Revolution or War n°19

(September 2021)

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The IGCL’s New Political Platform

The IGCL has just adopted a new political Platform. Its basic content is summarized in the Basic Positions which are reproduced below and will appear on the back page of this and future issues of this journal. Originally, at the 2013 conference of the group’s constitution, we formally adopted the Basic Positions of the International Communist Current (ICC), with the notable exception of the reference to the position on Decomposition, as our de facto platform. The ICC basic positions are formally very close to those of the Internationalist Communist Tendency (ICT). At the time, we noted that for this reason, given this format, the platform will require greater development and argumentation in the future” (Resolution on the foundation of the IGCL [1]) One of our main orientations was to successfully reject the false – because mostly based on sectarian reasons – oppositions between the ICT and the ICC and to clarify the real disagreements and debates to raise, debate and clarify. Our Platform is the final result of the realization of this orientation. It will be available very soon on our website and in a pamphlet we are going to print. It will also contain our critical statements [2] on the ICT and ICC platforms, which were adapted to the situation in 1970s and 1980s. These two platforms, as well as the discussions we had with new comrades willing to regroup with and adhere to the IGCL, were important moments for the elaboration of our own text. Basically, we believe it is the development of the historical situation of the last decade that required the superseding of the old platforms, which had become inadequate, and the adoption of this new one. The rupture caused by the crisis and the pandemic, the precipitation of the dramatic economic and imperialist events and the growing actuality of the alternative Revolution or War, made its adoption urgent and an absolute need.

But what is a political Platform and why is it indispensable? A revolutionary group’s, or party’s, political platform is a practical document meant to serve as a reference and guide for the group as a whole, that is for its central organs, national and local sections, and its militants as they intervene in the working class struggles. It should be as clear as possible, to best theoretically equip the different parts of the organization to inoculate them all (insofar as possible) from the lapses into opportunism that inevitably result when bourgeois ideology and the associated practices succeed in exerting their influence on the whole revolutionary group or party.

Insofar as the working class struggles most effectively when it acts in accordance with the immanent, or latent, political content in even the seemingly most banal and day-to-day of its struggles that are on its own terrain, the platform is a document of combat that must aim to be of direct utility to the proletariat in struggle. The historical necessity to overthrow capitalism is inherent in even the everyday, immediate, struggles, whether the participants in those immediate struggles are fully conscious of this or not. The working class can only develop its struggle and resist capital if it succeeds to act congruently with the latent political content of its struggles, because even the most limited proletarian struggle on its own terrain is immediately confronted with all the juridical and repressive might of the capitalist state that the latter judges necessary to nip in the bud the genuine rousing of its mortal enemy, the revolutionary proletariat.

Being a document that aims to be of practical utility in the proletarian struggle, the platform must take into account the reality of the present situation. One of the aspects of the latter that is underappreciated – including by groups that loudly proclaim the death of the Communist Left as well as by those who claim to be its only representatives, lumping all other revolutionary groups with outright leftists – is precisely the existence of a proletarian/revolutionary camp. On the contrary, we must recognize the reality of this camp, including all of its weaknesses, ambiguities, and sometimes irascible sectarian reflexes.

Our platform is based on and articulated around the central question of the party, as the political vanguard and leadership of the proletariat, as the highest expression of class consciousness. It is due to this central position of principle of Marxism and because we want to make it a practical document that its drafting explicitly took into account 1) the existence of the proletarian camp, and 2) the necessity of even the seemingly most everyday struggle on the proletarian terrain to realize its immanent political content, a process that passes through the mass strike, to the insurrection, the destruction of the capitalist state, the exercise of the proletarian dictatorship on the global scale, and ultimately to the transition to communism, under the leadership of the international communist party.

The recognition of the reality of the proletarian camp is only the first step of the forging of the principled political unity indispensable for the constitution of the future party. Confrontation, debate, even polemic are necessary for the proletarian camp to adopt a party method of functioning. It is only by adopting such a method that the proletarian camp can begin to act as an effective vanguard, a vanguard recognized as such by struggling proletarians. Imagine the absurdity, the outright stupidity, of a communist group proclaiming the need for proletarian unity when it is part of a milieu of revolutionary groups and circles with principled communist positions – proletarian internationalism and dictatorship of the proletariat in particular – but which would ignore the positions of the ones and the others and would not confront them, indeed would be hostile to the others.

One can, of course, understand the despair gripping many in the proletarian camp today. Experienced militants might notice the numbers of revolutionary militants not increasing in their organizations. It would be an understandable, if ultimately counter-productive, reaction to want to recruit a greater number of militants by adapting oneself to the current ideological climate; by permitting eclecticism into the ranks of the organization; by arguing, for example, that anarchism is a revolutionary theory of the proletariat alongside historical materialism, rather than the idealistic theory of the counter-revolutionary lumpenproletariat and petty bourgeoisie, whatever the sincerity and sociological status of the militants of anarchist organizations; by arguing that left communists are favourable to “libertarian communism” because “authoritarian” communism is an oxymoron, etc. This short-sighted opportunism may win new recruits in the short term, giving the impression that one is growing the organization, but it is an edifice built upon sand. In the face of the historical tempest that will inevitably be provoked by capitalism’s insoluble contradictions, what is demanded from the revolutionary vanguard is theoretical rigour, not eclecticism; clear demarcation from bourgeois ideology, not spineless accommodation.

It is this theoretical rigour and clear demarcation from leftism that our new platform aims to provide. It does the former by laying exclusive claim to the theoretical and political legacy of the Italian [3]Communist Left, without ignoring completely the various other Lefts and Oppositions that sought to resist the Stalinist degeneration of the Third International. Today, faced with the almost complete collapse of the other Communist Lefts, in particular that deriving from the Left termed German-Dutch, or councilist, there is little doubt that the lineage and the programmatic, theoretical and political heritage of the international communist Left rests almost exclusively on the so-called Italian Left.

The so-called Italian Communist Left was the clearest political current that openly fought inch by inch within the Communist International against its Stalinist degeneration. But the history of the workers’ movement did not begin with it. Our new platform therefore also claims the legacy of the lefts of the previous Internationals as well; Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin against the reformists and opportunists of the Second International; Marx and Engels against the Bakuninists in the First, to name but the most prominent representatives of these lefts.

The main weapons of the proletariat are its unity and its revolutionary theory. But the for the latter to not be a dead letter, it must be actualized in the struggle of the working class, through praxis. The working class, being objectively a class against capital, tends to resist and struggle constantly and, finally, to revolt against its condition of exploitation and oppression. It is throughout these fights and this historical struggle of the proletariat that the political minority of the class, grouped and organized in its political organizations and party, must intervene in all the class struggles, from the smallest to the largest, on the local level as well as on the national and international levels, to develop and ensure their best possible political leadership.

In every proletarian struggle, big or small, the proletarian vanguard intervenes on a contested terrain, a terrain occupied by bourgeois political formations, particularly of the Left and leftism, whose policies have the objective result, if taken up by the proletariat, of leading to defeat; demobilization from the proletariat’s necessary class fight, and mobilization for the bourgeoisie’s “solution” to the structural contradictions of its system: generalized imperialist war. In this sense, every proletarian struggle for economic demands, even the most limited, is also a political struggle that the class and the revolutionaries must assume. It is precisely because the proletarian vanguard must intervene on a politically contested terrain, that of the proletarian struggles, that the clearest possible demarcation from leftism is indispensable. That explains the space in our programmatic text that is devoted to outlining the class frontiers. This document does not attempt to seduce militants halfway between leftism and genuinely revolutionary positions by, for example, leaving ambiguity as to the class nature of unions, left and leftist parties, anarchism, of national liberation struggles, etc. The militants are invited to position themselves clearly for or against particular propositions so that we may see where they stand. We cannot rely on the brilliance of individual militants to contribute to the formation of the principal instrument of the proletariat’s emancipation, the International Party. Indeed, the latter is neither an addition of individuals, even less a sect following an enlightened guru, but an anonymous collective of militants whose unity supersedes the sum of the individuals who compose it. It can only be based on communist principles and program and on the communist political conviction of the militants. The adoption of the party method and of the clearest possible platform are therefore necessary.

The IGCL, September 2021



[3We adopt this terminology here using the “national” qualifier with hesitation. For one, because the “Italian” Left was an international current, and secondly, because its legacy and value are of universal importance to the international proletariat. This legacy must not be reduced to merely a political expression of the Italian proletariat, a reduction implicit in the usage of the national qualifier.