The last World Congress was held in January 1991, one year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, on the eve of the Gulf War and the USSR’s dismemberment. It began to take note of the dynamics of a major world transformation. Now we must put this turning point in perspective.
Since our 13th World Congress in 1991, the balance of forces has continued to deteriorate for the toiling masses, in the framework of the general trends noted and analysed in the resolution on the world situation that we adopted at that congress. The international dialectic of struggles has had a negative effect, bringing about setbacks, defeats or isolation of many emancipation movements.
The present decade remains dominated by a world economy bogged down in a recessionary long wave indicative of a profound transformation of the logic of accumulation. This break, situated in time at the beginning of the 70’s, has been accompanied by radical modifications in the relationship of forces on the world level: the main one being the collapse of the bureaucratic societies.
The political instability which struck the whole of Europe within a few years constitutes a new and important aspect of the international situation. It is the result of profound and rapid modifications, which - in the context of a long depressive wave - affect all the social structures, political-state institutions, the workers and social movement, and the behaviour and consciousness of social classes and individuals. It has a deep and lasting character.
Our general tasks in the period before us are the following: to be part of the resistance against the capitalist-imperialist counter-offensive; to struggle to reverse the disastrous neo-liberal orientation which today dominates the workers’ movement; to intervene actively to advance towards a new political force - anti-capitalist and socialist.
The Fourth International and its European sections have a clear general approach towards the European Union (EU) and European integration. Far from responding to the social and international aspirations of workers, women, youth and oppressed nationalities, the EU reflects on a regional level the globalization of the world economy.
The prospects for initiating a process of socio-economic transformation which could lead to a shift in the relationship of forces favorable to the majorities of the population in several Latin American countries, have been postponed. Such a prospect could have resulted from the creation of governments by democratic and/or left socialist parties and/or coalitions following several elections held recently in the continent, but their negative results have put off this possibility.
The Cuban crisis has entered its fifth year. The cumulated effects of the interruption of exchanges with the USSR and the Comecon, of the reinforcement of the American embargo, of the bureaucratic centralization of the command economy, provoked an economic collapse and a crisis unprecedented in the history of the revolution.