Fourth International

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In the early 1930s, Trotsky and his supporters believed that Stalin's influence over the Third International could still be fought from within and slowly rolled back. They organised themselves into the International Left Opposition in 1930, which was intended to be a group of anti-Stalinist dissenters within the Third International. Stalin's supporters, who dominated the International, would no longer tolerate dissent. All Trotskyists, and those suspected of being influenced by Trotskyism, were expelled.[8]

Trotsky claimed that the Third Period policies of the Comintern had contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, and that its turn to a popular front policy (aiming to unite all ostensibly anti-fascist forces) sowed illusions in reformism and pacifism and "clear[ed] the road for a fascist overturn". By 1935 he claimed that the Comintern had fallen irredeemably into the hands of the Stalinist bureaucracy.[9] He and his supporters, expelled from the Third International, participated in a conference of the London Bureau of socialist parties outside both the Socialist International and the Comintern. Three of those parties joined the Left Opposition in signing a document written by Trotsky calling for a Fourth International, which became known as the "Declaration of Four".[10] Of those, two soon distanced themselves from the agreement, but the Dutch Revolutionary Socialist Party worked with the International Left Opposition to declare the International Communist League.[11]

This position was contested by Andrés Nin and some other members of the League who did not support the call for a new International. This group prioritised regroupment with other communist oppositions, principally the International Communist Opposition (ICO), linked to the Right Opposition in the Soviet Party, a regroupment which eventually led to the formation of the International Bureau for Revolutionary Socialist Unity. Trotsky considered those organisations to be centrist. Despite Trotsky, the Spanish section merged with the Spanish section of ICO, forming the POUM. Trotsky claimed the merger was to be a capitulation to centrism.[12] The Socialist Workers' Party of Germany, a left split from the Social Democratic Party of Germany founded in 1931, co-operated with the International Left Opposition briefly in 1933 but soon abandoned the call for a new International.

In 1935, Trotsky wrote an Open Letter for the Fourth International, reaffirming the Declaration of Four, while documenting the recent course of the Comintern and the Socialist International. In the letter, he called for the urgent formation of a Fourth International.[11] The "First International Conference for the Fourth International" was held in Paris in June 1936, reports giving its location as Geneva for security reasons.[13] This meeting dissolved the International Communist League, founding in its place the Movement for the Fourth International on Trotsky's perspectives.

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