Conferences of the Communist Left

A series of three conferences held at the end of the 1970s between a number of groups of the Communist Left including the ICC

The International Conferences of the Communist Left (1976-80)

Twenty-five years ago, in May 1980, the cycle of international conferences of the communist left, initiated by the Internationalist Communist Party (PCInt, Battaglia Comunista) some four years earlier, ended in disarray and confusion. A brief glance at the sorry state of the proletarian political milieu today shows that we are still living with the consequences of this failure to create an organised framework for fraternal debate and political clarification among the groups of the left communist tradition.

Third Conference of groups of the Communist Left

The Third Conference of left communist groups ended up dislocated. Two of the principal groups to have animated previous conferences (the Inter­nationalist Communist Party (Italy) and the Communist Workers' Organization (Great Britain)) made their participation in future Conferences dependent on the closing of the debate on the role of the revolutionary party[1]. The ICC rejected this condition.

For almost four years a number of revolutionary groups have tried to create a framework to facili­tate the regroupment of political organizations of the proletariat. Given the present situation, this effort can be summed up in two phrases:

  • there will certainly be no more conferences like the three which have already taken place;
  • in order to be viable, the new conferences must: 1. shake off the remains of sectarianism which still weigh heavily on certain groups; 2. be politically responsible.

Sectarianism, an inheritance from the counter-revolution that must be transcended

The Third Conference of left communist groups ended up dislocated.

Second International Conference

At the end of 1978 an International Conference of groups of the communist left was held. This Conference, which had been called for by the Milan Conference of May 1977 organized by the Internationalist Communist Party (Battaglia Comunista) and attended by the International Communist Current, had the following agenda: 1. the crisis and perspectives; 2. the question of national liberation struggles; 3. the question of the party. Two pamphlets are being prepared, containing the correspondence between the groups, the preparatory texts for the Conference, and the proceedings of the debates. The most important step forward taken by this Conference was the fact that it had a broader participation. As well as the ICP (BC) and the ICC, the other groups involved were the Communist Workers’ Organization (Britain), Nucleo Comunista Internazionalista (Italy), the Marxist Work Group (For Kommunismen, Sweden). Two other groups agreed to participate but were unable to attend for various reasons -- Organisation Communiste Revolutionnaire Inter­nationaliste d’Algerie (Travailleurs Immigres en Lutte) and Il Leninista (Italy). The latter group wrote a contribution which will appear in the pamphlet. The Ferment Ouvriere Revolution­naire (France and Spain) left the Conference at the beginning and thus didn’t take part in the debates. Other groups invited refused to partici­pate (cf the article on this in International Review, no.12).

The Second International Conference of Groups of the Communist Left

IR 16, 1st Quarter 1979

In the second fortnight of November, the second Conference of communist groups met in Paris, to continue the work of the first, which took place in Milan during May, 1977, at the initiative of the Internationalist Communist Party (Battaglia Comunista). It is not our intention in this article to give a detailed account of the debates at this Conference. These will be the subject of a special pamphlet, to appear shortly in English, French and Italian, in order to allow all revolutionary militants to follow the effort at clarification undertaken through the confrontation of the groups participating at the Conference.


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.
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