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Archive of Communist Workers Group of Aoteaora/New Zealand up to 2006

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Venezuela: Congress of the Nation Workers’ Union (UNT)

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We reproduce here an edited version of the FLT statement on the recent UNT(1) 2nd Congress held in May.(2) What could have been a major step towards working class independence from Chavez ended in a split between several factions, all competing to be the best Chavistas. Most significant, it is clear that the so-called Trotskyist groups in the UNT are not fighting for political independence from Chavez. This confirms our analysis that the ex-Trotskyists in Venezuela are acting as they are in other countries as the left wing of the popular front in Latin America.

Workers struggle sacrificed to the petrodollar bourgeoisie

Between last May 25-27 at the Army Officer’s Club in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, the second congress of the National Union of Workers (UNT)(3), was held. The UNT is the most important workers union in Venezuela with more than 2000 delegates representing a million or more Venezuelan workers.[i]

The resolutions of the 2nd Congress were of crucial importance for the working class not only of Venezuela, but of all Latin America. It offered the possibility of raising an independent working class program against the bourgeois government of Chavez.(4) Such a program would have been a hard blow against the politics of class collaboration which ‘expropriates’ the anti-imperialist struggle of the Venezuelan masses, strangles the Bolivian and Ecuadorian revolutions, and subordinates workers before the bourgeoisie of the whole continent.

But its resolutions, once more, put the masses at the feet of the exploiters and tied the hands of the Venezuelan and Latin American working class. It was also one more confirmation – if such were needed – of the complete bankruptcy of the fake Trotskyists who are “running a race” to see who can be a better Chavez than Chavez himself. Let’s see what happened in the Congress of the UNT and make some conclusions about the role of the fake Trotskyists organisations in Argentina.

“Ten million votes to re-elect Chavez!”

In the Congress, a minority led by Marcela Maspero, broke from the Congress and left the UNT. This sector, dominated by cadres and leaders of the old Bolivariana Force of the Workers (a failed attempt to build a Chavista central Workers Union), and adherents of Chavismo, refused to allow the election of UNT officers in September, arguing that the main priority was the campaign for “ten million votes for Chavez” to win the presidential election in December.

The leaders of the majority (headed by Orlando Chirinos of the UIT(5) to which both factions of the MST in Argentina belong (6) proposed elections in September, but they put as a condition the first resolution had to be… that the UNT and the workers must guarantee first of any other thing 10 million votes for Chavez. Moreover, these leaders denounce in their press a “provocation” by the minority, who set up the ridiculous argument that most of us, the majority delegates don’t support Chavez”. This they say is “a lie”. (Alternativa Socialista N° 431).(7)

Shamelessly, after urging the workers to vote that their main task is to guarantee the re-election of a bourgeois government, they then urged them to vote that “the UNT is a autonomous union, independent of the government”. What do these fake Trotskyists understand by “an independent” union federation? That “the re-election of president Chavez and the independence of the UNT must be simultaneously supported so as to criticize (Chavez) whenever it is necessary…” (ídem).

Imagine that the left groups were leading the Argentinean CGT (8) in 1973 and had launched a campaign for supporting the Peron-Peron slate. What would every class-conscious worker have said? A betrayal of the proletarian cause!. Exactly! The heroic working class militants of the Cordobazo (9), the Vivorazo (10), Sitrac-Sitram (11), the Villazo (12), would have said exactly what we say about the fake Trotskyists: Servants of the bourgeoisie! Enemies of the proletarian revolution!
 
There is no doubt. Today the fake Trotskyists in Venezuela are the UNT bureaucracy, playing at the same time the role of Stalinism and that of the treacherous union bureaucracies in the other countries of Latin America. Politically they support Chavez, that ally of Kirchner and Repsol.

MAS and PO: working to get ten million “critical” votes… for Chavez

It is impossible to deny that so far, the leaders of the UIT are winning the race to see who is the most “Chavista”. But stepping on their heels are all the other fake Trotskyists, for example the MAS in Argentina and its sister group inside the Venezuelan PRS (the Petare current).

The MAS says it wants to stand “independent worker candidates” but, as the PRS is not legal this “is not possible”. Besides, “most of the workers are politically Chavistas”, and that this cannot be ignored, in so far as “the vote is (something) tactical”. (Socialismo o Barbarie N° 80) (13). For that reason, it ends up calling for a “critical vote”… for Chavez, so that this bourgeois government is re-elected… “critically”.

On the other hand, the PO in Argentina tries to hide it is for “the critical” vote for Chavez. Thus, while it says that voting in the congress of the UNT for “the re-election of Chavez as an strategic policy shows that, despite the differences, the Workers Central Union is under the influence of bourgeois nationalism”, it ends up agreeing with the MAS, in that the vote “is tactical”. Moreover it declares: “it is not a question of our preference for one or another candidate, this is (merely) a tactical issue. It cannot become the main subject matter of a strategic campaign” (Prensa Obrera N° 950, June 15, 2006).(14)

At the end of the day, MAS and PO’s positions could be summarised in a single slogan: “For ten million critical votes… for Chavez”.

PTS: “Spoil your ballot”… sit on the fence, do not face Chavez even in the election

The PTS and its sister group in Venezuela –also a member of the PRS –criticizes those who call for a vote for Chavez as giving in to “bourgeois nationalism”. They prefer to “raise a workers and socialist perspective” by asking people to be very bold, and… spoil their votes.

But the spoiled vote has nothing to do with class politics in the context of bourgeois elections. Moreover, most of the pro-imperialist and pro-coup bourgeois opposition parties and groups will be campaigning for abstention or a blank vote in December elections. The PTS itself already called for a vote for Chavez in the August 2004 referendum; now in order not to appear as openly “Chavista”, it has decided to go for a blank vote. This formula has overall the “virtue” of letting them avoid a confrontation with Chavez. They also reneg on the obligation of telling workers “do not vote for him because he is a bourgeois”.

The politics of class independence in the Venezuelan elections

First we have to expose the deception of “tactical voting” used by the fake Trotskyists. They use this to justify setting up popular fronts or to support “progressive” bourgeois candidates. For revolutionaries, tactics in bourgeois elections are like all tactics, revolutionary tactics. They have to advance the proletarian principles and strategy: in the first place, the elementary principle of class independence. That is to say, it is possible to vote tactically for a workers party or workers candidate, but never for a bourgeois party or candidate.

Second, it is pure deception to call for a ‘tactical vote’ because “there are no conditions” that allow for independent worker candidates in Venezuela, when the UNT exists, a union federation with great authority among the workers! Here was a congress with 2000 worker delegates, one of them could have been chosen as candidate for president. Here is a workers organization which has all the authority to make a campaign for 10 million votes for a UNT worker president and a vice-president from the poor peasants. Such a campaign would have opened the road to a workers and peasants’ government able to break completely with imperialism, solve the land problem and meet the needs of the workers and the exploited people! No doubt that if this resolution had been passed by a show of hands in the congress of workers delegates of the UNT, no legal obstacle could have prevented that campaign for a workers candidacy from going ahead!

An independent working class program

Such a class campaign that raised with clarity a program and an independent workers strategy would had aroused the enormous enthusiasm of the Venezuelan, the Latin America and the United States working class:

· Not even a drop of Venezuelan oil to the US exploiters, slave-traffickers of Latin American immigrants!

· No oil to massacre our Iraqi brothers and sisters, and the workers and exploited from New Orleans!

· For the complete re-nationalization, without compensation and under workers control of oil, and the rest of privatized companies!

· Expropriation without compensation of all the large estates and land for distribution among the poor farmers!

· For decent jobs and living wages for all, with the sliding scale of wages and working hours!

· Minimum wage set at the level of the family shopping basket and indexed according to inflation!

· Down with all the antistrike laws!

· Free quality public Health and Education, on the basis of the expropriation of the private schools and hospitals, the repudiation of the external debt and the application of progressive taxes on the “31 families” (15) and the monopolies!

· A class campaign for a program that calls on the workers and the exploited to vote for a presidential candidate of the UNT, that is, not to vote for Chavez!
Who can doubt that this would galvanize the embattled Bolivian working class that has begun to resist Morales repressive government! It would also inspire the Argentinean working class that refuses to accept the miserable wages and work conditions imposed on them by the union bureaucracy. It would motivate the US working class which today begins to wake up only to be told by the WSF to kneel at the feet of the Democratic Party of Clinton and the Kennedys, so praised by Chavez!

None of the currents of the UNT or of the left in Venezuela want a class program

The ex-Trotskyists that lead the UNT know well that this is possible. But they want to avoid it at all costs. They have demonstrated, and continue to demonstrate, that they are the faithful subjects of Chavez; self-confessed reformists whose role is to prevent any move towards class independence by the workers, and to make the latter subservient to the “progressive” bourgeois and the “patriotic” military.

We are not then dealing with “a tactical” problem, but one of principles: because what these currents say to the working class is that the liberation of the workers will not be the work of the workers themselves, but of bourgeois leaders like Chávez.

The ex-Trotskyists supporting Chavez are the same tendencies that in Brazil called for a vote for the popular front of Lula-Alencar, and who are now supporting the class collaborationist government in Bolivia. They are the “theoreticians” who preach the need to create “worker parties based on the unions”. But then where they lead a union federation as the UNT in Venezuela, they refuse to put up a workers candidate for the presidential elections!

As Trotsky said, whoever gives even the slightest political support to a bourgeois government, renounces its revolutionary overthrow by the masses. That is, they renounce the workers’, socialist revolution. These servants of Chavez have deserted the proletarian revolution.

International Coordination Secretariat of the Leninist Trotskyist Fraction

Notes

(1) Workers National Union

(2) This statement first appeared in the paper of the Argentine group Workers Democracy.

(3) The UNT was born of the rank and file revolt against the pro-coup, pro-imperialist CTV, the old Workers Central of Venezuela, with a notoriously corrupt and bureaucratic leadership affiliated to Accion Democratica, once the most important bourgeois party, and totally subservient to the establishment.

(4) We say that Chavez is a ‘Bonapartist’ leader of a bourgeois state with a bourgeois constitution, balancing between imperialism, the national bourgeoisie and the working masses. Despite Chavez ‘left’ persona, the Venezuela state defends bourgeois property and ‘nationalised’ property remains that of the bourgeois state. Nevertheless we support Chavez in a united front against imperialism, arguing that only a revolutionary workers movement is capable of defeating imperialism and the Venezuelan national bourgeoisie.

(5) The UIT is one of the international fractions that came out of the Morenoist LIT-CI after the Argentinean MST split the MAS. The UIT was until recently the international organization of the MST and its “sister” groups.

(6) The MST now has split in two irreconcilable fractions, the fraction”2” (led by Pedro Soranz) has just taken control of the UIT, expelling the fraction “1”.

(7) Socialist Alternative.

(8) CGT: Central General de Trabajadores, or Workers Central Union federation. In 1973 it was led by the Peronist bureaucracy (and most of the second half of the 20th century). In 1973 the Peronist Party made the then president (also a Peronist, but of a somewhat left-leaning wing) resign, so that there could be new elections, and to allow General Peron to run for his third presidency. His wife Isabelita Peron ran as vice-president.

(9) Cordobazo: On May 29, 1969, and as a part of the worldwide revolutionary wave that was sweeping almost every country in Latin America and most of the world, there was a semi-insurrection in Cordoba, Argentina’s second city, and a main industrial center at the time. Having been preceded by very combative and persistent student revolts in several Universites all over the country, the Cordobazo began as a protest against the elimination of the so-called ‘English Saturday’ (any time over the half day was paid as time-and-a-half – 50% more) and ended with the defeat of the police that had been called to repress the demonstrations and marches that the workers the owners of Cordoba had made for two or three days. The police had to quit the city and the army was called to replace it. It is important to remember that in 1969, there was a military dictatorship in charge of the government. The Cordobazo opened way to a revolutionary period in Argentina and Latin America that came to an end with the bloody dictatorships of Videla and Co. in Argentina, Pinochet in Chile, etc.

(10) The Vivorazo was another semi-insurrection some time after the Cordobazo, that put Rosario (the third largest Argentinean city, also a main industrial center and the second port of the country) in the hands of the workers for a time.

(11) Sitrac and Sitram were two factory unions (initially set-up as “yellow” unions by the bosses and the bourgeois government to divide and defeat the auto-workers who were affiliated to the SMATA, or Autoworkers United Union). But they shot themselves in the foot. The young workers of the two most important factories in Cordoba –FIAT Materfer, that manufactured electric motors and electric train wagons, and FIAT Concord, that manufactured big electric motors for power stations, dams, etc.- in 1970 defeated the “yellow” bureaucracy in each factory, united the two unions, creating the SITRAC-SITRAM Union, and immediately called for a “working-class nationwide congress of the rank and file, with mandated delegates of every workplace in the country” to vote a working-class program to find a breakthrough for the crisis-ridden Argentina. The two congresses that were held under the name of “Classism”, convened hundreds of militant delegates. “Classism” as a phenomenon was very important, because up to that time, and from the late forties, the previous generations of workers had been mainly Peronist. Unfortunately most the ‘classist’ vanguard that it created were recruited to the various guerrilla currents inspired in Cuban ‘guerrillasim’ (including fake-Trotskyist ones). There were other centrist currents too, as well as left-Peronists, Stalinists, etc. All of them did their utmost to frustrate the opportunity for the workers to take the country in their hands.

(12) Villazo, a semi-insurrection in Villa Constitucion, one of the industrial towns that form the industrial belt running from Buenos Aires City (with its Great Buenos Aires Area) up to Rosario City, some 400km of factories, steelworks, oil refineries, ports, etc., along the coast of the rivers Parana and Plate. The Villazo was the last and most important semi-insurrection of the industrial workers taking a city and a series of big factories in their hands, before the military coup that put Videla and Co. in power. It was brutally repressed, in spite of the support and sympathy from the Argentine workers and students, thanks to the union bureaucracy leaving it isolated, and the left vacillating and capitulating to the pressure of the Stalinists, the Peronist bureaucracy, etc. The centrists in those years did not want to be labeled “guerrillas”, so they never raised slogans about self-defense, workers’ armed militia, etc., tending to raise mostly economic (unionist) slogans plus abstract socialist propaganda.

(13) Socialism or Barbarism

(14) Workers Press.

(15) “31 families”. Name for the richest group of Venezuelan families. They were closely intertwined with imperialist interests for centuries. Most of their members do not even live in Venezuela.

 
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Appendix

Unite! Organiser enthusiastic about Chavez and Morales

Auckland Unite organiser Mike Treen recently returned from a visit to Venezuela and Boliva. He spoke in Auckland to a meeting organised by GPJA. Treen was ethusiastic about Chavez. “He is ahead of the workers and is leading the revolution”. The same with Morales in Bolivia. “The revolution will not happen without Morales”. This is the Australian Green Left position.

In reponse to a question from a CWG comrade who stressed the need for the working class to be armed and politically independent of Chavez and Morales, Treen rejected the need for the independence of workers from Chavez and Morales. Despite the splits in the UNT recent congress, Treen said it was good that they all supported the re-election of Chavez.

A Socialist Workers speaker at the meeting spoke of a ‘sort of dual power’ in Venezuela. If this term is being used in the Leninist sense, this can only mean that the SWO thinks that Chavez represents the workers in the state, rather than representing the bourgeois in containing and suppressing the workers revolution.

Whatever their apparent differences, both Treen and the SWO speaker substitute Chavez and his political machine for the working class. This confirms our view that Unite and SWO, who have combined to form the Worker’s Charter in NZ, are following the Australian Green Left closely as a cheerleader for the Boliviarian Revolution and left wing of the popular front in Latin America. (see article above).

From Class Struggle 67 June/July 2006

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Written by raved

January 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Bolivia: Morales represses landless occupations

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Statement of ORI (Workers Red International)

We reprint a statement of the International Red October (ORI) of Bolivia against the repression of landless peasants’ occupations by Evo Morales Government. Those who say that Morales’ government is a progressive, popular, even revolutionary, government, must answer to these betrayals. The fact is that the ex-Trotskyists who are the left wing of the popular front in Latin America are covering for Morales anti-worker, anti-peasant and pro-imperialist regime. 
 
The government of Evo Morales savagely represses workers and farmers who occupy land

Spurred on by the numerous declarations of the government of Evo to make an “agrarian reform”, thousands of landless farmers, homeless unemployed and even “cooperative” miners (1) , have seized land in different departments of the country. Some land has even been seized from big landowners in Santa Cruz. In Oruro too, hundreds of poor farmers, – many led by the Movement Without a Roof (2), “cooperativistas” and members of the Movement Without Land (MST), have camped in tents, facing cold and hunger in the hope that the government will make grants of land to those who have occupied it.

On the contrary, Evo Morales, the “government of the people”, the defender of the indigenous peoples ordered that the occupations be savagely repressed and the poor farmers evicted from the land which was then occupied by the military. This action of the government has already caused one death and a number of children are now missing. With tear gas, rubber bullets and dogs, the police savagely attacked the demonstration the landless peasants (MST) with their supporters and relatives staged days after in Oruro.

But not only this, in Caracollo, – a town near Oruro – there was another forced eviction and brutal repression. The government returned to attack and injure the poor farmers with rubber bullets and ferocious dogs, arresting the leaders of the MST.

Is this the government “of the indigenous people” that is going to give land to the poor farmers? Or, on the contrary, while it beats, jails or kills those poor farmers who fight for their right to have shelter, house and land to produce and to be able to live, it defends by force the private property and large farms of the big landowners. The fact is: this is the ‘agrarian reform’ of Evo Morales, representative of the big estate owners; a ‘reform’ in the service of the interests of landowners and the church.

  • No confidence in this repressive government that defends the interests of large estate owners and big farmers, the coca bourgeoisie! 
  • Immediate expropriation of the properties of the landowners and big estate owners! 
  • Distribute all the land among the poor farmers!

The agrarian reform that returns the land to the poor farmers will not come from the hand of Evo Morales – nor his concocted Constituent Assembly. HHe has demonstrated that he is representing and defending the private property of the landowners. Only a workers and poor farmers’ government based on organs of self-determination and workers and poor farmers militias, that expropriates the large estate owners and landowners, will be able to take the land for the poor farmers.

The bourgeois government of Evo Morales is already killing the people!

The government of Evo Morales is another government of the Rosca (3), a servant of the transnational companies and the Santa Cruz bourgeoisie. And as such it defends the property and the interests of the classes it represents.

We saw the so-called “nationalization” made by Evo on May 1st. It was same policy of the Chinese ex-bureaucrats who became the new bourgeoisie of the “mixed economy” when they restored capitalism in China. In Bolivia it only made the state company – YPFB – into a 51% shareholder and partner of the transnational companies that produce most of the hydrocarbons in Bolivia. Thus, this nationalization of Evo Morales, – devised and defended by Chávez, Castro and the WSF along with the fake Trotskyists – was an attempt to expropriate the heroic anti-imperialist struggle of the masses to throw out the transnational companies, to truly expropriate without compensation their assets. Instead Morales protects the right of these companies to make super profits, and in exchange for strangling the revolution, negotiates for a larger share of the profits.

Morales’ policy toward the so much promised “nationalization of the mines” of COMIBOL applies the same principle as his ‘land reform’. So not to frighten the landlords Morales will only make available the state owned barren land of the desert of the high plateau! Nevertheless, the poor farmers have already paid the price of his ‘land reform’ with their dead and wounded and imprisoned. That is the price they have paid for believing in his promises and trying to act accordingly solving the problem of land reform themselves.

On the other hand, while he promises the nationalization of the COMIBOL and all the mines, it has isolated and threatened the wage-earning miners by forming an alliance with the leaders of the cooperatives who employ thousands of rank and file cooperative workers as virtual slaves without any rights (4).

But this nationalisation promise is worthless when Morales has just granted the right to exploit the El Mutún Mountain, the greatest iron (5) reserve of the world, to the greedy imperialistic monopolies, like Jeindal Steel, in a joint venture with the fascist bourgeoisie of Santa Cruz!

It is obvious that the bourgeois semi-nationalization of Evo Morales, along with his promised nationalization of the mines and ‘land reform’, are a fraud perpetrated against the masses! They are part of a plan devised by a popular demagogic bourgeois nationalist leader to deceive the masses, so that the imperialistic monopolies, as well as the mining bourgeoisie and the great landowners, make small concessions to the masses to prevent a real expropriation of their property, and by this means are guaranteed both their property rights and their super profits.

Break with the treacherous labor leaders, agents of the bourgeoisie!

Before these serious attacks on the more radicalized sectors of the peasantry, as with the attacks on the LAB airline workers, and the health female workers in Santa Cruz, the leaders of the main workers and peasants organizations have maintained a shameful silence. Neither the COB, CODs, CORs, nor even the CSTUB have done anything to free the militants imprisoned by the ruling class. A few leaders have made lukewarm declarations of support of the members of the MST and poor farmers brutally repressed by the government. But this is not enough! We need to break the silence now and turn those weak declarations of support into actions to release our prisoners from the claws of the ruling class!

The rank and file teachers of La Paz have shown they are part of the revolutionary vanguard that confronts the repressive government of Evo Morales. Nevertheless, their leaders who claim to be revolutionary Trotskyist members of the POR, did nothing to coordinate the workers struggles, not even with the militant rank and file students that the POR leads in Cochabamba and La Paz (where they are fighting against the university authorities). But this is nothing new, since the bureaucracy of Solares guarantees that the left will maintain the social peace so that the government can try to strangle the revolution and not alarm business interests.

While this situation remains, the COB does not have any weight nor the strength to attack the government because Solares –while he remains in charge – is in fact the guarantor of the destruction of the COB. Yet, the workers still see the COB as their organization. For that reason the congress of the COB planned for the 19th June, must be transformed into a congress of real rank and file delegates with revocable mandate to prepare it for the struggle against the government and the treacherous leaders. This is the only possible way to arm the the COB. Enough of bureaucratic congresses that do not serve the workers fight. For a national congress of delegates of the broad base of workers, farmers, students, etc. Unite the workers ranks and all the sectors in fight to declare war on this repressive government which represents the ruling class.

Following Evo Morales, Chávez, and all whole World Social Forum that defend the interests of the national bourgeoisie, the landowners and the imperialistic monopolies, there will be no gas for the Bolivians, land for the peasants, or liberation of the nation from imperialistic oppression.

Only by defeating the “Bolivarian revolution” – the caricature of socialism of Evo Morales, Chávez, Castro and all the WSF –can the workers and poor farmers of Bolivia return to the revolutionary road of October 2003 and May-June 2005 to take up again their demands raised almost 3 years ago, and go on to the victory of the workers and peasants revolution!

For that reason, against the conspiracy that confuses the masses, there is no time to lose in reviving the semi-soviet of the El Alto workers, miners and peasants as the “headquarters of the revolution”, and to raise once more the demand: ‘Neither 30 nor 50%, nationalization!”

Kick out the transnational companies!

Neither 30% nor 50%! Nationalization without compensation and under worker control of hydrocarbons, all the refineries, pipelines, oilfields, plants, facilities, and all the properties and funds of the bloodsucking transnational companies!

The only way to win minimum demands, for land, the mines, and the gas for all the Bolivian masses, health, decent jobs and wages, etc., is to return to the road of October and May-June. We have to centralize and coordinate our struggles.

It is necessary to create a National Congress of rank and file workers and peasants’ delegates to unite the worker ranks, to defeat the collaborationist leaderships, to organize a great fight to revive the road of May-June, 2005, the road to the workers and peasants revolution. A congress that unifies immediately the CODs, CORs and returns to the tradition of the revolutionary COB of the Theses of Pulacayo so that the workers can prepare for a general strike to defeat the counterrevolutionary government of the popular front and to win all our revolutionary demands:

· Immediate nationalization under workers control of the iron deposit of El Mutún!

· Renationalisation without compensation and under workers’ control of all the mines, LAB, Illimani Water, and all other privatised companies!

· Down with the trap of the concocted Constituent Assembly and the autonomy referendum!Immediate freedom to the poor farmers, the cooperativista workers, and of those in the Movement Without Roof and the Movement Without Land, the comuneros of Ayo-Ayo and other political prisoners in the jails of Evo Morales and La Rosca!

· Punish the assassins of over one hundred worker martyrs of October!

· Sack the murderous officer caste of the Armed Forces!

· For committees of soldiers who democratically choose their officials and who send their delegates to the Workers’ and Peasants’ Congress!

· For immediate wage increases, with a minimum wage sufficient for the family shopping basket and indexed to inflation! Reducing working hours until all who want to work have jobs!

· Expropriation without payment of all the large estates, in the first place of rich territories of the landowners of the East, and distribute the land among the poor farmers! This is the only and true ‘land reform’!

· Only a workers’ and peasants’ government, supported by the independently organised, armed masses, can achieve a true nationalization, fulfil the demands of October 2003 and May-June 2005, and guarantee a truly democratic and sovereign Constituent Assembly!

Unite now all those who are in struggle!

Form a National Committee of struggle!

ORI (International Red October) Bolivia, member of the Fraction Leninist-Trotskyist, June 2006
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Notes

(1) Self-employed miners organised in cooperatives. When the Bolivian tin mines ceased to be profitable, the government “privatised” the least operative by leasing them to groups of the previously sacked miners –organised into cooperatives- to exploit the remaining few, poor, and laborious to mine, deposits of the mineral.

(2) i.e homeless movement. Many unemployed or poor employed workers do not have theur own houses – that they cannot afford an apartment or small house- and have to live many packed into each room of an old or derelict apartment-house. Or they set up cardboard, tin or adobe huts on an abandoned piece of land, risking eviction by the owner with the help of the police or the gendarmes. Or they go to shantytowns, where they are harassed by the police and the petty criminals. Like in Brazil, in Bolivia these Dwellers Without a Roof are organized in a movement.

(3) Rosca used to mean the group of very rich tin mine-owners that “owned” Bolivia and controlled governments up to the 1950s. But now the word refers to the Bolivian national ruling class, mostly landowners who are also oil barons or small partners of the oil and gas companies, and more recently, also big coca growers.

(4) While it is supposed that the cooperatives have a democratically elected and recallable board of cooperative directors as leaders, the reality is that they are led by an entrenched and treacherous bureaucracy – the equal of that of the COB that seeks agreements with the government and the ruling class. These bureaucrats act as agents of the bosses, deciding about everything (investment, purchase of tools, etc.) , not paying the rest of their fellow miners their share of profits, subcontracting other miners, etc. The rank and file cooperative miners earn even less than a common miner, because the bureaucrats use the excuse of ‘low’ profits and ‘high’ costs to rob the cooparative and fill their own pockets. They have lost the basic conditions of ordinary workers such as health services, pensions, etc. because they are legally considered as “owners”, not as workers under a boss. The same has happened – thanks to the fake Trotskyists that covered for the bureaucrats or became bureaucrats themselves – with the workers of the “recuperated” factories in Argentina, all of which have been turned into “coooperatives”.

(5) In fact, the El Mutun Mountain contains huge reserves of iron and manganese.

From Class Struggle 67 June/July 2006

The Bolivian Revolution at the Crossroads

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This document is proposed as a draft founding document of the Leninist Trotskyist Fraction of the Liaison Committee for an International Conference of Principled Trotskyists and revolutionary workers organizations which was formed in December 2005.

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The magnificent revolutionary uprising of May-June of 2005 has been contained by the class collaborationist popular front of the reformist leaders who have once again rescued the government of Rodriguez representing the mine owning bosses. But the revolution has not been defeated and will re-emerge following the Presidential elections
 
The huge Bolivian uprising of the masses of 2003 removed Sanchez de Losada, and the uprising of May-June 2005, removed Carlos Mesa. As in 202003, in May and June of 2005 the working class had the opportunity again to finish off the regime of the mine-owners and replace it the centralized and armed organise of workers and farmers power, a regime of dual power, opening the way to the victory of the workers and farmers revolution.

But this victory was snatched from them, once again, by their treacherous leaders, Evo Morales, Solares, Quispe, Mamani, and POR Lora, who once more saved the regime of Rosca by making a truce with the government of President Rodriguez. Meanwhile, the hydrocarbons, which the Bolivian masses have twice mobilized to nationalize, are still in the hands of the imperialist transnational companies. And all this is covered with the smoke screen of the elections of December. This it is the result of the popular front that supports Rodriguez and guarantees the continuity of the regime of the mine-owners.

In May-June of 2005, the Bolivian masses uprising opened up a crisis in the ranks of the ruling class., that is, a vacuum of power at the top. The insurrectionary general strike of 16 days saw the working class and its organizations use both legal and military means to create a true dual power with more than 100 blockades, barricades, street fights. Confronting the police in the streets with the sticks of dynamite, the miners united with poor farmers to defeat the policy of Evo Morales of increasing the oil taxes on foreign companies to 50% of the value of the hydrocarbons”. The workers and poor farmers’ slogan was “Neither 30%, nor 50%, but full Nationalization”!

This heroic uprising had its most conscious expression in the COR [regional union central] of El Alto [workers’ city of 1 million above La Paz]. On the 8 of June the COR El Alto passed a resolution for a revolutionary course of action, that reaffirmed the struggle for the nationalization of hydrocarbons, rejected all new elections as a trap, summoned the Aboriginal Popular Assembly [in which the masses who are ethnic Almara or Quechua are represented] and created a congress of rank and file delegates and a workers and farmers’ militia, declaring El Alto to be the “headquarters of the revolution”. That call was in reality to form a centralised organ of workers and peasants power that could prepare for a victorious insurrection to form a workers’ and poor peasants’ government.

The insurrectionary general strike succeeded in overthrowing Mesa. But once again, the treacherous leaders allowed the bourgeoisie a way out. Solares, Quispe, Mamani and POR prevented the Aboriginal Popular Assembly with its congress of base delegates and its centralized military services from being founded. Meanwhile, Evo Morales and his MAS (Movement for Socialism) MPs in Parliament in Sucre, where it had fled to escape La Paz, but still surrounded by the masses, agreed to Rodriguez succeeding Mesa.

Thus, we see the politics of class collaboration of the popular front – that has one “leg” of the poor peasants led by Evo Morales; and another “leg” of the labour leaders headed by Solares that once more joined forces to prevent the masses from smashing all the institutions of the state and of the regime and imposing a regime of dual power, before taking the taking of power by the proletariat.

The actions of the popular front of the labour leaders collaborated with the bourgeoisie to support its regime and government and to strangle the revolution

The leaders of the workers movement took the proletariat from the streets. In this way, they broke the worker peasant alliance, and allowed Evo Morales to divert the peasants’ movement into the reactionary elections thus supporting the social base of the bourgeoisie and the regime of the mine-owners and their policy of bargaining with imperialism over the division of the spoils from the hydrocarbons.

At the same time, the leaders of the workers movement under Solares excluded the COB and put the COD and COR (that are, in the cities, true organs of dual regional power), under the control of the mayors and the Civic Committees. By that means they strangled the embryo of workers and peasants power and prevented it from centralising and coordinating as an El Alto soviet.

Meanwhile, under the cover of this popular front, finance capital and the transnational companies have mobilized the officer caste of the army, and the landowning bourgeoisie of Santa Cruz – main collaborators with oil interests of the imperialists – supporting and revival of fascist bands to drown in blood the proletarian revolution.

In spite of this new treachery, the Bolivian revolution is still alive. The revolutionary situation is temporarily on hold pending the elections. The crisis of the regime that had its head split open by the masses in its two revolutionary attacks of 2003 and 2005 is still far from being resolved. The breaches at the top are still open. The question of hydrocarbons has not been answered, and the demand for its nationalization still drives the political struggles of the masses. In each struggle, road block, strike, and demonstration, “Nationalization of hydrocarbons” continues being the demand and the slogan that expresses the feeling of the masses.

The pre-insurrectionary mood of the masses remains seething below the surface. What does this mean? That the masses are conscious that none of their demands, not even the most elementary, will be won without an all out fight. For that reason all demands in whatever sector are expressed as struggles, road blocks, strikes, mobilizations, and occupations of universities.

The tragedy continues to be that the organs of struggle were not centralized nationally by the treacherous leaders. Yet they remain as organisms of semi-dual power localised in CORs and CODs, since the working class keeps them alive as their organs of struggle, and is them that workers go to solve all their demands and problems.

Thus, the revolutionary situation remains unresolved. Much more water will need to be thrown on the fire, and counter-revolutionary repression in the streets will be needed, to smash the heroic Bolivian revolution that not yet said its last word, far from it.

 
The politics of the popular front that tries to strangle the heroic Bolivian revolution are not “national”

The imperialistic monopolies that extend their businesses in all Latin America, employ all their concentrated counter-revolutionary intelligence in smothering the Bolivian revolution, because they know that if this revolution advances and wins, their property, their businesses and their dominion in the subcontinent will be under threat. For that reason, they have a highly centralised international General Staff acting from day to day to defeat it.

The “Summit of the Américas” on 4-5 November in Mar del Plata, Argentina, had as its main task that of guaranteeing a continuous increase in the super-exploitation of the proletariat and the plundering of the natural resources of Latin America.

The “Summit of the Peoples”, an appendage to the main summit, was organized by the native bourgeoisies. Evo Morales and Chávez were the main protagonists along with Castroite unions, Stalinism in all its variants, union bureaucrats and the liquidators of Trotskyism. Its main objective was to strengthen the popular front surrounding the Bolivian revolution to abort and defeat that revolution, burying the nationalization program, and unearthing the bourgeois policy of bargaining over shares of oil rent with imperialism. That is the famous “Bolivarian revolution” that they proclaim: nothing but the haggling of the national bourgeoisies with their imperialistic master, to try to get a greater slice of the surplus gained from the working class and the plundering of the oppressed Bolivian nation. The “Bolivarian revolution” is the expropriation of the anti-imperialist and revolutionary struggle of the masses, it is a caricature of a revolution.

The ‘sepoy’ governments of the region, who participated in both “Summits”, like that of Lula, Kirchner, Vázquez, Duarte of Paraguay, and Chávez, are those that organize the “power ring” that guarantees the supply of Bolivian gas so that they can supply the imperialistic monopolies and their smaller partners, the national bosses, in the countries of the MERCOSUR. They protect and guarantee the interests of the biggest foreign investors in Bolivia, Petrobras and Repsol, and that act as the ‘beach head’ for all the imperialistic transnational companies that want to keep expropriating tens of billions of dollars from the reserves of Bolivian gas.


Despite the enormous poverty of the oppressed masses in Bolivia, this nation is not only rich in its natural resources, but these are strategic resources for the economy of the continent

Although the working class and the poor farmers do not have natural gas, the gas ducts are mere hundreds of meters from their homes. The gas reserves of Bolivia are appraised between 80,000 and 100,000 million dollars. The masses know this, and the fact of such wealth rubbing against their poverty is what motivates their revolutionary will and their intransigence in the fight for the nationalization of hydrocarbons.

The proletarian vanguard already knows that only the nationalization of the hydrocarbons meet the needs of the workers and the poor farmers. The imperialistic bourgeoisie, that needs each cent of Bolivian hydrocarbons, also knows it, and for that reason it has concentrated against the Bolivian revolution all the forces of the reaction, it has called on all its agents, and without a doubt prepares the counter-revolution to smash the revolution, if the current policy of the popular front and elections fail to strangle it to death.

It is the central demand of the revolution and the international character of the struggle over the nationalization of hydrocarbons – that began in 2003-, that makes the revolutionary thrust of the Bolivian proletariat so powerful, and likewise the response of the international counter-revolution so reactionary.

Bolivia concentrates the expression of the struggle of the masses of Latin America against plunder and super-exploitation. Its victory will put on the immediate agenda the expropriation of the expropriators, not only imperialists, but all the native bourgeoisies that are their junior partners. For that reason, to a great extent, the destiny of the exploited ones of the continent will be defined by the result of the magnificent Bolivian revolution.

 
In Bolivia there is a life and death situation: either the workers and poor farmers revolution prevails overthrowing the bourgeoisie, expropriating the expropriators and imposing the dictatorship of the proletariat as the beacon for the Latin American and world; or, on the contrary, under the leadership of the World Social Forum of Chávez, Fidel Castro and Evo Morales and their fantasy of the “Bolivarian Revolution”, the revolution will be strangled and the counter-revolutionary defeat will end transforming Bolivia into a direct colony or protectorate of imperialism and transnational companies. Such a defeat will rank with those they made in Chile in 1973, Nicaragua and El Salvador in the 1980s, or in Argentina and Brazil in the 1970s

Now is the moment for regrouping internationally the healthy forces of principled Trotskyism and for the struggle to build internationalist revolutionary parties in Latin America that do not bend to the siren songs of the popular front to the terror of fascism.

While the leaders of the masses make their “meetings of two cities” – to make a ‘Holy Alliance’ of “peace” between El Alto and Santa Cruz -, the oil barons and the bourgeoisie of the ‘cross’ openly organise the fascist bands. The General Staff of the bourgeoisie knows perfectly well what is the problem is and how it must solve it: it knows that it faces, no more or less, the proletarian revolution.

Following the truce with Rodriguez, the reaction tries to seize of the organizations of struggle out of the hands of the masses

Once the truce with Rodriguez and shut down the revolutionary crisis of last May-June, the immediate objective of the leaders of the truce was to prevent the national congress of delegates of base of the Aboriginal Popular Assembly from meeting and forming workers and poor farmer’s militias. And once this was achieved their objective was the one to win the leadership o0f all the struggle organisations.

Thus the truce opened up a reaction inside these struggle organisations. In El Alto on the 8 of June there was a meeting to bury the resolutions of the COR, and to smooth the way to the fraudulent elections of the regime of the spiral.

Once sure of the leaderships in El Alto, the reaction organised the meeting of the “two cities” where the leaders of the COR of El Alto embraced the fascist bourgeoisie of Santa Cruz. Then behind the backs of the rank and file of these organisations a meeting was arranged in Cochabamba on the 9 of July, headed by Solares, the FEJUVE of El Alto, representatives of Evo Morales, and of POR.

On the 12, 13 and 14 of August s Continental conference on the Nationalization of Hydrocarbons was organized by representatives of the CUT of Brazil, the Lambertists, the LIT and the PSTU of Brazil, the “Revolutionary Marxist Tendency” of Alan Woods, the Uit-ci, the P-SOL of Brazil, the bureaucratic and Stalinists PST of Argentina and other renegades from Trotskyism. Once more the leaders of these currents went behind the backs of the revolutionary vanguard to hand over the Bolivian revolution to Chavez and the “Bolivarian Revolution”.

This meeting decided to hold a symbolic day on the 17 October in all Latin American countries dedicated to the ‘nationalisation of the hydrocarbons’ – that nobody observed -, and summoned a new “Continental Encounter” in 2006 hosted by Chávez in Venezuela.

That conference was a vile trick against the Bolivian revolution. All the currents taking place have collaborated time and time again against the Bolivian revolution, yet claimed to speak in the name of the revolutionary.

At the same time, regional or departmental congresses of the federations and unions were being held all over Bolivia. In them all the reaction tried to dominate. The clearest example was the congress of the FSTMB – the mining Federation based in Huanuni, where a scandalous fraud organized by the employer’s association of the private companies expropriated the leadership of the Federation from the Miners leaders that had consistently fought for a national congress and a revolutionary program.

But against this reaction a tenacious resistance of the workers rank and file and radicalised youth against the truce began. Its vanguard was centered in the COR El Alto, and was the one that it prevented the endorsement of Evo Morales as Presidential candidate in the elections. Nevertheless, because the revolutionaries lack sufficient weight in the vanguard and the masses able to centralise and organise this resistance of the radicalised rank and file, the oppressed masses have not been able to break the stranglehold of their misleaders and throw out this new truce.

Then another example of the control of the masses organs of fight by the collaborators was the anniversary of October 2003. This commemoration was turned into a symbolic act. Thousands of young people, workers and poor farmers were mobilized all over the country, but the treacherous leaders did not allow these acts to be united across all the sectors. Once again, on the 17 of October, they did not allow the mobilized masses to transform the Continental meeting on nationalisation of the hydrocarbons into a true congress of the delegates of the rank and file of the Aboriginal Popular Assembly, for fear that it would spark of a return to the revolutionary road of October of 2003 and May-June of 2005.

The masses try to keep alive the COR’s and semi-dual power COD’s as local and regional embryo soviets. Solares, Patana and the treacherous labor leaders on the other hand try to dissolve them into the institutions of the bourgeois regime


Between February and October of the 2003, the workers and the farmers threw out the old leadership of the COB – that collaborated with Sanchez de Losada -, and began to centralise the mass organisations of struggle

After the fall of Goni, and his succession by Mesa with whom Morales and Quispe made a truce in October 2003, Solares worked inside the COB to prevent the workers and poor farmer from transforming it into an organ of dual power as was the case in the 1952 revolution.

Despite this treachery, the masses, with great determination, began to win influence in the departmental and regional Workers Unions – the COR and the COD -, and to coordinate their organizations of struggle at local and regional level. It was this influence that enabled the blockades, the insurrectionary general strike and the fights around the barricades of last May-June. The poor farmers blocked the routes all over Bolivia and occupied oil wells of the multinationals. This influence came to a head in the dual power organs of El Alto, especially the COR which brought together many workers including the vanguard of the miners and poor peasants.

The treacherous leaders aborted the implementation of the resolutions of the COR El Alto of June 8; the reconvening of the congress of Aboriginal and Popular Assembly that could have centralized the masses fight for militias and soviets. They broke the workers and poor farmers’ alliance by imposing the truce with Rodriguez. They divided the labor movement with Solares dissolving the COB and making each department fight alone, while Patana was going to hug Rodriguez and the fascist bourgeoisie of Santa Cruz in “encounter of two cities” with the blessing of the church. They diverted the poor farmers into a demagogic campaign of Bolivian nationalism promoted by Morales and other servants of the Bolivian employer’s association.

But nevertheless, the treacherous leaders of the labor movement could not prevent the COR and COD -, the true revolutionary organizations that led the revolutionary days of last May-June from remaining organs of semi-dual power at the regional and local levels.

Today, to try to eliminate that semi-dual power character of the COR and COD, the leaders of the workers’ leg of the popular front truce, Solares and Patana, subordinate them to the hated, discredited and battered bourgeois institutions of the mine-owners regime in the cities and regions, such as the Civic mayors and Committees, and the projects of these bosses’ institutions. Typical of this collaboration is the inclusion of Patana by Rodriguez in the Pre-Constituent Assembly Commission.

Another example; when the government decreed that the budget of the departments had to be proportional to the wealth that these generated, the mayors of the different departments began to demand that the government increase the taxes on the Hydrocarbons (IDH). For, without more taxes the money would not be available for guaranteed health, education, etc. The bourgeois mayors began to organize pressure to haggle over their share of the oil taxes, allowing the oil companies to continue to exploit the hydrocarbons.

The treacherous labor leaders tried to get the masses in the COR and COD to endorse the policy of the Mayors to increase the oil taxes, thus bringing back Morales defeated position of bargaining over taxation and rejecting the popular demands for outright nationalisation won in the heat of the struggle of May-June of 2005.

Similarly, the students and university Federations were dragged into the process of bargaining over increasing oil taxes to pay for the education budget. POR Lora, which has an important influence in the student movement, played a central role in this subordination of the students to the Mayors in, for example, Cochabamba.

The working class does not have its own revolutionary leadership that can embody the historical experience of the world revolution. The bourgeoisie and the transnational companies do have a general staff

Thus, the proletariat, lacking a revolutionary leadership, was contained by its treacherous leaders, and the poor farmers were diverted down the road of Bolivian nationalism by Morales and co; yet the big bourgeoisie was able to subordinate the organs of revolutionary struggle to its established institutions such as the Mayors and civic councils.

What we see in Bolivia today is the same policy applied by the German social democracy when Hilferding argued that soviets could coexist with a Constituent Assembly. With that policy they strangled the revolution of 1918-19 in Germany. First, with sweet phrase to win over the rebel workers, and them with massacres perpetrated by the Social-Democratic police. In both cases the ruling class understands clearly that the existence of its state (a Constituent Assembly) is irreconcilable with the existence of the independent organs of the centralized and armed dual power of the masses. The battle for state power can only be decided by a civil war of the classes in which one must win and one must lose.

Today, in Bolivia, we are at the tipping point, when the sweet phrases and the policy of class collaboration in the popular front, disarms and it demobilizes the revolutionary masses while the class enemy buys time to prepare the armed reaction.


After making the truce with Rodriguez, Solares wanted to use the COB to nominate himself in the fraudulent elections, with the program to create a “Political Instrument of the Workers” (IPT), that is, a reformist workers party. But this program was already in existence in practice with the plan of the popular front with its two legs (one in the unions the other in the farmers organisations) to subordinate the workers and poor farmers organizations to the bourgeois institutions.

The IPT policy was a reformist attempt to try copy what happened in Brazil with the founding of the PT (Workers Party) at the end of the 1970s. In that country, the formation of the PT was the method used by the bourgeoisie, the church and the reformist labor currents to abort the process which threatened to open a revolution in the years 1978-79. But in Brazil, this diversion of the vanguard into a reformist workers party succeed because the revolution had not yet begun, and the military dictatorship had just fallen at the hands of the masses. The state and the bourgeois regime were left intact.

In Bolivia, on the contrary, the masses have already mounted huge revolutionary attacks, to throw out two presidents with street actions and to carry out one of the greatest revolutions of the history of the continent in 1952. The revolutionary masses, definitively, could not be strangled by means alone of creating a reformist workers party.

It was a reformist variant that lost all legitimacy when the revolutionary workers organized in the COD and the COR the revolutionary uprising of May-June 2005. The rank and file openly repudiated Solares, and many extended congresses and, such as those of the FSTMB, the COR El Alto, etc., called for an emergency congress of the COB to dismiss the traitor Solares.

The reality is that Solares – now a political advisor to Morales and the boss’s regime -, alongside Patana, supports the leg of the truce that supports Rodriguez and the fraudulent elections. They could do this because they followed the program of Fidel Castro to control the labor organisations from the inside to prevent the centralisation, their arming, and the formation of organs of dual power.

It is a life or death question for the proletariat, to defeat the treacherous leaders and their front popular policy, that is, class collaboration. Only with a revolutionary leadership and program will the working class be able to ensure its independence of all the fractions of the bourgeoisie and to take over the leadership of all exploited and oppressed classes.

For this to happen it is necessary that the radicalized rank and file of workers to break with the treacherous leaders of the COR and COD and their policy of class collaboration with the bourgeois institutions, and to set this in motion to call for an immediate national congress of rank and file delegates of the COR, COD, FSTMB and all the organizations in struggle to return to the unfinished tasks of October and May-June.

Thanks to the treason of the leaders of the proletariat like yesterday in Venezuela, Evo Morales and Chávez, today prepare the abortion of the Bolivian revolution by means of a bourgeois nationalist policy.

Thanks to the treason of the workers leaders, Evo Morales managed to divert the poor farmers movement back into the electoral trap, thus maintaining a social base in the petty bourgeoisie in the cities and the rural areas to back him as a candidate to reform the regime of the mine owners, and by that route, to gain a social base in the masses for a return to the bourgeois nationalist policy of haggling with imperialism over the share of spoils of hydrocarbons

The revolutionary uprising of May-June, to the shout of “Neither 30” nor 50”; Nationalization!”, had attacked head-on this bourgeois policy. In that struggle, the urban centers, that is, the working class, influenced the poor farmers’ movement with its program of nationalization. The treason of the workers leaders has once more pushed the peasantry back into the arms of the bourgeoisie.

The peasantry is not a homogenous class. Only when the proletariat wins the streets and can demonstrate to the poorer farmers that it can carry the fight to victory and has the power to give land to the tiller, provide machinery, fertilizers and cheap credit, can it be separated from the rich peasantry who side with the bourgeoisie in the hope that they can enrich themselves with more land or businesses in the cities. The stronger the proletariat the more will the masses of poor farmers follow its lead and weaken the petty bourgeois social base for fascism.

The popular front policy of class collaboration is an attempt to abort the Bolivian revolution by dividing the peasantry and isolating the workers’ vanguard 

This is similar to what happened in 1998 with Chávez in Venezuela. During the Caracazo of 1989 the masses began an anti-imperialist insurrection that exploded the rotten regime of the ‘Pact of Fixed Point’ and broke with the main the bosses’ parties: COPEI (Christian Democracy), and AD (Social-Democracy). After several failed attempts to strangle the uprising of the masses, imperialism and the bourgeoisie resorted to the ex- lieutenant colonel Chávez (who was in prison for his role in failed military coup). They released him from jail and after winning the elections Chavez formed a left-populist bourgeois nationalistic government which expropriated the anti-imperialist struggle of the masses and aborted the Venezuelan revolution.

We can see the same happening in Bolivia. Evo Morales was one of “stars” of the “Summit of the People” in Mar del Plata, Argentina, the ‘alternative’ to the “Summit of the Américas” where Bush and its crew members discussed how to strangle the Bolivian revolution and how to distribute superprofits to the monopolies by sacking the Latin American nations and oppressing its peoples. Evo Morales was embraced by Chávez signaling clearly that the super-exploited Bolivian workers and poor farmers, and of all the continent must be prepared for Morales to complete the abortion of the Bolivian revolution, like Chávez did in Venezuela.

But to carry out this plan, as we already said, the need to be able to count on the ability of the treacherous leadership of the proletariat. That is, they need that the traitors to guarantee that the revolutionary organizations of struggle are subordinated to the bourgeois institutions of the mine owners regime

Evo Moral and the MAS, in the event of winning the elections, want to be sure that the COB, the COR and the COD will be subordinated to the bourgeois state, and by that route, to have under its control the great part of the revolutionary masses, and in particular, the heart of the working class: the miners and the revolutionary workers of El Alto.

That is why Morales did not want to make specific the electoral proposals that Patana of the COR, and Mamani of the FEJUVE had made to him. Because their role is to drive the workers leg of the popular front and along with Solares to do the dirty work of making the COR and COD bow down to the Mayors and city councils. In this way, having already totally paralyzed the FSTMB thanks to the employer’s association electoral fraud, Morales wants to be guaranteed that, as President, he can count on controlling the great part of the working class. Because only in this way will he be able to begin to rearm the bourgeois state structure and defeat any further attacks of the masses.

It is for that reason that, Morales meanwhile, maintains the openly pro-imperialistic government of Rodriguez, and at the same time threatening blockades and “revolutions of 1952” if the reactionary bourgeoisie puts barriers in the way of the elections.

This he is then the plan of the reaction, the popular front and its policy of collaboration of classes that, with a leg in Evo Moral and the MAS, and another one in the working direction with Lots and Patana at the top, maintain to the regime of Rosca, to the government of Rodriguez, and guarantee that the hydrocarbons follow into the hands of the transnational companies.

The bastion of the counterrevolution: the bosses keep the officers caste of the Armed Forces at the ready, and the bourgeoisie of Santa Cruz builds its fascist bands as an insurance policy. If the popular front does not manage to contain the masses, they will drown it in blood.

While it currently adopts the popular front policy of containing the masses, the big bourgeoisie and the officers’ caste maintain the armed forces at the borders, prepared for deployment to massacre the people

At the same time, in Santa Cruz the General Staff of the mine owners concentrates the bastion of the counter]-revolution, with the bourgeois ‘cruceña; faction who represent the transnational companies, it is preparing to use military methods to crush the revolution if the popular front does not abort it completely. It maintains and strengthens the fascist bands, holding periodic congresses to openly recruit new members to the fascist bands.

There is not doubt that it will if necessary stage a military coup, or secede from Bolivia, if that is the only way to guarantee delivery of the hydrocarbons to imperialism and their own slice of the dirty spoils. Meanwhile, threatens secession so as to negotiate in better conditions for its interests, like for example, on the question of its influence in the “new” parliament that will be elected in December.

Although they are not likely to win the presidency the Santa Cruz bourgeoisie are the most powerful fraction of the native bourgeoisie because they are the allies of the transnational companies. They are the bunker and the General Staff of the counterrevolution, and they do not have in mind to back down. They are those that issue the orders of the transnational companies to its agents in the popular front to throw water to the fire, to divide the proletariat, to disorganize its forces, while at the same time they arm themselves to the teeth preparing the counter-revolution.

The General Staff of the transnational companies, uses its left hand to pull the strings of its bourgeois nationalist agents and the reformist leaders so that they divide and they disorganise the oppressed, and with its right hand, at the same time, it pulls the strings of the fascist bands and officer cast of the military.

They are daring: they know that if the plan of class collaboration Chávez, Evo Morales and Fidel Castro fails, and the transnational companies cannot take the lion share of the superprofits of Bolivian gas, they will have no problem with dissolving the “power ring” of Mercosur and Chávez, and leaning on the western flank of the counterrevolution – with Chile and Peru ‘ – they will secede from Bolivia to retain the huge gas reserves of Santa Cruz.

The disputes between the Santa Cruz bourgeoisie sitting on the hydrocarbon reserves of Bolivia -, and the fractions of the native bourgeoisie that want bigger taxes imposed on the transnationals, are exacerbated by the masses opening up the prospect of full nationalisation and a loss of profits for all bourgeois fractions. These are the breaches that remain open, and that each struggle of the masses, small as they are, can use and develop.

The plans of the reaction and the counter-revolution of the bourgeois and imperialistic front are being kept in reserve. At the moment, the transnationals are able to extract their superprofits through the policy of the popular front. For that reason, Chávez and the Morales are a bourgeois nationalism with empty hands: because the lions share of the profits of the hydrocarbons goes to imperialism and the transnational companies. And if the transnational companies cannot get it superprofits by this means, it will use the force, mobilising fascism and the open counter-revolution.

For that reason, the only and true alternative for the Bolivian revolution in its future development, is Communism or fascism. Only by the defeat of the revolutionary masses, thus solving in their favor the question of hydrocarbons, will imperialism and the bourgeoisie be able to impose a stable bourgeois regime in Bolivia. That will mean without doubt a colonisation a thousand times more brutal and rapacious than the mine owners’ regime.

The proletariat needs its own general Staff. Without this its enormous energies and the organisations of struggle that were created from February 2003, will be subordinated to class collaboration and their forces will be dissipated or smashed.

At this present juncture of the Bolivian revolution the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the Bolivian and Latin American working class has been become critical in the extreme.
The nationalization of hydrocarbons continues to be the motor which drives the revolutionary struggle of the masses


The working class continue to see their organizations of struggle, the COR and the COD, as the tools of fight for the nationalization of hydrocarbons

The revolution still lives, and the masses do not abandon it for a moment, despite their treacherous leaders, the struggle for the hydrocarbons. Week after week blockades and tough but isolated fights are provoked, all motivated by the fight for hydrocarbons.

This shows that the motivating demand of this huge revolution that is underway continues to be the fight for the nationalization of hydrocarbons.

The working class is pressing to return to street fighting to continue the heroic uprisings of October 2003 and May-June 2005. The labor movement knows that the only solution to its oppression and suffering is the nationalization of the hydrocarbons; that the elections will not solve any problem.

As we said, because of the treachery of the workers leaders, large numbers of poor farmers who in May-June had taken up the fight “No to 30%, nor 50%: Nationalization!”, today have been pushed again into the arms of Morales, thinking that in the elections they will be able to increase his majority, and solve the question of the hydrocarbons by negotiation with imperialism.

But, in spite of this, the demand to nationalise the hydrocarbons continues to drive revolutionary anti-imperialist struggle in Bolivia, because the oppressed, exploited people know that none of their necessities – work, bread, good health, education, and wages can be solved without also solving in their favor this key question.

For that reason, each struggle of the fight of the working class and the exploited ones, small as they may be, has at it centre the question of hydrocarbons. The budgetary problems of health, education and a living wage do not have a solution if the hydrocarbons are not nationalized. Neither the mayors today, nor the government, nor Evo Morales tomorrow, can give a solution to the daily problems, for example the current shortage of bottled gas, without this key demand of the struggle of the exploited ones of Bolivia.

Nobody can think seriously about Bolivia solving its situation of hunger and misery, if the hydrocarbons are not nationalized, without compensation and under workers control. For that reason, it is the main demand of the workers to direct at the poor farmers so as to divide the petty bourgeois and to split the army between the officer caste and the ranks.

It is the fundamental demand to unmask the treacherous leaders. It is the demand that pushes the masses to break to each step the truce. It is the demand that keeps alive the semi-dual power of the COR and COD as proto-soviets, despite their current leaders. It is the demand that motivated three revolutionary uprisings – February and October 2003, and May-June 2005- even during the lapse of two years; that it keeps the revolution alive, and makes the treacherous truce unstable. It is the demand and the struggle that can expose the politics of the popular front of Morales and Co and their attempt to lend the poor farmers movement to the service of the reaction.

It is the demand that puts on the daily agenda the need for the proletariat, and only the proletariat, to become the leading class in the oppressed nation. It is the one that calls for a workers and poor farmers’ alliance, for the proletariat to lead this alliance. It is the revolutionary demand that manages to unite the great masses, and causes them to combat the forces that try to abort their revolution.

It is the demand that will only prevail in Bolivia with the victory of the workers and socialist revolution, that can win only as a Latin American workers and poor farmers international socialist revolution alongside the North American proletariat that begins to stand up, alongside the heroic young French workers, and all those oppressed by the imperialist powers that rise against the imperialistic transnational companies that plunder Bolivia and all Latin America; the same ones that face the blood and fire of the massacres of the people of occupied Iraq by the troops of the Anglo-US imperialists.

In order to win the nationalization of hydrocarbons, it is necessary to defeat the mine-owners regime and to lay the way open to the victory of the proletarian revolution There is still time: it is necessary to convene a Congress of rank and file delegates of the COD, COR, COB and all the organizations in struggle, and its worker and poor farmer militias!


In order to revive the street fighting for the nationalization of hydrocarbons, it is necessary to break the truce that supports the government of Rodriguez, and that allows that the imperialistic transnational companies continue plundering the gas and the petroleum of the nation

For that reason, because only the working class leading the poor farmers will be able fight until the end for the nationalization of hydrocarbons, the COR, the COD and the COB must break with their subordination to the mayors and the agents of the mine-owners.

Enough kneeling before the bourgeoisie! It is necessary to strengthen the hand of the working class to win back most of the poor farmers who have fallen under the influence of the bourgeoisie:

For an immediate National Congress of rank and file delegates of the COR, the COD, the FSTMB, and of all the organizations of fight! That is the way to make sure that the Aboriginal Popular Assembly is created, that is, the centralised organ of workers and poor farmers’ soviets and militias.

The centralization of the COD, the COR, the FSTMB, etc., in a national congress of rank and file delegates, would have all the authority to call on the forces of combative youth and the miners, to create a workers and farmers militia. . . It would have all the authority to call the soldiers who are the children of workers and farmers under arms not to follow the order of their officers, to constitute committees of soldiers and NCOs, and choose delegates to go to the workers and poor farmers’ congress. It is necessary to destroy to officer caste and to smash the fascists! It is necessary to set up workers and poeples courts to judge the killers of the martyrs of October and of all the oppressors of the people and plunderers of the nation!

Only the working class can solve the demands of the peasantry oppressed by the great landowners and the imperialistic monopolies, since it does not have any ties to these classes. But today the poor farmer, because of the treachery of the workers leaders, have lost much confidence in the working class ability to free them from the yoke of oppression

Evo Morales, the representative of the national bourgeoisie, cannot offer any solution to the demands of the poor farmers. Not even it he could impose a “50% tax on the value of hydrocarbons for Bolivia” because the most of this taxation would be needed to pay the national debt to the IMF, and the rest would be pocketed by national bourgeoisie who are the junior partners of imperialism.

Only the proletariat, coming to power, breaking with the IMF and repudiating the fraudulent external debt, expropriating the bourgeoisie, nationalizing without compensation and under workers control the hydrocarbons, expropriating the banks without compensation and creating a single state bank under control of the workers which provides cheap credit to the small farmers, and imposing a monopoly of foreign trade, can end the sufferings of the poor farmers.

But to reclaim the worker-farmer alliance destroyed by the reformist leaders, the working class must get rid of its present treacherous leaders. Without revolutionary leadership, the working class will be unable to win back the support of most of the poor farmers, that is, to advance on the road to the victorious revolution begun in October 2003.

Whenever the working class won the streets, it demonstrated that it can lead the poor farmer. But every time its leaders snatched victory out of its hands and it gave the power back to the bourgeoisie, as in October 2003 and May-June 2005. Those experiences prepared the poor peasants for the nationalist demagoguery, the big mouth and empty hands, of Evo Morales and company.

For that reason, there is no more important task in Bolivia – an international task of the healthy forces of Trotskyism worldwide -, than to fight create a new revolutionary party such that the heroic Bolivian working class deserves. Building a new revolutionary Trotskyist and internationalist party is the most urgent task to enable the revolutionary working class to break the truce and the subordination of the workers organizations to the bourgeois institutions, and to convene a National Congress of rank and file delegates of the COD, COR, COB and all the organizations in struggle, and its workers and farmers militias.



Then the proletariat could say to the poor farmers with authority that if they want to realise the full numerical weight that they have in the society, the only class that can guarantee to take the fight to the end; that is, the only class that will be able to create a true free, democratic and sovereign Constituent Assembly, is a provisional revolutionary workers and farmers government based on the self-organisation of the masses and the workers militias, able to win a victorious insurrection that overthrows the bourgeoisie, its government and his parliament, and that destroys the officer caste killers of the people.

Evo Morales won over the poor farmers to boost his majority in the elections by raising the demand to “legalize cocaine”. But even the national bourgeoisie cannot solve this problem. Because even if Evo Morales is elected President and his majority votes a law that legalizes the culture of the cocaine leaf, the poor farmers are already ruined, indebted, without investments, or machinery, and are near bankruptcy, so that their land will be bought up by the great landowners who alone will benefit from the new law.

For that reason, a workers and farmers provisional government can not only guarantee the peasantry the free and sovereign Constituent Assembly that is wants, but the free culture of the cocaine leaf breaking with imperialism, expropriating the banks and creating a single state bank under workers control, that reduces the debts of the poor farmers, gives cheap credit to the ruined farmers, which expropriates the great landowners and five the land to the landless, and guarantees the agricultural machinery needed to improve the productivity of the land.
 
The basic democratic tasks of the Bolivian revolution are the break with imperialism land to the poor farmers, and gas for the Bolivians. But none of those tasks will be able to be fulfilled and be solved completely unless the working class, leading the poor farmers and all the oppressed of the nation, does not establish its own government to expropriate the expropriators and destroy its oppressor state

Leading this struggle, the working class will freed itself of the yoke of capital. The Bolivian working class in power will be able to enjoy, alongside the rest of the exploited, the immense resources of Bolivia, and to have sufficient gas, wages, work for all, and quality health and education for the workers and the farmers.

The Bolivian working class, in its different revolutions of the XX century and in the present XXI century, has marked out the road to socialism. The Theses of Pulacayo, proposed by the Trotskyists in 1946 and taken as their own by the Bolivian proletariat, are still the departure point to conquer the independence of the organizations of struggle of the revolutionary masses from all the fractions of the bourgeoisie, and to advance to a victorious revolution.

In order to create a revolutionary party of the Bolivian working class it is necessary to defeat all the liquidators of Trotskyism. The healthy forces of international Trotskyism and the workers and young peoples vanguard together must refound the internationalist Trotskyism in Bolivia.

The Bolivian revolution once more tragically affirms the premise of the Trotskyists Transitional Program the crisis of the humanity is reduced to the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the proletariat

This huge revolution has begun without a revolutionary party in front of the working class. They Bolivian masses did not want for anger or an accurate class instinct during the series of revolutionary attacks that they have carried out since February of 2003. Against the petty bourgeois cretins who speak of a “crisis of subjectivity” of the proletariat, we Trotskyists say that what exists in Bolivia is an overabundance of counter-revolutionary leaders.

This revolution already has taken several giant leaps, and to contain it, all the counter-revolutionary forces of the world and the continent have been united. It has been surrounded from the outside and penetrated on the inside. The policy of the popular front not only uses sweet talk and deception to get the masses to retreat from each victory, but also prepares international blows in the rear.

Beware Bolivian workers of the policy of class collaboration of the Latin American Stalinism and its hangers on in Bolivia; of the policy of the Venezuelan and Bolivian bourgeoisies, of Chávez and Morales, who prepare – before the sticks and the bullets of fascism -, counter-revolutionary blows in he rear of the labor movement, stabs in the back by the fifth columns. This is what happens in every revolution to break and defeat the revolutionary vanguard of the masses.

Beware Bolivian workers! The proletariat one cannot lose the leadership of the poor peasantry. If the proletariat today does not give answers to the poor farmers they will fall into the hands of the Chávez and Morales, and will be used to attack the proletariat – as was the case yesterday when Mesa tried to use the urban middle-class, blaming the workers for their disastrous situation. This is what they are preparing.

The revolutionary party of the Bolivian proletariat will not be built by the treacherous leaders of the working class that supports the government, nor the renegades of Trotskyism whose programs did not pass the test of this huge revolution. They periodically announce the “insurrection” and then betray it at each step, as they did it in 1952 and 1971. The renegades of Trotskyism in Bolivia, as in all Latin America, always promise victory to the proletariat and the oppressed people, but only offer them defeats. History is full of examples.

There is no time to lose. The forces needed to build a new revolutionary leadership of the Bolivian proletariat one, exist; they are known, they debated and fought together in El Alto, in the mines of Huanuni, in the universities of the UTO Oruro and Cochabamba, in the students and the worker youth that rebel at each trap and truce. Those forces are in the revolutionary vanguard that continues to raise the Theses of Pulacayo; that consistently fights for workers democracy in the workers organizations, to strengthen and extend them. Those workers and young people need an international strategy to win.

The ruling class has devised a strategy to contain the Bolivian revolution: a “power ring” of the bourgeoisies of the Southern Cone, a popular policy front directed from Havana and Caracas to strangle to the Bolivian revolution. There is a US military base with 400 marines in Paraguay on the border with Bolivia. The task to create the revolutionary party that the Bolivian masses need and deserve, is a task for all the internationalist Trotskyists forces of the world. 100% of the forces of Internationalist Trotskyism must be put to the service of the fight to break through the encirclement of the Bolivian revolution; in order to defeat to the policy of the containment of the Latin American revolution of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Stalinism, the union bureaucracy and the liquidators of the IV International!

Chávez announced his alliance with the bourgeoisies in Mercosur, that is, with Duarte, the president of Paraguay who has allowed the installation of a Yankee base and hundreds of marines with guaranteed immunity, ready to invade Bolivia if it is necessary to guarantee the plunder of the hydrocarbons for the transnational companies. Chávez announced the alliance with the election of the “popular government” of Tabaré Vázquez and the PC in Uruguay, who holds a join military exercise (UNITAS) with the US Navy.

Thus, the US base in Paraguay; the UNITAS exercise in the Atlantic, and the North American military base in Ecuador’s Pacific coast, are all counter-revolutionary forces ready to smash the Bolivian revolution, supported by Chávez, Fidel Castro and their policy of the popular front and its political class collaboration, that induces the masses to go to sleep so they can be subordinated to the bourgeoisie.

We reject that those who pretend to speak in name of the Bolivian revolution, who subordinate the Latin American proletariat to Chávez, to Kirchner, Lula, and the party of the North American imperialist Democrats, and make possible the sacking of our countries and the killing of our people by the murderous Bush, can speak in the name of Trotskyism!

100% of the forces of the international Trotskyism to build the revolutionary party of the working masses and Latin American poor farmers!

100% of our forces to defeat the liquidators of IV International so we can refound it.!

The 100% of the healthy forces of the Trotskyism internationally in the service of the fight to make the Bolivian revolution victorious and to fight at continental and world-wide level to defeat all those who betray it!

The Bolivian working class needs a party that links them to directly to the Iraqi resistance, to the revolt of worker youth in France, to the days of action that are being prepared in the United States – in the heart of the imperialistic beast – for 1-3 December. It needs an international General Staff of the socialist revolution: it needs to refound the IV International as the world party of socialism.

As the healthy forces of Trotskyism internationally we are regrouping our ranks in the Liaison Committee for an International Conference. 

Our last pre-conference of July 2005 – with the participation of Chilean, Peruvian, Bolivian, Brazilian, New Zealand, Argentine, -, has made the call to create an international centre as the embryo of the General Staff of the revolution.

It was decided at that pre-conference, that the healthy forces of principled Trotskyism internationally will have to intervene in the heroic revolution of the workers and Bolivian poor farmers, to stand by the side of the revolutionaries against the servants of the bourgeoisie and the treacherous labor leaders.

For that reason, we can say that we consistently fight against Lula and Petrobras, Kirchner and Repsol, and the traitors of the Latin American revolution that subordinate the proletariat to the bourgeoisie. We are Ilave in Peru ‘; we are the workers resistance and of the young revolutionary students against the civic-military regime in Chile. We are those that say to the Bolivian working masses that its revolutionary combat lives in the heroic Iraqi resistance, that their forces are with the French working class youth that threatens to burn imperialist France of the V Republic and to extend to all Europe. We are the Trotskyists.

Class brothers and sisters of Bolivia: your forces are enormous, and your true allies will rise 1° of December in the United States, to the heart of the imperialistic beast, with the day of struggle of the North American workers against Bush and their own imperialistic bourgeoisie.

Our central tasks are to break with the bourgeoisie, to fight for the program of the proletarian revolution, to defeat the treacherous labor leaders, to create a revolutionary General Staff of the Latin American and world proletariat. Then the heroic Bolivian working class will be invincible.

Trotskyist International Fraction (Fourth International) 18 of November of 2005. 

From Class Struggle 64 Nov 05/Jan 06 

Reply to IBT: Why spoil your ballot when you aint got no bullet?

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The International Bolshevik Tendency criticised CWG’s call for critical support for the NZ Labour Party http://www.geocities.com/communistworker/ scroll down to ‘Vote Labour Now to Smash Capitalism Later’. The IBT article is on its website http://www.bolshevik.org/ scroll down to ‘Spoil your Ballot’
 
Labour gone awol

First, the IBT says that workers no longer have illusions in Labour as a party that represents their class interests. It is therefore no longer a bourgeois-workers party. Its program hasn’t changed but it ha lost its historic roots in the labour movement. This is the result of a rightward move of the Labour Government since 1984 and the defeats suffered by workers over that period. The Labour Party no longer embodies a class contradiction between its bourgeois program and an organised labour base.

Is it true that class contradiction no longer exists? Has there been a qualitative change in the Labour Party? The moderate unions formed the Labour Party in 1916 as a reformist alternative to the Red Fed and IWW program of expropriation. While it’s program talked about the ‘socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange etc’ this was no more than the nationalisation of some key industries like coal, transport like rail, telecom and a central bank plus some income redistribution. The ‘welfare state’ made huge subsidies to private capital reducing their risk and boosting their profits in the period of the formation of the New Zealand capitalist economy.

Thus the historic class compromise of 1930s Keynesian policies of state intervention from the 1930s onwards partially suppressed the contradiction between the bosses program and Labour’s working class supporters for another generation. Where necessary Labour could back up these reforms with emergency legislation to break strikes and lock up dissidents. Despite periodic outbreaks of dissent, economic insulation created relatively full employment and a generous welfare state to keep workers loyal to Labour right up to 1984.

In 1984 the Fourth Labour government abandoned this compromise as the bosses demanded deregulation and restructuring to open the economy to the global market. This ‘revolution’ was necessary to overcome the barriers to profitability resulting from a limited domestic market. Cutting costs to become competitive on the world market meant cutting jobs and wages. While National continued these attacks in the 1990s it fell short in its attempts to complete the new right agenda and fully open the country to free trade and foreign capital investment.

Since 1999 Labour has reforged a new Blairite class compromise to suppress the basic contradiction once again. Labour uses state intervention to steer away from a ‘quarry’ economy where MNCs rip out unprocessed commodities for the global market in favour of increased productivity in a ‘knowledge’ economy. The state picks ‘winners’ by subsidising high tech industries to ‘add value’ to exports. Of course this extra productivity is due to the rising rate of exploitation of skilled workers, as well as the deteriorating wages and labour conditions of casualised workers.

Under Labour profits and CEO incomes have continued to rise rapidly. Skilled workers in the EPMU, the PSA and education unions, and the SFWU, have been able to claw back a small part of the extra surplus value they produce. Low paid or casualised workers, and long term unemployed, have their falling incomes partially made up by income transfers and Working for Families. While this Blairite compromise continues to suppress the class contradiction, critical support for Labour is necessary to put it in power in order to activate the class contradiction.

The question of the popular front

The second IBT criticism is that critical support for Labour under MMP is not permissible because Labour (assuming it were a bourgeois workers party) must enter a popular front with bourgeois parties like the Greens or NZ First. The reason we call these parties bourgeois parties like National, is that they were not formed out of the labour movement and have no claim to represent the interests of workers. Even the Greens who try to squeeze out of monopoly capital policies that favour small business is still a bourgeois party because the tendency of small business is to become big business at the expense of workers.

The IBT correctly opposes popular fronts because bourgeois workers parties can shift the blame for failing to implement a workers’ program onto their bourgeois partners and thus still suppress the class contradiction.

Since we do say that Labour is still a bourgeois-workers party, should we refuse it critical support because it may have to form a popular front? No, we call on it to govern without bourgeois partners. Obviously Labour would need bourgeois or petty-bourgeois partners if it failed to get a majority of seats itself. That’s why we called for the maximum working class vote for Labour, and at the same time oppose workers votes for any of the minor bourgeois parties.

We did not do what the left political ‘commentator’ Matt McCarten did, which was to assume that Labour could not get a majority itself and call for votes for minor bourgeois parties like the Greens, Maori Party and NZ First to provide Labour with coalition partners. (He even called for a vote for the National Candidate in Eden to stop ACT from winning seats and increasing National’s ability to form a government).

In the event that Labour does form a government with bourgeois partners we make this fact a fundamental criticism of the Labour Party to expose the class collaboration of the popular front and condemn its betrayal of the class interests of workers. In other words, we do not run in terror from the prospect of a popular front but try to block it in advance, and failing that, to oppose it in practice to explode the suppressed class contradiction.

Why does the IBT make these criticisms?

The IBT criticizes the Anti-Capitalist Alliance failure to offer transitional demands or means of moving from the most basic democratic or immediate demands to the seizure of power and a socialist republic. Yet the IBT then falls foul of the logic of its own critique when it is applied to critical support for Labour. Rather than follow Lenin’s method from the 1920s – that of communist workers entering a united front with reformist workers – the IBT fixates on superficial ‘facts’ that workers do not ‘see’ Labour as their party, because Labour’s attacks on workers have exposed it as an open bourgeois party.

Yes, the world situation is very different today from 1920. In 1920 a revolutionary situation existed in Europe. The majority of workers had not joined the communist party and despite being much further left than today, still had illusions in the Labour Party. Lenin argued that it was necessary for the mass communist party to vote the Labour party into government to expose it in practice and split reformist workers away from its bourgeois leadership and program. The tactic of critical support was a special form of united front in which the revolutionary movement would demand that the Labour bureaucracy and the Labour Party leadership implement a revolutionary workers program. When it failed to do so, its program and leadership would be exposed and detached from its working class body of support like a “rope supports a hanged man” so that these workers would then join the Communist Party.

Critical support and democratic counter-revolution

Today no such revolutionary situation exists, and there is no revolutionary party to put pressure on Labour parties to explode the suppressed contradiction. Since 1989, global capitalism has entered a period of democratic counter-revolution. This means that its attacks on workers are typically made under the cover of bourgeois democracy. In the former degenerated workers states workers voted for capitalist restoration. Capitalism has used right-wing social democratic parties to solve its crisis at the expense of their working class base. The large majority of workers who retain any trade union consciousness still vote for social democracy to defend their fundamental gains because they are caught up in a defensive reliance on bourgeois democracy. As yet there is revolutionary situation to put pressure on social democracy, and explode the class contradiction.

However, if the world economy enters a new period of depression and the isolated revolutionary upsurges today are generalised into new revolutionary period, we can expect pressure from below to split the Labour Party. Rather than write off Labour as already bourgeois it is necessary to prepare for its revival as a barrier to rising workers’ expectations. To both activate and to take advantage of a coming revolutionary upturn it is necessary for communists to maintain the united front tactic with social democracy to split its working class base from its bosses program.

The failure to understand this, and to argue that Labour Parties have become open bourgeois parties in the last two decades is an ultra left response to the democratic counter-revolution. It rejects social democracy as necessarily counter-revolutionary when in fact it still plays the critical role of suppressing the class contradiction. It is this contradiction that will be activated first by the renewal of revolutionary movements and to ignore it is to abstain from revolutionary politics. It is a sectarian fear of becoming tainted by the almost universal opportunism, that today paints democratic imperialism as a progressive force. Instead of contesting opportunism and bourgeois democracy inside the gigantic malls where workers consume. the sectarians preach to passing workers from their boutique shop front about the picture of the revolutionary party in the window.

As we argue in our original article, workers will not break from social democracy until a revolutionary upsurge and a revolutionary program exposes the open treachery of the social democratic program and leadership, and the formation of independent working class dual power organs are in place capable of taking and holding onto power.

From Class Struggle 63 Sept/Oct 2005

Leaflet for the 2nd Congress of CONLUTAS in Porto Allegre, January 2005

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For a CONLUTAS with Soviets everywhere!

The electoral victory of the popular front in Brazil and the participation of the CUT in the government of Lula, proved conclusively the bankruptcy of the bureaucracy which began in the 80s and crystallized in the last twenty years. The CUT, PT bureaucracy never called for the overthrow of the bourgeois state. Its record of struggle was limited to fighting for improvements for workers within capitalism
 
The conformism and adaptation of the CUT bureaucracy was accompanied by a form of undemocratic union organization separated from its membership base that gradually consolidated into the extreme that we see today: the statization of the CUT, the vertical structure, and the defense of the privatizations and neo-liberal reforms. While the CUT defends sectorial representation and ‘organic unionism’ it is already completely bureaucratized with only 1 delegate for by each 1500 members; the high wages paid to the officials creates a privileged and corrupt gangster layer whose interests are totally opposed to those of the membership; a caste that uses the union apparatus of the central command to serve Lula. For this reason the CUT could not give birth to an anti-capitalist program.

The CONLUTAS is a progressive initiative of a sector of the vanguard militants who have broken with the CUT and are opposed to the government of the Popular Front of Lula PT/PC neo-liberal health reforms, and in response to the CUT entering the FNT (National Labor Forum) definitively abandoning its roots in the working class. The formation of the CONLUTAS is the vanguard’s answer to the complete servility of the CUT to the government of the PT and the bourgeois State. It is also a demonstration that the will to struggle of the proletariat in Brazil did not die with the betrayal of the CUT with the subservience of the PT to the reforms of the bourgeois State.

The CONLUTAS and POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS

The CONLUTAS is made up of several political organizations including the PSTU that today is leading the process of construction and strengthening of the new union, reorganizing the vanguard, the union and the popular movement for the defense of social and labor rights. We must support and participate in that process.

But it is necessary to say clearly that the PSTU, for a long time, was also in the leadership of the CUT. In fact, it played the role of left cover for the right policy the majority. Now, as a calculated political and electoral move, the PSTU decides to break with the CUT and to create CONLUTAS. Sadly, the PSTU does not have revolutionary politics. It will try to transform the CONLUTAS into a pressure group on government, into a sort of “CUT No 2”. Thus, in the unions it leads, it does not organize the membership base; the mobilizations it leads are token marches to pressure the bourgeois parliament in Brasilia. The political program of the PSTU does not go beyond the limits of capitalism either: that is, not beyond opposition to the union, labor and university reforms, the FTAA and the “neo-liberal model” in general.

The PSOL – the Party of the Socialism and Freedom, organized by the sector of the PT left that broke with the PT – is, in fact, “a new” version of the PT. It does not participate actively in the construction of the CONLUTAS due to its electioneering focus; it has a foot in both camps. While the PSOL has broken with the CUT, only some of their tendencies (e.g. Cliffites) defend CONLUTAS. PSOL does not call for its members to break with the CUT. On the contrary, it reinforces the illusion that the membership should stay in the CUT and fight to take over the leadership.

Marxists, Leninists, Trotskyists and CONLUTAS

What worries us is that the Marxists, Leninists and Trotskyists who are active in the day to day building of CONLUTAS – and we call on all the activists and fighters who are engaged in this process to listen to our concerns – is that the CONLUTAS must bury all the bad habits of the bureaucratic unionism of the CUT, or risk recreating a new union bureaucracy which will again deceive the vanguard that is fighting for a democratic CONLUTAS.

We use this occasion to denounce the PSTU’s use of the same policy as the CUT bureaucracy to finance Cesar Benjamim and James Petras to come to the 2nd Congress of CONLUTAS. We are against this because it uses the funds of the workers struggle without demanding that the money be repaid. On the contrary, anybody who has the interests of proletariat in its struggle against capitalism at heart will pay out of their own pocket for that fight. While we workers rely on our poor wages to be at the congress, these gentlemen are privileged to have their hotel, food and transport costs guaranteed. These gentlemen, who live much better than workers, should have to donate to the movement, not to be paid by it. The PSTU hypocritically condemns this practice, used for years by the CT bureaucracy as a means of corrupting militants and activists, before the membership, but defends it to the intellectuals.

No to the CORRUPTION of the MILITANTS (“We must live for the movement and not on the movement “, Leon Trotsky – Transitional Program).

There must be maximum workers’ democracy in the daily operation and decision making of CONLUTAS. Transparency, respect and equality in relation to minority sectors, discussion and decision making by the rank and file membership, are essential conditions to guarantee workers’ democracy inside the union. CONLUTAS, taking the example of the Soviets, must be open to a broadest membership, from the union organizations, student movement, popular movements and revolutionary political organizations, to prevent the formation of a bureaucratic apparatus.

This form of organization must be combined with a workers and farmers political platform:

· Down with the Lula/PT/PC government of Brazil and its neo-liberal reforms!
· Down with the regime of the social pact headed by Cardoso yesterday and Lula-Alencar today, supported by its agents in the CUT, accomplices in the murder of the poor farmers and the domination of Brazil by imperialism!
· Expel from the unions the CT bureaucracy sold out to the regime!
· For a CONLUTAS with a proletarian and Soviet program, and down the reformist program of the PSTU for the CONLUTAS!

CONLUTAS cannot avoid being a minority and the fact that most of the proletariat is still controlled by the CUT bureaucracy. It is not enough to offer the workers a place to go. It is necessary to go and look for them where they are and to show them the way. For this, it is necessary to raise the fight against the statization of the unions, for workers’ democracy and a revolutionary leadership of the unions; to create organs of workers’ democracy of the masses that overcome the barriers that the bureaucratic caste has imposed on the unions.

· No interference of the state in the working organizations!
· No union law with which the patterns and their state regulate the working organizations!
· Neither the current law, nor the new one that they want to impose!
· Down the compulsory conciliation, the boss’s state’s hands off the worker’s organizations!
· Independence of workers organizations!
· Down with the union bureaucracy!
· Pay union leaders the workers’ average wage, with mandates recallable at any time by decision of the assembly and bodies of delegates, and a return to the workplace without right of re-election!
· End the compulsory discount of the union quotas!
· For leaders and delegates to meet monthly in the factories and workplaces!

It is necessary that CONLUTAS boldly promotes the formation of strike and factory committees and pickets, which are the only means to organize the exploited layers of the proletariat alongside the committees of unemployed and landless farmers, united around the central demands for a sliding scale of wages and working hours, against the wage agreements and labor concessions signed by the bureaucratic officials, against the notorious social pact of exploitation and slavery, and for land for the farmers. This is the way to advance and realize a national Congress of workers’ and farmers delegates with self-defense committees – embryos of the workers’ militia with the perspective to defeat the regime of the social pact and its government, and to advance towards the creation of a workers’ and farmers’ government based on the armed, revolutionary masses in struggle.

NO SUBORDINATION of CONLUTAS to the WORLD SOCIAL FORUM

But the real danger to the revolutionary perspective of the CONLUTAS is its subordination to the World Social Forum that the PSTU is trying to impose. Because while the organizers of the WSF have not finally accepted that the 2nd national Congress of CONLUTAS is an official event of the Forum, it is clear that this is the policy of the PSTU: to make sure that CONLUTAS is born and develops inside the cave of bandits of the WSF –traitors of the world revolution, enemy of the Iraqi resistance, loyal servants of the apartheid forced on the heroic Palestinian people, stranglers of the Argentine and Bolivian revolutions, betrayers of the Central American revolution, lackeys of Bush with the AFL-CIO and of French-German imperialism along with the bureaucracies and workers’ aristocracies of Europe.

Thus, the PSTU, while on one hand it calls for a break with the CUT and to integrate itself into CONLUTAS, on the other hand it takes the combative vanguard that looks for a way to defeat the bureaucracy, the employer’s association and the government, and puts it on its knees before the WSF, that is to say, before the bureaucracy, the government of Lula, and the Castro bureaucracy that is preparing capitalist restoration in Cuba, etc.

For that reason, the Marxists, Leninists, and Trotskyists, who signed this declaration, put forward a motion to the assembled workers and youth vanguard in CONLUTAS: we propose that its Congress resolves explicitly to fight for “Down with the World Social Forum of Lula, Chávez and Fidel Castro, of the AFL-CIO, those accomplices and servants of imperialism, traitors of the Latin American and world revolution! No subordination of CONLUTAS to World Social Forum!

We propose that alongside this struggle and as the first internationalist task of the Brazilian working class, that the 2nd Congress of CONLUTAS denounces the counter-revolutionary continental policy of the government of Lula that, with the support and the support of the bureaucracy of the CUT, Fidel Castro, Chávez, and the reformist World Social Forum, which is at the point of the imperialist’s spear to contain and to strangle the revolutionary struggle of the Argentine, Bolivian, and Peruvian working class and of all Latin America.

· Down the continental counter-revolutionary policy of Lula, of the Castro bureaucracy that is preparing the completion of capitalist restoration in Cuba, and of Chávez who sells petroleum to the Yankee imperialists to kill the Iraqi people!

· It is necessary to declare war against that holy alliance that, at the hands of the mercenaries Lula, Kirchner and Lagos, sends troops in the service of imperialism to massacre the Haitian people!

From Class Struggle 59 January-February 2005

Written by raved

January 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Iraq: The tragedy of Sabah

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I was very young, born in exile when he was taken in 1980. Sabah was a relative of mine who was taken by the Baathist police on February 2nd 1980. He was an economics lecturer at the university and a leading member in the Communist Party. His family was never informed about where he was taken, what charges they had against him. Official papers and government records that shed some light on his story have recently come to the possession of the Communist party…

Sabah was born in Baghdad in 1932. He joined the communist party during his years as a student (1949-1954). He was drafted into the Iraqi army to take part in the war against the Kurdish armed factions that was ongoing in 1956. Sabah was stationed in the Saadiya camp, where he was involved in a mutiny against the racist war on Kurdistan which failed.

Sabah and 15 comrades were sentenced to 15 months in prison. By the time they were released, the war was over. Sabah travelled to East Germany, only for the July Revolution to overthrow the monarchy. Sabah returned to Iraq and earned full membership in the party. He was sent again to East Germany where he gained a PhD in economics.

During his stay in East Germany (1959-1965) the Baathist coup of 1963 succeeded in its primary aim of defeating the communist party. Thousands of fighters and workers were liquidated. Once this main aim was achieved, the Baathist violence became unnecessary and they were pushed out of power once more. Sabah returned in 1965 to an Iraq unlike the one he had left, and he was quickly imprisoned once more.

In 1969 Sabah was released, and travelled to Hungary, where he played a role in the secretariat of the International Youth Union, an organ of the USSR.

In 1972 he was sent back to Iraq to participate in the Baghdad council of the popular front government. The Communist party had made a recovery since the defeat of 1963. Moscow had pushed the line of participating in this government with the Baathists and other forces. Sabah was arrested in 1979 (on the 2 of August) and interrogated:

Interrogator: “What is your opinion of the Communist Party, in light of their continued refusal to cooperate in an honest way in the Popular Front government?” (Here they are giving Sabah the opportunity to renounce Communism and denounce the party.)

Sabah: “The general direction of the communist party is to work within the Popular Front to oppose imperialism and to complete the national revolution. Any acts that deviate from this are mistakes that are to be criticised.”

Here there is a statement apparently prepared by the interrogator, to the effect that Sabah would be leaving the party and would participate in the “national project”. This line is struck out and Sabah’s signature appears underneath it.

Sabah was released two weeks later, and over the next period he was arrested and released a number of times, finally on the 2/2/1980. After that he was never heard of again.

There is a contradiction between Sabah who lived and fought for the cause of the socialist revolution, and Sabah who was a leading member of the Communist Party responsible for betraying the Iraqi working class into the hands of Saddam.

One the one hand, Sabah lived as a heroic fighter for the workers of Iraq and the whole world. He risked his life many times, and ultimately paid the ultimate price in circumstances that one can only imagine as being extremely difficult.

He was a victim of a compromise where the Soviet Union disarmed people like Sabah and placed them in front of monsters like Saddam Hussein as part of a cynical global game. In exchange, the Soviet Union was assured of an “anti-imperialist” government in Iraq.

On the other hand, Sabah never renounced the popular front and therefore has to take his share of the responsibility for the criminal policy of Stalinism. This policy led the workers into alliances with the national bourgeoisie resulting in the murder or exile of thousands of communists and the defeat and demoralisation of millions of workers.

The balance sheet of the Iraqi Communist Party must also include blame for the situation in Iraq today. The Communist Party is so corrupt that it is a member of the US stooge government of Iraq. And the breakaway Workers’ Communist Party is appealing to the UNO to remove the US invaders. A weakened working class has left a political vacuum into which the Islamic radicals have moved using nationalist and religious appeals to attract workers.

The personal tragedy of Sabah is a small part of the historic tragedy of the Iraqi working class misled and betrayed by the Communist Party. Today, this legacy can only be overcome by the rebuilding of an armed, independent working class movement. This is the only force capable of defeating the imperialist invaders and the treacherous factions of the national bourgeoisie and their allies in the labour movement, and opening the road to socialism!

For a World Party of Socialist Revolution!

From Class Struggle 58 October-November 2004

Vietnam: Another Revolution Betrayed

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Review of ‘The Revolution Defamed: A Documentary History of Vietnamese Trotskyism’. Edited and Annotated by Al Richardson. Socialist Platform 2003.
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Vietnam: Another Revolution Betrayed

Al Richardson, who died recently, was co-editor of Revolutionary History. In this small book he has brought together a number of documentary sources on the rise and fall of Trotskyism in Vietnam. The book is important because it collects material that is not readily available and adds to the scanty sources already published in English.[1] The lesson is, sadly, one of the tragic betrayal and defeat of the Vietnamese revolution.

The history of Trotskyism in Vietnam is one of tragedy. Vietnamese Trotskyism fulfilled Trotsky’s hopes and expectations in becoming the vanguard of the proletariat only to fall at the hands of the Stalinists at the critical moment in 1945. This tragedy is one of betrayal, not only of the Stalinists, but also of the French leaders of the 4th International after Trotsky’s death.

While Trotsky warned of the dangers of the popular front and fought ruthlessly to expose those elements who succumbed, notably the POUM in Spain, these lessons were learned in vain. During the same years that Trotsky condemned the popular front in Europe, it was the practice of at least one of the Trotskyist groups in Vietnam to enter into alliances with the Vietnamese Stalinists who were covertly negotiating with the national bourgeoisie. For the brave Vietnamese these fronts were to tragically vindicate Trotsky’s warnings and prove to be their death sentence.

The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution

Trotsky warned of the dangers of the popular front after the defeat of the Chinese Revolution in 1927 (See Class Struggle, #46,47. 2002). The great betrayal of Stalinist policy in China in the 1920’s turned what should have been a military bloc into a popular front. Following Stalin’s takeover of the CP of the SU he proposed the theory of the ‘bloc of 4 classes’ in which the workers, peasants, and intellectuals were the allies of the national bourgeoisie against the imperialists. The CP of China allowed the Nationalist general Chiang Kai Shek to have overall command of its forces. The Left Opposition warned of the danger of this policy but could not prevent Chiang from turning on the Communist militants and wiping them out in their tens of thousands.

What is the lesson of China 1925-27? That workers can bloc with sections of the bourgeosie in an anti-imperialist united front (AIUF) provided they have complete political and organisational independence. In all cases of this independence must be expressed as a military independence. This is absolutely critical in the case of war. Where workers lose their independence within a front or bloc this leads to the liquidation of the workers vanguard by the bourgeoisie doing a deal with imperialism.

Having learnt this harsh lesson in China, and having lived through the failure of the united front in the face of fascism in the early 1930’s, Trotsky made the method of the united front the mainstay of his transitional program. This program of the Fourth International calls on the vanguard to ‘unite’ with the working masses to guide it over the bridge to revolution, by raising demands that expose and disarm the class collaborationists of the bourgeoisie in the labour movement. It was the failure of this method, of abandoning the leadership of the workers to the bosses and their agents that handed over the workers to the counter-revolution. This capitulation became evident in the Fourth International soon after the death of Trotsky in 1940, but its first incontrovertible demonstration came in Vietnam, 1945.

Vietnam: The First Betrayal of Trotskyism?

The first great betrayal of Trotskyism in the post war period, Vietnam 1945, resulted from the inability of Trotskyists to apply the Anti-imperialist united front a military bloc. That is, they failed to limit their collaboration with the Stalinists to a military bloc and succumbed to political alliances.

We can trace the causes of this defeat in the previous decade. One section of the Trotskyists united in a “Struggle Front” with Stalinists between 1933-1937. They retained their separate organisations but renounced their political independence by refraining from criticising their Stalinist front partners.

It was one thing to work alongside the Stalinists in united fronts to try and break away their rank and file. After all as early as 1929 the Communist Party Youth wing in Indochina rejected the Stalinist 2 stage theory as a result of the tragic betrayal in China. Leading youth cadres challenged the political line of the 6th congress on the Colonial Question. They attacked the Youth League for its opportunism towards the Vietnamese Nationalist Party that had close relations with the Guomindang, and formed the ‘Indo-Chinese Communist Party’ as a “party of the Indo-Chinese working class” (TRD, 56). This party was united into the PCI when it was formed in 1931 following an upsurge in anti-imperialist struggle in 1930-31.

But it is quite another thing to suppress political criticism of Stalinism inside the united front. This became critical after May 1936 when the PCI adopted the turn to the Popular Front. Originating in France, the Popular Front was a political pact between the Communists and bourgeoisie in which the Communists abandoned the goal of revolution in order to strengthen the French ruling class stand against German fascism and the threat it posed to the Soviet Union.

Trotsky reacted by condemning the Popular Fronts as traps that would disarm the workers in the face of fascism and demanded that his supporters form united fronts to break workers from the Popular Front. But in Indochina the Trotskyists joined forces in a colonial mini-popular front, the ‘Indo-Chinese Congress’ which abandoned the struggle for independence to keep the peace with the ‘democratic’ French! (TRD, 66).

The Trotskyist movement split. One group opposed to all collaboration with the Stalinists and nationalists formed the International Communist League which published a news-sheet called The Vanguard. But the Struggle Group continued to work actively in hundreds of ‘action committees’ for national liberation where the politics of Trotskyism was buried in joint political work with the Stalinists. Not until the Indochina Communist Party broke the ‘Struggle Front’ in 1937 abandoning the goal of national liberation in favour of a popular front with the ‘democratic’ Vietnamese bourgeoisie against fascism, did the ‘Struggle’ Trotskyists critique the popular front.

The correctness of this belated break with the Stalinists was shown in April 1939, when contesting the Saigon city council elections on a full Transitional Program, the Struggle Group won over 80% of the vote compared with less than 1% going to the Stalinists! (TRD, 71; and Vietnam and Trotskyism (V&T), Communist League (Australia) 1987, 27-32). Such was the influence of the Trotskyists in these years, Ho Chi Minh sent his famous directive to his party in Hanoi to “politically eliminate the Trotskyists” (TRD, 46).

Revolution and Counter-revolution

According to Ngo Van “There was a complete absence of any opposition to French administration under the Japanese boot from 1940 to 1945. All the subversives were in prison, concentration camps or labour camps: (TRD, 47).

In 1945, the Stalinist Vietminh backed the Allies against the Japanese. Opposing this, the Trotskyists called for a workers and peasants government which won overwhelming support in the popular committees especially in Saigon. With the Japanese surrender on August 16, the Vietminh took over power from the Japanese and called for the imperialists to return so they could negotiate national independence! The Trotskyists led an armed insurrection against the British and French invasion and put up a strong military resistance.

When on Sept 1 the Vietminh called on workers to welcome the allies, 400,000 workers demonstrated their opposition. The Struggle Group contingent was 18,000 strong. At this point the question of the armed independence of the Trotskyists from the Stalinists was posed as a matter of life and death. The Stalinists ordered the disarming of all oppositionists. Three days later the allies invaded. On the 23 September the Saigon Insurrection broke out. Led by the ICL the workers of Saigon organised themselves into ‘workers militia’ and fought the British and French forces for control of Saigon. One week later the Vietminh began arresting the popular committees and smashing the militia. They did not face much resistance from some of the Trotskyists!

A member of the Trotskyist International Communist League writes: “We behaved like true revolutionaries, although there were more of us and we were better armed. We surrendered our arms, machine guns and automatic pistols. They destroyed our office, broke up the furniture, tore up our flags, stole our typewriters and burnt our papers.” (TRD,9). Others put up a fight and were killed in battle, or like the leaders of the Struggle group, were isolated, captured and shot by the Vietminh or by the imperialists. (V&T, 41-45).

What are the lessons?

Having survived the Stalinists in the prewar period, and now thrust to the fore of the armed revolution, why weren’t the Trotskyists prepared for the treachery of the Stalinists in 1945? Why did the Struggle Group propose a united front to the Vietminh against the imperialists? (V&T,55). And why give “critical support to the Vietminh government” not long before being rounded up and shot? (V&T, 58)

It was already clear that the most militant workers knew that the Vietminh was in league with the imperialists. They rejected the passive resistance of the Vietminh ‘patriotic front’. Some working class areas of Saigon put up a strong fight but they needed to be organised into militias. For example, why wasn’t the 18,000 strong Struggle Group contingent organised into an armed militia when the ICL, ‘Spark’ and the Tramway depot had formed militias?

It seems that the Trotskyists, especially the Struggle Group, were handicapped by their pre-war collaboration with the Stalinists. The ‘crisis’ among Trotskyists in France on the question of the popular front in the 1930’s contributed to the crisis in the French colony. Ultimately, it was the failure of the French section and of the Fourth International to provide the correct leadership during the 1930’s and 1940’s that led the Vietnamese Trotskyists into the trap of a popular front with the Stalinists and Nationalists and then to their massacre by the Stalinists.

These and other larger questions concerning the failure of the leadership of the Fourth International on the colonial question during and immediately after the war will be the subject of a a follow-up article to this review. The materials in this book add to the vital documentation of these questions helping us to find the correct causes of this historic betrayal.

What ended in a tragic historic defeat could have been the beginning of the revolution in Indochina, which now regrettably had to endure another 30 years of colonial rule followed by a Stalinist restoration of capitalism!

[1] See Revolutionary History Vol 3, No 2, 1990, and Vietnam and Trotskyism, by Simon Pirani, Communist League (Australia) 1987. 
Photo at top is of Ta  Thu Thâu (1906–1945) a Vietnamese Trotskyist and the leader of the Fourth International in Vietnam.

From Class Struggle 57 August-September 2004 geovisit(); setstats

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