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Almost a year ago, in January 2011, the comrades of the Internationalist Communist Tendency in Germany, of the Gruppe Internationaler SozialistInnen (GIS), wrote an article, Marxism or Idealism - Our Differences with the ICC1, whose aim is to present the main disagreements of the ICT with the ICC. This text is a serious and praiseworthy effort to pose the terms of the differences between our two political currents. As such, it is an important moment of the process of political clarification and regroupment within the camp of the communist forces which is essential for clearing the perspective of the future proletarian party. Moreover, it expresses the ability of the ICT to play and take the central role that the historical situation has assigned to it. Indeed, in addition to the fact it favours the debate and the confrontation of the positions between our two "historical" political currents, this kind of document cannot but help the new comrades, isolated militants and political groups or circles, in their search for political coherence and communist militant commitment as well as in their indispensable re-appropriation of the debates and the positions of the Communist Left. The GIS text is thus a reference, a marker for those who are looking for political clarification.
We too welcome wholeheartedly this text and with enthusiasm for its political content as well as the spirit which drives it :
“We are often asked what exactly our differences with the ICC (International Communist Current) consist of, as this is an organisation which claims to stand in the tradition of the Communist Left. After long consideration, we have therefore decided to sketch out the most important differences. As our divergences with the ICC are really comprehensive, we have endeavoured to be as brief as possible and to especially select the questions which are of immediate importance for the activity of revolutionaries. Some may consider this to be a petty squabble between revolutionary groups. But such an attitude underestimates the need for debate. Without sharp discussions, that political clarification which enables us to develop a workable programme for the overthrow of capitalism will not be possible” (Marxism or Idealism - Our Differences with the ICC, underlined in the article).
Here it matters to regret the delay with which we state publicly on this text. It is the responsibility of our fraction to assume the debate in the name of the “historical” ICC and the historical current it represents. And, only our fraction can actually do it 2.
Even more unfortunate could be our lack of immediate reaction since it could have “discourage” the ICT comrades to pursue on this path. Fortunately it did not happen and we must salute the fact that the ICT comrades carry on in this political orientation which, of course, goes far beyond the debate with our only current. This one has just been expressed with strength in the editorial of Revolutionary Perspectives 59 (Autumn 2011) , The Difficult Path to the Revival of Working Class Struggle. Basing itself on a correct understanding of the acceleration of the world situation and particularly of the sharpening of the classes' contradictions at international scale because of the Capital's economical crisis, the article puts forwards that "serious revolutionaries have a real battle on their hands to dismiss both the illusions of the “anti-capitalists” and the manipulations of the old Left. We need to create a movement which unites all those who can see the problems we are talking about here. This movement (or party) has to have at its head a clear vision of the society we want. We would call it a communist programme. It has to be based on the autonomous struggles of the working class as they increasingly break free from the shackles a hundred years of reaction has imposed on us. Its goal has to be that we abolish the exploitation of wage labour and money, as well as the state, standing armies and national frontiers. We have to reassert the original view of Marx that we are fighting for a society of “freely associated producers” where the principle is “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need.
At the moment there are many groups and individuals around the world who recognise this but we are either too scattered, or too divided, to take a lead in forming such a united movement. Some object to it on principle declaring that the spontaneous movement will take care of itself. We wish we could share their confidence. We think responsible revolutionaries should re-examine their differences, asking ourselves if the things that we thought divided us now do so in the light of this new period in working class struggle. We should emphasise not the little we disagree on but the much that we agree on. We should seek to work together in common struggles not simply to recruit this or that individual to our own organisation, but to widen the consciousness of what a real working class struggle means. In the face of the obstacles we have outlined above it would be suicidal not to" (Revolutionary Perspectives 59, we underline).
We fully support the orientation put forward by the ICT in this text and we intend to help the ICT to realize it.
Thus this editorial obliges us. We are accountable to our class - and to the communist forces - for responding at best, with all our forces, to this orientation that we called for since our setting up as Internal Fraction of the ICC. Even though we are well conscious that this orientation is not only aimed at our political current, nevertheless the ICT directly calls us out and we must answer it. This goes through the strengthening of our links - practical collaboration, meetings, intervention, etc... - and through the clarification of our differences in the spirit and the continuity of what the GIS comrades did.
The GIS text, Our differences with the ICC, points well at the main divergences with the “historical” positions of the ICC : the question of the historical course ; the analysis of the Capital's crisis ; the method of analysis of the workers struggles considered as idealist and using conspiratorial theories ; the class consciousness and the party ; the transitional period between capitalism and communism ; and finally the conception of the revolutionary organization in term of setting up and functioning. The text exposes correctly the “traditional” differences and criticisms that the ICT makes to our current's positions, with a serious effort to present them to the readers. There are many to be debated and they won't be resolved in one day. On the other hand, we can already attempt to precise the reality of these divergences since we think that some are real, but also that others express misunderstandings and others false divergences.
Let's begin with the false divergences such as they appear in the text. They concern mainly the question of Class consciousness and the role of the party for one part and the question of the constitution of the PCInt in 1943. During our past meetings, in particular in November 2005, the debate we had with the IBRP had enabled to precise our agreement on the two questions and thus to precise our conceptions and our understandings. For our fraction anyway, there is not real and fundamental differences today in these points and we refer the comrades to the balance-sheet we made of this past meetings - for instance the Report of the Discussion (Fraction) with the IBRP - in the bulletin 33 of the Internal Fraction of the ICC. In this report, we expressed our agreement with the introduction text presented by the IBRP delegation about consciousness and about the constitution of the PCInt in 1943.
Claiming these agreements does not mean it cannot exist - we are convinced of the opposite - nuances, diverse understandings or approaches, on these questions. But this belongs to the very life of the proletariat and to its historical fight ; this cannot but pass through any organisation and no doubt too through the party of tomorrow. And this can only be overcome by the debate and the political fight within the same camp.
There are also misunderstandings, have we said. For instance, we don't have doubt about the GIS comrades' sincerity when they affirm that the ICC conception about the Historical Course is to be rejected since it would correspond at “playing Nostradamus and building its politics on abstract predictions”. Then let's aside the notion of Course and let's quote a passage of the comrades' text which we are sure to share the content and the political implication for the revolutionary organisation :
“We find ourselves in the imperialist epoch of capitalism, the epoch of wars and revolutions. In this, the end of the accumulation cycle brings two distinct but interconnected alternatives with itself: war or revolution. Whether it comes to war or revolution depends on the relation of forces between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The precise understanding of this relation of forces is essential for the activity of revolutionaries” (we underline).
As well, the text on Our differences with the ICC puts forwards that “the task of revolutionaries is to actively participate in all class struggles insofar as our organisation strength allows this. The ICC rejects this active intervention and sees their tasks as pure propaganda”. There are other passages in the text which take back this idea about the ICC. For our part, we claim the whole experience of the ICC in the years 1970 and 1980 acquired in the active intervention and in which we intended to assume the tasks of a genuine political vanguard, of a genuine political leadership of the proletariat in the very struggles, in the assemblies, in the strikes, in the demonstrations, etc. In that sense, we are in agreement with the need of the active intervention in the struggles and we claim to be the guardians of all this militant experience which is today liquidated by the present ICC.
There, for us there is a misunderstanding, real this time, no doubt sincere and honest, by the GIS comrades about what really was the policy and the intervention of the ICC.
On the other hand, there are true disagreements between the two currents which, far from “separating” two chapels and which would justify the negation, the sectarian rejection or exclusion of the other, are part of the very life of the proletariat. We even think it is better, highly, that these divergences have their organized expression and that they be claimed by communists rather than be denied or rejected with no discussion, with no “confrontation”. Indeed, it is through the confrontation and the debates being assumed that the communists will be able to arm themselves and to prepare for the inevitable appearance, or springing up, of these differences in the very course of the struggle and in the moments the more critical and the more difficult for the proletariat. In that sense, actually we think that there are disagreements between our two currents, but also within each current, on the questions of analysis and intervention in the workers struggles. It is so at least since the latter - the intervention - requires a permanent vigilance and a permanent struggle because it is never acquired for ever and because it needs the conviction and the willingness - even the courage - of its interest and its necessity. It is always the source of a struggle within the communist organizations and will always be, included within the most homogeneous of the Parties.
There are other real divergences and more important that the GIS text points out. The main ones concern the theoretical explanation of capitalism's crisis. For us, these divergences - to be specified and even defined - are not class frontiers, nor even obstacles to fight together today.
For what concerns the Period of transition, it is a question that our fraction, and “our” ICC, has not discussed since the beginning of the years 1980 and we consider it as “open”, it means that it does not constitute an obstacle for fighting in the same organization. What is for us already essential is the fact we share with the ICT the position according to which the Party does not seize power in the name of the class, that it does not coincide with the State of the Period of transition. In a certain way, the Thesis which accompany the publication of the Platform of the PCInt of 1952 mention the problem by putting the emphasis on the fact that "the proletariat does not stop at any moment and for any reason to exercise its antagonistic function ; it does not delegate to others its historical mission nor it delivers general proxy, not event to its political Party" (2nd Congress of the PCInt, Milano, 1952, translated and underlined by us).
One of the last differences raised by the GIS text concerns the conception of the building up and the functioning of the organisation. According to us, there are above all on this question misunderstandings in regards to the reality of the ICC - on the reality of its nucleus and territorial sections - that we leave aside3 in this article.
The text of the GIS points out a last difference on the Chaos and Decomposition. We already wrote in order to criticize and to denounce the theory of Decomposition such as it is put forwards today by the official ICC. Nevertheless, it remains that we assume our responsibility for having taken our share in the development of this theory. It has been a fundamental political error which enabled firstly to justify a policy of erroneous internal functioning - as well as dramatical for members since the organisational crisis of 1995 - and afterwards which provides the “theoretical framework” for the betrayal and the liquidation of the fundamental positions of the ICC and of marxism - for instance the abandonment by the ICC of the historical alternative War or Revolution up to consider that any threat of generalized imperialist war, it means of 3rd World War, have disappeared. In that sense, and without joining the critical arguments of the GIS comrades4, we don't accept the position defended today by the ICC and we even reject it. We would have a lot of thinks to add and to precise on the subject : we refer our readers to the bulletin of the Internal Fraction of the ICC - for example to the article of its issue 30 Historical and theoretical impasse. The theory of the social decomposition phase (March 2005).
Here thus is a quick attempt to define where are the differences between our two historical currents. We could not content ourselves with the granting with strength the editorial of Revolutionary Perspectives and the text of the GIS comrades without beginning to respond and to advance in the confrontation and the clarification of the respective positions. In this process - already opened during the years 2000 between the IBRP and the Internal Fraction of the ICC - we have no doubt that differences will be overcome and that various questions will be clarified. Above all, we have no doubt that these discussions, as well as others, will serve as reference and will favour the wide and international regroupment around the pole constituted by the ICT. It is around this organisation, in reference to it, that the debates and the political clarifications must organize. It is around it that the process of political regroupment - as well as organisational - must be based and develop.
For our part, and since our constitution in 2001 as Internal Fraction of the ICC, we have been able to draw the consequences of the process of opportunist drift which was taking over our own organisation and we have then concluded and established our orientation of regroupment around and with the IBRP of then - the ICT today. The decade of relations more or less close, always fraternal, often fruitful in terms of debate and political clarification, that we had with this organisation, has come to confirm our orientation of origin and confirm our conviction. Today, given the present historical situation, the ICT takes huge responsibilities, its responsibilities, the very ones that History has allocated it. We will do our best to help it and to support it on this path.
The Fraction of the International Communist Left,
1. See Revolutionary Perspectives 57, review of the CWO, the ICT group in Great-Britain.
2. Our fraction is the only organized form which, today, defends the theoretical, political and even organisational legacy of the original ICC against the betrayals and the liquidations that the “official” ICC of now realizes and multiplies at a ceaselessly accelerated rate. We are the only collective organized force which assumes and claims openly the whole history of the ICC, its strengths and weaknesses, its lessons and its mistakes, from its very beginning up to the 2001 organisational crisis. It so “materializes” the tradition of this current whose disappearance would represent a harsh lack, what ever is the political assessment one can make of it ; since inescapably, the questions raised would reappear but then in emergency and the midst of confusion because it'll be in the situation of the historical events which approach.
3. All the more so as the new opportunist policy of the “ICC of the Liquidators” has come to fuel and justify these criticisms and misunderstandings.
4. We already mention the fact that some critical arguments brought by the comrades are based on misunderstandings of what really the “old” ICC stated. We can't come back here and we refer the reader, for the Decomposition, to the reading - see our web site - of the article of the Internal Fraction of the ICC.
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