The Fifth International - notes towards a coherent proposal

Tuesday 2 March 2010 by CEPRID

Salah Ahmine

Nicaragua Socialista

The issue of the Fifth International is an old debate of many decades and it looks as though in our days we want to ³invent² iced water once more. Depending on who is broaching the matter today, we can see the underlying interests that accompany this proposal. I have no doubt at all about Chavez’s good intentions and his proven insistence on his convictions, but if people want to generate widespread confusion it is certainly so as to sterilize the idea.

Some talk about a "socialist international" (IS), others of a "communist international" (IC), of a "fifth international" or simply of an "international". It is superfluous to clarify that an IS exists and that it includes social democrats and all reformists since the beginning of the 20th Century, here, the opportunism of many who just want to be associated with Chavez’s idea and refrain from positively affirming this current but who seek to get some advantage from it for themselves.

The IC that survives in the fourth form given to it by the Trotskyists over 70 years ago seems to be rising again from the ashes now via the voice of the same sectors who see in Cro. Chavez’s proposal a historic opportunity to make an impact out of nowhere, with all the dangers and damage this group has represented for the Left and for revolutionary experience.

On the other hand many take on Chavez’s idea ­ either out of ignorance or with deliberate purpose ­ using the original arguments of the perfect anti-Communist manual, echoing an International that has yet to be invented.

Nobody mentions ­ and one should ask why that should be so- the other force represented by the International Communist Movement that never suffered the least split since the setting up of the Third Communist International in the 1930s and the establishment of Popular Fronts in the world until our own time. They were grouped in the New International Review ­ NIR ­ in Prague until the end of the 1980s and starting up again more coherently at the end of the 1990s in Athens via the Solidnet network.

The Communist Parties and workers from the whole world are represented there and people who seem never to have suggested the idea of reviving the Communist International or something similar. Certainly for many decades the idea and need has been put forward of a worldwide anti-imperialist front, against war, for peace ­ a cry that is currently in all the programmes of those same parties in Latin America and in the rest of the world.

"The best structures are the structures that are born out of action" - Lenin

If we are talking of an International in today’s panorama, in the middle of the imperialist counter-offensive, no better interpretation can be made than to give it a practical and active content, just as Chavez himself states in one of his recent speeches : "a people’s counterattack". Or what Daniel Ortega rightly called in the most timely way, a "peoples’ international". We can understand in these two affirmations a peoples’ call to action, action motivated from peoples through their different forms and organizations (left-wing political parties, social organizations, intellectuals, religious groups and others). Conforming that dynamic of united action by all anti-imperialist forces, the component units of the ALBA countries are able to play a determining role.

Efforts are being made to set up this type of grouping. Some experiences are worth taking into account as is the case of the Bolivarian Continental Movement that met for its constitutive congress recently in Venezuela. (December 9th ­ see http://www.conbolivar.org/ [2]) to give continuity to what was previously the Bolivarian Continental Coordination (CCB). Dozens of social, religious, political and intellectual organizations from the whole American continent and the rest of the world took part and approved the formation of this Movement (see final declaration http://www.conbolivar.org/index.php? [3]option=com_content&task=view&id=505&... [3]). Regrettably, there was no representative from Nicaragua.

The same happened with the meeting in Lebanon of the Beirut International Forum for Anti-imperialist Resistance and Peoples Solidarity, despite it being a meeting lasting several days (In January 2009 - see http://www.antiimperialista.org/content/view/5889/ [4] ), the presence and international representation was so wide and diverse that it left real hopes and convictions in relation to all the possibilities and potentialities that exist to articulate a true and dynamic international movement of progressive forces in the world. Likewise, there was no trace of a Nicaraguan presence.

Objective aspects

1) If the purpose is to advance reformism and perpetuate the reality of what social democracy has been for over 100 years, any effort is completely useless to the extent that the current IS closely follows those anti-values. People advocating that way out should simply join that grouping.

2) If the purpose is to form a reborn IC, then, despite all the possible good intentions of many, in the current political-ideological reality there will be few more candidates than the residue of the Fourth International and all the atomized movement of Trotskyism.. It is a given that in that case, no responsible revolutionary, communist or workers organization would accept being part of this type of grouping which has historically proven to be a complete failure. We learn that a few weeks after Chavez’s proposal, many of these Trotskyist currents have converted different 4th-ICs into 5ths and it looks as though there are now various Fifth Internationals battling over who will get the trophy in the end.

3) If the idea is to form a worldwide grouping of serious Left wing forces, identified with class ideals and objectives, committed to the anti-imperialist struggle and aiming for the national liberation of our peoples and beyond that towards socialism, or beyond, a communist society, there is no other alternative than to join forces urgently with the existing world network of workers’ and communist parties joined together in Solidnet. (See http://www.solidnet.org/ [5]) [5] One has to clarify that this decision might be valid in particular cases and specifically for certain organizations and parties ­ something that would be really encouraging in the case of the FSLN, the PSUV, the FMLN, MAS and others.

It is worth remembering that the FSLN and the FMLN had an active presences in the New International Review during the 1980s in Prague. It is also clear that this option in no way answers the broad reach of the idea suggested by Chavez or the other ALBA Presidents. It is obvious that it would leave out a huge number of organizations and parties that do not share in any way the basic objectives proposed ­ at least for the moment.

To sum up and to cut off the hypocrisies expressed by various sectors and individuals around this idea of setting up an "international".

The three points mentioned above and the forces involved in each one, with other forces and sectors of different sensibilities can perfectly well meet up in a diverse grouping, wider, more open, that surpasses the dimensions of each one of them looking towards minimal and essential objectives in defence of humanity. Let’s call it "international" as Chavez does without being more precise, as Daniel did pointing correctly to a "Peoples’ International".

Indeed, something along the lines of a ³Peoples’ International² where we would be able to think of a grouping of all the parties and organizations that consider themselves Left, the social, insurgent, religious, intellectual progressive movements, Left governments (like those of ALBA) and why not too think of other progressive or moderate governments. All in a ³Peoples’ International² under the urgent banner of the moment which is anti-imperialist solidarity, against war, for peace. As a first step towards other, doubtless more advanced perspectives in the future.

This objective could sustain itself and strengthen itself immediately on the Forums and Movements mentioned above, like the Bolivarian Continental Movement (MCB) the International Forum for Resistance, Anti-imperialism and Peoples’ Solidarity, the Foro Sao Paulo, as well as so many other experiences in other continents. There we can reach all the living forces on the planet without ideological, religious or other distinction, all of us united against the ravages of imperialism, against its wars and its devastating destruction laid over the whole planet - but in favour of peace and respect for international law.

In other essays we could deal with the practical content that this ³Peoples’ International² might have around ALBA in its interaction with and from Latin American popular movements. An urgent decision that will have to be taken into account in the pressing current conditions. What happened in Honduras, what is happening and what is planned in Haiti, the threats against the ALBA countries and other formations of the national liberation process in Latin America, all these urge a re-ordering of our forces in continental coherence, solidarity and unity based in the popular movements, the only guarantee that will put a brake on imperialist aggression and intervention in the region.

Also, if we manage to advance and mature these ideas, it would be important to deepen these aspects to see what our immediate contribution could be in this battle. "Nicaragua Socialista" could play a dynamic role in the Latin American and world context through its membership and all our friends and comrades.

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