workers' institution, over which it rules in order to have a privileged life, separated from the working class. Let us zoom in at that process.
The great monopolies cannot rule directly over a country or over a social sector. They are a most tiny part of mankind and hence, their own personalities are not able to cover the whole society. In order to have a control over their companies, the governments, the parliaments, the parties, the trade unions, the armies, the police, the judicial and cultural apparatus, imperialism and the great monopolies are forced to appeal at specialised sectors of the modern middle class. These sectors are their transmission belt, as for instance the MP, the technocrats and executives, the military people, the politicians and the bureaucrats. Among those agents of imperialism and the monopolies there may be struggles, serious contradictions among themselves and with capitalism itself. For instance, the bourgeois politicians of the parliament are agents of the monopolies in the parliament, but they have great rivalries that may bring them up to the point of facing the agents outside the parliament, the fascist agents of the monopolies in a civil war, as was the case in the civil war in Spain. From that fact we must not draw the conclusion that the petty bourgeois parliamentary agents of imperialism have a double nature. Their nature is always that of being agents of the bourgeoisie in the parliament, despite those contradictions, and as such agents, they defend the parliament against the fascists, and against the monopolies themselves if they have decided not to make use any more of that parliament. Similarly, the chairman of a company is an agent of capitalism, the same as the foreman. He is the petty bourgeois agent who defends the capitalist interests inside the capitalist production. His nature is different from that of a general, who is a military agent of capitalism and of imperialism. One is an economic agent, the other a military agent. There may be many contradictions among them. The chairman may be opposed to an increase in taxes that should raise the military production. In the same way, a strike breaker is an agent of capitalism, specialised in breaking strikes and trade unions. This is not the same as a trade union bureaucrat who is agent of capitalism inside the trade union and the strikes. While the former has as its task to destroy the trade union or any strike that happens, the latter must defend “his” trade union, and in a certain moment he must favour a strike that defends his trade union or strengthens it, having so a contradiction with the strike breaking agent or with the chairman. The national bourgeoisie in semi-colonial countries, for instance, is historically agent of imperialism inside the national boarders, although it may have deep rivalries in certain moments with imperialism itself, when the latter attacks its privileged life.
The workers' bureaucracy is agent of imperialism inside the workers' movement. Therefore it has rivalries with the other agents of imperialism and even with imperialism itself when the latter tries to destroy the workers' institutions, the ruling and monopoly over which does allow the bureaucrat to have a privileged life. But that doesn't mean that the bureaucracy has a double nature; to be so agrees rather with its very nature of agent of imperialism inside the workers' movement and its organisations. As any middle class sector, agent of imperialism, it has a contradiction between the defence of its location, source of its privileges, and its nature of agent of imperialism.
Those general characteristics are typical for the Social Democrat bureaucracy as well as for the Stalinist bureaucracy. The difference has to do with a greater power of the Stalinist bureaucracy, and with the sources of their power, the institutions in which each of them is located. The Social Democrat bureaucracy is located in each national state and in great workers' organisations, but it never ruled over a workers' state. The Stalinist bureaucracy, on the contrary, is characterised by the privileged ruling over workers' states, an institution that is infinitely more powerful than the most powerful of the Social Democrat organisations. But as for its nature, there is no qualitative difference. Both are agents of the imperialist counterrevolution inside the workers' organisations. The difference is that they are agents in different workers' organisations. Something similar happens with the petty bourgeois currents like Castroism, that arrive at conducting a revolutionary mass movement and even at the expropriation of the national bourgeoisie and imperialism. They are a social sector different from the working class, a sector that, just like the bureaucracy, is part of the modern middle class.
Nothing shows it better than that, as soon as they seize power, they transform themselves in technocrats or bureaucrats - on a state level or on a political level - without great outbursts. If before the seizure of power they were a modern middle class current that conducted the mass movement, after its seizure they transform themselves automatically in bureaucracy, due to their specific differentiation from the working class. Revisionism sustains that these petty bourgeois currents, principally the Castroist one, may transform themselves into revolutionary workers' currents as a consequence of having expropriated the national bourgeoisie and imperialism. We believe exactly the contrary. For social reasons, they never can transform themselves into a revolutionary current that reflects the interests of the workers' base, of the poorest and most exploited sectors of it. That impossibility answers to the most elementary of the Marxist laws. No socially privileged sector accepts to lose that privilege or to transform itself as a whole, as social sector, in another, lower, distinct social sector. On the contrary, any social sector with privileges tends to increase them. Any privileged sector may, forced by the circumstances, go beyond its aims on the political level in order to defend its privileges and to increase them, when it is menaced of losing them. But it never will fight against its own privileges, uniting with the most exploited sectors that are against them. Never in the historical process, which goes on precisely because of that struggle of interests, have we seen a privileged sector voluntarily abandon its own privileges, that means, suicide itself as a class sector. If that should happen, then reformism would be right. Those interests, distinct and privileged with respect to the working class, make the bureaucracy as well as the petty bourgeoisie which conducts mass movements, to be an historical part of the world counterrevolution, declared enemies of the permanent mobilisation of the workers' and mass movement, of the permanent revolution inside and outside their countries. Hence, any privileged sector defends the source of its privileges against any attack or any potential danger of attack by the mobilisation of the working class. Any bureaucrat defends his trade union, and not only he defends it, he also aims at its progress, but progress in the sense of “his” trade union, of the trade union ruled by him, not of the trade union ruled by a workers' base that day after day mobilises more. Therefore, all those sectors are politically united to imperialism and to the privileged sectors that exist in the world, in order to bridle the process of permanent mobilisation of the masses, of the base of workers, peasants and people, of the poorest and most exploited sectors. The nature of agent of the counterrevolution, of that bureaucracy, is given by that mortal struggle of all bureaucratic and petty bourgeois sectors - without exception - against the permanent revolution and its political expression, Trotskyism, which it considers as its fundamental enemies. Nothing shows better the counterrevolutionary character of the bureaucracy than its role in the economic process. Inside the capitalist countries, it always is in favour, directly or indirectly, of the exploitation of the working class and the toilers' masses. Social Democracy did secure the exploitation of colonies and of metropolitan workers for imperialism at the beginning of the century. And it went on with that policy since then. Stalinism always ensured the same for its friendly empires. That character of the bureaucracy shows its real nature when a critical situation is at hand, since it may dissemble itself negotiating crumbs when there is a boom. It is in the critical moments that the bureaucracy - also, and in many occasions specially, the Stalinist - supports and sustains the plans of super exploitation of the “friendly” capitalists; it even makes joint plans with them to overcome the crisis. To give only one example: What about the shameless support Castro is giving to the Videla government, which is applying the most terrible plan of super exploitation ever known in Argentine history?
The role of the Stalinist bureaucracies in the economy of the bureaucratised workers' states is still more catastrophic than its role in the capitalist countries. The imperialist economic boom, the reconstruction of an economy destroyed by the war in the SU and in the first workers' states of the after-war, as well as the colossal advantages obtained from the expropriation of the bourgeoisie and the nationalisation of industry and foreign trade, did allow for the bureaucracy to play a provisional and relatively progressive role for a time. But when the economy of the bureaucratised workers' state started developing, the privileges and the totalitarian conduction of the bureaucracy, together with “their” national state, turned out to be more and more an absolute obstacle for the development of the productive forces and the rise of the standard of living of the toilers. From that turn point on - the benchmark may be put at 1974 - the bureaucracy starts elaborating and trying to apply austerity plans for the super exploitation of the toilers. It raised the armaments' production to defend its privileges against a possible attack of imperialism or of the bureaucratised workers' states, but principally to defend itself against the mobilisation of the workers. These are the only solutions thought about by the bureaucracy to overcome the crisis without issue of its economy. At that level, apart from exceptional conjunctures, the bureaucracy is an inseparable part of the world counterrevolution, being an absolute brake to the development of the productive forces and an ever more terrible bloodsucker of the toilers.
The workers' aristocracy is the transmission belt of the bureaucracy towards the workers' movement. The bureaucracy tries to impose a bureaucratic and totalitarian regime in the workers' organisations by means of that aristocracy, so as to be able to manipulate the organisation and to increase its privileges. For that purpose it creates - together with imperialism - the workers' aristocracy, as the best way to bridle the mobilisation of the workers' base, to negotiate permanently, and to apply the class collaboration at a national level and the pacific coexistence at an international level. Therefore, the central axes of the policy of the bureaucracy and of the petty bourgeoisie are: socialism in only one country, trade unionism in only one trade union, class collaboration at a national level and pacific coexistence at an international level.
The lack of a crisis as that of 1929 - that means, of a shock that moves the whole capitalist world from the centre up to the periphery - in the actual after-war, the economic boom of the imperialist and most developed countries for over twenty years (from about 1950 on), and the combination of these elements with a spectacular technological development, all that has led revisionism to raise a new anti Marxist economic concept.
That concept sustains, first, that a new stage has opened, the neo-capitalist or neo-imperialist stage, different from the imperialist one defined by Lenin as that of full decadence, of continuous crisis of the capitalist economy. That new theoretic political current generalises abusively the new facts and accepts the theory of the bourgeois economists as well as that of the bureaucracy, and it siphons them into our ranks as an economic theory at the service of their capitulation to the bureaucratic apparatuses.
The second revision, the principal one, is the statement that in this supposed new stage, the productive forces have a colossal development, due to the enormous technological progress. That's an anti classist and anti human concept, and precisely the basic support of the imperialist ideologues.
For a Marxist, the development of the productive forces is a category made up by three components: man, technique and nature. And the most important productive force is the man, concretely the working class, the peasants and all the toilers. Therefore, we state that the technological development is not a development of the productive forces if it doesn't allow for the enrichment of man and nature, say, a greater control of man over nature, and of man over society.
Technology - just as science and education - is a neutral phenomenon that transforms itself into productive or destructive according to the class usage one gives it. Atomic energy is a colossal scientific and technological discovery, but transformed into an atomic bomb, it's a tragedy for mankind. It has nothing to do with the progress of the productive forces, but rather with that of the destructive forces. Science and technology may lead to the enrichment of man - to the development of the productive forces - or to the decadence and destruction of man. It depends on the usage, and the usage depends on the class that rules over them. Actually the development of the productive forces is braked, not only because of the existence of imperialism and of capitalist private property, but also because of the existence of national states, among which we count also the bureaucratised workers' states. In the epoch of the agony of capitalism, those national states play the same negative role as the feuds in the period of transition between feudalism and capitalism.
In the actual after-war we have seen the colossal development of the armaments' industry, that means, of the destructive forces of society, and a development of technology that has led to an impoverishing of man, to a crisis of mankind, to increasing wars and a beginning of the destruction of nature. The actual development of the capitalist and bureaucratic economy has an increasing tendency towards the destruction of man, and of the nature over which the man rules. The revisionist analysis of that point is partial and analytic, since it doesn't define the consequences of the development, nor its tendencies.
If revisionism was right, their concepts would mean that we have entered into a reformist epoch, in which the question is to get the greatest possible deal for the toilers, inside that progressive development. If it was right, the whole concept of the “Transition Program” would be wrong. But the actual stage of capitalism is producing increasing misery for the masses. The control of imperialism over the world economy is an obstacle for the development of the productive forces. And Marxism, Leninism and Trotskyism are more than ever in force, because they are the only science that explains why a revolutionary epoch opens: because the development of the productive forces is braked by the ruling social regime, up to the point that it provokes a decadence, a crisis in their development.
The third revision is a consequence of the former: if the productive forces develop under neo-capitalism, then the toilers constantly and systematically have a growing standard of living on a planetary scale. The serious problem for the masses is no longer misery, since with ever growing consumption their problem is alienation.
The facts have been categorical against that revisionist theory, up to the point that now, ashamed, they try to hide it. But that was the oficial position of the revisionists in the sixties: the misery of the masses is relative - since they are raising their standard of living - and not absolute, as states Marxism for the imperialist epoch. The facts and orthodox Marxist concepts sustain that a stage of revolution opens when life becomes insupportable for the masses, when there is increasing unemployment and misery, when salaries go down, etc. The imperialist and capitalist economy, as well as the bureaucratic one, in its stage of definitive crisis, of putrefaction and of clashes with the world socialist revolution, is the stage of increasing and absolute misery for the mass movement as a whole. For the formulation of its theory, revisionism has taken as a reference the situation of the working class of the advanced countries during the boom, and not that of all masses.
The fourth revision is that which sustains that the economic crises of imperialism - like the one of 1929 - have disappeared, that imperialism has, on the contrary, a continuous economic boom. That concept ignores that the boom is exceptional and provisional, as are, by the way, the facts that explain it. In fact, that supposed new stage is simply that of the capitalist economy in its definitive crisis of putrefaction and, fundamentally, of clashes with the world socialist revolution. The actual imperialist economy, including its boom, can only be understood as a dependent part of the political and social situation, linked to the global process of the struggle between the international socialist revolution and the counterrevolution in the world. Politics rules over economy in that stage, and with the method of revisionist splitting up, nothing can be understood.
The great post-war political events are the explanation for the lack of a crisis like that of 1929, and not the automatic economic mechanism on its own. All the “irregular” economic phenomena have to do in last instance with the counterrevolutionary policy of the Kremlin and of Stalinism all over the world. Without that conscious policy, there would have been no economic boom, no “Marshall Plan”, no recovery of the German and Japanese economy, no recovery of the European economy as a whole, and we would have suffered a much deeper crisis than that of 1929, in the capitalist countries. That things didn't happen this way has not to do with the most powerful tendencies of the capitalist economy in a state of putrefaction. It isn't due to economic phenomena, but rather to political ones, as the fact that the Kremlin has ordered the western communist parties to sustain the recovery of the capitalist economy devastated by World War II, urging the working class to make sacrifices in order to raise those capitalist economies.
The activity of Stalinism, as an agent of the over-accumulation and of the extra profits, was the political instrument that made it possible. This policy, by the way, also allowed for the Kremlin to rebuild the economy of “its” bureaucratised workers' state, and to strengthen itself relatively inside its sphere of influence.
But despite the Kremlin support, imperialism only managed to transform the catastrophic cyclic crises - like that of 1929 - into a continuous world capitalist crisis that advanced from outside towards the centre, ranging over the capitalist world as a whole, inclusive the bureaucratised workers' states, as a contradictory part of that world economic system over which imperialism rules.
In the beginnings, the economic boom was based on the sacrifices and over-exploitation of the proletariat of the advanced countries that accepted that exploitation by order of the Kremlin, and afterwards, when the economy of the advanced countries entered into a boom, it was based on the increasingly terrible misery of the backward countries, where it generated an increasing and absolute misery. That recovery of the capitalist economy, in turn, opened the way to an economy at the service of the world counterrevolution, as is evident from the greatest development of armaments' production ever known in human history, the greatest development of the production of means of destruction.
All these phenomena have been creating the conditions for the crisis to advance, slowly, from outwards towards the centre of the world capitalist system. From 1974 on, it arrived already at the most advanced capitalist countries and at the bureaucratised workers' states. Its most evident manifestations - not the reason but the spectacular events that make it evident - are the increasing inflation, the crisis in the oil prices and in the world market, the gold prices that go up, etc.
And as one more element that takes away revisionism from Marxism, accepting the concept of “socialism in only one country” of the theorists of the bureaucracy, Pabloism has accepted the premises of Stalinism that there exist actually in the world two antagonistic, and politically and economically faced realities: that of imperialism and that of the bureaucratised workers' states. This is neither politically nor economically right. On a planetary scale, there are not two economic realities. There is only one world economy, one world market, ruled by imperialism. Inside that economy dominated by imperialism, there are more or less acute contradictions with the bureaucratised workers' state where the bourgeoisie has been expropriated. These contradictions are not absolute however, but rather relative, due to a political reason and an economical one. The ruling bureaucracy of these countries defends “its” national frontiers, it has no tendency to destroy them - developing a federation of workers' states - and therefore it makes extreme efforts to promote class collaboration on an international scale, that means, pacific coexistence with imperialism. The economy of any workers' state, bureaucratised or not, is subject to the world economy controlled by capitalism, as long as imperialism continues to be economically stronger. That's why the economy of the bureaucratised workers' states has followed as a shade the cycles of the world capitalist economy.