An Open Letter to All Authentic Revolutionaries for an International Conference on the 100th Anniversary of the October Revolution to Advance the Building of a Revolutionary World Party
Issued by the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 09.01.2017, www.thecommunists.net
Comrades, Brothers and Sisters!
This is an urgent call to all authentic revolutionaries to unite so that we can advance the building of a leadership for the struggle against the reactionary offensive of the ruling class. The RCIT considers this task as the most important in the present period, demanding full dedication and seriousness of revolutionaries in countries around the world.
So let’s talk about this task directly and without any diplomacy. To those who sympathize with the US’s and Russia’s so-called “war on terror” in the Middle East and Africa; to those who hail Assad’s murderous conquest of Aleppo as a “victory”; to those who welcome the repression of the Egyptian military dictatorship against all opposition; to those who praise Tsipras and the SYRIZA leadership in Greece for their “realistic” government policy in implementing the EU-Memorandum – to those we suggest: do not continue to read our appeal, as it would only be a waste of your time!
But those among you who are determined to fight against the aggressions of all Great Powers in West and East; who are ready to defend the workers and oppressed against the imperialists and their local lackeys; who are ready to fight the bureaucracy inside the labor movement which is strangling the resistance of our class – to you we say: consider our proposal seriously and let us join forces now in building a Revolutionary World Party which will advance the struggle against capitalism and imperialism and for a world-wide socialist revolution!
2017 is the 100th Anniversary of the October Revolution, the most important event in modern history as the workers and peasants led by the Bolshevik Party conquered power for the first time. However, this anniversary also reminds us – in stark contrast to 1917 – of the total absence of such a Bolshevik Party today!
We urgently call all authentic revolutionaries to unite, because the chief problem of the present period is not the lack of struggle and resistance of the workers and oppressed. The capitalist system is in decay and its economic, political and military contradictions are accelerating, as the RCIT has outlined in its latest World Perspective document. The deep crisis of the imperialist system is constantly provoking mass struggles and revolutions. However, the key issue is rather the total lack of revolutionary leadership and, hence, the dominance of the workers and popular organizations by Stalinist, social democratic, Castro-Chavistas, petty-bourgeois populists or Islamist forces. However, these misleaderships are either utterly corrupt and always sell out the popular struggle in exchange for some posts and privileges; or they are honest and dedicated but combine individual heroism with a strategy which replaces the mass mobilization and organization for revolution with a self-defeating elitist and militarist conception. While one can say that the latter is the more honest version, it is nevertheless also a dead-end strategy.
Consequently, the decay of capitalism goes hand in hand with the deep crisis of the traditional mass organizations of the working class and the oppressed. We must tell the workers and oppressed the truth: as long they are led by such non-revolutionary forces, their struggle is doomed to end in a cul-de-sac or even outright counter-revolution.
The conclusion from this is not arrogant lecturing of the masses and passive abstention from their struggles. Only sectarians and traitors can reach such conclusions. One can only act as a revolutionary if he or she is actively participating in the class battles which our brothers and sisters are waging again and again against the rulers. Such participation in popular struggles is also necessary, in fact even more urgent, if the leadership of the masses is non-revolutionary. It is crucial to challenge the wrong leaderships consistently, something which can only be done from within the mass struggle but never from outside.
Authentic revolutionaries must combine such active participation in the popular struggles with relentless propaganda and agitation for revolutionary tactics and slogans, with a consistent political fight against the bureaucrats and misleaders and with tireless efforts to organize the most consciousness and militant workers and oppressed in a revolutionary party (or a pre-party nucleus, as a first step).
Because the political, economic and military nature of capitalism is invariably international and by necessity functions globally, the organization of the working class and their struggles can also only be international. Every limited, purely national effort to build a revolutionary party is doomed to degenerate both politically and organizationally. Authentic Marxists must tirelessly work to build a Revolutionary World Party or they are failing in their fundamental mission!
True, a new Revolutionary World Party – standing in the tradition of the first four Internationals and based on the teachings of the great revolutionaries Marx, Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky – cannot be established in a single stroke. Such an International must be politically tested in the struggles of the workers and oppressed. However, the organizing of a nucleus – irrespective of its current size – to build such a world party can and must start immediately. Waiting for others to do this job is a passive and cynical attitude – only intervening and acting collectively on a national as well as international scale is worthy of a revolutionary!
We urgently call upon all authentic revolutionaries to immediately start coming together and discussing a concrete platform for the class struggle and for advancing the building of a Revolutionary World Party. As a concrete first step in this direction, the RCIT proposes that, together with those interested, we jointly organize an international conference in 2017 – the year of the 100th Anniversary of the October Revolution. Such a conference should lay the foundation for joint collective work towards the formation of a Revolutionary World Party.
Coming together for such a joint initiative for the international organizing of revolutionaries is only possible on the basis of agreement on the key political questions of the current world class struggle. As we already stated in our World Perspective document, the RCIT considers the following issues as such programmatic keystones in the present political phase:
a) Recognition of the accelerating rivalry between the imperialist Great Powers – the US, EU, Japan, Russia and China. It is only possible to understand the driving dynamic of the present period of capitalist crisis and to take a correct position if one recognizes the imperialist character not only of the US, EU and Japan but also of the new emerging powers, Russia and China. Only on such a basis is it possible to arrive at the only correct program on this issue – revolutionary defeatism, i.e., the perspective of consistent struggle against all imperialist powers. This means that revolutionaries refuse to lend support to any Great Power in inter-imperialist conflicts under the slogan “The main enemy is at home!”
b) A consistent struggle against imperialism. Revolutionaries stand for the defeat of imperialist states in any conflict with forces representing oppressed people and for the military victory of the latter without, at the same time, giving any political support to the non-revolutionary leadership of the oppressed (e.g., petty-bourgeois Islamists, nationalists). This is true both in domestic conflicts (e.g., against an oppressed nation like the Chechen people in Russia) as well as in wars abroad (e.g., Afghanistan, Syria, Mali, Somalia). Likewise, revolutionaries have to fight for Open Borders in the imperialist countries and for full equality for national minorities and for migrants. Furthermore, revolutionaries refuse to lend support to one imperialist camp against another in any given conflict (e.g., Brexit vs. EU; Clinton vs. Trump).
c) Continuing support for the Arab Revolution. The mass popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other countries have been the most important and progressive class struggle development so far since the beginning of the new historic period in 2008. True, given the lack of a revolutionary leadership, the masses have suffered a number of terrible defeats – like the coup d’état of General al-Sisi in Egypt in July 2013, or the ongoing slaughter of the Syrian people at the hands of Assad and his foreign backers. However, the revolutionary process is continuing, and this is reflected in the ongoing popular resistance in Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco etc. Authentic revolutionary forces must give unconditional support to these popular struggles against dictatorships and reactionary forces, without giving any political support to their non-revolutionary leaderships (e.g. petty-bourgeois Islamists).
d) Participation in all mass struggles against austerity programs and against reactionary attacks on democratic rights. Revolutionaries oppose all forms of sectarianism which refuses participation in mass struggles under the pretext of their non-revolutionary leaderships. Instead they apply the united front tactic in the struggles of the workers and peasants led by reformist or populist forces against austerity program (e.g., trade unions, mass organizations of the peasants and the urban poor, but also political parties like MORENA in Mexico, SYRIZA in Greece before 2015, PODEMOS in Spain) or against anti-democratic coups and dictatorships (PT, CUT, MST in Brazil; Islamists in Egypt; rebels in Syria). Such an orientation must be combined with a consistent struggle against all forms of popular-frontism and petty-bourgeois populism, and for the breaking of workers and peasants away from these non-revolutionary leaderships and to advance the formation of an independent and revolutionary Workers’ Party.
However, agreement on such a basis can only be the starting point for an intensive phase of common discussions and actions. It is important to develop a joint understanding of the Marxist theory and program which can also make controversial and even sharp discussions between the participating organizations necessary. Such a joint programmatic understanding has to be tested by implementing it in the practice via common activities.
Hence we call upon all organizations which honestly strive towards the creation of a new Revolutionary World Party to join forces on the basis of these programmatic keystones. Concretely, the RCIT proposes that revolutionaries constitute a Joint Contact Committee of all forces who agree in general with such an outlook. The task of such a committee would be to prepare politically and organizationally an International Conference in 2017. The goal of such a conference would be to discuss concrete steps to advance the formation of a Revolutionary World Party.
The RCIT contributes its fundamental documents for discussion among revolutionary militants – in particular its recently adopted programmatic Manifesto for Revolutionary Liberation. However, we are equally ready to study and discuss documents from other organizations. We are convinced that authentic revolutionaries will be able to elaborate on the basis of such documents a joint platform for common work towards the building of a revolutionary world party.
We are aware that it is not always easy to create a joint international organization with forces coming from different traditions and experiences. Revolutionaries should not be frightened by the possibility of controversial discussions and the necessity to test out different position in the class struggle. However, a serious attitude to differences – i.e., an open frank discussion about them instead of diplomatically concealing them – is in the end the only honest and fruitful way to overcome them.
Likewise, it may well be the case that it is necessary to create, beforehand, interim stages in order to learn from each other and to systematically come closer. But it is indispensable that we start such a process together now!
Comrades, we can only honor the legacy of the socialist October Revolution in 1917 if we collectively act in the spirit and on the basis of the programmatic and organizational lessons of the Bolsheviks. Let us join forces in tackling the historic mission of our generation with decisive determination: the creation of a Revolutionary World Party as the most important instrument of the working class in its struggle for liberation! Let us not loose time and waste energy; let us march forward – together - NOW!
No future without socialism!
No socialism without a revolution!
No revolution without a revolutionary party!
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We encourage organizations and activists who share the general outlook of this Open Letter to contact us and to send us their ideas and criticism so that we can discuss concrete steps towards joint discussion and collaboration: firstname.lastname@example.org
The RCIT is an international revolutionary organization which unites sections and activists in 13 countries on the basis of a joint program and the organizational principles of democratic centralism (Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Tunisia, Israel/Occupied Palestine, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Britain, Germany, and Austria).
For a more extensive overview of the RCIT’s viewpoints we refer those who are interested to our website www.thecommunists.net. We want to draw particular attention to our Manifesto for Revolutionary Liberation. The Tasks of the Liberation Struggle against Decaying Capitalism (adopted by the 1st Congress of the RCIT in October 2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit-program-2016/) We are in a process of publishing this Manifesto in at least seven different languages in the coming weeks.
We also refer readers to the RCIT’s latest World Perspective document: World Perspectives 2017: The Struggle against the Reactionary Offensive in the Era of Trumpism. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries (adopted on 18 December 2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2017/)