Written: July, 1955
Source: Education for Socialist BulletinÉ
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters
We deem it absolutely vital to pose before you again the problem of reuniting the international Trotskyist move-ment. Let us first recall the facts.
Almost two years ago, just at the time when the preparatory discussion for the Fourth World Congress had started, the National Committee of the SWP publicly announced its political breakaway from the regularly elected bodies of the Fourth International. It called upon all sections of the Fourth International to do the same and supported the constitution of an “International Committee,” with the self-proclaimed aim of reconstructing the international Trotskyist movement. All this has been done in the name of a so-called “orthodox Trotskyism” against an alleged “Pabloism."
The majority of the sections of the International refused to follow the appeal of the SWP and the International Committee. They renewed their confidence to the regularly elected bodies for calling the Fourth World Congress, to which also the organizations of the International Commit-tee were invited.
Over two-thirds of the mandates represented at the previous Congress took part at the Fourth World Congress. Forcefully repulsing the attack of a faction which, encouraged by the split, for the first time openly asked to liquidate the International, the Fourth World Congress voted a resolution in favor of the reunification of the international Trotskyite movement. Several proposals were made to the International Committee; in particular it has been proposed to organize a preliminary discussion by a parity commission of representatives of the Internation-al Executive Committee and your International Commit-tee, in view of a congress of reunification.
This resolution accepted in June 1954 and immediately passed to the International Committee, received in October 1954 a favorable reply regarding the method of a preparatory discussion in order to organize a Congress. This parity commission, however, did not function. Once only did this commission meet for twenty minutes in February 1955. A letter was handed to representatives of your Committee containing our proposals for organizing the discussion. They, however, declared not to be autho-rized to engage into a discussion, and up to this date, this letter as well as another letter addressed by us to your Committee on May 18th, 1955 and recalling our first letter have so far remained without reply.
Are we to draw the conclusion that your International Committee as well as your organizations have renounced to unite with us?
We are afraid that such are really the views of part of the members of your organizations where, as we know, some people maintain before thinking at creating an international organization one has first to build strong national organizations. This is a centrist idea which has always been condemned by our movement. But this orientation against unity would not only be regrettable for the Fourth International at the very moment when our ideas have extremely favorable chances to make headway, it would be particularly disastrous for your own political development.
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In spite of all efforts made by the capitalist govern-ments, in spite of the advantage they get from the policies of the reformist and Stalinist leaders, a perspective of a relative stabilization in the capitalist world does not exist. The colonial revolution is spreading continuously. Great revolutionary crises are reaping in the most important capitalist countries of Europe. A renewal of economic struggles is on its way in the United States. Finally the equilibrium of the bureaucratic regime in the Soviet Union is broken; as a consequence of internal and international developments a new relationship of forces is being established between the working masses and the bureau-cracy. New forces aiming at a real Soviet democracy are appearing and the bureaucracy cannot just turn the clock back to its former methods of government.
This powerful revolutionary upsurge reflects itself in an unprecedented crisis of the old labor organizations, in which left wing currents are developing in the direction of our ideas.
We believe that you have understood, just as we did, the importance of such currents within the social-democratic parties. We only wish to point out that those of our people who are working in these parties have already attained most remarkable results.
As regards the communist parties, how different is the situation now compared with only three or four years ago! The authority of the leaderships has very much declined. A critical climate is developing. Who could have foreseen such open disavowal of StalinŐs policy as the statement made by Khrushchev in Belgrade? Those of our people who are working inside the Stalinist organizations have also obtained already very appreciable results. Moreover, left wing currents are beginning to express themselves in the CPŐs as it is particularly shown in the following two important instances. For the first time since almost twenty years an opposition-and still more a left wing opposition-has appeared within a communist party: the “Communist Action” group in Italy. In France an internationally well known leader, Andre Marty, has developed a political line which is very near to the program of action put forward by our movement, thus offering to communist militants critical of the positions held by their party an orientation near to the positions held by us.
All these developments of great importance within the labor movement are products of the world revolutionary upsurge. There may be differences of opinion amongst us regarding the methods for linking ourselves to these left wing currents, helping them to find their way, express themselves, and to make them progress. We, however, believe that in the light of the new developments a discussion between us would not only be a simple repetition of things already said at the time of the split. This discussion could be based on the very encouraging results obtained by the entrist work within the socialist and communist parties. But there can be no doubt that the split in our ranks constitutes an obstacle to the influence we must exert in these currents and to the progression of our ideas. There can be no doubt that the reunification of our movement would facilitate our work and would have good repercussions among the layers of communists and socialists who seeking for a revolutionary policy, appre-ciate our ideas but do not understand the division of our ranks.
Two years ago, when you broke with us, you probably thought at the time that the majority of the International would follow you. You have not convinced the majority of the sections of the International; do not try to hide this essential fact to yourselves.
Since that time the majority of the sections has continued to make the Fourth International a living force, manifesting its existence to the working class public opinion, whereas your committee has not shown any real life. You know the difficulties you have had in your own organizations due to your isolation from the majority of the sections of the International. You also know that these conditions have favored within your own ranks currents of political and organizational decomposition. Nothing would be more pernicious for you than deceiving yourselves by ignoring international Trotskyism as it lives and fights in over twenty countries. The only means to avoid the danger resulting from the international isolation in which you practically find yourselves, lies in your reunification with the main Trotskyist forces in the world.
We are not asking you to abandon your particular political positions. We only ask you to discuss them as it had been possible in the past, before the split: within the ranks of a unified International and according to the rules of democratic centralism. It may commit errors, but only in the frame of its democratic centralism, only in the common life within the International can errors made by anyone be repaired at the lowest costs.
DonŐt believe that the situation will find a solution by itself. The split already had serious consequences for you; to carry on with this split could only bring more serious consequences for you.
In order to help the International to exploit to the utmost the present favorable conditions, in order to give up your isolation from the main forces of international Trotskyism, we ask you to put the question of reunification as the first point on your agendas! Demand that the parity commission takes up its work as soon as possible, not for an unending discussion, but for the effective preparation of a reunification congress!
The International Secretariat of the Fourth International