The struggle for the Fifth Workers’ International


The fact that Chavez sabotaged the initiative for the formation of Fifth International could lead sceptics to the viewpoint that the whole perspective of the Fifth International might be wrong. Such a conclusion is absolutely baseless. The neoliberal or semi-neoliberal betrayal of the of the social democratic parties of the Second International, the bankruptcy of the Stalinist parties of the former Third International and the political death of the Fourth International already more than 60 years ago and the complete failure of its various centrist successors – all this demonstrates the need for a new, the next in the history of the working class movement, alias the Fifth International.

We cannot foresee how exactly the Fifth International will emerge. Naturally there is not only one road which leads to Rome. We Bolshevik-Communists will take the concrete conditions of the class struggle and the political formations process of the workers vanguard as they are. Any dogmatism would be nonsense. Inspired by his studies of materialist dialectic Lenin stressed the importance of Gibkost, what can be translated by words like elasticity, flexibility or manoeuvrability. And indeed such elasticity will be particularly necessary in the coming period for revolutionaries to intersect with authentic mass movements, to participate in the formation process of new vanguard layers.

Combined with this Gibkost another quality of the Bolsheviks will be equally important – their kamend-tverdost (intransigence, hardness, solid like a rock). Only with a full and open demarcation of the revolutionary line from the vacillating and deviating forces will it be possible for the militant workers and youth to discover the correct way forward in the liberation struggle. Nearly all centrists denounce this direct and clear approach as “sectarian”. But – as Trotsky pointed out – programmatic clarity is particularly important if the revolutionary forces are small:

„The philistines will sneer over the fact that we, a tiny minority, are constantly occupied with internal demarcations. But that will not disturb us. Precisely because we are a tiny minority whose entire strength lies in ideological clarity, we must be especially implacable towards dubious friends on the right and on the left.“ (Leon Trotsky: The Defense of the Soviet Union and the Opposition (1929); in: Writings 1929, p. 298)

We therefore continue the way outlined in the following essay: combination of active intervention and participation in the real political formations processes of the vanguard with political clarity and open propaganda and agitation for revolutionary Marxism. We don’t make agreement on our principles as a precondition for joining any real initiatives for a Fifth International but at the same time we constantly fight that it becomes a working class world party based on an authentic revolutionary program.

Our critics will remind us that our forces are very small. This is true and we are fully aware of it. But while demoralised elements of the left draw from this the conclusion that it is time to withdraw from the battle field of class struggle we draw the opposite conclusion: we must double our efforts, build roots amongst the working class and the oppressed, intervene in the struggle as it is, collaborate with all honest fighters of the class and look for unity with those who are seriously joining the camp of authentic Marxism.

So while it is true that the forces committed to build a new revolutionary International are very small it is equally true that such an International is desperately needed – particularly in a period like the present one.

Leon Trotsky, the leader of the October Revolution 1917 and founder of the III. and IV. International, answered similar centrist sceptics’ already long time ago:

„However, wherein does the “profound problem” involved in this question lie? Observe, objectively the new International is necessary, but subjectively it is impossible. In simpler terms, without the new International the proletariat will be crushed, but the masses do not understand this as yet. And what else is the task of the Marxists if not to raise the subjective factor to the level of the objective and to bring the consciousness of the masses closer to the understanding of the historical necessity – in simpler terms, to explain to the masses their own interests, which they do not yet understand? The “profound problem” of the centrists is profound cowardice in the face of a great and undeferrable task. The leaders of the SAP do not understand the importance of class-conscious revolutionary activity in history.“ (Leon Trotsky: Centrist Alchemy Or Marxism? (1935); in: Writings 1934/35, p. 262f.)

Similarly today “class-conscious revolutionary activity in history” is of central importance and this is and can only be the organised, collective activity in a Bolshevik international organisation. This is what our organisations are going to do. We call all revolutionary activists to read and study our positions, engage in discussion and practical collaboration with us and build with us together the revolutionary communist international tendency!

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