Internationalist Standpoint is a website created by revolutionary socialists from different countries. The initiative was taken by a number of sections that left the ISA in the first half of 2021: Xekinima, from Greece, NEDA from Cyprus, Sosyalist Alternatif from Turkey, Socialist Action from Australia and International Socialist Forward from Taiwan, together with individual comrades from Belgium, Britain and the Spanish State. In the process, and after a series of discussions, the ex-sections and groups of the ISA were joined by the Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency, the Afghanistan’s Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency and the Revolutionary Socialist Movement – Nigeria and comrades from Ireland. We are in a process of discussions with other organizations or groups in other countries, with the aim of unification or collaboration – in Europe, North America and Latin America.
Internationalist Standpoint is based on a common understanding of the objective situation and the deep crisis of the capitalist system, and ascribes to common strategic aims about the struggle for a socialist society, based on workers’ democracy, public ownership of the means of production, a planned economy, liberty and a multiparty system. We are united in the struggle for the building of mass revolutionary parties, as the necessary tools to bring about social change. We consider the lack of such mass revolutionary parties as the biggest obstacle on the road to a revolutionary reshaping of society.
The reason why such revolutionary formations have not yet acquired mass or semi mass support (with the only notable exception being that of Argentina in the course of the last decade) is not only due to objective factors, but also due to subjective ones. We will develop these further in the course of this statement and in future documents.
We fight for the convergence of revolutionary forces on a principled basis. And we don’t believe that unanimity should be a condition for such convergence. On the contrary, we believe that unanimity is impossible – it has always been so and it is even more so in our epoch. So, the convergence of revolutionary forces can take place only on the basis of accepting the existence of differences within the framework of commonly shared fundamental revolutionary Marxist principles and the right to express them openly, in the context of a democratic and open discussion between organizations and the struggling masses. This kind of democratic internal regime does not exist in most of today’s anticapitalist left formations and this is, in our opinion, one of the crucial handicaps of today’s anticapitalist Left. We want to fight to overcome this, as a necessary condition for the building of mass revolutionary socialist organizations on an international scale. A correct political approach, a correct relationship to the mass movements and their consciousness and a healthy internal democratic regime are in our opinion dialectically intertwined and of equally crucial importance.
Capitalist crisis triggered by the pandemic
The capitalist system finds itself in an extremely deep crisis. This was triggered off by the Covid pandemic, but the conditions for it had already matured before the pandemic and irrespective of that.
The pandemic forced the ruling classes to throw unprecedented amounts of liquidity into the system globally, particularly in the course of 2020, and especially in the rich countries, to save it from collapse. This massive liquidity did have the effect of saving capitalism from an immediate economic catastrophe but it added hugely to the contradictions that already existed: budget deficits and public and private debt have reached unprecedented levels a whole new number of bubbles have come into being (stock exchanges, real estate, cryptocurrencies, etc) and inflation has reappeared after decades.
The ruling classes globally are walking on a tightrope – they have to take measures to decrease deficits, debt and inflation in order to be more competitive on the international markets, but once they move in this direction, they risk pushing the system back into another serious recession.
It is clear that the organic contradictions of the capitalist system which laid the basis for the 2008-9 Great Recession and revealed themselves again in the economic crises of 2020 are still present. The working class and the poor, internationally, will once again be called to pay for the crises of the system.
The Pandemic – Capitalism’s Crime Against Humanity
The pandemic has revealed the reactionary, deathly character of the capitalist system. The number of deaths at the time of writing is approaching the staggering 5.5 million mark – more than 800,000 in the US, over 600,000 in Brazil, nearly half a million in India! And yet, the pandemic could have been checked if the necessary measures were taken from the beginning. The Chinese dictators of the so-called Communist Party hid the truth and the facts around the virus; and then the capitalist economies of the West were late in taking measures, because they wanted to keep their economies going in order not to lose ground in the global competition. The national health systems proved completely incapable of coping with the pandemic due to decades of neglect, privatisations and sabotage by neoliberal policies – and even after the pandemic broke out, no real measures were taken to boost them.
The ruling classes try to blame everything on the “responsibilities of the individual” to get vaccinated and to take necessary precautions, but the fact is that more than 90% of the populations of the poor countries are still unvaccinated (according to Oxford University, by the middle of December less than 4 in very 100 people were fully vaccinated against Covid-19). Therefore, whatever the individual does, cannot bring an end to the pandemic, which tends to become endemic due to the inevitable mutations.
Another infuriating fact related to the pandemic, is that the vaccines were essentially financed by public money, but the huge profits go to the big Pharma multinationals, who refuse, together with capitalist governments, to waive the patents of the vaccines and allow poor countries to develop them. Big Pharma and the health sector in general should be taken out of the hands of the private sector and be nationalized under the control and management of society and the working class; that is the only way to put them in the service of humanity.
Environment is another huge issue which reveals the reactionary character of the capitalist system. Life on earth for thousands of species and human civilization as we know it, are under threat. For decades now environmental scientists and movements have been warning about the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, plastics, etc. Capitalist governments have either done nothing or are doing too little too late. Capitalist competition, for profit and global domination, prevents governments from making the necessary investments at the proper time and in an organized and planned way in the direction of Renewable Energy Sources, to replace fossil fuels. The COP 26 meeting which took place between 31 October and 12 November in Glasgow, UK, failed completely to take any serious measures to tackle the climate crisis. Once again, the capitalists try to make each and every person individually responsible for this crisis. But the fact is (as revealed by the World Inequality Database and other sources) that the richest 10% of the planet produce 50% of the CO2 that is emitted into the atmosphere, whereas the bottom 50% only cause 12% of CO2 emissions. The nationalization of the energy sector, under workers’ management and the democratic control of society, is an absolutely necessary condition for the turn to Renewable Energy Sources in a planned and organized way so as not to cause energy crises like the one we are experiencing in the present period (with huge rises in the prices of electricity, natural gas and oil).
In short, the capitalist system once again reveals its historically obsolete and reactionary character, causing untold human suffering and economic catastrophes and making working class people pay for them, while endangering life and civilization on our planet.
Mass Struggles and Uprisings
The working class and the popular masses have shown time and again their will to struggle. 2019 was a year of exceptional struggles, revolts and revolutionary upheavals, probably surpassing as regards numbers mobilized 1968, the year that was a turning point in post-World War II history. The pandemic functioned as a break in this process but, despite it, very important struggles took place in the course of 2020 and 2021.
It is clear that the masses have the will to struggle, and make all the unavoidable sacrifices in their fight for a decent life.
While in the “developing” countries we had mass movements and revolts, often of a revolutionary character (like in Chile, Equador, Lebanon, Myanmar etc) in the “developed”, industrial countries we had very important movements, with the participation of millions, against the climate crisis, against the suppression of women and lgbtq+ people, against racism (the BLM movement in the US and internationally) and the far right and neofascism (particularly in Europe). These movements have been spearheaded by the youth.
All the above are very important elements of a reawakening of consciousness on an international scale, after the very serious retreats we’ve had in the course of the past decades, of the domination of right wing neoliberal policies, the rise of right wing populist and far right parties and the capitulation of the parties that have the electoral support of the working class to the neoliberal agenda.
The Problem of Leadership
Struggles, like the above, however massive, self-sacrificing and heroic, cannot be victorious without political and organizational direction provided by the organisations of the working masses and the poor. However, such leadership is precisely what is lacking. There are no mass workers’ parties willing to fight consistently for the rights of the working classes and the poorer sections of society.
The old working-class parties (Social Democratic, Socialist, Labour or Communist) have all capitulated to the ruling capitalist class, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The newer Left Formations, created in the last 2 – 3 decades, have shown severe limitations when they have not cynically sold out, like SYRIZA in Greece. The main problem faced by the working masses internationally, today, is the lack of organization and leadership – the crisis of the system is reflected into a crisis of the working-class organizations, political and trade union.
The Trotskyist Space in Crisis
The Trotskyist Space, which ideologically and politically is well positioned to provide answers and perspectives in the present conjuncture, is also in deep crisis. The undersigned have come out of crises in the international groupings that they belonged to. We were also contacted by splits coming out of crises of other international groupings. We have arrived at similar conclusions about the roots of the crisis in Trotskyist organizations.
We believe that in most Trotskyist organizations there is not a proper and balanced understanding of perspectives. There is an attempt to oversimplify perspectives, and to be over optimistic, seeing only the potential but not the complications in the objective situation. The repeated mistake of seeing the revolution “round the corner” has characterized many of the Trotskyist organizations in the past and continues until today. On other occasions, Trotskyist organizations were led into pessimistic conclusions, and in the end capitulated to the pressures of reformism and opportunism.
We think that there is not sufficient understanding of the mood and consciousness of the working masses, and as a result the transitional programme ends up in “revolutionary cries” for many Trotskyist organizations that isolate them from the class that they wish to serve.
We are convinced that in most Trotskyist organizations there is not a correct understanding of how the future mass revolutionary International can be built. The idea that some “messiahs” will be today’s Lenins and Trotskys, unfortunately is quite common. Connected to this, there is a distance between self-proclaimed leaders and the working class itself. Many “leaders” of such organizations do not have organic links with the working class but think they can lead it as intellectuals.
We therefore think that a process of convergence of different revolutionary groups and currents, which will inevitably retain their different characteristics and “schools of thought”, within the general context of revolutionary Marxism, is the only way to build a mass revolutionary International.
Last but not least there is a clear problem with the internal regime of most Trotskyist organizations, evidently influenced by Stalinism and affected by their isolation from the mass of the working class. Different opinions are not respected as they should be, different ideas are treated with hostility and are pushed out in most of the existing organizations. Even where “factions”, “tendencies” and “groupings” are formally permitted, the internal culture is such that they are not allowed to remain.
Our Historical-Revolutionary Duty
We are duty bound to continue the struggle against the capitalist system, for a mass revolutionary International and for the socialist transformation of society. It is clearly not possible to see the formation of such an International now, but it is also clear that this is the only way forward.
We will continue discussions between us with an aim to discuss in depth all the above issues and come to the best possible understanding.
We will continue collaboration and common initiatives with other forces and invite them to join in this same effort.
Internationalist Standpoint will be a website which will propose a specific line of approach, and concrete positions on the various political issues that come up, but at the same time it will be open to different opinions, and invite discussion and debates. This is the only way to proceed, without “infallible leaderships” and with full democratic discussion and by broad participation in the decision-making process.
A healthy internal democratic regime is in our opinion an absolutely necessary precondition for correct and balanced political analysis, for the development of theory and of aspects of Marxism in the present epoch, for a healthy relationship to the mass movements and for lively and a well worked out programme of transitional demands, for optimistic and energetic organizational forces.
We have confidence in our ideas of revolutionary Marxism and in the working-class’ ability to take things in its own hands and lay the basis for a new society, a socialist world, based on freedom and democracy, abolishing exploitation, injustice and inequality, against the profits of the minute minority of the super-rich, in the interests of the huge majority of laboring masses.