International Correspondence

Monthly Political Journal of the Fourth International

No. 4 — November 2010 2 euros / US$3 Supplement to La Vérité/The Truth No. 69


In the Aftermath of the Nov. 2 Elections Declaration of Socialist Organizer

Communiqué of the O Trabalho Current of the Workers Party (PT)

10 Years of a War That Is Now Spreading to Pakistan


November 2: Massive Abstention and Rejection of Democrats for Refusal to Address the Needs of the Millions Who Voted for Obama
Statement by Socialist Organizer (excerpts)
On November 2, the Democratic Party candidates got a shellacking the likes of which have not been seen in over 60 years: Republicans picked up at least 60 new seats in the House of Representatives and six seats in the Senate. In addition, the Republicans won 10 governorships and gained control of 19 state legislative chambers. In November 2008, close to 64 million people voted for Barack Obama seeking real change; they wanted an end to the Bush administration’s war on working people at home and an end to the wasteful and unending wars abroad. For many — especially for millions of Black people — it was the first time they voted, as they finally saw an avenue for possible change. In November 2010, after two years during which the Democrats controlled the White House and held a super-majority in the Congress, 29 million Obama voters — that is, nearly one in every two people who voted for Obama in 2008 — stayed home. Black voters plummeted by more than 60% compared to 2008, while the youth vote (ages 18 to 29) dropped by more than half, according to exit polls. The real story in this election was the massive abstention from the polls by former Democratic supporters — an abstention that expressed the widespread repudiation of two years of Democratic Party failure to create a jobs program and outright betrayal of the promises made during the campaign trail in 2008 (no Employee Free Choice Act, no immigration reform, no halt to foreclosures and evictions, no end to the military buildup in the Middle East). The administration’s bailing out of Wall Street and bankers to the tune of more than $4 trillion, while allowing working men and women on Main Street to fend for themselves, fueled the voters’ deep anger. Patricia Elizondo, president of the 2,000member Milwaukee International Association of Machinists local, told the New York Times before the election, “People have been unemployed for two years, and they’re unhappy that the health-care bill was not as good as they expected. Two years ago, I had many members going door-todoor to campaign. Now they’re saying, ‘Why should I? We supported that candidate, but he didn’t follow through.’” (Sept. 17, 2010) The same New York Times article quoted Mike DeGasperis, a steelworker from Martins Ferry, Ohio who voted for Obama in 2008 but who on the eve of the 2010 election in 2010 was still undecided. “We heard everything was going to change, but there hasn’t been much change, and the unemployment is still bad and the area we live in is still really depressed,” said DeGasperis, who was laid off for 10 months in 2009. Democrats Join Republican Chorus The massive rejection of the Democratic Party candidates should come as no surprise: Since Obama took office, more than 3.3 million jobs have been lost. The number of unemployed and heavily underemployed is now hovering around 27 million people. But this is not all. Six million families have lost their homes to foreclosures during this current crisis, and an additional 2.5 million homes are in the process of foreclosure. On every front, the Democrats have pursued basically the same corporate policies as George W. Bush. Working people know this — having experienced the brunt of these attacks directly — which is why they voted with their feet on November 2. In the aftermath of the election, Obama announced that he wants to work closely with the Republicans to enact “much-needed reforms” in our Social Security system and to “negotiate” with Republicans over tax cuts, energy and education reform policies. In real-world politics this will mean an intensified drive to privatize public education.

• United States: In the aftermath of the “midterm” elections — Page 3 • Brazil: Declaration of the O Trabalho current of the Workers Party (PT) after the second round of the presidential election — Pages 4 and 5 • Afghanistan: Ten years of a war that has now spread to Pakistan — Page 6 • France Dossier: The lessons of ten months of intense class struggle — Pages 7-10 • Peru: The struggle for a labor and anti-imperialist candidate for president — Page 11 • International Press Review — Pages 12 and 13 • Trotskyism and the Left Opposition in the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) in 1923-24”, A book by Russian Historian Alexandre Reznik — Pages 14 and 15 • Palestine: Resumption of direct negotiations on the basis of the “two state solution” — Page 16


International Correspondence, the monthly supplement to La Vérité-The Truth, the theoretical magazine of the Fourth International, is published under the responsibility of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International. The director of the publication is Daniel Gluckstein. Editorial Board, Business Department and Correspondence: (for all countries and for the English, Spanish and French editions) 87, rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010, Paris, France. Tel. 011-331-4801-8828. Fax: 011-331-4801-8836

International Correspondence



Barack Obama addresses Pennsylvania AFL-CIO convention in April 2008.

A November 3 statement by the Democratic Leadership Council, the Clinton-Gore wing of the Democratic Party, sounded a similar note, hailing the possibility that the “free trade” agenda to push U.S. exports worldwide would be given a new boost by the mid-term elections. Democrats and Republicans will join hands in cutting the budget deficit and making workers shoulder even more of the burden of the deepening economic crisis. And to carry out these attacks, the bosses and the politicians of the two corporate parties will need to co-opt the trade unions into implementing these anti-worker plans. On November 3, Jerry Brown, the newly elected governor of California, argued that the state’s $19 billion budget deficit required establishing a “new partnership” where labor, the business community, and the elected officials could come together and agree on how to close the deficit gap. Brown made it clear that he opposed raising taxes — so the message was unambiguous: The labor movement needs to be part of the process of laying off public-sector workers and downsizing “government.” Trumka on the November 2 Elections AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka noted correctly in a November 3 statement to the National Journal’s “The Day

After” conference that, “Republicans would be making a big mistake if they believe voters endorsed the Republican agenda.” Trumka insisted that the votes were a “rebuke to the party in power.” Trumka went on, however, to argue that the Democrats continue to be “labor’s friends.” But the record proves just the opposite, confirming what we in Socialist Organizer have been stating time and again: The Democratic Party is one of the two parties of the ruling class; it defends faithfully the interests of the bankers and the corporations. Trumka concluded his presentation by saying that he “will tell Obama and Democrats to work with Republicans, but not to compromise their principles.” But everyone knows that “working with the Republicans” means going after entitlements, privatizing education and other public services, refusing to increase taxes or reduce military spending and, most important, refusing to create jobs. What Concerns the Democrats The Democrats aren’t concerned about “compromising their principles.” As a party of the bosses, they have stuck to their principles, which are contrary to the interests of the working class and all the oppressed. For two years they have done all the bidding of Wall Street and the corporations against the U.S. working class and the poor — and now, with the new “mandate” of November 2, they will only sharpen these attacks.

And here we must be clear: The Democrats could not have carried out any of these attacks without the trade union leadership’s unflinching support to the Democratic Party. The union leadership’s continued subordination to the Democratic Party, in fact, remains THE central political obstacle facing U.S. working people today. This is why, more than ever, the main task facing unionists, young activists, and community organizers is to build a fightback in the interests of the working-class majority within the unions and workplaces, in the community, and inside the schools and campuses. In this process of building grassroots resistance to the attacks raining down on us, we must fight for the unions and the organizations of Blacks and Latinos to act independently and to throw their tremendous political weight into this historic struggle around one or more of the following urgent demands:

- Implement a massive public works program to put 20 million people back to work! - Hands off Social Security and Medicare! - Stop and reverse the drive to privatize public education and social services! - End the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and redirect the war funding to meeting human needs! - Tax the rich! Make the bosses and Wall Street pay! - Get the bailout money back from Wall Street! - Employee Free Choice Act, with card-check! - Stop the Deportations! Papers for All! - Single-payer healthcare!
Another central task of the moment — which is not dissociated from the fight to organize an emergency workers’ fightback — is to open the widest discussion in the labor movement about the need to build a Labor Party based on the trade unions, a party that fights for the demands and the needs of working people, a party that takes on the corporate powers rather than working for them.



After the Second Round of the Presidential Election
Dilma, the candidate of the Workers Party, won! What problems are raised? Working people elected the candidate of the Workers Party, Dilma Roussef, to the presidency of the Republic. Fifty-six million voters, concentrated in the workers’ neighborhoods, the poor communities, and the favelas voted, for the third time, for the candidate of the workers’ party to the presidency; they did it clearly for jobs and better wages, for the land, health, education, housing and transportation! They have affirmed the will to bury, once and for all, the politics of Serra (PSDB), the “preferred candidate” of imperialism, and all those who would privatize the Pre-Sal (oil reserves in deep water), the speculators, the land owners, and the lords of the media. Here are 56 million voters who were not intimidated by the brutal offensive of candidate Serra proposing “national unity” to implement the fiscal readjustments demanded by the IMF, supported by international financial capital, the U.S. State Department, the leadership of several churches, and by the Pope himself. Working people brought the Workers Party to the presidency again, demanding immediate satisfaction of their demands. These demands can only be met by re-taking control of the national wealth — all the Petrobras oil re-nationalized 100%; by repealing the laws imposed by the IMF during the Fernando Henrique Cardoso period (such as the law on fiscal responsibility, the law on social organizations, and the primary fiscal surplus to pay the debt); finally, by breaking from the subordination to international financial capital, to reestablish national sovereignty. Working people gave a victory to the Workers Party candidate, not some sector of the elites such as Sarney’s PMDB, the PDBS of Cid Gomes or others who now demand loudly to control more cabinets, to prevent the satisfying of the people’s demands. All this was made even more obvious between the first and second rounds. First, the leadership of the Workers Party gave up a number of candidacies for gover-


Declaration of the O Trabalho Current of the Workers Party (PT)

Dilma Roussef and Lula at election rally in Brazil
nor to those “allies” — who in fact were often defeated. Then, in the second round, while the leaders of the Workers Party and their “trusty relays” were running after “allies” — most whom remained apathetic, thus revealing the real interests of the PMDB — it was the common people who went to the streets in support of Dilma. It is was those sectors that stopped the reactionary offensive — from the priest of the parrish of Caninde (Cerea) who denounced Serra’s attempt to campaign during his mass, or the workers of the printing house of Cambuci (Sao Paulo) who denounced the printing of lying pamphlets from the catholic hierarchy against the Workers Party, down to the “Mata Mosquitos” (employees of a public service in charge of the fight against epidemics) who had been fired by Serra when he was minister of Health, and rehired by Lula. They prevented Serra from campaigning in front of their union in Rio de Janeiro. To this, one must add the initiatives of letters and meetings in support of the Workers Party candidate, notably the protest called by the UFP (the Federation of Petroleum workers — CUT), which gathered more than 10,000 Petroleum workers for the defense of Petrobras. Mobilized, those sectors, those unions and organizations brought their demands to the campaign. Once elected president, Dilma talked about “eradicating misery” and “reaching out” to the opposition. Defeated, Serra declared immediately: “We are just at the beginning of a true struggle.” In fact, in the world crisis, imperialism leaves no room for manoeuver, and tries to recover its positions on the continent (Venezuela, Ecuador.) In Brazil, under the pretext of the exchange rate (“the war of currencies”), imperialism again demands budgets cuts, reform of Previdencia (social security and retirements), privatizations, that is: the “fiscal adjustments” to guarantee its profits and



speculation. This is the opposite of what the people had voted for. What meaning can we give to the repeated declarations of the elected candidate on “the eradication of misery”? Lula talked about it eight years ago, and repeated it four years ago. But with so much popular support, wasn’t it possible, for instance, to produce the agrarian reform which would have ended misery in the countryside? Wasn’t it possible to renationalize and to rehire the unemployed people because of privatizations? Or adopt measures to eradicate drugs from poor areas, and prevent them from getting a hold? Yes, it was, and it is possible. But for that, instead of pursuing the same politics, it is necessary to have a government of the Workers Party that breaks with the laws inherited from Fernando Henrique Cardoso and the IMF. The people would support such a government enthusiastically. The president of the Workers Party, Dutra, said:”the next government will not be a government of the Workers Party.” But for us, we say: “a true government of the Workers Party is a must!” It is more than time to finally break with the politics of the IMF, the G20 and the World Bank. * An urgent question is: the increase of minimum wage; the readjustment of pensions for 2011, and the salary agreements for civil servants. In the absence of a clear answer from the candidate under the pressure of the “market”, the CUT [union confederation] now has the responsibility to call on Brasilia to demand what is right. These are demands that the Workers Party, with the largest elected parliamentary group, must support. * Another current question, that of the crisis of exchange rates: to raise the rates of FOI (taxes on financial operations) will not stop speculation fed by Washington, and which rests on the high interest rates of the Central Bank of Brazil. But there is a solution to protect the national production, and guarantee jobs: it is the centralization of exchange. Thus an actual domestic market would be built on the base of people’s rising consumption. Furthermore: the problem of the PEC (proposal of constitutional amendment) on the 40 hours which is still blocked in congress by Temer, the vice-president of the PMDB; the end of the foresight factor (calculation allowing to lower the level of pensions in function of life expectancy.) And that of the actualization of the index of the land (which serves to determine which parcels can or cannot be expropriated under the agrarian reform.) It was refused by the PMDB agriculture minister. But who believes that those cabinet members and other “allies” will answer the demands of the people And the demand of the troops’ return from Haiti is an urgent one: the occupation adds to the tragedy and epidemics by repressing the people and assassinating unionists. All these are urgent questions! The course of events will depend on the strength of workers’ organizations in the cities and the countryside, as was shown in the conquests won by the metal workers, the petroleum workers, those of the sugar cane plantations (canavieros), and the nationwide strike of bank employees in the middle of the electoral campaign. It is in the service of that force that the O Trabalho Current joined integrally with its candidates as early as the first ballot. To regroup through and for the class struggle, that is our banner, and it was also one of the founding banners of the Workers Party at its foundation. In this new and decisive stage which opens, we invite the comrades of the Workers Party to tighten our solidarity, which will be more necessary than ever! We are going to bring all our forces to the 3rd National meeting of Party Dialogue, in March, called by more than 30 elected candidates and parliamentarians, coming from diverse horizons, in response to the call: “Vote Workers’ Party, for a true government for change, with allies, yes, but allies belonging to forces struggling for the people’s aspirations!” In view of all that happened, it is clear that this meeting must rise to the height of the challenges of the new situation; to prepare for this, meetings are being held in all the states. That is what the O Trabalho Current proposes. Participate in our annual financial campaign, which is the guarantee of our political independence! Join us!

• Introduction • Chronology •The Testimony of Sieva (Esteban Volkov) • Leon Trotsky, a Revolutionary at the Heart of the 1905 Russian Revolution, the “Dress Rehearsal of the 1917 Revolution (by Dominique Ferre) • Trotsky and the Beginning of the Fight Against the Bureaucracy in the USSR (by Christel Keiser) • Trotsky and the Bolshevik Current (By Andreu Camps) • Permanent Revolution and the AntiImperialist United Front

Articles in Issue No. 69 of La Vérité/The Truth
(by Joao Alfredo Luna) • The Fourth International and the People’s Fronts • The Lessons of October (by Jean-Pierre Raffi) • Resolution on the Attitude Toward the Provisional Government Adopted by the Seventh All-Russia Conference of the Bolshevik Party (April 25, 1917) • Trotsky and the Defence of the USSR (by Pavlusko Imsirovic) • Trotsky and the Trade Unions (by Olivier Dorianei) • Art, Society, Revolution: Principles

and Predictions (by Michel Serac) • Leon Trotsky on the Labor Party and Black Party in the US (by Andreu Camps) • Trotsky and the Transitional Program (by Daniel Gluckstein) • Founding of the Fourth International: An Historical Necessity (by Lucien Gauthier) • Manifesto of the Fourth International on Imperialist War and Proletarian Revolution: Emergency Conference of the Fourth International (by Jean-Jacques Marie)



Ten Years of a War That Has Now Spread to Pakistan The Real Reasons for the Occupation of Afghanistan
By FRANCOIS FORGUE On October 7, the war in Afghanistan entered its tenth year. This anniversary has been primarily marked by rising casualties among the troops of the coalition under U.S. leadership, as part of an escalation of the war waged against the people. The increase in troops of the occupation force — a decision of Obama —which now has about 150,000 soldiers force under the flag of NATO, has not resulted in the occupation’s stabilization of any part of the country. A few weeks ago, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a thin-tank including former top military heads from the U.S. and England, released a report stating that this war is “a long-term disaster.” It sees as the only solution a partition of the country between the Taliban — still designated as the enemy that must be destroyed — and the Karzai regime — which they unanimously see as full of abject corruption. The Canadian newspaper the Toronto Sun on September 14, summarizing the report, in an article titled “A bomb explodes London,” adds: “This report is a setback for Obama and for David Cameron and other allies of the United States. It will only convince skeptics that the real reason for the occupation of Afghanistan is profits from oil resources, and the will to exclude China from these profits.” For several years the stalemate in Afghanistan has spilled over into Pakistan. Moreover, U.S. strategists, concerned by what has become a theater of military operations, and ignoring the people and the sovereignty of states, have called the whole area “Afpak.” An American journalist has compared the extension of the war in Afghanistan to Pakistan territory to what happened during the Vietnam War when U.S. aircrafts engaged in terror bombings in Cambodia. There is something true in this comparison but it omits, what is without doubt the most essential part, the consequences for all Asia — particularly in the Indian subcontinent — of the destabilization of Pakistan, which has been dragged into the abyss of an endless war. Cambodia was complementary to the war in Vietnam: Pakistan is a major component in the name of the fight against terrorism.” It is not only war that directly affects the people of Pakistan. Even as they face the dire consequences of floods, they are also subjected to the international agencies of imperialism, the World Bank and IMF, whose president is none other than Dominique StraussKahn — who some present as the future candidate of the “Left” in the presidential election in France. This summer, Pakistan was supposed to receive $ 1.3 billion dollars, as one of the payments of a 11.3 billion loan that had been negotiated with the IMF. The latter refused to loosen the strings on the loan because the Pakistani government had not met certain conditions related to this loan (privatization, removal of subsidies, etc). In the face of disaster striking Pakistan, its representatives hoped that the IMF would change its position. It did not happen, and the IMF director explained that new loans would depend on the implementation of its plan. The World Bank is no exception. Its president, Robert B. Zoellick said: “We provide a strong response to the crisis but we should not lose sight of the indispensable economic reforms.” This is very much a plan to kill a whole people. In this situation, the most severe blows are brought upon the labor movement: non-implementation of labor laws and increasing use of repression, at the behest of the bosses, to prevent the formation of unions. The All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF) acts to centralize the resistance of the working class by linking the fate of workers to the resistance against the ravages of war and the consequences of the imperialist plans. It is not possible in limits of this article to discuss the situation in other countries in the region, especially India. No state will escape the consequences of the seriousness of the crisis reaching Pakistan. The forms in which the global crisis is expressed in the Indian subcontinent put forward as a central issue the consequences of the partition in 1947 under new forms that need to be analyzed. One thing is certain: there will be no positive way forward outside the common struggle of the peoples of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.


in the situation across all the continent. Resulting from the counter-revolutionary partition of 1947, the Pakistani state has been primarily maintained as a major point of leverage for U.S. imperialism. U.S. imperialism has always used the conflict between Pakistan and India to develop its overall strategy. Today, the contradiction is that the needs of imperialism create a situation that undermines the very foundations of the existence of the Pakistani state, whose survival it still feels is indispensable. We know that Pakistan has been victim of devastating floods this summer. The media interest has declined faster than the ebb of the waters. Note that the floods did not prevent the military operations of U.S. and NATO from intensifying. In September, at least 20 attacks were carried out by unmanned drones on Pakistani territory. At the same time, as was revealed by Bob Woodward in his new book, “The Wars of Obama”: “A strong paramilitary force of 3,000 men, consisting of Afghan mercenaries led by CIA agents have conducted many raids.” Pakistan is facing the full brunt of a war whose causes are not even in Pakistan but in the overall plans of imperialism. The British weekly newspaper The Economist reported that, where deadly attacks occurred in a region controlled by the Taliban, the people said: “This is not the Taliban, they are agents of Government hoping to get a few dollars



FRANCE: Lessons of 10 Months of Intense Class Struggle


(Dossier by Christel Keiser, Laurence Fayard, & Dominique Ferré)

To analyze the lessons from 10 months of intense class struggle in France requires starting with an observation. On the one hand, there was the process of integration of the trade unions into the implementation of the counter-reform of the pensions, or retirement system. This integration was from the outset a major goal of the government in the “governance” framework dictated by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the European Union. This integration has not occurred. In fact, the workers and youth — through bigger and bigger mobilizations, through taking to the streets by the millions on multiple occasions, and through strikes — sought at all levels to take ownership of their unions as instruments for struggle around the slogan: “Withdraw the Pension Counter-Reform!” On the other hand, the general strike to force the withdrawal of the government’s plan — which appeared to be the only way forward for many workers and for many local and even département-wide union federations [tr. note: equivalent to

state union federations in the United States] — has not occurred.

A slogan that united the working class: withdraw the counter-reform!

The combination of these two elements captures the peculiarity of this movement. In reality, the movement grew very close to the general strike. The essential feature of the situation was that, step by step, the workers grabbed onto a unifying slogan: withdrawal the counterreform! And that process took place in opposition to all those who openly called for a “good pension reform” — starting with the leaders of the Socialist Party (PS), the Communist Party (PCF), and the heads of the unions. However, the workers saw no reason to go down the slippery slope of the allegedly necessary “good reform.” The so-called pension deficits resulted exclusively from the destruction of jobs, the plunder of public funds, the

measures taken against public utilities, etc. This has been repeatedly demonstrated by the Independent Workers Party POI (see sidebar). The slogan of withdrawal gained strength, step by step. Raised first by only the Force Ouvriere confederation (see timeline), it quickly gained supporters among whole sectors of the CGT [the most influential trade union confederation]. In total, it is estimated that by the end of the process, a majority of departmental unions and federations of the CGT were calling for withdrawal of the counter-reform. But despite the proliferation of calls for withdrawal from a majority of the federations and a very large number of appeals from all unions in specific departments, the top leaders of the CGT confederation remained inflexible. At no time did Bernard Thibault, the secretary general of the CGT, advance the slogan of withdrawal. Worse, he continued his alliance with Chereque of the CFDT [the rightwing Christian trade union], especially around the so-called demand for



opening negotiations for a “good reform.”

From the law of August 20, 2008 to the “InterSyndicale” of the CGT-CFDT

Chronology of Events
tions were adopted by unions demanding the withdrawal of the bill and calling on workers to strike on September 7 to demand the withdrawal of the counterreform plan. From July 20 to 23, the bill is in committee in the National Assembly. Dismissing the demand for withdrawal, members of the PS, PCF and PG propose amendments. The PS even declares that “people very well can work up to 60 or 65 years.” September 7: Nearly three million workers are on strike and demonstrate throughout the country with their unions. Many marches call for the withdrawal. The very next day, Bernard Thibault (CGT) and Francois Chereque (CFDT) insist on rejecting the demand, raised from below within their unions, that they call an interprofessional general strike until withdrawal of the bill. September and October: Given the power of the working class movement — which is joined by the youth and high school students — the Inter-Union (InterSyndicale) is forced to call a new day of strikes and demonstrations on September 23, and on October 2, 12, 16 and 19. Millions of French workers go on strike and demonstrate. The demand for “withdrawal” is growing. After October 12: The strike is extended in various public and private sectors (SNCF rail system, territorial agents ...). The refinery workers decide to strike. The truck drivers join the movement throughout the country and organize the blockade of fuel depots. October 21: The “Inter-Union” (except FO and Solidaires), ignoring the demand for a strike until withdrawal, called for a new day of action on Oct. 28, the day after the Senate vote on the project and said that they “would ensure compliance with/respect for property.” The government violently requisition the strikers of fuel depots and unlock the refineries. Locally, leaders of the PS threaten to arrest the garbage strikers. In the aftermath of the strike on October 28, Chérèque (CFDT) and the president of MEDEF (employers) raise the prospect of “the employment of young and elderly people” in the context of implementation of the law. They benefited from the complicit silence of Thibault (CGT), who called for “other forms of action.”

This alliance is nothing trivial. The agreement between the CGT and CFDT led to the signing in 2008 with the bosses of what was called the “common position”, which served as the basis for the new law on union representativity (August 20, 2008), disrupting all the rules of trade unionism won in France for over 60 years. The trade union confederations, which were previously recognized as representative, were now placed in a situation where they must, company by company, sector by sector, “give evidence” of their representativity through votes and staff consultations, which, in fact, would encourage the emergence of so-called trade union leaders under the thumb of the bosses, to the detriment of the existence of the confederations. This CGT-CFDT-government-employers’ agreement was a major blow against freedom of association and was part of the” governance” advocated by all the institutions of international finance capital. This aspect of “governance” was used against the push for a general strike during this recent working class upsurge. But it was not strong enough to prevent the movement from growing to the point where it brought behind it most of the activists and organizations of the CGT. It was not strong enough to prevent millions of workers from going on strike and demonstrating in huge mass demonstrations on seven different occasions, against the will of Thibault, Chérèque, etc. pushing their unions to defend their class interests.

The working class has not won — but it is not defeated

This neo-corporatist alliance was not strong enough, either, to prevent workers from striking, after October 12, in an extremely large number of sectors, and to attempt to overcome all the obstacles placed in their way by the union officialdom. The situation thus created is new, unquestionably. The working class did not win. Yet so far, the dominant feeling is not one of defeat. In contrast, the capi-

January 2010: Nicolas Sarkozy called for the “reform” of the pensions before the end of 2010 and held a “conference on the deficit” in which he announced that he must find 100 billion euros by 2013. February 15: Sarkozy meets unions and announces the schedule for “reform.” Five unions, the CFDT, CGT, FSU, UNSA and partners, call for day of action on March 23 for a “debate”, which was already being organized by the government. No demands were raised. The Socialist Party (SP), the Communist Party (CP), the Left Party (PG), and the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) supported that call for a national debate in support of a good “reform.” Late March: The government announces the filing of a bill by Labour Minister Eric Woerth. April 7: Jean-Claude Mailly (Force Ouvriere-FO union confederation) called on the other confederations to organize an interprofessional strike of 24 hours to roll back the government. The proposal was rejected by the leaders of the CGT and CFDT, among others. May 4: The Extraordinary Executive Committee meeting of FO calls for an interprofessional strike and a national demonstration in Paris on June 15. From June 7 to 11: The CFDT at its congress announces that it supports the central point of the Woerth law (the lengthening the contribution period before retirement). National leaders of the PS, PCF, Left Party, and the NPA refuse to raise the demand for the “withdrawal” of the government project. June 15: The government releases its draft legislation; 70,000 workers and trade unionists demonstrate in Paris in response to the call of the FO union confederation for withdrawal. In the following days, many CGT and FO unions demand the full withdrawal of the bill. June 24: New day of action called by the “Inter-Union” CGT-CFDT. Though the leaders of these confederations still refused to demand withdrawal, this demand was broadly reflected in the contingents, including from unions and militants of the CGT. June 29: Unions call for day of strikes and demonstrations on September 7, the opening day of debate in the National Assembly. July and August: Hundreds of resolu-

talist class and the government, which welcomed the passage of the counter-

reform, are far from declaring victory. The newspaper Les Echos, which rep-




resents the interests of the capitalist class, writes: “The tearing up society, this test of democracy, left the nation as a gravely injured body [...]. On its ruins, the executive branch will have to try to rebuild a social dialogue. Not that it is an end in itself but a means to reform … The French population feels every reform as a new blow [...]. The hegemonic idea is certainly simplistic, but simple: the word “reform” actually means “sacrifice” [...]. Imagine, how it is possible to impose still more sacrifices? We may not be distant from a moment when those who define themselves and perceive themselves as permanent victims — and they are not a minority — will go all out in their response to these ‘reforms’.”

What They Said ...
bers will defend these proposals for alternative funding of pensions in the parliamentary debate. “ The NPA [New Anti-Capitalist Party] raises the demand for withdrawal of the reform but calls for: “A united campaign to be held [with the leaders of the PS and PCF], whatever political disagreements there may be. We can march separately and strike together in the battle of pensions [...] The outcome of 2012 is played out in this battle. “ Joint Communique of the InterSyndicale CFDT, CFE / CGC, CFTC, CGT, FSU, UNSA, Solidarity, August 23: “The government and parliamentarians need to hear protests by the workers and answer their demands for more choices on pensions. “ FO press release on August 23: “When a text is not right and when the government does not change the essential (from 60-62 years and 65-67 years), we must abandon this text. “ Nadine Prigent, confederal secretary of the CGT, August 26: “We cannot introduce the idea that winning the withdrawal of this project would be a victory in the pensions issue.” Interview with Francois Chereque (CFDT), October 11: “The Inter-Syndicale does not call for the withdrawal of the reform, for one simple reason: the citizens of our country know that a reform is needed.”

Institutional Crisis & “Popular Front of the 21st century”

The Sarkozy government and, more generally, the institutions of the Fifth Republic were mortally wounded. That’s why the “Left” was quick to step into the breach to try to save the decomposed regime. Throughout this conflict, the leaders of the PS and the PCF have always had a duplicitous stance. While they were dramatically present in the demonstrations, pledging their support for the movement that sought the path of strike, they at the same time made many statements advocating a “good reform” and the need to extend the age of retirement. In this sense, they have only acted in accordance with the undertaking begun by Lionel Jospin, then Socialist Prime Minister in common with Jacques Chirac, then president, at the Barcelona Summit in 2002, where they pledged to extend the duration by five years for the age of retirement at the full rate. The day after the passage of the law, the same leaders of the Socialist Party and Communist Party launched major campaigns for 2012, the expected date of the presidential election. They proposed to develop a program for the “Left government” including a whole series of things ... except the repeal of the counterreform. Worse, the same leaders multiply their statements that in 2013 there should be a new reform, this time based on the introduction of pension funds called retirement points, a proposal made jointly by president of the employers, Laurence Parisot of MEDEF, and the leader of the CFDT, Francois Chereque. Thus, once again, we see verified the

Report of the IMF (whose director is Dominique Strauss-Kahn, also leader of the Socialist Party) on October 6: “Raising the legal age of retirement should be the starting point for reform.” The report welcomes the reform proposed by the French government to raise the legal age “which is currently among the lowest” of the world. Marisol Touraine (member of the Socialist Party) in early September: “We must extend the contribution period. Retirement should not apply equally to everyone, because the world of work has changed. We must maintain the legal age of 60 years and at the same time recognize that people will work longer. “ Gaetan Gorce, MP (PS): “We fight not for polemics or to reject reform, but to show that this reform is not good; we do not demand withdrawal.” Jean-Marie Le Guen, MP PS. Paris October 22 (Le Parisien): “If the Socialists win in 2012, I strongly doubt that economic conditions will allow us to revert to 40 years.” Martine Aubry was clear: “the longer contribution period is accepted by all. “ L’Humanite (former central organ of the Communist Party), August 24: “The Communist activists have raised tens of thousands of signatures for another reform.” Pierre Laurent (national secretary of the PCF) in early September: “Our mem-

treacherous role of those who want to implement what they call a new “popular front of the 21st century”. As noted by the founding programme of the Fourth International, such Popular Fronts, together with fascism, constitute the last options for decadent imperialism against the revolution.

A situation that is completely open

The fact remains — and it is the salient trait of the situation — that these 10 months of class struggle have resulted in a situation that remains completely open. Not only did millions and millions of workers come into motion, but among
them a large layer of tens of thousands of activists and unionists, at all levels, sought to free themselves from the policies imposed by the trade union and political misleaders. For the time being, it remains a search

only. It is not yet a conscious movement. But this was a search that led to many agreements of unity in action between different unions based on the demand of the withdrawal of the counter-reform and the clearly formulated objective for an interprofessional general strike until the government was forced to withdraw its counterreform plan. These links have been forged. This vanguard is seeking to establish itself and to win an outcome consistent with the needs of the working class — this is a major factor for the entire period ahead. It constitutes both the first elements of a political instrument to help the working class open the way to winning battles — at the same time it constitutes the basis for the establishment and strengthening of a genuine independent workers’ party. It is in relation to these processes that the French section of the Fourth International, a participant in the battle to build the Independent Workers Party, organized its activities during this last period.



The Intervention of the Independent Workers Party (POI):
From “No Consensus with Sarkozy” to the Fight for Unity for the Withdrawal of the Counter-Reform ...
had enough of statements about the desired reforms, these counter-reforms! Enough of statements of intent for 2012! One word: Withdrawal of the Sarkozy / Fillon / Woerth bill on pensions. [...] Leaders of the PS, PCF and Left Party, this is an emergency: do not help the government pass its deadly law. Take a clear position, without any conditions, now for the immediate withdrawal of the government project.” The Federal National Council of the POI met on the October 2 and 3 and adopted a declaration aimed at preparing a “national conference of delegates for unity to stop the destructive offensive of the government, for the withdrawal of all the counter-reforms” to be held on December 11, 2010. “The POI has no goal other than to advance the cause of unity to uphold the basic needs of workers, youth, and the vast majority of the people. For it is obvious: by forcing the government to withdraw its pension law and to desist in the counter-reforms, the working class will open a path towards a political solution in the interests of working people and democracy,” the statement said.


Beginning on January 2010, the Independent Workers Party (in which the French section of the Fourth International, the International Communist Current-CCI, is a current, began a campaign against consensus with the Sarkozy government around the “reform” of pensions. January 22, 23 and 24: During its second national congress, the POI appealed to workers and young activists of all stripes: “Stop! Hands off our pensions! [...] We call for the rejection of consensus! We call for unity to say: do not touch our pensions!” The POI decides to organize a series of mass meetings (over 20 were held throughout France) to organize the mobilization of workers around this objective. On March 31, when this call had been signed by over 20,000 people, the national office of the POI adopted an appeal expressing the mandate given by the workers, which noted: “Nothing can justify an agreement to enter a debate around pensions. Nothing should be touched, not the 60 year retirement age, not the level of replacement rate, or the duration of the contribution period: none of this is “negotiable.” Anyone who wants to stray from that mandate is turning their backs on the common demand of all workers.” The POI proposed to workers, activists of all persuasions, trade unionists, “who speak out against the consensus” to “sign the appeal” and “to establish committees for unity.” On April 24 in Paris, at the initiative of the POI, 70 activists of all persuasions, delegates from the unity committees in 22 departments, adopt a call that ends with the proposal to “organize, respecting the diversity of viewpoints, across all of France as many rallies, public meetings, political rallies as possible around the slogan: ‘No consensus with the Sarkozy government! Hands off our pensions!’ initiated by the committees for unity.” In accordance with the traditions of the labor movement in France (mutual independence of parties and unions), members of the POI are involved in their unions in the battle that saw hundreds of trade unions bodies take a stand for the withdrawal of the counter-reform. On June 19, after publication of the draft government legislation, the national office of the POI launched the slogan of withdrawal and initiated an open letter to leaders of the PS, PCF, and Parti de Gauche [Left Party], which for weeks had demanded a “debate” for “another reform”: “We’ve

The Fight for the Preservation of the Independence of the Working Class Organizations
[In the preparatory text for the 48th Congress of the French section of the Fourth International (adopted on October 30, 2010), the national leadership of the International Communist Current of the POI returned to the significance of our intervention in the class struggle] We must first fully note the continuity that links what we did this year with the strategy implemented by Pierre Lambert in 1969. This is indisputable. Once again, for the most basic needs of the working class, we tried and managed to help all those in the CGT-FO as in the CGT to push for the demand of the “withdrawal of the draft law.” We did that on a matter,

which, by its nature, concentrates the collective defense of the gains of the class, won after the period of the years 19441950 and which, therefore, concentrates the independence of the class organizations. In 1969, the agreement with Bothereau led to the call for a “Double No” launched by the CGT-FO in the referendum of De Gaulle, leading the CGT in its wake; it allowed the NO victory and the fall of De Gaulle and prevented corporatist integration, putting its stamp for decades on all relations between the antagonist social classes; it paved the way for the implantation of hundreds of our members at the heart of our class organizations, which shapes the contours of our organization until today. In 2010, we helped successfully provide for the class and for the tens of thousands of activists the focus of the demand for “withdrawal,” to help focus the many discussions among the cadres and militants of the CGT in spite of the position of the leadership. The CGT-FO has taken upon itself to organize alone around this slogan and the demonstration of June 15 prevents again but in a different situation the integration of the unions, supported by Thibault-Chérèque (in the context of the law on union representativeness) and with the support of all leftist parties. This does not mean necessarily that the union bureaucracies cannot contain and temporarily push back the movement of the class struggle in progress (as of September 23 this is not the case, but after?). This is not a certainty but a possibility that must be taken into account. But even then, there would be no defeat of the class; the movement would in one way or another seek to re-emerge later. Hence the importance in this context of trying to crystallize the strengthening of the party’s established relationships in connection with an orientation of political support to the struggle of the working class (through the conference, for example). The big difference with 1969 is that the workers have seized on the point of leverage we provided, and relayed this, with our help, to a new level, especially in the CGT, which remains the main trade union of our country. This is unprecedented.



Presidential and Legislative Elections Will Be Held in April 2011


The Fight for a Labor and Anti-Imperialist Candidate For President of the Republic

In April 2011, the presidential and legislative elections will take place in Peru. These will occur in a situation where many strikes against the consequences of free trade treaty, including privatization, are shaking the country. These elections may concentrate the whole movement that converges against the free trade treaty. The whole nation is concerned, because the treaty would lead to the privatization of all enterprises in the public service, a radical change in labor laws and the loss of the essential elements of national sovereignty, including the possibility that a U.S. military base would be opened in the country (especially after the Correa government of Ecuador decided to close the U.S. base at Manta). In this context, the Workers Party of the City and Countryside (PTCC) is involved in the continuity of the struggle for years against the “governance” agreement between management, the Garcia government, and the CGTP [union confederation]. Indeed, at the initiative of the local union of the CGTP Lambayeque, a campaign was launched in 2007 against this agreement. Since the beginning of 2010, this local union has organized a campaign for the secretary general of the CGTP Mario Huaman to head a workers’ and peasant’s electoral slate for the presidential and legislative elections to be held in April 2011. Already, some forty trade unions at various levels have expressed support for the nomination. This includes the Federation of Building Workers during its 24th Congress, and key officials of the Mining Federation, the Federation of Port Workers, the National Agrarian Confederation (CNA). On July 17, at the headquarters of the CNA, 60 delegates from 40 organizations met and adopted an appeal to launch the candidacy of Mario Huaman, and to continue the fight for the convening of a National Constituent Assembly. On September 4, at the 10th National Assembly of Delegates of the CGTP, which brought together 200 delegates from across the country, a debate took place around this

with Mario Huaman to address issues in its sector, and also to call on him to run for president. He did not give a definitive answer, given that under the push of the Communist Party, Ollanta Humala’s candidacy was launched. On October 11, there will be held a meeting in Lima for the candidacy of Mario Huaman.

For the Nomination of Mario Huaman as President of the Republic!
motion to support the candidacy of Mario Huaman. Most speakers at this meeting reacted favorably to the nomination, but the chair of the meeting did not submit this proposal to a vote. It considered the report of the 10th meeting to be adopted ; this report called for the assembly to favor a center-left electoral front which should be led by Ollanta Humala, or another leader of that order. Ollanta Humala is the leader of the bourgeois nationalist party, the Nationalist Party of Peru. This candidate can be characterized as a candidate of “popular front” which circumvents one of the main issues: the break with the free trade treaty. Humala limits himself to calling for the cancellation of some of the decrees. Delegates who supported the candidacy of Mario Huaman continued the battle. Thus, on Saturday, September 11th there took place the inauguration of the new executive committee of the local union of Lambayeque, in the presence of 150 officials and delegates from across the county. The secretary general of the CGTP Mario Huaman, was present. Unanimously, the delegates chanted the slogan: “Mario Huaman, president!” On Wednesday September 15, a delegation from the Federation of Suger Workers spoke At the headquarters of the National Agrarian Confederation, 40 delegates from the Federation of Sugar Workers, Fisheries, the National Union of electrical engineers, workers, retirees of Sider Peru, the National Union Bank of the Nation, with support from various leaders of the Federation of mines, including Nina and Hugo Guillermo Aguilar, and also leaders of the PTCC, as well as several delegates from other trade unions. The meeting decided to call on Mario Huaman to head a workers, peasant and anti-imperialist slate, and prepare a national convention to support the nomination. The central axes of the candidacy would be the abrogation of the free trade treaty and privatization, the cancellation of all anti-labor laws, the adoption of a law of agrarian reform and the convocation of a National Constituent Assembly. That same October 11 there took place in Lima a national march of the mineworkers that brought together 10,000 workers across the country. On October 12 there was a new national march in Lima for the nationalization of gas. These are unequivocal signs of resistance of the working class against the political pro-imperialist government of Alan Garcia.



From the Vote for the Loan Strangling Greece to the Presentation of an “Alternative Budget”
financing.” This did not prevent Cecilia Honorio, a leader and member of the Left Bloc, from daring to provide this justification: To vote No would have meant “to impose bankruptcy in Greece, a scorched earth policy” (Oje newspaper, May 7). But aren’t the murderous plans imposed on Greece by the IMF and the European Union the real cause of the “bankruptcy” and the mass destruction of the productive forces? Cecilia Honorio went on to call for a “European rating agency” as she criticized the methods of the private “rating agencies”! We must, they say, rely on the undemocratic institutions of the European Union to “regulate the markets.” This is exactly the content of successive statements of the socalled European Trade Union Confederation, which calls for the EU to “regulate the markets.” What Portuguese, French or Greek worker can believe in these fairy tales?

The Left Bloc, a Member of the European Anti-Capitalist Left:


The new Socrates-Barroso government’s austerity plan
By ANDREU CAMPS Faced with the structural adjustment plans imposed by the IMF and the European Union, causing the resistance of the masses, political forces that call themselves “anticapitalist” do not hesitate to take part in a process of accompanying these policies. Of course, it might seem that the formulations used by these forces are very close to ours. Thus, one of the NPA leaders in France, Pierre-François Grond, explains in the magazine Contretempts (June 28): “Many so-called leftist parties are not socialist parties but parties for the more ‘humane’ management of the system, a very questionable prospect when one examines the policies imposed by the Greek ‘Socialist’ Papandreou, or the policies dictated by IMF and the WTO by the French “Socialists” Dominique Strauss-Kahn or Pascal Lamy. “ Our purpose is not polemics. But it is necessary to look, in the light of the facts, at what the real practice of these forces is, not just their rhetoric. P.-F. Grond is careful — in this article published in late June 2010 — not to mention once the vote of May 7 by his comrades, who are members of the Left Bloc in Portugal — one of the main forces, with the NPA, of the “European anti-capitalist Left.” On May 7, the Portuguese government, led by the “Socialist” Socrates submitted to a vote by the Assembly of the Republic the so-called plan to help Greece, a plan demanded by the European Union. This plan is once again aimed to bail out the banks and speculators and to justify a program of civil war against the Greek workers. What did the members of the Left Bloc do? They voted for the government legislation (alongside members of the Socialist Party and the bourgeois PSD and CDS French) to provide loans to other member countries of the Euro Zone, namely Greece. These financial operations, according to the legislation passed by the Portuguese Parliament, “will remain subject to adoption by Member States under specified conditions of funding, to empower and encourage as quickly as possible a return to market On September 29, 2010, Prime Minister Socrates announced in a press conference his austerity budget for 2011. This austerity budget, which involves drastic cuts in wages, pensions and more generally all the rights of Portuguese workers, has been clearly rejected by both the UGT and CGTP union confederations, which called for a general strike on November 24. There is only one problem: by that date, the Assembly of the Republic is supposed to have already adopted this budget. And, as the parliamentary debate is already underway, the Left Bloc has called for an “alternative budget”. Thus, in a statement in mid-October, the Left Bloc proposed new funding sources, including new taxes on “the most fortunate.” Its proposal is titled “Plan of alternative measures to combat deficits.” The plan falls within the logic imposed by the European Union and the Maastricht criteria: equitable sharing of the sacrifice, which is far from the unanimous demand of Portuguese workers to withdraw the proposed austerity plan of SocratesBarroso.




Excerpts from Editorial from The Workers of Reunión, Open Forum of the Class Struggle, edited by the Trotskyist Group of Reunión (section of the Fourth International)
For Blacks imported from Africa, for the French, Indian, Chinese, and all immigrants, Reunión has become their land. Organizations claiming to speak for the people of Reunion and its working class (especially the Communist Party of Reunion — PCR) have done everything to maintain the framework of submission to the colonial power, refusing to raise the question of independence [...] . It is within this context, as well as the decentralization laws and European Union, that the PCR has done everything to maintain this framework of submission [...]. What Elie Domota has raised for Guadeloupe ... isn’t this also valid for Reunión? This is what he said: “In Guadeloupe, we strive to make our country productive by working to develop agricultural production and the transformation of agriculture, to feed our people sufficient quality food. In response, the French government, allied to the giant distributors of imports, wants to make our island a place of consumption of products from elsewhere by installing a deepwater port to eradicate local production, subordinating us to the goodwill of capitalist agribusiness.” The status quo cannot last. The world is in crisis. The crisis of world imperialism is reflected clearly in its colonies. ... The Fourth International unconditionally supports the right of peoples to self-determination, therefore the right to independence. The Section of the Fourth International in Reunion believes that under the colonial domination of France and the European Union, whatever its institutional form, there can be no positive solution. The same holds for the survival of the capitalist system. The Section of the Fourth International in Reunion fights for the independence of Reunion and for expropriation of the private ownership of means of production through a world socialist revolution, through the free union of free peoples of the Indian Ocean.

The Sixth Congress of the Workers Party (PT) in Algeria was held from August 27 to 29 in Zeralda (Algiers). The editorial of Fraternity, the newspaper of the Workers Party of Algeria (September), draws lessons from this conference, excerpts below.
For three days, the 931 delegates representing the rank and file within 48 wilayas, discussed the political situation internationally and domestically, particularly the crisis of the decaying capitalist system, an offensive of extreme brutality against the working class and youth globally, against peoples and nations, confirming the burning need for socialism as the only alternative that can save human civilization from chaos. [...] Reasserting the fundamentals of the party, the congress delegates expressed the need for a clean break with the institutions of international capital and their policies, such as the agreement with the EU and the concessions made in anticipation of the entry in the WTO, and the full arsenal of the Structural Adjustment Plans. This puts on the agenda a national reconstruction plan initiating a real national development, which in turn requires on a political level the completion of the reform to break with the current one-party system, which was hampered by the national tragedy. Thus, the question of electing a sovereign Constituent Assembly was, for the first time since the founding convention of the PT in 1990, the focus of debate as an immediate political perspective, which confirms the correctness of the political campaign of the PT around the letter to the President of the Republic to call early elections, as a transitional demand. The situation of the working class, the youth and the peasantry was the focus of interventions in relation to the practical intervention of the party [...]. Democratic national questions, especially equal rights, such as promoting the status of Tamazight as an official language, and the lifting of restrictions on freedoms, were widely discussed. This confirmed that once peace was restored, the political priorities automatically were modified.

How to Explain the ‘Communitarian’ Divisions? Editorial from Belgian Newspaper Workers Tribune, Published by the Movement for the Defense of Workers (MTD) (Excerpts)

We Keep Hearing About the Fantastic Chinese GDP Editorial of The China Newsletter (September 15, 2010) China’s GDP, that is to say all the wealth produced in the country, reached the world’s second largest and surpassed that of Japan. But, as was noted by a Chinese weekly newspaper (New Century, 23 August), the GDP per person in China is ten times lower than Japan and 40 million Chinese still live in poverty. Note that, according to statistics of the United Nations Program for Development, which incorporates the GDP into human development indicators (health, education, life expectancy), China in 2007 was in between Georgia and Jordan. ... “Social development is lagging behind, especially in the areas of education and culture as well as medical care,” added the newspaper, which did not however hide its enthusiasm for the reforms that have been passed. Is it not in the name of “reform” and “openness” that the state and power, monopolized by the Communist Party, dismantled and wrecked the education and health services, conquests of the 1949 revolution that rapidly eradicated the scourge of illiteracy and epidemics? When workers spend three or four months in annual wages to pay for tuition for her child, or go into debt for life to care for her child with a sickness, is this not intimately linked to the rise of private capital in the name of openness? While the minister of Human resources and Social Security Yin Weimin said a few days ago that 22 million new jobs were created in two years thanks to the stimulus plan of 450 billion euros, in China there are 24 million job seekers; 12 million high school and college graduates will arrive on the job market this year and there are only 12 million jobs available ... This does not even count the enormous mass of migrant workers [...]. We recall that an official in the National People’s Assembly last March drew attention to the fact that unemployment of migrants in some regions was between 25% and 35%! [...] And we’re always hearing about the fantastic Chinese GDP! “

The press and leaders of the major political parties paint the following picture of the current situation [in Belgium]: There are two peoples in this country, Flemish and Walloon, with Brussels in the middle. History has inevitably pitted these peoples against each other. And we are now facing, if possible, the last attempts to avoid a divorce. How to explain the ‘communitarian’ divisions? What is the real issue today? What interests are involved? [...] The bosses have, globally, plunged the world into an unprecedented crisis. Billions of public funds have been sunk into the banking system. Today, we are presented with the bill: 22 billion Euros (at least) to be paid by 2015. Such is the demand of the European Union. And all those who, at political level, control the country’s fate, swear by the European Union, starting with Bart De Wever himself. The national conflicts that we are seeing right now cannot hide an underlying issue: how to impose 22 billion in “austerity” through unprecedented social destruction? So let us be clear. There is no favorable outcome for workers from Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels in the field of “communitarian” confrontations [...]. The positions taken by the unions and the recent congress of the FGTB are essential major points of support for the struggle. We must now implement them. There can be no way out unless, in the shortest possible time, the leaders of the organizations of the labor movement meet their responsibilities and call on workers to take to the streets and intervene in the political situation before the sorcerer’s apprentice throws us into irremediable chaos [...].



“Trotskyism and the Left Opposition in the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) in 1923-1924”
Review of Book by Russian Historian Alexander Reznik
By JEAN-JACQUES MARIE Early in 2010 there was published in Moscow, by Free Marxist Editions, a work of the young Russian historian Alexander Reznik, titled Trotskyism and the Left Opposition in the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) in 1923-1924 (Trotskizm leveja oppozitsia v RKP (b), 1923-1924 Gody). It raises questions that are “more timely than ever, amid the bankruptcy of the anti-Communist and Stalinist versions of Soviet history,” says the editor in his introduction. Reznik Alexander in his book gives a very clear account, and overall a quite good one, of the battle led by Trotsky and the Left Opposition in the fall and winter of 1923. He recalls the various stages of this struggle that ended with a defeat of the Opposition. He brings in some new elements, especially on the development of the fight in the Perm region (the Urals), where he researched the archives. The Cahiers du Mouvement Ouvrier proposes to publish excerpts of the pages on Perm. And on this point, his work has an undeniable interest. And, first of all, it holds interest for Russian readers who know little about most of this history. Reznik recalls the various stages of the struggle waged by Trotsky for the democratization of the party, industrialization and economic planning. In his letter to the Central Committee on October 8, he denounced “the system of appointing officials in the party [...] and the bureaucratization of the party apparatus that has grown in unprecedented proportions.” The author stresses the importance of the letter sent a week later by 46 cadres who raised the same indictment in a confidential letter to the Central Committee. “Democracy within the Party is moribund. It is is no longer the party that elects its leaders, but they who appoint the delegates to the convention [...]. This intolerable


regime destroys the party by replacing it with a selected bureaucratic apparatus.” Reznik shows by analyzing the results of the votes that the opposition was a minority in the party. This is undeniable; although the troika of Stalin-Zinoviev-Kamenev shamelessly doubled votes, their majority was nevertheless real. But we must emphasize two points to which, despite the value of his work, Reznik does not give sufficient importance. The Russian Communist Party at that time had only 35,000 workers out of 370,000 members (9.5%). Two-thirds of its members were employees of the various apparatuses of the party, the Soviets, the economy, the trade unions, the cooperatives and the army. Their freedom of thought and behavior was limited, especially in the apparatus where the pressure was higher than in the campuses or in the barracks and or in the labor cells in this period of unemployment. Yet the demand for democracy was strong in the working class itself. The letter from the secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine Poltava Oblast, Maguidov, November 10, 1923 addressed to Stalin, provides an example. It illuminates the

depth of the crisis of the party and therefore the echo for Trotsky and the 46. He considered it “absolutely abnormal that the Central Committee informs nothing to the secretaries of regional committees on the internal situation of the party, while people talk about it everywhere.” He refers to the statement of Trotsky and the 46, though he does not know the exact content of their political positions. He denounced “the lack of correct, fast, sharp information” while the ranks “want to know everything that happens in reality.” His positions are similar to those of Trotsky, but he knows nothing of the latter’s positions. He writes: “The party’s old guard is wrecked. There is no live party life, the thinking of the party has stagnated.” Maguidov called for “the implementation of workers’ democracy within the party. “ The party apparatus included hundreds of Maguidovs. Stalin and Zinoviev want to prevent the Left Opposition from finding a way to meet up with them. What could help the masses of the party free themselves from the dictates of the apparatus and allow for this junction with the Left Opposition? Only the emergence



of a revolutionary perspective abroad, which would allow Soviet Russia to end its ruination via isolation, which pushed the party members to tighten around the apparatus. Germany seemed to provide this long-awaited opportunity. The social and political crisis there was indeed explosive. On July 10, workers who printed the insatiable printed money went on strike. The Ruhr, in arms against the occupying French, was boiling. On August 12, the general strike swept out the Cuno government. The revolution was knocking at the door. The Communists, who were progressing in all union elections, enter the Social Democratic governments of Saxony and Thuringia. At the news of the revolutionary upsurge in Germany, renewed hope raised the enthusiasm of young Communist activists: the isolation of Soviet Russia would be broken. Trotsky pushed for the planning of an insurrection. But Stalin, as the expression of conservatism of the bureaucracy, opposed the revolution. In a letter to Bukharin, he made things very clear: the German Communists should certainly not move, they must let the fascists take the initiative. He says: “If today the power in Germany, so to speak, collapsed and the Communists were to seize it, they would collapse with a crash [...]. In my opinion, we must hold back the Germans, not stimulate them.” Stalin held them back, against the advice of Trotsky, and muzzled them permanently. Trotsky was only continuing the struggle of Lenin, who, on March 12, 1919, told the Petrograd Soviet: “The construction of socialism depends on the speed with which the revolution will triumph in the largest countries in Europe. Only after such a victory can we seriously get down to this construction.” But the Maguidov letter shows that the revolution in Germany dominated the same daily concerns of workers. The workers were angered by the “glaring inequality” between “the summits” and “the ranks” and privileges given to the bureaucrats. The miners of Donbass “live worse than cattle” and are paid very irregularly. They overwhelmingly went on strike in October, explaining: “we would have settled our accounts [...], but it is impossible to betray the German revolution”, which the mineworkers did not want to weaken. But the hope of revolution in Germany, which would break the isolation imposed for five years on the party activists and, more broadly, the workers, led to a fiasco. In Germany, on Oct. 21, there was a national conference in Chemnitz of the strike committees. The Social Democratic delegates, even of the Left, voted against the general strike. The German Party leadership, with the approval and advice from Moscow, cancel the planned uprising. If, in October 1917 the Bolsheviks had expected the agreement of the Mensheviks to take power, there would never have been any revolution in October. That debacle was especially demoralizing because it occurred without an actual struggle. The party activists became demoralized. The defeat of the German Revolution was a turning point in the consolidation of the Stalinist apparatus. The apparatus always fed off the defeats of the working class. Stalin gave expression to this reality by proclaiming the theoretical possibility of building socialism in one country in December 1924. The feeling of isolation reinforced the aspiration to close ranks. The apparatus and Stalin drove home the point: no matter what it says, the opposition divides us, distracts us from our tasks, paralyzes us. Only the international dimension can give full illumination to struggle of the Left Opposition, the actual conditions of its development and its final defeat. That is why the struggle of the Opposition revived when a revolutionary wave shook China. Contributing to the defeat of the Chinese workers through his open support for Chiang Kai-shek, Stalin again sealed the defeat of the Opposition. Forgetting or underestimating this fundamental aspect is to reduce the double defeat of the Opposition to purely internal Russian dynamics or to tactical mistakes — which were real but minor in terms of the overall impact. Then, as is the case now, the battle of the Russian working class is closely tied to that of the world working class, with which it must necessarily link its struggle.

Giuseppe Raspa, a fighter for the cause of workers
In memoriam of Comrade Giuseppe Raspa from Maracaibo, on behalf of the General Council of the Fourth International — by comrade Julio Turra, a leader of the Brazilian section of the Fourth International
It was with surprise and dismay that we learned of the passing of our friend and comrade Giuseppe Raspa, which occurred on July 27 in Maracaibo. Pepe, as he was known to his friends and comrades in struggle, spent much of his life helping the working class struggle for liberation from all forms of exploitation and oppression. In his long history as a trade unionist and political activist, Pepe participated in the struggle for the reconstruction of the Fourth International that was reproclaimed in 1993 as a member of the Venezuelan section of the time. Since then, he has been a representative as a delegate in our world congresses on more than one occasion. In Zulia, Pepe has always been among the principal leaders and Organizers of the battles of the working class, emphasizing the need for its independence, both in the political and labor arenas. That is why in recent times he, alongside his comrades in the CTR-Zulia, played an important role in organizing for a national assembly of UNETE, the independent trade union confederation. Pepe was engaged in building this confederation when he suddenly died. Pepe was aware that a key dimension of the struggle of workers for their emancipation was to defend the sovereignty of the nation against imperialist domination. And this offensive by imperialism is even heavier in the face of the open revolutionary process underway in Venezuela, which is frequently threatened from without and from within, as was the case with the latest provocation by Colombian president Uribe against of the government of Hugo Chavez. Therefore Pepe, with other comrades, edited the newsletter Issues of the Revolution in Venezuela, whose axis was the need for the self- organization of the working class so that it can play its role in the anti- imperialist united front and advance the revolutionary process in the country toward socialism. On behalf of the General Council of the Fourth International, I want to express to the parents, friends and comrades in struggle of Giuseppe Raspa — including our comrades in the Fourth International — our condolences and solidarity at this sad time, with the certainty that the best tribute we can pay to the memory of this militant is to continue his fight.



‘91% of Palestinians are for a one-state solution’
BY HAMID B. After September 26, the date of expiration on the moratorium on Israeli settlements, Israeli public radio announced: “The building of over 1500 homes, having obtained all necessary permits from Israeli authorities, can begin immediately.” (El Watan, 27 September) Israeli settlers did not wait one single day to start the continuation of settlements, even if it was done symbolically. Shortly after the moratorium, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called on Mahmoud Abbas to pursue “peace negotiations” through a communiqué that made no reference to the expiration of the moratorium. Unscrupulously, Netanyahu wrote: “I appeal to President Abbas to continue to lead the good and honest discussions we have just launched to try to reach an historic agreement between our two peoples” (The Courier, 28 September). Mahmoud Abbas clings to the “peace process”. While demanding a total cessation of settlements to continue negotiating, Abbas called at the same time on Israel to “extend [the moratorium for] three to four months.” (Ibid.) The daily El Watan, quoted above, stressed: “While Israel continues to impose its rules, ruling out the possibility of ending the building of settlements, the Palestinian Authority president, cornered by his own people, is adamant, demanding a ‘total shutdown’ of the settlements as a pre-condition for the resumption of negotiations. Then, the Palestinian leader gave the impression he would make concessions, suggesting that he would not slam the door easily and stated in the newspaper Al Hayat that he wanted to consult the Arab League to see what position to take.” Once again, President Mahmoud Abbas leaves no doubt about the nature of the Palestinian Authority which, devoid of political autonomy vis-à-vis the U.S. administration and the State of Israel, is unable to withstand the pressures of the latter even when it takes certain positions against the former. the Palestinian Authority began negotiations with Israel, under the auspices of the United States. What was the purpose of these negotiations? To make the Palestinian leadership renounce any other means than negotiations for the settlement of the conflict, after making them accept the de facto partition and the twostate solution. The so-called “Palestinian state” has led “negotiations” to the impasse, with more violence and more hardships for the Palestinian people. This so-called “Palestinian State” was supposed to lead, via the “negotiations”, toward the recovery of land to the Palestinians and the dismantling of Israeli settlements. “The negotiations” have reached the point of requesting the freezing of the construction of more settlements and the extension of a short moratorium on their construction, to allow for these “negotiations” to continue. How long do the sponsors of the “twostate solution,” the advocates of “negotiation”, think they have to continue to make it appear that such an option is a solution that will bring peace to the peoples of the region? Perhaps they want to wait until after the mid-term legislative elections in the United States? Will this allow Obama and the Democrats, during the election, to convince American voters that they are better candidates than the Republicans to bring “peace in the Middle East”? The Palestinian people who suffer martyrdom have their own beliefs: “A recent poll by the Palestinian Institute Amrad reveals that 86% of Palestinians support armed resistance [Hamas] that 91% want a single Palestinian state in the entire territory of historic Palestine.” These two fundamental questions, resistance and the solution of a single secular democratic state on all historic Palestine — weren’t these the basis of the founding of the Palestinian national movement, from which Mahmoud Abbas and those currently leading the Palestinian people emerged?

Resumption of Direct Negotiations on the Basis of the ‘Two-State Solution’


Indeed, according to the daily newspaper Liberté on September 12, Obama revealed that he told Netanyahu that, “as the talks were heading in the right direction, it made sense to extend the moratorium.” When Obama talks about good direction, we must understand here that he means good according to the interests of the U.S. administration and those of the State of Israel. Moreover, Obama did not fail to recognize that the Israeli Prime Minister “was facing a very difficult political situation”, with the right flank of his coalition government rejecting dialogue with the Palestinians.” Likewise, Obama asked Mahmoud Abbas, who himself is criticized within his own party for resuming negotiations without conditions, “to show the Israeli public that he was serious and constructive in these discussions.” Despite all the concessions, Mahmoud Abbas must do more. One million five hundred thousand Palestinians live under a murderous siege that has lasted for years; nearly 5 million of them live in refugee camps in inhumane and catastrophic conditions for the vast majority of them, and they continue to be driven out of what remains of their land and their houses. Barack Obama calls on Abbas to convince the “Israeli public” that he is “serious and constructive” in the discussions. But it has been 17 years since