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1983 The Fourth International 1945 – 1968 2

17 January 2017

Bensaïd starts this lecture with a mention of Ernest Mandel's "What Should Be Modified and What Should Be Maintained in the Theses of the Second World Congress of the Fourth International on the Question of Stalinism?", alternatively known as "Ten Theses," and Michel Pablo's "Where Are We Going?".  He then moves onto the organisational consequences of the period following the splits of 1952 and 1954 and discusses the isolation of sections; "How to survive this isolation without becoming crystallised into a small sectarian group?" A reconsideration and reformulation of the tasks of the Fourth International, after Trotsky's prediction of Stalinism's downfall and rise of the Fourth International following the World War II proved false. Bensaïd quotes Mandel and mentions his three characteristics --namely spontaneity of masses, empirical leadership, advances of consciousness towards revolutionary marxism-- which can be unified with one single formula: the stage of centrism, aka progressive centrism. Adoption of entryist tactics, as a particular stage in the development of class consciousness. Transitional slogans that bridge the existing level of consciousness and the necessity of taking power. Similarly, entryism is a bridge between class consciousness and necessity of revolutionary party. Discussion of "strategic entryism" which combines integration in the process of mass radicalisation with a revolutionary programme. At the Third World Congress when the general orientation was on entrism, despite the French section's disagreement. This led to suspension of its leadership. Bensaïd cites Pablo's report as a key document on the organisational consequences of this resolution in "pre-revolutionary" conditions. After a break, Bensaïd moves onto the third main heading of his account of FI: the years towards the reunification. He outlines some key political and historical events that were tests for two main currents after the split (ICFI and ISFI).

Duration: 60:06
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