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Fourth International, May 1947


International Secretariat, Fourth International

May Day, 1947

A Day of World Struggle For Bread, Peace and Socialism!

Manifesto of the Fourth International to the Workers of the Entire World


From Fourth International, May 1947, Vol.8 No.5, p.131-133.
Transcribed, edited & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.


The First of May, the day of international labor solidarity, was born as a day of struggle for working class aims. The fighting traditions of May Day have survived the Fascist butchers who sought to usurp it. It will survive the treacherous reformist and Stalinist leaders who seek to impose upon the proletariat, in one country after another; a “social peace” of submission to the capitalist masters.

The First of May 1947 finds the workers and the oppressed of the entire world once again engaged in battle to cast off the yoke of their exploiters. After so many years of dictatorship and famine, the German proletariat has taken to the streets once more to demand the bread which is being kept from it. In Italy and Japan, mass demonstrations follow one upon the other without interruption, to fight against the plague of the high cost of living and of unemployment. In Greece and in Spain courageous working class fighters have taken up arms to defend themselves against regimes of abject dictatorship. In China and in India powerful waves of strike struggles are linked up with the revolutionary movements for national and social emancipation. In a whole series of colonial countries, the anti-imperialist struggle has taken on the form of open revolt against the regimes of blood and hunger. Even in the United States, whose imperialists plan to dominate the entire earth, hundreds of thousands of workers are showing by their militant class actions that the tradition of May Day remains more alive than ever in the country where it was born 61 years ago.

But May Day 1947 also finds agonized humanity still in quest of peace, two years after the formal end of the war.

The imperialist Allies and the USSR have crushed Nazi Germany completely. But on the very day after their common “victory”, the deep antagonisms dividing them and pitting them against each other broke out into the open with full force. SPURRED ON BY THEIR OVERWEENING CAPITALIST DEVELOPMENT, THE UNITED STATES HAS EMBARKED UPON A FRENZIED COURSE OF IMPERIALIST EXPANSION THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE WORLD. Possessing a productive apparatus which has doubled its already enormous pre-war potential, wallowing in wealth and armed with the apocalyptic Atom Bomb, Yankee imperialism is striking out madly for world domination in an effort to postpone the coming economic catastrophe which threatens to be even more devastating than that of 1929, the memories of which are constantly haunting it.

American imperialist expansion is taking on new and complex forms. The capital, the industrial and agricultural products of the United States remain the arsenal in which the capitalist countries famished, ruined and debilitated by the imperialist war continues to stock up. From Japan to Turkey, from Greece to Great Britain, American aid in the form of loans, of machinery, coal or wheat shipments becomes a life-and-death question for the bourgeoisies of these states.

The chasm between their own weakness and Yankee power has become tremendous. Beside this power England, the proud Albion of times past, the only other important capitalist power of world importance that remains, cuts the figure of a poor relation enjoying an entirely ephemeral state of grace thanks above all to the American loan granted her and to the momentary absence of genuine competition from the United States on the world market. Washington has become the new Mecca for all the capitalist ministers, who wander there imploring urgent aid to avoid either an immediate or an approaching disaster for their shaken economies.

Impelled inexorably onto the road of brutal intervention in all parts of the world, the United States has thus gone forward by leaps and bounds to a position which no longer corresponds to the dynamics of its development. The Monroe Doctrine, Pan-American isolationism, “peaceful” penetration of the world’s markets, “Big Four Friendship” and the “United Nations” spirit have now given way to the “Atomic Diplomacy” inaugurated by Byrnes and most clearly formulated in the March 12, 1947 speech of President Truman before the American Congress.

This “Atomic” diplomacy and the “Truman Doctrine” which covers it are the most cynical proclamation of the aims of world domination of American imperialism and its open crusade against the USSR and Communism. Within the short space of the last few months it has succeeded in creating a veritable war atmosphere, and to stage a gigantic, concerted anti-Soviet and anti-Communist campaign all over the world.

Yankee imperialism is today the rallying center of tk darkest forces of reaction in the whole world. Under the deceitful cloak of defending “democracy” threatened by the new Russian “totalitarianism” Washington allies itself with Hirohito and the feudal-capitalist caste in Japan against the onslaught of the Japanese masses, arms Chiang Kai-shek in China and launches his troops against Yennan, consolidates the dictatorships in Iran and in Turkey, upholds in Greece the reactionary monarchy of Tsaldaris-Maximos, intrigues with its accomplices at the Vatican in Italy, bolsters up de Gaulle in France.

In the United States itself, reactionary drives against trade union and political freedom are being sharpened: Anti-labor legislation is being adopted by the new Republican majority in Congress, plans are on foot to outlaw the Communist Party, a frenzied red-baiting campaign is being unleashed by the press, the radio, the political personalities and trade union leaders in the pay of Washington and the American trusts.

This whole policy aims at the present stage to open up for American imperialism the markets blocked in Europe and in Asia by the occupation and control of the USSR as well as the market which the latter itself constitutes.

The USSR, dominated as it is by the Soviet bureaucracy, appears ever less capable of seriously countering this concerted pressure of economic, political and military means employed by Yankee imperialism.

Only revolutionary mobilization of the masses can effectively counter-act this pressure. But the latter are systematically paralyzed, sabotaged and betrayed by the policy of the Communist parties, dictated by the Kremlin which, representing the bureaucratic regime in the USSR, has also become more and more of a brake upon the economic development of this country. The Soviet bureaucracy is at present grappling with ever growing economic and social difficulties in the USSR itself as well as in the countries which it controls in Europe and in Asia. Despite all its pillage and all the reparations levied upon the production of the countries under its occupation, its economy, ravaged by the war, recovers only slowly, altogether out of proportion with the immense economic power of American capitalism.

The bureaucratic police methods with which the privileged caste of adminstrators rules the planned economy and the Russian state, and upon whom the masters of the Kremlin rest, have destroyed all enthusiasm among the Soviet masses, lowered the productivity of labor, disorganized the economy and wasted away the national wealth.

The Soviet Union entered the second world war in a state of latent crisis, which became evident especially in the lowering of labor productivity. The consequences of the war, the reinforcement of the bureaucratic regime, have accentuated the factors of disorganization, which can be checked only by the initiative and control of the masses in all spheres of social life.

The truth is that under the present regime of the Soviet bureaucracy, the USSR is heading for an inevitable economic and social crisis which imperialism will seek to exploit in order to put an end at the same time to whatever still remains of the conquests of October 1917: the nationalization of property, the planned economy and the monopoly of foreign trade.

On the other hand, the belief nurtured by Stalinism among the toiling masses of the capitalist countries, that slowly but surely the road to socialism is being paved in the countries occupied or controlled by the USSR by means other than that of the proletarian revolution, is nothing but a deceitful myth.

The truth is that in spite of conditions entirely favorable for the abolition of the capitalist system and the seizure of power by the proletariat, which existed in all these countries at the conclusion of the war, the capitalist class has not really been expropriated nor has any part of the state power come into the hands of the workers and peasants either in Poland, or in Czechoslovakia, or in Rumania, or in Bulgaria, or in Yugoslavia.

In all of these countries many capitalist stockholders of the “nationalized” enterprises thrive upon the compensation alloted them, invest the latter in other private enterprises, while venal politicians and reactionary generals like the Tatarescus and Georghieffs rub shoulders in their ministerial seats with the “authentic” representatives of the so-called “Communist” parties.

In all of the other capitalist countries these Communist parties, upon whom was concentrated the boundless hopes of millions of workers and peasants during and after this war, the hope of finally ridding themselves of the whole bloody chaos of capitalism, have obeyed only the twists and turns of the international politics of the Soviet bureaucracy in quest of alliances and compromises with the bourgeoisie.

On the morrow of the war, in most of the countries of Europe and the colonies, the power of the bourgeoisie and of imperialism was entirely fictitious. But the Communist parties chose the path of ministerial seats rather than that of Revolutionary leadership at the had of the masses’ assault upon the ruined citadels of capitalism . Due to their sense of “national duty,” which in every case violated their most elementary class duty, they have pushed the proletariat along the road of patching up capitalism, of reestablishing the bourgeois state, of increasing capitalist production in France as well as in Italy, in Belgium and elsewhere.

The economic revival which we have witnessed here and there in some of the capitalist countries is due mainly to the sacrifices imposed upon the working class by the Stalinist leaders. Held in check by the trade union apparatus controlled by the reformists and Stalinists, the working class has resisted only sporadically against the continued pressure of the bourgeoisie and the latter has thus been encouraged to step up its economic offensive everywhere.

But while the capitalists are accumulating substantial profits, nowhere has the proletariat been able to profit from “national reconstruction.” On the contrary, the workers’ standard of living has everywhere fallen under the impact of the rising prices, the devaluation of the currency, the wage freezes and the food rationing.

And while bourgeois reaction little by little regains self-confidence and plots to return once more to the “strong” regimes prevalent before the war, the Communist parties are more disoriented than ever. After the whole long series of disillusionments and “betrayals” they have experienced constantly from all their “democratic” and “anti-Fascist” allies, from Churchill to de Gaulle, they pursue a hand-to-mouth policy without a program and without perspective.

Clamped in a vice between the growing pressure of American imperialism and the reactionary demoralizing politics of Stalinism, which are the product of the advanced bureaucratic degeneration of the USSR, the world is today disintegrating amidst prolonged agony, amidst convulsions and crises that lead inevitably to the third apocalyptic war of the Atomic era. It is necessary to open up once more before toiling mankind the perspective of the socialist revolution which remains more than ever the only road for humanity as it is engulfed by the quicksand of capitalist decay and the degeneration of the USSR.

The proletariat must take its fate into its own hands. It must liberate itself from the disastrous reins of the agents of imperialism as well as those of the Soviet bureaucracy. The emancipation of the workers must become in the fullest sense of the words, “the task of the workers themselves.”

The labor movement must learn to conquer with its own strength and by its own methods the gangrene of Stalinism, the grave-digger of the October Revolution and of the socialist world revolution, if imperialism is not to launch the new war which is to throw back humanity inevitably into barbarism.

The proletariat and the exploited masses of the entire world remain an inexhaustible source of revolutionary energy.

By their incessant class battles during the final phase of the war and on its morrow, the masses in Europe as well as in America and in the colonies gave striking proof once more of their fierce desire to tear themselves loose from the capitalist inferno – confounding all the Cassandras, all the petty-bourgeois pessimists and skeptics of every sort who accuse the proletariat of having lost its revolutionary dynamism and who have grown doubtful of its historic mission to lead humanity towards socialism.

The responsibility for the defeats, for the disorientation of the struggles, for the lack of perspective, falls exclusively upon the shoulders of the traditional leaderships of the labor movement, upon the reformists and the Stalinists who by their opportunist politics and petty-bourgeois cowardice in the face of capitalism have checked, paralyzed and led to final defeat every great revolutionary assault of the masses.

Millions of men and women have come to the revolutionary movement in the course of the war. But, as in the past, they are up against their own conservative, bureaucratic leaderships.

The present crisis of human civilization is the crisis of the proletarian leadership, the Fourth International declared at its birth. This remains truer than ever. In order to prevent the precipitation of humanity once more into the cycle of reaction, Fascism and war, it is necessary for the advanced workers to rally around the Fourth International and its program based upon the whole international experience of the emancipating struggle of the proletariat and all the oppressed.

Back to Lenin and the class politics of revolutionary socialism, in order to avoid disaster! Humanity can save itself only by means of socialism, through the work of a labor movement freed from the reins of the perfidious agents of imperialism and degenerate Stalinism.

Workers and peasants of all capitalist countries!

Workers and Peasants of the Soviet Union!

It is necessary to overthrow the Bonapartist Stalinist bureaucracy and to insure the democratic and socialist regeneration of the USSR in order to achieve new economic progress, to defend what remains of the conquests of October from the threatening imperialist war.

Workers and Peasants of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria Yugoslavia!

The victory of the proletarian revolution is impossible without a concerted struggle against the bourgeoisie, against the remnants of the semi-feudal castes, against the politics of the Communist parties who share the power with the representatives of these reactionary classes and subordinate all their actions to the directives of the Soviet bureaucracy.

Colonial Peoples!

Your emancipating struggle against the yoke of imperialism and against every regime of exploitation can succeed only if it is led under the banner of the socialist proletarian revolution and fraternal union with the world working class, for the victory of the international socialist revolution.


The International Secretariat of the Fourth International
(World Party of the Socialist Revolution)

May 1, 1947

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