Workers Vanguard No. 934
10 April 2009
New Anti-Capitalist Party Founded in France
Death of Communism Leftists in New Guise
The following article is reprinted from Le Bolchévik No. 187, March 2009, the publication of the Ligue Trotskyste de France, section of the International Communist League.
The founding conference of the New Anti-Capitalist Party [Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste] (NPA) took place at Plaine-Saint-Denis near Paris from February 6 to 8, beginning one day after Olivier Besancenot’s Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR) voted to dissolve itself at its final conference. The NPA adopted “Founding Principles” and a “General Resolution on the Political and Social Situation”; it also adopted interim statutes, elected a 192-person leadership and decided, pending the latest negotiations with the Communist Party (CP) and Left Party [recent split from the Socialist Party], to run on its own in the upcoming European Union (EU) elections.
The Socialist Party (SP), showing its fear of competition from the NPA on the terrain of social democracy, commented that people shouldn’t be fooled by the NPA’s democratic airs because really they are just unreconstructed Trotskyists and proponents of “the most extreme archaism” (as SP Senator Henri Weber put it in the 7 February issue of Le Monde), in other words “Soviet-style totalitarianism.” Nothing could be further from the truth: the NPA is a new social-democratic formation that wants to cash in on the LCR’s support for capitalist counterrevolution in the Soviet Union and East Europe, as well as the death agony of the CP. That’s why they denounce the Russian Revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. They want to be recognized as France’s “21st-century socialists,” i.e., social democrats to replace the “20th-century socialists,” the SP and CP.
Far from being Trotskyists, Besancenot’s forebears, led by Michel Pablo and his lieutenant Ernest Mandel, destroyed Trotsky’s Fourth International in the early 1950s. As we documented in our February supplement on the history of Pabloite liquidationism: “The common thread defining the whole history of Pabloism for more than 50 years has been looking for a substitute for building a Leninist party.” In the 1950s the Pabloites liquidated, wherever they could, into the Stalinist CPs (and elsewhere into social-democratic or petty-bourgeois nationalist organizations). In the 1980s their leading section, the French LCR, supported [former president François] Mitterrand’s Cold War popular front and the forces that were committed to restoring capitalism in the former Soviet Union: notably, they supported the CIA-financed mullahs then fighting in Afghanistan against the Red Army, Solidarność’s Catholic counterrevolutionaries in Poland, and finally Boris Yeltsin’s barricades as Yeltsin took power in August 1991 to restore capitalism in Russia. Thereby the Pabloites became the hardcore social democrats that they are today. The International Communist League alone stands on the principles and program of revolutionary Marxism, based on the historical lessons dearly paid for by the working class. Our goal is to establish communism worldwide. As we say in our International Declaration of Principles [Spartacist (English-language edition) No. 54, Spring 1998]:
“The victory of the proletariat on a world scale would place unimagined material abundance at the service of human needs, lay the basis for the elimination of classes and the eradication of social inequality based on sex and the very abolition of the social significance of race, nation and ethnicity. For the first time mankind will grasp the reins of history and control its own creation, society, resulting in an undreamed-of emancipation of human potential, and a monumental forward surge of civilization.”
In spite of its later degeneration at the hands of a Stalinist bureaucracy that usurped political power beginning in 1924, the Russian Revolution showed that it was possible for the working class to overthrow capitalism, ushering in an unprecedented development of the productive forces. The fundamental lesson of the Russian Revolution is that to emancipate humanity the working class needs a revolutionary communist vanguard to lead it, at the head of all the oppressed, in the overthrow of this rotting capitalist system. That’s why we say we are the party of the Russian Revolution. Notwithstanding the myth of the so-called “death of communism,” a myth of which the NPA is itself a by-product, the building of such a Bolshevik party is the task facing revolutionaries today.
NPA: Suckling at the Teat of the Capitalist State
To give guarantees to the most rabid anti-communists, the Pabloites promised they would entirely dissolve the LCR and even prohibit anyone in the NPA from forming a faction affiliated to their fake “international,” the so-called United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USec). We in the LTF were wondering how they would manage to keep drawing the hefty subsidies they receive from the capitalist state, which are calculated largely on the basis of their electoral performance in the last parliamentary elections. In the 2007 elections they were still running as the LCR and their vote totals entitled them to an annual check from the Minister of Interior of about 900,000 euros for the subsequent five years (to be more precise, 897,132.93 euros, as stipulated in the 27 January decree, confirmed on 16 February). The answer to our question is simple: officially they didn’t dissolve the LCR! Thus Rouge (12 February) wrote in black and white:
“In order to ensure the continuation of public assistance to political parties (based on the LCR’s results obtained in the June 2007 parliamentary elections), the [LCR’s “liquidation”] congress unanimously decided to maintain an ‘LCR structure,’ the constitution of a ‘follow-up committee’ and payment to the NPA of the totality of the public subsidy (after deducting the former LCR’s dues to the Fourth International).”
So much for the NPA’s “independence” from the capitalist state: the 900,000 euro government subsidy to the LCR was roughly equivalent to the dues paid by LCR members (part of which the latter could deduct from their taxes!) and much more significant than their annual 100,000 euro fund drive. In contrast, we have always refused on principle to take any money from any capitalist state, which is the executive committee of the capitalist class enemy. He who pays the piper calls the tune!
Their subsidy contradicts even the NPA’s vague and classless statement in its “Founding Principles” that “It is not possible to put the state and current institutions at the service of political and social transformation.” The Pabloites’ attitude flows from their social-democratic understanding that the bourgeois state is in itself a neutral entity above social classes and that it cares about equally supporting all democratic organizations that participate in bourgeois elections.
Occasionally the Pabloites might complain that the state is prejudiced against the people—in order to spread the illusion that this is not always the case and could be corrected by the victims applying pressure in the streets. Thus, in their “General Resolution,” they demand “effective means for community control of the police and punishment for attacks on the dignity of persons perpetrated by the forces of law and order.” The idea of controlling the police is counterposed to the Marxist understanding that the state is composed of special bodies of armed men, prisons, etc., committed to defending ruling-class power through the monopoly of violence, and that it must be destroyed in a socialist revolution that puts in its place a dictatorship of the proletariat. In his work The State and Revolution, written in August 1917 in preparation for the October Revolution, Lenin reestablished the teachings of Marx and Engels that had been emptied of content by their epigones:
“A state arises, a special power is created, special bodies of armed men, and every revolution, by destroying the state apparatus, clearly shows us how the ruling class strives to restore the special bodies of armed men which serve it, and how the oppressed class strives to create a new organisation of this kind, capable of serving the exploited instead of the exploiters.”
Not surprisingly, the NPA boasts that it counts a capitalist judge among its founding members (see François Coustal’s fairy tale, The Incredible Story of the New Anti-Capitalist Party).
“Anti-Capitalism” and Anti-Sovietism
To dot the i’s and cross the t’s, the NPA congress decided by a clear majority in favor of the name “New Anti-Capitalist Party” rather than “Revolutionary Anti-Capitalist Party.” It wouldn’t have changed anything to add the word “Revolutionary,” as the fakers from the former minority of Lutte Ouvrière (LO) and other fake leftists who have joined the NPA proposed in order to cover up their own reformism. But to remove it—as well as any reference in their two founding documents to communism, to Lenin or Trotsky, or even to Marx, with the exception of two quotes from the Communist Manifesto—is an explicit pledge to the bourgeoisie that they are enemies of socialist revolution.
In fact the word “anti-capitalist” is a code word to say that they can agree that capitalism is no good and that something better is needed, but no way will they call that socialism because that could lead people to wrongly think of “real socialism,” i.e., the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union. Today the regroupment of the “left of the left,” as offered up by the NPA, is based on shared hatred for the first workers state in history and on shared support to capitalist counterrevolution in the USSR and Eastern Europe by those organizations who have signed up for the NPA (principally the LCR but also LO’s former minority, Gauche Révolutionnaire [Taaffeites], the CRI group [ex-Lambertist], etc.). We, in contrast, defended the USSR and its gains for the workers of the world against imperialism and capitalist counterrevolution right to the very end. Today, the disarray of the capitalist economy, which workers are being called on to pay for, highlights the murderous anarchy of this system and the intrinsic superiority of a planned economy, even in spite of the parasitic Stalinist bureaucratic excrescence that existed in the USSR after 1924. In particular, we intervened in the DDR [East Germany] in 1989-1990 when there was an incipient proletarian political revolution against the Stalinist bureaucracy; we called for a red Germany of workers councils and opposed capitalist reunification of Germany. We lost, but we were the only ones to have fought against capitalist reunification.
In the NPA’s “Founding Principles” you can find, if you look hard enough, a sentence near the end that says, “A social revolution [not a socialist revolution] will be necessary to overthrow capitalism.” In reality this is just a variation of their reformist “revolutionize society” or, as Mitterrand put it in the 1970s, “break with capitalism.” They continue: “Our choice for how to get there is exclusively through the expression and participation of a majority,” i.e., bourgeois-democratic elections (supported by mobilization in the streets). This is exactly what they lay out in their “General Resolution”: they are for “putting an end to the Fifth Republic by a constituent process for an anti-capitalist social republic” and “the abolition of the Senate.”
Down With Executive Offices of the Bourgeois State!
The NPA is really trying to show the capitalists that they are reasonable and responsible and capable of governing, and they regularly put forward a candidate for President of the republic, i.e., the head of the capitalist state. In contrast, we oppose any participation in the bourgeois executive and thus we also oppose running for executive office in the bourgeois state, such as president or mayor, because running for such posts feeds illusions that one could administer the bourgeois state in the interest of the working class, negating the need to fight for a socialist revolution [see Spartacist (English-language edition) No. 60, Autumn 2007]. As Rosa Luxemburg said over a hundred years ago: “The entry of a socialist into a bourgeois government is not, as it is thought, a partial conquest of the bourgeois state by the socialists, but a partial conquest of the socialist party by the bourgeois state.” Thus the CP in France took direct responsibility for managing capitalism as part of the government in 1944-1946, 1981-1984, 1997-2002, and they also ran working-class municipalities for decades. Claiming to want to improve the daily lives of people in working-class suburbs, they administered for example the capitalist housing shortage, with its inevitable racist quotas in assigning subsidized housing. They demoralized countless militants who wanted to fight for socialism.
In the past, the Pabloites considered it “taboo” to openly speak about their lust for governmental power under capitalism. Now they have made it into a question of principle, declaring in their “Founding Principles” (approved by 540 votes in favor and one against): “From the municipality to parliament, we will support all measures which would improve the workers’ lot, democratic rights and respect for the environment. We will contribute to implementing them if the voters give us this responsibility” (our emphasis).
The Pabloites have a long history of exercising the responsibilities of executive office in the bourgeois state: starting with Pablo as an adviser in the post-independence Algerian government and continuing in Martinique in the early 1970s, where they had at least one “revolutionary” mayor, Jean Elie, the local representative of the colonial state apparatus (see [the LCR’s newspaper] Rouge No. 188, 20 January 1973). Then in Switzerland in the late 1980s their leader Hanspeter Uster was elected minister of Justice and Police in the Zug canton. Most recently, in the 23 January Rouge, the LCR interviewed an “anti-capitalist mayor” in Kabylia [Algeria], Mohand Saddek Akrour, a member of the PST, their sister party in Algeria. He acknowledges that “two-thirds of our [town] budget is directly managed by the prefecture [regional government], while the remaining third goes to private business”!
But the Pabloites’ proudest ministerial post came in Brazil at the beginning of this decade, when one of their leaders, Miguel Rossetto, who had previously been vice-governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, was named minister of agrarian development in the Lula [Luiz Inácio da Silva of the Workers Party] government. Of course Rossetto was not the real Minister of Agriculture, but he was still the one responsible for lulling millions of landless peasants with the illusion that he was going to give them some land taken from the big landlords, while at the very same time Lula’s military police continued their job of “restoring order” in the countryside with baton blows and bullets. Rossetto, doubtless dizzy with success, ended up dropping the Pabloites, who went on to form a new organization, the PSoL, which aroused great hopes in the USec before mysteriously fading into the background.
The Fable of Independence Vis-à-Vis the SP
Today, Besancenot has built up his business based on “opposition” to “social-liberalism” [social democrats who have embraced neo-liberal capitalism] and “independence” from the SP. The NPA realizes that many activists and working-class voters feel bitter towards the Mitterrand and Jospin SP governments (which had CP participation half the time) as well as towards the SP today. In the 1990s, especially in the wake of the destruction of the USSR, it was these parties (elected every time with the Pabloites’ votes) that were in charge of implementing capitalist austerity programs to attack the working class, immigrants and their children.
The social-democratic parties (whether the SP or CP, or in Germany the SPD or Die Linke [see “Germany: SPD in Deep Crisis—Left Party: No Alternative!” in WV No. 928, 16 January]) are bourgeois workers parties, torn by the contradiction between their pro-capitalist program and leadership and their trade-union base. Revolutionary Marxists seek to set the working-class base of these parties against the top in order to build the revolutionary party required to carry out a successful workers revolution.
To ensure the survival of its huge (although rapidly shrinking) apparatus, the CP depends on its electoral deals with the SP to preserve their control of working-class municipalities and to get people elected to parliament, with the state subsidies this brings in. The LCR/NPA, on the other hand, with its smaller operation, as well as the 900,000 euro bonanza from the capitalist state, can claim some level of independence from the SP, which boosts its popularity.
But the LCR’s “independence” from the SP is unfailingly transformed, as soon as the first round of voting is over, into calls to “fight the right” in the second round. In Marseilles, their comrades called for votes for the SP-led slate in the 2008 municipal elections, even after the SP had fused its slate with the right-wing bourgeois party MoDem [a Christian-Democratic party]! In those elections they went so far as to propose to the SP a systematic fusion of their slates in the second round, i.e., agreeing to contribute to the victory of popular-front municipal majorities and to participate in them, with the proviso that the LCR might from time to time register a token vote against certain measures (token because the electoral system provides a bonus to a slate that won by a narrow margin, granting it a stable and comfortable majority). But the SP refused their offer.
That didn’t stop the LCR from hunting down opportunities elsewhere to join municipal majorities. At Gentilly, on the outskirts of Paris, they participate in running the capitalist municipality, having been elected on the first round as part of the incumbent CP mayor’s slate. At bottom, the Pabloites’ raison d’être, like Mélenchon’s Left Party, is to put pressure on the SP to become less “social-liberal” and form a “left” popular front—a capitalist coalition of bourgeois workers parties with outright bourgeois formations—to defeat Sarkozy. The Pabloites will support it, from within—or perhaps from outside, since they know very well that if they lie down before the “social-liberals” and enter their government, as their comrades recently did in Brazil, or if they slavishly support their official parliamentary majority as in Italy, they would be booted out in the subsequent elections.
But the Pabloites need workers mobilizations in the streets to put pressure on the SP. And the slightest hint of struggle exposes how the NPA seeks unity at any price with the SP (“a united policy towards the whole social and political left,” as the NPA’s “General Resolution” puts it). In a 21 January interview in the CP paper, L’Humanité, Besancenot said concerning the January 29 trade-union mobilization:
“In this context, the left can come together and decide on a nationwide initiative against layoffs, as we had proposed in mid-December to all parties, including the SP. Unfortunately we have not received any answer.”
They finally did get an answer: for the first time since the election of the Jospin-Buffet government in 1997, the SP made a show of force with a massive mobilization of its members in the January 29 workers demonstrations. Starting with their congress last November, the SP realized they had to go back to a more traditional social-democratic line of opposing the right and claiming to be on the side of the workers, or risk continuing to lose crucial elections. Then on February 3 the SP, CP, MRC (bourgeois Chevènementists), Left Party, NPA and LO signed a joint statement congratulating themselves on the success of the 29 January day of action and demanding the government offer a “social shield” to the poor against the current wave of layoffs. The SP signed the call to “impose a different division of the wealth and another kind of development” and immediately used the credibility that such joint statements with the “left of the left” gave them to propose a plan for “getting out of the crisis” in higher education (see Le Monde, 12 February).
We saw another example of the NPA’s “unity in struggle” with the threat to privatize the post office, an important subject for the NPA given that their trademark rests on the “little postman,” Besancenot. Far from proposing an important class struggle, a solid strike, the LCR/NPA promotes committees of consumers against privatization, where one finds all mixed up together village mayors (i.e., the municipal representatives of the privatizing state!) and users of the post office from all social classes. The Pabloites cynically use the workers’ desire for unity in struggle against the bosses to unite not only with the treacherous social-democratic leaderships of the workers movement, but with the class enemy itself.
Nationalization or Socialization vs. Revolutionary Expropriation
At its conference, the NPA decided on a hodgepodge of reformist “social emergency” demands for the economic crisis, like 300 euros more per month for a 1,500 euro minimum wage, a ban on layoffs, etc. One could say they thought of everything, including: “For companies which turn out to be really struggling, financing will be assured by a banking public service and sustained by a special assessment paid by all shareholders” (“General Resolution”). In other words, the capitalist state should subsidize unprofitable companies through a tax on capital.
In their “Founding Principles” they do plenty of “Sunday speechifying” about “ending...private property of the main means of production.” They offer ringing declarations for “Nationalization (in the sense of socialization) of all banking organizations with no buyouts or compensation, and expropriation of their shareholders” (“General Resolution”). Besancenot explains in an interview published in their new journal, Contretemps (No. 1, First Quarter 2009):
“Faced with capitalism, social democracy and Stalinism insinuated that the solution was the state ownership of the means of production. Our reading has never been that, but rather the perspective of the socialization of the means of production. For us, public intervention means intervention by the majority of the population and not necessarily by the state. This is one of the essential issues of what we call ‘21st-century socialism,’ which others call ‘eco-socialism,’ ‘libertarian self-management,’ ‘communism with a human face’.”
Behind their “majority of the population” and their rhetoric about democracy, they avoid the fundamental question: who owns the means of production?
One can easily get lost in the Pabloites’ declarations: in accordance with the milieu they’re capitulating to they are for nationalizations under capitalism (the classic social-democratic/Labourite solution) or on the other hand for “self-management” under capitalism (the social-democratic solution in the style of the CFDT [trade-union federation] in the 1970s). When it comes to capitalist property, the Pabloites are ready for anything—except its expropriation by a revolutionary proletarian government, i.e., the Marxist program of the dictatorship of the proletariat and its international extension. That’s the only program that can reorganize and plan the economy rationally in the interest of the workers and the oppressed.
The LCR’s Reformist Emergency Plan
But the Pabloites explicitly reject the model of the Russian Revolution. For example, Olivier Besancenot and Daniel Bensaïd write in their latest book:
“Revolutionary in the actual sense of the term, this anti-capitalist party hasn’t signed up to one single political lineage, that of the struggle issuing out of the Russian Revolution and the opposition pitting Stalinists against anti-Stalinists....
“We anti-capitalists give a radical logic to the reforms we fight for; this logic is inscribed from now on in the perspective of the future. These reforms are consistent with and contradictory to the market economy. They carry within them the will to develop other social relations where wealth and power would be subjects of a collective division. To carry them out to the end, a radical break with the existing order is unavoidable.”
—Besancenot and Bensaïd, Let’s Take a Side—For a Socialism of the 21st Century [Prenons Parti—Pour un Socialisme du XXIe Siècle]
For the Pabloites, it’s the struggle for reforms that is “revolutionary”! This is the same kind of talk we hear from Mélenchon of the Left Party, who declares himself to be “breaking with capitalism” (19 January interview in L’Humanité), and it is the very opposite of Trotsky’s Transitional Program, which said:
“The strategic task of the Fourth International lies not in reforming capitalism but in its overthrow. Its political aim is the conquest of power by the proletariat for the purpose of expropriating the bourgeoisie....
“The Fourth International does not discard the program of the old ‘minimal’ demands to the degree to which these have preserved at least part of their vital forcefulness. Indefatigably, it defends the democratic rights and social conquests of the workers. But it carries on this day-to-day work within the framework of the correct actual, that is, revolutionary, perspective. Insofar as the old partial, ‘minimal’ demands of the masses clash with the destructive and degrading tendencies of decadent capitalism—and this occurs at each step—the Fourth International advances a system of transitional demands, the essence of which is contained in the fact that ever more openly and decisively they will be directed against the very foundations of the bourgeois regime. The old ‘minimal program’ is superseded by the transitional program, the task of which lies in systematic mobilization of the masses for the proletarian revolution.”
At bottom, the LCR’s maximum program is the welfare state such as was conceded by the capitalists at the end of World War II to avoid a workers revolution after the Red Army had liberated Europe from Nazi barbarism. In the name of its class-collaborationist alliance with the Gaullists, the CP betrayed the very real possibility of overthrowing French capitalism, discredited by its long collaboration with the Nazis. But since the Pabloites oppose the proletarian revolution, they exonerate the Stalinist PCF and boast of the gains won:
“The French public sector was put in place at the time of the Liberation, at the same time as the nationalizations put forward in the program of the National Resistance Council, written when they were underground in 1944, against the Vichy state. The objective was to liberate the country and then rebuild it by providing solid infrastructures, conceived as ambitious tools of an industrial reconstruction policy but also as a plan for a society based on solidarity and the satisfaction of social needs. Thus at the close of the war, energy, transport, auto, banks and insurance companies constituted a great public pole. These nationalizations gave the state the means to carry out a real economic policy and allowed it to commit to long-term investment. They also represented authentic social gains, drawn up and imposed by the Resistance movements.”
—Let’s Take a Side
One might ask if Besancenot and Bensaïd copied all that from a history book for high school kids, with a foreword by Education Minister Xavier Darcos of the UMP [Sarkozy’s ex-Gaullist party]. The gains during Liberation [immediate post-World War II period] were won at the cost of the CP betraying the revolutionary opportunities that followed from the Soviet victory in the war and the hatred of the French working class at that time for their own bourgeoisie, which had sided with Vichy and the Nazis. The NPA is promising here that it will betray the next class battles by limiting them to reforms, which are eminently reversible under capitalism, as the history of the “welfare state” has so bitterly proved. The counterrevolutionary destruction of the Soviet Union in 1991-92 paved the way for the attacks on the welfare state, and the Pabloites have their own share of responsibility for these attacks because they actively supported the counterrevolution.
To implement their emergency plan, they say: “It is by developing and generalizing struggles, by generalized and prolonged strikes, that we can block attacks and impose demands” (“Founding Principles”). The recent editorial in Lutte Ouvrière (23 February) is very similar, saying: “The only way is to put the big bosses under threat of a general strike likely to cost them a lot more than what it would take to satisfy the legitimate demands of the workers and retirees.” Well, if such a huge class struggle is posed, then the miserable crumbs these guys are asking for are a cheap reward for betraying the struggle for power. In the meantime, LO and the NPA provide a chunk of the lower- and mid-level trade-union bureaucracy, which is cynically using the “days of action,” no matter how powerful they are, every couple of months, to let the working class blow off steam.
Pabloite Foreign Policy: An Alternative Program for French Imperialism
Marxists struggle intransigently against their own imperialism, one of the most bloody in the history of humanity, from the slaughter of 1914-18 to the colonial wars that caused millions of deaths in Indochina, Madagascar, Algeria and elsewhere, or more recently the genocide in Rwanda. We are for the immediate withdrawal of French troops from the Balkans, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Africa and elsewhere. Lenin explains in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism how imperialism is not a set of policies that can be changed, but a system that is the inevitable outcome of capitalist development: the main powers (including France at the time) have divided up the world among themselves, at first in the form of colonial empires and other spheres of influence and since then in the continual struggle among these powers to redivide the world. These rivalries, once somewhat masked by the common goal of destroying the Soviet Union, have come back to the fore today.
The Pabloites have an alternative policy for French imperialism. Basically, they hark back nostalgically to the foreign policy of [former president Jacques] Chirac during the second Gulf War in 2003, when he opposed American plans to devastate and occupy Iraq (moreover, the LCR had just voted for him a few months earlier). What the LCR advocates is a policy of European alliance, meaning an alliance with Germany, in order to counter the American superpower in the world. To put one’s own imperialist bourgeoisie on a different plane than American imperialism, presenting it as potentially a tool for “peace,” is vulgar social-chauvinism. Thus the Pabloites signed pro-European, anti-Bush declarations during the Iraq war, such as this one from the end of 2002:
“Those who show solidarity with the people of Iraq have no hearing in the White House. But we do have the chance to influence European governments—many of whom have opposed the war. We call on all the European heads of state to publicly stand against this war, whether it has UN backing or not, and to demand that George Bush abandon his war plans.”
And that is their argument with “Sarko the American”: Sarkozy considers French imperialism too weak to attempt the least confrontation with the American behemoth. That’s why the Pabloites are opposed to French troops in Lebanon and Afghanistan—because in their view they serve the interests of American imperialism rather than France’s interests as the Pabloites see them. Thus, last summer they signed a declaration protesting the sending of additional French troops to Afghanistan, stating in part:
“In addition to the victims, which we fear will be more numerous, the decision to send reinforcements is the sign of an unacceptable lineup with United States policy. The desire to reintegrate the NATO military command goes in the same direction. France must not endorse NATO’s Manichean vision of a ‘war of civilizations’ and must not give up on imposing an independent policy, for the primacy of international law and against war. This policy runs the risk of dragging the entire European Union into becoming a mere ‘European pillar’ of NATO, a source of new military expenses to the detriment of immense social needs. We do not want a France and a European Union acting as world policemen. We want France and Europe to be free and independent, developing cooperation with all countries in favor of peace, sustainable development and human rights.”
For our part, we have always been opposed to NATO, which was for 40 years an anti-Soviet imperialist alliance before becoming a military instrument in the service of Western imperialists, above all the U.S.A., against the peoples of the world. But we have also always been opposed to the European Union and its predecessors, which through their economic ties maintained the military cohesion of NATO against the USSR. Today, the European Union is an (increasingly unstable) consortium dominated by imperialist powers, i.e., Germany and to a lesser extent France. Even Germany, the economic and, especially, the industrial colossus of Europe, has to lean on a European hinterland in order to resist the Americans, and this is the goal of the EU, a capitalist alliance at the expense of the working classes of Europe and a racist fortress against immigrants. Down with NATO! Down with the European Union! Full citizenship rights for all those who are here! Down with xenophobic restrictions against East European workers! We denounce, in advance, the chauvinist anti-American hysteria that we are going to see during the ceremonies for the 60th anniversary of NATO in early April, and we denounce in advance the vile role that the NPA will play in this.
From Liquidation of the Party to Liquidation of the Revolution
By liquidating the revolutionary party starting in the 1950s, the Pabloites ended up liquidating any claim to revolution. And having contributed as much as its forces permitted to the capitalist counterrevolution in the USSR (see our February supplement on Pabloite liquidationism), they now disappear Lenin and the Russian Revolution, which are not even mentioned in either of their two lengthy founding documents (the “Founding Principles” and the “General Resolution”). As we said in our February supplement, it is a good thing the Pabloites no longer pretend to be Trotskyists or Marxists.
And they continue their support to capitalist counterrevolution today in regard to the Chinese bureaucratically deformed workers state. The NPA’s “General Resolution” thus makes a special mention of “Support to the Tibetan people oppressed by China,” just a few weeks from the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Tibet by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army from the Dalai Lama’s theocratic, pro-slavery regime. In contrast, we denounce the provocations of the imperialists and the Dalai Lama against the Chinese bureaucratically deformed workers state and stand for the unconditional military defense of China (as well as North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam) against imperialism and counterrevolution, while fighting for proletarian political revolution against the Stalinist bureaucracy [see “Defend the Gains of the 1949 Chinese Revolution!” WV No. 923, 24 October 2008].
There will be new class struggles and new revolutionary situations in France. Then, the Pabloites will perhaps suddenly rediscover the language of Marxism. But whatever form they then take, whether they are still the NPA or something else, it will be used to better mask their program of capitulation and liquidation. These are opponents of the international revolutionary workers movement. It is the International Communist League which represents the continuity of the struggle against Pabloism, through the American SWP of James P. Cannon of the 1950s, when it was still a revolutionary vanguard party, and then through the Revolutionary Tendency which emerged inside the SWP at the beginning of the 1960s in order to defend the program of authentic Trotskyism against the SWP that itself had gone over to embracing Pabloism. This is the continuity of the struggle to maintain a revolutionary program and to reforge the Fourth International on a political basis that Trotsky would recognize as his own. For new October Revolutions!