28/04/2019 by socialistfight
The Liaison Committee for the Fourth International sends its warmest revolutionary greetings to the world’s working class, the poor and oppressed of the world. As with the international class struggle, so with the national; you cannot defend Imperialism in its foreign wars, directly led by US imperialism or by its allies and sponsored proxies and consistently seek its overthrow at home. We can say that we were the only international Trotskyist organization that consistently defended Libya and every other semi-colony under attack by imperialism since against CIA/NATO war to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The Global crisis of Imperialism
We have nothing to detract our initial statements on Libya beginning in April 2011. Our 2011-12 LCFI statements stressed the Antiimperialist United Front signifying no political support for the bourgeois nationalists against their own working class and all its parties and trade unions, even when in direct confrontation with imperialism, as Trotsky explained in defence of Abyssinia in 1935 against Italy, in defence of China in 1936 against Japan and, hypothetically, in defence of “semi-fascist”Brazil against a putative attack by British imperialism.
We recognise that both the Russian and Chinese economies are clearly capitalist but are advanced semi colonies and not imperialist in the classic Marxist sense. In China the source of the privileges of the Stalinist bureaucracy and their close family relations is the costal capitalist enterprise zones, that defines the class character of that state as capitalist. It is infinitely economically superior to the Russian economy.
The Chinese economy concentrates much more capital than Russia, which it exports to the whole world, it clearly aspires to imperialist status by becoming a centralised hegemonic country which is already showing certain feature of a centralised dominant power.
However, it retains many features of a semi-colony in its rural hinterlands. Mercantile and financial fractions of Africa and Latin America are already strongly influenced by China. Despite all the efforts, blows, wars and bluffs of imperialism, China and Russia are increasingly contesting imperialist control of the world. Currently, they are exercising the real soft power. They are our allies in the international anti-imperialist struggle, in Ukraine, in Syria, in Venezuela. They are our opponents in the fight of working class and oppressed nations within China and Russia.
We can see that in the USA, Britain and France the ruling classes are bitterly split, the Democrats seek to impeach Trump in the most bitter of conflicts but his poll ratings still hover at 50%, there are three section of the Tory party tearing each other apart over Brexit and Macron’s poll ratings are at 30%. The US, though becoming ever more warmongering in its desperation to reverse its historical decline, remains the global hegemonic superpower, always the main enemy of the world’s working class, poor and oppressed.
Especially since the election of Donald Trump in 2016 the US has begun to intensify trade wars and has begun stoking inter-imperialist rivalries against the EU (A “foe”as Trump has dubbed it). He has endorse the barbaric war-criminal Netanyahu and the IDF in their assault on the Palestinian nation by moving the US embassy to East Jerusalem and recognising the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory captured in the 1967 war, as part of the Israeli state, raising the question of the expropriation of the West Bank. Putin supported the re-election of Netanyahu in Israel.
Trump has also resumed US imperialism’s assault against the remaining deformed workers states of Cuba and North Korea, partially relaxed by Obama, and against the semicolonial world in general, like Venezuela, Bolivia (reasserting the Monroe Doctrine), against Iran, Syria and with very important targets being those advanced semi-colonies in the BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
In Libya, the Benghazi-based Khalifa Haftar, backed by France, Egypt and Russia, is mounting an attack on the Tripoli government, which is nominally backed by the “international community”, that is, the US and its closest allies. But in order to weaken the Democratic opposition whose government carried out the military intervention in Libya, Trump declared support for the Haftar offensive, a potential defeat for US troops in Libya, but a victory for Trump in the inter-imperialist struggle. In addition to this conflict between two fractions of imperialism Another conflict is between two other imperialist nations. The Haftar attack is also a conflict for the control of Libya’s oil resources between France and Italy. And so, we read that relations between the two are at their worst since World War II.
Reflecting the same US/EU developing conflict Theresa May announced that the UK will use Chinese telecom giant Huawei to build certain “non-core”components of the U.K.’s 5G data network. This decision was made in the National Security Council, supposedly a top secrete body whose decision was immediately leaked to the Daily Telegraph. This was protesting that the move would compromise British security. Of course, it is US security that is the central issue here and whether to orient to the EU or to the USA as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes plain:
“If a country adopts this [Huawei technology] and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won’t be able to share information with them, we won’t be able to work alongside them,”he said. “In some cases, there’s risk — we won’t even be able to co-locate American resources, an American embassy, an American military outpost.”
After the offensive of US trade wars against China and the US / Israel regime change project in Iran, these are indeed scary words. In South America, the United States undertook a regime change in Brazil through its internal agents and its “legal” offensive. Under an exeptional court and backed by the military, CIA agents staged a coup d’état in 2016, arrested former PT President Lula, rigged the 2018 elections and imposed the far-right Bolsonaro government. Now Brazil is once again a US economic and political colony, and workers lose their labour, social security and social rights and are neo-enslaved by financial capital.
Regime change in Venezuela is proving more difficult as both China and Russia have material interests to defend there, but its regional agents in Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina are assisting the US against both Venezuela and Cuba. Regime change has been effected in both Zimbabwe and South Africa, again via internal agents and lawfare (though in Zimbabwe the military coup was barely concealed).
The arrest of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on 11 April is another imperialist crime and exposes once again that a key international role of the British imperialist ruling class, in the words of Assange’s friend Pamela Anderson, is to act as “America’s bitch”.
The LCFI rejects all the attempts by the British state to crush the resistance of the ‘dissident’, hold-out Republicans in the north of Ireland over the accidental death of the journalist Lyra McKee on 18 March. We endorse the statement of the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group:
“The IRPSG expresses our full solidarity with the anti-imperialist struggles in Ireland and make a sharp differentiation between Republican fighters against the British occupation of the six north eastern counties of Ireland, the British Army, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Loyalist defenders of that occupation. We support the Republican anti-imperialist struggles waged by all “dissident”groups whilst disagreeing with some of their methods and fighting for socialist working class leadership of those struggles. Unconditional but critical support from socialists is the great principle for those waging anti-imperialist struggles, and in these circumstances of hypocritical witch hunting by former Republicans and others who defend British occupation and the Loyalist veto the emphasis will be on the “unconditional”and the “critical”we will state but leave to better days.”
The Domestic class struggles
As with the international class struggle, so with the national; you cannot fight for Imperialism in its foreign wars and consistently seek its overthrow at home. Domestically the first line of Trotsky’s Transitional Programme, “The world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterized by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat”is as true today as when written in 1938.
This crisis of leadership, sharply highlighted in the reactionary pro-imperialism of most of the left to the Benghazi uprising in Libya in 2011, has now produced two movements of global significance, France’s yellow vests (YVs) and the global student and youth movement against climate change. Both have emerged outside of the traditional leadership of the working class, the social democracy and the trade union bureaucracy and the Stalinist, Maoist/Marxist-Leninist or more explicitly reformist mainstream Stalinists (“revisionists”in M-L speak) and centrist of the Trotskyist left and others.
In Britain the number of workers on strike was the lowest since 1893, in the USA strike struggles for 2017 was at a historic low since records began. However, in Britain there is a movement of small unrecognised and militant unions like the IWW to organise cleaners, courier drivers and other low waged. In the USA there has been a wave of teachers strikes which does indicate a growing wave of militance in sections. In Argentina by September 2018 the fourth general of President Macri took place as against a collapsing economy, a third of the population and almost two-thirds of children living under the official poverty line, and inflation reached 40% by the year’s end.
In France the uprising of the poorest layers of workers who live in France is on the question of taxes on fuel and at the same time on wages and pensions, these are the most important and general demand which the YVs put forward every time they are asked. It ranks are unmistakably proletarian and they are struggling to organise themselves nationally and internationally as their class consciousness develops. Since it began on 17 November 2018 this movement has proved impossible to repress with police violence or to buy off with politician’s vague promises. It has sparked a response in neighbouring Belgium and Holland and in francophone Africa; Algeria, Morocco and Sudan.
The climate change movement began as middle class movements. When Greta Thunberg, then 15 years old, decided not to go to school but begin her sit in outside the Swedish parliament on 20 August 2018 with her sign that read “Skolstrejk för klimatet”(“school strike for climate”), she could not have known the reaction her lone vigil there until the elections on 7 September, would have.
The reasons that caused the social explosion are manifold. The effective ignoring of the Paris Agreement by the rich countries, the outright denials and vehement opposition of the Trump administration and the frustration of the growing mass of scientists who have been battling in vain for decades against a capitalist establishment which the students correctly understood had only profit for a god.
CO2 is a very dangerous greenhouse gas for global warming, but there was a tipping point and a great fear that beyond a global rise of 2 degrees there could be runaway consequences which could not be controlled. Terry Townsend observes:
“The price of prolonged inaction could be climate catastrophe. If the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets collapse, sea levels could rise by up to 10 meters in the space of a few decades. More moderate melting could slow or shut down the circulation of ocean currents in the North Atlantic, which are responsible for the relatively mild temperatures of Northern Europe.
More recent studies reveal that warming could cause the abrupt release of large quantities of methane — a greenhouse gas 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide — stored in frozen, but quickly thawing, tundra; and this would greatly accelerate the process of warming. There many such “feedback loops”that may greatly speed global warming, all of which are unpredictable.”
But the militancy and determination of the youth who struck school on Fridays in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Colombia, New Zealand, and Uganda gives old revolutionaries new hope. 1.4 million struck school in March.
Youth Strike 4 Climate Change, Extinction Rebellion and Earth Strike and the rest are obviously the hope for the future. Now the bigger battles are ahead and surely we will conclude with Terry Townsend we must “Change the system, not the climate.”And these movements are pulling in the working class, who cannot live in the old way.
The trade union bureaucracy, the “backbone of British Imperialism”
Every refugee from the fight to build the world party of socialist revolution, every refugee from the class struggle blames the working class, its lack of combativity, its inability to lead itself and thereby defends the class treachery of the trade union bureaucracy and their political representatives in parliament, the Labour and social democratic parties worldwide.
As we observed in May Day 2012:
“Trotsky said the TU British leaders were the “backbone of British Imperialism”and this is true of every international TU bureaucracy from the British TUC to COSATU in South Africa to those in Brazil, the CUT – (Central Única dos Trabalhadores), the CGT (Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores) and the Conlutas (Coordenação Nacional de Lutas) and in Argentina the CGT, (Confederación General del Trabajo de la República) and the AFL/CIO in the USA.
Without for a single moment neglecting our internationalist duties our main task today in our own class struggle is to fight and pose alternatives to these treacherous misleaders. The building of rank and file movements in the Trade Unions, the placing of demands on all those who claim leadership of the working class, the relentless exposing of the centrists who defend the left Trade Union bureaucrat and left nationalist misleaders are our central tasks in the class struggle.”
We reject totally any suggestions that the trade unions have become simple agents of the capitalist state, that Trotsky’s Transitional Programme no longer applies in 2019, that we must seek to build our own sect in isolation from the mass struggle of the working class.
We are as confident as ever that with a correct orientation to Imperialism internationally and to the class struggle domestically based on irreconcilable opposition to the TU bureaucracy and to those who refuse to fight it consistently our small international current will undoubtedly find the ear of the resurgent vanguard of the class internationally.
● Defeat World Imperialism, finance capital and its agents in Libya Syria, Iran, Ukraine, Venezuela and in every conflict!
● No reliance on Bourgeois Nationalist leaders, even of the left variety!
● Free Lula, Assange and Manning, hostages of US imperialism!
● Only the International Working class can defeat Global Imperialism!
● Forward to the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International!
● Forward to the Refounding of the Fourth International
1 May 2019 ▲