The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) in Sri Lanka will hold a public meeting on November 27 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Fourth International.
The Fourth International was established in 1938 by Leon Trotsky amid the Great Depression triggered by the share market crash on Wall Street in 1929. Trotsky called for the new international in 1933 after the betrayals of the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union led to the taking of power by the Nazis in Germany.
In the five years leading up to 1938, Trotsky waged a tireless political struggle to assemble and educate the initial cadres of the Fourth International on the basis of the program of socialist internationalism that had been abandoned by Stalin. The working class confronted the disasters of mass unemployment and poverty, the rise of fascism and the danger of war.
The founding program of the Fourth International warned: “Without a socialist revolution, in the next historical period at that, a catastrophe threatens the whole culture of mankind. The turn is now to the proletariat, i.e., chiefly to its revolutionary vanguard. The historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership.” Less than a year later the world was dragged into a second devastating global war.
Once again, humanity is being plunged towards disaster. The contradictions of capitalism have produced a financial crisis and a plunge towards global recession on a scale not witnessed since the 1930s. The historic decline of US imperialism has led to an eruption of neo-colonialism and militarism that is destabilising every part of the globe including South Asia. The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are a forewarning of greater conflicts to come.
And once again, the burning issue of the day is the necessity of revolutionary leadership. In rising to the challenges of the new period, workers, youth and intellectuals need to be armed with the political lessons of the last century embodied in the struggles of the Fourth International. In order to fight for a socialist future, one must understand how to overcome the obstacles that have blocked the revolutionary road for the proletariat in the past.
The SEP and ISSE warmly invite workers and young people to our public meeting to mark the founding of the Fourth International.
Date and time: November 27 at 4 p.m.
Venue: Public library auditorium, Colombo
Main Speaker: SEP general secretary Wije Dias