The Revolutionary Workers’ Party (DIP) held its conference on international work over the weekend of 18-19 February 2012 in Ankara. The conference was part of a series of conferences organised by all the sections and supporting organisations affiliated to the Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the Fourth International (CRFI) in order to discuss the methods to advance the political work and consolidate the organisational structure of the international centre.
However, DIP benefited from the occasion to further raise the internationalist consciousness and knowledge of its rank and file members and militants. The conference was organised as part of a more extensive weekend of activities. The weekend was dubbed the Mariano Ferreyra Internationalist Winter Camp (MAFEKK for short in its Turkish abbreviation) and included an intensive educational course on the history of working class internationalism, as well as the conference proper. Mariano Ferreyra was a metal worker and leading youth member of our sister party in Argentina, the Partido Obrero (PO), and was assassinated in October 2010 by an armed gang of the trade union bureaucracy during an action against severe attacks on labour rights in the railroad industry of the country. DIP offers comrade Mariano as a role model to its young militants, especially the workers in the party from different industries such as metallurgy, construction, energy, tourism, as well as office workers, teachers, and other public sector labourers.
Not only was the whole activity dedicated to our Argentine comrade Mariano as a token of our internationalism, but the decoration of the meeting hall was also testimony to the deep political and ideological commitment of DIP to internationalism. The banners of the Italian Partito Comunista dei Lavoratori (PCL) and the Greek Ergatiko Epanastatiko Komma (EEK) adorned the hall alongside that of the PO of Argentina. Facing the ever present image of Comrade Mariano was a portrait of Muhammed Bouazizi, the hero of the Tunisian revolution, and by extension of the Arab revolution at large, the young graduate streeet vendor who protested the assault on his dignity by the officials of the Tunisian dictatorship of Ben Ali through self-immolation, thus setting on fire the whole Arab world. The slogan “Long live the World Revolution!” was inscribed on the wall in the four major languages of the Middle East, Arab and Farsi as well as Turkish and Kurdish.
The education involved an overall survey of internationalist organising activity on the part of Marxists in the political sphere from the time of the First International to the present. The first session took up the first three internationals and left off where the Stalinist bureaucracy destroyed the Comintern. The second session started out by explaining why Trotsky conceived the struggle to found the Fourth International as the most important work of his life. The speaker of the second session then went on to recount the divisions that arose within the rank of the Fourth International in postwar period and the ultimate programmatic liquidation and political demise of the International through the class collaborationist policies of the United Secretariat in Brazil and Italy. The sectarian nature of other “Trotskyist” international organisations, almost all of them generated through a cloning process of a national organisation, was then exposed. The final presentation then took up the formation of the CRFI from Genoa 1997 onwards and presented it as an answer to the problems that beset the revolutionary Marxist movement internationally.
Resolutions of the International Conference of DIP
Bringing together delegates from twelve provinces, among them the biggest of Turkey, the Conference deliberated on the problems of the international working class and communist movements, the situation created by the Great Depression that world capitalism is going through and the rise of revolutionary movements on the opposite coasts of the Mediterranean with Egypt and Greece as the respective focal points, the opportunities and the difficulties faced by the CRFI, and the ways to move ahead in this overall situation.
The Conference reaffirmed the key nature of the crisis of leadership in determining the future of class struggle worldwide and the indispensability of the refoundation of a world party of socialist revolution on the programmatic bases of the Fourth International and the organisational principles of Bolshevism. It also underlined the unique importance of the CRFI as a transitional stage in the struggle for the refoundation of such a world party.
Under its first major agenda item, the Conference ratified the Programmatic Theses for the Refoundation of the Fourth International, the programmatic document that forms the basis of the CRFI. It situated the Programmatic Theses in “ a world conjuncture in which the international left, including that which originates in Trotskyism, has drifted entirely away from Marxism” and “taken as a whole” characterised the “general orientation of the text with respect to its analysis of the world situation and the political position it adopts vis-a-vis a series of issues as a document in its overall orientation that provides the CRFI with a revolutionary Marxist basis for the construction of and the tasks facing a world party.”
However, the resolution on the programme went on to raise a number of caveats on certain specific political issues, note the dated nature of some of the analysis, advance a series of issues on which a future programme has to dwell, and, most importantly, assert the need for a more concrete programme that delimits political currents on the basis of political attitudes rather than analysis and in some cases theory, as the present Programmatic Theses do.
The second major item on the agenda of the conference related to the construction of the CRFI and the work to be undertaken by DIP in this respect. On the first question, the Conference explicitly tied organisational questions to those of a political nature and stipulated an organisational leap forward on the basis of clear political initiatives. There were two political initiatives that were clearly formulated for the near future, both focusing on what DIP has characterised as the “revolutionary basin of the Mediterranean”.
One was a concrete recommendation for Europe, the epicentre of the Great Depression and of class struggles at least for the moment. Parallel to the discussion in the International Secretariat, the resolution proposed that the CRFI approach the left in Europe on the basis of an appeal for a “European General Strike” on the basis of the principal watchword of “Let the bosses pay for the crisis!” and the ultimate perspective of working towards the United Socialist States of Europe.
On the question of the Arab revolution, which DIP has saluted from day one and supported in its propaganda and in action, the resolution clearly posed as a priority the effort to establish sections of the CRFI in the Arab world and beyond in this region on the basis of a political orientation that stresses permanent revolution.
Although the resolution on the construction of the CRFI adopted a viewpoint that tied progress on organisational issues to political initiatives, it nonetheless did not neglect purely organisational questions as a specific area of intervention. There were many different organisational recommendations and measures that were advanced in order to move forward in the task of constructing the CRFI.
The Conference did not only pose tasks for the CRFI. It also adopted a special resolution to define new and more concrete tasks for DIP in the arena of international work. The overall orientation of the resolution in question may be summed up by saying that it requires DIP to adopt an incomparably higher level of activity and initiative in the field of international work. This includes the work that DIP is determined to undertake in the construction and consolidation of the CRFI and in the propagation of the perspective of permanent revolution in the Arab world and the Middle East at large.
A new stage in the development of DIP
The Conference comes at a stage in DIP’s development process in which the party finds itself standing confidently on its two feet. The Conference convened exactly a year after the Founding Congress of the party, which itself had been held in February 2011 in Istanbul. Since the Founding Congress, the party has been growing perceptibly.
The International Conference has given an added impetus to the determination of the cadres, members and sympathisers of DIP to overcome the problem of revolutionary leadership faced by the working class internationally and at the domestic level. One of its most important gains has undoubtedly been the strengthening of an internationalist attitude to revolutionary politics and the extension of this to the rank and file level. Given the passionate allegiance to internationalism expressed by many grassroots level comrades at the end of the Conference, there can be no doubt that each militant of DIP will in the future act with the utmost determination in building not only a party of the proletarian vanguard in Turkey, but also reconstructing the World Party of Socialist Revolution that was and continues to be the gift of the efforts of such historic leaders of revolutionary Marxism as Lenin and Trotsky.