1. We are in a new situation marked by great popular uprisings and war conflicts, with international projections.
The assassination of the Iranian general Soleimani and the Trump and Netanyahu “peace plan” against the Palestinian people represent a leap in the war conflicts in the Middle East. The shock wave has spread throughout the region and directly involves local powers and, in a general way, the great world powers.
The uprisings sweep across the planet. In the Middle East and North Africa, we are facing rebellions in Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan , Iran, Jordan and Tunisia. This rising wave has its expressions, although with its particularities, in Europe, with the enormous strike process unleashed in France, challenging the Macron government, but also in Asia, like the great mobilizations in Hong Kong that have already lasted several months. Latin America is in the same situation. Furthermore, it has become one of the epicenters . Ecuador and Chile, and more recently Colombia, have shaken the entire continent and it was preceded by the eruptions of Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras, Panama and Puerto Rico. Bolivia, although it managed to break through,has great resistance.
This scenario is inseparable from the capitalist bankruptcy that has been doing its implacable work. On the one hand, the war tendencies are spurred by the worsening of the trade war. On the other, the devastating effects are felt on the masses, who react in the streets to face brutal plans of adjustment and austerity.
2. What are the 2007/8 crisis consequences in the present ?
The dominant fact is that the world economy is into a recession, what it was intended to avoid, appealing to the State.
Europe and Japan are in a complicated situation. The United States has had its lowest record since the Trump era (1.9 percent) and it can continue in that direction during2020 . The industry has fallen in production and porcentaje of employment. However, services, commerce, or house construction have kept the level of employment high, although the growth rate has been falling. The employment situation is the one that Trump has been exploiting and with which he keeps alive the possibilities of his reelection. In China, where the slowdown is becoming more pronounced. There is people who speak about an abrupt stop of the economy and that the true growth figures are hidden by the Chinese government. This is the reason why, China occupied an important place in the world economy and in the counteracting factor of the crisis.
Signs of a financial debacle, such as the one that precipitated in 2008, can be seen: we witnessed, during the year that just ended, three pronounced falls in the New York stock exchanges whose shock wave was felt globally. It is true that the Stock Exchange resumed its upward cycle and has reached historical levels.The poor operating result of balance sheets is offset by increasing financial investments. Liquidity doesn’t mean productive reinvestment to the speculative sphere. In general, we are witnessing a global debt boom at unprecedented levels. According to a recent IMF Report, the global debt amounts are extremely high.
This fragility causes permanent stress of the financial system , such as the one that occurred last year, which forced the Federal Reserve to intervene urgently in the interbank market, whose interest reached to shoot up to 9%. We can remember the liquidity crisis in USA that preceded the crash in 2008, which precipitated the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Emerging countries are the weakest links in this chain, which is affected by capital flight and the specter of default. Investors generally flee to less risky investments and seek refuge in safer financial placements in the metropolises. This is what is at the base of the negative returns of a growing swath of financial placements (which have surpassed a whopping 15 trillion dollars) and the reversal of the yield curve, which has been, in a general way, an antecedent in the great world crises and depressions of the past.
The low level of investment strike has led, contradictory and paradoxically, to an increase in employment. Rather than invest, the bourgeoisie prefers to hire workers. The economic revival (which already existed before Trump but which was reinforced in the first years of his mandate) has been based on a great precariousness. The capital becomes a block to the incorporation of technical improvements into the production process and appeals to traditional methods of super-exploitation of workers that reigned during the first stage of capitalism, destroying historical conquests of the working class. These attacks have promoted the rise of defensive fighting movements, such as the one that has demanded a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour. The progress of these claims from the lowest sectors of the salary scale is linked to the improvement in lower incomes, which Trump claimed in his State of the Union speech in February of this year.
3. The ability to cope with the prospect of a recession is significantly less than that of ten years ago. State resources to rescue capital have been depleting. States have been dragged down by capitalist bankruptcy. Instead of being a way of solution, they are part of the problem, even more, a factor of its aggravation.
The Federal Reserve has ordered the third reduction in the interest rate in the year. But that does not manage to reactivate the economy and is what is at the base of Trump’s reproaches, which calls for it to drop to zero, although this does not ensure that it can reverse the deflation of the North American economy. The European Central Bank (ECB) has set negative rates, with further downward adjustments, but fails to revive the European economy in virtual recession. Both the Federal Reserve and the ECB have resolved to initiate their quantitative monetary expansion policy – purchase of financial assets – that they had terminated. The injection of money, however, has already tested its limits in this decade. The funds are not used for a productive investment but they fatten the speculative circuit, feeding bubbles that are the prelude to a new outbreak. Compared to ’29, we have not only stock bubbles, but also in the bond and real estate market.
This sitruation goes hand in hand with a large monetary issue and causes an increasing weakening of the currencies, starting with the dollar. A weak dollar is not a guarantee that ensures a greater competitiveness of American products, but it could instead cause an international cataclysm, if an abandonment of the North American currency happens. Some central banks have been shedding their dollar reserves and buying gold, which explains, among other reasons, the increase in their price. The refuge in gold is a classic and unmistakable sign in the history of the exceptional moments of the capitalist crisis. This would imply a fracture of trade and the world economy, and therefore an acceleration of the recession and inter-capitalist rivalries.
The impact of the implementation of this policy is already taking place and is registered in the European Union, where the decisions of the ECB aroused the rejection of Germany, which does not want to use the funds to rescue its weakest partners, but that bets to take advantage of their hardships and financial difficulties to advance in a recovery of their economies.
4. The capitalist impasse is behind of the intensification of trade wars. The recent agreement between China and the United States is very limited. The taxes still remaind. The only thing that the United States has posponed is the increase from 25 to 30% of them. The agreement does not cover the actions of the United States against Chinese technology companies, nor does it provide a solution to Trump’s main questions, which focus on his opposition to state subsidies from Chinese companies and the Asian giant’s invasion in high-tech industries, which put into question the US economic and military hegemony. China agreed to purchase an additional $ 50 billion of US agricultural products. But, it remains below levels before the trade conflict erupted. He pledged to further open of the financial system . If the prospect is a new recession, we must be prepared for new crises, ruptures and even higher-order shocks. An example of this, is the devaluation of the yuan . We are entering a scenario of competitive devaluations. This situation explains the failure of the devaluations already carried out in Argentina.
5. The worst of the capitalist bankruptcy is that the aggressive and expansionist policy is intensified. The political-commercial war between the United States and the European Union reflects Trump’s intention to subdue his “former” allies, shifting the costs of the crisis onto his shoulders. The decision of the United States Congress to impose sanctions on the companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline (which would directly connect Russia and Germany through the Baltic Sea) underscores the sharp divisions between the imperialist powers. In the past, a power outage was considered an act of war. US sanctions have paralyzed the nearly completed $ 10 billion project after the withdrawal of Swiss firm Allseas, which was providing specialized ships to lay the pipeline. The U.S. sanctions target not only Russia, which depends on revenue generated from gas exports, but also Germany, which sees the pipeline as a strategic project that is essential to its energy security.
6. But the main enemy of the economic war waged by Trump is China.His offensive aims strategically at colonizing the space occupied by the former workers states.However,the intensification of the trade war has not managed to reverse the imbalance in the trade balance and in the North American economy. Far from its beneficial effects, what has prevailed are its negative consequences: increases in consumer prices and industrial costs due to the increase in prices of imported products and the closing of markets, beginning with the agricultural one. This has sparked a tension between the government and growing swaths of the capitalist class that propose putting a brake on the trade war. The White House agreement with China is motivated by these pressures.
7. In China, the devaluation of the yuan is a double-edged sword, since it makes the dollar-denominated debt of local state and private companies more expensive, which are already in serious financial difficulties and could trigger a new flight from capital, as it already happened in 2016, when the leak reached a whopping 750,000 million dollars in a very short period of time. These threats are followed with concern by the Chinese hierarchs and divisions in their ranks.
As in the United States, the crisis has also increased internal tensions in China. This is expressed within the CCP (Communist Party), but it transcends that expresses a crucial struggle that involves the entire ruling elite on what is the strategic direction that the country should take.
There are increasing pressures to accelerate the opening and consolidation of market laws. The native capitalist class is enrolled in this sector, which has been making its way in the shadow of the regime and which intends to assert itself as a ruling class. This bourgeoisie in formation, or proto-bourgeoisie, although it runs companies that have even conquered a prominent position, its role is mediated by the bureaucracy, around the CCP, which continues to have a decisive presence when it comes to decisions.
This trend strives to end protectionism and regulation promoted by the State, in order to open the doors to a broad process of privatization and a consolidation of its leadership. This sector does not deprive itself of using the trade war as a pressure factor to accelerate this deregulation, although its aspirations are not necessarily the same as those of the great international capital, which intends to open the Chinese economy for its own benefit, and that stumbles upon the appetites of the local bourgeoisie. The relationships maintained by foreign and local corporations oscillate in a contradictory range of associations, rivalries and clashes.
8. In this scenario, we should think about the nature and character of China itself. There are those who argue, in left wing and even in the Trotskyism, that we are facing an imperialist power. However, one cannot ignore the sensitive penetration of foreign capital in recent decades and the weight that foreign private companies have in the Chinese economy. Chinese growth has been associated with the importation of foreign capital that came to exploit an abundant and cheap labor force, and a new market for its products. Foreign presence is direct or disguised in partnerships with local operators.
We would be faced with a paradox because “according to mechanical reasoning, according to which China would be at the head of the imperialist countries, then, it would also be at the head of the countries most penetrated by foreign imperialism.” (Is China Imperialist? ”, Cercle Communiste Free, 1/18/19).
China is still at a considerable distance today in the state-of-the-art technology of the main powers, especially the United States. The Asian giant continues to be an assembler of supplies and parts from the metropolises in key sectors, such as telecommunications, computing and other high-tech areas. An iPhone assembled in China, which costs $ 179, consists of 172 components imported from outside the country.
A measure of technological dependence is given by the decision of the USA administration to ban for seven years the export of components destined for the Chinese giant corporation ZTE, in retaliation for sales of that firm to North Korea and Iran, countries against which they govern trade sanctions by the United States. The cut of supplies implied the virtual stoppage of the company. Both governments finally reached an agreement to save the firm. Another emblematic case is that of Huawei cell phones, which is now a global brand, which is developed not by Chinese scientists themselves but, above all, by 400 Japanese scientists hired by the company. This shows that China depended and continues to rely heavily on foreign human resources for research and development. Its semiconductor technology is two or three generations behind that of the United States. It is trying to overcome this delay with increased investment in research and development, but if we look closely at the large number of Chinese patents, most of them still do not correspond to high technology, but to other sectors. Where it is rapidly reducing distances is in artificial intelligence, and this is an area that the United States is very concerned about, not only in terms of economic competition, but also in military competition, where artificial intelligence plays an increasingly central role. On the other hand, it is important to note that if you look at its GDP, China is the second largest economy in the world. But if you measure GDP per capita, it is still a middle-income country.
Nowadays, half of Chinese exports come from foreign companies that invest in China. This degree of integration into the global production chain determines that a trade war like the one Trump intends to end up hurting foreign companies that invest in China, starting with the North American ones.
Those who support the imperialist character of China have been drawing attention to the increasing export of capital from the Asian giant. But the flaw is to take a trait in a segmented way, divorced from an overall approach. Countries like Brazil export capital and there are corporations that have managed to penetrate different corners of the planet, including the metropolises. In Argentina itself, we have companies such as Techint or Arcor, which have managed to install subsidiaries abroad, including the American market. But that is not enough to characterize the country as imperialist. Foreign direct investment in China is far superior to that which the Asian giant invests outside its borders.
The Taiwan and Hong Kong issue is no less important.Taiwan is still protected by USA, while the White House recognises that the island is part of China. In Hong Kong, international capital and Western powers continue to have a fundamental weight, and it is a platform and a wedge for the penetration of capital in mainland China and advancing its capitalist restoration. The integration of Hong Kong to the continent is called to have a convulsive character, as evidenced by the political crisis and the popular rebellion that today shakes the country.
9. China is not an imperialist country, but must be highlighted that the capitalist restoration process is unfinished. In terms of percentage of GDP, investments in fixed assets and payment of taxes, the private sector today is around 50 or 60% of the national total. The bourgeoisie, however, has not established itself as a ruling class but still operates as secondary . This has to do with the specific historical characteristics with which this development has occurred. Capitalist restoration did not lead to state or national disintegration, even though the extent of this penetration has been, at the present stage, on an infinitely larger scale. In China, after the Tiananmen Square massacre, a Bonapartist regime was installed. It is the Stalinist bureaucracy in alliance with imperialism that guided the restoration process.
Unlike Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, which underwent a process of disintegration in the framework of capitalist restoration (and which, in the latter case, provoked Putin’s Bonapartist coup), China remained a national state. In some areas it has even managed a peer-to-peer dispute with imperialism , which explains Trump’s concern to block his technological development.
But the capital that has grown under the umbrella of the communist bureaucracy intends, now, with the development it has achieved, to emancipate itself from that protection. The exceptional role of the State has allowed, in China, that the capitalist restoration does not become a colonial restoration. The Chinese bourgeoisie in formation encourages the presence and intervention of the State in its dispute and rivalry with the foreign capital, but it seeks to free itself from it and consecrate a market regime, to definitively establish itself as a ruling class. To this day, the State continues to maintain a decisive role in the country’s economy and a very strong interference, including in the private sector, despite the fact that it represents half of the national economy. Above all, there is still a financial and industrial protectionism, which capital wants to pierce. In this, there is an identity of interests between the imperialist and native bourgeoisie, which aims to end the unfair competition that presupposes official subsidies, currency manipulation and, of course, the direct intervention of companies and state banks in the market. What is under discussion is the dismantling of a State that has its origin in a social revolution distorted by an unconventional bureaucracy.
10. The Chinese regime showed signs of moving towards an opening, trying to temporize with these trends, especially when its economy is entering an impasse and the state bailout is becoming unsustainable. The news, however, which took public status , ordering the incorporation of regime officials to one hundred private companies, including Alibaba, would indicate a blow. “The measure could also be perceived as an effort to control a non-state sector that is gaining influence as the main engine in the world’s second economy” (Profile, 9/19). The Chinese bureaucracy is suspicious of the business elite that is taking more and more flight of its own. Their aspirations in perspective are incompatible with the permanence of the current bureaucratic hybrid regime, under the tutelage of the Communist Party.
It should not be forgotten that the Chinese regime has not neglected to appeal to the arrests and imprisonment of businessmen accused of corruption. The extradition law, encouraged by the CCP, which sought to prevail in Hong Kong, went in that direction. In addition to being a weapon of persecution against social protest, it targeted the island’s capitalists, who could be exposed to economic retaliation, including the loss of their wealth, as is already the case with their peers on the continent. On the other hand, the autonomy to which the Hong Kong bourgeoisie aspires coincides -or, at least, has important points of contact- with which the capitalist class in mainland China fires.
The presence of government agents also aims to act preventively and put a stop, if necessary, to the emergence of mass layoffs, as companies try to protect their profits. A well-founded fear that nests in the Chinese authorities is that unemployment will cause a significant drop in GDP and, along with this, a marked loss of jobs, which could lead to an uncontrollable social reaction.
This explains the lurching of Beijing. This new flipping accounts for the government’s hesitations. Xi Jinping’s Bonapartist regime, which has been given exceptional powers by being empowered to serve indefinite reelection, is bound to reconcile the tendency to autonomy of its proto-capitalists with the need to contain the disintegration of the state. The former nationalized economies have incorporated into their autarkic contradictions the most violent of the world economy.
11. China’s restorationist bureaucracy and the capitalist class that has emerged with the restoration do not intend to build a new imperialism – “in one country.” The Asian giant faces the outbreak of a financial crisis, which already had its first explosion between 2014 and 2015. That crisis hovers as a consequence of gigantic real estate speculation; its financing by banks “deregulated” in the shadows, which are insolvent; excess installed capacity in saturated industries; a gigantic immobilization of capital in US Treasury bonds and those of other countries.
The thesis that a sector of the left that claims to be Marxist, on the transformation of China into imperialist, has no basis. There is no margin, under the imperialism, in this historical stage of capitalist decay and decomposition, for a semi-colonial country to become an advanced capitalist country. Advancement will come from the hand of the social revolution, as a link in the international socialist revolution, not the counterrevolution. A hypothesis of this kind, on the other hand, shows us an unfounded illusion about the vitality that capitalism would still retain to make such a transit, removing a nation from its ancestral backwardness and, even more, achieving a new hegemonic power , replacing the United States, as happened when it replaced Great Britain in world leadership.
The existence of an independent national capitalism is an inconsistent hypothesis. China is no more than a hybrid regime, as we can see today, in the midst of an incomplete transition that still awaits an outcome, which will settle in the arena of national and international class struggle. The future of China oscillates between two competing perspectives: between carrying out the capitalist restoration to the end, confining it to a subordinate status with semi-colonial characteristics or a new social revolution, which points to a comprehensive reorganization of the country and the planet on new social bases. China enters a more convulsive phase of capitalist restoration, preparing the ground for a broader intervention by the working class.
12. This scenario of exacerbation of inter-imperialist disputes and commercial offensives is the breeding ground for the intensification of escalations and warfare. The expulsion of the Islamic State, as we anticipate, did not bring peace in the Middle East, but has given rise to new and more widespread wars.
Turkey comes from invading Syrian territory and has announced its intentions to enter in Libya, which has been undergoing a civil war. Russia announced the same, but supporting the opposing side of the Turks. Yemen is also facing a civil war with interference from Iran, and also Saudi Arabia. The assassination of the Iranian military is part of an imperialist escalation that is growing in intensity preceded by economic sanctions and diplomatic and military provocations by the United States against Iran, after the decision to withdraw from the nuclear pact signed in 2015 with Tehran. The recent announcement of the “Peace Agreement” by Trump and Netanyahu represents a new escalation against the Palestinian people. The project places the recognition of a Palestinian State under the condition of total surrender to the demands of the State of Israel, since it establishes the cession of a greater number of Palestinian territories at the hands of Zionism and the disarmament of Palestinian organizations.
13. The American imperialism, which knew how to relieve the United Kingdom as a global superpower at the beginning of the 20th century, has suffered a decline in recent decades. One of the manifestations of this is its bogging down in Afghanistan. Trump’s expectation is set to recover the political and military initiative in the Middle East, which he has lost in the hands of Russia and Iran, which have strengthened their leading role. The traditional allies of the United States, such as the Saudi and Israeli regimes, have lost ground, conditioned by the crisis on their home front. This does not prevent them from articulating counterrevolutionary strategies. The decision to lower hostilities, which Trump and the Iranian regime would have opted for, is far from dissipating the scenario of war in the Middle East.
For the moment , Iran has abandoned the last of the restrictions on uranium enrichment, which had been set by the 2015 nuclear agreement, signed with Obama. Anti-imperialist sentiment was consolidated throughout the region, and the Iraqi regime, which had been keeping a delicate balance in its relations with Washington, had no choice but to demand the withdrawal of US troops from the country.
But beyond the most immediate vicissitudes, the warmongering boom responds to a basic reason. On the one hand, it has its roots in growing inter-imperialist rivalries and tensions, now fueled by the global recession. On the other, the attempt to overcome the capitalist impasse on the basis of advancing in a colonization of the workers’ states and completing to their advantage the process of capitalist restoration. The main recipient is the former Soviet space and the Asian giant. Political, economic and military hegemony in the Middle East is part of the siege against both nations. This, in the context of the general rearmament of the capitalist powers, in the first place, the United States. Armamentism, far from being attenuated, has grown significantly.
14. Does this mean the imminence of a world war? The Second War was not a copy of the First and the new scenario is not going to be a copy of the other two. For now on, there is no realignment of forces and constituted blocs like those that emerged in past world conflagrations. The Russian and Chinese regimes do not constitute an anti-imperialist bloc. In the assassination of the Iranian military, to take an example, what has prevailed, as highlighted by the international press, is the caution and restraint of Putin and Xi Jinping. There is not even an alliance between them. In many cases they operate on opposite paths, in coalition with capitalist powers, even in a changing way. The policy of the bureaucracy in those countries is to reach a compromise with imperialism, in order to proceed in common agreement to capitalist restoration, and not unilaterally.
But the fact that it is not imminent does not deny that we are facing wars that seem localized but have a common thread running internationally. This denies the thesis of those who speak of the supposed infeasibility of world-wide war due to the exceptional power of destruction of nuclear weapons. In today’s regional wars, the threat of world war is already present, in perspective. Finally, great wars arose from apparently more limited conflicts and were unleashed when its main contenders sought to avoid it or when even that possibility was not in their plans. War is not an accident of the current political process. War, on the one hand, and revolution, on the other, are two extreme manifestations of the outbreak of capitalist society, an unmistakable symptom of the exhaustion and decomposition of the current regime, of the insurmountable antagonism between the productive forces and their private appropriation.
This is also evident in the conflict with North Korea, which is in a precarious situation. The Trump / Kim Jong-un bid is inscribed in the strategic encirclement that the Pentagon and imperialism are pushing over China, so that it opens its economy to the penetration of foreign capital. And, of course, the latent threat of a military intervention in Venezuela.
15. In the international document of the 26th Congress of the Workers Party we characterize a scenario of extreme volatility. We came to the crossroads of impressionism of those, even in the left wing, dazzled by a boom on the right wing. “From the political point of view, we must speak, not of a consolidation of the right, but of a situation of high volatility. The rise of the far-right Bolsonaro in Brazil is accompanied by that of the center-leftist López Obrador in Mexico. ” Bolsonaro himself appears bogged down by the widening of divergences within his governing coalition, which has already early on posed a cabinet crisis and a progressive erosion of its popular support base. What prevails is a growing polarization. Rebellion tendencies coexist with efforts to articulate a counterrevolutionary pole, encouraged by imperialism and the vernacular right.
Far right and fascist regimes stumble upon the dissolving trends of ongoing capitalist bankruptcy, the scale of which exceeds them, enhancing previously accumulated imbalances. ‘Forced’ to continue the path of ‘adjustments’ against the masses, they feed discontent and tendencies towards popular mobilization. It is sobering what happened in Hungary, where the attempts of the far-right government of Viktor Orban, to impose an anti-worker labor reform, hatched a strong mobilization of workers. The same happens with Jair Bolsonaro, who already unleashed an educational rebellion last year: his government has gone through successive crises and oscillates between nationalist claims on the part of its military base and its leading role related to the American imperialism in the region.
The emergence of regimes of exception, of personal power, has been a widespread phenomenon not only in European countries, but both in Russia and China and in the ‘emerging’ countries: Bolsonaro in Brazil, Erdogan in Turkey. Boris Johnson achieved a forceful victory that led to the implosion of Corbyn’s “leftist” Labor. At the center of this phenomenon is the United States, with the tendency of Trump to empower himself as a personalist regime, who tried to build a strong Executive Pow, above the republican institutions.
16. The weakness of the Trump government is visible, whose situation is precarious both internally and internationally. A warning was the midterm elections in which Trump lost the majority in Deputies. The economic recovery is being punctured and the trade war, as we have already pointed out, has ended up causing more harm than good. Nor can the magnate show successes in foreign policy, in which the United States has had to yield positions.
The North American bourgeoisie is deeply divided, and its traditional parties face a major crisis, which has as a component the loss of prestige of the entire political regime against the workers and youth.
Trump is in a nervous race, directed to overcome this negative slope. His bet on the economic level is that the slowdown does not turn into a recession, trying to collect the benefits of the reactivation in the initial years of his mandate. This fact allowed the tycoon to go back in the presidential polls – and even to consider the impeachment against him closed. Trump exploits in his favor the impossibility of the center of the Democratic Party for advancing any of his candidates in the Democratic internal against Sanders, exponent of the left wing of the party.
Soleimani’s murder is an attempt to regain initiative, with his sights set on reelection, although the proceeds from the assassination are glassy. But it should not be forgotten that on the other side of the counter, the Democrats are also not immune to the crisis and the discredit that embraces the entire American political system, as evidenced in the last election with the adverse reaction caused by an establishment figure like Hilary Clinton. At that moment, leftist Bernie Sanders was on his heels. Now none of the candidates of the Democratic establishment manages to take flight in the primaries, despite millionaire contributions from big capitalists, the use of the media and even fraudulent maneuvers, as seen in the Iowa primaries. Sanders has started at the head of the primaries, although it does not manage to gather a majority of its own for now. The Social Democratic senator is the one who has comfortably garnered the largest financial contributions, which currently total 5 million contributors (an average of $ 18 each) This proves that the adhesion comes from the working population and from the lowest income sectors. These days, Sanders would have won more supporters for his condemnation of Trump’s provocation against Iran (in contrast to lukewarm statements or the support of his competitors in the Democratic Party), splicing with street mobilizations that were replicated throughout the United States. in rejection of murder. If this trend were confirmed, the presidential elections would be the scene of a polarization, in a way unprecedented, expressed in a confrontation between an extreme right-wing candidate and a “leftist” representative, which could trigger a jump in popular intervention.
17. The political crisis that the United States is going through is the common patrimony of Western democracies. There is no country in Europe whose regime is not in intensive care (Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain). Nor is Germany spared, where the Merkel government is weakened. Shifts to the right, such as the recent triumph of the conservative Boris Johnson in Great Britain, coexist with the formation of center-left governments, such as the PSOE-Podemos-Izquierda Unida coalition in Spain or the emergence of the center-left government in Italy, blocking the way to the Right-wing Matteo Salvini (who, in any case, appears as the best positioned in the event of new elections). Not to mention the overturn in France, where the masses have won the initiative. The world crisis has shattered all the balances and the imperialist order. The Brexit rush accentuates the disintegration trends of the European Union, and even of the European nation states, as seen in the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. Divorce can have traumatic and even catastrophic consequences on either side of the counter. For now, there are those who point out the blow that the restrictions and barriers for their access to Europe can represent for the UK economy, to which must be added the social consequences that this could bring. Boris Johnson has exploited popular repudiation of the European Union’s “troika” adjustment to consummate Brexit and bring the UK’s international alignment to revolve around the United States and conform as a tax haven. Far from mitigating the adjustment that the English population already supports, Brexit may end up increasing it, in addition to causing the dismemberment of the United Kingdom, with the abandonment of Scotland and the reopening of the historical conflict in Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein’s (former IRA) electoral victories in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland rekindle the prospect of unification of the island, another prospect of extreme polarization and clashes. The conservative victory could end Pirro.
Far from a rectilinear process, the oscillations and turns on the political table at the international level have as their common thread the crisis of the traditional system of political domination of the bourgeoisie.
Working class, mass movements and rebellions
18. The international report, approved by the 26th Congress of the Workers’ Party, characterized that “capitalist bankruptcy and its consequence in the profound rupture of the equilibriums and the world political structure opens gaps for the irruption of the masses and the creation of situations revolutionary ”. The report reported rebellions such as the “yellow vests”(Gilets Jaunes) in France, the uprisings in Central America and the resurgence of the Arab Spring. And he concluded that “these processes of the class struggle speak of an inflection in the world trend towards the irruption of the mass struggles.” But the report warned of a great absence in these explosions: the working class. “The proletariat of big industry does not mobilize decisively as a class (…) This is where it is seen that the labor bureaucracies of the unions and labor centrals, increasingly intertwined with the State, act as a blockade.”
This situation is changing. The great strike of the General Motors workers in the United States, the mining strike in Peru, the national strike of the workers of the Post Office in Brazil, and now that of the oil tankers, indicates that the crisis is encouraging the implementation of the great battalions of the world proletariat. Also noteworthy is the huge metallurgical strike in Turkey and the national strikes in Colombia (a new strike is expected in March). Obviously, the most emblematic case is the transport strike in France, which has paralyzed the country for 40 days. For the place that the French country occupies on the world stage, in the heart of capitalism, the emergence of the French working class must be taken as a turning point. Needless to say, the result of the strike in France is going to be decisive not only for Europe, but on a global scale and clears the ground for the appearance on the scene of the working class in other nations. The blockade, which still exists, is, effectively, that of the bureaucracies of the propatronal unions and / or those in favor of class conciliation.
19 Preceding the rise of workers’ intervention, it is necessary to highlight some movements on an international scale, which although they have a multi-class character, are characterized by a strongly combative dynamic, even employing historical methods of the working class. The women’s struggle movement remains one of the most dynamic within the mass movement worldwide. In Chile, the mobilization of March 8, 2019 was the largest in all of Latin America and largely anticipated the October popular uprising. In the Chilean rebellion, the women’s movement continues to play a leading role (the performance “the rapist is you” has been replicated internationally) and two new national women’s strikes are projected for March this year. In recent years, the women’s and dissident movement has stood out like no other, for its confrontation with right-wing governments, which have misogyny and discrimination of dissent as a common feature. Both the “Ele Não” against Bolsonaro and the “Me too” in the United States staged mass mobilizations. In the same way, it is necessary to highlight the enormous fight waged in Argentina for the right to abortion.
In the last year, the fight against environmental predation has been a shock on a global scale. The movement, starring especially youth, has a strong bias to denounce capitalism as a social regime of depredation and destruction of the planet. The general strike for the environment and the Mendoza rebellion against polluting mining, to take just two examples, have demonstrated the potential of the movement, at a time when the continuity of capitalist production relations puts the planet’s survival in check from the Amazon and Australia). Just as parties and forces of capital intervene in the women’s struggle movement, with the aim of framing these movements within the framework of the regime and perpetuating the capitalist relations of production – which represent the social edifice on which culture is built. macho and patriarchal-, the same thing happens in the environmental movement. A whole sector of capital encourages this movement for the sake of its own benefit (green capitalism) and to the detriment of other sectors of capital. Under these conditions, the intervention of a revolutionary workers’ party is more valuable than ever, to fight for the conquest of the leadership of these movements, endowing them with a class program. On the contrary, it supposes a sectarianism that inhibits the revolutionary party in its fight to make its way in the mass movement, which, in turn, disables it to dispute the political leadership of the proletariat.
20. As part of this growing picture of the struggle of the masses worldwide, it is necessary to highlight the processes developed in the Arab countries. The persistence of mobilizations in Algeria led to the fall of the despotic government of Abdelaziz Bouteflika (FLN). The mobilizations continued against the transitional government that succeeded it. The regime, dominated by the Armed Forces, promoted a trout electoral solution. It was boycotted by the protest movement (Hirak) and only 39% of the voter registered voted. The current state of the process is that a new government has emerged, emerged from those elections, but popular mobilization persists. In Sudan, the rebellion broke out as a result of the removal of subsidies for bread and fuel, in a context of economic contraction. The fight swept the Omar al Bashir government, in power since 1989. It was relieved by a Transitional Military Council, against which the mobilizations continued. But the forces leading the protests reached an agreement with the military and joined the government. However, the famine and hatred of the military, which led to the rebellion, are still present. Two other relevant points of the rebellions in the Middle East are Lebanon and Iraq. There, popular uprisings have called into question the system of power distribution among the different confessional groups. The uprisings have not even left Iran unscathed, where rising fuels also sparked riots, which in November included the burning of banks by protesters.
21. The crisis of the political regimes and the ongoing rebellions, however, cannot make us lose sight of the capacity and reflexes of the bourgeoisie to articulate a counterrevolutionary strategy. This includes offensives against workers that they cling to when their situation is most compromised. As Trotsky had warned at the Third World Congress of the Communist International in 1921, against all reductionist economism and mechanistic determinism, it is precisely at times of deadly danger to the capitalist class and the disintegration of capitalist society that there is also “the highest flourishing of the counterrevolutionary strategy of the bourgeoisie ”. Today, we see the maneuvers to which the bourgeoisie appeals in the face of the ongoing rebellions, to deactivate the struggle, divide and integrate the State into the organizations and movements of struggle that are leading these processes. We are witness to the coup in Bolivia, which reveals the initiative and reflexes of imperialism, who orchestrated together with Bolsonaro a reply aimed at neutralizing and reversing the cycle of rebellions that shake the continent. In Chile, the Piñera government, with the help of all the ‘opposition’, launched the “Agreement for Social Peace and the New Constitution”, as a reactionary institutional maneuver, to rescue the regime and against the rebellion. The counterrevolutionary strategies of the bourgeoisie can in no way be underestimated.
Just as there is no automatic relationship between capitalist bankruptcy and class struggle and the initiative of the masses, there is also no automatism between this initiative of the workers and the left. This depends on where the left is standing and the quality of the policy. A mass irruption, far from catapulting the left, may end up being its death certificate, if it is tied and is a tributary of the questioned regime. Or confine it to insignificance, as it happens with fractions of the left that are self-referential and that take refuge in propagandism. We are facing explosive contradictions that severely affect the system of political domination of the bourgeoisie but, at the same time, it coexists with an enormous crisis of leadership of the working class and a political and theoretical bankruptcy of the left.
22. According to ECLAC and IMF forecasts, Latin American growth will be 0.3%. This is a direct consequence of the fall in the prices of raw materials (soybeans, oil, minerals and others), which constitutes the bulk of Latin American exports; the recession and the brake on world trade, aggravated by the economic wars between the United States and the European Union and China; and capital flight to the imperialist metropolises. And on this, the overwhelming weight of external debts, which constitute a mechanism of national oppression, popular confiscation and bailout of banks through usurious interests.
As we pointed out in the appeal “For a Latin American Conference of the left and the labor movement”, it is clear that “the fund-based adjustments of the Fund, whether with the formal agreement or not of the IMF, have not only been carried out by governments that right-wingers – like those of Piñera in Chile, Duque in Colombia, Macri in Argentina or Bolsonaro in Brazil – are claiming, but also for those coming from the “national and popular” or popular front camp, such as those of Lenín Moreno in Ecuador, Evo Morales in Bolivia, the Frente Amplio in Uruguay and the Sandinista Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. This speaks of the insurmountable limitations of bourgeois nationalism and center-left progressivism in order to proceed to a national and social emancipation of Latin American countries. Their class ties make them powerless to give an answer and a solution to the dislocating tendencies of capitalist bankruptcy, and they end up yielding to the pressures and extortion of financial capital. This leads to economic disorganization and collapse, to unprecedented hardships for the masses, or paves the way for the right-wing reaction. ” The same stands for the new government in Argentina, headed by Alberto Fernández, who in order to reach an agreement with the IMF and with the bondholders, has proceeded to modify retirement mobility, eliminate the salary update clauses and set caps for parity increases.
23. Hand in hand with economic inestability – the result of the capitalist orientation of Latin American governments in the context of the deepening of the world crisis – a picture of enormous political inestability and a profound social crisis has been established in the subcontinent. In Latin America they ravage popular rebellions, coups, self-coup and political disintegration.
In Nicaragua, a popular rebellion developed over a year, from April 2018 to April 2019, against the anti-working plans of Ortega’s “national and popular” government. The great popular rebellions of Haiti, Honduras, Puerto Rico and the educational rebellion in Costa Rica also developed during 2019. In October the great processes of Ecuador and Chile began, to which were added, in November and December, the great workers and youth mobilizations in Colombia. The common thread running through all these uprisings is the rejection of austerity measures and the so-called “structural reforms” (labor, pension and educational reforms) promoted by the IMF and the respective governments of each country. Central America is the epicenter of a humanitarian catastrophe, which continues to give rise to massive waves of migration from the Caribbean countries to Mexico and the United States, as well as to countries in the southern cone. For the moment, none of these rebellions managed to force the fall of their respective governments, much less force a change of regime. The exception was the gigantic popular rebellion in Puerto Rico, in the beards of American imperialism, which achieved the fall of the then Governor Ricardo Roselló, constituting an extraordinary example for the Latin American peoples, but leaving a whole colonial regime in submission to the imperialism.
In parallel to all these processes, a coup offensive was carried out in Venezuela, with the self-proclamation of Juan Guaidó, with the support of Trump, as president of the Bolivarian Republic. Recently, Nicolás Maduro imposed his own self-coup, taking over the National Assembly where the right had a majority. In Bolivia, the reactionary coup of Jeanine Añez was consolidated, perpetrated by the Santa Cruz bourgeoisie, Bolsonaro and the American imperialism. In Uruguay, after 15 years of rule by the center-left front-wing, the right-wing coalition led by the National Party won the elections, which has debuted announcing a strong capitalist offensive against historical conquests of Uruguayan workers. In El Salvador, the Nayib Bukele government has just imposed a self-coup and is shaping up for alignment with US imperialism. In Peru, the picture of political disintegration and collapse of traditional parties that the recent parliamentary elections have thrown offers a field of maneuvers for President Martín Vizcarra, who had given his own coup and is advancing against collective labor agreements. The popular rebellions put all the masses’ leaders to the test and sharply revealed the lack of a revolutionary leadership. So much so that, in accordance with numerous historical examples, the coup d’état in Bolivia aroused a gigantic popular resistance that, had it not been for the capitulating role of the MAS leadership, could have defeated the coup, giving an extraordinary setback to the imperialism, Bolsonaro and the entire Latin American reaction. In Ecuador, the agreements between the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) and the government to lift the rebellion have led to a huge increase in repression and political persecution by the Lenin Moreno government against the popular opposition. It is necessary to specify the specific stage of each process, in order to delineate a revolutionary political orientation and in this way take advantage of the enormous open possibilities. However, in general terms, the Latin American left has had, basically, a rescue policy for the regime. Either for having a tax policy of coup coup variants or for placing itself as a caboose of nationalist or popular front variants.
24. The fact that it is in Chile that the deepest popular rebellion in Latin America is taking place is emblematic, since it was considered by the Latin American bourgeoisie as the “model” to imitate. Chile is the furthest from the market economy, imposed since the Pinochet dictatorship and deepened by all subsequent democratic governments. Privatizations have made their way in all spheres: from pensions, health, education and natural resources, such as water and copper. This went hand in hand with the flexibilization and atomization of the labor movement, with company agreements and unionization. It is what has given rise to the motor demands of the popular rebellion (“They are not 30 pesos, they are 30 years”). The global crisis impacted Chile through the fall in the price of copper, which gave rise to recessive trends in the national economy and a huge process of external indebtedness. The economic crisis sharpened social polarization, giving way to popular rebellion. However, the current uprising is far from being spontaneous, it has been heralded by the great struggles against the different post-Pinochet governments, both from the center-left and from the right (demonstrations by the ‘penguin’ students against tariffs, for free education; gigantic marches by working families against private retirement, strikes by miners, dock workers, Walmart, teachers, Mapuche mobilizations against land evictions and others). Quickly, the Chilean rebellion put at the top of their demands the demand that Piñera leave and call for a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly. The “Agreement for Social Peace” was accompanied not only by the former New Majority, but also by the Broad Front, the force that emerged as the political expression of the great student struggles, and, from outside, by the Communist Party. The “Agreement” deforms a genuine and revolutionary proposal of the Chilean masses – the demand of a Constituent Assembly – to use it as an instrument of political reaction. With the “Agreement”, the entire regime agreed to give impetus to a Constituent Assembly rigged and supervised by Piñera himself, with the aim of preserving the capitalist interests, which the masses have put in check by raising their most elementary list of demands. However, an eventual progress of the institutional maneuvers emanating from the “Agreement for Social Peace”, such as the April plebiscite and the rigged Constituent Assembly, would not cancel the revolutionary process opened in Chile, as the regime is unable to give a solution to the motor demands of the popular rebellion. In Chile, the Constitutional claim maintains a revolutionary role as long as it is accompanied by the slogan “Out Piñera” and “Down with the ‘Agreement for Peace'”, since there can only be a free and sovereign Constituent as long as and in whatever is called by the organizations of the struggling masses. The function of a free and sovereign Constituent would be to remove and put an end to the inheritance left by the last Chilean dictator and to take all measures aimed at an integral transformation of the country on new social bases. This task can only be the work of the workers and must be imposed through strike and popular mobilization. This conception separates the waters between the adapted and tributary left of the bourgeois order and the revolutionary left.
25. The popular rebellion in Ecuador confronted the government of Lenín Moreno -which emerged as the continuity of Rafael Correa’s “national and popular” government-, who shortly after taking office was oriented as a “neoliberal” and fund-monetarist government. The elimination of fuel subsidies, after a saga of tariffs since the inauguration of Lenín Moreno, and the announcement of labor and pension reforms, sparked an extraordinary popular rebellion. The austerity package was imposed by the IMF, so that Ecuador reaches zero deficit and meets its debt commitments. After ten days of stoppages, mobilizations, company occupations, barricades and street fighting, the Ecuadorian rebellion managed to repeal the decree that established the increase in gasoline and diesel. The magnitude of the rebellion had forced the Lenin Moreno government to move the country’s capital. The uprising had as main protagonists the indigenous people, who represent 25% of the Ecuadorian population, grouped in the Conaie. In a subordinate way, the student movement and the union centrals joined. Despite the fact that the slogan “Fuera Lenín Moreno” was a slogan chanted by the revolting masses, the Conaie was in charge of circumscribing the specification of the rebellion to the fight for the fall of the decree and against the IMF. After the days of last October, the government of Lenín Moreno has further developed its repressive policy, promoting criminal cases against leaders of the Conaie, persecuting the alternative media that managed to break the media fence in the process of the rebellion and the former President Rafael Correa and his party, whom he accuses of promoting the October days, when, in reality, Correa confined himself to calling for early elections. Eight leaders of Correa’s party are currently in prison and the trial has begun against the former president, accused of offering bribes under his mandate. The operation aims to prevent Correa from running for the presidential elections in 2021.
Although the decree fell, all the Lenin Moreno government’s bottom-line orientation still stands, including the attempt to make partial cuts in fuel subsidies, and to advance in “structural reforms”. The picture of bankruptcy of the Ecuadorian State and the pressure of imperialism and financial capital push Lenín Moreno to insist on the measures that led to the outbreak of October. This factor, together with the victory that the masses scored with the repeal of the decree, leaves the possibility of new popular outbursts in 2020 raised. La Conaie seems to have prolonged the truce and its leader, Jaime Vargas, is shaping up for the electoral process. The Ecuadorian left, like the PCML, lacked a proposal for power in the framework of the rebellion. A revolutionary proposal for Ecuador must start from raising the slogan “Outside Lenín Moreno”, as well as the need for a workers, indigenous and peasant congress, to elaborate a deep social transformation program, starting from the rupture with the IMF and imperialism , and, on that basis, promoting the fight for a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly. A critical assessment of the 2008 Constituent Assembly, which led the Correa government and was supported by the Conaie, is necessary. In it, Ecuador was declared as a plurinational state, but being protected by a capitalist government, it was unable to give way to the great demands of the Ecuadorian people.
26. In Puerto Rico, popular mobilization and the fall of Roselló have reframed the question of the island’s colonial status. While the traditional forces promote the statehood proposal -that is, the transformation into the 51st state of Puerto Rico-, the United States refuses and maintains a colonial status, the expression of which is the Fiscal Oversight Board, for the payment of the debt . The popular rebellion firmly questioned that junta and raised the slogan of non-payment of the debt and the break with imperialism, a slogan that was raised with great force by the women’s movement (“We against debt”). To the extent that Wanda Vázquez, its current governor, remains subject to the Board, its arbitration policy cannot respond to urgent popular demands, which rethinks a scenario of popular rebellions. The slogan of the Constituent is also discussed in Puerto Rico. Historically, the illusions of the masses about an integration as a State to the United States were a great limit to the proposal of a sovereign Constituent, which would imply starting from a break with the Junta and imperialism. In this regard, the rebellion constitutes a new starting point, the fight for the urgent demands of Puerto Rico is inextricably connected with the fight for socialist unity in Latin America and the expulsion of imperialism. The working class of Puerto Rico, much of which resides in the United States, connects in this way with the American workers and with the entire social volcano of Central America.
27. A privileged scenario of the mass struggle in Latin America is the situation in Bolivia. The reaction of the masses against the coup contrasted with the MAS’s capitulatory policy, which agreed to call new elections and recognize Añez. The new elections will take place in a framework of repression and intimidation of the popular movement, marked by massacres such as those of Sacaba and Senkata, the imprisonment of popular fighters, the persecution of prominent MAS figures, the accusation of sedition against Evo Morales, the persecution of his attorney and Añez’s attempt to perpetuate himself in power. The denunciation of the continuity of the coup in electoral clothing is important, because the repressive measures are defeated with the mass mobilizations, a policy that the MAS abandoned. MAS is confident of an electoral victory, leveraged by the right wing division, but accepting the conditions of the electoral process. He runs the risk of ending up as the Brazilian PT after the coup against Dilma. Añez, for his part, showed his intention to go deep into exploiting the new relationship of forces in order to sweep away MAS and develop the right-wing agenda, which heralds new blows, even against the electoral process if necessary. Business interests after the coup are very strong: control of lithium, oil reserves, mining development, etc. are at stake. The division of the right is a result of its own crisis: the Luis Camacho sector rejects “traditional politicians” like Carlos Mesa and Añez, and promotes a “federalist” division of Bolivia that would benefit Santa Cruz. Añez, for his part, appears supported by Bolsonaro. Mesa groups the liberal right wing of the traditional parties. It will be necessary to observe if any of the right-wing variants is capable of developing an electoral polarization that allows the anti-mass vote to come together.
From the point of view of the interests of the workers, the main problem today is to retake and organize resistance against the coup, defend democratic freedoms and promote all the workers, peasants and indigenous people demands, implacably denouncing the electoral solution agreed between the coup leaders and the MAS. This complaint does not remove the need to maintain a principled position of rejection of the persecution against MAS and to defend the democratic right that Evo Morales and the rest of the officials and leaders of his party can return to Bolivia with full political rights. The rearrangement of the union bureaucracy of the COB with the current government and the coup leaders consider the importance of the struggle for the political independence of the workers. Like other nationalist experiences in Latin America, Evo Morales and MAS prefer to negotiate with the coup oligarchy rather than promote the organization and mobilization of the masses. They fear that an independent development of the mass movement will end up questioning Morales himself and MAS. The left that, disoriented, joined the coup coup (POR), has signed its own death certificate. In Bolivia, as in the ’52 ‘revolution, in the process from ’69 to ’71, which gave rise to the Popular Assembly, and in the 2003 rebellion, the need for an independent structuring of the workers’ vanguard and of the exploited sectors (peasants, indigenous people, etc.) in a revolutionary party, delimited from bourgeois or petty-bourgeois nationalism, is the key to fighting for the workers and peasant government, which consumes a definitive break with imperialism and proceeds to a true national and social emancipation.
28. In Venezuela, the coup conspiracy promoted by imperialism and the right cannot lose sight of the growing impasse of the Bolivarian regime. Who knew how to be the most radical expression of Latin American nationalism, even taking up the banner of “socialism of the 21st century”, carries the trap that has subjected the Venezuelan people. The paid nationalizations and without workers’ control added to an irrepressible foreign debt. The foreign exchange management regime, without nationalizing banks, was a source of profit for the Bolibourgeoisie and ended in the destruction of the currency and hyperinflation. Chavismo has gone from being a plebiscitary regime, with great mass support, to a de facto regime, with economic support from Russia and to a lesser extent from China. Far from “anti-imperialism”, Russia pursues new pacts of a colonial nature. The Maduro regime and the North American embargo have brought the masses into a critical situation. With the embargo, the United States seeks to advance in a right-wing exit and force a recolonization of Venezuela, something that is also raised in the numerous lawsuits that have mortgaged Venezuelan assets.
Politically, the blows and self-blows have led the army to be the arbiter of the political situation. The coup of Guaidó crashed against the Army’s support for Maduro, a fact that objectively places the Army as arbitrator of the situation. The Army could, under existing pressure, eventually release Maduro’s hand to process a replacement. Meanwhile, Guaidó’s weakness turned his back on Maduro to carry out the last blow against Parliament, seeking to break the parliamentary opposition to obtain the endorsement for his privatization policy, in partnership with Russia.
The Venezuelan left, which was massively integrated into Chavismo, today is in crisis, dragged down by the crisis of the regime. In general, he has not taken stock of his intervention. Another sector of the left raises the slogan “Fuera Maduro”, and although it denounces Guaidó and imperialism, it denies the existence of a coup d’état and puts the center of its policy on the overthrow of the government.
We denounce and mobilize against the USA embargo and the coup without any political support for Maduro. We defend the need for an intervention of the labor movement in the crisis with its own flags: the need to rebuild the wages, pensions and living conditions of the masses. We call for mobilization for the freedom of political prisoners. We demand the workers control of the nationalized industry and the nationalization of the banks, under workers control. We denounce the Russia / Rosneft privatization policy, in line with the Maduro government.
29. Brazil is sieged by the magnitude of its public debt. This, together with its fiscal deficit and the “political instability” of the region, led to a devaluation of the Real, which has reached its highest depreciation since 1994. The Latin American giant is narrowing its sources of financing, which, due to its turn, open the doors for a jump in capital flight. In this scenario, the Minister of Economy, the ultra-liberal Paulo Guedes, has embarked on a massive privatization plan (Electrobras, Petrobras sectors) that he has on file, including the National Institute of Industrial Property (responsible for guaranteeing requests for trademarks and patents) . But this plan is unleashing resistance from workers. More than 20,000 oil workers in Brazil have been conducting an extraordinary general strike for fourteen days against the closure of a fertilizer factory controlled by the state-owned Petrobras, that threatens to leave a thousand workers on the street. At the same time, employees of Dataprev, the state-owned tech company targeted by privatizers, managed to temporarily halt 500 layoffs with a recent strike. Postal workers, who went on strike last September, have called for new force measures for March. During 2019 gigantic mobilizations against the government’s educational policy took place, where the slogan “Fuera Bolsonaro” was widely chanted by the youth. To the economic crisis, fueled by the trade war that cuts through all the pores of the country’s life and the tendencies to a world recession, the shadow of the popular rebellion is added. In December 2019, the former Army captain Bolsonaro had already admitted his decision to postpone some adjustments for fear of a contagion effect of the seizure in the continent. The fate of the Brazilian government is fundamental because, as revealed by the coup in Bolivia, it constitutes one of the bulwarks of reaction and a threat to all the peoples of Latin America.
The table of revival of the Brazilian labor movement, on the one hand, and the privatization and anti-worker offensive of Bolsonaro-Guedes, on the other, put on the agenda the need for a Congress of rank and file delegates from all the workers’ unions and unions from Brazil to push a plan of struggle to defeat the government and its plans. The impetus for this policy is in opposition to the orientation of the leadership of the CUT and, more generally, of the PT. Both let Bolsonaro’s pension reform pass without a fight. It also goes against the PSOL and the left that integrates it, which has not gone beyond being a collector of the Workers Party. In Brazil, the revolutionary left must be structured promoting a joint orientation for the labor movement (Grassroots Congress, Fuera Bolsonaro-Guedes and its war plan). This structuring must be developed in a delimited form of the popular front, responsible for paving the way to power for Bolsonaro and container for the workers’ struggle.
Slogans and program in Latin America
30. This new stage in Latin America places on the agenda the slogan that we have been promoting in Argentina: that the capitalist crisis must be paid by the capitalists.This proposes defeating and ending these regimes responsible for the people’s calvary and paving the way to a political solution, in which the exploited are the protagonists: the struggle for workers’ governments.
The battle against adjusting governments must go hand in hand with a comprehensive crisis exit program: minimum wage equal to the cost of the family basket, an equivalent retirement,tied to the active workers’ salary.Ending the labor and retirement reforms already imposed or in process; validity of collective labor agreements; distribution of working hours without salary reduction; break with the IMF and non-payment of the national debt, nationalization of the public service companies and of those that generate national wealth (oil, gas, mines, etc.);rejection of devaluations and capital flight, nationalization of banking and foreign trade.
The defense of retirement is a crucial aspect. In recent years there have been processes of struggle in Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, France and Russia against reactionary pension reforms.
The program must integrate a response to the indigenous, agrarian and environmental question, which has become more central than ever. The abuse, violence and viciousness against indigenous communities reflects the ancestral hatred and prejudices of the wealthy classes against the most humble and neglected sectors. But current racism has a specific content and is associated with the concentration of land and the expulsion of the peasants and aboriginal populations that inhabit it, in the service of unprecedented depredation. Behind the Bolivian coup are the western Medialuna soybeans, economically strongly intertwined with the Brazilian landowners who have been carrying out the deforestation and deforestation of the region to record levels. For the defense of the Brazilian, Bolivian and Venezuelan Amazon, Patagonia and the Andes against capitalist depredation: defense of the rights of indigenous communities, worker-popular control of mining, oil and agricultural undertakings. Support for peasant struggles against expulsion by large landowners and financial capital. For the expropriation of the great agrarian capital and the nationalization of the land, and its transfer and management to the farm workers, respecting the rights of the poor peasants, native people and small farmers. Bolivia strips clericalism like never before, in its various forms (Catholic as well as Evangelical) , bastion of reaction and enemy number one of women’s rights, leading in all corners of the continent the crusades against the right to abortion, sex education and any other democratic demands. Faced with this scenario, we call to promote mobilization for the separation of the Church from the State; for the right to comprehensive sex education, free contraception and the legalization of abortion; for the right to maternity, subsidies to the pregnant woman until the third year of upbringing; by the independent women’s organization to fight social and state violence.
We cannot escape the fact that the events in progress are going to have an impact on the militarization plans underway. Bolivia is the laboratory of an escalation that is directed against Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. A favorable outcome of the pulse that is taking place among the masses and the governments responsible for the adjustments would constitute a coup, first of all against Bolsonaro and his ambitions to arm a fascist regime. And it would also be a blow to all tendencies to bolsonarization that exist within Latin American states and, more generally, to the strengthening of the repressive apparatus and the criminalization of protestsocial that is being verified in the continent. Faced with this scenario, we propose: united front of the workers’ organizations to fight against fascism and the disarmament of the tareas task forces ’and‘ death squads ’, through direct action and organization; trial and punishment of all the political and material responsible for the murders of fighters in Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil; outside the Latin American foreign military bases; Down with the militarization of the fight against drug trafficking; repeal of all repressive laws; outside the army of Rio de Janeiro and the favelas, as well as La Paz and Bogotá; dissolution of death squads and para-police, clarification of the murder of Marielle Franco. We reject the proscription of Lula and Evo Morales. Absolution of Daniel Ruiz and César Arakaki, workers and militant fighters of the revolutionary left, prosecuted for fighting against the pension reform in Argentina.
The revolutionaries must fight in all areas, including the electoral, to develop their program there and exhaust the democratic expectations of the masses. The revolutionaries do not renounce intervention in the bourgeois Parliament either, to raise a platform of denunciation of the regime and put it at the service of the struggle and organization of the workers.
Another chapter is Latin American integration, which had Latin American nationalism and progressivism as its standard bearers, which has ended in failure. Mercosur was no more than an integration of monopolies based in the region, with interests and investments in member countries. Today we are witnessing its collapse, with increasingly intense trade and monetary tensions, and even the threat of its rupture, at a time when free trade agreements with the United States and Europe are making their way. To the growing confrontations and rivalries between the Latin American nations, we oppose a common action among the people of the continent against imperialism and its local agents, the fight for workers’ governments and the socialist unity of Latin America, to proceed to a comprehensive reorganization of the region on new social bases.
The slogan of the Constituent Assembly cannot be given a universal value, but it is necessary to see its timeliness and relevance in each case. The programmatic theses that we approved in the 2004 Congress, where we form the Coordinator for the Refoundation of the Fourth International, develops a section where it positively values the agitation of the Constituent Assembly for cases where a power crisis appears in the form of a “crisis of political representation ”. In this sense, it is a democratic slogan that raises the overthrow of the government and a bridge to the workers’ government. Its mechanical repetition for any situation, whether or not there is a power crisis, in the name of preparing future situations, is a democratizing approach: it implies replacing the strategic fight by a workers’ government with a democratic solution, within the framework of the current social order .
Methods of action, direction and party
31. A fundamental aspect that remarks the great revolts in progress is the decisive question about the labor movement. Many of the rebellions that have taken place in the last period have not been further extended by the blocking action of union bureaucracies, intertwined with employers and governments. As we have been reflecting on the pages of Prensa Obrera, the CGT and other French trade union centrals have been dosing the launch of national force measures at a trickle when circumstances put the issue of the general strike on the agenda, which could provoke a defining overturn of the fight that has been leading the transport sector. There is an effort to save governance, with the awareness that a defeat for Macron could be the end of his government and also can open a revolutionary crisis. The containment effort is well present also in our continent. The Argentine CGT contained our combative workers’ movement so that it did not defeat the adjusting policy of Macrism. The Brazilian CUT has almost passed Bolsonaro’s labor and pension reforms. The same has happened with the Chilean CUT, led by Stalinism and the trade union Mesa de la Unidad Social.
32. The fight for the recovery of the unions and the mass organizations, expelling the collaborationist bureaucracies, is of a strategic nature. The promotion of all kinds of organizations (strike committees and others) to coordinate struggles and lead them to victory is a central task in the course of popular eruptions. The French experience is highly instructive. The railway workers and the Parisian subway held an indefinite strike for 40 days, thanks to the zeal of the base of both unions for taking the strike in their hands, undermining the margin of maneuver of the bureaucracy. Activism is the great pillar of the struggle, which has been challenging the obstacle that represents the union leadership and aims to break the isolation, demanding the launch of the general strike of the entire labor movement. This reddens the issue of further strengthening the articulation of activism, promoting coordinators, encouraging the active intervention of workers, youth and other sectors that are sympathetic to the ongoing struggle. An example that needs to be followed carefully is that of Chileans, with the appearance on the scene of territorial assemblies, which are born as an initiative from below and are structured as representation of the population in struggle. This should not be confused with the open councils, which are articulated from above and have the antecedents of the organs created at the time by the government of Michelle Bachelet, to debate the reforms promoted by the Executive. The territorial assemblies have gained in extent and there is even a tendency to coordinate regionally, and have been one of the driving forces behind popular mobilizations, in contrast to the containment carried out by the opposition and union leaderships.
33. In the case of Latin America, the prevailing convulsive scenario gives special validity to the fight for Congresses of grassroots delegates of the unions and of the struggling masses, which goes hand in hand with the battle for a new class leadership in the movement. worker. The rank-and-file Congress is one of the organized expressions of the united workers front, it aims at the construction of a political pole, which can be semi-Soviet in character, so that the working class emerges as an independent factor in the crisis and is catapulted as alternative power. This orientation should not be confused with the “Soviet” or “Basist” approaches raised by numerous left-wing forces and even parties that claim to be from Trotskyism. The “basismo” (the famous “that the bases decide” of the morenismo) tries to be camouflaged behind the respect of the resolutions taken by the assemblies or congresses of workers. Respect for the sovereignty of the workers’ bases is confused with the orientation that a force that seeks to establish itself as a political leadership must offer. Those who despise the role of the revolutionary leadership in the self-organizing bodies of the working class and the masses, declare themselves incompetent in helping the masses to overcome the obstacles that arise in the development of the fight against the regime and, in turn, lead a revolution to victory. The organs of self-organization of the masses, which usually emerge in any revolutionary process, do not ensure in advance the revolutionary orientation of the movement of struggle. Without a revolutionary political leadership, at a certain moment, the organs of the united front of the masses can cease to be a driving factor in the struggle and become a brake factor. The revolutionary party must promote all the processes of self-organization of the masses and always intervene in them with an independent policy, so that the movement advances in a revolutionary sense.
The struggle for this orientation is inseparable from the struggle for the political independence of the workers and sharply raises to break and overcome the historical protection of the bosses’ parties – that is, the strategic question of the construction of revolutionary workers parties and an international one, the Fourth International. Because in those moments it is where the experience and orientation of a working-class vanguard and the left are most important to overcome the impressive problems that arise and bring the workers to power. To the return that bourgeois nationalism and the center-left proclaim to a balance and impossible reconciliations between the interests of capital and the creditors of the debt and the workers, we oppose an anti-capitalist solution and we call to fight for workers’ governments and the socialist unity of America Latin.
Latin American Conference
34.In the Latin American political scene we distinguish two great political blocks. On the one hand, the recolonizing and right-wing offensive of Trump and Bolsonaro, which has as its axis of political regrouping the Lima Group. It acts (in tandem with the OAS) to impose attack plans on any type of national or popular resistance. It was formed to bring down the Maduro regime in Venezuela. Mike Pompeo has declared a Yankee willingness to intervene and support Latin American governments gripped by popular rebellions.
On the other, the Puebla Group, which presents itself as a “national and popular” pole, with some autonomy in the face of the imperialist offensive. But it has weakened considerably and its opposition is quite faint-hearted. It is headed by the Mexico of López Obrador, who acts very timidly, because he has put the bulk of his letters in the Trump-Canada free trade agreement with the United States (UMSCA) and has been weakened by the resignation of Evo Morales facing the coup in Bolivia. The electoral rise of Alberto Fernández has not given new vigor to this international regrouping, it was even evident in the poverty of the international delegations that attended the act of assumption. And also in the narrowness of its ‘sovereignist’ policy: it does not break with the Lima Group, it keeps Hezbollah within the list of terrorist organizations, yielding to the pressure of Zionism, it does good letter with Trump to manage the agreements with the IMF, etc. And now he adds his sentence to Maduro (although he avoided joining the Lima Group’s common statement) and the absence of a complaint or conviction against the murder of the Iranian general.
35. What is absent is an anti-imperialist pole of the left, of the workers, peasants, indigenous people, students and other exploited sectors of the continent. But the social and political upheaval that is developing raises not only this need, but the opportunity of that third block. This is the basis for our call for the realization of a Latin American Conference of the left and the combative labor movement, based on the urgency of establishing an alternative regroupment on the right, but also on nationalism and progressivism, which stand as a stumbling block to lead the struggles raised to victory.
The efforts of the Puebla Group are not focused on opening an independent course – not even taking up the Chavista experience or the Forum of San Pablo – but on postulating themselves as the most reliable partners for imperialism, in a context of great volatility. The failure of the Guaidó coup experience in Venezuela, the limits to institutionalize the coup in Bolivia and the growing problems of the right-wing Bolsonaro and Duque, added to the ongoing rebellions, encourages the expectation in their promoters that a more pragmatic sector of the bourgeoisie and imperialism begin to consider “plan B”: governments that guarantee both a containment of the growing tendencies to popular rebellions and commercial and debt commitments. But , they have yet to demonstrate that they can effectively impose order on the region. The attempt at regional projection by Fernández and López Obrador is already being accompanied by a possibility and lesser evil narrative, with the sole purpose of handcuffing the workers and dragging them, once again, behind the national bourgeoisie.
36. As we have remarked in the text of the call to the Latin American Conference, “The policy of class collaboration has been revealed as a central obstacle to lead the struggle of the workers and the masses to victory. The Latin American left has for the most part ended up being dragged by this policy. He has followed the Brazilian PT, as is the case of the PSOL, Bolivarian nationalism or ended up making common cause with the right in the name of democracy. Movementism has been encouraged, promoting alliances and nucleations with amorphous and diffuse class borders, instead of the construction of revolutionary workers’ parties. One of the few exceptions is the experience traveled by the Left Front in Argentina. We rescued the FIT, and now the FIT-U, as a field of class independence that contrasts with the prevailing scenario. The starting point and the development base of the FIT has been a demarcation with bourgeois nationalism and the bosses’ parties, especially with the Kirchnerist administration. However, the contradictions and limits of it do not escape us: it has been practically limited to a purely electoral intervention. Our effort and our policy are aimed at expanding the FIT-U horizon of action to all areas of the class struggle. ”
The new situation that we are going through in Latin America and in the world makes the question of the strategy of the left more current than ever.