(2nd part)

Here we publish the second part of the text from the previous bulletin on the new positions that the notion of irrationality put forward by the ICC, inescapably drives it to adopt. They don't only represent a rejection of the origial position of the ICC but also its growing distancing from marxism. This revisionist dynamic had openly dominated and ruled the ICC since the organisational crisis of Summer 2001. It only confirmed and accelerated since. The Extraordinary Conference of March 2002 - called for eliminating and expulsing our fraction and for "resolving" the crisis - clearly marks the full domination of this theoretical and political revisionism. It's precisely what underlines too the last part of this article.

4. "Irrationality" and bourgeois ideology

Comparing the ICC platform and the Resolution of its 16th congress is sufficient to assess the magnitude of the theoretical and political turn which has taken place within the organisation the last five years :

"In decadence, economic contradictions drive capitalism towards war, but war does not resolve these contradictions. On the contrary, it deepens them. In any case the cycle of crisis war and reconstruction is over and the crisis today, unable to debauch on world war, is the prime factor in accelerating the decomposition of the system. It thus continues to push the system towards its own self-destruction" (Resolution on the international situation, pt. 14, 16th International Congress of the ICC, 2005, International Review 122, underlined by us).

In this terse point, the ICC throws overboard the basic essentials of the understanding of capitalism's decadence :

- in the past, the ICC supported that capitalism's decadence precisely was characterized by the cycle crisis-war-reconstruction and its repetition. Now, it results that this cycle "in any case (?), is over" ;

- n the past, the ICC supported that the sharpening of the economical crisis was the primordial objective factor which stimulated the proletariat class struggle, that "the next revolutionary assault of the proletariat will certainly be a response to the open economical crisis in which capitalism is plunging" (Capitalism Decadence, Introduction, our own translation for french).Now it results that the crisis is "the prime factor of the decomposition of the system".

The least the ICC should do after its 16th Congress would be to frankly and openly acknowledge that decadence has been replaced by the "decomposition" and that, for this, its political platform has became obsolete in this "new period".

But this theoretical and political turn hasn't taken place at its last congress as Revolutionary Perspectives 37 (the publication of the IBRP in Great-Britain) lets understand. But, as we already mentioned it, in 2001. In particular, in its Extraordinary Conference of March 2002 (besides the disciplinary sanctions at the organisational level, specially the definitive expulsion of our fraction), the present ICC greatly paved the way to a whole serie of theoretical and political deviations in regards with decadence and imperialist war.

Firstly, while being ironical about the IPBR, this conference exposed a serie of particularly mediocre arguments to desmontrate the impossibility of a formation for a new set of imperialist blocs (and thus the impossibility of a new world war) :

"the tendency towards the formation of a new bloc has been consistently held in check by other tendencies:

- the tendency towards each nation following its own "independent" imperialist policy since the break-up of the cold war bloc system (...) ;
- the overwhelming military superiority of the US (...) ;

- the formation of imperialist blocs also requires an ideological justification, above all for the purposes of getting the working class on board. Such an ideology is lacking today (...) ;
- the course towards class confrontations remains"
(Resolution on international situation, Extraordinary Conference, 2002, International Review 110).

Regarding the tendency of each country to follow its own imperialist policy, it's absolutely not a valid argument since the fact that each country "follows its own policy" doesn't prevent it, all the contrary, to look for allying to others, for the best and for the worst, precisely to defend its own policy. Futhermore, it's a characteristic of decadent capitalism. Here, the ICC also erases what it affirmed at its 13th congress, already quoted above (see 1st part of this text in previous bulletin), according to which "the each one for himself and the formation of blocs aren't contradictory in the absolute, that the blocs aren't but the organised form of the each one for himself in order to canalize all the frustated imperialist rivalries into a unique explosion" (Report on the imperialist conflicts, 13th International Congress of the ICC, International Review 98, 1999, translated from french by us).

Regarding the "overwhelming military superiority of the US", here the ICC forgets an other of its arguments of always : the military cost the imperialist powers have to assume ends up using them in the run since the competitors can "prepare" themselves as we see it in the actuality in an increased obvious manner ; it means that this superiority doesn't thwart but accelerates the "arms race" and the tendency towards the formation of new blocs.

As for the lack of "ideological justification", the same resolution of the ICC precisely devotes an important part to the "terrorism-antiterrorism" campaign ; it's with this campaign that the bourgeoisie of all countries justifies its imperialist struggles and attacks while it uses it to submit the workers and to justify the state of emergency thanks to which it puts forwards it ideological themes for the preparation of a state of war.

Finally, the argument of "the course towards class confrontations remains" lets aside, simply, that if this course blocks the explosion of generalized war, it doesn't necessarily prevent the formation of imperialist blocs.

With this kind of improvised "arguments", in reality this conference reflected the absence of any critical spirit, of any real debate or any collective reflection. But it isn't all.

This conference too paved the way to the negation of the historical alternative "war or revolution" to the benefit of a third way, the end of humanity through decomposition :

"The entry of capitalism into the final phase of its decline, the phase of decomposition, is conditioned by the inability of the ruling class to "solve" its historic crisis in another world war; but it brings with it a new and more insidious danger, that of a more gradual slide into chaos and self-destruction. In such a scenario, imperialist war, or rather a spiral of imperialist wars, would still be the leading horseman of the apocalypse, but it would be riding alongside famine, disease, planet-wide ecological disaster and the unravelling of all social bonds. And unlike imperialist world war, for such a scenario to reach its conclusion, it would not be necessary for capital to take on and defeat the central battalions of the working class; we are already facing the danger that the working class could be overwhelmed by the whole process of decomposition in a more piecemeal fashion, little by little losing the capacity to act as a self-conscious force opposed to capital and the nightmare it is inflicting upon humanity" (Resolution on international situation, Extraordinary Conference, 2002, International Review 110, we underline).

We already have sufficiently denounced in our bulletins this absurd position up to the point that the ICC has tried lately to formulate it in such a manner that this unfortunate "third way" doesn't appear so obviously. By the way, let's only notice the absurdity between what has just said the resolution a few paragraphes before about "the course towards class confrontations remains" and what it now says about the fact that, at the same time, the working class is "overwhelmed by decomposition" and confronted with "losing the capacity to act as a self-conscious force opposed to capital".

Finally, the Extraordinary Conference of 2002 brought unexpectedly a very important political turn regarding the causes of the imperialist wars. For one part, it claims that from now on the great powers acknowledge that they never will be able to directly confront the United-States (from this comes too the idea that the world war isn't on the agenda) : "Frustrated [sic !] by their military inferiority and by the social and political factors which make it impossible to confront the USA directly, the other great powers will redouble their efforts to contest US authority through the means available to them: proxy wars, diplomatic intrigues and so on" (Extraordinary Conference, idem).

In other terms, the great powers will lead an imperialist policy, let's say more controlled, more "reasonable". On the other hand, the less important powers, and up to the "imperialist warlords" with no State (sic !), will be more stimulated by the "each one for himself", it means that they'll be the ones at the center of the "wars of decomposition" :

"The strength of the tendency of "every man for himself" has been confirmed in recent years by the increasing willingness of third and fourth rate powers to play their own game, often in defiance of US policy (Israel in the Middle East, India and Pakistan in Asia, etc). Further confirmation of this trend is provided by the rise of "imperialist war-lords" like bin Laden, who are seeking to play a global rather than a merely local role even when they don't control a particular nation state" (idem, Extraordinay Conference).

In the past, the ICC, with the whole Communist Left, understood that, if all countries are presently imperialist, the main promoters are the great powers, the ones which drive the others behind them. But now, according to the iCC, this tendency has been reversed with decomposition : while the small countries launch into the "each one for himself", challenging the first world power and provoking wars, this last one as well as the other great powers don't only tend towards world war and practically give up their imperialist interests, but also they convert to the main promoters of "order" against the "chaos and decomposition". This statement opens widely a breach to political opportunism.

The first application of this new political orientation of the ICC has come a few months later with the threath of war between India and Pakistan. It didn't only analyze the conflict through the vision of a struggle strictly limited between the two countries (it means without understanding the imperialist causes and the imperialist regional and world repercussions, as the ICC used to do) but it has presented the great powers, and in particular the United-States, as the main promoters of peace :

"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. (...).

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" (India and Pakistan: capitalism's lethal folly, International Review 110, June 18th 2002, we underline)

Here we see all the deep meaning of the statement according to which the world imperialist war has stopped to be the capitalism's alternative : the negation of the imperialist policy of the great powers. As, according to the present ICC, the great powers aren't anymore the main promoters of the every man for himself, and even less of the imperialist wars, thus they place above all (sic), above their their own imperialist interests, their worrying that the "every man for himself" and new catastrophical wars develop. And all this while, according to the same article, "At the local level in South-East Asia, the working class has not proved itself sufficiently combative to stop a war. Internationally, the working class finds itself impotent in the face of a capitalism that is tearing itself apart, threatening us with massive death and destruction over a whole region of the planet".

As we previously denounced, with this position, the ICC opens the door to the idea that, if the proletariat is unable to prevent an imperialist war (and it seems, still according to the present ICC, that it isn't able to do so), it would be necessary to allow, to require or to support a power to do so with the argument that "in any case", it'll be better to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in order to be able, "in the future", to come back to class struggle. It's clearly paving the way to class collaboration.

Finally, the division of the bourgeoisie in two fractions that the present ICC has invented, one of them being for the "every man for himself", for war and chaos, and the other on the contrary for peace and order and which would thwart this "every man for himself", opens even more the way to the "new" theoretical notion in the ICC according to which the main division within the bourgeoisie would be between two types of fractions : one rational and responsible, the other irrational and irresponsible. With this, the notion of "irrationality of war" didn't only receive a new impulse but also a completly different meaning.

In the past, the sense of "irrationality of war" came because the latter had no "reason to be", because it wasn't historically necessary from the point of view of human society in general as well as capitalism itself. We already dealt with this significance. But since some years now, this significance is mixed with an other one whose sens is to defend that war is caused by "irrational" fractions or individuals, in the litteral meaning, who don't think, who are irresponsible or truly mad.

This new meaning of the notion of "irrationality" already appeared clearly, for instance, in the statement of the ICC about the terrorist bombings in Madrid 2004 :

"Terrorism is not a bastard child of capitalism, it is its legitimate child, in the same way as imperialist war; and the more capitalism sinks into the final phase of its decline, the phase of decomposition, the more terrorism is destined to become more savage and irrational. (...) 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" (IR 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" (World Revolution 273, ICC on the Madrid bombings, March 13th 2004, we underline).

On one hand, it's said that terrorism is "irrational" in the sense that it has no reason to be, nor objective cause and that it's not necessary; On the other hand, it's affirmed that it's the work of irrational fractions, like Ben Laden, that "decomposition" makes arise and which are out any control by the great powers. Behind the apparent condemnation without appeal of terrorism, again we find an exculpation of the great imperialist powers : the very ones which don't promote an "irrational terrorism", which don't control the terrorist groups, which don't go to generalised war ! On this question, the today ICC tends to dangerously converge with the very Bush's discourse, with the bourgeois propaganda in vogue which justify the present imperialist policy of the great powers with the argument of the defence of peace and of the "struggle against chaos", against "irrational terrorism" and the "irresponsible States". Doesn't Bush seek by this the mean to crush Iran which is accused to stir up salvage and irrational terrorism, to increase the danger of regional nuclear war ? (1)

Thus, as well as the present ICC throws overboard its positions of principle on decadence, on imperialist war, on the historical alternative, etc., it produces theoretical "novelties" which aren't novelties but a copy of bourgeois ideology embellished with sequins of marxist positions it still retains. So, it carries on its fall every time more pronounced in the abyss of opportunism. But it has not touched the bottom yet.

April 2006


1. If it was not enough, this supposed division of the bourgeoisie between "rational" and "irrational" fractions has also its complement in the new vision which, according to the ICC, exists at the level of each national bourgeoisie, here too, between fractions more or less "irrational" depending on whether they follow more the "ever man for himself" or the "defence of the class national interests as a whole". It's from this notion that, for instance, the last electoral processes in France, in United-States, in Mexico, etc., have been analyzed. Again, it opens the door to opportunism, it means to the possibility to conclude that, finally, it's better to elect the "more rational and responsible" fraction (if not so, we can't understand for what "reasons" the ICC is so stubborn to attempt to define this supposed division).

Communist Bulletin Nš 35 / 36 - Internal Fraction of ICC