The Transitional Program Now, Nahuel Moreno 1980
The weakness of our International today, together with the fact that the bureaucracy has conducted victorious revolutions, urged some revisionist sectors to put forward the problem about the correctness of founding the IV International. They argue that the International was not required to expropriate the bourgeoisie in a third part of the world. Deutscher and other similar intellectuals formulate that question and finally answer it categorically, saying it was a great mistake of Trotsky to have set up the IV International.
We sustain the opposite: the foundation of our International was the greatest success of Trotsky and of our international movement. There are very profound reasons for our International to be founded just at the deepest recession point of the worker's movement: it's a phenomenon, parallel to the defence of the Soviet Union. It is an answer to the same necessity, but it's even more important than the defence of the Soviet Union; the question was to sternly unite all revolutionary Marxists around a program that resumes all what the world Marxist movement has learned since the Communist Manifest, and specially since the Russian Revolution. The question was to defend those conquests of Marxism, synthetically expressed by Trotskyism and its program, against the plain counterrevolutionary attacks, realised by Stalinism and by the other counterrevolutionary apparatuses to wipe out those conquests even from the historical memory of the workers and their vanguard; and therefore it was absolutely necessary for the revolutionaries to get a stern international organisation.
Not to found the Fourth International, would have meant to abandon each of the Trotskyist currents of the revolutionary Marxism of the epoch, to its national environment. That means, they would have left them alone, nearly void of defences, to face the revisionist and bureaucratic attack of Stalinism and of the Social Democracy.
On the other hand, the foundation of the Fourth International had an offensive purpose too. The purpose was to prepare a frame and a program common to the revolutionary Marxists all over the world, for the unavoidable revolutionary upswing that would come soon and that would be deviated and betrayed by all bureaucratic and petty bourgeois leaderships of the mass movement. Only the foundation of the Fourth International made it possible to face those defensive and offensive necessities.
By the way, there is no law stating that the International should be founded on behalf of a great victory of the worker's movement. And that is all by all the only relatively serious argument of Trotsky like theorists who are sceptical about the role and the definite necessity of the Fourth International. The only International that has been founded on behalf of a great victory was the Third International. The First as well as the Second has been founded at the beginning of the upswing, at the very start of its intensification.
The Fourth International has been founded when the end of the retrogression was in sight, as well as the beginning of the unavoidable revolutionary upswing. And the very fact that the International could be founded and given a program and an organisation, for that world revolutionary upswing and that unavoidable treason of the leaderships, is an award of the maturity of the conscious factor in the Trotskyist ranks. That means, we were preparing the organisation and the program, to dispute the leadership of the mass movement against the counterrevolutionary apparatuses, as well as to overcome the crisis of the leadership the revolutionary upswing would suffer.
The other more or less acceptable argument is that it was not necessary to have the Fourth International to expropriate the bourgeoisie in many countries. But that critic aims at assigning only limited, tactic, national objectives to our International: to expropriate the bourgeoisie or the imperialist investments in only one country. The objectives of our International and the needs of the worker's class are much broader; we should defeat imperialism in the whole world, clean up national frontiers, and organise the proletariat in a revolutionary way so that it may seize power and go on mobilising the masses all over the world to start constructing socialism.
To found the Fourth International in 1938 and to defend the Soviet Union against the counterrevolutionary war that was being prepared against it, was an absolute necessity. A proof is that it suffered the first revisionist attack as soon as it was founded. That attack nearly gained control over one of the strongest parties of our movement, the Socialist Workers Party of the US. As one more expression of the advance of the counterrevolution in the world, a revisionist tendency came up in our International, the anti-defensist tendency. It would have been able to disperse the Trotskyist ranks all over the world if it wouldn't have met Trotsky and the common frame of our new-born International. We were able to preserve our program of the defence of the Soviet Union and to defeat the first great revisionist current that came up in our ranks, thanks to the foundation of the Fourth International. Hence, the foundation of the Fourth International with the formulation of the Transition Program is the greatest success of our movement. In this way, we defend the two greatest conquests of the stage of twenty years of defeats: the Soviet Union, and the only existing revolutionary Marxism, Trotskyism.
The end of World War II opens the most important stage of revolutionary upswing ever known. Unfortunately, this revolutionary upswing is accompanied by the aggravation of the crisis of revolutionary leadership, that means, with a strengthening of the counterrevolutionary apparatuses that conduct the mass movement and with a continuous weakness of our International. That very contradictory combination generates a world situation that may be summarised in the following characteristics:
1. The proletariat and the masses of the world obtain a series of spectacular victories. The first of them is the defeat of the Nazi army - that means, of the imperialist counterrevolution - by the Red Army, even when this provisionally happens to strengthen Stalinism which is ruling over the Soviet Union. Following that colossal victory, we have the expropriation of the bourgeoisie in a third part of the world, especially in China, the most populated of the countries. But all those victories that led to the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, didn't arrive at the expropriation by means of an October Revolution.
2. Imperialism faces its greatest crisis ever seen. As an issue of the war, all former colonial empires are disintegrated. And North American imperialism is not able to take over the place left void, due to the colossal upswing of the masses.
3. The stage of the imperialist wars, disputing the sharing up of the world, has come to an end because of the weakness of all the former empires. The victory of North America in the imperialist war wipes out the problem of ruling over the capitalist world.
From the post-war on, the whole capitalist world - even the imperialist countries - has to accept the leadership and the control of North America, and the global setting up of a unique counterrevolutionary front. The obvious inter-imperialist clashes don't change that situation: the USA hegemony over the capitalist world is settled, as well as its counterrevolutionary leadership and the impossibility, at the moment, of new inter-imperialist wars. We enter into the stage of the preparation and the execution of counterrevolutionary wars. One stage in the character of the wars is closed, and another one opens. The stage of inter-imperialist wars is closed and we enter into the stage of counterrevolutionary wars.
4. In that war however, not only the unique counterrevolutionary capitalist and imperialist front unites globally, but also a unique counterrevolutionary front between imperialism and the Kremlin bureaucracy is set up, on the base of the pacific coexistence concretised in Yalta and Potsdam and by the new world order: the UN, the sharing of zones of influence, etc. Even with the cold war and with profound rivalries between Washington and Moscow, even with different counterrevolutionary hot wars as in Korea and Indochina, whose aim is to smash or to deviate a revolutionary upswing, Washington as well as Moscow generally agrees upon and defends that new world order organised in Yalta and Potsdam. Stalin and Roosevelt share up the world in two blocks, controlled by imperialism and by the Kremlin respectively, with the purpose of bridling, deviating, crushing and controlling the revolution of the workers all over the world.
5. Thanks to that counterrevolutionary agreement and to the indispensable collaboration of Stalinism, the US imperialism is able to set up the “Marshall Plan”, that allows for the setting up and the stabilisation of the capitalist economy in Western Europe and in Japan, and for the division of Germany and its proletariat. That Kremlin support to the counterrevolution in Japan and Europe gives imperialism the possibility to realise an economic boom for nearly twenty years. That economic boom will have its counterpart in the development of the economy of the worker's states under bureaucratic control; there will be a phenomenon, parallel to the capitalist economic boom, in the worker's states. That means, thanks to the Kremlin, imperialism has been able to compensate for its crisis at an imperialist level, with its stabilisation as metropolitan capitalism. In other words, it was able to compensate for the expropriation of capitalism in relatively peripheral countries - bordering the SU - and so it could maintain its hegemony over the world economy and obtain in the metropolitan countries a process of capitalist accumulation and development, beyond any comparison.
6. The crisis of revolutionary leadership of the mass movement, as well as the consolidation of bureaucratic and petty bourgeoisie apparatuses went on. The colossal upswing with its victories didn't provoke the crisis of the Social Democracy and of Stalinism, nor our strengthening, despite all the forecasts of revolutionary Marxism; it didn't mean the onset of overcoming the crisis of leadership of the world proletariat. On the contrary, the decades following World War II combine an extreme crisis of imperialism and a colossal upswing of the revolutionary mass movement, with a crisis of leadership of the world proletariat - a colossal strengthening of the counterrevolutionary apparatuses of the mass movement - which is up to now without issue. On the other hand, we have the extreme weakness of Trotskyism.
That crisis of leadership is the fundamental reason of all the highly contradictory phenomena we have seen in this post-war: the capitalist reconstruction of Europe and Japan, the bureaucratised worker's states, the division of Germany and the invasion of one worker's state by another.
Until now, the revolutionary upswing has made his way through the traditional organisations of the mass movement, at the point that all the expropriations of the national bourgeoisie have been realised by bureaucratic or petty bourgeois leaderships that led to bureaucratic worker's states, as is the case of Cuba. And that fact, as a contradiction, has strengthened more than ever the counterrevolutionary apparatuses. So, it was possible to freeze out or to deviate the world revolutionary upswing and hence to save imperialism.
7. The bureaucratic workers' states are, in a sense, the consequence of the counterrevolutionary task-sharing among imperialism and the Kremlin, with their two spheres of influence. Imperialism concentrated itself, with the aid of Stalinism, on putting at work again the economy of the capitalist state in the imperialist countries. Stalinism concentrated itself on the weaker links of the world capitalist chain, there where the crisis was more acute and was bordering the Kremlin bureaucracy itself - in Eastern Europe and in China - in order to bridle or smash down the independent and revolutionary mobilisation of the masses.
The intervention of the Kremlin in its bordering countries was a question of life or death for its parasitic counterrevolutionary existence. Under no point of view could the bureaucracy accept a revolutionary mobilisation of the workers' movement and the masses beyond its control at the other side of its boarders, since that would have its counterpart inside the Soviet Union and hence would be a danger for the very existence of the bureaucracy. Imperialism was aware of the fact that a direct intervention in those countries, pregnant of war and of a catastrophic economic political and social crisis, could generate a revolutionary mobilisation against capitalism, independent from the Kremlin and leading to a revolutionary process all over Europe.
Globally, the expropriation of capitalism in the countries of Eastern Europe, in China, Yugoslavia, Korea and North Vietnam happens to be an unexpected combination of the following elements: a) a concession imperialism was forced to make to the Stalinist counterrevolutionary bureaucracy, to be able to re-establish capitalism in Japan and Western Europe with the help of that Stalinist bureaucracy; b) the colossal post-war upswing in the weakest links of the world capitalist chain. Imperialism has been forced to make those concessions in order to be able to improve its activity and to gain time, facing the colossal post-war upswing and the full break down of capitalism in Europe and in Japan. Imperialism was very careful to be sure that those concessions to the mass movement be made through the counterrevolutionary Stalinist bureaucracy, and at the moment also through the petty bourgeois Castroist bureaucracy, that means, through counterrevolutionary and opportunist apparatuses; they were a warranty to bridle the process of permanent revolution.
Those global concessions were forced consequences of the great revolutionary upswing in the immediate after-war, who transformed a third part of mankind into bureaucratised workers' states. They were anyhow colossal victories of the workers' movement and the world masses, due to the really contradictory combination that forced imperialism to make those concessions. As such, they should be defended against any attack from the imperialist counterrevolution.
8. The counterpart of those victories, of those bureaucratised workers' states, is that they managed to bridle the revolutionary process and to defeat internally the revolutionary and workers' movement, preventing by all means the process of revolutionary upswing and permanent mobilisation from going on.
With respect to the revolutionary mobilisation of the workers of the world, the bureaucratised workers' state is a gigantic concession of the exploiters and the bureaucracy; that colossal victory of the mass movement is transformed by them into a concession in order to be able to defeat and to freeze better the permanent mobilisation. It's a triumph, facing the national exploiters and imperialism; it's followed immediately by a defeat for the permanent mobilisation of the masses, a defeat imposed by the bureaucracy which, because of the revolutionary pressure of the masses and the crisis of imperialism, has to realise even the expropriation of the national bourgeoisie, in a desperate policy to get control over the mass movement and to smash it.
9. The pressure of the bureaucratic leaderships of mass movement has led to set up a transmission belt inside the ranks and the conduction of our own International: the Pabloist revisionism. This has been possible due to the power, the bureaucracy got by expropriating the national bourgeoisie in some countries. That revisionist current, being in control of the conduction, was able to disperse our International, and so to serve the opportunist leaderships of the mass movement and to intensify the crisis of leadership of the world proletariat. From 1951 on we have three decades of continuous crisis of our world movement, due to the revisionism of Pablo. Neither of the objective conditions, we stated before, justify on their own the crisis of our International and its weakness. The first and fundamental reason for the weakness and disintegration of our International is to be found in the Pabloist revisionism that made an attack against the fundamental principles of our movement. There is no better proof than the fact that the only true possibility of an October revolution, the Bolivian revolution of 1952, has been betrayed and led into a blind alley by that revisionist leadership, which is responsible for one of the five greatest betrayals against the workers' movement in the century.
10. The consolidation of the counterrevolutionary apparatuses, their strength, at the same time is accompanied by the start of their crisis, because of the upswing of the masses. In that whole period, an increasing crisis of Stalinism is developing, which manifests itself initially by the upsurge of a national Stalinism, as has been foreseen by Trotsky. While in different countries expropriation went on, the Stalinist bureaucracy of those countries no longer did draw its privileges from the Kremlin dependence, but turned out to be a state bureaucracy, with interests of its own. A national bureaucratic Stalinism came up, that began having deep rivalries with the Kremlin. Tito and Mao are the highest expression of that crisis of Stalinism, triggered by national Stalinism. Together with that crisis, there have been also trials of national Stalinism at the level of other parties, specifically the Euro-communists, but without arriving at a rupture with Moscow since they go on to be dependent on it. Their separation from Moscow is only quantitative.
Along with those crisis of national Stalinism regarding the Moscow Stalinism, there have been onsets of a positive, leftist crisis - that means, sectors that orient themselves toward Trotsky like positions - provoked by the start of the political revolution, principally in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
11. From 1953 on, powerful burgeons of the process of political revolution have come up, announcing a more general phenomenon. That revolution starts with the Berlin strikes in East Germany in 1953, which is the most important antecedent, but it explodes with Poland, and, above all, with the start of a direct political revolution in Hungary in 1956. The other spectacular fact was the “Spring of Prague” in 1968. That shows that the political revolution is an unavoidable process, which didn't become generalised yet and didn't arrive at the SU, but it is coming. Each wave of political revolution has been stronger, and has begun to manifest the democratic tendencies toward national auto-determination.
12. All along that stage - along those thirty years from 1943 to 1973 - neither the SU proletariat nor that of the United States comes into the world scenery. Even the proletariat of the European countries has stopped having a protagonist, decisive role after the revolutionary situation that happened in the immediate after-war, from 1947 on; its role does not have the same level as that of the people and workers of the backward, colonial countries, although it has made some extraordinary manifestations as the French strikes of 1953 and 1968, and the systematic mobilisations and strikes in Italy and Great Britain.
13. The workers all over the world did bring to failure different counterrevolutionary plans of the North American imperialism to attack the SU and other workers' states. In the immediate after-war, the workers of the whole world, principally the North American ones with soldier's uniform, refused to continue the war against the SU, as was the aim of imperialism. After that, they made imperialism fail in Korea, and inside the United States they drove back Macartism. The North American defeat in Vietnam is not the defeat of its plans, but the first military defeat it received from the workers. Therefore, it's an historical fact that apparently opens a new revolutionary stage.
There is a step in the upswing of the world socialist revolution and the crisis of imperialism around 1974, which means we have entered into a new stage of the world revolutionary upswing. This fourth stage is the stage of a generalised crisis of imperialism and of the bureaucratised workers' states, of the end of the economic boom, of the onset of the European revolution with Portugal and of the generalised political revolution in the workers' states, of the apparently decisive crisis of Stalinism. Let us see each of those problems.
The Vietnam war victory seems to be the starting point of a new stage, since it means the first military defeat of North American Imperialism in its whole history. This produced in it a crisis of bourgeois political leadership, aggravated because the economic crisis went deeper and deeper. The North American defeat has stimulated the revolutionary upswing all over the world, enhancing its power. We would like to stress that the Vietnam victory is not only a partial victory; it provokes the first sharp crisis of the North American imperialism, the crisis of its bourgeoisie that doesn't know which way to go in front of the upswing of the world revolution.
The other aspect of that crisis is the end of the generalised economic boom, in the world of the metropolitan countries as well as in the bureaucratised workers' states. The crisis of 1974-1975 has become sharper, year after year, acquiring a continuous and generalised character: it ranges over all countries, not only over the capitalist ones. Perhaps the sharpest economic crisis happens in the workers' states, as is clear in Cuba, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia. Hence, it is shown strikingly that the bureaucratic conduction of the economies of the workers' states is pernicious and conducts into an unavoidable crisis.
Neither imperialism nor the bureaucracy is able to set up a policy that should find the way out of that continuous crisis, which aggravates more and more.
The continuous crisis comes together with the beginning of the socialist revolution in Europe - the Portuguese Revolution and the great mass mobilisations - and with the crisis of leadership of the whole European bourgeoisie. Before the Portuguese Revolution, the European proletariat had given huge battles, the summit of which has been the great general strike of 1968 in France; the Italian and English proletariat had fought continuously to avoid the shrinking of their standard of living and of jobs. But the Portuguese Revolution opens a new stage of the European socialist revolution. An incipient process of dual power comes up with the overthrow of a fascist dictatorship, a process unknown since the immediate after-war in any country (apart from the East of Europe where an onset of political revolution happened, as in Hungary and Czechoslovakia). This Portuguese revolutionary process, generalised all over Western Europe, has its counterpart in the East European countries, in the great strikes and mobilisations in Poland, etc.
The defeat of the North American imperialism has stimulated the upswing of the revolutionary movement in the colonial world, an upswing that combines with the European upswing. So, we have on one side the great victories of Nicaragua and of Iran, on the other side, the continuity of the upswing in Central America, specially El Salvador, as well as the new revolutionary upswing that starts all over Latin America.
This new stage that seems to have opened some years ago in the world revolutionary upswing, up to now didn't bring the Soviet Union proletariat into scenery. But there are symptoms that it will appear in the historical process, just as the North American proletariat is already manifesting itself. The latter started some important battles of economic character since a few years.
With the entrance of those two working classes in the process of the world socialist revolution, the world revolution will have a colossal acceleration, principally if the German and Japanese proletariats join to it, and specially the German one, because of its tradition. (The German proletariat also hasn't had a protagonist decisive role, not even in the revolutionary process now at hand in Europe.)
If these tendencies are confirmed - specially the continuous and accelerated crisis of the bureaucratised workers' states and of Stalinism, together with an intensifying of the revolutionary upswing - then the epoch of Trotskyism, the overcoming of the crisis of leadership of the proletariat by our transformation into parties with mass influence, would have opened. Hence, in this way the epoch of new victorious October revolutions would become open.
Our party, inclusive of Trotsky, didn't foresee that the crisis of leadership of the world proletariat would continue without an onset of solution for over four decades. Hence, it neither did foresee the colossal development, influence and flourishing of the bureaucratic counterrevolutionary apparatuses, principally of Stalinism, nor the extreme weakness, the propagandistic character that our International would continue to have, despite the colossal revolutionary upswing of these four decades. Neither has been foreseen the possibility of a crisis with a revisionist character, as the one that happened in the beginnings of the fifties and that disintegrated our International for over nearly thirty years.
We feel that the lack of that prevision is inherent in the Marxist law that reality is always richer than any scheme: the latter is superseded by the former. Yet, specifically, the founders of our International made a mistake in making an analogy between this after-war and the former one. We did believe that in this immediate after-war we would have a repetition, corrected and amplified, of what happened in the former one. Then, a Marxist revolutionary party - the Bolshevik - came to power through the October revolution and the Third International was founded, which began having mass influence and overcoming the crisis of leadership. There is no reason to put in doubt the anecdote, several times reported by Joe Hansen, that Trotsky was thoroughly convinced that in the immediate after-war our International would be so full of multitudes and would have so many spontaneous revolutionary mass parties that we as Trotskyist would be in minority, since the majority of those revolutionary parties would have another ideology. Nothing shows better that this was the outlook, as the firm forecast of Trotsky that by 1948 millions would be following the Fourth International.
That analogy and those forecasts have been erroneous, and one should recognise it. This means our International was exactly right with the analysis of the epoch, but not with that of the conjuncture following immediately the war. We made an analysis of the conjuncture that was too optimistic and analogical, and that happened to be wrong.
As a consequence of that unexpected continuation of the crisis of leadership of the workers' movement, some not foreseen facts appeared. These very important facts are:
1. All the victorious revolutions that have expropriated the bourgeoisie, have led to the formation of bureaucratised workers' states.
2. Due to the existence of many bureaucratised workers' states, there happen to be wars among them, or invasions of one workers' state into another.
3. The boom of the bourgeois economy in this after-war has been the most colossal one of the whole history of capitalism.
4. The greatest technological revolution of the whole history of mankind has been realised under imperialist leadership. That technological revolution - cybernetics, rockets, atomic energy, petrochemicals, chemical fertilisers, scientific discoveries in all fields at a rate where ten years are equivalent to centuries of former discoveries like the penicillin, new drugs, etc. - is concretised concretely in the most spectacular advance of mankind: the beginning of the conquest of the cosmos, of the universe.
5. The fundamental, deterministic importance acquired by the democratic struggles and revolutions.
6. The extraordinary importance acquired by the guerrilla warfare for the victory of the Chinese and other revolutions.
7. Nowhere did happen, up to now, another October revolution
8. that means, conducted by a revolutionary Marxist party - neither victorious nor defeated.
Since nearly forty years, we are immersed in the most colossal revolutionary upswing; that upswing has led to the expropriation of the bourgeoisie by means of victorious revolutions in many countries, but our International didn't conduct any of those victories, neither has it taken power in any of those countries. Despite that upswing and those victories, our International continues weak and propagandistic.
That weakness happens according to the same reasons as those which explain the strengthening of the counterrevolutionary apparatuses of the mass movement. Concretely, it answers to the fact that the formation of Trotskyism, since the period before its foundation until its first years of existence, happened during a stage of recession and defeat of the workers' movement. Therefor, there was no objective possibility for its cadre to be hardened in the fire of the workers' movement; they got an intellectual and propagandistic character and hence our movement couldn't be set up by proletarian leaders. Our International has been founded, swimming against the current. The strengthening of the counterrevolutionary apparatuses in this after-war provoked that, in a certain way, we went on swimming against the current despite the upswing, because the mass movement followed the bureaucratic leadership.
Nevertheless, despite that strengthening of the apparatuses and the actual weakness of our International, it has grown up, it has developed and it did have possibilities of growing and developing much more. It even had the possibility of seizing power in Bolivia, a fact that would have changed everything. A law has been fulfilled during those forty years of revolutionary upswing: when an upswing happens, the apparatuses gain strength but also the revolutionary left; and the fact that the process didn't happen much more intensely is due to the very history of our International, concretely, due to the pernicious role of the Pabloist revisionism.
The year of 1951 is a benchmark in the history of our International: before and after the Pabloist revisionism. From that date on, when the conduction of the International is requisitioned by revisionism, our International falls into crisis, disintegrates.
Another crisis happened before, with the death of Trotsky. But its character was very different. Trotsky's death provoked a crisis of leadership that prevented our International from advancing much more during the after-war. The disappearance of Trotsky is a qualitative fact in the history of our International. Because of it, we remained in fact without our historic leadership. Our movement uses to remember that awful August 21 of 1940 as a biographic feature of our master, but it doesn't put sufficiently in evidence what it means from the political point of view of the world proletariat and our International. Neither is it pointed out sufficiently that the aim of the murdering was not only revenge but also a precise counterrevolutionary purpose: to spoil the after-war revolutionary upswing and the Fourth International from its personal historic leadership.
Stalinism has prospered with that aim: in fact, our International has been left without a leadership constructed and proofed in the class struggle, a leadership that would have been able to face the new tremendous problems that appeared in the after-war. As a consequence, the leadership and the centre of our International remained in fact in the hands of the SWP, during the war. That party didn't refrain from assuming a progressive role for the reconstruction of our International, during the war and immediately after it, but it refused to transform itself into the axis of the conduction, a task it should have assumed. Due to that fact, the leadership in the immediate after-war felt into the hands of the new European leadership, principally Pablo. Trotsky's death had as a consequence that our International was not able to answer rapidly to the new phenomena stated by the war and the after-war: the combination of an inter imperialist war with a counterrevolutionary war, the split of Germany and its disappearance for decades as centre of the European revolutionary process, the occupation of part of Europe (Eastern Europe) by the SU, the transformation of those states in bureaucratised workers' states, the cases of Yugoslavia and China, the “Marshall Plan”, the capitalist reconstruction of Europe and the economic boom. The documents of our International, after the death of Trotsky, are sectarian and rudimentary. Their strong point is the defence of the legacy of Trotsky.
But along with those gross failures, the Fourth International has been the only current of the workers' movement that was able to give a revolutionary Marxist answer to all phenomena, although with delay; this was due to its existence, to its method and programme, and due to the legacy of Lenin and Trotsky. So, we did define correctly the new workers' states conducted by Stalinism, as bureaucratised. The crisis of leadership, provoked by Trotsky's death, slowly was going to be overcome with the incipient maturation of the new conduction of the International, principally of the conduction of the French and English sections at that time. That process of overcoming the crisis of leadership provoked by the death of Trotsky is broken up abruptly because of the Pabloist revisionism. The impact of the “cold war” and of the new bureaucratised workers' states under the ruling of Stalinism, on that new leadership of our International, not hardened in the fire of the class struggle, had catastrophic effects: it blew up the slow process of progress and maturation; our International didn't come to destruction, as was the aim of Pablo, but it disintegrated.
The reason is that our international leadership was essentially an intellectual leadership, unable to resist the pressure of Stalinism and of the mass movement leaderships, that seemed to be almighty, due to their control over the new workers' states, facing North American imperialism in the “cold war”. Pablo has capitulated completely to Stalinism and to all petty bourgeois bureaucratic leaderships of the workers' movement, in front of that double pressure of the imperialist counterrevolution in full counteroffensive, and of Stalinism that did occupy the East of Europe in order to smash better the independent and revolutionary mobilisation of the proletariat of those countries. His policy of 'entrism sui generis', his analysis that the cold war would force the communist parties to advance towards the civil war and the workers' revolution, his theory of “a century of deformed workers' states”, all that were intents of Pablo to smuggle into our ranks an overall conception at the service of Stalinism, that should justify his policy of treason and demobilisation. His revisionism has been concretised in the fact that he aimed at developing the Fourth International and its sections abandoning the most intransigent struggle against the most important counterrevolutionary apparatus of the mass movement, Stalinism.
Pabloism did have devastating effects upon our International. He not only capitulated to Stalinism, he also started capitulating to any conduction or apparatus that ruled over the mass movement. That capitulation was hidden under a false objectivism: the pressure of the mass movement is so strong that it will force all leaderships to assume permanently a revolutionary centrist course, increasingly progressive, taking them unconsciously to Trotskyism. Due to the Pabloist conduction, the glorious and immaculate banner of our International and of Trotskyism has been dragged through the mud of opportunism and treason.
The synthesis of the Pabloist treason did happen in Bolivia. In that country, the Bolivian POR (Partido Obrero Revolucionario), a section of the International ruled by Pablo, has committed one of the most tremendous betrayals of the century against a revolution. Equal or even greater than the treason of the Mensheviks to the Russian revolution, than that of the Social Democrats during and after the First World War, than that of the Stalinists in China, in Germany or in Spain, etc. In Bolivia, the working class, educated by Trotskyism, performed one of the most perfect workers' revolutions ever known in the beginnings of 1952: it destroyed the bourgeois army, it set up militia of workers and peasants as the only real power in the country, and it organised the COB (Central Obrera Boliviana) to centralise the workers' movement and the militia. The bureaucracy that conducted the COB handed over the power it had seized to the bourgeois nationalist party, the MNR (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario). The Bolivian Trotskyism was powerful, it had great influence among the workers' and mass movement, it had participated as joint conduction in the workers' and popular upswing that destroyed the army. The International Secretariat (IS) conducted by Pablo gave the treasonable and reformist orientation to sustain critically the bourgeois government. The actual crisis of the Bolivian Trotskyism, the actual crisis of the whole International, the strength of Stalinism in Bolivia and of all the petty bourgeois nationalist movements in Latin America, all that starts from that criminal policy of class collaboration, Pablo forced our whole International to apply in Bolivia. The Pabloist revisionist principle was always the same: the MNR, urged by the mass movement, would be forced to make a socialist revolution.
Pabloism not only handed over the Bolivian revolution to a bourgeois government, it also extended its treason to France and Germany. In 1953 in France, a great general strike burst out against the aim of Stalinism. And Pabloism not only made entrance in the communist party, it also endorsed its treason. The same happened with the beginning of the political revolution in Eastern Europe. When the East German workers went to a general strike against the bureaucracy in Berlin, and the Russian tanks entered to repress the strike, the International Secretariat (IS) manifested itself against the claim of withdrawal of the Red Army, being accomplice of the bureaucratic repression against the workers' movement in East Germany. The same it did at the beginning of the Hungarian revolution against Stalinism.
Revisionism is not limited to Pabloism, even if it was Pablo who drove that revisionist deviation to its ultimate theoretic and political consequences. It is a much more ample current that maintained our International in a permanent crisis from that time on. It is an unprincipled front, as any revisionist current is, with differences and distinct currents in it. That revisionist current that invaded the conduction of our International in 1951 is characterised by having capitulated systematically, all over the last thirty years, to the bureaucratic and petty bourgeois leaderships of the mass movement, and by having abandoned our intransigent struggle against those leaderships in order to build and develop our parties as the only possibility of overcoming the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the mass movement. The way revisionism has capitulated systematically to those bureaucratic leaderships instead of denouncing them is as follows: it characterises them as progressive, transforming itself in the left wing of the bureaucratic and petty bourgeois currents and abandoning any independent Trotskyist activity clearly delimited from those opportunist currents. Given the character of that unprincipled front, revisionism is headed by different personalities and characteristic leaders in each stage of its development. But all those personalities, leaders and shades and lights have in common their orientation of capitulation to those opportunist currents that conducted some victorious revolution or some mass movement. That's why it capitulated in its first stage to Titoism, to Maoism, and in general to Stalinism and its different variants, and finally also to the MNR in Bolivia. That first revisionist stage is followed by a second one, the capitulation to Castroism.
When seizing power, Castroism was a petty bourgeois current of the mass movement and not a current directly linked to the bureaucracy; that fact has been used by revisionism to mask its treason from 1960 on up to now. That capitulation to Castroism, defining factually the Cuban state as a revolutionary workers' state, not as a bureaucratised workers' state, did have different stages. The first one was a straightforward capitulation to Castroism. Then happened the capitulation to the Guevaraist guerrilla on a Latin American scale. That one proliferated over Europe with the capitulation, first to the Guevaraist vanguard and later - after the “Che” died - to the ultra left vanguard. And ultimately the capitulation to Castroism has been extended towards the Nicaragua FSLN (Frente Sandinista de Liberaci¢n Nacional). As always, there are shades and lights in actual revisionism: there is the clearly revisionist current that, just as Pablo in 1951, advances toward the ultimate consequences; that means, it not only capitulates to the FSLN but also directly to Castroism, to the Vietnam leadership, to the Stalinist bureaucracy. There are other currents which are ashamed revisionists, and we shall now deal with them to some extent.
There is a centrist current, part of the same revisionism, that accompanies as a shade the leaders that manifest their revisionist positions clearly and straightforward, as did Pablo at its time and now the SWP. That revisionist current has developed some of the most important revisionist theoretic statements as, for instance, that a neo-imperialism is developing the productive forces, and other theoretic revisionist variants like that. Two facts characterise that current, which is centrist but a fundamental part of the same revisionism. First, it formally doesn't break with Trotskyism; secondly, it is organically part of revisionism, although it has internal discussions with it, but without denouncing it as revisionist since it doesn't go beyond stating that it is a matter of tactical or theoretic mistakes. It formally defends some Trotskyist positions but only to be able to smuggle over more efficiently the revisionist positions. In fact, there is a clear task sharing between those two variants, something like between Bernstein and Kautsky from 1914 on.
In synthesis, we may state that revisionism is characterised by sustaining, all along its thirty years of life, the following points. 1. The productive forces of mankind go on growing under that new stage of imperialism, which they define as neo-imperialist or neo-capitalist. 2. The leaderships of the mass movement - bureaucratic, Stalinist or petty bourgeois - may take a centrist course, permanently progressive, taking them to revolutionary positions; concretely, the bureaucratic and petty bourgeois leaderships, urged by the pressure of the mass movement and the anti imperialist pressure, and urged to expropriate the national bourgeoisie, turn out to be revolutionary centrist, and hence, one should support them and not fight them face to face as opportunist leaderships. 3. As a consequence of the former, there are zones of the workers' movement, of countries, where it is not at order, as an urgent task, to construct Trotskyist parties in order to defeat those counterrevolutionary leaderships. 4. Hence, it is not at order to build Trotskyist parties, neither to make the political revolution, in Cuba.
The centrism inside revisionism justifies its organic link with the clearly revisionist currents, arguing that we put forward the definition of revisionism, due to a fractional overstatement; that it is not a Marxist definition but an epithet. Its argument is that revisionism is characterised by being a current of Marxism that reflects the interests of the bureaucracy and the workers' aristocracy, and that our International never did have a bureaucracy. One half of that centrist reasoning is correct: revisionism only exists when behind it there are social forces, enemies of the historical needs of the working class. The mistake is when it limits these social expressions only to the bureaucracy and the workers' aristocracy.
Not all revisionist currents known by the history of Marxism have been a product of the workers' bureaucracy. Bernsteinism, the first revisionism at the end of the last century and the beginning of ours, wasn't supported by the workers' bureaucracy but by the petty bourgeois intellectuals that did join the German Social Democrat Party. And from there, it extended all over the world, reflecting that social sector. The same happened to us, inside our movement, with Shachtmanism, with the anti-defensism: it was an intellectual petty bourgeois current that questioned all the fundamental principles of our movement because it reflected a class sector strange to the workers' movement and its most exploited sectors.
The Pabloist revisionism and its centrist fellows have their root in the same sectors; and for the same reason, they have the same method of reasoning as the anti-defensists. Anti-defensism has in common with revisionism that both abandon the defence of the fundamental aspects of the revolutionary Marxist legacy. Anti-defensism abandons the defence of the greatest objective conquest of the workers' movement till World War II: the soviet state of the SU. And it capitulates to the advance of the counterrevolution, principally in the USA. The characteristic of modern revisionism, and what it has in common with the anti defensists, is that they are also anti defensist, but not of the SU but of the Fourth International, the greatest subjective conquest of the world proletariat; they surrender to the pressure of the counterrevolutionary apparatuses of the mass movement or of the bureaucratised workers' states, that reluctantly conducted some of the most progressive struggles and conquests of the workers' movement. Both have the same method of applying the principle of identity, but concerning distinct stages. The anti-defensists of the SU are revisionist in the stage of advance of the counterrevolution, the anti-defensists of the Fourth International are revisionist in the stage of advance of the revolution.
The anti-defensists of the SU said: counterrevolutionary Stalinism is a product of the advance of the counterrevolution, and the SU as a state is also counterrevolutionary. They put an equal sign between the counterrevolutionary conduction of the workers' state and the workers' state itself, without observing that they are dealing with very contradictory phenomena that provisionally are part of one overall entity, the degenerated workers' state. The actual revisionism of Trotskyism puts an equal sign between the advance of the revolution and the counterrevolutionary bureaucratic leaderships: since the revolution advances, the leaderships that are in front of the mass movement also are advancing unavoidably with it, even being bureaucratic and petty bourgeois.
From a formal point of view, that reasoning answers to a profound logic: since the opportunist parties will continue empirically ruling the international socialist revolution, there is no reason to be sectarian, trying to fight against those parties and to oppose ours against them. So they refuse to distinguish between those two extremely contradictory poles of reality today, that make up a provisional unity just for a moment; they put an equal sign between them: the upswing of the revolution is equal to the revolutionary transformation of its leadership. From that reasoning they draw the conclusion - openly or hidden - that the Fourth International is no longer necessary, that it may be transformed into an international Fabian Society of the revolutionary epoch. That means, they are defeatist regarding the Fourth International, taking away the very reason of its existence: the intransigent struggle against the opportunist leaderships during the revolutionary upswing, till the definitive defeat of the counterrevolutionary apparatus in the mass movement or in the bureaucratised workers' state.
Both revisionist currents, the anti defensism as well as Pabloism and the accompanying centrist current, answer to the same social reason: they concern leaders that haven't be hardened in the fire of struggles of the workers' movement, leaders that arrived at the conduction as intellectuals and that treason as intellectuals. That class character of the revisionist currents explains its survival; and the centrist role they had to play in favour of revisionism explains the other point. Any revisionism, with its shades and lights, has in common that class basis which makes it impressionist, inclined to be impressed by the great facts published by the bourgeois or bureaucratic newspapers. Due to that, and just like any petty bourgeois current, it doesn't have confidence in the working class and its revolutionary struggles, nor in the possibilities of the Fourth International. Hence, all the time they are looking for shortcuts, variants that may spare us from the hard and terrible place we have to occupy as intransigent fighters against the bureaucratic apparatuses of the mass movement, and as builders of Trotskyist parties all over the world.