The Dördüncü Blok and the COReP: some historical truths

Leave a comment

21/05/2016 by socialistfight

By Gerry Downing


Those who thought the murder of Gaddafi was a victory for some kind of revolution are exposed by the appalling condition of Libya today.

Our comrades of the Dördüncü Blok in Turkey have come into political conflict with the comrades of the Permanent Revolution Collective (CoReP). The Groupe Bolshevik of France, which is a split from Pierre Lambert PCI/OCI, is the parent group with sections in Austria and Peru. Socialist Fight was in political collaboration with that group because of agreement on work in mass reformist parties. When the war in Libya began in 2011 we took completely opposite views of what was happening.

For me the appearance of the flag of King Idris everywhere signalled that this was a pro-imperialist movement; King Idris had been a stooge monarch imposed on Libya by the British and Americans after WWII. Gaddafi overthrew him in 1969. When stories emerged of mass lynchings of Black Africans by these “revolutionaries” that settled the question for Socialist Fight. The CoReP saw the Benghazi rebels as leading a revolution of some sort so a split occurred on this matter. We therefore sought better and more anti-imperialist international comrades than these and, with the help of an Austrian representative of an Irish Republican group, we found the Liga Communista of Brazil. With their help we produced a long analysis, Military United Front but no political support for Gaddafi against the assaults of Imperialism and its agents, the reactionary Benghazi rebels and followed up with The soft left’s foolish illusions in Benghazi’s rebels, in Socialist Fight No. 6, 2011. [1]

In the latter article we wrote:

The ideological collapse from the standpoint of orthodox Trotskyism of those self-professed Trotskyists who took this line (supporting the Benghazi rebels – GD) could not be greater. They completely ignore the fight for ideological leadership of the masses, have accepted outright reactionaries as leading a ‘democratic revolution’ far better than the much maligned Michel Pablo, Ernest Mandel or Gerry Healy ever did. They, after all, chose leftist opponents of Stalinism and Imperialism in the beginning as adequate substitutes for revolutionary Trotskyism to carry forward the objectively unfolding world revolution, at least until the late 70s when Healy picked Arafat and Saddam Hussein and he, the USFI and others backed the fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini, who propagated anti-Imperialism as the source of their power. Our current jokers are telling us that outright, self-declared reactionary pro-Imperialists are leading this so-called revolution and implicitly that the movement is so powerful that it can do away with the need for conscious revolutionary leadership entirely and be represented adequately by its open opponents. A more foolish political scenario is impossible to imagine. Some even warn us not to put any trust in them (but, of course, do not fight to overthrow them, we cannot change horses in mid-stream, they are ‘democrats’ after all, are they not?). These former leftists are attempting to perpetrate wholesale fraud on the world working class.

And we had a special word for the Permanent Revolution Collective, CoReP:

One group of comrades, the CoReP, with whom we have had fraternal relations, asked this of us:

“We agree to support Gaddafi against Imperialist armies. But we cannot agree to support any bourgeois despot coming from the army against his own people’s upsurge, as Gerry did in name of SF well before Imperialist intervention. If there was a real revolution led by Nasser or Gaddafi, who needs the permanent revolution strategy and a revolutionary workers party there?”

“His own people’s upsurge” was a putsch organised by extreme reactionary leaders, whose political credentials these comrades did not even think worth checking. Because obviously this objectively unfolding revolution had no need of revolutionary leaders, reactionary ones were just as good. And then they accuse us of capitulating to Nasser and Gaddafi! Of course the Socialist Fight article did not give uncritical support to Gaddafi against the rebels, the support was critical and against the internal agents of imperialism as well as their allies, the imperialists bombers themselves.

These ‘revolutionaries’ (some still follow The Guardian in designating them thus) called in imperialist bombing of their own country and people, have made the country’s oil resources available to Imperialism in return for puppet status, just as their ideologue whose flag they wave, King Idris, did up to 1969. Neither did they enquire why these ‘revolutionaries’ felt it necessary to slaughter all those black workers. We would suggest it was because their leaders knew their racism and wished to encourage it by talk of ‘black mercenaries’ to ensure that the working class could not influence events in any way. Of course politically the working class could not have any independent existence when one group of workers were killing another, minority group. The working class was thereby ideologically and politically defeated at the outset of this ‘revolution’.

These comrades think that there is still a huge political difference between the imperialist war planes that bomb Gaddafi’s army and his civilian supporters and the rebels. But they are obviously part of the same war machine and are trying to win by following up the bombing as Imperialism’s foot soldiers, unfortunately for Sarkozy et al not very good ones.

The CoReP statement complains that “The threat of interference of the Western armies” … has “politically strengthened Gaddafi.” That might be because he is fighting imperialism and the rebels are supporting it. It makes a number of democratic demands, seemingly unaware that some of these have already been realised and under immediate threat from the Imperialist-sponsored rebels, whom they are supporting. On the emancipation of women for instance, Libya has the most progressive laws on women’s rights in the whole of the region. And we have seen above the real relationship between finance capital and Libya, it is severely inhibited and it wants its ‘freedom and democracy’ and it is confident that the rebels will give it to them.

The CoReP declares for a socialist revolution. But supporting the forces of Imperialism in the form of the rebels can only strengthen the hand of reaction. The CoReP concludes:

“Thus, Libya workers will be able to defeat the bourgeois dictatorship and contribute to the Socialist Federation of the Middle East and North Africa where Arab, Berber, Turkish, Jewish, Kurds, Saharawis, Persian, etc. will remove all the borders inherited from colonialism.”

Without fighting global imperialism, correctly identifying the local agents of Imperialism and making a Military United Front bloc with Gaddafi against it and its local agents the revolution cannot advance at all. You are only contributing to the political confusion and lining up with every Imperialist power and every reactionary Gulf state who were slaughtering their own genuine revolutionaries.

Following this the CoReP published a long document, still online, called Open Letter to Socialist Fight Supporters. Those with the will to do so may view it here [2]



The Open Letter containing the bogus banner with that slogan, “No foreign intervention, Libyan people can manage it alone”  which was nothing more than a piece of propaganda for gullible leftists frown in, most likely, by the CIA from Langley Virginia. With the flag of King Idris to make sure we knew they were imperialist stooges.

Here is a short extract from the many complaints lodged against us:

On the other hand, he (Gerry Downing) forgets his own advice when he writes about the so-called “Gains of the Revolution”: The gains of the 1969 revolution led by Muammar Gaddafi… (Socialist Fight n° 6, p. 15) We put forward the following programme in defence Libya and the remaining gains of the 1969 revolution… (p. 19) We would have to defend the gains of the revolution… (p. 22) There is a very great deal left of the Libyan revolution of 1969 worth defending and the masses now increasingly rallying to Gaddafi realise this… (p. 23) The rebels are immediately threatening all the gains of the 1969 revolution… (p. 24) Gaddafi’s government is still defending the gains of the 1969 revolution… (p. 26) The only revolution possible is “the dictatorship of the proletariat”…. but there was in 1969 in Libya a revolution without proletariat. “The bourgeoisie cannot lead a revolution”… but Colonel Gaddafi could. It is hardly surprising that comrade Downing compares Libya to a workers’ state.

Of course I did not just compare it to a workers’ state but defended it against imperialist attack and that of its agents as a semi-colonial oppressed country. Those two articles from SF No. 6, Spring/Summer 2011 stand today as proof of the correctness of the stance we took. Libya today is what the revolution of the Benghazi rebels has led. It is surely not necessary to spell out in detail who was right and who was wrong back in early 2011.


[1]Socialist Fight No.6, pp 15-26,

2] CoReP, Open Letter to Socialist Fight Supporters,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WRP Explosion

WRP Explosion

WRP Explosion

%d bloggers like this: