Statement of the International Committee of the Fourth International
How the WRP Betrayed Trotskyism


With this issue, the regular quarterly publication of the Fourth International as the theoretical journal of the International Committee of the Fourth International is being resumed after an interruption of more than a decade. The publication of the Fourth International, for which the Workers Revolutionary Party had central responsibility, was all but abandoned in 1975. After that year, only two more issues appeared—one in 1979 and the last in 1982.

The fate of the Fourth International magazine was a concentrated expression of the political degeneration of the Workers Revolutionary Party and the resulting crisis within the ICFI. As the International Committee has established during the past year, the collapse of the WRP in 1985-86 was the outcome of the protracted nationalist and opportunist degeneration of the Healy-Banda-Slaughter leadership. From the early 1970s on, the building of the Fourth International as the World Party of Socialist Revolution was increasingly subordinated to the narrow practical needs of the British organization, which systematically abused its political authority within the ICFI to advance its nationalist interests.

Despite the critical role that had been played by the Fourth International throughout the 1960s in the struggle against Pabloite revisionism and in the political education of the cadre of the ICFI, the WRP leadership lost all interest in sustaining the publication. Healy came to the conclusion that the needs of the WRP could be better served by publishing a monthly “theoretical organ” of the British section, which was entitled Labour Review.

Although it had far greater technical facilities at its disposal, the WRP insisted in 1979 that the printing of the Fourth International should be assigned to the Workers League, which—though barred from direct membership in the ICFI due to the reactionary US Voorhis Act—accepted this task. However, the WRP assumed no responsibility whatsoever for any aspect of the publication, financing and distribution of the magazine.

The refusal of the WRP to support in any way the publication of the Fourth International was bound up with Healy’s repudiation of the programmatic foundations of the ICFI. Before the Fourth International could see the light of day, the International Committee had to liberate itself from the chauvinist and opportunist scoundrels of the Workers Revolutionary Party who had over the course of the past decade betrayed every fundamental principle of Trotskyism.

In 1953 the International Committee had been founded to oppose the liquidation of the Fourth International into Stalinist, social democratic and bourgeois nationalist organizations which then dominated the working class and anti-imperialist movements all over the world. That struggle to defend Trotskyism was further developed in the fight between 1961-64 against the unprincipled reunification of the American Socialist Workers Party with the Pabloite revisionists and the historic betrayal of the LSSP in Sri Lanka.

But from the mid-1970s on, the WRP systematically rejected all the lessons of the long struggle against Pabloism. With ever-increasing cynicism, Healy mocked the political heritage of Trotskyism and became the most unrestrained practitioner of opportunism.

The restoration of the Fourth International as the genuine theoretical organ of the ICFI is the result of the victorious struggle that has been waged against all the liquidationist factions that have emerged out of the collapse and decomposition of the Workers Revolutionary Party.

This first issue is devoted to the publication of an exhaustive analysis of the betrayal of Trotskyism by the Workers Revolutionary Party. It was written between May 18 and June 9, 1986, during the first plenum of the ICFI to be held after the split with the WRP (Slaughter-Banda faction) in February 1986. With this document the ICFI has accomplished what not one of the factions claiming to represent the WRP has even attempted—an objective Marxist analysis of the historical, political and theoretical origins, development and outcome of the Workers Revolutionary Party’s break with Trotskyism.

The International Committee is confident that this document will play a decisive role in clarifying revolutionists all over the world as to the significance of the collapse of the WRP, contribute to the education of an entirely new generation of Trotskyists among workers and youth, and provide a powerful foundation for the expansion of the ICFI as the World Party of Socialist Revolution.