Our time does not lack protests, struggles and insurrections against social injustice, lack of democracy and national oppression. The Arab Revolution since early 2011, the general strikes in southern Europe, mass protests in South Asia, as well as in Nigeria and Chile, the national liberation struggles in Afghanistan, Palestine, and the Occupation Movement in North America and Europe are only the most outstanding examples of the global upsurge of class struggle.
As impressive and heroic as these movements are, they also suffer at the same time from widespread ideological confusion and disorganisation. This reflects on one hand their spontaneous nature. On the other hand, it also shows the devastating effects of decades of domination by forces within the workers and resistance movements, which are hostile to the interests of the working class. Examples of such forces include petty bourgeois Nationalism, Islamism, Social Democracy, Stalinism, Anarchism and Centrism.
For this reason, all these great movements of class struggle and resistance have not been able to record any lasting success. Instead, capitalism, in its decline, pulls humanity even deeper into disaster.
The central problem, therefore, is that the working class and the oppressed are missing above all a revolutionary vanguard, which has a common programme and a united, international organisation. Trotsky's statement in the Transitional Programme from 1938 that – "The historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership" – therefore has today even more validity than it did during his era.
This lack of a revolutionary vanguard party is a tremendous threat to the new movements of class struggle and resistance. Various political forces and ideologies – Islamists, petty-bourgeois democrats and pacifists, open or masked henchmen of this or that imperialist power, reformist bureaucrats, overt or disguised anarchists, pseudo-socialist tendencies – take part in these movements and revolutions in order to expand their own influence.
This makes it harder for the movements to succeed in their goals, which in turn increases the risk that bourgeois forces and bureaucrats will try to exploit the struggles of the masses for their own purposes.
To prevent this from happening, and to lead the future revolutionary movements to the successful overthrow of the capitalist ruling class, the formation of a new world party of socialist revolution – the Fifth Workers' International – is required. The basis for this new formation must be a joint programme that draws from the lessons of the past and current class struggles as well as the necessary conclusions.
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The programme presented here is the political platform of our organisation - the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT). At the same time it is also our proposal for the programmatic basis of the future Fifth Workers' International respectively those organisations which are formed as a step towards the future International.
Does this mean that our programme is "the last word"? Of course not. There is no "last word" because the world never stands still. Just as society continually develops, the workers and oppressed always gather new experiences, so a programme, by its very nature, must continue to evolve. It must reflect and include new developments, new experiences and new lessons. If this does not occur, it degenerates into a lifeless dogma.
Our programme builds on the methodology of the major programmes of the revolutionary workers' movement – in particular the Communist Manifesto of 1848, the Program of the Bolsheviks of 1919 and the Transitional Program of the Fourth International in 1938. It also continues the revolutionary tradition of the programmes of our predecessor organisation, the MRCI/LRCI/LFI.
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This programme is the result of the political experiences and conclusions of the RCIT. The RCIT stands in the traditions of the first four revolutionary workers' international movements – which are associated with the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and Luxemburg. This red thread of revolutionary continuity stretched from the 1840s up to the phase of the centrist degeneration of the Fourth International 1948-51. After this it ceased. It was only continued from the early 1980s onwards through the work of a small group of Marxist revolutionaries in the Movement for a Revolutionary Communist International (MRCI) (which was then later renamed into the LRCI and finally the League for the Fifth International (LFI)).
The founding cadres of the RCIT include activists who for years or even decades played a leading role in the LRCI/LFI. The political degeneration of the LFI led to a series of bureaucratic expulsions and splits, from which eventually in 2011 revolutionary organisations in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Austria and the United States emerged. After a period of collaboration, and after developing a common understanding of revolutionary theory and practice, these organisations have now joined forces on the basis of this programme to form an international tendency on a democratic-centralist basis. Since the majority of the LFI has proven unable to meet the challenges of the new historical period, it's up to us to continue the thread of revolutionary continuity.
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The programme of us Bolshevik-Communists is the codification, the summary and generalisation of the lessons of past class struggles and the successful and failed attempts at building a world revolutionary party.
As previously stated, we consider our programme not as a "last word". Many experiences of the revolutionary movements worldwide could not sufficiently be reflected therein due to our limited presence in a few countries as the RCIT is currently a small international organisation with activists in Asia, Europe and North America. We are, therefore, fully aware of the limitations of our programme.
However, this awareness of our weaknesses is no reason for pessimism. Through despair obstacles can never be overcome. We are well prepared for the difficult path of revolutionary struggle as we can build on the political experiences of our predecessors as well as our own cadre with years and decades of experience as part of the working class. The realistic assessment of our strengths and weaknesses allows us to see clearly the challenges before us. We aim to broaden our international activities and to deepen our roots in the working class and the oppressed. By this, in turn, we already possess the conditions for a vibrant development of our programme.
We, therefore, turn to the many activists and organisations who participate like us in the class struggle and the resistance movements against capitalist rule. Let us fight together against the capitalist ruling class and for an international socialist revolution! Read our programme and contact us about this for an exchange of views. Let's build together the future Fifth Workers' International on a revolutionary basis! Join the RCIT!
Michael Pröbsting, Shujat Liaqat