International Committee of the Fourth International
Fourth International 1991: Oppose imperialist war and colonialism!

Fight against Imperialist World War and Colonization!

Revolutionary Communist League May Day Statement

On May Day 1991, the Revolutionary Communist League, Sri Lankan section of the ICFI, declares that the world working class must rise up as a united internationalist revolutionary force against the danger of a third world war, using nuclear arms, which is being prepared by the imperialist powers to re-divide the world and impose naked colonization.

The Sri Lankan working class is part of the world working class. Workers belonging to both the Sinhala and Tamil nations must rise up and join hands with the workers in the Indian subcontinent for the revolutionary mobilization of the oppressed nations and the rural peasantry. It is only through the establishment of the state power of the working class, entirely independent of the pro-imperialist bourgeois ruling class and fighting against it to win the leadership of the oppressed masses, that voluntary national unification and liberation from imperialism can be achieved and a socialist property system established, overthrowing the calamitous capitalist system. The ICFI and its sections, the party of world socialist revolution, alone fight for this program in Sri Lanka, Tamil Eelam, the Indian subcontinent and all over the world.

The gulf war has illustrated the real nature of the devastating depredations that the imperialists are preparing on a world scale in order to drag the multimillioned working class and the oppressed masses once again into barbarism. It is now clear that the aggressive intervention of the US-led imperialist forces in the Persian Gulf was a military campaign neither for “the liberation of Kuwait” nor to “punish the Saddam Hussein regime” in Iraq. On the contrary, it was an exercise for the subjugation of the Arab countries to brutal imperialist military force, obliterating even their formal independence, in order to reestablish imperialist hegemony over the oil fields.

At present US imperialist forces and other combined imperialist forces, wrapping themselves in the banner of the United Nations, have consolidated on the northern and southern borders of Iraq. The imperialists are establishing their military camps in order to plunder the oil resources of the region on the basis of the devastation perpetrated by dropping tens of thousands of tons of bombs continuously for six weeks, and massacring on the highway over 100,000 Iraqi soldiers fleeing from Kuwait and southern Iraq towards Baghdad.

Iraq gives the first glimpse of the vicious policy now being pursued by US imperialism to regain its lost economic domination of the world. Rain bombs in their tens of thousands! Drive back countries’ economic and political structures by decades if not by centuries! Convert them into colonies subjected to the direct rule of imperialist forces! Such is the current policy of US and other imperialisms.

This is the opposite of the policy through which, in the aftermath of the Second World War, the imperialist system was maintained and its contradictions controlled under the unchallenged hegemony of US imperialism. The era of so-called American peace and democracy, announced by US imperialism on the basis of the devastating effects of the Second World War on all the other imperialist powers, is now relegated to past history. American economic hegemony has been shattered by the vast changes in world production and trade during the last four and a half decades. This transformation is dramatically expressed by the fall of US imperialism from the position of the world’s chief creditor to that of the biggest debtor.

The Bush administration has decided to overcome its massive trade deficit and its payments deficit, which is rising monthly, by waging war and conquering lands, sources of raw materials and markets all over the world. This is the road of world war for colonial plunder.

By slashing the wages and the living conditions of the working class to intolerable levels within America itself, finance capital seeks the resources to drive into the countries devastated by ruthless bombardments in the war. That is why the ruling class, with both the Republican and Democratic parties in the US joining together, has increased the unemployment rate within America to over 10 percent, closing down factories and work places by the hundreds.

For their capital, accumulated through driving the American working class into ruin, American capitalists expect not just arenas for investment where they could coexist and compete freely with other imperialist powers, but American colonies under their monopolistic control. As Lenin pointed out, “The interests pursued in exporting capital also give an impetus to the conquest of colonies, for in the colonial market it is easier to employ monopoly methods (and some times they are the only methods that can be employed) to eliminate competition, to ensure supplies, to secure the necessary ‘connections’ etc.” (Collected Works, Volume 22, p. 262).

Although two countries (Panama and Iraq) have already been invaded and occupied by American forces in the two years of George Bush’s presidency, this is not a policy that the United States is free to pursue globally by its sole fiat. The other imperialist powers would have to abandon their own imperialist pursuits, voluntarily accepting US hegemony, and under imperialism, this is not realizable. That is precisely why a full 11 years of the first half of this century were consumed by two imperialist world wars.

Once again interimperialist competition has reached the point where all consensus and compromises are collapsing and the very basic contradictions among the imperialist powers cannot be resolved without the use of naked military force.

The arena of economic processes is no longer the nation-state, but the entire globe. Every imperialist power is engaged in a life-and-death struggle to establish its own monopolies over the spheres of political and economic influence of other imperialist powers, penetrating these regions. The sole area of agreement among the imperialist powers such as the US, Britain, Germany and Japan in the gulf war was to carry out the destruction of even the nominal independence of the backward countries and subject them to brutal colonial rule, similar to that which existed at the beginning of this century. At the same time, the mortal conflict over the question of which imperialist power should acquire monopoly possession of these countries has developed irreconcilably underneath that agreement. In that sense the gulf war only marks the beginning of a third imperialist world war for the redivision of the world. The attempt being made by the Japanese imperialists to establish close relations with countries in the Indian subcontinent and throughout Asia is to reenter the competition to dominate the South Asian and Pacific regions. The German imperialists, in the meantime, are engaged in the establishment of their political and economic domination in Eastern Europe, as well as the rest of Europe, while US imperialism has begun military interventions in Latin America in order to eliminate the economic influence of the other imperialists in this region and establish its own domination. The invasion of Panama and the so-called “drug war” that it carries on in that region are steps in this direction. The logic of all these developments is to engulf the entire globe in an imperialist nuclear war.

Just as the barbaric imperialist plans for the redivision of the world have openly surfaced, the Stalinist bureaucracies have declared their total capitulation, like a senile cat falling on its back prostrate before its enemy. The Stalinist bureaucracies worked to contain “socialism” within the state boundaries of a single country, betraying the program of world socialist revolution and coexisting with imperialism. Now they have begun to collapse everywhere due to the crisis which they confront in the face of the present world developments, completely losing even a relative resistive power against imperialism. The Stalinist bureaucracies of both the Moscow and Beijing types seek to transform themselves into compradores of imperialist monopoly capitalism.

The Stalinists, who allowed unhindered the imperialist military campaign in the gulf war to plunder the oil fields of the Middle East, without even a word of protest, have now opened the door for reactionary imperialist maneuvers to dismantle the USSR itself, promoting the nationalist regimes of the small republics in the Baltic area. Leon Trotsky warned that the Stalinist policy of undermining the world revolution would lead to the betrayal into imperialist hands of all the gains of the October Revolution, the first step of the world socialist revolution itself. This warning is now totally vindicated.

As the imperialists are aggressively advancing to establish their new world order in the midst of the collapse of the postwar settlement, signaled by the collapse of the Stalinist bureaucratic regimes in Eastern Europe, the bankruptcy of all nationalist programs has been exposed worldwide.

The national bourgeois rulers in the backward countries, who managed to eke out an existence on the basis of the support of financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, established after the Second World War for the continuance of the imperialist world order, have now been compelled to do away with all the rhetoric of national independence and totally tie themselves to imperialism.

National bourgeois illusions such as “self-sufficiency” and “self help,” which had been peddled as an alternative to the program of the world socialist revolution, have now been shattered completely. The “independence” of the national bourgeoisie now means only the freedom to decide which particular imperialist master to sell the “national” economy to and what price to seek. Every country under a bourgeois nationalist or Stalinist regime is driven along this road into the imperialist inferno.

This has been amply demonstrated, whether by Saddam Hussein, who expected to make a more favorable deal with the imperialists, or by regimes such as those of India and Sri Lanka, which tried to win the “good will” of the warmongers by opening their airports for the imperialist forces. Only the pro-imperialist bureaucracies and their revisionist lackeys, who enter into coalitions with their capitalist ruling classes, attempt to portray an illusory difference between the “sovereign” role of these rulers and that of the direct mercenary services of the pro-imperialist rulers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait or Turkey in the gulf war.

The ICFI has defended the proletarian internationalist revolutionary banner essential to the world working class through the continuous struggle since 1953 against Pabloism, which attempted to liquidate the revolutionary program and the world party of the working class, exalting the progressive role of the Stalinist bureaucracies and the national bourgeois ruling classes.

The struggle initiated by the Workers League in the United States from 1982 culminated in the 1985 split and the purging from the ICFI of the Healy, Banda, Slaughter renegades, who dominated the leadership of the British WRP. This marked a new and higher stage in the political rearming of the ICFI against nationalist opportunism and liquidationism.

The ICFI and its sections qualified themselves to politically prepare the world working class for its historic revolutionary task through this series of struggles against revisionism. In its resolution on world revolutionary perspectives, the ICFI clearly posed the danger of imperialist third world war and stated, “Either the working class will resolve this contradiction between the world economy and the nation-state in a progressive fashion by overthrowing the bourgeoisie and reorganizing the productive forces of the entire planet on the basis of social ownership, or capitalism will seek its own resolution through the destruction of the productive forces and the annihilation of humanity” (The World Capitalist Crisis and the Tasks of the Fourth International, p. 65).

It is the reformist and class collaborationist bureaucracies that have prevented the working class—the revolutionary social force—from accomplishing this historic task, which it alone is capable of carrying out, i.e., the overthrow of the capitalist system and the reorganization of the productive forces of the world on a socialist basis, progressively resolving the contradiction between the world economy and the nation-state.

The bureaucracies in every country act to paralyze and betray the working class and oppressed masses, which attempt again and again to enter into the path of class struggle against the attacks of the bourgeois regimes in the imperialist and backward countries, as well as in countries under the control of the Stalinist regimes. Whether these struggles are against the destruction of jobs, wages and the welfare services, or against racist and religious oppression or military-fascist repression, these bureaucracies do everything to politically disarm the working class and the oppressed masses and betray them. These bureaucracies played the most reactionary role in the massive military onslaught on the masses of Iraq, preventing the development of any independent opposition from the international working class. This shows their open collaboration with the reactionary ruling class to drown the whole of humanity in a sea of blood in a nuclear world war.

Unless the working class rallies under revolutionary Marxist leadership, rising up against and overthrowing these reformist and class collaborationist leaderships, the working class and the oppressed masses cannot escape from the clutches of imperialism and its agencies. The program and the leadership for this task is being provided by the ICFI and its sections.

The treachery of the reformist and the Stalinist bureaucracies, lining up to heap destruction on the working class and oppressed masses and dedicating themselves to defend pro-imperialist bourgeois regimes in India and Sri Lanka, almost outstrips their grotesque betrayals in every other place on the planet. The adaptation by the LSSP and Stalinist leaders in Sri Lanka and the Stalinist leaders in India to the reactionary bourgeois state system and the bourgeois regimes imposed in this region after the war has produced for the multimillioned masses of workers and toilers in Lidia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Sri Lanka only intolerable unemployment, poverty and wretchedness. The pro-imperialist bourgeois ruling classes in these countries are driven to set up military-fascist dictatorships, constantly diverting the working class and the oppressed masses into racialist and religious conflicts in order to prepare new bloodbaths against the mass struggles that unavoidably would emerge against the reactionary regimes. The ruling class in India is now inciting a new wave of Hindu-Muslim religious conflicts far surpassing even the bloody pogroms unleashed in the Indian subcontinent in 1947-48 at the time that India was divided. The racist war carried out against the oppressed Tamil nation and the terror campaign unleashed against the rural poor in Sri Lanka are links in this same brutal chain.

Within the Indian subcontinent, the breakdown of the postwar order is expressed by the massive movement of refugees. Millions of oppressed religious and racial minorities and sections of the poor are being driven from one country to another, due to the unbearable repression and destruction of their livelihood perpetrated by every capitalist regime in the subcontinent. The refugees flowing into Pakistan from Punjab and Kashmir in the northwest of India; hundreds of thousands of the Chakma community escaping into India from the Islamic fundamentalist repression in Bangladesh; those escaping into northeast India and Bangladesh from the military repression and anti-Islamic repression in Burma; and over eight hundred thousand Tamils who have fled into India to escape the racist anti-Tamil war in the north and the east of Sri Lanka: these are only some sections of this gigantic influx of refugees. These are people, not in pursuit of greener pastures, but uprooted and driven out of their own homelands.

That millions are made refugees in this manner, deprived of even the minimum human living conditions, at a time when science and technology record unprecedented conquests, is the most damning indictment against the proimperialist bourgeois regimes in the region.

What is taking place now in Iraq demonstrates in the most glaring fashion that this not only means destruction for the masses that have been turned already into refugees, but it also marks the beginning of the imposition of naked military colonial rule by the imperialists on the entire working class and the oppressed masses. First the imperialists intervene to brutally disrupt the livelihood of the masses, then they make this suffering itself the pretext to open the gates for direct military domination.

As the racist war against the Tamil nation and the refugee question that sprang out of this was used as a cover for the intervention by the imperialist-backed Indian military in Sri Lanka in 1987, similar conspiratorial plans are now being made all over the world to prepare the ground for imperialist military interventions. Under these conditions, the anti-Moslem Hindu fanaticism whipped up by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the other bourgeois parties in India serves to lay the groundwork for imperialist military interventions throughout the Indian subcontinent.

What this brings out with extreme sharpness is the burning need of the revolutionary leadership to mobilize the working class independently, to rally the oppressed nations and the rural poor behind the working class to overthrow the pro-imperialist bourgeois regimes. The working class, supported by the oppressed masses, must take power and establish a socialist property system, complete the democratic tasks such as securing the national democratic rights of the oppressed nations, and granting the land rights of the peasantry, all of which have not been resolved under the national bourgeois regimes. Only this can defeat the conspiracies now being hatched by the imperialists, together with the national bourgeoisie, to turn entire masses of workers and toilers into human sacrifices in a third world war.

The plans to privatize state departments and government corporations, in order to destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs in the plantations and industries, to abolish the subsidies enjoyed by the peasants and rural poor and cut the welfare services, are implemented on the orders of the World Bank and the IMF for the benefit of imperialist finance capital. The meaning of the orders of the bankers is to destroy the entire network of “national” industries and enterprises established during the period of so-called independence, sometimes through the takeover of foreign firms, and turn these countries into assembly platforms of imperialist monopoly corporations suited to the direct needs of imperialist finance capital.

Under the perestroika program of capitalist restoration, the Stalinist bureaucracies are destroying the economic structures of such countries as the USSR, China and Eastern Europe and also of countries like Vietnam, which was said to have been liberated from imperialism only 15 years ago.

Meanwhile, in the imperialist countries themselves this “restructuring” is already under way, leading to massive shutdowns in industries and the destruction of millions of jobs. These changes are being set in motion by the need to build an imperialist “new world order” in place of the old one which has been shattered by the unprecedented development of the productive forces.

“National economies” are being broken down; production and distribution are being reorganized to suit the profit needs of the new monopoly cartels based in the imperialist countries. Lenin pointed out the operation of this process at the start of this century: “The monopoly of the most important sources of raw materials has enormously increased the power of big capital, and has sharpened the antagonism between cartelized and noncartelized industry.”

The proletariat and the oppressed all over the world face similar questions in the face of these economic changes and militarization that is aimed at setting up a new world order in the interests of finance capital. Their answer must be the overthrow of the world imperialist order through the world socialist revolution.

The essential precondition for the fulfillment of that task is to mobilize the working class under an internationalist revolutionary leadership, driving out the reformist and opportunist and petty-bourgeois nationalist leadership which works to tie the working class to imperialism and its agencies such as the national bourgeois and Stalinist bureaucratic regimes. Only the ICFI and its sections fight on the basis of a proletarian internationalist revolutionary program to shoulder this historic task.

The LSSP, CP, NSSP, CWC and other opportunist and centrist leaders have become defenders of the pro-imperialist UNP regime by their support for the racist war against the Tamil nation and the military-police repression that has been unleashed against the rural youth. Having entered popular fronts with the proimperialist bourgeois UNP and SLFP, these leaders follow a policy of blocking all the struggles of the working class and the oppressed masses and carrying out the most grotesque betrayals wherever such struggles develop.

The petty-bourgeois radical movements, which came forward to establish their political authority among the middle class and oppressed sections pushed into desperation by the betrayals of the bureaucracies, are driven by their own nationalist programs to serve the needs of this or that imperialist power or section of the ruling class. The petty-bourgeois JVP, which transformed itself into a fascist movement, was an extreme expression of this process taking place among the petty-bourgeois groups. The Tamil groups such as PLOTE, TELO, EPRLF, EROS and EPDP, which are openly working as the lackeys of the bourgeois regimes of India and Sri Lanka, and the LITE, which has been bargaining with the Indian and Sri Lankan ruling classes, have vividly demonstrated the political bankruptcy and reactionary character of these petty-bourgeois organizations.

All these developments reemphasize the question of resolving the crisis of the internationalist revolutionary leadership of the working class which is needed to accomplish the burning historical needs of the working class and the oppressed masses. The RCL, the Sri Lankan section of the ICFI, and the SLL of India fight on the basis of Leon Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution to mobilize the working class of the subcontinent on this revolutionary program. The aim of this struggle is to establish a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of the Indian subcontinent through the revolutionary mobilization of the oppressed nationalities, the religious minorities, discriminated castes, youth, housewives and rural poor peasants behind the working class, overthrowing the pro-imperialist bourgeois state system. All the working class fighters and oppressed militants should take the decision on this May Day to join this struggle.

Drive out the UNP! Reject the popular front!

Build a socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam!

Forward to a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of the Indian subcontinent!

Long live the world socialist revolution!

Build the World Party of Socialist Revolution!