Introduction to 16th Congress of the Fourth International

Coming from 42 countries from Africa, the two Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe, nearly two hundred delegates, observers and guests, representing 62 parties, organizations or militant collectives, debated for five days at the end of February 2010 in Belgium on the international situation, climate change, the role and tasks of anti-capitalists.[1]

The atmosphere was warm, the behaviour was studious, the debates passionate, the attitudes responsible, there were reunions and new encounters, exchanges of experiences and knowledge, a melting pot of languages, militant traditions, political and trade union cultures... At the heart of the anti-capitalist struggle, this 16th World Congress of the Fourth International was one of openness - guests from 21 organisations from 14 countries took part in the discussions by enriching them with their experiences.[2]

The international network that our current constitutes showed its capacity to give impetus to the debates and to bring together far beyond its militant forces. The sections of the International today bring together less than ten thousand activists. If we add the organisations that regularly cooperate with the Fourth International and participate in the debates of its bodies - sympathising organisations or permanent observers - we exceed twenty thousand. Finally, if we add in addition the strengths of the invited organizations that took part in the debates of this world congress, the experiences of more than forty thousands of anti-capitalists from all inhabited continents of the planet enriched the discussions.

1. Representatives of organizations from the following countries took part in the discussions: Algeria, Austria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, Euskadi, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Togo, Turkey, United States, Venezuela. Delegations from South Africa, the Caribbean, Chile, Luxembourg, Peru and Uruguay were unable to attend. The Pakistani delegation was refused visas, apart from a comrade who was granted one only when the congress had already started, but was able to arrive anyway and participate in the debates of the last three days!

2. The following organizations and militant collectives participated in the congress as guests: Argentina - Movimento Socialista de los Trabajadores; Australia - Revolutionary Socialist Party; Bosnia - Dosta Movement; Brazil - Partido Socialisme e Liberdade (two representatives of the PSOL, one from the Ação Popular Socialista current, the other from the Movimiento de Esquerda Socialista current, the CSOL current could not come and sent a greeting, the Enlace current was represented by members of the Fourth International); United States - International Socialist Organisation and Solidarity; Euskadi - Gorripideak, Gogoa, Alternativa ; France - Alternatives, Fraction l'Etincelle, Lutte Ouvrière and New Anticapitalist Party; Great Britain - Socialist Workers Party (representing the International Socialist Tendency), Socialist Party (representing the Committee for a Workers' International); Morocco - Solidarité pour une alternative socialiste, Voie Démocratique; Mauritius - La Lit; Poland - Polska Partia Pracy; Portugal - Bloco de Esquerda; Puerto Rico - Movimiento al Socialismo; Venezuela - Marea Socialista.




Fourth International