The international revival of the workers struggles (1)

"For us, all these elements [the strikes and workers demonstrations of May-June 2003 in France] state clearly that the working class is engaged in a new dynamic of a struggles revival and that it is leaving the period of retreat which it knows since nearly 15 years" (Bulletin 19, Communique on the social struggles in France, May 31, 2003).

Since always, one of the communists'tasks has been to assert in the cleariest way the general perspectives of the historical situations. It belongs to them to take position without ambiguity in the sharpest way as posible, on the state of the relation of forces between the main social classes of the capitalist society. And above all, to present to the working class and to the other revolutionary forces, openly, as clearly as posible, the orientations of intervention and struggle. The revolutionaries can't content with being empirical commentators of the events if they want to assume the tasks of a real political "vanguard", to struggle for being a real political "leadership". Analizing the situation and asserting on its deep tendencies, on its central dynamic, on its course and thus on the perspectives of the current situation, is a central task of the communist organizations.

For our part today, and doing this we resume the ICC tradition, we unambiguously assert that the working class takes up again the path to the struggles after 15 years of reflux. Even when we were submitted to an expulsion process from our own organization (2) which looked for demoralizing and destroying us as militant, and thus which was taking great part of our energy, we have kept to assume this responsability, defining the dynamic and the perspectives opened up by the new situation following the September 11th, 2001 attack in New-York, the course of the relation of forces between the two determining classes of the capitalist society. In a complete organizational and militant crisis, in the middle of mockeries, gibes of our comrades, and insults of some, in the last meetings (the January 2002 International Bureau 3) to which we were exceptionally "invited" to participate, we affirmed that the winter 2001-2002 workers reactions in Argentina, despite their limits, were announcing this international revival [the english ICC press uses the term "revival" and the IBRP press "resumption"] of the struggles (4). Since then, the May-June 2003 strikes in France have confirmed and realized this perspective. The present dynamic is to the workers struggles revival.

Other revolutionary forces, from their own positions and analisis, have also been able to recognize the reality of this revival. The struggles movement in France "can be considered as the resumption of the struggle on the part of the workers at least on the economical plane" and "the strikes show that the times of social peace are over in Austria too" (Revolutionary Perspectives 29, publication of the Communist Workers Organization-IBRP, summer 2003 issue). In an article on the strikes in France calling for "preparing to the future struggles !", the PCInt-Programme communiste french publication, Le Prolétaire 468 of August 2003, asserts that "the future is the one of the classes confrontations increasingly sharper and wider" (translated by us). For the ICC, we invite our reader to read our specific position on its press, to tell the truth its presses, in this same issue of our bulletin (5).

Since then, the assertion of the existence of an international resumption of the workers struggles has been largely verified. The last months, we lived new manifestations of workers struggles particularly significant. The October 2003 strike in the british Royal Mail and the strikes in the urban transportations of December 2003-January2004 in Italy are the clearest expressions of this resumption after the spring struggles in France.

What are the characteristics of these workers struggles ?

Firstly, these struggles have developed while the war continues in Iraq. And they occurred in two countries whose bourgeoisie had directly participated to the invasion of the country and is still participating today to its military occupation. It means in two countries where the ideological and propaganda campaigns on national unity in a period of war is still topical. Is it necesary here to recall that the strikes in France broke out just a few weeks after the "official" end of the war and after huge pacifist demonstrations which supported the anti-american policy of the french government ? The development of workers struggles, the refusal of sacrifices in the name of the nation interests, of the country, of the firm, always tend to unveil the so-called national unity and the so-called disappearance of the class struggle. This tendency to the concrete rejection, actually of the national unity in a period of military intervention is a first element, an important one, which already gives an indication of the process which is under way within the international working class, of the present dynamic in the situation.

These struggles in Great-Britain and in Italy occurred also just a few months after the french spring strikes. This near-continuity has expressed too in the development of the militancy in other countries. The struggles in France had been accompanied at the same moment by important mobilizations, even though less significant, in Austria (against the attacks on the pensions), in Germany (metallurgical industry), in Italy (6). The struggles in Great-Britain and Italy of this winter were also accompanied by workers mobilizations, here also less significant but not the less real, in Spain (shipyards in December), in Portugal (public services, January 23th), in Germany (metallurgical industry again, January 30th), in Sweden and Denmark (airlines and airports, January 29 and 30th), in Greece (public services, November 3rd), in Israel (beginning of November), Austria (railway and mail workers, November 12th), in the United-States (7)...

For their great part, these mobilizations developed for pay raising and against the worsening of working conditions such as jobs suppressions and raising paces and overwork. While in spring, the austrian and french strikes rejected the attacks against the pensions. Only the german metallurgical industry was then on the salary terrain.

The reality of these new expressions of militancy and struggles is expressed also by the silence, the black-out, the censorship of the international press. All these struggles, as those of spring, have been largely passed over in silence by the whole press of the other countries. It's only when the british postmen returned to work that the french newspaper Le Monde wrote an article on the strike. It has been the same for the italian tramway workers. Thus we'll go back on the concrete elements we could gather, in order any reader can first get some elements of estimation on the two most significant struggles and on their own dynamics.

The strike in the Royal Mail in Great-Britain

"The strikes broke out ten days ago, following a minor incident : the discover of two big dead rats in the toilets of a working place" (Le Monde, Nov.3, 2003, translated by us). Actually, "the action began on October 17 with the suspension of 16 delivery drivers in Southall, west London, after they had refused to volunteer to take special delivery items to destination addresses rather than depots. The Royal Mail said that the addresses were on the routes anyway, but the drivers said it was not part of their normal work. Work was moved to the nearby mail centre at Greenford, where workers refused to handle it. They, too, were suspended" (The Guardian, Nov.3, 2003).

In September, there have been a union vote within the Royal Mail to start up a "legal" strike with demands on salary and working conditions. With 100 000 voters - and 40% of non-participation - the strike had been rejected with a tiny majority of 2000. Despite this vote and despite the union, as expression of strong militancy and of repudiation of the unions, the strike broke out a month later and spread very quickly from London to the whole country unifying itself on the wage and working conditions questions (suppression of a round of the mail distribution). After the September referendum, it couldn't be but illegal and the Royal Mail managering has been very clear on the union action : "The union tells us it disowns this wildcat action. Let them prove it by working with us to get their members back to work." (The Guardian, October 24). Even though the rank and file unionism has been very active in the struggle, it is nonetheless obvious that this strike begun "spontaneously", it means by the initiative of the workers themselves just a month after the organization of the union vote.

"20,000 postal workers take wildcat strike action (...). The most serious wave of unofficial strikes to swamp Royal Mail for a decade" (idem, Oct.30, underlined by us). "Workers in Swindon, Slough and Gravesend today joined the wildcat action, taking the number of postmen and women on strike across the country to more than 20,000 (...).The industrial action, which began in west London two weeks ago, has been spreading every day, leading to a mounting backlog of post. Workers in Maidstone, Essex, Milton Keynes, Coventry, Oxford, Portsmouth, Warrington, Rugby, and at Stansted airport, are also taking unofficial strike action" (idem, Oct.31). "At its height, more than 25,000 employees were on strike across London and in parts of Essex, Kent, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Lanarkshire" (Nov.4).

The strike ends November 3rd following an agreement between the CWU and the Royal Mail management. The latest "accepts" to suspend the reorganization decision and the suppression of the second distributing round of the mail. It also withdrawns the sanctions against the strikers. On the other hand, the demands on the wages and on the premiums (which "were concerning" only the London post workers) aren't satisfied. It is obvious that the benefits of this strike are above all at the political level, in particular with the acquired experience and the regained moral for the whole british working class as well as for the mail workers themselves, already in their daily relation to the local chiefs and direct management.

It is important to point out the bourgeoisie's worry in front of the outbreak of strikes not controlled by the unions. "Towards a return of the wildcat strikes ?" titled and worried the press.

At the very moment when the postmen strike is ending, "firefighters are taking unofficial industrial action in a row over a pay deal intended to end the long-running fire service dispute" before summer. "The recent unofficial postal strikes may have inspired some of the firefighters' spontaneous action (...). What the postal workers have done may have affected the way firefighters are feeling... What the postal workers did showed what great solidarity there was and what can be achieved" (Internet site of the BBC, Nov.11). "The action started last night in Norfolk and, the Press Association reported, had by today spread to Scotland, Derbyshire, Wiltshire, Humberside, Norfolk, South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire" (The Guardian, Nov.4).

We can point out a certain number of characteristics of these workers mobilizations :

- a strong combativeness expressed in the outbreak of the strike despite the union vote, the duration of the mobilization and its "relaunching" by the firefighters on strike after their last experience before summer ;

- the "wildcat" character of the strikes which disregarded the unions slogans and agreements and the laws in force, expresses the dynamic towards the confrontation against the unions ;

- an immediate tendency towards simultaneous action, also extended, to the corporation (the postmen) and also beyond (the firefighters) with concrete manifestations of solidarity amongt corporations ;

- the ability of different sectors of the working class to identify in the struggle of one sector particularly advanced, here the postmen, heart and motor of the mobilization, and though a posible wider development of the struggle (that it didn't realized, doesn't mean this characteristic, or tendency, wasn't present) ;

- the dynamic of the movement during various weeks with strong moments, quieter moments, relaunchings, etc... despite and against the pressures of all nature.

The whole bourgeoisie, State, parties, press and TV, denounced the strikers and their irresponsability by insulting them, using the repression (videos tapings of the picket lines, putting on file the most combative workers, suspension of many strikers, threats of being fired and of legal proceedings).

The winter strikes in Italy

As for the strikes in Great Britain, the bourgeois press of the other countries kept almost completly silent on the various workers mobilizations in Italy. Thus we quote here the news of the Agence France Presse (AFP) which haven't been published in the international press.

"The italian air company Alitalia has been obliged to cancel 80 national and international flights (...) because a social movement outbroken by surprise (...). It isn't the first time since the month of December that the rules on the strike notice or the «minimum service» are broken. Last Monday, the cities of Torino and Brescia, in the North, have been totally deprived of public transport and December 1st the city of Milan has been practically paralyzed by an extreme strike of the tramway workers" (Agence France Presse, Decembre 12th 2003, translated from french by us). "The wildcat strike in the public transports of various great italian towns has carried on Monday despite the Interior Minister's, Giuseppe Pisanu, threat to deal severely with the strikers (...). The strikers refused the agreement signed Saturday in Roma between the three main union organizations and the representatives of the government and the transportation companies. The agreement (...) has been rejected by a part of the employees and, fact without precedent for more than 10 years, the law on the minimum service and on the strike notice has been violated in many occasions" (AFP, Dec.22).

Confirming the deepness of the combativeness already expressed in France and Great-Britain, the wildcat and illegal mobilization in Italy lastes more than a month from December 1st to almost the end of January. And this despite the signature by the unions of an agreement on a pay raise mid-December.

"Yersterday [January 8th], it was the air transportation which were hardly disrupted by an 8 hour strike (...). Other agitated front : the city transports. The COBAS (autononous unions) denounced the social agreement concluded in December by the government and the main unions (...). All the question is whether the strikers will respect the code of conduct which imposes them to assume a minimum service or whether they'll take again the public as hostages as it happened already in Milano in December during the worst day of chaos that had ever known the Lombard capital. Negotiations of last minute were under way yersterday within the city transportation companies. If the compromise won't satisfy a very militant «rank and file», it would only remain to the prefects to order requisitionings" (Le Figaro, french newspaper, January 9th, 2004).

"The city of Milano, economical capital of Italy, has been paralyzed Monday morning by a wildcat strike of the transport employees (...). The movement is followed by 100% workers (...). The COBAS indicated they weren't at the origin of the new movement (...). The three main unions CGIL, CISL and UIL (...) have signed at the end of December a national agreement on a pay raise of 81 euros per month while the initial demand was 106 euros" (AFP, Jan. 12). "A new partial wildcat strike has been organized Tuesday in the local transports in Milano (...). Milano has been already paralyzed December 1st by a wildcat strike, the three great national unions being then outflanked by their rank and file. Since then the movement has repeated, more or less followed, until Monday when a wildcat strike has completly paralyzed the economical capital of Italy" (AFP, Jan. 13). "All the public transports in Milano circulated normally Wednesday morning after two days of strike without notice (...). Nevertheless a strike without notice has developed Wednesday morning in Bologna but the prefect has made requisitionings at once and the transports begun again to move after two hours of interruption" (AFP, Jan. 14).

Again, the workers mobilization in Italy shows up the same kind of characteristics as the strikes in Great Britain. If we trust the informations above, we notice that, begun since December 1st, it lasted almost two months. There too, the duration expresses at the same time a strong combativeness and a rejection of the slogans and agreements signed by the unions. The wildcat, illegal, character of the strikes, which is repeated all along this period, comes to confirm again the willingness to disregard the unions slogans and orders, the bourgeois law, and the repression threats. "The tramway workers show that we can and we must struggle without the unions" (Battaglia Comunista, January 2004, translated by us).

In both cases, they were the workers who took the initiative for the struggle and who chose its means and its forms. "The milanese tramway workers (...) actually organized themselves in their garage assemblies" (idem).

The tendency towards confrontation against the unions affirms itself again in the rejection of the agreements signed by the unions and in the open struggle despite the latest and on the demands and on the ground chosen by the workers.

Were too expressed the spreading of the struggle to various cities, even though for the essential, it remained in the same corporation, the simultaneity"Alitalia, trade workers, TNT in Miraflori" (idem) - and the solidarity with other sectors. "We greet the solidarity that the tramway workers have expressed, in Milano to the workers of trade by meeting them outside Rinascente. It's a necesary step, but we must go forward" (Manifesto of the tramway and others workers struggles, December 03 in BC Jan 2004).

Finally, and again, the continuation of the movement, at least a month and a half from December 1st to mid-January, of the mobilization, of the tension and the attention of the workers, with strong moments, quieter moments, then sudden relaunchings of the workers action, comes to confirm the combativeness and the willingness of the workers to struggle in front of and against the unions slogans and agreements, against the repression threats and against the press campaigns, and in front of and against the bourgeois law.

Two moments in the italian mobilization ?

We can point out two main moments in the dynamic of the struggle in Italy. In the first one, beginning of December up to Christmas and New Year's Day, the dynamic of struggle imposes in the urban transports of various cities amongt the most important of Italy as well as in other sectors. The agreement signed Friday 19th of December between the unions, the government and the public transport companies, and the repression threats (requisitions, threats of being fired, filthy press campaign against the strikers there too insulted as hooligans, hostages takers, etc...) don't succeed to subdue the combativeness and the struggle dynamic. The period of the feasts marks a rest but the struggle regain even more from the beginning of January.

It's only in this second moment, when the great unions appear fully offside, that the radical unionism is put forward with the COBAS which denounce the agreement signed in December. Despite this, yet January 12th, "the movement is followed by 100% workers (...). The COBAS indicated they weren't at the origin of the new movement (...)" which means at the same time that the COBAS themselves don't control still completly the movement, and that they place themselves to do so. Actually, two days later, the strike stops in front of the repression threats and the effective requisitioning of the workers in Bologna which, now, the bourgeoisie succeeds to impose. As well as the repressive threats and the traditional unions action has no effect in December, as well the COBAS action and the repression are successful to impose the end of the strike in January.

Once the reorganization of the unions aparatus is done with the COBAS in first line, in January, we can think that the spreading dynamic coming from the milanese tramway workers is then blocked and that it couldn't be realized; if it was still posible to be (which is difficult to estimate with the elements we have), but from other sectors or cities.

Thus it appears, we think "from a distance", that the milanese workers of the transports were at the heart and the main motor of the mobilization and of the social tension. It belonged to them, particularly to them, to call the other sectors and the other cities to join them in a united struggle.

Without prejudging the detailed analisis of the IBRP comrades in Italy, they too seem to acknowledge and underline the central, dynamic, and active role that the milanese tramway workers have played as main source for the workers fight. First at the level of the call for the struggle to all sectors which represented their action, as reference, as support, as mobilization and driving factor for the struggle : "Thus it's obvious that exist concrete reasons for a widening of the struggle. The tramway workers one is so an example which waits to be followed by millions of workers in defence of their work and for better salary" (BC, Jan. 2004). But may be still more important, at least in our opinion, the comrades of the ICP-Battaglia Comunista were capable of presenting to the working class the political stakes at the level of the relation of forces between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, in dynamic terms, setting the significance of the milanese tramway workers' struggle and the echo it got, for the whole working class. "The struggle which had the greatest echo, the tramway workers' one, is also the most delicate : with it, is at stake the fate of the national agreement, the relation between the unions and the working force, and the workers'ability to defend against the increasing violent attacks of the bourgeoisie" (idem).

Thus it too appears to us that the revolutionaries had to stress in a first time on the tramway workers strike, milanese in particular, to call them to assume consciously their vanguard function of the struggle by calling all the other sectors to join them. Looking at the materials we have, and as we'll see in the followings, it's the orientation that has adopted the ICP-Battaglia Comunista and that it has intended to present the most massively possible in its various interventios in Italy.

The characteristics of the dynamic of the international revival of the struggles

The two mobilizations, british and italian, present great similarities. Certainly the italian mobilization has affirmed stronger and deeper a certain number of characteristics and tendencies than the mobilization around the british postmen. But the dynamic of the events is similar. In the context of a growing discontent, in particular around the wage question, a sector took the initiative of the struggle against the deals and the slogans of the unions ; in a "wildcat" way, it means illegal, with no respect to the bourgeois law ; the strike spread very quickly to the sector ; it has tended to get a massive echo in the whole working class with solidarity manifestations by other sectors up to the strike . in both cases, the main demands weren't corporatist but really unitarian in which the whole categories of workers identified ; the holding of pickets lines and of massive assemblies by the english postmen being reported in the english ICC press, World Revolution 269, the tendency to struggle and to organize outside and against the unions is present in both struggles ; finally, the relatively large duration of the two movements and the "unlinear" aspect of the mobilization, with strong moments and weak ones followed by revival of the struggle, shows more than a confirmed combativeness. It shows a refusal, a struggle against the terms, the timing, against the rhythm and the grounds (terms of the negotiations or of the union vote, legal strike notice, threats of repression) which tried to transmit the bourgeoisie, government and unions. These characteristics manifest well a tendency within the working class for struggling to get and to keep the initiative of the struggle, its control and, at the same time - which hasn't been always the case in the past (8)  - to develop its spreading and its unity.

It even appears actually that the italian struggle - which begun just when the other one ended - gets to retake and develop the postmen and firefighters struggle by leading further the experience of extension, of organization, and of affirmation of the workers interests against the unions and the bourgeois legality.

These characteristics aren't without remembering us the main features of the workers struggle in France last May-June 2003 (9). Indeed the very dynamic of the events, the very conditions of the struggle, were different. The extent of the attack against the pensions against the whole working class, and especially against the state, public, sector, "resolved" at once the question of the extension since it was clear for all that they had to "react altogether" against the same attack. But the features we've just pointed out, are quite similar  :

- strong workers combativeness which expresses in the determined duration of the movement and in the rejection of the unions slogans and orders ;

- central role, motor, as active factor, of a particular sector, the teachers in France, at the core of the movement, cristallizing the dynamic of the struggle of all the sectors ;

- dynamic towards the extension and the unity of the struggle through unitarian demands and delegations to other sectors ;

- tendency towards the organization of the struggle in the service of its widening and its unity and for the control of the decisions ;

- open, conscious, claimed rejection of the unions slogans and affirmation of the demands and method of struggle independantly and against the unions ;

- affirmation of the political dimension of the struggle against the State in the development of the struggle against the laws and the bourgeois repression.

Actually, all these characteristics and the persistency of the mobilizations as well as their "unlinear" aspect, made of advances and reflux, of moments with intense mobilizations, then with relativelly quiet ones, before suddenly getting going again - it's also a characteristic of what happened in France since the end of April until mid-June -, express at a very minimal level, in embryo, the dynamic present in the actual historical situation towards what Rosa Luxemburg defined as the mass strike, and then after her, Trotski (in his book 1905), Anton Pannekoek in the debate on the mass strike within the German social-democracy, debates and positions that Lenin refers to positively and greets in The State and the revolution.

The understanding of the communist groups and their intervention

We've seen that the IBRP and the ICP-Le Prolétaire-Il Comunista have recognized the dynamic towards the revival of the workers struggle. When we say they've analized correctly the general situation and the workers struggles at the immediate level, their significance and their dynamic, it doesn't mean that we share in every point, in all their aspects, these analisis and their intervention. But it means that from their own positions and analisis, they've been able to fit themselves up to the vanguard of the fighting, that they've assumed the active role of political direction, in relation to their militant forces, in the workers struggle. It means that, at the political and militant levels, they've been the political vanguard of the proletariat at the historical plan as well as at the immediate one. It means too that, during the italian strikes, we would have been shoulder to shoulder in the strikes, in the assemblies, in the street demonstrations, in the same side of the barricade, certainly with the same slogans, or in any case pushing to the same direction. Actually it's what happened in France since the IBRP, the ICP-Le Prolétaire (10) and our fraction intervened in the same direction in the struggles of May-June with the same general orientation, the same slogan : "take the struggle in your own hand".

Not only these two currents have been able to take into account, rightly, the historical impact of the September 11th attacks, but also to recognize in the 2001-2002 Argentinian events a clear expression of workers struggle (while underlining their limits). These two groups quoted above, in relation to their militant forces, have intervened quite correctly during the french strikes of Spring 2003 putting forwards the slogan of "workers take your struggle in your own hands " -  by the way, let's recall that at the same precise time the ICC was calling to the return to work (see Le Prolétaire 470 and our bulletin 22) !

We've seen before the global analisis made by the ICP-Battaglia Comunista on the italian struggles and which appears globally correct to us. We don't know the position of the italian section, Il Comunista, of the ICP-Programme Communiste-Le Prolétaire. But it's interesting to note and quote some extracts of the statement made by an other bordiguist group, N+1 :

"The workers of public transport have led a magnificent struggle (...). It's a categorial strike, but it raised up to a class struggle rank since it unleashed the ferocious hatred of the bourgeoisie and the enthusiast solidarity of the other workers (...). Actually this struggle goes now beyond the specific questions of the transport sector. It poses the question of the conditions of all the proletarians (...). Claiming that the tramway workers struggle belongs to all the proletarians isn't a common statement, but an observation on the basis of the material conditions of life. It gave important phenomenons of self-organization which aren't spontaneism but a conscious force" (N+1, January 15th, 2004, underlined and translated by us).

One more time, it seems to us that this statement about the movement, even though it's in the framework of the bordiguist positions, fits itself in the general dynamic which sees the different communist forces, for the essential all directly linked to the Italian Left and to the ICP built up in 1943-1945, being able to recognize the real expressions of workers struggles and to draw the main lessons. Unfortunately, this statement dated January 15th, thus at the end of the movement, doesn't give particular orientation to the struggle. We don't know if this group has directly intervened in the very moment of the struggle and so could propose, advance, perspectives and orientations (11).

But above all, it's the Battaglia Comunista intervention we want to salute and support. Obviously, reading its press and its Internet site, this organization has largely mobilized on this occasion and has developed a massive and politically consistent intervention, particularly through leaflets. Besides the analisis of the struggle whose we share the general lines such as they appear in the press (and despite our inadequacies in the italian language), the orientations that this organization put forwards seem to us quite right and corresponding to the needs of the struggle.

After having put forwards the necessities corresponding to concrete and unitarian demands as the refusal of the governmen-unions agreement, the ICP puts forwards the following orientations :

"The experiences of the so-called wildcat strikes say that :
- the workers can organize outside and if necesary against the unions for the organization of their own struggles ;
- the struggle organisations that the workers form, can coordinate at the territorial level and then at the national one in order to concentrate the maximum of the force ;
- above all we can coordinate the struggles of the different categories together (...);
We must create organisms based on open assemblies in the workplace and composed by elected and revocable delegates of the assemblies of the different work places and different categories. Only these organisms will be able to claim to be the expression and the true representation of the workers.
It's on this ground, of reconquest of the autonomy, that the proletariat must begin its class recomposition and take the initiative of the struggle.
It's on this ground that the historical alternative to the capitalist system, source of hunger, of misery and wars can present itself living and vital.
For the break of social peace! For the independant organisms of the workers struggle!
For the resumption of the proletarian initiative in the class struggle!
For the anti-capitalist perspective of international communism!"
(Manifesto sulle lotte dei tranvieri e altri - Dicembre 2003, Battaglia Comunista, janvier 2003)

As we had diffused the IBRP leaflet (as well as the ICC's despite the refusal of some militants) on the war in Iraq, as well we could have diffused this leaflet if we had militants in Italy. We already said that, in the present situation of the proletarian camp, this organization has became, in particular since the crisis of the ICC and its sectarian and opportunist drift; the only real international pole of reference and regroupment (in the large and "historical" meaning of the term). On the occasion of the recent struggles, the ICP-Battaglia Comunista has been, in our opinion, the communist organization which has best assumed the role of vanguard, of political direction, at the political level - analisis, orientation, slogans - as well as militant, which requires the struggle of the proletariat.

This political assessment which is part of the verification of the existence of the international revival of the workers struggles, well confirms our analisis on the two opposed dynamics and on the struggle which prevails within the proletarian camp. It comes to confirm that, after the opening of the opportunist, sectarian and defeatist course the official ICC is now living, the IBRP finds itself at the center of the dynamic towards the building up of the Party. It gives it huge responsabilities.

In front of the present drift of the ICC, it's for us comforting and hopeful to see other organizations, firstly the IBRP, assuming consistently the tasks of political direction which fall to the communist organizations. We're conscious that disagreements do exist with this organization and ourselves, in particular on the questions of method of analisis more than on political positions. We're also conscious, and we have criticisms, on what we can consider as inadequacies in the IBRP in regards to the class struggle as well as in regards to the other revolutionary forces. But the important, and we bet on this, and we support the IBRP on this, it's the dynamic and the perspectives that this organization offers today to the perspectives of the political clarification and to the regroupment of the communist forces as well as in the classes struggle.

The international revival of the workers struggles won't give its historical potentialities, what so ever is the wideness of its own development, but if the communist forces, so reduced and weak they are, are able to fit themselves in the first line of these struggles, to the front line, to be its political vanguard. And too if it has a consistent and dynamic policy of regroupement : Battaglia Comunista has just accomplished an important step in that direction.

The internal fraction of the ICC, february 6th, 2004.


1 The translation into english we've made here, tries to be as readable as posible and, at the same time, to be the more precise posible politically. Nevetheless, our knowledge of the english language is weak and we certainly have made errors in this translation. In particular, we had dificulties in translating "abstract" concepts or terms. And too, our mastery of the italian language is even weaker while there are many quotes of the italian leaflets or articles of communist groups (Battaglia Comunista in particular). So we can have, and we certainly did bad translations from the italian. We hope we haven't made political errors or confusions. If it was so, we'll correct it in the next issue of this bulletin.

2. Made of personal attacks, slanders, lies, provocations, accusations, isolations, personal pressures included on our families, ignominious sanctions, denunciations towards our comrades, etc...

3. On the unfolding of this meeting and the "reasons" for our "invitation" while we were already all "suspended" for ever, the reader can refer to our bulletin n°6, in particular to the Declaration of the fraction to the ICC and to all its militants, January 31st 2002 (not translated into english), which unveils the policy of accusations, of sanctions and of denunciations without principle and contrary to the ICC statutes, the policy of manouvers led by the liquidationist faction. He also can compare this policy with our political and militant behaviour by reading our political statements to this meeting, our proposal of activities report (translated into english), our statement criticizing the report presented by the liquidationist majority, and our alternative position on the international situation.

4."The Argentinian events which broke out while was finishing this terrible year 2001, respond as an echo to the brutal acceleration of the world situation opened up the September 11th and to the militarist capitalist unleashing which it gave the signal for. In front of the dramatical drift towards war by the world capitalism in crisis, the struggles in Argentina reveal that this same crisis while it is deepening, carries an other dynamic, still intact and full of potentialities, an other perspective than war. And this dynamic isn't but the second term of the historical alternative :the one of the workers struggles development, the one of the consciouness radicalisation in our class, the one of the proletarian revolution (...). Here are what the events of Argentina have recalled" (Bulletin n°5, January 8th 2002).

5. We let aside for the moment the contradictory statements of the ICC in its international press, in particular between some territorial publications (World Revolution, Internationalism, Rivoluzione internazionale) and the central publication of the ICC, its International Review and the french publication Révolution internationale. The ones shyly mention the possibility of a struggle revival. The others ignore it haugthtily. We'll come back on this in an other text of this bulletin.

6"The struggles by workers in Austria and France follow struggles in Italy and are the latest responses of European workers to the series of measures now being introduced across the European Union" (Revolutionary Perspectives 29, publication of the Comunist Workers Organisation-IBRP, summer 2003).

7. "Earlier this year, there was a strike at General Electric over the issue of medical insurance premiums. But things came to a head in October, when a whole series of struggles erupted over medical benefits. In Chicago it was sanitation workers, in Los Angeles transit workers. Later this was followed by 30,000 grocery store workers in Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, and then by an additional 70,000 grocery workers in California - who are still on strike after seven weeks. Significantly in California truck drivers are now refusing to make deliveries to the struck stores" (Internationalism 128, ICC publication in the United-States, December 2003).

8. Oftenly en the 1980's struggles, the workers wanted to ensure the control of their own struggle against the unions and so became reluctant, even opposed, to its spreading for precisely fearing to lose its mastery. It was on that feeling that had played the base unionism and the trotskists to distort and to make unoffensive the coordinations then appeared in the struggles in France.

9.See our communique in our bulletin n°19.

10. No doubt the ICP-Le Proletaire militants will see in our statement an "attempt of tipical frontism of the ICC" which they reject. We can't develop this question here. Let's put the comrades at ease, we have very big and very important theoretical, principle and political disagreements with the bordiguist current and it's not our intention to hide them. We just underline here an empirical fact which is also a political noting since this similarity of orientation with the ICC, our ICC, in the immediate struggles is a new thing which didn't exist in the 1970's, nor in the 1980's and 1990's. For our part, we have an explanation for such a dynamic of "convergence" in the present historical situation opened up since September 11th and... the ICC crisis. We'll have occasion to get back to it.

11. It might be posible too that this group doesn't consider the immediate intervention as one of its responsabilities.

Communist Bulletin 23 – Internal Fraction of ICC