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FI debates international situation

Thirty countries attend International Committee

Monday 7 April 2008, by Fourth International

The main body of the Fourth International between world congresses, the International Committee (IC) held a regular session in Amsterdam (Netherlands) at the beginning of March 2008.

Its debates centred on the evolution of the international situation, the ecological crisis and climatic warming, the political situation and the activity of the organizations present in Latin America, Pakistan and Russia, the experiences of the construction of new parties in Europe (Britain, France and Italy), the research and training activities of the Amsterdam Institute and the preparation of the next world congress.

Members and permanent observers from thirty countries were present: Germany, Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, Spain, the United States, Euzkadi, France, Britain, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Quebec, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. The delegates from Colombia, Hong Kong, Morocco, Poland and Uruguay could not come for material reasons. Among the guests was a representative of the International Socialist Organisation of the United States, while the representative of Marea Socialista from Venezuela who had planned to attend had to drop out at the last minute because a strike had broken out at Sidor, the principal iron and steel company in the country.

On the international situation, the discussion, introduced by the report that we reproduce (in this issue of International Viewpoint, related to the recent developments in the economic crisis. The debates also turned around a fundamental question for the medium and long terms: changes caused in the world economy and the international relationship of forces by the rise of capitalism in the emergent countries, and especially China. This discussion was extended by three points in the debates: the ecological crisis and climatic warming (enriched by the report from the seminar which had been held in Amsterdam the previous week), the situation in Latin America and the situation in Europe.

On Latin America, a report was presented followed by a discussion. If the general tendencies of the current situation in Latin America were confirmed – loosening of the US grip, emergence of the Brazil/Argentina bloc, the reality of a series of social movements, the rise of radical nationalist or revolutionary currents linked to the Venezuela/Bolivia/Ecuador/Cuba bloc - it is necessary to note a turn in the economic situation with the offensive of Colombia supported by the United States. A declaration on Colombia was adopted by the IC.

On Europe, the representatives of the British, French and Italian sections presented reports on the experiences in progress. The parliamentary campaign of the comrades of Sinistra Critica, which is running candidates almost everywhere in Italy, was noted. A point of discussion was devoted to the conference of the European anti-capitalist left, convened by the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire of France on the topic “May 68-May 2008”. All the sections will take part in this initiative by inviting other “class struggle” or revolutionary currents. Beyond the national electoral tactics, the European organisations, notably the LCR in France, Sinistra Critica in Italy, Espacio alternativo in Spain and the Socialist Party in Sweden are discussing the possibility of having a common expression at the time of the next European elections.

This session of the International Committee met for the first time in the new buildings of the International Institute of Education and Research in Amsterdam, which prompted a discussion on its operation. The Institute must at the same time ensure the educational initiatives of the International and open its infrastructures to the anti-capitalist currents of the Dutch and European labour movement for meetings, training schools and educational seminars. This IC ratified a report on the axes of activity of the Institute.

Finally, the IC decided that the next world Congress would be held in the first quarter of 2010. An introductory report on the issues at this congress was presented by comrade Laurent and an outline presented by comrades Laurent and Olivier in the name of the Executive Committee was used to launch the debate. This will turn around two questions:

* How can we reinforce and redeploy the Fourth International during the current political period?

* How can we advance towards new gatherings, convergences or frameworks of international cooperation?

A timetable for the international discussion, which must also include the development of theses on climate change and the fight for socialism, was adopted.