Revolution or War n°12

(Special issue on the proletarian camp and its future - July 2019)

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Warning : We were unable to correct and verify the English translation of several texts in this issue. We apologize for the difficulty of the reading and we hope that there is no political misunderstanding. If any doubt, one can always refer to the French version.

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Balance-sheet and Perspectives of the 23rd Congress of the ICC: To Introduce the Poison of the Opportunist and Destructive Theory of Parasitism among the New Revolutionary Forces.

The International Communist Current publishes several documents of its 23rd Congress [1]. We can only be surprised, pleasantly for sure, whereas it had been unusually discreet to report on the previous Congress, the 22nd, in 2017. Only the Resolution on the International Situation was published in the International Review of this organization at the time. No presentation, no balance-sheet, of the 22nd had been presented, probably to avoid mentioning that the congress, too divided, had not been able to take a position on the Report of activities that was proposed. On the other hand, this 23rd Congress is of particular importance: the ICC officially abandons the Historical Course, a fundamental point of its theoretical and political contribution since its origins. We must therefore take a closer look at this before addressing the real political issues of this meeting.

The 23rd Congress Abandons the ’Historical Course’ and Liquidates even more the Class Struggle

Anyone who reads all the Resolutions and the Report on the international situation [2], risks getting lost in various and varied abstract considerations, such as the one on the loss of class identity (Report on the class struggle), and often contradictory. In the middle of this jumble that runs over dozens of pages, the reader may miss the only real interest, or political stake, of these documents: "the notion of ’historical course’ is no longer able to define the situation of the current world and the balance of forces between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat [because the course] defined the outcome of a historical trend: either world war or class confrontations" (Resolution on the international situation). The historical course has always been a particular position of the ICC and, as such, an essential element of its theoretical and political legacy on which it based its perspectives and analyses. Its official abandonment today does not surprise us because the notion of historical course was in contradiction with the positions of the ICC of the 21st century since, according to the latter, "the spectre of world war no longer haunts the planet" [3]. If there is no longer any historical alternative revolution or war, then inevitably the opportunist ICC of today could not end up, sooner or later, but to officially get rid of the historical course.

The organizational crisis of 2001-2002 had led to the definitive success of the idealist theory of the Decomposition of capitalism and the equally definitive control, the internal opposition being denounced and violently excluded for its so-called... clanism and parasitism, of an openly opportunist dynamics upon this organization. The political and principle consequences were not long in coming. As early as 2003, the 15th Congress had substituted for the historical alternative revolution or war that of a third way, the eternal proposal of opportunism, "a third alternative: the destruction of humanity not through an apocalyptic war, but through the gradual advance of decomposition" (Resolution of the 15th Congress). Subsequent congresses only continued the systematic revision of the positions inherited by the ICC from the Communist Left until it denied any possibility of generalized imperialist war [4]. The practical political consequences of the struggle against the effects of decomposition were repeated and increasing statements at the same side of the bourgeoisie: denunciation of the wild strike at the Opel factory in Bochum, Germany, in October 2004, support for the bourgeois campaigns of solidarity with the victims of the tsunami of December 2004 in Asia, solidarity with the CRS (the French riot police) injured in the demonstrations during the student mobilization against the CPE in 2006... – we are forced to limit our list – up to the denunciation of the reactions of the yellow vests in France to the violent and massive state repression [5] ; and this under the argument, astounding of platitude but expressing so much the petty-bourgeois’ panic at the inevitability of violence in the future class confrontations, according to which "violence can only generate violence"!

Does this mean that the ICC has finally been convinced by the arguments of the other components of the Communist Left, primarily the Internationalist Communist Tendency, which reject and fight the notion of the historical course and the method that goes with it? Not at all. Its rejection is of a different class nature because it is based on the questioning of the very principle and reality of class struggle: "It is mainly (...) the fact that decomposition tends to become the decisive factor in the evolution of society, and therefore of all the components of the world situation (...) that constitutes the major thrust of this resolution. (...) After [1989], this dynamic is no longer determined by the balance of forces between classes. Whatever the balance of forces, world war is no longer on the agenda, but capitalism will continue to sink into decay  [6]"(idem, we underline).

One of the central political principles of Marxism, historical materialism, and the communist program according to which the class struggle is the motor force of history, could not be more clearly betrayed. Class struggle is not just one phenomenon amongst others of the historical dynamics and "the world will go towards war or revolution (...) only as the result of the balance of power between the ruling class and the subordinate class. (...) The only valid yardstick is to evaluate the balance of power between the classes" [7] (ICT) [8]. This vision according to which decomposition is the decisive factor of society cannot fail to replace the struggle between classes, i.e. between material and historical forces, by the struggle against an idea or a notion, and beyond the classes since the bourgeoisie itself suffers decomposition. The step to be taken for class collaboration is a very small one and will not fail to be taken at the slightest social turmoil. Wasn’t it already crossed during the Opel strike, the 2004 Asian tsunami, the solidarity shown with the wounded police officers, etc. [9]?

Breaking its Isolation in order to Be Able to Hinder and Destroy the Party in the Making

But this was not the real issue of this Congress. To discover it, it is necessary to come back to an article of the ICC itself which exposes – unconsciously? – the contradictions and considerable weakening of today’s ICC. Although not presented as such, this text, The Difficult Evolution of the Proletarian Political Milieu (part 2) [10] published last June (only in English update) is in fact the real report and balance-sheet of activities for the 23rd Congress. It looks back at the crises caused by the various so-called clans, always destroyed and constantly rising back from the ashes, which would have attacked the ICC throughout its history. In this way, it tries to reintroduce the theory – destructive for the revolutionary groups and militants – of political parasitism. It can be summarized as follows:

The impact of the Decomposition would explain the growth of parasitism in the ranks of the Communist Left. Despite its efforts, the ICC failed to convince the other components of the Left, including the IBPR, now the ICT, of this danger to the point that they all went "from neutrality [towards parasitic groups] to tolerance and then to active cooperation with such elements". While "the response of a communist milieu (...) would be to exclude such [groups] from the proletarian camp", it is, according to the article itself, the ICC that found itself isolated! "Their principal aim [that of the parasites] has been to build a wall around the ICC, to isolate it from other communist groups and turn newly emerging elements away from engaging with us". In short, the outcome of the ICC struggle against parasitism outside its own ranks since at least two decades is a complete fiasco.

And the article goes on, thus acknowledging the extent of the theoretical and political rout, that the ICC’s reaction was then sectarian and opportunist: "This was the sectarian side of our reaction. But again, it also had an opportunist side" [11]. Has the writer been struck at his turn by parasitism and clanism to dare to take up our own political characterisations of the opportunist drift of the ICC [12]? Let’s move on. In what way was the reaction struck by opportunism according to the text?

"In order to convince the new milieu [that is the new forces and generations of militants] that we were not [underlined in the text] sectarian, in 2012 we made fresh overtures to the ICT (...). And in the end the discussions we started with the ICT soon foundered on this so far unbridgeable gap on the question of parasitism – the question of which groups and elements can be considered as legitimate components of the communist left. And this was not the only example of a tendency on the ICC’s part to push to one side this vital question because it was decidedly unpopular in the proletarian milieu" (we underline). And the article to indicate that the integration of the Turkish section was a failure, precisely because they "never agreed with us on the question of parasitism".

Reading these passages, we better understand the contradictions, all related to its political opportunism, that the ICC’s recent activity is trying to address and what its immediate objective is: to break political isolation. But why today? Because "we are also seeing a renewed process of communist politicisation in a small but significant minority of this new generation, often taking the form of a direct inter-action with the communist left. Individuals searching for clarification as well as new groups and circles have appeared in the USA in particular, but also in Australia, Britain, South America (...). Like the new elements who appeared a decade or so ago, this emerging milieu is faced by many dangers, not least from the diplomatic offensive towards them of certain parasitic groups and the indulgence shown towards the latter by proletarian organisations like the ICT".

The diplomatic offensive referred to in the article here has consisted, on the part of the ICT and ourselves, in welcoming the emergence of new comrades in America under the impetus of the Spanish blog Nuevo Curso, and in initiating a process of public political debates and clarifications (see Revolution or War #9, 10 and 11) of the positions and program of the Communist Left in order to bring these forces together in the historical struggle for the party. A year and a half later, in close symbiosis with its satellite in parasitism Internationalist Voice, the ICC is now launching a genuine parasitic attack – to use its own words – on these forces, particularly the Gulf Coast Communist Fraction, trying to convince them to discuss parasitism in priority. It does not matter for the ICC that the GCCF is opposed to this position, the very fact it has succeeded in getting them to accept a meeting on this theme, instead of political issues related to the Communist Left’s experience and programmatic lessons, is already in itself a trap for new forces without experience. Because debating the validity or not of parasitism with the ICC inevitably moves away from the political terrain, debates and political relations, to the benefit of the one, nauseating and destructive, of the psychology of individuals and supposed individual behaviour – which comrades cannot verify anyway and to which the ’accused’ can only respond by falling on the same ground. Whether in agreement or disagreement with parasitism, the trap inevitably closes and this discussion cannot but sow confusion and dismay, derail from the essential work of historical re-appropriation and political clarification of the experiences of the Communist Left and undertake to destroy the enthusiasm and political convictions of young comrades, circles and groups.

This is the true political significance of the 23rd Congress. Then, that the ICC has taken advantage of its holding to liquidate even further its historical principles and positions, there the historical course, is for the moment anecdotal. The main stake of the 23rd Congress was to mobilize the last remaining forces and energies of the ICC to undermine the political reflection and conviction of the new comrades, to hinder and sabotage the indispensable work of programmatic re-appropriation of the Communist Left and political clarification of its positions, and to sow confusion, disorientation and mistrust among these young revolutionaries vis-à-vis the other forces of the Communist Left.

If the notion of parasitism had any political value, then the ICC of the 21st Century, and particularly of today, would be its most dangerous expression and incarnation.

The IGCL, July 2019

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Notes:

[3. International Review #130, Resolution on the international situation of the 17th Congress, 2007.

[4. The reader who would like to know the history of this rise to the paradise of political opportunism can refer to this text from the Internal Fraction of the ICC, http://fractioncommuniste.org/ficci_fra/b49/b49_5.php, only in French or Spanish and more broadly to the summaries: http://fractioncommuniste.org/index_eng.php?SEC=b00, even though not all the articles had been translated to English.

[5. "Petanque balls and other projectiles to counter intensive tear gas bombardment are totally ineffective and can only contribute to the escalation of violence, social chaos and the strengthening of the police state" (https://en.internationalism.org/content/16621/police-violence-riots-urban-guerrillas-looting-real-cause-chaos-and-violence).

[6. The French version uses the word decomposition and not decay, which are for the ICC theory two different phases of capitalism. The change can’t be ’by chance’. A specific English ’opportunist’ concession since decomposition is rejected "by the other groups of the communist left" ?

[7. A Decade since the Financial Crisis in which the ICT rejects the notion of historical course and our response The Question of the Historical Course. Both texts are published in Revolution or War #11 and are only a moment of the debate on this question that refers to the method of analysis of the dynamics of the class struggle. We invite the readers to refer to it.

[8. Some comrades regularly ask us about the reasons why we make a difference between the respective dynamics of the ICT, despite our differences with it, and the ICC. Among these is precisely the fact that the ICT always remains faithful to the essential principles of the communist programme, whatever criticisms we may make of some of its statements, including when these ones open the door to opportunism (see, for example, certain positions on Anarchism).

[9. We can’t develop each point here. We refer to the International Communist Bulletin of the IFICC.

[11. To the point of calling for the destruction of the IBRP, today ICT : « if we say that the groups of the Proletarian Political Milieu have a destructive attitude, we must discredit them politically (...) what matters is to discredit the IBRP (…) that it disappears at the political level. If this policy ends up with its physical disappearance, it is all the better" (Extracts of the Resolution of the 16th Congress of the ICC in 2005 that was supposed to remain ’secret’ : http://fractioncommuniste.org/eng/bci07/bci07_8.php).

[12. See Revolution or War #1 et 5, as well as the statements and constant and various warnings of the International Fraction of the ICC in the years 2000.