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Fourth International

After Trotskyism, what? Some personal thoughts

 

 

By Arash Azizi

 

“The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.”
— Karl Marx

 

December 31, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — A few months ago, I left the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), an organization of which I had been a member for more than seven years. Many friends and comrades wrote to ask me to outline the reasons for this decision. I write these lines primarily for them. As someone who had recruited many to the ranks of the IMT, I felt responsible to explain why I had left it and what path do I see ahead in the fight for socialism. I don’t claim to have found a magical formula or the answer to all my questions but hope that these humble lines will be of interest to some.

 

NATO’s new cold war redraws left, liberal views on imperialism and war

The right-wing Canadian government endorsed a "Ukrainian Independence Day" celebration in Toronto that openly raised funds for the fascist Right Sector organisation and at which the group's red and black flags were displayed prominently.

By Roger Annis

September 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Just under 25 years ago, the Cold War ended with a capitalist triumph. The nationalised economies and political structures of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe collapsed and a transition to a harsh, anti-social capitalism began.

In the years that followed, an eastward expansion was undertaken by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military alliance of the imperialist countries of Europe and North America. Many of the countries of eastern Europe joined the alliance, in explicit defiance of agreements by NATO with post-Soviet Russia not to expand in this way.

Barry Sheppard on Daniel Bensaid's and Ernie Tate's memoirs of the 'tumultuous' 1960s

Paris, May-June 1968.

An Impatient Life, a Political Memoir
By Daniel Bensaid
London: Verso, 2013

Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: a Memoir: volume 2, Britain 1965-1970
By Ernest Tate
London: Resistance Books, 2014

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal readers can read an excerpt HERE.

Read Barry Sheppard's review of Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: volume 1 HERE

Reviewed by Barry Sheppard

September 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- These books cover the impact of the worldwide youth radicalisation that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s upon two sections of the Fourth International, one in France and the other in Britain. In both countries, this was a period of tumultuous events, including the US invasion of Vietnam and the international movement that erupted against it.

Comment: Prospects for an anti-war/solidarity movement in Ukraine and Russia

Anti-war protest in Chernivtsi, western Ukraine, July 23, 2014. Signs read, "Bring our children back!" and "Stop the bloodshed!"

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.

By Roger Annis

August 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In an article published on Left-East on August 10, Russian left-wing writer Ilya Budraitskis laments "there is no anti-war movement in Russia". His article is a rather bleak, despairing outlook on the prospects of organising against “war” in the border regions between Ukraine and Russia. He titles his article “Hope in a hopeless place”.

Discussion: Fourth International needs to oppose the war and austerity drive against Ukrainian people

Far-right militia parade openly in Kyiv.

More on developments in Ukraine HERE.

By Roger Annis and Renfrey Clarke

June 27, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On June 7, the leadership bureau of the Fourth International adopted a statement on the crisis in Ukraine. It was adopted unanimously, with one abstention vote. The text was translated and published in English on June 16, and has also been published without comment in the weekly Presse-toi à gauche (Move Left!) online bulletin in Quebec.

Fourth International statement on Ukraine: 'Popular movement and imperialisms'

Maidan square, Keiv, December 2013.

See also "Fourth International needs to oppose war and austerity drive against Ukrainian people". More on developments in Ukraine HERE.

International Viewpoint -- This resolution was adopted at the meeting of the Fourth International Bureau on June 7, 2014.

* * *

The very deep political crisis experienced by the Ukraine since November 2013 is far from being over. In this country, following a very long national oppression (basically Polish and Russian), the process of national formation is incomplete, the nation-state is still fragile. This is all the more the case that the country is taken in hostage between Russian imperialist pressure and that of the Euro-Atlantic powers, and subject to the socially fragmenting impact of neo-liberalism.

1. From Maidan to the provisional government: a powerful popular mobilization

Paul Le Blanc reviews Daniel Bensaïd's memoir, 'An Impatient Life'

An Impatient Life: A Memoir
by Daniel Bensaïd, translated by David Fernbach, with an introduction by Tariq Ali,
Verso Books, 2014.

Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to order a copy HERE. You can download an excerpt HERE (PDF).

Review by Paul Le Blanc

May 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Daniel Bensaïd (1946-2010) was one of the most respected theorists to emerge from the 1960s radicals of Western Europe. Always inclined to think “outside the box”, waving aside venerable dogmas and shrugging off standard formulations, he found fresh ways, energised with the aura of unorthodoxy, to express and apply truths from the revolutionary Marxist tradition.

Portugal: 40 years after the Carnation Revolution

By Jorge Costa

April 24, 2014 -- International Viewpoint -- On the eve of April 25, 1974, Portuguese society was smouldering from contradictions accumulated in half a century of dictatorship. At the heart of these contradictions was a war that lasted thirteen years, to hold on to the African colonies of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe. This conflict conditioned the whole of national life, because of the social suffering caused by the mobilisation of two hundred thousand men, a tenth of the working population (a human cost equivalent to twice that of Vietnam), because of the wave of migration driven by hunger and the war, and because of the impossibility of a military solution, the only one contemplated by the regime.

Daniel Bensaïd: Paris '68, 'When history breathed down our necks' -- excerpt from 'An Impatient Life: A Memoir'

March 1, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below is an excerpt from the late Daniel Bensaïd's memoir, An Impatient Life, just published by Verso. It is posted with the kind permission of Verso. Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to order a copy HERE. You can download the excerpt HERE (PDF), or read it on screen below.

* * *

An Impatient Life: A Memoir
by Daniel Bensaïd, translated by David Fernbach, with an introduction by Tariq Ali,
Verso Books, 2014. 336 pp.

Open Marxism and the dilemmas of coherence: Paul Le Blanc's reflections on the contributions of Michael Löwy

Michael Löwy.

More by Paul Le Blanc can be found HERE.

By Paul Le Blanc

September 8, 2013 -- ESSF, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Paul Le Blanc's permission and urging -- The discovery of a wondrous continent is what it felt like when some of my closest comrades and I connected with Michael Löwy, this remarkable revolutionary Marxist intellectual and activist -- himself a blend of Austrian Jew, Brazilian, Parisian, seeming to reach out to the world in all directions, an outstanding modern-day representative of Trotsky’s Fourth International. [1]

Doug Lorimer, a life-long committed revolutionary, 1953-2013

Read some of Doug Lorimer's writings HERE.

By Pat Brewer

July 27, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Doug Lorimer, a life-long committed revolutionary, died on July 21 in Sydney after a year of fighting deteriorating ill health and long-term hospitalisation.

Lorimer was born April 17, 1953 in Dundee in Scotland and migrated to Australia with his parents Connie and Bill when he was four years old to settle in the South Australian steel town of Whyalla.

Lorimer radicalised as a high school student. He first became involved in left politics through the Australian movement against the imperialist war in Vietnam, when he and his mother joined the moratorium marches in Adelaide in 1970.

Lorimer was recruited to the Socialist Youth Alliance — which later became the youth organisation Resistance — aged 16 in late 1971 in his final year in high school. He then went on to enrol in a science degree majoring in physics at Flinders University.

He dropped out of the degree during his first year as his commitment to building a revolutionary party grew. However, his interest in science never waned.

'The revolution belongs to the Egyptian people': Socialist Alliance statement of solidarity with Egyptian revolution

[This statement was adopted by the Socialist Alliance (Australia) national executive on July 12, 2013. Below that is a statement from Spain's Izquierda Anticapitalista (Anti-capitalist left), the views of which, reports International Viewpoint, "represents a generally held opinion in the Fourth International."]

For more on Egypt, click HERE.

The Socialist Alliance recognises and welcomes the June 30-July 3, 2013 popular mobilisations of the Egyptian people, led by youth, for democracy, human rights and social and economic justice that brought down the regime of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Socialist Alliance notes that the number of Egyptians who participated in the protests was higher than the number who voted for Morsi, as was the number of Egyptians who signed the Tamarod petition calling for the president to step down.

At the same time, the Socialist Alliance condemns the violent and repressive measures of the Egyptian Armed Forces since July 3 in particular the July 8 massacre of more than 50 unarmed supporters of the Morsi government and the arbitrary detention of Morsi and other leaders and functionaries of the deposed regime.

Europe's 'lefts' and the capitalist crisis

Front de Gauche (France) leader Jean-Luc Melenchon with SYRIZA (Greece) leader Alexis Tspiras.

For more on the developments on Europe's far left, click HERE (see also the pink tabs and the end of the article)

By Francois Sabado

May 20, 2013 -- International Viewpoint -- The situation of the "lefts" in Europe cannot be understood without starting from the crisis, its multiple dimensions and its effects on the social and political field. Hitting head-on all the organisations and parties linked to the history of the workers’ movement, precipitating ruptures, it obliges political forces to recompose around new axes.

Socialist Resistance (Britain): 'Build a broad left party, fight for Marxist unity'

April 21, 2013 -- Socialist Resistance -- Phil Hearse made this submission to the April 2013 Socialist Resistance conference. The position it sets out was accepted by the organisation. A number of videos can be found here, including greetings from the Anti-Capitalist Initiative (ACI), Green Left, the International Socialist Network (ISN) and Left Unity.

* * *

Comrades, we face major opportunities in the next period to help work towards a new broad left party and a refounded Marxist regroupment in this country. The left – and its far-left component in particular – is undergoing a profound shake up, the precise contours of which none of us can yet see. The left that comes out of the next two years in England and Wales will look very different to the way its looks now. Our task is to grab that opportunity with both hands.

Holandés: Una resaca en lugar de un terremoto

Emile Roemer.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3026.]

'Donde haya injusticia, allí nos encontraran'

Declaración del Partido Socialista holandés después de las elecciones de 2012

Un combativo Emile Roemer se dirigió a cientos de miembros del Partido Socialista en la sede Paard van Troje (Caballo de Troya) de La Haya. El SP conservó sus 15 escaños, a pesar de la feroz competencia con el PvdA (Partido Laborista) y el VVD (liberales de centro derecha). "Sí. Estoy muy orgulloso de este partido y de los millones de personas que votaron por nosotros", dijo Roemer. "Y sí, yo también estoy decepcionado, lo que es lógico cuando hace tan poco tiempo estábamos tan alto en las encuestas. Pero la decepción durará alrededor de cinco minutos Nuestra campaña para las próximas elecciones comienza -como siempre ocurre en el SP- hoy ".

Netherlands elections: A hangover instead of an earthquake

Dutch Socialist party leader Emile Roemer.

See also "Rise and rise of the Dutch Socialist Party".

Statement from the Dutch Socialist Party after the 2012 election: 'Wherever there is injustice, There we will be found'

Statement from the Dutch Socialist Party after the national elections 

September 12, 2012 -- A combative Emile Roemer addressed hundreds of Socialist Party members in the Paard van Troje (Trojan Horse) venue in The Hague (Den Haag). The SP held on 15to its  seats, despite a fiercely fought two-horse race between the PvdA (Labour Party) and the VVD (centre-right liberals). "Yes. I am extremely proud of this party and of the million people who voted for us", said Roemer. "And yes, I am also disappointed. That is logical when only a short time ago we stood so high in the polls. But that disappointment will last around five minutes. Our campaign for the next election begins – as is always the case with the SP – today."

Review: Invaluable history, important lessons from Barry Sheppard

Malik Miah.
The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume I: The Sixties, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (Sydney), 2005, 354 pages.

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume II: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-1988, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (London), 2012, 345 pages.

[For more discussion of the US SWP, click HERE.]

By Malik Miah

Who or what killed the US SWP?

Barry Sheppard (right, holding banner pole with Sylvia Weinstein) at an anti-war march in New York in 1966.
The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume I: The Sixties, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (Sydney), 2005, 354 pages.

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume II: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-1988, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (London), 2012, 345 pages.

[For more discussion of the US SWP, click HERE.]

Review by Peter Boyle

'Leaps Leaps Leaps': Lenin and politics

By Daniel Bensaid

From “International Socialism” n° 95, July 2002 -- Hannah Arendt was worried that politics might disappear completely from the world. The century had seen such disasters that the question of whether ‘politics still has any meaning at all’ had become unavoidable”. The issues at stake in these fears were eminently practical: ‘The lack of meaning in which the whole of politics has ended up is confirmed by the dead end into which specific political questions are flocking.’ (1)

For her, totalitarianism was the form taken by this disappearance which she feared. Today we are confronted with a different form of the danger: totalitarianism, the human face of market tyranny. Here politics finds itself crushed between the order of the financial markets - which is made to seem natural - and the moralising prescriptions of ventriloquist capitalism. The end of politics and the end of history then coincide in the infernal repetition of the eternity of the commodity, in which echo the toneless voices of Fukuyama and Furet: ‘The idea of another society has become almost impossible to conceive of, and no one in the world today is offering any advice on the subject. Here we are, condemned to live in the world as it is.’ (2) This is worse than melancholy, it is despair, as Blanqui might have said, this eternity of mankind through the Dow Jones and the FT 100.

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