PROPOSAL OF THE ACTIVITIES REPORT FOR THE JANUARY 2002 IB PLENUM
With this proposal of activities report for the January 2002 IB plenum, the Fraction presents a balance-sheet and activities orientations for the ICC which are opposed to the balance-sheet and the "orientations" adopted by the majority of the IB in September 2001. The following report is fully and without reserve in continuity with the activities report which has been presented then by comrades Michel, Olivier and Juan. Published in the bulletin #1 of the Fraction, this last one adopted it. It's still valid and actual from the point of view of the balance-sheet and the defence of the orientation led during the years 1996 up to 2001 as well as the criticism of the new orientation
that we label as destructive
which is imposing more and more every day within the ICC.
The orientation we propose, is in full continuity with the orientation and the policy led by the ICC from 1996 up to 2001 at the organizational level. It is also in defence of this orientation which is today put into question, indeed shamefully and hidden, but nevertheless really, by the liquidationist tendency which predominates now in the ICC executive organs [in french "organes decisionnels"]. Let's recall that this policy has been the direct product of the 1993-1996 struggle against the "clan-pavillon", and above all the direct and consistent ["consequent"] product, even if uncomplete, of the political lessons of that struggle. May the comrades expect nothing new on this from our part. The Fraction carries out the defence of the ICC policy against the ones who shamefully renounce to it and destroy it, against those who introduce with the fait accompli
policy ["accomplished fact"]; in stead of proposing it openly and frankly, a new orientation
to the ICC.
The present IB has, in the conditions we know and no matter what consciousness have its members of it -, ratified a policy which turns its back to the previous policy. Thus today, the report we are presenting, is essentially an alarm cry. For that, it contains a negative and critical balance-sheet of the ICC activities since the Congress, and in particular of the IB as the central organ of the ICC.
But it also has the ambition to begin to think about the relationship between the evolution and the violent acceleration of the historical present situation and the situation of crisis that the ICC is passing through.
1- The IB forgets the method to renounce freely and without hindrance to its past orientation
One of the acquisition of the ICC we inherited in particular from the Italian Fraction and passed on and systematized by MC to the ICC has always been to refer to the material and historical facts constituted by the writings, the texts, and firstly by the reports, resolutions, and statements, adopted by the organization.
To draw a balance-sheet of the years 1996-2001, it's not enough to declare that there was the clan "the most dangerous (
) the most shamefull and the most repugnant of the ICC history"
(Statement of the monthly ES, without date October ?-, published in our bulletin #4), or to discredit the members of the Fraction by calling them names as thiefs, cowards, hypocrites, bluffers, lumpens, hooligans, weather cocks, full of hatred, revanchists, blackmailers, etc
- to reject or to ignore these reports and resolutions. It's has to go back to the reports and resolutions adopted even if it's for rejecting them in the end.
Now today, there is a shamefull, embarrassed and complete silence on the orientation adopted and followed from 1996 to 2001. This policy has been adopted and saluted unanimously
during all these years. Today, what does the organization think of it ? What do the present IB members think of it ? Everybody feels well, despite yet acknowledging it consciously, that the September IB plenum has ratified an orientation which put strongly into question the positive balance-sheet of all these years and the orientation the ICC had defined unanimously
The supposed existence of the "clan-pavillon-bis" allows to turn the back to the method and to not answer to the only real question : was this orientation valid ? Yes or no ? In accordance with the 12th
Congresses of the ICC, the 14th
still affirmed it despite the trouble and the confusion that the liquidationnists threw within it with their manouvers. The present IB majority is silent and hopes it will pass. It gives up in front of this question which is posed to it and to which it can't escape except it discredites itself. The current IB whose selection, except one or two exceptions, is exactly the same as the one of the previous IB, has adopted in September 2001 a new orientation in contradiction with the one it had adopted and confirmed previously during 5 years. And that it had defended faced to the organization despite Peter's reluctancies and silent resistance as do testify the minutes of the IS and IB.
Whether the orientation led from 1996 up to 2001 was valid. But then, it has been put into practice by "the most dangerous (
) the most shamefull and the most repugnant of the clans"
of the whole ICC history, by militants who are presented today as the equals of Simon, Chenier and the CBG. Moreover, this policy has been put into practice by an already known and identified clan which was defeated in 1995-1996. And lastly, this clanish policy has been open, frank, discussed, presented, and adopted in front of the whole organization for its greater part, and for a smaller one a mistake of the former IB and of the former IS in front of the IB only. And not through manouvers, nor parallel discussions. Nor through the secret and corridors talks. Nor during meals with friends of the family. To say this orientation was valid, is also to acknowledge that the so-called clan had no particular, foreign, ideology to the proletariat. Finally this policy has been adopted, defended and saluted unanimously during years. It means that there was no disagreement expressed in any time, whether they didn't exist or whether they were hidden and kept to the real, secret and underground, faction constituted by Louise, Bruno, and afterwards Peter. If the orientation was valid, welcome the coherence ! And good luck for those who will have to defend this publicly. Because it will be necesary to express publicly on the present crisis one day. No ?
Whether the orientation wasn't valid. And then we have to go back on all the positive balance-sheets and the advances done by the organization during all these years. And there, it's a "boîte de Pandore" ["box of Pandore", "every thing is put into question"] that it's opened because, inevitably, all the policy led will have to be thrown to the garbage. But thus, what is the balance sheet of the IB work during all these years to draw except it's negative ? That the IB failed miserably ? What "verified" confidence can we place in such a team of comrades constituting the IB ? Today particularly ? What political authority can have, can claim, the present IB which has defined, put into practice, and voted without any reserve during 5 years an orientation whose goal was the destruction of the organization ? The same IB which in many occasions had rightly criticised the hesitations of the IS to lead this very same policy so dangerous ? Wasn't the IB which reproached the IS for the hesitation to publish the IS contribution on confidence and the IIB
276 in front of Peter's opposition and sabotage ? What political perspicacity for such a team which has put forward a non-valid policy during all these years, without any criticism, and which hasn't been able to see the so-called "clan-pavillon-bis", clan already known, identified, fought, and defeated ? There is the central organ of the ICC, the IB, striken by a complete political blindness which augurs badly of its capacity for facing much more dramatical, acute and difficult situations. We understand better why the Orientation Text
and the activities report adopted by the IB decreed the confidence to the central organs. In this case, it's not self-evident.
In this situation, if what was at stake was only the fate of this IB, it won't be grave. But unfortunatly, this situation involves, inevitably, theoretical and political consecuencies and "innovations" which can't be but fatal in the end for the ICC.
The present policy isn't due to a momentary aberration which could be caused by the forgetting of the principles, or even the urgency in front of a particular situation. It corresponds to the logic of the permanent coup de force
[bid for power ?] policy led by the liquidationnist faction. This one has already put into practice in various occasions this policy of sytematic forgetting of the political statements of the organization. It has even gone still further by disqualifying in advance any attempt to refer to the statements and the balance sheets of the organization which weren't convenient to it (). Nothing but this question of the escape in front of the critical, serious and consistent study on the basis of the reports and the resolutions, shows the present drift of the organization.
In coherence with this policy of silence on what bothers, the refusal to discuss our previous activities report is the expression of a behaviour and a practice which, if they are new in the ICC, have several precedents in the history of the workers movement. Every time, the opportunism tends to find again the same weapons : "Our spirit of criticism and of frank discussion has been considered intolerable and unacceptable, and, in response to our documents (the only ones which were submitted to the discussion for the Conference), it has been prefered , not only not to discuss them, but even more it has been estimated better to simply eliminate us of the Conference"
(Against the conception of the genius chief, MC, Internationalism
25, August 1947, copied in the International Review
34, most of quotations are translated by us into english). Isn't it now the same "method", the same opportunist dynamic in order to avoid the open political confrontation ?
The IB, and with it the whole ICC, can't avoid to go back to the balance sheet of the years 1996 to 2001 and to confirm or to invalidate its previous statements
. If the IB invalidates the positive balance sheet it had drawn before, it has to make a methodical and serious critical balance sheet in order to argue and to base its 180°degree turn
. For our part, the Fraction, we claim and defend this orientation and its continuity. Up to those who reject it today to explain. Up to the "brilliant" innovators and to the IB majority to make a critical balance sheet of these years.
2- The new practices are marks of opportunism
Besides the tendency to the giving up of the method which has always been the ICC method, the last six months i.e. since the 14e
Congress of the ICC have seen an acceleration of the introduction of organizational practices which manifests an important drift, which turns the back to the Left fractions traditions along all the workers movement history. In the name of "confidence" to the central organs, in the name of the formal "unity" of the organization, in the name of the " party patriotism "
(as says Victor Serge), we have witnessed a passive acceptance to the "scandal policy"
(as says Bordiga), to the permanent coup de force
, to the discipline for discipline and to sanctions. And all that in order to stifle the individual reflection, and above all the colletive one, in the debate and the confrontation with the new positions put forwards by the liquidationnists in their texts and their contributions (in particular the new vision of the red thread militants) ; in the IC reports and in the Orientation Text
on confidence ; and in the proposal for permanent and autonomous Investigation Commission adopted by the last September IB plenum. This passive acceptance, in the name of the unity, of the discipline for the discipline and of the new practices let free the liquidationnist faction to discredit the individuals and to eliminate the minoritarians. This dodge to avoid to make the basic and principle questions the absolute priority, implies that the new and "audacious" positions are already adopted by the central organ of the ICC even before the discussion as now the IS acknowledges it in regards to the Orientation text
and the proposal for a permanent and autonomous IC. This passivity and this dodge can't but lead to the demoralization, to the desorientation, and finally to the destruction of the consciouness and the conviction of the militants.
On the basis of what has been published by the current central organs, we can begin to see at the inmediate level the real situation of the organization and the confirmation of the destructive process of the militants under way. There is what is reported at the EC plenum of November 17th
"Yet in the struggle against the present clan, comrades have presented their resignation : Jonas, ST and Michel even if, for the moment, they have been refused, it is posible that there will be others in the months to come and, so, the concern of the organization must be to limit as much as posible this demands for resignation. Moreover there are comrades within the organization who, without being in agreement with the fraction and condemning it, are destabilized, demoralized in particular by the lies spread by the fraction, by the behaviour sometimes «indignous»
["unworthy"] of communist militants, of certain members of the fraction and they don't feel the strength for being active part of the struggle against this attack against the organization which constitutes the existence of the clan within our ranks and want to pose their resignation"
(sinthesis of the ICC activities discussion, BIRI
Let's pass on the fact that all is the so-called "clan" fault.
In any case, there are already two balance sheets to compare : the orientation led from 1996 up to 2001 had reinforced the ranks of the organization and reinforced the conviction of the militants. In these years, a few resignations had been presented and, oftenly they had been withdrawn after an intervention of the organization and its central organs (). There was an orientation of the organization which was defined and defended in the direct continuity of the struggle and the lessons of 1993. The tendency was rather, if we look at the balance sheets and the reports of these years which were adopted unanimously, to the strengthening of the organization at that level. If we take the vision of the so-called "pavillon-clan-bis", the policy of the clan "the most destructive (
) the most shamefull and the most repugnant"
was positive at that level as well as at others. There is one more contradiction.
In opposition, the present policy seems to have contrary effects, demoralizing, not so much towards the repugnant individuals of the so-called clan who have organised in Fraction, but towards numerous comrades. Except accusing for that the so-called clan, i.e. today the Fraction, we have to acknowledge at least for the moment that the ICC orientation at that level is negative since the congress. At least, that it has not been successfull in mobilizing and convincing many comrades who, nevertheless, weren't particularly weaken in the previous period.
To stay in the ICC without keeping silent on the reserves or on the disagreements
Right now, to the comrades who would be in such a phase of demoralisation and tempted by resignation, we urge them not to quit the ICC. Even if they don't have the strength today to be clear, if they strongly doubt of the present majoritarian policy, and even if they disagree with the Fraction on its struggle as well as on its political positions, they have to stay militants of the working class.
But we also say to them that they must refuse to vote without conviction when they have doubts or when they are not sure. It's their right and even their duty to refuse to pronounce when they estimate they are not able to make it with conviction. The ICC has always fought against the facade, superficial and "without-conviction" votes. This new policy
which seeks to force the vote of the comrades in a hurry, on the basis of a simple reading in meeting, or even a presentation not written of such or such resolution or statement, is in total contradiction with the tradition and the political lessons of the ICC. This new practice
which increased lately, since the congress and the permanent coup de force
policy, is a practice worthy of leftism belonging to the student and petit-bourgeois milieu. Haven't we seen the activities resolution of the last IB plenum voted and adopted on the basis of the reading at the computer screen without the comrades could read it, think, nor even amend it and while profound disagreements existed ? Haven't we seen the first drafts of the Orientation Text
submitted to vote on the basis of an oral presentation during the June monthly IS ? We reject this new practice which is introduced today and which seeks to commit the comrades to hurry votes and statements to which, obviously, it's much more difficult to go back afterwards. Especially since the present policy will recall to the comrades their previous vote and will name them weather cock ["girouette", "weather vane"] if they would go back on their initial position. Isn't what occurred shamefully with Olivier ? We call the militants of the ICC to reject those practices and those pressures, yes they are pressures. We call the militants to refuse and to fight within the ICC
present practices put forward by the executive organs, the IS and the ES.
To change course and to recognize the Fraction
To stay within the ICC today is also for the Fraction. Of course, it can't be to the detriment of the political and principle positions and convictions. As we already showed in our bulletins, the question of the unity in itself and of the discipline in itself have been weapons used by the opportunism against the Left. Whether it was in the socialist parties as shows the Spartakists experience, or in the Communist International and the CPs as recalls Bordiga (see our bulletins), Victor Serge (in Memories of a revolutionary
) and even Trotsky (for instance in New Course
, 1923), or also within the PCint in 1945-1947 as recalls MC. Between the political convictions and the defence of the political principles for one part, and the formal "unity" of the organization for the other part, the choice of the Left must be clear. Our choice is clear. Today
, the fate of the ICC is not in its formal unity but in the struggle against the liquidationnist tendency. The programatical, theoretical, political, and even organizational defence of the ICC
passes through the political
struggle against the political
tendency which liquidates politically and organizationnally the ICC ; through the clear confrontation between two opposed and irreconcilable lines. It's already the reality of the ICC today, at least since the congress. Its previous unity doesn't exist anymore. Moreover, what ever will be the outcome of the present crisis, there will be no return to the previous situation contrary to the illusion that the IB wanted to keep during and after the congress (didn't it believe, and didn't it call for the reconstitution of the former IS team ?). And certainly, it's exactly what the today centrism doesn't want to understand.
It's on the basis of this understanding i.e. the consequent recognition of two irreconcilable political lines and because the ICC had always showed its strength and had always strengthen through its collective debates, oftenly contradictory that the whole organization must :
- reject the explanation of the present crisis with the so-called clan () ;
- fight against the expulsion of the Fraction which the liquidationnists plan.
This struggle, since it's a struggle and a confrontation, gets today through imposing we well say to impose
at the risk to shock the kind souls since it's clear that there is a refusal, or at least a resistance to the present executive organs the political and formal recognition of the Fraction. And so its concrete recognition. That is to say that must be held the meeting we have asked since now more than three months in order to define the practical and concrete mode of the ICC functionning with the Fraction, and thus with any future fraction, in order it can live within the organization. The stubborn refusal to this meeting and, in particular, the stubborn refusal to accept the payment of our dues ["cotisations"], as well as the refusal of the publication of our texts in the bulletins, mark an additional step in the organizational drift which will have to be justified and "theoreticized" ["théoriser"] regardless of the workers movement. Such as the justification and the "theoretization" of a permament and autonomous IC. It's not only the question of this Fraction and of its militants. But a larger question with theoretical and political consecuencies which will mark an additional step towards the giving up of the ICC principles.
The EC plenum acknowledged its ignorance on the matter and its difficulty to argue in relation to the workers movement experience that we have begun to recall in our own bulletins : This situation will oblige us to deepen what represents a fraction in the workers movement"
In our contributions and in the republication of Bordiga's texts in our bulletins, we have seen how the Left, included MC
, posed the question of the fractions, of the discipline and unity. But even the Trotski who had wanted to militarize the unions in the name of the identity between the State and the working class, carries on keeping an equal spirit and undestanding, in the same direction, as Bordiga on the question of divergences and the fractions :
"The decision of the Tenth Congress prohibiting factions can only have an auxiliary character; by itself it does not offer the key to the solution of any and all internal difficulties. It would be gross "organizational fetishism" to believe that whatever the development of the party, the mistakes of the leadership, the conservatism of the apparatus, the external influences, etc., a decision is enough to preserve us from groupings and from upheavals inherent in the formation of factions. Such an approach is in itself profoundly bureaucratic"
(The new course
, Trotski, 1923. From the marxists.org web site. In the french version "faction" is replaced by "fractions").
The recognition of political divergences is vital for the ICC
The executive central organs (IS, monthly IS, IC ?, ES) refusal to recognize the Fraction, obliges them to deny the political divergences and the antagonism of the general orientation defended by the Fraction with the one of the present majority. The organization and its militants are free to follow them on this track tipical of the opportunism to refuse to acknowledge and to discuss the divergences. The accusation of clanism serves to mask the reality of the disagreements. But the reality is still there and to deny to see it and to confront it will have and already have political consecuencies :
"The political conditions for the constitution of a fraction weren't gathered : no text showing the ICC degeneration has been produced, no alternative text has been produced by the comrades of the fraction"
EC plenum, BIRI
251). What is striking, is the refusal to acknowledge in the facts the existence, not only of the Fraction, but also and worse of the political divergences. And then, as for the real history of the present crisis which gets back to 1996 as prove it the minutes of the IS and the ES, ones is obliged to distort, or even to deny, the reality. One falls in the selfsuggestion and selfconviction. We're told there aren't divergences. That there is no text, nor proposed alternative. Thus there is no text, nor proposed alternative. Denying the existence of the fact, or distorting it, or yet even reducing it to an expression of the abstract category "clan", one believes the problem is resolved. And so is resolved, it seems. Isn't there a particular application, a particular moment, of the speculative and idealist method that Marx and Engels criticized in the Holy Family
And yet, reality is there. The Fraction does exist and it proves it with the important political work it assumes through its bulletins. The Fraction claims a whole series of texts and contributions that we've mentionned in our bulletin #1. But which doesn't exist for our idealists
on duty. Let's try to open their eyes one more time. We won't mention them all again. Neither all the reports and resolutions adopted since 1996 which are today implicitly brought into question, and which will openly be tomorrow, and that the Fraction wants to defend.
We defend the March 2000 IS contribution and the opening to the whole ICC of the debate on the problems which it posed in the IIB
274. Since the opposition and the manouvers of the comrades Louise, Bruno and Peter, first to put in discussion this contribution within the RI congress, and then to the publication of this bulletin and the 276, we know that there are disagreements on this text. Isn't there a political divergence ? We defend Juan's text on the communist militantism in the IIB
278 with which it seems today, after having been saluted by every body at the time except Peter -, that appear now profound disagreements. Isn't there an other political divergence ? We defend Ldo's texts criticizing the red-thread vision of Peter's contributions. Isn't there a political divergence ? We defend numerous other texts, included those of Palko (IIB
282), of Sven (IIB
283), of François's criticisms to the "injunction" policy put forward by the SE (IIB
280). Isn't there political divergences today ? We reject the analisis and the conclusions of the IC reports. We have an other explanation to the present crisis. Isn't it a political divergence ? We reject the proposal for a permanent and autonomous IC and the September activities report adopted. Isn't it a political divergence ? We're in complete disagreement with the conclusions of the Orientation Text on confidence
and we denounce the introduction of the idealist speculative method which impregnates this text and which is brought and systematized by the liquidationnist faction. Isn't there a political divergence ? We reject the present policy and above all its practices, in particular the manouvers, the provocations, the sanctions without principle and the refusal for the recognition of the Fraction. Isn't there a political divergence ? Finally, we have the pretension to think that our previous activities report, and of course this one too, defends and presents an "alternative" orientation to the "new" orientation put in place by the liquidationnist faction. Isn't there a political divergence ?
In accordance to an other present theory, all these divergences which for some of them go back for some time now, would be artificial. They would seek to mask the clanish resentments, the famous jealousy which we would have felt for "the particular affection that MC had for Peter"
(as said the poor Krespel at the August monthly IS). All this would be only clan and hate against Louise and Peter. Do the comrades get conscious of the dead-end and of the catastrophic consequencies for the life of the ICC, for their political understanding and their conviction of such a refusal to look at and confront the reality ?
Even in complete disagreement with the form and the circumstances which prevail for the constitution of the Fraction, even in complete disagreement with the positions of the Fraction, the whole comrades and, thus, the ICC, must recognize, concretly, in the facts, that does exist a Fraction. This recognition can't be but through the holding of the meeting we have asked for with the IB
, to set together the conditions and the modalities of the ICC functioning with the existence of our Fraction within it.
3- The political consequencies of the present orientation
The new destructive orientation
expresses itself on various levels we don't need to wait until the liquidationnist faction acknowledges and defines explicitly this new orientation breaking with the ICC one, to be able as Fraction to qualify it as destructive. We've seen it at the theoretical level with the speculative method used to justify the vision of the militants who wear out and of the militants who don't wear out, vision which contains a particularly individualist and elitist understanding ; and to put forward the question of confidence with the Orientation Text
. We've also seen it in the undestanding of the present crisis of the ICC, and in the tendency to only see questions of clans, affinity and personal animosity, wounded pride and other vivid psychological features, in the organisational crisis of the workers movement. There is a coherence amongst all these drifts. As there is a coherence with all the inadmissible practices that the last six months have clearly revealed. We 've seen how a policy of "irresponsabilizing"
has been imposed on the question of the votes, practices which is the very negation of the proletarian meaning that we must give, and defend, on the question of the vote. So it's for much other points.
The question of confidence
We're not going to make here a new criticism of the Orientation Text
on confidence. We plan to go back on it in future contributions in our bulletin. It clearly appears today that there are two practical conceptions of the confidence which existed and silently confronted since a certain time.
The March 2000 IS contribution (IIB
274) underlined the tendency which existed within the SE in particular but not only to lack of confidence in the whole of the different parts and in the comrades and to substitute itself to the whole organisation. This tendency had expressed for instance through the failing of considering the EC as a "chambre d'enregistrement" ["house of recording" which means a passive organ in regards to the SE], and not as the central organ. In particular, but not only as we'll see, it was a matter of not evoking acute problems of militantism that affected the SE at the risk of destabilizing the EC. In accordance with the today liquidationnist thesis, it was there a matter of an offensive of the so-called clan
We don't have any hesitation to acknowledge that the IS, distinctly at a lesser degree, had suffered the same failing in regards with the IB which had been rightly criticized at the time in particular by the IB members in Italy if our memory is correct. Many are the texts and the contributions acknowledging and criticizing this failing which certainly didn't limit itself to the two mentionned organs. We want to quote here extracts of a particularly clear contribution on this subject that we saluted at the time and that we carry on saluting today, which is the proof that we beware to read what
is said and not who
says it. Criticizing the manner with which the SE had intervened towards the question of the impulse of the Marseille circle, we can read :
"I would like to quickly recall how things have occurred because I think that it illustrates what we must correct (
). It was a matter of a real injunction accompanied with a date at which had to begin the first meeting of the circle. This way of acting is a profound mistake. Frankly we could wait 15 more days which reality finally obliged us to do, in order to allow the section to achieve its reflection on this question (
). Why is this method a mistake ? Because, except the cases of intervention when it is not always posible to wait a wide homogeneity, every time it's posible, we must allow the discussion to develop and not to promote an orientation with injunction, which has been the case (
). It does not favour the confidence, nor the political initiative, nor the development of the political capacities"
Further, we also read :
having the concern, every time it's posible, to favour the wider debate, that is what is at the basis of a real centralization. Actually, if the lack of confidence in ourselves, in the comrades and in the organization favours the research of inmediat results, it doesn't favour, in return, the development of the political initiative, of the debate, of the confidence in the central organs and the organization. It doesn't favour the building up of a collective body. In the end, it risks to put into question the posibility of a real centralization for lack of political life. Thus, when comrade Bruno thinks he defends the centralization, I think he is wrong. Nobody puts into question the centralisation. But a real centralisation can't be but on the basis of an intense political life"
There is how the question of confidence was posed. There is what was the debate and the divergence with the SE. To tell the truth, essentially with Louise and Bruno at that time. Moreover the author of these lines supports and refers explicitly in his text on the comrades
Jonas, Aglaé and Olivier.
We were to forget to give back to Cesar what belongs to Cesar : Here is the contribution of comrade François Centralisation, confidence and collective work
, January 6th
280). Today, it is exactly the policy which is criticized in this quotation, which is put into practice.
The corollary of this tendency had been criticized too : the passivity and the "wait-and-see" policy ["attentisme"] from parts of the organization, of sections and militants towards positions and decisions of the central organs. As the lack of initiative of the sections and the militants. Blinded by the clanish explanation, the comrades forget today this other aspect of the criticism of that time. Far for helping to see clearly and to understand, the unilateral explanation of the clanism don't lead but to a partial vision of the problems and thus to the powerlessness towards these problems.
To succeed to pose this question of confidence, and still very timidly, has been necesary a long and difficult process. In particular, because the resistances to tackle this question. And the facts are here, what ever may say the adepts of the "all-clanism", this resistance expressed itself above all in the SE. In particular, more the question of confidence was posed such as the organization understood it then, more the resistance expressed itself up to the expression and the explicite claim written in texts of the distrust
to the organization by the comrades Louise and Bruno. There was there a political divergence that we should have posed on a more determined and definite manner than the one used by the IS whose lack of determination had been rightly criticized by the IB.
Today, the question of confidence is presented, defended, practiced completly differently. The problem is inverted
["reversed" ?] : we don't speak any more of confidence in the whole ["le tout"], but confidence in the central organs, in the IS and in the SE, in the IC. And above all a blind confidence since it can't be verified by the political criticism, nor by the concrete facts (). Today, Louise's and Bruno's distrust doesn't exist any more. They are confident because the policy that had been criticised then, is back and have even been pushed further since there is no more counterbalance in the central organs.They are confident because the distrust and the suspicion are becoming the ICC mode of life. Isn't there the result of the "all-clanism" ? The drift on this level has roughly accelerated the last months in the name of the organisation unity against "the most repugnant"
of the clans. It had already been very difficult to pose the problem and to try to struggle against it from 1996 up to 2001. Today, the forces for this struggle are even weaker.
There is yet an other practical consequence of this vision on the "confidence", actually the distrust in the organisation. It is coherent with the Orientation Text
and the proposal for a permanent and autonomous IC, that is which must distrust the organisation and its parties. It's the practical question of the use and the taking of minutes. In our bulletin #5, our contribution on the subject shows that the new
present practice of the ICC is in contradiction to the principle and the past practice of the ICC (). Didn't Peter base widely on the IS meetings minutes for elaborating and writing the 93 Orientation Text
principle according to which there is no automatic "right" for the comrades to have and to take the minutes of the organisation meetings, included those of its central organs, is the mark of the institutionalized distrust. The principle of the ICC on this matter has always been the opposite : the comrades have the right to use the minutes and to take minutes of the meetings at which they participate, and also of the meetings of the different parts of the organisation. And it's only on the basis of this principle that exceptions, or rather limits and conditions can and might be considered in some cases. But the ICC has always been supporter of the workers democracy
and of the wider posible discussion. The new
principle turns the back to this position.
The IC "method" and the rewriting of the history
We reject the different reports of the IC and we reject the method it had used.
All the facts are knowingly inverted and interpreted with a particularly dishonest manner. The worst is that some members of this IC lie boldly on facts in which they have been directly involved. We'll have also, soon or later, the occasion, and when we'll judge it usefull, to confound them.
Just one example amongt other untrue interpretations of the facts : the IC report published in the IIB
288 accuses "the development of a comitee
["comitard" in french which sounds negative] within the IS against the SE of RI"
while it was exactly the reverse which happened and which had been recognized by all the IS Peter included and by all the SE Bruno and Louise included, the latter stressing on the "clanish dynamic" of the SE with a guru named
As well, the truncated use of the minutes, outside the context and the moment in which the interventions were made, the confusion knowingly made with minutes taken between 1999 and 2001 and without refering to what concret problems the former IS was confronted at that time, is also fully dishonest. On this too, we'll go back.
On this two levels, we denounce the method of this IC. Other aspect we criticize, is the confusion made between an IC task and a central organ task. The IC report refers to the text The marxist method, indispensable tool for the defence of the organization
to justify its "method". Doing so, it does as it has not a particular task, the one of an IC, which must precisely, and firstly, investigate on facts, with an empirical
manner oh yes in the framework of a given mandate so it's not autonomous, nor free. It mixes up its mandate with the one of a central organ which it is not. But it is true that the real activities reports which have "oriented" the ICC since the congress, have precisely been the IC reports. Why not ? But then, we can't trust it by principle as it claims. We must verify this confidence.
And this confidence has not been verified either on the level of its general method that it uses and that it claims. We've already criticized the reduction it makes of the organisational crisis of the workers movement to the clanism posed as an abstract category. And that it's true that it uses an idealist approach, by first posing the concept of "clan-pavillon-bis" as prerequisite, in its famous preliminary report to the congress, and then by selecting the few facts it could transfigure and distort in order they could enter in the category "clan". It's not us who say that, it's the different reports of the IC. For instance, the last one claims this idealist method : "However, these last
[concrete expressions of clanism] don't get their full significance but within the framework defined
in french] in the preliminary report as this one don't take content
in french] but through these concrete expressions"
288, IC report). In other words, the IC acknowledges that without this "framework" drawn in advance, beforehand, by principle and without concrete elements in its preliminary report, as it recognizes it in the following of its text, the "clanism expressions" won't get any significance.
By rejecting pompously any empiricism
and by opposing it to the marxist method, it falls in the philosophical idealism because it bases itself on a presupposition which is not real. There is how Marx and Engels specify the method we must use :
"In direct contrast to German philosophy which descends from heaven to earth, here we ascend from earth to heaven
).We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real life-process
). This method of approach is not devoid of premises
[it seems to prove that the IC is right since it starts, in our case, from the presupposition, premise
, of clanism. But let's read the following]. It starts out from the real premises and does not abandon them for a moment
[How do we verify
presupposition ? in the french version "presupposition" is the word used]. Its premises are men, not in any fantastic isolation and rigidity
[Michel marked for life, isolated and fixed for life, by clanism in accordance to the liquidationnists], but in their actual, empirically perceptible process of development under definite conditions
[in our case, the reality of the political orientation really
led by the so-called clan i.e. by the IS, the IB and all the organization
from 1996 to 2001 and that some would like to forget quietly. And Marx and Engels don't oppose the utilisation of the "empiricism", or more exactly of the empirical experience, to the method. It's a moment of it, that is to say that the IC method announcing the existence of a "clan-pavillon-bis" at the congress "without concrete elements"
as it never stopped to claim in its reports, and still in the last one, isn't marxist. What is it then ?]. As soon as this active life-process is described, history ceases to be a collection of dead facts as it is with the empiricists (themselves still abstract), or an imagined activity of imagined subjects, as with the idealists"
(The German ideology
, underlined by us, chapter Ideology in General, German Ideology in Particular
This idealist method resumed and claimed
by the IC can't lead but to distortion, to a rewriting, of the true history, in this case of the history of the crisis of the ICC :
"Criticism, which is self-sufficient, and complete and perfect in itself, naturally cannot recognise history as it really took place (
).History is therefore freed from its mass nature, and Criticism, which has a free attitude to its object, calls to history
: "You ought to have happened in such and such a way!" All the laws of Criticism have
prior to the decrees of Criticism, history behaved quite differently from how it did
(Marx and Engels, The Holy Family
Without being obliged to publish our History of the IS
, the great majority of the comrades fell well that the liquidationnists, and thus the IC reports, are obliged to rewrite the history of the crisis. It's certainly one of the reasons of the uneasiness, of the embarrassment and of the demoralization which affect the comrades as underlined the November EC plénum of RI (IIB
251 already quoted).
Can we be surprised that this IC is confined in blameworthy practices and method while its own existence, its mandate, it owes it to the liquidationnists ?
From the point of view of its mandate as well as its mode of functioning, this commission turns the back to what has always done the ICC. For instance, the work of the IC built up during the 93-96 debate, even though it had to deal with "delicate" and even "secret" questions, never
substituted for the general debate on the expressions and the reality of the clanism. Its work had to provide, to precise and even sometimes to offer directions for the general debate. But never to exist in itself and above all not
in stead of the general debate. Such as it has been proposed and built up January 20th
of 2001, the present IC is a negation of the ICC
since it deprives the organisation, the IS and the IB in first place, of the central political problem and of the political debate with the argument "that we must leave the question of the reemergence of clanism expression to the single IC, the IB and the whole organisation having other thing to do, having a congress to prepare" (see the minutes of the January 2001 monthly IS). Thus the IC has participated fully to the suppression of the debate in the ICC and to the failure of the congress at least in regards to the organisational questions. To tell the truth, it has been the main tool of the "irresponsabilization" of the ICC precisely on its own future prohibiting it, in the name of the "confidence", to pose and to discuss the question of clanism before the congress and, still worst, at the congress itself. Not only the IC substituted for the IS and the IB, but even for the congress !
The destructive use of "all-clanism"
One of the particularly destructive aspect of the systematic use of clanism as explanation of the organisational crisis, is the introduction of the psychological manipulation and of the development of guilty feelings amongt the comrades. This utilisation of the guilty feelings, of bad consciouness, is denounced by Victor Serge in particular, as an element of submission and destruction of the militants during the years 20's and 30's :
"Ones capituled by tactics, the others by weakness or interest. With all, the attachment to the old party has been a decisive psychological factor. The demoralization which these renunciations provoked, ended to make the atmosphere of the party oppressive
(Victor Serge, Destin d'une révolution
, chapter 6, Les capitulards
, Robert Laffont, translated by us from french).
The examples of such a use begin to accumulate in the present crisis. It passes through the repeated and systematic requirement for clanish selfcriticism as precondition to any discussion. Such as it is posed today, it is very destructive for the political consciounesses and the convictions. We're going to go back on one example which appears to be apparently insignificant, amongt so many others as well "insignificant", and nevertheless so revealing of the guilting [? "culpabilisante" in french] and psycholigizing [?] use of clanism which is introduced today in the ICC.
Comrade Pinto has "revealed" confessed would be more correct during the September 22th Paris meeting a short talk during the congress with comrade Juan. This fact is mentionned in a bulletin. Passing each other during a session, the comrade Pinto adressed and confided to Juan that "Louise's phantom hangs over this congress"
. Juan answered yes. And Pinto carried on criticising Louise's talks and behaviour that she had during her recent stay in Toulouse, letting understand that she said gossips and slanders against comrades. Then, with no more, Juan told him "if you have to say something about Louise, go to say it to the IC"
. It's exactly what have confessed Pinto. A first observation : Juan was right to tell Pinto to go to the IC in stead of confiding in 30 seconds in middle of the congress. Nevertheless, today, this Juan's reaction is qualified as clanism. As says the IC report showing so the nullity of its idealist method, the facts considered outside their context and how they are presented, in accordance with the presupposition, can take such or such significance. And above all they can be completly reversed despite their concrete evidence. But here isn't our subject.
The political lesson we want to underline, is elsewhere. Why has comrade Pinto bad consciouness, a guilty feeling, in relation to the uneasiness which he felt facing a comrade's attitude, a comrade's behaviour ? Such a feeling of uneasiness is totally normal and there is no reason to be ashamed. To believe that with a simple decree, as the one on confidence, we're going to avoid this type of feelings, is illusory. It's not the feeling that we should confront, but what is its root, its cause. There, we get in a selfguiltiness [?] vision and practice, of bad consciouness, which are particularly destrutive for the militants. It was one of the lessons of the 93 struggle which is openly rejected and betrayed today.
The real question that comrade Pinto should pose is the following : was the uneasiness that he felt, founded on a political behaviour or on his personal animosity ? It is to this question he should answer and not to let himself engage in a destrutive dynamic of self-flagellation and of repentance.
In fact, we have the impression that, often, the comrades who accuse the members of the Fraction for being afinitarian or clanish, are actually those who expressed and suffered this state of mind. And that they still express it and suffer it even if through an "inverted"manner, self-reproaching it. And feeling guilty, they attribute us their own feelings. As the liquidationnist faction attributes us its own destructive and manouverist, and
The heterogeneity on the international situation
One of the first consequences of the permanant coup de force
policy of the liquidationnist faction which finds its roots in a vision of the organization as a "forteresse assiègée", has been to strongly underestimate the urgency and the importance of the international situation after September 11th
2001. On the level of intervention as well as on the political analisis. The balance sheet that the IB can't avoid to make, is that there have been a lateness and an heterogeneity of intervention which has no precedent in all the history of the ICC. Thus at that level, it's a rather negative balance sheet we must draw. But still worst, the heterogeneity in the content for one part, and for other the political underestimation of the gravity of the situation, are too without precedent in the ICC history. This heterogeneity has appeared clearly without being able to know what were the debate and the positions : "In the discussion of the imperialist events of September 11th, they have been expressed in AP very dangerous positions putting into question our analisis on war, consciouness and the historical course"
(Kiel, Le danger de l'opportunisme dans la presente situation historique
, note 17, IIB
288). Nothing less. Again the fault of the so-called clan ? There, there is an incredible weakness which is the direct result of the orientation led at least since the congress.
We refer the comrades to our statement and our criticism of the ICC press in the bulletin #4. Let's just point out that one of the level where there is an underestimation, in our opinion full of significance for the very vitality of the ICC, is the misunderstanding of the ideological and political attack that the bourgeoisie of the central countries of capitalism has decided to lead against the proletariat.
It's clear that there is more and more a skid on this question. Should we accuse us to create artificial divergences in order to justify the Fraction ? In that case, comrade Kiel has the same concern since he thinks that "a study of the IS minutes after 1999 shows that the majority of the IS
[he will find afterwards that it was without Peter] had fallen in these tendencies (
) with a vulgar materialism, with stupid determinism, with underhand and hiddel dogmatism
(idem, oh Kiel old devil !). Except that, there is no political divergences. Coherency and homogeneity of our current majority in the struggle against the Fraction is as good as its homogeneity in regards to September 11th
. But who cares coherency and the principles ? Every thing is good against the "clan".
A dangerous coherency between the internal orientation and the external orientation
The last aspect we want to stress in this report, is the close relation which exists between the policy led against the today minoritarians, particularly the Fraction, and the underestimation of the international situation and the responsabilities of the ICC. There is a close link which brings to the fore a coherency and a dynamic turning the back to the revolutionary movement and the ICC tradition, on the internal level as well as on the external ().
On one hand, the minoritarians, and above all the Fraction, is treated like enemies to be destroyed. Whether the Fraction members submit with the recognition of their "clanish fault", whether they will remain "repugnant, dishonest, thiefs, lumpen, weather cocks" and tutti quanti
. There is no more fraternity to get with them. They must be eliminated. Moreover, it's particularly revealing and it's the nature of "all-clanism" that Louise, Peter and Bruno never expressed openly their disagreements
and their opposition to the policy led at the time. No, they prefered to lead a policy of discredit against the defenders of this policy
which continues still today. Actually, there is here a whole different vision of the political debate. But this vision where the disagreements can't be but the work of a clan and where the minoritarians if they persist are enemies, introduces a sectarian vision within the organisation
, and obviously towards all the Proletarian Political Milieu
This tendency towards sectarianism appeared openly in front of the international situation with the refusal to get as a prioritarian orientation a call to all the PPM organisations ; or at least, to resume at the international level the call to the IBRP that had done our section in the United-States. It is at the same time the expression of this sectarian sliding and of spirit of "forteresse assiégée" on one side, and on the other the expression of an underestimation of the gravity of the new situation and of our responsability. Is it necesary to underline that both risk to reinforce each other if no one stops it quickly ?
A link between all this slidings and the drifts which is the expression of opportunism
In themselves, the gross mistakes on the international situation and the lack of dynamic and determined intervention towards the PPM, wouldn't justify the existence of our Fraction. But, on all these levels, internal and external for one part, at the principle, theoretical, political and practical for other part, we witness a drift of the organization today. Of course, it's a process, but a process which is well engaged and which tends to affect every day a little more all the levels of our activities. Which tends to put into question and to destroy the foundations of the ICC. And in this battle at all levels, the organisational question still remains the main terrain, even though not the only one. For us this battle is a battle of Fraction. In particular since we refuse the framework of clanism not only as explanation for the present crisis, but as battle ground. This terrain is the privileged one of the destructive opportunism of today as it was in a quite similar manner in regards to the practical methods used by the opportunism in the social-democracy and above all within the 3rd
International, indeed with the PCint in 1945-1947. Our terrain is the one of the frank, open, and "frontal" confrontation of the political divergences and of lines which confronts and eliminates each other. And the framework we want to give to our struggle is the one against the opportunism basing ourselves the more we can, on the past experiences. And not the struggle against clanism even though we think that the secret and familial tendency constituted by Louise, Bruno and Peter has well been an organization within the organization, a clan against the ICC. But it's not the main question today.
In conclusion, and to summarize, we defend the policy led by the ICC from 1996 up to 2001 which is put into question today by the new orientation
practiced by the executive organs of the ICC. We defend the lifelong method of the ICC which is to refer to the past statements to draw critical balance sheet. This method is knowingly ignored today. We reject the new practices
and the theoretical and political "innovations"
which have begun to appear more or less openly before the congress and without discussion. And that, since then, have been seriously confirmed. We oppose to and we denounce the sytematic introduction and at all levels of the idealist and speculative method which now impregnates the most part of the texts and statements of the organisation. We oppose to the isolation of the ICC life and to the marginalization of the Fraction members, to the ad vitam eternam
suspension without motive which look for our discouragment, for our "wearing out" and to our resignation, or to end to expel us. We insist on the political and formal recognition of the Fraction. We criticize strongly the increasing tendency to underestimate the gravity of the international situation, to underestimate the task of the ICC towards the other communist groups, and the tendency to a certain sectarianism which affirms itself more and more. We affirm that there is a defeatist
unity and coherence between this three tendencies towards the underestimation of the situation and of our role. This last tendencies come with the theoretical and political revisions
which have appeared, and the dramatical degradation of the internal regime of the organization. There it's a matter of destructive policy of the lessons and principles of the ICC on the theoretical, political and organisational levels. The coherency of the new
orientation is the coherency of the opportunism
which has taken the executive organs of the ICC.
Our orientation proposals for the ICC
Taking in account that we are minoritarian, and certainly for a long time, taking in account the new internal situation and the new international situation, and on the basis of the negative balance sheet we draw of the ICC activities since the 14th
congress, we propose a general political orientation.
But, in first place, we maintain the need for the transfer of the IS outside Paris.
On one side, the renomination in Paris at the congress contrary to our position bet on the reconstruction of the former team. This orientation has failed. To tell the truth, it was illusory and the IB made a grave mistake. On the other side, the present restricted IS team is completly not adapted not only to carry on with the daily work of an IS in terms of militant forces, but above all it totally lacks of serenity and confidence towards the organization in order to assume the task of secretariat of the OC and to guarantee the minimum of unity of the organization. In particular, two of the IS members in Paris are the main actors of the liquidationnist faction. This one appeared particularly the next day after the last September IB plenum, against the IB orientation which then emerged after the withdrawal of the Collective
, by pushing not to the unity of the organization, but to the pursuit of its division and discredit work against the minoritarian comrades. It relaunched the policy of scandals and of provocations. And it looked by all means to isolate the members of the Fraction from the rest of the organization and to intimidate them though different types of pressure up to the comrades' home. The clearest expression of this policy is the banning made against us with the September 29th
2001 CE resolution to publish our texts in the bulletins until we make the criticism of the Collective ! Consequently, we can't consider that this team can really and with serenity fullfil the tasks of an IS.
Our other proposals are the following and should logically find the agreement of the IB members :
1) The opening of an other debate on the significance and the historical repercussions of the new international situation opened up since September 11th
, debate in which the Fraction as such must participate (the discussion on the historical course that the former IS/IB wanted to deal with priority at the last congress and which couldn't be done) ;
2) The revival of a dynamic and determined orientation towards the PPM in order to push to its unity and to its assuming of its historical responsabilities in front of the brutal acceleration of the international situation (the present situation requires that we don't pose the question of the PPM as we did before September 11th
3) The opening of a argued and serious debate on the validity of the orientation led by the ICC from 1996 up to 2001, i.e. on the basis of the adopted reports and resolutions, in which, obviously, the Fraction and its members can participate as Fraction ;
4) The formal and concrete recognition of the Fraction by holding a meeting on the mode of functioning of the ICC with a fraction in its ranks, and on the basis of the October 10th
2001 letter that we sent to the IS and of the document « Rights and Duties of the Fraction » (see our bulletins #2 and 3).
At last, we insist as it is the rule in the workers movement and in the ICC, that this report is presented at the IB plenum and formally voted by the IB.And then submitted to discussion in the whole ICC.
The Fraction, December 30th