Internationalism

1914: How the 2nd International failed

Over and over, the 2nd International and its member parties had warned the workers of the coming war and threatened the ruling classes with their own overthrow should they dare launch Armageddon. And yet in August 1914, the International disintegrated, blown away like insubstantial dust, as one after the other its leaders and parliamentary deputies betrayed their most solemn promises, voted war credits and called the workers to the slaughter.

How could such a disaster happen?

Internationalism is the only response to the Kurdish issue

In early August 2012, an international anarchist meeting was held in the commune of St Imier (Swiss Jura). One of the speakers was the spokesperson of Fekar. The initiative to let this person speak at the meeting was taken by the Swiss group of the Forum of German-speaking Anarchists, which aims to bring together Turkish/Kurdish anarchists in a single federation.

The Question of War in the 1st and 2nd Internationals

On the eve of World War I, when revolutionaries like Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg declared the internationalist position characteristic of capitalism's new historic phase - "There is no

Meeting of communist internationalists in Latin America

We are publishing the common statement of position adopted by 7 groups or organisations from 8 Latin American countries which draws together the work of a recently held internationalist meeting. This meeting, which was been planned for a year, was made possible by the emergence of these groups, the great majority of which did not exist 3 years ago...

The proletariat of Western Europe at the centre of the generalization of the class struggle

From the beginning, the workers' move­ment has insisted on the world-wide character of the communist revolution. Internationalism has always been a touchstone in the struggles of the working class and the program of its political organizations. Any deviation from this essential principle has always been syn­onymous with a break with the proletarian camp and a passing over to the bourgeois camp.

Internationalism on a council estate

The Labour Party and the leftists who support them constantly express their concern about the rise of the BNP, racism and the plight of immigrants. Anti-racism and anti-fascism are strong and enduring features of capitalist democracy and, as such, con-tricks on the working class.

How Can Workers Fight Against the War?

Workers Against the War (WAW) has posed an important question, "What can workers do about the war?" and offers a quick, ready answer. On their web site WAW says workers can stop the war in Iraq in a single day by refusing to move war materials: "If workers across the US decided to stop working until the war ended, it would only be a matter of days, if not hours, before the first soldiers were on the planes heading home."

How the Groupe Communiste Internationaliste spits on proletarian internationalism

When it comes to the imperialist massacres spreading around the world, the GCI, which advertises itself as the enemy of all nationalism, now spits openly on proletarian internationalism

May Day is the day of the international working class

This leaflet has been produced by Enternasyonalist Kömunist Sol (Internationalist Communist Left) a new proletarian group in Turkey. It is being distributed in Turkey, Britain and Germany. In Britain and Germany it is being distributed by the International Communist Current, which associates itself with the internationalist views it defends.

1943: The Italian proletariat opposes the sacrifices demanded for the war

Throughout the history of the workers’ movement and the class struggle imperialist war has always been a fundamental question. This is no accident; war is the distillation of all the barbarism inherent in this society. It shows that now we have arrived at the historic decadence of capitalism this system is unable to offer humanity any possibility of development and even poses a threat to its very survival. Because it demonstrates to the full the barbarism of which the capitalist system is capable war is a powerful factor towards the development of consciousness and the mobilization of the working class.

Correspondence With Red and Black Notes: Opposition to War Must Avoid the Many Traps of Bourgeois Politics

Earlier this year, Internationalism received copies of two leaflets distributed by the Toronto based Red and Black Notes at the anti-war demonstrations of last winter. In an effort to develop a constructive process of debate and criticism among the various tendencies in the “proletarian political milieu” (PPM) in North America, we have responded to these two leaflets with the letter that we reproduce below. 

The Proletariat and War

The question of war has always been of the greatest concern for the workers' movement. The following article (first published in International Review 65) was written after the Gulf War of 1991 but is very much based on the historic experience of the working class. It remains valid in the wake of the second Gulf war in 2003, particularly because it argues against the illusions of pacifism and insists that the proletarian revolution is the only means to destroy the capitalist system that gives rise to war.

Revolutionary intervention and the Iraq war

Now that the butchery and destruction of the US military intervention in Iraq has been declared officially over, it is time to make a brief balance sheet of the various claims made in Britain to provide a political alternative to imperialist war. We won't bother here with the huge marches against the war in Iraq, organised by the Stop the War Coalition that was supported by leftists of all descriptions as well by the Labour Left, the Muslim Association of Britain, the Daily Mirror and others. They not only did not prevent the war taking place but also gave it a green light. By mobilising millions behind the illusion that a peaceful imperialism was possible they proved to the executive organs of the state that there was no effective counter force to the imperialist juggernaut.

Russia: An internationalist voice against the Chechen war

We are publishing a leaflet by the Moscow anarcho-syndicalist group KRAS in response to the massacre that took place when Chechen separatists took control of a Moscow theatre last October. We don't agree with all its formulations, especially the classical anarchist ones which seem to imply that the main problem facing the working class is not the capitalist mode of production but the principle of 'Authority', or that the system can be brought down by a general strike alone. But we want to express our solidarity with its basic internationalist spirit, its opposition to a war that is against the class interests of both the Russian and the Chechen workers. We have redrafted the English translation sent to us with the aim of making it more accessible, and hope that we have not altered any of its political content. No war between the peoples - no peace between the classes!

Defending a revolutionary position against war

In January the ICC participated in an Anti-War Day School organised by Disobedience, which belongs to the same milieu as the No War But The Class War (NWBTCW) group in London. The group states in a broadsheet given out at the February 'Stop the War' demonstration that "To say No War But the Class War! means that we don't take sides between America and Iraq, Iraq and the Kurds, America and France...Rather we make sides, by asserting that the dispossessed, the workers, the poor of all nations have one enemy - the exploiters who dispossess them, who make them work, who make them poor". In the present circumstances, with the progression of wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and soon Iraq, the importance of even a small milieu opposing war on a working class basis should not be underestimated. For this reason we produced a contribution to the discussions at the Day School (see WR 261) emphasising the historical experience of the working class in opposition to war.

Revolutionaries and the struggle against war

We offered this text as a contribution to the discussions at an Anti-War Day School organised by Disobedience in January, in which we participated. It is an appeal for a discussion based on the historical experience of the working class, in particular its revolutionary minorities. The issues raised were similar to those at the Zero War conference held in Australia in December.

Down with the massacres! For class struggle against imperialist war

The bourgeoisie's war drums are beating all over the planet. The famous promise made by Bush Senior in 1990 that we were entering a 'New World Order' of peace and prosperity have proved to be a cynical lie; in reality war has become more and more permanent and threatening for humanity. Those who talk the most about 'peace' and 'humanitarianism' and the 'fight against terrorism' are worthy defenders of a system which is dragging the human race towards mass destruction.

Revolutionaries denounce imperialist war

Imperialist war always puts revolutionaries to the test. Against the propaganda of the ruling class, which aims to win over the working class, or at least to silence it, the first duty of a revolutionary organisation is to denounce the war: to say as loudly and as clearly as it can that imperialist war is never in the interests of the working class.

War in Kosovo - the internationalist position

What is the real reason for the NATO bombing, the daily deluge of fire that is falling on Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo? What is the real reason for this war which, for the first time since the end of the Second World War, involves the direct military presence of the great powers on European soil, only a few hours plane ride away fromours plane ride away from London?

Canadian internationalists against the war

We have just received issue no. 2 of the Internationalist Notes bulletin in Canada. The comrades who have put out this bulletin describe themselves as "a small nucleus of left communist workers" who are seeking to clarify "the major elements of a left communist platform"...

Russian internationalists against the war in Chechnya

In WR 231 and IR 100 we published a sticker distributed in Moscow by a group of internationalists opposing the war in Chechnya. In this issue we are publishing an article written by other proletarian elements elsewhere in Russia. Although we don’t agree with all its formulations, we warmly welcome this text as further proof that, despite the Russian bourgeoisie’s efforts to flatten all criticism of its bloody imperialist adventure in the Caucasus under a steamroller of nationalist hysteria, the voices of working class internationalism continue to make themselves heard. The comrades in Russia have asked us to ‘re-translate’ their own hand-written English translation and we apologise in advance for any misreadings and mistakes, especially where Russian names are concerned.

Internationalist Organisations against the war in Kosovo

The bombing of the population of ex-Yugoslavia by the major powers under the aegis of NATO represents a serious escalation of capitalist barbarism. It is accompanied by a cacophony of voices attempting to hide the imperialist nature of the war. There are the voices of those who justify the bombings and try to cover the sordid and bloody self the sordid and bloody self-interest of the major powers under a veil of humanitarianism. There are the voices of those who condemn the NATO attack in order to defend the 'little' ethnic murderer, Milosevic, against the high tech slaughter of the US and European powers. There are the voices of the pacifists who appeal for a peaceful capitalism, as if the spirit of competition weren't an intrinsic aspect of bourgeois rule that leads inevitably to the use of armed force as one country tries to impose its own imperialist interests at the expense of the others. But amid this barrage there is a clear and sane voice raised against the war and all its bourgeois protagonists, that of proletarian internationalism. This position in relation to imperialist war is the foundation stone of the international working class movement and the litmus test for revolutionary organisations. Its intransigent defence marks out the currents of the communist left from those of the radical bourgeoisie, who masquerade as friends of the working class while inviting them to massacre their class brothers in other countries in the name of siding with whichever imperialism they identify as the 'lesser evil'. This song is as old as capitalism! The essence of proletarian internationalism is expressed in the words of the Communist Manifesto, drafted by Marx and Engels in rx and Engels in 1848: "The workers have no country ... Workers of all countries unite!" It affirms the nature of the working class as an international class, no part of which has interests which are in conflict with any other sector in any other country. As such the proletariat has no interest in the victory of either side in wars between capitalist powers for the extension of their spheres of influence and for world domination. On the contrary, it is always expected to pay for the war by dying on the battlefield and by increasing productivity for the war effort. It is always the victim and never a victor while this system of death and poverty has not been overthrown once and for all. When the socialist parties of the Second International betrayed the principle of internationalism by supporting participation in the First World War and played a prominent role in mobilising the workers for the carnage, the International was lost to the working class. But the revolutionary minority regrouped around the Bolsheviks in Russia and the Spartacists in Germany, defended an internationalist position by opposing the war and calling for the workers to defend their own class interests. In the same way, with the onset of the second imperialist carnage, whereas the Trotskyist current passed over to the bourgeois camp by supporting the USSRporting the USSR and the democratic front in the name of opposing fascism, there remained fractions of the Communist Left who maintained the principle of internationalism and have continued to denounce it as an imperialist war. It is the organisations that are descended from this political current that have responded to the NATO bombings by taking up the only consistent and communist position: - condemning the carnage as an imperialist war; - calling on the working class not to defend any of the bourgeois factions involved; - condemning, implicitly or explicitly, the demands of the leftists for the workers to defend the 'lesser evil' or 'self-determination in Kosovo' and, - against the myth of pacifism, affirming that only the working class can offer an alternative to capitalist barbarism through its own struggle as a revolutionary class, whose historic destiny is to destroy the exploitation of the bourgeoisie and create a new society without classes and without exploitation. The titles of the leaflets produced by the various groups of the communist left, immediately after the start of the bombing of Kosovo, testify to the unity, in action, of the internationalists in the denunciation of the war (1): "Capitalism means imperialism, imperialism means war" (IBRP); "The Kosovo war "The Kosovo war is a war of capital" (Programma Comunista); "No to imperialist intervention in Yugoslavia! Down with all nationalism and all bourgeois oppression!" (Le Proletaire); "The real opposition to military intervention and war lies in the class struggle of the proletariat, in its class and internationalist reorganisation against all forms of bourgeois oppression and nationalism" (Il Comunista); "Down with the imperialist war" (Il Partito Comunista); "Capitalism is war, war on capitalism!" (ICC).

Is joint action possible between left communists?

For a joint intervention against the war

We are publishing below two letters that we sent to the organisations of the Communist left to propose a common intervention against the war. Having received no reply to our first letter, we decided to send a second containing new, more modest, proposals which we thought they would find more readily acceptable. The organisations to which we sent our appeal were the following:

ICC appeal to organisations of the Communist Left

Wars, like revolutions, are historic events of capital importance in demarcating the bourgeois camp from the revolutionary camp; they provide proof of the class nature of political forces. This was the case with the First World War which provoked the betrayal of Social-Democracy at the international level, the death of the Second International and the emergence of a minority which formed the new Communist Parties and the Third International.

Revolutionaries in Britain and the struggle against imperialist war, Part 4: How the Trotskyists enlisted in WW2

In the concluding part of this series by an ICC sympathiser, we examine the failure of the Trotskyist movement to uphold an internationalist position and draw some conclusions about the response of proletarian political groups to the Second World War.

Revolutionaries in Britain and the struggle against imperialist war, Part 2: the Third International

This article was originally published in 2 parts. It has now been consolidated into one article, the complete version of which can be found here.

‘Our boys’ have no interest in dying for capitalism

 Whether or not you agree with this war, surely now our troops are involved we have to support them?”

In other words: the best way to support ‘our boys’ is to support them being used as cannon fodder in an imperialist war. Could there be a more idiotic argument than this?

1944 commemorations: 50 years of Imperialist Lies, Part 2

In the first part of this article we tried to bring out just how ignominious were the commemorations of the 1944 landings which in no way represented a “social” liberation for the working class. On the contrary they represented an unprecedented massacre in the final years of the war; misery and terror throughout the years of reconstruction. All the members of the different capitalist camps that fought one another were responsible for the war and it resulted in a redivision of the world between the great powers.

The Communist Left of France, 1944

We are publishing here a leaflet by the French Fraction of the Communist Left put out in August 1944 to oppose the general mobilisation launched by the Free French on 18th August, as well as the lead article of L’Etincelle, newspaper of the same group, also from August 1944. The French Fraction of the Communist Left was formed in Marseille at the beginning of that same year.

Around the Italian Fraction of the Communist Left (see our book The Italian Communist Left), reconstituted in Marseille in 1942, there formed a nucleus of about ten French elements: some of them had just broken with Trotskyism and others, still young, had only just moved towards revolutionary positions.

1944 commemorations: 50 years of Imperialist Lies, Part 1

Never have the D-Day landings of 6th June 1944 been commemorated with such pomp and circumstance. Never has the victory in Europe of the “Allied” imperialists given rise to such intensive media brain-washing. Its purpose is, once again, to hide the imperialist nature of the second world holocaust, like the first.
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