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Newsletter (in English)


Report from the second conference of the NAL on October 30-31

In the summer of 2009, the idea was born for the creation of a united radical left organization in the Czech Republic to break the isolation of the revolutionary forces. After a series of discussions, a conference in November 2009 founded the New Anticapitalist Left (NAL). On the weekend of October 30-31, 2010, after exactly one year of work, a second conference was held. But this NAL conference was attended by only a third as many people as the founding conference one year earlier. This illustrates the bad situation the NAL is in right now.

From the beginning, members of RIO in the Czech Republic pointed to the excessive enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations of the founding conference. From the beginning, it was clear to us that the establishment of the NAL alone would not spread anticapitalism in the Czech Republic automatically. We were ready to work hard on a daily basis; unfortunately, many of the less experienced comrades were not prepared for this difficult work, and they slowly lost interest and left.

Fortunately, RIO members in the Czech Republic can always rely on the help of their comrades from abroad because RIO is an international organization. Perhaps also because of this, we were able to become the most active members in the NAL, and at this conference RIO members were elected into key positions in the NAL leadership. More importantly, we won majorities for many of our proposals to improve the work of the NAL in the coming period. For us it is very important to not only present general anticapitalist slogans, but also propaganda with a high political level. Before the conference, we wrote many amendments with one clear goal: to bring the NAL platform closer to a revolutionary Marxist and internationalist program.

Unfortunately, some of our important proposals also failed. We proposed to change the name of the organization from “New Anticapitalist Left” to “Revolutionary Anticapitalist Left” (since the NAL is no longer “new” and we want to give the organization a clearer, revolutionary profile), and to change the name of the magazine from the diffuse “New Left” to the succinct“Antikapitalista” (to promote cooperation between the magazine and the website, which already has the name But fears of “becoming too radical” and ”cutting ourselves off from the working class” were dominant and our proposals were rejected. For the same reason, some of our proposals for the NAL platform also failed. The paragraphs we proposed about women’s oppression and youth oppression, for example, were not included in the platform (and disappointingly, the comrades from the League for the Fifth International voted against them).

But in general, we were able to move the NAL platform to the left, in the direction of anti-capitalist and revolutionary politics, even if some formulations were limited in the name of “understandability for the undeveloped Czech working class”. The official documents of the NAL now clearly reject reformism and explain the need for revolutionary action of the working class to overcome capitalism, but they still lack a clear strategy of constructing organs of workers’ power to smash the capitalist state. We think arguing for a clear strategy is the only way to raise the political level of the working class in the Czech Republic, which is admittedly quite low.

We were very successful in our effort to improve the organization’s finances and professionalize all kinds of work, especially creating a committee for communication and the active inclusion of new contacts and sympathizers. Also, the new statutes and several internal political resolutions about electoral tactics, reformist parties and trade unions were all approved according to our proposals.

Nonetheless, the results of the NAL conference confirm our decision to build up the Czech section of RIO as an independent organization with its own political profile, and not dissolve ourselves into this project completely. Through our work outside of the NAL, we recently gained some new supporters and collaborators, but we also won a lot of valuable experiences for coming struggles. Some of these experiences will be used to improve the work of the NAL.

We will continue with a clear goal: building up an organization of professional revolutionaries oriented towards the working class, not by watering down our program but rather by active interventions in workers’ struggles. But based on our current analysis, we are going to expand our work in areas that are closer to the workers’ movement. We are confident that in this difficult task we can continue to rely on our international structures.

by RIO Prague, November 9, 2010

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