The Formative Years of the Fourth International (1933-38)Daniel Bensaïd
IIRE Notebook for Study and Research no. 9 (48 pp. €2.75, £2, $3.25)
A new problem was posed to the movement for socialist democracy in the 1930s. To its fight against capitalism, it now had to add a fight against Stalinist bureaucracy in the USSR. In The Formative Years of the Fourth International, Daniel Bensaïd outlines the arguments that led part of this movement to found an independent international organization. He unravels the historical reasons, conjunctural prognoses and organizational choices behind the decision, showing in particular that the foundation of the Fourth International in 1938 concluded a prolonged attempt to regroup many anti-Stalinist, anti-fascist and anti-imperialist currents, beginning in 1933. Due to the concrete conditions of the 1930s, however, the regroupment failed to broaden the Fourth Internationalist current significantly.
Daniel Bensaïd was born in 1946. He was active in the French student and anti-imperialist movements that led up to May 1968. Drawing the lessons of the failure of the general strike, he emerged as one of the main advocates of building an independent radical left. He is an IIRE Fellow and teaches sociology at the University of Paris. His many published works include: Portugal: la révolution en marche (1975), Mai si! rebelles et repentis (with Alain Krivine, 1988), Le pari mélancolique (1997) and Les irréductibles: théorèmes de la résistance à l'air du temps (2001).