Economic and Political Crisis in Latin America
Throughout Latin America, the working class is confronting revolutionary crises brought on by the insoluble economic contradictions of Yankee imperialism and the servile national bourgeoisie.
None of the plans and policies put forward by imperialism and the national bourgeoisie have proved capable of resolving this crisis.
The Plan Cruzado, implemented by the Sarney regime in Brazil as a supposed alternative to the austerity policies of the International Monetary Fund based on artificially stimulating growth rates, has ended in the depletion of the country’s foreign exchange reserves, hyperinflation, the threat of a new depression and bankruptcy in the face of the country’s $108 billion foreign debt.
Barely five years after the refinancing of the debt time bomb in Mexico, that country’s economy is closer to bankruptcy, with worried international bankers voicing fears of “an Iran on America’s doorstep.”
The so-called Baker Plan advanced by the Reagan administration represents nothing more than a Trojan Horse for US imperialism’s attempts to tighten its semi-colonial control over the region’s economy. Its absurdly small $30 billion fund is offered out to only those regimes which agree to the elimination of all barriers to US imports and investments and to the destruction of the last vestiges of social welfare policies.
The experience of Ecuador over the last two decades is a conclusive confirmation of the incapacity of capitalism to develop the economies of the semi-colonial countries of Latin America. The miniboom, which began in 1972 with the export of petroleum and was fed by the oil price rise throughout the 1970s and the invasion of credit through the recycling of petrodollars, allowed for high rates of growth, reaching 9 percent and 14 percent annually. But it was not long before it ended in a catastrophic depression, beginning with the coming due of debt repayments in 1981 and then intensified by the sharp fall in oil prices beginning in 1982, which combined with the international trade crisis and the closing up of markets in the US and other countries.
The Febres Cordero government in Ecuador, with its policies of privatization of the monetary system and destruction of all state protectionist policies, has been the model for both the Baker Plan and the IMF. It received new credits from the international banks and was promoted as the champion of Latin America paying the debt. But these policies have plunged the economy into the deepest crisis, culminating in the country’s incapacity to meet interest payments on its foreign debt.
The accumulation of Latin America’s $400 billion foreign debt is the expression not of a conjunctural or cyclical crisis, but rather the product of the historic contradictions of international capitalism and its imperialist domination of the continent.
The debt crisis emerged out of the breakdown of the postwar economic boom, with the collapse of the Bretton Woods agreements in 1971 ending dollar convertibility to gold and the subsequent development of uncontrolled inflation, culminating in the quadrupling of oil prices in the early 1970s. International finance capital sought to survive the shocks to its system through the “recycling” of petrodollars in the form of easy and massive credits to Latin American nations confronted with the rise in the price of oil and other vital imports.
The mushrooming of the national debts has been combined with the fall of the price of oil and other raw materials upon which Latin America’s export earnings have been based, as well as the growth of protectionism in the advanced capitalist countries, making debt repayment an impossibility.
The Bretton Woods system was itself erected in the aftermath of World War II in an attempt by world capitalism to reestablish its domination and stave off the threat of revolution internationally through a policy of controlled inflation based on dollar convertibility to gold.
The system was predicated, however, on the overwhelming strength of US imperialism relative to its principal imperialist rivals at the end of the war. This position was steadily undermined, both by the impact of the defeats inflicted by the world revolution, particularly in Vietnam, and by the refusal of the American working class to accept the destruction of its living standards and basic rights. The collapse of this system arose from the drastic deterioration of the economic foundations of US imperialism’s domination on a world scale.
The explosion of the foreign debt crisis in Latin America undermined the foundations of military dictatorships imposed by the CIA. They proved incapable of confronting and defeating the mass struggles of the working class which erupted as a consequence of the crisis. This led to the fall of the Argentine junta following the defeat in the Malvinas, the unstable transition to civilian rule in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil and the continuing mass upheavals against Pinochet in Chile.
These regimes, quasi-Bonapartist in character, suffering from chronic instability and with the military waiting in the wings, were placed in power with the direct participation of the CIA and in the interests of US imperialism. The defense of the interests of imperialism and the native bourgeoisie required the installation of old and discredited bourgeois politicians like Alfonsin, Sarney, Sanguinetti, and Belaunde and through them, the collaboration of the Stalinist leaderships in the working class, precisely because the corrupt and blood-soaked military regimes were no longer capable of holding back mass revolutionary struggles. Their central purpose has been to impose by means of parliamentary cretinism the type of IMF austerity measures which the military proved incapable of implementing through openly dictatorial methods.
These regimes have constituted nothing more than a new proof of capitalism’s inability to resolve the economic crisis. The military returned temporarily to their barracks, but they have continued exercising power, based on their domination of the instruments of capitalist state terror. This has been conclusively demonstrated in the imposition of the “Punto final” laws in Argentina and Uruguay, where the governments of Alfonsin and Sanguinetti are covering up for the criminals responsible for mass torture and murder. Similarly, the APRA government of Alan Garcia in Peru has been nothing more than a puppet of the dirty war carried out by the armed forces against the guerrillas of Shining Path.
In Ecuador, the process of transition to civilian government was carried out with a “constitution” dictated by the military and sanctioned in a “referendum” with the support of the Democratic Left, the Popular Democracy, followed by the Stalinists of the Communist Party-FADI, the Marxist Leninist Communist Party-MPD and all types of revisionists and centrists.
The “new constitution” assigned the armed forces, through the law on national security implemented in accordance with the norms imposed by the Pentagon, the role of a state over the state. This pseudo-democracy, under the boots of the military, has gone from the impunity of the corruption, the repression and the crimes committed by the dictatorships of the 1970s, the assassination of President Roldos and the recent kidnapping of President Febres Cordero, to the bloody repression of the strike struggles of the working class and the murderous extermination of the Alfaro Vive movement.
This same line has been followed throughout Latin America. In Brazil, the civilian government of Sarney, an old servant of the military, was established after the sudden death of Tancredo Neves. In Bolivia, after exacting the high price of the bloody coup of July 1980, the military allowed Presidents Siles Suazo and Paz Estenssoro to exercise the power under their control. Currently, the CIA is working in Chile as the bodyguard of Pinochet while trying to paralyze the revolutionary insurrection of the working class, under the cover of a negotiated transition to a civilian regime with the complicity of the Christian Democracy and the Stalinist Chilean Communist Party. And, in Haiti, the CIA seeks to contain the uprising of the masses which smashed the regime of “president for life” Duvalier, with the imposition of a “military-civilian” junta that promises to implement the same “democratic” trappings.
The crimes of military dictatorships throughout Latin America were carried out in defense of the class interests of the imperialists and the servile national bourgeoisie. As long as these classes maintain their power through their monopoly on the apparatus of state terror—the army and the police—the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo of the entire continent will not be able to settle accounts with the murderers of their children. This requires the smashing of the capitalist state, the dissolution of the armed forces and police, which can only be realized under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Washington’s intervention against Nicaragua and its prosecution of a civil war against the masses of El Salvador is the clearest expression of the historic decline of Yankee imperialism and its inability to hold back these struggles. At the same time, the assault on these impoverished countries is meant as an example to the working class and oppressed masses throughout the continent.
The combined economic and political crisis—creating intolerable conditions of mass unemployment, the destruction of living standards and the wiping out of the most basic social services—is driving masses of workers and oppressed into revolutionary struggles: from the 11 general strikes in Ecuador, to the mass upheavals against the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, from the unbroken resistance of the Argentine working class to Alfonsin’s IMF austerity policies and attempts to protect the torturers of the former dictatorship, to the heroic upheavals of the Bolivian miners.
The Comité Socialista declares that the historic crisis which is shaking Ecuador and the entire continent to its foundations places on the order of the day the definitive completion of the democratic revolution through the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the construction of a socialist planned economy through the creation of a Union of Socialist States of South and Central America.
The Split in the ICFI
In every country of Latin America, what is posed as the most burning question is the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the working class. In this context; the lessons of the year-old split within the International Committee of the Fourth International are absolutely decisive for the building of a revolutionary proletarian vanguard in Ecuador and throughout Latin America and the opening of the road for the socialist revolution on the continent.
The Comité Socialista totally supports the principled struggle waged by the International Committee of the Fourth International against the degeneration of the Workers Revolutionary Party (Britain) and against the subsequent desertion and betrayal of the strategy of world revolution on the part of Healy, Banda and Slaughter and their international followers.
This struggle has led to the unmasking and political defeat of this tendency and constitutes a victory of proletarian internationalism over petty bourgeois nationalism. It has served to rearm and unify Trotskyist cadre internationally on the basis of the Trotskyist program of permanent revolution, the independence of the working class and its leading role in the social revolution. It represents a decisive step forward in the struggle to build the world party of socialist revolution and the resolution of the crisis of proletarian leadership.
Beginning in 1982, an opposition to the opportunist line of the WRP leadership emerged within the International Committee from the Workers League (the American Trotskyist movement, which is legally barred from membership by the anticommunist Voorhis Act). Despite the combined attempt by the WRP leadership—Gerry Healy, Mike Banda and Cliff Slaughter—to bureaucratically suppress this opposition with threats of expulsion, the documents presented by the Workers League between 1982 and 1984 revealed the essential differences which existed on the basic questions of method, political program and strategic class orientation.
This struggle exposed the subjective idealist distortion of dialectical materialism, which became the theoretical cover for the WRP’s opportunist adaptation both to bourgeois nationalist leaderships in the Middle East, as well as to the trade union and Labourite bureaucracies in Great Britain.
What emerged in this struggle were two fundamentally opposed class tendencies. The WRP leadership had abandoned the historical struggle of the Fourth International to resolve the crisis of revolutionary leadership in the working class through the construction of independent Marxist parties to lead the working class in the struggle for power. It turned its back on the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat in Britain and, behind the back of the International Committee, had established a series of unprincipled and mercenary relations with bourgeois and petty bourgeois Arab leaderships, assigning an exceptional, revolutionary role to Gaddafi in Libya and Khomeini in Iran.
This degeneration had its source in the abandonment by the Healy-Banda-Slaughter clique of the historic struggle of the ICFI against Pabloite revisionism. This battle was initiated with the founding of the IC based on the “Open Letter” of 1953 denouncing Pablo’s attempt to liquidate the Trotskyist cadre internationally into Stalinism and bourgeois nationalism and reaffirming the principles upon which the Fourth International had been founded in 1938. It was continued and deepened in the struggle against the liquidation of the Socialist Workers Party (USA) and its unprincipled reunification with the Pabloites in 1963.
In 1938, the Fourth International was founded, continuing the struggle of the Left Opposition against the bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet state and the Communist International. Expressed in the Stalinist theories of “socialism in one country” and the “two-stage revolution,” which in themselves represented a complete rejection of the program of internationalism and of the world socialist revolution, this degeneration led to catastrophic defeats for the working class in China, Germany, Spain, and elsewhere, unmasking Stalinism as the most counterrevolutionary force in the working class. The Fourth International was founded to resolve this crisis of revolutionary proletarian leadership and prepare the conquest of power by the proletariat to expropriate the bourgeoisie internationally.
In 1953, James P. Cannon, leader of the Socialist Workers Party (USA), issued his “Open Letter” to the world Trotskyist movement exposing the revisionism of Michel Pablo, Ernest Mandel and their followers as an attempt to liquidate the historically assembled cadre of the Fourth International into Stalinism and bourgeois nationalism. This perspective’s catastrophic impact was demonstrated in the Pabloites’ disarming of the French working class in the 1953 general strike, as well as throughout Latin America, where it demanded the movement’s subordination to the bourgeois nationalist movements, resulting in the betrayal of the Bolivian revolution of 1952.
The leadership of this struggle was taken up and deepened by the British Trotskyists in 1963 in the struggle against the SWP, which, following a prolonged degeneration, abandoned its defense of Trotskyism and reunited with the Pabloites. This reunification was based upon their adaptation to the petty bourgeois Castroite leadership in Cuba, which was declared a substitute for the building of conscious Marxist parties in the working class—the indispensable prerequisite for the victory of the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat.
This defense of the historical foundations of Trotskyism carried out by the British Trotskyists against the Pabloite unification was the motive force for uniting the genuine Trotskyists within the SWP and in this way creating the conditions for the founding of the Workers League and the preservation and continuity of the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat in the biggest capitalist country in the world.
In Sri Lanka, this struggle armed the Trotskyist cadre to combat the capitulation of the LSSP which, based on the nonproletarian perspective of Pabloism expressed in the false characterization of Cuba as a workers’ state, joined the bourgeois coalition government of Mme. Bandaranaike. The defense of the perspective of permanent revolution against this historic betrayal created the conditions for the founding of the Sri Lankan section of the ICFI, the Revolutionary Communist League.
These young Trotskyist movements, founded on the basis of the struggle against Pabloite revisionism, would play the decisive role in the battle against the degeneration of the WRP.
The abandonment of this principled struggle by the WRP leadership led to the development of a right-wing and nationalist policy, which differed little in essence from that of the Pabloites themselves, and was directed at the systematic attack on the political, theoretical and organizational foundations of the international party.
The expulsion of Healy in October 1985 and the subsequent disintegration of the WRP were the direct consequences of its abandonment of the program of permanent revolution and its degeneration into Pabloite opportunism.
The Greek and Spanish sections of the ICFI rejected the expulsion of Healy, and simultaneously rejected the authority of the ICFI to cover up their degeneration along the same opportunist lines as Healy and their abandonment of the permanent revolution.
When Banda and Slaughter sought to cover up the political basis for this crisis, with a phony crusade for “revolutionary morality,” this was opposed by the overwhelming majority of the sections of the International Committee, which rallied around the Trotskyist program which had been advanced by the Workers League in its struggle against the degeneration of the WRP.
The International Committee established that the source of this crisis was a British chauvinist perspective, which rejected the building of the world party, subordinating relations to the International Committee to narrow empirical interests in Great Britain.
When Banda and Slaughter realized that the International Committee would not tolerate the continuation of these methods in its leadership, they launched a hysterical campaign against the International Committee—attacking all of the basic principles of the movement, rejecting the discipline of the international and provoking a split. They used Banda’s infamous document “27 Reasons Why the International Committee Should Be Buried,” attacking the entire history of the Trotskyist movement, as the basis for this split.
On February 8, 1986, the Slaughter clique called the police to prevent the members of the WRP who defended Trotskyism and the International Committee from participating in the party’s Eighth Congress, consummating in this way their definitive split with the ICFI and demonstrating their prostration before the British capitalist state. The members loyal to the ICFI, led by Dave Hyland and supported by the majority of the WRP’s youth movement, the Young Socialists, and the best proletarian elements of the party, established the International Communist Party to continue the fight for Trotskyism as the British section of the International Committee.
In the one year since the split, the class nature of this tendency has been categorically revealed: in the orientation of Healy and his followers in Greece towards a political deal with the ruling bourgeois party, PASOK; the orientation of Slaughter towards an early reunification with every brand of centrist and renegade from Trotskyism internationally; and, most sharply, the evolution of Banda, who today openly declares for Stalinism and denounces Trotsky as a counterrevolutionary.
The Renegades of the Liga Comunista
The Liga Comunista of Peru deserted the International Committee in the aftermath of the split with the WRP, supporting the anti-internationalism of Slaughter, Banda’s slanders against the history of the Fourth International and the use of the police at the WRP Eighth Congress against the pro-IC minority.
In carrying out this desertion, they attacked all of the historical foundations of the ICFI, explicitly abandoning the struggle against Pabloism, declaring the “Open Letter” of 1953 a “fraud” and rejecting the struggle of the IC against the unprincipled reunification of the SWP with the Pabloites in 1963.
The Peruvian renegades specifically attacked the Workers League of the United States, denouncing them as “social-imperialist” for having fought against the Yankee invasion of Grenada based on the perspective of the independent mobilization of the working class against imperialism. Instead, they solidarized themselves with Slaughter’s 1983 condemnation of the American Trotskyists for what he termed their overly “heavy emphasis on the ‘political independence of the working class’,” while demanding their liquidation into the petty bourgeois protest movement.
The evolution of the Peruvian Liga Comunista provides a grotesque expression of the historic betrayal carried out by the Healy-Banda-Slaughter clique in their abandonment of the struggle against revisionism and in their contempt for the struggle to build the world party.
The Peruvian party had its origins in the radical petty bourgeois Peruvian nationalist group, Vanguardia Revolucionaria. It gravitated first towards the Organization Communiste lnternationaliste (OCI), the then French section of the IC, which was then undergoing a deep centrist degeneration. When the split occurred between the IC and the OCI over the latter’s complicity in the betrayal of the 1971 Bolivian revolution by the centrist POR of Guillermo Lora, the majority of the Peruvian group broke with the OCI and rallied to the IC, based on its correct critique of Lora’s role in disarming the Bolivian working class in the face of popular frontism and the impending military coup.
But this initial struggle against centrism was quickly abandoned by the Healy-Banda-Slaughter clique, which was itself evolving in an openly centrist direction and feared that a serious struggle over the political and programmatic issues raised in the OCI’s betrayal would mean an explosion within their own party. Instead, Slaughter advanced the anti-Marxist theory that the entire split had been carried out over the question of dialectical method and the issues of program were of no real importance.
The consequences of this political retreat played an enormously destructive role in Latin America, where the French OCI was allowed to masquerade as the “orthodox” defender of Trotskyism, while seeking to unite all manner of centrist—Lora of Bolivia, Moreno in Argentina, Napuri in Peru—on the basis of a thoroughly opportunist and anti-Marxist interpretation of the Transitional Program.
For the Liga Comunista, this cowardly avoidance of a struggle meant that the issues involved in its own origins were never thrashed out and it was never really integrated into the IC on the basis of a common history and principles. It remained what was really an alien political force under conditions in which Healy’s idealist distortion of dialectical materialism was used to cover up profound political differences. The arrest and deportation of Sergio Barrio in July 1975 removed the most experienced member and weakened the organization.
Therefore, no sooner had the split taken place, the leadership of the Liga Comunista—which initially claimed to hold not a single political difference—immediately attacked every aspect of the program and perspectives of the Fourth International, returning to the positions of narrow petty bourgeois Peruvian nationalism from which it had supposedly broken 15 years earlier.
In place of Trotskyism and the program of world socialist revolution, it joined with all those petty bourgeois centrists opposed to the independent mobilization of the Peruvian working class under the banner of the Fourth International by declaring for “Mariateguismo.” This label has long been identified with the adaptation of Marxist phrases to the needs of the national bourgeoisie.
Rejecting the Marxist conception of class society, they characterized the APRA party government of Alan Garcia as “the result of the transitory confluence of the three main social classes in Peru: the bourgeoisie, the proletariat and the peasantry.” This conception, produced together with appropriate quotations from Chairman Mao, represented a clear rejection of the program of permanent revolution and the independence of the working class. It served solely to disorient the Peruvian working class on the eve of the bloodbath ordered by the APRA government against the political prisoners at the Lurigancho and El Fronton penitentiaries.
Afterwards, they allied themselves with the Peruvian followers of the godfather of Latin American centrism, Nahuel Moreno, in order to participate in municipal elections. The program for this centrist slate was not that of the political independence of the working class, but rather the defense of bourgeois democracy through the popular front against fascism.
Continuing a policy of erratic zigzags characteristic of centrism, the Peruvian renegades liquidated their organization into the self-proclaimed Committee for Socialist Unification, dominated by the Pabloite PRT and appealing to every stripe of Peruvian centrist—including those who claim to be Trotskyists and those who do not—to join up.
What above all characterizes the liquidation of the Liga Comunista is its rabid opposition to the permanent revolution, expressed in its search for all manner of substitutes for the leading role of the working class in carrying out the democratic revolution. This ranges from joining the Morenoites in the most infantile illusions in municipal elections to a propagandistic adaptation to the peasant guerrillaism of Sendero Luminoso. It has joined Banda in hailing the revolutionary capacity of Stalinism, Maoism and Titoism.
This has been combined with the crudest form of petty bourgeois nationalism, rejecting the revolutionary role of the working class in the advanced capitalist countries as well as the necessity to unite the struggle of the working class in North and Latin America through the construction of a world party.
The essential content of each of its contradictory positions is that the revolution can be carried out by some section of the national bourgeoisie or the radical petty bourgeoisie, bypassing the necessity to build a conscious Marxist leadership in the working class to lead the socialist revolution. This fundamental perspective has always been the hallmark of Pabloite revisionism.
In rejecting the cowardly desertion of these renegades to the camp of revisionism, the Comité Socialista reaffirms the fundamental principles upon which the Fourth International was founded in 1938 and which the International Committee has defended against Pabloite degeneration.
The Struggle Against Pabloism
The last three decades of the class struggle in Latin America have repeatedly demonstrated the counterrevolutionary role of Pabloism in diverting the working class from the struggle for power and subordinating it to Stalinism and bourgeois nationalism.
This abandonment of the class independence of the proletariat emerged clearly in the Third Congress of the Fourth International in 1951, when the Pablo leadership demanded the subordination of the Trotskyist party in Bolivia, the POR, to the bourgeois nationalist movement, the MNR.
The Third Congress document, referring to the MNR, advocated a policy of class collaboration and subordination to the establishment of a capitalist government: “our section should support the movement with all its strength, should not abstain but on the contrary intervene energetically in it with the aim of pushing it as far as possible up to the seizure of power by the MNR on the basis of a progressive program of anti-imperialist united front.”
In one form or another, this has been the essential policy of class betrayal carried out by the Pabloites in Latin America over the subsequent quarter of a century.
The tragic consequences of this perspective were not long in coming. In the 1952 Bolivian revolution, the POR led by Guillermo Lora abandoned the taking of power by the armed miners and handed it over to MNR leader Victor Paz Estenssoro.
The same perspective was imposed on the Trotskyist parties throughout Latin America. In Peru, the Trotskyists were told to subordinate themselves to APRA, in Venezuela to Democratic Action (AD), in Argentina to Peronism and in Brazil to the corporatist movement founded by Getulio Vargas.
This perspective represented a complete repudiation by the Pabloite leadership of the strategy and tactics developed by Lenin and Trotsky in the October Revolution of 1917 and constituted a rejection of the struggle for the independence of the working class and the building of revolutionary proletarian parties upon which the Fourth International was based. It represented as well the rejection in practice of the theory of permanent revolution, and its fundamental postulate that only the working class can carry through the tasks of the democratic revolution through the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat as part of the world socialist revolution.
Trotsky clearly spelled out these fundamental principles in relation to Latin America and its national bourgeoisie in the founding theses of the Fourth International:
South and Central America will be able to tear themselves out of backwardness and enslavement only by unifying all their states into one powerful federation. But it is not the belated South American bourgeoisie, a thoroughly venal agency of foreign imperialism who will be called upon to solve this task, but the young South American proletariat, the chosen leader of the oppressed masses. The slogan in the struggle against violence and intrigues of world imperialism and the bloody work of native comprador cliques is therefore: the Soviet United States of South and Central America....
Only under its own revolutionary direction is the proletariat of the colonies and semi-colonies capable of achieving invincible collaboration with the proletariat of the metropolitan centers and with the world working class as a whole. Only this collaboration can lead the oppressed peoples to complete and final emancipation through the overthrow of imperialism the world over....
The perspective of the permanent revolution in no case signifies that the backward countries must wait the signal from the advanced ones or that the colonial peoples should patiently wait for the proletariat of the metropolitan countries to free them. Help comes to him who helps himself. Workers must develop the revolutionary struggle in every country, colonial or imperialist, where favorable conditions have been established, and through this set an example for the workers of other countries.
The perspective of permanent revolution has been confirmed in the negative by the entire subsequent development of Latin America. Today, 50 years after Trotsky wrote the preceding lines, the tasks of the democratic revolution in Latin America remain uncompleted. This in no way indicates that the national bourgeoisie has a progressive role to play, as the Stalinists, centrists and renegades like the Peruvian Liga Comunista claim.
On the contrary, it demonstrates its organic incapacity to play an independent role from imperialism and to put an end to pre-capitalist relations of production. Neither military-populist regimes like those of Peron in Argentina, Vargas in Brazil or Velasco Alvarado in Peru, nor nationalist democratic regimes like the MNR of Paz Estenssoro in Bolivia, the governments of Accion Democratica in Venezuela and the current APRA regime of Alan Garcia in Peru has been able to carry out these democratic tasks.
The 1953 “Open Letter,” written by the SWP of the US, founded the International Committee and was absolutely decisive in preserving and defending the revolutionary heritage of Trotskyism against Pabloite liquidationism. It rejected the Pabloite perspective, insisting on the construction of independent proletarian revolutionary parties capable of combating imperialism and all its agencies—whether those of the bourgeois nationalists or the Stalinist, social democratic and trade union bureaucracies in the workers’ movement.
Centrist elements in Latin America like Nahuel Moreno never assimilated the lessons of the struggle against Pabloism. The Achilles’ heel of these revisionists was their subordination of their international perspectives to their opportunist relations with their own national bourgeoisie. In Argentina, this had disastrous consequences for the working class. Moreno carried out a policy of complete subordination to the bourgeois leadership of Peron, then prostration before Castroism and the crudest form of electoral legal Marxism on the very eve of the bloody 1976 military coup. The latest centrist group which he founded, the MAS, is today working to create a popular front trap for the working class, in alliance with the Argentine Stalinists and Peronists.
The other central characteristic of the centrism of Moreno in Argentina, Lora in Bolivia, Vitale in Chile and of their new followers in the Liga Comunista of Peru, has been their fundamental incapacity to distinguish the difference between the democratic demands of the radical petty bourgeoisie and the perspective of the proletarian socialist revolution. This constitutes one of the foundations of Pabloite revisionism and expresses precisely its rejection of the permanent revolution, which has led them to subordination to the bourgeois nationalist representatives, ranging from Gen. Peron and Paz Estenssoro to Fidel Castro, Maurice Bishop and Daniel Ortega.
The SWP’s Adaptation to Castroism
Just 10 years after launching the fight against Pabloism, the SWP itself abandoned the struggle and carried out an unprincipled reunification with the Pabloites, with catastrophic results for the revolutionary struggles of the working class internationally, and particularly in Latin America.
The Comité Socialista bases its policies on the principled struggle carried out by the International Committee against the opportunist adaptation of the SWP to the Cuban revolution. It opposes all those centrist and revisionist forces which pose the achieving of socialism as something which is carried out without the fight for a conscious revolutionary leadership in the working class.
The position of the SWP held that a nonproletarian leadership, based on the agrarian petty bourgeoisie, developing the methods of guerrilla warfare, had established a workers’ state in Cuba. This position, in addition to being a flagrant falsification of reality, rejected the decisive role of scientific socialism, expressed in the necessity of constructing revolutionary parties as conscious instruments of the proletarian revolution.
As opposed to Lenin who insisted that “without revolutionary theory there is no revolutionary practice,” nor revolutionary party, the SWP assigned to these petty bourgeois spontaneous leaderships the role of historic agencies of the proletarian revolution.
On this path, they rejected the historic necessity to resolve the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the working class by means of constructing the parties of the Fourth International.
In adapting themselves to the petty bourgeois nationalist leadership of Castroism, they completely abandoned the strategy of world revolution. They subordinated their perspective to the narrow and anti-Marxist vision of “socialism in a single country.”
In addition, this false analysis based itself on the rejection of the fundamental perspective of the October Revolution, which is the necessity for the working class to establish workers’ power by smashing the capitalist state and establishing its own organs of state power—soviets or workers’ councils.
Castro’s creation of so-called Committees of Popular Defense fully a decade after the victory of the Cuban revolution in no way represented the establishment of organs of power by the working class. Not only are they organs under the bureaucratic control of the state, but in practice, have no real power.
Our unconditional defense of the Cuban revolution against the conspiracies of Yankee imperialism does not depend in any way on the false characterization of Cuba as a workers’ state. It is defined by the anti-imperialist and democratic character of the Cuban revolution.
Nonetheless, the Cuban democratic revolution remains uncompleted. The economy remains dominated by a sugar monoculture, which still represents 80 percent of Cuba’s exports, expressing the profound dependence of the island on the international division of labor and the capitalist world market. In a regime which is maintained on the basis of handouts from the Soviet Union and credits from the international banks, the scientific socialist planning of the economy is impossible.
Incapable of resolving the fundamental task of the democratic. revolution in Cuba—the achieving of national independence from imperialism—and confronted with the irreconcilable opposition of Yankee imperialism to the gains of the Cuban revolution, the Castro leadership chose the easy road of unconditional subordination to the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Kremlin.
The Dead End of Guerrillaism
The construction of revolutionary parties, as sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International, in Ecuador and throughout Latin America demands the assimilation of the lessons of the tragic experience of the guerrilla movements which emerged throughout the continent, inspired by the Cuban revolution.
After 25 years of this perspective’s implementation in Latin America, it is high time to draw a balance sheet of its fundamental class implications.
As the editorial of the March 1987 issue of the Fourth International points out in relation to the Cuban revolution:
As far as the Pabloites were concerned, this development legitimized the formal separation of the struggle for socialism from the historic efforts of the Trotskyist movement to resolve the crisis of proletarian leadership and construct the world party of socialist revolution.
A “new world reality” had arrived, in which it was possible to overthrow capitalism without either the independent mobilization of the working class or the presence of a mass Marxist party. Workers’ states could come into being without the existence of any genuine mass democratic organs of workers’ power. Thus, there was no longer any specific need to fight for a definite class line through which the hegemony of the working class in the revolutionary struggle against imperialism and its local national agents would be realized. Castro had “proved,” the Pabloites claimed, that the historical tasks formerly reserved to the proletariat could now be carried out by a few determined armed guerrillas.
The petty bourgeois nationalist character of the Castro regime has been exposed most clearly in its failure to establish any international party to extend the Cuban revolution in Latin America and internationally. The attempts to unify all of the petty bourgeois radical tendencies in Latin America under the umbrella of OLAS in the early 1960s, as is now obvious, had no future whatsoever.
These movements, which followed the Cuban model, based themselves on a rejection of the Marxist strategy of the dictatorship of the proletariat and, simultaneously, a rejection of the role of the working class in the struggle for the socialist revolution.
The fate of Che Guevara in Bolivia, the architect of the theory of guerrilla warfare, expressed the complete impotence of these methods to carry forward the socialist revolution, and, at the same time, constituted a failure of the pretension of substituting for the class struggle of the proletariat, armed adventures by petty bourgeois forces.
This same lesson was verified in Venezuela, where the FALN, after the failure of an intense armed struggle, entered into complete reconciliation with the capitalist state. This is the same path tread by the Tupumaros in Uruguay, and, today, the FARC in Colombia.
In Ecuador, the liquidation of the Alfaro Vive at the hands of the criminal capitalist state apparatus has proven that there is no road to revolution through the methods of individual terrorism. They have ended their political life, declaring their support for Gen. Frank Vargas, who was the chief of the armed forces when the extermination of the Alfaro Vive leaders began.
The struggle carried forward by the ICFI against the unprincipled reunification by the SWP with the Pabloites in 1963 has been categorically vindicated by the experience of the class struggle in Latin America in the last 25 years. The liquidation of the cadre of the Trotskyist movement into centrist movements of the petty bourgeoisie, as in the case of Luis Vitale and the liquidation of the Chilean POR into the MIR and in Argentina of Nahuel Moreno’s prostration before Peronism and Castroism, disarmed the working class of these countries on the eve of revolutionary developments. The absence of Trotskyist parties fighting to prepare the working class for an independent struggle for power played a decisive role in paving the way to the popular fronts, military coups and bloody defeats suffered by the Chilean and Argentine working class.
The Comité Socialista denounces the attempt by those like the Peruvian Liga Comunista and Slaughter to dismiss the decisive character of the struggle against the 1963 reunification. This expresses their own preparation to participate in new betrayals of the proletarian revolution in Latin America.
It goes hand in hand with their attempt to rehabilitate and unify with the very forces who bear criminal responsibility for the earlier defeats. They have sprung to the defense of the late Joseph Hansen-the principal advocate of guerrillaism as a strategy for Trotskyist parties in Latin America—who was unmasked by the campaign on Security and the Fourth International as the main agent of the FBI-CIA within the leadership of the SWP.
Security and the Fourth International
The Comité Socialista completely rejects the attacks of Slaughter, Banda and the Liga Comunista on Security and the Fourth International. This campaign clarified for the first time before the Trotskyist movement the circumstances of Trotsky’s assassination and exposed the penetration of the police agents of Stalinism and imperialism into the Fourth International.
The investigation established, on the basis of documents and sworn testimony, that Joseph Hansen, the longtime leader of the SWP, was unquestionably an agent of the US government. Documents from 1940 proved that Hansen, in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Trotsky, had asked for and received a “confidential” FBI contact “to whom information can be imparted with impunity.” It was also established that not a single member of the SWP leadership was aware of these meetings.
The Gelfand case, brought by SWP member Alan Gelfand, against the CIA, FBI and its agents in the leadership of the SWP, has provided a devastating confirmation of the charges against Hansen and the current leadership of that party. It proved that, as the IC had charged, Hansen and the SWP leadership had lied about and covered up for GPU agents like Sylvia Franklin and Mark Zborowski, who were part of the network which carried out the murder of Trotsky.
It furthermore established that this coverup was maintained precisely because the same FBI informant who had named Franklin and other Stalinist agents to the US government had named Hansen as well as part of the Stalinist murder apparatus which killed Trotsky. But while the charges against Franklin and the others were made public, those against Hansen were not, for one simple reason—he had been recruited to the FBI-CIA and was leading the government takeover of the revisionist party.
Those whom he recruited as his successors in the leadership of the SWP consist almost entirely of ex-students from a small college with no record of political activity, Carleton College. The first member of this group was the SWP’s current secretary Jack Barnes, whose supposed conversion to socialism followed a trip to Cuba funded by the Ford Foundation. At least 11 others were funneled directly into the leadership of the party from Carleton, taking over every key position. The emergence of such a leadership had absolutely no precedent in a party which had been founded based on the struggles of the American working class and the international perspectives of Trotskyism.
In the US, this leadership has worked consciously to divert any movement of the working class back into the arms of the Democratic Party, the trade union bureaucracy and the middle class protest movement while working to create the greatest possible illusions in the capitalist state and attacking all of the historical foundations of the Trotskyist movement in the US.
Internationally, the policy of this Carleton clique has corresponded directly to the necessities of US imperialism and the activities of the CIA. It drew together an international network of agents who were infiltrated into the workers’ and national liberation movements in many countries under the guise of “socialist journalists” to carry out espionage and disruption activities.
Among the most infamous of these was Fausto Amador, an agent of the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua who had been sentenced to death by the Frente Sandinista for his counterrevolutionary activities. This element was proclaimed a “Central American Trotskyist” by the SWP and then used to denounce the Sandinistas in the final months of the revolution which overthrew Somoza. After the victory of the FSLN, the SWP changed its position on the Sandinistas 180 degrees, hailing them as the new substitute for the proletarian revolution and sending dozens of its agents to Managua, under the cover of “socialist journalists,” to help prepare imperialist provocations against Nicaragua.
In Angola, the SWP distinguished itself during the 1976 civil war by defending CIA-organized counterrevolutionary armies as “legitimate nationalist tendencies,” and opposing the victory of the genuine national liberation movement, the MPLA.
In recent months, the SWP has supported the frameup trial in a CIA-organized court which sentenced former leaders of the New Jewel Movement to hang in Grenada, and has campaigned on a program in South Africa which insists that the regime resulting from a revolution in that country must be capitalist and attacks any struggle for socialism.
Such positions cannot be ascribed simply to ideological deviations common to revisionism. They represent nothing more nor less than the direct interests of US imperialism as expressed by its agents.
It is no accident that those who initiated the repudiation of the campaign on Security were precisely Banda and Good—both of whom have now declared their agreement with the Stalinist murderers of Trotsky.
For Slaughter and for the Liga Comunista, their rejection of Security and the Fourth International has served as their passport for entry into political alliance with revisionist groups who have defended and covered up for the government agents who control the SWP in the USA.
The attack on Security and the Fourth International by these renegades from Trotskyism has nothing to do with the facts of the case, but rather with their own political degeneration and petty bourgeois class position. For those like Slaughter who changed their position on this campaign from one day to the next, the issue is not the veracity of the evidence, but rather that the exposure of the counterrevolutionary role of imperialism and Stalinism within the workers’ movement is no longer convenient for their own politics. They have joined with those middle class and centrist elements who serve to prop up precisely these forces against the independent struggle of the proletariat.
The struggle to expose and expel from the workers’ movement all those agents of Stalinism and imperialism is an integral part of the struggle for the independence of the working class and, consequently, a fundamental task in the struggle to build the revolutionary party.
The sterile debate over the supposed two roads to revolution in Latin America—that of armed struggle by Castroite guerrillas, or, on the other hand, the peaceful, parliamentary road exemplified by Allende—was always based on the Stalinist conception of the “two-stage revolution,” assigning a progressive role to the national bourgeoisie and directly rejecting the struggle by the working class for power through the smashing of the capitalist state and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. As opposed to Lenin, the task was not seen as the smashing of the capitalist state, but rather its appropriation by the “socialist” petty bourgeoisie.
This debate has never been more than a diversion from the principal task posed to the working class in Latin America—the construction of a revolutionary Marxist leadership in ruthless struggle against the Stalinist Communist Parties which have served as the main obstacle to the struggle for socialist revolution and the main counterrevolutionary agency of imperialism and the native bourgeoisie within the working class.
The bloody defeat of the Chilean working class in September 1973 was directly prepared by Stalinism’s treacherous policy of popular frontism, which served to tie the working class to the bourgeoisie. This policy, elaborated by Moscow and the Chilean CP, imposed upon the working class a perspective of the inviolability of private property and of prostration before the armed forces of the capitalist state.
The Stalinist betrayal in Chile counted with the direct support of Fidel Castro, who, without explanation, went from the theory of guerrilla warfare to praising the peaceful road to socialism and lecturing Chilean workers not to carry out any independent struggle against the Chilean bourgeoisie.
In Ecuador, the Stalinists’ betrayals of the working class have been no less criminal. In the 1944 revolution, they demanded the working class’ subordination to a popular front with the bourgeois Liberal Party and supported the formation of the Velasco Ibarra government and the disarming of the workers, peasants and students who had carried out the insurrection of May 28.
In 1963, they hailed the establishment of a military junta imposed by the CIA. While they themselves were caught up in the repression unleashed by this regime, they soon reached a deal securing the release of the Stalinist leader Pedro Saad in return for their call for the working class to abandon its resistance to the dictatorship.
In the decade of the 1970s, they supported the establishment of another CIA-sponsored dictatorship headed by Gen. Rodriguez Lara, upon whom they bestowed the capacity to complete the bourgeois democratic revolution. When this regime fell in the face of the working class uprising in the 1975 general strike, the Stalinists opposed the return to civilian rule, which they classified as “dirty bourgeois democracy.”
Their motive was not any rejection of bourgeois parliamentarism, but rather a defense of the privileges they had gained as servants of the military, including an office in the presidential palace. One year later, after a military triumvirate succeeded Rodriguez Lara, the dictatorship took the lives of 124 workers at the Aztra sugar refinery.
Afterwards, the CP subordinated itself to the reestablishment of bourgeois democracy under President Jaime Roldos. During this period it distinguished itself as the most enthusiastic supporter of the reactionary “Paquisha” war with Peru of 1981, subordinating the working class to the national bourgeoisie, which opened the doors less than a month later for the government to launch its first IMF-inspired austerity package against the working class.
After the assassination of Roldos by the CIA, they prostrated themselves before the government of Hurtado, a close confidant of Robert McNamara, the architect of the Vietnam War, and worked to contain the uprisings of the working class against the depression policies of the IMF, repeatedly opposing the general strikes and calling for the workers to negotiate an agreement with Hurtado.
In March 1983, when a general strike declared by the FUT union federation had virtually brought down the Hurtado government, the secretary of the CP Rene Mauge negotiated the lifting of the strike, acting as a bridge between the union bureaucracy and Hurtado.
With the coming to power of Febres Cordero, the CP was the architect of a new popular front, the Progressive Parliamentary Bloc, established in alliance with the Democratic Left, the left wing of the bourgeoisie, and the Popular Democracy, the Christian Democratic party of ex-president Hurtado. Through this, the Stalinists have tried to subordinate the struggles of the working class to bourgeois parliamentarism, opposing any independent struggle of the class against this puppet of Reagan.
Today, these Stalinist traitors are attempting to resurrect this same discredited policy with their opportunist adaptation to Gen. Frank Vargas Pazzos.
While the Communist Parties are still identified by many Latin American workers with the October Revolution of 1917, they are in fact the agencies of the gravedigger of Bolshevism—the counterrevolutionary Stalinist bureaucracy. The politics of these parties, based on class collaboration, subordination of the proletariat to the national bourgeoisie and the theory of the “two-stage” revolution, are determined by the attempts of the bureaucracy to establish “peaceful coexistence” with US imperialism.
The current “reforms” of Gorbachev express the deep crisis within the Soviet Stalinist bureaucracy, which has its fundamental source in Stalinism’s policy of “socialism in one country,” its rejection of the world revolution and, consequently, the nationalist isolation of its planned economy and its growing dependence on the world capitalist market.
While one section of the bureaucracy, led by Gorbachev, is seized with panic over the prospects of a political revolution by the working class and has become convinced that the bureaucracy cannot continue ruling through the old methods of massive corruption combined with police repression, it is organically incapable of breaking with the fundamental policies of Stalinism—socialism in one country and peaceful coexistence with imperialism.
This crisis in the Soviet bureaucracy can only intensify the crisis of the Stalinist Communist Parties in Latin America and deepen their rightist orientation and their policy of class compromise with their own bourgeoisie.
The position of the Comité Socialista in relation to the Soviet Union is based on the perspective of Trotsky to preserve and extend the gains of the October Revolution of 1917. This means first, the unconditional defense of the Soviet Union against imperialist attack and the struggle for the political revolution against the Stalinist bureaucracy, for the reestablishment of the Soviet power of the working class, as an integral part of the strategy of world socialist revolution.
The struggle to construct a revolutionary leadership in Ecuador and throughout Latin America can only pass through an implacable struggle to politically destroy Stalinism. Only the Fourth International, basing itself on Trotsky’s struggle against the Stalinist degeneration of the Soviet state and the Communist International, can open the road to the building of revolutionary parties capable of leading the struggles of the working class for power.
Sandinismo and the Central American Revolution
The Comité Socialista defends unconditionally the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua against the conspiracies of Yankee imperialism. It fights to mobilize the Latin American working class in defense of Nicaragua based upon its own class perspective. This defense of the Sandinista revolution is based upon the Leninist principle of the right of nations to self-determination and the distinction between oppressed and oppressor nations.
Nonetheless, we insist on the fundamental principle of the independence of the working class and the necessity that it base its struggle against imperialism on its own methods; i.e., socialist revolution. The revisionists’ characterization of the Nicaraguan government as a “workers’ state,” or a “workers and farmers government” is false from beginning to end. Rather, it is an obstacle for the Nicaraguan working class in carrying forward the socialist revolution.
The emergence of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, a petty bourgeois nationalist formation, in the leadership of the oppressed masses of Nicaragua was a direct consequence of the crisis of revolutionary leadership in the working class, defined above all by the complete prostration of the Nicaraguan Stalinists before the puppet regime of the Somozas.
The incapacity of this leadership to complete the democratic revolution in Nicaragua finds its clearest expression—nearly eight years after its coming to power—in the maintenance of capitalist private ownership over more than 60% of the nation’s economy, providing a firm social base for the US-backed counterrevolutionaries.
While the Sandinista regime is compelled to prepare for a defensive war against US imperialism, its objective position, like that of every bourgeois regime in the semi-colonial countries, is one of balancing between imperialism on the one hand and the oppressed masses on the other. This finds its direct expression in the attempt to reach a “peace agreement” with imperialism and its Central American puppets.
The Pabloite revisionists have seized upon the Sandinista revolution as yet another pretext for denying the necessity for the construction of independent revolutionary parties of the working class and for defending adaptation to petty bourgeois nationalist leaderships, not only in Nicaragua and Central America, but throughout the continent.
In Grenada, this form of revisionist adaptation to the petty bourgeois nationalist New Jewel Movement of Maurice Bishop helped pave the way to catastrophe. By proclaiming the NJM as a “Marxist” and “proletarian” leadership, these revisionists covered up the crisis and disintegration of this petty bourgeois movement which, in the end, disarmed the Grenadian working class and opened the doors to the direct invasion by Yankee imperialism.
In El Salvador, the Comité Socialista unconditionally defends the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in its civil war against US imperialism’s puppet regime of President Jose Napoleon Duarte. At the same time, however, it insists on the political independence of the Salvadoran working class in struggle for its own, socialist program and warns against the treachery of the bourgeois nationalist and Stalinist elements in the leadership of the Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR).
The perspective of this leadership is to transform the revolutionary struggle of the Salvadoran workers and peasants into an instrument for the transfer, or even sharing, of power, between the fascist bourgeoisie and the bourgeois democrats. In the final analysis, the armed popular front leads to the subordination of the working class to the interests of the bourgeoisie just as surely as its parliamentary road variety.
The entire experience of the last decade of bloody class struggle in Central America has demonstrated above all the necessity for revolutionary parties of the working class based on scientific socialism as the most urgent task in opening the road to the revolutionary victory against imperialism and the native bourgeoisie. These parties must be constructed as sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International.
Permanent Revolution and the Peasantry
The Comité Socialista affirms the conception developed by Leon Trotsky in the permanent revolution of the alliance between the working class and the peasantry in the revolutionary struggle.
The peasantry in Latin America, no less than in the Russia of Trotsky, cannot play any independent role in the revolution. The objective role of the relations of production only allows it to follow either the bourgeoisie or the proletariat.
The attempts of Che Guevara in Bolivia, Luis de la Puente in Peru, of the FALN in Venezuela and in general all the Maoist illusions in revolutions which develop from “the countryside to the city” have ended in bloody tragedies, and, if not, in the most open capitulation before the capitalist state, as is now being carried out by the FARC in Colombia.
The liberation of the peasantry in Latin America is only possible through the taking of power by the working class supported in its insurrection by the oppressed masses of the countryside. Only the dictatorship of the proletariat can effectively expropriate all of the land, turn it over to the peasantry for productive use, at the same time as introducing an audacious process of agro-industrialization, on the objective base of socialist planning in the countryside.
The experience of the peasantry in Cuba and Nicaragua, under the petty bourgeois nationalist regimes, has proved that neither Castroism nor Sandinismo can carry forward a genuine agrarian revolution. Their agrarian reforms coexist precariously with private ownership of the land and its continuous expansion, which is a permanent threat to their inith1l conquests.
Forward to the Ecuadorian Revolution
The fundamental task of the Comité Socialista is the resolution of the crisis of revolutionary leadership in the working class, the essential precondition for the victory of the socialist revolution, which alone can assure national liberation from imperialism and the liquidation of feudal remnants and freedom for the development of the productive forces through the expropriation of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat.
This is in no way a simply national task. It is absolutely bound up with the struggle for the Latin American proletarian revolution and the establishment of the United Socialist States of Central and South America and is an integral part of the world socialist revolution.
As opposed to all of the false policies of Stalinism, Pabloite revisionism and centrism, which have subordinated the revolutionary proletariat to the national bourgeoisie, the Comité Socialista bases itself on the Marxist conception of the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, that it cannot arise spontaneously and requires the construction of a conscious leadership in the working class based upon scientific socialism.
This places on the order of the day, as the most urgent task, the construction of the Comité Socialista as the Ecuadorian section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, the world party of socialist revolution, and the struggle for its construction throughout Latin America. The International Committee represents the theoretical heritage of Marxism, Leninism and Trotskyism, the experience and historical perspective of the struggle of the world proletariat for the socialist revolution.
The Ecuadorian working class has decisively demonstrated in the escalating class struggle of the last six years that it is the principal revolutionary force. It has been the only class which has risen up against the brutal policies of the IMF, in the vanguard of all the oppressed masses.
The national bourgeoisie, to which the Stalinists and Pabloite revisionists assign the leading role in the democratic revolution, has been incapable of acting as anything more than the agent of Yankee imperialism and international finance capital.
The policy of the Comité Socialista bases itself on the strategy of permanent revolution, which has established categorically that the democratic revolution can only be completed in the semi-colonial countries through the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The bourgeois revolution of the turn of the century was completely incapable of guaranteeing independence from imperialism and liquidating the pre-capitalist forms of production. The assassination of Alfaro and his seven generals, followed by the assassination of Gen. Andrade and the smashing of the last vestiges of the liberal revolution in the 1912-1916 civil war, sealed the definitive alliance between the landlords with the bourgeoisie as the ruling class and agent of Yankee imperialism.
The tasks of the democratic revolution, uncompleted by the bourgeoisie, depend entirely on the revolutionary destiny of the proletariat. These tasks include: the liquidation of the precapitalist forms of production in the countryside, to which the elimination of all vestiges of oppression of the indigenous population is indissolubly linked; national liberation from imperialist oppression, expressed in dependence on international finance capital, the accumulation of the gigantic foreign debt of $9.5 million and the world capitalist market’s condemnation of the country to the yoke of monoproduction.
The taking of power by the working class with the support of the millions of peasants and oppressed Indians under the program of permanent revolution, the completion of the democratic revolution and the establishment of a socialist planned economy, is indissolubly linked to the historic necessity to unify the oppressed masses of Latin America under the leadership of the working class in the definitive struggle to defeat Yankee imperialism, and for the victory of the world socialist revolution. This is the essential content of the proletarian internationalism of the Comité Socialista and of its principled struggle for the resolution of the crisis of revolutionary leadership in the Latin American working class through the construction of Bolshevik-type parties, as sections of the ICFI.
The struggle for a genuine internationalist perspective implies taking up an unrelenting battle against all forms of petty bourgeois nationalism, as well as against the treacherous policies of Stalinism, Pabloite revisionism and centrism.
The political independence of the working class from all agencies of the bourgeoisie can only be won with the methods of permanent revolution. The repugnant subordination of the Communist Party-FADI, of the Marxist Leninist Communist Party-MPD, and of the Socialist Party and its allies in the Pabloite Revolutionary Workers Movement (MRT) to the Progressive Parliamentary Bloc expresses their impotence in carrying forward the struggle against the reactionary government of Febres Cordero from a proletarian class perspective and their opportunist and unprincipled prostration before the left wing of the bourgeoisie. This policy has served only to demoralize and immobilize the proletariat in the face of the brutal class war launched by the weak Febres Cordero government, which has been able to continue governing solely because of the absence of a revolutionary leadership in the working class.
The counterrevolutionary character of this policy, derived from the Stalinist theory of “revolution by stages” and of the “popular front,” has been crudely revealed in their opportunist support to Gen. Frank Vargas and their unlimited praise of the armed forces. They have defended the national security law imposed by the CIA and the Pentagon in the waning days of the last military dictatorship, which serves only the interests of militarism in the country.
The uprisings of Gen. Vargas express the profound crisis and disintegration of the ruling class and the capitalist state caught in the flames of the economic crisis and corruption. They represent absolutely no alternative to Febres Cordero and his policy as a puppet of the IMF and Yankee imperialism, contrary to the shameless claims of the Stalinists and centrists.
The extension of this policy in the organization of a new popular front for the 1988 elections, initiated by the MPD’s calling for the formation of a “Unity of the Left” with a program based on the sacrosanct inviolability of private property, in the defense of the chains of bourgeois democracy and the defense of the role of the armed forces as a state over the state, not only is absolutely incapable of achieving the imperative necessity of completing all the tasks of the democratic revolution, but is directed at immobilizing the proletariat and subordinating it to an alliance with the bourgeoisie.
The position of the Comité Socialista in the face of this new popular front, “Unity of the Left,” is derived from the struggle carried forward by Leon Trotsky against the counterrevolutionary role played by the popular fronts organized by the Stalinists to hold back the revolution in the 1930s, which served only to prepare the necessary conditions for the victory of fascism. Submitting the workers and peasants to the leadership of the bourgeoisie can only guarantee new defeats.
The experience of the popular front of Allende in Chile, bloodily crushed under the jackboot of the “most democratic army in Latin America,” as the Chilean Communist Party described it—words which now find their echo in the praise of Gen. Vargas—underscores the decisive importance of the political independence of the working class.
The Comité Socialista declares that today the political independence of the working class can only be assured in an implacable struggle against the government of Febres Cordero, the Progressive Bloc and the “populist” militarism of Gen. Vargas. This requires the unmasking of the old political and trade union leaderships of the working class, prostrate before the diverse arms of the class enemy, and places on the order of the day the construction of the Ecuadorian section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, as the new revolutionary leadership of the proletariat.
The program for the victory of the proletariat is none other than the program of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This means the struggle for the smashing of the capitalist state through the organization of Soviet-type organs, capable of uniting the workers, peasants and soldiers and of establishing a workers’ and peasants’ government which carries out national liberation, the democratic revolution, and establishes a planned socialist economy as part of the world socialist revolution.
Long live the ICFI!
Build the Comité Socialista as the Ecuadorian section of the ICFI!
Build the ICFI in Latin America!
Forward to the victory of the world socialist revolution!