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The LRCI is founded!

At the Leagues delegate congress in Strasbourg last month the MRCI adopted an international programme, democratic centralist statutes and changed its name to the League For a Revolutionary Communist International(LRCI). The congress elected an International Executive Committee with members from each of the LRCIs sections.

Fifty years on from the founding or the Fourth International (FI) we have adopted a re-elaborated transitional programme. The preparations for this involved a six day drafting commission in December 1988, aggregates and conferences or the national sections culminating finally in a Congress lasting eight clays. The Congress discussed over 400 written amendments submitted in advance plus many more formulated by the sub commissions during the Congress itself.

In contrast the Fourth International’s founding conference adopted its Transitional Programme in a day – with no amendments. The difference between then and now is not merely the absence of a Trotsky. It lies in the broken programmatic and organisational continuity of the revolutionary Marxist movement.

There has been no revolutionary programme or international for nearly 40 years. On the major questions or class struggle – the nature of imperialism and Stalinism’s survival after World War Two, perspectives for world revolution, tactics towards reformism, Stalinism and petit bourgeois nationalism – there has been confusion amongst the centrist fragments of the Fourth International. Opportunism and sectarianism have been the hallmarks of the various so-called Trotskyist organisations producing confusion, capitulations and occasionally disastrous betrayals of the working class vanguard.

It was out of the crisis or centrist Trotskyism in the 1970s that the groups emerged which were to form the Movement for a Revolutionary Communist International (MRCI) in 1984.

Workers Power and the Irish Workers Group originated in the expelled Left Faction of the British International Socialists (now the Socialist Workers Party) and its Irish sister organisation. The German Gruppe Arbeitermacht emerged from the breakup of the Spartacusbund-itself a product of a split within the USFI in Germany. Our French section Pouvoir Ouvrier was formed out of comrades breaking from the small French Morenoite group as well as comrades from Pierre Lambert’s PCI.

These groups came together in April 1984 to found the MRCI on the basis of fraternal relations. We committed ourselves to the foundation of an international democratic centralist tendency. Rejecting the method of non-aggression pacts, stitched-up fusions which fall apart immediately, and of international tendencies dominated by the politics or one big national group we argued:

„In order to examine programmatic positions and methods of work, to overcome weaknesses of national one-sidedness and to establish a recognised and trusted leadership and organisation, it is necessary for revolutionary groups to develop an organisational framework within which collaboration and private discussion can take place. Within such a framework autonomous groups of communists could test their ability to generate programmatic advance, to adopt common responses to current political problems, to create a leading cadre and organisation worthy of the trust and loyalty of the various groups.“ („Declaration of fraternal Relations“, April 1984)

Between then and now the national sections have undertaken the theoretical work and internal debate necessary to give a solid programmatic basis for an international fusion.

A milestone in this process was the MRCI’s agreement in September 1988 to adopt theses on nuclear power on a democratic centralist basis, abandoning the criteria of unanimity for public positions.

The process of building the MRCI involved not only fusions but splits. In late 1985 there was a split in the Austrian IKL with a small group of comrades forming the Gruppe Arbeiterstandpunkt (ASt) and joining the MRCI. Since then the ASt has become an important factor within the Austrian far-left, recently fusing with the Salzburg based Socialist Alternative group (SOAL).

Added impetus towards founding an international tendency came through developing relations with comrades emerging from the crisis of centrism in the Bolivian POR (Lora). This year Poder Obrero became the MRCI’s Peruvian section. The Bolivian group Guio Obrero (Workers‘ Guide) sent its revolutionary greetings to the Congress and renewed its intentions to discuss with the LRCI with a view to joining.

Though small in number, the delegates from Latin America immeasurably enriched the work or the Congress and the final programme. The one previously existing semi-colonial section, the Irish Workers Group, had been engaged in applying the strategy and the tactics of permanent revolution for years, combating bourgeois nationalism, guerrillaism and Stalinist stageism. The Latin American comrades were able to bring to the programme their experiences of work in conditions of hyper-inflation, of massive guerrilla struggles and state repression, of very sharp turns from revolutionary to counter-revolutionary situations, of mass Stalinist and nationalist movements. Their experience was able to enrich not just the section“ of the programme devoted to national, land and democratic struggles, but those on the oppressed, on trade union and electoral work, on the anti-militarist struggle etc

The resulting programme is a very large document, elaborating not just our major slogans, but our understanding of imperialism; Stalinism, social democratic reformism, centrism etc. It contains the LRCI’s positions on the major revolutionary crises of the post war period. This is not a literary or purely historical exercise. Precisely because no international party existed to draw the lessons of these crises, precisely because the centrists compounded previous errors our programme has to refresh the memory of the working class vanguard. By doing this we can spell out the lessons of the major crises for today’s struggles

Although the forces of the LRCI are small at present, our programme is addressed to the masses. It is a guide to action, providing the basis for concrete and specific action programmes for the national sections, for particular situations and movements.

As nationally isolated groups; then as a fraternal movement, we have continually struggled against, the political effects of the absence of international democratic Centralism, the pressure of national conditions on our programme and our priorities.

In founding a democratic centralist tendency we have taken a qualitative step forward. The work of the national sections is now under the formal discipline of the IEC. Whilst recognising our weakness in numbers and implantation as small fighting propaganda groups, implanted in only two continents, we are now stronger than ever in programme. United around this programme our cadres represent a pledge for the future

As Stalinism slides deeper into crisis, as a vast army of industrial workers finds its strength in the semi-colonies, the LRCI addresses itself to all those seeking to avenge the betrayals and defeats of the workers and poor peasants, to all those determined to destroy imperialism and Stalinist rule.

Read the programme, study und discuss it with us, fight for its demands and join the LRCI’s fight for a new Leninist-Trotskyist International.

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