The legacy of Nahuel Moreno remains aliveBy Mercedes Petit
Some decades have passed since the death of Nahuel Moreno, on 25 January 1987. He was 62 years old and still had much to give to the international revolutionary movement.
His current continues to develop in different countries of the world. For these new litters of revolutionary militants and all the fighters, Cehus reissues the Biographical Outline. It was originally published for the first anniversary of his death by the magazine Correspondencia Internacional [International Correspondence] and written by Hernán Felix Cuello and Carmen Carrasco.1 We faithfully respected the original except for some minor editorial or formal changes, and we enriched the pictorial illustration. The text intends to relate living facts of the life of Moreno that marked and are part of the history of our current, within the bosom of the working class and in different countries of the world; and to contribute to the daily debates that occur between the fighters under the heat of their struggles.
May this reissue serve as a political beacon to the dispersed Trotskyist movement. In a way, one could say that today the “Morenism” and the current that continues driving the positions of Ernest Mandel ( the main ideologist of revisionism in the ranks of Trotskyism, deceased in 1995) remain the two main protagonists of the inheritance of the Fourth International founded in 1938 by Leon Trotsky.
At this time, in the twenty-first century, numerous debates are taking place among the vanguard fighters who struggle against the increasing hardships caused by imperialist capitalism for the workers and the people. Many of them are a continuation of the main battles that Nahuel Moreno fought against Mandel for 40 years.2 The capitulation to the communist parties (to their leaders, like Tito in the old Yugoslavia and Mao in China, or to the crushing of the political revolution in Hungary in 1956). Bourgeois nationalist movements, including their governments (such as Peronism in Argentina or MNR in Bolivia), Fidel Castro, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua or the Brazilian Lula. We mention only some of those controversies, which remain important antecedents in the debates with the different revolutionary sectors today.
Many fighters continue to fall for the illusions of class reconciliation, in the unity of workers and bosses, as well as placing expectations in the pseudo “revolutionary” leaders of varied ilk. The “Mandelists”, for example, have participated with an important ministry in the cabinet of the bourgeois government of class conciliation of Lula and the PT in Brazil in 2003. And they have been part of the capitulation to the government of the false “Socialism of the XXI Century” of “commander” Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. These are just two of the most paradigmatic experiences.
From our point of view, the resounding failures of these experiences have continued to show Moreno was right. The world class struggle continues to demand basic Morenism: the need to promote the repudiation and the mobilisation against all kinds of bourgeois governments and more than ever when they are beautified or led by leaders of the ilk of Lula or Chavez, and the consequent defence of the political independence of the working class.
At the same time, these situations are a powerful expression that the crisis remains open and without a resolution and of the absence of revolutionary leadership. This is why it is very useful to return again and again to remembering Moreno’s long struggle for the consistent and principled defence of Trotsky’s banners — building the revolutionary parties and the Fourth International.
The great global changes of 1989
In 1989, barely two years after Moreno’s death, there were huge events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and of the bureaucratic dictatorship of the former Soviet Union, followed by the extreme weakening of communist parties in the world.
Moreno had in recent years been researching and elaborating on the economic and social crisis that unfolded in the so-called “socialist” countries — what Trotskyism had called the “bureaucratic workers’ states”. Those countries where the bourgeoisie had been expropriated came to dominate a third of the planet
In his last book, Conversations3, Moreno, in 1986, pointed out the great dangers engendered by both the criminal policy of opening up to capitalism of the bureaucratic dictatorships and the offensive that imperialism developed on that false “real socialism”. Speaking about the possible fate of those experiences, Moreno insisted that everything depended on the emergence and development through mobilisation and workers’ democracy of new revolutionary leaderships, still absent. Being aware of the differences, he insisted for a return to the road to the true socialism that Lenin, Trotsky and the Third International had started to transit. He continued to point to the prospect that the possibility of new anti-bureaucratic political revolutions would be opened up in that direction, or its counterpart alternative, the reverse to capitalist restoration.
In Eastern Europe and the former USSR in 1989 the masses staged immense revolutionary triumphal mobilisations (also in China, where they were defeated by the Tiananmen Square massacre) against those one-party (“communist”) dictatorships. But precisely because of the absence of revolutionary alternatives, these processes could not prevent the restoration of capitalism in those countries.
This new and complex reality, full of contradictions, brought a great confusion on the whole world left. Imperialism and the defeated bureaucrats themselves promoted the false discourse of defeat, of the “failure of socialism” and of “excessive statism”, sowing scepticism. Confusion also hit the ranks of Trotskyism and the Morenist current itself4.
Without Moreno present, without his great experience and capacity, the leadership that was at the head of its parties and the international organisation began to commit great mistakes both theoretical as political and methodological. Many of these mistakes went directly against the positions and teachings of Moreno. A profound crisis broke out, resulting in divisions in the IWL-FI (as the Morenist current was known at the time)5 and a great weakening. There were some sectors that directly moved away from Morenism and Trotskyism itself, concluding that it had even been a mistake by Trotsky to found the Fourth International.
The struggle for world socialism with worker’s democracy
Pero su legado sigue vigente. Sus elaboraciones teóricas y políticas siguen teniendo gran actualidad. Diversas organizaciones reivindican su legado en el mundo. Entre ellos la Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI)6.
Today more than ever it is confirmed that the capitalist-imperialist system has failed, bringing greater misery, devastation and exploitation. The masses in the 21st century confirm their prominence. Major labour strikes took place in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Greece, France, and China. In 2011, revolutions took place in Tunisia, North Africa and the Middle East. Youth and women fight on the streets for their rights. It is still pending to take decisive steps to overcome the absence of new revolutionary leaderships.
It is in this context that many fighters do not believe in the possibility of the triumph of revolution and of socialism with workers’ democracy. However, there is no other way out for humanity. Repeatedly the intermediate variants of the centre-left or “new left”, such as Syriza’s governments in Greece or Chavismo in Venezuela, show that there is no way out by agreeing with the bourgeoisie and the multinationals.
As Moreno, we are still betting on the emergence of new leaders who, in the heat of the struggles, keep advancing on a consistent and united way in defence of revolutionary tasks. Only the working class and the popular sectors in power can open a new era of sustained progress for humanity, producing a fundamental change, that is, socialist. And for this, the struggle of Nahuel Moreno for building a revolutionary socialist leadership in each country and in the world continues. The reprint of this Biographical Outline has this meaning.november 7th, 2016
1. Hernán Félix Cuello, pseudonym of Anibal Tesoro, who joined Palabra Obrera [Workers’ Word] in the 1960s and died at the age of 53, when he lived in Moscow for militant tasks. In August 1993 he was murdered in the street by a common criminal. Carmen Carrasco joined Morenism in Colombia in the 1970s.
2. See, among many of his works, the celebrated The Party and the Revolution: Theory, program and policy — A polemic with Mandel, available in www.nahuelmoreno.org.
3. This can be found in www.nahuelmoreno.org. At the end of this publication there a list of the documents available on that page.
4. Regarding this period, the party that in Argentina gave continuity to the Morenist Tendency in the MAS approved in May 1996 a self-critical document, the “Historical Balance Sheet (1987-1992)”. Later on the IWU-FI approved a balance sheet of the same period and of the performance of the International Morenist Tendency (IMT).
5. A sector of Trotskyism has kept the name and calls itself “Morenist”.
6. Refer to www.uit-ci.org. Izquierda Socialista [Socialist Left] is the Argentine section of the IWU-FI and gives continuation to Morenist Tendency in the MAS.