New ICC book! 'Communism is not a nice idea but a material necessity'

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“Communism? Ah yes, like Russia used to be. The state controls the whole economy. Except for a small number of apparatchiks, who make all the decisions, everybody is paid the same low wages. People weren’t free to leave the country”.

No! That’s not the communism of Marx, who looked to the abolition of the wages system, the disappearance of the state and of national frontiers. To a society of freely associated producers!

“Oh that communism. A wonderful utopia. A nice idea, but it would never work……. Better to do what we can to make capitalism more humane”.

What doesn’t work is capitalism, which has long outlived itself and is dragging humanity into a nightmare of economic collapse, war and ecological destruction. Communism is a necessity for the survival and future flowering of the human species. Furthermore, it is no utopia. It expresses the fundamental historical interests of the working class.

Since 1990 and the collapse of the ‘Communist’ bloc - in reality a form of state capitalism - the International Communist Current has been publishing a series of articles about communism in its theoretical journal, the International Review. Originally this project was conceived as a series of four or five articles clarifying the real meaning of communism in response to the bourgeoisie’s lying equation between Stalinism and communism. But in seeking to apply the historical method as rigorously as possible, the series grew into a deeper re-examination of the history of the communist programme, its progressive enrichment through the key experiences of the class as a whole and the contributions and debates of the revolutionary minorities. The first volume of this series has just been published in book form.

Although the majority of chapters in the book are necessarily concerned with fundamentally political questions, since the first step towards the creation of communism is the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, it is also a premise of the book that communism will take humanity beyond the realm of politics and release its true social nature. The book thus poses the problem of marxist anthropology, of questions which go to the root of our understanding of humanity as a species. The interweaving of the ‘political’ and ‘anthropological’ dimensions of the series has in fact been one of its leitmotifs. This first volume thus begins with ‘primitive’ communism and the utopian socialists, and with the young Marx’s grandiose vision of man’s alienation and the ultimate goals of communism; it ends on the eve of the mass strikes of 1905 which signalled that capitalism was moving into a new epoch where the communist revolution had graduated from being a general perspective of the workers’ movement to placing itself urgently on the agenda of history.

The second volume of the series deals with the period from the mass strikes of 1905 to the end of the first great revolutionary wave that followed the First World War. A third volume is underway, and we aim to produce both as companion volumes to the one just published.

Communism: not a nice a idea but a material necessity is available from BM Box 869, London WC1N 3XX, at £7.50


ICC Public forums to launch the book

Saturday 12th May at 2:00pm
Conway Hall, Red Lion Square,
(Nearest tube: Holborn)

Saturday 9th June at 2:00 pm
Friends of the Earth Warehouse,
54a Allison Street, Digbeth