Spain’s Morenoite CRT launches EU election campaign, appealing to Pabloite Anticapitalistas

Last weekend, the Corriente Revolucionaria de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras (Workers’ Revolutionary Current, CRT), the Spanish affiliate of Argentina’s Morenoite Socialist Workers Party (PTS) and Révolution Permanente in France, launched its 2024 European election campaign.

Logo of the Morenoite Workers’ Revolutionary Current (CRT)

Its campaign is, however, a political fraud designed to trap youth and workers seeking to oppose imperialist war in a debilitating alliance with pro-imperialist, pseudo-left parties. Amid mass protests against the Israeli regime’s genocide in Gaza, the CRT is aware of enormous working class anger on the left of the so-called “left populist” parties of capitalist government like Podemos and Sumar, to which the CRT has been oriented for many years. As a result, it presents itself, entirely falsely, as an anti-war party and speaks of fighting for revolution.

The CRT suddenly announced its European candidacy after the failure of its lengthy appeals for an electoral alliance with the Pabloite Anticapitalistas party. On April 1, it launched “A Call to Anticapitalistas. For an Anti-militarist, Anti-imperialist and Socialist Slate for the European Elections.” It declared, “[T]here are no substantial reasons that prevent us from trying to express a common internationalist, anti-imperialist and socialist position in these elections. A unitary slate against militarism, the rise of the far-right and the false promises of the neo-reformists.” Days later, Anticapitalistas decided not to stand.

Anticapitalistas helped found Podemos and participated for a time in Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE)-Podemos government. It only left after the PSOE-Podemos government was discredited by its policies of mass infection during the COVID-19 pandemic—just as Podemos itself left the government last December, leaving behind the PSOE and Sumar in power, so it could posture as an opponent of the Gaza genocide.

In its European election manifesto, the CRT criticizes Podemos, Sumar and the Stalinist Communist Party of Spain (PCE), declaring:

Unlike those who want to convince us to continue voting for the ‘lesser evil’ against the right, but are part of an imperialist government in the Spanish state, such as PSOE-Sumar-PCE, we believe that an independent position from all capitalist governments is fundamental. This is something that also differentiates us from Podemos, which since they were denied a ministry and left the government has campaigned for the complete opposite of what they did when they ruled alongside the PSOE. Today they denounce militarism, after having approved the most militaristic budgets in history in 2023. Today they speak for the left, but their goal would be to rule again with the PSOE, if they let them.

In reality, the CRT does not have profound differences with Anticapitalistas, Podemos and Sumar. Not only does the CRT seek alliances with the Anticapitalistas, a pro-imperialist, pseudo-left tendency of the affluent middle class, but the Morenoite tendency of which CRT is a part has for decades worked inside the international Pabloite movement.

Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias speaks as Spain's caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez looks on after signing an agreement at the parliament in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul White)

Along with the PCE, Anticapitalistas is the main political force that has given birth to Podemos and Sumar. In 2014, Anticapitalistas founded pseudo-left Podemos along with Stalinist professors of the PCE like Pablo Iglesias. From 2020 until the end of last year, Podemos was in power with the PSOE, arming both Ukrainian militias, including neo-Nazi units like the Azov Battalion, in NATO’s war against Russia in the Ukraine, and the far-right Israeli regime in its genocidal war on Gaza. It also hiked military expenditure to record levels and strengthened Spain’s war industry—the eighth largest in the world.

In 2011, Anticapitalistas endorsed the US-NATO war against oil-rich Libya, calling for “the unconditional supply of weapons to the rebels.” The war left 30,000 dead and Libya in ruins. The man who led that war on behalf of Spain was Chief of Defence Staff Julio Rodríguez Fernández, who joined Podemos in 2015 after retiring. Anticapitalistas defended Rodríguez’s recruitment by Podemos “against those who post a lot of [pacifist, anti-NATO] clichés about Podemos.”

In 2014, Anticapitalistas supported a neo-fascist coup d’état launched by the CIA in Ukraine against a pro-Russian government. Anticapitalistas justified itself as follows: “While the main organized forces are for the moment right-wing and far-right, we support the social and political forces that are trying to build a left opposition within the movement.”

Anticapitalistas now regularly posts anti-Russian propaganda from its international affiliates in Viento Sur to support NATO’s war against Russia in Ukraine. This includes articles by Gilbert Achcar, a paid adviser to the British army, who early in the war advocated mass delivery of weapons “with no strings attached” as an “elementary internationalist duty.”

Anticapitalistas’ support for class war abroad has been accompanied by its defence of class war at home. During the Cádiz metalworkers strike in 2021, Cádiz’ Anticapitalistas mayor, José María González (“Kichi”), played a key role in the sell-out contract and repression of strikers. Kichi coordinated with the labour bureaucrats of CCOO and UGT who wore down workers and sold out the strike, while at the same time working with Podemos, which was sitting in government and sent police to assault strikers with tear gas, truncheons and rubber bullets, and sent armoured vehicles to terrorise working class neighborhoods.

In its European statement, CRT argues that the protests against the Gaza genocide must remain as they are, under the political control of forces oriented to the PSOE-Sumar government. Arguing that the protests should focus on pressuring this government to break off some of its ties to Israel, it advocates: “The immediate break of all diplomatic, commercial and military relations with the Zionist State! Immediate end to arms trade with Israel! Enough of the complicity of the Spanish government and companies with the genocide!”

One bitter lesson flows from the anti-war movements of the past—like the mass movement dominated by the Stalinist PCE and the Pabloites against the PSOE government’s entry in NATO in the 1980s, and the mass No to War movement against the Iraq war in 2002-2003, dominated by the PSOE and the Stalinists. This is that any anti-war movement subordinated to social democrats, Stalinists and Pabloites will be politically strangled.

CRT is not fighting for the independent, international mobilisation of the working class to halt the delivery of arms to Israel and stop the genocide against Gaza. Working with the union bureaucracies and with bourgeois parties, it seeks to tie the workers to the maneuvers of the Spanish capitalist state. The CRT’s statement calls for the “capitalist class to pay for the crisis, not the working class,” but then omits mentioning the role of the union bureaucracies in enforcing war and capitalist austerity. On this latter point, its statement declares:

We see the degradation and attacks on health, education, pensions and public services, as well as the advance of gentrification and the enormous real estate speculation in the cities, which makes it practically impossible to rent a home ... A situation that has been resisted by important health and educational strikes, pensioner struggles and opposition to evictions.

CRT avoids mentioning that mass health and education strikes were systematically betrayed by the union bureaucracies, who isolated and finally sold out these strikes. Likewise, it refers to struggles of the European working class, but only to blur the main lesson. CRT states:

Large strikes and days of protest, such as in France in 2023 against the pension reform plan, or the waves of strikes in the United Kingdom against inflation, show the way forward. We must overcome the divisions and passivity imposed by union bureaucracies, recovering democratic organizations for struggle.

The strike waves in France and the UK did not so much “show the way forward” as reveal the political obstacles posed by middle class organizations like the CRT to a struggle of the working class against capitalism and war.

In the UK, throughout the summer of 2022 the unions divided, delayed and demobilized millions of workers. National strikes were limited to one or two-day actions and mostly kept separate even when involving workers in the same industry. In France, the mass struggle against Macron’s pension reform was suppressed by the unions, who denounced the “violence” of protesters, isolated striking garbage and refinery workers, postponed further mass protest strikes and blocked a struggle to bring down Macron by calling for “mediation” with him.

Both experiences showed that the struggle against war cannot be left to the union bureaucracies. It requires building new rank-and-file organizations to unify workers across national boundaries, in an international struggle posing the question of the transfer of power to the working class.

The CRT, however, works in a purely national framework, seeking alliances in the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) union bureaucracy. One element underscores very clearly its nationalist outlook. Whilst CRT claims to be part of an international tendency with affiliates in France (Révolution Permanente), Germany (Revolutionary Internationalist Organization) and Italy (Revolutionary Internationalist Fraction, FIR), it makes no reference to any of these parties in its election statement. It is running a purely Spanish campaign.

The rotten nationalism, appeals to the pro-war Pabloite Anticapitalistas, and hostility to an independent anti-war movement based in the working class is the product of the CRT’s defence of the material interests of affluent, pro-imperialist layers of the middle class.

This orientation is embedded in the anti-Trotskyist political DNA of the CRT. Its predecessor, Clase Contra Clase, was founded in 2005 after leaving the Stalinist-led United Left coalition and affiliating to the so-called Trotskyist Fraction–Fourth International (FT-CI). It founded the CRT in 2017. The FT-CI and CRT stand in the anti-Trotskyist tradition of the Argentine Pabloite Nahuel Moreno, who broke with Trotskyism and the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) in 1963.

Moreno advocated liquidating the Fourth International in Latin America and sought to subordinate the working class to bourgeois and petty-bourgeois nationalists, from Juan Peron in Argentina to Fidel Castro in Cuba.

The International Committee of the Fourth International calls on workers and youth to oppose the NATO-backed Israeli onslaught on Gaza and a broader NATO war on Iran. They must stop the eruption of a third global war involving nuclear-armed powers. The sections of the ICFI across Europe are participating in the European elections to build an international anti-war movement among the mass protests erupting in America, Europe and the Middle East. This requires fighting for a Trotskyist perspective against pro-imperialist tendencies like the CRT, Podemos and Sumar.