Manifesto of the International Secretariat of the Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the 4th International (CRFI)
Down with the imperialist European Union of austerity, unemployment, racism and social cannibalism!
Down with the governments of Merkel, Monti, Samaras, Rajoy, and all capitalist governments!
All the power to the workers! For workers’ governments and the United Socialist States of Europe!
Resolution of the International Secretariat of the CRFI
The European Union and its Euro-zone have become the epicenter of the worst world capitalist crisis in history that exploded more than five years ago, starting from the center itself of the world system, the United States.
The meltdown of the world financial system, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the world-wide plunge into a Great Depression, the unprecedented but fruitless intervention by all the governments and central banks injecting gigantic amounts of liquidity to save the banks, led to the eruption of the European sovereign debt crisis, breaking, first, its weakest link first, Greece, and now expanding and threatening to disintegrate the entire Euro-zone and the EU itself.
Endless series of EU Summits and packages linked with Memoranda of ferocious anti-popular measures totally failed not only to end the “Greek tragedy” but to prevent the much feared “contagion” to Southern Europe hitting also the hard core of the EU, France and Germany. After Greece, Ireland, Portugal, now Spain and Italy, the fourth and third strongest economic powers of continental Europe, are on the brink to fall in the same abyss with incalculable implications for the entire European and world economy.
The EU economy, including its industrial powerhouse, Germany, has entered into a recession, which will be worsened in 2013.
INDUSTRIAL COLLAPSE IN EUROPE
“When the tide is low, you see who swims naked.”. The end of the financial 'bubble' and international credit contraction denuded the core of the capitalist bankruptcy: the overproduction of capital and goods. This is what happened in Italy and France, where the automobile, steel, construction industries as well as several others, have been forced to close their plants, lay off workers en masse and even put a question mark over the continuation of several international cartels. Fiat and its “indotto”, in Italy, Peugeot, Arcelor Mittal, in France, are facing an extreme situation, which raises the complete reorganization of half a century of industrial development. In France, only during the last three years 900 factories closed their doors. The weight of the industrial sector in GDP was reduced from 25 to 13 percent. The nationalization of the industry has become the backbone of the national debate, which for the capital and the Hollande government is a manoeuvre to the rescue of the big fish. The gala press demands to proceed as Obama did with GM and AIG: to massively inject funds into bankrupt companies to produce a personnel downsizing of a large scale and to reduce wages. The CRFI calls the vanguard of the working class in France and Italy to launch a campaign for the expropriation without compensation of the big fish of the industry and to prepare the conditions for the general occupancy of companies based on this goal. “Keynesian” illusions scattered by French “socialism” have melted like snow in the sun, given the evidence that would aggravate the global crisis of overproduction and lead to a trade war record. In a reverse mode, a recent article by Wolfgang Münchau, a prominent columnist of the Financial Times, warns that the austerity measures imposed by Monti, threatens to bring Italy into a complete economic breakdown. To Münchau, Italy’s retreat from the euro would be a “lesser evil”!
The project of the “banking union”, that would give a unified output to the financial crisis in Europe, has opened a new front in the crisis. The president of the Bank of France announced the intention of displacing the centrality of London’s financial market, and Cameron has threatened to take Britain out of the EU. On the other hand, the intention to turn the ECB into the sole authority to decide in cases of banking crises has sunk, facing the resistance of the national central banks. It shows again that the attempt to solve the great historical question of the unity of Europe within capitalist terms is “a reactionary utopia”. Greece has been forced to buy back debt, which is in the hands, above all, of Greek banks, with a profit of 200%, according to the Financial Times, for private holders.
Centrifugal and centripetal social, political, financial, economic, fiscal, monetary forces, contradictory tendencies of disintegration and integration are turning apart the initial EU project. Every move to promote further integration, such as banking or fiscal union to face the disastrous effects of financial fragmentation and unbalances between State members, produces more disintegration. It inflames all national and imperialist antagonisms: between Germany and the Northern bloc with the Southern European countries; between Germany and France; between Britain and all continental European powers etc. It is intensifying the disintegration process.
Germany’s hegemonic role, and its attempt to impose its savage Ordo-liberalismus in an integrated “German Europe” dominating a number of EU protectorates without any trace of economic sovereignty clashes with antagonistic imperialist national interests, with powerful workers’ and popular resistances, as well as with the historic limitations of German capitalism itself. Germany is more powerful than any other European country but weaker than the other European countries together. Its export-economy is severely hit by the shrinking of demand in the European and world market, including China. A break up of the euro-zone or a return to a Deutschmark will have disastrous effects for German capitalism.
More than twenty years after the implosion of the Soviet Union and the turn to capitalist restoration of Eastern Europe as well as of China, we assist to the disintegration of the imperialist bloc that European capitalists have created, around the German-French axis, on the basis of the Maastricht Treaty and the launching of a common euro-currency, for the “integration” of the former workers’ states into world capitalism. While they expected a way out for declining capitalism, a new chapter of the crisis of world capitalism has been opened.
The huge tax “stimulus” applied by China in 2008 - 25% of GDP - not only exhausted itself as a recovery factor, but above all has increased the country's industrial overcapacity and has generated speculation about the size and characteristics of the “bubble” that caused the mortgage crisis in the United States. The industrial crisis in Europe is linked to the decline of the Chinese demand, which is also evident in the import of minerals that damaged strongly Brazil. China is under the pressure of a great social crisis; this as a result of the transition from agrarian to industrial economy, with the methods of the expropriation of peasants and workers operating without any legal protection. The workers' struggle runs throughout its’ vast geography; a state-and-bureaucracy-independent labour movement is being formed, with different rhythms. The experience of the Commune of Wukan, which resisted the peasant expropriation and the police siege, finally imposing a relatively authority-free election, is a metaphor for the tendency to political and social revolution in China.
The CRFI underlines the importance of the Chinese labour demands and stresses the need to fight the expropriation of peasants by methods of political revolution to overthrow local authorities and implement people's communes, and calls to support the formation of an independent labor movement through strong mobilization of international solidarity.
At the doors of Europe and interacting with its crisis, is the crisis in the Arab world. In Egypt, the recent uprising against the government's attempt to impose Morsi’s reactionary constitution, drafted by a “constituent” narrow and reactionary, has opened a new stage of the revolution, which lays bare the limitations of Islam to control the masses. This is an explosive data, as the Muslim Brotherhood appears as the main beam in all resistance movements, shocks, crises and civil wars in the Arab world. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, have armed a government committed to Mubarak’s scaffolding, have the support of the capitalist class and have become an instrument of imperialism. In the country which was the starting point of the Arab revolution, Tunisia, now extend labour protest against the provisional government of the Islamist Ennahda Party. The agreement of the HM with the IMF, to remove consumer subsidies and direct government resources to the local bourgeoisie has turned economic crisis into an explosive, to the point that the government has been forced to delay its implementation by some weeks, with the danger of a national uprising.
The CRFI supports the struggle of the Egyptian people for the convening of a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly, we emphasize on the importance of the working class in the Egyptian revolution and conclude that the victory of the democratic revolution is only possible, in a process of permanent revolution, through a workers' government supported by the urban poor and poor peasantry.
The CRFI calls the popular masses of the region as well as and the working class in the imperialist countries in Europe and America to oppose uncompromisingly the military-political interventions by US , EU, and Zionist imperialism, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to highjack the popular uprising in Syria. It calls for a popular revolutionary movement against the Assad tyranny politically independent from imperialism and the local reaction. We call for a struggle against all reactionary attempts to deepen ethnic and sectarian divisions, particularly the Sunni/Shia divide, as well as against the preparations of an imperialist Zionist war aggression against Iran. We fight to defeat all these interventions and machinations, whose goal is to re-establish imperialist control in the entire Middle East by defeating the Arab revolution in progress
The CRFI condemns the new Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza under a constant siege, and it salutes the valiant resistance of the Palestinian fighters. As the entire geopolitical, political and social framework in the Middle East has been dramatically changed with the eruption of the revolutionary Arab Spring, the isolated Zionist State has plunged in a deep crisis. The extension of new Zionist settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem decided by the Netanyahu regime is not an act of consolidation but more a flight forwards in panic. Nevertheless, it proves the impossibility of the so called “two states solution”, and vindicates the only progressive way out from this bloody trap both for Palestinians and Jews: the historical necessity for a united, secular, and socialist Palestine, where the right of return to their homes of all Palestinian refugees would be guarantied and where both the Palestinian Arab and Jewish populations could live together in peace and equality.
Now more than ever its is actual the task for a struggle for the establishment of a Socialist Federation of all peoples of the Middle East , including the Kurdish people, with full guaranty of their right of national self-determination.
Latin America and its nationalist governments do not represent an “alternative model” to avoid the crisis or a way out of it. Latin America has not been left out of the global crisis, as was evident in the recessions of 2008/9; their governments (Mexico, Brazil, Peru) had to be rescued by the Federal Reserve or the Bank of China (in the case of Argentina). After this rescue, in Latin America, as in other regions of the capitalist periphery, the capitalist crisis manifests itself in a contradictory way, because, contrary to what happened in the crisis of ‘30, instead of an agrarian crisis it passes through a “boa” of prices and raw material exports. It is the consequence of the emergence of China in the world market and the use of agricultural raw materials for bio fuels with state subsidies. The huge land rent generated by this process, has not served, however, for local industrialization, but to the rescue of capital in the metropolis broken through capital flight. On the other hand, it has exposed the industry to foreign competition: the industry participation in the GDP has dropped everywhere. In short, under the transitional form of an increase in global production and trade the parasitism of underdeveloped economies has increased. The national bourgeoisie has literally wasted the opportunities offered to develop the global crisis domestic productive forces, for it should have, as a first step, nationalized the banks and foreign trade, and promoted an agrarian revolution and the unity of Latin America. The investment does not grow, and consumption is driven by a growing mortgage on families. Mercosur has receded; dollar inflation has grown as a result of the impact of issuing Federal Reserve monetary and dollar devaluation. The two major integration projects have failed - continental gas pipeline and the South Bank. The first signs of recession in demand from China are shaping the conditions of a new financial crisis.
The cycle of the American nationalist governments closes. Strikes and youth rebellions occur throughout all of Latin America. The recent general strike in Argentina, reports a process of breaking-up between the working class and the Kirchner government. The corruption trial of PT in Brazil is the last slab on a party that has led Brazil into a greater entanglement with the international finance capital. The boundaries of the so-called workers' parties (workers centrist parties), as in the case of PT, have been laid bare long ago as a means of class independence, and has shown its’ muddle and counter-revolutionary role. The CRFI states that Latin American unity is only possible through social revolution. We oppose to the bourgeois nationalism the political independence of the proletariat through the merger of the revolutionary left and the labour movement that is emancipated from the union bureaucracy. The rise of the Frente de Izquierda y de los Trabajadores in Argentina demonstrates the possibility of the revolutionary left to penetrate the masses, even in electoral events. It is not, however, only a tactic frontage: is the consequence and the systematic development of a policy of building a revolutionary party by the Workers’ Party (Partido Obrero) of Argentina.
CRISIS AND CRISIS OF POWER
The process of disintegration of the EU has refuted the myth of an “ultra-imperialism” of a European kind superseding the Nation States and their frontiers. On the contrary, the European national states are in clash between themselves, and some of them face centrifugal nationalist and separatist tendencies, from Scotland to the Basque country and Catalonia, where there are unresolved historical problems and legitimate demands for the right for national self-determination.
The EU, the instrument of European imperialism and of the big capital, cannot be “reformed” or turned into a “social Europe” for the benefit of the European workers and peoples. It has to be smashed before it will burry us under the ruins of its bankruptcy. By breaking from the prison of the EU, the solution is not to return to the straitjacket of a bankrupt capitalist national State but to fight for an alternative internationalist perspective: the common struggle with all European workers and oppressed for the socialist unification of the Continent, the United Socialist States of Europe, including Russia.
The EU is dying in an impasse. The vicious circle of debt- austerity-recession- more debt produced armies of millions of unemployed while the rest of the population is under the joke of the most exploitative forms of precarious labor under nearly slavery conditions. The European social landscape is devastated. The young generation is condemned in permanent unemployment. Health and education are falling in ruins. There are uncountable evictions (from homes bought with loans during the real estate speculative bubble) producing a mass of new homeless and new poor. Draconian austerity and labor precariousness slash savagely wages and pensions. State repression intensifies. Racist harassment of the immigrants and all minorities becomes more and more brutal. Fascist gangs proliferate. The storm troops of the Nazi “Golden Dawn” in Greece acting systematically against immigrant communities, Jews, Roma, homosexuals, organizations and individuals of the Left, is a new element in European politics, not a replica of Le Pen’s “national Front” type of far right. It is a warning for the entire Europe as they exploit social despair produced by social decomposition, are funded by big capitalists, promoted by the bourgeois mainstream mass media, and act under the protection of a capitalist State, in conditions of a permanent “State of exception”, trying to control a growing pauperized population, angry, indignant, in other words, uncontrollable by a discredited bourgeois parliamentary party system.
Bourgeois governments, either recently elected like the Samaras government in Greece, and Rajoy’s government in Spain or “technocratic” like the previous Papadimos government in Greece or the Monti government in Italy have failed.
The establishment in November 2011 of these non-elected, arbitrarily imposed by the EU “technocratic” governments was a clear manifestation of the decline of bourgeois parliamentary democracy and the open declaration of a “State of exception”. The attempt by the EU and the Greek ruling class to keep Papadimos government in power and post-pone elections indefinitely, “until the completion of its work, the implementation of the Memorandum signed with the troika” failed because of the social resistances that threatened with disintegration the parties that supported this government. Finally, early elections in May 2012 became unavoidable, and at in these inconclusive elections, as well in the elections of June 2012, the bipartisan political system of the two bourgeois parties that ruled Greece from 1974, New Democracy and PASOK, disintegrated, the third partner in the Papadimos government, the far right LAOS was pulverized. From these elections and the ruins of the previous ruling parties, most of the masses have turned to the left, catapulting the small reformist left coalition Syriza to the position of Official Opposition; but, from the other side, another part of the electorate contributed to the threatening rise of the Nazi ‘Golden Dawn”.
In Italy the counter-part of Papadimos, Monti and his “technocratic government expressed the decomposition of the Second Italian Republic but did not provided any solution to the deteriorating financial, economic and political crisis.
Regime crises erupt throughout Europe starting from its South, from Greece in rebellion against the hated troika and its subservient governments to Rajoy’s Spain in turmoil.
It has been opened, on a continental scale, a transitional period of social convulsions, political regime crises, class confrontations, clashes with State repression, as well as with a rising Far Right, including fascist storm troops, emergence of pre-revolutionary and revolutionary situations where the question of power is objectively posed, as well as the actuality of a struggle for workers governments. The crisis has become a crisis of political power.
The recent electoral ascent of the Left - Syriza in Greece, Bildu in the Basque Country, Esquera Republicana and CUP in Catalonia et al.- manifests undoubtedly a turn of the popular masses to find an end to their disastrous conditions by putting the Left itself in government.
Unfortunately, various leftist tendencies draw opportunistic conclusions from the Greek experience. We take as an example the Left Bloc in Portugal, which has taken the slogan of a Left government into a purely electoral and parliamentary sense and depended on a program that defends the European Union. If in Greece this slogan gained notoriety and strength, it was because it was taken up by the masses to destroy the traditional parties and to put in the forefront of the agenda the abolition of the memorandum of austerity. The Left Bloc, however, voted in the Portugal’s Parliament the Troika’s plan for Greece.
More the popular masses turn to the left more the parties of the left approaching governmental power through elections turn themselves to the right. The experience of Greece is on that very clear.
Six months after the June 2012 elections, the tripartite pro-Memorandum coalition government of New Democracy - PASOK - DIMAR shows symptoms of exhaustion and disintegration, expressed in expulsion of deputies and splits of many kinds. Social resistances are growing as the depression reaches the levels of the Great Depression in the 1930s in the US and all social services, particularly in health and Education is in ruins. There are new General Strikes and mass mobilizations ( in September 26 , November 6/7, November 17, December 6), strikes and occupation of public buildings in local government against mass sackings of public employees, strikes in Health and Education, mobilizations against factory closures like the metallurgical BIOME in Thessalonica, multiple activities in self-organization of social networks of solidarity, popular assemblies in the neighborhoods, antifascist activities etc. There are discussions for a new early election next Spring, where, as the polls show, Syriza will come in the first place, together with the prospect again for a government of the Left.
Syriza had moved the last months further to the right. The “pragmatists” in its leadership not only constantly declare their faith to the EU and the euro but also they find that the slogan for a withdrawal from NATO is “not timely”, in the recent conflict between the IMF and the EU on the Greek debt’s sustainability, they supported the IMF. While the last years a strategic alliance is forged between Athens-Nicosia-Tel Aviv for the common exploitation of oil-gas deposits in the ‘Exclusive Exploitation Zones’ of Eastern Mediterranean, Syriza’s Chairman Tsipras officially and symbolically for the continuity of such an alliance, met with the Zionist President of Israel Shimon Peres visiting Greece. The new program of Syriza, although rejecting the Memorandum, accepts new negotiations for the external debt, and an “Audit” to cancel its “illegitimate” part, not the cancellation of the entire debt itself. Furthermore, Tsipras promotes a totally reactionary Utopian scheme for a “solution the Greek and European sovereign debt crisis” on the lines of the 1953 post-war agreements to deal with the German debts as well as by launching a new “Marshal Plan” in Europe – ignoring entirely the abysmal gulf separating today’s from historic conditions in the 1950s…
The current unprecedented world capitalist crisis destroys these illusory fake reformist schemes. It poses again the vital question: which social force, based on which social alliances can take power and open a way out from the historical impasse?
Those “above” cannot rule anymore as before as the capitalist ruling elites of finance speculators, bankers, industrialists, ship-owners and their political personnel cannot provide any solution for the worsening social devastation of the masses but only more devastation. Not the people, it is them that they have to pay for the bankruptcy of their social system of exploitation.
Those “below”, workers, unemployed and employed, pensioners, pauperized popular strata in the cities and the countryside, first of all a young generation condemned by the capitalist bankruptcy cannot any more accept to be ruled by their destroyers. They are more and more in mobilizations that have a pronounced tendency to social revolt. Only those below, both with their self-organization in their own organs of struggle such as Popular Assemblies, Social networks of Solidarity, Workers Defense Squads etc. as well as through the old and new trade union organizations, with their own mobilization on a program with transitional demands, and a perspective to take power and re-organize the economy on new social bases according to the social needs of the vast majority and not to the profits of a tiny capitalist minority, can provide a real way out from social catastrophe.
A United Front in action of the exploited, of the oppressed, and of their organizations is urgently needed. The active role of a combat political organization of the revolutionary vanguard of the working class in this process is crucial and its construction cannot be delayed any moment.
FOR AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
The Coordinating Committee for the Re-foundation of the Fourth International (CRFI) addresses itself to all the fighting workers and popular organizations and collectivities in Europe involved in social struggles, particularly their vanguards, as well to as the forces of the revolutionary Left and calls for an International Conference on the crisis in Europe to discuss an Emergency Program to resist and defeat the social catastrophe and a plan of common actions unchecked by and free from the “usual” bureaucratic apparatuses of control, and the building of an urgently needed new revolutionary leadership.
The CRFI calls to fight back the international usurers, the dictatorship of the “markets”, of the banks and financial capital, by the cancellation of ALL the public debt that robs and crashes the lives of millions, and by the expropriation of the banks under working control
All the “austerity” plans of social cannibalism imposed by the EU, the EBB, the IMF and the capitalist governments have to be stopped immediately. The capitalist have to pay for the crisis of their system of exploitation, not the exploited! We have to fight to restore wages, pensions, and social rights of the working people according to the social needs, not for the profits of the few.
Against mass unemployment, we call to fight to forbid sackings, for distribution of the working hours among all workers. Public works of infrastructure, which anyway are vital and urgently needed, have to be developed to create new jobs.
The barons of the big industry blackmail always the workers to accept more cuts of wages and jobs or they would close or “de-localize” their factories abroad; our answer should be to occupy all factories that close or fire massively workers, to expropriate them, without compensation, making them to function again under workers control and workers management.
The CRFI calls for a resolute struggle against fascism, racism and discrimination of all minorities! Defend the immigrants and all the communities of oppressed! Equal rights for all workers, independently of color, ethnic origin or religion! The workers and popular movements have to organize Workers Defense Guards against the fascist gangs and State repression.
For the dismantlement of the bourgeois State apparatus of repression, of NATO and all imperialist military bases and alliances- full solidarity to all anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed nations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America!
For all immediate vital demands of the working class and popular masses, our battle cry should be: Down with all capitalist governments!
For workers’ governments and workers’ power! Down with the European Union of the imperialists! For the United Socialist States of Europe!
Athens, 19 December 2012