MIA: History: ETOL: Documents: FI: USFI: 1963-1985: Editorial on the 8th World Congress of the Fourth International


The World Congress of the Fourth International

Adopted: Adopted, June 1965.
First Published: spring 1966
Source: International Socialist Review, New York, Vol. 27, No. 2, Spring 1966, pp. 35-36.
Transcribed/HTML Markup: Daniel Gaido and David Walters, December, 2005
Public Domain: Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line 2005. You can freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Marxists Internet Archive as your source, include the url to this work, and note the transcribers & proofreaders above.

Source: International Socialist Review,

This issue of the International Socialist Review carries the complete text of the main resolutions adopted by the Fourth International at its regular Congress held in December 1965.

The documents presented for the information of our readers will serve to acquaint the radical public with the actual positions of the authentic Trotskyist movement on the main issues of world politics today. These views are so often misrepresented and so grossly falsified in so many different quarters that there should be a reliable source of reference where they can be consulted and known at first hand.

The Congress was attended by more than sixty delegates and fraternal observers, representing revolutionary Marxist organizations from almost all the countries of Western Europe, from numerous countries in Africa and Asia, as well as from North America and Latin America.

As the Second World Congress since Reunification and the Eight World Congress since the foundation of the movement in 1938, those present at the gathering were cognizant of the continuity of the revolutionary-socialist tradition they represented as well as the way in which the reunification of two years before had been consolidated.

After a split lasting ten years, the greater bulk of the forces throughout the world adhering to the conceptions of Trotskyism came together again in 1963 on the basis of agreement in principle on the fundamental questions and tasks confronting the international working-class movement. The validity of their approach and the soundness of their action was confirmed in the organizational report submitted by the United Secretariat which recorded the success and consolidation of the reunification achieved at the preceding Congress.

The reunification of 1963 brought together with some few exceptions all the forces adhering to the International Committee and to the International Secretariat. After some two and a half years, only two groups on the IC side, one in England and the other in France, remained outside. On the IS side, only the tendency led by Pablo withdrew to the sidelines. The overwhelming majority of Trotskyist organizations is now within the Fourth International or, where the laws of the country prohibit formal adhesion, staunchly uphold its program.

Those who have refused to join the reconstituted movement, or broken with it, have done so because their political viewpoint and orientation are essentially opposed to the positions taken by the Fourth International and expressed in these documents. The Socialist Labour League in England, led by Gerry Healy, and the La Vérité group in France led by Pierre Lambert, have shown a total incapacity to grasp the nature of the special problems involved in the colonial revolutions, notably in Cuba and Algeria, and have a sectarian and abstentionist attitude toward their development.

The tendency headed by Juan Posadas, located mainly in certain Latin-American countries, had quit the Fourth International a year or so before the reunification in 1963; its proposal that the USSR should launch a preventive atomic war, and others of its outlandish and ultraleft ideas have nothing in common with Trotskyism or with any rational outlook.

Finally, the recent Congress sealed the severance of the small tendency around Pablo. This group, which initially accepted the reunification, subsequently took a rightward course of conciliation with the Soviet bureaucracy, confusing its limited de-Stalinization measures with the full democratization demanded by the Trotskyist program. It has acted in a systematically undisciplined manner, conclusively demonstrating that it has no confidence in the future of the International.

The outgoing leadership reported that, despite these minor defections, in the two years since the last Congress numerous sections have been strengthened, new ones created, and the centrifugal tendencies of the past decade have been halted and reversed. The most significant and gratifying feature of the reinforced united movement has been the influx of recruits from the rising generation of young revolutionists in numerous countries which was reflected in the considerably lowered age level of the delegates at the Congress itself. This indicates what an immense attraction the ideas of the Fourth International have for young workers and students who keep moving in significant numbers toward the Trotskyist organizations and embracing their answers to the problems of changing contemporary society in a socialist direction.

At the present juncture the forward march of the world revolution has been temporarily checked by a series of setbacks suffered in the colonial countries, the area of most intense activity since the Second World War. These reverses began with the reactionary military takeover of April 1964 in Brazil which encouraged a string of similar overturns in Latin America and have culminated with the anti-Communist bloodbath in Indonesia and the deposing of Nkrumah by a military conspiracy in Ghana this March. Although the latest counter-revolutionary events in Africa and Asia took place after the writing of these Congress documents, they do not in the least invalidate its analyses or conclusions.

On the contrary, these tragic defeats have shown the heavy price the masses are forced to pay for the absence of dependable revolutionary leadership and have underscored the urgent necessity for building revolutionary Marxist parties that can guide their struggles to a successful outcome. The creation of such parties and the coordination of their ideas and activities on a global scale is the prime task of the Fourth International.

A large part of the discussion at the World Congress centered around the need for solidarity with the Vietnamese revolution. It issued a Manifesto calling upon the working masses of the entire world to aid the heroic efforts of the Vietnamese people who have been fighting for their freedom for more than 25 years against the French, Japanese, and now the American imperialists. The escalation of U. S. intervention in Southeast Asia, bearing with it the threat of war with China and a possible nuclear showdown, is part of the global strategy of imperialism to stop the spread of the liberation movements in the colonial countries and prevent them from taking the road to socialism. It represents the gravest danger to world peace and to the welfare of the American people. This is recognized by the unprecedented scope and intensity of the antiwar sentiments in our own country.

The Congress documents counterpoise a world strategy of socialist revolution to the counter-revolutionary strategy of the imperialist powers headed by Washington. Only such a policy can serve to defend the security of the workers states, constitute an active force of solidarity with all anti-imperialist movements, and prepare the resurgence of working-class struggles in the capitalist centers.

The main document at the Congress was the general political resolution. This document seeks to summarize the great questions of our epoch-recent developments in the workers states, particularly in the economic field and current economic tendencies in the capitalist world and the effect upon them of the Vietnamese war. The causes of the temporary but considerable setbacks of the revolution in Indonesia and other countries are considered in this document.

In the discussion under this point, the delegates reported on the development of armed struggles in Latin America in particular. They underlined the need to participate in a united front with the guerrilla movements, with the right and even the duty to criticize certain adventurist tendencies, a criticism which should, however, be made subordinate to solid unity with these movements against the reformism practiced by most of the Communist parties in this part of the world which prattle about a “peaceful road” to freedom.

“The Progress and Problems of the African Revolution,” which was discussed at some length at the Congress, should prove of particular interest to American radicals. It offers essential background material for the recent spectacular events in such countries as Nigeria and Ghana. The analysis provided on the nature of the economies and regimes of the African countries is basic to a clear understanding of this continent and its developments. Particularly to be noted is the way in which Trotsky’s theory of the permanent revolution is applied in considering the extraordinarily complex and unique problems encountered from one end of the continent to the other.

In the document on the situation in Western Europe, the Congress reiterates the long-standing position of the Fourth International that in the final analysis the real guarantee of enduring peace is to be found in a socialist victory in the advanced capitalist countries. Particular attention is devoted to exposing the line of “peaceful coexistence,” promulgated by the Kremlin and its adherents, that signifies giving up the class struggle.

The document on the Sine-Soviet conflict deals with one of the most important developments in the world today. The aim of the document is not to find “reasons” for supporting one side or the other, but to ascertain the truth of the situation, the basic causes of the dispute and its major ramifications. In the process it emerges very clearly that the position of the Fourth International is independent. Nevertheless, as between Peking and Moscow, the Trotskyist movement leans to the side of the Chinese. Its criticisms of the Chinese views are summarized in the resolution. Both Khrushchev and his heirs as well as Mao and his circle have violently attacked the Trotskyist movement.

In criticizing the Kremlin, the document points to the lamentable role of the Soviet bureaucracy in failing to respond vigorously to U. S. aggression in Vietnam. And in criticizing Peking, the document calls special attention to its role in fostering and covering up the opportunist line of the Aidit leadership in Indonesia which paved the way for the bitter defeat there last October and the subsequent mass blood purge.

Although the Socialist Workers Party is prohibited from affiliating with the Fourth International by reactionary legislation dating back to the Voorhis Act of 1940, it supports the line of action projected in these resolutions. It recommends them for serious study and consideration by all opponents of imperialist aggression and the evils of capitalism who are interested in the revolutionary Marxist alternative to Social-Democratic reformism and Stalinism in all its variations.


Last updated on 11.19.2005