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There is a new fashion in the "revolutionary milieu" - indeed "pro-revolutionary" (sic !) -, particularly amongst those who have lately left the ICC1, which consists in declaring the bankruptcy of the Proletarian Camp, or what the ICC used to call the Proletarian Political Milieu. Basing on the immediate observation, but not less real, of division and sectarianism which strike the groups claiming themselves to the Communist Left, these elements breaking with their organization and seeking for "individual freedom" put up their rupture - not declared, not openly claimed - with the political orientations that they had defended, during decades for some of them, within their organization ; in this case within the ICC. They renounce to the struggle for the regroupment of the Communist Left ; it means that they refuse and even give up the confrontation of the real political positions which are expressed and defended by the older and more important groups, in particular in their press and intervention. These people prefer to chat on networks or worst on informal "structures" in which one enters and leaves when ever he wants and where every one proposes or takes back, according to his mood, his poor "production". Thus they renounce to the only possibility of real and practical political clarification by refusing the determined commitment to the political criticisms and polemics and to the fierce struggle against opportunist gangrene. By believing declaring the bankruptcy of the Camp, they pronounce their own bankruptcy and powerlessness, they give in in front of the sectarianism without fighting it back, preferring the internet networks, the fictitious unity, discussions with no goal, from which nothing comes out in terms of political struggle ; and it is not by chance if their present tendency leads them to join the "open and free debates" of the councilist milieu, especially around the group Internationalist Perspective.
We must acknowledge that this task of liquidation of the Camp is particularly helped by the action - or the inactivity - of the main groups and currents of this Communist Left. Useless here to recall the sectarian behaviour, of principle - it is openly claimed and this is its only merit - of the various International Communist Party of the so-called "bordiguist" current. On the other hand, the opportunist drift of the ICC whose sectarian approach is not its least manifestation, gives an important argument for the "anti-partidists" : not only, it does not recognize the Proletarian Political Milieu2, but moreover it clearly turns its back (definitively ?) to this one by trying to replace it with a "regroupment" between marxism and anarchism under the pretext that the latter presents itself as "internationalist"3. It thus looks at making "particular links" with political fractions of the class enemy camp ! The correspondence we reproduce in this bulletin between our comrades of the Internationalist Communists of Montreal and an ICC sympathizer clearly responds to this drift and rises some of its contradictions.
Finally, in this situation of the Proletarian Camp in which the two first currents ("Bordiguism" and the ICC) are not any more able to face their historical responsibilities as pole of reference and regroupment, the Internationalist Communist Tendency (ex-IBRP), only organization which would be in real capacity of occupying and assuming this responsibility, tends to not grasp all its importance and all its historical significance, preferring to remain with its immediate certainties. Nevertheless, this organization succeeds sometime and in some occasions to impose itself as this pole up to directly regroup around itself - which we salute and support -, but it doesn't succeed to understand all the dimension of a resolute policy of "regroupment" since it precisely sees its aim only as an immediate adhesion within its own ranks. Thus, it tends to underestimate, indeed to ignore, the other currents of the Proletarian Camp and the indispensable political struggle against the opportunist drifts which develop within it up to just see it, too, as sterile polemics. Yet how many revolutionary elements who are searching for political clarification and coherence - they'll be even more numerous tomorrow with the crisis and the inescapable workers struggles in reaction - could so refer and could orientate themselves amongst the positions and the groups if the ICT would assume all the dimensions of the role that History offers it today. What step forwards for the regroupment !
All these negative tendencies, the sectarianism of the organizations which withdraw into themselves, the opportunism of the organizations which turn themselves towards bourgeois organizations, the ICC today towards anarchism - how do you go to the Party with the Anarchists ? -, the renouncement of those who give in to sectarianism in stead of fighting it back and who turn towards councilism, indeed towards anarchism, lead one way or another, more or less directly, to the reinforcement of the anti-party tendencies - even those who pretend to struggle for the Party "strong and compact". The tendencies to sectarianism, what ever are their expressions, oppose to the process of development for the unity of the groups and so hamper the process towards the Party.
It has to be acknowledged, we are very few to openly defend the existence of a Proletarian Camp and to claim this struggle ; except our fraction and the comrades of the ICM, there is no political expression which posts such a need. Even the comrades who left us lately, the ones who officially kept the name of "Internal Fraction of the ICC", seem to have given up this ground and to have joined the Controverses-Internationalist Perspective sphere. Why should we defend a camp which doesn't recognize itself ? Because it objectively and historically exists and because it is essential. Nor the individual militants, even less the organizations can decide to give up the communist battle and "free" themselves of their own history. The organizations, which can whether disappear or betray and be lost for the proletariat, can well be led to change their position. Indeed they can even politically break with their past positions. But then the ones and the others are responsible to the proletariat, their class, of their past position and owe them a critical balance-sheet by the systematic study of their own historical thread. The ones and the others, above all the others, it means the organizations, have the obligation of assuming their responsibility in front of their class and the whole communist forces, it means to assume their political course for the individuals, their history for the organizations.
Until today, as long as the so-called "bordiguist" groups carry on living so-so, as long as the ICC has not passed in the bourgeoisie's camp - it comes close quickly as the reader can verify in this bulletin -, they carry on having much more in common than they admit it : in the historical barricade which separates the bourgeois camp from the proletarian one, they have always found themselves up to today on the same side than the rest of the proletarian camp, in particular than the Internationalist Communist Tendency, in the events which settle : imperialist war and classes struggle. Whether they want it or not, this camp does exist and the events which affect such or such part of its components does affect inescapably, more or less directly, the other parts.
Groups as the ICT tend to think that it is proper that every one devotes its effort to intervene on its own, to develop its own organization and its influence within the class. And, finally, we'll see who is right ; the "theoretical and political debates" will be so settled. A little like "every one for himself and God will recognizes his own". This vision, which is very much like the councilist vision, underestimates seriously the role of the political vanguards of the proletariat as "political leadership" and in particular their tasks of theoretical and political development as the fight against the bourgeois ideology and its penetration within the proletariat ; in short, as a moment of... the classes struggle. Begone from us the idea of underestimating the intervention within the working class and the need for developing as much as we can the influence and the presence of the communist groups in the large masses of the proletariat as well as the experience of the practical, concrete, struggle against the political, union and others, forces of the bourgeois State. This is indispensable and it has to be set up daily. Nevertheless, the direct intervention within the working class is not the only ground, nor even is the ground par excellence, where the historical theoretical and political questions are debated, confronted and clarified, where they represent theoretical and political steps as well as essential moment of the regroupment process for the formation of the world party of the proletariat.
We already warned our readers and the forces of the Proletarian Camp on this question. Every day which goes by and which does not see a reversal of this dynamic of "everyone for himself", is a lost day which weakens the historical chances of the proletariat. Exaggeration ? All the contrary. We are even ourselves too timid and too hesitant in this struggle and the extreme numerical weakness which we suffer, can't be an excuse. Even more since all these negative tendencies within the Proletarian Camp, or within the Political Milieu if one prefers, happen at the time when massive classes confrontations are more than ever objectively announced - the economical crisis and capitalism's impasse force it -, at the time when, precisely with these classes confrontations in mind, the bourgeoisie unleashes as never before, more massive and totalitarian ideological campaigns. It is precisely at that time which is going to determine the conditions of the entrance into the massive classes confrontations, that the communist groups would have to work actively for the regroupment by affirming their willingness for unity4 and by presenting openly through the political confrontation their disagreements - which would not be the expression of their division but on the opposite a moment of the process towards unity.
If the bankrupt declaration of the Communist Left, announced today by a certain numbers of "deserters", ended up being confirmed by history - the only one which can declare it -, the perspective which would present for our class would be the one of a "German" kind of situation ; a situation where the proletariat would be without real party, without political leadership, as in Germany in 1918-1919 and the years which followed ; a situation where it would be in front of a myriad of small groups more or less communist, some "historical" but ignoring each other and, at the best, running after the events, incapable of taking the lead of these events, which would not even succeed to distinguish themselves from... the Anarchist and Leftist groups with their radical and "leftist" language. It would be a catastrophe. Nobody can doubt it.
How can we defend and affirm the unity of a Camp which denies to consider itself as such ? How can we attempt at going towards the regroupment and the Party ? By taking back Lenin's method, the method of fraction, the one utilized from 1902 up to 1917, the one which advocates political confrontation and virulent, frontal, polemics, the very one which does not fear to be intransigent in the polemics, the one which condemns without concession the opportunist drifts and opens its doors to the currents and the individuals which tend to come close and to regroup. This method does not offer any guarantee but the one of permanent and frontal struggle. But it is the only one which can avoid us a Berlin 1919 and open us the door of an October 1917. What ever is the proletariat's strength, its energy in the massive confrontations, its influence upon the communist minorities, it cannot substitute to the conscious and determined effort of the communists in order to decide of its capacity to insurrection and to the setting up of the its own class dictatorship.
Proletarian Camp or no Proletarian Camp ? Berlin or Petrograd ?
August 1st, 2010.
1. For instance, the comrades of Controverses who already draw a negative balance-sheet of the Communist Left just a few months after having left the ICC : "No doubt, it is midnight in the Century of the Communist Left since it is already 3 decades that this current passes through a deep political and organizational crisis" (translated by us from French). They seem to be joined by the comrades who too have left, "by themselves", Battaglia comunista to form the Instituto O. Damen in order "to re-build the Communist Left on completely new political and organizational basis" (also translated by us).
2. " At the same time, the fact that the groups of the proletarian milieu are more and more disqualifying themselves from the process which leads to the formation of the class party only highlights the crucial role which the ICC has been called upon to play within this process. It is increasingly clear that the party of the future will not be the result of the “democratic” addition of the different groups of the milieu, but that the ICC already constitutes the skeleton of the future party" (16th Congress of the ICC, Resolution on the International Situation, International Review 122, we underline).
3. See the article The communist left and internationalist anarchism: What we have in common (!) in World Revolution 336 or also Réunion CNT-AIT de Toulouse du 15 avril 2010 : vers la constitution d'un creuset de réflexion dans le milieu internationaliste (!) [Meeting with the CNT-AIT (...) : towards the setting up of reflection test in the internationalist Milieu] published in Révolution internationale 414 de juillet 2010 et sur le site du CCI (http://fr.internationalism.org/node/4256 ).
4. The occasions - it is a sign of the present times - add up lately. The visits that the police paid to the comrades of the GIO (the Canadian group of the ICT) and of the ICM (see their communiqué and our statement in this bulletin) are the last one.
Only a gross failure to understand Marxism (or an “understanding” of it in the spirit of “Struveism”) could prompt the opinion that the rise of a mass, spontaneous working-class movement relieves us of the duty of creating as good an organisation of revolutionaries as the Zemlya i Volya had, or, indeed, an incomparably better one. On the contrary, this movement imposes the duty upon us; for the spontaneous struggle of the proletariat will not become its genuine “class struggle” until this struggle is led by a strong organisation of revolutionaries (...).
Not only are revolutionaries in general lagging behind the spontaneous awakening of the masses, but even worker-revolutionaries are lagging behind the spontaneous awakening of the working-class masses. This fact confirms with clear evidence, from the “practical” point of view, too, not only the absurdity but even the politically reactionary nature of the “pedagogics” to which we are so often treated in the discussion of our duties to the workers. This fact proves that our very first and most pressing duty is to help to train working-class revolutionaries who will he on the same level in regard to Party activity as the revolutionaries from amongst the intellectuals (we emphasise the words “in regard to Party activity”, for, although necessary, it is neither so easy nor so pressingly necessary to bring the workers up to the level of intellectuals in other respects). Attention, therefore, must be devoted principally to raising the workers to the level of revolutionaries; it is not at all our task to descend to the level of the “working masses” as the Economists wish to do.
(What is to be done, 1902)
Fraction of the International Communist Left - International Communist Bulletin 2