Thursday, April 29, 2010

Correspondence between IRL Zimbabwe and former FLTI Minority over China

 We publish the exchange of letters between the Zimbabwe Revolutionary Internationalist League which broke away from the International Socialist Tendency recently to enter into fusion talks with the FLTI.  The IRL comrades wrote to us questioning our split from the FLTI and we responded.

Letter from IRL comrades

Dear Comrades of the HWRS and CWG

Hullo there comrades, we hope you don’t need an introduction from us but we have found it important to remind you to read our struggle within the IST and our subsequent disengagement with it to understand where we have come from and where we are going.

We wish to reiterate the point that through our fights were initially more administrative, a closer look at our perspectives and programmes proved that the differences between us and the IST were actually over policies.

It is such programs you are advocating that sees us parting ways with the reformist IST that is, the Labour Party in America. We view your policies as anything but a weapon to strangle the struggle of the workers to bourgeoisie democracy. The struggle in the ISOZ started as far back as 2000, the fight in particular was over the character of the party we wish to build. A Popular front or a a true Revolutionary Independent Workers Party with whose majority of members are the working class and other oppressed groups lead by the proletariat.

The conclusion, which we still defend, is for a Revolutionary Independent Workers party, however, the entryism into MDC amounts to urinating on one the most fundermantal principles. Our active participation in WSF (World Social Forum) another extension of capitalist imperialism set on foot to divert the working class from fighting the real enemy, the call for workers to participate in the deflected process of the constitution making process current underway in Zimbabwe, the use of bourgeois courts to resolve conflicts amongst workers organisations evidently proves the trust in which the IST has in bourgeois machinery and their institutions. This amounts to building illusions in the oppressed class that elections will led them to socialism, that capitalism can be peacefully transformed to socialism.

Important is the approach of IST on international socialism. In Zimbabwe we never, as known to us, discussed the historic struggles of our class brothers across the world. That is to say we were just a national "reformist Leninist Trotskyist" current, the left part of the MDC in Zimbabwe. We were never involved in discussions pertaining to the construction of the organisation; never did the Tendency say a word about the exploitation and starvation of African people who are reduced to destitution in their own country - in a continent with abundant resources. No resolution was democratically debated or voted on. If the practice in Zimbabwe is a reflection of the organisation of the IST then the proper term for it is international bureaucratic centrist, to repeat your description of the SCI.

Therefore, we are very anxious for more information about the activities of the FLTI, an international current with which we are in the process of affiliating. We have to avoid a repeat of, in the case of HRS, " joining" to then immediately "split". Your example is of a temporary affiliation, like a marriage of convenience, or else you did not know enought about the ‘treacherous’ program of the FLTI. Or perhaps you had the view that the majority of the leadership of FLTI had yet to renounce their ‘Morenite’ program.

We are not convinced that the split is over the different views on China, and if this is the sprimary reason then in our view it doesn’t warrant a split. Difference are expected in a healthy organisation, differences promote debate and positive development of the organisation. This China issue alone doesn’t amount to fundermental programmatic differences/issue of principle, Remember we are supposed to see things differently to enrich and come up with a well thought out perspective or analyisis of the situation. Hence the debate on China to us is very important and educative. Still more important the debate is not over China alone but it’s a description of the world situation today, so to study or understand China a lot of factors are at play, more importantly its historical background, its current economic (who owns what) and political conditions (its military supreriority and influence / areas of influence).

Therefore the debate was quite excellent in a revolutionary sense, besides, the world working class is keenly following the debate. The working class is not interested in the name calling part of the discussion but are enthusiastically waiting the conclusion of the China position. Therefore your unexpected and untimely split does nothing more than confusing the very constituency we intend to inform/equip, you abandon them to the mess of the bourgeoisie thesis. After your split any discussions between FLTI and yourself are deemed factional fights before the eyes of the working class. If we (IRG-FI) were in your shoes we could hold on the split until after a disagreement endorsed, in this instant case, with the impending FLTI congress. If we were in your shoes we would vigorously and tirelessly bring more new evidence proving that China is indeed becoming or is an imperialist country. Remember the debate is not bilateral that is, it is not between certain individuals within FLTI but is for the whole movement and the whole world working class.

But your letter dated 2 March 2010 tells that the differences are more than just the China question, this is the hidden information we are anxiously seeking otherwise you need more than that to convince that your split was justified before the eyes of the worlds workers.

After carefully examining the contents of your letter, we are seeking clarifications or more particulars to the following issues; what is your program and the FLTI program and tactics towards Nancy Pelosi. Did you put forward your proposed policy for discussion and what was the response of other affiliates members of the FLTI and the SCI?

We have since requested the constitution of the FLTI to verify the allegations; failure to convene meetings of the IEC, change of membership of the SCI. However, we comradely, request you to brief us the efforts made to address this anomaly including the reasons put forward as to why the SCI failed to produce the IWO that carries both the Minority and Majority positions on China. We received both positions ( Minority and Majority) just after your 1st Congress, we also get a hard copy of the positions in English in December 2009 though off course it was available in Spanish as early as Septemeber 2009. The other information we have is that the delay in publishing the document was your fault as you were responsible for the layout and translating of the document. Besides the documents were readily available on the websites of many affiliates of the FLTI including your site as well.

Notwithstanding the above, and if the allegation is genuinely over the bureaucratic centralism of the SCI, then the impending congress or an extraordinary congress, if it was so urgent, to deal with these important issues, was important for the life of an organisation particularly a revolutionary one like the FLTI. We are raisng this because as it is (after your split) no one is there to defend or push your otherwise progressive arguments and concerns. The rank and file is left asking whether your issues where genuine or were simply motives to divide with ultimate goal of liquidating the FLTI.

However, we believe your program was not the FLTI program, you opportunistically signed all resolutions so to work with as an enemy (workers' enemy) within. Thus our conclusion in the absence of further information that we found you guilty of intending to destroy the organisation from within but decided to dump your imposible task prematurely. You are not alone, there are many fake lefts. My own non-governmental organisation (MONGOs) was created and funded by imperialism to defeat the agenda of the working class. Many out of desperation resort to fascist methods to silence the revolutionary wave; you are decendants of Stalin.

We were following closely the deliberation of your founding congress in Buenos Aires in July 2009 and the agreements thereto agreed. We even at the initial agreed with your position that China is becoming an imperialist force basing our arguments on the activities of China mostly in Africa. But further analyisis proved the opposite – that China is just fronting America. The conclusion we reached is China is just a semi-colony of America and the other super powers. But still we will have changed our position if you or anyone had provided concrete evidence not intellectual facts, that China is an imperialist country. You are learned intellectuals, but we won't respect you when you say Israel is a nation.

The other question is over your call for a Labour Party in America, you defended this reformist mandra by raising it as a tactic. However you failed to advise the reader of the ultimate goal of your tactic. Are the conditions in USA not ripe to call for the formation of an independent workers organisation and independent working class party? We all know the history and role of labour parties across the whole world. Do you wish to conquer the program of the conquest of power by the workers through this two stage approach. Whether you call it a transitional program or what we don’t think given the phase we are in - the phase of capitalist decay – any serious, true revolutionary socialist can make a call for the formation of a labour party even as a slogan, especially given the well documented treacherous character and their limited objectives.

In this epoch of imperialism decay where we are witnessing the formation of Anti-Capitalist parties internationally as a possible replacement to the discredited Popular Front partties, your call amounts to supporting further attacks on the masses. Your call in our view is a call for the working class to donate their remaining energy of life to their exploiters. With that call you are found guilty as an accomplice of murder – oppressing the already oppressed poor majority. One can term it ultra-leftist or secretarian to denounce the call for a Labour Party in USA today, but our only question is if the "consciousness of the working class in USA remained the same" as the those of the 1930s - can capitalism still give crumbs to the labour bureaucracy. If they have changed, we guess it could change only for worse, recent developments prove so - global financial crisis, attacks of the immigrant workers etc. Thus this makes the call for a Revolutionary Workers party an urgent one and a correct program. We must not forget the USA workers will be inspired by events that are taking place across the world and today they are watching with so much interest the developments in Greece, Mdagascar etc. Instead you must call for the American workers (natives and immigrants) to support the struggles i Greece and to defeat their own imperialist government and national bourgeoisie.

It is from these fights (class fights) they are likely to decide the kind of party they wish to build. The condition of the worker today (internationally) proves that the only party the workers will support, after several defeats due to sellouts by their leaders, is a independent party of workers, lead by the workers. Workers internationally are questioning their loyalty to these Popular front parties who are persuing anti-poor policies. In Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change, another project of Britain and USA has lost credibility and is now resorting to fascist methods to scare and silence opposition.

My dear comrades we demand you to burn that program as it serves to promote the continued exisitence of imperialism. Why should the workers be used to save the decaying system of capitalism. Instead the workers must form their own party, they should occupy themselves not with a hopeless effort to save the bankkrupt capitalist structures. We must, on the contrary, with all our strength, accelerate the process of liberation of the masses. There is no longer any path back to a peaceful democracy. Events are leading inevitably and irresistibly to a conflict between the proletariat and imperialism.

Anywhere these are other discussions which we believe are nowhere nearer the split issue as they are current, besides we found that in contrary you were instead during the 1st Congress of the FLTI you presented a program of class independence which was subsequently adopted as FLTI program – you sharply shifted from this otherwise your own program. You left us confused, please guide us accordingly we are in wilderness of darkness its only a clarification by yourself that can help us here – which one is your (the program you are presenting to the working class - proletariat program) program the 1st or the latter(the one you are advocating now). You are not only confusing the rank and file of your fraction but the whole rank and file of other currents who were/ are in posession of the resolutions of the 1st Congress of the FLTI. You seemed to renouncing the same policies you signed as your resolutions at the 1st Congress, you changed your position on China more than once, we hope you won’t change it again this time.

We are not accusing you to be in consipiracy with Socialist Fight, but nevertheless we request you to comment on the contents of his letter in particular its characterisation of the SWP as an organisation rooted in the working class organisation. Particulary we request you to comment on the program of the FLTI which you still sincerely and faithfully abide to. Do you still believe in that or those resolutions reached and conquered at the 1st Congress of the FLTI - what is really your interpretation of these resolutions. We are aware you have publicly declared your defense of the 23 points but you seemed to already have breached one of those resolutions by calling for a Labour Party in USA. Yes tactics can change varying with particularities but not policies or programmes. Here in our view you have changed not the tactic but the strategy.

Disciplined comrades could not split for such an issue before exhausting all channels of addressing such, what you did amounts to disregarding the importance of the congress the supreme/decision/policy making organ of the organisation, constituted by the rank and file of the movement - that is pure bureaucratisation - do the members of your organisations really participated and agreed in these debates that lead to your split. Do they really endorse a split, we are very much interested to receive exchange of notes of this issue. We are requesting all this because we do not want to be associated with another (International Socialist Tendency) IST.

We have send our delegate to Argentina to study the activities of FLTI. We are in constant touch with him, but his observation detailed in the report we are using as the basis of this letter, shows shocking contradiction with the issues you raised. Apart from different positions on China, all other accusations according to the report supported by some materials prove your allegations as unfounded. The only issue left is to have a copy of the constitution and found how meetings are held, but still your claim is of no importance given that you did not request a meeting of the IEC after the 1st Congress, even for procedural sake. Besides according to the report we found that were it not for the delay in exchanging position papers on China the 2nd Congress could have held in December 2009. Surely with such a spirit one wonders where really are these so-called bureaucratic motives hidden.

Our delegate has attended five meetings so far, in fact, his diary is full of meetings with workers in the industrial areas. He reported that everything is done democratically with comrades voting on every item or resolution. He reported that because the Congress date is approaching cells are busy discussing proposals from different cells including those from other fractions of or affiliate members of FLTI. Cells are freely pushng their own position without pressure from anyone. He reported that he attended National Council meetings of the LOI-CI another fraction of FLTI in that meeting he witnessed independence of thought. Comrades agree or disagree and every member is free to defend or push for his idea or position without any hinderance or victimisation as was the case with ISOZ. If our comrade (reliable) is telling the truth, as we believe he is, what could be the objective of comrade G, who labelled the FLTI as movement without any roots in the working class.

If our delegate has within such small time already attended more than five meetings (with workers in industrial zones) with his calendar still full during the whole period of his stay, then our conclusion is simple – comrade G (of Socialist Fight) is serving the enemy of the working class – capitalist imperialism. Honestly the comrade is our class enemy, this won’t surprise us within this epoch of capitalist decaying there are many petty bourgeois intellectuals who are desperately and patiently queing for crumbs, which though are hard to come by, to defeat the cause of the working class- Judas Iscariot.

In this phase when it obviously clear that the working class is marching to conquer power by force – we are frightened of characters like comrade G - because the era we are entering is the era of disappearance and elimination, we hope comrade G is not send to do the dirty work of his bankrupt master. Capitalism was declared bankrupt sometime long ago but the activities of these so-called progressive intellectuals/ researchers are bent on propelling the structures of imperialism of course for a few crumbs. We know they are many of you scattered in every location, your work is to intellectualise the struggle of the working class, to you a 'revolutionary' slogan is your program. We need honest revolutionaries, international revolutionaries in practice not in theory or in word.

Everywhere comrades we must not drop the red flag, the flag for the the total emmancipation of the working class, the flag for the total independent self activity of the working class who are the suffering majority, diverted by these trival issues. The real debate is how could the working class in Greece, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, USA etc come out victorious. What is the best tactic to defeat/smash fake-Trotskyists mushroomed in every country where they are supported institutionally directly or indirectly by their national bourgeois or some ‘radical’ non-governmental organisations. We hope our fellow comrade G is not caught in this web.

Nevertheless, the concerns you raised- though unfounded according to the information before us- help to enrich the organisation of the FLTI. It demands that the FLTI revisit its criteria when joining with any other currents. We don’t think the challenge is anywhere near negative but is more positive. Its a neccesary phase in the construction of a serious movement, you need challenges (up and downs) for you to see clearly or interrogate your future and your past - though one can not invite such situations. This is how one can come up with a well thought well researched program with correct strategy, and even changing those tactics will be simple as they will be informed by a well knighted program of action. Only that our comrades of the HWRS and CWG disappear before concluding the debate, even if the debate continues, it no longer commands the same significance as it was if it was carried as a collective group.

Well we wish you good luck in your endevour. Your program is an IST program perhaps you are one of many other little groups of the IST paid to support its opportunist petty-bourgeois policies.

Down with petty bourgeois mentality!

For the formation of International Revolutionary party!


Political Committee
Revolutionary Internationalist League-FI (Fourth International) Zimbabwe (Ex-ISOZ)

18 / 03 / 10

Build a fighting Socialist Alternative

Reply to IRL Comrades

Dear Comrades,

Thank you for writing to us. We have kept our reply brief. 

We are not interested in responding to provocations. Calling us stalinists and splitters is designed to muddy the waters around the question of China. The quality of debate from the SCI/ISC on China was poor (personal attacks, slander and distortion of our statements) and a minimal amount of Marxist debate - which we believe we countered sufficiently. No new Marxist issues were raised in the screeds of Majority slander we received just before Conference was due - so we had no confidence of any useful debate at conference.

Lets focus on China. You say that initially you thought we may be correct on China, but on reflection decided the majority was correct.

We take it you are now convinced that China is a semi-colony and that its role in Africa is one of acting as the agent of Anglo/US imperialism.

Lets look at this position.
First, you expect us to believe that the US is increasing its political, military and ideological intervention in Africa to provide backup for China's growing investment and financing of oil and other deals.

Why should China need such a big US build-up in Africa in order to pursue its investments? In the cases where China has built strong relations with the national bourgeosie eg DRC, Sudan, Angola, Zimbabwe, the regimes do not need AFRICOM to ensure the success of China.

But perhaps, these regimes need to be protected from workers rising up in revolutions against China's exploitation. Yet in reality, these regimes are being pressured by AFRICOM to reject China in favour of Anglo/US and other imperialist deals. Why would the US do that if China was its proxy in Africa?

So here we have factual evidence that AFRICOM is not designed to protect the US 'proxy' China, but rather to undermine and block China's growth as an imperialist rival.

In fact the ideological and political stand of the US in Africa is to warn and condemn those doing deals with China. China is blamed for genocide in Sudan. It is accused of doing deals with dictators. The US is trying its utmost to target China
as authoritarian and undemocratic, and a supporter of dictators and terrorists. It would not do this if it controls China as a semi-colony, but it would and is because China is becoming its big rival.

Let us look more closely at Zimbabwe where this position is particularly clear.

Zimbabwe is a clear case of a semi-colony  forced to break with Anglo-US imperialism leading to a major internal crisis which it is now turning to China to solve. ZANU/MDC are looking to China as the alternative to Anglo/US finance capital. You must be aware of the recent trip that Tsvangirai made to the West where he failed to raise money, only to then say that he had the money from China. Thus the regime can present China to workers as a progressive alternative to Anglo-US imperialism to draw the masses into a new popular front which we analyise in our document on Chavez 5th international.  

But even if we consider for the moment that China is a proxy of US imperialism, how do we explain China's accumulation of capital? When a semi-colony serves imperialism, its surplus value is extracted as super profits. The national bourgeoisie gets a small share of the surplus as the junior partners of imperialism.

Imperialism never allows a semi-colonial ruling class to get rich and become the creditor of the imperialist country unless they are minor allies like the oil rich Gulf States. Semi-colonial corporates cannot compete with US multinationals (eg oil and gas in Africa) since the US monopolises the super-profits for its own MNCs.

It therefore contradicts the ABCs of Marxism to say that China is a semi-colony and a proxy for the US. A Marxist would then ask the question: what is China

Our answer is the Marxist answer. Despite its heavy reliance on imperialist Foreign Direct Investment, The Chinese ruling class has managed to retain its independence of US, Japanese etc imperialism, and accumulate enough capital to export its own finance capital. There is only one Marxist category for such a country - imperialism.

Once we understand this, it is easy to explain China's growing role in the world and its long-term threat to Anglo/US imperialism. Its size and growth make it the major long-term rival of US imperialism. Both in terms of huge demand for vital raw materials and also in terms of competition for spheres of interest.

That is why for us the question of China is decisive for our relations with the FLTI. We cannot stay in a tendency that would be on the other side in a war between China and the US. It is obvious that the major factor shaping the international situation today is the growing inter-imperialist rivalry between the US bloc and the China/Russia bloc. To ignore that is to be blind and workers do not need to be led by the blind. We hope that you open your eyes.
Regarding the activities of FLTI / LOI-CI and apparent democracy -
CWG were also impressed with the rank and file involvement within the LOI-CI in our first meetings.  Unfortunately we were not able to be with the LOI-CI for enough time / nor did we have enough Spanish language skill to observe fully. However the real test of democracy is when a position is in opposition to the leadership. The rights to self-determination of the indigenous Mapuche people was an issue which rank n file members raised and were abused/ridiculed for raising - at an earlier Liaison Committee conference in 2006. 

Have you received all minority statements? Listed below
Revolutionary Greetings
Al and Dave for CWG
 Joint Letter from HWRS and CWG-NZ Announcing the Split
Internal Debate Documents Preceding the Split
The Labor Party in the US and the Subjective Sectarian (Feb. 2010) - statement to clarify of our position
Is China Imperialist? (December 2009)
The Truth Is Concrete (PDF) (December 2009)
Minority Resolution on China from the July 2009 IFLT Congress
Why Israel Is Not Fascist (submitted by HWRS to the IFLT) (Summer 2009)
Resolutions adopted by the IFLT Congress, Buenos Aires, July 2009
Additional resolutions were printed in International Workers Organizer No. 1 (part 1) and in International Workers Organizer No. 1 (part 2). These publications are no longer available on this website.

Other IFLT Documents
International Socialists (IS) Factional Struggle in Zimbabwe (October-November 2009) (updated December 2009)
Emergency appeal to all the fighting workers organizations! from the Editorial Board of Democracia Obrera (publication of the LOI(CI), Argentina) (September 16, 2009)
Open letter to South African union members from the Workers International Vanguard League (South Africa) (September 8, 2009)
Message of solidarity with unionized rank and file South African soldiers from the Workers International Vanguard League (South Africa) (August 27, 2009)
Message of solidarity to BART workers from the Workers International Vanguard League (South Africa) (August 20, 2009)
Letter from IFLT to JRCL on the occasion of its 47th International Antiwar Assembly (July 31, 2009)
In Defense of Proletarian Principles and Morality (IFLT Statement on LIT attack on Brazilian Comrades, October 2008)
Dossier on ELAC (Fall 2008)

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