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January 10th 2013
The FICL to the ICT,
At first, we want to thank you for your statement on our Activities Report. We know the effort this political act has required in the midst of the different tasks that you have to deal with. The political meaning of your fraternal and militant behavior towards us goes over the simple relationship between the ICT and our fraction ; it even goes over the « historical » relationship that should have developed between our two currents – the PCint-IBRP and the GCF-ICC – since the years 1970 up to our days. As you write, « in some ways our relationship has been a model for how communists with differences should relate to one another ».
This « model of relationship » does not represent an abstract or moral principle. It has a political and concrete meaning from the communist and proletarian point of view. Far from remaining in the « polite » respect of our relations and our differences, this « model » has no meaning but in the concrete expressions of solidarity and communist fraternity in front of the class enemy and its attacks of any kind linked with, in « inter-action » with, the discussions and the confrontation of our political differences in order to clarify them as much as possible, indeed to overcome them when it is possible.
In this sense, we note and we particularly appreciate the reassertion of your confidence in « the integrity and honesty with which [we] have tried to carry out what [we] believe in ». Since our disgraceful expulsion from the ICC and the ignominious condemnations that this organization had made against us, you have always assumed with responsibility and seriousness a fraternal political, and at the same time critical, attitude which had encouraged and supported us in those extremely difficult moments at the political point of view as well as personal. Nevertheless, this communist confidence that you have verified, would have got a small and limited interest for our class if it had not been accompanied, if it had not enabled, if it had not been an active factor of the discussions and the clarification of different political positions and principles ; at first the one of class consciousness and of the party. Useless to come back here on the passages of our report and of your document on these questions which, according to us, do mark the line of division within the proletarian camp of today and of tomorrow between those – the currents – which will be led to be the active, decisive, factors of the setting up of the Party and those who will turn away this fundamental task, indeed will oppose it openly or in a « diverted » manner, it means in a « centrist » one as teaches us the history of our class and of the communist movement.
On this point, and by the way, we would have a difference of evaluation of secondary order about the political approach towards comrades who tend more or less openly to place themselves in the rejection or the under-estimation not only of the historical role of the Party, but also and above all of the present organizations of the Communist Left up to declare their bankruptcy. Actually it is the case of the review Controverses. Our attitude and our intervention towards the comrades of this milieu are only political and the fact they have participated – the members of Controverses – to the most ignominious accusations and condemnations against us when they still were in the ICC, doesn't intervene in our political evaluation, we would like it be clear. The very fact that they have fraternally saluted us after their dismissal of the ICC when we met, is enough for us1. On the other hand, we estimate that their present political statement based on the declaration of bankruptcy of the groups of the Communist Left do represent a true danger that we intend to particularly fight back since we think this class fight is at the core of the historical front line between the classes.
But let's go back to our main subject. We are convinced that the « model of relationship » we were able to establish between us – model which is still suffering weaknesses according to us and whose responsibility we certainly share – is the path for establishing the most healthy and the most solid basis for the regroupment of the communists and the setting up of the world Party of the proletariat.
Here, we get to a point of misunderstanding between us : the question of the pole, or the poles, of regroupment. We have never said that it could only exist one single pole of regroupment, nor that « once it was the ICC, now it is the ICT ». Nor the Fraction, nor « our » ICC : « However, if the ICC had become the main pole of regroupment, that doesn't mean it was alone in the world. Despite the confusions built into its origins, the IBRP, in comparison to the political delinquency of the other groups who formed the proletarian milieu, formed the other pole of reference and of relative political clarity within the communist movement and its debates » (International Review #54, The Evolution of the Proletarian Political Milieu since 1968, 1988, underlined by us2).
And today, 20 years after this assertion of the « old » ICC, 12 years after its organizational crisis and the beginning of a ruling opportunist course in this organization, what does remain of the poles of that time ? Here is what our Fraction, whether as Internal Fraction of the ICC or FICL, has never ceased to defend :
« Actually, since its setting up, and even before the exclusion of our Fraction from the ICC in March 2002, we addressed to the IBRP because, from that moment on, we considered it as the unique pole remaining within the proletarian camp, around which a regrouping of communist forces can organize itself. The political consequences to come of our exclusion upon the ICC itself couldn't but lead, amongst other things, to the rejection of its policy of regrouping - led, more or less correctly, until then - as well as to the quick triumph of sectarianism. Since then, the sectarian drift – which has been reinforced by political statements of this organization that were every time more opportunist – has not denied our "prediction" – and our warnings – of that time. Furthermore, the situation of extreme dispersion of the so-called "bordiguist" current since the break-up of the ICP in 1982 doesn't enable it to assume this role that it succeeded to play beforehand.
Because of its direct organic continuity with the Italian Left, because its program, because its political analysis and because its international organizational existence, the IBRP remains so the only organization which has today the means to assume a real policy of international regrouping. And, actually, it constitutes the only true pole around which the elements and groups which tend to come close to the positions of the Communist Left can refer to and around which they can really "regroup". » (Resolution of Activities of the Internal Fraction of the ICC, Bulletin #43 of the IFICC, January 2008).
Up to today, we maintain our analysis on this point. Nothing, not any material element, indicates that this situation has changed – even though we don't rule out in the absolute that this one can change, or be disrupted in a possible future. Not any « honor » we did you while considering that the ICT is the only pole of regroupment which remains today, but just a material record, an objective one, and an enormous responsibility to your organization.
On the same question, or almost the same, we have never defended that being a pole of regroupment means automatically and in any situation, in particular the one which prevails now since 1968 – to limit ourselves to this period – to be « the future international party of the proletariat », nor « its only nucleus ». Historically, it can happen – or can't happen. But it is not the situation of today for the ICT, nor was it the situation for the ICC when we considered it as one of the poles. It is precisely the present ICC, become openly opportunist, which revised in 2005 its positions of 1988 and its vision of the process of regroupment driving to the formation of the Party when it declared « that the ICC already constitutes the skeleton of the future party » (Resolution on the international situation of the 16th Congress of the ICC, International Review #122).
We have re-read our report and we have not noticed any part which « repeat yet again (…) that [the ICT is] the only future nucleus of a world proletarian party ». Thus, there is not any real political difference on these two points between us but a problem of comprehension.
However, and the last two questions drive us to it, there is well and truly a real disagreement on « how the working class’ international political organization will emerge ». For the ICT, « it is better for real organizations to emerge within the working class in each territory where it is present than to establish warehouses of three or four comrades who just happen to agree with our platform ». For us, « any communist organization, as small it can be, must consider itself and act as a centralized international group, with the same political platform in particular, what ever is its shape and its geographical presence ». We don't think our conception corresponds systematically to the setting up of a « centralized self-proclaimed pole » – ourselves, we are not and can't be an international pole of regroupment in the present circumstances – formed with « warehouses of three or four comrades ». But here is not the question we must debate and clarify.
It is true that the national limits the bourgeoisie is unable to overcome, determine also the proletariat's struggle and that this one confronts a national State with its historical particularities. In this sense, each proletariat is facing particular conditions and circumstances. But, its weapons and its methods of struggle are, and today more than ever, the same in all countries. Only the « moments » – in the extensive meaning of this term –, the circumstances if one prefers, can be, and are, distinct. It goes the same for its political vanguard which is also obliged to organize itself in territorial « section », groups or parties... but always, and today more than ever, on an international programmatic and political basis. According to us, and it seems to us that the experience of the workers movement and of its communist vanguards comes largely to confirm it, it is only armed with an international vision and practice in all the proletariat's struggles that the communists can intervene and assume in the most efficient way their task of political leadership in all the struggles of the proletariat, immediate and local struggles of today and tomorrow, as limited they can be, massive and generalized struggles of tomorrow, revolutionary and insurrectionary struggles of the day after tomorrow, exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat in one country or a group of countries, etc...
This link between international and national dimensions of the fight for revolution and Communism is a dynamic link – dialectical – in which the first one is the determining element. In particular, it determines the activity of the communists and of their organization. It is not by chance if one of the essential contributions of the « Italian Left » has precisely been its fight for precising, « hardening » and imposing the 21 conditions of admission to the Communist International against the national exceptions and particularisms that all the centrists and opportunists who were running after the prestige of the Red October - « Gods » knows they were numerous ! –, were attempting to invoke and introduce in order to keep their « autonomy » within the International and to refuse the programmatic, political and organizational centralization – or if one prefers to reject the communist discipline. As well, it is the Left which fought in order that the national question in general, and above all the ones which directly touched the Bolshevik party, the « Russian » party, be posed and discussed by all the International – they were the only ones who had this audacity of « internationalist intrusion ».
Of course, nor the ICT, nor any group today, is the party, nor even its nucleus. Nevertheless, and as the formation of the internationally centralized Party of tomorrow will inescapably be subjected to a fight, in particular against all the tendencies towards national and local autonomy, it means against all those who will struggle and will oppose, often under a diverted manner and in the name of particularism and other « exceptions »3, the communists must already consider themselves as militant with « international dimension » what ever is their geographical origin or their present passport and they must organize consequently in order to prepare and to arm themselves for this fight. As we must aim at the constitution of the Party well before the revolutionary process – with the danger of an historical defeat in the contrary situation –, as well we must already prepare to the theoretical, political and organizational battle which is beyond us in order to participate to the success of its later setting up.
By the way, a small comment : we think that the ICT argument according to which a « premature centralisation can be a barrier to the emergence of new forces within the working class in any single area », can engage the necessary process of regroupment of the communist forces in some confusion. Nevertheless, we also think it is necessary to reflect on this remark. At least since the experiences of the PCint-Communist Program and the ICC, 2 experiences of internationally centralized organization, two experiences in great difficulties today, can appear to prove this vision right.
Thus, and even if we agree with the purpose of the invitation you address to us as a conclusion and according to which « it would be a great step forward if you could participate in the formation of an internationalist organisation based amongst French communists which could act as a real nucleus oriented, not only to debate amongst the internationalists around the world, but also to the working class [we] are directly in contact with », we know that, at the present stage of our respective understandings and visions, we don't exactly understand the same thing.
We don't develop anymore here, these few lines – already too long – only aiming at posing the terms of a confrontation of the positions on this question and their clarification, even at overcoming the disagreement. The international centralization of the Communist Party is a question of principle. Nevertheless, we don't think the difference, as such it is expressed today – the ICT comrades also struggle for a centralized party –, are up to prevent a common work, even a rapprochement – included organizational – stronger and closer.
We wont' respond here on the critical evaluation, criticism you have already brought against the vision and the analysis of the ICC, but on the link which is made between the analysis of the development of the workers struggles in the years 1970 and 1980, and behind this the idealist approach you have always seen, and the bankruptcy of the present ICC. Just a word on the method.
First, if the analysis of the « years of thrust » – the years 1980 – of the ICC can be criticized, it is difficult to present it as a particular moment of the final opportunist drift. For is not it also on the basis of this analysis that the ICC has freed itself – in its official statements, in congresses, resolutions, articles, and militant practice too – of its councilist and anarchist origins ? That it has regained – of course with much difficulties – all Lenin's struggle against Economism and for the Party, as organ of political leadership ? Our Fraction didn't cease to defend these theoretical, political, organizational and militant gains of that time against their open liquidation since 2001.
Then, it seems to us that defining the reason for an opportunist degeneration of an organization or a political current through its incorrect analysis of the course of the classes struggle is a mistake, or at least an insufficient explanation. Is not this the criticism the ICC – we took our part in this and made that criticism – has made wrongly against the formation of the PCInt in 1943 ? Formation which would have been, according to the ICC, in a counter-revolutionary course, so « against the current ». But the PCInt has not fallen into an opportunist degeneration and have lived on, so well, until today up to be the main organization of vanguard of the world proletariat of our days. The ICC argument against the setting up of the PCInt so falls. And we don't think the same « argumentation » towards its own drift is anymore sufficient. Certainly, a mistaken analysis weakens an organization and can favor weaknesses already existing leading to an opportunist drift. But it is above all the programmatic and theoretical armament which is determining for the resistance of a communist organization in front of the weight and the attacks of bourgeois ideology and no its analysis on the situation. Thanks to the faithfulness to the principles and to the programme, it is possible to resist to the mistakes and the weaknesses which are the daily fate of the communist organizations. On the other hand, the accuracy of the analysis of one situation, even an historical course, doesn't guarantee the ability to resist to the sirens of opportunism and renouncement.
Here, dear comrades, the few reflections and precisions we wanted to make regarding your statement on our Report of Activities. As we have already said, we are ready to debate all this, but above all we remain disposed and determined to participate to the ICT work and to struggle siding with this one – at the place that you and we will define – in the difficult path to the revival of the workers struggles and above all in the one even more difficult and actually fundamental, primary, towards the regroupment of the communist forces and the formation of the world Party.
1. Their fraternal behavior reveals the reality and the deepness of their conviction during the crisis of the ICC in 2001-2002 in regards with the condemnations brought against us and whose worst one was that we were supposed to be cops. And it does say a lot about the conditions in which the members of the ICC were feeling themselves constrained to vote the worst resolutions and motions against us in the crazy atmosphere of panic created on purpose by the Liquidationnist Faction of that time in the name of the « defense of the organization and of its unity ».
2. Or still : « We have already seen that this pessimistic vision does not take into account the fact that the majority of the revolutionary milieu in the years 68-75 stayed rigorously outside any dynamic towards contact and discussion, whereas today, the two main poles of regroupment which exist at an international level – the ICC and the IBRP – both defend, even though in different terms, the necessity for a debate. It’s no accident that the new groups that are now appearing, in particular on the peripheries of capitalism, tend immediately to refer themselves to the debates between these two poles. Today, however displeasing it may be to those who believe that debate between revolutionaries is a type of supermarket which, in order to be rich and satisfying, has to offer a choice between thousands of diverse products, this selection process is not an ‘impoverishment’ but a step forward. This polarisation allows the new elements to situate themselves clearly with regard to the FUNDAMENTAL political divergences that exist between the main currents of the revolutionary movement, instead of getting lost in the thousand secondary refinements of this or that sect ». (International Review #55, Decantation of the PPM..., 1988). Today still, we remain convinced of the validity of this assertion and « method ».
3. Is not it already the case of the « councilist » milieu we have mentioned and whose a great part is formed by « desillusioned » comrades coming from the ICC, but not only – the Istituto Damen for instance – and whose one motivation to leave the communist organizations they were member of, is rightly the demand for their « autonomy » and their « freedom of thought » whether they are individual or circle ?
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