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Fourth International

World People's Conference on Climate Change: Some critical comments on the People's Agreement

[For full coverage of the World People's Conference  on Climate Change, including the full text of the documents, click HERE.]

By Daniel Tanuro and Sandra Invernizzi

June 2010 -- International Viewpoint -- The World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which met in Cochabamba (Bolivia) from April 20-22, 2010, at the invitation of Bolivia's President Evo Morales, was an enormous success. Thirty-thousand participants discussed for several days the various facets of the climate crisis and adopted a series of very interesting documents, from a resolutely anti-capitalist standpoint.

(Updated June 4) Condemn Israel's attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, break ties with murderous Israel!


June 1, 2010 -- Emergency rally in Sydney to protest Israeli commando assault on Gaza aid flotilla, attended by 4000 people. Photos by Darrian Perry for Green Left Weekly.

Statements by International Solidarity Movement (Palestine), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Fatah (Palestine), Socialist Alliance (Australia), Labour Party Pakistan, Socialist Party of Malaysia, People's Democratic Party (Indonesia), Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), Working People's Association (PRP) (Indonesia), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, Coalition for a Free Palestine (South Africa), Congress of South African Trade Unions, South African Communist Party, Socialist Party USA, Fourth International, Sinn Fein (Ireland) (check back for more).

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(Updated May 21) Thailand: International left solidarity with the democracy movement

Photo by Lee Yu Kyung, Bangkok.

Statements by the New Anti-Capitalist Party of France, Socialist Alliance of Australia, the Socialist Party of Malaysia, the Fourth International, Focus on Global South, Australia Asia Worker Links. See also Asia-Pacific left statement -- `Resolve crisis through democracy, not crackdown!', by Asian left and progressive organisations.

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New Anti-Capitalist Party: Stop repression in Thailand

By the New Anti-Capitalist Party/Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA), France

Fourth International: Mobilisation for the climate and anti-capitalist strategy

[The following documents dealing with capitalism's climate crisis were presented at the 16th World Congress of the Fourth International, held in Belgium in February 2010.]

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By Daniel Tanuro

February 2010 -- Three billion human beings lack the essentials of life. The satisfaction of their needs requires increased production of material goods. Therefore increased consumption of energy. Today, 80 per cent of this energy is of fossil origin, and consequently a source of greenhouse gases which are unbalancing the climatic system.

However, we can no longer permit ourselves to unbalance the climate. We are probably no longer very far from a “tipping point” beyond which phenomena which are uncontrollable and irreversible on a human timescale are likely to be set in motion, which could lead to a situation that humanity has never experienced and which the planet has not experienced for 65 million years: a world without ice. A world in which the sea level would rise by approximately 80 metres compared to its level today.

Download Daniel Bensaïd's `Revolutionary Strategy Today'

By Liam Mac Uaid

March 31, 2010 -- MacUaid -- The International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE) is an Amsterdam-based centre providing activists and scholars around the world with opportunities for research and education. It is offering a imagefree download of the late Daniel Bensaïd’s Revolutionary Strategy Today.

Since the rise of capitalism, socialists have faced certain deep-seated obstacles: the hostility of the bourgeois state, the fitful curve of proletarian class-consciousness and the inertia or active opposition of apparatuses originally built by the workers for struggle.

Fourth International's response to Chavez’s call to found a Fifth Socialist International

[The following is an excerpt from the "Role and tasks of the Fourth International", a report adopted by the Fourth International at its 16th World Congress held in Belgium in February 2010. Click here for the full report.]

Chavez’s call to found a Fifth International poses other questions about its origins, its framework, that is to say, its viability. The Fourth International declares that it is willing to participate in the debates and preparatory meetings that may be organised. We will contribute our historic gains and our vision about what a new international and its programatic foundations could be. A genuine new international can only be born if its members share a program, an ability to intervene in society, a democratic, pluralist form of functioning, as well as clear independence from governments in order to break with capitalism.

Fourth International: Report on international situation to the 16th World Congress; Role and tasks of the FI

By Laurent Carasso

February 2010 -- This report will not attempt a detailed survey of the world but will try to stress what is most significant, what, in our view, should come under a common understanding of events and tasks. On many regional situations, the comrades will broadly enrich the discussion through their interventions.

(I) The world situation is marked by crisis

For the first time in history, this crisis is located is explained by capitalist globalisation. No territory is immune. All the economic, social and political factors are interrelated worldwide. The economic crisis is not a conjunctural crisis. This is a systemic, structural crisis: this is the most serious crisis since 1929. The United States has lost 35% of its financial wealth and the Euro zone 25%. And, when governments speak of “emerging from crisis” we do not agree. There may be short-term recoveries, related to policies in support of activity in this or that country, but the countries of the centre -- the USA and Europe -- are not emerging from crisis. The explosion of public debt in southern Europe -- in Greece, Spain -- and the banking and financial uncertainty demonstrate the instability of the situation and a new phase of the crisis, at least in Europe.

The crisis is not over!

Daniel Bensaïd: militant, intellectual, friend

Daniel Bensaïd.

By François Sabado

International Viewpoint -- Daniel Bensaïd left us today, Tuesday, January 12, 2010. Born in 1946 he gave his life to the cause of defending revolutionary Marxist ideas right to the end. He was one of the founders of the Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire (JCR -- Revolutionary Communist Youth) and the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR -- Revolutionary Communist League, French section of the Fourth International).

A leader of the May '68 movement, he was one of those people with a very sure feeling for political initiative. He had been one of the leaders of the 22nd March Movement. Grasping the dynamic of social movements, in particular the link between the student movement and workers’ general strike, he was also one of those who understood the necessity of building a political organisation, of accumulating the forces for building a revolutionary party.

The quality of Daniel’s intelligence was to combine theory and practice, intuition and political understanding, ideas and organisation. He could, at the same time, lead a stewarding force and write a theoretical text.

Excellent news from Copenhagen: Capitalist politicians exposed, foundations laid for mass movement

By Daniel Tanuro 

December 19, 2009 -- International Viewpoint -- We knew the United Nations summit in Copenhagen would not conclude with a new international treaty but a simple statement of intent – just one more. But the text adopted at the end of the meeting is worse than anything we could imagine: no quantified objectives for carbon-emissions reduction, no reference year for measuring them, no deadlines, no date!

The text included a vague promise of US$100 million yearly for adaptation in developing countries, but the formulas used and various comments lead us to fear that these will be loans administered by major financial institutions rather than true reparations paid by those responsible for the mess.

Fourth International leader on Chavez's call for a new international

The meeting of left parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, 2009. Photo by ABN.

By François Sabado

November 26, 2009 -- During an international meeting of left parties held in Caracas from 19-21 November, 2009, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez launched a call for a Fifth Socialist International, which, according to him, should bring together left parties and social movements. According to Chavez, who is also president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the Fifth International must be “an instrument for the unification and the articulation of the struggle of the peoples to save this planet”. In a world political situation marked by a total crisis of the capitalist system, this is a fact important enough to be underlined.

Fourth International debates `ecosocialism'

By Michael Löwy

International Viewpoint -- October 10, 2009 -- Daniel Tanuro’s report on climate change [Report on climate change at the IC of the Fourth International] is one of the most important documents produced by our movement in recent years. It is an invaluable contribution to the political arming of revolutionary Marxists and to making them capable of facing up to the challenges of the 21st century.

Paul Le Blanc -- Why I'm joining the US International Socialist Organization: Intensifying the struggle for social change

Paul Le Blanc.

By Paul Le Blanc

October 2009 -- I have decided to join the International Socialist Organization (ISO) because I believe socialists can and must, at this moment, intensify the struggle to bring about positive social change. I have been active in this struggle for most of my life -- as a member of the "new left" in the 1960s and early '70s (first in Students for a Democratic Society and briefly in the New American Movement), then in the Trotskyist movement (the Socialist Workers Party for ten years, briefly in Socialist Action, the Fourth Internationalist Tendency for another eight years). I have always considered "Trotskyism" as the same as revolutionary socialism, associated with some of the most useful ideas and most inspiring traditions that ever existed -- something I will come back to shortly.

Since 1992 I have been a member of Solidarity, which over the years has attracted a number of fine people who have done excellent work, although it has never proved able to sustain a membership of more than 300. I feel I have done all that I can to help build Solidarity. At this point I believe I may have more to contribute to building the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and am hopeful that the ISO can play a badly needed role in the intensification of the struggle to bring fundamental social change.

A balance sheet of the European elections

Left Bloc supporters in Portugal.

By François Sabado

The principal lessons of the European elections of June 7, 2009, are the following: massive abstention; progress for the right flanked by the far right; a collapse of social democracy; an increase in the votes for the ecologists; while the radical left, left reformists and anti-capitalists maintained their position, without making new advances, except in Portugal and Ireland.

Crisis of legitimacy

First of all, the recent European elections confirmed widespread popular abstention. The rate of abstention, at 57 per cent across the European Union, increased compared to the election of 2004, where it had already, at 54.6 per cent, beaten the previous record. The level of abstention decreased in nine countries and increased in 17. This level of abstention provides a fresh demonstration of the crisis of legitimacy of the European Union and the governing parties which situate their policies within this framework. It is the result of the peoples of Europe being marginalised in the process of building a European Union that is neoliberal and anti-democratic.

Fourth International: Draft report on climate change

By Daniel Tanuro

Below is a reworked version of the report on climate change and climate campaigns, drafted by Daniel Tanuro and presented at February 2009 meeting of the International Committee (IC) of the Fourth International. This report has been adopted as the basis of a resolution to be written for the coming Fourth International world congress. This first appeared on the International Viewpoint website.

I. THE CLIMATIC THREAT: CAUSES, RESPONSIBILITIES, SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS

1. Climate change is a fact without precedent

Climate change is a fact. In the 20th century, the average temperature of the surface of the Earth increased by 0.6°C, the sea level went up from between 10 and 20 cm, glaciers retreated almost everywhere in significant proportions, the violence of cyclones increased in the North Atlantic, and more extreme weather phenomena, such as storms, floods and droughts, were recorded.

The revolutionary life and tumultuous times of Ernest Mandel

By Barry Healy

A Life for the Revolution, Documentary by Chris Den Hond, 90 minutes, 2005; A Man Called Ernest Mandel, Documentary by Frans Buyens, 40 minutes, 1972, available of two-disc DVD, available from http://www.iire.org

Ernest Mandel, said to be perhaps the most important Marxist theoretician of the second half of the 20th century, died aged 71 on July 20, 1995. These two documentaries reveal why he was so respected but also expose a great deal more.

A Life for the Revolution uses Mandel’s life as a lens to examine some of the most significant revolutionary developments of the last few generations, with stirring archival footage and interviews with participants. The 1972 “talking head” interview A Man Called Ernest Mandel, in which he explains important aspects of socialist democracy and workers’ control of the means of production, is packaged as an extra.

The DSP and the Fourth International

Introduction

On August 17, 1985 the National Committee of the Democratic Socialist Perpective (then named the Socialist Workers Party) voted to end the party’s affiliation to the Fourth International, the international organisation founded in 1938 by the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his supporters around the world.

This decision, which was subsequently endorsed by the DSP’s 11th Congress, held in Canberra in January 1986, was the result of a process of rethinking within the DSP about many of the ideas it had shared in common with other parties adhering to the Trotskyist movement.

International left collaboration and socialist renewal

By John Percy

Introduction

As we reflect on the tumultuous twentieth century -- ``wars, revolutions, crises and constant technological change -- we have to reaffirm that socialism, now more than ever, is necessary for the future development of humanity. In fact, it's necessary for preventing society's collapse into barbarism and the ecological destruction of the planet. Marxism not only has continuing relevance; it's more applicable than ever. Society continues to be divided into economically opposed classes. Capitalism expropriates the wealth created by working people through their labour. Social production on a world scale is the norm, yet the fruits of that production remain privately owned and controlled. There is an obscene and widening gap between rich and poor, within countries and between countries: in 1995, 358 billionaires had a total wealth equal to the combined income of the world's 2.3 billion poorest people. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, demoralisation among left forces has been extensive. Some were bought off by crumbs from the imperialist table and have become outright defenders of the capitalist system. Some parties shut up shop, like the

The Ukraine scam, internationals and internationalism

By John Percy

CONTENTS

International Potemkin villages

Wrong conception

Actual Marxist practice

The Comintern

Trotskyist tradition

Real internationalism

Globalisation

United parties

Notes

January 2004 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Embarrassing details of an extensive scam being operated against left-wing organisations surfaced in the Ukraine in mid-2003. At least twelve, possibly up to twenty, small left groups, mainly in England and the United States, were conned by an enterprising group of Ukrainian politicos pretending to be supporters of each of these parties or their "internationals" setting up their Ukrainian "sections".

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