From Workers’ International News, Vol.1 No.7, July 1938, p.11-12.
This article is signed »M.S.« (probably Max Shachtman).
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
An important beginning in organizing and centralizing the work of the Fourth International on the two American continents and on both sides of the Pacific, was made by the delegates assembled two weeks ago in New York for the sessions of the All-America-Pacific pre-conference of the Fourth International.
The Second International however had much strength in the colonial and semi-colonial lands of Asia and Latin America and displayed very little interest in their struggles for liberation. In a deep sense, it was and is a »white man’s« International, for in practice the parties that dominate it have followed a policy of supporting their respective imperialist overlords and their empires.
The Third International, which made a brave and successful start in mobilizing against world imperialism the millions of black, yellow and brown slaves of finance capital, has degenerated into an obstacle in the struggle for colonial emancipation. This is especially plain in Latin America because of the ardent support which Stalinism is now giving to United States imperialism, by means of which it hopes to cement an alliance between Washington and the Kremlin bureaucracy at the expense of the former’s slaves in Latin America.
A growing realization of the significance of this reactionary course has permeated the consciousness of the vanguard elements among the revolutionists in Latin America. This fact accounts to a large extent for the gathering strength of the Fourth International on the two American continents.
In the last few years, sections of our movement have been established – or the basis for them laid – in a whole series of countries. In Cuba and Puerto Rico, in the Argentine Republic, Chile and Bolivia, in Uruguay, Colombia, and Panama, in Mexico and Brazil, the banner of the 4th International has been raised and the best militants have rallied to it. In some of these countries, the high political level of our press and the revolutionary Marxist activity pursued, are gratifying promise of victorious struggles to come.
For the purpose of co-ordinating the work of these sections, of setting forth collectively-elaborated policies for them, and linking their work with that of the comrades in the land of the most powerful imperialist masters – the United States – as well as with the comrades in China, whose work has so much in common with theirs, the second All-America-Pacific conference was called together. The first conference had taken place some time before, when a number of basic political documents were drafted for discussion.
Difficulties, in the form of lack of finance and the vast distances separating the countries (the Fourth Internationalists are subsidized neither by the corrupt Kremlin gang, the French bourgeoisie nor by Hitler!), cut down the size of the conference. But delegates were nevertheless able to attend with mandates from several Latin-American countries, as well as from Canada, China, Australia and the United States.
Documents already drafted were taken up by the delegates and it was decided to submit them with various recommendations for the discussion of the various sections concerned and eventual adoption, in finished form, at a large conference to be called in the future. In addition, the conference adopted political resolutions on the perspectives of the Sino-Japanese war and the tasks of the Bolshevik-Leninists in China, and on the situation and tasks of the Canadian section. A thesis on the world role of North American imperialism, with special reference to its position in the Latin American countries was also adopted.
The last-named resolution is of particular importance for the revolutionary movement in the United States. Its tasks and obligations are enormous, for upon it devolves the main burden of the struggle against Yankee imperialism and for the defence of the independence and freedom of Wall Street’s colonies. Indifference to the struggle against US capitalism, which is being waged by the millions of Latin Americans, is a most corrupting force in the American labour movement, and contributes directly to the chauvinistic poisoning of the workers in this country.
With this resolution, the Socialist Workers Party of the United States assumes the responsibility of devoting itself intensively to the problems of the workers and peasants of Latin America and the Pacific who are its indispensable and invaluable allies in the struggle for freedom of the workers in this country.
The conference discussed, among other things, the situation in Mexico. Due to the disastrous and irresponsible leadership of the former Mexican section of the Fourth International (the Internationalist Communist League under the leadership of G. Group), the conference was obliged to adopt a decision declaring that the Fourth International no longer recognizes the G. group (the so-called ICL) as its section in Mexico. A statement on this matter is being drawn up, to be presented for confirmation to the international conference now being organized. However, plans were laid for the reorganization of a Mexican section for which excellent prospects exist; the Fourth International enjoys a considerable sympathy among the advanced revolutionary elements in Mexico. who were repelled from it in the past because of the discreditable course pursued by G., who is now, moreover, engaged in repeating all the time-worn slanders of the professional enemies of our movement.
Subject to confirmation by the international conference the delegates elected an All-America-Pacific Bureau and a Latin-American administrative secretariat of the Fourth International – a clearing-house for the sections involved, in which representatives of all the important sections will be seated. In addition, official bulletins of the Bureau will be issued regularly, at first in the Spanish language, for circulation among all the sections. The first one will contain the resolutions adopted and the report made. Future issues will publish discussion and informational material.
The conference, modest in its composition and objectives, was nevertheless an important beginning. It will help to consolidate, build and unify movement of revolutionary Marxism – the Fourth International – in the New World and the Pacific. Its work, continued in the future, will speed the day when the victory of the proletariat will inaugurate the united socialist republics of the Americas.
Last updated on 13.2.2006