By Michael Pröbsting (International Secretary of the RCIT), October 2015, www.thecommunists.net
Below we publish a summary of the main differences between the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and the Colectivo por la Refundación de la IV Internacional - Fracción Leninista Trotskista Internacional (FLTI).
We certainly appreciate various initiatives of the FLTI comrades, such as sending some of their members to Libya and Syria. We are also in agreement with them in our unconditional solidarity with the workers’ and peasant uprisings in the Arab world since December 2010, as well as the struggle against Zionism.
However, the main methodological difference between them and the RCIT is that their analyses and their politics are completely devoid of dialectical understanding. As a result, their analyses are extremely mechanistic and ignore the contradictions between the different imperialist, bourgeois and reformist forces. Consequently their politics are ultra-leftist in the tradition of Bordiga and are thus opposed to Trotskyism. The entire conception of the united front tactic – as was developed by Lenin and the early Communist International and later extended by Trotsky – is alien to the FLTI.
The FLTI’s ignorance of the laws of dialectics in politics and economy leads them to ignore the imperialist nature of the emerging great powers, China and Russia. They denounce those who recognize Chinese and Russian imperialism as “capitulating to Obama.” They claim that these countries are just semi-colonies of US imperialism, and that Putin and Xi are just lackeys of Washington. (1) In fact, they replace scientific Marxism with idealistic conspiracy theories.
Such a mechanistic analysis blinds the FLTI to the fact that Chinese monopolies play a major role in the world economy. If China were only a semi-colony and not a major imperialist economy, how could the recent slump at the stock market in Shanghai provoke a crisis at the Western stock markets?! How could Chinese monopolies have become major foreign investors in Latin America? How could China’s military be able to stand up to Japanese imperialism?
Similarly, the FLTI is incapable of explaining how Russian imperialism could have stood up to the Western Great Powers in Syria in September 2013, in the Ukraine since 2014, and how they can lead a major military intervention in Syria today. (2)
Due to its mechanistic approach, the FLTI ultimately even fails to understand the nature of the present historic period (since 2008/09) as one of increasing inter-imperialist rivalry.
Yet another example of the FLTI’s ultra-leftist mechanism is their characterization of Israel as “fascist.” This is a similar to the Turkish Maoist-Stalinists who for several decades have denounced the Turkish state as “fascist.” As Trotskyists, the RCIT rejects such nonsensical denunciations of all authoritarian, reactionary regimes as “fascist.” Fascism is a scientific conception developed by Trotsky. It characterizes a state based on a reactionary mass movement which smashes all forms of democracy and all organizations of the workers’ movement. Israel is a reactionary, racist Apartheid state – a settler-state which has become a small imperialist power, existing as it does on the basis of the expulsion and national oppression of the Palestinian people. It has, however, not annihilated all democratic rights and all workers’ organizations, as the existence of many Palestinian and progressive Jewish organizations demonstrate.
As an ex-Morenoite tendency, the FLTI also continues to raise the slogan of a “united Palestine, secular, democratic and non-racist,” i.e., it proclaims as a strategic task the creation of non-proletarian (“class-less”) states. True, they do pose this using a more left-wing version than classic Morenoism, as they call for “a secular, democratic and non-racist Palestinian state of the workers and poor farmers government defended by the self-organised and armed Palestinian masses!” However, even this version fails to break with Stalinist centrism which called, in China, India and many other countries in the 1920s, for the “democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry”.
In contrast, the RCIT’s section in Occupied Palestine / Israel fights for the smashing of the Zionist state and for a transitional program with the crowning slogan: “For a Democratic, Palestinian, Multinational and Socialist Workers and Fallahin Republic from the River to the Sea.” Its agitational short version is a “Free, Red Palestine!” (3)
The FLTI’s ultra-left, sectarian method leads it to limiting itself to denunciations of imperialism, bourgeoisie, reformism and centrism as well as calls for militant actions of the working class and oppressed. While these are of course necessary for revolutionary propaganda, the FLTI statements completely lack a dialectical analysis of the contradictions in mass organizations of the working class and the oppressed. This is not accidental but actually necessary for the FLTI, so that it can justify why it completely relinquishes any calls for united fronts or any demands to reformist leaderships.
We see this in Syria where the FLTI usually denounces all rebel groups but doesn’t place any demands on them in order to build a united front of struggle against the Assad regime and the imperialists.
The FLTI’s recent statements on Greece are yet another demonstration for this. In recent years we have seen a shift of working class consciousness to the left, which was so dramatically, manifested itself in the electoral rise of SYRIZA. Naturally, given the absence of a strong revolutionary party, the masses still lack a revolutionary consciousness. But it would be stupid and criminal to ignore the important changes which have taken place since 2008 or 2010. However, the FLTI has no political characterization of reformist forces like SYRIZA. For them it is only a bureaucratic apparatus which serves the imperialist bourgeoisie and which betrays the masses; this is also how they see the Stalinist KKE. What the FLTI ignores is that these parties can only betray the working class and serve the bourgeoisie precisely because they have organic links to the masses and the latter still trust these leaderships in one way or another. This is why the RCIT characterizes parties like SYRIZA or the KKE as bourgeois workers parties (as Lenin characterized the British Labour Party and Trotsky later did the same with other reformist parties). This means that these are parties which are dominated by a petty-bourgeois bureaucracies serving the capitalists, support for which is based on sectors of the workers’ movement.
For this reason, we consider it urgent to combine sharp denunciations of these parties with the tactic of the united front. Only if the masses gain experience with these leaderships, and revolutionaries help them cultivate their self-organization, only then can the masses overcome their illusions in reformism (as Lenin already elaborated in his book on infantile communism). This is why we called for critical support for SYRIZA in January 2015 and for LAE (which split from SYRIZA) in September of this year. Such a tactic has to be combined with calls for mass actions like strikes, general strikes, etc., and the formation of action committees. (4)
Unfortunately, the FLTI fails to make any demands on the present (reformist) leaderships of the working class. Worse, they are actually incapable of relating to mass movements like the extremely important OXI movement in Greece in July 2015. Instead, the FLTI simply denounces such movements as a “trap.” That such a “trap” can be a very important political experience for the masses and that revolutionaries must pedagogically assist them in understanding this experience – all this is beyond the political horizon of ultra left-sects like the FLTI.
In summary, we call upon the militants of the FLTI to break with their ultra-left programmatic method. We comradely invite them to fight together with the RCIT for an authentic Trotskyist program and the creation of a new revolutionary workers’ international!
(1) See e.g. FLTI Majority Document on China as semicolony of imperialism, 20.2.2010, http://redrave.blogspot.com/2010/02/flti-majoritydocument-on-china-as-semi.html
(2) The RCIT has published numerous documents and booklets on Russia and China as emerging imperialist powers. They can be read on our website at http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/. A summary of our analysis can be read here http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-china-and-russia/
(3) A fuller elaboration of the RCIT’s analysis and program in Occupied Palestine can be read here:
Summary of the Program of the Internationalist Socialist League, February 2014, http://www.the-isleague.com/our-platform/
Yossi Schwartz: Israel's War of 1948 and the Degeneration of the Fourth International, in: Revolutionary Communism, Special Issue on Palestine, No. 10, June 2013, www.thecommunists.net/theory/israel-s-war-of-1948-1
Yossi Schwartz: Israel’s Six-Day War of 1967. On the Character of the War, the Marxist Analysis and the Position of the Israeli Left, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 12, July/August 2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/israel-s-war-of-1967/
Michael Pröbsting: On some Questions of the Zionist Oppression and the Permanent Revolution in Palestine, in: Revolutionary Communism, Special Issue on Palestine, No. 10, June 2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/permanent-revolution-in-palestine
(4) See on this numerous RCIT statements on Greece which can be read on our website at http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/articles-on-greece/