Revolution or War n°26

(January 2024)

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Our Policy towards the Proletarian Camp and the Internationalist Communist Tendency

The aims of our interventions are to participate in the struggle for the consolidation of communist forces in order to constitute the world party of the proletariat. Today, the fight for the communist party requires that we push both for consolidation and polarization around the Internationalist Communist Tendency and as well to fight against the manifestations of opportunism and sectarianism within the camp, especially against apolitical and ’anti-party’ tendencies.”
(Resolution on the Foundation of the International Group of the Communist Left, 2013 [1])

Since the formation of our group in 2013, many people have been asking questions about our policy towards the Internationalist Communist Tendency (ICT). Why do we call for a regroupment around it without joining it? This question often raises interrogations about our approach: either it is understood as being rooted in a democratist concern, or as a renunciation of the numerical development of our group; or it would simply be a tactical maneuver to get into the good graces of the ICT. Another potential factor for confusion and misunderstanding is the recent attacks by the ICC on the ICT and ourselves. Among these, it has taken the liberty of publishing short e-mails that it had exchanged with the ICT in 2019-2020 concerning the Spanish group Nuevo Curso. These e-mails were published without the consent of the ICT, which says a lot about the practices and aims of the current ICC. Especially since the ICT correspondent stated that “this is my personal opinion but will argue for it in our deliberations.” [2] These e-mails contained some psychological considerations about our group and its intentions. Insofar as they are now public, we can refer to excerpts that may be of interest here for our readers little acquainted with the vicissitudes of the proletarian camp: “The IGCL ceased its “flattery” of the ICT some time ago. They have substituted it for blackmail about the ICT having to live up ‘to its responsibilities’.” [3]

Before coming back to our political orientation, it is worth reassuring all those who might be worried about a possible deterioration in our relationship of confidence with the ICT with this publication – was that not the aim of the ICC? First of all, we were aware of these e-mails, which were also sent to us at the time. We then wrote a letter to the ICT, and together we clarified the need to distinguish between political differences and subjective considerations of supposed intentions. We responded publicly, but indirectly, in Revolution or War #16 of September 2020, in an article entitled Against Gossip on Social Networks and for Public Political Debates [4]:

“These practices and the use of psychological and personalized criteria in the political relations between communist groups offer a privileged terrain for opportunist and liquidationist forces such as the ICC of Decomposition and Parasitism. The fact that the ICC is rushing into the breach opened by considerations of a psychological, non-political nature, the very terrain of its theory of parasitism, should come as no surprise to anyone: it had announced this at its last international congress and we had warned the whole camp (see RW #12). It is necessary to recognize its ‘quality’: the liquidator ICC is consequent. It steadfastly pursues its objective of destroying the proletarian camp. This is why it is necessary to call on the pro-party forces of the camp, organizations, groups and individual sympathizers or militants, to reject this terrain of networks and approaches of a personal and psychological nature in order to judge the positions and real political intentions of other communist groups.

Let us be read and judged on what we write. No, we do not reproduce the texts of Nuevo Curso [5] or the ICT, or others, as an opportunistic tactic, to coax them, flatter them or gain their sympathy. No, we do not continue to defend the fact that the ICT is still the only material force in a situation where it can exercise its historical and international role as a pole of regroupment in order to blackmail it (incredible, isn’t it?).

Yes, we will continue to debate and try to confront the different positions publicly as we are trying to do in our own ranks. With or without the other communist forces. This is a necessity for us. But so is it for the other communist forces, whatever they may think, and even if it must disturb the daily routine and the comfort of absolute certainties. Debates and political confrontations are the blood that must irrigate the communist political bodies. Otherwise there is a risk of thrombosis. Ultimately, it is a matter of life and death.”

Having clarified this point, which should reassure readers, supporters, militants, and most certainly our friends of the ICC itself, about the state of our relations with the ICT, let us return to our regroupment policy.

How the Proletarian Parties of the Past were Formed

The history of the workers’ movement teaches us that the proletarian political parties are not formed from a single current or organization that gradually grows to become the party. It teaches us that they are formed by a grouping of several currents and groups around a particular pole that plays the role of an active, central and decisive factor in this political process and struggle. This is not a process that claims to be “democratic”, “federative” or “egalitarian” between political currents. It is a process and a struggle that expresses both the heterogeneity of class consciousness within the proletariat itself, of which the various proletarian currents, circles, groups, organizations and political parties are expressions; and the dynamic of homogenization of this consciousness as the proletariat unifies in the struggle against capital, of which the communist currents, groups and political parties are the main factors and vectors. The 1st International was formed around the pole represented by Marx and Engels; the second around German social democracy; the third around the Bolshevik party.

The same applies to national parties. If we take the example of the formation of communist parties, the Russian Communist Party was officially founded in 1918 around the Bolshevik fraction, and integrated other currents, in particular Trotsky’s. The German party was formed around the Spartacus League of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebneckt, and included other currents such as the Bremen Left and others. The Italian party was formed around the Absentionist Fraction, led by Bordiga, and included various currents such as Gramsci’s Ordinivists. We see this phenomenon repeated in virtually all the processes leading up to the formation of Communist parties joining the International between 1919 and 1921. As we can see in the German case, but also in the French and other cases, it is not always the most left-wing, clearest current that constitutes the axis around which the party is formed. Without making this an absolute schema, it is highly probable that the constitution of tomorrow’s world party of the proletariat will follow the same path. There is nothing material in the current situation of revolutionary forces to indicate that it could be otherwise, contrary to the classic position of “Bordigism”, which believes that it is already the party of tomorrow and refuses to consider any participation of other currents in its formation.

The Post-1968 Proletarian Camp

In the 1970s, the “Bordigist” International Communist Party and 0the International Communist Current represented the two main poles of international regroupment. This was due as much to their programmatic and political positions as to their growing international presence, their militant dynamism and their claim to the fractions of the Communist Left that had emerged from the Communist International. The fact that these two organizations grew in number of militants and territorial sections on several continents was a manifestation of the political and historical attraction that these two currents exerted on emerging revolutionary forces. The regularity and seriousness of the ICP publication Programme communiste served as a reference and formation tool for many militants, including those from other currents. The same was true, perhaps to a lesser degree, of the ICC’s International Review. The Partito Comunista Internazionalista publishing Battaglia Comunista and Prometeo was then a virtually unknown organization outside Italy. It was not until the Communist Left’s conferences in the late 1970s, and its regrouping with the Communist Workers Organization to form the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party (IBRP) in 1983, that the “Damenist” current – from its best-known member, Onorato Damen – became a genuine international grouping.

The explosion of the “Bordigist” ICP during its internal crisis in 1982 into multiple small groups, each claiming to be the party, and the inadequacy of its basic positions – support for national liberation struggles, reconquest of the trade unions and, above all, the party as a substitute for the class (to put it simply here) – for the period, means that this current is still today incapable, probably for ever, of playing any kind of international reference and regrouping role. [6] Up until the late 1980s/early 1990s, the ICC was still the main pole of the proletarian camp, integrating dozens of militants and setting up new sections in Mexico and Switzerland. However, with the adoption of the theory of decomposition and parasitism and the internal crises of 1995 and 2001, the organization embarked on a sectarian dynamic aimed, in the name of the fight against parasitism, at destroying the other components of the proletarian camp, especially those seen as “rivals”. To the point of adopting a resolution at its 16th congress in 2005 calling for the destruction of the IBRP! [7]

Situation of the Proletarian Camp in 2013

When the IGCL was formed, we were forced to note that only the IBRP, which later became the ICT, was still capable of effectively fulfilling this role of international reference and grouping. How can we define that a current or an organization can be, and must assume to be, a pole? We cannot reduce the criteria to international reach and influence alone, or even to the number of members. Of course, international militant capacity is undoubtedly an element – not always linked to membership numbers, but that is another matter. Numbers are, above all, the result of other factors that enable this militant and numerical development; in particular, the clarity and coherence of programmatic and political positions as well as general orientations; and the link with past organizations, which favors political clarity and coherence and establishes the “political authority” of the group or organization.

The result for us in 2013 was that “to date, only the ICT could, and still can, constitute this historical, political and organizational reference pole around which the rest of the camp, the party in the making, can and should meet. (…) However, this role, this place, is granted to it by history, both by the direct organic link – albeit now tenuous – with the Communist Party of Italy since its foundation and by the state of the other currents of the Communist Left. For our part, we have neither this organic link, nor the programmatic corpus, nor thus the political legitimacy and authority, much less the material organization – of which the number of members is only one aspect – to be able to claim such a role. To claim it today would be a political mistake that could only further divide this camp, hinder its regrouping and unity in process, and disorient new generations and groups.” [8]

It was on the basis of this approach and understanding of the proletarian camp and the political process leading to the formation of the party that, from 2013 onwards, we developed our orientation towards the proletarian camp. The fact that the ICT did not share our conception of the process and struggle for regroupment and party formation, and that it rejected our understanding of its particular role as a pole of regroupment, meant that it did not always assume the task that history has given it as we wished. That is why, on several occasions, we have highlighted, and even criticized, what appeared to us to be inadequacies, or even errors, on its part. We cannot get into the validity or otherwise of our criticisms at the time. Insofar as they were valid or not, they took nothing away from the historic place this organization occupied at these moments, whatever was the understanding of its members at that time. [9]

The War in Ukraine and the... Polarization of the Proletarian Camp

The war in Ukraine, capitalism’s first significant step towards generalized imperialist war, has not only provoked and accelerated the dynamics of imperialist polarization, but also... the dynamics of polarization underway within the proletarian camp, between its pro-party forces who all recognize the reality and actuality of the historical alternative of international proletarian revolution or generalized imperialist war, and its anti-party forces who tend to ignore it, or even reject that there are any pushes towards war and dynamics of imperialist bipolarization. The ICC is the most caricatural expression of this. At this pivotal moment, the ICT has risen to its task as a pole of regroupment, clearly recognizing that the dynamic towards generalized war is becoming a central factor in the situation, and focusing its orientations on this question; for example, by calling for the constitution of NWBCW committees at the international level.

It is still too early to assess the impact of the ICT’s appeal to form these committees, especially as it covers the whole of the coming period. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the ICT’s political authority and international organizational existence explains in great part the international response to its appeal. It could not have been on the same scale, and would not have met with the same success, if a group like ours, or others, had done it alone. This has reinforced our political conviction of the centrality of the ICT within the proletarian camp today.

Divergence with the ICT on the Conception of Regrouping

But what do we mean by regroupment? For us, back in 2013 and still today, “speaking of the process of regroupment around the historical and international pole, that the ICT represents, does not therefore mean that we can reduce this process to a pure and simple adhesion to the ICT. If that’s the case, fine! But it is not always possible, nor even desirable in itself, particularly when a certain number of non-clarified, or at least ‘unidentified’, political divergences remain. A process of regroupment from the communist point of view, presents diverse dimensions of which the adhesion and organizational regroupment are but one expression amongst others; and quite often they are merely the end, the last stage, the result, of other dimensions. Amongst these, exists the fundamental one, especially today, of developing debates at the international level around the positions of this pole and aiming to reinforce and support it as much as possible at the political and organizational levels as well as in its international intervention towards the working class and within the revolutionary milieu, or camp.” [10]

Here, it is worth mentioning the two main divergences we have with the ICT, which may seem incompatible with, or at least make difficult, our formal regroupment in its ranks today [11]: our methods of analysis of the class struggle and the intervention of revolutionaries that ensues from it, even if they tend to converge because of the historical situation [12]; and our conception of the process of forming communist groups, ultimately the party.

For the ICT, “the formation of the new International, i.e. the Party, as it would be understood today, coincides with ‘the development of the real political forces which emerge, regroup and mature within the theoretical and political struggle in the different countries’.” [13] Consequently, it believes that “the Bureau [the ICT] doesn’t intend to artificially accelerate the time when the international unity of the revolutionary forces will take place beyond the “natural” period of the political growth of the communist organisations in different countries.” [14] In so doing, the reality of the ICT’s functioning and intervention at national and local levels leaves a certain “freedom” or “autonomy” to the “affiliated” territorial groups, thus respecting the natural rhythms of political growth in the various countries, to use its formula. The risk is that each affiliated group does what it wants in its own corner, without the rest of the organization knowing about it and controlling it: “this whole affair and our discussion with various comrades in Canada has revealed that the GIO for most of its history (it affiliated to our tendency in 2001) has never been a coordinated organisation but a group of individuals each with their own take on our platform.” [15] (emphasis added)

For our part, we consider that the next International, the world party of the proletariat, should immediately constitute itself as a centralized international party, without any particular phase of national or local development – this can and should only be achieved on the basis of the centralized and international dimension. Consequently, the IGCL already functions and acts as a centralized international group, including in national and local situations. In so doing, all parts of the IGCL – however modest its reality today – consider themselves to be expressions of the international proletariat, not of local or national experiences. Their natural rhythm must be – this is a political struggle against localism and immediatism – determined by the program and the international organization, itself a historical expression of the international proletariat. They function and intervene as a delegation of the whole and under its organizational and political direction. Its militants must see themselves first and foremost as militants with international responsibilities. They are not part of a local or national group, but of the IGCL as a whole. This effective centralization means that we are already compelled to adopt a genuine party method in our actions and internal functioning.

However, the arguments and vision of the ICT must be taken into account. We do not reject them out of hand. While its conception may open the door to confused positions, or even to concessions to leftism on certain occasions, it can also allow the processes of political clarification to be respected and to mature. On condition, however, that divergences or differences are accepted and confronted internally and publicly. As for our centralizing vision, if misunderstood or “dogmatically applied”, it can lead to a desire to impose political unity by decree, or even by discipline, without allowing questions to clarify and the maturing of positions to take place in the different parts of the organization. This can lead to the “creation” of a superficial or artificial political unity that will unravel, or even explode, at the slightest gust of history.

For those who are wondering, the conditions for a regroupment today would mean that the ICT could accept within its ranks militants who intervene on all international and national questions and debate – possibly criticize – this or that local or national intervention. In particular... the analysis of situations and interventions in workers’ struggles. For the time being, we intend to see ourselves as a sister organization - a kind of fraction or tendency, since we share the same programmatic corpus and the same class frontiers – of the ICT which, while supporting common positions and developing its own, does not hesitate to debate political differences, trying to make them as positive as possible for the ICT, ourselves and the whole camp.

Our Practical Orientation and the Divergence

Faced with the misunderstandings and disagreements the ICT was expressing about our policy on the one hand, and, on the other, faced with the deleterious and hostile relations that the ICT-affiliated group in Canada at the time was developing towards our group from the moment it was formed [16], we had specified our orientations towards it in a letter back in 2014:

“Since we consider that the ICT remains the ‘only international pole of regroupment’, and since the IGCL carries on thinking it would be counter-productive (anti-regroupment to take back your expression) today to aspire to be another international pole even if it also intends to regroup around itself, we’ll do all we look necessary to gather around the ICT as a pole, or axis if you prefer, and to attempt to convince it to assume this task despite itself if so we can say. Consequences:
- we will carry on supporting the ICT when it will develop correct statements and interventions (for instance by reproducing its articles, or leaflets, on our web site, even in our public diffusion, or still by supporting and helping it when it will develop interventions such as public meetings in France or Canada, indeed in any country where the IGCL will be able to develop itself and intervene);
- we will develop more than before (than the fractions
 [17]) our fraternal criticisms – i.e. underlining too our fundamental point of agreement – on theoretical, political, and even ’organizational’ questions which we agree with as we have started to do in the second issue of the review with our introduction to the text on anarchism in response to the CWO article;
- finally, we’ll firmly and publicly criticize, in relation with our general orientations and priorities of intervention, the positions and the leftist kind of ’adventures’ that the ICT (or some of its parts) may develop sometimes, in particular the IWG... ”
(letter of the IGCL to the ICT, October 14th 2014)

Readers who are accustomed to reading us, or who glance at the summaries of the journal’s 25 issues, can only note the consistency of this effort and of our policy since our constitution. One may not agree with it. One may feel that it has been poorly applied on this or that occasion. But it cannot be said to have been haphazard or subject to maneuvering or immediatist reversals – quite the contrary – even when immediate facts and events seemed to contradict us.

How did we Develop this Orientation?

We constantly reproduced the ICT statements with which we agreed – leaflets, statements, articles – to the point of choosing to support and endorse such or such a position, rather than publishing “our own” article or leaflet when we would have been defending basically the same position. And we have succeeded in establishing a relationship of confidence and mutual support, including concretely, particularly in Canada and France. With regard to the second orientation, we have on several occasions raised points for debate and clarification based on differences of analysis or otherwise. A number of debates setting out our respective positions have been held in public, on the question of the party, the intermediary groups, the intervention of revolutionaries, the transition period, the method of analyzing the situation and the course of the class struggle... [18]

Many think that these debates are pointless if they do not immediately conclude with an endorsement of one of the two theses. What a mistake. For example, let us take the debate on the method of analysis of the situation and the historical course, a concept and notion that the ICT rejects and criticizes as idealist. See Revolution or War #11 and 21-22 in particular. This debate refers not only to the method of analysis, but also to the question of the party and its responsibility as the political vanguard of the proletariat, and therefore also to its intervention in proletarian struggles. By giving us a better grasp of the ICT’s critique and arguments, it enabled us to specify and even clarify our own method and a few specific points on the question – in particular, to take care not to fall into any form of idealism or dogmatism on this issue. It also made it clear that generalized imperialist war was not the simple sum of local imperialist wars, which some ICT texts tended not to distinguish. Since then, this question has been clarified by the war in Ukraine and the step towards generalized war that it expresses, to the point where the positions of our two organizations on the current historical situation, on the historical alternative that presents itself and on how it presents itself, are very close, if not identical.

Finally, and fortunately, we have had few opportunities in recent years to criticize positions that make concessions to leftism. Only the position and intervention of the newly-formed North American group – Klasbatalo – during the demonstrations following the murder of G. Floyd particularly worried us, to the point of being the subject of a critical statement in RG#18, What Future for the ICT’s 1919 Journal in North America? Publication of the Communist Left or Trojan Horse of Leftism? [19] Since then, this journal has no longer presented such leftist mistakes, as we pointed out in RW #23 in our salute to Bilan et perspectives. [20]

As we can see, there is nothing surprising here, nor is there anything we did not announce in advance in our orientation and its elaboration according to the moment and the situation. What is more, nothing has come to demonstrate the inanity of the former, nor the historical ineffectiveness of the latter. The situation opened up by the war in Ukraine, the march towards war which only the proletariat can oppose by destroying capital, has not rendered our conception and orientation obsolete. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Consequently, no one should be surprised by our policy towards the ICT or the proletarian camp as a whole – which we cannot go into here. There is no tactical maneuvering, flattery, blackmail or anything else in our policy towards the ICT and, more broadly, the proletarian camp. And let us warn once again: as long as the historical situation remains fundamentally determined by the current course and the conformation of the camp remains the same, we do not intend to change this orientation, and will continue to try to implement and develop it the best we can.

IGCL, October 2023
The Proletarian Camp as Privileged Place of the Struggle for the Party (IGCL Platform)

While the fight for the political party of the proletariat is at the center of its activities and interventions, the IGCL is not the party. It is only one component among others of the proletarian camp within which the forces called to form the party will define themselves, emerge and select themselves not on the basis of their numerical growth in itself, but on the basis of their programs, political positions and capacities of effective intervention in the proletarian struggles. The political forces and currents that belong de facto to this camp are those that still claim and have not betrayed in the past the principles of proletarian internationalism – "the working class has no fatherland" – and of the dictatorship of the proletariat – "the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions". These currents advocate proletarian political independence from – and class opposition to – capital and its political forces; they reject any support to this or that bourgeois fraction, including the left, any anti-fascist frontism or other, any form of nationalism, any so-called socialist character to the Stalinist ex-USSR. They also recognize that the Russian Revolution of 1917 was, far more than the Paris Commune in 1871, the first real experience of the exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat with universal value.
This proletarian political space is, in fact, the privileged place of political confrontation and clarification between the political forces of the class. This process is a prerequisite for the elaboration and adoption of the principles, positions, program and the platform of the party. Consisting of groups, circles and organizations with different political positions and traditions, the dynamics of this camp are defined mainly by the evolution of the balance of forces, the opposition and confrontation, between what Lenin defined as pro-party and anti-party forces. Along with the intervention in workers’ struggles, the proletarian camp is the other privileged field of intervention and struggle that the IGCL develops in view of the regroupment of militant forces and the formation of the party."



[2. In this exchange of mails between the ICC and the ICT (, any attentive reader (and one who would like to follow all this very closely, as a historian of the vagaries of the Communist Left) will note how the ICC is in fact exerting constant and progressive pressure for the ICT to denounce the IGCL...

[3. (idem.)

[5. To judge our policy towards the Nuevo Curso group, we invite the reader to also refer to our critique of its position and that of Munis, which it claims, on the Spanish war: Spain 1936: Can There be a Proletarian Revolution without Insurrection and Destruction of the Bourgeois State? (RW #15, and our latest position on the recent developments in this group, Erratic Flight into Activism of The Group Emancipation (Nuevo Curso), in RW #24 (

[6. The relative development of Il Partito ComunistaThe Communist Party [the name of its publication], the so-called “Florence” ICP, in the United States in recent years does not seem to us to profoundly alter this observation and trend. We cannot develop here

[7. “The organization has to be the clearest and the most homogeneous on our aim of our policy towards the IBRP : 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 (…). We must utilize the difficulties of the IBRP forum for discrediting it. (…) If we say that the Proletarian Political Milieu has a destructive attitude towards the new elements, our attitude has to be different, we must render it harmless.” This document was never made public, and with good reason! It was given to the International Fraction of the Communist Left (ex-IFICC), which published it in its International Communist Bulletin #6 (

[8. Revolution or War #12, 2019, The Battle for the Reconfiguration of the Proletarian Camp, the ’Party in the Making’, is Launched (

[9. We refer the interested reader to the editorial of our journal #12 (see previous note) for a brief presentation of our main critique of that time.

[10. RW #1, Correspondence on the regroupment of revolutionaries (

[11. As we made clear in the previous article on Ten Years of the IGCL, the platform we have adopted is not in contradiction with that of the ICT – unlike that of the ICC. We believe that ours is more coherent and precise in the presentation and understanding of the class frontiers, and that it is better adapted and more responsive to the historical issues of the current 2020s period. As a result and according to us, the two platforms would not in themselves be an obstacle to a formal regroupment within the ICT, should the situation require it and conditions permit.

[12. See for instance in RW #24 the debate we opened with the ICT and Bilan et perspective, today Groupe révolutionnaire internationaliste, about the analysis of the struggles in France and Great Britain and the communists’ concrete intervention ( and (

[13. Emphasis added. The vision is not always clear in its ranks, so much so that the French translation of this text argues that “the new International must not remain a Federation of parties for long either”, as if it had to pass through a federative stage. The other versions explicitly reject this vision: Towards the New International, a text that can be described as “programmatic” for the ICT (

[14. Idem.

[16. In addition to developing open hostility toward us, some members from the first GIO developed dubious practices and often confused and sometimes openly leftist positions.

[17. “The fractions”, i.e. the Internal Fraction of the ICC (IFICC) and the International Fraction of the Communist Left (IFCL), the latter having taken over from the former in 2010. Its website is still open, and all 60 issues of its Communist Bulletin are available to anyone who needs references: For the English pages, which are not complete:

[18. In issues #7, 8, 9, 10, 11 17, 21, 22 and 24.