The central task in the upcoming period consists in the need to overcome the dramatic crisis of leadership. The objective development of capitalism – its decay and crisis-ridden character – will certainly help the masses understand the bankruptcy of this system, and the necessity of overthrowing it. However, in order to help the masses in this process, the workers’ vanguard must apply a program of transitional demands which creates a bridge from the struggles of today and the present consciousness of the masses to the strategic task of socialist revolution. This is why revolutionaries have to combine relentless propaganda for such a program with exemplary mass work and the application of the united front tactic towards the mass organizations of the workers and the oppressed.
The programmatic and organizational collapse of the Trotskyist Fourth International in 1948-52 interrupted the revolutionary continuity which had previously extended from the days of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ leadership in the Communist League, through the Second International until 1914, Lenin’s revolutionary Communist International up to Trotsky’s Fourth International. Today, small forces like the RCIT are taking up the thread of revolutionary continuity in their struggle for the construction of the revolutionary world party. Such a world party will be the fifth time that the working class has established an International (hence we call it the Fifth International).
However, there are huge obstacles on the road to building the revolutionary world party. In addition to the imperialist powers and the bourgeois state, the working class faces numerous enemies, opponents and unreliable advocates, in its own ranks. The lack of revolutionary continuity for many decades has led to a situation in which the workers’ and popular mass organizations are dominated by reformist and populist bureaucratic leaderships. These reformist forces are the main obstacle to transforming the huge objective revolutionary potential of the present historic period into actual proletarian revolutions.
Wars, revolutions and counter-revolutions are the most decisive tests for any political organization. Such situations inevitably lead to the surfacing of their true political character behind any declared formal program, as well as their relationship to the struggle of the workers and oppressed. Recent years have demonstrated that the official leaderships of the trade unions and popular organizations, of the reformist and bourgeois and petty-bourgeois populist parties (e.g., the Castro-Chavistas, Kirchnerists and Rousseff’s and Lula’s PT in Latin America, SYRIZA in Greece and other social democrats in Europe, the Stalinist CPI(M) in India and the Maoists in Nepal) as well as of the various strands of Islamism (e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood, various rebel groups in Syria or the Houthis in Yemen) – have all failed to offer the workers and popular masses a road out of their capitalist misery and humiliation. In other words, their political inclination – irrespective of their official “radical” proclamations – is to remain or become part of the state apparatus of the ruling capitalist class. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that they often have been, or aspire to become, an ally of one or several imperialist Great Powers. Centrism, irrespective of its political zigzagging and its use of “Marxist” terminology, always tends to adapt to one or other faction of the reformist bureaucracy, and serves as their “left” auxiliary troops.
The workers’ vanguard and all socialists must break with all these variations of political cul-de-sacs. We must choose a different path. As long as the working class and the oppressed do not possess a revolutionary combat party – nationally as well as worldwide – they cannot succeed in their struggle for liberation. In order to succeed against its powerful enemies, the working class must have a party with a clear program – outlining the way from the present situation to the conquest of power. It needs a party which concretizes such a program in a series of strategies and tactics related to the changing conditions of the class struggle. And it must have a party which accompanies such a program with a combat organization of steeled cadres which act in a centralized, coordinated fashion as a single clenched fist for the proletarian class struggle.
Therefore, the most urgent task in the present period is the timely founding of revolutionary parties and a new World Party of Socialist Revolution.