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Is it possible that two organisations that claim to be Trotskyist (at least for the time being), could subscribe a political agreement without the appearance a single time of the expressions socialism, workers government, direct action or expropriation of the capitalists?

Because this is what has just happened in France, not in an underdeveloped semi-capitalist country, between the Ligue Communiste Revolutionaire (Revolutionary Communist League) and Lutte Ouvriere (Workers Struggle). The perspective of socialism and of the dictatorship of the proletariat is repudiate in a continent, Europe, where the high rate of unemployment, the continuous sackings, the closures of enterprises, the mergers, the monopolies and falling productivity, and the international crises and the wars, show the historical exhaustion of capitalism in a palpable form and its unstoppable march towards barbarism.

The “Agreement on a Draft Profession of Faith” published in simultaneous form in the press of these organisations, has as its objective the formation of a common list for the European parliamentary elections that will take place next March. They hope, in this way, to obtain a higher percentage than 5% of the vote in order to “move the political panorama of the French left” that is to say, the Communist Party and the environmentalists. As much by its program as by its political objectives, the agreement is in consonance with the politics of the majority of the League, favourable to abandoning all reference to communism and regrouping the whole of the left under a democratic banner. An analysis of the ‘Profession of Faith’ uncovers something even worse: the enormous confusionism that reigns in the so-called European far left.

“Democratic Europe”

In the first point of the ‘Profession…’, “a Europe of democratic rights, where the populations control the decisions” is demanded. This exposition alludes to the circumstance that in the European Union, elected authorities do not exist because the European parliament lacks real attributions and the political-economic administration falls on a Commission, responsible to a Council of Ministers, while the authorities of the European Central Bank enjoy a immovability that makes them immune even to the directives of the governments that compose the Union.

But what would be this “democratic Europe”, which the French ‘Trotskyists’ demand, but a replica of their respective national, imperialist states, “where the populations control the decisions”, through the universal vote, of their elected representatives, of their constitutional tribunals and of their judges and magistrates? The British ‘Europhobics’ that leads Margaret Thatcher also accuse this Europe of Maastricht of staining the sacrosanct sovereignty of the House of Commons and of violating British democratic practices.

In the same vein of formal democratism, which ignores inequality between the classes and social exploitation, the ‘Profession …’ demands “a Europe of real, social and civic equality”. But social equality is a countersense under capitalism and civic equality is a synonym of discrimination, since it supposes the demand for citizenship in order to exercise political rights, which is an attack on immigrant workers of other nations. Curiously, the editors of the ‘Profession …’ do not seem to realize the opposition that there is between the demand for “citizenship”, which they make at every opportunity they have, and the right to the vote for all those that live in the country. Citizenship discriminates (according to national borders). If all these positions of the ‘Profession …’ are not a fiction, then they testify to an insuperable confusion.

Equally revealing is the posing of “a Europe that would annul the debts of the Third World, already several times paid to the bankers, a Europe that would plan development with the countries of the Third World with the objective of satisfying the fundamental needs of all.”

That is, that a Europe that has not expropriated capital should only renounce to the collection of credits of a public character, not the private ones, and if the latters are included it should compensate the bankers for an equivalent indemnification at the expense of the Treasury. If it did not happen thus, one would be violating the “democratic rights” of the bankers and one would be appealing to methods characteristic of a proletarian dictatorship, something that the signatories of the ‘Profession …’ reject with all their desires. In the framework of a capitalist Europe, the proposal to “plan with the Third World” would have an unconcealed imperialist character, because there would not be a social relationship of equality between the oppressor and the oppressed. So that the future voter does not have to harbour doubts on the social character of the ‘Profession …’, in the paragraph that calls for a stop to the privatisations of “quality” public services, it is proposed to “extend the public sector to the companies that benefit from the elementary necessities of the population.” But the “extension of the public sector” is nothing other than nationalisation or capitalist statisation, that is to say, that, on the one hand, it should be compensated according to the present value of the invested capital (i.e. paid for by the workers), and on the other, it should be in consonance with the operation of the whole of the capitalist system, including the feasibility of that compensation.

Capitulation in Front of Maastricht

The proposal of “a democratic Europe” is nothing other than the intent of giving an elective content to the institutions of the European Union, which were designed in the treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam (monetary union and stabilisation pact). This is what there is behind the repeated formula of the League about “breaking relations with the liberal logic” of those treaties. It is for this reason that there is not in any part of the ‘Profession …’ demands referring to the national states, as if these are suppressed already by those agreements. The reality, however, is the contrary; the European treaties are for the time being purely artificial creations in order to organize a common politics between the main European monopolies, while the national states continue being the true framework of the class struggle in Europe. With reference to the artificial nature of Europe, the ‘Profession …’ does not have any slogan of power, in fact because it does not exist as a political reality, that is to say, superior to the national states and governments. This indicates that the ‘Profession …’ has a markedly constitutionalist character, which is to say, that it is a profession of faith about an eventual European democratic state. But the reason why it does not have slogans of power; the reason why it does not pose: down with the capitalist states or out with the governments of class collaboration or that the workers’ parties break relations with the capitalists and their governments; the reason of this, is that the so-called French far-left has escaped from the reality of national states and accepted without saying a single word the European fiction, which does not have any other state than the national states which compose it.

We thus have the paradoxical result that the champions of the struggle against the treaties which define the European Union, at the same time accept this artificial union as an accomplished fact and deny the fundamental political reality, that is to say, of power, that it continues to be the national states. This permits the ‘Profession …’ to avoid the central question of current European politics, which are the centre-left popular front governments. To this point, the ‘Profession …’ does not dedicate one single line, in spite of claiming to be an international political current whose founding program assures that the popular fronts are a last resource of imperialism against the proletarian revolution. The text criticises vaguely the French government of Jospin, because “it multiplies the gifts to the large employers” but at no point does it characterize it as counterrevolutionary, as imperialist, neither does it call on the socialist and communist parties to break relations with the capitalists (the right-wing Chirac continues to be president of the Republic) and form a workers’ government.

It is precisely this capitulation in the face of the accomplished fact of the European treaties that the main mentor of the League expounded in December in Le Monde Diplomatique. “It is the moment for renegotiating (these treaties), Daniel Bensaid says, now or never. If not for what reason does it serve the left and their trident of governments in Europe?”. In this way, the call that the “Trotskyists” made to the counterrevolutionary workers parties of Europe (SP and CP) is: renegotiate Maastricht. A true shame.

Revolutionaries of the Tobin Tax

Last September, Rouge, the newspaper of the League, announced its adhesion to an international campaign in favour of a tax on the speculative movement of capital, popularly known as the Tobin tax, by its author, a Nobel Prize winner for economy. This happened when from numerous capitalist sources, including the World Bank, the international crisis was attributed to the “volatility” of “short term capital”. Well, this tax is also the axis of the position of the ‘Profession …’.

It is clear that a tax on speculative capital supposes the preservation of the regime of capital. But a Tobin tax would not solve any problem of the masses either because the tax would be transferred in the end to consumption, or because it would attenuate the movements of capital. In this last case, financial “exuberance” would be replaced by a “drought” of the same type, which would not be more than the other face of the crisis, in the form of a widespread deflation. It is not superfluous to indicate that the international speculators could benefit directly by this tax, especially after the speculative “volatility” causes the crash of one of the main Funds applied to the speculation, the Long Term Management Capital.

The newspaper of the League assures us that “the governments of the industrialized countries are at a crossroad [because] they find it difficult to break relations with the dogmas of liberalism in spite of the fact that they understand that state intervention is necessary in order to avoid the disorders.” That is to say that the capitalists are governed by their adherence to an ideology to the detriment of their interests. For this reason Rouge calls for “breaking relations with liberal dogma” (5/11). It acts as counsellor of imperialist, predatory, speculative capital.

The article in question looks truly ridiculous when it predicts that the centre-left European governments will not impose a reduction of interest rates due to their linkage to “liberal logic” or because they gave sovereignty on monetary politics to the European Central Bank. Three weeks later, exactly, the above mentioned bank with the respective governments announced a spectacular reduction of rates, in full correspondence with the interests of capital although not with the ‘logic’ of the French ‘Trotskyists’.

The Tobin tax of French ‘Trotskyism’ is not a mere shot to the air; it is a program. Bensaid says clearly: “A true politics of reforms would require wide fiscal reformation, a serious tax on accumulated fortunes, left in speculative fallow, a drastic fall (sic) in the sales tax, a progressive tax on capital, in order to redistribute wealth without ‘feeding’ demand.” It is a proposal of capitalist administration, not only because the workers government is not posed but also because it does not even touch the dominance of capital. In one or another form, to a greater or lesser degree, this “true politics” is in validity in the capitalist countries, in particular in the United States (where there is no sales tax, where the profits from capital are taxed and where a progressive income tax exists). Bensaid is conscious of what he proposes, for this reason he talks of “reforms”; for this reason he rejects like the plague the possibility of “violent incursions into the right of property” (Trotsky) or confiscatory tax to capital (Communist Manifesto). It is located even behind the radical extremes of Lord Keynes, who in his “Treaty” foresaw the inability of the private capitalist to maintain productive resources in full use. The “radical” slogan of Bensaid is: “to oppose citizens to the market” (Le Monde Diplomatique).

There is nothing innocent in all this, because it is a matter of erasing the class position. Last March, Lutte Ouvriere said of the League that “neither morally nor politically, did it claim to be of communism”. The ‘Profession of Faith’ is a confirmation of this characterization, only now Lutte Ouvriere has entered into it.

Refound the Fourth International

The agreement between Lutte Ouvriere and the League has been well received in most of the so-called far left of France. But not with good reasons. It ignores the program of the agreement, it is unable to criticize it, nor even to begin to see the deep incomprehension that it has of the crisis that has opened up between the fiction of European unity, on one hand, and the national capitalist states, on the other. It greets it because it sees it as a step towards discussion, towards “union in diversity”, towards the “decline of sectarianism”.

But as much in France as in Argentina this form of reasoning denounces the groups that have failed politically; that have lost their tradition; that could not vindicate program or trajectory; and that want all the others to begin again starting from the mediocre level to which they have fallen.

Lutte Ouvriere has every right to establish an electoral agreement with the League, but not to prostitute the revolutionary program, that is what the League has already done a long time ago and which it ratified again on the occasion of this agreement. Because in fact the Central Committee of the League approved a resolution by 40 votes that established that the agreement with LO is inscribed in the framework of orientation of its last congress, where the majority voted to change their name to that of Revolutionary Democratic Left. That is to say, on the road of complete liquidation of the Fourth International.

Lutte Ouvriere should reject this anti-socialist agreement and vote for the realization of an international congress to refound, immediately, the Fourth International.