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Fifteenth World Congress

A Tribute To The Fallen

Friday 9 May 2003, by Livio Maitan

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Many comrades, men and women, have left us since the last world congress. Our publications have already paid tribute to our memory. Today we symbolically remember some of them.

First, we recall Ernest Mandel, who died some weeks after the 1995 congress in which he had participated. It was this comrade who, after the death of Leon Trotsky, contributed the most to the construction of the Fourth International.

We then remember Felipe Vasquez, a leader of the Bolivian miners who was elected several times to our international bodies, and Brenda Silvara (Marita), leader of the PST in Uruguay and organizer of the teachers’ union, a member of the International Executive Committee who was detained during the dictatorship in a concentration camp and then exiled in Brazil; Charlie van Gelderen, observer delegate from South Africa at the founding congress in 1938 and subsequently a militant in the British section for many decades; Lucia Gonzalez Alonso, a militant in the students’ movement under the Franco dictatorship, condemned and exiled to France where she joined the LCR and was subsequently a leader in the Spanish state of the LCR, Izquierda Unida and Espacio Alternativo. We remember also the two Chinese revolutionaries, Wang Fanxi and Zheng Chaolin. Wang Fanxi joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1925 and then joined the Left Opposition; exiled in Britain, he was the author of numerous studies. Zeng Chaolin, among the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and founder, with Chen Duxiu, of the Left Opposition in China, was imprisoned for seven years under the Kuomintang regime and afterwards for 27 years under the bureaucratic regime. Finally, we remember Michel Raptis (Pablo), who played a major role in the leadership of the International for around 50 years.