Marxism and the United Front Tactic Today


The Struggle for Proletarian Hegemony in the Liberation Movement and the United Front Tactic Today

On the Application of the Marxist United Front Tactic in Semi-Colonial and Imperialist Countries in the Present Period


By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, May 2016,


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List of Tables

List of Figures




I.             Summary of the Nature of the United Front Tactic


II.            The United Front Tactic in the History of the Revolutionary Workers Movement

Marx and Engels on the United Front

Application of the United Front Tactic by Lenin and the Bolsheviks

Codification of the United Front Tactic by the Communist International

Trotsky and the Fourth International on the United Front Tactic


III.          The Struggle for Proletarian Hegemony under Present Day Conditions: Social and Economic Changes

The Shift to the South of Today’s World Proletariat

The Misery of the Poor Peasantry and the Urban Poor


IV.          The Struggle for Proletarian Hegemony under Present Day Conditions: Political Changes

The Crisis of Bourgeois Workers’ Parties

The Marxist Classics on the Labor Bureaucracy

The Rise of New Reformist Parties and Petty-Bourgeois Populism

The Marxist Classics on the Struggle for Proletarian Hegemony


V.            The United Front Tactic and Petty-Bourgeois Nationalist and Populist Parties in the Semi-Colonial World

Workers’ Party or a Workers’ and Peasants’ Party?

Entry Tactics in Petty-Bourgeois Populist Parties

Marxists and Petty-Bourgeois Populist Parties: Electoral Tactics and Governmental Slogans

The Transformation of a Petty-Bourgeois Populist Party into a Bourgeois Party and Electoral Tactics


VI.          Traditional Reformist Parties, New Workers Party and Electoral Tactics

Fighting for the New Workers’ Party (or “Labor Party”) in the Present Period

Engels, Lenin and Trotsky on the Labor Party Tactic

The Traditional Reformist Parties and Electoral Tactics Today


VII.        Revolutionary Tactics and Petty-Bourgeois Populist Parties in Imperialist Countries

Should Marxists call for Critical Electoral Support for Podemos in Spain?

The Trotskyists and the Farmer-Labor Party (FLP) in the USA in the 1930s

Discussing a Comparison: The Green Parties in the 1980s and 1990s


VIII.       The United Front Tactic and the Liberation Struggle of National Minorities and Migrants in the Imperialist Countries

Increasing Mobilizations of National / Ethnical Minorities and Migrants on Democratic Issues

The Experience of the Austrian Section of the RCIT

Britain: Respect as a Petty-Bourgeois Populist Party based mostly on National / Ethnical Minorities and Migrants

A useful Analogy: Trotsky on Organizations of the Black Minority in the USA

Excurse: Lenin on the Role of the Party as the Vanguard of all Oppressed Classes


Appendix: RCIT-Theses on the United Front Tactic

Document of the International Executive Committee of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 9 April 2016




About the Author


List of Tables:
Table 1: Wage Laborers as a Share of Total Employment, 1999 and 2013
Table 2: Distribution of Wage Laborers in Different Regions, 1995 and 2008/09
Table 3: Distribution of Labor Force in Industry in different Regions, 2013
Table 4: Numbers and Share of Employment by Broad Occupation (Skill), World and Regions, 2013 (in thousands)
Table 5: Share of Employment by Broad Occupation (Skill), World and Regions, 2013
Table 6: Distribution of Contract Type of Wage Laborers (%)
Table 7: Shares of Status in Total Employment, World and Regions, 2013 (%)
Table 8: Trade Union Density (%) in Selected OECD Countries, 1978-2013
Table 9: Trade Union Density in Latin America


List of Figures:
Figure 1: Wage and Salaried Employment (% of total employment), World and Regions, 1991-2014
Figure 2: Developing Countries’ Share in World Manufacturing Employment, 1980–2008
Figure 3: Global Industrial Labor Force in Developed and Developing Countries, 1950–2010
Figure 4: Distribution of Supporters of Political Parties in Spain, 2015
Figure 5: Price Indices of Selected Groups of Commodities, August 2013–September 2015




The following document is intended to provide an explanatory background to the Theses on the United Front Tactic which the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) recently adopted at an international leadership meeting. [1] We therefore suggest that when readers study these Theses they do so in conjunction with the present document.

The purpose of this document is both to summarize the main ideas of the Marxist united front tactic while explaining the development and modification of this tactic which we have elaborated in the Theses.

As we have stated in the preface to the earlier document, the theses we present there are based on similar ones put forth by the RCIT’s predecessor organization – the League for a Revolutionary Communist International – which we adopted in January 1994. However, the class struggle and the political formations of the working class and the oppressed have seen important changes and developments in the last two decades. Furthermore, our experience has also shown that the theses adopted then, irrespective of their general correctness and principled character contained some weaknesses which needed to be corrected in order to apply the united front tactic in an authentically communistic way.

Consequently, the RCIT has substantially reworked the old theses so that the Theses and the present explanatory document can be characterized as new.

In the following chapters we will first briefly summarize the main characteristics of the united front tactic and elaborate the approach of the Marxist classics on this issue. [2] We will than outline important social developments in the working class and the popular masses as well as in their political formations in the past decades. We will then proceed to discuss how the united front tactic should be applied in light of a number of new developments (the rise of petty-bourgeois populist parties, the decline of the classic reformist parties, the role of national minorities and migrants in imperialist countries, etc.)

Finally, we note that when speaking about the revolutionary party, what is written applies equally to smaller pre-party formations, i.e., the state in which revolutionaries currently find themselves.

We wish to express our special thanks to comrade Gerard Stephens who performed the English-language editing for this book.

[1] RCIT-Theses on United Front Tactic. Theses on the Principles of the United Front Tactic and their Application under the Current Conditions of the Class Struggle, Document of the International Executive Committee of the RCIT, 9 April 2016,

[2] A brief note on quotations from the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky: We have used the versions of their printed works which are in our possession. However, a number of their writings (in the case of Lenin, more or less all of them) can also be found on the website of the Marxist Internet Archive: