The Fourth International

The Long March of the Trotskyists

Chapter 7: Splits and Reunification (1953-68)

At the Third Congress, no principled differences had appeared within the International, such as the disagreement on the class nature of the Soviet Union that had in earlier years torn the movement. Apparently the International was united; the opponents of the congress's theses in the French section (who were subsequently to form the Internationalist Communist Organisation [Organisation Communiste Internationaliste -- OCI] placed the emphasis in their attacks on the tactical conclusions, in which they saw a capitulation to Stalinism, rather than on the analysis itself, only certain parts of which, generally speaking, they criticised.

The 1953-54 split

The error in perspective discussed above would not in itself have caused a split; besides, nobody had proposed any other perspective. Nevertheless, two years after the congress, a split occurred on an international scale, preceded about a year before by a split in the French section.

How can the split be explained? As already indicated, we were on the threshold of an unexpected development, the outcome of which was not clear. It is, therefore, not too surprising to realise, after the fact, that the congress's quasi-unanimity really masked divergent positions and tendencies which had not been expressed, not because of lack of democracy in the organisation, but because the situation was so unclear. The divisions that subsequently surfaced, not only in the form of splits but also inside each of the groupings resulting from the splits, attest to that. With this as a basis, two other factors played an important, if not decisive, role. To begin with, the theses adopted by the congress had not been assimilated by the sections, their leaderships included. It was only with the advent of the split that the situation became completely clear to the leadership of the International. The latter had not at all been aware of this state of affairs; it did not have a clear view of the condition of the organisation as a whole; and it realised all this, belatedly and to its very great surprise, only in 1953, when preparations were being made for the next congress.

In the months following the Third World Congress, relationships between the International and the majority of the French section, which kept refusing to implement the congress's decisions, deteriorated to such an extent that in the middle of 1952 a split took place in the PCI. This split was not to end there: the two organisations claiming to be the French section of the Fourth International soon had their own splits. Disciplinary measures were taken by the International, with the approval of those who, the very next year, would join with those who had been expelled to form the International Committee.

Somewhat later, extremely violent differences erupted in the British section, which, by dint of its systematic work, had made palpable progress inside the Labour Party. So intense was the disagreement that a split took place even before the respective positions were clearly established.

The decisive factor in the split was an internal crisis within the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the American Trotskyist organisation. At that time the situation in the United States was growing more and more difficult for the vanguard. McCarthyism was on the rise. While a majority of the American organisation maintained fundamental Trotskyist positions, a strong minority was searching for a new path. Without stating its essential positions -- at least in those of its published documents known to the International -- this minority seized upon the Third World Congress's theses and subsequent documents of the International (particularly a discussion document on Stalinism, drawn up in preparation for the next world congress) as weapons in its fight against the majority of the American organisation.

When this internal struggle ended in a split, the majority of the SWP blamed the leadership of the International, with which it disagreed at the time on the question of 'de-Stalinisation'. Moreover, the political differences were overlaid with organisational and even personal suspicions. Finally, there was practically no personal contact, no person-to-person exchange of views, during this period. Thus, without being preceded by an extensive political discussion in the international movement, a split occurred on an international scale. A minority established the 'International Committee of the Fourth International'. As for the SWP minority, no sooner did it break away from the party than it publicly expressed liquidationist positions and openly fought the Fourth International.

The McCarthyism just referred to subjected the SWP to a great deal of pressure and led the party's leadership, embroiled in a fight against the liquidationist current, to resist what it considered dangerous innovations. This happened in 1953 when, immediately after Stalin's death, the first 'de-Stalinisation' measures were taken in the Soviet Union. In preparation for the next world congress (the decision to call this congress had been taken in May 1953), the leadership of the International had prepared a document, 'The Rise and Decline of Stalinism', which, in a way the leadership had not expected, sparked the powder keg. Since this document was adopted at the Fourth World Congress and completed at the Fifth, we shall analyse it later. However, we must say here and now that it excited more than fear in the comrades who were going to form the International Committee: they saw in it a capitulation to Stalinism, the liquidation of the Fourth International, and 'Pabloism'.

This split was by far the most serious of all for the Fourth International. Although all the groups and all the people who have through the years left the organisation cannot be considered lost to us for all time, the other splits proved, by their nature and in actual fact, to be rather splits away from the Trotskyist movement. On the other hand, this split was in fact primarily a division of the movement itself into two parts, one continuing the International and the other organised in a committee that acted as a faction. This split profoundly affected the life and development of both sides. Actually, it had the effect, among others, of injecting into the International, into the part continuing the organisation as well as the other, both a disequilibrium and a reinforcement of the centrifugal forces -- during a period which was replete with powerful forces placing unequal degrees of pressure on various sectors of the movement. Ail this certainly resulted in reinforcing the heterogeneous character of certain tendencies, as well as reducing the authority of the organisation as such and of its centre. During the years of this split, members and groups of the international Trotskyist movement experienced developments that were by no means inevitable. Had this split (which, in our opinion, was not unavoidable) not taken place, the International would have been able to reach the overall appraisal of the post-war world that it acquired at the reunification perhaps faster and certainly in a less costly way.

The Fourth and Fifth World Congresses (1954 and 1957)

Preparations for the Fourth World Congress as well as the congress itself were dominated by the split that had occurred in the meantime. Representatives from twenty-one countries participated in the congress, which was held in July 1954. The congress devoted part of its time to a small group that had waged a violent struggle against supporters of the International Committee but which, right after the split, turned its fire just as violently against the International. This group considered the struggle to create new revolutionary parties unnecessary, did not even stay until the congress adjourned, and then rapidly fell apart.

The most important task facing the congress consisted in subjecting the positions adopted at the previous congress to a thoroughgoing reappraisal. Two principal documents were adopted. One dealt with integrating the Trotskyists into bona fide mass movements and reviewed the revolutionary conditions of the era and the essential task of building mass revolutionary Marxist parties. For this purpose, the document insisted on the necessity of merging with the masses in action, not in programme. It brought out what was happening within the mass organisations, and pointed out the necessity for the Trotskyist organisations to choose a field of work in these organisations -- it being understood that reforming them was not the question. To the main considerations, the document added considerations appropriate for applying the tactic in various countries.

The other document, presented by Ernest Mandel, was entitled 'The Rise and Decline of Stalinism'. Since it was taken up again and completed at the following congress, we shall come back to it later.

The Fourth Congress served mainly to put a brake on the consequences of the split, to effect a regroupment against the centrifugal tendencies let loose by the split, to consolidate the organisation in the wake of the blow it had just suffered. The congress also adopted a resolution declaring the re-establishment of unity in the Trotskyist movement both possible and desirable, and authorising the International Executive Committee elected at this congress to contact the non-represented organisations -- those of the International Committee -- in order to apprise them of the congress's position on the question of unity.

Shortly after the Fourth Congress, the situation in the International began to improve somewhat, helped in large measure by developments in the international situation.

Beginning in 1955, an unexpected turn in the economic conjuncture became apparent in the advanced capitalist countries. Prosperity began to settle in. This turn called for analysis, and in October 1955 the International Executive Committee provided an initial appraisal. The IEC noted the radical change in the economic conjuncture, the economic prosperity that had been appearing for over a year. The IEC gave a description rather than a theoretical analysis of this phenomenon, and was somewhat cautious as to perspectives.

The most important factor in improving the movement's condition was developments in the Soviet Union and in the workers states of Eastern Europe. In the former, a struggle was going on inside the leadership that had taken over at Stalin's death. Beria was the first to be eliminated. Then Malenkov had to give way to the Bulganin-Khrushchev team. The struggle was to continue for almost another two years. The crisis at the summit, the concessions made by the leadership, opened possibilities for expressing nonconformist views in what had for so long been the citadel of monolithism. And then came 1956 -- the year of the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU, the year of the Polish and Hungarian events. At a closed session of the Twentieth Congress, Khrushchev had delivered a report on the 'Personality Cult of Stalin', in which he denounced many of Stalin's crimes. Khrushchev was not inquiring into the origin of the Stalinist phenomenon; on the contrary, this report sacrificed Stalin as an individual in order to save the power of the bureaucracy. In Poland, strikes followed by a mass movement brought Gomulka, one of Stalin's victims, to the leadership of the party and the state. In Hungary, faced with the breadth of the mass mobilisation and the indecisive attitude of Imre Nagy, the Kremlin repressed the mass movement by a bloody intervention of the Soviet army.

Elsewhere, in the arena of the colonial revolution, hardly had the war between French imperialism and the Vietminh been ended by the Geneva Agreements in July 1954, when the Algerian war began (November 1954). Likewise in 1956 came the Suez crisis, in which the governments of France and Great Britain intervened militarily in collusion with Israel against Egypt, following the nationalisation of the Suez Canal. Under the joint pressure of Washington and the Kremlin, France and Great Britain had to end their military intervention.

All the sections of the International were engaged in two kinds of activity. First of all, they intervened in the international crisis of Stalinism and the Communist parties, which was expressed mainly among students and intellectuals inside those parties but which also reached working class layers. In addition, many sections co-operated more and more in helping the Algerian revolution and, more generally, the colonial revolution.

On the whole this period witnessed a new start for the sections, a certain amount of recruiting, a growing confidence due to the fact that, for the first time, all the things we had been saying about Stalinism for so long in an essentially theoretical way were being verified in actuality on an already considerable scale. Besides a still limited recruitment, the organisation had a wider audience, and its political authority was reinforced. Under these conditions, preparations for the Fifth World Congress got under way in November 1956. This congress was to have an entirely different character from that of its predecessor.

In the course of preparing for the congress, an attempt at rapprochement with the International Committee was made, with a view to reunification in line with the decision of the Fourth Congress. In the wake of the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU, it appeared from a reading of the publications, especially those of the SWP, that differences on the USSR and 'de-Stalinisation' had diminished. This attempt at rapprochement failed, mainly because distrust on the organisational level persisted.

The Fifth Congress, in October 1957, assembled about a hundred delegates and observers from twenty-five countries. Among the fraternal delegates were representatives of the Algerian fighters.

The march of events had permitted far more light to be shed on the problems posed by the post-war upheavals. Three essential questions were dealt with by the congress, the conclusions reached appearing in the following documents: 'Economic Perspectives and International Policies';'Colonial Revolution Since the End of the Second World War';'Rise, Decline, and Fall of Stalinism'.

The document entitled 'Economic Perspectives and International Policies', presented by Michel Pablo, started off with a thorough discussion of the causes for the unexpected prosperity in the United States and Western Europe. It explained the 'anti-crisis' methods employed by the capitalist states, the role of consumer credit, the public debt, etc. The document went on to explain that the devices used by capitalism to obtain its much vaunted results would eventually bring about increasingly frequent recessions, technological unemployment, and a long-range depreciation of money.

On the economy of the workers states, the document noted its prodigious growth and pointed out that these countries, which had until then stressed the production of capital goods, usually without taking production costs into consideration, would (for social reasons) have to expand their production of consumer goods and would also have to 'rationalise' their economy. Far from advocating solutions such as those presently prescribed by reformers such as Liberman, Trapeznikov, Sik, etc., the document emphasised the basic role of workers democracy, not only as a political factor but as indispensable for development in the economic area.

This document also stressed the fact that although the colonial countries were making economic progress in terms of absolute figures, they were actually regressing in a relative sense compared to other countries; that the result of this would be a growing impoverishment of the colonial masses and consequently the continuation of the objective conditions that were fanning the flames of colonial revolution.

As to the class struggle in the capitalist countries, the document stated that while the economic conjuncture did not allow for revolutionary struggles in the immediate future, in certain countries it could not fail to give rise to trade union struggles linked to the various phases of the economic cycle.

The congress's document on the colonial revolution, presented by Pierre Frank, stressed the fact that it was the dominant feature of the post-war period; it had upset all the perspectives that had been made since the origin of the working class movement, even those made after the October Revolution, because all the perspectives had been based on the victory of the revolution in the West before it could triumph in the East. The document pointed out that the colonial revolution could triumph only as a permanent revolution; that it was thus an integral part of the world revolution; that it constituted at a given stage the link between October and the victory of the world revolution. The document went on to a detailed study of the colonial movements, of the nature of their leaderships (particularly those of a pronounced Bonapartist character), of the policy of the imperialists and of the different workers states (USSR, China) with respect to colonial countries and colonial movements. The document examined the respective roles of the proletariat and the peasantry in the colonial countries. Already emphasised was the importance of guerrilla warfare in colonial countries, not only as a military factor but also as a factor in the organisation and political education of the masses. The congress insisted on the necessity for the Trotskyist movement, especially for the sections in the imperialist countries, to devote a large part of its activity to aiding the colonial revolution.

The Fifth Congress went back to the document 'The Rise and Decline of Stalinism' adopted by the preceding congress and added another section to it entitled 'The Decline and Fall of Stalinism'. The completed document, presented by Ernest Mandel, constitutes one of the most exhaustive texts extant on Stalinism, the workers states, and the Communist parties. Its point of departure is the great historical stages since the October Revolution: the rise in the revolutionary tide from 1917 to 1923, the decline from 1923 to 1943, the new rise beginning in 1943. It reviews the objective conditions surrounding Stalin's rise in the Soviet Union and the Stalinisation of the Communist parties (isolation and backwardness of the Soviet state, decline of the world revolution) and counterposes the objective conditions of the new situation: the existence of several workers states, the USSR become the second world power, the revolutionary rise throughout the world. Thus it clearly sets forth the conditions underlying the crisis of Stalinism. It demonstrates that henceforth there can be no danger, except in the highly improbable case of defeat in a world war, of a restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union. The crisis of Stalinism should consequently result in a confrontation between the bureaucracy and the proletariat. The document characterises the 'de-Stalinisation' measures as measures of the self-defence -- not self-liquidation -- of the bureaucracy, showing that those in power are hoping, through these measures, to find a wider base in the bureaucracy itself and to satisfy some of the crying needs of the masses. That part of the document written after the events of 1956 contained an erroneous perspective: it envisaged a sharpening of the crisis of Stalinism in the immediate future. It did not foresee the period that may be called 'reformist', which followed the elimination of the 'anti-party group' by Khrushchev in 1957 and which lasted about ten years. Finally, the document outlined a programme of transitional demands for the political revolution, starting from the demands Trotsky had already formulated in the 1938 Transitional Programme, taking into account the data furnished by the new conditions in the Soviet Union and by the Polish and Hungarian events of 1956. The document devotes considerable space to the crisis in the Communist parties, both in the workers states and in the capitalist countries. The subsequent development of the Sino-Soviet dispute would renew this subject and intensify its importance.

The discussions at the Fifth Congress were broad in scope; certain points were strongly debated by various delegates, but there was no tendency struggle. The International had largely recovered; it came out, once again unanimously, in favour of reunification of the international movement. But underneath the unity shown at the congress, new crises were brewing. Friction could already be felt in the International's leadership.

Crises and regroupments (the Sixth World Congress)

The 1953 split had brought the North American movements, among others, into conflict with the International. This resulted in a dangerous disequilibrium within the organisation, where the Asian representation was relatively limited; where, as would later be realised, the Ceylonese section had started to degenerate; and where the European sections were working under increasingly unfavourable conditions, in an atmosphere of growing political apathy. The European sections were, of course, going to devote a large part of their activity to helping the Algerian revolution; but, important as this activity was, it involved only a limited, often not very proletarian, group of people who were sympathetic to the colonial revolution but many of whom had defeatist feelings about a socialist revolution in advanced capitalist countries. There was a striking contrast between what was happening in the colonial countries and the almost complete political stagnation in Europe. In the colonial countries, even when the mass movement suffered defeat, it made a very quick recovery; the revolution was victorious in Black Africa in 1960; it was going to triumph as a socialist revolution in Cuba, in the very jaw of imperialism. In Europe, on the other hand, with the accession to power of de Gaulle in 1958, the proletariat was going to suffer its most severe defeat since the end of the war.

Another phenomenon of major importance also having repercussions in the Trotskyist movement was the Sino-Soviet dispute.

These events affected not only the Fourth International but also that part of the Trotskyist movement regrouped around the International Committee. There, too, various differentiations were taking place. Thus, through a process involving both differentiation and regroupment, the reunification of the International was being prepared. But meanwhile, prior to the Sixth Congress, a serious crisis began to ripen in the International.

Within the International's leadership, divergent points of view became evident, in the first place on tactical problems concerning the European sections that were devoting the major portion of their activity to helping colonial revolutions. Tendencies appeared that considered any effort by the European sections to deal with problems in their respective countries as of little or no value. These tendencies were a reflection in our movement of those currents that had lost all hope in the working class of the European countries; they had been seriously reinforced, especially in France, following de Gaulle's accession to power. The defeat had been a severe one for the working class: the Communist Party had suffered its first big electoral defeat in the second half of 1958, losing a million and a half votes to de Gaulle. Some regarded aid to the colonial revolution not as a task whose importance was determined by the current political conjuncture, but rather as the only thing possible, the proletarian revolution in Europe having been struck off the agenda for a very long period -- if not forever.

In the leadership of the International, a kind of agreement took place at that time between Michel Pablo and Juan Posadas. They united against the 'Europeans' and the members of the international leadership who did not want to abandon political activity within the European mass movement, even though that movement was generally at a very low level of militancy. The early outlines of tendency formations appeared towards the end of 1959, when the International Executive Committee decided to convoke the next world congress. While the documents were in the course of preparation, comrades Pablo and Santen were imprisoned in Amsterdam and prosecuted for their aid to the Algerian revolution. The organisation reacted to these arrests and waged a big campaign for the defence of its members, a campaign linked to the defence of the Algerian revolution.

The arrests gave Posadas the opportunity to launch a violent faction fight against the majority of the members of the international leadership. He mobilised all his forces in Latin America to obtain a majority at the congress. He pretended to be Pablo's spokesperson, and it was at this time that his positions and his statements began to become more and more extravagant. So extreme was his behaviour at the congress that a small group of comrades, forerunners of the Pablo tendency, dissociated themselves from Posadas despite sympathy for his positions. Defeated at the congress, Posadas pursued the struggle inside the International for a few months; then suddenly, shortly before Pablo was set free, he attacked the latter publicly in the Latin American organs available to him and broke with the International.

The Sixth Congress, held early in 1961, had a hundred participants from about thirty countries. Because of the fierce and bitter -- and politically impoverished -- struggle waged by the Posadas faction, the discussions did not allow the International to make any real progress in its thinking; on several occasions it was necessary to refute rather primitive statements on the constant and uninterrupted rise of the revolution and the total inability of capitalism to take measures capable, not of halting the revolutionary thrust, but of containing it for a time. But the documents ratified by the congress were not without importance.

The document on the world economic situation, presented by Ernest Mandel, noted the economic growth in the workers states, particularly China's appearance on the world scene as an industrial power. At the same time, the document refuted Khrushchev's claims, widely believed in that period, to the effect that the USSR would rapidly surpass the USA on the economic plane. As to the capitalist states, the document restated the explanations already supplied on the causes of the 'boom' and expanded them in various areas, especially those related to the proliferation of technological innovation. The document further pointed out the possibilities and the limits of the European Common Market, which was then becoming operative. As to the colonial countries, the document stressed their economic stagnation, if not headlong regression, and stated that economic aid -- whether from capitalist or workers states -- would be insufficient to remedy this state of affairs and thus would not undermine the objective causes giving powerful impetus to the colonial revolution.

The document on the colonial revolution, presented by Livio Maitan, made a special study of the situation in a certain number of colonial zones or colonial countries. A great deal of space was allotted to the Algerian revolution, whose conquest of independence for the country, already discernible, loomed on the horizon. A special resolution was devoted to Cuba, retracing the revolutionary process that had culminated only a short time before in making the island a workers state, the first in the Western hemisphere.

A document on Stalinism, presented by Pierre Frank, noted the 'reformist' character of the period that followed the 1953-57 unrest, and the new contradictions that were beginning to take shape in the workers states. The document also made a study of the new contradictions to which the Communist parties were subject. It pointed out the compromise between the Chinese and Soviet leaderships embodied in the text adopted several weeks earlier by the Moscow Conference of 81 Communist and Workers parties, and concluded that this compromise could not be a lasting one, that the Sino-Soviet crisis would inevitably erupt again.

This was the first congress since 1948 at which the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (Ceylonese section of the Fourth International) was not represented, and its absence was of great concern to the congress. The LSSP had suffered an electoral defeat in March 1960, completely dashing the optimistic prospects it had envisaged and had led the International to share. Instead of moving on to a thorough examination of the causes for this error in analysis and perspective, as the International -- in its internal documents addressed to the LSSP -- attempted to have it do, the leadership of the LSSP had adopted a clearly opportunistic line that the International could not approve. In a public declaration, the Secretariat of the International had dissociated itself from the LSSP's line. The Sixth Congress adopted a resolution, which it made public, disapproving the policy followed by the LSSP after the latter's electoral defeat. The resolution especially criticised the LSSP's vote in favour of the budget of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party bourgeois government, and called on the Ceylonese section to correct its line.

Meanwhile Posadas and his faction (which kept losing ground in Latin America) noisily proclaimed that they supported Pablo, even denying that their faction was separate and distinct from his. Suddenly, after the congress and about two months before Pablo was released from jail, Posadas unleashed a public attack in Latin America against him. Why this unexpected attack -- an attack that surprised Pablo himself at the time it occurred? It soon became clear that even if they were in agreement against those they called the 'Europeans' -- meaning Ernest Mandel, Livio Maitan, Pierre Frank -- and subsequently the 'North Americans', they were absolutely opposed to each other on the question of the Sino-Soviet dispute. This question affected the Trotskyist movement considerably, as well as the working class and mass movements as a whole.

During 1959-60, when the Sino-Soviet conflict began to be publicly revealed as a conflict between two parties in which political differences were of prime importance, the International almost unanimously reacted by giving critical support to the Chinese, whose positions on a certain number of basic questions (colonial revolution, peaceful and parliamentary roads to socialism, peaceful co-existence) were progressive compared to those of the Soviet leadership. At the Sixth Congress, right after the conference of the 81 Communist and Workers parties at which the Chinese and Soviet leaderships had arrived at a compromise, the International was unanimous in its analysis of the Sino-Soviet dispute. In a letter to the congress, Pablo wrote from his prison cell:'Independently of the inevitable ups and downs of this crisis -- the Sino-Soviet dispute -- and independently of the possible smoothing over of differences, the break between the correctly characterised opportunistic right wing [the Soviet leadership] and the centrist-leaning wing [the Chinese] can be considered deep and lasting...'

But towards the middle of 1961, differing opinions on the Sino-Soviet dispute appeared in the International. After having broken with the International, Posadas not only identified his positions almost completely with those of the Chinese, but even declared that he had inspired them. It is common knowledge that Moscow, by distorting certain of Mao Tse-tung's statements on atomic weapons, made every effort to accuse him, falsely, of wanting nuclear war. But Posadas had no qualms about pushing matters to extreme absurdity, claiming it was necessary for the USSR to launch a preventive nuclear war to assure the triumph of the world revolution. He also picked up the Chinese attacks against Castro and even added to them. While the great majority within the International upheld its positions, Pablo completely reversed his viewpoint. He identified the Chinese positions with Stalinism, and gave almost uncritical support to Khrushchev and especially the Yugoslavs.

The international Committee

A history of the Fourth International must, of course, include the history of the organisations comprising the International Committee and that of the International Committee itself. On this, we apologise for not being able to supply more than brief notes. The primary difficulty stems from the fact that the International Committee really functioned not as a centralised organisation but as a faction with loose ties among its members. According to information supplied by comrades who took part in the International Committee, there were few international meetings of the committee, political positions often being formulated, in the form of documents from national sections, after exchanges of views between the committee's sections. Consequently, after reviewing the conditions mentioned earlier under which the International Committee was formed, we shall deal here with the circumstances that brought it to reunification.

We had said that originally there were political differences, particularly in connection with evaluating the meaning of 'de-Stalinisation' when that process began. There were also suspicions about the role of the international centre in the crisis that divided the Socialist Workers Party in the United States in 1953. For various reasons there had been no clarification of this subject. For some years these suspicions, aimed at Pablo in particular, were a serious obstacle to any rapprochement. But beginning in 1956, the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU and the Sino-Soviet dispute brought the positions of the two groups closer on the question of the crisis of Stalinism.

Moreover, on the problems of the colonial revolution, members and sympathisers of the International Committee, especially those in North America and Latin America, underwent an experience with the Cuban revolution that was in many respects similar to the Fourth International's experience with the Algerian revolution.

In the International Committee, too, while the majority adopted positions converging with those of the majority of the International, there was a minority that was to hold differing and clearly opposed positions. This led to a split in the International Committee when the reunification took place. That committee's British and French groups, the Socialist Labour League (SLL) and the Organisation Communiste Internationaliste (OCI) respectively, while not holding identical positions on all questions, nevertheless agreed to reject the above-mentioned points of view and adopted ultra-left positions.

For them the colonial revolution does not exist. Colonial countries are capitalist countries -- which is true -- and consequently, without a really proletarian and revolutionary Marxist leadership, there can be no socialist revolution in these countries, only betrayal of the mass movements. The SLL (now the Workers Revolutionary Party) and the OCI have a limited understanding of the peasantry in these countries, identifying it with the relatively well-off peasantry in Western Europe. Although claiming to adhere to Trotskyism, they do not understand the permanent character of the revolution in these countries. When the revolution triumphed in Cuba, they refused to recognise it. A declaration of the National Committee of the SLL stated that in Cuba there had been 'a political revolution that has transferred power from the hands of one bourgeois class to another sector of that same class....Thus we have Kemal Ataturk, Chiang Kai-shek, Nasser, Nehru, Cardenas, Peron, Ben Bella -- and Castro'. 'Castro's regime has not created a new type of state', qualitatively different from the Batista regime. Even now, at this date, the WRP still considers Cuba a bourgeois state, and Castro a leader of the same stripe as Batista and Chiang Kai-shek !

As to de-Stalinisation, these groups almost completely deny the processes that have taken place in the Soviet Union since Stalin's death. They consider that acknowledging the existence of liberalisation measures is a 'capitulation' to Stalinism. They are incapable of differentiating between the 'liberalisation' that has taken place to a certain degree and 'democratisation' -- which does not exist at all.

In fact, in their eyes no profound changes have occurred in the world since 1938, when the Fourth International was founded and the Transitional Programme adopted. They hold on to every letter of it in an extremely rigid fashion, and denounce as capitulators those Trotskyists who have tried to understand the new conditions of our times and to define a revolutionary Marxist policy appropriate to these new conditions.

The International Reunited

A relatively prolonged period of crises and splits may prove to be a prelude to a period of reunification. All the great events of the epoch -- 'de-Stalinisation', the Sino-Soviet conflict, colonial revolutions -- had not only resulted in dividing the Trotskyists, they were to contribute to healing the most serious split, that of 1953-54.

The narrowing of the political differences between the majority of the Fourth International and the majority of the International Committee on such important questions as 'de-Stalinisation' and the colonial revolution; the similarity of experiences in Cuba and Algeria -- all this could not fail to raise the problem of reunification. At a time when a resurgence of Trotskyism was beginning to appear in the world, both sides were well aware that a divided movement would considerably diminish the prospects lying before the Fourth International. In 1961-62, contact was initiated. In the course of discussion, it became evident that the similarity of positions discernible in the respective publications was indeed substantial, and that there did not seem to be any major political obstacles in the way of reunification.

A Parity Commission between the Fourth International and the International Committee was established to prepare for reunification through a joint congress. In the Fourth International as well as in the International Committee, those who opposed reunification and who had opposing political orientations (the Pablo faction on one hand, the SLL and OCI on the other) wanted to subordinate the reunification discussion to a discussion of the 1953 split, of what caused the split and where the responsibility for it lay. The majority on both sides refused to accept such a proposal. No one dreamed of denying the value of such a discussion -- if it was placed in a context that could lead to positive results. If the split was based on questions of principle, these would continue to surface in one form or another in the 1960s, in connection with current political problems. If the split was essentially the product of conjunctural causes (errors of analysis or perspective) or organisational causes, as we thought, these should not constitute an obstacle to reunification. Study of the causes of the split and who was responsible for it should be of an educational nature; thus it was decided, by common accord, that this question would not be raised at the time of reunification and that it would be studied at a later time, when the reunification had been consolidated. The discussion could then take place without interfering with the organisation's activity and without necessarily following the lines of cleavage that existed during the split. It was clear to those who wanted reunification that lurking behind the demand of the minorities was, above all, their desire to use this discussion not to further reunification but once more to justify the split and, worse yet, to assure its perpetuation.

The Reunification Congress ('Dynamics of World Revolution Today')

At the same time that the International was preparing its Seventh Congress, and the International Committee a conference of its organisations, the Parity Commission worked on the reunification. The latter was to be effected at a joint congress held immediately after the two above-mentioned assemblies. The Parity Commission prepared the documents that served as the basis for what was to be jointly discussed.

Thus in June 1963, after the International's congress and the International Committee's conference, the Reunification Congress was held, with twenty-six countries represented. Invited to attend the Reunification Congress, the Posadas tendency did not reply, while the SLL and OCI refused to participate. Both assemblies were held, then a joint congress announced the reunification, formally adopted the documents that had been approved by the two assemblies, and elected the new, united leadership. The minority led by Pablo presented a counter-resolution on the international situation and the tasks of the Fourth International. This minority was given representation in the leadership bodies.

The congress decided to initiate a campaign to free Hugo Bianco, who had recently been arrested in Peru and was facing the death penalty.

This time the Ceylonese section was represented at the world congress, but we learned that the section was in bad shape and that its delegate represented only a minority in the leadership. What happened to this section will be described later.

The congress devoted an entire day to discussing the Algerian question, on which Pablo had presented a report. The congress was unanimous in seeing important possibilities for the development of the Algerian revolution towards a socialist revolution, as had happened in Cuba, and decided to do its utmost to mobilise the International and its sections in support of the Algerian revolution.

As a basis for reunification, the congress adopted a sixteen-point charter, compactly formulating the fundamental positions of Trotskyism. The charter had been adopted earlier by the US Socialist Workers Party, which wished in this way to show its complete support for reunification; the SWP could not participate in the reunification formally, on an organisational level, because of 'democratic' America's restrictive laws.

In addition to the resolution on the international political situation, the congress adopted two important political documents. One dealt with the Sino-Soviet conflict and the situation in the USSR and the other workers states; the other was devoted to the dynamics of the world revolution today.

The document on Stalinism gave an overall picture of the latter's decomposition. It dealt at length with the differences that came to the surface in the Sino-Soviet conflict, and offered a minutely detailed criticism of the positions of both sides. It also examined the differentiations that had appeared in the other Communist parties. The document analysed, among others, the Cuban leadership, stressing its generally progressive positions while noting that its perspectives were limited to Latin American problems. The text also included a detailed study of the situation in the workers states, where new contradictions -- as well as currents with oppositional potential -- were appearing. Yugoslavia was analysed as a special case: on important points the orientation had been more correct than in the other workers states, but decentralisation pushed to the extreme and acceptance of the free play of market laws brought serious dangers. Finally, the document reformulated the essential points of a programme of action for the workers states, enabling the Trotskyist movement to intervene in the crises of Stalinism and to find support inside the workers states.

The main document of the congress was devoted to 'Dynamics of World Revolution Today'. It embodied the conclusions reached by a very large majority of Trotskyists throughout the world in the wake of the gigantic upheavals of the post-war period.

This text began by pointing out the fact that the world revolution had extended from the Soviet Union towards the colonial countries and not, as had for a long time been expected, towards the economically developed capitalist countries. The document showed that this process, which had carried the revolution to the periphery first, before reaching the heart of the capitalist system, had in no way been an inevitable one: it was essentially a product of betrayal by the traditional working class leaderships, social-democratic and Stalinist.

The document then explained that in our era the world revolution was going forward on three fronts, each with its own distinct characteristics: the proletarian or classical revolution in the developed capitalist states; the colonial revolution in the underdeveloped capitalist countries, where it tended to become a permanent revolution; the political, anti-bureaucratic revolution in the workers states. The document emphasised that it was not a question of simply adding up the three sectors, since the world revolution constitutes a whole whose various parts have a reciprocal effect on each other. And most of the text was specifically devoted to a study of the characteristics of each of these sectors and their interaction with each other.

But the document was not limited to an examination of the 'objective' conditions of the world revolution; it dealt with the 'subjective' conditions in just as thorough a fashion. Reviewing the necessity for revolutionary leaderships (building such leaderships was the task the Fourth International had set itself from its very foundation), the document replied to a question raised by numerous militants who felt neither deliberate hostility towards the Fourth International nor hostility towards the necessity of a democratically centralised party. That question was: Why hasn't the Fourth International developed into a mass organisation? Why wasn't it able to do so after the period of ebb, which extended from 1923 to 1943, came to a close?

The document does not dodge this question. It points out how the defeat of Nazism, due in great part to the Soviet armies, had directly served to strengthen the Stalinist leaderships. The war of 1914-18 had been a war between imperialists, which mainly implicated the European workers. Organised then by the parties of the Second International, these workers came out of the war full of indignation against the betrayal by social-democracy; they responded en masse to the appeal of the October Revolution and the Communist International. Their feelings were unambiguous, although they were still in the grip of political confusion. The war of 1939-45, however, combined the previous war between imperialists with a war of defence of the Soviet Union against German imperialism and its allies.

Another element was added to this situation with the occupation of Europe by the armies of German imperialism. The European workers wanted to defend the Soviet Union and to fight Nazism in their own countries. Following the policies of Stalin and the CPs, they carried on their struggle not only in alliance with socialist and bourgeois organisations, but under the leadership of bourgeois governments 'allied' to the Soviet Union. For many of them, the military struggle had priority over everything else, in the hope that things would become clear with the coming victory. Besides, the programme of the Resistance also generated many illusions.

Thus the European workers, contrary to what occurred at the end of the First World War, came out of the war in 1945 with mixed feelings. In any case, they were very far from being hostile to the leaders of the CPs, who appeared to them as the representatives of the Soviet Union which had brought about victory through so many sacrifices. At the time the Trotskyist propaganda against the class collaboration of the CPs with the bourgeoisie of their country was not understood. These circumstances allowed the European bourgeoisie, with the help of the CPs, to contain the revolutionary upsurges which took place. The crisis of Stalinism began to appear and develop only after the beginning of the 'cold war' and during the period of prosperity dominated by the political apathy of the masses.

[?] of the CPs, to contain the revolutionary upsurges which took place. The crisis of Stalinism began to appear and develop only after the beginning of the 'cold war' and during the period of prosperity dominated by the political apathy of the masses.

'Dynamics of World Revolution Today' also showed how -- since the crisis of Stalinism developed under extremely complex conditions, while the countries with the greatest Marxist traditions were going through a stage of political apathy on the part of the working class -- the Fourth International had come up against numerous and substantial obstacles to progress. Nevertheless, these obstacles had not prevented the Fourth International from making more and more solid progress, as: the old leaderships suffered erosion. The document ended with an exceptionally forceful justification of the need, more imperative in today's world than ever before, for the Fourth International as it is today, in order to build the mass Fourth International of tomorrow. To our knowledge, no one has attempted to criticise this document, or even partially or indirectly answer it.

Attacks against the reunited International (the splitters)

The Reunification Congress had put an end to an organisational situation that had given momentum to the centrifugal forces operating on the International; but these forces had not disappeared with the reunification, nor had the difficulties in this area been overcome.

The majority of the organisations brought together in the reunited International encountered no difficulties, even of a minor order, amongst themselves. On the contrary, they had to defend the International against those who had not wanted to participate in the reunification, and for several months internally against the faction led by Pablo. For the latter groups, the reunification constituted a step that, in the long run, threatened their existence, and they had to try to break it up while it was still weak.

The congress had reunited a very large majority of the Trotskyist forces. The Posadas faction was soon to dwindle to a single group in Argentina of slight importance; everywhere else it was composed of individuals. When the Pablo faction publicly broke with the International, about a year after the congress, that faction, too, was numerically very weak. The only two groups of any size outside the International were the SLL in Great Britain and the OCI in France. But what could be clearly seen from inside the International was not so obvious to the world at large, since these groups made their existence known through publications that concentrated on attacking the International.

We have already presented the sectarian positions of the Healy and Lambert groups, and it is not necessary to take this up again at any length. Curiously enough, they intensified their attacks against the 'Pabloite' International even several years after Pablo's split, and their attacks were directed to a much lesser degree against Pablo himself, whom they ignored from the moment he broke with the International. It was not Pablo and his ideas that bothered them, but rather the very existence and activity of the International and its sections. The Healy and Lambert groups made a big fuss about holding an international conference of their 'Committee' in April 1966, aimed at 'reconstructing' the Fourth International; this conference was completely unsuccessful and wound up in a break with those who had attended as observers.

The Posadas group' had been especially harmful to the International in Latin America, where, to the Cubans in particular, it represented (wrongly) Trotskyism and the Fourth International. Castro's attack on the Fourth International -- as well as on other revolutionary tendencies -- at the Tricontinental Conference in Havana in January 1966 was partially based on the incorrect positions taken by the Posadas group. Without for one instant abating its activity in defence of the Cuban revolution, the Fourth International firmly but without exaggeration challenged Castro's anti-Trotskyist statements. We were able to ascertain the results obtained on this point when, the following year, on the anniversary of the Tricontinental Conference, Radio Havana re-broadcast Castro's speech without, however, including the part directed against the Fourth International and the other revolutionary tendencies.

The struggle that Pablo and his faction undertook, right after the congress, lasted several months, during which time they often went from one subject to another. With the defeat suffered by the French working class as a result of de Gaulle's coming to power, it was the development of the Algerian revolution, in the years preceding and immediately following its conquest of independence, that heavily influenced Pablo's thinking. He saw, and correctly so, analogies between the course of the Algerian revolution and the course of the Cuban revolution, and, consequently, hoped for a victorious socialist revolution in Algeria. There was no disagreement with Pablo on that point. But losing more and more contact with the Fourth International on one hand, and placing false hopes in his personal opportunities for intervening at the top levels of the Algerian movement on the other hand, he wound up not so much by elaborating an international political line, whether opportunistic or sectarian -- at that time he adopted positions in an impressionistic fashion and often changed them from top to bottom in a very short space of time [1] -- as by denying the need for an international organisation, functioning as at present on the basis of democratic centralism. He put forward a concept of the Fourth International that he had formerly vigorously denounced, i.e., a federation of factions independent of each other and acting in common only on questions on which they were in agreement. After the split, he devoted himself principally to commenting on events; thenceforth he favoured using mass movements as they are rather than building new revolutionary parties.

The degeneration of the Ceylonese section

One of the most painful questions facing the united leadership was that of the Ceylonese section. This is the place to discuss the entire problem.

The Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) was a section of the Fourth International with very special characteristics in comparison with all the other sections, by reason of its origin, its composition, its functioning and its influence in its own country. To a large extent, this stemmed from certain characteristics of the political and social situation in Ceylon itself. This island had had no bourgeois movement for independence, unlike its neighbour India, whose Congress party even dared to organise an uprising against British colonialism during the Second World War, in British colonialism's most difficult days.

Ceylon's struggle for independence was launched by young intellectuals of bourgeois origin who, in the course of their stay in British universities during the 1930s, had been won over to communist ideas. Moreover, the most outstanding of these young people, moved by the defeat of the second Chinese revolution and seeking the reasons for that defeat, became aware of Trotsky's positions on China and adopted the theory of permanent revolution. Returning to Ceylon, they created the LSSP and began to organise the workers into trade unions. During the war, the LSSP got rid of the Ceylonese Stalinists who, because of the alliance between the Soviet Union and British imperialism, refused to wage a struggle against colonialism.

Imprisoned as a result of the repression, these young Trotskyists managed to escape and make their way to India, where they took part in that country's struggles and helped to found the Indian section of the Fourth International. Back in Ceylon after the war, their wartime attitude earned them enormous popularity among the working class masses. The Ceylonese bourgeoisie, more exactly its comprador part strongly attached to British capitalism, benefited from the latter's retreat and obtained independence in India's wake in 1948, without having to wage the slightest struggle for it. The political party of this comprador bourgeoisie, the UNP (United National Party), came to power. The LSSP then surged forward as the island's second party -- the party of the workers.

Thus this party, which had got rid of its Stalinist wing and had joined the Fourth International, did not arise out of crises within the working class movement and struggles against the old leaderships -- as did the other sections of the Fourth International. It was rather the fruit of courageous action by a team of young, revolutionary intellectuals who, the first to do so in Ceylon, had organised the working class and demanded the country's independence from British imperialism.

Heading the party was a team composed for the most part of people like Colvin R. de Silva, Leslie Goonawardene, Bernard Soysa, Doric de Souza, Edmund Samarakkody, people of great intellectual worth and great fighting spirit. There were also other elements in the leadership, such as N.M. Perera, far less interested in theoretical questions, opportunistic in character, whose authority stemmed from his systematic trade union work. These elements were held in check by the leading nucleus. The ranks of the party were composed of very militant workers, very devoted to their class.

But for objective reasons, there had from the start been quite a big gap between the political education of the leadership and that of the rank and file. The overwhelming majority of the workers do not know English. In the absence of adequate material in the Sinhalese or Tamil languages for their political education, the workers had only a rudimentary notion of Marxist principles and the theories of Trotsky and the Fourth International. In its mass, the LSSP was not really Trotskyist in origin.

The party also went through internal struggles, and bourgeois elements were fought and eliminated by the LSSP leadership, which for years acted as a true revolutionary leadership, working to advance its organisation towards Trotskyism. Its attitude on 12 August 1953, when a hartal (general strike) paralysed the country, was remarkable, and later it most courageously opposed the communalist currents which for a time set one of Ceylon's main nationalities against the other.

Nevertheless, despite their intellectual qualities, members of this leadership were not without weakness. The party did not have a real Bolshevik organisational structure; its congresses were actually general assemblies in which eloquent oratory often outweighed sound political argument. After a while, when the organisation had made electoral gains, political education was neglected in favour of superficial activism, and growing parliamentary tendencies in the party could be observed. While acknowledging these tendencies, the leadership did not fight against them hard enough, and eventually itself became infected.

Finally, while the party had a solid working class base, it barely had a toehold in the rural masses that constitute the majority of the island's population. The party hardly had a programme for them -- and this proved to be an important factor in leading to its political debacle. For a long time, the party had taken hold only among the Sinhalese workers (workers in the port city of Colombo, transport workers, clerical workers, etc.); only with difficulty did the party reach the biggest part of Ceylon's proletariat, the plantation workers made up of Indians 'imported' long ago by the British for the latter's needs. These workers still have no citizenship, neither Ceylonese nor Indian.

The International had frequently called the LSSP leadership's attention to these weaknesses and to the necessity for remedying them. But the International's efforts were limited to those members who could understand English, and under the circumstances, this meant the most advanced section, i.e., the leadership of the party. For many years, there had been only two opposing parties on the national level, the UNP and the LSSP. During the 1950s, however, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) arose out of a split in the UNP. To the surprise of the LSSP leaders, the new party's success in the 1956 election brought it to power. Instead of proceeding to a profound analysis of the causes for this electoral victory, the LSSP's leaders, who very correctly characterised the SLFP as a bourgeois party with a wider base than the UNP, judged that the new party, like the UNP, would rapidly wear out its credit and that the LSSP would then have a clear field.

It was with this perspective that the LSSP approached the March 1960 elections, in which it hoped to win a parliamentary majority. The tremendous effort the party put into these elections made its defeat all the more painful. From that time on, the LSSP's leadership found itself politically disoriented. It began to vacillate politically; the influence of N.M. Perera, who became more open in advancing reformist positions, began to spread. Right after these elections, N.M. Perera proposed that the LSSP enter a government coalition with the SLFP. This proposal was rejected, but the LSSP's parliamentary group practically gave the bourgeois government of the SLFP a vote of confidence. The Fourth International publicly disavowed that vote.

Later on, when the masses went into action against some of the new government's measures, the LSSP went over to the opposition, but without making a serious self-criticism of its previous attitude. The relative consolidation of the SLFP in the 1960 elections accentuated the vacillation of the LSSP leadership. It had to suffer the political consequences of neglecting the problems of the Ceylonese rural population. It did not understand that this new bourgeois party, unlike the comprador UNP, was based on the 'national bourgeoisie', and that this party had been able to win support among the rural masses neglected by the LSSP.

Nevertheless, there was another partial turn to the left by the party in 1962-63, when the masses again went into action. Together with the Ceylonese Communist Party and a small, radical-appearing bourgeois organisation, the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), the LSSP formed what was called the United Left Front. This organisation was well received by the Ceylonese masses and could have, were it not for the inadequacy of its programme, constituted the point of departure of an extra-parliamentary struggle for power. But a half-fought fight paves the way for disaster.

Inside the leadership, N.M. Perera, who for a long time had been held in check by the intellectual authority and political strength of the other members of the leadership, gained free rein as a result of the latter's vacillations. The leadership, disoriented and unsure, was divided: on one side, the main nucleus, including Colvin R. de Silva and Leslie Goonawardene, adopted a conciliatory position towards the SLFP; on the other, Edmund Samarakkody and Bala Tampoe defended correct, principled positions, but in a political form that the International considered sectarian and hardly likely to convince the rank and file to oppose the party's political concessions. In this troubled situation, N.M. Perera entered into negotiations with the prime minister, without the party's knowledge, and then demanded the immediate calling of a special congress of the party to answer the proposals for a government coalition that the prime minister had made to him. By then the Ceylonese organisation had reached an advanced stage of political degeneration. At the congress, about 25 per cent of the members rejected in principle any participation in the government, any participation in a bourgeois regime. The old Colvin R. de Silva-Leslie Goonawardene team, which for twenty-five years had led the party, received only 10 per cent of the votes on an amendment to the Perera resolution, and in the final vote only retained 4 to 5 per cent -- the remaining votes going to Perera, who became head of the organisation. With certain of his friends, he entered the government.

After the Sixth World Congress's condemnation of the LSSP's vote for the SLFP budget in 1960 -- a condemnation independently supported by the position publicly taken in The Militant by the US Socialist Workers Party -- the LSSP leadership still had not sufficiently rectified its orientation. Its oscillations continued. In numerous interventions, the International tried to change the LSSP's line in a more vigorous and thoroughgoing fashion. At the Seventh World Congress, which preceded the reunification of the International, Ceylon was represented by Comrade Samarakkody. At that time, the left wing to which he belonged had dissociated itself from the centrist majority of the leadership, but without deeming it necessary as yet to organise a faction for waging the struggle. The LSSP had just organised the United Left Front. The congress forwarded a long letter to the LSSP, in which it stressed the inadequacies of this policy on four fundamental points:

1. Insufficient critical analysis of the 1960 error.

2. Lack of clarity with respect to the extra-parliamentary nature of the potentialities of the United Left Front, in contrast with its parliamentary aspects.

3. Failure to criticise publicly the opportunistic policy of its allies (the CP and the MEP).

4. Failure to include the Tamil plantation workers' trade union organisations in the United Left Front.

Later, on 23 April 1964, when the United Secretariat of the Fourth International was informed of N.M. Perera's moves, it condemned them, declaring that accepting such a policy would be tantamount to betrayal. At the congress held in Colombo on 6-7 June of the same year, the Fourth International's delegate, Pierre Frank, denounced the policy of coalition from the speakers' platform. To all the Ceylonese people who were following the congress's proceedings, he publicly declared that if such a policy were adopted, it would cause a split between the LSSP and the International. Immediately after the vote, the break was effected by the United Secretariat.

Supporters of the Fourth International regrouped after the congress's vote for the purpose of re-establishing the Trotskyist organisation. Unfortunately, Trotskyism had suffered a severe blow in Ceylon and the Trotskyist movement in that country has yet to regain a firm foundation.

The campaigns of the International (The Second Congress after reunification)

Internal difficulties and attacks of hostile groups were, fortunately, not the only matters claiming the attention of the united leadership of the International. The entire Trotskyist movement was engaged in increasing its activities, consolidating the reunification and preparing for an expansion of the International.

The International undertook a campaign in defence of the imprisoned Polish revolutionists, two young leaders in particular, Modzelewsky and Kuron, who were spokespersons for left currents at the University of Warsaw. The International was responsible for publishing their 'Open Letter to the Polish Workers Party"' which was the first programmatic document of the anti-bureaucratic revolution to come out of a workers state since the days of Trotsky and the Left Opposition. The International also publicised the positions of Communists who criticised, from the left, the Yugoslav Communist League's policies. For the first time in many years, Marxist revolutionary thought was being formulated in places where Stalinism had exercised almost total domination, or where right-wing leaderships prevailed.

Moreover, the Fourth International was at various times able to publicise positions and documents coming from critical elements within the Soviet Union itself. It was also able to bring the positions of a left current in Czechoslovakia to the attention of world working class opinion.

The Fourth International intervened in various ways in the Sino-Soviet conflict. All the sections utilised the opportunities available to them for influencing the crisis in the Communist parties. As their differences became sharper, the two leaderships, Soviet and Chinese, each accused the other of playing into the Fourth International's hands.

We have already mentioned the defence of Cuba. On this subject, it should be pointed out that the activity of Latin American Trotskyists contributed a great deal towards clarifying the Cuban positions on Trotskyism. In accordance with the decision of the world congress mentioned above, an international campaign was launched for the defence of Hugo Bianco, a Trotskyist militant and leader of the Peruvian peasants. After a somewhat slow start, this campaign attained considerable proportions. Declarations of solidarity arrived from all over the world; more and more meetings and demonstrations were held in numerous cities everywhere. This campaign was so strong that it reached the reformist trade unions as well as organisations linked to the Communist parties. Never before had the International waged such a world campaign. Undoubtedly this campaign coincided with a development of the objective situation, first in Latin America and then in Vietnam, which assured it of a broader audience. At first this campaign resulted in several postponements of the trial -- a trial at which Hugo Bianco defended himself in masterful fashion. The campaign succeeded in averting the death penalty that the court would most certainly have pronounced, considering the charges against Hugo Blanco, if world opinion had not been alerted and mobilised.

Finally, from the beginning of 1965 -- immediately following the American escalation of the war in Vietnam -- the International alerted all its sections, the entire vanguard, to carry out actions in support of the Vietnamese revolution.

Less than two years after the reunification, the decision was made to call a world congress. Represented at this congress, held in December 1965 with over sixty persons present, were twenty-five countries. The congress demonstrated that the reunification had been effectively consolidated, the centrifugal forces having been largely overcome. The organisation was able to turn most of its forces outward and implement its policies under more normal conditions.

The congress gave top importance to the defence of Vietnam. On the heels of the serious defeats of the masses in Brazil and Indonesia, the congress forcefully proclaimed the need to counterpose a world strategy for socialist revolution to the global strategy of imperialism. It issued the following call for the defence of the Vietnamese revolution:

'Communists, worker-members of Communist parties, workers, youth, intellectuals of the workers states:

'Initiate and broaden your campaign to compel the Kremlin to end its shady and underhand dealings with the imperialist aggressor while it gives only miserly driblets of aid to the heroic masses of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. By the millions raise the slogan, "Planes, guns for the Vietnamese people!"

'Workers, poor peasants, militant nationalists in the semicolonial countries:

'Rise up resolutely against imperialism, strike against it everywhere at the same time. Take advantage of the fact that imperialism has engaged its main forces in Vietnam. Open up many new fronts, and strike down imperialism's lackeys and toadies wherever conditions are favourable.

'Workers of the entire world:

'Compel the leaders of all mass organisations, the leaders of all workers states that claim to speak in the name of socialism, to form an unshakable anti-imperialist united front, under whose devastating blows imperialism will be forced to retreat.'

In addition to a political resolution dealing with several essential points, among others the crisis of leadership in the colonial revolution -- which had resulted in a series of grave defeats -- and the new oppositional currents that had appeared in the United States, several documents were discussed and adopted at this congress.

The development of West European capitalism and the tasks of revolutionary Marxists was the subject of one of these documents. This document, presented by I. Rivera, analysed in detail the development of the economic situation, which evinced different characteristics in different countries, and the contradictions of the Common Market. It stressed the trend toward a 'strong state' and the obstacles countering the trend. It took note of the appearance of reactionary currents and racist tendencies exploiting the immigration of foreign workers, often dark-skinned, in several countries. The document pointed out the thoroughgoing degeneration of the social-democratic and Stalinist leaderships and the danger of integration into the bourgeois state bearing down ever more heavily on the trade union organisations. It pointed out further that in countries where social-democracy dominated the working class movement, left tendencies made their appearance more often inside the trade union movement, because part of the trade union bureaucracy felt constrained to make a show of opposition in order not to lose all credibility with the workers. Finally, the document stated that, contrary to the thinking of numerous currents which maintained revolutionary positions theoretically but proved total sceptics concerning revolutionary possibilities in the present period, the contradictions of capitalism, even in the framework of neo-capitalism, were such that defensive economic struggles of the masses could at certain times lead to offensive struggles to win transitional demands, and to a revolutionary situation with the appearance of organs of dual power. Starting with these considerations and taking into account the international situation, a specific transitional programme for each country had to be formulated. The document on 'The Sino-Soviet Conflict and the Crisis in the International Communist Movement', presented by Livio Maitan, started off by examining a question that had frequently been raised in various places: was there a Stalinist phase in China (and, more generally, would there necessarily be such a phase in every backward workers state)? Replying in the negative, the document pointed out the differences between Maoism and Stalinism, and reaffirmed Trotsky's view that Stalinism was a form of bureaucratisation that would be unique, because it was due to a particular combination of circumstances -- a combination that would never again occur in history. This document then proceeded to a detailed examination of pro-Peking parties and groups, on the one hand, and pro-Moscow parties and groups, on the other. A section of the text was devoted to Castroism.

Another lengthy document dealt with 'Progress and Problems of the African Revolution'. About ten years had elapsed since the old African colonialism had largely given way to new structures. The document distinguished three major sectors in Africa: where colonialism and racism still exist; where there is a distinct neocolonial structure; and where revolutionary transformations have taken place.

The first sector was essentially confined to the southern part of Africa. It did not pose any special theoretical problems, the important matter being the problems raised by the struggle, which would become exceptionally intense there.

In the second sector were to be found countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, most of the former French colonies in West Africa, the Congo, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, etc. Nor did this sector pose any difficult theoretical problems. Its neo-colonialist nature was perfectly clear, and the tasks of revolutionists could easily be formulated.

The third sector comprised countries like Ghana, Zanzibar, Guinea, Mall, Egypt, Algeria. Generally speaking, these were countries where independence had been won by mass struggle, or countries which had adopted anti-imperialist, sometimes anti-capitalist, measures and which had been in the vanguard of the struggle against the colonial or neo-colonial systems. A goodly portion of the document was devoted to describing what had happened in these countries, their development, their class structure, measures taken, etc. The document dealt with the Algerian revolution at great length, with special attention to the Pen Bella experience and to the new situation that had been created just a few months before -- the coup detat of 19 June 1965, that had carried Boumedienne to power. In addition, the document pointed out the contradictions in these states and endeavoured to formulate the conditions that would assure a mass upsurge capable of transforming these countries into workers states.

The document ended with a section devoted to perspectives and tasks, as well as to several essential conclusions. It highlighted specific characteristics of the African revolution: the existence of very backward sectors; the confrontation between disintegrating tribal structures and the social perspectives of the Twentieth Century world; the extraordinary combined development that marks this continent. The document demonstrated that even where victory was assured by the presence of revolutionary Marxists, there would be no simple solutions to these problems without very substantial and unselfish assistance from the workers states. Such African countries would especially need the help of workers states created in the industrialised countries of Western Europe and North America. The document held it to be the duty of members of the International to help in the formation of African cadres capable of creating genuine revolutionary parties.

This document met with considerable discussion, especially the parts dealing with the Algerian revolution; characterisation of the Ben Bella government; characterisation of the regime in Egypt, etc. The document was adopted by the congress, although the latter felt that while the document could provide a good working basis, various questions needed further and more intensive study. It was therefore decided that discussion of this document should continue after the congress, and that the question of the African revolution would be placed on the agenda of a further world congress.


[1] To mention only a few examples of his most impressionistic positions: he counted on imperialism's rapid retreat from Vietnam early in 1965, which attested to his belief in 'peaceful co-existence'; he saw 'political revolution' in Yugoslavia when Rankovic was eliminated; he made an abrupt change on China, in favour of the Soviet leadership; he made a series of political zigzags on Ceylon, etc.

Last updated on: 13.2.2005