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Socialist Democracy Withdraws from the Fourth International

January 2023

In November 2022, Socialist Democracy accepted that we no longer had effective membership of the Fourth International.  The decision comes after a long period of discussion and deep unease at where the FI is.  Our motives for doing so are however, go back a long way.

The FI has been in a long period of decline, not only organisationally but ideologically.  In almost every crisis in capitalism it has found itself on the wrong side of the fence, coming down on the side of imperialism in Syria, Libya and now in Ukraine.  This was also the case in Ireland, where it appeared to support Sinn Féin and the Good Friday Agreement, and was generally reluctant to publish our critical articles, and engage in a debate on Ireland.  This has been coupled with an abandonment of any attempt at building the organisation, forever chasing “quick fixes” by tail ending different reformist or even openly pro capitalist formations.

Thus it was in Brazil and the rest of Latin America when it uncritically adapted to the pink wave, Podemos in Spain and of course the Syriza debacle in Greece, in which it denounced its own section, supported the Syriza formation in not breaking with the diktats of the ECB, proposing an audit of the debt as a counter proposal.

We tried over many years to raise our objections and engage in discussion, but to no avail.  Neither did we find many critical voices within the FI who were willing to challenge the leadership in any meaningful way.  The lack of a clear current within the FI alongside the further decline into, what at best can be described, as social democratic positions led to our withdrawal.  Having indicated our position and critique we received an email confirming that we had unsubscribed to a mailing list.  That is how the FI leadership saw us and how it sees the resolution of political disagreement and to a degree it describes them perfectly. Rather than an international it is a loose connection of old friends and a mailing list.

We are publishing three pieces of correspondence between ourselves and the FI in the run up to our decision to leave and would welcome contributions around the reconstruction of the revolutionary movement both nationally and internationally. As for the FI, the latest information is of leading members of the French group departing the section.  It is unlikely that this action will end their association with the FI, given the history of others who had taken this same path earlier and moved even further to the right.


The Irish Sympathising Section and Our Relationship with the FI (SD letter to FI August 2022)

FI reply to SD (September 2022)

A reply to the bureau comments of 19 September (November 2022)

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