Why wasn’t there a new October revolution?

By Miguel Sorans*


One hundred years have gone by and a similar victory has not been repeated. What is the cause? Is the struggle for workers and popular power no longer valid? Is it utopian to fight for workers’ governments and socialism?

The problem is not the lack of revolutions or struggles. But the subsistence of the reformist apparatuses and the non-overcoming of the crisis of revolutionary leadership.

Without a doubt, this is the crucial debate on the world left and beyond. And it has intensified since the 1990s, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the former URRS. Precisely imperialism and its spokesmen have used the fall of the false socialism of the Stalinist apparatus to place an equal sign with the “end of socialism” and the triumph of capitalism. The confusion created in the conscience of millions favoured the discourse of the world left reformist leaders to raise various slogans as the “struggle for what is possible”. However, there will be no progress or substantive changes for the workers and the popular sectors without victories of new socialist revolutions.

Utopia or historical necessity?

Both, the bosses’ politicians, and the traditional reformist left or the neo-reformists enrolled in the Chavista, “national and popular” currents, or the European variants of “new left” as Podemos accuse us of “utopians”, of defending “old stuff” or of being “ultra-sectarian”. And that the time has come for the “renewal” of programs and the left and its policies. Hence, the message of “the possible” and to change or update the slogans.

Experience has shown that all “renewal” and “realist” projects of Marxism and the left have ended in a resounding failure for the workers, youth, women and the impoverished masses. Let’s see where the “Socialism of the Twenty-first Century” of Chavismo, the social model of Lula-Dilma-PT in Brazil or Syriza in Greece is. Promising what was “possible” and “realistic” they all ended up agreeing with the multinationals, paying fraudulent debts and starving their peoples with adjustments and social cuts.

The only “realistic” way to achieve a real change in the lives of the masses is the victory of a socialist revolution and that a workers’ government with workers’ and people’s democracy take over. We have never said that it is easy, but it is the only change of substance as historical experience has shown. Only socialist measures, the expropriation of the bourgeoisie and the multinationals and the planning of state ownership of the economy from a new state governed by the workers, can bring qualitative social achievements. Even national and bureaucratic socialist planning proved superior to capitalism, as experienced, for example, in the early years of the revolutions of Cuba or China.

There were triumphant revolutions but a new revolution of “October” was not repeated

For 100 years it has been shown that there is no possibility of fundamental changes by the reformist path. Only the social revolutions have caused changes. During the twentieth century and this early part of the twenty-first century, there have been great revolutions, many triumphant, that overthrew genocidal dictatorships or liberated peoples from their colonial situation. But none of these revolutions became a new socialist revolution like that of 1917. The experience of the Russian revolution remains an exception.

The Russian revolution was characterized by two things: (1) that revolutionary organizations of workers’ and masses’ power, such as the Soviets, emerged; and (2) the most important, the existence of a revolutionary party, such as the Bolshevik party of Lenin, of such influence that could lead the mass mobilization to seize power and initiate socialist changes with democracy for the workers and peasants. Without these two conditions, and especially without a revolutionary party leading the masses, there is no new October revolution. And, unfortunately, this is what it did not repeat again.

It is not that revolutions were lacking in these 100 years. There were many revolutions, triumphant and defeated. But none had at its head a party like the party of Lenin and Trotsky. All of them were led by reformist, bureaucratic parties and leaderships and traitorous of the socialist revolution. Even two great revolutions, such as the Chinese (1949) and Cuban (1959), succeeded in expropriating the bourgeoisie and broke with imperialism, but they did not have the leading role of the workers’ organisations and were led by bureaucratic leaders such as the Chinese CP or Castroism. This led to the emergence of bureaucratic “workers’ states”, where their leaders froze the revolution and ended up making pacts with imperialism culminating in the restoration of capitalism.

The key to the non-repetition a new “October” was not the lack of heroism and capacity for action of the masses but the lack of a revolutionary leadership.

The victory of Stalinism was a catastrophe

In all the revolutionary processes mentioned and in so many other revolutions that have taken place in these 100 years, a revolutionary alternative of the weight and the characteristics of what was the Bolshevik party of Lenin in 1917 was lacking.

Trotsky said that the “crisis of mankind is the crisis of revolutionary leadership”. The foundation of the Fourth International in 1938 by Trotsky had the goal of preserving revolutionary Marxism, its program, and by this way rebuilding revolutionary parties that would confront the counter-revolutionary social-democratic and Stalinist apparatuses.

Why is this crisis of leadership not yet overcome? Why have not strong revolutionary parties with mass influences in the style of the Bolshevik party emerged?

The central cause of all this has an explanation that we cannot tire of repeating: Stalinism triumphed over the revolutionaries since the mid-1920s and all this meant a catastrophe for the world workers’ movement.

That victory of Stalin, which endured after World War II, caused a huge setback in the consciousness of millions that, in different ways, reaches our days. Moreno called it “syphilis of the workers’ movement”. Stalinism distorted all Marxism and the teachings of the October Revolution. It changed and distorted even the words. The word revolution became “revolution by stages”, that is, conciliation and pacts with “progressive” bourgeois sectors. The party became a bureaucratic “single party” that could expel all those who opposed the “communist discipline”. Socialism became a society dictatorially controlled by a bureaucratic caste full of privileges over most of its peoples.

The drama was amplified when after the Second World War Stalinism was strengthened and became of masses in the world. Millions believed in the figure of Stalin. The defeat of Nazism and the entry of the Red Army into Berlin in 1945 caused millions to attribute this to the “socialist” virtues of Stalin and the Communist Party of the USSR.

Trotsky was betting that the fall of Nazism in the hands of the workers and the Soviet people would end the Stalinist bureaucracy. Making a parallel with what happened with Social Democracy after the first war. But it was not so. On the contrary, Stalin and the USSR bureaucracy capitalised on the immense victory that meant Hitler’s defeat. Communist parties became of masses, especially in Europe. In this way, they surrendered the revolution in France, Italy, and Greece and agreed to rebuild imperialist capitalism in Europe in the postwar period.

This trust in the Stalinist apparatus meant an extraordinary setback in the consciousness of the masses. Millions believed that Stalin was a revolutionary, when in fact he was a traitor, executioner of the revolution. Millions of workers took to the streets of Paris and Rome with posters of Stalin. French workers followed the French CP’s slogan of “producing first” to stop the wave of strikes and to eliminate the revolutionary mobilisation of the French workers’ movement, which was armed and could have seized power, and the Italian as well. The Italian CP came to have nine million members, being the largest communist party outside the USSR and China. Millions of Italian communist workers trusted on the line of co-ruling with Christian Democracy and the rebuilding of bourgeois Italy. Stalinism or Moscow’s communism was transformed into a mass movement. Much of the intelligentsia and progressive artists became sympathisers of Stalin and the CPs. Even Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, who had sympathised with Trotskyism, turned to Stalinism.

Another tremendous victory of Stalin and his apparatuses is that they erased Trotsky from the history of the first years of the USSR, turned him into a “counter-revolutionary” and assassinated him in 1940. Millions of communist militants were educated in the conviction that the Trotskyists were divisive agents of the enemy.

After Stalin’s death in 1953, the “de-Stalinization” that Nikita Khrushchev led from 1956 was only a whitewash in face of the crisis the Stalinist apparatus and the figure of Stalin already had, manifested in the workers’ uprising in Berlin of 1953. But the policies of “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism, the revolution by stages, and the distortion of Marxism continued.

Such was the pressure of Stalinism and the confusion it created, that even sectors of Trotskyism capitulated. The Fourth International was very weak, with some thousands of militants in different countries. Its leadership, led by “Pabloism”, a name given to the current led by Michel Pablo and Ernest Mandel, among others, analysed at the beginning of the 1950s that the third world war was coming and that the communist parties, forced to defend the USSR, would become revolutionaries, and they decided that the Trotskyists would make entryism into them. This lasted 20 years. This capitulation to Stalinism caused Trotskyism to disappear from Europe for many years. Only in 1968, with the French May, the Mandelists broke with the CP and founded the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR). This Mandelist sector, opportunist and revisionist, yielded to the great pressures of the powerful communist parties and the bourgeois nationalist movements. That is why Trotskyism lost the great opportunity of the Bolivian revolution of 1952, which could have been a new October and would have meant a qualitative change for the reconstruction of the Fourth International and especially in a continent of revolutions like Latin America (see box). Revisionism in our ranks was a very destructive factor.

The impact of the Chinese and Cuban revolutions and the guerrilla factor further isolated the revolutionaries

The victories of the Chinese and Cuban revolutions, with their leaders Mao and Fidel Castro, impacted the masses and made thousands of vanguard elements in the world become Maoists, Castroists and guerrillas. These movements channelled in the 1960s and 1970s the crisis of discredit of the Moscow apparatus. Mao’s leadership in China, although they declared themselves Stalinists, broke with Moscow in the early 1960s. They appeared as those who wanted to push the international revolution via the “protracted people’s war”. Over time it became clear that the Maoist leadership, being Stalinist, also advised unity with “national bourgeois”, such as Peronism in Argentina. And they betrayed the Indonesian revolution in 1965 by their pact with the bourgeois Sukarno. In Latin America, the impact of Cuba was absolute. The guerrilla commanders were not the “general secretaries” of the Kremlin apparatus, but people who risked their lives for a revolution. In this way, it can be said that the Maoist and Cuban guerrillas cushioned or channelled the crisis of the Soviet bureaucracy and its satellite communist parties. Trotskyism was once more isolated. Maoism and Castroism opposed, in a first stage, the guerrilla method to the development of workers’ and popular mobilisation and the formation of workers’ party with a revolutionary program. The Cuban leadership, with the exception of Che Guevara, quickly capitulated to the Moscow bureaucracy and went along with their policies of “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism. Fidel Castro stopped supporting revolutions and agreed with the regional bourgeois governments. But he did so from his authority as “commander” of a revolution; encouraging confusion in thousands and thousands of fighters. So when the 1979 Nicaraguan revolution took place, Castro advised the Sandinistas to “not make a new Cuba”. A great betrayal, which the Morenist Trotskyists denounced, but was not seen by thousands and thousands of fighters who continued to blindly trust Fidel.

Nahuel Moreno pointed to this relationship between the backwardness of the mass consciousness and the existence of counter-revolutionary apparatuses: “Nearly all revolutions arise when the deepest objective needs of the mass movement come to an intolerable situation. But in relation to this objective situation leading to the revolution, their level of consciousness […] keeps lagging. Despite this lag, revolutions happen. […] The low level of consciousness of the worker’s movement, even during the revolution, allows the counter-revolutionary apparatuses and the petty bourgeois currents (reformist by program and conception) to connect with it and lead it during a stage” (Thesis XV, The Transitional Program Today). In this context, despite the great revolutions of the twentieth century, the crisis of the apparatus did not stop burst and the crisis of revolutionary leadership could not be overcome.

Causes of a crisis that lingers after the fall of the Berlin Wall

Finally, in 1989, Trotsky’s forecasts, continued after the Second World War by Nahuel Moreno, were fulfilled — that the counter-revolutionary apparatus with head in Moscow was going to explode in a tremendous crisis and that it could be knocked over with the mobilisation. The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolised the fall of the communist dictatorial regime of East Germany, the result of a revolutionary mobilisation. This was followed by the Romanian insurrection against Ceausescu and finally the dissolution of the former USSR, in 1991, amidst large mobilisations. The destruction of the Stalinist apparatus by mobilisation was an enormous victory of the masses. But it was a victory with many contradictions that did not allow overcoming the crisis of revolutionary leadership. The first is that these mobilisations, without revolutionary leadership, could not stop the ongoing process of capitalist restoration. Returning to capitalism meant a social counter-revolution. Seventy years of repression made it impossible to develop the formation in those countries of a Trotskyist revolutionary party that could take the leadership of the process. A huge political vacuum was generated that was quickly occupied by restorative bourgeois forces like Yeltsin and later Putin.

There was a period of great confusion in the consciousness of the masses in the world. The imperialist campaign that “socialism had failed” and that the struggle for this “utopia” had already ended penetrated the consciousness of the masses.

The fall of the Stalinist apparatus could not automatically give a new revolutionary leadership. In the twenty-first century, it has to be noted that there is an unexpected prolongation of the crisis of revolutionary leadership. The prognosis of our Morenist current that the triumph of a political revolution in the former URRS and the revolutionary fall of the Stalinist counter-revolutionary apparatus could give way to the emergence of revolutionary left or revolutionary centrist currents that fed the construction of new revolutionary parties did not happen. These currents of the revolutionary left, for now, have not been occurred. This is a fact.

But the positive aspect of the fall of the Stalinist apparatus is given in that it opened a process of world political revolution; a process of rebellion of the ranks against its political or union leaders. This is a global phenomenon today. And it takes place in almost all countries in various ways. It is manifested in a widespread disbelief in the old traditional bourgeois parties, bipartisanship is broken, situations of political instability are created, the punishment vote grows, abstention and, in the most positive way, strikes and popular mobilisations against the governments that apply the austerity measures and social cuts. This process is what feeds the fight to overcome the crisis of revolutionary leadership.

In this process of change, neo-reformists currents recycled themselves and managed to channel circumstantially those breaks. In fact, they postulated themselves as the continuators with “criticism” of the Soviet apparatus, but with modernised forms such as “Twenty-first Century Socialism” or the “Bolivarian Revolution”. Chavez always quoted Lenin and sometimes even Trotsky. Thus emerged Chavismo, closely linked to the Cuban leadership, Evo Morales, in Bolivia, Lula and the PT in Brazil, or similar variants in Europe as Syriza or Podemos. It is a neo-reformism or neo-Stalinism that holds the same counter-revolutionary conceptions of the Mensheviks in 1917, of conciliation and pact with the bourgeoisie, the revolution in stages, its anti-worker policies and that have already begun to enter into crisis. But it creates new confusions by fouling socialism. Thousands upon thousands are beginning to wonder if these are not “other failures of socialism”.

These new neo-reformists apparatuses in government have entered into their final crisis — with more or less confusion, the masses and their vanguard will make their experience. It is part of the general process of anti-bureaucratic political revolution, of rebellion from below.

The struggle to build new revolutionary parties is the challenge of the twenty-first century

We continue seeing in the facts the need for new Octobers and therefore, we propose the strategic task of constructing revolutionary parties, under the model of the Bolsheviks, and from an internationalist perspective. The same vision bequeathed us by Lenin and Trotsky. In this sense we continue on the path of rebuilding the Fourth International, seeking unity with other revolutionary forces. It is not a moral imperative. We are not a church either. We continue to see that there is no alternative for the exploited masses. It takes more or less time. But the fight is the same.

That is why we continue to fight all those who yield to the confusion in the consciousness and the pressures of the “what is possible” fashions. Or to the style of Sub-Commander Marcos of putting everything in doubt and to “walk asking”. Or trying to build parties or broad “anti-capitalist” movements, on the Internet, with whitewashed programs and without words like “expropriation”, “nationalization”, “bourgeois party”, “democratic centralism” or “workers’ government”, to replace them by “mixed economy”, “social property”, “political caste”, “build popular power from below”, or “popular governments in dispute.”

This is why we have been fighting the new reformist variants like the false “Socialism of the Twenty-first Century” or the new deceptions of variants of “new left” as Syriza or Podemos.

The task remains the fight to overcome the crisis of revolutionary leadership in each country and in the world. That is, to build revolutionary parties based on a program of struggle for the power of workers and the triumph of a new revolution of October.

The crisis of reformist and bureaucratic political apparatuses continues. The rebellion of the bases against governments and their political leaders grows. This will open up new opportunities to continue fighting the leadership. We must be open to the new political and union phenomena that may arise on the left, so that the revolutionaries take part, without sectarianism and with all boldness, to build the revolutionary parties.


* Originally published in the special edition of International Correspondence magazine dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution [“A 100 years of the Russian Revolution”] from June 2017.


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¿Por qué no hubo una nueva revolución de octubre?

Por Miguel Sorans*

Han pasado 100 años y no se ha repetido un triunfo similar. ¿Cuál es la causa? ¿No va más la lucha por el poder obrero y popular? ¿Es utópico luchar por gobiernos de los trabajadores y el socialismo? El problema no es la falta de revoluciones ni de luchas. Sino la subsistencia de los aparatos reformistas y la no superación aún de la crisis de dirección revolucionaria.

Indudablemente este es el debate crucial en la izquierda mundial y fuera de ella. Y se ha agudizado desde los 90, luego de la caída del Muro de Berlín y la disolución de la ex URRS. Justamente el imperialismo y sus voceros usaron la caída del falso socialismo del aparato estalinista para poner un signo igual con el “fin del socialismo” y el triunfo del capitalismo. La confusión creada en la conciencia de millones favoreció el discurso de las direcciones de izquierda reformista mundial para levantar diversas consignas como la “lucha por lo posible”. Sin embargo, no habrá progreso ni cambios de fondo para los trabajadores y los sectores populares sin triunfos de nuevas revoluciones socialistas.

¿Utopía o necesidad histórica?

Tanto desde los políticos patronales como desde la izquierda reformista tradicional o los neoreformistas enrolados en corrientes chavistas,”nacionales y populares” o las variantes europeas de “nueva izquierda” como Podemos, nos acusan de “utópicos”, de defender “cosas antiguas” o de “ultrasectarios”. Y que ha llegado la hora de la “renovación” de los programas y de la izquierda y sus políticas. De allí el mensaje de “lo posible” y de cambiar o actualizar las consignas.

La experiencia ha demostrado que todos los proyectos “renovadores” y “realistas” del marxismo y la izquierda han terminado en un rotundo fracaso para los trabajadores, la juventud, las mujeres y las masas empobrecidas. Veamos dónde quedaron el “Socialismo del Siglo XXI” del chavismo, el modelo social de Lula-Dilma-PT en Brasil o el de Syriza en Grecia. Prometiendo “lo posible” y “realista” terminaron todos pactando con las multinacionales, pagando deudas fraudulentas y hambreando a sus pueblos con ajustes y recortes sociales.

La única salida “realista” para lograr un cambio real en la vida de las masas es que triunfe una revolución socialista y que asuma un gobierno de los trabajadores con democracia obrera y popular. Nunca hemos dicho que sea fácil pero es el único cambio de fondo como lo ha demostrado la experiencia histórica. Solo las medidas socialistas, la expropiación de la burguesía y las multinacionales y la planificación de la propiedad estatal de la economía desde un nuevo estado gobernado por los trabajadores, podrán traer conquistas sociales cualitativas. Hasta una planificación socialista burocrática y nacional se demostró superior al capitalismo, como se vivió, por ejemplo, en los primeros años de las revoluciones de Cuba o China.

Hubo revoluciones triunfantes pero no se repitió una nueva revolución de “octubre”

Desde hace 100 años se ha demostrado que no hay posibilidad de cambios de fondo por la vía reformista. Solo las revoluciones sociales han provocado cambios. Durante el siglo XX y lo que corre del siglo XXI ha habido grandes revoluciones, muchas triunfantes, que derribaron dictaduras genocidas o liberaron a pueblos de su situación colonial. Pero ninguna de esas revoluciones llegó a ser una nueva revolución socialista como la de 1917. La experiencia de la revolución rusa sigue siendo una excepción.

La revolución rusa se caracterizó por dos cosas: 1) que surgieron organizaciones revolucionarias de poder obrero y de masas como los soviets y, 2) la más importante: la existencia de un partido revolucionario, como el bolchevique de Lenin, de influencia tal que pudo dirigir la movilización de masas para tomar el poder e iniciar los cambios socialistas con democracia para los obreros y los campesinos. Sin estas dos condiciones y, en especial, sin un partido revolucionario que dirija a las masas, no hay nueva revolución de octubre. Y, lamentablemente, esto es lo que no volvió a repetir.

No es que faltaron revoluciones en estos 100 años. Hubo muchas revoluciones, triunfantes y derrotadas. Pero ninguna tuvo a su frente a un partido como el de Lenin y Trotsky. Todas ellas fueron encabezadas por partidos y direcciones reformistas, burocráticas y traidoras de la revolución socialista. Incluso triunfaron dos grandes revoluciones como la china (1949) y la cubana (1959) que llegaron expropiar a la burguesía y rompieron con el imperialismo, pero no tuvieron el protagonismo de las organizaciones obreras y fueron encabezadas por direcciones burocráticas como la del PC chino o el castrismo. Esto llevó a que surgieran “estados obreros” burocráticos, donde sus dirigentes congelaron la revolución y terminaron pactando con el imperialismo culminando con la restauración del capitalismo.

La clave para que no se repitiera un nuevo “octubre” no fue la falta de heroísmo y de capacidad de acción de las masas sino la falta de una dirección revolucionaria.

El triunfo del estalinismo fue una catástrofe

En todos los procesos revolucionarios citados y en tantas otras revoluciones que hubo en estos 100 años, faltó una alternativa revolucionaria del peso y las características de lo que fue el partido bolchevique de Lenin en 1917.

Trotsky que decía que la “crisis de la humanidad es la crisis de la dirección revolucionaria”. La fundación del IV Internacional en 1938, por Trotsky, tuvo el objetivo de preservar el marxismo revolucionario, su programa y por esa vía reconstruir partidos revolucionarios que enfrentaran a los aparatos contrarrevolucionarios socialdemócratas y estalinistas.

¿Por qué no se logra aún superar esa crisis de dirección? ¿Porque no surgieron fuertes partidos revolucionarios con influencias de masas al estilo del partido bolchevique?

La causa central de todo esto tiene una explicación que no podemos cansarnos de repetirla: el estalinismo triunfó por sobre los revolucionarios desde mediados de la década del 20 del siglo pasado y todo eso significó una catástrofe para el movimiento obrero mundial.

Ese triunfo de Stalin, que perduró después de la segunda guerra mundial, provocó un inmenso retroceso en la conciencia de millones que, de diversas formas, llega a nuestros días. Moreno lo calificó de “la sífilis del movimiento obrero”. El estalinismo distorsionó todo el marxismo y las enseñanzas de la revolución de octubre. Cambio y distorsionó hasta las palabras. La palabra revolución pasó ser “revolución por etapas”, es decir, conciliación y pactos con sectores burgueses “progresistas”. El partido pasó ser “partido único” burocrático que podría expulsar a todos aquellos que se opusieran a la “disciplina comunista”. Socialismo pasó a ser una sociedad controlada dictatorialmente por una casta burocrática llena de privilegios por sobre la mayoría de sus pueblos.

El drama se amplió cuando luego de la segunda guerra mundial el estalinismo se fortaleció y se hizo de masas en el mundo. Millones creyeron en la figura de Stalin. La derrota del nazismo y la entrada del Ejército Rojo a Berlín en 1945 hicieron que millones atribuyeran eso a las virtudes “socialistas” de Stalin y del Partido Comunista de la URSS.

Trotsky apostaba a que la caída del nazismo en manos de los trabajadores y el pueblo soviético terminaría con la burocracia estalinista. Haciendo un paralelo con lo ocurrido con la socialdemocracia luego de la primer guerra. Pero no fue así. Por el contrario, Stalin y la burocracia de la URSS capitalizaron el inmenso triunfo que significó la derrota de Hitler. Los partidos comunistas se hicieron de masas, en especial en Europa. Por esa vía entregaron la revolución en Francia, Italia, Grecia y pactaron la reconstrucción del capitalismo imperialista en Europa en la posguerra.

Esta confianza en los aparatos estalinistas significó un extraordinario retroceso en la conciencia de las masas. Millones creyeron que Stalin era un revolucionario, cuando en realidad era un traidor, verdugo de la revolución. Millones de trabajadores salieron a las calles de Paris o de Roma con carteles de Stalin. Los trabajadores franceses siguieron la consigna del PC francés de “producir primero” para frenar la oleada de huelgas y liquidar la movilización revolucionaria del movimiento obrero francés, que estaba armado y podría haber tomado el poder, así como el italiano. El PC italiano llegó a tener 9 millones de afiliados, siendo el partido comunista más grande fuera de la URSS y China. Millones de obreros comunistas italianos confiaban en la línea de cogobernar con la democracia cristiana y reconstruir la Italia burguesa. El estalinismo o el comunismo de Moscú, se transformó en un movimiento de masas. Gran parte de la intelectualidad y los artistas progresistas se hicieron simpatizantes de Stalin y los PC. Hasta Diego Rivera y Frida Khalo, que habían simpatizado con el trotskismo, se pasaron al estalinismo.

Otro tremendo triunfo de Stalin y sus aparatos es que borraron a Trotsky de la historia de los primeros años de la URSS, lo convirtieron en un “contrarrevolucionario” y lo asesinaron en 1940. Millones de militantes comunistas se educaron en la convicción de que los trotskistas eran divisionistas agentes del enemigo.

Luego de la muerte de Stalin en 1953, la “desestalinización” que encabezó desde 1956 Nikita Kruschev solo fue una lavada de cara ante la crisis que tenía ya el aparato estalinista y la figura de Stalin, manifestado en el levantamiento obrero en Berlín del 53. Pero las políticas de la “coexistencia pacífica” con el imperialismo, la revolución por etapas y la distorsión del marxismo continuaron.

Tal fue la presión del estalinismo y la confusión que creó, que hasta sectores del trotskismo capitularon. La Cuarta Internacional era muy débil, con unos miles de militantes en distintos países. Su dirección, encabezada por el “pablismo”, nombre que se le dio a la corriente que encabezaban Michel Pablo y Ernest Mandel, entre otros, analizó a comienzo de los años cincuenta que se venía la tercera guerra mundial y que los partidos comunistas, obligados a defender a la URSS, se harían revolucionarios, Y decidieron que los trotskistas hicieran entrismo en ellos. Esto duró veinte años. Esta capitulación al estalinismo provocó que por muchos años el trotskismo desapareciera de Europa. Recién en 1968, con el Mayo Francés, los mandelistas rompieron con el PC y fundaron la Liga Revolucionaria Comunista (LCR). Este sector mandelista, oportunista y revisionista, cedió a las grandes presiones de los poderosos partidos comunistas y de los movimientos nacionalistas burgueses. Por eso el trotskismo perdió la gran oportunidad de la revolución boliviana de 1952, que pudo haber sido un nuevo octubre y hubiera significado un cambio cualitativo para la reconstrucción de la Cuarta Internacional y en especial en un continente de revoluciones como Latinoamérica (ver recuadro). El revisionismo en nuestras filas fue un factor muy destructivo.

El impacto de las revoluciones china y cubana y el factor de la guerrilla aisló más a los revolucionarios

Los triunfos de las revoluciones de China y Cuba, con sus líderes Mao y Fidel Castro, impactaron sobre las masas e hicieron que miles de elementos de vanguardia en el mundo se hicieron maoístas, castristas y guerrilleristas. Esos movimientos canalizaron en los años 60-70 la crisis de desprestigio del aparato de Moscú. La dirección de Mao en China, aunque eran estalinistas declarados, rompió con Moscú a comienzos de los sesenta. Aparecían como los que querían impulsar la revolución internacional vía la “guerra popular prolongada”. Con el tiempo fue quedando más claro que la dirección maoísta, por ser estalinista, también aconsejaba la unidad con “burgueses nacionales” como, por ejemplo, el peronismo en Argentina. Y traicionaba la revolución de Indonesia, en 1965, por su pacto con el burgués Sukarno. En Latinoamérica el impacto de Cuba fue absoluto. Los comandantes guerrilleros no eran los “secretarios generales” del aparato del Kremlin, sino gente que se jugaba la vida por una revolución. De esa forma se puede decir que la guerrilla maoísta y cubana amortiguaron o canalizaron la crisis de la burocracia soviética y sus partidos comunistas satélites. El trotskismo volvió a quedar aislado. Maoísmo y castrismo opusieron, en una primera etapa, el método guerrillero al desarrollo de la movilización obrera y popular y a la formación de partido obreros con un programa revolucionario. La dirección cubana, salvo el Che Guevara, capituló rápidamente a la burocracia de Moscú y pasaron a acompañar sus políticas de “coexistencia pacífica” con el imperialismo. Fidel Castro dejó de apoyar revoluciones y pactó con los gobiernos burgueses regionales. Pero lo hacía desde su autoridad de “comandante” de una revolución. Incentivando la confusión en miles y miles de luchadores. Así cuando se dio la revolución nicaragüense de 1979 aconsejó a los sandinistas que “no hicieran una nueva Cuba”. Un gran traición, que los trotskistas morenistas denunciamos, pero no fue vista así por miles y miles de luchadores que siguieron confiando ciegamente en Fidel.

Nahuel Moreno señalaba esta relación entre atraso de la conciencia de las masas y la existencia los aparatos contrarrevolucionarios: “Casi todas las revoluciones surgen cuando sus profundas necesidades objetivas se tornan para el movimiento de masas en una situación intolerable. Pero en relación a esta situación objetiva que lleva a la revolución, su nivel de conciencia […] sigue siendo atrasado. A pesar de este atraso, las revoluciones se producen. […] El bajo nivel de conciencia que tiene este movimiento obrero aun durante la revolución, permite a los aparatos contrarrevolucionarios y a las corrientes pequeñoburguesas (reformistas por su programa y concepción) empalmar con él y dirigirlo durante una etapa” (Tesis XV, Actualización del Programa de Transición). En este marco, pese a las grandes revoluciones del siglo XX, la crisis de los aparatos no terminó de estallar y no pudo ser superada la crisis de dirección revolucionaria.

Causas de una crisis que se prolonga después de la caída del Muro de Berlín

Finalmente en 1989 se cumplieron los pronósticos de Trotsky, seguidos luego de la segunda guerra por Nahuel Moreno, de que el aparato contrarrevolucionario con cabeza en Moscú iba a estallar en una tremenda crisis y que podría tumbarse con la movilización. La caída del Muro de Berlín simbolizó la caída del régimen dictatorial comunista de Alemania Oriental, fruto de una movilización revolucionaria. Luego siguieron la insurrección rumana contra Ceasescau y finalmente la disolución de la ex URSS, en 1991, en medio de grandes movilizaciones. La destrucción del aparato estalinista por la movilización fue un triunfo enorme de las masas. Pero fue un triunfo con muchas contradicciones que no permitió aún superar la crisis de dirección revolucionaria. La primera de ellas es que esas movilizaciones, sin dirección revolucionaria, no pudieron cortar el proceso de restauración capitalista en curso. Volver al capitalismo significó una contrarrevolución social. Setenta años de represión hicieron que no pudiera desarrollarse la formación en esos países de un partido revolucionario trotskista que pudiera tomar la dirección del proceso. Se generó un vacío político enorme que fue rápidamente ocupado por fuerzas restauracionistas burguesas como los Yeltsin y luego Putin.

Se abrió un período de grandes confusiones en la conciencia de las masas en el mundo. Penetró la campaña imperialista de que había “fracasado el socialismo” y que ya se había terminado la lucha por esa “utopía”.

La caída del aparato estalinista no podía dar automáticamente una nueva dirección revolucionaria. En el siglo XXI hay que constatar que existe una prolongación inesperada de la crisis de dirección revolucionaria. No se dieron los pronósticos de nuestra corriente morenista de que el triunfo de una revolución política en el ex URRS y la caída revolucionaria del aparato contrarrevolucionario estalinista podría dar paso al surgimiento de corrientes de izquierda revolucionaria o centristas revolucionarias que alimentaran la construcción de nuevos partidos revolucionarios. Esas corrientes de izquierda revolucionaria, por ahora, no se han dado. Esto es un hecho.

Pero el aspecto positivo de la caída del aparato estalinista está dado en que abrió un proceso de revolución política mundial. Un proceso de rebelión de las bases contra sus dirigentes políticos o sindicales. Este es un fenómeno mundial actual. Y se da en casi todos los países de diversas formas. Se manifiesta un descreimiento generalizado en los viejos partidos tradicionales burgueses, se rompen los bipartidismos, se crean situaciones de inestabilidad política, crece el voto castigo, la abstención y, en lo más positivo, crecen las huelgas y movilizaciones populares contra los gobiernos que aplican los ajustes y recortes sociales. Este proceso es el que alimenta la pelea por lograr superar la crisis de dirección revolucionaria.

En ese proceso de cambios se volvieron reciclar corrientes neoreformistas que lograron canalizar circunstancialmente esas rupturas. Se autopostularon, de hecho, como los continuadores con “críticas”, del aparato soviético pero con formas aggiornadas como el “Socialismo del Siglo XXI” o la “Revolución bolivariana”. Chávez siempre citaba a Lenin y a veces, hasta a Trotsky. Así surgieron el chavismo, estrechamente ligados a la dirección cubana, Evo Morales, en Bolivia, Lula y el PT en Brasil, o variantes similares en Europa como Syriza o Podemos. Es un neoreformismo o neoestalinismo que sostienen las mismas concepciones contrarrevolucionarias de los mencheviques en 1917, de conciliación y pacto con las burguesías, la revolución por etapas, sus políticas antiobreras y que ya han empezando a entrar en crisis. Pero vuelve a crear nuevas confusiones ensuciando el socialismo. Miles y miles empiezan a preguntarse si estos no son “otros fracasos del socialismo”.

Estos nuevos aparatos neoreformistas en el gobierno han entrado en su crisis final: con mayores o menores confusiones, las masas y su vanguardia harán su experiencia. Es parte del proceso general de revolución política antiburocrática, de rebelión desde abajo.

La lucha por construir nuevos partidos revolucionarios es el desafío del siglo XXI

Seguimos viendo en los hechos la necesidad de los nuevos octubres y por lo tanto, planteamos la tarea estratégica de construir partidos revolucionarios, bajo el modelo de los bolcheviques, y desde una perspectiva internacionalista. La misma visión que nos legaron Lenin y Trotsky. En ese sentido seguimos en el camino de reconstruir la Cuarta, buscando la unidad con otras fuerzas revolucionarias. No es un imperativo moral. Tampoco somos una iglesia. Seguimos viendo que no hay otra alternativa para las masas explotadas. Se tarde más o menos tiempo. Pero la lucha es la misma.

Por eso seguimos combatiendo a todos aquellos que ceden a la confusión en la conciencia y a las presiones de las modas de “lo posible”. O del estilo del Sub comandante Marcos de poner todo en duda y “caminar preguntando”. O de tentarse por construir partidos o movimientos amplios “anticapitalistas”, por internet, con programas lavados y sin palabras como “expropiación”, “estatización”, “partido burgueses”, “centralismo democrático” o “gobierno de trabajadores”. Para reemplazarlas por “economía mixta”, la “propiedad social”, “la casta política”, “construir poder popular desde abajo” o “gobiernos populares en disputa”.

Por eso venimos combatiendo las nuevas variantes reformistas como el falso “Socialismo del Siglo XXI” o los nuevos engaños de variantes de “nueva izquierda” como Syriza o Podemos.

La tarea sigue siendo luchar por superar la crisis de dirección revolucionaria en cada país y en el mundo. Eso pasa por construir partidos revolucionarios en base a un programa de lucha por el poder de los trabajadores y por el triunfo de una nueva revolución de octubre.

La crisis de los aparatos políticos reformistas y burocráticos continúa. La rebelión de las bases contra los gobiernos y sus dirigentes políticos crece. Esto abrirá nuevas oportunidades para seguir peleando la dirección. Hay que estar abiertos a los nuevos fenómenos políticos y sindicales que puedan surgir a izquierda, para que los revolucionarios intervengamos, sin sectarismo y con toda audacia, para construir los partidos revolucionarios.

La revolución de Bolivia del 52 pudo ser un nuevo octubre

En 1952 se perdió en Bolivia la gran oportunidad de repetir un segundo octubre, que puedo haber cambiado mucho la historia del movimiento obrero y de la izquierda mundial. Al punto tal que el trotskismo y la Cuarta Internacional se pudieron haber convertido en una corriente de masas y ser alternativa revolucionaria ante el estalinismo. Se hubiera podido iniciar la superación de la crisis de dirección mundial.

La responsabilidad de que eso no ocurriera se debió al rol nefasto y capitulador de la dirección de la Cuarta en manos de Michel Pablo y Ernest Mandel. El POR (Partido Obrero Revolucionario) boliviano, sección de la internacional, llevado de la mano de Michel Pablo, cometió una de las traiciones más tremendas contra una revolución obrera.

En abril de 1952 se desató una insurrección obrera que terminó destruyendo al ejército burgués. El protagonismo lo tuvieron los mineros y la clase obrera boliviana que había sido formada en el trotskismo. Ya en noviembre de 1946 la Federación de Trabajadores Mineros votó las famosas Tesis de Pulacayo que levantan la lucha por el socialismo y un gobierno de los trabajadores.

En abril de 1952, los mineros llegaron a La Paz armados con dinamita, asaltaron el arsenal central y luego la base aérea, consiguieron armas y resistieron el bombardeo de la ciudad por el ejército. Un sector de la policía se plegó a la insurrección. A los tres días, el ejército se había desmoronado ante el poder de las milicias armadas, obreras y campesinas que dominaban La Paz, Oruro y el país.

Los trabajadores tenían las armas, fuertes sindicatos, fundan la COB (Central Obrera Boliviana) y decidían sobre el abastecimiento de alimentos y el transporte. El principal dirigente de la COB era Juan Lechín, que compartía la dirección con el POR (Partido Obrero Revolucionario). Estaban dadas todas las condiciones para que la COB asumiera formalmente el poder. Pero su dirección convocó a Víctor Paz Estenssoro, del MNR (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario), que volvió del exilio el 14 de abril, a quien le regalaron la presidencia. La corriente de Moreno había propuesto que la consigna fuera “¡Todo el poder a la COB!”

Se considera a la de Bolivia como una de las revoluciones más perfecta desde la revolución rusa. Se destruyó al ejército burgués, se constituyeron milicias obreras y campesinas como único poder real en el país, y se organizó la Central Obrera Boliviana para centralizar al movimiento obrero y a las milicias. La burocracia que dirigía la COB entregó el poder -que estaba en sus manos- al partido nacionalista burgués, al MNR (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario). El trotskismo boliviano era una potencia, tenía gran influencia en el movimiento obrero y de masas, había participado como codirección en la insurrección obrera y popular que había destruido al ejército. El Secretariado Internacional (SI) de la Cuarta, dirigido por Pablo, dio la línea traidora de apoyar críticamente al gobierno burgués. El principio revisionista era siempre el mismo: el MNR, presionado por el movimiento de masas, iba a verse obligado a hacer una revolución socialista.

La conquista de todo el poder por la COB y una revolución socialista en Bolivia hubiera desatado una revolución latinoamericana. Todo se daba antes del triunfo de la revolución cubana. Le hubiera dado un carácter obrero a la revolución continental y encabezada por el trotskismo desde Bolivia. O sea era un nuevo octubre.

La crisis del trotskismo boliviano, la crisis del movimiento trotskista, la fortaleza posterior del estalinismo en Bolivia y de todos los movimientos nacionalistas pequeñoburgueses en América latina, arrancaron de esa política criminal de colaboración de clases que el revisionismo de Pablo-Mandel obligaron a practicar en Bolivia.


*Artículo contenido en la edición especial de la revista Correspondencia Internacional “A 100 años de la Revolución de Rusa”, junio de 2017.


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Sixth Congress IWU–FI:Unity of Revolutionaries Advances

By Miguel Sorans, Leader of Izquierda Socialista  [Socialist Left] and the IWU-FI

Between July 6 and 9, the Sixth Congress of the International Workers Unity – Fourth International was held in Buenos Aires. A pole of reorganisation of the revolutionaries continues to grow on the basis of the building of parties fighting for a socialist outcome.

The highest organisational and deliberative body of the IWU-FI brought together delegates from Brazil, Venezuela, Turkey, the Spanish State, Bolivia, France, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and Argentina. In addition, it received greetings from militants and organisations from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, the United States and Australia.

The honorary chair of the congress was dedicated to the Russian Revolution, in its centenary year, to the founder of our current, Nahuel Moreno, and the Venezuelan working people that fight against repression and austerity measures. It also paid homage to the Syrian people who heroically rose against the genocidal dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.

Current international issues were discussed such as the rise to power in the United States of the reactionary, racist and misogynist tycoon Donald Trump, and his intention to lead a new counteroffensive of imperialism against the peoples of the world; The resistance of the peoples to the austerity plans and counter-reforms that governments use to increase the rates of exploitation of wage labour. Also discussed was the significant growth of the struggles of the women’s movement in the world, in which it is necessary to take part to build a strong current of feminism with a class perspective. There was a discussion on the environmental unsustainability of capitalist depredation and the need to move towards a democratically planned socialist economy to prevent climate disaster.

Within the frame of the Congress, on July 8, a public event was held on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, in the auditorium of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires. This anniversary, together with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Argentine revolutionist Ernesto “Che” Guevara, presents us with the opportunity to participate in current debates on the need to further develop revolutionary internationalism.

To respond to the enormous challenge of building organisations capable of decisively intervening in the global process of struggle, it is important to articulate the efforts of uniting the revolutionaries in each country and the world. We believe that the construction of the IWU-FI is part of this fundamental effort, of international unity in the struggle for socialism. It is the pending task in the path of the reconstruction of the Fourth International.

In the face of the decadence of self-styled progressive governments in Latin America, it reaffirmed the need to build revolutionary socialist organizations to overcome from the left the reformist limitations of Lula, Evo, Kirchner, Ortega and Chavez-Maduro, who in their early years generated great expectations, but ended up applying brutal austerity measures to their peoples. Facing at the same time the false bosses alternatives represented by Macri, Temer or Capriles. The persistence of popular struggles in North Africa, as in Morocco and Tunisia, general strikes in Brazil or Greece; The great mobilizations against Erdogan in Turkey, the outbreak of the G20 in Hamburg, and mobilizations against femicides around the world, show that there is a huge force in movement, the force of youth, workers and women, which urgently requires a strategic perspective to achieve successes and changes of substance.

In this context, the 6th Sixth Congress of the IWU-FI resolved several campaigns. Prominent among them are the mobilizations against Trump and imperialism, against the repayment of foreign debts, against austerity plans and social cuts, in solidarity with the Palestinian people against Zionist colonialism and support for refugees, the fight against racism, against the criminalization of protest and the repression of the regimes of Erdogan and Maduro, to promote and participate in the World Day of September 28 for the right to abortion and support for the struggles against the destruction of the environment by imperialism and the capitalist governments.

Internationalist Rally at 100 years of the Russian Revolution: We continue the struggle for socialism around the world

On behalf of the IWU-FI, Izquierda Socialista (Socialist Left) convened on Saturday 8 July an internationalist rally in honour of the historic revolutionary victory of October 1917 and the closing of the Sixth Congress of the international organisation.

In a climate of struggle not devoid of emotion, militants and leaders of Izquierda Socialista, together with representatives of their sister parties of the International Workers Unity – Fourth International (IWU-FI), trade union delegations and friends of the party, we gathered on Saturday in the auditorium of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, vindicating the validity of the theoretical and political legacy of Lenin and Trotsky, and the founder of our current, Nahuel Moreno. The event also marked the closing of the Sixth Congress of the IWU-FI, in which leaders of the various sections debated the world political situation and defined the revolutionary policy for the next three years.

The following delegations were present at the event: Corrente Socialista dos Trabalhadores [Socialist Current of the Workers] (CST-PSOL) of Brazil; Partido Socialismo y Libertad (Socialism and Liberty Party – PSL) of Venezuela; ARPT and Fuersa of Bolivia, in process of unification; Movimiento Socialista de los Trabajadores (Socialist Movement of the Workers – MST) of Chile; Uníos (Together) from Peru; Propuesta Socialista (Socialist Proposal – PS) of Panama; Movimiento Al Socialismo (Movement for Socialism – MAS, formerly POS) of Mexico; Lucha Internacionalista (Internationalist Struggle – LI) of the Spanish State; Groupe Socialiste Internationaliste (Socialist Internationalist Group – GSI) of France; İşçi Demokrasisi Partisi (Workers’ Democracy Party – IDP) of Turkey, as well as comrades from the sympathising organizations Luta Socialista (Socialist Fight – LS) of Brazil and KRD of Germany, and comrades from Norway. Their representatives took the stage in the middle of a warm welcome together with Izquierda Socialista MPs Juan Carlos Giordano and Laura Marrone, and comrade Miguel Sorans, leader of Izquierda Socialista and of the International Secretariat of IWU-FI. Also present were important leaders of Izquierda Socialista who lead the slates to legislators and MPs of the FIT, among them Buenos Aires Province deputy Monica Schlotthauer, Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero, Angelica Lagunas — accompanied by an important delegation of teachers from Neuquén and by Elizabeth Hernández (Mother of Brian, an emblematic case of “easy trigger” in Neuquén)— and Jorge Adaro. Comrade Liliana Olivero, a candidate for national deputy, sent her greetings from Córdoba. Also in the rally, there were workers from PepsiCo and Argensun, fighting against layoffs. A delegate of PepsiCo spoke and important collections were made for the fighting funds. Also attending were Andrea D’Atri, leader of the PTS; Oscar Schaller, plaintiff against the genocidal Milani in the mega-cause of La Rioja; and Juan Carlos Coral, presidential candidate in 1973 of the “glorious PST”.

After the speeches of several international leaders, “Gringo Giordano” closed the emotional rally, and everyone present sang The Internationale.




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Maduro holds on to power with repressive measures

By Simón Rodríguez Porras*

Originally published in uit-ci.org

Without popular support and with growing divisions within chavismo, Maduro’s government has relied on the military for his violent attacks on the large wave of popular demonstrations that began on April 4. Two weeks of repression have resulted in nine dead and hundreds detained and wounded. But the demonstrations have not ceased to grow and on April 19 hundreds of thousands, in rejection of Maduro’s shift towards a dictatorship, took to the streets in all of the major cities. On the night of April 20 there was a generalized eruption in El Valle, a working-class neighbourhood in southern Caracas. Amid the riots and looting, eight people died electrocuted while trying to take food from a bakery.

Chavismo lost the broad popular support it enjoyed for many long years and now around 85% of the population oppose Maduro. The government claims to be the victim of a coup, but actually the military, which controls several ministries, has closed ranks in defense of the government. The rejection of Maduro on behalf of the majority of workers does not go hand in hand with pro-coup slogans or with the center-right opposition coalition’s liberal political program, that of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD). Rather it expresses the discontent of millions of people who are going through one of the worst economic and social crises in Venezuela’s history.

Related article: The crisis facing Venezuela

While presenting itself to the world as a “socialist” movement, Chavismo has had recourse to large inflationary measures. In order to pay more than 70 billion dollars towards foreign debt over the last three years, imports have been cut to a third, thus leading to food and medicine shortages. By printing money without a backup to cover the fiscal deficit, Maduro has drastically reduced wages in real terms. Inflation reached 600% in 2016 and the minimum wage was reduced to 30 dollars a month. This rabid adjustment plan has lead US commentators to dub chavismo “Wall Street’s favourite socialist revolution” (Washington Post, 4/12/17). In other words, behind the flags of a false socialism a savage capitalism has developed, destroying the social achievements of the early chavista government.

An increasingly authoritarian government

After losing the parliamentary elections in 2015, the government opted to suspend all elections indefinitely and revoked the electoral legal status of the majority of political parties. Since 2014, the government has also prevented union elections such as those of the United Federation of Petroleum Workers of Venezuela, (Futpv) whose general secretary is José Bodas of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSL). At the end of March the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) authorized the president to reform the anti-terrorist law, the anti-corruption law, the penal code, the military justice code, and the hydrocarbons law, and to create joint ventures with transnational oil companies without parliamentary approval. The attorney general, Luisa Ortega Díaz, denounced the rulings of the Supreme Court as unconstitutional, showing a division in the government. Maduro ordered the TSJ to modify their ruling, which happened within a few hours, but the move had already sparked popular indignation. At this point the MUD, which had been negotiating with Maduro, with the Vatican as mediator, faced mounting social pressure to confront Maduro. They accused him of a “coup d’etat” and called demonstrations demanding general elections.

Are the demonstrations an imperialist maneuver? In order to justify the use of repressive measures, Maduro has called the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators “mercenaries of imperialism”. It’s a symptom of the government’s desperation. Although the US has had diplomatic frictions with Maduro, especially in the Organisation of American States (OAS) where it presses for elections, so far it has not been in favour of suspending Venezuela from the multilateral body. Maduro, on the other hand, has attempted to approach Trump, calling him “friend” and “comrade”. Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA donated $500,000 to Trump’s inauguration ceremony. We reject both US interference and Maduro’s servile attitude.

In its foreign policy, Chavismo has favored ties with China and Russia, it has supported regimes like Assad´s in Syria and Al Sisi in Egypt, and even has congratulated Turkish President Erdogan on the outcome of the recent constitutional referendum. But these alliances have not altered the condition of Venezuela as a semi-colony of the United States: Chevron is the main transnational in the oil industry, 12% of the national territory has been awarded to megamining companies like Barrick Gold, while Procter & Gamble, Halliburton, Schlumberger and Coca-Cola are still doing business and taking advantage of some of the cheapest labor in the world.

The left opposition

With the labour movement disintegrated and weakened after years of Chavista repression and co-optation, the working class has not been able to play an independent role in the current crisis. However, there is an emerging regrouping of left-wing opposition in the People in Struggle Platform (la Plataforma del Pueblo en Lucha), involving both left-wing Chavista groups and non-Chavista left-wing organizations such as the PSL, which has denounced the government’s anti-worker policies for years. This coalition has been demanding that the payment of the foreign debt be stopped and that those resources be used to carry out urgent imports of food and medicines to address the social crisis. It also raises the need to nationalize the oil industry, and for the oil revenue to be invested in the country’s industrialization and agrarian reform. In the next few days, trade union plenaries will be held to discuss independent action against the government.


* Simón Rodríguez Porras is a militant of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSL), IUW-FI section, Venezuela. Translation by Zoe Salanitro.


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Venezuela: A fraudulent Constituent Assembly amid hunger of the people

By Miguel Sorans*

Originally published by La Clase.info

Beset by massive protests across the country, and after a savage repression that has taken 40 dead and more than 350 injured, Nicolás Maduro convenes a fraudulent Constituent Assembly. It intends to perpetuate itself in the power to continue turning the screws on the people. While they continue paying the foreign debt, hunger grows. There is no bread. Salaries are between US$30 and US$50. Maduro’s government is not left-wing, it is anti-workers. The bosses’ opposition of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) is no solution either. We must continue mobilising until we bring Maduro down and prepare a political alternative of class independence.

There is something that helps to define what happens in Venezuela and what the Chavista government of Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) is. One gets up on a Sunday morning and goes to the bakery on the street corner to buy bread and they say “no bread” and “there is not going to be any”. And nothing else. But that’s not just Sundays, it happens every day. This is Venezuela. Previously there was no toilet paper, but no bread is something else. This is hunger. It is the number one democratic right that Maduro does not meet. For months now it has been an odyssey for millions to get bread and flour to make the “arepas” (tortillas). This is why most people hate Maduro and his government. This is the basis of the growth of popular rebellion. In addition to suppressing and impeding freedom of expression or the right to protest, Maduro does not guarantee bread, food or medicines. It is the time that those who from the left still pretend to defend this regime take notice of what is happening. The bread is lacking not because of an alleged “economic war”. Food is missing because they continue to pay the debt (in 2016 US$18 billion were paid and this year US$17 billion more would be paid) and the deals with the oil multinationals continue.

The farce of the Constituent Assembly

In a last-ditch effort, amid the seriousness of the political and social crisis, Maduro comes out to convene an alleged National Constituent Assembly. As our sister party, the Partido Socialismo y Libertad (Socialist and Freedom Party, PSL) denounces, the Constituent Assembly is fraudulent because a part of its 500 members will be designated by organisations controlled by the government and another in “territorial elections” that nobody knows what it means. Maduro launches this manoeuvre to try to give himself time amid the growth of the massive mobilisations that are putting him against the ropes. And on the other hand, with the tale of “participatory and proactive democracy”, Maduro seeks to perpetuate itself in power and not to convene the presidential elections that are scheduled for 2018.

Related article:Maduro holds on to power with repressive measures

His goal is to consolidate, more and more, a totalitarian regime with the “single party” model. The government and the regime of Maduro are consolidating like a bourgeois Stalinism. This is a repressive government that calls itself socialist and anti-imperialist but rules for the entrepreneurs and the multinationals. This is why the central slogan, not the only one, to end this situation is to promote the mobilisation for “Out with Maduro”.

A democratic popular rebellion has begun

The dispute is on the streets. For over a month mass mobilisations against the government have begun and are growing in Caracas and throughout the country. These mobilisations go beyond the calls made by the bosses’ opposition of MUD (Democratic Unity Roundtable). Popular sectors of the neighbourhoods and communities that were the social base of Chavismo have been joining in all the cities of the country. This rebellion takes various forms — marches, “cacerolazos” (banging of pots and pans), cutting off streets and freeway with barricades, the march of women, and even generalised looting, which shows the despair of wide fringes. That is why it is totally wrong to interpret that “they are marches of the MUD” and of the “right”. Even the MUD had to convene them pressured from its own rank and file. In Caracas, there have been demonstrations in popular neighbourhoods like El Valle, Coche, 23 de Enero, Baruta and the 5 de Julio neighbourhood in Petare. In Valencia, Carabobo state, in the last week there has been a widespread uprising in the south of the city, very popular and working-class. There have been looting and violent clashes with the police in neighbourhoods such as La Isabelica, San Blas, Los Cedros, Guayos, Tocuyito, among others. This has been repeated in the states of Táchira, Mérida, Maracaibo, Barquisimeto, etc. The National Bolivarian Police (PNB) and the Bolivarian National Guard (GBN) along with the paramilitary “collectives” were responsible for the repression. With a balance so far of 40 dead, mostly young, more than 350 injured and hundreds of detainees. These detainees are being sent to military courts accused of “terrorists”. The student youth and the youth of popular neighbourhoods have great prominence. They make their own self-defence with medieval-style shields and barricades in the neighbourhoods and in the streets. The urban marches, even those summoned by the MUD, begin to be attended by independent sectors that see them as a channel to act against Maduro. In Maracay, for example, a group of young people participated with a sign saying “Neither MUD Nor PSUV, We are the ones below who we come for the ones above”. The revolutionary militants of the PSL are participating in this whole process of popular rebellion, carrying their own slogans and fliers.

The fissures in Chavismo and the fight by “Out with Maduro”

The persistence of popular mobilisation is provoking fissures in the heart of Chavismo that are still incipient but may grow. The main one remains Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz who again differentiated herself from the government. “We cannot demand peaceful and lawful behaviour of citizens if the state makes decisions that are not in accordance with the law”, she said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Another who took distance was Gustavo Dudamel, the well-known conductor of the National Children’s Youth Orchestra, a Chavista sympathiser, who repudiated the repression. The same happened with the son of Chavista leader Tarek Williams Saab, former governor of Anzoátegui and present Ombudsman. Sports figures like the prominent baseball players Jesus Aguilar, Eduardo Perez and Robinson Chirinos also expressed their repudiation.

The fight for the fall of Maduro is open. As the PSL points out, “the solution does not go through a government of the MUD and its parties. They represent the old bosses and pro-Yankee policy. (…) That is why they do not repudiate Maduro’s adjustment package, nor do they oppose the continued payment of the foreign debt. That is why they also do not clearly call for Maduro to leave, and use the mobilisation, imposed by popular pressure, to seek a new negotiation behind the backs of the people and youth, as they did in 2016 with the frustrated dialogue”.

The struggle for the “Out with Maduro” and his government poses the strategic struggle for a Workers’ Government to carry out a worker’s and popular emergency economic plan, as our comrades in the PSL put it.

That is why together with the mobilisation it is necessary to continue promoting the formation of an alternative political pole with the sectors that break with Chavismo by the left. And to continue promoting the popular mobilisation until the fall of Maduro to advance towards the substantive changes that the Venezuelan workers and people need.


*Miguel Sorans is a leading member of Izquierda Socialista (Argentina) and the International Workers’s Unity-Fourth International (IWI-FI)


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We repudiate the imperialist bombing in Syria No to the Assad-Putin genocide!


About 50 US cruise missiles were launched on military installations of the Syrian regime of al-Assad by order of Donald Trump. They argue that it was in retaliation for the chemical attack perpetrated by Bashar al-Assad days before.

We repudiate both the Yankee bombing and the criminal action of the al-Assad dictatorship supported by Putin’s Russian aviation. Our socialist current, the IWU-FI, has for years repudiated the dictatorship of al-Assad and his genocidal actions and in particular, we repudiate the chemical gas bombardment that on Tuesday killed the lives of 72 people and left dozens injured in the town of Jan Seijun, in the north-western province of Idlib.

Likewise, now we repudiate the bombing ordered by Trump. We do not recognise any right of imperialism to pretend to do “justice”. Yankee imperialism is the greatest assassin in history with its invasions and aggressions in the world.

We call on the peoples of the world and the political, trade union, student and left-wing organisations to express their repudiation of both the imperialist bombing and the al-Assad–Putin regime and to show solidarity with the Syrian rebel people.

Stop the bombing in Syria. No to US missiles and Trump. Out all foreign military interventions. Down with the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. No to ISIS. Support for the resistance of the Syrian people. For the rupture of relations of the governments with the dictatorship of al-Assad.

International Workers Unity – Fourth International (IWU-CI)| April 7 2017


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Statement on Syria by the Campaign for Peace and Democracy

We are re-posting a statement by the Campaign for Peace and Democracy organization. We consider this statement to be progressive, especially if we take into account that part of the left supports the dictator under the simplistic idea that “enemy of my enemy is my friend”.-SC


Statement of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy
April 8, 2017

We are horrified by the relentless, cruel attacks of the Assad regime, aided by Moscow and Tehran, on the Syrian people. For sheer brutality the butchers in Damascus have few equals in the world today. But we also wholeheartedly condemn U.S. bombing and military forces in Syria, which will kill innocent people and contribute nothing towards a just solution to the Syrian conflict, while at the same time serving to deepen the reactionary U.S. military presence in the Middle East and reinforce Assad’s rhetorical claim that he is defending the Syrian people against Western imperialism, hollow though that claim may be.

Assad claims to be the only force standing between “stability” and the victory of ISIS, but this ignores the fact that authoritarian, repressive regimes like those in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Syria are highly effective recruiting agents for ISIS and similar jihadis. The other major recruiters for religious extremists and terrorists in the Middle East are the United States and its allies, with their bloody history of intervention and, in the case of the U.S., virtually carte blanche support for Israel. And while President Trump’s missile attack on the Syrian Shayrat airbase may have been limited, such bombing has its own logic, dangerously putting U.S. imperial prestige on the line and thus potentially triggering escalating attacks and counterattacks.

We are witnessing a set of deadly symbioses in Syria: Assad and ISIS use one another as justification for their own savageries, while the United States and its allies on the one hand, and Russia and Iran on the other, point to the very real crimes of one another to excuse interventions which in no way protect or defend the Syrian people, but rather serve their imperial (or in the case of Iran, sub-imperial) interests in the region.

The war in Syria cannot be understood apart from the broader political landscape in the Middle East. The popular revolutionary uprisings of the Arab Spring, from Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain to Syria, Libya and Yemen, offered a glimpse of a democratic and just future for the peoples of the region. For now, they have been thwarted, and in most cases, apparently crushed by a combination of domestic reactionary forces and the support of their foreign patrons.

However, the resistance in Syria has proven amazingly resilient: as recently as March of last year courageous street protests under the slogan “The Revolution Continues” erupted in Syrian cities during the brief cessation of hostilities. As reported in The New Statesman, When fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra tried to storm one of these demonstrations in the town of Maarat al-Numan, the protesters drowned them out by chanting, ‘One! One! One! The Syrian people are one!’ This is a maxim from the incipient, secular phases of the uprising, in which Syrians struggled to stem the tide of rising sectarian and ethnic tension injected by the jihadists’ engagement in the conflict.” [1]

It is truly a time of colossal, obscene double standards.

We see Donald Trump, along with most of the mainstream media and leading Republican and Democratic Party politicians, hypocritically deploring the massacre of innocent men, women and babies in Syria — while they remain coldly indifferent to the massacres and loss of human life at the hands of the U.S. and the forces it supports in Mosul and Yemen. And meanwhile desperate refugees from Syria’s carnage are cruelly turned away from U.S. borders.

We also see Donald Trump welcoming Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, while brazenly dismissing any human rights concerns and continuing Obama’s policy of generous military aid, despite Sisi’s horrific record of murdering and imprisoning thousands of his opponents. It is safe to predict, moreover, that if and when the Islamic State gains more and more supporters in Egypt in response to Sisi’s dictatorial rule, we will hear a chorus of apologists saying that unsavory as he may be, Sisi as a secularist leader is better than the barbaric jihadis, has significant popular support, and therefore has to be supported.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, the Russian government and its news agency RT deplore the heartrending destruction of neighborhoods and deaths of civilians in Mosul and Yemen and decry the callousness of the U.S. military — while justifying Assad’s attacks on the people of Aleppo and across Syria. In fact, Russian military involvement, including aerial support for attacks on civilian and military opponents of the regime, has actually played a significant, likely critical, role in keeping Assad’s regime in power.

We completely reject these grotesque alternatives. We urgently hope for a revival of the movements and the spirit of the Arab Spring, which offer the only possibility of breaking out of the death spiral of Middle Eastern politics. Many will dismiss this perspective as impractical, but what is truly impractical is the idea that the great powers, each with its own imperial agenda, will bring justice or democracy. If, against enormous odds, democratic forces are able to wrest an agreement that protects them from continuing slaughter by Assad and ISIS and leaves them in a position to struggle and fight again another day, then their decision to accept such a limited agreement should be respected. But even such an agreement will only be won as a result of pressure from the Syrian people, not through the initiative of outside powers who, despite their differences and rivalries, share a deep hostility to a resurgence of autonomous popular forces in Syria or anywhere else.

Democratic popular forces may be weak today, but our only principled and practical course is to declare our solidarity with their struggles, try to strengthen them, and oppose all those who attempt to subvert and destroy them.


1. The 2016 demonstration in Maarat al-Numan is described in this New Statesman article


Protests in other Syrian cities are described in these articles:







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Repudiamos bombardeo imperialista en Siria!

No al genocido de Assad-Putin!

Unos 50 misiles de crucero de EE.UU. se habrían lanzado sobre instalaciones militares del régimen sirio de Al Assad, por orden de Donald Trump.  Argumentarían que sería una represalia por el ataque químico perpretado por Bashar  al Assad días antes.

Repudiamos tanto el bombardeo yanqui como la acción criminal de la dictadura de Al Assad apoyada por la aviación rusa de Putin. Nuestra corriente socialista , la UIT-CI, lleva años repudiando a la dictadura de Al Assad y sus accionar genocida y en especial repudiamos el bombardeo con gas químico  que el martes 4 acabó con la vida de 72 personas y ha dejado decenas de heridos en la localidad de Jan Seijun, provincia noroccidental de Idlib.

Pero de la misma forma, ahora también repudiamos el bombardeo ordenado por Trump. No le reconocemos ningún derecho al imperialismo para pretender hacer “justicia”. El imperialismo yanqui es el mayor asesino de la historia con sus invasiones y agresiones en el mundo.

Llamamos a los pueblos del mundo y a las organizaciones que políticas, sindicales, estudiantiles y de la izquierda mundial a expresar su repudio tanto al bombardeo imperialista como al régimen de Assad-Putin y a solidarizarse con el pueblo rebelde sirio.

Basta de bombardeos en Siria. No a los misiles de EE.UU. y Trump . Fuera todas las intervenciones militares extranjeras. Abajo la dictadura de Bashar al Assad. No al ISIS. Apoyo a la resistencia del pueblo sirio. Por la ruptura de relaciones de los gobiernos con la dictadura de Al Assad.

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We repudiate new criminal chemical attack by Bashar al-Assad in Syri

There has been a new criminal and genocidal action of dictator Bashar with the support of the Russian air force of Putin. A bombing with a chemical gas has killed 72 people and left dozens injured on Tuesday, 4 April, in the town of Jan Seijun, north-western province of Idlib (Syria). “There are about 560 people affected, but the staff is still in shock, so I estimate that this will not be the final figure”, explains Dr Mohamed Katoub, coordinator in Turkey of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) blamed the attack on aircraft of the Syrian army or Russian aviation, which would have launched bombs loaded with sarin gas.

This crime is committed again with the complicity of the US and the imperialist powers that cynically make declarations of repudiation but allow the existence and criminal actions by al-Assad and Putin.

It is enough to recall the chemical massacre that took place in Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus in August 2011. The chemical attack by the Bashar al-Assad regime killed in a matter of minutes more than a thousand people, most of whom were women and children who were sleeping peacefully in East and West Ghouta. Like other massacres, the chemical massacre has taken place and the culprit remains unpunished.

We call on the peoples of the world and the political, trade union, student and left-wing organisations to express their repudiation of the massacre and solidarity with the Syrian rebel people.

Enough of bombing in Syria. Out all foreign military interventions. For the release of all political prisoners. Down with the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. No to ISIS. Support for the resistance of the Syrian people. For the break of diplomatic of the government’s relations with the dictatorship of al-Assad.

International Workers Unity – Fourth International (IWU–FI)

5 April 2017


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Venezuela: nuestro repudio a la restricción de las libertades democráticas

Nuestro apoyo al pueblo Venezolano en lucha, a las organizaciones de izquierda y a los sindicatos ante el nuevo giro anti-democratico del gobierno de Maduro.

En los últimos dos días el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) dio nuevos zarpazos antidemocráticos, profundizando la restricción a las libertades democráticas que el gobierno de Nicolás Maduro viene realizando, amparado por el TSJ, el cual viene siendo controlado por el propio gobierno de Maduro.

Con estas decisiones del TSJ, el gobierno en los hechos, disuelve la Asamblea Nacional en la medida en que formaliza la eliminación de sus atribuciones constitucionales y levanta la inmunidad a los parlamentarios, dejándolos sin el fuero correspondiente y a merced de las decisiones arbitrarias del gobierno y el TSJ.

El Partido Socialismo y Libertad (PSL) repudia categóricamente todas estas acciones que evidencian que el gobierno de Maduro se constituye en un régimen semidictatorial. Un gobierno autoritario basado en el respaldo de las Fuerzas Armadas, los organismos de seguridad, y apoyado por amplios sectores empresariales, los banqueros, las transnacionales petroleras y la burocracia sindical.

El PSL rechaza este nuevo ataque a las libertades desde una consecuente posición de izquierda y de defensa de los derechos de los trabajadores. No reconocemos a este gobierno como un gobierno socialista. Maduro viene gobernando hambreando al pueblo trabajador y haciendo acuerdos con el empresariado y las transnacionales.

Tampoco confiamos ni apoyamos a la MUD. Nuestro repudio a la disolución de hecho de la Asamblea Nacional no es un apoyo político a la MUD sino un rechazo a una acción antidemocrática contra la voluntad del pueblo expresada en las elecciones del 6D de 2015. De ninguna manera sembramos esperanzas en la MUD, la oposición patronal y proimperialista, quienes también son responsables de los males que aquejan a todos los venezolanos. Ellos sólo quieren ser los sucesores de Maduro en Miraflores, apropiarse de la renta petrolera y seguir con el ajuste a los trabajadores.

Estas medidas del TSJ son continuación de las restricciones antidemocráticas del gobierno de Maduro, el cual viene instrumentando las llamadas OLHP (Operación Liberación Humanista del Pueblo), un operativo criminal con el cual se han perpetrado varias masacres de personas inocentes y sin antecedentes penales. Se conformó el Comando Antigolpe, el cual procedió a detener a varios diputados y dirigentes políticos de la oposición burguesa agrupada en la MUD. El gobierno se niega a realizar elecciones regionales y de alcaldes, así como elecciones sindicales, siendo el caso más emblemático el de la federación sindical petrolera, Futpv. Y el pasado año hizo malabares para evitar que se activara el referendo revocatorio, solicitado por un importante sector de la población.

Mientras el gobierno de Maduro muestra su cara más antidemocrática, avanza en acuerdos económicos con el empresariado en el marco del Consejo Nacional de Economía Productiva, y más recientemente, en la Expo Feria Venezuela Potencia 2017, donde otorgó más de 45 millones de dólares a empresas nacionales y transnacionales. Por otra parte, entrega el Arco Minero del Orinoco, y paga puntualmente la deuda externa a la banca internacional. Este año se apresta a pagar 17 mil millones de dólares, y en el 2016 pago 18 mil millones.

Es evidente que el gobierno, con este avance totalitario busca allanar el camino para seguir aplicando el brutal paquete de ajuste con el cual se hace pagar al pueblo trabajador el costo de la crisis, y continuar entregando nuestras riquezas minera y petrolera a las transnacionales a través de las empresas mixtas.

Asimismo, el gobierno pretende perpetuarse en el poder. No es de extrañar que se esté preparando declarar el estado de conmoción nacional para suspender todas las elecciones, inclusive las presidenciales del 2018, y tomar acciones más drásticas contra los diputados, contra el conjunto del movimiento de masas y los sectores que se movilicen por sus derechos, y contra los que disientan o se opongan al gobierno.

Nuestra organización rechaza todo tipo de injerencia de la OEA, en asuntos que deben ser resueltos por los venezolanos. Nos oponemos a la implantación de la Carta Democrática, porque esta representa la injerencia de fuerzas e intereses imperiales respecto a nuestra soberanía, así su llamado sea la justa realización de elecciones.

Rechazamos a este represivo y hambreador gobierno, que sólo ha sembrado miseria en el pueblo trabajador y se ufana de la entrega de nuestros recursos petroleros y del Arco Minero del Orinoco. Hay que salir ya de este gobierno.

En ese sentido, la salida estratégica es un Gobierno de los Trabajadores y el Pueblo que revierta la debacle social y política que vivimos. En ese camino debemos luchar en defensa de las libertades reclamando una inmediata convocatoria a elecciones de una Asamblea Constituyente Libre y Soberana donde el pueblo trabajador pueda decidir todo.

El PSL llama a la Plataforma en Defensa de la Constitución, a la Plataforma del Pueblo en Lucha y del Chavismo Crítico, a Marea Socialista, y a todos los sectores democráticos, a los sindicatos, organizaciones populares, campesinas y estudiantiles a movilizarnos y pronunciarnos unificadamente en contra de estas medidas, antes que se terminen de liquidar todas las libertades democráticas.

Partido Socialismo y Libertad (PSL), sección  de Venezuela de la Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI)

31 de marzo 2017



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