MIA: History: ETOL: Documents: FI: 1938-1949: World War II declarations
Perspectives and Tasks of the Coming European Revolution
Resolution Adopted by the Fifteenth Anniversary Plenum of the Socialist Workers Party
November 2, 1943
Adopted: November 2, 1943
First Published: December, 1943
Source: Fourth International, New York, Volume 4, No. 11, pp. 329-34..
Transcribed/HTML Markup: Daniel Gaido and David Walters, December, 2005
Public Domain: Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line 2005. You can freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Marxists Internet Archive as your source, include the address of this work, and note the transcribers & proofreaders above.
This plenum of the National Committee meets one year after the Tenth National Convention of the Socialist Workers Party. The Political Resolution unanimously adopted by that convention set forth the basic position of the Fourth International and the Socialist Workers Party on the imperialist war and the tasks of the proletarian world revolution. [See SWP National Committee: The National Question and Europe.
Everything that has happened since has operated to confirm our Marxist analysis of the world situation and to reinforce our political and strategic conclusions based upon the revolutionary conviction that the workers in alliance with the peasants end colonial peoples will prove capable of overthrowing capitalism and organizing the foundations of an international socialist society of peace, security, human solidarity and unbounded progress.
The course of world events during the past year can be summarized in four major developments of historical significance. These are: (1) the downfall of Mussolini and the collapse of Italian fascism, signalizing the beginning of the Italian, and consequently, the European revolution; (2) the growing preponderance of Anglo-American military power over that of the Axis camp, which has already exposed Wall Street’s aspirations to replace Nazi Germany as master and oppressor of Europe and thrown into bold relief the counter-revolutionary role of American imperialism on the world arena; (3) the colossal victories of the Red Army; (4) the formal dissolution of the Comintern.
Lessons of the Italian Events
Italian fascism which set out in 1922 to rejuvenate tottering Italian capitalism over the broken bones of the revolting workers and peasants utterly exhausted itself within two decades. The murderous regime which its leader boasted would build a new Roman Empire lasted just long enough to celebrate its twentieth anniversary. The workers and peasants simply refused to fight, to work, or to sacrifice for the fascist state which gave them nothing but oppression, misery, starvation and broken promises. The middle classes lost all confidence in the corrupt, incompetent, vainglorious Bonapartist gangsters headed by the mountebank Mussolini. Finally, even the ruling classes, the capitalists, landed proprietors, the Church, the Royal Family, the military caste and part of his own governing clique found it expedient to dump Mussolini in the hope of saving themselves from complete catastrophe. With the entire people in opposition, the African Empire lost, the national economy bankrupt, facing occupation by two superior hostile armies, “fascism, at the end, broke apart like a rotten apple.” To this epitaph Marshal Badoglio added: “Not the slightest resistance to the change was met even from any of the 7,000,000 belonging to the fascist party proper."
This annihilating collapse of Italian fascism pricks like a soap bubble all those theories spawned by the renegades from Marxism that fascism is some new form of managerial or bureaucratic-collective society destined to replace capitalism and bar the road to socialism. It is now clear that these pretentious theories really represented a special form of intellectual capitulation and adaptation to fascism. The Italian experience has once for all demonstrated that fascism is essentially the political instrument of monopoly capitalism in its death agony.
The crumbling of fascism in Italy provides further evidence of the bankruptcy of bourgeois rule. All the repressions, pretensions and demagogy of their fascist mercenaries did not enable Big Business to stifle the class struggle and prevent it from developing. On the contrary, under the iron lid of fascism the class frictions generated enough explosive pressure to blow the regime to bits.
The Italian events have demonstrated the indomitable vitality of the working class. Fascism had smashed all the mass organizations of the Italian workers, their unions, cooperatives and political parties; murdered, imprisoned, exiled their beat leaders; excommunicated revolutionary ideas and prohibited their expression; chained the workers to the bosses through the totalitarian state; isolated them from the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the defeated and atomized proletarians gradually reassembled their forces, lifted themselves to their feet, resumed their struggle for freedom and bread; brought forth new leaders out of their ranks; and moved to settle accounts with their oppressors at the first favorable opportunity.
Mussolini signed his death warrant by dragging the Italian people into the imperialist adventure of the Second World War. After three years of torture and horror, the masses began to revolt, Workers and peasants in uniform refused to fight, deserted, retreated or surrendered. As early as March 1943 strikes broke out in the northern industrial cities. The fascist regime was unable to cope with the revolt. Power was beginning to slip from Mussolini’s hands. Further strikes and demonstrations during the following months made it apparent that Mussolini’s murder machine was breaking down.
Terrified by the rising revolt of the people, by the military disasters and total bankruptcy of fascism, and by the prospective invasion of the mainland by Anglo-American armies, the possessing classes, headed by the monarchy and its military aides and inspired by the Vatican, hastened to depose Mussolini and set up a military-monarchist dictatorship in place of fascism. By a timely coup d’etat these palace conspirators hoped to forestall the workers’ revolution.
But their removal of Mussolini provoked the most unintended and contradictor consequences. Instead of dampening the rebellious spirit, this move enormously heightened the revolutionary mood and spurred the masses to more daring actions. No sooner did the news of Mussolini’s downfall become known than the pent-up revolutionary feelings of the people manifested themselves with titanic force. The people poured into the streets in continual joyous demonstrations; they hunted out and vented their wrath upon the fascist vermin; opened prisons and liberated political prisoners; exulted in their newly regained freedom. They demanded an end to the war. Parties came out from underground, trade unions arose, a free press was established, workers and soldiers councils were organized, and fraternization began. Returned exiles and liberated political prisoners took their places at the head of the masses. Through a series of militant strikes the workers addressed their demands to the Badoglio government.
These developments disclosed the indubitable features of a genuine revolutionary uprising in which the masses directly intervene as an active and decisive force in the determination of events. This stormy movement threatened to sweep over the heads of King Victor Emmanuel and his Marshal Badoglio and upset their new monarchist-militarist government which had succeeded fascism. To prevent any further development of the revolution, all the forces of reaction combined against the insurgent workers and peasants. Badoglio decreed martial law, outlawed public assemblies of more than three persons, took measures to drive the workers back into the factories, shot and jailed their leaders, censored the press, duplicating all the practices of Mussolini’s dictatorship.
While trying to beat down the revolution in the first weeks, Badoglio dangled the prospect of peace before the war-weary Italian people. He utilized against the workers the military forces both of the Nazis and of the Anglo-American bloc with whom he was negotiating terms for collaboration. Badoglio and his generals permitted the Nazis to occupy northern Italy while Anglo-American planes bombed the revolutionary centers of Milan, Turin and Bologna.
These military-monarchist plots against the revolution were facilitated and shielded by the treacherous policies of the Socialist, Stalinist and liberal parties. Instead of arousing and organizing the people for the overthrow of the Badoglio dictatorship and the creation of a Workers and Peasants Republic, these parties restrained the workers from struggle; advised them to trust the new government; and to wait until peace and liberty were bestowed upon them by the King and Badoglio in alliance with the Anglo-American forces. This combination of repression and deceit enabled the ex-accomplices of Mussolini to arrest the development of the revolution and to flee when ready into the embrace of the Allies.
After ruining the country, the utterly reactionary possessing classes have helped convert Italy into a battleground for the rival imperialist camps. Whichever side they may deal with at the moment, both sections of the divided bourgeoisie side with the foreign oppressors against their own people. While Mussolini calls upon the Italians to die for the resurrection of fascism and for Nazism, the King and Badoglio solicit them to die for a military-monarchist dictatorship and for Anglo-American imperialism. The cynical conduct of the Italian ruling classes confirms the great political lesson taught the workers by the French bourgeoisie after the fall of the Third Republic. The capitalist class cares nothing for democracy, national independence or the welfare of the masses. Profits, power, privileges and property are their sole concern. Whenever their political predominance and their social and economic interests are imperiled by the proletariat, the possessing classes are capable of unlimited crimes against the nation and the people.
The Italian workers and peasants can find their way to peace and freedom only by tearing political and economic power out of the hands of the capitalists and uniting with their fellow workers of Europe in a war for socialism. The revolutionary fighters of Italy have already performed deathless deeds. They were the main force which toppled Mussolini and his rotten regime. Their actions constituted a magnificent prologue to the forthcoming European proletarian revolution. They inspired with fresh hope and courage the masses of all Europe.
The Italian workers, isolated and caught between the armies of the rival imperialist camps, have been temporarily driven back on the defensive. They were not given time to organize their own strong Marxist party. The treacherous Stalinist and reformist leaders therefore had a free hand to restrain and disorient the masses. The Axis and Allied armies are now, each in their own way, striving to finish the work of strangling the revolution.
Despite betrayal and bloody repressions, the Italian workers fight on. They thereby serve notice that the Italian revolution still lives. The continued resistance of the workers under the prevailing adverse conditions gives assurance that they will resume their forward march as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
The sequence of events since the fall of Mussolini has shown the interconnection between the Italian revolution and the European revolution. The further course of the Italian revolution is bound up with the development of the European, and especially the German, revolution. The heroic actions of the Italian workers have kindled revolutionary sentiments and ideas throughout the continent and shaken regimes from Madrid to Berlin and Budapest. The subsequent unfolding of the maturing revolution elsewhere in Europe will in turn impart a powerful new impetus to the temporarily arrested Italian revolution.
The developments in Italy have posed point-blank all the major problems of the European revolution. They have confirmed the Marxist conclusions that the only revolutionary social forces are the workers in alliance with the peasants. The only kind of revolution the working class can and will lead is the socialist revolution. The only alternative to the continued rule of monopoly capitalism is the Workers’ and Farmers’ Government based upon Workers, Soldiers and Peasants Councils.
The decay of capitalism and the acuteness of class conflicts forbid another extended period of bourgeois democracy for war-torn Europe. While interim bourgeois-democratic regimes may be set up here and there as by-products of uncompleted revolutionary movements, they must by their very nature prove unstable and short-lived. They must either give way before the conquest of power by the revolutionary workers or the military-police dictatorship of the capitalist counterrevolution.
The fact that the economic pre-conditions for an extended period of bourgeois democracy in Europe have disappeared does not, however, put an end to the role that bourgeois and petty-bourgeois democrats can play to stem the advance of proletarian revolution. With the collapse of fascism, capitalism will attempt to rule by means of naked military force, as already demonstrated in Italy. When this device proves powerless to control the insurgent masses, the native capitalists, allied with the invading imperialists, will push forward their treacherous democratic, social-reformist and Stalinist agents in an effort to strangle the revolution in a “democratic” noose. When all other defenses crumble, the forces of capitalism will strive to preserve their dictatorship behind the facade of democratic forms, even to the extent of a democratic republic.
This stratagem of the bourgeoisie may be aided by the revival of democratic illusions among considerable sections of the masses, especially in the absence of revolutionary mass parties. Under such conditions it is possible and even probable that the treacherous parties of social-reformism and Stalinism can play the leading role in the first stages of the revolution. The definitive victory of the revolution can be assured only by the leadership of a revolutionary Marxist party. The creation of such parties is the most important task of the revolutionary proletarian vanguard of Europe. Amid the gigantic convulsions which will shake European society this task can be accomplished in a very short time.
The revolutionary wave may be so overwhelming as to enable the workers to take power immediately following the collapse of the fascist dictatorship. Hence it is necessary to put forward the slogans of Workers Councils (Soviets) and All Power to the Workers Councils, as soon as the masses begin to move against the fascist regime or any makeshift substitute.
The Trotskyist parties everywhere have the basic duty to expose and fight against the illusions that stable bourgeois-democratic regimes, which have lost their material foundation, can be restored in Europe. They must wage irreconcilable warfare against the reformist and Stalinist parties, and their perfidious “People’s Fronts” which attempt to limit the struggle of the workers to this reactionary utopian program. The Fourth International has long ago foreseen the emergence of this question in the first stages of the downfall of fascism and has spoken explicitly in regard to it. The program adopted by the Founding Conference of the Fourth International (1938) affirms that “once it breaks through, the revolutionary wave in fascist countries will immediately be a grandiose sweep and under no circumstances will stop short at the experiment of resuscitating some sort of Weimar corpse.” The same program makes clear the value and necessity, as well as the limitations and subordinate character, of democratic slogans as a means of mobilizing the masses for revolutionary action.
To win the masses will require linking ourselves with them as we find them with all their illusions. Our task is rendered all the easier by the fact that democratic demands have revolutionary implications in Europe today, if seriously fought for, because the bourgeois governments cannot satisfy them. Appearing before the masses with the fundamental slogans of the Socialist United States of Europe and All Power to Workers Councils, the Trotskyists must also show themselves as the most resolute fighters for democratic demands. These democratic demands (freedom of press, the right to unionize, etc.) will be intertwined with the transitional ones and all of them connected with our fundamental slogans of the Socialist United States of Europe and All Power to Workers Councils.
The proletarian revolution may begin in one country, but no European country can make its way out of the war and the catastrophic crisis of contemporary civilization by itself alone. A victorious revolution in any single European country would immediately be compelled to defend itself from military attack by the imperialists and would have to appeal for international proletarian aid by revolutionary means. In the ensuing struggles it would not be possible to maintain the outlived and arbitrarily drawn borders of the existing national states and the proletariat has no interest in attempting to do so. The national state which once provided the historical arena for the development of the productive forces has long since become a reactionary fetter upon them. The unpostponable historical task of the European peoples is the revolutionary destruction of the reactionary national state and the creation of the Socialist United States of Europe. Peace, security and prosperity can be assured only by the economic unification and socialist collaboration of the free nations of Europe. The only power capable of solving these tasks is the revolutionary proletariat. The central unifying slogan of its fight is “The Socialist United States of Europe.”
Europe, today enslaved by the Nazis, will tomorrow be overrun by equally predatory Anglo-American imperialism. By their attempts to replace the Nazis as masters of Europe the Allied imperialists will thereby transfer to themselves all the consequences which prevented Hitler from “pacifying” the continent. The hatred of the European peoples, now directed and vented against their Nazi oppressors, will be turned tomorrow with intensified ferocity against Yankee imperialism. The burning desire of the European masses to get rid of the invaders and to achieve national freedom will necessarily become fused with their social struggle against the native ruling classes and their Anglo-American overlords; and impart a powerful impetus to the proletarian revolution. Fraternization between the European workers and the soldiers of the occupying forces will become an imperative necessity on the road to the socialist revolution in Europe.
The entire combined forces of the European proletariat will be needed to organize and lead the people in revolutionary struggle against their oppressors. The slogan of The Socialist United States of Europe. will serve as the great rallying cry of unity against the counter-revolutionary schemes of the Anglo-American bloc to colonize, exploit, and dismember the European continent. This slogan will inspire and guide the European workers in their struggle for power. Through the Socialist United States of Europe—and not otherwise—they will achieve their economic unification, fraternal solidarity, social and cultural progress. Only on this basis will ruined and shattered Europe be lifted to its feet again and rise to new heights.
The Counter-Revolutionary Role of American Capitalism
The preponderance of American power has everywhere begun to assert itself with increasing force. The industrial, financial and military might of the United States has become the decisive factor in the inter-imperialist struggle for world domination.
Washington’s diplomatic dealings and political acts during the past year have served to expose the pretense that this war is being waged to defend democracy against fascism and to extend the “Four Freedoms” throughout the world. They have disclosed the real reactionary character of the war aims of Washington which are dictated by the drive of American Big Business for political and economic mastery of the world. The slogan of “the war for democracy” was considerably tarnished from the outset by the inclusion of the Vargas and other despotic governments in the “United Nations” coalition; by demonstrative friendship for the butcher Franco of Spain and Dictator Salazar of Portugal; by the wooing of Petain, the patronage of Otto of Hapsburg and various European monarchs-in-exile. Today the deals with Darlan and Badoglio outline in precise terms the counter-revolutionary policies and imperialist aims of Anglo-American capitalism.
The deal with Darlan, the executioner of Vichy and Hitler’s collaborator, served to maintain French imperial relations and to secure the collaboration of the French capitalism colonial governors and military caste. The old system of colonial oppression and super-exploitation remains unchanged under de Gaulle as under Darlan and Giraud; neither the African natives nor the French colonial workers have acquired democracy through Anglo-American occupation.
In Sicily AMGOT kept at their posts all but the most notorious and hated fascist officials and police. The people are forbidden to carry on political activities; the press is controlled. “The fascist label is removed” cables the N. Y. Times reporter, “but the same men carry on the same functions."
Allied Policy in Italy
This policy has been climaxed by the deal with Marshal Badoglio and King Victor Emmanuel, who supported fascism for more than twenty years and whose sole backing comes from the industrialists, bankers and big landowners. Roosevelt and Churchill are using their armies and resources to prop up this military-monarchist dictatorship; detested and distrusted by the Italian masses. They do not want the Italian people to have a government of their own free choice for fear that such a regime would make inroads upon capitalist property and power.
The policies pursued by the Allied leaders in North Africa, Sicily and Italy demonstrate that their backing of ultra-reactionary forces is due neither to accidental deviations nor “military expedients” but flows from a calculated plan which is dictated by the interests and necessities of the Anglo-American imperialists. They provide a preview of the Anglo-American program for Europe. The capitalist powers aim to impose new forms of servitude upon the European peoples. They propose to crush all manifestations of revolutionary independence by the European workers and to set up military-monarchist-clerical dictatorships under the tutelage and hegemony of Anglo-American Big Business. They have concluded an alliance with the world general staff of reaction and obscurantism, the Vatican, to promote the realization of their counterrevolutionary schemes.
The Allies shrink from encouraging popular democratic movements of liberation because they fear that these would release the powers of the working class and flow toward the channels of socialist revolution. Roosevelt and Churchill understand that it is not in the cards to establish stable “democratic” capitalist governments in Europe today. Given free scope, given their democratic rights, the European working class will not require overly much time to organize their revolutionary parties and to overthrow all of their capitalist oppressors. The choice, from the Roosevelt-Churchill point of view, is a Franco-type government or the specter of the socialist revolution.
The greatest contribution American revolutionists can make to the fight for socialism in Europe is to expose these counterrevolutionary aims; struggle relentlessly against them; arouse the American workers against the reactionary program of Big Business and awaken sentiments of solidarity with their hard-pressed class brothers in Europe and all other parts of the world.
Significance of the Soviet Victories
The prodigious vitality of the October revolution is strikingly demonstrated in the Red Army victories over Nazi imperialism. While France and Italy, victors in the last war, crumpled before invading armies, the Soviet Union stood up under unprecedented defeats and losses and flung back the assault of the mighty Nazi military machine. The superior powers of resistance and recuperation of the USSR flow essentially from the fact that the proletarian revolution, which was crushed in France and Italy, conquered in the Soviet Union.
The unbreakable will to struggle and high morale of the Soviet armies and peoples refute those deserters who, recoiling against the crimes of the Stalinist bureaucracy, abandoned the workers’ state in its hour of mortal peril. They gave up the Soviet Union for lost at the very moment when, despite the incubus of the Stalinist bureaucracy, the state which issued from the October revolution was about to exhibit unprecedented defensive powers in the supreme test on the field of battle.
The USSR, by virtue of the social foundations laid down by the October revolution, still remains a workers’ state in fundamental contradiction with world imperialism. The reactions of the Allies to the Soviet successes and their repercussions among the capitalist rulers of the neighboring countries once again show that the imperialist recognize this fact. The prospect of further Red Army advances has terrified rather than encouraged Stalin’s “democratic” allies.
The recently concluded Moscow pact, based upon an agreement to join forces against the European revolution, has not and could not eliminate the fundamental antagonism between the economic systems of the Soviet Union and the capitalist world. Stalin’s pact with Roosevelt and Churchill, counterrevolutionary in its essence as was his previous pact with Hitler, will prove no more enduring. Neither Stalin’s subservience to imperialism, nor his counter-revolutionary aims in Europe, can abolish this basic antagonism. At a subsequent stage the underlying antagonisms must break into the open and, unless the European revolution intervenes or Stalin makes concessions to the imperialists which change the basic character of Soviet economy, will lead to armed conflict between the USSR and Anglo-American imperialism. In combining with the Anglo-American imperialists against the European revolution Stalin is aiming a mortal blow at the Soviet Union itself.
Stalin’s False Policies
The “enigmatic” character of Stalin’s policies which so perplexes bourgeois commentators is explained by the contradictory position of the Soviet bureaucracy, which conducts its reactionary nationalistic policies upon the social foundations of a degenerated workers’ state encircled by imperialism. Stalin’s nationalist outlook impels him to bargain with the imperialists for territorial and strategic concessions on the periphery of the USSR at the expense of the betrayal of the international proletariat. The inevitable consequences of such a treacherous policy have already been demonstrated by Stalin’s dealings with Hitler. No sooner had Stalin’s ally, Hitler, conquered Western Europe than he hurled his might against the Soviet Union.
Stalin’s Anglo-American allies cannot act otherwise. Once established in a dominating position upon the European continent, they, like Hitler, would of necessity seek to surround and strangle the USSR in order to crush and dismember the Soviet Union, restore capitalist private property, and open up a vast field of resources for imperialist exploitation.
Stalin is aware of the perils to the USSR implicit in the conquest and consolidation of Europe by the Anglo-American imperialists over the prostrate body of Germany. His foreign policy can appear to be temporarily effective only so long as Europe is divided between conflicting imperialist camps which can neutralize each other and permit him to maneuver between them. A decisive victory of one over the other can be followed only by war against the USSR.
The Soviet Union could frustrate the imperialist designs of the Anglo-American war-camp and secure itself against attack by stimulating and supporting revolutionary uprisings of the European peoples. But the Moscow ruling caste will no more dare to pursue this course against its present allies than against Hitler. A victorious proletarian revolution in any major European country would arouse and heighten the self-confidence of the Soviet masses, regenerate the October revolution and doom the hated Kremlin clique.
Stalin’s policy, bankrupt through and through, consists in seeking a middle way between these two fundamental alternatives. On one hand, he sets up “Free Germany” and “Free Poland” Committees and supports the Yugoslav Partisans and similar movements as counter-weights to Anglo-American influence. He plays with the hopelessly reactionary program of reconstituting pseudo-democratic regimes upon a capitalist basis with a “friendly” orientation towards the USSR. On the other hand he concludes agreements with the Anglo-American imperialists to cooperate with them in the subjugation of Europe.
But Stalin’s attempts to find a middle course are doomed to failure. Either the socialist revolution will triumph throughout Europe or the helpless continent will become the victim and vassal of Anglo-American imperialism. Either the Soviet Union will secure itself in alliance with the victorious European proletariat or it will be eventually conquered and destroyed by the imperialists. There are no other alternatives. The Stalinist bureaucracy is doomed in either case. It is not a new “class,” as renegades and philistines denominate it, but a parasitic caste, transitory in nature. There is no solution for the contradictions of Stalinism any more than for the contradictions of imperialism.
Stalin, exploiting the enhanced prestige of the Soviet Union as a result of the Red Army victories, seeks to gain control of the popular movements in Europe in order to use them for bargaining with the imperialists and, when nationalistic considerations require, sell them out. The Stalinist bureaucracy is capable of any treachery to socialism and the international proletariat. Past experience, particularly in Spain, leaves no doubt that the Stalinists, confronted with mass uprisings on the continent of Europe, would be ready to join hands with the imperialists and undertake to do their hangman’s work. But to attempt such an enterprise is one thing; to carry it out successfully is another. There exists a vast difference in conditions between the Spanish revolution and the coming European revolution. A pre-war revolution in the corner of Europe could be isolated, strangled, and sold out as part of the Kremlin’s diplomatic maneuvers. A revolution issuing from this war in any one country will rapidly spread across the national borders and assume continental proportions. Such a revolution cannot be harnessed by any bureaucracy, including the Stalinist, or permanently held down by any imperialist power, including the Anglo-American.
Those who draw defeatist conclusions regarding the prospects of proletarian victory in Europe ignore above all the independent revolutionary action of the masses and assign them a purely passive role as though the Stalinist bureaucracy and the Anglo-American imperialists were two gangs of butchers cutting up a dead carcass. The task of revolutionary fighters is to arouse the masses for independent action under their own banner, and not to speculate, as passive observers, on the designs of Stalin and the imperialists, and still less to take for granted the success of these designs. The decisive power in Europe is the revolutionary proletariat. Upon this fundamental social force we Trotskyists stake our hopes and base our policy through all the twists and turns of Stalinist and imperialist diplomacy.
The End of the Comintern
Stalin’s dissolution of the Communist International officially ends the career of an international workers’ organization which once, under Lenin and Trotsky, was the vanguard of the world proletariat and the hope of all the oppressed. The history of the Comintern since 1924 is a record of degeneration and capitulation. The betrayals of the Stalinist bureaucracy have inflicted the most disastrous defeats upon the world working class.
The successive steps in this process of degeneration after Lenin’s death embrace the promulgation for the first time in 1924 of the theory of socialism in one country; the bureaucratization of the Comintern and all of its parties; the expulsion of the Bolshevik-Leninist opposition, first in the Russian party and then internationally; the capitulation of the German Communist Party, with its 600,000 members and its 6 million voters, without a fight to Hitler fascism in 1933; the systematic betrayal of the proletariat of the world in the interest of the diplomatic policy of the Kremlin; the murder of the Old Bolsheviks; the assassination of Trotsky; the betrayal of the proletariat in the Second World War, first to Hitler and then to Roosevelt and Churchill.
Stalin’s cynical repudiation of internationalism and international proletarian organization renders the greatest ideological service to capitalism which aims to keep the workers divided along nationalist lines and to dupe and enslave them with nationalist illusions and prejudices. The renunciation of internationalism is the renunciation of the basic principles of scientific socialism. Ever since the Communist Manifesto of 1848 proclaimed “Workers of the World Unite!” the Marxist movement has taught that the emancipation of the workers could be achieved only by their common action on an international scale. The First, Second and Third Internationals were all originally organized to promote the class unity of the workers on a world basis in struggle against the capitalist system for the creation of socialism.
The Third International was born out of the experiences of the last world war, 1914-1918. From the first day of its birth it taught the necessity of international solidarity and fought every variety of national self-inclusiveness. Now, a quarter of a century later, when the bankruptcy of capitalism and its system of national states has developed into its death agony, in the midst, of a second world war which threatens the existence of civilization, Stalin and his traitor gang tell the workers there is no need of international cooperation and organization.
The formal burial of the Comintern ten years after it had ceased to exist as in any respect a revolutionary force does not signify the end of Stalinist intervention in the world labor movement. The Stalinists still retain their organizations, their GPU apparatus and connections, and remain as always the cynical agents of the Kremlin’s foreign policies. The Italian events have shown the capacity of the Stalinists for perverting the struggle of the workers, demoralizing and betraying the working class. The struggle against the false policies of the degenerate servants of the Kremlin remains as one of the most important tasks of the revolutionary vanguard in Europe and the rest of the world.
The Coming Triumph of the Fourth International
The Third International which has been buried by Stalin in shame and disgrace nevertheless left behind the greatest treasures for the future. Its founders, Lenin and Trotsky, belong to us. Their teachings, their example, their traditions are ours. The record of the long internal struggle from 1923 of Trotsky and his co-thinkers and disciples is the basic literature upon which the new generation which is destined to lead the revolution will be trained and educated. The first four Congresses of the Comintern produced documents which are the basic program of the movements of the Fourth International.
Out of the Third International, long before it died and was buried, came the initiating cadres of the Fourth International. The Fourth International is today the only workers’ international. The Fourth International is Trotsky’s crowning contribution to the liberating struggle of the world working class. The Fourth International rests upon the granite foundations of unfalsified Marxism. Trotsky incorporated into its program all the great lessons of the post-Leninist epoch and armed the revolutionary vanguard with the indispensable ideological weapons of the coming struggle for power. The Fourth International alone carries on the progressive traditions of the first two Internationals and the work of the Comintern in its first years. The critical test of the war has destroyed every other international grouping except the Fourth International. Nothing and nobody can dissolve this International, the heir of the Communist International of Lenin and Trotsky. Today the numbers of the Fourth International are small but they exist in every important country. They are bound together by common principles and a common goal. Their ideas are correct, their program represents historical necessity, their victory is assured.
Under the banner of the Fourth International, World Party of the Socialist Revolution, the workers and colonial peoples will emancipate themselves from capitalism, fascism and war and create the socialist society of peace, freedom and plenty for all mankind.
Last updated on 12.03.2005