Revolution or War n°14

(Semestrial - February 2020)

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How to Join the IGCL and a Communist Group?

Several comrades in different countries have recently asked us about the conditions and process for joining our group. We thought it would be useful to publish one of our answers to which any reader or sympathizer could refer. Over and above the specific conditions of membership linked to the principles and political platform of the IGCL, it seems to us that the method we are presenting here should apply to any Communist group today. Any comments or criticisms will also be welcome, whether they come from individual activists or from already established political groups or circles.

August 15th 2019

The IGCL to comrade L,

Dear comrade,

What are the terms and conditions for joining our group? Membership to any communist group, a fortiori the communist party of tomorrow, of new members is an individual process that is based on a political consciousness, or conviction, and militant will: "A party lives when there is the existence of a doctrine and a method of action. A party is a school of political thought and consequently an organisation of struggle. The first characteristic is a fact of consciousness, the second is a fact of will, or more precisely of a striving towards a final end"(Party and Class, Communist Party of Italy, 1921 [1]). Political consciousness refers first and foremost to the communist program and, more immediately, to the political platform of the group or party. The will refers to the militant commitment within an organized and centralized collective body, the party.

The Political Platform

From a formal point of view, the agreement – as well formal – with our basic positions ( is the condition and the main criterion for any membership of our group (as with any communist group). But, as you will see, all these positions do not really constitute a political platform in which each position, which we call a class position, is argued and presented in a global framework. This is due to several reasons, one of the main ones being that, to date and without prejudging future circumstances, we do not consider that the IGCL can, or should, aspire to constitute the pole, or even one of the poles, of international grouping. Even if we do not exclude the possibility of gathering and integrating new comrades into our struggle, of course, we include all our activities, in addition to intervention in workers’ struggles, around the struggle for the party and international regroupment; that is, concretely around the Internationalist Communist Tendency, which we consider to be the main organization of the historical forces and currents of the Communist Left and the only one in a position to be and act as an historical and international pole of regroupment, or reference, nowadays.

Nevertheless, our positions of principle, the basis for any membership of our group, lie within the framework of the political platforms of the ICT and the ’original’ ICC, i.e. the one that does not integrate the question of the idealistic and opportunistic theory of decomposition that this organization adopted in the 1990s. This is not simply due to chance – the political origins and trajectories of our members having been influenced rather by one or the other of the two currents as the case may be – nor to our limits alone as a group. We believe that the main ’historical’ divergences between the two historical currents overlap with most – not all – of the essential questions facing the proletariat and its political minorities today and which they will have to answer in the period ahead. These debates should be assumed, organized and systematized by these forces and even should to be conducted within the same organizational framework, at least in this common space that constitutes the proletarian camp, or the party in the making. This is the meaning and one of the main axes of our political orientation since our constitution.

As for the individual definition, or positioning, on our positions of principle, you can refer to the approach and statement that one of our sympathizers, now a member of our group, had adopted in 2014: Statement on ICT and ICC Platforms (Revolution or War #2). For us, this is an example of the method that should be used for any process of regrouping and joining a communist group and ensuring its maximum success in the long term.

The Political Orientations

The agreement ’verified, i. e. discussed between the comrade wishing to join and the group as a whole, with all the points of the platform, in our case our basic or principle positions, is a prerequisite for any membership. But this one must also be based on a global agreement with the main political orientations of the group, or party, i. e. with the ’tactics’, so that there is a minimum homogeneity and political unity for the organisation to act as effectively as possible – principles and tactics being closely linked and being required to be coherent. It is in this sense that the IGCL constitution conference in 2013 adopted Theses on the International Situation (RG #1) and a text, Critical Review-of-a-Contribution to an Balance-sheet of the International Communist Left.

]] (RG #2) which defined our orientation towards the proletarian camp.

Of course, and unlike the platform and questions of principle, it is not a question of agreeing word for word, point by point, with texts addressing tactical issues. Our theses on the international situation date from July 2013 and, since then, the international historical situation has evolved, confirming some of our points, invalidating others, and raising others still that the theses did not address. Nevertheless, the fundamental theoretical and political framework of this document is defined by the historical alternative Proletarian Revolution or generalized imperialist war as the ultimate expression of all the contradictions of capitalism and thus the main factor of the evolution of its situation; and in particular the evolution of the historical relation of forces between capital and labour, between the capitalist class and the proletariat. This question is therefore also an essential point for integration into our group today because it determines all our activity and intervention in the class and the proletarian camp for which a minimum of homogeneity and political unity are necessary for their development and effectiveness.

The same applies to the political orientation to be developed in the fight for the party. The conception of the proletarian camp as a whole, i.e. with its strengths and weaknesses, its unity and contradictions – in particular its division between partydist and anti-partydist forces [2] –, the permanent danger of the penetration of political opportunism within it and therefore of the fight to be waged against it, and the fact that the party of tomorrow can only be constituted on the basis of the programmatic heritage of the Communist Left [3], is a point to be discussed and clarified before joining the ICGL. Indeed, today, this orientation, just like the one defined by the historical alternative, determines all our activities and our intervention in the proletarian and revolutionary camps. This vision bases our position that the ICT is in the current period the only organization in capacity and... in duty to polarize all the forces, old and new, that are resolutely part of the fight for the party, the forces that we call the partydist forces. Nevertheless, in itself, this latter position cannot be considered as a criterion for membership: there is no guarantee, nor even unfortunately any indication in the current policy of the ICT, that it will one day assume this function as it should and that the historical situation will not end up changing the situation, redistributing the cards, within the proletarian camp.

The Militant Commitment and the Political Organization

Finally, there is another ’criterion’ for joining our group (as with any communist group): that of the conception of the political organization, its functioning and the relationship between the militant and the organized and centralized international collective body. This point is related to the question of militant will. But it is also a question of fundamental principle and, moreover, one of the most difficult to debate and clarify. It is largely in daily militant practice that the new member and... the organization clarify and verify the validity and accuracy of the conception and militant collective and centralized – we insist – practice. That is why we try to publish at least extracts of our internal activities reports for our general meetings. We refer you to the Activities Report [4] (RG #12), which our 2nd General Meeting adopted last June. Beyond the few elements of our daily life and functioning mentioned therein that could shed light on the reality of our activities and functioning, we draw your attention in particular on what we present, and claim, as the party method to be developed and put into practice, including in today’s small circles. You can also refer to the report for our 1st general meeting (RG #6) in 2016.

These are therefore the three ’criteria’ – formal agreement with the platform, general agreement with the orientations, willingness to militant commitment in a centralised international collective body – on which we believe that a genuine political integration can be achieved in any communist group, and of course within the IGCL itself as it exists today. Genuine integration or adherence we insist, because it is not a question of integrating new comrades in itself – of ’winning militants’ to make up a large number – without them being really convinced of the positions of principle, the general orientations and the functioning of the group and in real capacity to be able to defend them within the class and the other political forces on behalf of the group, or the party, on the one hand; and on the other hand in capacity to integrate themselves just as truly, effectively into the conscious, international, organized and centralized collective activity of the communist group. Militant commitment and membership is therefore not, in our view, just a declaration of agreement and membership. This is a genuine political process, it cannot be otherwise, between the organisation and the new member in which political discussions and clarifications of issues of principle and tactics are accompanied by a growing common militant practice in which the new militant, even if formally not yet a member of the group, is invited and encouraged to participate. And in which the group and the militant can verify the concordance between the programmatic and principled agreement and their actual militant understanding in practice. This is true for the new militant or member, of course. But it is also true for the group as a whole, which also checks for itself on this occasion the coherence between its principles and its current practice.


So, in concrete terms, we propose you that we engage in a systematic discussion of the points of our platform, or positions of principle, in relation to the two platforms of the ICT and the ICC. Of course, we are also open to any other questions from you – especially about current events. We try to favour written correspondence, which ’obliges’ a minimum of method and seriousness to present positions and arguments; and this for both the militant and the group as a whole. The discussion process we propose to you is not a discussion between a teacher and his student, but a dynamic process in which the ’two parties’, although unequal – the collective, organized, centralized and historically linked political body of the Communist Left does not have the same historical and political ’weight’, nor the same responsibility, as the militant individual – enrich each other and learn from each other.

Besides, certainly in a second time, but it can be quite fast, we could study the possibility of a first meeting in France or Italy (we suppose that you live in Italy). Physical meetings are occasions to move discussions forward and can even help, or complement, correspondence and written contributions. In particular, they make it easier to eliminate misunderstandings or confusion that distance and writings do not always manage to clear up.


Do not hesitate to let us know if you have any disagreement or questions about the content of this letter and the orientations we are proposing to you.

Fraternal Greetings, the IGCL.
Full Part of Our Basic Positions : the Historical Lineage

The positions and activity of revolutionary organizations are the product of the past experiences of the working class and of the lessons that its political organizations have drawn throughout its history. The IGCL thus traces its origins to the successive contributions of the Communist League of Marx and Engels (1847-52), the three Internationals (the International Workingmen’s Association, 1864-72, the Socialist International, 1884-1914, the Communist International, 1919-28), the left fractions which detached themselves from the degenerating Third International in the years 1920-30, in particular the German, Dutch and Italian Lefts, and the groups of the Communist Left which had specially developed in the 1970s and 1980s and which were stemming from these fractions.



[1. This text was published in Rassegna Comunista April 15th 1921 and written by Bordiga :

[2. If we cannot address this issue here, it should be noted that it is far from being limited to the party’s sole formal claiming.

[3. This does not mean excluding, or ignoring, by ’principle’, other revolutionary forces that may exist and that do not claim the Communist Left.