Revolution or War n°20

(February 2022)

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ICC 24th Congress: The Row Boat of Decomposition Takes on Water

The following article on the 24th Congress of the ICC will certainly consolidate those who believe that we are obsessively fixated on this organization. However, it is not our fault if the other components of the proletarian camp hold few congresses, conferences or general meetings. When they do, we try to read them, to discuss them and to state on their results [1]. Indeed, consistent with our position on the historically crucial question of the international communist party, we consider the congresses and conferences of other communist and revolutionary groups to be among the highest moments of the proletariat’s life and the struggle for the party. So, it is our duty to take part and intervene in the ’political affairs’ of the other groups of the proletarian camp in which the essential part of the theoretical, political and organizational battle for the party of tomorrow is being fought. There is no better way to confront and clarify the political positions of each other, including one’s own, and thus prepare the programmatic armament of the future world party of the proletariat.

The ICC published on its web site four reports [2], a Resolution on the international situation and a Balance-sheet of the congress. Normally, the latter should present us the balance that has been drawn of the organization’s activities, the Congress’ own stakes and the perspectives it puts forward for the coming period.

A “Positive Balance-Sheet”? Really?

From the outset, the readers, and we with them, are reassured on the first point: “the ICC held its 24th International Congress and we can draw a positive balance sheet from it.” But in terms of the balance of activities since the 23rd Congress in 2019, the text merely states that “the Congress drew a positive balance of the activity of the organisation in the last two years, in particular the solidarity with all the comrades affected by the pandemic.” Nothing else. This is rather meager in terms of the actual political activities of the ICC, although we are very happy – who wouldn’t be? – to learn that the comrades reached by Covid were supported by the others. But what about the political orientations that the previous congress had adopted: “defence of the organisation, combat against parasitism, development of marxism, capacity for analysis and intervention confronted with the evolution of the world situation.” [3]?

Has the ICC succeeded in countering the ’parasitism’ that has been successful “to build a wall around the ICC, to isolate it from other communist groups and turn newly emerging elements away from engaging with [it].”? Was it able to successfully develop “a determined and unrelenting struggle against parasitism (as) essential, long term axis of the ICC’s intervention [that] must be an open and continuous political and organisational combat against parasitism in order to eliminate it [we emphasize] from the proletarian milieu”? Has it also been able to correct its own sectarian and opportunistic deviations in its fight against parasitism that it had pointed out at the previous congress [4]? This is what it says about it today: “the experience of the last two years of the defence of the organisation against the attacks of parasitism and for breaking the cordon sanitaire it tries to erect around the ICC shows that the struggle against opportunism and sectarianism is synonymous with the knowledge and defence of our history.” (Balance-Sheet of the Congress) This is called talking without saying anything. It is one of the many empty, pompous and vacuous phrases, and the litany of which we will spare the reader. It is therefore difficult to draw a positive balance about the defense of the organization and the combat against parasitism.

So there is no doubt that the positive must be found in the capacity for analysis and intervention confronted with the evolution of the world situation – for the moment, let us leave aside the ambitious development of marxism. The balance sheet text does not say much about this. But the Report on the international class struggle, if one takes the trouble and the time to read it, provides some precious indications on this aspect of the ICC’s activities. It points out “weaknesses in the application of our political framework”, the “absence of the framework of decomposition”, going back well before the 23rd Congress, and “more general weaknesses of the organisation determining its analyses and statements of position.” In particular, it highlights an immediateist approach that “was certainly the antechamber to opportunism, the point of departure for a slide towards opportunism and the abandoning of class positions.” The weaknesses are far from minor. The report, which is decidedly critical, notes that “the [ICC] deviation on the youth movement against ecological destruction showed a forgetting of point 12 of our platform. (…) The leaflet and the article of the ICC in Belgium are glaring examples of opportunism. This time, it is not opportunism on organisational matters, but opportunism in relation to the class positions as expounded in our platform.” That alone? It even goes so far as to draw a negative balance sheet of the previous congress. “We can say that the report on the class struggle to the 23rd Congress was not without ambiguities at this level [the ecological movement].” In addition, this report – adopted by the Congress, let us recall – “is in contradiction to what is said in point 12 of the platform.” Please do not add any more, the row boat is full.

So, to read the reports, the balance of the ICC activities since the 23rd Congress is far, very far, from positive. According to the very Congress, the ICC has fallen regularly into opportunism, both in the defense of the organization and in the analysis and intervention in the situation. To the point of betraying its platform! We could be satisfied to see that at last the ICC itself is taking up the opportunistic drifts that we have been denouncing since our constitution and in the following of the ex-ICC internal Fraction. But the opportunism mentioned here is only the "forgetting of the framework of decomposition and parasitism" and not the framework itself.

What is at Stake? Plugging the Gaps in the Hull of the Row Boat Decomposition...

“The 24th Congress of the ICC (...) had the responsibility of confirming the framework of analysis of the decomposition of capitalism” (Balance of the Congress) and “to ‘test’ the theoretical framework of decomposition” displays the Preamble of the Resolution on the International Situation. All the reports are centered on the defense of this theory. Taking up the method of idealist speculation exposed in their time by Marx and Engels, they reduce all the events of the historical situation to the category Decomposition. An example? “China’s extraordinary growth is itself a product of decomposition”, to quote only one of the most caricatural. No doubt its dialectical dimension might escape many, including internally. However, since the last congress, a member [5] has ventured to question some of the positions derived from Decomposition on the course of the historical situation. Obviously, his empirical recognition of the facts does not allow him to fit them into the categories of chaos and every man for himself, the main characteristics of Decomposition according to the ICC. This is how the Balance article summarizes the terms of the divergences:

“Isn’t the polarisation of imperialist tensions, mainly between the US and China, paving the way for a Third World War? Wouldn’t the brutal measures taken by the states of confinement etc. be a covert means of preparing the populations for imperialist war? Is the pandemic a ’socio-natural’ phenomenon that the states can take advantage of for population control purposes or does it express and accelerate, above all, the general decomposition of capitalism? How can the proletariat face up to this grave historical situation? Does it first need a consciousness of itself and the development of its historical perspective? Or would this require the development of a struggles on its own class terrain, the maturing of its consciousness and the strengthening of the capacity of its communist organisations to intervene?”

In doing so, while affirming his agreement with the dogma of Decomposition, he questions its political implications. Let us limit ourselves here to the first three questions – the last ones on the class struggle and the proletariat requiring developments and a radical critique of the two positions that would go beyond the limits of this article. In the name of Decomposition, didn’t the ICC definitively rule out any prospect of a third world war at its 17th Congress in 2007? With chaos and every man for himself causing “the rise of populism and the loss of political control by the ruling class”, how could the ruling class, losing all control, “prepare the people for imperialist war” and use the pandemic against the proletariat? Nor can we return here to our critique of the theory of Decomposition. Let us just mention that chaos, or anarchy, as well as every-man-for-himself are not peculiar to the present so-called Decomposition period, but to the capitalist mode of production as a whole, from its origins – “man is a wolf to man” (Hobbes) – up to the dominant imperialism and state capitalism of our time. In this sense, today and since the beginning of the 20th century, chaos and every man for himself do not exclude imperialist polarization and the perspective, or dynamic, towards generalized imperialist war, but are, on the contrary, factors and moments of it. The more exacerbated and profound the anarchy and the every-man-for-himself in the defense of each national capital against the others, the stronger the pressure towards imperialist polarization and generalized war.

The exposure of the metaphysical method, therefore anti-dialectical, used to defend Decomposition is enough to evaluate the realization of the orientation “development of marxism”. Here too, the failure is obvious and the balance sheet negative. So, after examining the published documents, only “the solidarity with all the comrades affected by the pandemic” remains in the positive column of the balance sheet...

What perspectives? To liquidate the class struggle...

“The perspective of communism is in the preparation of the future. (…) The central aim of the 24th Congress was the preparation of the future” concludes the article on the balance of the congress. One could just as well say “the preparation of the future is in the perspective of communism” as the emptiness of the statement would not be less. The perspectives of the class struggle? “The central question is whether the proletariat has already been so overwhelmed by the remorseless advance of decomposition that its revolutionary potential has been effectively undermined.” Another empty sentence? No, here is introduced the idea that the proletariat is opposed not to the bourgeoisie, real material historical force, but to Decomposition, its idea, its concept – we come back to it below. And as for the construction and defense of the organization, “the struggle against opportunism within the organisations of the Communist Left, linked to the struggle against parasitism, is going to be important in the next period.” In short, as the only concrete orientation, we have exactly the same, the fight against parasitism, as at the previous congress.

The 24th had therefore nothing to say to the proletariat. Its only object: to defend Decomposition for the ICC’s own survival. For the day it collapses, in addition to the definitive condemnation of two to three decades of opportunist politics and sectarian practices carried out in its name, it is the organization itself that will explode or implode. Now, this theory of an idealist order – as we have never stopped saying and repeating – leads to a dead end from the proletarian point of view because it liquidates the fundamental principle of Marxism and of the workers’ movement, that of the class struggle as the motor of history. In this, the ICC can still pollute the reflection of the young generations of revolutionaries in search of historical reappropriation and programmatic coherence, but without experience. Highlighting and denouncing the liquidation of the principle of class struggle by the ICC can help their reflection; and warn all the components of the proletarian camp against any concession, or absence of vigilance, on the idealistic and opportunist themes advanced by the ICC.

“The phase of decomposition indeed contains the danger of the proletariat simply failing to respond and being ground down over a long period – a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ rather than a head-on class confrontation.” (we emphasize). The proletariat could therefore be defeated not by the bourgeoisie, a real and active social force, but by Decomposition, by the “internal disintegration” of capitalism. A clumsy formula? No, a position constantly reaffirmed: “the workers’ resistance to the effects of the crisis is no longer enough: only the communist revolution can put an end to the threat of decomposition” – and not an end to the one of the ruling class and its solution to the crisis, that is the generalized war. This idealistic and speculative approach, reducing everything to decomposition, inevitably leads the ICC to an a-classist and moralizing terrain, to the bourgeois terrain: “thus, the drama facing humanity is indeed posed in terms of order against chaos [!].” (Resolution on the international situation, we emphasize)

The class struggle – the struggle between classes – disappears in favor of the one between order and chaos. The dream of the petty-bourgeois fearful of the chaotic reality – from his point of view – due to the exacerbation of capitalist contradictions and the real class struggle is thus finally realized by the ICC, apostle of Order and nostalgic of a bygone and mystified time. But capitalist order and chaos, far from excluding each other, feed each other to maintain the domination of capital and the exploitation of the proletariat. Order and chaos of the proletarian struggle – to use the categories used by the ICC of the Decomposition – will feed each other so that the international proletariat carries out its violent insurrection against the bourgeois state, destroys it, and then establishes and exercises its class dictatorship, a new proletarian order – and certainly an anarchic chaos for the ruling class – as long as communism is not definitively established. But in this case, the ICC and its Decomposition will have long since been swallowed up by the tumultuous waves of history. This is precisely the fatal outcome announced by the waterways flooding the row boat of Decomposition and which the 24th Congress tried to plug.

The IGCL, December 2021



[1. See Revolution or War #5, On the General Assembly of the PCInt-Battaglia comunista, 2016 (

[2. On the Pandemic and the Development of Decomposition; on the International Class Struggle; on the Economic Crisis; and one specific on the imperialist tensions, called November 2021 Report.

[3. Balance-Sheet of the 23rd Congress by the ICC (

[4. Idem. And see also Revolution or War #12, Balance-Sheet and Perspectives of the 23rd Congress of the ICC, 2019 (

[5. Yet having actively participated in imposing the opportunistic course that took hold of the ICC decisively from its 2001 crisis.