The Meaning of the Second Congress of the ICC
We are publishing here the major texts of the Second Congress of the International Communist Current. The Congress was mainly devoted to re-examining and confirming the general orientation of the ICC. It was a moment when the whole international organization could draw up a balance sheet of its past activities and outline perspectives for the coming period.
The Second Congress vigorously reaffirmed the validity of the basic principles upon which the ICC was founded a year and a half ago:
* the political platform of the ICC
* statutes for an internationally centralized and unified revolutionary organization
* the Manifesto of the First Congress, which called on revolutionaries to be aware of their tasks in the decisive issues at stake in the present period of crisis and class struggle1
Only such a coherent set of principles can provide a firm basis for revolutionary activity, and the Second Congress gave itself the task of applying these principles to an analysis of the present political situation.
The texts of the Congress speak for themselves, but their full significance can only be understood if it is seen as the result of the collective work of a revolutionary organization. The methodical elaboration of an overall perspective, as well as the translation of this perspective into an active intervention, necessitates the creation of a collective and organized framework. In this context the Congress was able to see the general growth of the organization in its eight territorial sections, in particular the development of the ICC’s work in Spain, Italy, Germany and Holland, as a confirmation of the orientation that the Current has been defending and carrying out for some time. More important than mere numerical growth has been the ICC’s capacity over the last eighteen months to disseminate its analyses in ninety-five issues of its publications in seven languages, distributed nearly all over the world.
The texts here are also the fruits of a long and continuous political and theoretical effort in the ICC to develop its understanding of the problems the class struggle will pose in the future, especially in the period of transition to socialism. These texts are the crystallization of a year and a half’s discussion both within the ICC and with other political currents. The attempt to constantly raise the political level of the ICC, in a homogeneous way which involves the whole organization and all its militants, has been and continues to be one of the most crucial aspects of our work, because it’s the only way that revolutionaries can contribute to theoretical clarification in the workers’ movement.
As part of both its organizational effort and theoretical research, the Second Congress attempted to come to a better understanding of the contemporary revolutionary milieu, in order to further the ICC’s efforts towards regroupment. We thus put forward these documents in the light of recent important attempts to organize discussion between proletarian political groups. In May 1977, the Partito Comunista Internazionalista (Battaglia Comunista) called an international discussion conference2 in which the ICC participated. Other invited groups (such as the Communist Workers’ Organization and Fomento Obrero Revolucionario) were unfortunately unable to attend, while others (like Pour Une Intervention Communiste) refused to come, but the debate that took place on the present period and its implications for the class struggle, on the role of the unions and on the organization of revolutionaries, made it possible to eliminate misunderstandings, define areas of agreement, and see the reasons behind divergences. Following this limited but useful effort at clarification, the ICC welcomed a delegation from Battaglia Comunista to its Second Congress, where these comrades were able to carry on the debate in front of the whole Current. The development of the class struggle today is making the need for international contacts be felt in a much sharper way in the revolutionary milieu. In September 1977, several Swedish and Norwegian groups organized a discussion conference in which the ICC participated.
Another thing that has been verified by the experience of the last year or so is the failure of those who have theorized isolation. Those who in 1975 rejected regroupment and even any contact with the ICC -- the PIC in France, CWO in Britain, and the Revolutionary Workers’ Group in the USA - have long since fallen out amongst themselves, their anti-ICC association having ended in total sterility. The RWG dissolved after various modernist transmutations. Over the last year the CWO has reaped the fruits of the confused and sectarian fusion between Revolutionary Perspectives and Workers’ Voice: the collapse of its national ‘regroupment’ into two halves. Over the last summer, the remainder of the CWO has gone through a second split; this time those who left the CWO defend the necessity for regroupment, and in particular have expressed a desire to initiate a discussion with the ICC in this regard3.
In this general context, we present the texts of the Congress, which deal with three main themes:
* A report on the international situation, which traces the evolution of the tendency towards state capitalism in both major blocs; in other words, the development of the war economy, which is capital’s response to the crisis and to inter-imperialist antagonisms which are moving from local wars towards a generalized conflict. We are trying to develop in the light of contemporary events, the analysis of the war economy made by the communist left in the 1930’s.
* A resolution on proletarian political groups, which attempts to define the various elements who make up today’s revolutionary milieu, elements which are very different from the mass parties of yesterday. The text situates the ICC in the more general context of the development of class consciousness, and underlines our desire to reject the sectarianism and exclusivity so dear to currents like the Bordigists. This resolution deals with political groups and not the discussion circles which arise in the working class. These ephemeral products, which are historical expressions of the weak influence revolutionary organizations have in the class today, will be examined more specifically in other texts.
* On the period of transition from capitalism to communism, the reader will find two drafts synthesizing the level of discussion reached within the ICC. Although the orientation of the first text is agreed upon by the majority of the organization, the Congress decided not to take a formal vote on this question, considering that the most important thing now is to take the discussion further, and to do this publically. Our main aim is to go on with theoretical clarification, not only in the ICC, but also by encouraging other revolutionary currents and elements to make their contribution to this complex debate.
We present these documents today without any megalomania or any overestimation of the importance of this Congress. Communist minorities do not yet have an immediate impact on the general situation, but the development of analytical work and the setting up of an organizational framework with a long term perspective are a contribution to and the best preparation for the decisive confrontations of tomorrow.
1 See International Review no. 5
2 See International Review no. 10, and the forthcoming pamphlet Texts of the International Conference (roneo-editions in French and English, and in French and Italian in a special issue of Prometeo)
3 The texts of this split and a discussion of their significance will be published in the next issue of International Review as well as in Revolutionary Perspectives (journal of CWO). We will also be publishing in the same issue the reply by the remainder of the CWO to our critique on them in nos. 9 and 10 of the International Review.