Resolution forming the International Committee, November 23, 1953

Documents 3 to 17 and 19 to 24 originally published in Internal Bulletins of the SWP and the International Bulletins of the International Committee

The English, French, New Zealand and Swiss sections of the Fourth International have decided as follows:

I. We affirm our solidarity with the fundamental line of the appeal of the National Committee of the Socialist Workers Party to the Trotskyists throughout the world, and particularly with the definition therein of the programmatic bases of Trotskyism:

(1) The death agony of the capitalist system threatens the destruction of civilization through worsening depressions, world wars and barbaric manifestations like fascism. The development of atomic weapons today undermines the danger in the gravest possible way.

(2) The decent into the abyss can be avoided only by replacing capitalism with the planned economy of socialism on a world scale and thus resuming the spiral of progress opened up by capitalism in its early days.

(3) This can be accomplished only under the leadership of the working class as the one truly revolutionary class in society. But the working class itself faces a crisis in leadership although the world relationship of social forces was never so favorable as today for the workers to take the road to power.

(4) To organize itself for carrying out this world-historic aim the working class in each country must construct a revolutionary socialist party in the pattern developed by Lenin; that is, a combat party capable of dialectically combining democracy and centralism -- democracy in arriving at decisions, centralism in carrying them out; a leadership controlled by the ranks, ranks able to carry forward under fire in disciplined fashion.

(5) The main obstacle to this is Stalinism, which attracts workers through exploiting the prestige of the October 1917 Revolution in Russia, only later, as it betrays their confidence, to hurl them either into the arms of the Social Democracy, into apathy, or back to illusions in capitalism. The penalty for these betrayals is paid by the working people in the form of consolidation of fascist and monarchist forces, and new outbreaks of wars fostered and prepared by capitalism. From its inception, the Fourth International set as one of its major tasks the revolutionary overthrow of Stalinism inside and outside the USSR.

(6) The need for flexible tactics facing many sections of the Fourth International, and parties or groups sympathetic to its program, makes it all the more imperative that they know how to fight imperialism and all of its petty-bourgeois agencies (such as nationalist formations or trade-union bureaucracies) without capitulation to Stalinism; and, conversely, know how to fight Stalinism (which in the final analysis is a petty-bourgeois agency of imperialism) without capitulating to imperialism. These fundamental principles established by Leon Trotsky retain full validity in the increasingly complex and fluid politics of the world today. In fact the revolutionary situations opening up on every hand as Trotsky foresaw, have only now brought full concreteness to what at one time may have appeared to be somewhat remote abstractions not intimately bound up with the living reality of the time. The truth is that these principles now hold with increasing force both in political analysis and in the determination of the course of practical action.

2. We consider as having forfeited its power the International Secretariat of the Pabloist usurpers, which is devoting its activity to the revisionism of Trotskyism, the liquidation of the International and the destruction of its cadres.

3. Representing the vast majority of the Trotskyist forces of the International, we decided to constitute an International Committee of the Fourth International.

4. We call on the leadership of all the sections of the Fourth International to establish relations with the leadership which represents the Trotskyist program and the majority of the forces of the International. Every responsible cadre, every Trotskyist militant concerned with the unity of the International and the future of his national section, must clearly and swiftly take a position as between the revisionist and liquidationist center of the Pabloist usurpers, and the International Committee of the Fourth International.

For the English Section: Burns
For the French Section: Bleibtreu
For the New Zealand Section: Smith
For the Swiss Section: Jacques

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Last updated 17.8.2003