Bensaïd focuses on the third question in his outline: How to establish a new international? He discusses the first five years of building the FI. For Trotsky, founding of a new international was less a declaration than forming a unity of different forces and trends. Bensaïd depicts the situation of the forces in the 1933 and the situation of the Left Opposition internationally in the 1933. In the second part of the recording, he discusses the fusions. He describes the "modern centrism" concept of Trotsky - between social democracy, Stalinism, and revolutionary Marxism. He then takes up the question of the united front, the inclusion of mass organisations and agreement on a general political line. He discusses examples of 68 France, and Spain in the end of 1970s.


Duration: 93:22

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History of the 4th international (1933-1938) - the aimis to understand what battles we come from and what is the programmatic heritage that we have. Bensaïd provides contextual information regarding the foundation of the FI, and introduces the discussion along the axis of five questions/subheadings: 1- Why a new international is necessary? 2- What basis, what is the programme to build this new international? 3-How to establish a new international? 4- What are the problems of its building and how Trotsky himself discussed them along problems of centrism-fusions, and problem of entryism in mass parties. 5- Results and conclusions. In this first part of the recording, Bensaïd focuses on the first question and talks about the degeneration of the Second International and Third International, and the "historic tests" that evidenced the impossibility of their re-generation. He contextualises the foundational years of the FI and continues with a discussion of the programmatic basis. He describes for what the programme stands, and in terms of strategy, he goes thorough the Eleven Points, underlining the necessity to adapt them to present conditions and learn from them to evaluate present conditions.


Duration: 42:52

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Bensaïd focuses on polemical aspects of Leninist theory of organisation, and starts with a discussion of  two Leninist positions. Firstly, the Leninist theory of organisation represents a very historic moment in the history of working class, where the political party tends to dissolve itself in the social organisation of the proletariat. The ideas of Lenin entail a distinction between party and class. Dictatorship of the proletariat, trade unions, working class and party do not mean the the same in Lenin's thought. Bensaïd here touches upon the difference between Leninism and Bolshevism, and elaborates on the fight between Leninism and the Second International. The ambiguity in the 1st Congress of the Comintern: On the one hand, the Party as an organisation of all workers organisations including the soviets (subordinated politically and organisationally to the party), at the same time, as the party is a vanguard party, it is just one part of the soviet. Therefore, the party is only part of and subordinate to the soviets. Secondly, the Leninist concept of party as a vanguard party, selected party, doesn't eliminate at all the question of a mass party.

In discussing this position, Bensaïd sets out two levels of action: the problem of political independence of the working class for building workers party remains a task. He gives the example of Guatemala and the militarist organisation versus the Leninist organisation of a party. He sees the solution in auto-organisation in the party at different levels. He concludes by underlining that the degree of centralisation can change, the members can change, the system -as it shows the political conditions- can change; whereas, the difference between party and class should be maintained.


Duration: 39:24

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In this lecture, Bensaïd provides a general survey of the conditions for building a revolutionary proletarian party. He begins with a discussion of Marx's and Engels's points on the party question. He later focuses on Leninist concept of party, and concludes with clarifications of some ambiguities of Leninism valid for today. 


Duration: 91:42

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Dear friends of the IIRE,

The IIRE's upcoming Ecosocialist School this November is looking to become again a truly internationalist activity with participants from five continents. Participants are coming from Haiti, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Colombia, India, Belgium, Netherlands, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries.

Participants in the schools have described them as 'very rich and important places' to 'form an internationalist perspective' and as valuable opportunities to learn from 'struggles of the peoples from around the globe'. The international attention for the school shows it fulfills a need of activists to discuss strategy, exchange views and prepare a long term engagement for a more just and sustainable world.

At the same time, this global participation poses another challenge for us. The increase of participants and the wider reach of the school also mean an increase in the money needed. Participating organizations make large contributions to the travel costs but social movements from the Global South need our solidarity to make the most of their participation. That is why we appeal to everyone to contribute to the school with donations large and small. Your money will help to make possible the participation of activists from the Global South who contribute an essential perspective to our social justice movements.

Contributions can be made out to:
SOWS (Stichting voor Onderzoek naar en Vorming in het Wetenschappelijk Socialisme)
Address: Postbus 1962
1000 BZ Amsterdam
Account number: 1039161
IBAN : NL55INGB0001039161
Bank: ING
Postbus 1800
1102 BW
The Netherlands
(please mark your donations as 'school')

You can find recordings of our previous sessions on

Support the IIRE
To make a continued extension of the work of the IIRE possible, we have launched a call for people to support us with a monthly donation. One hundred people donating 25 euro monthly would ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the IIRE, enabling the staff to further develop our effort to renew socialist thought through seminars and schools, educating new generations of activists and continuing and expanding our publication line. As a thank you, everyone who donates at least 25 euro per month will receive a free subscription to all the IIRE publications serie. Donations can be made out to the above account. Please contact us if you want to receive our Notebooks.

Dr. Peter Drucker, a graduate of Yale (BA magna cum laude in history, 1979) and Columbia (PhD in political science, 1994) Universities, was IIRE Co-Director from 1993 to 2006. Since leaving the IIRE staff he has continued his close association with the institute as a Fellow. He teaches at the great majority of IIRE sessions, uses the institute as a base for his research, and continues to help shape its curriculum as an active member of its committee on education.


Over the years Peter has taught at the IIRE in a wide range of fields, recently with two main focuses. He teaches at virtually every IIRE Youth School on US and European imperialism and the geopolitical role of emerging powers, with a particular concentration on upheavals in the Middle East. For this topic he draws on his own activist experience, notably his work as programme co-ordinator in New York for National Mobilization for Survival (1989-92).
At IIRE sessions for more advanced students he focuses on intersections between sexuality, class and national/ethnic/religious/'racial' identities, with a concentration on interactions between Europe and the Islamic world. This was his focus for example at the 2015 IIRE Women's Seminar, where he was the only male guest lecturer. It has also been one of his topics at the IIRE LGBTIQ Strategy Seminars, which he conceived and coordinated as IIRE Co-Director in 1998, 2000 and 2002 and co-organized in 2009 and 2014.


Peter has emerged in the 21st century as a leading Marxist scholar in queer studies. His special contributions concern the roots of 'homonormativity' in neoliberalism, the impact of neoliberal globalization on same-sex sexualities in dependent countries, and links between queer and anti-capitalist resistance. He is also working on a series of studies on gender and sexual dimensions of Islamophobia, in both Europe and the Middle East. Finally, he continues his long-term work on the history of US and European socialism, connecting it to the left's record on feminist and LGBTIQ issues.


2015 'Gay normality and queer transformation' (in Zapruder World: International Journal for the History of Social Conflict, vol. 2)
2015 Warped: Gay Normality and Queer Anti-Capitalism (Leiden/Chicago: Brill/Historical Materialism) (see ; available online from the IIRE:
'[I]n engaging prose, with insightful readings of theorists and activists across many movements and continents, [Warped] attempts a new synthesis ... one of the most ambitious new books ... about the [LGBTQ] movement.' - Urvashi Vaid
2014 'Conceptions of sexual freedom in Marcuse, Foucault and Rubin' (in Journal of the International Network of Sexual Ethics and Politics (INSEP) vol. 2, no. 2)
2007 'Marxism' (in Routledge International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities, London: Routledge)
2004 'Introducción: redefinición de las identidades sexuales' (in Peter Drucker ed., Arco Iris Diferentes - Spanish translation of Different Rainbows - Mexico City: Siglo XXI Editores)
2004 '"More freedom" or "more harmony"?: Henriette Roland Holst, Jacques Engels and the influence of class and gender on socialists' sexual attitudes' (in Jesse Battan et al. eds., Meetings & Alcoves, Dijon: Editions Universitaires)
2000 'Introduction: remapping sexualities' and 'Reinventing liberation' (in Peter Drucker ed., Different Rainbows, London: GMP)
'[A] unique, long-needed, and immensely valuable book ... brilliantly bound together by [its] editor. [Its] significance cannot be overstated.' - Martin Duberman
1994 Max Shachtman and His Left: A Socialist's Odyssey through the 'American Century' (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press)
'Well written, well argued, and a major contribution to the history of Marxism and socialism in the U.S.' - Michael Löwy

Advocacy/public scholarship

'Same-sex marriage: an ambiguous victory' (New Politics, July 2015)
'Ireland's victory for marriage equality' (Public Seminar, July 2015)
Plenary speaker on 'Decolonizing our bodies', ILGA World Conference, Mexico City (October 2014)
Lecturer (video at and Member, Comité de parrainage, 'Marx au XXIe siècle', Université de Paris I (Sorbonne)
'Cosa insegnano i Paesi Bassi al movimento LGBIT' ('What the Netherlands has to teach the LGBTI movement' (Italy), interview by Mauro Muscio, Feb. 2014)
'Ir a uma sauna é uma liberdade limitada' ('Going to the bathhouse is a limited kind of freedom' (Portugal), interview by Bruno Horta, Time Out Lisboa, Feb. 2013)
April/June 2007 'Entwicklungspolitik andersrum: Vom kampf der Lesben, Schwulen, Bisexuellen und Transgender um soziale Rechten' ('Alternative development policy: on the LGBT struggle for social rights' (Germany), in Hinterland, no. 4)
'"Buiten de orde": homo-emancipatie en islamophobie' ('Lesbian/gay emancipation and fear of Islam' (Netherlands), in Grenzeloos, no. 84, Nov./Dec. 2005)'buiten-de-orde'
'For en kritisk dialog' ('For a critical dialogue [between queer theory and Marxism]' (Denmark), in Socialistisk Information, no. 197, May 2005)
'Rechten voor holebi's: een identiteit voor het neoliberaal Europa?' ('Lesbian/gay rights: an identity for neoliberal Europe?' (Netherlands), in De Internationale, no. 78, Fall 2001)
'"Gay marriage?"' (editor and co-author of survey of European same-sex marriage legislation and debates in International Viewpoint, no. 308, Feb. 1999)

 Womens seminar 2015

Women’s Seminar 2015 assembled successfully at IIRE from 4th to 8th July. Organized by the women’s commission of the Fourth International , the seminar was attended by 30 women from 12 countries. Apart from Western European countries, there were participants from Philippines, Mexico, and the USA. The participants came from wide range of ages, from 17 to 70.

The program started with country reports and continued with rich presentations and discussions on key topics for socialist feminists. Women’s oppression in a class society, the link between exploitation and oppression, intersectionality, domestic labour, experiences of autonomous women’s movement, how to feminise our organizations in terms of fighting sexism and sexual aggression and strengthening women’s role in the organizations and leadership were the main subjects that were discussed thoroughly by participants.

The Women’s seminar 2015 was made possible partly by the solidarity campaign launched at our website in early spring 2015 (see ). The Commission already started to work on the next women’s seminar. Audio files from the seminar and selection from the reading materials will be added soon.
In sisterhood,


The Institut International de Recherches et de Formation (IIRF) or in English International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE), is a Belgian Non Profit International Association. It was founded by Ernest Mandel and has been recognized as an International Scientific and Non Profit Association by Royal decree on 11 June 1981.

The IIRF is being registered in Brussels, Belgian at the Kruispuntbank nr. 421632274.
In Amsterdam the IIRF/IIRE is registered at the Chamber of Commerce Amsterdam nr. 34242044, as congress and study centre, as well as organiser of education sources, seminars, conferences and research. The VAT number of the IIRF is:
NL 8153.35.210.B01.

The IIRF has members and a board.
The present board members are:

Joost Kircz- Chairman
Marijke Colle- Secretary
Penelope Duggan- Member


Historian Jan Willem Stutje has published on the Dutch and international workers movement. Stutje has written the biography of the Dutch communist Paul de Groot (Paul de Groot, De man die de weg wees). His biography of Ernest Mandel (Ernest Mandel, Rebel tussen droom en daad) was translated into German and English. In May 2012 he published the biography of Dutch socialist pioneer Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis.