MIA: History: ETOL: Fourth International: 1971 5th Congress of the Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores: Resolutions of the October 1970 Central Committee Plenum
Fifth Congress of the
Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores
Resolutions of the October 1970 Central Committee Plenum of the Revolutionary Workers Party
The Situation in the Country
After Levingston’s maneuvers, which aroused populist illusions among the bourgeois politicians, especially the Peronists, the military dictatorship has settled into continuing the policy of the Onganía regime. Various signs—the appointment of populist governors such as Bas and Imbaud, the overtures of Gilardi Novaro to the traditional politicians, rumors of the return of Perón and of Evita’s body—had deceived the bourgeois politicians, the national bourgeoisie, and its most faithful representatives, the trade union bureaucracy.
Today these illusions have been momentarily dispelled by the clear positions taken by Lanusse and by Levingston himself, when they announced a five year delay in elections and imposed extremely rigid eligibility requirements for participation by the politicians.
Meanwhile the dictatorship’s economic policy is bearing down harder and harder on the masses, creating an intolerable situation for the working class and the popular sectors as a whole. The spectacular and constant rise in the cost of living, the practice of freezing wages, the recession in the packing house industry, and the failure of the wheat harvest have all been loaded onto the backs of the working class, the petty bourgeoisie, the poor peasantry, as well as sectors of the middle bourgeoisie. Especially hard hit have been urban masses in the large cities.
Within this framework, the present situation between the government and the classes can be summarized as follows:
1. The military dictatorship finds itself as isolated as it has ever been in its most difficult moments. Incapable of solving any of its problems, and unable to strengthen its social base, it is flailing about, a prisoner of its own contradictions. If it tries to garner populist support and considers seeking some kind of agreement with the bourgeois parties and the trade union bureaucracy, it gets its ears boxed by the monopolist sectors and the Commanders in Chief; it then has to give up all attempts to win a [non] military base of support and gets insults and threats from the bureaucrats and bourgeois politicians. At the same time, its economic policy brings repudiation and hatred from the people.
As was exposed by Minister Moyano Llerena, the dictatorship lacks a definite economic policy, or in clearer terms, in the context of its persistent offensive against the standard of living of the workers and people, it is wavering between different bourgeois alternatives, none of which can offer a way out of the economic crisis. Now it has opted for a version of desarrollismo [promoting industrial development] which if we are to believe the words of Minister Ferrer, will attempt to resuscitate the economy through huge public works projects. Nevertheless, this new line foreshadows new problems for the working class and popular sectors. Such massive investments would exhaust the state’s liquid reserves and lead to the wages of government workers and employees lagging still further behind the cost of living. As for this being a possible solution, at most it can be a poor palliative.
Levingston spoke recently about building up a strong monopoly capitalist sector, a “national” big bourgeoisie. This seems to represent a new attempt on the part of the government, this time apparently a more serious one, to find a structural solution for overcoming the economy’s stagnation and paving the way for a phase of development and significant economic growth that would stave off the revolutionary crisis. While such a possibility cannot be ruled out historically, it is still premature and the unfolding of revolutionary war will block it.
Despondency is rife in the Armed Forces and their hangers on. They have just “exposed” OnganIa as unfit, and immediately they find themselves at odds with his replacements. Totaling up the results, they find that they have failed to solve a single problem. It irritates them to see the vitality of Peronism. In fifteen years they have not been able to stamp it out. And now they realize that they are almost certainly going to have to turn to their old enemy to save capitalism. They are disturbed to see the start of the first activity by an armed vanguard and the spread of socialist ideas among the masses. They are unable to absorb the unexpected hard blows dealt by the victory of the Unidad Popular in Chile and the installation of Allende as president, the survival of the nationalist government in Peru, the crisis in Uruguay, and the defeat of their pupil Miranda by the Bolivian nationalist officers, themselves cornered by the revolutionary mobilization of the masses.
We can therefore conclude that Levingston’s dictatorship is the direct continuation of Ongania’s rule, ruling only by virtue of the support of the Armed Forces. It is on the basis of a temporary agreement that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have withdrawn their endorsement of the president.
On the other hand, the Armed Forces are being subjected to heavy pressures, which foreshadow future crises. The impossibility of capitalist solutions for our country, the evolution of the situation in the neighboring states, and the beginning of revolutionary war in Argentina are factors promoting the growth of anti imperialist and socialist currents among the layers of young commissioned and noncommissioned officers in the Armed Forces.
2. Imperialism and monopoly capital support the Military Dictatorship without reservation.
3. The middle and “national” bourgeoisie, their parties, and the union bureaucracy are once again in the opposition now that Levingston has rejected their abject offers of collaboration. They are making efforts to build an opposition Bourgeois Front, which, before appealing for popular support, is seeking the approval of imperialism and a sector of the army in an effort to find an electoral solution offering a foolproof recipe for saving capitalism and eliminating violence. Naturally in this attempt they are trying to mobilize sectors of the workers and the popular strata in order to lend a certain seriousness to their proposals. But they are extremely timid in their approach and anxious to avoid energetic struggles. Nothing reveals this more clearly than the Peronist meeting on October 17 in Córdoba. The bourgeois politicians and bureaucrats organized an “orderly” meeting, which was distinguished by an attack on the left wing youth by the bureaucracy. They were denounced from the podium as “Castroite infiltrators.” The organizers tried to make a peaceful showing, offered their solution to the imperialists and the army, and strove to make a public demonstration of their staunch opposition to revolutionary violence and communism.
The nature of this Bourgeois Front requires us to take a position firmly and clearly independent of it. We must expose the treacherous and counterrevolutionary content of their line and counterpose our line of revolutionary war. The weak position of the bourgeois politicians and bureaucrats, their long succession of betrayals, and the correctness of the line we offer as an alternative gives us a significant advantage. And we must exploit this by resolutely confronting electoral tactics and coups and propagating the strategy and tactics of revolutionary war in every way possible. These are excellent opportunities for putting revolutionary Marxist positions before the masses.
4. The petty bourgeoisie is going through an important period of radicalization. Under unrelenting assault from the dictatorship and the system, suffering economic difficulties almost as great as the working class, they harbor a brooding hatred of the regime, which they demonstrate by supporting the working class in its mobilizations and by providing fighters and activists for the revolutionary organizations. Out of this class arise disorienting tendencies, taking two forms: (a) the line of the petty bourgeois Marxist parties and groups such as the CP, PSIN, La Verdad, PolItica Obrera, etc. Lacking a revolutionary line, these formations fall in behind the bourgeois politicians, following in their train with calls for a Constituent Assembly and other such electoralist slogans and opposing the line of revolutionary war, which they disingenuously insist on equating with foquism. (b) Refusing to align with any party or forming “groups.” (c) Right opportunist and militarist pressures showing up in the armed vanguard and which openly manifested themselves in our party.
5. The working class continues to resist the Dictatorship. The massiveness of the work stoppages of October 9 and October 22 is a clear indication of the mood of the masses—suppressed hate, pent up rage, total repudiation of the dictatorship. Various objective factors indicate that we are faced with an especially explosive conjuncture. The spectacular rise in the cost of living is bearing down brutally on the entire working class and the popular sectors; there is nothing more graphic than the consumer statistics from Buenos Aires published by bourgeois newspapers showing a 30 percent reduction in consumption during the last month; the meager wheat harvest, which according to estimates will show at least a 30 percent drop, and the crisis in cattle raising that has already caused the temporary shutdown of Swift de La Plata (Rosario, Berisso). This critical state of the economy, which is dealing hard blows to the popular masses, combines with the government’s isolation and the spirit of the masses to form a critical situation. The country is once again a powder keg ready to explode with the first spark. We should prepare ourselves for this possibility, be on the alert, and organize our small forces to act in an orderly and effective manner in the mass mobilizations that may develop. It is clear that if they occur, all the chances will be on the side of the revolutionary forces. We will have an absolute advantage vis á vis the bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties that harbor illusions about the coup makers and their elections.
6. The process of development of the revolutionary war is continuing its present stage of sustained rise. We can confirm that since the beginning of the year this feature has not changed, a fact that is highly promising. We can also point to an (unplanned) rate of activity of one major national action per month and a series of small actions occurring on a daily basis. As is logical, all of this has had a very sharp impact on the country as a whole, to such an extent that no one is unaware anymore that there is a war going on. This by no means signifies that the whole of the society feels actively involved in the process, either in favor of it or against it, but it does mean that the effects of the war are impinging more and more on the daily life of the population, especially in the major urban centers and in many cases in less populous centers. As regards active participation, the process continues to be a confrontation between vanguards—the revolutionary vanguard and what we might call the “reactionary vanguard.”
On the basis of this situation; previous reports from the areas, leadership, and editorial staffs; and, following the lines laid down by the Fourth and Fifth Congresses, the Central Committee of the party has formulated a politicalmilitary plan embracing the three fundamental problems at the moment—Mass Work, Planning Military Operations, and Building the Party and the Army.
First Military Operational Plan
Under the present conditions, all plans should be based on our concrete reality and not on our subjective desires. Our present stage of growth presents us with two main tasks—armed propaganda and creating an efficient, sound military structure. This involves obtaining money, arms, and training the whole party militarily. The main point of our armed propaganda is to popularize the name and program of the army by armed actions that have a big national impact and continuity. No matter how large an isolated action may be, if it does not fit into the context of similar actions occurring at a certain rate in three or four regions of the country, it will be meaningless, since our name would be mixed up with that of five or six other groups.
In creating a military structure, we consider that the following tasks take priority: (a) obtaining funds and arms; (b) forging the combat readiness of the military cells and the party as a whole for military actions and resistance. We stress the usefulness of disarming as many isolated police as possible. Along with bringing in necessary arms, such actions make it possible to give the compañeros some training and have a political impact on the repressive forces. Every cell should carry out such actions.
This is the framework of our first Operational Plan, which is to be developed in the coming months. It will include the following actions:
1. A series of actions, including expropriating money, capturing arms, seizing towns, freeing prisoners, and kidnappings. These are to be carried out in succession at different points in the country. At present we cannot predict in what order.
2. This campaign will include continual minor acts of resistance carried out by all the cells. The most important of these are actions involving seizing and distributing food.
3. In the course of demonstrations and mass mobilizations, the military cells of the army will carry out parallel military actions designed to coincide with the mobilizations and to complement them.
4. A fundamental point for realizing the proper political benefit from this plan is to take advantage of the propaganda value of the actions. This involves working up and carrying out an intelligent plan for publicizing every specific action, as well as the name and program of the Army. We have to weigh the political pros and cons of every action, carefully avoiding actions of a dubious value, and always selecting the most clearly popular type of operations. We must prepare good communiqués—sober, strictly truthful ones and with a clear political content in accordance with the guidelines of the Army’s program. We have to produce our own propaganda materials, painted slogans, megaphones [?] leaflets, etc. This is very important to make people notice the physical proximity of our military force, to realize that the fighters are nearby, that anyone in their midst might be a guerrilla, and that our force is not an isolated vanguard. As a general guideline, we can point out that excellent armed propaganda will be assured to the extent that the compañeros who plan actions, draw up communiqus, produce leaflets, and do other such tasks keep their eyes fixed on the masses, taking precise note of their reactions and state of mind.
5. The tactical recommendations of this plan are as follows:
(a) Assure the maximum success by carefully planning actions. Gamble as little as possible, thinking ahead about the turns things may take. Keep down the risks of every operation, carefully safeguarding the rest of the organization. In actions, every detail is vital.
(b) Act with decisiveness, audacity, and coolness. Timidity, doubt, nervousness, etc. are the worst enemies of success and multiply the risks inherent in combat.
(c) In the face of difficulties, conduct yourself heroically. Be prepared to kill or to die. In our revolutionary morale, the basis of our heroism, lies in our fundamental superiority in combat. Heroic behavior stirs the imagination of the masses, arousing admiration, winning solidarity, and inspiring emulation.
The Party and the Army
The third fundamental aspect of our present PoliticalMilitary Plan is correctly solving the problems of building a proletarian Party and Army.
The basic perspective that must be advanced is to accelerate the process of transforming the party into a truly proletarian combat organization. This will be achieved by stepping up the successes we have already attained in the process of proletarianization: placing activists and cadres in production, increasing our relations with the masses. In this, three regions can serve as examples. In one, students, cultural workers, and members of the military cells have already gone, or are about to go, to live in working class neighborhoods, establishing a political relationship with the population. In another, almost all the cadres, including the leadership, have taken places in production. In the third, a process of purging and tightening up the ranks is in progress, with members being strictly required to fulfill the statutory requirements. Our members must increasingly become the best of the vanguard, and we must keep raising our qualifications until we have achieved a homogeneous proletarian party of professional revolutionists. Another means of achieving this is by increasing our military activity, making all the cells operational as well as getting the military cells to step up their operational capacity and the basic cells to take on more advanced operations than small expropriations, going on to disarming police, seizing and distributing food, etc. Success will be accomplished by applying a clear mass line in such actions.
At the same time, we must overcome our present limitations in the following key fields:
(b) Agitation and Propaganda.
(c) Cadre Schools.
(d) Military Training.
The objectives of our First Political Military Plan are to achieve a balanced development of the Army and the Party, building the army—its operational capacity and its mass influence—in the fullest and most effective way at the same as accomplishing quantitative and qualitative growth in the party and expanding its influence.
On Discipline in the Army
In Point No. 3, Subsection (b), the resolutions of the Fifth Congress on democratic centralism in the army set down the requirement “For iron discipline in the army, for correct and efficient exercise of command by the leaders and strict and efficient compliance by subordinates.”
In a revolutionary army, discipline, which is so important for the effective functioning of military units, is based on consciousness, on the revolutionary political and moral preparation of the combatants. This does not do away with the need for resorting in exceptional instances to measures that help to fortify it. Such measures must be applied in all cases where irresponsibility, negligence, lack of cool headedness, etc., result in grave errors or failings that impair the efficient operation of the units.
Cases of dishonesty, willful sabotage, or treason fall outside the sphere of the disciplinary measures that are the subject of this resolution and should be dealt with before the Tribunal of Revolutionary Justice established by Article 35 of the Statutes.
In line with the aforesaid, the Central Committee resolves:
1. Discipline in the military cells of the party and the military units of the army will be self discipline based on the consciousness, on the revolutionary political arid moral preparation of the combatants.
2. In exceptional cases, disciplinary measures consisting of arrest and other sanctions will be resorted to. Such measures will be applied in all cases where irresponsibility, negligence, nervousness, etc. result in grave errors or lapses that impair the effective functioning of units.
3. These sanctions will be applied even handedly by the military leader of the cell or unit. In case of abuses, the persons affected have the right, after completing the punishment meted out, to appeal to the Regional Committees and to the Central Committee of the Party.
Resolution on Morale When Facing the Enemy
Our party has still not precisely defined what the attitude of party workers or fighters should be if they fall into the hands of the enemy. Worse still, the only time this question was discussed, which was in the January 1969 meeting of the Executive Committee, the prevailing notion was that no one can hold out against torture. Likewise, the erroneous Algerian system of allowing captives to confess twenty four hours after their arrest is well known in the party and has never been critically refuted.
Therefore, we must make it perfectly clear that activists or fighters belonging to our party and our military force never sing, never give information to the police that could be used against the organization. This does not mean that the strictest security measures should not be employed or that preventive measures should not be taken in the event of arrests. It is always possible that a captive will surrender to the enemy. But anyone who does so will be considered a traitor and dealt with as such. The revolutionary workers movement has always acted in accordance with this principle.
In line with the aforesaid, the Central Committee resolves:
1. Party members and combatants in the army never give the enemy information harmful to the organization. Anyone who does this will be considered a traitor and dealt with as such.
2. The above norm must not lessen the permanent application of the strictest security measures and the permanent utilization of strong conspiratorial methods.
On Financial Norms
Needing to establish clear financial norms that can contribute to the sound functioning of the party, the Central Committee resolves:
1. The party’s normal expenditures will be covered by the dues of members and sympathizers and the proceeds of mass work.
2. Deficits impairing good functioning will be covered by funds from expropriations.
3. In case of need, party organs can resort to borrowing from the funds acquired by expropriations.