Introduction to the ICConline article on the GCI's leaflet on the anti-CPE protests

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The recent struggles in France against the attacks of the state are of profound significance for the working class. Not only do such struggles demonstrate positive lessons for workers, they also expose those that pretend to defend workers’ interests. Such pretenders include the Groupe Communiste Internationaliste (GCI - Internationalist Communist Group in English) who produced a leaflet that directly attacks the autonomous struggle of the working class and, backhandedly, defends the attempted union sabotage of it. A comprehensive response to the GCI’s leaflet can be found on the ICC’s website here.

The GCI was a split from the ICC in 1979 on the basis of personal resentments and half-formed divergences. These individuals rapidly headed towards full-blown parasitism [1] and even leftism. The GCI says that it condemns parliament, the bourgeois left, etc., but under the pretext of its ‘radical’ positions it is ready to support openly nationalist groups; and, though it denounces the trade unions with one breath, with the other the GCI supports trade unionist methods against the real methods of working class struggle. Thus, the GCI has seen models for proletarian struggle in the Shining Path Maoists in Peru and the nationalist guerrillas of El Salvador. Today it has gone even further, proclaiming that there is a hidden proletarian core to the terrorist actions of the ‘resistance’ in Iraq [2].

The ICC text on the website points out the very positive nature of the struggle initiated by proletarian youth in France against the attacks of the state: “But what is fundamental, what has taken on a historic profundity, what comes out of these combats, are the lessons: how to struggle, how to organise general assemblies and demonstrations, how to discuss, why and how we must look for solidarity…”.

In the face of the self-organisation of the general assemblies shown in France, their elected and revocable delegates, the organised search for solidarity and the active solidarity of layers of the working class (including revolutionaries), the avoidance of the traps of the unions and police, the GCI say: “Break with the democretinism of the general assemblies, spit on the elected and revocable delegates”. Contempt for the workers’ struggles could hardly be more open.

The struggles in France carried many of the characteristics and perspectives of the mass strike, as the website of the ICC notes: “The mass strike, with general assemblies and their elected and revocable delegates, is the form that workers’ struggle take in the period of the decadence of capitalism. It is the form that guarantees the direct, massive and unified participation of the working class in its struggles. This is what we have to put forward”. What does the GCI put forward in its leaflet?

- “Fight the dictatorship of the economy” - using examples of inter-classist or frankly bourgeois movements in Argentina, Bolivia and Iraq.

- “General strike… against the unions” - when the general strike slogan is used by unions against the extension of workers’ struggles and the development of the mass strike.

- “Block traffic…” - something halfa- dozen self-employed, English hauliers could do, taking their cue from divisive trade union “actions”.

A world away, a class away from the “sterile confrontations” that the parasitic GCI sees in events in France, lies the dramatic reaffirmation of a working class perspective.

Ed 26/6/06  



[1] See International Review no. 94, 3rd quarter, 1998. By parasitism we mean activities which, while purporting to defend revolutionary positions, are actually focused on denigrating or discrediting authentic revolutionary organisations. This description certainly fits the GCI, which has not only made barely-concealed death threats against ICC militants in Mexico, but more generally brings discredit to the whole left communist tradition.

[2] See International Review no. 124, 1st quarter 2006, ‘What use is the GCI?’. More recently, an English translation of a text by the GCI appeared on the internet forum libcom.org. In reply to a sympathising group which questioned some elements of the GCI’s position on Iraq, the GCI went so far as to affirm that revolutionaries can rejoice in actions such as the destruction of the Twin Towers (without actually supporting al Qaida), and even argued that the bombing of the UN HQ in Baghdad (which was probably done by Zarqawi’s gang) was a proletarian action.