August 21, 2023
From Internationalism
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The aim of this article is not to engage in a debate on the political validity of our platform – which we are obviously always prepared to do through an honest confrontation with divergent positions – but to re-establish the reality of it by denouncing the approach of the International Group of the Communist Left (IGCL) aimed exclusively at discrediting our positions, in particular by presenting them as being influenced by councilism. Such an influence would translate into an “economis”, “mechanical”, “fatalistic” vision for the ICC, by underestimating struggles for demands, and affecting our conception of the party and of class consciousness, and so on.

Beyond the necessary re-establishment of the truth about our political positions as misrepresented by the IGCL, we highlight how the means and procedures it uses to serve its attempts at denigration are totally alien to the method of the workers’ movement and of the Communist Left in particular.

I. The councilist flaws that the IGCL attribute to the ICC’s platform are pure slander

The IGCL tells us that, as soon as it was set up, it undertook “a process of clarification on the ICC platform[1] (…) which it had rejected as being openly councilist[2].

Such a political diagnosis would be based on various observations already set out in some of the IGCL’s texts, a sample of which is given below:

  • The undeniable coherence of the PF of the ICC is based on an economist and fatalist vision that is also coherent with its councilist vision, which is evident in its points on the party and class consciousness[3].
  • “We have underlined the coherence of the ICC platform provided by the distinction between ascendancy and decadence, here essentially reduced to reforms or impossibility of reforms. The resulting unity and clarity in exposing the class frontiers is the strength of the document. The mechanical and economist approach and understanding is its weakness. It is typical of the vulgar materialism proper to councilism, which develops a fatalistic and mechanical vision of history to the detriment of its dynamic – Marxist – vision, which places class struggle at the centre and as the motor of history[4].

For anyone familiar with the ICC’s positions, these “criticisms” are grossly misleading, but not everyone knows the ICC, or some only through the vision given by the prose of the IGCL, which compels us to review the essence of such distortions based on lying about the facts, disguising and distorting positions, and suggesting instead of proving or concretising. Another distortion consists in concealing the political developments of the ICC that clarify the points of our platform[5].

A. In none of its texts does the ICC reduce the change of period from ascendance to decadence to the possibility or otherwise of obtaining reforms.

For as important as the question of whether or not it is possible for the proletariat to obtain reforms in the period of the decadence of capitalism, in our platform the change of period is never reduced to this question, but it is considered from the point of view of the development of the internal contradictions of capitalism (Point 3 of the platform -The decadence of capitalism) and then from the point of view of the implications for the mode of organisation of capitalism (Point 4 -State capitalism) and finally from the point of view of class struggle (Point 6 -The struggle of the proletariat in decadent capitalism). It is in this last point that the question of whether or not it is possible to obtain reforms, which is decisive for basing and understanding the period of decadence, is dealt with:

  • the possibility and necessity of revolution;
  • the forms taken by the struggle of the proletariat, the relationship of the proletariat to its vanguard and the form taken by the latter.

B. In no way does the ICC underestimate the struggles for immediate demands, on the contrary

Indeed, as the IGCL is well aware, for the ICC, the demand struggle constitutes the granite foundation for the development of the class struggle. Indeed, this is part of the DNA of our organisation, since this conception was already at the heart of the marxist understanding of the precursor group of the ICC, Révolution Internationale in France. Thus RI nouvelle série n° 9 (May-June 1974), in the article “Comment le prolétariat est la classe révolutionnaire“, expressed itself in these terms: “The process by which the working class rises to the height of its historic task is not a separate process, external to its daily economic struggle against capital. On the contrary, it is in and through this conflict that the working class forges the weapons of its revolutionary struggle“.

Our platform does not deny such a position on our part: “For over half a century the workers have shown less and less interest in participating in the activities of these organs which have become an integral part of the bourgeois state. The workers’ struggles to resist the constant deterioration of their living conditions have tended to take the forms of wildcat strikes outside of and against the unions. Directed by general assemblies of strikers and, in cases where they generalise, co-ordinated by committees of delegates elected and revocable by these assemblies, these strikes have immediately placed themselves on a political terrain in that they have been forced to confront the state in the form of its representatives inside the factory: the trade unions.” (Point 7 – Trade unions: organs of the proletariat yesterday, instruments of capital today)

And even today, “The inexorable worsening of the crisis of capitalism is an essential stimulus for the class struggle and class consciousness. The struggle against the effects of the crisis is the basis for the development of the strength and unity of the working class. The economic crisis directly affects the infrastructure of society; it therefore lays bare the root causes of all the barbarism that hangs over society, enabling the proletariat to become conscious of the need to completely destroy the system and no longer try to improve some aspects of it.

In the struggle against the brutal attacks of capitalism and especially against the inflation that hits workers as a whole in a general and indiscriminate way, workers will develop their combativity, they will be able to begin to recognise themselves as a class with a strength, an autonomy and a historical role to play in society. This political development of the class struggle will give them the capacity to put an end to war by putting an end to capitalism.” (Third Manifesto of the ICC[6])

If we have taken so much space to refute this shameless lie of the IGCL, it is precisely because it is very prejudicial to the understanding – as defended by the ICC – of the process of the development of the class struggle up to the revolution.

C. Nowhere does the ICC sidestep the question of the function of the party

The last point, the longest of the whole platform, on the organisation of revolutionaries, clearly reveals the contradiction which has inhabited the ICC since its beginnings between its approach and its congenital councilist weaknesses and its desire to reappropriate the lessons of the workers’ movement, particularly of the Communist Left. Admittedly, the party is mentioned as such, formally, abstractly, in fact reluctantly: ‘The organisation of revolutionaries whose most advanced form is the party (…). One can then speak of the party to describe the organisation of the communist vanguard. (…) the proletarian revolution confers the same world-wide and centralised character on the party of the working class…’. But nowhere is the role and function of the party as vanguard and political leadership of the proletariat evoked.”

The basis of the necessity and role of revolutionary organisation is present in condensed form in our platform, so that any partial quotation of it, as the IGCL does, necessarily alters its meaning. This is why we reproduce the relevant paragraph in full: “The organisation of revolutionaries (whose most advanced form is the party) is the necessary organ with which the class equips itself to become conscious of its historic future and to politically orient the struggle for this future. For this reason the existence and activity of the party are an indispensable condition for the final victory of the proletariat.

What does the IGCL have to say about this formulation, apart from impressions? Nothing, just wind … and bluff.

Moreover, most of the positions defended in our platform are taken up, developed and clarified in various articles in our press, particularly in the International Review. This is particularly true of the question of the “organisation of revolutionaries”, which is amply developed in the fundamental texts of the ICC and of which the IGCL says not a word, even though it is perfectly aware of their existence. Anyone who reads them will be able to convince themselves of the importance we attach to the question of the party, its role, its link with the working class and the process leading to its formation. We therefore urge the reader to verify the validity of our denial by consulting the following texts:

Report on the function of the revolutionary organisation

Report on the structure and functioning of the revolutionary organisation

On the Party and its relationship to the class

Report on the role of the ICC as a “fraction”

D. The IGCL may well say that it has “gone beyond the councilism of the ICC platform”, but that does not prove the validity of its criticisms of our platform.

Far from it!

From the outset, when it was aiming to disrupt the ICC from the inside, until its transformation into the IGCL, the IFICC proclaimed to anyone who would listen that it was the best defender of the ICC’s positions, much better than the “opportunist ICC”! And, lo and behold, the IGCL itself realised that the ICC platform was in fact councilist! Is this the last act of the farce?? Nothing of the sort, the bad joke continues. So, they discover that our platform is “based on an economist and fatalist vision which is also consistent with its councilist vision, manifest in its points on the party and class consciousness”. They point to the political clarifications provided by their own platform, which “tries to base the coherence and explanation of the class frontiers from and around the question of the party and class consciousness and therefore of the history of the class struggle itself. Even if the falsifiers of the IGCL were really convinced of this, it is not this, nor all their empty criticisms which we have refuted, which supposedly proves the councilism of our conception of the party and of class consciousness. Especially as the IGCL’s alleged new source of inspiration is not, from our point of view, the most adequate: “We have not invented anything. We have just been convinced of the political correctness of the principled approach of the successive PFs that the so-called Left of Italy had adopted, in particular in 1945 and in 1952[7][8].

For its part, as it explains in its platform, the ICC is based on the following approach: “By explaining the unfolding of history through the development of the class struggle, that is to say struggle based on the defence of economic interests within a framework laid down by the development of the productive forces, and by recognising the proletariat as the subject of the revolution which will abolish capitalism, marxism is the only conception of the world which really expresses the viewpoint of that class(point 1 –The theory of communist revolution)”.

E. The IGCL invents the “fatalism” of the ICC to mask its own opportunism towards principles

More specifically, it criticises the ICC for having a “a fatalistic and mechanical vision of history to the detriment of its dynamic – marxist – vision, which places class struggle at the centre and as the motor of history“.

Since the IGCL has nothing of substance on which to base its criticisms, it proceeds by insinuation, through “may lead to…”, when it is not downright open defamation, denigration and slander, all areas in which it has excelled since it went to war against the ICC when its “founders” were still members of our organisation.

On the other hand, what history has taught us is that when opportunism brandishes the criticism of “fatalism” against the positions of the Left, it is to grant itself “flexibility” and “suppleness” with regard to principles. This was the meaning of the criticisms made of Trotsky by Bilan in the 1930s and of the PCInt by Internationalisme in the 1940s. That said, we are far from suggesting that the IGCL can be identified with Trotsky or the PCInt. For all the ICC’s criticisms of Trotsky’s opportunism and that of the PCInt, our approach is the opposite of that which would in any way identify the IGCL with them. Trotsky and the PCInt, despite their weaknesses, were part of the proletarian camp. On the other hand, the IGCL, since it came into being under the name of the IFICC, has objectively behaved as a defender of the interests of the bourgeoisie through the damage it causes in the milieu of the Communist Left. As we shall see below, the IGCL’s complacency towards the principles concerning the union question is also evident.

II. The IGCL does not spare any point of the ICC platform from its “radical” and sometimes openly leftist criticism

If it were simply a question of highlighting the IGCL’s “method”, the preceding illustrations would be more than sufficient. But it is also a question of defending our platform against attacks on its various points, so we cannot dispense with dealing with other IGCL attacks. In doing so, we will highlight how some of them poorly disguise a clearly leftist orientation.

A. Insufficient criticism of Parliament?

This attack is intended to introduce the idea that the ICC lacks conviction in supporting the Theses on Democracy written by Lenin for the First Congress of the Communist International.

According to point 8 of our platform on “The mystification of parliament and elections“, “As the capitalist system entered its decadent phase, parliament ceased to be an instrument for reforms, as the Communist International said at its Second Congress.

On this subject, the IGCL makes the following critical comment: “the theses do not limit the question to the impossibility of reform in decadence, far from it. The attitude of the Communist International towards parliamentarism is determined, not by a new doctrine, but by the change in the role of parliament itself. In the previous epoch parliament performed to a certain degree a historically progressive task as a tool of developing capitalism. Under the present conditions of unbridled imperialism, however, parliament has been transformed into a tool for lies, deception, violence and enervating chatter. In the face of imperialist devastation, plundering, rape, banditry and destruction, parliamentary reforms, robbed of any system, permanence and method, lose any practical significance for the toiling masses.’ As we can see, the International encompasses it in a much broader vision and understanding that is at the forefront political, i.e. at the level of the class struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat under the conditions defined by the imperialist phase of capital[9].

What the IGCL is quick not to mention here is that Lenin’s theses are reproduced in full in the following ICC article “Lenin’s Theses on bourgeois democracy and proletarian dictatorship (reprint)[10]. This reduces to nothing the criticism of an alleged weakness of our position on this question and illustrates once again the devious method of the IGCL. As for the idea that this point of our platform does not take into account the function of Parliament in the new period, it is part of this approach, “Slander boldly, something always sticks” (Francis Bacon), no matter how inconsistent the slander. Indeed, in this section of our platform, we say of Parliament: “The only role parliament could play from then on, the only thing that keeps it alive, is its role as an instrument of mystification. Thus ended any possibility for the proletariat to use parliament in any way. The class cannot gain impossible reforms from an organ which has lost any real political function. At a time when its basic task is to destroy all institutions of the bourgeois state and thus parliament; when it must set up its own dictatorship on the ruins of universal suffrage and other vestiges of bourgeois society, participation in parliamentary and electoral institutions can only lead to these moribund bodies being given a semblance of life no matter what the intentions of those who advocate this kind of activity” (point 8 of the ICC platform: The mystification of parliament and elections).

B. Is the role of state capitalism reduced to the immediate economic necessities of capitalism?

The IGCL writes: “It is regrettable that this passage does not make more explicit the link between state capitalism and the needs of the generalized imperialist war. This tends to reduce the phenomenon of state capitalism to its economic dimension only, whereas it is above all a political response against the proletariat and for the needs of imperialist war[11]

Contrary to what the IGCL claims, this point in the ICC platform in no way reduces the role of state capitalism to “immediate economic necessities” but takes into account all the contradictions facing capitalism: “In the decadence of capitalism the general tendency towards state capitalism is one of the dominant characteristics of social life. In this period, each national capital, because it cannot expand in an unfettered way and is confronted with acute imperialist rivalries, is forced to organise itself as effectively as possible, so that externally it can compete economically and militarily with its rivals, and internally deal with the increasing aggravation of social contradictions. The only power in society which is capable of fulfilling these tasks is the state ” (second paragraph of point 4 of the platform, entitled “State capitalism“). The IGCL was certainly counting on the credulity of the readers of its prose and on their ignorance of the positions of the ICC to smuggle in yet another lie.

C. A too timid defence of the foundation of the Communist International as the world party of the proletariat?

Point 15 of our platform on ‘The Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ reaffirms the need for “the total destruction of the capitalist state” and the use by the proletariat of “its own revolutionary class violence”. But, according to the IGCL, this point completely ignores the role of the party – the word party is not even used once in this point! – so much for the workers’ insurrection – itself ignored – so much for the exercise of the dictatorship itself…. Admittedly, the party is mentioned, but formally, abstractly, in fact reluctantly: “The organisation of revolutionaries whose most advanced form is the party. (…) One can then speak of the party to describe the organisation of the communist vanguard (…); the proletarian revolution confers the same world-wide and centralised character on the party of the working class…But the role and function of the party as the vanguard and political leadership of the proletariat is not mentioned anywhere.[12]

In reality, and contrary to these misleading assertions, the ICC in no way minimises the fundamental role played by the party in the success of the Russian revolution (the only victorious revolution), any more than it minimises the role that the future party will be called upon to play in the next revolution. This is borne out by the many articles in various pamphlets we have devoted to this question, which the IGCL is careful to ignore even though it is well aware of their existence. These documents include:

October 1917, beginning of the proletarian revolution (part 2) The section on ‘Nature and role of the Bolshevik party’;
October 1917: The greatest revolutionary experience of the working class The section on ‘The councilist current’s misconceptions about the nature and role of the Bolshevik Party.’

D. Was it inevitable and unavoidable that the unions would go over to the side of the bourgeoisie simply for economic reasons?

They quote from our platform: The unions have become bankrupt since ‘as capitalism entered its decadent phase it was no longer able to accord reforms and improvements in living conditions to the working class’. The IGCL comment Once again, the mechanistic and economist explanation of ‘reforms or no reforms’ comes back to underpin the fact, which we share, that the unions have become ‘true defenders of capitalism, agencies of the bourgeois state within the working class (…) by the relentless tendency within decadence for the state to absorb all the structures of social life’. As a result, and insofar as the passage of the trade unions into the bourgeois camp would have been mechanically fatal from an economic point of view alone, and not the result of a class confrontation conditioned by the passage into the new historical period, the struggle that the communist minorities waged from 1918 until, roughly speaking, World War II in the trade unions is neglected and rejected”[13]

The IGCL attributes to the ICC the idea that the unions have mechanically gone over to the side of the bourgeoisie. The ICC uses the term “inevitably” and not “mechanically”. Moreover, the IGCL introduces the idea that “the passage of the unions into the camp of the bourgeoisie was the product of a balance of forces between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, played out within these bodies“. The only possible interpretation of this passage is that it would have been possible for the working class to maintain the unions as a weapon in its struggle by fighting within them!

This is typical of the opportunist position defended by the degenerating Communist International and which has inspired, and still inspires today, all varieties of leftism. In fact, the only really “inspiring” struggles for the proletariat in relation to the trade union question are those which have called into question this institution as a tool of class struggle, as was the case in particular during the revolution in Germany. This is entirely consistent with the analysis defended by the ICC in point 7 of its platform: “As capitalism entered its decadent phase it was no longer able to accord reforms and improvements in living conditions to the working class. Having lost all possibility of fulfilling their initial function of defending working class interests, and confronted with an historic situation in which only the abolition of wage labour and with it, the disappearance of trade unions, was on the agenda, the trade unions became true defenders of capitalism, agencies of the bourgeois state within the working class. This is the only way they could survive in the new period. This evolution was aided by the bureaucratisation of the unions prior to decadence and by the relentless tendency within decadence for the state to absorb all the structures of social life.

What battles would have made it possible – according to the IGCL – to preserve, even momentarily, the trade union as an instrument of defence of its interests by the proletariat, during the period from 1918 to the Second World War? The IGCL mentions only one of them, and it’s worthwhile taking a closer look, especially as it’s yet another attempt to muddy the waters on the position of the Communist Left of France on the union question.

 

III. IGCL rewrites history by muddying the waters

This is done, in particular, on the origins of the Communist Left, the ICC’s own history and on our comrade Marc Chirik.

A. An enormous lie about the GCF’s position on the union question

The IGCL quotes Internationalisme, the journal of the GCF (Gauche Communiste de France): “We must also combat the tendencies which, starting from the fact of the existence of an extremely strong union bureaucracy, forming a reactionary layer with homogeneous interests opposed to the class interests of the proletariat and to the proletarian revolution, assert that the trade union organisations are obsolete as instruments of anti-capitalist struggle. The communist union fraction is formed by all the militants of the communist organisation belonging to the same union“(Resolution on the union question).

What does this passage prove in relation to the problem that concerns us here, namely the class nature of the unions in decadence? Absolutely nothing, apart from the fact that there was confusion within Internationalisme on the trade union question. On the other hand, we can clearly see the IGCL’s outright dishonesty when it conceals from its readers a disturbing reality, in this case the fact that there was an ongoing reflection within the GCF on the nature of the unions, which resulted in the following analysis: “The unions are today completely integrated into the state, they are an appendage of the state with the function of getting the working class to accept the measures of exploitation and the worsening of their conditions of misery. The recent strike movements have shown that this classic means of workers’ struggle has ceased to be the exclusive weapon of the proletariat, has lost its essential class nature and can also be used as a means of manoeuvre by one capitalist political faction against another, by one imperialist bloc against another and ultimately in the general interest of capitalism“. (“Current Problems of the International Revolutionary Movement”- Internationalisme no. 18 – February 1947).

B. The lies about the ICC’s attitude to trade union struggles

Hence, the IGCL hypocritically salutes what it calls the “historic ICC” for having finally been able to understand the true nature of the unions: “we must salute the ability of the historic ICC to clearly understand that the unions have become fully-fledged organs of the bourgeois state and, in the 1980s at least, to draw all the implications from this for its intervention in the real class struggles“. It’s hypocritical and dishonest, because, as we saw earlier, it was Internationalisme that was responsible for providing important clarifications in relation to Bilan on the trade union question.

So, why this need to praise the intervention of the ICC in the 1980s, which was “Far from expecting a pure struggle liberated from the unions by the grace of the Holy Spirit“?

For two reasons:

1) To spit on the intervention of the ICC in subsequent years, implicitly characterised as the expectation of “a pure struggle liberated from the unions by the grace of the Holy Spirit“, which for two decades “prefers to devote itself to the fetish of self-organisation and assemblyism, in the name of the genuine assemblies free of trade unions, to mask its defeatism”[14]. This is the dream of a mythomaniac. The ICC has never abandoned or despised any working class struggle, and the fact of denouncing, as we have done, certain caricatures of “general assemblies” usually convened by the unions inside enterprises is in no way synonymous with desertion, but on the contrary is part of the denunciation of the results of union sabotage and their omnipresence. Contrary to the idea that the IGCL tries to convey, since the struggles of the 1980s the ICC has never denied the fundamental need for class struggle, wherever it is expressed, whatever its strengths and weaknesses. This, once again, is consistent with the importance which the ICC attributes to the immediate defensive struggles of the working class for the development of the class struggle, something which the IGCL has also tried to conceal through fraudulent criticisms which we highlighted earlier.

2) Remaking the history of the ICC in the 1980s by attributing to it positions which were never its own but those of the IBRP at the time: “it [the ICC] then fully understood that the communist vanguard groups and the party had to be at the forefront of the political struggle against the traps and sabotage of the union and leftists and for the political leadership of workers’ struggles“. Only a mythomaniac with the aplomb of the IGCL is capable of spouting such nonsense. The ICC has never considered itself to be a party (or a party in miniature) but as a political group with a “function similar to that of a fraction”, charged with working towards the foundation of the future party, while building a bridge to it. Similarly, it was always critical of the IBRP’s conception of the “internationalist factory groups” as transmission belts for the party within the working class. Then as now, the ICC has always fought for the working class to organise itself in general assemblies in order to take its struggle into its own hands and to extend it, and it has always fought the action of the unions aimed at sabotaging such class initiatives.

C. The lies that explain this other lie about our alleged renunciation of the fight against the unions

The IGCL claims to have contributed to “advocating – and even defending – the combat against councilism in the 1980s that the ICC had led then conducted[15]. It is not impossible that at the time some of the militants who were to become the IFICC thugs took part in this combat. On the other hand, it also claims that the ICC has “since rejected this [combat][16]. Why does the IGCL lie like this? Possibly to make themselves look good to the ICT, whose predecessor, the IBRP, had justified its sabotage of the Communist Left conferences of the 1970s by attributing “councilism” to the ICC.

The IGCL is incapable of providing the facts of the ICC’s alleged renunciation of the fight against councilism, but it does give us an explanation for the “renunciation” itself. According to the IGCL, the cause lies in “the organic break between the Gauche Communiste de France and the ICC”: “As it itself had always recognised, the organic break in continuity with the fractions of the Communist Left emerging from the Communist International (IC), in the case of the ICC from the Gauche Communiste de France (GCF) and more broadly with the so-called Italian Left, could not be overcome by the mere presence of Marc Chirik, a member of the Italian fraction from 1938 onwards, then of the GCF[17]. This organic break did indeed constitute a serious handicap which fortunately our comrade Marc Chirik’s presence was able to reduce, in particular through the fight against councilism, more precisely centrism vis-à-vis councilism within our ranks. The clarification and homogenisation that took place in our organisation on that occasion enabled the ICC to arm itself against the danger of councilism, whose influence among some young people contributed to the difficulty for them to become politicised. On the other hand, there is one area where the mere presence of our comrade MC was not enough to overcome the weaknesses linked to the break in organic continuity, and that is revolutionary militancy, which is only learned through practice, even if, here too, our comrade MC did his utmost to pass on the lessons of his own experience. Such a weakness within the ICC was reflected in attitudes and approaches that were part of the circle spirit which Lenin rightly criticised at the 2nd Congress of the RSDLP and to which he contrasted the party spirit. But worse than the circle spirit is the rotting of the latter into nihilist clannism, and the degeneration of the latter into the worst variety of parasitism, which has tried to inflict maximum damage on the organisation when it has to defend itself against the actions and behaviour of thugs. The IFICC, mother of the IGCL, was the worst incarnation of this approach within the ICC.

D. The IGCL fabricates “a positive contribution” of the IBRP to political clarification within the ICC

We do not deny the capacity for discussion with other proletarian groups for them to be able to participate in the clarification within our ranks. But this is a new invention of the IGCL which is totally impossible from a chronological point of view.

In a recent article addressed to the ICT,[18] the IGCL refers to a “contradictory debate which the PCInt-Battaglia Comunista and the ICC had developed at the end of the 1970s around the question of the historic course” (…) The ICC then recognised, according to the IGCL, “the accuracy of BC’s criticism of its position on the revolutionary course“, which “made the revolution an open and inevitable path“. An elephant’s memory or a fabrication on the part of IGCL members? It does not say where or on what occasion this happened. To give more consistency to this “story”, the IGCL adds: it was thanks to this criticism, the accuracy of which the ICC then recognised, that it clarified – changed – its position and described the ‘course’ as ‘towards decisive massive class confrontations’”.

Once again, we must set the record straight in the face of the IGCL’s lies. It’s true that in our text on The Historic Course, adopted by the 2nd ICC Congress in 1977, we spoke of a “course to revolution”, but already in this basic document, the ICC in no way “made revolution an open and inevitable path“, since we stated “Our perspective doesn’t foresee the inevitability of the revolution. We aren’t charlatans, and we know quite well in contrast to certain fatalistic revolutionaries, that the communist revolution isn’t “as certain as if it had already taken place”. But, whatever the final outcome of the struggles, which the bourgeoisie is trying to muzzle in order to inflict a series of partial defeats on the class as a prelude to a more definitive defeat, capitalism, right here and now, is unable to impose its own response to the crisis of its relations of production without confronting the proletariat head on.” And it was precisely to avoid any ambiguity that, at the beginning of the 1980s, we replaced the phrase “course towards revolution” by “course towards class confrontations”. We are not aware of any controversy on this subject between the ICC and BC before we changed our wording. It is perfectly true that there was a criticism by BC/CWO of our analysis entitled “the ICC and the historical course: an erroneous method”. But it took place in 1987, several years later, so it cannot have been the “constructive criticism recognised as such by the ICC”. Moreover, the IBRP’s criticism of the ICC’s analysis did not concern the way in which the historical course should be qualified but the very notion of the historical course. [19].

One might ask why the IGCL would be interested in revisiting history in this way. The answer to the question becomes clear when it adds: “much of the criticism that Battaglia Comunista made at the time was correct – we have adopted the concept and, we hope, the method that must accompany it, as against the one that the comrades of the ICT have always judged and labelled as idealist.” [20].

The IGCL therefore expressed its agreement with the ICT and paid tribute to its method. If the IGCL had not been a parasitic group of the worst kind, we would have questioned it about its change of position when, at the time of the events, as it was still criticising the vulgar materialism of the ICT with the ICC. Now it is shamelessly pandering to it.

And that is the deeper meaning of its attempt to tear up the ICC platform. It is a question of reinforcing its attitude of sycophancy toward the ICT in order to gain its approval even more. For the IGCL, this is an existential issue: to ensure its legitimacy and to be exonerated for its lies and deceit, it needs the backing of a historic organisation of the Communist Left. As soon as the IFICC was formed, it declared that the IBRP now constituted the decisive force for the constitution of the future world party of the proletariat. It then rejected the analysis of the current period as one of the decomposition of capitalism and the analysis of the phenomenon of political parasitism, two analyses which its members had shared for more than a decade but which the IBRP rejected (and the ICT continues to reject). Today, the IGCL needs to rekindle the flame of its romance with the ICT, particularly after a minor falling out with that organisation[21] and what better way to do so than to take up IBRP’s criticism of the ICC’s alleged “councillism”, to “discover” the major contributions of the IBRP and the ICT for its own clarification of the party question and, finally, to enthusiastically welcome the ICT’s initiative in favour of No War But the Class War committees.[22]

ICC 8.8.2023

 


[4]Statement on The International Communist Current’s Platform“. Revolution or War n° 18.[IGCL English version] Ironically, in support of this judgement, the IGCL quotes Engel’s letter to Joseph Bloch of 22 September 1890: “The economic situation is the basis, but the various elements of the superstructure : the political forms of the class struggle and its results (…), the legal forms, and even the reflections of all these real struggles in the brains of the participants (…) also influence the course of historical struggles and, in many cases, predominantly determine their form“. This is a quotation which the ICC has fully taken on board and used on several occasions, in particular against the vulgar materialist vision shared by the currents coming out of the Partito Comunista Internazionalista (PCInt) founded in 1945 (the “Bordigist” current and the current represented today by the Internationalist Communist Tendency). But the IGCL is careful not to criticise the ICT in this way, since its permanent attitude towards it has been one of bootlicking.

[5] On this subject, our basic positions – which appear on the back of all our publications – emphasise that “The ICC thus claims to be the result of the successive contributions (…) of the left fractions which emerged in the 1920s and 1930s from the degeneration of the Third International, in particular the German, Dutch and Italian lefts“. The IGCL comments on this passage as follows, “We shall see that, in the end, the spirit of synthesis left little room for the Italian Left and much for the German-Dutch.” This is an outright lie. Since its foundation, the ICC has explicitly claimed political affiliation with the Gauche Communiste de France (GCF), which itself, while adopting certain positions of the German-Dutch Left, claimed fundamental affiliation with the Italian Left Fraction. This is what we recalled at the end of the 1990s in the presentation of our pamphlet The Communist Left of France: “… it is important to emphasise that a study of the efforts to set up a current of the Communist Left in France clearly highlights the leading role played by the Italian Communist Left in these efforts, as well as its method. We cannot overemphasise the method defended during this period by the Italian Left (…) … while the Italian Fraction itself, exhausted, abandoned the struggle it had waged for nearly 18 years by declaring its self-dissolution in May 1945, it was the French Fraction of the Communist Left, founded in December 1944 and subsequently renamed the Communist Left of France, which took up the political torch of the Italian Fraction.” And at no time did the ICC abandon this political affiliation. Thus, in our article published three decades after the foundation of the ICC (30 years of the ICC: Learning from the past to build the future), we wrote: “While our heritage lies in the different left fractions of the Communist International, as far as the question of building the organisation is concerned we rely on the ideas of the left fractions of the Communist Party of Italy, in particular as these were expressed during the 1930s in the review Bilan.” Similarly, in our 2006 article, “The Communist Left and the continuity of Marxism”, we very clearly highlighted the fundamental contribution of the Italian Communist Left to the political definition of the ICC: “At the same time, the theoretical contributions made by this current – which later on encompassed fractions in Belgium, France and Mexico – were immense and indeed irreplaceable. In its analysis of the degeneration of the Russian revolution – which never led it to question the proletarian character of 1917; in its investigations into the problems of a future period of transition; in its work on the economic crisis and the foundations of capitalism’s decadence; in its rejection of the Communist International’s position of support for ‘national liberation’ struggles; in its elaboration of the theory of the party and the fraction; in its ceaseless but fraternal polemics with other proletarian political currents; in these and many other areas, the Italian left fraction undoubtedly carried out its task of laying the programmatic bases for the proletarian organisations of the future”.

[6] Capitalism leads to the destruction of humanity… Only the world revolution of the proletariat can put an end to it

[8] This change of position is comical, to say the least, on the part of those who claimed to be the “best defenders of the ICC’s positions” when they were trying to scuttle it from within. Moreover, they should specify which 1945 platform they are referring to. The one adopted by the PCInt conference of 1945-46 had been drafted by Bordiga, who was not even a member of the Party, a document which came in for very severe criticism from the PCInt in 1974, since it stated that the document had been accepted in 1945 “as a wholly personal contribution to the debate of the future congress” and “recognised as incompatible with the firm positions now adopted by the party on more important problems, and [that] (…) the document has always been regarded as a contribution to the debate and not as a de facto platform“. The problem was that it had been adopted unanimously (including by Damen, the main leader of the PCInt until his death in October 1979) and that it had been published externally as a basis for membership of the Party. Perhaps the IGCL falsifiers are referring to the document drawn up in 1944 by Damen and regarded as a “framework for a programme”. They must therefore endorse formulations such as “our party, which does not underestimate the influence of other mass parties, is the defender of the united front“, a policy of the Communist International during its opportunist decline and which had been opposed by the Italian Left since the early 1920s. For readers wishing to find out more about the life of the PCInt during the 1940s, we provide a critical reference to it published in the review Internationalisme, a publication of the Gauche Communiste de France, Le deuxième congrès du parti communiste internationaliste (Internationalisme no. 36, July 1948); as well as references to polemics written by the ICC: The Italian Fraction and the French Communist Left; Formation of the Partito Comunista Internazionalista.

[10] International Review n° 100.

[21] The IGCL noting that, despite its opportunism, it had less success than the ICT with the new elements approaching the Communist Left, could not help but criticise the ICT: “new communist forces emerged of which NC is the expression and a factor, thus directly confronting the historical groups of the pro-party Communist Left with their historical responsibility in the face of this new dynamic and in front of which the Internationalist Communist Tendency, the main organisation of this camp, began by locking itself into an attitude, or reflexes, relatively sectarian towards us and immediatist about these new forcesor ” the ICT, which is nevertheless organically linked with the CP and the Communist Left of Italy, is under the weight of a relative informalism, personalism and individualism, and therefore of the circle spirit“. These quotes are reproduced in our article ‘The adventurer Gaizka has the defenders he deserves: the gangsters of the IGCL’ are taken from the Activities Report of the 2nd General Meeting of the IGCL. Revolution or War n° 12.

[22] And it has to be said that the ICT is not immune to the IGCL’s seduction campaigns. Since the formation of the IFICC in 2001, the ancestor of the ICT, the IBRP, has shown great benevolence towards it; an attitude which, on the whole, has not wavered for two decades and which manifested itself again recently when the ICT relied, for the organisation of a public meeting in Paris of the NWBCW group, on two founding members of the IFICC, Juan and Olivier, expelled from the ICC in 2003 for snitching. The ICT is reminded of Aesop’s fable The Raven and the Fox: “A raven stole a piece of meat and perched on a tree. A fox saw him and, wanting to take control of the meat, stood in front of him and praised his elegant proportions and beauty, adding that no one was better suited to be king of the birds than he was, and that he would surely have become so if he had a voice. The raven, wanting to show him that he didn’t lack a voice either, let go of the meat and let out a loud cry. The fox rushed over and, seizing the morsel, said: O raven, if you also had judgement, you would lack nothing to become king of the birds. This fable is a lesson for fools.




Source: En.internationalism.org