Themes for reflection and discussion

Comrades will find here a number of articles which we have grouped in themes which seem to us important for the struggle of the working class, for the working class' understanding of its own history, and for its reflection on the future of which it bears the seeds.

We hope that these articles will provoke both thought and discussion. We encourage our readers to discuss them on the site's Forum and to make their own proposals for themes which could be treated here.

Communism is not just a nice idea, but a material necessity

    Communism is not just a nice idea, but a material necessity
    Communism and the 19th century workers' movement

    As the 19th century opened, the reflection of a nascent working class on its own perspective was dominated by the magnificent but still naive ideas of the Utopian socialists: Fourier, Robert Owen, and others. But the workers' movement won to its cause one of the century's greatest thinkers: Karl Marx. And in terms of thinking about the communist project, the rest of the century was largely dominated by the development of marxism, and by two great revolutionary efforts by the proletariat: the 1848 revolutions, and above all, the Paris Commune.

    Communism is not just a nice idea, but a material necessity
    The communist programme in the revolutions of 1917-1923

    In 1917, communism was no longer a distant goal which could only be explored in theory on the basis of partial experiences like the Paris Commune. Suddenly, the question of what communism means and how to get there became urgent and immediate. In this section, we chart the answers - necessarily partial, given the circumstances - proposed by the revolutionaries of the day.

    Communism is not just a nice idea, but a material necessity
    Communism is on the agenda of history

    Following the defeat of the world revolution, and the counter-revolutionary seizure of power by Stalinism in the USSR, the priority for the tiny internationalist groups that had survived the disaster was to understand the reasons for the defeat. This also meant understanding what a real transition to communism, and to some extent communist society itself, would look like.
    In these articles - which begin with a summary of the main ideas contained in the previous articles of the series - we concentrate on the efforts of the Italian Left in exile (around the Bilan group), and the Dutch and French Communist Lefts, during the dark years that before, during, and after World War II.

What is communism?

    What is communism?
    The Perspective of Communism

    A four part series on aspects of the 'Perspective of Communism', originally
    published in Revolution Internationale and World Revolution in the 1970s.

    What is communism?
    Primitive communism and the emergence of the human

    Two articles examine the role of women in the emergence of human culture and solidarity. The ideas developed here are based on a critical approach to the work of French economist Christophe Darmangeat and British anthropologist Chris Knight.

Decadence of capitalism

    Decadence of capitalism
    Crisis Theories
    Decadence of capitalism
    Decadence theory and historical materialism
    Decadence of capitalism
    The world on the brink of environmental disaster

    From 1945 to 1989, the world was divided into two massively armed imperialist blocs: the USA and the USSR. Under these conditions, the critical question facing the working class was that of the balance of forces in the class struggle: would the working class be sufficiently strong to push back the threat of war, and impose its own solution to the crisis.
    With the collapse of the Eastern bloc in 1989, the danger of imperialist world war receded, but this can offer no comfort to the working class: if it fails to overthrow capitalism and establish society on a new basis, then there is a real danger that the whole of human society will collapse into a generalised decomposition, of which the ongoing environmental catastrophe we see around us is a part.

    Decadence of capitalism
    Rejecting the notion of decadence...

    A series of articles replying to Programma Communista and the IBRP on the dangers of rejecting the notion of the decadence of capitalism.

    Decadence of capitalism
    The Decadence of Capitalism

    The Decadence of Capitalism

    Decadence of capitalism
    The Reconstruction boom post-1945

    The articles grouped together here give an account of an internal debate within the organisation, on the origins and driving forces behind the Reconstruction boom that followed the 1939-45 world war.

    Decadence of capitalism
    The resurgence of Islam

    The question of the attitude that communists should adopt towards religion is by no means a new one, on the contrary it goes back to the beginnings of the workers' movement. In more recent times, the question of resurgent Islam has been posed since the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979. In these two articles, we examine the attitude of marxists to religion, and more specifically the way in which Lenin and the Bolsheviks approached the question at the time of the Russian Revolution. They then go on to study the resurgence of islamist movements since the 1980s

    Decadence of capitalism
    Understanding capitalism's decadence
    Decadence of capitalism
    Understanding capitalism's decomposition

    The ICC's analysis of the final phase of capitalism's decadence, its phase of decomposition, was first published in the form of theses in International Review no62, third quarter 1990. These theses provide the framework for the articles that follow, and in general for the analysis of the effects of decomposition on capitalist society as a whole.

The Communist Left

    The Communist Left
    The Communist Left in Russia

    The Miasnikov group formed part of what is called the Communist Left, on the same basis as other groups in Russia itself and in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe. The different expressions of this current found their origin in the reaction to the opportunist degeneration of the parties of the Third International and of soviet power in Russia. They represented a proletarian response in the form of left currents, like those that had existed previously faced with the development of opportunism in the Second International.
    We have published their complete Manifesto, previously unavailable other than in Russian state archives and for the first time in English, in several parts.

    The Communist Left
    The Dutch-German Communist Left
    The Communist Left
    The Italian Communist Left
    The Communist Left
    The Mexican Communist Left

    Texts published by the Marxist Workers’ Group (Grupo de Trabajadores Marxistas) in Mexico during the 1930s

How society evolves

    How society evolves
    Historic Course

    A collection of articles on the question of the historic course.

Internationalism against militarism and nationalism

    Internationalism against militarism and nationalism
    Balance sheet of 70 years of "national liberation" struggles

    A three part series that evaluates the concrete results for the working class and the populations concerned, of 70 years of struggles for "national liberation" struggles.

    Internationalism against militarism and nationalism
    Communists and the National Question

    A short series looking at how the national question was taken up throughout the history of the workers' movement.

    Internationalism against militarism and nationalism
    Militarism and decadence
    Internationalism against militarism and nationalism
    National liberation

    Series of articles on the 'national question' from the International Review.

    Internationalism against militarism and nationalism
    The struggle in Britain against imperialist war

    The first duty of revolutionaries in the face of capitalist
    war is to defend the interests of the whole working class, as expressed in the historic slogan of the workers' movement: "Workers of the world unite!". The defence of internationalism for revolutionaries has never been an abstract principle; it is an intensely practical struggle, involving a fight for clarity inside the
    political organisations of the working class, and more widely through intervention in its defensive struggles, often in difficult conditions of state repression and patriotic frenzy. This series, written by a sympathiser of the ICC, traces the development of a number of political currents within Britain through the period from the First World War, the Third International, the Second World War, and finally the enlisting of the Trotskyists in this war.

    Internationalism against militarism and nationalism
    War

Long live the revolution!

    Long live the revolution!
    Russia 1905

    This series of articles published in the International Review charts the course of the Russian revolution of 1905, and asks what lessons it has left the workers' movement 100 years on.

    Long live the revolution!
    Russia 1917
    Long live the revolution!
    Germany 1918-19
    Long live the revolution!
    Ten years that shook the world

    Our aim in this series is an attempt to reconstruct this period using the testimonies and the stories of the protagonists themselves. We have devoted many pages to the revolutions in Russia and in Germany. Therefore, we are publishing this work on lesser-known experiences in various countries with the aim of giving a global perspective. Studying this period a little, one is astonished by the number of struggles that took place, by the magnitude of the echo from the revolution of 1917.”

    Long live the revolution!
    The state in the period of transition

    One of the most difficult questions posed for communists after the defeat of the Russian revolution by the Stalinist counter-revolution was, and remains, the nature of the state power established after capitalism's overthrow.

    Long live the revolution!
    May 68

Class struggle and the workers' movement

    Class struggle and the workers' movement
    The class struggle in America's beginnings

    In bourgeois mythology the first settlers to America were free men and women who built a democratic and egalitarian society from scratch in the New World.
    The reality is that the American proletariat was born into bondage and slave labour, faced barbaric punishment if it resisted, and was forced to struggle for its basic rights against a brutal capitalist regime that most resembled a prison without walls.

    Class struggle and the workers' movement
    The workers' movement in Africa

    "Africa" in the media is generally synonymous with catastrophes, wars and permanent massacres, famine, incurable sicknesses, corrupt governments; in brief, endless absolute misery. The workers' movement is assumed either not to have existed at all, or to have been a mere appendage of the "anti-colonial" struggle for "national liberation". This series of articles, concentrating particularly on Senegal and South Africa, aims to set the record straight.

    Class struggle and the workers' movement
    What are workers' councils?

    A series deepening on the question 'What are workers' councils?'

    Class struggle and the workers' movement
    Workers' movement in Britain

    A series on the history of the workers' movement in Britain

Anarchism and syndicalism

    Anarchism and syndicalism
    Revolutionary Syndicalism

    This series of articles examines the history of some of the principle revolutionary syndicalist and anarcho-syndicalist organisations, notably the French Confédération Générale du Travail, the Spanish Confederacion Nacional de Trabajadores, the American Industrial Workers of the World, the early British shop-stewards movement, and others. Its aim is to examine from historical experience what value the "syndicalist" tradition has for the working class today.

    Anarchism and syndicalism
    Left communism and internationalist anarchism

    This series of short articles re-examines the ICC's attitude to, and cooperation with, internationalist anarchists.

Questions of organisation and regroupment

    Questions of organisation and regroupment
    The birth of bolshevism

    This series, published on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the historic 1903 congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP), examines the debates around the organisational question and the circle spirit that opposed Lenin, Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg.

    Questions of organisation and regroupment
    1970s and the International Conferences of the communist left
    Questions of organisation and regroupment
    1980s - how to form an international organisation?
    Questions of organisation and regroupment
    1990s and the perspectives for regroupment
    Questions of organisation and regroupment
    2000s - Marxism and opportunism
    Questions of organisation and regroupment
    2002 - Confidence and solidarity, the functioning of an organisation

    In 2002 the ICC held an Extraordinary Conference principally devoted to questions of organisation. This followed a serious crisis in the organisation, and the whole organisation felt the urgent need to go into greater depth on the subject: this meant examining how such questions have been posed historically in the workers' movement and in the ICC itself.
    This series includes an internal orientation text on organisational functioning which was originally adopted in 1993, and a text in two parts on "Confidence and solidarity in the proletarian struggle".

Other themes

    Other themes
    Sport in capitalism

    For a long time sport has represented a phenomenon that cannot be ignored from the fact of its cultural breadth and its place in society. A mass phenomenon, it's imposed on us through the tentacles of many institutions and results in a permanent hammering from the media. What significance can we give it from the point of view of a historical understanding and from the point of view of the working class?

    Other themes
    US foreign policy since World War II

    This series groups two in-depth articles by the late Jerry Grevin examining the evolution of US foreign policy since the war