Revolutionaries meet in Mexico City
Stephen Durham
volume:  
volume 38
issue 6
December 2017
imagestuff

Detail from a mural by Diego Rivera at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City showing Leon Trotsky with U.S. Trotsykist James Cannon (right). Photo: Stephen Durham / FS

Divisions in the Trotskyist movement have weakened working-class struggles around the globe. The Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment was founded four years ago to address this crisis and bring together revolutionary parties from divergent traditions to defend the most exploited and oppressed.

Last August, CRIR met in Mexico City in the former home of the famous Mexican muralist, José Clemente Orozco. Partido Obrero Socialista (POS-Mexico) hosted the gathering which was attended by two other CRIR member groups — Freedom Socialist Party (FSP-U.S.) and Partido Revolucionario de las y los Trabajadores (PRT-Costa Rica).

Present also were a number of invited guests. These included three Mexican Trotskyist organizations: La Gota, a collective from Chihuahua; the Liga de Unidad Socialista; and the Coordinadora Revolucionaria Socialista.

Representatives of Regrupamiento hacia el PST and Convergencia Socialista-La Verdad from Argentina were invited to present their views. Hugo Cedeño, a longtime radical organizer from the Dominican Republic, joined the discussions as did Mexican feminists and non-affiliated leftists.

A contingent of indigenous union activists and leaders from the radical wing of the Mexican teachers union traveled to the meeting from Oaxaca.

The backdrop: a continuing worldwide economic crisis. The meeting was divided into two parts — the first two days were open to observers and the last day was internal.

Reports and discussions centered on the structural crisis of capitalism. There was agreement that there has been no recovery from the economic depression that began in 2007 with the meltdown on Wall Street: conditions for the working class and the oppressed everywhere continue to deteriorate; neoliberalism has increased misery around the world; and every regime facing militant anti-capitalist opposition has turned to state repression to maintain control.

Different countries, same problem. CRIR affiliates reported on the unfolding class struggle in each of their countries. In addition, the situation in Haiti and Puerto Rico was addressed by Dominican Hugo Cedeño.

A common thread in all reports was the intensification of the class struggle, especially among the multiply oppressed women, people of color and the indigenous. This is taking place despite the overall absence of revolutionary leadership capable of delivering much needed victories.

A special highlight was a report by Maria Alvarez of Argentina on her trip to Rojava, the autonomous Kurdish region on Turkey’s border. There women fighters have stood on the front lines in the armed struggle against the reactionary Islamic State.

The calamity in Venezuela. Debate on the crisis in Venezuela produced agreement about the capitalist class nature of the Maduro regime and the legitimacy of the insurrectionary protests that rocked Venezuela for four months earlier this year. However, there were differences about which tactic to pursue to oppose the Maduro government. The Costa Rican PRT emphasized defense of free speech and democratic rights while the majority of those present added that the call for establishing workers councils or soviets was also necessary to point the way forward.

Regroupment more needed than ever. The meeting represented an advancement for CRIR as a pole of regroupment. Besides attracting other Trotskyists, the gathering provided an opportunity for CRIR to reflect on its own achievements. These included the successful international movement to support the right of indigenous Mexican community police to armed self-defense, in addition to several other campaigns supporting victims of political witch hunts.

In a discussion period prior to the meeting, CRIR evaluated the state of the world Trotskyist movement. This set the stage for a productive discussion of how the co-opting pressure of capitalist regimes have eroded revolutionary socialist movements. Specifically, the trend of Trotskyist parties supporting popular front regimes and broad anti-capitalist parties — both of which erode revolutionary program and practice. CRIR addressed this problem by reaffirming its commitment to standing on the lessons of the 1917 Russian Revolution and the first four congresses of the Communist International under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky.

Subsequent to the August meeting, the Costa Rican PRT left CRIR to investigate regroupment with the Trotskyist Faction headquartered in Argentina. PRT falsely claimed CRIR supported imperialist intervention in Syria.

Forging ahead. In Mexico, CRIR decided to take up a number of tasks. These included issuing a statement on the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution that emphasizes the key role of women. The group also agreed to issue a statement on Venezuela and contact a dissident grouping within the United Secretariat of the Fourth International to open up a discussion regarding advancing regroupment of Trotskyists opposed to liquidating revolutionary parties.

In light of this exciting meeting, the FSP is optimistic about CRIR’s future as a pole of attraction for forces that seek to plant the seeds of a new international organization based on a clear socialist program, mutual respect and a tolerance for differences.

CRIR is an effort to bring together Trotskyist organizations of different countries to work jointly toward the foundation of a new socialist international. Get in touch through cririnter@gmail.com.

Este artículo en español / This article in Spanish