National Sections of the L5I:

The French LCR and Pierre Juquin

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“In the heart of the French Communist Party, voices are being raised in the name of pluralism and living Marxism, in the name of a radical break with capitalism and with reformism . . . faced with such a situation, all that is necessary is to keep our communist identity, our desire to unify, our role of making things move, in order to meet up with a partner prepared to build the revolutionary party”.1

Thus spake the “Trotskyists” of the French Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR) in March 1987, with regard to the “Rénovateur” current inside the French Communist Party (PCF). A year later, the LCR are busy putting up posters for Pierre Juquin, presidential candidate for the Rénovateurs. The LCR’s orientation to the “revolutionaries” of the Rénovateurs is in full swing, with all eyes on the post-election period in the hopes of building a common organisation. The LCR’s position is not simply based upon the particular circumstances in France: it draws its political inspiration from the perspectives of their international organisation, the United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USFI). However, this current “turn” of the French section has not gone smoothly. Once again, the LCR is in turmoil as rival tendencies grapple with the implications of the Ligue’s analysis of Juquin’s candidacy and of the Rénovateurs.

The origins of the Rénovateurs

Juquin is the leader of the Rénovateur movement, which has emerged from the PCF over the last 18 months. To understand the roots of this movement, and the motivations for Juquin’s ostensible break with Stalinism, we have to go back to 1984, when the PCF received a massive electoral shock. Between 1981 and 1984, the French Stalinists had been members of a joint Socialist Party (PS)/PCF government, under the “socialist” president, Mitterrand. After a few months honeymoon, the PS/PCF coalition had to face up to the rude reality of managing capitalism in the crisis-ridden 1980s. They instituted an austerity programme similar to that seen in many imperialist countries over this period: cuts in working class living standards and in jobs, decrease in infiation, increase in profits.

The PCF’s voters took the participation of their party in these attacks badly. At the European Parliamentary elections of June 1984, the PCF vote slumped to its lowest figure for over fifty years (11%!) as PCF voters either abstained or voted for the PS. By becoming so closely identified with the openly anti-working class policies of the PS, the PCF was gradually cutting its own throat. Voters either refused in disgust to sanction such an orientation, or they drew the natural conclusion, why not vote for the PSfi

The different parts of the PCF apparatus made different deductions from this slap across the wrists by the French working class. The majority line was to quickly leave the coalition government, and to try and bureaucratically turn on the tap of working class struggle that they had so firmly closed for three years. This was coupled with an ideological offensive, in the shape of attacks against the PS, in the hope that militants would forget that the PCF had ever held office with their reformist rivals!

Another part of the apparatus, especially those local representatives (mayors, local councillors) who form an important part of the PCF machine, drew different conclusions. Where these PCF members risked being overtaken by the growing PS vote, there was a strong tendency to oppose the sectarian line being taken by the national leadership, and to try and adapt all the more to the growing tide of PS support. In general, these members did not have a history of struggle against the Stalinist leadership: they only moved into opposition when their positions were threatened as a consequence of the PCF’s electoral decline. Attempts inside the party to soften the line met with abrupt and bureaucratic responses, as is generally the case in Stalinist parties, and the critics were forced more and more into open opposition. The “Rénovateurs” were born.

Over the next three years, as the party lurched from one electoral disaster to another, the opposition current grew, still with the vain hope of reforming the PCF from the inside. At the beginning of 1987 Alain Amicabile, a leading member of the Rénovateurs, stood as an independent communist candidate in a local election. At the same time, a manifesto, “The Revolution, Comrades” was published. The Rénovateurs were on their way out of the PCF.

Since then an alleged 4,000 militants have joined the movement, either being expelled from or leaving the PCF. As LCR leader Alain Krivine proudly boasted at a debate with the Rénovateurs in Paris, the majority of these people aren’t “youngsters with only a couple of years experience in the movement, but people aged 40-50, the ’68 generation”. Although this is true, there is no reason for complacency: youth are the lifeblood of any political organisation, and they are in short supply in the Rénovateurs! An important part of the Rénovateurs’ base is amongst teachers: there is little evidence that a significant proportion of the PCF’s industrial base have joined them.

One of the most notable people to leave the PCF was university professor Pierre Juquin, 35 years a Stalinist hatchet-man. In the 1970s and 1980s he was the party’s chief spokesman, second only in the public eye to General Secretary Georges Marchais. In this role, Juquin had spent much of the 1970s justifying the dizzying twists and turns of the French Stalinist party as it made and broke agreements with the PS. In October last year, Juquin declared himself a presidential candidate. The LCR quickly withdrew its own candidate, Alain Krivine, and threw itself into Juquin’s campaign. For Juquin, the LCR play a dual role: on the one hand they serve as “left cover”, shoring up his revolutionary credentials, on the other, they have been able to provide him with a ready made national apparatus with experience in running election campaigns. He has, however, been careful not to be too closely identified with the LCR, making quite clear that he is not the candidate of any organisation (not even the Rénovateurs!), and only deigning to give an interview to the LCR in February 1988, months after the LCR had endorsed his candidature!

The whole Rénovateur current, and Juquin in particular, bear the traces of their origin inside the reformist PCF. This is clear from even a cursory reading of their most coherent and thorough-going explanation of their politics, their manifesto “The Revolution, Comrades!”. They talk of “the necessity of ‘producing French’”,2 thus employing the nationalist slogan of the PCF which is used to justify import controls and their popular frontist policy with “progressive sectors” of French capital.

The manifesto rejects any idea of a revolutionary break with capitalism. Instead it searches for a middle road between reform and revolution: ”Is there no other choice, in the workplace or at the summit of the state, than management or a radical breakfi” the manifesto asks,3 “What is the relationship that should be established between reform and revolutionfi”.4 Revolutionaries have clear answers to these questions. No, it is not possible to “manage” the capitalist state, nor to find a middle road which leaves intact the real power base of the capitalist class: their control of the civil service, courts and judiciary, police force and army. The capitalist state needs to be smashed and replaced with a system of workers’ councils in order establish “The Revolution, Comrades”!

The Rénovateurs offer only reformist answers to these questions, answers designed to dupe the workers into believing that a “peaceful” road to socialism is possible. Juquin offers himself as the French Allende, and the LCR is quick to fall into line behind him. Thus the manifesto talks of “the democratic and peaceful revolution which France and Europe need”.5 The road to socialism is presented as being that of governing with “allies” (the PS) “on the basis of change”. The “change” required is left suitably vague in order to bargain precisely with these “allies” in a future government.

In this respect the fact that their manifesto has absolutely nothing to say about the record of the 1981-84 PS/PCF government is particularly striking. They do not criticise the record of this anti-working class government because, fundamentally, they consider that there was no alternative to the PS/PCF programme of managing the crisis for the bosses. Thus they leave the door open to a future coalition government with the PS, although the programme of such a government could only be a repetition of that of 1981: left rhetoric masking an austerity programme. Juquin has been particularly evasive on this point. He has even made it clear that he is prepared to take a ministerial position in the next Mitterrand government, as long as there aren’t too many bourgeois ministers for his taste!

Neither the manifesto nor Juquin address the burning issues of the French class struggle, for example, how can rank and file workers fight unemploymentfi Their only reply is to “affirm the right to work and to full employment” and to point out that:

“The alternative to unemployment is the development of the production of wealth as a function of use and the evolution of need, rather than the accumulation of money; this involves a massive cut in working hours.”6

An excellent proposal until one learns how it is to be achieved. Juquin has said that all that is needed to implement this demand is to use the EEC’s Treaty of Rome! This only underlines the difference between reform and revolution. Although reformists may adopt a slogan used by revolutionaries, they are unable to provide any way for the idea to become a reality, apart from legalistic reforms which leave out the question of how to impose the demand upon the bosses. The sliding scale of hours with no loss of pay will not be simply legislated by the European Assembly. The bosses will not accept it. It will have to be won by fierce struggle, and any tendency or candidate that pretends otherwise is trying to dupe the workers.

On the international arena, the Rénovateurs show few signs of having really broken with Stalinism. Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua and South Africa all get a mention in their manifesto, but they say nothing about Poland and Solidarity. Do the Rénovateurs support the crushing of Solidarity by Stalinist tanksfi Despite their claims to have made a “complete break” with Stalinism, their silence on this point speaks volumes. Similarly, they make quite clear that Gorbachev is their man. No call for a political revolution from these characters—they are quite happy with the bureaucratic reforms being instituted by the current masters of the Russian bureaucracy. As Juquin put it in an interview “I feel in phase with Gorbachev”.7

Far from being a “voice of living Marxism”, as the LCR would have it, the Rénovateur movement represents no real break with reformism. Furthermore, there is no sign that the leadership represents a split to the left of the PCF. Like the Eurocommunists of the 1970s, the Rénovateurs, with their refusal of the need for a Leninist party and their talk of the need for a “democratic” revolution, represent a social democratic wing within Stalinism. Their lack of a strong working class base or even a particularly active orientation towards workers’ struggles means that they do not represent an important tendency within the working class, mobilising around key questions in the class struggle, nor a tendency that has yet completely broken with Stalinism and embraced the revolutionary programme.

Nonetheless, their split represents an important opportunity for revolutionaries, firstly because open fissures within the PCF are rare events and need to be plumbed for all that they are worth, secondly because trapped within the Rénovateur movement are many militants who are searching for a programme and an organisation that can meet today’s situation in France. Neither Juquin, nor the suitors of the LCR, will provide these militants with what they need.

The initial response of the LCR

Because of the various pre-existing opposition tendencies within the LCR, when the Rénovateurs first appeared on the scene the leadership of the LCR was forced to raise some meek criticisms of their positions. In April 1987, to reassure critics within the LCR, two leaders of the majority wrote:

“In the manifesto of the Rénovateurs, the question of the state and the revolutionary break is the central strategic question. We are pursuing a discussion on this point.”8

Inprecor, the French-language fortnightly of the USFI, made the following “forthright” criticism of the manifesto’s reformist position on the state:

“From a revolutionary Marxist point of view, several key points require substantial debate and clarifications. In particular, as far as the problem of the bourgeois state is concerned, certain formulations [!] of the manifesto on this point could be understood [!] as opening a gradualist perspective to the passage to socialism.”9

Both these “criticisms” are in fact left cover for an opportunist orientation. Neither the USFI nor the LCR have ever made any clear characterisation of the politics of the Rénovateurs. For Marxists, it is necessary to understand the nature of an organisation’s politics, and to place a sign above it, giving the direction of movement: to clearly state what is. But the LCR has avoided this elementary task, and has preferred to plunge itself into joint electoral work without even a clear description of the forces with which it is working.

Despite the promises of the leadership, there has been no attempt to debate the question of the state with the Rénovateurs: Professor Daniel Bensaïd produced a toothless reply in the same issue of Critique Communiste as the manifesto was published in, a “reply” which itself manages to avoid mentioning the necessity of destroying the bourgeois state and replacing it by workers’ councils and an armed militia. Instead, Bensaïd puts forward an equally evasive formulation worthy of the Stalinists themselves:

“We consider that any presence within the state institutions should be guided by the necessity of reinforcing the widest possible democracy, and of the autonomy of the mass movement.”10

There is no mention either of the consequences of a false position on the state for key programmatic questions: the nature of the police, of parliament, of the army, and or on tactics towards these bodies. This is not surprising: the USFI in general, and the LCR in particular, have a long history of junking the revolutionary programme, from Ernest Mandel’s “structural reforms” of capitalism in the 1960s to the rabid opportunism towards social democratic currents in Europe in the 1980s. Thus the LCR concludes its tactics towards the Rénovateurs:

“What is necessary, then, is not to quickly find the elements of a common minimum programme, but, in order to deal with the major questions of the day, to tease out the principled from the secondary, the strategic from the tactical, that which is necessary before we can begin to march together, and that which can be resolved whilst marching.”11

The question of the state is clearly something “secondary” that can be “resolved whilst marching” for the “Marxists” of the LCR!

“Never mind the politics, feel the movement!”

As good centrists, the LCR have never been particularly concerned by the political positions being peddled by the Rénovateurs. For them, the most important question is the “dynamic” of the movement, and the belief that it offers the LCR yet another short cut to building a mass party. As the majority of the LCR leadership put it in their last Congress’ documents:

“To our mind, what is at stake in the process in which we are involved is the common construction of a revolutionary party.”12

The people upon whom the LCR are relying in order to build this Party are the 4-5,000 Rénovateurs, plus the other militants who have been mobilised in the “Support and Initiative Committees” around Juquin’s candidacy. The problem is that, despite the existence of several hundred committees, the only people really active in them are the LCR and the Rénovateurs. There is no “Juquin dynamic” in terms of an important mobilisation of the youth or of the working class in support of his candidacy. Where are the massive mobilisations on the university campusesfi How many union branches are going to support Juquinfi How many shop stewardsfi How many PCF branchesfi The answers to these questions are “Nowhere”, “None”, “Not many” and “None”, respectively.

Even the LCR is beginning to face up to this reality. Plans for a daily paper during the last few weeks of the election campaign have now been dropped: they accept that there would be no audience for such a venture. However, the key criticism we have of the LCR’s orientation is not simply that it sees a movement that does not exist. It is rather a question of how the LCR orients to even the few thousand people mobilised around Juquin.

In saying that the Juquin campaign opens the possibility of “the common construction of a revolutionary party”, the LCR considers that a large proportion of those around Juquin (and even Juquin himself) are “revolutionaries”, and that anybody mobilised around the main planks of Juquin’s platform (35 hour week, f6,000 minimum wage, unilateral nuclear disarmament, independence for Kanaky, etc) is a likely candidate to join the future party. The starting point for revolutionaries is the organisation of workers in a Leninist vanguard party, armed with a programme for international proletarian revolution. Laudable as they may be, Juquin’s limited series of reforms will not necessarily lead to the reinforcing of the revolutionary movement. That depends upon how workers are mobilised around these demands. There is no reason to believe that there is anything magic about this “dynamic”. No reason, of course, unless like the LCR you believe that there is an inherent “anti-capitalist dynamic” in virtually every movement under the sun! For the LCR, as for the USFI as a whole, the question of programme comes a poor second: the final goal is nothing, the movement is everything!

The majority of those non-aligned individuals mobilised around Juquin’s election campaign are probably honest reformists. They want to fight for a better world, but their political weapon—their programme—is not up to the task they set themselves. We have to explain why, and propose something better. That involves a clear critique of the politics of the leadership of the Rénovateurs, and especially of Juquin, as well as common action in the class struggle, so that the superiority of the revolutionary programme can be demonstrated and these workers won away from Juquin’s reformism to Trotskyism.

Although the promised discussion on the state never took place, the LCR have raised some meek criticisms of Juquin, particularly after his notorious television interview in February. In the issue of Rouge the following week, the LCR’s paper noted that Juquin’s frankly reformist performance:

“. . . revealed the vagueness that surrounds certain aspects of Pierre Juquin’s propositions, particularly in terms of the coherence of the slogans he raised.”13

In translation, this means that apart from his Sunday-speechifying about a better world for everyone, his concrete proposals were openly reformist.

Juquin’s performance on this prime time TV slot was quite studied. He was presenting himself to the general public as a sensible left reformist, quite aware of the necessity to be “realistic”. It was also a public slap in the face for the leadership of the LCR, who only two weeks before had published the following resolution from their central committee:

“In avoiding the trap of the logic of ‘realism’, it is necessary to put the emphasis on workers’ demands and struggles, in order to impose measures that involve a break with the logic of profit.”14

We agree, but Juquin doesn’t, as he made quite clear to millions of viewers. He jumped into the “trap” of “realism” because he agrees with it! And all the LCR could find to say was that there was a “vagueness” surrounding the “coherence of the slogans he raised”! What diplomacy!

In private, LCR members will admit that Juquin is a reformist, but argue that they are trying to win the “left wing” of the Rénovateurs. Of course, the problem is you do not win the rank and file of a movement by hiding your criticism of its leaders. On the contrary, such a course simply reinforces their illusions. The best elements of the Rénovateurs must be convinced of the fatal weakness of Juquin’s politics, especially on the nature of the state. They must be convinced on the nature of Stalinism and the need for a political revolution. The experience in the PCF has led Juquin in particular and the Rénovateurs in general to reject what they see as “Leninism” and the democratic centralist party. Indeed many, especially Juquin, doubt the need for a party at all. Again, Trotskyists would have to put to the fore a critique of this “anti-partyism”, with a defence of real Leninism and the necessity of a democratic centralist party. The LCR, of course, does none of this, believing that the “dynamic” of this “anti-capitalist” movement will do this task for them.

The other essential aspect of winning over reformists is united action, through which non-revolutionary forces can see in action the superiority of the revolutionary programme. And in this regard, too, there is a major problem in the LCR’s orientation to the Rénovateurs: it is totally electoralist and the only “united action” involved is drumming up support for Juquin’s election campaign: putting up posters, organising meetings, etc. There is no way here of showing the superiority of the revolutionary analysis of the trade unions and how to transform them, how to struggle for the shorter working week, and against unemployment, etc. The LCR is trapped in a propaganda bloc in which it is limited to fighting for ideas, and it is Juquin who decides what these ideas should be.

The opposition inside the Ligue

All these shenanigans have produced a series of oppositions inside the LCR. Before the 1987 Congress there were two tendencies which claimed to be to the left of the majority of the leadership: that around Matti (the Workers’ Unity Tendency, a name which indicates their neo-Lambertist positions) with three other CC members in its wake, and another tendency supported by ten CC members, led by “JLM”. This latter grouping has since become a faction, opposed to the LCR’s support for Juquin. Despite their best intentions, neither of these groups has been able to provide a genuine political alternative to the majority’s position.

In summer 1987, the situation was as follows: the Matti tendency was in favour of “preparing for an independent workers’ party” and presenting an LCR candidate at the presidential election. The JLM tendency proposed “confrontation and unity with Lutte Ouvrière” and . . . the presentation of an LCR candidate at the presidential election. The agreed position of the organisation was that Krivine was their candidate, and that there was no question of withdrawing him in favour of Juquin unless the latter agreed to a number of key points (overt disavowal of the 1981-86 Mitterrand governments being among them).

Juquin wouldn’t be pinned down and refused to sign the LCR’s document. Nevertheless, the Ligue leadership withdrew Krivine’s candidacy, without previous consultation with the CC! Faced with this fait accompli, only the JLM tendency was prepared to draw the conclusions of this bit of manoeuvring, and they declared themselves a faction. Whatever their political weaknesses (and there are many), at least these comrades showed themselves to be more serious than Matti’s perpetual “loyal opposition”.

Unfortunately the faction doesn’t have much to say for itself, apart from the fact that Juquin is a reformist and that the LCR should have presented Krivine. The problem however is not just whether or not to present a candidate, but rather what to say to the workers during an election campaign, and what one’s candidate says. And thereby hangs the weakness of the faction’s position. Because, had Krivine stood, it is highly probable that his election programme would not have been very different from that of Juquin! Certainly the LCR’s campaign in the 1986 parliamentary campaign concentrated on the same issues (35 hour week, Kanaky, etc) without offering any concrete programme of action for the French working class. The faction merely repeats this error, arguing simply that the LCR is “first and foremost an organisation that is capable of marking the situation by its intervention”.15 It also seriously underestimates the hold of reformism on the French working class, arguing the workers no longer look to either the unions or the PS or PCF. If all this is true, how were the unions able to stop the railway workers strike of 1986-87, and why are the workers going to vote in their tens of millions for the PCF and the PS in the presidential electionsfi

In the current situation in France a revolutionary intervention into the election campaign would have to concentrate on the key issues facing workers and how to fight around them. This would be very different from Juquin’s campaign. Let us look at two issue he raises: unemployment and peace. On the question of unemployment, propaganda should be made not only for the 35 hour week, but also for the sliding scale of hours under workers’ control, for job-sharing with no loss of pay, for a massive programme of public works, for occupations of factories threatening closure, for the organisation of the unemployed by the trade unions, for workers’ control over hiring and firing and of track speed. To win these demands, workers need to take action in the workplaces and on the streets. It’s no good depending on friendly legislators in parliament to carry out these tasks. To really defend workers’ interests, working class action is needed around specific demands.

To meet people’s fear of nuclear destruction, revolutionaries have to explain the root cause of war: the continued existence of class society, and to argue against utopian solutions of “disarmament” which foresee a peaceful disarming of the bourgeoisie. Against this reformist nonsense peddled by the Rénovateurs, revolutionaries must argue against all military spending, against conscription, for the unionisation of soldiers and the formation of soldiers committees. For the organisation of protest strikes in the civilian armaments industry against French imperialism’s use of the fieet in the Gulf or atomic tests in the South Pacific. To counter reformist illusions in the state, a revolutionary election campaign would point to the record of the state forces in breaking up strikes and occupations, in murdering working class militants. The defence of every strike, occupation and demonstration by workers’ defence guards needs to be organised, and the dissolution of the police, the CRS and every other repressive state force has to be fought for.

This is not ultimatism, this is explaining to workers how they can fight and how they can win. Any other approach, such as those of both the LCR and the Rénovateurs, is hopelessly tainted by reformist prejudices, and will do nothing to persuade workers that their existing political parties are inadequate.

The origins of the LCR’s current orientation

The LCR’s orientation towards the Rénovateurs has not appeared out of the blue: it has international roots and consequences which are much more important that a quick electoral waltz with Juquin. It is this aspect which the oppositions in the LCR need to examine, if they are to hope to come to grips with the leadership’s positions.

The Rénovateurs are only the latest in a long list of “forces” (often semi-fictitious) which have been the object of the LCR’s attentions over the last two decades. There was the “Alternative” movement (Greens, left reformists, etc) in 1985-86, disillusioned members of the PS and PCF in 1983, a supposed “June ’36”-type movement that the Ligue expected to be unleashed by the election of Mitterrand in 1981, Eurocommunism in 1977-78, the “new mass vanguard” in 1975, the electors of Alain Krivine in 1969, “red bases” in 1968, PCF members in 1965, etc.

Many of the twists and turns were faithful refiections of the USFI’s projected “mass movements”, which were always to be the latest key to building the revolutionary party. The XIIth Congress of the USFI (1984) was no exception. The resolution on “Building the Fourth International” declared:

“The present stage of building the Fourth International should therefore be situated within this overall process characterised by the emergence of a broad spectrum of forces breaking to varying degrees with reformism, Stalinism and national populism. These currents are capable of rediscovering a revolutionary practice on the basis of their own experience, but they do not immediately pose the question of the programme of world revolution and the rebuilding of a revolutionary International . . . We stand now merely at the beginning of profound and lasting transformations in the workers’ movement.”16

Now the most important forces this report is referring to are a lot weightier than Juquin and Co. The USFI is clearly orienting to the FSLN in Nicaragua, which has become for the USFI one of several organisations

“. . . that are struggling resolutely and honestly for the victory of the proletarian revolution in their country. The Sandinistas did not suddenly become revolutionary the day after their victory. They already were before then, and there certainly exist future Sandinistas in several countries today, whether we know of them or not.”17

While there may not be any Sandinistas in France, there are the Rénovateurs! The aim of the USFI is to fuse with these “new forces”, even if they explicitly reject Trotskyism and building the Fourth International. This tactic has already been “successfully” applied by the German section of the USFI, the GIM. In October 1986 the weak and demoralised GIM fused with an ex-Maoist organisation, the KPD, to form the VSP (United Socialist Party).

The gaps in the “Unification platform of the German revolutionaries”18 show the differences that still exist between the GIM and the KPD, differences that effectively prevent the fused organisation from intervening in the German class struggle. The fusion document says nothing on: the nature of the USSR and the other workers’ states (an important question in West Germany!); orientation towards the trades unions; the nature of the SPD and tactics towards it; the nature of the Greens; the proletarian revolution (characterised as a “political revolution” by the Platform19); “socialism in one country”, never mind the key questions of tactics and strategy in the international class struggle! But, no doubt, all these are problems that can be “resolved whilst marching” as the LCR would have it. In France there is a bit more of a problem—it is not clear that the Rénovateurs want to form a party at all!

Apart from the faction, all the tendencies in the LCR are keen to build a party with the Rénovateurs, which obviously raises the question of what kind of organisation they will build together. The LCR is currently having a substantial internal debate on this question,20 provoked in part by the Rénovateurs’ refusal to commit themselves to building a party. This was made graphically clear at the end of Juquin’s 7,000-strong Paris meeting. “Can we change things by an election campaignfi” he asked the crowd. “NO!” they shouted back, to the obvious pleasure of the LCR. He then asked “Can we change things by building a partyfi” “NO!” they shouted again. The LCR probably felt less comfortable.

The current in-word for the Rénovateurs’ future project is a “front”. What exactly this means isn’t clear, but we can be sure that: i) it will not be a democratic centralist organisation, and ii) the reins of power will be held by the current Rénovateur leadership. Whether the whole of the LCR membership can be persuaded to go along with liquidating themselves into such a group remains to be seen. One thing is certain: none of the tendencies inside the Ligue has any idea how to combat the leadership’s opportunist line.

What kind of Internationalfi

For the USFI leadership, the French tactic is just one aspect of a whole world orientation which has been given added impetus since they decided that the FSLN had established a new “dictatorship of the proletariat”. For the USFI, the “Fourth International”, built by Trotsky in order to become a mass revolutionary international, is but one element in a great “recomposition process”. Thus, faithful to its forty year old centrist analysis, the 1984 World Congress declared:

“When Yugoslav, Chinese, and Vietnamese CP leaderships led the seizure of power in their respective countries, they were acting as revolutionary leaderships, despite the bureaucratic deformations of their theory and practice—’revolutionary centrist’ if you will, but revolutionary. At this very moment, the international development of the class struggle, the advances of the revolution, the establishment of new workers’ states, are fostering a general trend towards a recomposition of the workers movement and its vanguard.”21

Thus the Stalinist parties, which overthrew capitalism in a bureaucratic and counter-revolutionary manner excluding the working class and poor peasantry from any exercise of political power, become “revolutionary centrists” for the practical politicians of the USFI. Thus our “Trotskyists” continue their decades-old dream of a common international with these Stalinists and tendencies like the FSLN. And although the Congress explicitly refused to go all the way in grovelling before the “Castroite current” so beloved of the neo-Stalinists of the American SWP, there is barely a hair’s breadth of difference between the position of the Mandelites and that of the SWP in terms of which tendencies they would like to be part of the “new international”. Further, little separates the USFI from other members of the “world Trotskyist movement”. Compare the USFI’s orientation to fusion with these various “revolutionary” movements with the LIT’s position for “a Trotskyist or Trotskyist-like organisation”22 or the FI(ICR)’s “For an international of ‘independent’ workers’ parties”. All these fake Trotskyists have the same method: first build a big organisation, then worry about the programme!

Like Moreno and Lambert, the USFI pretends that their position is similar to that of Trotsky’s. Thus Bensaïd, in a recent book, suggests that Trotsky’s strategy in the 1930s was:

“to build nationally based revolutionary parties which could intervene and affect the situation, and were not necessarily a section of the new international which was being built”.23

The last Congress of the USFI went even further in deforming the truth, suggesting that in proposing the “Bloc of Four”, Trotsky “did not envisage an International limited to revolutionary Marxists but a broader international of which they would be a decisive component”.24 This version of events is completely false, and designed to fit in with today’s positions of the LCR/USFI. Whilst it is true that the “Bloc of Four” was aimed at centrist organisations, the document signed by the four organisations (the Trotskyist International Left Opposition, the German SAP and the Dutch RSP and OSP) was designed to produce principled programmatic agreement, by winning over the centrists to revolutionary positions. Thus the signatories agreed on defence of the USSR, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the soviet form of the state, democratic centralism, a new international, etc, and agreed to go on and produce a common programme. Would that the LCR’s orientation to the Rénovateurs had been so clear!

No revolutionary party can be built with the kind of orientation proposed by the USFI. The experience of the GIM shows this clearly. None of the tendencies inside the LCR have the necessary programmatic clarity which could prevent the leadership taking the organisation down this opportunist road. Only a thorough-going revolutionary critique of the history of the LCR and of the USFI can provide the necessary basis for a principled struggle against the Ligue’s current orientation.

1. Rouge
4 March 87
2. Critique Communiste 61 p 4)
3. ibid p 7
4. ibid
5. ibid p 9
6. ibid p 4
7. Informations Ouvrières 25 March 87
8. Critique Communiste, supplement to No 62,
p 35
9. Inprecor
28 April 87, p 17
10. Critique Communiste, supplement to No 62, p 15
11. Critique Communiste, supplement to No 61, p 41
12. Critique Communiste supplement No 14 to issue 63, p 41
13. Rouge 4 February 88
14. Rouge
21 January 88
15. Critique Communiste, supplement to No 61, p 100
16. Ibid p 40, original emphasis
17. Ibid p 38
18. Quatrième Internationale 22/23 pp 117-131
19.Ibid p 123, our emphasis
20. See “Révolution et Parti”, Dossier Rouge 24 for the various positions
21. Resolutions of the XIIth Congress of the Fourth International, p 37
22. Darioush Karim (Nahuel Moreno), The revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, Colombia, 1979 p185
23. Stratégie et Parti, Paris: La Brèche/Collect-ion Racines, 1987, p 54. The first part of this book has been translated into English in the series “Notebooks for Study and Research”, under the title “Revolutionary Strategy Today”
24. Resolutions of the XII World Congress, p 43