Statement by the International Committee of the Fourth International
Adopted 25 October 2023
1. The contradictions of global capitalism continue to bring forth brutal wars and occupations. Threatened by economic and political crises, capitalist governments, bearers of racist, patriarchal and imperial ideologies, construct external and internal enemies, provoking wars and continuing oppression. Such conflicts are part of the global logic of neoliberal capitalism, the logic of intense economic and political competition, of widening inequalities, and of the chaos it brings at every level. The wars we are facing are linked to the global crisis of capitalism and the resulting headlong rush into conflict between rival imperialist powers.
2. Since 24 February 2022, with the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, aiming at the total subjugation of Ukraine, Russian imperialism led by Putin has passed a qualitative milestone in its war against the peoples, against all those who oppose its authoritarian and “Great Russian” colonial project. Through their resistance, the Ukrainian people succeeded in containing the invasion, but Putin’s war means a prolonged war, bringing death, the destruction of towns and infrastructure, the displacement of populations, ecocide, and crimes of all kinds by the invading army.
3. The Israeli state has transformed Gaza into a massive ghetto. Since 8 October 2023, using the attacks by Hamas as a pretext, the Israeli state has been raining down fire on the Gaza Strip, while totally cutting off the Palestinians living there from outside resources, and increasing violence in the West Bank as well. Israeli colonialism, today led by Netanyahu and his extreme rightwing coalition, has reached a new qualitative stage in its project aimed at annihilating and expelling the Palestinian people from their territory. This project is at the heart of Israeli colonialism. It is a project of extreme violence that is actively supported by the governments of the United States and the European Union.
4. The new assault by the Israeli state on the Palestinian people has called forth protests in large parts of the world. Western powers and large parts of the mainstream media call the new Israeli assault a “war against terrorism” and a response to the attack by Hamas and its allies on 7 October. During this attack, which broke through the physical wall of colonial repression and surprised the army of occupation, Hamas also committed unacceptable murders of civilians. We resolutely reject such crimes as acts that are contrary to our emancipatory project. But unlike those who use “double standards”, we, like the Israeli left, can see how such violence comes from a context of extreme oppression.
5. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Israeli occupation of Palestine are different in many respects, but in both cases the Fourth International is guided by the principle of support for the right to self-determination of peoples. We reject any form of campism that favours one imperialist power over another or that would reduce revolutionary politics to geopolitical calculations. Instead, we base ourselves on solidarity with the peoples and their struggles, even if today the peoples are led by bourgeois and/or reactionary forces. The ruling classes refuse to recognize the right of people to self-determination and attempt to repress any resistance. But this repression is facing determined resistance. We support the struggle of the Ukrainian people, and that of the Russian and Belarusian oppositions, to defeat Putin’s criminal regime and obtain the withdrawal of Russian troops as the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace. Equally, we support the resistance of the Palestinian people and recognize that only the end of Israeli colonialism can bring an end to the violence.
6. Situations of war are developing in different parts of the world, where oppressive powers deny the rights of peoples and national minorities. For example, the recent military offensive by the Azerbaijani regime resulted in the expulsion of more than 100,000 Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh. This offensive was carried out in collaboration with Erdoğan’s Turkish regime, which continues to wage a war of its own against the Kurds in Turkey and Syria while constantly muzzling any progressive opposition in Turkey. Elsewhere, Kashmir continues to be the victim of colonial oppression by India and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia has waged an atrocious war in Yemen over the last few years, with the support of Western arms, in particular French arms.
7. In cynical fashion, the regimes of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and others pretend to be friends of the Palestinian people. They attempt to instrumentalize the global sympathy for the Palestinian cause to legitimize their own repressive regimes, while refusing to give real, meaningful support to the self-determination of the Palestinian people. Equally hypocritical are the Western governments that mouth noble rhetoric about democracy and self-determination in regard to Ukraine, but simultaneously persist in their cooperation with and support for Israeli colonialism, ignoring all its violations of international law. Meanwhile, the Chinese government claims leadership over “the global south” while supporting oppressive regimes such as the murderous dictatorship in Myanmar.
8. U.S. imperialism, still the leading imperialism in the world, has seized on the Russian war against Ukraine as an opportunity to strengthen itself. Part of this is its attempt to instrumentalize Ukraine in its interimperialist rivalry with Russia. NATO has used the opportunity to enlarge itself, and NATO member states are using the Russian invasion as a pretext for massive increases of their military budgets. We demand the immediate dissolution of NATO and CSTO. Such military blocs of imperialist states are the enemies of social and national emancipation.
9. The French state has waged its own so-called “war against terrorism” in the African Sahel, a war which has not solved any problems. This French war has provoked an anti-imperialist response among the peoples of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, a response which has been used by military adventurers to seize power through coups d’état that offer no prospect of a progressive alternative. In Sudan, the military putschists are waging a war against their own peoples, who are challenging their power.
10. This world of militarism and wars, of the use of weapons banned by international conventions, of the denial of fundamental rights, particularly those of women, of massacres of civilians, of refugees pushed around by the refusal of the global ruling classes to tackle the climate crisis, this world seems to be losing all sense. Sadly, this is not new: previous decades have seen wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Syria and elsewhere. But the situation seems even more difficult today: a catastrophic logic of a “clash of civilizations” is being implemented by both the so-called “Western” governments and those of Putin and Xi Jinping. This logic provides a stepping stone for the racist and sexist far right, which is on the rise everywhere. At a time when the climate emergency has us by the throat, precious resources are squandered in wars of aggression and occupation.
11. And yet we are witnessing a massive worldwide aspiration for dignity and the defence of basic rights, for democratic, social, and environmental justice, and for protecting the environment. People’s movements against imperialist and colonial domination, feminist movements, movements for LGBTQIA+ and other minority rights, environmental movements, and movements for social rights. In the face of current wars, we urgently need to take the offensive again through mass movements. Peace can only be just and lasting if it puts an end to oppression, occupation, and militarism. This means rejecting any logic of sharing zones of influence between military blocs — neither NATO nor CSTO! Peace can only be just and lasting if it is anti-imperialist, is democratic, respects the rights of all, and allocates the means necessary for ecological solutions. What is urgently needed is the mobilization of all energies, intelligence, and means on a global scale. We need an ecosocialist transition to satisfy the fundamental needs of people everywhere!
12. In the face of the barbarity of war, we need to mobilize in concrete solidarity from below, with peoples fighting for their rights, in complete independence from governments, global or regional powers, and reactionary political forces. We insist on the universality of principles such as the right of self-determination and the right to resist, whether in Ukraine, in Palestine, or elsewhere. We support resistance against oligarchs and capitalists wherever they operate, and have no illusions in reactionary and rightwing leaderships. We support the fight against the ultra-liberal agenda of the Zelensky government, and against its alignment with U.S. imperialism. We condemn the reactionary worldview of Hamas and reject its criminal tactics. We do not forget how the repression of progressive forces favoured religious fundamentalist forces such as Hamas.
13. Today, we must do everything we can to mobilize a massive worldwide movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people, together with their allies in Israel. The Palestinian people are isolated and occupied. They stand alone, with almost no material support from outside. This makes our solidarity all the more necessary. We must prevent the expulsion of people, the “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinian people by the Israeli state, and a second Nakba, we demand an immediate end to the bombing and blockade of Gaza, a ceasefire, and humanitarian aid. We demand the release of prisoners on all sides. We stand in solidarity with Palestinian civil society and support its call to strengthen the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
14. Our goal is a political solution that puts an end to colonization and guarantees the right of return for those expelled and equal rights for people of all origins. Mobilizations in solidarity with Palestine are facing major obstacles, in some countries rhetoric aimed at isolating the mobilizations and the forces building them, and in other countries the physical repression of demonstrations and other expressions of solidarity. Despite such repression, the Palestine solidarity movement continues, and by overcoming such obstacles also fights for democracy in its own country.
15. We know that Hamas or other religious fundamentalist forces will not be allies in the search for a progressive Palestinian solution. The idea that the Palestinian people can achieve their national emancipation through a military defeat of the Israeli state, a state with overwhelming military superiority, is an illusion. In the Middle Eastern context of a mosaic of peoples and minorities, peace is possible only through the democratic emancipation of all.
The solution to the current worldwide crises can only come through mass international mobilization of the working people against imperialist occupation, for the right of peoples to self-determination, against the restriction of democratic freedoms, and for concrete solidarity, including humanitarian solidarity.
It is the role of the organizations of the workers’ movement and the popular movements to mobilize a broad section of the working class and the oppressed to contribute to these internationalist mobilizations, build concrete links with organisations of the oppressed, and change the global balance of power.
End the Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people. Ceasefire now!
Russian troops out of Ukraine!
Dissolve NATO and CSTO!
Against all forms of imperialism, international solidarity!
This statement was published in English on the Fourth International website here. We have proofed the text and corrected some typographical errors.