INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CALLED BY THE PCI (Battaglia Comunista)
“With its still modest means, the International Communist Current has committed itself to the long and difficult task of regrouping revolutionaries internationally around a clear and coherent programme. Turning its back on the monolithism of the sects, it calls upon the communists of all countries to become aware of the immense responsibilities which they have, to abandon the false quarrels which separate them, to surmount the deceptive divisions which the old world has imposed on them. The ICC calls on them to join in this effort to constitute (before the class engages in its decisive struggles) the international and unified organization of its vanguard.
The communists as the most conscious fraction of the class, must show it the way forward by taking as their slogan: “Revolutionaries of all countries, unite!””
The life of revolutionary groups, their discussions and disagreements are part of the process whereby consciousness develops in the working class; this is why we are radically opposed to any policy of ‘hidden discussions’ or ‘secret agreements’. We are thus publishing our point of view on the international conference that took place in Milan on 31 April and 1 May on the initiative of the PCI (Battaglia Comunista). Above all, it is necessary to clarify the context in which this initiative took place and explain why we participated in it. We think that in the present climate of political confusion and of the weakness of revolutionary forces, it is very important to emphasize the necessity for the regroupment of revolutionaries.
THE REGROUPMENT OF REVOLUTIONARIES
The historical re-awakening of the class struggle has produced a resurgence of revolutionary currents, which the most profound counter-revolution in the history of the workers’ movement had practically annihilated. The hitherto dispersed, confused and hesitant nature of this resurgence demands first and foremost that communists apply themselves to the inseparable tasks of less clarifying political positions and regrouping their forces. Inseparable because, as the Italian Left between the wars has shown, the regroupment of revolutionaries is possible only on the basis of the greatest programmatic clarity. Having said this, we feel that it is necessary to underline the enormous responsibility to the class of certain groups who, because of secondary disagreements, reject discussion and refuse to unite their efforts with ours, thus showing that they are unable to go beyond the petty bourgeois conceptions of trying to conserve ‘their’ ideas and ‘their’ group, rather than seeing themselves as part of and products of the class as a whole. It should be clear that, in the image of the class as a whole, revolutionaries today must attempt to regroup and centralize their forces on a national and international level; this implies breaking out of isolation and contributing to the development of other groups through a clear debate and through a constant criticism of one’s own activities.
When the ICC was only made up of one or two groups, it always had this aim in mind, understanding that confrontation and discussion could not be left to chance, but must be sought out and organized.
While the ICC emphasizes the fundamental necessity of working towards regroupment, it also warns against any precipitancy in this area. We must resist any regroupment on the basis of sentiment and insist on the need to base regroupment on the indispensable coherence of programmatic positions.
The counter-revolution from which we are beginning to emerge has weighed heavily on the organizations of the class. The fractions which left the IIIrd International had more and more difficulty in resisting its degeneration: most of them disappeared, and those which survived have gone through a process of sclerosis which has made them regress. Today’s vital effort towards clarification demands therefore:
-- a reappropriation by the new revolutionary organizations of the gains of the old communist fractions;
-- an effort by those fractions which have survived to criticize and deepen their analysis and programmatic positions.
While the ICC rejects over-hastiness in any process of regroupment, it also denounces sectarianism, which uses numerous pretexts to avoid engaging in and pursuing discussion between communist groups; a sectarianism which unfortunately animates a certain number of today’s revolutionary groups, who don’t understand the necessity to form the solid communist current which the reawakening of the proletariat is making more and more indispensable.
THE CONFERENCE OF BATTAGLIA COMUNISTA
In the light of what has just been said, it can be seen why the ICC attached so much importance to a conference of this kind. But it is precisely a reflection on the weaknesses of the workers’ movement in the past (the hesitation of the communists, the late formation of the IIIrd International and the difficulties which ensued from its formation) which has enabled us to understand that the organization of the vanguard of the proletariat must be formed before the decisive confrontation, and directly centralized on a world scale.
The difficulty involved in this was concretely illustrated by this conference: unfortunately, none of the other groups invited were present at the meeting. Certain groups agreed in principle to participate, but were unable to come for various reasons: Arbetarmakt (Sweden) because of the distance; Fomento Obrero Revolucionario because of the urgent work in Spain; and the Communist Workers’ Organization (UK) because of practical difficulties. Pour Une Intervention Communiste (PIC, France), on the other hand, changed its position at the last moment and decided not to come, saying that this meeting was a “dialogue of the deaf”. Other ‘Bordigist’ groups or groups coming from Bordigism did not bother to reply to the invitation.
Right at the beginning of the meeting, we made a declaration regretting the absence of the other groups and pointing out the limitations of this conference:
1. The lack of clear political criteria for such a meeting and for the invitations.
2. A certain lack of preparation: few texts were prepared and most of them came late; contrary to what we had requested, Battaglia did not publish the letters exchanged between the various groups (see ‘Correspondence with Battaglia Comunista’ in Rivoluzione Internazionale, no. 5 June 1976).
3. The sectarian spirit of certain of the groups invited and their total lack of understanding of the problems of regroupment.
In these conditions, we could only see this conference as a meeting in which the positions of the ICC and those of Battaglia could confront each other.
The discussions centred round the following points:
-- analysis of the evolution of capitalism; the meaning and implications of the current crisis;
-- the present state of the class struggle and its perspectives;
-- the function of the so-called ‘workers’ parties’ (SPs, CPs etc);
-- the function of the unions and the problem of economic struggles;
-- the problem of the party;
-- the present tasks of revolutionary groups;
-- conclusions about the significance of this meeting.
In drawing up a balance sheet of these animated, but fraternal discussions, we can say that this was neither a “dialogue of the deaf” nor a sentimental and unprincipled meeting, but the beginning of a confrontation which we sincerely hope will carry on amongst all the groups who remain attached to the revolutionary foundations of communism.
As a concrete outcome of the meeting, and in order to disseminate the discussions amongst other revolutionary groups and the class as a whole, the conference decided to publish a bulletin containing the texts presented and a synthesis of the interventions; the comrades of Battaglia took on the task of bringing out this bulletin as soon as possible. In conclusion we can say that, although there was general agreement that it would be premature to set up any ‘co-ordinating committee’, this conference was a positive step, the beginning of a process that we hope will develop more and more.
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST CURRENT