By International Socialist League
We share the political document approved by the plenum of the 1st Congress of the International Socialist League.
Class Struggle is Rising all over the World as the Crisis of Capitalism Deepens
Forward to Turn This Crisis into the Fatal Crisis of Capitalism!
While the capitalist crisis that surrounds the whole world deepens day by day, its striking social and political consequences await us. On the one hand, intensifying geopolitical tensions raise the danger of imperialist war. On the other hand, capitalism’s brutal assault on our planet continues, we witness a deepening social and political polarization. Authoritarian right-wing dictators and fascist movements threaten basic democratic rights and freedoms. On the flipside, struggles and the political space on the left grow.
This great crisis of the system will provide revolutionary socialists and the class struggle the opportunity to take great leaps forward.
The struggle of the working class around the world is rising. So much so that as the working classes fall below the thresholds of hunger, poverty and unemployment, the sharp forms of class struggle and the riots breaking out will not surprise any observer. Sudden rise of the class struggle, rebellions and pre-revolutionary situations are a reality of the present time. The whole world is heading towards great social upheavals: unevenly, but in a combined way. The 2020s are ready to be the scene of big struggles. Two big questions, the answers of which remain unclear: “Will the masses shift to socialism in these struggles?” and “Can the working class march to revolutionary victories?” All historical experience has shown that the victory of socialism will not be possible without the conscious intervention of the revolutionary subject in the objective flow of history. That is why it is vital to strengthen the international unity of revolutionary socialists and the construction of revolutionary parties in each country. To achieve this, we must first have a clear understanding of the historical phase we are going through. Only in this way can we determine our duties, concentrate our forces and adopt adequate policies, orientations, strategies and tactics.
The Global Economic Crisis: The Dead End of Capitalism
The economic recovery that started after the removal of Covid-19 measures has already slowed down in the USA, China and Germany. Rising energy costs, high prices, shortages in the supply process, stagnation parallel to inflation, are a preview of stagflation. The era of cheap consumption and borrowing is over. And the capitalists have no alternative model.
As someone who experienced the crisis of 1929, Schumpeter defined the constant renewal motive of capitalism with the concept of “creative destruction”, inspired by Marx. For Schumpeter, economic crises were periods of progress and growth, when creative destruction peaked. Because, according to him, the system was renewing itself in crises through the absorption of low-performing companies by the dynamic ones. This destruction, created by capital on human life and nature for the sake of profit and accumulation, was accepted as the criterion of the dynamism of capitalism.
The 1929 crisis was just such a process of destruction on a global scale. Many banks went bankrupt, companies and factories were closed; mass unemployment and starvation had swept the central country of the crisis, the USA. Less profitable companies have been replaced by more modern and powerful ones; the destruction of capital as accumulated labor had continued with World War II. The devastation of the entire continent of Europe, east and southeast Asia, and their reconstruction was the basis for the capitalist rate of profit to reach an extraordinary level of investment and for the boom of the 1950s. All of this was leveraged by the betrayal of Stalinism institutionalized at the Yalta and Potsdam accords.
In 1929, however, the “creative destruction” that Schumpeter appreciated so much was left behind, as the political consequences of the destruction – such as revolutions, Nazism, world war – were frightening for the bourgeoisie, too. The 1930s were an age of extremities that greatly frightened capitalists.
Of course, in 2008 the world’s rulers could not afford a new “creative destruction” in the face of the capitalist crisis, mostly because they were afraid of rebellions and revolutions, and they preferred to reduce the extent of the destruction by saving the sunken companies. The 2008 crisis was just an example of this. The US Federal Reserve, on the one hand, provided the financial system with approximately $3.6 trillion between 2008 and 2014 by purchasing bankrupt bank debts, mortgage instruments and treasury debt securities; on the other hand, it created monetary expansion keeping interest rates at 0.25% for 7 years from the end of 2008. Another step to avoid destruction was implemented with the $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) to bail out banks and companies at risk of going bankrupt. In addition to the century-old bank and insurance companies, General Motors, Chrysler and GMAC (Ally), the 3 largest automotive companies of the USA, were also rescued.
With these policies, the destructiveness of the 2008 crisis might have been postponed for a period of time, but they were not able to destroy the unity between the crises and the rebellions. Occupy movements in various countries, revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, and the great upheaval in Greece are the first to come to mind. The workers and youth who took to the streets retreated in some places and were defeated. But on the whole, the capitalist powers could not prevent the class struggle to sharpen. In the pre-pandemic world, social explosions had spread over the globe. There were great social struggles and rebellions in Western centers such as France and the USA, and in many Latin American and Asian countries. In that sense, 2019 was the year of the highest rise, which confirmed that we had entered a new world situation.
Wave of Crisis and Rebellions
The pandemic has brought a mandatory break to this wave of global struggles that would continue in 2020, but now greater uprisings are brewing. First of all, the poor people of the world have the burden of the 2008 crisis on their neck for 12-years. As if that was not enough, the Covid pandemic has left the world economy facing sudden and widespread destruction. Again, the capitalist system tried to reduce the severity of the destruction by using public resources; the amount of the packages prepared by the states to reduce the economic impact of the pandemic has reached 20 trillion dollars. Needless to say, it has been the capitalists who took the lion’s share from these packages. In order to reduce social tension, limited resources were allocated to the working classes in some strong economies. But in the vast majority of the world, the working people were left to their fate; they had to grapple with poverty, unemployment and hunger.
While inequalities around the world are on the sharp rise; there has been a great increase in the rate of zombie companies during the pandemic, which are kept alive with loans but will go bankrupt if the support is cut. According to the German Deutsche Bank, one out of every five companies listed in the US is actually a zombie company. The number of these companies, which were not allowed to go bankrupt by the Central Bank, has multiplied in recent months. This means that the crisis of capitalism spreads over time, the problem of profitability cannot be solved except in exceptional and temporary areas, the recovery will not begin, and the poverty of the workers deepens day by day.
The capitalist system is suffering from the inability to overcome its own crisis. The neo-liberal model of globalization, introduced as a response to the structural crisis of capitalism that erupted in the 1970s, which, along with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union and the privatizations that spread throughout the world, saw some “peddlers” theorize that it would permit the overcoming of crises forever, has succumbed.
There is no crisis management model at present. The conditions for the implementation of the neo-Keynesian model, which has been discussed in so-called “progressive” circles as a response to the crisis, are absent in the world. With the over-indebted world economy, the dominance of financial capital, globalization at its peak, imperialist powers ready to throttle each other and no hope for the recovery of profit rates; the full employment, income justice, financial regulation and welfare state that make up Keynesianism is absolutely a dream.
The capitalists do not have the recipe for a way out of the crisis. They lack a new model of capital accumulation. That’s why they continue to defer the crisis by putting the burden on the workers, and they will continue to do so. Until the workers say “ya basta” to this course of events.
In the post-2008 crisis period, China sustained the global economy and stimulated the emerging markets with its demand for raw materials and commodities. However, China is no longer growing at the same pace, its economy has entered a debt spiral, and its debt balloons are popping as well. A construction giant Evergrand, which is in a state of bankruptcy with a debt of 300 billion dollars in China, revealed that the construction industry, which makes up 25% of China’s gross proceeds, is trying to function on a giant debt. As a result, this time China does not give impetus to the economies of backward countries. There is a possibility that some of these countries, which borrowed heavily during the 2000s and whose debts peaked during the pandemic period, will go bankrupt, as in the example of Greece in 2015 and Lebanon in 2019. Vulnerabilities in underdeveloped countries have increased tremendously. These countries, which are the weak link of the imperialist system, are shaken by instability; it seems inevitable that they will be witnessing rebellions, coups, civil wars and great events of the class struggle.
Although the central countries of imperialism aim to implement a monetary expansion policy with much larger amounts this time, things are worse than before. For example, alarm bells are ringing for the USA, which thinks that it can issue unlimited money based on its global reserve currency. Inflationary increase in the USA is knocking at the door; it is said that an inflation at 5% may become permanent. They can’t keep giving out free credit and printing money when inflation gets too high. Thus, the “most powerful(!)” crisis-fighting tool in their hands will be in vain. Countries such as Turkey, Brazil or Argentina, which are considered as the most fragile economies, do not have such an option anyway; printing money in these economies means nothing but rapid depreciation of the local currency, hyperinflation and collapse.
Food and Climate Crisis
While the world economy is having difficulty in the hands of an exhausted capitalism, the planet’s ecosystem, food basins, water resources, forests, and energy system are struggling to survive in the hands of a capitalist model based on hydrocarbon consumption. Global climate change continues to evolve even more severely and faster than pessimistic forecasts. Imperialist headquarters continue to hold nonfunctional meetings for the ecological disasters, while they continue leading an extractivist model that destroys nature to increase corporate profits. These eyewash efforts only show that it is impossible for capitalism to save wildlife on our planet, which is on the brink of extinction. This course, which started with capitalism as the dominant mode of production, accelerated with imperialism and now has reached a critical point today. Global warming progressed through centers such as England and Continental Europe, America, Canada and Japan; It accelerated by directly engulfing the rest of the world through colonial and capitalist imperialist coercion. In terms of CO2 emissions, more than half of the emissions since industrialization are the work of these capitalist imperialist countries. However, today, countries such as China and India are refraining from taking certain measures that will slow down their rapid economic growth. However, when China and India reach the consumption level of Western countries, global warming will already make the world uninhabitable. Once again, it turns out that the imperialist world system, which is divided into nation states of free market, is the biggest obstacle facing humanity. However, there are economic and social resources to fight the climate crisis in a much more radical way and save our planet. But those resources continue to pile up as the wealth of a handful of super-rich people. On the other hand, the capitalist device itself, the ambition for profit and greed; these are completely incompatible with the ecological balance. For example, the capitalist profit machine continues to destroy rainforests that capture and clean up CO2. The contradictions between ecological life and capitalism are never reconcilable. Green capitalism could be nothing but a big lie.
The ecological crisis, combined with the capitalist economic crisis, gives us clues as to what awaits us in the future. We are experiencing the reflections of this in the form of the global food crisis and hunger in 2021. The 2021 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report, released in October, revealed rising levels of hunger among the poor and working population worldwide. The report states that “the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly violent and protracted war point to a dreadful state of hunger that is the result of their poisonous mixture”. Unemployment, income losses and high inflation reduce the purchasing power of workers and lead to rapid impoverishment, while large increases in food prices cause hundreds of millions of people to fall below the hunger line. Unpaid rents, bills and credit debts, unpurchasable natural gas and fuel queues… While these harsh conditions draw the workers to the struggle, the spread and further radicalization of these struggles is considered as a nightmare for the ruling classes. While the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced an annual food price increase of 32.8% in its September report; FAO’s food index has reached record levels of 133 for the first time since the Arab uprisings in 2011. It is quite normal for capitalists to fear hunger riots, as these figures are considered certain to increase further. The main point is to turn this fear into a nightmare.
The United Nations had warned that the world was facing the worst food crisis in the last 50 years. On the other hand, the possibility of the bourgeois governments collapsing in debt swamp in many countries of the world reveals how dangerous this mass starvation can be. There is the example of Lebanon, where the working people have fallen below the starvation line at great speed. Qu Dongyu, Director-General of FAO, sums up the situation in the following words: “Today, we are facing unprecedented food crises in multiple areas. Hunger and starvation-related deaths are a reality today … the situation continues to worsen as we approach the end of 2021.”
Since it is known that families in underdeveloped countries spend half or more of their household income on food, it is not difficult to predict that a 32% increase in food prices in the last year will lead to malnutrition. Mass starvation has led to riots throughout history. No need to think about far back. The Arab uprisings of 2011 started with the sharp rise in food prices. Now these possibilities are stronger than ever.
Revolutionary socialists must be in the vanguard of environmental struggles and raise a radical program against the high cost of living, uniting all these demands to the need to defeat capitalism as the only solution to save the planet and develop a sustainable use of natural resources to meet the basic needs of the majority of the population, starting with food.
The Trapped Youth Prepares for the Uprisings
Young people are the most affected by unemployment and precarious work in bad conditions. The hopeless situation faced by the youth will be one of the most decisive factors of the coming period. Youth’s rage against the increasingly unqualified education system, unemployment, lousy working conditions, brutal exploitation, disgusting social inequalities, and ravenous authoritarian politicians is growing. The best example of this was the youth of Colombia, who rebelled in May and June this year against tax increases, repression and the austerity policies that hit the workers. Although the Colombian youth, who fought bravely in the streets and lost more than a hundred lives, retreated due to the handicaps of being without leadership, they still managed to push the government back and revealed its revolutionary potential. We had already witnessed how the Chilean students rose up when an increase in the metro fare became the last straw, generating a generalized rebellion of the poor people as a whole against the government and the regime inherited from Pinochetism.
We can give another example from Spain, where youth unemployment is 40% according to official figures. Mass riots and protests following the arrest of a radical and popular rapper are another indication of youth radicalization. In the rebellion that shook the US after the murder of George Floyd, the Black youth joined the white youth against police racism and Trump´s government. Youth anger is growing in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, and in many parts of the world. This anger manifests itself in radical protests led by the youth. However, the absence of revolutionary vanguard parties, lack of perspective and coordination problems in spontaneous actions greatly undermines political radicalization and leaves room for restraint interventions by accommodating reformist politicians and trade unionists.
Therefore, it is vital that the youth’s strong militant attitude acquires a Marxist content. The logical course of the actions of the youth who rebelled against capitalist futurelessness is towards socialism and Marxism. Many surveys, reports and researches on the youth’s shift towards socialism have graced the pages of the press in recent years. We must work patiently for this still vague interest in socialism to manifest itself in the class struggle and strengthening revolutionary socialist organizations.
Class Struggle is Rising Globally
In parallel with the crisis of capitalism, we observe that the working class has enhanced the class struggle around the world by using its power rooted in the production process. The recent strike movements in the USA, the general strikes in South Korea and India, the radical actions of the Iranian working class, the strike of metal workers in Cadiz, Spain, the metal workers in South Africa, the subway workers in Portugal, the transport workers in Germany, the general workers’ protests in Tunisia and the rising labor movement in many different sectors in Turkey are just some of them. All these strikes and resistances are part of the rise of a global working class movement. Capitalism is globally integrated, and therefore all the important struggles of workers take on an international character. As a result of this, class consciousness is rising among working people on a global scale. The actions of healthcare workers all over the world, who risk their lives in the ruins of health systems destroyed by neoliberal policies, especially during the pandemic, and the struggles of logistics workers who have to work on the front line during the most sensitive times of the epidemic, raised awareness among the workers. The fact that the system does not care about the health system or the lives of the employees for profit maximization, while the capitalists make huge fortunes in the process, has led to an accumulation of anger against capitalism. What compels workers to be more combative is that unemployment and the high cost of living affect workers deeply in conditions of economic crisis and that workers are forced to work in increasingly precarious conditions. In other words, the rise of working class struggles is an objective process. The critical point here is that the working class must overcome the obstacles of the union bureaucracy and that a new worker radicalism emerging from the workplaces must lead all disgruntled social segments. When the explosive anger of the poor, the unemployed, the youth, women and the oppressed is combined with the movement of the organized working class, then capitalism will be in serious trouble. For this, grassroots initiatives and committees in workplaces, which will highlight the newly emerging vital dynamics, are of great importance. As are driving organizing from below to overcome the bureaucracy, fighting to win union locals and delegates, promoting the unity anti bureaucratic and class based currents, and the coordination of struggles.
Raising Marxist cadres among young workers and establishing sectoral ties among them throughout the country is of great importance for the class struggle to make qualitative and quantitative leap forward. The critical task of socialists is to prepare the working class for decisive fights against global capitalism.
The Global Revolt of Women Continues
One of the most important features of recent years has been the emergence of the global women’s movement fighting for their rights. There are women’s protests around the world against abortion bans, femicide, sexism, discrimination, harassment and rape. The mobilization of women has achieved important victories in various countries like Argentina and Ireland in relation to the legalization of abortion, and also the recognition in sectors of society of the existence of these until recently hidden problems.
Likewise, the LGBTIQ movement is raising their voices around the world for equal rights against violence and discrimination. The mobilization of women and LGBTIQ individuals to call out the sexist capitalist system paves the way for radicalization. It is of great importance that this anger is turned into a general opposition to the system and directed to socialist channels.
Working women are the most affected by the crisis of capitalism: the first to be laid off, the ones to accept low wages and precarious jobs, the ones to experience poverty and hunger more severely. In underdeveloped countries, bony hands of hunger seize the poor families, women and children by the throat. Working women are therefore ready to come forward in the class struggle. The accumulated anger is enormous. It is of great importance to train Marxist leading cadres among working women and radicalized young women who are currently leading the way in many fronts of the class struggle. Organized struggle in workplaces, schools and neighborhoods is the only way to empower women against exploitation and sexism. Revolutionary socialists must be able to organize leading women who yearn to be fighters of a new life rather than defenseless victims of the system.
The advocates of the reformist trends and identity politics, which are strong within the LGBTI and women’s movement, have both organizational and ideological effects. These tendencies, which do not place capitalism at the source of oppression, advise the movement to be content with partial gains. Identity politics, which puts “counter identity” on the target board, both isolates large segments that will support the women’s and LGBTI+ struggle, and deals a blow to the unity of the working class. These two tendencies, which seek to limit the women’s and LGBTI+ struggle to showcase gains that do not touch the capitalist system, are dead-ends and setbacks for the movement. Fighting against these influences from a class and socialist perspective is vital for the movement to progress.
Authoritarianism, Attacks on Democratic Rights, and the Fascist Danger
Another distinguishing feature of the period we are going through is the intensification of attacks on democratic rights, authoritarianism and the increase in the danger of fascism. As the crisis of capitalism deepens, we see that the traditional institutionalism of bourgeois democracy and liberal hegemony have been shaken. Just like in the 1920s and 1930s, broader segments of the ruling classes are seeing the bourgeois democratic process as a hindrance and the far-right-fascist governments as a “solution”.
Significant trends are emerging in the USA and Western Europe, which are the traditional centers of liberal parliamentary systems in the world. The fact that Trump can still enjoy great popularity while cursing the “radical socialists who have taken over the United States” is the most obvious and dangerous expression of this trend for the United States at the moment. Ten months after his election defeat, Trump’s position as the leader of the Republican Party, which represents a significant part of the US ruling classes, has become stronger.
As the failures of the Biden administration and the disappointment of the workers and youth intensified, it is very likely that Trump or someone like him will return to the presidency more strongly. If the radical class movement with the power and perspective to overthrow the two-party system in the USA fails, it is clear that right-wing populism, authoritarianism and fascist movements will gain dangerous strength via the Republican Party. Therefore, it is necessary to underline once again the dangerous role played by currents such as the Democratic Socialists (DSA). Instead of directing the rising class struggle and leftist dynamism to a leftist project that is completely independent of the bourgeois wings, the DSA increasingly turn rightwards and theorize about the need to indefinitely the imperialist Democratic Party.
In Europe, the far right continues to gain strength over the economic crisis, hostility to immigrants and Islamophobia. Today, far-right parties have strong positions in almost every parliament in Europe. When the revolutionary left does not organize social discontent; right-wing populist, far-right or fascist demagogues -who present themselves as anti-system– would fill the void. We witnessed the last example of this in France. As if an extreme rightist like Marine Le Pen wasn’t enough on the political scene, a second far-right politician, Eric Zemmour, who is now competing with her in the presidential elections, has made a big jump in the polls and rose to second place. However, the class struggle in France had taken very radical forms in recent years. Both the Yellow Vests Movement and the strikes of the subway and railway workers had deeply affected France. Unfortunately, when there is no revolutionary left that can carry these actions forward and organize the activists, or when it is insufficient, it is the extreme right and fascist movements that profit from this situation.
This example in France shows how vital it is for a vanguard layer (from the workers’ protests and street demonstrations) to join the revolutionary organizations. This layer will provide both the radicalization of ideas in the workers’ movement and the establishment of ties between the working class and revolutionary organizations. If joining in revolutionary organizations does not occur, we see that the radicalism in action is retreating, the shift to the left is very limited and the right benefits all of the opportunities. On the other hand, in order for such a leading worker and youth generation to emerge, revolutionary organizations must first be strong enough; so that workers can notice these revolutionary alternatives or take them as a reference. If the revolutionary organised challenge remains weak, the reformists speaking for the left and the union bureaucracies they manage, with their well-known loyalty to the system, will cause the advantage to shift to the right. This privileged layer of bureaucrats has a great share in the rise of the extreme right with their role of undermining the class struggle.
Along with the rising danger of the extreme right, the authoritarian tendencies of the system are getting stronger. In many countries of the world, democratic rights are either not used at all or are facing heavy attacks. Far-right leaders such as Modi, Erdogan, Orban and Bolsonaro are carrying out radical attacks on democratic rights in the authoritarian regimes they are trying to install. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to exercise democratic rights in many countries from China to Nicaragua, Belarus or Russia, from Iran to Arab sheikhdoms and in Africa. Military coups in Africa have become much more frequent, as seen in the latest example in Sudan. The heroic self-sacrifice of the people who resisted the bloody junta in Myanmar has not yet obtained results.
The danger posed by populists and demagogues of the extreme right, fascist street movements or authoritarian leaders are not to be underestimated. The surest way to curb far-right reaction is to raise the class struggle. Because class struggle and socialism are the precise solutions to the capitalist crisis. The hope of a new life will prevent the far right from the opportunity to gain strength. Working class actions narrow the space of the far right. Because workers’ actions are internationalist in nature, they are also an intellectual antidote to the racist, religious and anti-immigrant tendencies that divide the working class.
Protecting all kinds of democratic rights is among the primary duties of socialists. The struggle for democratic rights is the basis of the struggle for socialist revolution. We defend the right to peoples´ self-determination. The right to assembly and demonstration, freedom of the press, fundamental human rights, freedom of expression and organization, and trade union rights; all these create an atmosphere where the working class can breathe freely. It is the main task of the working class and socialists to defend them enviably.
The street force of the fascists is another issue that socialists should take special precautions. When fascist gangs find the opportunity to organize, they get stronger and carry out violent actions against the left and the oppressed, with the support they receive from the states. It is out of the question for the revolutionaries to watch this process passively. Revolutionary socialists must take the lead in the anti-fascist movement and must be in a struggle to constantly narrow the areas of the movement and organization of fascist thugs. It is of great importance to gain the anti-fascist forces, which create a strong dynamism in many parts of the world, for Marxism and class perspective.
Imperialist Balances Getting Loose with Concussions and Tensions
The experience of recent years has shown that imperialist conflicts have intensified with the capitalist economic crisis; the balances are changing and wars are becoming widespread. Afghanistan, Karabakh, Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Rojava, Palestine, Yemen, Ethiopia, Western Sahara, Sudan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Kashmir and others have been the countries where wars took place in recent years. These wars, in which the imperialist great powers are mostly involved with their proxies on the field, and the new ones that line up at the door, are likely to turn into more dangerous forms with the capitalist crisis.
The extraordinary process of exploitation and growth that China has achieved since the last quarter of the 20th century displaces the balance of the imperialist system. The US imperialism, which has gradually lost its position as the world’s only superpower, is investing in the policy of containing China with all its power. The struggle initiated by the USA against China in the economic, political and ideological field turned into a siege strategy that escalated global armament.
The “peaceful rise” policy, which has been the official doctrine of China for many years, has been replaced by a more assertive and aggressive foreign policy with Xi Jinping. The CCP regime directs state resources to improve technological development and military capability. On the other hand, the USA continues to deepen its military-political activities and settlement, especially in South Asia. We have seen the last example of this in Australia’s defense cooperation agreement with the USA and the UK, despite the intense reactions of its major trading partner China.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement brings together countries with the United States such as Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, which are concerned about the rise of China. Issues in the regions such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea will continue to be extremely dangerous hot war grounds for the peoples of the world in the coming years.
The deepening of inter-imperialist frictions and disputes between the decadent US and the rising China may in the future evolve towards a new world confrontation with unpredictable consequences for the survival of humanity. There is no progressive camp. Revolutionary socialists must remain independent and denounce all interests of each one of them that are opposed to the working class and the peoples.
U.S. imperialism, aware of the limits of its power, is reducing its weight in the Middle East for its strategy to surround China. We are faced with the striking consequences of this. Afghanistan, where the US occupation ended disgracefully and the Taliban won a great victory, is the latest example of this. In the Middle East, there is a great conflict between Russia, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc. to fill the areas vacated by the USA. There is no need to explain in detail that these conflicts were very bloody and that the regional powers organized bloody civil wars through their proxies.
As capitalism is shaken by crisis; ruling classes, bourgeois states and politicians are also becoming more unstable. The raging nature of imperialism and the capitalist nation-state system to pursue unlimited profit and wealth tends to turn into extreme forms, moreover, into the wars in conditions of crisis. The only social force that can fight the imperialist war is the international working class. The same objective social processes that drove imperialism to wars are driving the working class towards the revolutionary ranks. That is why our immediate task is to strengthen the international revolutionary socialist unity of the working class.
The Obligation to Organize and Shift Towards the Revolutionary Socialist Perspective
The depression created by the capitalist crisis will force the working masses to go down to the field of action throughout the 2020s. It’s not just our optimistic expectations. The Economist Intelligence Unit, a subsidiary of The Economist, evaluated the risk of massive social demonstrations as “very high probability” in their analysis of ten risks that will shake the world in 2022.
A study by a team of researchers from the German think tank Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), which is a tool of German imperialism, in analyzing the protests and making a forecast about what will come in the next few years, came to the conclusion that we live a period of history similar to the years 1848, 1917 or 1968 “when a large number of people rebelled against the state of things and demonstrated to demand change.” The IMF predicts possible rebellions and even revolutions.
As revolutionary Marxists, we must be aware that we are facing great opportunities. However, mass actions have major handicaps in terms of disorganization and lack of perspective. The tremendous experiences of 2019 are full of clear indications in this regard. The demonstrators, who fought heroically in Chile, Iraq, France and many other countries, were not able to solve many complicated problems on their own; such as defeating bourgeois states, governments, right-wing aggressors and left-wing conciliatory tendencies. For this, the masses must have a solid revolutionary perspective and an effective organized force. On the one hand, to resist the aggression of the bourgeois state, and on the other hand, to prevent the cunning sabotage of conciliatory left tendencies; Marxist organizations must gain power and authority in the eyes of the masses.
As the masses shift to the left and a red perspective becomes stronger, the uprisings of the 2020s will take on a definitely revolutionary character.
The doors of a new revolutionary situation will be opened as the masses respond to the most brutal consequences of the capitalist crisis with actions and strikes and turn to socialist ideas, symbols and revolutionary organizations.
The masses, especially the youth, are already in a serious search for an alternative. This is very important, because without seeking, it will not be possible to progress. The working class and youth are now going through these stages. This is really important. But we know that the intervention of revolutionary Marxist organizations is needed for the actions of the working class and youth to reach their logical consequences, that is, for the realization of socialist revolutions.
ISL and all revolutionary Marxist organizations have great responsibilities in this regard. The shift of spontaneous movements to a revolutionary perspective and the spread of organization depend on our effectiveness and intervention.
In this sense, we must get rid of sectarianism, narrow-mindedness, blind competition and we should organize joint works in the widest possible unity in action. Only through joint struggles can we become an alternative for the masses and can break the soothing effect of conciliatory left tendencies. ISL is ready to do its best to develop a culture of solidarity and common struggle among revolutionary Marxist organisations. ISL is organized on the basis of a new understanding in which secondary differences are discussed comradely but not as a reason for separation, and it has made important progress in a short time to create a great revolutionary Marxist unity all over the world. It will be a focal point for socialist leaps in the historical crisis of capitalism, which we are going through, raising revolutionary solidarity and persistent struggle.
Overcoming Conciliatory Tendencies and the Ideological Struggle
We are witnessing a social and political polarization that will continue to advance. The trends to the right that we have detailed are one face of the current situation. The other face is the turn to the left of increasingly broad sectors of the mass movement. To the extent that the organization of revolutionary socialists is not strengthened, this turn will be capitalized by reformism, which will try to divert the rise towards the electoral plane and thus save governments and regimes, which most of the time end up benefiting the right.
Whenever the capitalist system is in crisis, the reformist left parties, which are the caregivers of the system, and in most cases the union bureaucracy, which is under the control of these elements or of the bourgeoisie itself, step in to rescue the system. As recent examples, Concertación, Frente Amplio and Communist Party in Chile; CUT and the Historic Pact of Gustavo Petra in Colombia; the Stalinist establishment parties CPI and CPI(M) in India, played a critical role in saving the system by making great efforts to restrain protests and strikes.
In the recent past, the wavering of the Communist Party and Melenchon regarding the Yellow Vests movement in France benefited Macron and Le Pen. In Germany, Die Linke’s (Left Party) shift to neo-liberalism continues to pave the way for the far-right AfD. Similarly, the Italian Rifondazione Comunista left the streets to the right-wing populist Five Star Movement and the far-right Northern Alliance. In Greece, the Euro-communist Syriza became the savior of the bourgeoisie. In Spain, Podemos allowed the PSOE to return to power. In Brazil, the PT government made possible the victory of the semi-fascist Bolsonaro. In Argentina, the government of Cristina Fernandez first, and now of the united PJ with Fernandez-Kirchner have paved the way for the strengthening of the right. In Venezuela, the Maduro government is responsible for the right wing being an important actor. In India, the Stalinist reformist parties [CPI and CPI(M)] laid the groundwork for the authoritarian right-wing populist Modi. In many similar situations, including these examples, the reformist parties supported neo-liberal policies of social cuts and privatizations. It is not possible to win the leadership of the mass movement and transform the capitalist crisis into a social revolution without defeating these forces.
Rejecting the Bolshevik Party model and adopting as a permanent strategy the establishment of large mass parties with reformist forces, as suggested by the United Secretariat (USFI) and some other forces is nothing but an adaptation to reformism. This does not mean adopting appropriate tactics for the different processes that may develop in certain situations; but these tactics, which may include participating in broad anticapitalist formations, cannot be strategic, nor generalized to any place and time, nor contradict with the building of revolutionary parties.
The new world that is opening has to find us alert to the possibility of left ruptures in mass parties and new phenomena that may provide opportunities for revolutionary construction.
Just as revolutionary socialists must always differentiate ourselves from the reformist and centrist left, we should also part ways with skeptical sectarians who put obstacles to the advance of the struggle and revolutionary leadership wherever they have a certain influence.
One of the biggest obstacles facing the mass movement is the anti-Marxist postmodern movements, which argue that the time of the class struggle is over, denigrate the struggle for the seizure of political power by the working classes, and make black propaganda by blaming the crimes of Stalinism on socialism. It is not surprising that the same arguments are also those of capitalists. Postmodern intellectuals and groups play an enormous reactionary role, advocating the struggle for identities and cultures as a leftist project. The experience has repeatedly shown that the project of creating small liberated autonomous units, which is perhaps the most assertive proposal of these groups, does not pose a slightest threat to the functioning of the system. In order to respond with revolution to the crisis of the system, we must succeed in uniting the international revolutionary Marxist forces on the widest possible front and building strong national sections. This empowerment can only be possible with ideological clarity, healthy methods, a solid perspective and energetic work. Only in this way can we defeat the reformist bureaucrats, who are the caregivers of the system, and overcome the centrist tendencies that waver between revolution and establishment. When we combine the enormous energy of the masses with the organized power of revolutionary Marxism, the pre-revolutionary period will have passed and a global revolutionary situation will have begun.
Approved unanimously 12/10/2021
Courtesy International Socialist League