The following are the remarks by Eduardo Parati to the December 10 rally, “For a Mass Movement of Students and Youth to Stop the War in Ukraine!” organized by the International Youth and Students for Social Equality.
Parati is a member of the IYSSE in Brazil. For more information on joining the IYSSE, visit iysse.com.
Latin America, like the rest of the planet, will not be spared in the event of a third world war. While waging its proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, the United States is also preparing for war against China, which it views as an intolerable economic rival. Latin American countries, with deep economic and political ties to both the US and China, will necessarily be drawn into the center of this conflict.
The war in Ukraine is already impacting the working class and youth throughout this region with an explosion of impoverishment.
A recent ECLAC report projected that 2022 will end with a third of the Latin American population living in poverty, and more than 13 percent in extreme poverty. To date, workers have not recovered their pre-pandemic economic conditions, despite the fact that the richest have sharply increased their income.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, those who were not thrown into unemployment were forced to work in unsafe environments at the risk of becoming infected and transmitting COVID-19, a situation that continues to this day. According to The Economist, Latin America has accumulated 2.6 million excess deaths since the pandemic began, or one-tenth of all COVID deaths worldwide.
The social crisis gripping this region is the result of the historic crimes of US imperialism and the Latin American bourgeoisie. The 20th century in Latin America was marked by successive coups and fascist regimes supported by the CIA on behalf of Wall Street.
The Latin ruling class is responding to the enormous pressures of imperialism by seeking an impossible balance in its foreign relations. The symbolic handshake at COP27 between Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, the political heir to Chavismo, and US Secretary of State John Kerry, illustrates the crisis of the Latin American bourgeoisie.
Not only Maduro, but all the representatives of the “Pink Tide” who have returned to power in recent years, are ruthless defenders of capitalism. Gabriel Boric in Chile, Pedro Castillo in Peru, and Gustavo Petro in Colombia have all responded with violent police and military repression to the rise of strikes and protests by workers and youth.
In Brazil, hundreds of thousands of workers and especially youth took to the streets in 2021 against the murderous “herd immunity” policy of the fascistic government of Jair Bolsonaro. The Workers Party and the parties of the pseudo-left, with their unions and student organizations, have diverted this struggle from a necessary confrontation with the capitalist political system.
Instead, they have oriented all social opposition to the election of a new and third government of the former unionist Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party. The main goal of the new PT government is to cover up the deadly crisis of Brazilian capitalism and rehabilitate the political and military forces actively involved in Bolsonaro’s dictatorial plots.
To fight against capitalist misery and the threat of fascism, and to secure a future, the youth must adopt a socialist and internationalist perspective. They must break decisively with the PT and the other Pink Tide parties, defenders of the national bourgeoisies, and turn to the international working class.
Especially in Latin America, the new generation entering the struggle is confronted by a series of pseudo-left organizations that are the heirs of Pabloism and its variants, including Morenoism.
These are political tendencies that pose as revolutionary and even Trotskyist, but long ago repudiated the principles of the Fourth International. Their purpose is to disorient the socialist aspirations of youth and trap them within the confines of bourgeois national politics, the unions, and the academic bureaucracies.
These pseudo-left organizations are today the most open defenders in Latin America of the imperialist war in Ukraine and of NATO’s interests. The main political line of the Morenoites of the IWL-FI, UIT-QI and the ISL is to pressure the imperialist powers to send more weapons to Ukraine and to prosecute the war against Russia “to the end.”
In Brazilian universities and trade unions, such parties held fundraising campaigns for the so-called “Ukrainian resistance,” and declared that the existence of fascist forces in their ranks was a lie. At the head of the Metalworkers Union of São José dos Campos, the pseudo-left PSTU campaigns to condition the struggle of workers at Avibras for their jobs to the demand for massive investments in the Brazilian Defense Industry. They are prepared to lead Brazilian workers into war.
This must be a red alert for the youth. The reactionary pro-imperialist policies of the pseudo-left today are the consequence of the treacherous political trajectory of Pabloism, organized under the banner of the Unified Secretariat. Since 1953, the International Committee of the Fourth International has waged a systematic struggle against Pabloite revisionism. Without a study and assimilation of this history, the struggle for genuine socialism is impossible.
In Latin America, Pabloism was responsible for preventing a whole generation of radicalized youth and workers from understanding the historical perspective and principles of Trotskyism and the Fourth International.
The Pabloites promoted the 1959 Cuban Revolution and the methods of Che Guevara as an updated guide for socialist revolution, based on the repudiation of Lenin’s conception of a conscious Marxist leadership and the centrality of the working class. This led thousands of young people to the catastrophic path of guerrilla warfare.
When Latin American dictatorships collapsed under powerful working-class strike waves, the same organizations diverted workers from the revolutionary struggle by advocating solely democratic reforms of the bourgeois state.
The crisis in Latin America today, with national economies shattered and the bourgeoisie returning to dictatorial forms of rule, underscores the bankruptcy of those nationalist political perspectives.
The deepening integration of the world economy has exacerbated the contradictions and crisis of capitalism. But it also unifies and strengthens the international working class, more interconnected and numerous than at any point in history. This social force, if unified between imperialist and oppressed countries, is capable of preventing a nuclear catastrophe and reorganizing the world economy based on socialist principles.
These same social forces underlie the growth of the world Trotskyist movement, the Fourth International led by the International Committee, as the revolutionary leadership in Latin America and throughout the world. The youth must turn to the powerful force of the international working class and to the revolutionary program of the ICFI!