The Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line seeks to archive the collected literary output of the world’s Trotskyist groups, parties and tendencies. This particular sub-archive, Toward A History Of The Fourth International will attempt to focus specifically on the development, internationally, of the descendents of the International Left Opposition. Included will be documents from the various debates and polemics that developed inside the various international currents of the Fourth International and those that descended from it over the decades since.
The basic time line of the organization of this archive will follow most of the major developments of the Fourth International. Thus, while the Fourth International split in 1953 into the International Secretariat and the competing International Committee there was a partial reunification in 1963. We will attempt to document this split and reunification through the various internal discussions and letters over the 10 year period, focusing primarily on major “Line” documents of the various groups and major figures.
Since the reunification of the IS and most of the IC occurred in 1963, it is obvious that other currents arose that rejected the reunification. The 1963 reunification was based primarily between on agreement on the development of the Cuban Revolution between the IS and the US Socialist Workers Party and it’s supporters within the IC. Within a few years, others, such as the current in Argentina organized around Nahuel Moreno, also rejoined the the new “United Secretariat of the Fourth International”, or, as it became known to it’s supporters and detractors alike, the USFI.
Those that rejected the reunification continued on with the “International Committee” name. Among those that continued to reject the reunification was the British Socialist Labour League and the French Internationalist Communist Party. In addition, the IC developed other sections (originally as minority factions of the larger ones) in many other countries, as well.
We hope to explore all these nuances and differences via the letters and documents of all parties concerned. In addition, we will document the development of some of the smaller splits that occurred during this period and many of the subsequent developments of international Trotskyist currents that have grown since into currents that rival any of the pre-existing tendencies of the Fourth International since reunification in 1963. While these currents rejected the formality of the imprimatur of “Fourth International” many became substantial in size and influential international currents regardless of their name. Included in this list are the International Socialist Tendency, the Committee for a Workers International and Committee for a Marxist International.
Users of the Toward A History Of The Fourth International Archive should be aware that many of the documents presented below exist outside the initial directories of the ETOL. Many reside in the various Marxist writers archives on the Marxists Internet Archive and not all are linked back to this sub-directory.
Two complete sets of documents, some of them overlapping in content but also providing material not seen elseware on the Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line were produced by the US Socialist Workers Party in their Education for Socialists bulletins titled Toward a History of the Fourth International and by the British Socialist Labour League in a set of 7 volumes titled Trotskyism vs Revisionism. We also include a link to a document from the International Communist Union, associated with Lutte Ouevrire of France a group that abstained from joining the Fourth International in 1938. The links are as follows: