Revolution or War n°25

(September 2023)

PDF - 773.9 kb

HomeVersion imprimable de cet article Version imprimable

Political Impasse of the International Communist Current

In all our activities, we try to be consistent with our conception of the central role of the proletarian political party – and in its absence of the communist groups and minorities – in the revolutionary process and future of our class, as well as in its daily struggles. Therefore, it is by principle that we regard the congresses and other conferences, assemblies or general meetings, etc., of other revolutionary groups, and especially of the Communist Left, as very special moments of the life of the proletarian political camp and the struggle for the party.

On reading the documents published last July of the ICC’s 25th congress, it seemed to us that there was nothing particularly at stake for the proletarian camp. Entangled in its idealistic theoretical-political contradictions, in particular its rejection of any dynamic towards the generalized imperialist war that capital is trying to impose, the ICC finds itself bogged down in the constantly renewed justification and defense of its opportunist theory of Decomposition, which is taking on water on all sides in the face of historical reality. This congress merely expresses the growing political marginalization of this organization both within the camp and vis-à-vis the historical stakes facing the international proletariat. Two pages would suffice. And then...

And then... at the beginning of August, on its website in French, later in English, the ICC announced a “full dossier” of six articles on the IGCL alone, at the risk of offending our modesty. It already published three in a row: Political parasitism is not a myth, and the IGCL is a dangerous expression of it [1], The Marxist foundations of the notion of political parasitism and the fight against this scourge [2] and The IGCL’s pseudo-’critique’ of the ICC platform - A sham analysis to discredit the ICC and its political inheritance (the Communist Left) [3]. As a result, we are obliged to go into a little more detail on this organization than we had planned, We have therefore decided to first take position on the text that responds to our criticism of the ICC platform. And then to reproduce our position on the congress, unchanged, as it was written before the ICC launched its offensive against our group.

Quick Attempt to Explain Such an Anti-IGCL Attack

How to explain that the most important organization of the Communist Left, in its own words, “stoops” to dedicate dozens of pages to respond to the political criticisms voiced by “this small parasitic group”? This in itself is an indication of its current political disarray. As it does about the dynamics opposing the pro- and anti-party forces within the proletarian camp. Make no mistake about it: behind us, the target of the ICC and its “anti-parasite” policy is the entire proletarian camp and its components working towards political clarification and regrouping of communist forces. Why such an offensive, which the report on the congress does not announce? Apart from introducing division and sectarianism into the proletarian camp, there are at least two other immediate or contingent reasons. One, calling for the “defense of the organization” in front of the IGCL, “a parasitic group of the worst kind”, forces all its members to silence their doubts about the organization’s political positions, analyses and dynamics; and so to close ranks internally against the “police agency of the capitalist state” [4] that we would be, the ICC has been hammering incessantly since our constitution in 2013. [5] Two, it is forced to answer questions put to it by contacts and young militants moving closer to the Communist Left about the positions of other groups, the ICT and the IGCL in particular. The reality in the making of the proletarian camp, and of the new forces and individuals moving towards it, thus puts it in open contradiction with its theory of parasitism, as we had already reported at the NWBCW committee meeting in Paris. [6] The impasse it has locked itself in, is the inescapable result of the objective, historical contradictions caused by the adoption of the opportunistic and idealistic theory of Decomposition, and “parasitism” that accompanies it. In short, do not let the virulence of the comments and the dozens of pages already published and still to come impress you: this offensive does not express a position of strength and dynamism, but of growing and inevitable political weakness and disorientation, both internal and external.

The Debate Method Specific to the ICC

Let us turn to its “response” on its platform. First of all, we warmly invite our readers and militants and sympathizers of the Communist Left, or those who are close to it, agreeing or disagreeing with our positions and wishing to be consistent, to read our Statement on the ICC’s Platform [7] to form their own opinion. And, in particular, to judge the “defamatory, misleading and slanderous” nature of our arguments. They will also be able to compare our method of political debate and confrontation with that of the ICC. Our text is relatively short. Six pages.

The method used by the ICC can be summarized by the following quotations: “The councilist flaws that the IGCL attribute to the ICC’s platform are pure slander... These ’criticisms’ are grossly misleading... Open defamation, denigration and slander... enormous-shameless-huge lies, misleading assertions... fraudulent criticisms...”, etc. etc. We doubt that such rebuttals can win any support other than that of the sect’s followers and believers. Hence “the necessary re-establishment of the truth about our political positions”, it explains. In their place, we would have written the “Truth”. Faced with our criticism on this or that point of the very platform, the ICC also refers to other articles to establish our “lies and slanders”. It does not defend the point of the platform in question, nor does it make it explicit, but refers to another text.

Example: our article points out the weaknesses, in our view, of the ICC’s platform on parliamentarianism. Instead of responding by defending its platform, it replies as follows: “What the IGCL is quick not to mention here is that Lenin’s theses are reproduced in full in the following ICC article ‘Lenin’s Theses on bourgeois democracy and proletarian dictatorship (reprint)’. This reduces to nothing the criticism of an alleged weakness of our position on this question and illustrates once again the devious method of the IGCL.” The article in question was published in 2000, and is merely a republication of Lenin’s Theses on Bourgeois Democracy and Proletarian Dictatorship, adopted at the 1st Congress of the Communist International in 1919. So what? What does this have to do with the platform written in 1976? Convincing, isn’t it?

Or still: “Contrary to these misleading assertions, the ICC in no way minimises the fundamental role played by the party in the success of the Russian revolution (…). This is borne out by the many articles in various pamphlets we have devoted to this question.” And it refers to articles and a brochure published in the 1990s. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? What about the platform itself? What about our criticism? Nothing.

We will leave aside the... various lies from the ICC itself. Come on, just one for fun: “Only a mythomaniac with the aplomb of the IGCL is capable of spouting such nonsense. The ICC has never considered itself to be a party (or a party in miniature)” states, with emphasis [in the French version only], its response. Quote from the Resolution on the International Situation of the 16th ICC Congress: “the ICC already constitutes the skeleton of the future party.” [8] And, Report on the Question of Organization, 1975: “we must constitute the pivot, the ‘skeleton’ of the future world party of the proletariat.” [9] Would we be liars and mythomaniacs? Ah, the harsh reality...

And then there are the silences and omissions.

The ICC Platform’s Councilist Stance on Class Consciousness

There is one passage and one argument that the ICC text does not mention, not even as a lie. And with good reason: we base our argument on an article from its International Review and an ICC Resolution, both from the 1980s. We apologize to the reader for quoting the entire passage on this point of our statement on the ICC’s PF. Indeed, beyond the immediate polemic, this question is of fundamental importance in the fight for the party and is, in our view, part of the lessons of the Communist Left that needs to be debated and that goes beyond the ICC alone.

Many passages of this point [of the ICC platform – PF] are right in themselves, but they are contradicted by others of an openly councilist nature and content. For example:
"The self-organisation of workers’ struggles and the exercise of power by the class itself is not just one of the roads to communism which can be weighed against others: it is the only road. (…) The organisation of revolutionaries (whose most advanced form is the party) is the necessary organ with which the class equips itself to become conscious of its historic future and to politically orient the struggle for this future." [ICC ‘s PF]
It is councilism to substitute the workers’ councils as organs of the proletarian insurrection and of the exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat by the self-organisation of struggles and the exercise of power – needless to say that every leftist, especially anarchist, even a little bit radical, recognizes him/herself enthusiastically in this anarchistic verbiage, which is more than confused from the Marxist and class points of view. It is councilism to reduce the role of the party to the sole dimension of becoming conscious and orientating for the future instead of the historical dimension, broader, and concrete, more immediate, of political leadership both towards this future and in the daily struggles of the revolutionary class.
This reduction of the role of the party to a mere adviser or guide of the class [10] is based on the central thesis of economism and councilism, which is unfortunately present in the platform.
"Class consciousness develops along a tortuous path through the struggle of the class, its successes and defeats." [ICC’s PF] This economist position is the same one that Lenin rightly fought against in What is to be done and that the ICC in turn had to fight within its own ranks in the 1980s.
"By presenting consciousness as a determined and never a determining factor in the class struggle; by considering that the ’one and only crucible of class consciousness is the massive, open struggle’, [this thesis] leaves no place for revolutionary organizations (…). The only major difference between this vision [centrist towards councilism] and councilism is that the latter takes the approach to its logical conclusion by explicitly rejecting the necessity for communist organization..." [11] [ICC’s article of 1985] It was following this internal debate that the ICC adopted a Resolution in January 1984 specifying, among other things, that "the condition for coming to consciousness by the class is given by the historic existence of a class capable of apprehending its future, not by its contingent, immediate struggles." In doing so, it was in contradiction with this point of the ICC platform, which nevertheless has never been rectified.” [12]

The quotation we rely on is therefore an “official” ICC text, a Resolution of organization, itself contradicting the specific point of its platform on the question of class consciousness and defining its formulation as centrism vis-à-vis councilism. One can disagree with us, but it is hard to call it a lie or a slander. The ICC’s impasse? To keep banging its head against the material and historical reality, there texts of organization, it keeps trying to deny.

But despite these crude dodges, the ICC is compelled to provide some political elements. And here... the least we can say is that they largely and clearly confirm not only that the 1976 platform is under the influence of councilism, but that this influence is even more pervasive in today’s ICC.

On the Trade Union Question, German Left or Left of Italy?

Let’s take just one example: the union issue. Let’s recall that our main criticism of the platform is that it is permeated by a councilist and economist approach, expressed particularly in the tendency to explain class frontiers only by the impossibility of reform in the decadence of capitalism. [13]

For lack of space, we shall not go into the ICC simplistic argument – let us be gentle – that to say, as we do, that “the passage of the unions into the camp of the bourgeoisie was the product of a balance of forces" would mean that we are arguing that it would have been possible to maintain the unions as a class organization. No cry of outrage or slander on our part. The ICC and others have every right to think that, and we are ready to debate it. Let us just note for the reader that, in our view, to do so is to miss the political struggle that the Left of Italy, including the group called Gauche communiste de France (GCF) which the ICC of today claims to be its continuity, was waging in the trade unions right up to 1945. And therefore ignore the political and principled approach and method that animated the Left of Italy in opposition to that of the German-Dutch Left.

However, in its reply, the ICC refers precisely to the latter: “In fact, the only really ‘inspiring’ struggles for the proletariat in relation to the trade union question are those which have called into question this institution as a tool of class struggle, as was the case in particular during the revolution in Germany.” The statement remains vague, though it is no less clear that what the ICC considers “inspiring” is the experience of the KAPD and the AAUD and AAUE in the early 1920s. What did this policy mean from the point of view of the class and its struggles? What were the AAUD? Radical “new unions” with a “communist” political platform, excluding workers who were not, and rejecting the specific political leadership role of the Communist Party. In this respect, the KAPD’s economicist-councilist policy differed little at the level of the principles from the opportunist trade union policy of the Communist International, both calling for the splitting and division of what were considered the unitary organizations of the class. [14]

For our part, and without getting into the fundamental debate, we claim the policy defended by the CP of Italy, then its Left Fraction, which opposed the “union split” in the name of the unity of workers in struggle, whatever their political opinion. Let’s dwell on this point for a moment, as it raises a question of principle and illustrates the “lightness” and ignorance of our kind opponents. In footnote 7 of their reply, referring to the 1944 Schema of program [15] for the PCint, the ICC directly challenges us: “ They must therefore endorse formulations such as ‘our party, which does not underestimate the influence of other mass parties, is the defender of the unique front’ [16], a policy of the Communist International during its opportunist decline and which had been opposed by the Italian Left since the early 1920s.” The article’s editor and the team around have shown a guilty laziness here. Why did not they read the whole point? The formula that uses “unique front” in quotation marks, an omission from the article, is very clear: the “unique front” as “the organic manifestation of the unity of the proletariat outside the parties, indispensable to struggle and victory.” In other words, the 1944 schema of program merely reiterates the Left of Italy’s long-standing position: “The united front tactic shouldn’t be interpreted as a political coalition with other so-called workers’ parties, but as a utilisation of immediate demands in particular situations to increase the communist party’s influence over the masses without compromising its autonomous position. The basis for the United Front must therefore be sought in the proletarian organisations which workers join because of their social position and independently of their political faith or affiliation to an organised party.” (Lyon Theses of the Left of the CP of Italy, 1926) Despite its cries of outrage and repeated scandals, the ICC’s laziness and crass ignorance of the real positions of the Left of Italy do indeed verify and confirm our criticism that its platform’s claim of the German, Dutch and Italian Lefts “left little room for the Italian Left and much for the German-Dutch” – criticism which the ICC describes as an “outright lie”.

The fact that the German Left perceived “earlier” that the unions were becoming counter-revolutionary does not make its struggle any more just or “inspiring” in terms of principles; or even... immediate struggles, whether they were still in the revolutionary flow until the very early 1920s, or in the counter-revolutionary ebb from 1923 onwards. The policy that would and could have enabled to establish lines of defense in face of the international reflux, and thus preserve the proletariat from the complete unleashing of counter-revolution, was class unity on the grounds of demands. Alone against all, against the CI and the German-Dutch Left of the time, the Left of Italy put forwards this policy. In this sense, and without putting it on the same level as the degenerating International, the KAPD and the German Left of the time also played their part in aggravating the workers’ reflux and final defeat.

Each to its own school and inspiration, thus. For the ICC, the KAPD, paving the way for the councilism of the 1930s. For us, the Left of Italy. One may not agree with our criticism of the weaknesses and the councilist approach of the historical document that is the ICC’s 1976 platform. But the confrontation of different positions and their clarification deserve better than the ICC’s insults. Especially for the younger generations of revolutionaries, starting with the militants and sympathizers of this organization itself, who need to arm themselves theoretically and politically by truly re-appropriating the lessons and debates of the Communist Left.

August 2023



[5Let us skip that the IGCL is not the IFICC – if only because of its composition and, above all, its platform. And that the latter was not a split, contrary to the lie – this one is true – in the text Foundations of Parasitism... from the ICC, but was excluded. Even more ridiculous in this accusation: in 2001, only two of our members were adults, and only one of whom, Juan, had been an ICC militant. The other comrades, the vast majority, were between ten and two years old. Barely born and already parasites and cops! As for the rejection of the accusations against the IFICC, anyone wishing to check can do so by referring to the summaries of the 60 Communist Bulletin of the IFICC (, then of the International Fraction of the Communist Left. In particular, he or she will be able to pick out who really violated the organizational principles and statutes of the CCI in a relatively short summary of The History of the International Secretariat in its Bulletin 25 (

[6. Revolution or War #23, Impasse and Contradictions of the ICC in front of the So-called “Parasitism”, the ICT and the IGCL (

[7. RW #18, Statement on the ICC’s Platform, (

[10. The paradox of a passage from a mechanical materialist approach to idealism is only apparent. The inconsistent councilist who does not go so far as to deny absolutely the necessity of political organisation is forced to reduce its role only “to spread insight and knowledge, to study, discuss and formulate social ideas, and by their propaganda to enlighten the minds of the masses” (Anton Pannekoek, Cinq thèses sur la lutte de classe, 1947, in Pannekoek et les conseils ouvriers, EDI Paris, 1969, translated by us).

[11. Centrist Slidings Towards Councilism, International Review #42, 1985,

[12. Statement on the ICC Platform, op.cit.

[13. “As capitalism entered its decadent phase it was no longer able to accord reforms and improvements in living conditions to the working class. Having lost all possibility of fulfilling their initial function of defending working class interests, and confronted with an historic situation in which only the abolition of wage labour and with it, the disappearance of trade unions, was on the agenda, the trade unions became true defenders of capitalism, agencies of the bourgeois state within the working class” (ICC Platform)

[14. Our criticism of the KAPD and its AAUD-AAUE is beyond the scope of this article.

[15. To our knowledge, not translated in English update.

[16. The English uses “united front”, while the French and Italian use “front unique”, which can be differentiated from “united” referring to the unity of different parties in stead of the unity of the workers while in struggle. The Left of Italy is clear that it refers to the “unity of all workers in the workplaces” while using “unique front”.