Founding Conference of the

Fourth International


On Unification Of The British Section

For a long time the adherents of the Fourth International in Great Britain have been divided into small separate groups. The importance and necessity of organizational unity of all militants standing on a common platform of principle were sadly underestimated. This light minded attitude on the organizational question led not only to ill considered splits over tactical differences but even to splits over purely personal disputes having no discernible political basis (the Lee group). In this latter manifestation the warning signals of political degeneration were clearly to be seen. If the International Secretariat erred in delaying too long before calling a halt to this untenable situation, its decisive intervention on the eve of the world conference became all the more imperatively necessary.

It must be quite obvious to all genuine adherents of the Fourth International in all parts of the world that the present representative world conference, summoned together in spite of the greatest and most unprecedented difficulties and obstacles, and participated in by delegates from many countries and from great distances, must be the occasion for a definite roll call of our forces. This roll call puts an end to all ambiguity of relations between our international organization and those who hitherto have maintained, or professed to maintain, a loyalty to its principles, its methods, and its discipline.

The present conference signifies a conclusive delimitation between those who are really in the Fourth International and fighting every day under its revolutionary banner, and those who are merely ”for” the Fourth International, i. e., the dubious elements who have sought to keep one foot in our camp and one foot in the camp of our enemies.

The unification of the British groups (as that of the hitherto divided Greek groups) of the Fourth International on the eve of the world conference coincides with the final departure of such alien elements as Sneevliet and Vereecken. Both these occurrences, each in its own way, are equally symbolic of a great progressive step forward in the reorganization of the revolutionary vanguard on the tested foundations of Bolshevism. They signify at one and the same time the unification of the genuine and sincere adherents of the Fourth International and their organizational separation from pretenders, saboteurs, and hidden enemies.

The British and Greek groups came to the conference with unification programs drawn up with the assistance of the International Secretariat because they had a firm determination to be enrolled under the banner of the Fourth International. Sneevliet and Vereecken, who over too long a period of time utilized their formal membership in the movement of the Fourth International to flout its principles, sabotage its discipline, and give aid and comfort to its enemies, lacked the courage at the last moment even to appear at the International Conference. That is only because they realized that the time had arrived for a showdown. They feared to give an account of their policies and actions before an international tribunal.

The world conference considers the unity agreement entered into between the three previously separated British groups as an adequate basis for the development of the work of the united British organization in the ensuing period. It endorses the unity agreement and recognizes the organization based on it as the only British section of the Fourth International. All Bolshevik-Leninists, all revolutionary workers in Great Britain who desire to be enrolled under the banner of the Fourth International, are invited and urged to join the British section the Revolutionary Socialist League.

The conference notes with great satisfaction that the leaders of a new group of revolutionary workers in Scotland, not previously connected with our international organization the Revolutionary Socialist Party have signed the unification agreement, and the RSP has been represented at the world conference by its own delegate. The approach of this organization to the Fourth International is a matter of great and symptomatic significance. Serious workers who seek the truth and want to fight for socialism cannot and will not find any other way than the way of Bolshevism, nor any other organization than the Fourth International. The world conference extends a hearty welcome to the Revolutionary Socialist Party and expresses the confidence that the recommendation of its leading committee for organizational fusion with the British section of the Fourth International will be adopted in the pending party referendum.

As far as the Lee group is concerned, it is necessary to point out:

(1) This group came into existence some months ago as the result of purely personal grievances which impelled Lee and his friends to an organizational split. There was not then, and there is not now, any justifiable political basis for the separate maintenance of this group.

(2) The leaders of this group resisted all attempts of the delegation of the International Secretariat to include it in the general unification.

(3) The invitation of the IS delegation to this group to be represented and present its point of view at the world conference, either by delegate or letter, was disregarded; all we have is a statement, apparently addressed to the world at large, rejecting in advance any decision of the world conference not in accord with their untenable demands.

Under these circumstances it is necessary to warn the comrades associated with the Lee group that they are being led on a path of unprincipled clique politics which can only land them in the mire. It is possible to maintain and develop a revolutionary political grouping of serious importance only on the basis of great principles. The Fourth International alone embodies and represents these principles. It is possible for a national group to maintain a constant revolutionary course only if it is firmly connected in one organization with co-thinkers throughout the world and maintains a constant political and theoretical collaboration with them. The Fourth International alone is such an organization. All purely national groupings, all those who reject international organization, control, and discipline, are in their essence reactionary.

All adherents of the Fourth International in a single country must be united in a single section of the Fourth International. Those who reject this elementary organizational rule of the Fourth International put themselves in the position of irresponsible splitters and clique fighters.

The members of the Lee group are invited by the world conference to reconsider their decisions, to come into the unified British section and consequently into the Fourth International, and to take their place in the common work, with fair representation in its leading bodies and without reprisals of any kind. The unified British section is assured by the conference of the full support and collaboration of the international organization in its historic revolutionary task.

Last updated on 11.5.2005