The ICC has taken the decision to bar from its public forums and contact meetings members of the so-called ‘Internal Fraction’ of the ICC (note 1). This is the first time that our organisation has taken such a decision and it is necessary to explain publicly the reasons for it to the groups and elements of the proletarian political milieu and the working class in general.
This decision follows the exclusion of the same members of the IFICC at our 15th International Congress in the spring of 2003 (note 2) and is based on the same motives as their exclusion: the fact that these elements have behaved like snitches against our organisation.
To make things perfectly clear: it’s not because these elements were expelled from the ICC that they can’t take part in our meetings. If for example the ICC was compelled to expel a member because their mode of life was incompatible with belonging to a communist organisation (as for example in the case of drug addiction), this wouldn’t prevent that element from coming to our public meetings afterwards.
It’s because these elements decided to behave like informers that we can’t tolerate their presence at our meetings. This decision would apply to anyone who devoted themselves to making public information that could facilitate the work of the bourgeois state’s organs of repression.
Our decision is by no means exceptional in the history of the organisations of the workers’ movement. The latter have always had the principle of keeping informers at arm’s length in order to protect the security of revolutionary organisations and their militants (note 3).
Although we have already dealt with this question in our press (in particular in the article in WR 262, ‘The police-like methods of the IFICC’), we cannot avoid briefly going over the facts which led the 15th Congress to expel the members of the ‘Fraction’.
1. The publication on the internet of the date of a conference of the section of the ICC in Mexico (no. 14 of the IFICC Bulletin), a week before the conference was held. This meant that the entire world’s police could strengthen their surveillance at airports and frontiers, and make it much more precise (since our press has always said that international delegations participate in such conferences). What’s more, the members of the IFICC know very well that certain of our comrades have been direct victims of repression or been forced to leave their country of origin.
Following our denunciation of their behaviour, the members of the ‘Fraction’ replied that the date was only published on the day of the conference and that we had other fish to fry in all this. This response was a shameful lie and anyone can verify this by going to the IFICC website. Their bulletin no.14 is dated 24 November 2002, i.e. 6 days before the date of our internal meeting. The ICC itself became aware of the publication of the date on 26 November and it posed the question of whether it was advisable to send certain of our delegates to this conference (note 4).
2. The publication of the real initials of one of our militants, attached to his present pseudonym. The ‘Fraction’, unable to deny these facts, has tried to get round the accusation: “let’s recall simply that the initials CG were the signature on several articles in Revolution Internationale and the International Review throughout the 70s. It is under the initials CG that the militant Peter of today is widely known in the proletarian camp” (IFICC Bulletin no. 18). What does this last phrase mean? That the IFICC wanted the groups of the proletarian political milieu to know exactly WHO is this Peter that the Fraction’s texts talk about at such great length. We can already ask how this information helps these groups to better understand the political questions at stake. But even supposing that this was the case, the IFICC knows very well that of all these groups, only the IBRP knew CG, the same IBRP which had been informed seven months previously of the real identity of Peter at a meeting with the IFICC (see no. 9 of their Bulletin). As far as other revolutionary groups are concerned (such as the PCI), unlike the police, they simply don’t know who CG was. As for the fact that during the 70s numerous articles were signed CG, that’s quite true, but why have these initials disappeared from our press over the last 20 years? The IFICC members know quite well: because the ICC had judged that to publish the real initials of a militant only makes the work of the police easier. If the IFICC had decided that it was politically crucial to say how the militant Peter signed his articles, they could have used some more recent signatures and not the oldest ones. But this wasn’t its aim. What mattered was to give a little warning to CG so that other ICC militants would get the point and understand the price of combating the IFICC. The fallacious arguments it puts forward to justify its actions only highlights the mentality of informers and blackmailers which has more and more seized hold of its members.
When you look at its Bulletins, it’s evident that rumour-mongering and informing on members of the ICC has become the main business of the ‘Fraction’:
- in Bulletin no. 13, we read that the ICC hired a “luxurious room” for a public meeting;
- in no. 18, we find a detailed report of a public meeting of the PCI-Le Proletaire where all the deeds and gestures of “Peter alias CG” are set down in detail;
- in no. 19, once again there’s a sally against Peter who was “distributing alone” at this or that demonstration and this led them to raise a “highly political question”: “Finally, and you will understand that we are also posing this question to you: where is Louise? Absent from the demonstrations, absent from the public meetings, is she once again ‘ill’?”
In fact, the main concern of the members of the IFICC when they participate at demonstrations and at ICC public meetings is to know WHO is present. WHO is absent, WHO says what and WHO does what, so that they can later make public all sorts of ‘facts’ about our militants. This is work worthy of the agents of the Renseignements Generales (French security forces)! We can’t forbid the members of the IFICC to follow street demonstrations in order to track us. But we can prevent them doing their dirty work at our public meetings. At the latter, they have not had the possibility of speaking, since we demanded as a precondition that they first give back the money they stole from the ICC. The only reason for coming to our meetings has been this kind of police surveillance, as expressed for example in no. 14 of their Bulletin where we read “It is first of all necessary to know that this text (our article ‘The International Communist Party trails after the ‘Internal Fraction’ of the ICC’, published in WR 260 and 261) was written by CG, alias Peter, as can be seen by its style”. (our emphasis).
In his celebrated pamphlet What every revolutionary needs to know about repression, Victor Serge advises communist militants “never forget that ‘give me three lines of a man’s handwriting and I will get him hanged’ is a familiar axiom of all the police”. Today, when most texts are written directly by keyboard, analysing the “style” of writing is the policeman’s favoured means to identify the author, and the IFICC here is providing him with their good and loyal services.
We should make it clear that we have no reason to think that the members of the ‘Fraction’ are in the direct pay of the police, nor that they are in some way in its clutches. But does the fact that they are snitching gratis and for their own reasons alter the gravity of their actions?
Some people will say to us perhaps that none of this information is any use to the police. This is to understand nothing about police methods, which will make use of the smallest detail in order to compile a complete diagram of the organisations of the working class. The procedures used by the police are very well described by Victor Serge in his study of the Czarist Okhrana (note 5). Can we seriously imagine that modern states are less well advanced in all this than their Czarist predecessor?
There will also perhaps be those who say that this banning of the members of the IFICC serves no purpose, because the police can always send someone we don’t know to gather information at our public meetings. This is obviously quite true. But is that a reason for being laisser faire when people who have already shown that they are ready to publish no matter what, and have already declared that they do not feel bound by any loyalty towards the ICC, nor towards its militants, of whom they have a detailed knowledge -come to our meetings and write copious notes about them? Should we open our doors to open and avowed sneaks under the pretext that we can’t detect the hidden ones?
It could, finally, be objected that the special organs of the bourgeois state couldn’t care less about the activities of a tiny organisation like ours. But the whole history of the workers’ movement shows that the special services of the bourgeois state never underestimate the potential danger represented by revolutionary groups, however small their size and influence in the working class at a given moment. Furthermore, despite the fact that for the moment the ‘democratic’ state doesn’t generally exert open repression against the groups of the communist left, the latter have already been subjected to acts of repression (as for example the raids on the International Communist Party in the 70s). The ICC itself has not been spared since certain of our militants, including in the most ‘democratic’ countries, have been subjected to raids, surveillance aimed at intimidating us, prolonged interrogation at the frontier, commando actions by elements who were probably tied up with the state. The members of the IFICC know all this very well.
One of the great weaknesses of today’s revolutionary organisations, and of their militants, is that they tend to forget all the elementary measures of security which enabled the revolutionary organisations of the past to maintain their activity faced with the repression of the bourgeois state whether democratic or ‘totalitarian’. Today, as yesterday, revolutionary organisations have to apply these elementary elements of what we may call ‘political hygiene’. And one of these measures is precisely to chase snitches out our meeting places.
1. This relates to the following elements: Aglae, Alberto, Jonas, Juan, Leonardo, Olivier, Sergio, Vicente and possibly to other members of the IFICC who have joined it recently and who support the behaviour of those mentioned. Back
2. see our articles ‘15th Congress of the ICC: Today the stake are high - strengthen the organisation to confront them’ in International Review 114 and ‘The police-like methods of the IFICC’ in WR 262. Back
3. See the article ‘The struggle of revolutionary organisations against provocation and slander’ in WR 252. Back
4. Before the congress which pronounced the exclusion of the members of the ‘Fraction’, we wrote twice to each of these former militants, asking them whether they personally defended the publication of this information, or whether it was an action with which they were not personally in agreement. They thus had ample opportunity to go back on it. As can be seen from their replies, published on the IFICC website, we received no response to this very precise question. It was only after the congress that we could read that “it is with good grace that we (the IFICC) recognise that we should have been more attentive in reproducing your letter and suppressed this passage”. Again, this is pure hypocrisy: in order to be published in French on the internet, our letter had to be translated from Spanish. Did the ‘Fraction’ do this in its sleep? Back
5. What every revolutionary needs to know about state repression. Back
The International Communist Current, 30/8/03.