Revolution or War n°23

(January 2023)

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Public Meeting in Paris of the “No War But Class War” Committee

We cannot make here and now a first balance-sheet of all the "No War But the Class War" committees that have been set up on an international scale and, mainly but not only, on the initiative of the Internationalist Communist Tendency. For our part, in addition to Paris, our strengths allow us to intervene directly in the Montreal and Toronto committees [1] – the latter on our initiative and that of other comrades including members of the Group of Revolutionary Workers. The activity of the two committees was centered both on the organization of public meetings to regroup around them and on the intervention by means of leaflets during street demonstrations or strikes, mainly on the picket lines, for example in the schools of Ontario. These are the first experiences, to which should be added those set up in Great Britain, USA, Italy, Turquia...

As soon as the Appeal of the ICT was launched, its members in France and ourselves have, in fact, constituted a committee whose first interventions took place, by means of leaflets, during the demonstrations of last June in Paris and some other cities. The purpose of this first public meeting, December 2, was to regroup proletarian energies and wills in the face of the capitalist dynamic leading to generalized imperialist war. There were about thirty participants, among which a part constituted of political circles and organizations. In addition to a large delegation from the ICC, there was a member of the group Matière et révolution, a CNT-AIT militant wanting to put forward internationalist positions, a member of Robin Goodfellow, a group of young people who we will call autonomous and who did not present themselves, and a group that publishes the newspaper ASAP révolution [2]; more than a dozen individual comrades attended. Among them, some presenting themselves as ’sympathizers of the Communist Left’ and others as CGT unionist or revolutionary syndicalist. [3] Let us specify at once that the whole of the meeting took place in a fraternal atmosphere, most of the interventions – including those of the ICC – respecting the turn of speech and the agenda. [4]

Together with the comrades of the ICT, we had decided to organize the discussion in two parts: the first on the historical situation and the dynamics towards the generalized imperialist war; the second on what to do and the proposal of the committees in relation to the general understanding of the new international situation opened with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. In spite of this organization, it was difficult for some interventions not to intervene immediately on the committees. This part of the discussion focused essentially – we leave aside here the other questions raised – between the presentation made by a comrade of the ICT, on the basis of the analysis that we share with it on the war in Ulkraine being the first step towards the generalized imperialist war, on the one hand; and on the other hand the ICC’s first intervention according to which “there is no perspective of generalized imperialist war”. This one, after having greeted the committee as “without any doubt, a clear expression of proletarian internationalism”, defended that “the proletariat is not ready to go to the war. It can only mobilize in relation to the economic crisis, not in relation to war.” It did not mention, nor did it defend, the Declaration of the ICC on the war in Ukraine [5] that, for our part, we consider an abstract affirmation of proletarian internationalism. It is precisely on this question of the danger of generalized imperialist war that is founded the necessity of committees No War But the Class War and on the recognition that the principle of Proletarian Internationalism will have to be articulated according to situations, according to countries and continents, and according to moments; that is to say according to conditions, timing and grounds that each bourgeoisie will try to impose to “its” proletariat. The conditions and grounds of the class confrontation are not the same in Russia and in Ukraine. They are even more different between Western Europe [6] and the other continents for the moment. This is why, if the general defense of proletarian internationalism is certainly a minimum, it is not sufficient in the present situation. And this is why, among other things, the setting up of committees can allow minorities of revolutionaries and combative proletarians to regroup, to act and to respond to each particular situation.

The second part of the discussion focused mainly on two questions: the role and nature of the proposed committees and what they could do in the current situation. It was introduced by a comrade from the ICT and a member of the IGCL gave a presentation of the activities and interventions of the Toronto and Montreal committees. Several speakers questioned what these committees could be: “Are they new political bodies?” Others, like the member from Matière et révolution, also expressed erroneous understandings. He criticized the call of the ICT for not referring to the soviets and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

But again, most of the political confrontation was organized around the second intervention of the ICC, as it expressed most clearly the confusions about what these committees were, which we consider to be struggle committees. It began by saying the opposite of its previous intervention: the first had supported the initiative as “undoubtedly internationalist”, this one denounced it as “activist and leftist”. Focusing its denunciation on the ICT, which “has never made any balance-sheet of the NWBCW committees of the 1990s and 2000s, a negative one because no committee was able to organize a single anti-war demonstration”, it asserted that “forming anti-war committees means nothing today, that it is a bluff, because there is no mass movement against the war.” It is worth mentioning that it was a part of the audience that answered it: “You certainly never have participated in a workers’ strike to select who can participate in it, prepare it, or not. Do you exclude anyone who is a union member or a leftist from going on strike with you, because they are a union member or a leftist?” For our part, we had to remind the ICC delegation of the historical position of the ICC on the struggle committees, itself based among other things on the ones set-up at the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s: it is precisely since the working class hesitates to enter into open struggle that minorities of militant proletarians and revolutionaries group together to act in the best way to lead the rest of the proletarians, whether in a factory, a region or a country, in front of such and such a situation, and on such and such a precise demand or attack of the bourgeoisie.

More decisive for the committees was the intervention of the anarchist militant. After having emphasized a first intervention on the material support to the Russian deserters or a “campaign of solidarity with the internationalists of Karkhiv” [7], he declared himself in agreement to carry out propaganda and agitation in the demonstrations and all expressions of workers’ struggle by way of leaflet or other. Many participants seemed to recognize themselves in this proposal for the committees. It is thus on this general basis, and within the framework of the march to the generalized war of capital, that a part of the audience committed itself to participate in the committees. A meeting was then decided to enlarge the committee as such and to discuss the concrete possibilities of intervention.

RL, December 2022



[3. No doubt we are forgetting some of them. We mention mainly those whose interventions participated directly and actively in the political debate and confrontation that took place.

[4. Only some members of the autonomous group could not resist some untimely interruptions. The chair proposed to give them the floor for an intervention, which they accepted. It was only after an hour or so that they left the meeting..

[6. The development of the war economy decided by Macron, the massive rearmament of Germany – 200 billion euros – will inevitably define the conditions and the tempo of the bourgeois attacks in France and Germany for example