Revolution or War n°9

(Biannual - February 2018)

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Correspondence with a Reader : What Policy vis-a-vis the Left Bourgeois Forces ?

The Comrade’s Letter

I was looking for other correspondences that you’ve sent me and I read this message again that you had sent me in May. Its conclusion questions me. There it is :

« That is why the striking point of these elections from the proletariat’s point of view is the confirmation and a greater political preparation of a radical capitalist Left around Mélenchon. As it has already been the case during the 2016 Spring mobilization against the Labour Law, the France Insoumise around its leader and all the political and unions forces in its orbit, Nuit Debout, the Trotskyist, Stalinist, Anarchist groups, are getting ready to sabotage the coming working class struggles, by adopting the most radical language and by occupying all the domains of the class fight to distort them.
That is why the proletarians who are the most conscious of these traps and dead ends, and who wish to engage themselves in the extension and the unification of the class struggles against capitalism and its state, have to aim to regroup and organize to lead the political struggle against these forces and their sabotage all the more since these political forces already adopt, and will increasingly adopt, a radical, working class, and anti-capitalist image.»

Do you think you can unite the class struggle, seek to regroup and organize, excluding from the beginning and carrying the political struggle against ’these forces and their sabotage,"radical capitalist left", "Trotskyists, Stalinists, anarchists"? Is there a pure proletarian class ? I’m quite in agreement with your analysis of this “ radical capitalist left around Mélenchon ”. Nevertheless, as naive as it may appear (because I’m conscious of the shortcomings of my political knowledge), for me the proletarian class is all which is not the capitalist class. What is thus Mélenchon according to you ? “ Sabotage ” : voluntary/involuntary ? What does he play at ? On the other hand, I don’t understand why you lump the Anarchists, Trotskyists, etc, together.

Soon, fraternally, V.

Our Response

The IGCL to the comrade V.

Dear comrade V.,
In the first place, we apologize for the delay of this answer. There are several points to address to answer your question. "Do you think you can unite the class struggle, seek to regroup and organize, excluding from the beginning and carrying the ’political struggle against’ these forces and their sabotage, ’radical capitalist left’, ’Trotskyists, Stalinists, anarchists’"? You ask us. There are two essential points in this critical interrogation to clarify:
- what is the unification of the class struggle;
- and if these political currents can act for this unification.

What is “ the Unification of the Class Struggle ” ?

The question of the unification of class struggle is not an abstract principle in itself. It responds to the need for the proletariat to impose, on the occasion of each struggle, a balance of power with capital and the bourgeois class in order to be able to defend, if only minimally, its immediate interests and develop as much as possible its revolutionary perspective. Both, the defence of material interests and the development of the revolutionary perspective of confrontation with the capitalist state, are closely linked and ’interactive’ whatever the limits of the struggle itself and the immediate consciousness of the workers who participate in it; and that even in the revolutionary period. Concretely, it is a question of breaking the isolation of the workers’ struggle, of seeking to extend it beyond the workplace, the enterprise, the corporation, the sector, etc., and even beyond the national framework when it arises, to be able to oppose with the greatest possible efficiency, depending on the situation, the capitalist state and the ruling class. In this sense the proletarian struggle is at the same time an economic and political struggle.

The unification of the class struggle does not therefore arise as a unification of political organizations, generally called ’left’, which claim - rightly or wrongly, we come back to it - its struggle and claim to speak on behalf of or to defend proletarian interests; but as a consolidation and unification of the workers themselves in the struggle. Today, the bitter experience of the mobilizations of the preceding decades, which were all failures, both in France and in other countries, underlines the extent to which trade union unity and unity of left-wing forces are not synonymous with extension and unification of the workers’ struggles, but rather with their division and powerlessness [1].

That is why we insist on the fact that the workers in struggle must take on the political confrontation against these union and political forces that, in fact, one way or another aim to prevent the extension and the unification of the fight. That is why we believe that the revolutionaries have an eminent and leading role to play in the political fight for the struggles’ unification. By definition, they are among the clearest, if not the clearest, precisely because they are supposed to know the union and political forces that oppose the extension and the unification as well as to be theoretically, politically, and organizationally armed to understand and denounce the union and political traps and manoeuvres. That is ultimately why we struggle for the consolidation of the genuine communist forces and, as soon as possible of course, the formation of the world party of the proletariat.

The “ Left ” Political Forces against the Unification of the Class Fight

That being said, why do we denounce the so-called “ left ” political currents such as the France Insoumise of Melenchon, or still Podemos in Spain, Die Linke in Germany, Syriza in Greece, Québec Solidaire in Canada, to name but a few, and more generally the Stalinist, Trotskyist, or Anarchist political currents and the political organization [2] that claim these currents ? Not because we would be incorrigible sectarians but because the experience of the struggles teaches us that these political currents and organizations always develop political orientations that oppose, in fact and in one form or another, the unification of the class fight and the confrontation against the capitalist state. It is enough to refer to their orientations, their support to the unions and their slogans during the last great working class mobilizations as in France of course (2003, 2007, 2010, and 2016) but also in all countries [3]. The main reason why they are unable, independently of the sincerity and conviction of the individuals who are their members, to be within the camp of the fight for the class unification is historical. It is not “ we ” – the Communists – who decree that they are in the bourgeois camp but the historical experience.

There are two fundamental moments which determine the proletarian character of the political currents and organizations claiming the working class movement in regards with the genuine position they adopt and defend then : the imperialist war and the proletarian revolution. In August 1914, the international social-democratic current, the Second International, as a whole betrayed the principle of proletarian internationalism to the benefit of national unity for the First World War [4] driving thus the majority of the large Socialist parties into class collaboration. Those parties and fractions of the 2nd International that did not betray the proletariat, and which were a minority, were later confronted with the Russian Revolution. These were either active in the October insurrection – the Bolshevik fraction of the Russian Social Democratic Party – or supported it, as with Rosa Luxemburg and the Spartacists in Germany, and the Abstentionist Fraction in Italy behind the figure of Bordiga, just to mention these two cases. The others, in Russia the Mensheviks that had remained “ internationalist ”, some pacifists during the war, one part of the “ centrist ” current of the German Social Democratic Party, or the Italian Socialist Party were opposed to the seizure of power by the proletariat in Russia and to the revolution in Germany. The position and the behaviour of the ones and the others in regards with the international revolution and to the question of the working class insurrection during the 1917-1923 revolutionary wave then finally clarified the split between the “ Socialists ” and the Communists, whose major political consequence and factor was the constitution of the Third International in March 1919. August 14 showed the death of the Social Democratic current as a whole for the proletariat, and the Russian Revolution, for its part, showed the death of the few parties and fractions that had remained pacifists during the war, which had no blood from the trenches on their hands, but which did not succeeded in breaking with the opportunist Social Democracy.

It is the same process that affected the Third International from its adoption of the thesis of “ socialism in one country ” under the influence of Stalinism , which meant its betrayal, as world party of the proletariat, of proletarian internationalism. The participation of the “ CPs ” in the second imperialist World War marks definitively, supposing it did not happen sooner, the clear-cut and undebatable passage of these Communist Parties into the bourgeois camp. And it has been the same… for the Trotskyist and Anarchist currents, which on behalf of the anti-fascist struggle and Frontism with the left forces, participated actively in the “ anti-fritz ” Resistance during the world war after having led the workers into the dead-end and the slaughter of the inter-bourgeois, actually imperialist, war in Spain.

But history also teaches us that these political currents, having ’once’ betrayed the class and its fundamental principles, have definitively died for the proletariat. Not only because their betrayal is the result of an opportunist process at the theoretical and political level that precisely defines the peculiarity of these currents, Stalinism and ’socialism in one country’, Trotskyism and anti-fascist frontism, with which one would have to break to remain faithful to Marxism and communism; but also because they are, to one degree or another, absorbed and integrated ideologically, politically, and organically into the capitalist state apparatus. The same goes for "formerly workers’" political parties as for the unions. For the Socialist (SP) and Communist parties (CP), no need to argue, their various participation in power in multiple countries indicates their active participation in the preservation of capitalism and their integration into the state apparatus. But the same is true of the relations of the Trotskyist parties with the state political apparatuses. The links and the bridges between the Trotskyist ’Fourth International’, the NPA in France, with the PS for example, or Trotskyist entryism into the British Labor Party, are notorious; when it is not about ’hidden’ links, via Freemasonry for example with the Trotskyist Lambertist current in France again.

This means that these political currents and parties are definitively “lost” for the proletariat. They cannot go the opposite way, from the bourgeois camp towards the proletarian camp, unless they break their entire tradition and legacy, which only “individuals” can do. Again, it is not “we” who decide but the historical experience that instructs us.

To conclude, therefore, the question of the unification of the workers’ struggles, a central and permanent question in any class struggle, necessarily involves political confrontation, in assemblies, in strikes, in demonstrations, in committees, and so on, against the orientations of and sabotage by ’left’ political and trade union forces, precisely because their origins in the workers’ movement makes them among the most ’credible’ bourgeois state political forces vis-à-vis the workers in struggle, and therefore the most apt – oh so much more than the police forces or the traditional parties of the right – to deceive them and lock them in isolation and political impasses; to sabotage the unification of their class fight.

We hope that we provide you with elements of reflection and clarification. Do not hesitate to send us comments, criticisms, and questions.

Communist Greetings, the IGCL, November 30th 2017.



[1. In France, as we saw again in 2016, the tactic of “ unified union days of action ” actually divides the workers and paralyzes any willingness for a general struggle.

[2. Except some few cases for what concerns the political groups and that we can’t deal with here.

[3. We can’t revisit here the different episodes of working class struggles at the international level that the unions and the left political forces of the bourgeois state, all “ united ”, have derailed and sabotaged since the end of the 1960s (to set a term and an historical period) on all continents and countries… isolating and dividing the proletarian class and thus hampering its fight against the generalized attacks of capitalism since then.

[4. As well as much of the Anarchist movement following one its most famous leaders: Kropotkin.