Editorial Board of the Journal Revolutionary Communism
We welcome our readers to the first issue of this journal. Revolutionary Communism is the English language organ of the Revolutionary Communist Organisation for Liberation (RKOB), based in
Austria and the Revolutionary Workers Collective (RWC), based in the USA. The founding cadres of these two organisations were leading members of the League for Fifth International from which they
were either expelled or resigned.
At the moment no consistently revolutionary international organisation exists. All the existing international tendencies which claim to stand on the basis of Marxism, Leninism and Trotskyism have shown that in fact they are non-revolutionary, centrist formations. In this issue of the journal Revolutionary Communism we demonstrate this using the examples of two major events in the global class struggles 2011 – the Arab Revolution and the August Uprising of the poor in Britain.
This crisis of the working class leadership is a tragedy given the tasks and challenges of the new historic revolutionary period which opened at the end of the 2000s. Capitalism as a system is in a historic crisis. Its decay endangers the continuity of mankind’s existence, as the numerous environmental catastrophes, wars, increasing hunger and poverty demonstrate. This is why Bolshevik-Communists fight for the perspective of the permanent revolution to overthrow capitalism and build a global socialist society.
But this is impossible to achieve without a new revolutionary communist world party – the Fifth Workers International. Only such a world party is capable of leading the working class and oppressed towards revolution.
For us as Bolshevik-Communists the burning issue therefore is to build a new revolutionary communist international organisation. Such an organisation needs a clear programmatic foundation. Of course while we are numerically weak we have the fortune to stand of the shoulders of our political predecessors of revolutionary Marxism. This is seen first and foremost in the achievements of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Leon Trotsky and also of other central figures of the revolutionary workers movement like Rosa Luxemburg. But “Marxism is not a dogma but a guide for action” as Lenin explained repeatedly. It therefore needs development and modifications in accordance with the development of the class society, which is its purpose to overthrow. For this we build on the revolutionary tradition of the LFI before its recent centrist degeneration. The LFI and its forerunners have played an important role in applying the principles of Marxism to a wide range of questions which arose since the death of Trotsky. But the pressures and challenges of the class struggle in the new historic period were too big for the majority of its leadership. Our central task is to apply and to develop Bolshevism – as the theory and practice of the proletariats liberation struggle – to the conditions of the class struggle in the new historic period of the 21st century. This journal shall act as an instrument for this goal.
The RKOB and the RWC are at the moment national organisations. But this is a situation which we desire to overcome as soon as possible. A revolutionary organisation in the long run can only exist as an international organisation. If revolutionaries are nationally isolated they are doomed to degenerate politically. Therefore independent of our numerical strength or weakness we must strive from the first day to build parallel and combined Bolshevik organisations both nationally and internationally.
We base our understanding on Trotsky’s method of party building. At the time when the Left Opposition was itself weak he opposed those who wanted to focus first on building a national organisation and only sometime later an international. He answered one of his national-centred critiques:
“Your conception of internationalism appears to me erroneous. In the final analysis, you take the International as a sum of national sections or as a product of the mutual influence of national sections. This is, at least, a one-sided, undialectical and, therefore, wrong conception of the International. If the Communist Left throughout the world consisted of only five individuals, they would have nonetheless been obliged to build an international organization simultaneously with the building of one or more national organizations.
It is wrong to view a national organization as the foundation and the international as a roof. The interrelation here is of an entirely different type. Marx and Engels started the communist movement in 1847 with an international document and with the creation of an international organization. The same thing was repeated in the creation of the First International. The very same path was followed by the Zimmerwald Left in preparation for the Third International. Today this road is dictated far more imperiously than in the days of Marx. It is, of course, possible in the epoch of imperialism for a revolutionary proletarian tendency to arise in one or another country, but it cannot thrive and develop in one isolated country; on the very next day after its formation it must seek for or create international ties, an international platform, an international organization. Because a guarantee of the correctness of the national policy can be found only along this road. A tendency which remains shut-in nationally over a stretch of years, condemns itself irrevocably to degeneration.” (Leon Trotsky: To the Editorial Board of Prometeo (1930); in: Writings 1930, S. 285f.)
Since the purpose of Revolutionary Communism is to advance the building of a revolutionary communist international organisation it also means that we will deal with important programmatic and theoretical questions in it. We will present in this journal our point of views but we also want to stimulate a debate and an exchange of ideas with activists and organisations from the working class and the oppressed. We therefore invite readers to send us letters and contributions.
This first issue of Revolutionary Communism has its focus on the two most important issues of the present world situation. The revolutionary process in the Arab world which started with the revolution in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and – while we are writing these lines – we see a new highpoint in the successful overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in Libya. We therefore reprint the RKOB resolution written during the first days of the victory of the rebels in Tripoli. We also publish several chapters of a recently published book from Michael Pröbsting on the Arab Revolution in German language. Adam Beltz has thankfully translated them into English.
The second focus of this journal is the August Uprising of the poor, black and migrant youth in Britain. This event shows that revolutionary class struggles are not confined to the semi-colonial world only but – given the enormous sharpening of the class contradictions in the new historic period – are now becoming an important feature in the old imperialist world too. This Uprising also demonstrated how separated the centrist and reformist left is from these layers of the working class and how little it is able to meet the task of applying a revolutionary policy in such a situation. Several articles from Nina Gunić and Michael Pröbsting are included. Additionally there is a report from a RKOB delegation which we sent to London in the days of the Uprising cover it and learn its lessons.
In addition we publish a summary of the RKOB theses on Migration and the Marxist strategy of revolutionary integration. The thesis was initially written when we were still in the LFI and the majority’s hostility to our position forms an important background for our expulsion. We also print an article from Adam Beltz and Ahmed Sharan on the heroic struggle of the KESC workers in Karachi in Pakistan. And finally we reprint our short declaration of principles.
We are confident that this journal will succeed in making a contribution to the development of Bolshevism in the 21st century class struggle conditions. And we are optimistic that it will also succeed in winning new co-fighters for the biggest goal that is worth living for: the creation of a world party for the liberation of the working class and the oppressed.
1. September 2011