The statement of the present ICC on the Madrid bombings :
Nonsense in the theory of decomposition and steps towards opportunism

Under the english title "Madrid : Terrorist attacks are acts of capitalist war", and under the french one "Capitalism sows death", the ICC has published on its web site (and now in its April publications) a statement on the March 11th slaughter. In this statement, it manages again the situation in relation to its theory on "decomposition and chaos in capitalism". We wouldn't have any criticisms to add to those we already made (1), if there was not a small detail we wanted to underline. While the theory on decomposition and chaos (which had been formulated in order to try to explain the period which followed the Eastern bloc collapse and the USSR end) keeps itself freezed for the present ICC, on the other hand historical reality carries on developing which leads that theory to accumulate nonsense after nonsense. In front of every new event, it increasingly reveals itself as a dogma that applies to everything occurring and which replaces any analisis. It's what we're going to look at.

From the reign of the "every man for himself" to the reign of capitalism reality

Following the ICC theory on decomposition, the tendency which increasingly imposes itself in all the dimensions of society, and particularly in the imperialist relations, is the one of "every man for himself".

"The tendency towards generalized chaos has determined imperialist conflicts since the end of the 80s, the period in which capitalism has entered its phase of decomposition. The framework constituted by the confrontation between the two imperialist blocs set up at the end of the Second World War gave way to the reign of every man for himself" (World Revolution 273, April 2004, we underline, all the quotations to come in our article are from this WR text).

In its very origin, when this theory has been formulated during the fall of the Eastern bloc at the end of the 1980's, and with the notion of "every man for himself", the ICC was also pointing out the existence of a "counter-tendency" : the constant tendency within decadent capitalism to the building up of a new set of imperialist blocs which expressed from that moment on in the embryonic possibility for Germany to put forward its own candidature as the more capable for a bloc leadership opposed to the US one. Nevertheless, little by little, this second aspect has been given up. And the first has been increasingly favoured up until getting to the present formulation. Today, we would be definitively installed in the "reign" of the "every man for himself". The ICC has deduced from it that the tendency to form new imperialist blocs has gone away and, thus, that a generalized imperialist war would be even less likely - by the way let's note that the french publication, Révolution internationale 345 of April, has another headline with a different political content than the World Revolution one : "Terrorist attacks in Madrid : capitalism sows death" for the same text (2). In return, capitalism would head for a situation of increasing local wars, "irrational", without control from the great powers, a situation of "increasingly murderous wars, increasingly barbaric terrorist attacks"...

The problem is that this notion acquires, within the ICC, the rank of an eternal law of capitalism while the developing of the capitalist situation contradicts it. Thus, the day before the war in Iraq, when appeared for the first time, openly and with assertiveness, the German-French alliance which took the lead for a group of countries opposed to the United-States policy, the ICC was already unable to question itself on the validity of its position. And all the events of the imperialist scene from 2001 which played in the sense of the reinforcement of what we've called the present tendency towards bipolarization, it means the tendency towards the formation of a new set of imperialist blocs, has been denied, hidden or underestimated by the ICC itself while they were increasingly more open, important and obvious. The fact is that they are in contradiction with the theory of the "reign of chaos and every man for himself".

It's not but facing the obviousness of the events towards bipolarisation that the ICC had no other solution than to begin to mention them in some of its recent writings. For that, the ICC writes that with the defeat of Aznar's party (that firmly supported Bush's politics) and the declaration of Zapatero's new government about the spanish troops withdrawal from Iraq, the Madrid bombings became "a slap in the face for the American administration and a definite victory for the French-German tandem that now leads the opposition to American diplomacy"

But if we talk of "tandem", of an alliance between Germany and France, which is also capable of leading a series of countries to oppose the United-States, we leave "the reign of every man for himself" and we enter in the reign of capitalist reality, in the one of the tendency of every national bourgeoisie to play its own cards which doesn't contradict the tendency to ally or to subject themselves to others in the name of its own interests.

Futhermore, as in other recent documents of the ICC, the expression we have just quoted, has a furtive, shameful, fully fortuitous, character in the whole text. The ICC hasn't been able to focuse on the accelerated succession of events which all goes to the same direction. It hasn't been able to bring out the importance, nor the historical significance of the building-up of this "French-German tandem", nor even to aknowledge that the tendency towards bipolarisation is again uppermost on the imperialist rivalries scene. Because all this is contrary to its "theory of every man for himself". This standpoint expresses the theoretical confinement, the dogmatism, in which this organization increasingly sinks. But it's not the worst. Behind this dogmatism, lies a political position which opens up more and more the doors to opportunism.

Terrorism and opportunism

The ICC statement on the March 11th bombings focuses on the terrorism question. The text comes back on the historical transformation of terrorism which, after having been an expression of the petty-bourgeoisie more or less manipulated, converted into an instrument directly created and used by the bourgeoisie to deal with its rivalries. "From the 1960s up to now, the evolution of terrorism fully confirms this characteristic as an instrument used by the various factions of the national bourgeoisie, or by each imperialism, in their struggle against internal rivals or competitors on the imperialist arena. Terrorism is indeed a favourite child of capitalism (...)".

This position on terrorism is the ICC one since the organization origins. Nevertheless, these last years, we've seen that the ICC has progressively adapted its conception on terrorism to the decomposition theory. This theoretical "deepening" clearly illustrates the present political evolution of the ICC :

"As the decomposition of this system advances, the more it will spawn irrational and irresponsible factions, feeding the terrorist groups, the warlords and the local gangsters who are able to acquire increasingly destructive weapons but also more and more backers to profit from their crimes. After the fall of the Two Towers we wrote: «It is impossible to say with certainty today whether Osama Bin Laden really is responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers, as the US state accuses him of being. But if the Bin Laden theory does turn out to be true, then this is really a case of a petty warlord escaping from the control of his former masters» (International Review 107). This is a typical expression of the generalisation of barbarism: quite apart from knowing which imperialist power or faction of the bourgeoisie benefits from this or that terrorist action, the latter tend more and more to escape the plans laid out by those who initially conceived them. (...). As with the apprentice sorcerer, the 'creature' tends to become uncontrollable".

Here, we have in short - it won't escape to any attentive reader - a whole new conception about the present conformation of the bourgeoisie. First, the present ICC talks of "irrational and irresponsible factions" ; but then, we can deduce by simple logic that, in return, others "rational and responsible" fractions might exist - if not we wouldn't speak of "factions" but of the whole bourgeoisie. It's not the first time the ICC puts forwards this notion. For instance in its article on the worsening of the conflict between India and Pakistan (International Review 110, India and Pakistan: Capitalism's lethal folly) and the danger of a nuclear war between the two States, the ICC refered precisely to them as two irresponsible fractions ; and in return, the United-States were presented, to the contrary, as trying to diminish the tension and as an order and peace factor (3).

Secondly, the ICC defends explicitly and insistently the idea that the terrorist groups, even though they are the product of the bourgeoisie, tend increasingly "to escape to the control" of theirs creators, that they become more and more "uncontrollable". This idea is source of nonsenses which express openly in this article. Though, for instance, when it established that Bin Laden is a tipical case of a "loss of control" of the bourgeoisie, straightaway after having exactly said the contrary : since the attacks on the New-York Twin Towers had served the warlike interests of the United States, it would be though "quite legitimate to ask whether the incredible «lack of foresight» of the American secret services before September 11 was not the result of an actual will to «let things happen»". What is this all about ? A conscious "loss of control" or a "let things happen" ["laissez-faire"] ? In the last case, it wouldn't be but a matter of total control of the situation up to "allow" - we should better say to provoke or even to plan - an action which would well correspond for launching the bourgeoisie warlike projects in the following years with the total support of the working population (4).

But the ICC position isn't reduced to a simple accumulation of nonsenses the ones after the others. If one acknowledges that a difference exists between the "irrational and irresponsible factions" and the "rational and responsible" ones, and at the same time that the terrorist groups aren't any more under the control of the bourgeoisie which created them, then one gets necessarily to the conclusion that can exist bourgeoisie's fractions which, even though they "benefit" from the terrorist actions, don't provoke these actions, nor are responsible for them. Thus one opens the door to the possibility of choosing between a bourgeois fraction considered as "irrational, irresponsible, terrorist" and an other one considered in return as more "rational, responsible and... pacifist". One so paves the way to opportunism, to the classes collaboration. Are we speculating ? Who thinks so, must read seriously the ICC statement on the Madrid slaughters and he'll verify how the ICC "vision" embraces the "vision" presented by the bourgeoisie, how it backs the "argumentation" and the ideological themes of the States which, since September 11th 2001, seek to enslave and to enlist the workers behind national unity in the "war against terrorism"... which is uncontrolled and irrational.

Citizen solidarity or class solidarity ?

The ICC continues to affirm that the historical alternative is "socialism or barbarism". It has "only" express, in the framework of the theory of decomposition, that capitalism wouldn't go towards a generalized war, but precisely towards an increasingly greater fall into decomposition through local wars, famines, ecological disasters, epidemics, etc. Linked with that, the ICC has already expressed theoretically the notion of a third way, it means a situation in which the proletariat could lost little by little its capacity to respond on its class ground without having been defeated in an open struggle against capital (5) ; only from the undefined continuation of the period of "decomposition". This one would lead to a kind of disintegration, of demoralization and weakening - here the "each man for himself" would act again - which would make it unable as a class to confront the bourgeoisie ; and since the bourgeoisie wouldn't go any more to a generalized imperialist war, the society would then fall into an increasing and an unlimited decomposition up to its possible end. "Practically", and behind this apocalyptic conception, we find the justification for the tendency to the ICC withdrawal from the intervention and for the tendency of these last months to negation, underestimation, and even to dissimulation or voluntary ignorance of the workers struggles and more specially of its international revival (6). It's this same position which is also expressed in its statement on the Madrid slaughter. What do we read in the last part of the article called "To put an end to capitalism!" ? :

"From the first moments after the explosions, even before the state's emergency services arrived on the scene, it was the victims themselves, the workers and children of the working class traveling in the 'trains of death', or those waiting at the station, or living in the neighbourhoods of Santa Eugenia or El Pozo, who set about helping the wounded, or finding shrouds for the dead. They were entirely animated by a feeling of solidarity. This feeling of solidarity was also expressed by thousands more who gave their blood or offered to help at the hospitals, but also by the firemen, the social workers and health workers who voluntarily worked overtime despite the dramatic lack of resources resulting from state-imposed cuts in civil protection and health and safety.

Revolutionaries, and the whole world proletariat, must proclaim loud and clear their solidarity with the victims. Only the development of the solidarity implicit in the struggle of the working class can create the basis for a society in which such abominable crimes can be abolished once and for all. The indignation of the working class towards this atrocity, its natural solidarity towards the victims, has however been manipulated by capital towards defending the latter's interests" (underlined by us).

Actually, with this radical, emotional and indignant way of expression, the ICC tends to waver dangerously at the political level. It tells us about "a feeling of solidarity" towards the wounded, that "revolutionaries (...) must proclaim loud and clear their solidarity with the victims", and then it speaks of "solidarity in the struggles". But it does so without making any difference between these forms of "solidarity". It does so by generalizing them and making them abstract concepts, by equalizing them, by linking them as if the second one could arise from the first. And all this despite the fact the ICC itself acknowledges that the bourgeoisie "has however (...) manipulated" the "feeling of solidarity" towards the wounded. But was the ICC eventually believing it could be different ? Is the present ICC believing that it is by chance, exceptionally, that the bourgeoisie has not only manipulated but intentionally initiated through its medias this kind of "solidarity" in which the "citizens", without any class distinction, can act together and, besides, collaborate with the State services ? Has the ICC forgetten that it's of vital importance for the bourgeoisie in these very moments to initiate this kind of diffuse "solidarity" which blends itself perfectly with "national unity" behind the State ? Has it forgotten that "solidarity" is in complete opposition with the class solidarity which the working class has lately shown ? Has it forgetten that class solidarity entails precisely a breaking off with "national unity" ? Doesn't it see that there is a close relation between the medias calls for "giving blood" and the calls which necessarily ensue it, for marching behind the bourgeoisie in "national unity against terrorism" ? Mixing solidarity towards the wounded with class solidarity in the struggle, the present ICC doesn't contribute to the clarification of the working class interests. On the contrary, it contributes to the confusion between citizen solidarity behind the State and class solidarity against the State. But it is not all.

The ICC tells us with tears in its eyes about the "workers' solidarity" towards the victims. Nevertheless, it didn't appear important to it to mention, not even in passing, the concrete expressions of true class solidarity, in the struggle, which the proletariat has realized the last months, specially in Europe (France, Great Britain, Italy..., see our bulletin 23 or Battaglia comunista of January and February 2004). Now it precisely there where lies the crucial dilemma of the moment for the working class ! It means whether the proletariat continues to develop its struggles, on its class terrain, as it has begun to do these last months, and which constitutes a brake on the warlike tendencies of the bourgeoisie, or it swallows the dupery of the "citizen solidarity against terrorism", it accepts national unity, it accepts to march behind its bourgeoisie and it so makes easier the continuation of the warlike preparations. It's in this dilemma we must look for the causes of the Madrid slaughter. And not in the "irrational and uncontrolled terrorism" !

It's certain the ICC still continues to be able of denouncing as a lie "the doses of patriotism injected both by the right (Aznar declared that «they died because they were Spanish») and by the left («if Spain had not taken part in the war in the Gulf, these attacks would not have happened»)" - let's note by the way that it only refers to Spain without acknowledging the international dimension of the patriotic campaigns around the Madrid slaughter. But it's not able to explain why it's so important for the bourgeoisie to administer, precisely in this very moment, such "doses of patriotism" to the working class. Confined in its framework of the reign of each man for himself "analysis", it is not only more and more difficult for it to bring out the deep significance of such events as the Madrid bombings, but also it contents itself with describing them in an emotional way and to condemn them in moral terms. Even worst, it increasingly tends to accept as truths the bourgeoisie's "lies" such as the one on "uncontrolled terrorism" or on the "citizen solidarity". Thus, in front of every serious event of international importance, the ICC opens a little bit more the door to opportunism...

Comrades of the ICC, the coin - our organization - thrown up, will end, soon or later, coming down on the ground. But on which side ?

March 25th, 2004


1 See our different bulletins and our texts whether on the international situation and our criticisms of the resolutions and statements the ICC adopted on the subject (n° 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 14, 18, 21, 22 and 23), or our criticisms of the new "idealist" and spectulative method developped by the liquidationist and opportunist ICC of today (n°3, 6, 15, 21).

2 Actually, the WR headline doesn't exclude the dynamic towards imperialist war while the Révolution internationale one tends to reject any idea of a tendency towards imperialist war. It's not by chance. Indeed, it's in RI (the french territorial section) that rules, without restraint, without opposition, (it's the result of the struggle against "clanism") the hard core of the liquidationist faction which is the main bringer of the present opportunist theory of the decomposition and which 'liquidates" voluntarily, consciously, the political experience of the ICC.
We refer our reader to the critical article of the ICC press about the working class struggles in our previous bulletin which pointed out the open opportunist tendency ruling in the section in France and the centrist tendendy which tries to resist in some other territorial sections, in particular in World Revolution and Internationalism.

3 "The possibility of a catastrophe which would cause millions of deaths has indeed alarmed the ruling classes of the developed countries, especially the Americans and the British. After the failure of the conference of Central Asian countries in Kazakhstan, called this time by Putin at the behest of the White House, the US has had to throw its full weight into the balance to lower the tension, with the despatch of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to Karachi and Bush's personal intervention towards the Indian and Pakistani leaders. But as the Western leaders themselves recognise, if the danger of war has been averted for the moment, none of the issues have been resolved.(...).
There is no doubt that the Great Powers, with the US at their head, are indeed extremely alarmed at the possibility of nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan, though not for any humanitarian reasons, far from it. They are concerned above all to prevent the development of a new escalation in the "every man for himself" which has dominated the planet since the collapse of the Eastern bloc and the disappearance of its Western rival" (International Review 110, India and Pakistan: Capitalism's lethal folly, underlined by us) .

4 The ICC itself has got up to make, and in our opinion rightly, an analogy between the attack against the Twin Towers and Pearl Harbour, the japanese attack against an US navy base "surprisingly" without protection which justified the United-States entry in Second World War.

5 "The economical crisis (...) continues to deepen. But contrary to the 1968 to 1989 period when the outcome of the class contradictions couldn't be but war or revolution, the new period opens the way to a third possibility : the destruction of humanity not through an apocalyptic war, but through a gradual advance of the decomposition (...). In the new scenario, the working class could be beaten in a less open and less direct way, simply by not succeeding to respond to the system crisis and by letting itself carried increasingly into the spiral of the decadence..." (International Review 113, March 2003, Resolution on the international situation, point 17, underlined and translated from french by us).

6 On the "third way", see our Statement on the Resolution on the international situation of the 15th congress of the ICC in our bulletin 21. It's proper to remember too (see our bulletin 23) how, for instance Révolution internationale and others ICC publications have hidden, we could say in a systematic way, the recent wildcat strikes in Great-Britain and in Italy. It's thus interesting to notice that the RI April issue (see our comments in this issue, RI and the "Turning point in the class struggle", WR 269) has finally felt obliged, in front of various criticisms, our's of course, but also the "internals" and "externals" ones, to reprint the Rivoluzione Internazionale and World Revolution articles on the workers struggles in Italy and in Great-Britain. But, as for the change of headline of the Madrid bombings article, the articles aren't reprinted in extenso, totally. Their "resume" voluntarily lets aside all that could make think that a tendency towards an international resumption of the workers struggles exists. This comes to confirm one more time the existence of a clearly opportunist politicial orientation which aims at rejecting the working class struggles and at eliminating the tendency which tries to remain faithful to the principles and methods of the ICC analysis. It comes to confirm too the lack of a real militant and contradictory, it means politically consequent, debate within the ICC while the divergence is real.

Internal Fraction of ICC -- Bulletin 24