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From the International Bolshevik Tendency:

BT/LTT Fusion Document:
For Trotskyism!

The following document was adopted by the fusion conference of the Bolshevik Tendency and the Left Trotskyist Tendency as a codification of the programmatic agreement reached by the two organizations.

1. Party and Program

"The interests of the [working] class cannot be formulated otherwise than in the shape of a program; the program cannot be defended otherwise than by creating the party. "The class, taken by itself, is only material for exploitation. The proletariat assumes an independent role only at that moment when from a social class in itself it becomes a political class for itself. This cannot take place otherwise than through the medium of a party. The party is that historical organ by means of which the class becomes class conscious."
--L.D. Trotsky, "What Next?" 1932

The working class is the only thoroughly revolutionary class inmodern society, the only class with the capacity to end theinsanity of capitalist rule internationally. The fundamental taskof the communist vanguard is to instill in the class (particularlyits most important component, the industrial proletariat) theconsciousness of its historic role. We explicitly reject allstratagems put forward by centrists and reformists, lifestylistsand sectoralists which see in one or another non-proletariansection of the population a more likely vehicle for socialprogress.

The liberation of the proletariat, and with that the elimination ofthe material basis of all forms of social oppression, hinges on thequestion of leadership. The panoply of potential "socialist"leaderships are in the final analysis reducible to two programs:reform or revolution. While purporting to offer a "practical"strategy for the gradual amelioration of the inequities of classsociety, reformism acts to reconcile the working class to therequirements of capital. Revolutionary Marxism, by contrast, isbased on the fundamental antagonism between capital and labor andthe consequent necessity for the expropriation of the bourgeoisieby the proletariat as the precondition for any significant socialprogress.

The hegemony of bourgeois ideology in its various forms within theproletariat represents the most powerful bulwark to capitalistrule. As James P. Cannon, the historic leader of AmericanTrotskyism, noted in The First Ten Years of American Communism:

"The strength of capitalism is not in itself and its own institutions; it survives only because it has bases of support in the organizations of the workers. As we see it now, in the light of what we have learned from the Russian Revolution and its aftermath, nine-tenths of the struggle for socialism is the struggle against bourgeois influence in the workers' organizations, including the party."

The key distinction between a revolutionary organization and acentrist or reformist one is found not so much in abstractstatements of ultimate goals and objectives, but in the positionswhich each advances in the concrete situations posed by the classstruggle. Reformists and centrists tailor their programmaticresponse to each new event in accordance with the illusions andpreconceptions of their audience. But the role of a revolutionaryis to tell the workers and the oppressed what they do not alreadyknow.

"The program must express the objective tasks of the working class rather than the backwardness of the workers. It must reflect society as it is and not the backwardness of the working class. It is an instrument to overcome and vanquish the backwardness....We cannot postpone, modify objective conditions which don't depend upon us. We cannot guarantee that the masses will solve the crisis, but we must express the situation as it is, and that is the task of the program."
--Trotsky, "The Political Backwardness of the American Workers," 1938

We seek to root the communist program in the working class throughbuilding programmatically-based caucuses in the trade unions. Suchformations must actively participate in all struggles for partialreform and improvements in the situation of the workers. They mustalso be the best upholders of the militant traditions of classsolidarity, e.g., the proposition that "Picket Lines Mean Don'tCross!" At the same time they must seek to recruit the mostpolitically conscious workers to a world view that transcendsparochial shopfloor militancy, and addresses the burning politicalquestions of the day in a fashion which points to the necessity ofeliminating the anarchy of production for profit and replacing itwith rational, planned production for human need.

Our intervention in the mass organizations of the proletariat isbased on the Transitional Program adopted by the foundingconvention of the Fourth International in 1938. In a certain sensethere can be no such thing as a "finished program" for Marxists. Itis necessary to take account of historical developments in the pastfive decades and the need to address problems posed by specificstruggles of sectors of the class and/or the oppressed which arenot dealt with in the 1938 draft. Nonetheless, in its essentials,the program upon which the Fourth International was founded retainsall its relevance because it poses socialist solutions to theobjective problems facing the working class today in the context ofthe unchanging necessity of proletarian power.

2. Permanent Revolution

Over the past five hundred years, capitalism has created a singleworld economic order with an international division of labor. Welive in the epoch of imperialism--the epoch of capitalist decline.Experience this century has demonstrated that the nationalbourgeoisies of the neo-colonial world are incapable of completingthe historic tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. Thereis, in general, no path of independent capitalist development openfor these countries.

In the neo-colonial countries the accomplishments of the classicalbourgeois revolutions can only be replicated by smashing capitalistproperty relations, severing the tentacles of the imperialist worldmarket and establishing working class (i.e., collectivized)property. Only a socialist revolution--a revolution carried outagainst the national bourgeoisie and big landowners--can lead to aqualitative expansion of the productive forces.

We reject the Stalinist/Menshevik "two-stage" strategy ofproletarian subordination to the supposed "progressive" sectors ofthe bourgeoisie. We stand for the complete and unconditionalpolitical independence of the proletariat in every country. Withoutexception, the national bourgeoisies of the "Third World" act asthe agents of imperialist domination whose interests are, in ahistoric sense, far more closely bound up with the bankers andindustrialists of the metropolis than with their own exploitedpeoples.

Trotskyists offer military, but not political, support topetty-bourgeois nationalist movements (or even bourgeois regimes)which enter into conflict with imperialism in defense of nationalsovereignty. In 1935, for example, the Trotskyists stood formilitary victory of the Ethiopians over the Italian invaders.However, Leninists cannot automatically determine their position ona war between two bourgeois regimes from their relative level ofdevelopment (or underdevelopment). In the squalid 1982Malvinas/Falklands war, where the defense of Argentine sovereigntywas never at issue, Leninists called for both British and Argentineworkers to "turn the guns around"--for revolutionary defeatism onboth sides.

3. Guerrillaism

Our strategy for revolution is mass proletarian insurrection. Wereject guerrillaism as a strategic orientation (while recognizingthat it can sometimes have supplementary tactical value) because itrelegates the organized, politically conscious working class to therole of passive onlooker. A peasant-based guerrilla movement, ledby radical petty-bourgeois intellectuals, cannot establishworking-class political power regardless of the subjective intentof its leadership.

On several occasions since the end of the Second World War it hasbeen demonstrated that, given favorable objective circumstances,such movements can successfully uproot capitalist property. Yetbecause they are not based on the mobilization of the organizedworking class, the best outcome of such struggles is theestablishment of nationalist, bureaucratic regimes qualitativelyidentical to the product of the Stalinist degeneration of theRussian Revolution (i.e., Yugoslavia, Albania, China, Vietnam andCuba). Such "deformed worker states" require supplementaryproletarian political revolutions to open the road to socialistdevelopment.

4. Special Oppression: The Black Question, The Woman Question

The working class today is deeply fractured along racial, sexual,national and other lines. Yet racism, national chauvinism andsexism are not genetically but rather socially programmed forms ofbehavior. Regardless of their present level of consciousness, theworkers of the world have one crucial thing in common: they cannotfundamentally improve their situation, as a class, withoutdestroying the social basis of all oppression and exploitation onceand for all. This is the material basis for the Marxist assertionthat the proletariat has as its historic mission the elimination ofclass society and with that the eradication of all forms ofextra-class or "special" oppression.

In the United States, the struggle for workers power isinextricably linked to the struggle for black liberation. Theracial division between black and white workers has historicallybeen the primary obstacle to class consciousness. American blacksare not a nation but a race-color caste forcibly segregated at thebottom of society and concentrated overwhelmingly in the workingclass, particularly in strategic sectors of the industrialproletariat. Brutalized, abused and systematically discriminatedagainst in the "land of the free," the black population hashistorically been relatively immune to the racist imperialpatriotism which has poisoned much of the white proletariat. Blackworkers have generally proved the most militant and combativesection of the class. The fight for black liberation--against theeveryday racist brutality of life in capitalist America--is centralto the construction of a revolutionary vanguard on the NorthAmerican continent. The struggle against the special oppression ofthe other national, linguistic and racial minorities, particularlythe growing Latino population, is a question which will also be keyto the American revolution.

The oppression of women is materially rooted in the existence ofthe nuclear family: the basic and indispensable unit of bourgeoissocial organization. The fight for complete social equality forwomen is of strategic importance in every country on the globe. Aclosely related form of special oppression is that experienced byhomosexuals who are persecuted for failing to conform to the sexualroles dictated by the "normalcy" of the nuclear family. The gayquestion is not strategic like the woman question, but thecommunist vanguard must champion the democratic rights ofhomosexuals and oppose any and all discriminatory measures directedat them.

In the unions communists campaign for equal access to all jobs;union-sponsored programs to recruit and upgrade women andminorities in "non-traditional" fields; equal pay for equivalentwork and jobs for all. At the same time we defend the senioritysystem as a historic acquisition of the trade-union movement andoppose such divisive and anti-union schemes as preferentiallayoffs. It is the historic responsibility of the communistvanguard to struggle to unite the working class for its commonclass interests across the artificial divisions promoted incapitalist society. To do this means to advance the interests ofthe most exploited and oppressed and to struggle relentlesslyagainst every manifestation of discrimination and injustice.

The oppressed sectors of the population cannot liberate themselvesindependently of proletarian revolution, i.e., within the frameworkof the social system which originated and perpetuates theiroppression. As Lenin noted in State and Revolution:

"Only the proletariat--by virtue of the economic role it plays in large-scale production--is capable of being the leader of all the toiling and exploited masses, whom the bourgeoisie exploits, oppresses and crushes often not less, but more, than it does the proletarians, but who are incapable of waging an independent struggle for their emancipation."

We live in a class society and the program of every social movementmust, in the final analysis, represent the interests of one of thetwo classes with the potential to rule society: the proletariat orthe bourgeoisie. In the trade unions, bourgeois ideology takes theform of narrow economism; in the movements of the oppressed itmanifests itself as sectoralism. What black nationalism, feminismand other forms of sectoralist ideology have in common is that theyall locate the root of oppression in something other than thesystem of capitalist private property.

The strategic orientation of the Marxist vanguard toward"independent" (i.e., multi-class) sectoralist organizations of theoppressed must be to assist in their internal differentiation intotheir class components. This implies a struggle to win as manyindividuals as possible to the perspective of proletarianrevolution and the consequent necessity of an integrated vanguardparty.

5. The National Question and `Interpenetrated Peoples'

"Marxism cannot be reconciled with nationalism, be it even of the `most just', `purest', most refined and civilised brand. In place of all forms of nationalism Marxism advances internationalism...."
--V.I. Lenin, "Critical Remarks on the National Question"

Marxism and nationalism are two fundamentally counterposed worldviews. We uphold the principle of the equality of nations, andoppose any privileges for any nation. At the same time Marxistsreject all forms of nationalist ideology and, in Lenin's words,welcome "every kind of assimilation of nations, except that foundedon force and privilege." The Leninist program on the nationalquestion is primarily a negative one designed to take the nationalquestion off the agenda and undercut the appeal of petty-bourgeoisnationalists, in order to more starkly pose the class question.

In "classic" cases of national oppression (e.g., Quebec), wechampion the right of self-determination, without necessarilyadvocating its exercise. In the more complex cases of two peoplesinterspersed, or "interpenetrated," throughout a singlegeographical territory (Cyprus, Northern Ireland,Palestine/Israel), the abstract right of each to self-determinationcannot be realized equitably within the framework of capitalistproperty relations. Yet in none of these cases can the oppressorpeople be equated with the whites in South Africa or the Frenchcolons in Algeria; i.e., a privileged settler-caste/laboraristocracy dependent on the superexploitation of indigenous laborto maintain a standard of living qualitatively higher than theoppressed population.

Both the Irish Protestants and the Hebrew-speaking population ofIsrael are class-differentiated peoples. Each has a bourgeoisie, apetty bourgeoisie and a working class. Unlike guilty middle-classmoralists, Leninists do not simply endorse the nationalism of theoppressed (or the petty-bourgeois political formations whichespouse it). To do so simultaneously forecloses the possibility ofexploiting the real class contradictions in the ranks of theoppressor people and cements the hold of the nationalists over theoppressed. The proletarians of the ascendant people can never bewon to a nationalist perspective of simply inverting the currentunequal relationship. A significant section of them can be won toan anti-sectarian class-against-class perspective because it is intheir objective interests.

The logic of capitulation to petty-bourgeois nationalism led muchof the left to support the Arab rulers (the embodiment of theso-called "Arab Revolution") against the Israelis in the Mid-Eastwars of 1948, 1967 and 1973. In essence these were inter-capitalistwars in which the workers and oppressed of the region had nothingto gain by the victory of either. The Leninist position wastherefore one of defeatism on both sides. For both Arab and Hebrewworkers the main enemy was at home. The 1956 war was a differentmatter; in that conflict the working class had a side: with Nasseragainst the attempts of French and British imperialism (aided bythe Israelis) to reappropriate the recently nationalized SuezCanal.

While opposing nationalism as a matter of principle, Leninists arenot neutral in conflicts between the oppressed people and theoppressor state apparatus. In Northern Ireland we demand theimmediate and unconditional withdrawal of British troops and wedefend the blows struck by the Irish Republican Army at suchimperialist targets as the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the BritishArmy or the hotel full of Conservative cabinet ministers atBrighton. Similarly, we militarily side with the PalestinianLiberation Organization against the forces of the Israeli state. Inno case do we defend terrorist acts directed at civilianpopulations. This, despite the fact that the criminal terrorism ofthe Zionist state against the Palestinians, like that of theBritish army and their Protestant allies against the Catholics ofNorthern Ireland, is many times greater than the acts of communalterror by the oppressed.

6. Immigration/Emigration

Leninists support the basic democratic right of any individual toemigrate to any country in the world. As in the case of otherdemocratic rights, this is not some sort of categorical imperative.We would not, for example, favor the emigration of any individualwho would pose a threat to the military security of the degeneratedor deformed worker states. The right of individual immigration, ifexercised on a sufficiently wide scale, can come into conflict withthe right of self-determination for a small nation. ThereforeTrotskyists do not raise the call for "open borders" as a generalprogrammatic demand. In Palestine during the 1930's and 1940's, forexample, the massive influx of Zionist immigration laid the basisfor the forcible expulsion of the Palestinian people from their ownland. We do not recognize the "right" of unlimited Han migration toTibet, nor of French citizens to move to New Caledonia.

The "open borders" demand is generally advocated by well- meaningliberal/radical muddleheads motivated by a utopian desire torectify the hideous inequalities produced by the imperialist worldorder. But world socialist revolution--not mass migration--is theMarxist solution to the misery and destitution of the majority ofmankind under capitalism.

In the U.S., we defend Mexican workers apprehended by La Migra. Weoppose all immigration quotas, all roundups and all deportations ofimmigrant workers. In the unions we fight for the immediate andunconditional granting of full citizenship rights to allforeign-born workers.

7. Democratic Centralism

A revolutionary organization must be strictly centralized with theleading bodies having full authority to direct the work of lowerbodies and members. The organization must have a political monopolyover the public political activity of its members. The membershipmust be guaranteed the right of full factional democracy (i.e., theright to conduct internal political struggle to change the lineand/or to replace the existing leadership). Internal democracy isnot a decorative frill--nor merely a safety valve for the ranks toblow off steam--it is a critical and indispensible necessity forthe revolutionary vanguard if it is to master the complexdevelopments of the class struggle. It is also the chief means bywhich revolutionary cadres are created. The right to internalfactional democracy, i.e., the right to struggle againstrevisionism within the vanguard, is the only "guarantee" againstthe political degeneration of a revolutionary organization.

Attempts to gloss over important differences and blur lines ofpolitical demarcation internally can only weaken and disorient arevolutionary party. An organization cohered by diplomacy,lowest-common denominator consensus and the concomitantprogrammatic ambiguity (instead of principled programmaticagreement and the struggle for political clarity) awaits only thefirst serious test posed by the class struggle to break apart.Conversely, organizations in which the expression of differences isproscribed--whether formally or informally--are destined to ossifyinto rigid, hierarchical and lifeless sects increasingly divorcedfrom the living workers movement and unable to reproduce the cadresnecessary to carry out the tasks of a revolutionary vanguard.

8. Popular Fronts

"The question of questions at present is the Popular Front. The left centrists seek to present this question as a tactical or even as a technical maneuver, so as to be able to peddle their wares in the shadow of the Popular Front. In reality, the Popular Front is the main question of proletarian class strategy for this epoch. It also offers the best criterion for the difference between Bolshevism and Menshevism."
--Trotsky, "The POUM and the Popular Front," 1936

Popular frontism (i.e., a programmatic bloc, usually forgovernmental power, between workers organizations andrepresentatives of the bourgeoisie) is class treason.Revolutionaries can give no support, however "critical," toparticipants in popular fronts.

The tactic of critical electoral support to reformist workersparties is premised on the contradiction inherent in such partiesbetween their bourgeois (reformist) program and their working-classbase. When a social-democratic or Stalinist party enters into acoalition or electoral bloc with bourgeois or petty-bourgeoisformations, this contradiction is effectively suppressed for thelife of the coalition. A member of a reformist workers party whostands for election on the ticket of a class-collaborationistcoalition (or popular front) is in fact running as a representativeof a bourgeois political formation. Thus the possibility of theapplication of the tactic of critical support is excluded, becausethe contradiction which it seeks to exploit is suspended. Instead,revolutionists should make a condition of electoral support thebreaking of the coalition: "Down With the Capitalist Ministers!"

9. United Fronts and "Strategic United Fronts"

The united front is a tactic with which revolutionaries seek toapproach reformist or centrist formations to "set the base againstthe top" in situations where there is an urgent felt need forunited action on the part of the ranks. It is possible to enterinto united-front agreements with petty-bourgeois or bourgeoisformations where there is an episodic agreement on a particularissue and where it is in the interests of the working class to doso (e.g., the Bolsheviks' united front with Kerensky againstKornilov). The united front is a tactic which is not only designedto accomplish the common objective but also to demonstrate inpractice the superiority of the revolutionary program and thus gainnew influence and adherents for the vanguard organization.

Revolutionists never consign the responsibility of revolutionaryleadership to an ongoing alliance (or "strategic united front")with centrist or reformist forces. Trotskyists never issue commonpropaganda--joint statements of overall political perspective--withrevisionists. Such a practice is both dishonest (as it inevitablyinvolves papering over the political differences separating theorganizations) and liquidationist. The "strategic united front" isa favorite gambit of opportunists who, despairing of their ownsmall influence, seek to compensate for it by dissolution into abroader bloc on a lowest common-denominator program. In "Centrismand the Fourth International," Trotsky explained that arevolutionary organization is distinguished from a centrist one byits "active concern for purity of principles, clarity of position,political consistency and organizational completeness." It is justthis which the strategic united front is designed to obliterate.

10. Workers Democracy and the Class Line

Revolutionary Marxists, who are distinguished by the fact that theytell the workers the truth, can only benefit from open politicalconfrontation between the various competing currents in the left.It is otherwise with the reformists and centrists. The Stalinists,social democrats, trade-union bureaucrats and other working-classmisleaders all shrink from revolutionary criticism and seek topre-empt political discussion and debate with gangsterism andexclusions. We oppose violence and exclusionism within the left and workersmovement while upholding the right of everyone to self-defense. Wealso oppose the use of "soft-core" violence--i.e., slander--whichgoes hand-in-hand with (or prepares the way for) physical attacks.Slander and violence within the workers movement are completelyalien to the traditions of revolutionary Marxism because they aredeliberately designed to destroy consciousness, the preconditionfor the liberation of the proletariat.

11. The State and Revolution

The question of the state occupies a central place in revolutionarytheory. Marxism teaches that the capitalist state (in the finalanalysis the "special bodies of armed men" committed to the defenseof bourgeois property) cannot be taken over and made to serve theinterests of working people. Working-class rule can only beestablished through the destruction of the existing bourgeois statemachinery and its replacement with institutions committed to thedefense of proletarian property.

We are adamantly opposed to bringing the bourgeois state, in anyguise, into the affairs of the labor movement. Marxists oppose allunion "reformers" who seek redress from bureaucratic corruption inthe capitalist courts. Labor must clean its own house! We also callfor the expulsion of all cops and prison guards from thetrade-union movement.

The duty of revolutionists is to teach the working class that thestate is not an impartial arbiter between competing socialinterests but a weapon wielded against them by the capitalists.Accordingly, Marxists oppose reformist/utopian calls for thebourgeois state to "ban" the fascists. Such laws are invariablyused much more aggressively against the workers movement and theleft than against the fascistic scum who constitute the shocktroops of capitalist reaction. The Trotskyist strategy to fightfascism is not to make appeals to the bourgeois state, but tomobilize the power of the working class and the oppressed fordirect action to crush fascistic movements in the egg before theyare able to grow. As Trotsky remarked in the Transitional Program,"The struggle against fascism does not start in the liberaleditorial office but in the factory--and ends in the street."

Leninists reject all notions that imperialist troops can play aprogressive role anywhere: whether "protecting" blackschoolchildren in the Southern U.S., "protecting" the Catholicpopulation in Northern Ireland or "keeping the peace" in the MiddleEast. Neither do we seek to pressure the imperialists to act"morally" by divesting nor by imposing sanctions on South Africa.We argue instead that the "Free World" powers are fundamentallyunited with the racist apartheid regime in defense of the "right"to superexploit black labor. Our answer is to mobilize the power ofinternational labor in effective class-struggle solidarity actionswith South Africa's black workers.

12. The Russian Question

"What is Stalinophobia? Is it hatred of Stalinism; fear of this `syphilis of the labor movement' and irreconcilable refusal to tolerate any manifestation of it in the party? Not at all....

"Is it the opinion that Stalinism is not the leader of the international revolution but its mortal enemy? No, that is not Stalinophobia; that is what Trotsky taught us, what we learned again from our experience with Stalinism, and what we believe in our bones.

"The sentiment of hatred and fear of Stalinism, with its police state and its slave labor camps, its frame-ups and its murders of working class opponents, is healthy, natural, normal, and progressive. This sentiment goes wrong only when it leads to reconciliation with American imperialism, and to the assignment of the fight against Stalinism to that same imperialism. In the language of Trotskyism, that and nothing else is Stalinophobia."
--James P. Cannon, "Stalinist Conciliationism and Stalinophobia," 1953

We stand for the unconditional defense of the collectivizedeconomies of the degenerated Soviet worker state and the deformedworker states of Eastern Europe, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, China,North Korea and Cuba against capitalist restoration. Yet we do notlose sight for a moment of the fact that only proletarian politicalrevolutions, which overthrow the treacherous anti-working classbureaucrats who rule these states, can guarantee the gains won todate and open the road to socialism.

The victory of the Stalinist faction in the Soviet Union in the1920's under the banner of "Socialism in One Country" was crownedwith the physical extermination of the leading cadres of Lenin'sparty a decade later. By counterposing the defense of the SovietUnion to the world revolution, the Stalinist usurpers decisivelyundermine both. The perspective of proletarian insurrection inorder to reestablish the direct political rule of the working classis therefore not counterposed but inextricably linked to thedefense of the collectivized economies.

The Russian question has been posed most sharply in recent yearsover two events: the suppression of Polish Solidarnosc and theintervention of the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. We side militarilywith the Stalinists against both the capitalist-restorationists ofSolidarnosc and the Islamic feudalists fighting to preserve femalechattel slavery in Afghanistan. This does not imply that theStalinist bureaucrats have any progressive historical role to play.On the contrary. Nonetheless, we defend those actions (like theDecember 1981 suppression of Solidarnosc) which they are forced totake in defense of the working-class property forms.

13. For the Rebirth of the Fourth International!

"Trotskyism is not a new movement, a new doctrine, but the restoration, the revival, of genuine Marxism as it was expounded and practised in the Russian revolution and in the early days of the Communist International."
--James P. Cannon, The History of American Trotskyism

Trotskyism is the revolutionary Marxism of our time--the politicaltheory derived from the distilled experience of over acentury-and-a-half of working-class communism. It was verified ina positive sense in the October Revolution in 1917, the greatestevent in modern history, and generally negatively since. After thebureaucratic strangulation of the Bolshevik Party and the Cominternby the Stalinists, the tradition of Leninism--the practice andprogram of the Russian Revolution--was carried forward by the LeftOpposition and by it alone.

The Trotskyist movement was born in a struggle for revolutionaryinternationalism against the reactionary/utopian conception of"Socialism in One Country." The necessity of revolutionaryorganization on an international basis derives from theorganization of capitalist production itself. Revolutionists oneach national terrain must be guided by a strategy which isinternational in dimension--and that can only be elaborated by theconstruction of an international working-class leadership. To thepatriotism of the bourgeoisie and its social-democratic andStalinist lackeys, the Trotskyists counterpose Karl Liebnecht'simmortal slogan: "The Main Enemy is At Home!" We stand on the basicprogrammatic positions adopted by the 1938 founding conference ofthe Fourth International, as well as the first four congresses ofthe Communist International and the revolutionary tradition ofMarx, Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky.

The cadres of the Fourth International outside of North Americawere largely annihilated or dispersed in the course of the SecondWorld War. The International was definitively politically destroyedby Pabloite revisionism in the early 1950's. We are not neutral inthe 1951-53 split--we side with the International Committee (IC)against the Pabloite International Secretariat (IS). The IC's fightwas profoundly flawed both in terms of political framework andexecution. Nonetheless, in the final analysis, the impulse of theIC to resist the dissolution of the Trotskyist cadre into theStalinist and social-democratic parties (as proposed by Pablo) andits defense of the necessity of the conscious factor in history,made it qualitatively superior to the liquidationist IS.

Within the IC the most important section was the American SocialistWorkers Party (SWP). It had also been the strongest section at thetime of the founding of the International. It had benefited by themost direct collaboration with Trotsky and had a leading cadrewhich went back to the early years of the Comintern. The politicalcollapse of the SWP as a revolutionary organization, signalled byits uncritical enthusing over Castroism in the early 1960's, andculminating in its defection to the Pabloites in 1963, wastherefore an enormous blow to world Trotskyism.

We solidarize with the struggle of the Revolutionary Tendency ofthe SWP (forerunner of the Spartacist League/US) to defend therevolutionary program against the centrist objectivism of themajority. We stand on the Trotskyist positions defended andelaborated by the revolutionary Spartacist League in the years thatfollowed. However, under the pressure of two decades of isolationand frustration, the SL itself has qualitatively degenerated intoa grotesquely bureaucratic and overtly cultist group of politicalbandits which, despite a residual capacity for cynical "orthodox"literary posturing, has shown a consistent impulse to flinch underpressure. The "international Spartacist tendency" today is in noimportant sense politically superior to any of the dozen or morefake-Trotskyist "internationals" which lay claim to the mantle ofthe Fourth International.

The splintering of several of the historic pretenders to Trotskyistcontinuity and the difficulties and generally rightward motion ofthe rest opens a potentially fertile period for politicalreassessment and realignment among those who do not believe thatthe road to socialism lies through the British Labour Party, LechWalesa's capitalist-restorationist Solidarnosc or the Chileanpopular front. We urgently seek to participate in a process ofinternational regroupment of revolutionary cadres on the basis ofthe program of authentic Trotskyism, as a step toward the longoverdue rebirth of the Fourth International, World Party ofSocialist Revolution.

"On the basis of a long historical experience, it can be written down as a law that revolutionary cadres, who revolt against their social environment and organize parties to lead a revolution, can--if the revolution is too long delayed-- themselves degenerate under the continuing influences and pressures of this same environment....

"But the same historical experience also shows that there are exceptions to this law too. The exceptions are the Marxists who remain Marxists, the revolutionists who remain faithful to the banner. The basic ideas of Marxism, upon which alone a revolutionary party can be constructed, are continuous in their application and have been for a hundred years. The ideas of Marxism, which create revolutionary parties, are stronger than the parties they create and never fail to survive their downfall. They never fail to find representatives in the old organizations to lead the work of reconstruction.

"These are the continuators of the tradition, the defenders of the orthodox doctrine. The task of the uncorrupted revolutionists, obliged by circumstances to start the work of organizational reconstruction, has never been to proclaim a new revelation--there has been no lack of such Messiahs, and they have all been lost in the shuffle--but to reinstate the old program and bring it up to date."
--James P. Cannon, The First Ten Years of American Communism

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