On the weekend of 24-26 March, the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) in Spain held its 2023 Congress in Madrid. In the opinion of all those present, it was a magnificent gathering, with an excellent mood and a high level of discussion. We all left conscious of our tasks and more eager than ever to build the organisation.
Dozens of comrades came from Madrid, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Andalusia, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, and Mallorca. Also present was a delegation of four comrades from Portugal, as well as a representative of the international leadership of the IMT, comrade Jorge Martín.
The first session took place on the afternoon of Friday 24 March with a discussion on world perspectives lead off by comrade Jorge Martín, followed by an exciting discussion. Comrade Martín went through all the contradictions that are undermining the stability of capitalism, such as the recent banking crisis that is far from over; the prolonged economic stagnation and the inflationary spiral; the war in Ukraine; the climate crisis; growing inequality; the political crisis in the USA and Europe, and, above all, the wave of social unrest that is shaking the entire planet, with special emphasis on the events in France. Social explosions are being prepared everywhere, as the strategists of capitalism themselves recognise. Thus, the introductory report at the Davos Economic Forum in January, a forum that brings together the select of the ruling class around the world, concluded:
“The growing frustration of citizens with losses in human development and declining social mobility, coupled with a widening gap in values and equality, pose an existential challenge to political systems around the world.”
What is this if not recognition and panic at the danger of revolutionary explosions in the coming years that are being prepared everywhere? This should fill us with confidence and optimism in our ideas, in the revolutionary capacity of the international working class, and in the development that the IMT can expect to achieve in the years ahead. Watch and listen to the introduction to this discussion here:
The international work of the IMT
Comrade Jorge then gave a brief report of the work of the IMT. The report was vibrant despite being necessarily constrained by time. The IMT has grown rapidly since the beginning of the pandemic and is active in 60 countries on five continents. Many sections have doubled or even tripled their membership in the course of the pandemic and since and the IMT is growing in parts of the world where its presence was previously limited. In just the past few weeks, an online Marxist school was held for the first time in Arabic, drawing together 254 participants from across North Africa and the rest of the Arabic-speaking world.
Our international theoretical journal In Defence of Marxism is distributed in dozens of countries in English and Spanish with a sales per issue of 4,000 copies. The book ‘The History of Philosophy. A Marxist Perspective’ by Alan Woods, which we have just published in Spanish, has sold 3,000 copies in its English edition so far.
Next year we will commemorate the centenary of Lenin’s death, for which we will organise activities in all countries and publish a biography in English.
We are laying the foundations for the construction of the Marxist tendency in each country, with hundreds and thousands of cadres, to intervene in the development of mass political movements in the coming period, which will be the condition for the emergence of mass revolutionary Marxist parties in a position to lead the working class to seize power throughout the world.
Perspectives for Spain
In the second session on Saturday morning, we discussed a document on Spanish perspectives, introduced by comrade David Rey. There was a wide participation in the discussion, with about 20 interventions from delegates. The discussion focused on the character of the PSOE-UP government, the organic weakness of Spanish capitalism, the growing strength of social mobilisation and the growing political radicalisation of broad layers of the youth, as shown by the emergence of the Socialist Movement in various areas of the state.
An eventual victory of the right in elections at the end of the year (which is not at all certain) would not reflect an increase in the social base of the right but rather a high abstention rate on the left because of disenchantment with the half-measures policy of the government and its concessions to the bourgeoisie and the reactionary state apparatus. But in a context of growing social mobilisation like we are seeing, this would, in turn, only prepare a fierce reaction from below to the right’s anti-worker policies.
In the medium term, there will be a return to the political front with the emergence of a new, radical mass movement of the left. Our ability to influence it decisively will depend on our ability to build a communist current of hundreds or thousands of cadres embedded in workplaces, neighbourhoods and places of study. That is our most pressing task.
Growth and taking stock of the work
Saturday afternoon’s session was extremely varied. It began with a report on the balance of the work, highlighting the progress made in growth work and in theoretical training. We also reviewed our main activities of the last year. There was a specific report on youth work, as the main activity of the organisation, which has provided us with the vast majority of new recruits.
Comrades from the Basque Country and Barcelona spoke about the development of the Socialist Movement in their areas, and the friendly and fraternal reception with which our contribution to the debate on certain positions of this movement, aimed at our collaboration in pushing this movement, have been received by many of its members.
Comrades from Seville spoke of their participation in the neighbourhood platform, Barrios Hartos de Sevilla, which they are promoting from the front line, and which has earned a prominent place and has had a big impact by denouncing the marginalisation of the working-class neighbourhoods of Seville, the lack of infrastructures, power cuts, etc.
Other comrades spoke about their trade union work, such as the intervention in the Mercedes Benz strike in Vitoria-Gasteiz last summer, and in call centre struggles in Valencia, as well as the solidarity carried out at picket lines with interviews in our magazine and on our website to give them maximum publicity.
The balance sheets of the press and the bookshop were also presented and approved, as well as those of the finances, where various targets were approved to strengthen and extend the resources of our organisation.
The History of Philosophy: a Marxist Perspective
Finally, on the same Saturday afternoon, the recently completed translation of ‘The History of Philosophy, A Marxist Perspective’, by comrade Alan Woods, was presented, with a video that the comrade had recorded expressly for the Congress, and which we recommend all comrades to watch. You can watch it here:
The Congress approved a launch campaign of public meetings on this important book, starting with the universities where we are present, before the end of the academic year, as well as in bookshops and social centres all over Spain. We are sure of the excellent reception this book will receive, a new theoretical wake-up call for our movement, which we recommend all activists and revolutionaries to acquire and read in order to raise their political level and understanding of the history of human thought and of Marxist philosophy in particular.
Building the revolutionary party
Sunday’s session was devoted to discussing the building of the revolutionary party and was introduced by comrade Jorge Martín. Many comrades made excellent contributions, addressing all aspects of this important subject. The introduction included a historical review of the development of Marxism in the world labour movement, from the intervention of Marx and Engels in the Communists League in the late 1840s to the present day.
In essence, the discussion was a defence of the Bolshevik-Leninist method of party building, based on an organisation of cadres in the first instance, with militants trained to the highest possible degree in all aspects of Marxist theory (philosophy, economics and history); the construction of an independent apparatus based on the effort and sacrifice of members; and an internal regime based on democratic centralism.
On this last point, the demarcation lines were drawn between our own organisation on the one hand, and both from the caricature of bureaucratic centralism practised by Stalinist, reformist and sectarian groups, and the sterile asamblearismo of the anarchist and ‘movementist’ trends on the other. A Leninist leadership must always be based, as a general rule, on political conviction and cannot be imposed.
The link of the organisation with the mass movement was also addressed in order to avoid a sectarian approach. We must participate in mass political movements, through the application of united front methods, without ever hiding our ideas or our organisation. Our organisation will grow by leaps and bounds, with the integration, at a certain stage, of the cadre-based Marxist tendency with the mass movement that is seeking the path of revolution.
You can watch and listen to the introduction of the discussion here:
Closing of the Congress
Finally, the Congress was very movingly closed with the performance of a short piece of music, on viola and violin, composed by a young comrade and musician, performed by him and another comrade, culminating in the final notes of The Internationale, which was then sung in chorus by all present.
Before the closing, we held our traditional collection to raise extra funds for the organisation, for which we raised nearly €5,000 from those present. The Congress was also very successful in the sale of material, raising a further €1,200 from the sale of political material, raffles and coffee.
We reiterate the great success of this Congress and we look forward to the next one in 2024, which we are sure will be even more successful.
Adelante, build the IMT! Join us!