The First Pan-American Conference of the ICC
One step ahead in the strengthening of the revolutionary organization in the Americas
On November 30 and December 1 2002 an event of great importance took place for the working class, and particularly for its bastions in North, Central, and South America, as well as in the Caribbean area. The ICC held its first Pan-American Conference, which brought together the sections in the USA (Internationalism), Mexico (Revolucion Mundial), and Venezuela (Internacionalismo). This assessment is not an expression of arrogance. Instead, its importance is a historical fact.
The ICC statutes set down that each of its territorial sections must hold a conference every year. The aim of these conferences is to make a balance of the activities and give the perspectives for intervention for the following year, within the context of the agreements reached at the International Congresses, held every two years. In the last few years, the ICC central organs have encouraged the holding of regional meetings for those sections which intervene in a common geographical area. In this way the international and centralized character of the central organs is reaffirmed, the collective character of the organization is strengthened, and possible localist tendencies within each section are counterbalanced. In addition, the tendency toward ‘each for themselves’, characteristic of decomposition, are also counterbalanced.
The regional conferences are not a sum of each section’s representatives. Instead, their objective is to make common balances of activities, national situations, and intervention, as well as tracing perspectives in a collective manner, without neglecting the discussions around the most relevant aspects of each section involved. This is why the task of the first ICC Pan-American Conference was to make a collective balance of the activities of the American sections of the ICC, and a balance of the economic, political, geopolitical, and social situation in a region that traditionally has been the US bourgeoisie’s backyard. One of the myths that this conference tore down is that of the separation between the proletariat in the US and that in the rest of the continent, a separation drawn by the left, the leftists and their new version, the ‘anti-globalists.’ It portrays the US working class as ‘privileged’ or as ‘working class aristocracy,’ when in reality they are being affected by unemployment and a significant increase in the level of poverty.
The defense of the organization: axis of the Conference
The dominant aspect of the Pan-American Conference was the balance of our activities, especially as they relate to the functioning of the sections concerned, which had been particularly affected by an internal crisis, which led to the formation of a clan within the organization. This clan in turn constituted a supposed ‘internal fraction’ which today is a parasitic group. It is made up of ex-militants who had violated our organizational principles, (see the article Extraordinary Conference of the ICC: The struggle for the defense of organizational principles, International Review 110).
The Conference has deepened on the root causes that made the formation of this new clan possible within the organization. It based itself on the orientation texts generated by the central organs for the internal discussion. The discussion brought to light the fact that affinitarian-type relationships made it possible for the clan to have an influence on the American sections, and particularly on the Mexican section, where a number of its militants have been co-opted by the ‘internal fraction.’ The Conference has also highlighted the vestiges of leftism in organizational matters which facilitated the penetration of alien ideologies within the sections, as an expression of the ideology of the petty bourgeoisie. The Conference resolved that the aspects of the weight of affinitarism and leftism will have to be deepened by each one of the sections.
After extending the invitation to the four comrades co-opted by the ‘internal fraction’ in Mexico, the Conference has once more witnessed its disrespect for the organization. Instead of making use of this regional event to defend its positions and try and convince the militants of the correctness of their positions, these comrades opted for political ostracism. In this way, these comrades (like the ones in the Paris ‘fraction’, who rejected our invitation to the Extraordinary Conference of the beginning of this year) have placed themselves outside of the organization, by consistently violating organizational principles.
The Conference reaffirmed the priority of the defense of the organization for our intervention. The deepening of the understanding of the causes of the crisis, along with the open yet firm and sustained attitude toward our organizational principles, which we have held vis-à-vis the attacks by the parasitic internal ‘fraction’, are conceived as a process of decantation. During this process the expressions of the penetration within our ranks of ideologies that are alien to the working class are rejected.
In this sense, the balance made by the Conference is very positive. A concrete demonstration is that at the time of the Conference, a new section of Revolucion Mundial in the north of Mexico was integrated. This shows the vitality of the ICC and the strengthening of our section in Mexico. In this way, the basis for the future proletarian party in the region are strengthened.
Strengthening of the collective intervention in the region
The situation in the proletarian political milieu is another aspect discussed at the Conference. We observed that a number of organizations show a tendency toward opportunism. We can see this, for instance, in the positions taken by several groups in the milieu on events that happened in the region. These groups have posed the question of the existence of the combativeness of the proletariat at the time of the events in Argentina. In reality, the working class was actually integrated in the masses of the unemployed, the ‘piqueteros’, who live in the cities’ slums, trapped in inter-bourgeois struggles. In the case of Venezuela, they identified the political crisis as a struggle of the big bourgeoisie against Chavez’s ‘reformist’ government. But it was really a conflict between fractions of capital, which are decomposing rapidly, and where the Venezuelan proletariat is trapped between the options offered by either fraction of the bourgeoisie. The ICC, in particular its sections in the Americas, takes the responsibility to intervene in a coordinated fashion to arrest the opportunist expressions of the milieu, which at times get to the point of flirting with the positions of the left and the leftists in the region. This works against the process of development of class consciousness which we see in elements in search of political clarification, even though they are a minority.
In order to strengthen our intervention, the Conference discussed and laid out the orientations to make a more efficient use of our press. We need to integrate global analyses on the political crises of the regional bourgeoisies as well as the analysis of the geopolitical situation. Above all, we aim at generating analyses on the class struggle in the region, tracing the perspectives that open up for the proletariat, and confronting the tricks laid by capital against the proletariat. One of the central aspects we need to develop in our press is how decadent capitalism, in the face of its inability to present humanity with solutions, accelerates the pauperization of the proletariat and the poorest strata in the region. In particular, we need to analyze further on the living conditions of the proletariat in the US, because there exists a belief that the US working class lives in a ‘heaven’. The left, the leftists, and ‘globalists’ are mainly responsible for this mystification, when the very statistics of the bourgeoisie show the acceleration of the conditions of misery and poverty in the world’s greatest economy.
Because the Conference prioritized the questions of organizational functioning, it could not develop on the national situations, where we deal with the economic, political, and geopolitical aspects and the class struggle. Given the importance of these aspects, the Conference decided that each section should develop them. We will then publish the analyses in our press and report upon them at public meetings.
Strengthening of the revolutionary minorities in the region
As we said in the Resolutions on activities drawn at the Conference: ìThe conference has marked a positive dynamic as to the capacity to diagnose, to deepen, while also showing a great will to take on the struggle. That is, not only has there been a connection with the rest of the ICC, but also the Pan-American Conference has marked a moment in the enrichment of the international politics of the ICC.î
This ‘political enrichment’ is the basis to strengthen the development and intervention of the revolutionary minorities in the region and to counteract the effects of capitalism’s decomposition on the militants. ìÖWe canít, however, fall into fatalistic attitudes which are nothing but the expression of decomposition (giving up, passivity, let things passÖ) We have to take up this struggle collectively. In this sense:
-we must take individual responsibility as militants of an organization of combat;
-we must make an effort in theoretical deepening. While it is an antidote against the erosion of militantism, theoretical deepening is also a weapon against clannism, and affinitarism, and the loss of acquisitions;
-we must strengthen the political and fraternal ties between militants (idem)
We are today witnessing an acceleration of history at every level, particularly a forward movement of the decomposition of a decadent system that has nothing to give other than pauperization and war, that is to say, barbarism. Notwithstanding the fact that the proletariat in the different countries of the region is entangled in the inter-bourgeois confrontations, it also makes efforts to develop its struggles of resistance against the attacks of capital. This shows that the proletariat continues to push for the perspective of class confrontations. Today more than ever the revolutionary minorities of the region have a very important role to play in the intervention toward the elements and groups in search of a class perspective. The Pan-American Conference is an effort, albeit modest, fully inscribed within the efforts our organization makes on a world level to strengthen the perspective of the only possible solution to this barbarism: communism.