Our positions on the changes of the 4th International statutes

Adopted in the 15th Congress of OKDE (2005)

In the 14th Congress of the 4th International, which took place in February 2003, there are two ruptures with 4th International’s policy since its establishment:

a) The changes that were decided in it’s statutes turn the 4th International “the global party of the socialist revolution” into a lax federation of sections

b) It’s the first time that the goal set is not the structure of 4th International sections but that of anticapitalist parties.

It is a fact that these two significant changes have been under formation in the 4th International for the last 15 years. The self disintegration of sections (after merging with other organization) in order to create anticapitalist sections has had disastrous consequences in a range of countries (Germany, Spain, Mexico etc) while, at the same time a kind of laxity prevailed in the 4th International. However there has never been an effort to change the statutes or to set the structure of anticapitalist parties as an exclusive aim. A typical example of these two decisive changes is that a member of the brazilian section (which participates in P.T.) became a minister and, despite the political condemnation of the last in the convention, there hasn’t been taken any organizational decision/measure (and it couldn’t have after the changes in the statutes). These two ruptures with the policy that the 4th International has followed so far, force us to revise our attitude towards.

Before examining these two ruptures as well as our attitude, it is necessary to remark that the document on the “New international global situation” is quite improved and a lot richer compared to the previous draft document which had been proposed before the events of the 11th September 2001 (the 11th September and the sweeping changes that it has triggered leaded the 4th International to postpone its convention for 2003). Nevertheless, even if it isn’t a text of rough journalistic commentary any more, it still has a basic deficiency: it doesn’t refer to, nor does it analyze the global economic crisis. It is the first time that this happens and it has got tragic consequences since neoliberalism, globalization, even the war, is presented as “subjective” policies. Moreover, socialdemocracy appears to have latitudes for social policy and the basic dilemma that the human kind is confronted with today – socialism or barbarity – is downgraded.

Internationalism and the necessity of the International

The 4th International, just as the previous three Internationals, was the political and organizational expression of internationalism, the necessary strategy of the proletariat. Internationalism itself has been enriched, concerning its content, since the establishment of the 1st International. In Marx and Engels times, internationalism was based on the common exploitation conditions of workers as well as on the need to deal with the alliances of the various bourgeois classes against civicdemocratic or labor uprisings and revolutions. In the period of imperialism its significance has been upgraded since imperialism has integrated global economy in an organic unity on which the law of unequal and combined development rules. The political consequences have been many: the need to defend the colonial revolutions against the imperialistic interventions, the need to help socialist revolutions against the imperialistic interventions, the need to help socialist revolutions in underdeveloped countries, the confrontation of inter-imperialistic wars, as well as the fact that the socialism cannot be achieved in one country only, but globally (a fact that pushes forward, to a degree the common goal of worker both in imperialistic and underdeveloped countries). After the Second World War and the rapid development of multinational they don’t take place in all or most of the factories or this multinational. The delay of labor class organization as well as this dimension of internationalism against the internationalization of capital is of great significance nowadays. In the period of globalization, internationalism gets a much more vital importance “Contrary to the internationalism of the 1960s and 1970s it’s not a movement of solidarity or political support of a social or democratic revolution. Its driving force comes from a movement of resistance, which cannot be but international by nature, against a new stage of internationalization of capitalism, its policies and its apparatuses organs” (extract from “the Role and the Duties of the 4th International”).

Consequently, internationalism is not a mere tactic but a basic strategy. The international class struggle is not a mere complement or the final culmination of class struggle which takes place on national level nor does the opposite apply, that is class struggle in every separate country is not a mere outgrowth of the international class struggle. The latter is connected dialectically to the “national” one and, as a result, internationalism and the policy, of the socialist revolution in every separate country (with its particularly characteristics) are incorporated into revolutionary politics. The International is the political and organizational expression of internationalism. Every revolutionary is obliged to build the revolutionary party of his country along with the International. On its behalf the International cannot be but the global party of the socialist revolution, maintaining, naturally, a necessary flexibility which reflects the particular characteristics of the “national” class struggle. The changes in the statutes of the 4th International constitute its abolition The main changes in the statutes are:

a) The 4th International changes from “the global party of the socialist revolution” into an “international organization struggling, for the socialist revolution”.

b) The 4th International was based “… particularly on the programmatic documents of the first four congresses…” but now it is based “…on the gains, and the discussions of first four congresses of the 3rd International…”.

c) The aim of every national section according to the previous statutes is “… to become a massive revolutionary marxist party capable of directing the class struggle within the country to a successful conclusion in a socialist victory. To get to that point, the main task of a national section is to build a leadership which will come up to the historical necessity and will acquire a massive influence”. This now changes into “… to bring together all the forces which share our common goals to build a mass revolutionary Marxist party capable of playing a decisive role in the class struggle within the country to a successful conclusion in a socialist victory…”.

d) The national sections, was said, “… are obliged to apply the decisions of the 4th International “. Now this is replaced by “… defend the political positions taken by the International only by their own free consent”.

e) The International used to be “… composed of militants … who are organized … in national sections” but now it is “…composed of sections of militants who accept and apply its principles and program”. By there changes, as well as others which come from them, the 4th International stops being a global party which functions following the principles of democratic centralization and turns into a congregation of national parties which exchange opinions, take common initiatives only when and on the points they agree on while, when they disagree, they apply, as it is obvious, even contradictory policies. This way, the bodies of the 4th International change from decisive into consultative, transactual, places of opinion exchange and, at the best of times into coordinating ones. The “Auditing Committee” is not only renamed but its also downgraded to “Appeals Commission”. According the “International Executive Committee” (which corresponds to the “Central Committee” of the sections) becomes “International Committee” and the “United Secretariat” (which corresponds to “Political Bureau” of the sections) becomes “Executive Bureau”.
As a result, the 4th International, a party which takes decisions, functions and takes action (at least in international matters) based on democratic centralization, is now self disintegrating by downgrading itself to an international federation, a place of discussions, insignificant decisions and mere propaganda (wherever there is an agreement of its positions and of the common initiatives (with as many sections, of course, as can reach agreement). From “Building the 4th International” to “The Role and the Duties of the 4th International” In the document of “Role and the Duties of the 4th International” which was accepted in the 15th Congress of the International (February 2003) it is adapted, for the first time, as a goal not the building of the national sections (using various tactics considering the juncture), as it was in the previous congresses, but the building of massive anticapitalist parties. These parties can be composed of forces split from reformist parties as well as forces of the revolutionary left or parties like the Brazilian PT. In these parties, the sections of the 4th International are to disintegrate themselves. The one and only precondition, which is not even necessary, is for the section of the 4th International to be able to function as a tendency in that party. This does not imply the organizational autonomy of the section so much as its incorporation in the 4th International (as the latter has been transformed that is to a circle of international discussions). The same applies for the 4th International itself which neglects its own building for the sake of its maintenance as a centre of spread of revolutionary ideas within the framework of the general realignments for the “formation of a new internationalist, pluralistic, struggling force with massive influence”.

Our attitude against this evolution

Instead of corresponding to the duties of a new enriched internationalism (of the globalization period and the movement against it), the 4th International moves to the quite opposite direction by itself disintegration/downgrading to a place of meeting and exchanging ideas. This happens at a time when the 4thInternational has been completely vindicated politically and ideologically as well as for her long-standing practice and organization. This evolution forces our organization to more to a change in our political attitude and our organizational bonds towards the new formation calling itself “4th International” as well as to indicate this change in our statutes:

1) We cannot consider ourselves a section of the 4th International when the latter disintegrates itself into a lax international federation.

2) We owe to maintain links with this “new International” by asking to become “permanent observers”. The status of the “permanent observer” is defined in the new statutes by the following: “Organizations which share the International’s perspective of struggle but do not wish to join it formally for the moment can obtain the status of “permanent observer”. This status enables organizations to participate in meetings of leading bodies – which bodies will be specified in each case – with the right to speak but not to vote”.

3) Our attempt to become “permanent observers” of the International is neither due to opportunism nor to the insignificant influence of our organization in international level. It is due to our expectation that 4th International’s forces will become able to overcome and deal with even this serious disease. This expectation is not mere sentimentalism, but it is based on the gigantic offer (political, ideological and practical) of the 4th International and its sections, as well as on the internationalism of its members. This internationalism is not mere declaration (as in the case for other political currents) but the policy which its member has been brought up with (politically and organizationally) for more than six decades.

Organization of Communists Internationalists (Greece)