By Miguel Sorans, a leader of Socialist Left and the IWU-FI.
During the three-day-event, thousands followed the event from different places in the world. For most it was the first time in this kind of events. Expectations were great. Many couldn’t see the whole thing because it wasn’t easy to be glued to a virtual connection for three days. But, unevenly, thousands of party members and independent activists followed it. And they will continue to evaluate it, reviewing what each one said, with the recordings or written notes of each political current.
It is important to move forward in a global balance. There is no doubt the conference held by the FIT-Unity in Argentina has been a very positive event. The balance sheet should start there.
But it is also important to reflect on the necessary points to draw conclusions on how to take advantage of what has been achieved to get on. A well-adjusted balance that marks the good things but also points out the deficiencies and how to continue the exchange to overcome them.
From the Socialist Left and the IWU-FI, we can summarise the balance sheet by saying it was successful, but it showed great weaknesses when it came to moving forward in greater concrete unity and to progress in uniting the revolutionaries. What is the task of uniting the revolutionaries for the IWU-FI? Coordinating common campaigns in both political and trade union activities, around central tasks on which we would all agree. To achieve that in other countries, where there are conditions, to explore experiences similar to the FIT-U, as proposed by our comrades from the MAS in Mexico or the MST in Chile. To promote a debate to achieve progress in national and international coordination based on a revolutionary programme that seeks to advance in rebuilding the Fourth International.
In this subject matter, the PTS-FT, the PO, and the MST-LIS avoided entering into this exchange. Instead, they responded with self-proclaimed if not divisive interventions. The PO defined itself as the only one that could guarantee class independence fronts. According to its leader Gabriel Solano, the FIT is «an exception» because in Argentina there is the Partido Obrero (Workers’ Party). The PTS-FT focused throughout the conference on highlighting the number of supporters of the Izquierda Diario and the activities and slogans of its organisations, an issue we value, although in many cases we have political differences. But it said nothing to the proposals of the IWU-FI nor it put forward any form of coordination of the revolutionaries. Both the PO and the PTS focused on mistaken criticisms of our current in Brazil and Peru (see the GS note «Trotsky’s Tactics for Building Revolutionary Parties is the Same for Everyone»)
Comrade Cristian Castillo (PTS) agreed with the PO in proposing a discussion bulletin. We answered we should agree if it was to test the possibility of superior unitary forms. Not a discussion for the sake of discussion. Finally, there was no agreement on voting for a discussion bulletin.
Besides, the MST-LIS leader, Alejandro Bodart, explained they could not give much room to common actions because they had their own schedule with a world congress at the end of the year and they were very busy, since they had to translate bulletins into various languages. This is not much of an allegation. The IWU-FI also holds a world congress at the end of the year, with over 20 countries and the task of translating documents in several languages. We did not inform that to the conference. However, we are willing and we can promote common activities. .
What was reflected in the conference is similar to what is happening to us in the FIT-U. It is difficult for the FIT-U to act in the struggles and in the different action fronts jointly and in unison and not being just an electoral front. In the conference both the PTS and PO and the MST claimed the «workers’ united front», quoting Trotsky. But many times in the real world this is not fulfilled within the FIT-U itself. The PTS, which has written many times about this correct tactic, took two years to enter the Combative Trade Union Plenary, which is the only coordination of anti-bureaucratic trade unionism in Argentina. In the province of Neuquen, in the last election of the teachers union ATEN- Capital, they divided the FIT parties slate against the union bureaucracy, presenting another slate with a centrist and reformist sector. Thus, the bureaucracy took back the union. Also in the last election of the Railway Union, Western section, headed by the leader of the Socialist Left–IWU-FI, Ruben «Pollo» Sobrero, the PO, MST and PTS presented a third slate. Divisionism did not affect the victory of Sobrero’s slate and the anti-bureaucratic Bordo won by over 54 per cent of the votes.
The great concern thousands and thousands of activists in Latin America and the world have is how to advance in taking unitary steps with our organisations. In common actions in the class struggle, against all governments and reformist leaders and bureaucracies, in greater unity of those define as revolutionary socialists.
There are political differences. It is understandable as we are different organisations. But, beyond those differences, the four convening organisations, members of the FIT-U, declare ourselves Trotskyists and defenders of Leon Trotsky’s Transitional Programme. In the same conference, programmatic points of substance were agreed upon.
From the IWU-FI we will continue to fight to unite the revolutionaries. Not only in Argentina but in the world. The conference has had the merit of agreeing on some common actions, such as the 27 August action in support of the anti-racist rebellion in the US, and of leaving open this debate that the working class, the youth, women in struggle and the people’s sectors need so much.