"Run, comrade, the old world is behind you"
History is accelerating. The gaping wounds of the old world are getting deeper and multiplying.
In one year, hunger has killed more people in the third world than during the six years of World War II. Workers in the so-called ‘communist' countries are experiencing food shortages just like during wartime. The economy of the western bloc is trapped in an irreversible downward spiral, throwing millions of workers out of work.
The only form of production which is really increasing is arms production.
At the same time, the response by the working class -- from Brazil to China, from Britain to Poland -- is growing wider, deeper, and increasingly determined, raising the question at a practical level of the necessity for the internationalization of proletarian action in all countries.
The struggles in Poland have forced the whole world once again to speak of "what the workers have done". The revolutionary class which exists within the working class is once again clearly visible for all to see.
And this has led to a rapid acceleration of history. The old world is falling apart and at the same time its gravedigger is raising its head.
The wind from Gdansk is a sign of the revolutionary storms which will soon follow.
Two years ago at our Third Congress (cf International Review 18) we said that the 1980s would be "The Years of Truth". Events have already confirmed this statement.
More and more revolutionaries will be faced with the problem of understanding and analyzing things ‘calmly', at a time when events are moving faster all the time.
The Fourth Congress was permeated by the new rhythm of history, and the organization was able to get a clear idea of the extent and nature of the difficulties that this ‘acceleration' entails for revolutionaries.
Marx said in the Communist Manifesto, that "theoretically (communists) have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement." But this advantage isn't given to them automatically or miraculously as soon as they constitute themselves into a political organization. They can only acquire it through a systematic collective work, in which their analyses are constantly confronted by living, historical reality, as well as by a generalized, on-going debate within organizations.
The texts from the 4th Congress which we are publishing here illustrate the effort of the Current to really understand "the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the workers' movement."
The reports and resolutions are the texts which introduced and concluded the debates. The "Counter-resolution on the Class Struggle" was a contribution to the debate, developing a point of view different from the "majority" view finally adopted by the Congress.
The report "Generalized Economic Crisis and Inter-Imperialist Antagonisms", as well as the "Resolution on the Crisis", outline the perspectives for the aggravation of the economic crisis and the evolution of the tension between different capitalist powers and imperialist blocs.
The report "Perspectives for the International Class Struggle (A Breach is Opened in Poland)" and the "Resolution on the Class Struggle" show the stage reached in the evolution of the confrontation between the two principle classes in society. They analyze the strengths and weaknesses, not only of the proletariat, but also of its mortal enemy: the world bourgeoisie.
The text "The Historic Conditions for the Generalization of Working Class Struggle" addresses the principal problem raised by the workers' struggles in Poland: the necessity for the internationalization of proletarian struggles, which will enable them to display their revolutionary force.
The "Counter-Resolution on the Class Struggle" (signed Chenier) concentrates above all on the relation between the development of the political crisis of the bourgeoisie and that of the proletarian struggle. As opposed to the resolution adopted by the Congress which emphasizes the efforts of the bourgeoisie to develop a single international strategy to confront the proletariat (‘the left in opposition'), and to respond in a coordinated way to the threat posed by the international working class, the text by Chenier emphasizes above all the "senility and incapacity (of the bourgeoisie) to become a homogenous bloc when faced with its historical enemy."
Taken together, these texts will show the reader the stage of development of the general analysis of the historical situation reached by the ICC at its 4th International Congress.