Marxism and the United Front Tactic Today: Chapter VIII

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

 

We have outlined in our theses that it is often the case that petty-bourgeois nationalist forces play an influential role among national or ethnical minorities and migrants in imperialist countries. To give a few examples: the Black Panthers in the USA in the late 1960s and early 1970s; the numerous forces engaged in the #BlackLiveMatters movement today; Puerto Rican nationalists in the USA; Sinn Fein and the IRA in Northern Ireland during their struggle against the British occupation until 1998; Herri Batasuna in Basque Country; and Candidatura d'Unitat Popular (CUP) in Catalonia in the Spanish State.

 

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

 

It has been our traditional position to lend critical support to petty-bourgeois nationalist forces that stand in confrontation with the imperialist state. This is why our predecessor organization in Britain, Workers’ Power, traditionally called for the support of Sinn Fein and the IRA which stood at the head of the Irish national liberation struggle against the British occupation. This application of the united front tactic also included critical support for Sinn Fein in elections. [1] Naturally, this tactic ended when the leadership of Sinn Fein/IRA around Gerry Adams capitulated to British imperialism by signing the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Given the importance of liberation struggles of oppressed nations – i.e., national and ethnical minorities (including migrants) – in imperialist countries, it is clear that such an approach has to be generalized. The increasing share of migrants among the working class in the imperialist countries, the acceleration of racism, the expansion of the police state and bonapartist forms of government, the subsequent attacks on democratic rights – all these ensure that the struggle against national oppression (as well as for democratic rights in general) are rapidly becoming one of the key issues of the political class struggle in the early 21st century. As we pointed out in our booklet on the relevance of the theory of permanent revolution in imperialist countries, today we are witnessing a groundswell of the democratic question.

Thus while during the 19th century democracy was still suppressed or threatened by the pre-capitalist nobility, the absolutist bureaucracy and the opportunist bourgeoisie, today it is threatened by imperialist monopoly capital and its lackeys in the semi-colonial countries. Yes, today there are no semi-feudal modes of production within the imperialist countries, but this does not at all imply that capitalism has become “pure.” What we are facing instead is decaying, rotten imperialist capitalism. Such a system creates new contradictions and exacerbates long-existing ones. As the reactionary offensive of the imperialist bourgeoisie accelerates, it makes immediate and democratic demands an increasingly more important part of the program for permanent revolution within the imperialist countries. [2]

Trotsky’s statement about the thoroughly reactionary role of imperialism is highly relevant: “While destroying democracy in the old mother countries of capital, imperialism at the same time hinders the rise of democracy in the backward countries. [3]

As already mentioned, petty-bourgeois nationalists of oppressed nations have played an important role in the Spanish state in recent years. Another important development has been the political movement of migrant workers (mostly Latinos) in the USA fighting for the rights of illegal migrants. This movement resulted in mass protests between March and May 2006 with a general strike on May Day of that year as a high point. [4]

One of the most important political movements in Europe during the past 15 years has been the anti-war movement which became a huge mass phenomenon with the Iraq war in 2003. At that time millions of migrants – particularly those of Muslim background – participated in mass demonstrations. Later mass protests with a high proportion of Muslim migrants continued to take place. They focused mostly on solidarity with Palestine during the Gaza wars in 2008/09, 2010 (the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla), 2012 and 2014. Add to this the numerous actions of migrant organizations in solidarity with the Arab Revolution (in particular for Syria and Egypt). Furthermore migrants as well as national and ethnic minorities have played an important role in mobilizations against police brutality and racism during the past 15 year.

All these mobilizations demonstrated the relevance of migrant organizations for democratic and anti-imperialist struggles in Europe and North America.

 

The Experience of the Austrian Section of the RCIT

 

Hence it has been obligatory for Marxists to apply the united front tactic to these organizations. The Austrian section of the RCIT has done this for many years. We have always actively participated in activities against the imperialist wars as well as in solidarity with Palestine and the Arab Revolution. In contrast to all centrists, we refuse an arrogant social-imperialist approach towards the migrants and their organizations viewed as “backward” by the centrists – and thereby forget how backward in the political sense of the word the left is with its nearly totally white, middle-class composition, and its accommodation to social-imperialist petty-bourgeois prejudices! [5] We call this phenomenon the “aristocratism” of the reformist and centrist left. It is worth noting that not only the Austrian left, but also the Turkish and Kurdish migrant left, always ignored these mobilizations against imperialist wars and solidarity with Palestine and the Arab Revolution. [6]

Furthermore the combination of our anti-Zionist positions, our solidarity with the Arab Revolution, and our practical orientation to the lower strata of the working class (including the migrants) has provoked sharp hostility from most sectors of the reformist and centrist left against our organization, as well as from the bourgeois state. This has led on, one hand, to attempts by the state to prosecute leaders of the Austrian section – i.e., the attempts to put on trial Johannes Wiener (in 2012/13) and Michael Pröbsting (2016) – as well as attempted physical attacks on us at demonstrations by Zionist members of the social democratic and Stalinist youth organizations, as well as from the autonomous milieu. [7]

Another result is a slanderous academic thesis published by the university of Vienna and written by a former member of the Communist Party’s student organization with the title: “’Israel kills Children!’ Antizionism and Antisemitism in socialist and anti-imperialist Groups in Austria using the example of the RKOB and the (Neue) Linkswende”. [8]

Naturally we have experienced a number of hurdles in our work. As communists we initially faced mistrust by the migrant masses and hostility from its leaders. However, we regularly participated as an active force in their mobilizations and managed to overcome the mistrust of many migrants. We had to engage in various bold tactics and confrontations with leaders of migrant organizations who didn’t want to let us speak from the platform at their demonstrations and rallies. However, gradually we have succeeded in gaining a reputation among several migrant communities which has led to our having been invited many times to their events and have even been asked to address them. At the same time, we did not attempt to conceal in our propaganda our political criticism of various bourgeois and petty-bourgeois forces which have a strong influence among these same migrant communities.

An example of the improvement in our reputation among a number of migrant communities took place as follows: On 2 February 2015, a mass demonstration against a small rally of right-wing racists took place in Vienna which was initiated by a broad alliance of nearly all centrists and left-reformists. The leading forces among them – social democratic youth and university student organizations, as well as Stalinists – were united in excluding the Austrian section of the RCIT from the speakers’ platform of any such demonstration. Unfortunately for them, they had to reserve for the powerful Muslim migrant organizations the right to nominate two speakers. To the astonishment and dismay of the centrists and left-reformists, the Muslims nominated a young Egyptian brother and Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the RCIT! The Muslim organizations were, of course, aware that comrade Pröbsting is a communist and an atheist, but through our solidarity work on anti-racist and anti-imperialist issues during the past 15 years, we have gained a reputation as serious activists. [9]

When several migrant organizations formed a list for the municipal elections in Vienna in the summer of 2015, some migrant organizations invited us to participate in the list. In the end, the project failed because some bourgeois migrant leaders managed to dominate this list and directed the project away from a militant democratic orientation into a liberal-opportunist one. As a result, we didn’t participate in this project. [10] Nevertheless, this development also reflected the reputation which we have gained over the years.

We think that, in principle, revolutionaries should encourage and support the formation of new political forces which reflect the struggle of migrants against racism and for their rights. Furthermore, revolutionaries should contribute to such a process a revolutionary perspective, focusing on the most burning issues of the struggle of the oppressed. They should also try to widen the list to integrate progressive sectors of the workers’ movement who are prepared to accept migrants as equal partners.

All these experiences demonstrate that it is truly possible for communists to engage in systematic united front work with migrant organizations. Furthermore, our orientation to these sectors of the working class has also helped us to recruit a substantial share of migrants to our organizations.

Such an orientation is crucial for us as Bolshevik-Communists since we consider it of utmost important to build an organization which is not solely fighting for the working class interests but which is also fighting together with the workers and through the workers. Naturally, when we speak about the workers, we don’t mean the upper, privileged strata – the labor aristocracy – but rather the class’ huge majority, i.e., the “mass proletarian elements” as the Comintern called it.

In other words, an authentic revolutionary organization must orientate itself to the lower and middle strata of the working class among which the migrants constitute a crucial sector in imperialist countries. We have explained many times the need for such an orientation and its grounding in the writings of the Marxist classics. [11] Here we will limit ourselves to only one quote from Leon Trotsky:

The characteristic thing about the American workers’ parties, trade-union organizations, and so on, was their aristocratic character. It is the basis of opportunism. The skilled workers who feel set in the capitalist society help the bourgeois class to hold the Negroes and the unskilled workers down to a very low scale. Our party is not safe from degeneration if it remains a place for intellectuals, semi-intellectuals, skilled workers and Jewish workers who build a very close milieu which is almost isolated from the genuine masses. Under these conditions our party cannot develop – it will degenerate. We must have this great danger before our eyes. Many times I have proposed that every member of the party, especially the intellectuals and semi-intellectuals, who, during a period of say six months, cannot each win a worker-member for the party, should be demoted to the position of sympathizer. We can say the same in the Negro question. The old organizations, beginning with the AFL, are the organizations of the workers’ aristocracy. Our party is a part of the same milieu, not of the basic exploited masses of whom the Negroes are the most exploited. The fact that our party until now has not turned to the Negro question is a very disquieting symptom. If the workers’ aristocracy is the basis of opportunism, one of the sources of adaptation to capitalist society, then the most oppressed and discriminated are the most dynamic milieu of the working class. We must say to the conscious elements of the Negroes that they are convoked by the historic development to become a vanguard of the working class. What serves as the brake on the higher strata? It is the privileges, the comforts that hinder them from becoming revolutionists. It does not exist for the Negroes. What can transform a certain stratum, make it more capable of courage and sacrifice? It is concentrated in the Negroes. If it happens that we in the SWP are not able to find the road to this stratum, then we are not worthy at all. The permanent revolution and all the rest would be only a lie. [12]

 

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

 

A more elaborated example of these potential developments is the Respect party in Britain led by George Galloway. As already mentioned, this petty-bourgeois populist party succeeded – in some places electoral districts – to gain substantial support among migrant communities and national and ethnic minorities. Unfortunately, our predecessor organization in Britain, Workers’ Power, ignored the significance of Respect as a radical political expression of the democratic and anti-imperialist struggle of some of the most oppressed sectors of the working class. As a result, it refused to give critical electoral support to this party and passed up considering any entry work within Respect. This was clearly a mistake. In our opinion, it is legitimate to give critical electoral support to Respect candidates in districts where they have roots among the masses. As a consequence, the RCIT in Britain called for a critical electoral support for Respect leader George Galloway as a candidate from Bradford West in the 2015 parliamentary elections.

It is pointless to discuss in retrospect whether an entry tactic into Respect would have been correct in the first years after its foundation in 2004. Such a decision would necessarily have to depend on many concrete conditions. But it certainly would not have been unprincipled for revolutionaries to do so, as it could have helped them to build stronger links with the migrants and national and ethnic minorities.

 

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

 

Our elaborations of a revolutionary strategy towards migrant organizations and the application of the united front tactic are founded on the Trotsky’s approach to the liberation struggle of the black minority in the USA. In their most developed form, Trotsky’s ideas have been expressed in his discussions with the black revolutionary C.L.R. James which were held in the summer of 1939.

In these discussions, C.L.R. James and Trotsky elaborated some ideas about how the US-American section of the Fourth International could take initiatives to launch a mass organization for the black people. They took into account the political “backwardness” of the masses of the black people as a result of their historic oppression. Trotsky remarked:

Your project would create something like a pre-political school. What determines the necessity? Two fundamental facts: that the large masses of the Negroes are backward and oppressed and this oppression is so strong that they must feel it every moment; that they feel it as Negroes. We must find the possibility of giving this feeling a political organizational expression. You may say that in Germany or in England we do not organize such semi-political, semi-trade-union, or semi-cultural organizations; we reply that we must adapt ourselves to the genuine Negro masses in the United States. [13]

He also considered it as possible to support a candidate of a black non-revolutionary organization for elections even if such a candidate is a member of a bourgeois party (like the US’s Democratic Party).

It is a question of another organization for which we are not responsible, just as they are not responsible for us. If this organization puts up a certain candidate, and we find as a party that we must put up our own candidate in opposition, we have the full right to do so. If we are weak and cannot get the organization to choose a revolutionist, and they choose a Negro Democrat, we might even withdraw our candidate with a concrete declaration that we abstain from fighting, not the Democrat, but the Negro. We consider that the Negro’s candidacy as opposed to the white’s candidacy, even if both are of the same party, is an important factor in the struggle of the Negroes for their equality; and in this case we can critically support them. I believe that it can be done in certain instances.” [14]

We think that Trotsky’s considerations are highly relevant for the Marxist strategy today towards migrant organizations in imperialist countries. Such organizations have to be approached on the basis of a united front in order to engage them in joint struggles – in particular against racism and state oppression as well as for solidarity activities (e.g., with the Arab Revolution and the Palestine liberation struggle). Such a strategy is crucial for revolutionaries in order to draw closer to the lowest and most oppressed strata of the working class in the imperialist metropolises.

 

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

 

There is a widespread misunderstanding amongst many Marxists that revolutionaries should only be interested in the struggle of workers, but not of other oppressed classes. Such an idea is in complete contradiction with the teachings of the Marxist classics.

The entire conception of Marxism in based on the understanding that capitalism is not simply an economic system with politics, society, ideology, etc. as its appendages. Rather, these different aspects interact and influence each other reciprocally, while naturally — as already stressed by Friedrich Engels — the decisive aspect is ultimately the economy.

We see economic conditions as that which, in the final analysis, determines historical development. (…) Here, however, there are two points which should not be overlooked: a) Political, juridical, philosophical, religious, literary, artistic, etc., development is based on economic development. But each of these also reacts upon the others and upon the economic basis. This is not to say that the economic situation is the cause and that it alone is active while everything else is mere passive effect, but rather that there is reciprocal action based, in the final analysis, on economic necessity which invariably prevails.” [15]

Consequently, Marxists understand that the class struggle has to be waged not only on the economic level but also on all other levels – political, ideological, cultural, etc. Engels pointed this out in his 1874 preface to his book The Peasant War in Germany:

It must be said to the credit of the German workers that they have exploited the advantages of their situation with rare understanding. For the first time since a workers' movement has existed, the struggle is being waged pursuant to its three sides — the theoretical, the political and the economico-practical (resistance to the capitalists) — in harmony and in its interconnections, and in a systematic way. It is precisely in this, as it were concentric, attack that the strength and invincibility of the German movement lies. [16]

Such an approach is only guaranteed if revolutionaries take into account all contradictions of the capitalist class society and integrate them into a comprehensive revolutionary strategy. This was also the thinking behind Trotsky’s Transitional Program, as the German Bolshevik-Leninists pointed out in one of the preparatory documents for the founding congress of the Fourth International held in 1938. [17]

Lenin emphasized that revolutionaries must not ignore the oppression of other classes by the ruling class, but rather must also fight against this and connect it with the proletarian liberation struggle. He harshly condemned those reductionist economists who characterize all non-proletarian classes as “reactionary.”

The proletariat must strive to form independent political workers’ parties, the main aim of which must be the capture of political power by the proletariat for the purpose of organising socialist society. The proletariat must not regard the other classes and parties as “one reactionary mass”; on the contrary, it must take part in all political and social life, support the progressive classes and parties against the reactionary classes and parties, support every revolutionary movement against the existing system, champion the interests of every oppressed nationality or race, of every persecuted religion, of the disfranchised sex, etc.“ [18]

From this follows the obligation for Bolsheviks to conduct systematic propaganda and agitation not only among the proletariat but also among the other oppressed classes and layers.

It cannot be too strongly maintained that this is still not Social-Democracy, that the Social-Democrat’s ideal should not be the trade-union secretary, but the tribune of the people, who is able to react to every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it appears, no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects; who is able to generalise all these manifestations and produce a single picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation; who is able to take advantage of every event, however small, in order to set forth before all his socialist convictions and his democratic demands, in order to clarify for all and everyone the world-historic significance of the struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat. [19]

Lenin gave a few concrete examples for such struggles of non-proletarian oppressed layers:

The point we were discussing was the possible and necessary participation of various social strata in the overthrow of the autocracy; and not only are we able, but it is our bounden duty, to guide these “activities of the various opposition strata”, if we desire to be the “vanguard”. Not only will our students and liberals, etc., themselves take care of “the struggle that brings them face to face with our political régime”; the police and the officials of the autocratic government will see to this first and foremost. But if “we” desire to be front-rank democrats, we must make it our concern to direct the thoughts of those who are dissatisfied only with conditions at the university, or in the Zemstvo, etc., to the idea that the entire political system is worthless. We must take upon ourselves the task of organising an all-round political struggle under the leadership of our Party in such a manner as to make it possible for all oppositional strata to render their fullest support to the struggle and to our Party. We must train our Social-Democratic practical workers to become political leaders, able to guide all the manifestations of this all-round struggle, able at the right time to “dictate a positive programme of action” for the aroused students, the discontented Zemstvo people, the incensed religious sects, the offended elementary schoolteachers, etc., etc. [20]

Naturally, today revolutionaries will not deal with “Zemstvo people” but instead with oppressed nationalities, women’s struggle, etc. However, other examples of Lenin are still relevant, like protests of petty-bourgeois university students, oppressed religious minorities like the Muslim migrants in Europe, etc.

Lenin denounced those economistic critics who reject the support for protests of non-proletarian oppressed layers because it supposedly would water down the revolutionary class struggle:

But if we have to undertake the organisation of a really nation-wide exposure of the government, in what way will then the class character of our movement be expressed? (…) The reply is manifold: we Social-Democrats will organise these nationwide exposures; all questions raised by the agitation will he explained in a consistently Social-Democratic spirit, without any concessions to deliberate or undeliberate distortions of Marxism; the all-round political agitation will be conducted by a party which unites into one inseparable whole the assault on the government in the name of the entire people, the revolutionary training of the proletariat, and the safeguarding of its political independence, the guidance of the economic struggle of the working class, and the utilisation of all its spontaneous conflicts with its exploiters which rouse and bring into our camp increasing numbers of the proletariat. [21]

Some people object that this approach of Lenin was only valid for backward capitalist countries which have not experienced a bourgeois-democratic revolution. This, too, is utter nonsense. Lenin was quiet clear that Marxists must not ignore oppression outside the economic field or that of non-proletarian layers in imperialist countries.

As we have already pointed out in our booklet on the democratic question in the imperialist countries, how the imperialist bourgeoisie is accelerating chauvinism, militarism and bonapartism in the current period, and thereby giving peculiar importance to the struggle for democratic rights.

Lenin himself already pointed this out: „The political superstructure of this new economy, of monopoly capitalism (imperialism is monopoly capitalism), is the change from democracy to political reaction. Democracy corresponds to free competition. Political reaction corresponds to monopoly. “Finance capital strives for domination, not freedom,” Rudolf Hilferding rightly remarks in his Finance Capital. It is fundamentally wrong, un-Marxist and unscientific, to single out “foreign policy” from policy in general, let alone counterpose foreign policy to home policy. Both in foreign and home policy imperialism strives towards violations of democracy, towards reaction. In this sense imperialism is indisputably the “negation” of democracy in general, of all democracy, and not just of one of its demands, national self-determination. [22]

For example in his draft resolution on the agrarian question for the Second Congress of the Comintern in 1920, Lenin emphasized that revolutionaries have to support the struggle of the small peasants not only in the colonial and semi-colonial countries but also in the imperialist countries.

The working and exploited people of the countryside, whom the urban proletariat must lead into the struggle or, at all events, win over, are represented in all capitalist countries by the following classes: first, the agricultural proletariat, (…),second, the semi-proletarians or peasants who till tiny plots of land, i.e., those who obtain their livelihood partly as wage-labourers at agricultural and industrial capitalist enterprises and partly by working their own or rented plots of land, which provide their families only with part of their means of subsistence. (…), third, the small peasantry, i.e., the small-scale tillers who, either as owners or as tenants, hold small plots of land which enable them to satisfy the needs of their families and their farms, and do not hire outside labour. (…) Taken together, the three groups enumerated above constitute the majority of the rural population in all capitalist countries. That is why the success of the proletarian revolution is fully assured, not only in the cities but in the countryside as well. (…) [T]hat although the three enumerated categories of the rural population – who are incredibly downtrodden, disunited, crushed, and doomed to semi-barbarous conditions of existence in all countries, even the most advanced – are economically, socially, and culturally interested in the victory of socialism, they are capable of giving resolute support to the revolutionary proletariat only after the latter has won political power, only after it has resolutely dealt with the big landowners and capitalists, and only after these downtrodden people see in practice that they have an organised leader and champion, strong and firm enough to assist and lead them and to show them the right path. [23]

Lenin’s approach was adopted in the Comintern’s resolutions on the agrarian question in both the Second and Fourth Congress. [24] This represented an important break with the tradition of the II. International, until its collapse in 1914, since it largely ignored the poor peasantry in Western Europe and hence failed to win them as allies for the proletariat. [25]

Trotsky continued this approach, as can be seen, to give only one example, in the Program of Action for France, written in 1934:

The proletarian state must rest on the exploited peasants as well as on the workers of town and country. Our program answers the needs of the great rural masses as well as those of the working class.[26]

Of course, the peasantry has been massively reduced both numerically as well as in its relative social weight in the old imperialist countries. Today, the peasantry doesn’t play a central role in the class struggle in these regions. [27] Instead, today, the lower strata of the salaried middle layers play an important role in the old imperialist countries. Add to this the important struggles of the special oppressed layers – women, migrants, youth, national minorities, etc. – of whom many are part of the working class. What we have tried to demonstrate with these references to the writing of Lenin and Trotsky is that Marxists do not limit themselves in promoting the struggle only of the workers, but also support the protests of non-proletarian classes against the bourgeoisie in order to win them over as allies for the proletariat. This is not only true for semi-colonial countries, but also for imperialist states. Naturally, today these allies may differ from those in the times of Lenin and Trotsky. But the fundamental issues have not changed.

The approach of Marxists on this issue differs fundamentally from that of various left-reformists in the following way: the left social democrats, the Party of the European Left, etc. look for to form alliance with the middle layer in which the proletariat subordinates itself to the petty-bourgeois program of the intellectual representatives of the middle layers. As a result, the left-reformists end up in constructing a popular front in which the working class becomes a subordinate – via the leadership of the middle class intellectuals – to the bourgeoisie.

By contrast, Bolshevik-Communists also look to form an alliance with the middle layer, but one in which the proletariat plays the hegemonic role. They desire to win over the lower strata of the middle layers by advancing the proletarian struggle against the bourgeoisie as well as by fighting against the petty-bourgeois ideas of the intellectual representatives of the middle layers.



[1] On this see e.g., Workers’ Power: The British Left and the Irish War, London 1983; Matt Docherty: Irish republicanism at an impasse, in: Trotskyist International No. 11 (1993)

[2] Michael Pröbsting: The Struggle for Democracy in the Imperialist Countries Today. The Marxist Theory of Permanent Revolution and its Relevance for the Imperialist Metropolises, August 2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 39, p. 12, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/democracy-vs-imperialism/

[3] Leon Trotsky: Marxism In Our Time (1939), https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1939/04/marxism.htm

[4] See on this e.g. Kent Paterson: May Day Ten Years Later: Reflections on the Legacies of Immigrant Spring, 1 May 2016, http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/18667; Pamela Constable: Latinos Unite to Turn Fear Into Activism – Pr. William Policy on Illegal Immigrants Prompts Call for Boycott, Other Actions, Washington Post, July 28, 2007

[5] We note in passing that Lenin faced similar attacks from the Mensheviks. The latter denounced the Bolsheviks for orientating to the “backward” poor peasantry – as the proletariats’ primary ally – instead of looking for an alliance primarily with the liberal urban bourgeoisie which was supposedly much more “educated” and “progressive” in their views. What neither the old nor the new Mensheviks understand is the Marxist principle that the most important issue in judging the character of a given social layer or class is not their cultural views or ideological prejudices but their objective class position in the capitalist society. It is the latter which is decisive if a layer enters into confrontation with the ruling class. And it is this issue which is relevant for Marxists and not the ideological phrases which people use to delude both themselves and others.

[6] While the PKK plays a dominant role amongst the Kurdish masses, the Turkish left has only weak roots among the Turkish migrants.

[7] See on this e.g. Report (with Pictures and Videos) on the multinational, internationalist demonstration in Vienna marking May Day 2016 organized by the Revolutionary Communist Organization LIBERATION, http://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/report-may-day-2016-in-austria/; RCIT: Stop Judicial Prosecution for Solidarity with Palestine! A Call to the Austrian State to Drop Its Charges against Michael Pröbsting! April 2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/solidarity-proebsting/; RCIT: Victory! The Charge against RKOB Spokesperson and Palestine Solidarity Activist Johannes Wiener has been dropped! 10.1.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/solidarity-with-wiener-won/

[8] Tina Sanders: Kindermörder Israel!“ Antizionismus und Antisemitismus in sozialistischen und antiimperialistischen Gruppen in Österreich anhand der Beispiele RKOB und (Neue) Linkswende“; see also the interview with the author: Die Linkswende in antisemitische Stereotype – Ein Gespräch mit Tina Sanders, 25. März 2016, http://www.semiosis.at/2016/03/25/die-linkswende-in-antisemitische-stereotype/

[9] See on this Austria: Mass Demonstration Stops Right-Wing Racist March against Muslim Migrants, Report (with Photos and Videos) by the Austrian Section of the RCIT, 4.2.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/austria-mass-demo-against-islamophobia/

[10] See Austrian Section of the RCIT to Run in Vienna’s Municipal Elections, 5 September 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/rcit-vienna-elections/

[11] See e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Building the Revolutionary Party in Theory and Practice. Looking Back and Ahead after 25 Years of Organized Struggle for Bolshevism, RCIT, Vienna 2014, pp. 44-49, pp. 94-99 and pp. 103-110.

[12] Leon Trotsky: Plans for the Negro Organisation (1939); in: Leo Trotsky: On Black Nationalism and Self-Determination, pp. 61-62

[13] Leon Trotsky: A Negro Organization (1939); in: Leo Trotsky: On Black Nationalism and Self-Determination, p. 53

[14] Leon Trotsky: Plans for the Negro Organisation (1939); in: Leo Trotsky: On Black Nationalism and Self-Determination, p. 68

[15] Friedrich Engels: Letter to W. Borgius, 25 January 1894, in: MECW Vol. 50, p. 265 (Emphasis in original)

[16] Friedrich Engels: Supplement to the Preface of 1870 for The Peasant War in Germany (1874), in: MECW Vol. 23, p. 631

[17] We refer readers to the excellent document “Thesen zum Aufbau der IV. Internationale”. This document, written by one of the leader of the Fourth International, Walter Held, was discussed and adopted at an émigré conference of the „International Communists of Germany“ (IKD) on 23 August 1937 and published by its monthly paper „Unser Wort“ (No. 1 (85), January 1938). Trotsky referred to this text as a preparatory document for the conference (see Leon Trotsky: Discussions with Trotsky: I – International Conference, March 20, 1938, in: Trotsky Writings 1937-38, S.283). Despite its wealth of ideas, this document never received wide distribution in the German language. (It was published in the miscellany edited by Günther Hillmann: Selbstkritik des Kommunismus, Rowohlt Verlag, Hamburg 1967, pp. 143-154.) We republished the document some years ago in our theoretical journal. (Unter der Fahne der Revolution No. 4, http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/farev-4/) To our knowledge the document was never translated into English language.

[18] V. I. Lenin: A Protest by Russian Social-Democrats (1899), in: LCW 4, p. 177

[19] V. I. Lenin: What Is To Be Done? (1902), in: LCW Vol. 5, p. 423. Lenin also states in the same book: “The principal thing, of course, is propaganda and agitation among all strata of the people. (…) We must also find ways and means of calling meetings of representatives of all social classes that desire to listen to a democrat; for he is no Social-Democrat who forgets in practice that “the Communists support every revolutionary movement”, that we are obliged for that reason to expound and emphasise general democratic tasks before the whole people, without for a moment concealing our socialist convictions. He is no Social-Democrat who forgets in practice his obligation to be ahead of all in raising, accentuating, and solving every general democratic question.” (V. I. Lenin: What Is To Be Done? (1902), in: LCW Vol. 5, p. 425)

[20] V. I. Lenin: What Is To Be Done? (1902), in: LCW Vol. 5, p. 428. A few pages later, Lenin adds: “We would be “politicians” and Social-Democrats in name only (as all too often happens in reality), if we failed to realise that our task is to utilise every manifestation of discontent, and to gather and turn to the best account every protest, however small. This is quite apart from the fact that the millions of the labouring peasantry, handicraftsmen, petty artisans, etc., would always listen eagerly to the speech of any Social-Democrat who is at all qualified. Indeed, is there a single social class in which there are no individuals, groups, or circles that are discontented with the lack of rights and with tyranny and, therefore, accessible to the propaganda of Social-Democrats as the spokesmen of the most pressing general democratic needs?” (V. I. Lenin: What Is To Be Done? (1902), in: LCW Vol. 5, p. 430)

[21] V. I. Lenin: What Is To Be Done? (1902), in: LCW Vol. 5, p. 432

[22] V.I. Lenin: A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism (1916); in: LCW 23, p. 43 (Emphasis in the Original)

[23] V. I. Lenin: Preliminary Draft Theses on the Agrarian Question. For the Second Congress of the Communist International (1920), in: LCW Vol. 31, pp. 152-156. See on this also the preparatory work for Lenin’s Theses by the Polish communist Julian Marchlewski which Lenin praised in his Theses: Julian Marchlewski: Die Agrarfrage und die Welt Revolution, in: Die Kommunistische Internationale, No. 12 (1920), pp. 89-97

[24] See Theses on the Agrarian Question adopted by the Second Comintern Congress (1920); Communist International: The Agrarian Action Programme adopted by the Fourth Comintern Congress: Directives on the Application of the Agrarian Theses passed by the Second Congress (1922), both documents are reproduced in: Jane Degras: The Communist International 1919-1943. Documents, Vol. I 1919-1922, pp. 155-161 respectively pp. 394-398

[25] A useful overview on the development of Lenin’s thinking on the Agrarian question can be found in: Esther Kingston-Mann: Lenin and the problem of Marxist Peasant Revolution, Oxford University Press, 1983

[26] Leon Trotsky: A Program of Action for France (1934), in: Writings of Leon Trotsky 1934-35, Pathfinder Press, New York, 1974, p. 25

[27] This does of course not mean that these layers have become completely irrelevant. See for example the periodic protests of French peasants.