“From Coyoacan, Mexico where Leon Trotsky fell, assassinated on the 20th August, 1940, I send greetings to all the comrades at the world congress of the IMT. Once again, I wish to express my great admiration for the marvellous work of the recently deceased revolutionary Marxist comrade, Ted Grant. Founding member and outstanding leader of your organization. And I urge you to carry out this struggle for socialism with renewed vigour, a socialism without bureaucratic dictatorship, based on the principle of workers’ democracy. Let us always maintain aloft the red banner of the principles of proletarian internationalism and the unconditional defence of the exploited and oppressed of the whole planet.” (Message from Esteban Volkov (Leon Trotsky’s grandson) to the International Marxist Tendency 23 July, 2006.)
On Sunday July 30, the 2006 World Congress of the International Marxist Tendency opened in Barcelona. This was a truly amazing congress, characterized by terrific energy, enthusiasm, and optimism combined with an extremely high level of political discussion and debate. Above all, there was a firm determination to build the International in the coming period. It was the largest congress ever, with 320 present, cramming the meeting hall almost to capacity.
There were comrades present from many different countries including: Canada, USA, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Morocco (reflecting the growing interest in our tendency in the Arab world), Israel, Pakistan, Cuba, Cyprus, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, an important delegation of Basque comrades, Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Russia, Iran, Italy. Apologies were received from Peru, Nigeria, Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Sri Lanka.
Tribute to Ted Grant
This congress took place in the shadow of the sudden passing of comrade Ted Grant that had occurred just over one week earlier. The scale and energy of the congress was the most fitting tribute to him and his lifelong struggle to defend the ideas of Marxism. It is interesting that the bourgeois media is paying so much attention to Ted’s death. There have been long articles in the Times, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and the Independent, as well as a programme on BBC, Radio Four. Many of these obituaries were full-page stories with pictures. They recognize the enormous impact of Militant and show how that Ted and the tendency he built were able to give the ruling class a real scare.
Opening the congress comrade Rob Sewell paid a warm tribute to Ted, whose passing, he said, was the end of an era. Ted reflected the living link between this movement and the International Left Opposition of the 1930s. Ted had made a unique and outstanding contribution to the Marxist movement. Above all, he maintained the ideas, principles and methods of Marxism throughout a period of 70 years. “He kept the flame alight during the darkest days,” Rob said. “Without his contribution, we would not have the movement we have today”. This sentiment was shared by all the comrades present.
The discussion on World Perspectives
The congress proper opened the discussion on World Perspectives, led off by Alan Woods, and in which many comrades from around the world participated. The discussion was based on the draft World Perspectives document discussed and approved earlier at the IEC. We also discussed the various amendments proposed to the document. The final version, incorporating those amendments approved by the congress will be available in the next few days on the Marxist.com website. We reproduce here only the main points of comrade Woods’ speech.
The Middle East
Alan began by pointing to the chaos and turbulence that has now gripped the entire planet. The wars in Palestine and Lebanon are a reflection of the insoluble contradictions that face imperialism on a world scale. This is truly the most turbulent period in the whole of human history:
“The situation in the Middle East is spiralling out of control,” he said, placing the whole responsibility on the shoulders of US imperialism. “This is the mightiest imperialist power in history, but it is a colossus with feet of clay. The Iraq war was supposed to bring peace and stability.” He commented ironically: “George Bush wants peace in the Middle East – that is, peace under American control. But there is a problem. You can have peace in the Middle East or you can have American control, but you cannot have both. The aggressive policy of US imperialism can only cause more wars and instability.”
“They spoke of a Palestinian state, of a ‘roadmap’. But this roadmap has gone off the road and straight into chaos. Israel withdrew from Gaza – but this was just a big show. The independence of Gaza is fictitious. It is at the mercy of Israel, which can intervene at any time. At the same time they have taken chunks out of the West Bank, building a wall that cuts through large parts of Palestinian territory.”
“This ‘war on terrorism’ has had results that are diametrically opposed to what was intended. It has added to the general instability. It has led to more terrorism on a world scale than ever before. Terrorism itself reflects the existence of indissoluble contradictions. The masses are desperate and there is no real alternative. This in turn reflects the weakness of international Marxism, which is unable at this stage to provide a mass alternative.
“The US touted ‘democracy’ in the region. But when the Palestinians elected the ‘wrong’ government, they were no longer so enthusiastic about democracy. Ever since, they have been working to undermine the Hamas government. Some in Hamas might even be prepared to make a deal. But there are other sectors who would never accept it. It would lead to civil war.”
Alan drew a parallel between the policy of Tel Aviv and that of the British imperialists in Ireland in 1922 when they withdrew from the South and established a puppet state in the North: “The British imperialists leaned on the Irish bourgeoisie to crush resistance by turning one section of the national liberation movement against the other – all in order to strengthen British control. In the same way the Israelis wanted to establish a puppet state under Abbas to do their dirty work. This is a recipe for further instability and convulsions.
“Israel was already preparing to crush Hamas. We predicted when they pulled out of Gaza that it would become an even more miserable ghetto of poverty and hopelessness – and Israel could always re-invade if needed. This has happened within 12 months. They are crushing the Palestinians. Now the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier has sparked off a new conflict.
“Suicide bombings and such kinds of attacks against Israel have no military effect. They are pinpricks against Israeli imperialism – not ‘armed struggle’ in any real sense. But they tend to push the Israeli masses into the arms of reaction The real aim of the Israeli state is not to rescue a couple of soldiers. They were looking for an excuse to crush Hamas. They are determined to show their power – to show who is the boss. Their motto is not ‘an eye for an eye’ but rather that they will take 20 or more lives for one – including many women and children. We condemn this Israeli aggression unconditionally. But just look at the conduct of those hypocrites Bush and Blair. The US has not lifted a finger to help halt the conflict. Naturally! They are in favour of it! On the other hand, the pacifists and the UN have yet again revealed their complete impotence.
“Now a new front has opened up in the north – with Hezbollah. Bush has the illusion that Israel can defeat Hezbollah – but this can’t happen. Neither side can inflict a decisive defeat on the other. So things will only get worse and this must eventually cause problems within Israel. There is not a full invasion yet. The Israelis would like the Lebanese army to disarm Hezbollah for them. But disarming Hamas or Hezbollah is a political question and they simply can’t do it.
“The Lebanese government is weak - it is a fragile state, a complex mix of ethnicities and religions. In reality, what kept Lebanon stable in the past was the Syrian presence – but they were kicked out through the pressure of US imperialism. The truth is that Hezbollah is stronger than the Lebanese army. They cannot disarm it. Israel is raining down bombs on everyone – Maronite Christians as well. The government can collapse at some point which could usher in another nightmare of chaos and instability in Lebanon.”
Iraq and the “war on terror”
“What was the result of the Iraq invasion? The country is descending into bloody chaos. The imperialists tried to base themselves on the Shias – they ‘liberated’ them. Now there is a bloody civil war between Sunnis and Shias. Dozens and even hundreds of people are being killed each day – mostly civilians, unemployed workers, and other innocent people. It’s a complete mess. The Americans would like to leave, but how is that possible now? They have no serious base and have failed to establish a viable puppet regime with a viable army and police force. The US is trapped despite all their resources and power. Instability is spreading like a kind of gangrene throughout the whole region.
“Somalia is the latest country where a pro-US government has been overthrown. There was a weak government run by warlords, drug traffickers, and gangsters – recognized by the UN – and backed by the CIA. Now it has been swept aside by Islamic fundamentalists. They have the support of the people, who are sick of the mess. The US is in a mess there, too, and another war is being prepared. From their point of view, the US imperialists should intervene, but they can’t. They already tried that a few years ago and had to retreat like a dog with its tail between its legs. Instead, they are intriguing with Ethiopia, which may intervene as it has territorial claims. The CIA is encouraging them to do so. But then Eritrea would attack Ethiopia, and this would result in another devastating war involving all the countries of the Horn of Africa.
“Around the world we see war after war, terrorism and bloodshed. There is the continuing war in Darfur, in the Sudan. There is another bloody war in Uganda. In the Congo some 4,000,000 people have been killed in the past few years in constant wars and civil wars. US interference after the collapse of the USSR has brought about the complete destabilization of Central Asia. Nothing has been solved between India and Pakistan, where the problem of Kashmir remains a potential source of conflict, terrorism and wars”.
War and revolution
Comrade Alan then proceeded to outline the Marxist attitude to war and the dialectical relation between war and revolution: “We don’t approach war from a sentimental or pacifist point of view. War is only the continuation of politics by other means. It is also, historically, the midwife of revolutions. Out of this bloody mess – which reflects the insoluble contradictions of the system ‑ new forces are emerging. The chaos in the region is spreading to Pakistan.”
“The US invasion of Afghanistan has solved nothing. Karzai, the American stooge andnominal head of state, controls little more than Kabul airport. He is kept alive only by CIA bodyguards. The Taliban, as we predicted, have regrouped and are counter-attacking in the south. They are based in Pakistan, especially the Tribal Areas, over which Islamabad has no control. Over a thousand people have been killed in recent weeks in the southern province of Helman – mostly civilians.
“The government is so rotten that many people are turning back to the Taliban. The US wants to pull out and get others to do the dirty work, as in Iraq. But this is easier said than done. The Americans have withdrawn from the south of the country, leaving the fighting to the British, who are taking a lot of casualties. The Taliban are experienced fighters and are waging an implacable guerrilla war. They have plenty of recruits and money. The Afghan war will sooner or later have an effect in Britain.
“Musharraf has tried to help the Americans – but whatever he does will never be good enough. He can’t disarm the fundamentalists or fight the Taliban. The Pakistani Secret Services (ISI) created the Taliban in the first place and are still collaborating with them. Musharraf is being crushed between two millstones. He may be assassinated. This would result in revolutionary upheavals and open up new possibilities for our comrades. They recently defeated the privatisation of Pakistan Steel and are developing a mass base throughout the country. Once Musharraf is removed, it will open the floodgates in Pakistan. The Marxist tendency will be in a strategic position to take advantage of the new possibilities. In Pakistan we have already established the subjective factor.
“In Bangladesh there have been big movements in recent weeks. In India, also, there have been big strikes, and a mood of discontent is developing. In Nepal, the Maoists could have taken power. They controlled the majority of the country and the US and Indians were forced to ditch the king. The problem was that if they took power, the Indian Army would intervene, so they reached a deal. But the masses will not be satisfied. The Maoists might possibly take power, or else the country could fall into military dictatorship. This again highlights the importance of the subjective factor – the party and the leadership. If the Nepalese masses took power, they would have to appeal to the Pakistani and Indian masses to rise up – but the Maoists unfortunately don’t have that policy and perspective.
The USA and Iran
“The US ruling class is like a doctor that tries to cure a disease by treating the symptoms – if you get spots, cut them out! This only leads to a worse condition. Washington’s policy is characterised by shameless bullying and aggression. They are mercilessly pressurising Iran on the issue of nuclear weapons. The US and Israel have nuclear bombs and chemical weapons. That is OK. But others had better not have them!
“It is quite clear that the Iranians are acquiring nuclear weapons. Why? The US accused Iraq of having weapons of mass destruction. This was precisely the publicly stated reason for the invasion. But when they occupied Iraq they found that there were none. The Iranian generals naturally drew the conclusion that the solution is to get nuclear weapons! The US will not invade Iran. Iran is not Iraq. It has a huge army even without nuclear weapons. Even the workers and peasants, who hate the regime, would fight like tigers against an American invasion.
“But there are other, more important, reasons for the stance of Teheran. After 20 years the masses are fed up of the reactionary theocratic government. A few years ago we saw a massive student movement, and a “reform” government, which naturally failed. Now reaction has returned. The mullahs feel the ground shake under their feet. They are terrified of a revolution from below. They are using the threat of invasion to stay in power. The ruling class has engineered a conflict with the Americans to divert the attention of the masses – and they have partly succeeded, at least temporarily.
“Even so, Washington (and Tel Aviv) is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. They will not invade, but the US may use the Air Force to bomb nuclear plants. More likely they will use the Israelis to do this. The USA is compelled to support Israel, even if they don’t agree with everything the Israelis do. Israel is their only really solid base of support in the Middle East. But if the Israelis bomb Iran, the effect throughout the whole region would be explosive. It could provoke a wave of revolutions in places like Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.
“Bush and Blair are like schoolyard bullies. They only attack those weaker than themselves. But the Americans do not talk about invading North Korea. The latter has nuclear weapons and rockets that can reach not just South Korea and Japan but the US West Coast. They also have a massive and powerful army. The North Koreans are defiant. They say, ‘Look! We have nuclear weapons! Come and get us!’ But on this issue, Washington adopts the very sensible policy that “discretion is the better part of valour”. They leave North Korea alone.
“What is interesting is the attitude of Japan. This is a massive economic power with a history of aggressive imperialism – although since 1945 they have avoided entanglement in foreign wars. But now they are making threatening remarks directed at North Korea and China. Japan is arming itself to the teeth. This has enormous implications for the future of the Pacific.
“Then there is the conflict between the USA and China. China has been drawn into the capitalist world. It has become a major economic power. This is producing new contradictions. Ironically, the US saw China only as a big market – the Chinese weren’t supposed to export quality high-tech products to the USA. But that is what is happening. Therefore, a sharp conflict is developing between the USA and China. The US capitalists are responding to the avalanche of cheap Chinese goods with ever-increasing protectionist tendencies. It is inevitable that in the coming period, China will enter into conflict with the USA for control of the Pacific. We will see endless conflict around the world in the coming period, which will make the present ‘Bush fires’ look tame by comparison”.
Economics and politics
Lenin wrote an article with the title “Combustible material in world politics”. Today it is clear that there is plenty of combustible material everywhere. All these conflicts reflect the existence of insoluble contradictions within capitalism on a global scale – and this is all taking place during a boom.
The current economic boom is not like the period of capitalist upswing that followed the Second World War. It solves nothing from the standpoint of the masses. Any statistic you look at in this crisis shows the difference. The period between 1945 and 1973 was a period of robust economic growth, full employment, and increased profits, which permitted the capitalists to give reforms and concessions in many countries. Now the opposite is the case, with vicious cuts, attacks, and the slashing of living conditions:
“Japan grew two percent recently and this was trumpeted as a triumph after 15 years of stagnation. But in the period after WWII, Japan was growing like China is now, with annual growth rates that regularly exceeded ten percent. In the past, Japanese society was relatively equal – like Sweden. Now, the poor are poorer, the rich are richer. We see an enormous development of inequality in Japan and everywhere else”.
This is a boom at the expense of the working class, the speaker concluded. Around the world this boom is accompanied by high unemployment. Not only are there no reforms but those reforms and concessions that were won by the working class in the past are being taken back. This is creating conditions for an intensification of the class struggle: “There have been big strikes and general strikes in Italy, Germany, Belgium and France. In France, there was the uprising of the youth. There is officially 10% unemployment. But it is 20% for the youth, and for immigrant youth 40-50%. This explosive situation is being repeated in one country after another. President Chirac said there was a “deep malaise” in French society. In fact, there is a deep, profound malaise everywhere.
Moreover, there are certain indications that the boom is reaching a peak: “There is enormous uncertainty and nervousness on the part of the bourgeois, which is reflected in ups and downs of the stock market. In May, there were heavy falls in world markets. Inflation is rising. Oil and gas prices are high. They are already nearly $80 a barrel and will go higher, with the US blundering around the Middle East. There is a speculative bubble in housing. Economists are worried about this ‘irrational exuberance’. But it is nothing new. It is the same speculative fever that always appears in every boom in history. Only its scale is different. This is the biggest bubble in the history of capitalism. It can’t continue. The currently relatively low interest rates and the vast extension of credit will turn into its opposite.
“The economic cycle that Marx described and analysed in Capital has not disappeared. But now it is reproduced on a vastly greater scale than ever before, the whole world is involved in a way never seen in previous history. But the entire world economy is now dependent on two countries: the USA and China. The US economy is based on completely unsound foundations, and sooner or later the boom in China will end in a crisis of overproduction, and this will have an effect throughout Asia and the world. Already we see the development of protectionist tendencies. The Doha round of world trade talks has been suspended and no agreement is possible”.
However, while stressing the importance of economics, Alan pointed out that under present conditions, there can be shocks to the system from different causes. The economic cycle is important. But there is no “philosophers’ stone” as far as boom or slump leading to revolution. A slump will be a heavy blow in the US especially, and it will lead the masses to draw important political conclusions. But we don’t require a slump for revolutionary situations to emerge. From the standpoint of the class struggle, a feeble boom is perhaps the most favourable scenario. It means that no serious reforms are possible, or are only possible as the by-product of revolutionary struggle. This itself can result in an upsurge of the struggle.
The economists point to the rate of growth as a sign of success, but for the working class, a boom is only a “success” if it leads to increased living standards. If not, then no relative stability is possible. In Latin America there has been a high rate of growth in many countries but it has not been reflected in higher living standards, only increased exploitation and inequality. This is fuelling revolutionary developments.
In general the bourgeoisie is not developing the productive forces as they did in the past. The current concentration of capital is not leading to the development of the productive forces. On the contrary, these constant takeovers mean that workers are fired, factories closed like matchboxes. The monstrous greed and parasitism of the bourgeois is expressed in the theory of “trickledown”, which can be summed up in the idea that “the rich do not have enough money, and the poor have too much.”
Everywhere there is terrible pressure on the working class. The US workers now produce 30 percent more than they did 10 years ago. Yet wages have hardly increased. There is an enormous increase in the divide between rich and poor, which is leading to increasing tensions in society. Record profit levels, accompanied by record inequality. The one truly continuous trend over the past 25 years has been towards greater concentration of income at the very top. Yet Hurricane Katrina revealed to the whole world the existence of a subclass in the richest country in the world living in extreme poverty. The social fabric is increasingly strained, which is preparing the ground for an even greater explosion of the class struggle. The present boom may end in 12-18 months perhaps – it’s impossible to say exactly – but that’s not the point. The point is that the class struggle is taking place NOW.
The speaker went on to point out that at this moment the most important front of the world revolution is Latin America – something we had predicted in advance: “For Marxists, perspectives are not the ‘icing on the cake’ – not an optional extra. Scientific perspectives are an absolute necessity – a compass to find our bearings. We anticipated this since January 2000 on the basis of Ecuador, then Argentina. Thanks to our correct analysis and perspectives we were able to understand events in Venezuela. Many scoffed at us. Now those very people are all scrambling to catch up with us.”
Alan dealt with the situation in Cuba, which has altered substantially since the fall of the USSR produced a serious change. It is not sufficient to repeat mechanically the slogans of the past. Dialectical materialism sets out from the notion that the truth is always concrete. We must approach reality as it is. The collapse of the USSR had a profound effect, causing a ferment of discussion at all levels. Many honest Communists have been forced to ask themselves questions: what happened to the USSR?
The pressure of US imperialism is bearing down on Cuba, and some bureaucrats would like to return to capitalism. But Fidel Castro is implacably opposed to this and the masses support him and the Revolution. The overthrow of Fidel would lead straight to the restoration of capitalism. Our task is therefore to offer a united front to that wing of the Cuban Communists who are willing to fight to defend the nationalized planned economy:
“We will say to all honest communists in Cuba: we may not agree on everything, we have different traditions, but we must unite to fight against capitalist restoration. We must fight together against imperialism and capitalist restoration. But we will defend our own point of view, and we propose a democratic debate of all genuine communist tendencies – that is, of all tendencies who stand for the defence of the nationalized planned economy.
“On the basis of a friendly and comradely approach, we are getting an echo in Cuba, where interest in the ideas of Trotsky is spreading. Many in Cuba are looking for ideas – for our international. We must connect with them. We explain that the only way to save the Cuban Revolution is to fight for Lenin’s programme of workers’ democracy and above all (as Che Guevara understood very well) to spread the socialist revolution to Latin America and the world”.
Alan went on to describe the developing revolution in Latin America, above all in Mexico, where a revolutionary movement of the masses has begun: “We predicted this movement very precisely in the World Perspectives Draft document, which was written ten months ago. We predicted that the movement would take place through the PRD – and that is just what has happened.
“The imperialists are very worried and they tried to block Lopez Obrador (AMLO) from even running as presidential candidate but the mobilizations of the masses defended him. Now they have rigged the vote. AMLO was compelled to call for a campaign of civil disobedience. It has developed into a pre-revolutionary situation. Our comrades have been playing an active role in all of this. By contrast, the sectarians, who never approach the movement from the standpoint of the masses, have been left totally isolated.
“This discussion is qualitatively different to perspectives discussions we have had in the past. They were very good discussions but they were perhaps a bit abstract. This discussion is not at all abstract. It is based on the real movements of the masses - not hypotheses – and it is a movement in which we’re actively participating: in Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico. In Mexico we have a strong group of supporters. We were in a strong position before the revolutionary events began. That means we have a colossal potential”.
“The central front remains Venezuela,” Alan continued. “It is the key to the Latin American revolution. It is also the key to the destiny of the Cuban revolution. A defeat in Venezuela (or Cuba) would be a terrible blow to the world revolution. Many sectarians have said: “Revolution? What revolution?!” These ladies and gentlemen are very good at talking about revolution, but when they are actually confronted with a real revolution, they do not even recognise it! No wonder so many people have such a poor opinion of Trotskyism.
“For all its faults – and the Venezuelan revolution is far from finished yet – it nevertheless sets an example to millions around the world. Imperialism is determined to stop the revolution because revolutions are contagious. But the biggest threat to the Venezuelan Revolution comes from the inside: from the Bolivarian bureaucracy, which reflects the pressure of imperialism and the oligarchy. The masses are pressing to advance but are being blocked at every step. Therefore, the fate of the Revolution has not yet been settled by history. It is in the balance.
“Every comrade must study carefully what is happening in Venezuela. We need to use the Venezuelan revolution to raise the theoretical level of the cadres. We must have a balanced approach – we support the revolution against imperialism and the counterrevolutionary forces. We will support Chavez in the election – but our support is critical support. We are revolutionary Marxists, not reformists. We will work side by side with the Bolivarian workers and peasants to defeat the counterrevolution, but we must always maintain our own banner, ideas and programme. We will raise criticisms in a friendly way. We say to Chavez: ‘what you have done is very good – but you must finish the job!’
“You can’t make half a revolution – this is a dangerous idea. There are only two possibilities for Venezuela – the greatest victory or the greatest defeat. The Venezuelan reformists think that because they have oil and a few reforms, that that’s enough. They want to halt the revolution – but this would be its death. You can’t stop half way.
“The central contradiction has not been resolved. There is a lot of talk about revolution. But seven years later they have not expropriated the oligarchy and the old state apparatus remains in place. Therefore the danger of counterrevolution has not been removed. We must consistently raise the alarm – otherwise we would be held responsible for future defeats. We must be honest and open and clear about our position and the tasks of the revolution.
“Elections have played an important role in galvanizing and mobilizing the masses. The December presidential elections will be extremely important – they will be a turning point. Chavez has said: ‘after this, we will make the revolution irreversible’. Things are moving to a decisive showdown between the classes. A showdown is coming. The opposition may not even stand in the election. They may resort once more to boycott and sabotage. They will resort to extra-legal methods.
“We must warn of this and build up our small forces in Venezuela. We have accomplished miracles – but we need more ‑ we don’t have all the time in the world. In Venezuela there are no soviets. There are embryonic forms of soviets in the occupied factories – but because they are embryonic they are not in a position to challenge the parliament at this stage. We must work to develop these points. The entire international must be mobilized on this question in order to understand what is happening in Venezuela in detail, and we must support our Venezuelan comrades politically and practically.
A new situation
“What is the meaning of all of this? This is an entirely new situation on a world scale – the most turbulent period in world history. It is true that there have been periods of colossal turbulence in the past – periods that reflected the terminal crisis of a doomed socio-economic system. In the period of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, there were huge movements of the peoples. But let us remember that the Roman “world” was mainly limited to a narrow strip around the Mediterranean. Now, with the inclusion of Russia and China into the capitalist world economy, it truly involves the whole world. We can therefore assert that, in the sheer scale and depth, the present crisis is without any historical precedent.
“The crisis of capitalism now affects the entire world. It is characterised by turbulence, wars, revolution and counterrevolution. These are the painful death agonies of a society that has outlived its historical usefulness and which does not deserve to live. Out of these bloody events a new force is being born – the revolutionary force of the workers, peasants, and revolutionary youth. They are the birth pangs of a new society. And this international must play a key role in cutting short the birth pangs and ushering in the birth of a new society.”
The debate was then opened to the floor. Among the many interesting contributions was a speech by Jorge Martin, who spoke mainly on Venezuela and Bolivia. He related an incident when, in his presence, a discussion took place on the need to organize the military defence of the Revolution. Among those present was a serving Rear Admiral responsible for organizing the reserves. He said we needed to organize the reserves in every neighbourhood, factory, etc. Ruben Linares of the UNT trade union asked him: “what if say, 300 workers from the local Firestone factory want to get organized as a group?” The Admiral, said, “hmmm, I hadn’t thought of it before, but sounds like a good idea – send a delegation of workers and we’ll give them military training!”
Here, as in many other areas, Jorge blamed much of the slowness of the advance of the revolution on lack of leadership and initiative by the UNT leadership: “We would add that workers’ battalions should be accountable to factory committees, officers should be elected, and the UNT should also do political work among the regular army. This is not an abstract question – we are talking about workers’ militias”, he said.
On Bolivia, he said: “When Morales came to power in Bolivia, we put forward a cautious perspective: we said it could go one way or another depending on the pressure from different classes. We said it was a parliamentary distortion of the mass movement of the insurrectionary situations of the last period.
“We know now that there were plans for a coup during the last insurrection – but they couldn’t carry it out because the bourgeois were unsure if they could smash the movement with those means. On May 1 there was a significant partial nationalization of petro-carbon resources. This was not such a radical change – just a renegotiation of the terms of the contracts with the multinationals. But the masses saw it as an important first step. Enthusiasm for the Morales government increased enormously.
“Unfortunately, the COB leadership didn’t understand all this, and adopted an ultra-left attitude. They called for boycott during the presidential elections. Then, when Morales won, they gave him three months to carry out a programme ‑ or they would overthrow him. After three months, they called a general strike and got a turnout of 500 people – a disastrous result. This was the result of their ultra-left position. But it is also the case that the masses only follow their leadership insofar as it expresses their aspirations. It is a contradictory process and is by no means finished.
“Evo Morales has introduced a law for a agrarian reform, which is quite moderate. Most big land holdings are in the eastern region of the country. The oligarchy in Santa Cruz are preparing for civil war, appealing for money to arm themselves to defend their property and oppose land reform. The Permanent Revolution explains how in the ex-colonial world, the oligarchy, the bankers, landlords and capitalists form a reactionary bloc against progress. Events are moving to an open confrontation between the classes. The question of leadership is the key to the situation.”
Comrade Lal Khan, the leader of the Pakistani Marxists, outlined the enormous instability in Pakistan:
“In Kashmir, we explained that the peace accords couldn’t last – all the tensions would return. India and Pakistan can’t afford a war, but they can’t afford peace either. Pakistan is stepping up insurgency in Kashmir. The Pakistani state is very divided and contradictory. The ISI (Pakistani CIA) is still involved in Afghanistan. The ISI gets no funding from the government – it is funded by the drug trade. Afghanistan produces 80 percent of the world’s heroin and this now accounts for 90 percent of its economy. All this is being developed under the eyes of the ISI and Pakistani Army.
“Our profile in Pakistan is huge,” Lal Khan explained. “Munoo Bhai wrote a tribute to Ted Grant in the most important Urdu newspaper with a circulation of millions. In it he said our International is the only hope for humanity. In the steel privatisation conflict, comrade Manzoor was on TV all the time, constantly putting forward the Marxist position. This was seen by millions."
During the congress itself a television show entitled “How to end poverty? Socialism or Islam?” was shown in Pakistan and also in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America. In it comrade Lal Khan debated with three prominent fundamentalists. It was shown in three parts over three weeks to a huge audience. [We later got a report from the Pakistani comrades that Lal Khan effectively exposed the fundamentalists and that we were receiving a huge number of telephone calls congratulating us].
In his reply, comrade Alan emphasised the point that revolutions are not only caused by economic crises:
“Any kind of shock can spark the revolution under current conditions – not just economic factors. In Mexico the movement has been set in motion by electoral fraud. But in reality that is only the final ‘accident’ through which necessity expresses itself: the contradictions and frustrations of the masses have been built up over decades. It has found the avenue to express itself in the electoral fraud.
“This started as a typical bourgeois parliamentary election. The sects attacked us for supporting the election of Lopez Obrador. They said: why support the PRD? It is a bourgeois party! They and the Zapatistas organized the so-called “other campaign” that was really directed against Lopez Obrador. That was a scandal and a disgrace. We were isolated from “everyone” – that is to say, from everyone except millions of workers and peasants! Well, we really do not mind such ‘isolation’! The PRD was supported by the masses. Millions of workers are now on the streets! It is being transformed into a pre-revolutionary situation.
“Marxists always base themselves on the movement of the masses. In the concrete conditions of Mexico, the PRD is seen as the only possible alternative for the masses – not a few thousand, but millions. These millions of workers will not be won to our programme through shrill denunciations from the sidelines. The masses can only learn from their experience of great events. What is the role of the Trotskyists under such circumstances? We must base ourselves on the mass movement against fraud, but we need to take it further, to set up action committees (“soviets”) to organize a general strike. Under current conditions this would be a revolutionary general strike. That is the only way.
After a thorough debate with numerous delegates speaking from the floor, the World Perspectives document, with some amendments, was passed unanimously by the congress. [Note: this will be published in parts on this website].
The discussion on China
The congress dedicated a special session on developments in China. A draft document was discussed and voted on [this will also be made available shortly to our readers]. Fred Weston introduced the discussion reiterating the main points.
He explained that what we are facing in China is an unprecedented phenomenon. Here we have a “deformed workers’ state” which has moved towards capitalism, but not in the way we saw in the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe. There the old bureaucratic system collapsed opening up the road to a chaotic period in which gradually the state assets were privatised. The collapse in the Soviet Union can only be compared to the destruction caused by a world war.
In China the process has been very different. The old state bureaucracy has maintained control of the overall process, keeping a tight grip on the state apparatus, while at the same time creating the conditions for the development of capitalism, attracting high levels of foreign investment. On this basis huge economic development has been achieved.
From a historical point of view the dismantling of the old state-owned planned economy is a tremendous reactionary step backwards. But there is one progressive element in the whole process: a huge proletariat has come into being in China. This is destined to play a key role as Chinese capitalism inevitably enters into crisis at some stage.
There was a very rich and interesting discussion on the China document, which sparked off some controversy. At the end, however, the document on China was passed overwhelmingly by the congress, and will be available as a public document soon. This comradely discussion was in the best traditions of Bolshevism. It was an open, democratic debate, a discussion of ideas between comrades.
All the comrades agreed that China has been moving towards capitalism. The view of the overwhelming majority of the comrades was that the “point of no return” has been reached. Some comrades, however, expressed the view that the movement towards capitalism was not yet finished. It was still a regime in transition. They stressed the weakness of the Chinese bourgeoisie and underlined the fact that state power was still in the hands of the old bureaucracy. The comrades stated that the main conflict over which way China was to finally go was ahead of us.
This view was questioned by a comrade from Poland, who pointed out that in his country the very same “Communist” bureaucracy had transformed itself into a capitalist class. He explained that, fundamentally, the same people were in power today as in the old Stalinist days, but Poland was capitalist.
In his intervention, Alan Woods said: “We have some differences on China – how could it be otherwise? It would be surprising if there were no differences. This is an entirely new and complicated question. Only through a serious, deep, theoretical discussion can we raise the level of the cadres. That is the real purpose of a political debate in a revolutionary organization.”
He went on: “Lenin said that history knows all kinds of peculiar transformations. He said it in this context: in one of his last speeches to the Soviet. He was warning of the dangers of capitalist restoration in Russia in 1922. The Communist Party was a relatively healthy party at that time. Yet Lenin was warning of the possibility that capitalism in Russia might be restored under and through the CP itself.
“When he spoke of all kinds of peculiar transformations, Lenin was answering the Russian bourgeois professor Ustraliov who contended that the CP would be open to restoring capitalism, Lenin said that it was indeed possible. We saw later on that Lenin was correct. If the line of Bukharin had triumphed after Lenin’s death, capitalism would have been restored as early as 1928-9.
“The Chinese CP today is neither a party nor communist. It is a bureaucratic club with nothing in common with socialism or the working class. To argue that the “Communist” Party cannot reintroduce capitalism in China is wrong. They call themselves “communists”. So what? The Pope calls himself a follower of Jesus Christ. It means nothing. Who introduced capitalism in Poland? It was precisely the leaders of the so-called Communist Party, who, as the Polish comrade pointed out, have transformed themselves into businessmen and plundered the nationalized industries for their personal gain.”
In summing up, Fred Weston dealt with some of the worries of those comrades who felt that the process in China was not consolidated. One or two comrades had expressed the worry that we could end up supporting demands for some kind of bourgeois democracy in China, the logic being that if China is capitalist and there is a dictatorship then we could fall into the mistake of calling for some kind of bourgeois Constituent Assembly.
Fred Weston reassured these comrades that no such demands would be raised by the International Marxist Tendency, and explained that there was no logical connection between stating that now capitalism has triumphed and the call for bourgeois democracy.
We defend the right of workers to organise, to strike, to form unions, to express their views in China and so on. But we give no support to those elements calling for a “bourgeois liberal” regime in China. These people are agents of imperialism and back capitalism to the hilt. The Marxists call for the renationalisation of those major companies that have been privatised, the expropriation of the property of the imperialists, the reconstitution of the planned economy and we would add that all this must be done under workers’ control and management. The problem with the old state plan was that it was bureaucratic; there was no genuine workers’ democracy. We defend all the gains of the 1949 Chinese revolution ( many of which have now been destroyed) but we say to the workers we need to go further, towards genuine workers’ democracy, workers’ power.
Some sympathisers present at the discussion expressed surprise at how such differences of opinion could be discussed in a fraternal and comradely fashion. This only serves to underline the difference between a genuine debate among Marxists and the unhealthy infighting that unfortunately affects some tendencies on the fringes of the labour movement who seem to think any disagreement is a bad thing. The genuine Marxists view differences between comrades as an opportunity to sharpen our understanding of the processes going on in the world and raise the level of all comrades concerned.
Session on Ted Grant
As we said, the Congress came shortly after the death of comrade Ted Grant, the founder of our movement. This was a very moving session. Comrades first stood for a minute’s silence in memory of the Grand Old Man of Trotskyism. Then Alan Woods paid homage to Ted Grant, the founder of the International Marxist Tendency. He said:
“Although he was 93 years old and in a frail state of health, when we were informed of his death, it came as an enormous shock and a surprise. It seemed to us as if Ted would always be there ‑ an element of stability among all the chaos and changes. Some say it is a great tragedy and loss – a very sad occasion. But, I was thinking this morning: I’ve known Ted Grant for 46 years and I probably knew Ted better than anyone else. And I cannot remember seeing Ted sad or depressed – ever. Despite all the difficulties through which he passed, he was an eternal optimist, eternally enthusiastic, that quality of youth which is sadly lacking in many people a lot younger than Ted.
“There are plenty of folks who are prematurely aged even in their twenties. Ted used to frequently say: without enthusiasm, you can achieve nothing. This is a profoundly true statement! It is also a political question: what is the source of this optimism? It is absolute confidence in the truth of the ideas of Marxism. Lenin once said that Marxism is all-powerful because it is true. Ted also had an unshakable confidence in the working class and its future. Even in the worst defeats, setbacks and problems, nothing would shake that confidence.
“He was without doubt the most extraordinary man I knew. He was a theoretical giant – nobody could match Ted in the field of Marxist theory. Mandel, Cliff, and co were theoretical midgets by comparison. Ted had completely absorbed all the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, and he had read all the writings of Luxemburg, Plekhanov and Kautsky. He was a Marxist to his fingertips.
“Ted was also a wonderful communicator. He had the ability to explain the most complicated economic and philosophical ideas to any audience. He spoke with equal ease to workers and trade unionists, Labour Party members, students, Marxist cadres, or people he met at a bus stop. He made the most complicated ideas seem simple, as compared to those pretentious intellectuals who make Marxism seem complicated in order to cover up for their own ignorance.
“The ideas of Marxism are beautiful in their simplicity. All great ideas share this quality, such as Einstein’s famous equation: E=mc2. Marx and Engels wrote for workers and any intelligent worker can understand these ideas. In the course of my life, I have known two great communicators: Ted Grant and Pat Wall. The late Pat Wall, my comrade and friend, was the only person I ever knew who could come close to Ted in this respect.”
The Venezuelan Commission
There were very interesting commissions on Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba and Pakistan. In the commission on Venezuela, a report was given on the activities of FRETECO – the Revolutionary Front of Occupied Factories, which has been set up on the initiative of the comrades of Inveval. There is enormous scope for this movement. Unfortunately, the UNT bureaucracy throws cold water on the idea of actually nationalizing and occupying factories.
The right-wing reformist wing of the Bolivarian Movement would like to divert the movement for workers’ control into harmless channels like co-operatives. This introduces a petty-bourgeois mentality since the workers “own” shares in the company. This is what happened in Invepal. But in many areas the workers are striving to control the factories. They are organizing and confronting the reformists and bureaucrats in the state. We propose that workers’ wages should not be paid as a share of co-op profits, but be paid directly by the state company. As long as the co-op set-up continues, we propose an end to differences between co-op members and contract workers – within 15 days, all should become full members. There should be no to two-tiers of workers. The workers in each factory need to link up with workers in similar situations and take on the state bureaucracy together.
One important question is the legal set-up of nationalized factories. For example, at Invepal and Inveval the company is owned 51% by state and 49% by a workers’ co-operative. But this leads inevitably to “worker-owners” developing an employer mentality. There is a contradiction between form and content: a capitalist form – but socialist content. The state provides all the capital, but the workers’ assembly decides everything – there is usually not even a state representative at the meetings. But this contradictory situation can’t remain forever. If content is to overcome form the movement must be extended to the rest of the country. We need to take concrete measures to start getting form and content in harmony while struggling to extend nationalization.
FRETECO is the focal point of our work and is getting a growing echo in the working class. We also have youth to invite workers to schools, etc.
In the Mexican commission comrade Ubaldo reported on the revolutionary events in that country and on the impressive intervention of the comrades of El Militante:
“We are coordinating committees in 36 areas, including in important barrios. Some are taking up other issues, more than just against fraud: local issues like lack of water, housing, etc. – and looking to us for direction.
“Many formerly inactive people are coming into activity. Society is very polarized. The ‘other campaign’ of the Zapatistas is totally split,” he reported. They have lost all influence in the north of Mexico. Marcos called a public demonstration and got only 300 people – while Lopez Obrador is getting millions. “It’s clear where the masses are orienting – to the PRD.”
The PRI has been reduced to a pathetic 3rd place position. Despite its populist demagogy it received just 6 million votes as compared to 15 million in 2000. It is an organic crisis of the PRI. The CTM unions are splitting – some are opening up a dialogue with the PAN, but another 2 million split off and supported Lopez Obrador.
A general strike is the only way to stop the fraud – but it would necessarily be insurrectionary in character. It would go far beyond the question of elections. The rank and file are pressing for a general strike. Many small formerly PRI-controlled unions are coming out in support of Lopez Obrador. But the union leaders are afraid of militant action. They had called a general strike for 28th July, but backed off at the last moment.
A Cuban guest spoke and emphasized the impact of the IMT’s interventions in Cuba. Firstly, many youth have begun to read classic Marxist texts, including Trotsky. “The seriousness and rigor of the material you have presented gives the IMT an advantage and broader appeal than other publishing houses that have been in Cuba in the past. We are all aware of the power of symbols – your Trotsky posters have played an important role. One can’t underestimate the importance of just seeing his poster, even if they haven’t read Trotsky”.
He went on to describe Alan’s speech at Havana University. This meeting was very well attended compared to the usual meetings. This was even more the case in the meetings in the university of Santiago.
The seriousness of the Pakistan organization was shown by the incredible intervention in the aftermath of the earthquake. We lost seven comrades killed. Many others lost relatives, houses, etc. It was a total disaster. We organized aid work on an enormous scale. We helped 1,200 families with food, medicine and shelter. We organized revolutionary caravans carrying food, blankets and medicines, we set up camps in which aid was combined with political work.
The mullahs were saying that the earthquake was punishment for our sins. But by the next week they had to change this, since the comrades systematically explained what the government could have done, how they could have been prepared, with safer infrastructure, etc. Therefore the mosques had to change their message to agree with ours. We are talking about an organization that can make a big leap forward. We have the structure and network to become a mass organization over the coming period.
The Organizational Report was delivered by comrade Ana Munoz. Everywhere the International Marxist Tendency is experiencing growth: not just growth in political influence, in our trade union work, youth work, the work of solidarity with Venezuela and in the mass workers’ organizations. We are also experiencing many more attacks as well. These attacks from the bourgeois, the reformists, the Stalinists and the sects only show that we are advancing and winning new ground. This has alarmed our enemies who lose no opportunity to attack us. We have done very well, but we still have a long way to go.
We have several thousand supporters in more than 30 countries including Canada, the USA, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Morocco, Nigeria Australia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Iran, Israel, Russia, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Britain, Spain and Italy.
We have also come into contact with sympathisers in Nepal and Bangladesh, in India (an Indian version of our book on Venezuela has just been published), Indonesia (where a translation of Reason in Revolt has just come out), China, Cyprus, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile. And we are in touch with significant organizations in Ireland and the Philippines.
There was really not enough time as there was too much to report, she explained. Therefore the report was only able to touch upon some of the high points of the work in the recent period.
The Pakistan comrades now have supporters in every province and region, with 24 offices, a paper in Urdu and another one in Sindhi, as well as the English language Asian Marxist Review, and they now publish a Farsi (Persian language) paper. They lead a number of mass youth organizations among which the JKNSF youth in Kashmir. They have organized a very successful youth unemployment campaign across Pakistan.
As far as the union work is concerned, they now have comrades in the following unions: railways, telecom, water and power, post office, shipyards, steel mills, sugar industry, airlines, paramedics, road transport, cement, and others. The comrades played the leading role in the struggle against the privatisation of the steel mills. This was a major struggle. The union leaders accepted privatisation, but due to our intervention, it was prevented from being carried out. The tireless work of comrade Manzoor, exposing the manoeuvre to sell it off for pennies, forced the Supreme Court to rule that privatisation was not transparent and inappropriate, and reversed it. The news of this victory provoked an outburst of joy of the workers in the steel mills, who were dancing in the street.
They are also constantly publishing books. This year they have produced seven books and booklets. We are now a point of reference for the South Asian subcontinent. The comrades are following up work in India and Sri Lanka.
The work of the Mexican comrades is also a model. Since the start of the movement, they have been selling 2,000 papers every 2 weeks. They produced 3 editions in the first 2 weeks of July. They sold 3,500 copies of the last issue. They are recruiting fast and expanding our influence.
In February, we intervened in the Havana Book Fair for the second year running. This year Alan Woods spoke at the Book Fair and launched the Cuban edition of Reason in Revolt. He spoke at universities, was interviewed on TV, broadcast across Latin America. Granma, the official paper of the Cuban CP, published an interview with him. Our ideas are being widely followed in Cuba. Trotskyism is being discussed there as never before. Celia Hart has also played an important role in raising the figure of Trotsky and his ideas on the island.
This intervention has a great importance for the International, not just in Cuba, but throughout Latin America and the world. Cuba is a point of reference for millions. Our political authority has been raised by this work, especially in the ranks of the Communist Parties - in India for example.
In the long term, the US is the most important country for world revolution. The recent congress of the US comrades was an important success and they are beginning to attract a layer of workers and youth. The issue of Venezuela has been a key question. The Luis Primo tour in the USA for the US Hands Off venezulea campaign was also a great success with important international repercussions.
The Austrian comrades have also experienced rapid growth. The comrades played a key role in organising the Chavez visit and the meeting of Hands Off Venezuela in Vienna where over 5,000 people turned up. Emmanuel Tomaselli reported: “Despite an incredible level of sabotage, the Austrian Hands Off Venezuela campaign succeeded in organizing a mass meeting of over 5,000 enthusiastic young people in Vienna, waving red flags and chanting revolutionary slogans. It was the biggest meeting of the Left in Vienna since the 1970s. The international impact of this meeting can’t be underestimated. It was shown live on television in Venezuela and Cuba and has been discussed at the highest levels in Venezuela and Cuba.” Chavez himself was surprised at the size and enthusiasm of the meeting, “even in sleepy old Austria”.
The Mexican comrades reported that they had been through a period of intense activity – and that their intervention in the mass movement around Lopez Obrador had won them a lot of support and lots of contacts. Comrade Ubaldo reported: “In the election campaign, we visited a number of states where we have no comrades. Committees of struggle in every neighbourhood against fraud have been set up, 36 committees in all. Discussing our policies, the need for general strike, the need for revolutionary current within the PRD. Sympathisers have also been selling bundles of papers in their neighbourhoods.
“In 15 days, we published 90,000 leaflets and 4,000 posters. We are also working on developing the Frederick Engels Foundation in Mexico. We have already published five books, some of these in joint venture with Esteban Volkov. This year we are going to produce with him: Revolution Betrayed and Stalin’s Crimes, and also Alan Woods’ book on Venezuela."
Our ideas are also getting a growing echo in the Middle East. Our Arab language web site is receiving a large and growing number of visits bringing us into contact with an important layer of left activists in the Arab world.
In Israel, despite an extremely difficult objective situation, comrade Yossi Schwartz’s articles are also getting a large number of web hits. The work of the Iranian comrades is progressing well.
The report from Italy was particularly impressive. The important advances made by the Italian comrades need special emphasis. Last year in the RC party congress the comrades made a massive intervention, attracting a large number of new supporters to the ideas of Marxism. The Marxist tendency has now spread throughout Italy, from the deep South, to the far North East. Recently the comrades also intervened successfully in the RC youth congress. They have one comrade on the national executive of the party, five on the central committee, and also some on the national committee of the party youth. The comrades have bought new and bigger central offices – 400 square metres. They are preparing the structures for rapid growth over the coming period.
Spain is the country where we have the largest group of supporters in the advanced capitalist countries with a national headquarters of 400 square metres. They own offices in Madrid, Malaga, Seville, Barcelona and rent offices in eight other towns. They are the leading influence in the Spanish Students’ Union (SE), which has organized big mobilizations, forcing the government to receive a delegation. The government now has had to officially recognize that the SE is the most representative student organization in Spain.
The comrades recently organized a successful trade union conference with 120 attending. It showed a big qualitative change in the work of the Marxists in Spain, who are now in an excellent position to take advantage of the situation that is opening up.
An important aspect of their work is in the field of theory and publishing. The publication of the book on Marxism and the National Question, with texts by Alan Woods and Eloy Val del Olmo, is of particular importance. This has been a big success in the Basque country, especially where Marxist ideas are getting a significant echo within the left Basque nationalist movement.
They are organizing a big campaign on the anniversary of the Spanish Revolution. They organized a “Marxism Week” at five universities – a total of 60 public meetings. 1,700 people who are not members of the Tendency attended these meetings. Then on July 1 they celebrated the 30th anniversary of the setting up of the Marxist tendency in Spain. 300 attended, and 23,000 euros were collected for the fighting fund.
The influence of the Frederick Engels Foundation was recently demonstrated when the enemies of Marxism tried to block the Foundation from participating in the Madrid Book Fair. There was a massive campaign against this attempted discrimination and they had to reverse their decision.
Progress was also reported in France, where the French Marxists have strengthened their position in the Communist Party. The ranks of the party are showing a real thirst for a Marxist understanding of the processes taking place in this key European country.
The website of the International Marxist Tendency Marxist.com plays a key role in spreading our ideas around the world and bringing us into contact with sympathisers and contact. It is almost like a daily paper now, with lots of articles every day, and in multi-language format. These articles get reposted around the world, so that our circulation is even greater than the (very high) number of hits would suggest.
Our record on the publication of theoretical material is second to none. Recently we saw the publication of the Indonesian edition of Reason in Revolt. There are immediate plans for Venezuelan editions of our books, and in Cuba too. In Britain we are about to publish the second edition of Reason in Revolt. And there are two new titles in the pipeline: The History of Philosophy, and Marxism and Art.
Our struggle is against the capitalist system. This work is financed by workers and youth around the world and not by any rich backers. We base ourselves on the small contributions of our supporters. Therefore the amount raised during the collection that was organised during the congress was very impressive, a total of €35,000. It confirmed the commitment of all the comrades to the ideas of Marxism and the struggle for the emancipation of the working class.
In his closing remarks, Alan Woods said that this congress had a different “feel” about it. It marks the beginning of a new stage in our development. He made a final moving tribute to Ted Grant:
“The passing of comrade Ted was a sad moment, a shock for all of us. It is not an exaggeration to say that without Ted, this organization would not exist. Trotsky said that his work in the 1930s was the most important of his life – preserving the ideas of Marxism. The same was true of Ted in the difficult period of the 1940s-60s. His role was absolutely fundamental for the survival of the organization. He kept the ideas of Trotskyism alive and also developed some fundamental aspects of Marxist theory.
“His life should be an inspiration for all the comrades. We often hear complaints about the ‘difficult objective situation’. Imagine what Ted went through when the Fourth International collapsed, and the tendency was reduced to a small group in Britain. Yet on the basis of Ted’s ideas we built the most successful Trotskyist organization since the Left Opposition. We are building a genuinely Marxist International.
“This world congress is dedicated to the memory of Ted Grant and we pledge ourselves to continue in his work. I will finish with the words inscribed on the tomb of Wren, the great architect: ‘If you want a monument, look around you’ ”.
The congress ended with a rousing rendition of The Internationale.