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10/08/2020
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The conclusions that the Latin American and US Virtual Conference leave us

Spanish version

The Conference called by the Left Unity Front (FIT-U) of Argentina, which received the support of over 50 organizations, from 15 countries of Latin America plus the United States, represented an area of political regrouping of the left that defines itself as revolutionary and that stands for the political independence of workers. The scope was higlighted by the participation of more than a dozen organizations that do not belong to any of the FIT-U parties’ international currents. Some of them with an important political development. The Conference also included the greeting of delivery workers’ groups from six Latin American countries, who have been leading important coordinated international mobilizations. Numerous leaders of the labor, women’s and youth movement intervened and participated in the Conference.

Summoned through four jointly signed documents, the FIT-U defined the specific political and class camp from which this initiative was launched. It ratified this course in the resolutions of the Conference itself, where political definitions and an action plan once again take form, that should be promoted by all the participating organizations. The Conference resolution again calls for the defense of workers’ political independence, the rejection of fronts and political organizations based on the collaboration of classes and the international unity of workers; it vindicates the anti-imperialist struggle, denounces the threats against Venezuela and Cuba and points out the capitulation of the “national and popular” governments in the face of the IMF and financial capital’s pressure; declares unconditional support to the popular rebellion against the US state and the Trump government and denounces the democratizing “solution” that the Democratic Party is preparing; vindicates the Chilean popular rebellion and endorses the slogan “Out with Piñera, for a Constituent Assembly”; it pushes for workers’ struggles against the anti-worker reforms in progress, outlines a program, and calls to deepen the fight for the recovery of union organizations from the hands of bureaucracies; it vindicates the struggle of the women’s movement and calls for its development by promoting a joint struggle of the entire working class; finally, it condemns the repressive policy of all the governments, including the criminalization policy of union fighters by the Venezuelan government. The resolution concludes with an action plan that includes the promotion of an international day at the gates of the Yankee embassies for August 27, in support of the popular rebellion in the US and against the payment of foreign debts; and the promotion of an International day for the right to legal abortion and for the separation of the churches from the states for September 28.

Regardless the different scales of development and the level of insertion in the masses of the participating organizations, which undoubtedly have different characteristics, the Conference constitutes an unavoidable point of reference for the left of the continent and even for the left around the world. This reveals how correct the proposal made last November by the Partido Obrero to the parties of the FIT-U and the Latin American left was.

Characterizations

In the development of the three debate panels that took place towards the Conference, and at its plenary session, important differences in politics and characterization were made evident. One of the most significant ones revolved around the scope that the clashes between the United States and China can have and, more generally, clashes between the imperialist powers. The UIT-CI/IWU-FI characterized that, although they do not rule out the possibility of armed conflicts, it is not one of the problems that are on the international agenda. According to Miguel Sorans (Izquierda Socialista, Argentina, IWU-FI), the United States and China are “two friendly capitalist powers that compete”. For the IWU-FI, the mobilization of North American aircraft carriers in the Pacific Ocean, as a sign of provocation by the Yankee State against China; the conflict in Kashmir over the Silk Road; the recent closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston and the cross allegations of espionage; the crusade against Huawei and 5G, etcetera, would not be the manifestation of an overheating process of the so-called “cold war” between the US and China. It is overlooked that China and Russia are two strategic targets in inter-imperialist disputes and that the US, particularly, seek to take command of the culmination of capitalist restoration there. In almost all current military conflicts of the moment this dispute is presented by proxy. Also, China would be, according to the IWU-FI, just another imperialist power, ignoring the incomplete nature of the Chinese capitalist restoration process. One of the disruptive factors of the capitalist crisis is precisely the breakdown of the China-US coupling, which was one of the main engines of the rising wave of the world economy in the early 2000s. The relativization of warmongering tendencies present in the current international picture and the rift between the United States and China reflects, according the IWU-FI, a biased understanding of the global crisis. It characterizes that the crisis, basically, is not such, therefore, it can be resolved within the regular mechanisms of capital bankruptcies and capitalist competition. On the contrary, the character of the capitalist impasse lies in the fact that more and more national and corporate rivalries need to appeal to extra-economic mechanisms. Tensions have escalated and are increasingly openly proposing outlets. Tensions have escalated and pose, more and more openly, military resolutions.

Nestor Pitrola polemicized with the unilateralization of the capitalist offensive against the masses, which is placed outside of the bankruptcy of capital itself with its consequent political clashes and crises. For this, he invoked the Brexit process, which expresses a fundamental clash between capitalist states and the strong tendencies to dissolve the European Union. Along the same lines, he polemicized against the idea that reduces the crisis to the “neoliberal” orientation of capital, which inevitably leads to a “redistribution of wealth” approach instead of a workers’ transitional power program. The Partido Obrero defined the stage as one of wars, revolution and counterrevolution and located the Conference as a field of political preparation for the emergency of revolutionary situations.

Another fundamental debate developed around the characterization of the Bolivian situation and the task of the revolutionaries. The representative of the Bolivian section of IWU-FI (Alternativa Revolucionaria del Pueblo Trabajador, Arpt) characterized the existence of a co-government between the Añez Executive and the Parliament led by the MAS, and that commonly arranged elections were on the way. He put aside the conflict with general strikes, mobilizations and roadblocks that are unfolding in Bolivia, precisely against the attempts to postpone elections and proscription. In this way, he overlooked the consummation of a reactionary coup perpetrated by the reaction and the Bolivian army in line with imperialism and the governments of Bolsonaro and Macri. The Arpt had, in its beginnings, a confused position about the coup, maintaining a “neutrality” or rather giving it a “critical” support. Soon after, it rectified itself and began to repudiate the coup. However, as can be seen now, it falls back into a boycott of the struggle against the continuation of the coup.

The Agrupación de Trabajadores Bolivianos (ATraBol), on the contrary, called for the intervention of the revolutionaries in the fight against the coup and the united front’s mobilizations against it. However, it did not deny itself a furious criticism of the MAS’ leadership, for having opened the way to the reactionary offensive, for its policy of “pacification” and for its refusal to set up a real plan of struggle to defeat to the coup government. A similar position was raised by the Bolivia’s Partido Socialista Revolucionario (PSR), an organization that arose as a split from the POR as a result of the ultra-left positions that lead it to the field of opportunism (of active support for the coup last year, a position that has not been yet overcome). The PSR made it clear that the political position of revolutionaries should be to actively intervene in the struggle to defeat the coup government, without providing any support to masismo.

The controversy has an enormous scope, since the problem of coup d’etats is on the Latin American agenda. Referring to the point, Gabriel Solano invoked, in the speech that opened the Conference’s plenary, the Bolshevik experience facing Kornilov’s coup against the Kerensky government in the Russian revolutionary process of 1917. Therefore, he outlined which should be the policy and the method of the revolutionaries: to put themselves in the front line of the fight against the coup, maintaining political independence.

“Out with Trump”

Regarding  the rebellion in the US, a debate developed around the PO’s putting forward the importance of raising the slogan “out with Trump.” The FT-CI/TF-FI was the political current that most strongly opposed to the slogan. It argued, to defend that orientation, the proximity of the electoral process and the Democratic Party’s attempt to channel popular discontent. Although this is an objective problem, which was even addressed and denounced in the Conference’s resolutions, the position of the TF-FI overlooks the picture of the rise and development of the popular rebellion, which must be exploited in a revolutionary way, agitating to topple the government by the effect of the masses in struggle. There is a fundamental difference between the current US situation and the Argentine situation in 2019, since the slogan “out with Macri” did not connect with a picture of the rise of the mass movement, but rather with a picture of containment of the labor movement, of the women’s and youth’s movements, as a consequence of the profound co-optation and subordination of the leadership of the mass organizations to the capitalist government change. Indeed, the “out with Macri” slogan paid tribute to the peronist replacement.

The refusal of sectors of the left to come out for “out with Trump” connects with a whole series of processes where the left rejected the idea of raising “dismissal” poses. In Chile’s case, the refusal to pose the fall of Piñera came from the PC’s hand, which has a decisive weight in the labor unions, and was accompanied by the Frente Amplio. In Ecuador, the Conaie (peasant and first people central) opposed struggling to overthrow Lenín Moreno. In late 2019, the french left, during the most important general strike in recent decades, opposed “out with Macron”. The refusal to openly develop an approach to power, when popular rebellions put the question on the table, is equivalent to giving up fighting for a revolutionary leadership of the movement. Without this orientation, the formation of a party is reduced to the combination of Marxist propaganda combined with union work, without a concrete approach, of a political nature, to guide the popular rebellion.

Therefore, the democratizing tendencies that operate among a certain left are exposed. The formulation of the slogans must start from the concrete characterization of the mass movement to exploit its extraordinary revolutionary edge.

Broad fronts and parties

A deep controversy developed around the so-called broad fronts and parties and how the left should stand. On this point, the tasks of the left in Brazil concentrated an important attention. Within Brazil’s Psol, a party of tendencies, of a strict electoralist nature, contrary to the methods of struggle of direct action of the working class, which thrives within the regime and acts as a supplementary ballot for the PT, militate the sections of both the LIS and the IWU-FI. In his closing statements, Pablo Heller pointed out that the supposedly “tactical” integration of these leftists into the Psol existed for 16 years and has become a path to political adaptation. The Psol, which emerged as a left-wing split from the PT in 2004 with the strategic purpose of “recovering the PT from its origins”, has not evolved and is far from, and getting further from, being a channel that promotes mass struggles and the regrouping of vast sectors of the working class. The Psol is continuing a long path of rightward evolution. Nowadays, the Psol is promoting a “democratic” coalition with the aim of defeating Bolsonaro in the electoral process. The claim of the “left bloc” within the Psol, which aims to “recover the Psol of the origins”, is the way by which the left ends up trapped in the follow-up to capitalist nationalism. For its part, the TF-FI, whose entry into the Psol was rejected by its political leadership, joined and called for voting the Psol ballots in 2016 and 2018, at the same time that it was bringing candidates such as Luiza Erundina, which comes from a long history of integration to capitalist governments and even of repression of workers. In this year’s municipal elections, Erundina once again ran for Psol. Similarly, the Frente Amplio of Peru, integrated by the IWU-FI, represents a group opposed to the strategy of the struggle for the workers’ government.

The Partido Obrero developed a substantial delimitation against this policy and defended the struggle for the development of revolutionary parties. On the basis of characterizing that in Latin America a second round of popular rebellions is incubating, and that the tendencies towards the worsening of the crisis and wars are present, we defend the perspective of structuring revolutionary combat parties of the working class to fight against the capitalist regimes and for governments of the working class.

In the same way, we criticize the line repeatedly proclaimed by the TF-FI of publishing “left-wing news”, to which we opposed the edition of the revolutionary press that reflects the political struggle. This orientation was previously developed in a document presented by the PO, the GAR of Mexico, the Fuerza 18 de Octubre of Chile, the Juventud Obrera of Costa Rica, the Agrupación Vilcapaza of Peru, the Agrupación Leon Trotsky of Uruguay and the Agrupación de Trabajadores Bolivianos, entitled “A revolutionary strategy and a revolutionary program to intervene in Latin America and the US “. It was the only written contribution, presented prior to the Conference, that advances in a characterization of the moment and establishes a program and a political strategy.

Perspectives

The plan of action voted, based on clear political definitions, differentiate the Conference from a mere discussion forum. The PO fought, from the beginning, the intention of transforming the initiative that we had proposed into a swamp of filibustering, that is, into a mere discussion outside of common action and continuity. The debate and divergences on characterization, slogans, programs, and strategy must be carried out within the framework of the united front of struggle.

Along this same line, the PO was the only one of the FIT-U forces that defended the continuity of the Conference, even by setting a tentative date. In this scenario, we accept and defend the partial proposal of the TF-FI that a discussion bulletin be inaugurated among the organizations participating in the Conference. While the first proposal was rejected by the TF-FI, the IWU-FI and the LIS, the second was only blocked by the LIS, which argued, in Alejandro Bodart’s mouth “having a very full schedule”. The refusal to accept these proposals allowed us to verify (once again) that the invocations to internationalism, with our backs to the united front and to a frank debate, in this scenario, are only a facade for self-construction.

In the immediate term, it is the responsibility of all the organizations that were part of the Conference, starting with the FIT-U parties, to effectively carry out the voted activities. The PO will fight for that. At the same time, we’ll insist on the need to give continuity to this initiative to regroup the Latin American left, to offer a pole of political independence for the workers, to fight for a working class, socialist and revolutionary way out on a continental scale.

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