“Workers of The World Unite, You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Chains”-The Struggle For Trotsky's Fourth (Communist) International-From The Archives-The Founding Conference Of The Fourth International (1938)-"Trotsky's Struggle for the Fourth International"
Click on the headline to link to the Toward A History Of The Fourth International website for the article listed above.
Markin comment (repost from September 2010):
Recently, when the question of an international, a new workers international, a fifth international, was broached by the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), faintly echoing the call by Venezuelan caudillo, Hugo Chavez, I got to thinking a little bit more on the subject. Moreover, it must be something in the air (maybe caused by these global climatic changes) because I have also seen recent commentary on the need to go back to something that looks very much like Karl Marx’s one-size-fits-all First International. Of course, just what the doctor by all means, be my guest, but only if the shades of Proudhon and Bakunin can join. Boys and girls that First International was disbanded in the wake of the demise of the Paris Commune for a reason, okay. Mixing political banners (Marxism and fifty-seven varieties of anarchism) is appropriate to a united front, not a hell-bent revolutionary International fighting, and fighting hard, for our communist future. Forward
The Second International, for those six, no seven, people who might care, is still alive and well (at least for periodic international conferences) as a mail-drop for homeless social democrats who want to maintain a fig leaf of internationalism without having to do much about it. Needless to say, one Joseph Stalin and his cohorts liquidated the Communist (Third) International in 1943, long after it turned from a revolutionary headquarters into an outpost of Soviet foreign policy. By then no revolutionary missed its demise, nor shed a tear goodbye. And of course there are always a million commentaries by groups, cults, leagues, tendencies, etc. claiming to stand in the tradition (although, rarely, the program) of the Leon Trotsky-inspired Fourth International that, logically and programmatically, is the starting point of any discussion of the modern struggle for a new communist international.
With that caveat in mind this month, the September American Labor Day month, but more importantly the month in 1938 that the ill-fated Fourth International was founded I am posting some documents around the history of that formation, and its program, the program known by the shorthand, Transitional Program. If you want to call for a fifth, sixth, seventh, what have you, revolutionary international, and you are serious about it beyond the "mail-drop" potential, then you have to look seriously into that organization's origins, and the world-class Bolshevik revolutionary who inspired it. Forward.
Markin comment on this document
Everybody, and that most notably included Leon Trotsky, knew something was going awry with the Bolshevik Revolution by 1923 for many reasons, some of them beyond correction outside of an international extension of the revolution, especially to Germany that would provide the vital industrial infrastructure to aid the struggling Soviet Union. Nevertheless, and this is important to note about serious revolutionary politics and politicians in general, the fight in 1923 still needed to aimed at winning the party cadre over. That was the failing point of many oppositionists, inside and outside the party, then.
By 1933, with the rise of the virtually unopposed rise and consolidation of Nazism in Germany clearly putting paid to the Communist International’s (read: Stalin’s) erroneous strategy, working inside the party, or acting as an expelled fraction of the party, was no longer tenable. Like earlier with the First and Second Internationals the Communist International was now dead as a revolutionary organizational center. Time now to gather, by fits and starts, the cadre for a new international- the Fourth International
Needless to say in trying to organize a new international in tough times, with not enough seasoned cadre, not enough not-Leon Trotsky leadership, not enough money, and not enough, well, of anything internal bickering and personality disputes are going to slow down any efforts.