This document outlines 6 key principles that we stand for: the fight for a Socialist Revolution, the Permanent Mobilization of the Working Class towards the seizure of power, the fight Against Oppression, Anti-Imperialism, and the struggle towards Internationalism and Revolutionary Morals.
We believe it is necessary to materialize these principles in the form of an organization to lead the socialist revolution: the Leninist revolutionary party based on democratic centralism.
I. Our Principles
- For a Socialist Revolution against capitalism – As Marxists, we believe that Capitalism is a social system that no longer develops the productive forces, meaning that every progress, every new technological advance, instead of bringing a better life to all mankind, makes the dominant minority – the bourgeoisie – richer and the exploited majority – the working class – poorer. This happens because Capitalism is torn apart by fundamental contradictions that from time to time drag the system into deep economic crisis: private property x social production; accumulation of capital x tendency of the profit rate to fall; world production x national borders. Therefore, we fight to overthrow Capitalism through a Socialist Revolution, that will bring the proletariat to seize State power, destroy the bourgeois State Apparatus, and start building a socialist society, through the socialization of the means of production under a workers state, which must exist until world imperialism is defeated and the emergence of a classless, world communist order. This can only be fully achieved under a Revolutionary Proletarian Dictatorship regime, which means suppression of the bourgeoisie and its allies and workers´ democracy at the same time. This is our fundamental difference with Reformism and Liberalism since we don’t agree that elections and social reforms within capitalism can put an end to capitalist exploitation or solve its internal contradictions. It´s a big difference with Stalinism, since for us workers´democracy is a fundamental condition to the success of any revolution. It´s also a strategical difference with Autonomist groups and intellectualist tendencies, who deny either the need to take State power or the socialist character of the revolution and therefore the need to build a political organization to fight for revolution.
- For the Permanent Mobilization of the working class towards taking State power – We believe the only way to reach the socialist revolution is through the mobilization of the working class and the broad masses towards taking State power. This mobilization has its own methods: strikes, pickets, demonstrations, occupations, and the highest stage, civil war, which are all valid methods, as long as they correspond to the stage and relation of forces of the class struggle at the moment. That´s why we support every minimum struggle for better wages, better working conditions, in defense of workers´ rights and try to develop these fights into a national mobilization against the government and the bourgeoisie. That´s the method of the Transitional Program, that combines immediate and historical demands by linking them to the socialist revolution. In order to achieve these goals, we fight for Working Class political independence from the bourgeoisie and the government, so the working class won’t be trapped in “democratic” maneuvers, such as concessionary negotiations, electoral ballots and other tactics that lead to demobilization. We also fight for the broadest democracy inside the workers movement as a means to organize our class, mobilize it, and fight against the labour bureaucracy and other bureaucratic and petty-bourgeois tendencies act as agents and ideologues of the bourgeoisie inside the working class. In order to unite and mobilize the majority of our class, the workers must struggle to defend its most oppressed sectors: women, blacks, immigrants, LGBT, etc. and put forward their specific demands, such as equal pay, equal rights, no discrimination, no harassment and others.
- Against all forms of Oppression – Besides its direct exploitation of the working class majority, the bourgeoisie lives and thrives from different kinds of oppression as a means to increase its profits and divide the working class: sexism, racism, chauvinism and homophobia. Women have to face double working hours, lower wages, sexual harassment and violence, which makes it much harder to join political struggles than for a man. Black people suffer with poverty, lack of access to public services and education, worse jobs and wages, and racial discrimination, especially in the U.S, where capitalism was built upon slavery. Immigrants don’t have their rights as full citizens, which makes them vulnerable to worse working conditions, lack of access to social services, deportations and police brutality, as it has been throughout the history of capitalism in the U.S. LGBT are victims of prejudice, violence and disrespect for their rights. We are on the frontline of the struggle against all forms of oppression and for the oppressed peoples´ rights. At the same time, unlike the liberals, intellectuals and many autonomist groups, we don’t see oppression as an “identity” problem, apart from the class struggle. Nor is it simply a moral or cultural problem that can be solved through “education” alone. The institutions and ideologies that support and enforce oppression have been historically built into the the capitalist structure, because the capitalist class benefits directly from the effects of oppression. This is why we argue that any coherent struggle against oppression needs to be a struggle against capitalism. Therefore, we must fight the structural causes of oppression and understand that only a fighting & unified working class can liberate the world from sexism, racism and homophobia. We must always connect the oppressed sectors’ demands with the general demands of the working class, since most women, blacks, immigrants and LGBT are workers. Finally, we also oppose the stalinist view that the fight against oppression “divides the class” and should not be dealt with until “after the revolution”. For us, what divides the class is sexism, racism and chauvinism, since it prevents the oppressed sectors from joining the struggle, so it must be dealt with right now, or the revolution will be much harder, if at all possible, to achieve.
- Anti-Imperialism – As Leninists, we see Imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism, when the big capitalist companies and governments of Imperialist countries fight to dominate and divide the world to meet their own needs: control weaker national bourgeoisies, have access to markets, exploit natural resources and extract surplus value from the colonial and semicolonial countries’ working classes. Therefore, the fight for an international socialist revolution is a fight to defeat imperialism itself. Since the U.S is the main imperialist power in the world, one of our most important political tasks is to call on the working class to oppose every imperialist measure abroad, such as wars, military interventions, free trade agreements, economic domination through IMF and World bank, support to bourgeois governments and dictatorships, etc. We must also support and intervene actively in the international struggles against U.S imperialism, struggles for national independence, and revolutions in “third world” countries. We oppose the Democratic Party’ liberal-chauvinistic view that the U.S is a “democratic” country that must “spread democracy” all over the world, and that it´s necessary to “reinforce security” to defend the U.S from “terrorists”.
- Internationalism – The capitalist economy has long surpassed national limits and has become an international economic system. This means that it is impossible to defeat capitalism and build socialism in a single country – or even in several countries – as the stalinists have defended since the 1930s. It is necessary to defeat imperialism worldwide, or else the restoration of capitalism will be inevitable, as history has conclusively proven in the Ex-USSR, Eastern Europe, Asia and especially in China and Cuba. We’re Internationalists not because of an abstract sense of solidarity with struggles in other countries, but because we want to make an international socialist revolution against capitalism, which is only possible by uniting the working class internationally. That is why we support every struggle of workers and oppressed peoples in different countries, because we see them as part of the same international fight against capitalism. The international character of the economy and of the revolution also makes it necessary for workers to have an International Revolutionary Organization, such as the III and IV Internationals were in the past. This organization does not exist at the present time, but we have to start building it now, since it´s impossible to build any national revolutionary party without an International Organization. That´s why we are building the International Workers League- Fourth International, an organization that fights to rebuild the IV International, stronger than in the past, to carry out the task of the International Socialist Revolution. We disagree with socialist organizations who say that an International as Lenin thought of it – a World Revolutionary Party – is not necessary anymore or not possible to be built right now, so it should be postponed to the future.
- For a revolutionary Moral – The bourgeoisie has its own morals as a class, which is based on the principles of maintaining private property and increasing the profit rate. Everything is valid to keep these principles: wars, massive killings, repression, exploitation, oppression, economic domination, speculation, fraud, etc. Within the working class, the bourgeoisie spreads the culture of individualism, careerism, intolerance and prejudice, because it serves their purpose. Our moral is also a class moral, it´s the moral of the working class in struggle and the moral of its vanguard, the revolutionary party. For us, everything that leads to the socialist revolution and the emancipation of the working class is moral, otherwise, it is not. In the movement, never breaking a strike, never restricting workers´democracy, never lying to the working class, never oppressing a co-worker are not only political principles, but moral ones. In our party, we should also follow this criteria, since we want not only to be able to trust a comrade, but to give our lives for his\hers, if necessary. In our party, we have to be loyal, honest, straightforward and supportive with our comrades, because that´s the only way to build trust, which is the basis of our regime, democratic centralism. It is also important to fight against oppression inside the party and in our private lives: anyone who fights against exploitation and oppression but oppresses a comrade in the party or his own partner or family at home is a hypocrite. We don´t believe it´s possible to build a “new man” or woman under capitalism, but we believe fighting for these moral principles right now is a condition for them to prevail in our revolution.
II – For a Leninist Party, based on Democratic Centralism
- The need to build a revolutionary party – Every fundamental political task the working class faces demands a specific kind of organization. Workers need unions to protect their wages and rights; assemblies, committees and pickets to build a strike. But if the task is to overthrow capitalism and seize power through a socialist revolution, than it’s necessary to build a revolutionary party.
For us socialists, building a party is not a task we can postpone, it is the most urgent one. The construction of a revolutionary organization is as central in our strategy as is the mobilization of the working class until the seizure of power and the consolidation of socialist construction. This is why every time we intervene in the social movement and the labor struggles, not only do we do everything to make them strong and successful, but we also seek to regroup the best activists of the movement in a revolutionary organization, and discuss with them our socialist program, the need to destroy capitalism, and build a political organization to do so.
The revolutionary party needs to have special features that conform to its ultimate goal of fighting for State power:
- a) It must intervene in the class struggle and fight for the leadership of the working class as its main task, as opposed to “electoralist” or “propagandist” organizations that center their activity around elections or propaganda about socialism;
- b) It must be a disciplined and centralized organization that is able to organize and lead class struggle in every different stage, switch from legal to clandestine work whenever necessary, and fight against the powerful enemies of the working class – the bourgeoisie, the state, the reformists and their allies;
- c) It must have a revolutionary program to differentiate itself from other political tendencies, and to be able to formulate clear demands to lead the working class towards revolution. Today, the bourgeois propaganda about the “death of socialism” and the identification of communism with the experiences of Stalinism and its totalitarian, bureaucratic and repressive regimes, have led the majority of the Left to capitulate and abandon the strategy of building a revolutionary party. That´s what the IWL has been calling “the opportunistic tide”. Therefore, this is a major issue we must prepare ourselves theoretically to discuss with the activists in the U.S.
- Democratic Centralism – The Regime of the Revolutionary Party – The internal regime of an organization is intimately tied to its main strategies and tactics. A Bourgeois party has the strategy to maintain the status quo of the society. Their main task is to run in elections and rule the State. Therefore, it´s better for their parties to have internal regimes that are not organic & militant, since they only need to gather rank and file members for electoral purposes. At the same time, their regime works around different personalities and groups of influence, who actually rule the party without any internal democracy. A Social Democratic Party has as its main activity elections as it stands for doing reforms (when it is possible) from within the parliamentary system, so it doesn’t need to be centralized and can allow permanent tendencies who have very different public opinions. It may seem democratic, but in the end, the public figures, deputies and senators are the ones who make the decisions. A Stalinist Party has a bureaucratically centralized regime, which allows centralized actions, but has no internal democracy, so the leadership is not controlled by the membership and its policies are not under debate or criticism. This regime matches their concept of bureaucratic socialism. Anarchists, autonomists and dilettantes are against the State and/or Corporations, but have no clear political strategy. They believe a revolution will spring out of the “natural” radicalization of the class struggle, so they don´t think we need any kind of conscious and organized force (a party) to fight for the leadership of the social movements. They’re against any kind of authority and leadership, and therefore are unable to build any stable organization at all. Our regime, Democratic Centralism, is based on our ultimate goal: we want to build a party that is capable of leading the working class to make a revolution and take over state power. Therefore, it is important to have a very disciplined and centralized party when it comes to our intervention in the class struggle in order to be able to fight politically against our opponents, and also to lead any kind of actions, such as demonstrations, occupations, strikes and uprisings. At the same time, the party must have a deep internal democracy, to be able to collectively formulate, implement and evaluate its policies, as well as to criticize and control its leadership, thereby preventing bureaucratization.
- Full freedom of discussion and criticism but unity in action – The base of Democratic Centralism is to have deeply democratic internal discussions, but total unity in action and in public interventions. This means that our policies are discussed with the membership, and every member has the right to agree, disagree, give their opinion, and develop their own point of view. After the discussion, one policy is decided by the majority (voted) and every member has to help implement it, even if (s)he personally disagrees. If we go to a movement or union meeting, a conference, a strike, etc., every member should be able to present and defend the proposal discussed in the party meeting. If there´s a new situation and we have to make an immediate decision with no time to meet, the decision should be made by the leadership member, and all militants must be centralized. After the policy is implemented, we go back and evaluate it, so we can reach a conclusion if it was right or wrong, what changes need to be made, etc. If this process is correctly made, we’ll have a powerful intervention in the class struggle, more chances to develop a correct political line, and all comrades will grow politically through discussion and common experience.
4. Hierarchy of organisms, building the leadership and the cadres – Our party´s structure is based on organisms: the nucleos and the leadership teams, which are the spaces where our policies are debated, decided and evaluated. Therefore, respect for the organisms discussions and decisions are very important. No individual member can change the decisions made in an organism, nor go against them. Any change in a voted policy must be done through collective discussion in the organism. The leadership organisms can be national, statewide or local ones. They have the responsibility of elaborating and providing the main party lines, according to the Congress´s resolutions, and also lead the construction work, finances, newspaper, and the nucleos themselves. The nucleos are the rank and file organisms, responsible for elaborating and implementing our policies in a local site of intervention. Some comrades may think the nucleos, as rank and file organisms, should have the autonomy to define the whole party´s policies and the leadership, as a more restrict one, should only coordinate our work, without making any actual decisions. But that would be a fatal mistake. It would be virtually impossible to build a common national line if each nucleo had the autonomy to define policies not only to its site of intervention, but to the whole party. In case of disagreement, the party would either have several different public lines (which would be a disaster), or would be paralysed, with no line at all, since there would be no national body with decision making power to solve controversies. That´s precisely why the nucleos’ autonomy is related to its site of intervention. Beyond that, it´s necessary to have leadership bodies to centralize our policies and make broader decisions, the Central Committee being the highest leadership organism in the party. Does that mean nucleos have no power and rank and file members have no access to the leadership? Not at all. The nucleos are “the eyes and ears” of the party within the working class. In case any of the leadership’s policies are wrong, because they don’t match workers’ needs, nucleos and rank and file members have not only the right, but the duty to fight to change this policy, discussing, criticizing, writing documents, and attending party events, such as the congress, conferences or plenaries. In our party, members must have full access to the leadership, which is not the same as being part of leadership organisms. Building strong leadership teams is our biggest challenge, and must be a task of the whole party. All members can help in that, discussing our policies, giving opinions, criticizing, and being willing to develop and become cadre. The cadres are the backbone of the revolutionary party. They’re the members that already have some experience in the class struggle, some political education, and are able to lead teams and perform more complex tasks within the party. They are also the most dedicated members of the party, who devote more time and energy, and are willing to take more responsibilities. Ultimately, we want all our members to become cadre, and that´s also what each comrade should aim for.