Founding Conference of the

Fourth International


On Organizing Defense And Relief For Persecuted Revolutionists

The advance of fascism in many countries, the international Stalinist campaign of persecution, frame up, and assassination, and the increasing encroachments on the rights of the workers in the countries of democratic capitalism the world sweep of reaction in various forms raises the question of relief and defense for persecuted revolutionists in the most imperative manner. Never in modern history have revolutionary workers faced such persecution, and never have they stood upon such a narrow ground of democratic and legal rights.

In addition to the heavy blows of the outright bourgeois and Stalinist reaction, the revolutionists who are always the most persecuted face systematic exclusion and discrimination by the various Stalinist, social democratic, and liberal bourgeois relief and defense agencies. In order to provide a minimum of aid and protection to the persecuted revolutionary fighters and especially to the refugees from totalitarian states it is necessary for all sections of the Fourth International to rouse themselves. They must take the initiative all along the line for the creation of relief and defense organizations which can be relied upon to give timely moral, financial, and legal aid to those who need it most.

It is permissible to cooperate in this work with sincere elements of other political tendencies, but in no case should the formation of national defense and relief bodies be deferred or put aside because of the inability to secure the cooperation of this or that organization or individual. The need is absolutely urgent and unpostponable, and an energetic and devoted committee, even of modest size and composed in the main or altogether of the advanced revolutionary elements, is infinitely better than none at all or an “imposing” facade of many organizations and “big names” that does little or nothing and gives no real assistance to the victims in most desperate and immediate cases.

It is necessary for all sections of the Fourth International to take up this question with the utmost seriousness and to begin work at once. Qualified comrades should devote themselves to this work and specialize in it. Legal assistance must be arranged for. The most effective methods of raising funds must be worked out. All the laws and regulations relating to immigration in the various countries must be studied by comrades specializing in this field of work. In short, the adherents of the Fourth International, especially in the democratic countries which offer the greatest facilities, must concentrate their attention on the task of developing the most effective relief and defense mechanism possible in the shortest possible time.

An international committee, composed of responsible and known people of the greatest moral authority, should eventually coordinate and direct the work of the various national defense organizations, provide a center for the assistance to refugees, and arrange for the exchange of information and experience between the various national bodies.

Last updated on 12.5.2005