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ANOTHER ROTTEN BLOC? WORKERS POWER/LRCI AND PTS ARGENTINA FUSION TALKS

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Reprinted from LCMRCI  INTERNATIONALIST BULLETIN
No 1 1996.

Different self-claimed trotskyists currents are under fusion talks: Militant Labour with USec, LIT with WRP Workers Press.

In January 1996 the League for a Revolutionary Communist International (LRCI), decided to expel Poder Obrero, their Bolivian section, without giving it the chance to appeal or have a political discussion. At the same time it decided to enter in fusion discussions with the Argentinean Workers’ Party for Socialism (PTS).

Before the LRCI broke with most of its comrades in the Southern Hemisphere, it had decided to have discussions with several currents. But the PTS was never mentioned at all as a possible target. Immediately after the LRCI leaders suspended or expelled all its Latin American members they decided to rush into the PTS. The first Workers Power (Britain) paper in 1996 printed a joint statement between the PTS and the LRCI. Under the title “Towards a Revolutionary Regroupment!” both currents decided to “evaluate if there is a sufficient basis to form a Liaison Committee”.

The origins of Morenoism and the PTS

The PTS comes from Nahuel Moreno’s International Workers League (LIT). Moreno was an old Argentinean centrist. In the 1940s he considered that nationalist movements that had confrontations with US were “fascists”. In the 1950s he made a 180 degree turn and decided to dissolve his organisation into them. He joined the parties of Peron in Argentina and Belaunde in Peru. In the 1960s Moreno, after siding with Peron’s friend Batista against the Cuban revolution, became an open Maoist and Castroite and advocated the substitution of a Bolshevik party and a soviet insurrection strategy by peasants unions and a inter-class people’s war and government.

In the 1970s he fused with some social democrats and advocated the creation of Second International-type parties around a strategy of parliamentary “socialist” majority governments. In late 1970s he broke with the United Secretariat and fused with Lambert’s International. Like the LRCI, Lambert had abandoned its main Latin American work and, as a way to cover that split, he jumped at Moreno’s offer of marriage and created the “Parity Committee”. This unprincipled bloc only lasted two years. In 1982 Moreno broke with Lambert and created the LIT. Immediately after he died the LIT started to go into a crisis. The PTS in 1988 was its first split out of more than six resulting ruptures.

The PTS created the LIT’s International Faction with two other small groups in Mexico and Chile. The PTS criticised the LIT around two issues. First, the LIT said that the centre of world revolution was in Argentina and the PTS said it was in Eastern Europe. Second, the PTS opposed the re-creation of a popular frontist bloc with the CP. The PTS initially supported the creation of the “Peoples’ Front with the Workers’ Peronism and the Left” (FREPU) around the CP and some Nationalists, but after it was dissolved, the PTS was against the re-foundation of this alliance.

The PTS started a process of PARTIAL but INCOMPLETE rupture with Moreno. The PTS retained many things from Moreno. For it the fundamental revisions of Moreno were made in the 1980s, and the LIT “which in the beginning was a regroupment to resist the revisionism’s most rough expression was step by step being degenerated after 1983” (Cuadernos de Tribuna de los Trabajadores. No 1. 1995). The PTS has progressive critiques of Moreno’s idea to substitute the party for a revolutionary front and about his stageist conception of a “democratic revolution”.

Nevertheless, they never criticised Moreno and the LIT for their extreme Stalino-phobic positions. The LIT was created around support for a Walessa-led Solidarnosc government in Poland, and support for the Afghan CIA-backed landlord clerical armed bands against the popular front government and the USSR. The victory of Walessa and the Mujahedines, helped the process of destruction of the workers’ states and of advance of capitalist counter-revolution. To cover his Stalino-phobia, Moreno developed the theory of a single counter-revolutionary front which includes US imperialism, Stalinism, Lula (in Brazil) and Castro.

The LRCI always criticised this position because it led to a misunderstanding of serious differences and conflicts between the different counter-revolutionary forces, and because it put Stalinism in the same camp as imperialism. That is why for Moreno every nationalist movement against Stalinists regimes was against imperialism.

The PTS repeated a similar method. The centre of world revolution is in Eastern Europe against the counter-revolutionary world bloc. The PTS refuses to believe that in the former “Socialist bloc” there is a process of social counter-revolution. Instead it believes it is a process of political revolution that is undermining the capitalist “new world order” and that we are living internationally in a much more revolutionary time than in the 1930s crisis. When Yeltsin imposed a capitalist counter-coup and dissolved the USSR the PTS said that it opened up a world revolutionary mass offensive.

Convergence?

The declaration says that “there has been a convergence of programme and perspective during the last years between the two organisations”. This is an illusion. In some positions the PTS is to the left to the LRCI. For example, the PTS made a big campaign against the Argentinean Altamira’s Workers Party which refused to see US imperialism as the main enemy in Haiti.

The LRCI, taking the opposite view, said that in case of confrontations between a military resistance or guerrilla war against US invasion, it would not defend them against the US. In Cuba and the workers’ states the PTS is not in favour of the freedoms for parties that don’t defend the gains of the social revolution. The LRCI is not only in favour of freedom for capitalist parties but even in favour of united fronts with them.

In Bosnia the LRCI and the PTS said that they agree in supporting the Muslims. Nevertheless, for many weeks both organisations tried to produce a joint declaration and they failed. The PTS couldn’t agree with advocating a dual defeatist position when NATO bombed the Serbs. The PTS supported the Krajina Serbs against Croatia while the LRCI had three positions at the same time and was in favour of asking Croatia to support a “multi-ethnic Bosnia”. In Bosnia the PTS always supported the Bosnian Muslims. The LRCI, initially correctly, said that this was a wrong position because every side in the communal war was restorationist and tried to oppress other ethnic groups. They said that they would be prepared to change side only if imperialism supported the Muslims and Croats against the Serbs. When this finally happened, the LRCI reversed its position. The LRCI supported the military victory of the imperialist allies and asked the world powers to send money!

, “international volunteers”, “missiles, aircraft, tanks and military trainers” to their Bosnian proxies.

World Revolutionary Period?

The LRCI and PTS claim that they have fundamental agreement in “the characterisation of the process opened up in the years 1989-91” and “a convergent definition on the actual character of the states of Eastern Europe”. This is a complete deception. Both currents agreed in FORM that there is a world revolutionary period and that all the former “socialist” countries, with the exception of Eastern Germany, survive as workers’ states. Nevertheless, they have serious disagreements in the CONTENT.

For the LRCI this is a revolutionary period because imperialism can no longer develop the productive forces, while for the PTS it is because of the mass revolutionary upsurge. The LRCI has a completely contradictory position. At the same time that it says we have been living, since 1989, in a more revolutionary period that the one that produced the Eastern European, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Cuban social revolutions, the LRCI considers that we are in a counter-revolutionary “phase”.

The LRCI leaders in 1994 wrote that the working class in most of the third world countries was in process of destruction. This mixture of economic fatalism with pessimism in the class struggle is reflected in a passive propagandist attitude towards the proletariat. The PTS, on the contrary, condemns every body that could think that we are not under a clear world pre-revolutionary situation. In Latin America, while the PTS is very optimistic about the mass movement, the LRCI said that the workers movement suffered a decade of defeats, whose worst defeat was the strategic one of Bolivia.

The LRCI thinks that in Eastern Europe there are still workers’ states because all the capitalist law of value doesn’t yet apply to their economies. The PTS considers that the reason why they are not capitalist states is because the workers organisations are growing and that only a violent counter-revolution could destroy them.

Both analyses are wrong. They ignore the fact that a big proportion of these former “socialist” states have for six or seven years openly capitalist regimes that overthrew the state machinery and legal system that defended the planned economy and are destroying the planned economy and promoting private property everywhere. In these countries we have to fight for social revolutions instead of political revolutions.

The LRCI’s rightward direction results from its capitulation to the radical-liberal middle class in the imperialist countries who have illusions in “democratic” imperialism. That is why the League rejects its former positions and now rejects Lenin and Trotsky’s defencism towards the non-imperialist nations that are in confrontations with imperialism. The PTS trend is to think that Stalinism is part of the same counter-revolutionary camp as imperialism and that both are part of the same “Yalta order”. That is why the PTS has a more consistent Stalino-phobic position.

In 1990 in Azerbaijan and Rumania the PTS sided with the nationalists and liberal movements while the LRCI critically supported the Stalinist repression with the aim to prevent these organisations from taking power and overthrowing the planned economy.

On the national question both currents have serious differences. The PTS, like Moreno, is in favour of a “black republic” in South Africa and for a possible black republic even in the USA. The LRCI correctly said that a South African black republic could mean only a black government in a capitalist society.

On electoral tactics the PTS is engaged in an electoral front with the LIT. For the LRCI this could only be an opportunist propaganda bloc. The PTS has the position of advocating “Trotskyist” fronts, while the LRCI preferred to vote for the French Mitterand government after 14 years in power instead of giving critical support to the 1.6 million workers who voted for a self-proclaimed Trotskyist candidate.

The Fourth International (FI).

Both currents recognise that they have a different strategy for building an international party. Nevertheless, this is not a simple disagreement that can be minimised as a minor difference like they are trying to do. The declaration says that “Like the LRCI, the Internationalist Faction insists that the Fourth International adopted clearly centrist positions at its Third Congress in 1951 and was transformed into a centrist movement by 1953.” This is not the traditional position of the LRCI which says that the FI became centrist after its 1948 congress and that since 1951 the FI and all its fragments were centrist. The PTS, on the contrary, thinks that the “anti-pabloite” International Committee (IC) was a progressive bloc against revisionism.

The PTS considers that the SWP (USA) made positive contributions in the creation of the IC and later of the Lenin-Trotskyist Faction inside the USec, and that Moreno made also positive steps when he supported the SWP, and when he made new factions against the SWP (USA), Mandel and later Lambert. While the LRCI thinks that the revolutionary continuity was broken in 1951, the PTS thinks that the SWP(USA) and Moreno established a kind of inconsistent continuity.

That is why both currents have irreconcilable differences in their strategies for the construction of the international party. The PTS is promoting the creation of the unification of the trotskyist international left in a “anti-revisionist bloc” of all the forces committed to reconstruct the FI. The LRCI thinks that a new revolutionary international should be created around itself. This is also the first time that the LRCI entered in joint serious fusion discussion with another international current. Usually the LRCI method is to try to approach to a group in order to absorb it or to create a faction inside. Why this rushed marriage?

A three-way liaison?

The Declaration says that both currents agree that “the Trotskyist Manifesto” and “Estrategia Internacional 4-5” are “materials which in general both currents agree to be of a principled character”. However, “Estrategia Internacional 4-5” is a document which advocates a “return to the call that the PTS is making towards the MAS with the aim to constitute a Liaison Committee between the two parties as an starting point for the reconstruction of Argentinean trotskyism on a principled basis.”

The MAS is the LIT’s main section. So it seems that the PTS is not only in favour of a liaison committee with the LRCI but also with the biggest centrist degenerate “fourthist” current in Latin America. A united party with the LIT could only be an unprincipled bloc.

The leaders of LRCI by “unanimity” endorsed that position. How could they declare that “Estrategia Internacional 4-5” is of a “principled character”? Perhaps the LRCI leaders didn’t see that phrase, which is a heading of one of its articles, or perhaps they didn’t read all that PTS’ journal. The PTS read the Trotskyist Manifesto and the majority of the LRCI programmatical documents because for many years the Latin American comrades dedicated very much efforts in translating them.

But there is not single PTS journal translated into English and the LRCI before the agreement didn’t translate a single document from that party. How can the IEC members endorsed “unanimously” a document which they could not all read, yet deny the right the right of the Latin Americans members of the LRCI to create a tendency because they didn’t translate a document that was adopted after they had already written their platform?

Before the last congress the LRCI’s IEC was a body that could contradict the International Secretariat monopolised by British Full-timers and academics. In the IECs usually the Latin American and New Zealand delegates had a bloc that comprise 5 of its 22 members as a left opposition. Now the International Secretariat is achieving its aim to transform it into a sort of rubber stamp. The IEC, can now vote “unanimously” to expel the opposition and “unanimously” back a document which reveals principled differences over how to build an international.

Both currents have a different understanding of what is democratic centralism. The PTS always fought to be readmitted in the LIT as a faction and it is in favour of allowing internal differences to be published outside. The LRCI, on the contrary, doesn’t want to tolerate international tendencies. When they were trying to create an international faction, the LRCI leaders suspended one comrade in New Zealand, and later another in Britain. They intervened in the NZ section, labelled its oppositionists a “secret faction”, sacked its only full-timer, and removed one leader. The LRCI leaders, instead of recognising the right of the Latin American members to create a tendency and to translate their document, suspended the author of that document, refusing his right to come to an IEC, intervened in the Bolivian section and threatened all those in the tendency with expulsion.

Where are they going?

In the last years several European “Trotskyist” currents tried to create opportunistic rapprochement with different currents that come from Argentinean Morenoism. In 1980, the Lambertist international, after breaking with its main Latin American work, jumped into Moreno and, despite serious differences, they created a “Parity Committee” which only lasted two years. Lambert tried to cover his split and Moreno tried to use this fusion to beat the Usec, which they left. Later, Moreno provoked a factional dispute and recruited all the Lambert’s MP’s. When the LIT split, the British WRP-Workers Press started a fusion process with the PTS. The WRP-WP, after it created a faction inside the PTS, broke and moved towards a fusion process with the LIT.

The LIRCI, a group around Ramos’ Spanish PORE, was created in mid-1970s as a very sectarian organisation who thought that every body else were revisionists and centrists and that they, with only a hundred people in the planet, were the only reconstructed “Fourth International”. After they split in mid-85 all its factions started a process of opportunist unification with currents that they previously attacked as “pabloites”. Ramos fused with the LIT’s right wing.

What will happen with this latest fusion process? Until now the LRCI is using this as a “smoke screen” to cover its internal crisis and the PTS is trying to open a bridge to Europe. When different members inside the LRCI tried to create an international opposition, the LRCI leaders accused them of being an “unprincipled bloc”. Yet if both suitors in the current liaison hide their political differences and decide to create a liaison committee this would be a REAL unprincipled bloc.

The LRCI don’t have any more a left opposition and it has a leadership that constantly revises its programs and positions from the top. Many things is possible to spec. We asked the LRCI and PTS members to push for a high-political way to deal with the differences. We demand the PTS to take a position about the LRCI splits and about its bureaucratic regime. We demand both organisations to allow us to participate in that debate and to publish our criticism in their internal bulletins.

Reprinted from Class Struggle Journal of the Communist Workers Group/ New Zealand section of the Liaison Committee of Militants for a Revolutionary Communist International (LCMRCI)

Written by raved

February 14, 2015 at 10:40 am