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Fourth International, May-June 1951


International Secretariat of the Fourth Internationa

May Day Manifesto of the Fourth International


From Fourth International, Vol.12 No.3, May-June 1951, pp.95-96.
Reprinted from La Verité, Paris.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.



On this 1st of May 1951 the great threat of a new world war hangs over mankind, but at the same time the chances for revolution are becoming clearer. In, the Ear East imperialism is at grips with the colonial revolution which has shaken the peoples of Asia and is undermining the foundations of the capitalist system of exploitation. The recent crisis within the American ruling class provoked by the sacking of MacArthur demonstrates not only the profound disagreements which divide it on the issues of the time schedule and the principal front of the new war, but also how close we have been to a war with China which could have widened rapidly.

At the bottom of the persistent international tension there is actually the worsening of the general crisis of capitalism which has no way out except that of war preparations and of war itself. A decisive blow was delivered to the equilibrium of capitalism with the loss of the important section of the world market consisting of the countries of Europe and Asia which fell away from capitalist control.

The increasing productivity of its economic apparatus clashes violently with the shrinking of the market and deprives capitalism of all hope of even relative stabilization.

On the contrary, this fundamental crisis is growing sharper, widening the emancipating movement of the colonial people and reaching the metropolitan proletariat.

The armaments program to which imperialism has turned more resolutely since the Korean war, in order to cope with the immediate threat of an economic crisis and in order to prepare for war itself, has worsened its position in the world’s industrial centers.

A new wave of inflation has already destroyed whatever shaky stability the capitalist nations of Europe appeared to have reached and, for the first time, has profoundly affected the living standards of the American masses themselves.

Persisting in its armaments program, imperialism will have to count on an ever-increasing inflation which everywhere will unleash struggles even more violent and widespread than those which have recently broken out in almost all the countries of Western Europe. Thus a new wave of proletarian revolution is mounting in Europe, making futile all the desperate attempts of imperialism to impose dictatorial regimes upon the workers. Imperialism is forced to prepare for war under the most unfavorable conditions.

American imperialism, the only decisive, basic force of the capitalist regime, attempts to profit from the relative support of the American masses to step up as quickly as possible its military preparations and to unleash war.

But the chances for a revolution to overthrow the capitalist regime and thereby forever put an end to war, have never been so great, and they are becoming ever stronger. The task of the hour is to organize the forces of the socialist revolution everywhere and to orient them clearly and firmly toward a capture of power without regard to the possible reactions of imperialism.

The colonial peoples who, with weapons in hand, are now leading the struggle against imperialism in Asia, are the advance guard of the only effective struggle against the war of the imperialists, and. by their victory, herald the final collapse of the capitalist system which breeds wars and economic crises.

The proletariat of the metropolitan centers, and above all the advanced proletariat of Western Europe, must participate in this struggle by preparing itself for the capture of power and the establishment of the Socialist United States of Europe.

The Stalinist leadership of the Communist parties which tries to turn the workers away from this goal and exploits their revolutionary energy supposedly to impose “peace” through a Big Five Conference and the non-militarization of Germany, acts in accordance with the interests of the Soviet bureaucracy.

The Soviet bureaucracy desires a division of the world which will permit it both to increase its power, its income and its privileges, and to maintain its control over the masses. If the status quo were to be broken by unfolding world revolution, the forces unloosed would inevitably provoke the fall of the bureaucracy in the USSR and open up the free development of socialism in that country as well as everywhere else.


Your current struggle against imperialism avenges the ferocious exploitation to which you have heen subjected, a super exploitation which has made possible its stability and its very existence. You are destroying forever the foundations of imperialism, and you are placing ourselves in the forefront of the struggle for the new socialist mankind arising in the world.


The struggles into which capitalism is constantly forcing you must not result in some government of “democratic union” or of “peace” with bourgeois parties. No alliance can be formed with these or other supposed “democratic” and “pacifist” factions, as Togliatti again advises after his return from Moscow in order to maintain peace and gradually reform the bourgeois state.

The only true aim that can clarify and guide all partial struggles remains the disarmament of the bourgeoisie, which produces war and dictatorship, through the proletarian revolution and the Socialist United States of Europe. Fight ardently to stop the disintegration of Europe, to organize its tremendous productive forces for the benefit of the masses and to build the strongest bulwark against imperialist exploitation and all attempts at bureaucratic police rule by the Soviet ruling caste.

Help the struggle of the German proletariat to achieve the withdrawal of all occupation forces, and a unified, sovereign, free and socialist Germany, the. nucleus of the entire European socialist revolution, independent of both imperialism and the Soviet bureaucracy.


On your struggle against the monstrous economic and military power concentrated in the hands of your capitalist rulers depends whether or not there will be a new war by imperialism against mankind freeing itself from its yoke.


Without the regime of looting, without the bureaucratic police control of the Soviet leaders and their puppets in the Communist parties, the new property forms established in your countries on the ruins of capitalism and the nationalized and planned economy could bring about a grandiose upsurge of the productive forces that could far outstrip capitalism with its stagnation, decay and misery.


The decisive battles to assure humanity of its socialist future, to abolish war and misery, are approaching in giant strides. It is up to you to transform the enormous forces utilized by moribund capitalism for destruction into a prodigious upswing of prosperity for all peoples and all human beings.

Organize under the banner of the world socialist revolution, prepare for your victory with confidence.

Capitalism has never been so prostrated as now by its own sharpened contradictions and by the terrible blows dealt it by the revolutionary movement in the colonies and in the metropolitan centers.

The international proletariat, crushing the bourgeoisie with its own forces, will never permit any bureaucracy to wrest the political power from its hands for monstrous privileges. The victory of the world revolution will put an end to all exploitation, all oppression and all violence among mankind.

The dawn of socialism, created by the masses and for the masses, is rising on mankind’s horizon. Turn toward it resolutely. Let the socialist dawn inspire the final struggles. In the whole world power will pass into the workers’ hands, ending forever all misery, dictatorship and war.

International Secretariat of the Fourth International

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Last updated on: 23 March 2009