The formation of a new government in London under Boris Johnson does not resolve the political crisis and the power struggle within the British ruling class which became a dominant factor in the political life of that country since the Brexit Referendum of June 2016. On the contrary: with the appointment by the Conservatives of Johnson as their new leader and Prime Minister, this crisis has reached a new stage, the power struggle a new degree of intensity.
Millions have taken to the street in protest against a law that could mean Hong Kong citizens being extradited to China. But while the threat of increasing repression is very real, a "citizens" movement based on democratic illusions cannot advance the cause of the working class.
Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen… the infernal spiral of imperialist conflict continues to plunge the Middle East into the depths of barbarism. This region is a concentration of everything that is most disgusting about decadent capitalism. After decades of instability, invasions, “civil” wars and all kinds of murderous conflicts, Iran is now in the eye of the storm.
Every day the evidence for the environmental catastrophe grows more alarming: melting glaciers, fires and floods linked to global warming, massive extinction of species, unbreathable air in cities, plastic waste building up in the oceans: it’s almost impossible to keep up with the coverage in the media and the press. And virtually every article you read, every speech by celebrated scientists and authors, ends up by calling on the governments of the world to be more committed to protecting the planet, and the individual “citizen” to use their votes more responsibly.
The working class has no stake in the Brexit imbroglio, no camp to choose among the many factions or the umpteen ‘solutions’. All the arguments in the Brexit debate are ultimately to do with the best conditions in which to manage the capitalist economic crisis, the best way to compete with other capitalist swindlers on the world market.
Introduction and update to the resolution on the British situation
This resolution, adopted by a conference in January 2019, seeks to draw out the main perspectives for the British situation in the coming period. This takes on even more importance when the whole social situation is dominated by the ruling class’s unprecedented political crisis around Brexit - a crisis that is going to continue to worsen in the coming period.
This series has denounced the least visible part (the hidden face) of the organisations of the left and extreme-left of capital (Socialists, Stalinists, Trotskyists, Maoists, official anarchism, the 'new' left of Syriza, France Insoumise, and Podemos). In the first article of the series we saw how these organisations negate a working class that they pretend to defend, in the second we unravelled their method and way of thinking. In this third article we want to analyse their functioning, the internal regimes of these parties and how their functioning is the very negation of all communist principles and constitutes an obstacle to any movement towards these principles.
The hidden legacy of the left of capital (II): a method and way of thinking in the service of capitalism
Stalinism turned Lenin into a "harmless icon"
In the first part of this series we saw that the programme of the parties of the left and far left of capital for transforming capitalism into a "new society" leads to nothing more than an idealised reproduction of capitalism itself. Worse still, the view of the working class they present is a total denial of its revolutionary nature. In this second article, we will look into the thinking of these parties and their method of analysis, especially by those that consider themselves the "most radical".
History of the Working Class
100 years ago, in March 1919, the first congress of the Communist International (CI) was held: the founding congress of the Third International. If revolutionary organisations did not have the will to celebrate this event, the foundation of the International would be relegated to the oblivion of history. Indeed, the ruling class does not want the working class to remember its first great international revolutionary experience of 1917-1923, a revolutionary wave which was the international proletariat's response to the slaughter of the First World War. And the founding of the Communist International in 1919 represented the culmination of this first revolutionary wave...
Centenary of the foundation of the Communist International - What lessons can we draw for future combats?
Acknowledging the bankruptcy of the Second International and basing itself on all the work of the reconstruction of international unity started at Zimmerwald in September 1915, then Kienthal in 1916, the Communist International was founded on March 4 1919 in Moscow.
The ICC lays claim to the contributions of the Communist International (CI). Consequently this centenary is an occasion both to salute and underline the inestimable work of the CI in the history of the revolutionary movement, but equally to draw the lessons of this experience and draw out its weaknesses in order to arm the proletariat of today for its future battles.
An article written by a close sympathiser which uses the marxist method to try to get to the roots of the American Civil War, a momentous event which still has an impact on contemporary capitalism, and the class struggle, in the USA.
The Tiananmen Square massacre 30 years ago: A new ideological campaign with the aim of defending capitalism!
Thirty years ago, a terrible, particularly bloody repression took place on Tianenmen Square and in the main Chinese metropoles. The recently-released Tiananmen Papers fully confirm the facts as we published them at the time, detailing a savage repression involving machine-gun fire, round-ups, massive arrests and executions. Today as yesterday we insist that "the police-military terror and the democratic lie are complementary and both strengthen each other".
Strikes in Mexico
The moblisation led by the workers of the 'maquilas was undoutedly a very combative one. However it could not avoid the domination of illusions in the law and of confused hopes that the unions, if run "honestly", can change their anti-proletarian nature ...
With or Without Brexit
At the end of May, a report into austerity in the UK by the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty was issued - to the accompaniment of protests by the British government.
Those born in 2001, the year of the 9/11 attacks will be 18 in 2019. What have they grown up with? What have they been exposed to on the news? What sort of world have they been living in?
Following 9/11 there was Bush’s “global war on terrorism”. In reality, it was just “war” where, in invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq (and in other campaigns as well) US imperialism attempted (and failed) to assert its position as the only surviving super power.
After waves of popular protests in Algeria demanding the resignation of president Bouteflika and his clique, the former president seems to have finally given in to the pressure of his “people”. But the working class in Algeria should not believe in fairytales. In this “popular” national unity that aims to chase out a hated clique of leaders, the proletariat is in danger of abandoning its struggle as a class against the roots of exploitation and misery ...
The catastrophic fire at Notre-Dame de Paris has given rise to a flood of crocodile tears from the French and world bourgeoisie. But in reality this class is incapable of protecting the cultural heritage of humanity and indeed can only lead it to its destruction.
Right and left wing identity politics share the same patriotic standpoint
This article from a close sympathiser in the US looks at the adoption of “identity politics” by the left wing of the bourgeoisie, an international trend which has reached advanced levels in America.
Notes on the early class struggle in America: Part 3 - The birth of the US workers’ movement and the difficult struggle for class unity
US factory, 1820-30
In the first part of this series we looked at the birth of the proletariat in North America and its earliest struggles, showing how black chattel slavery was introduced as part of a strategy to divide black and white workers along racial lines. The second part exposed some of the myths surrounding the birth of democracy in America. In this third part we look at the first attempts by the US working class to organise itself into trade unions and political parties and the first mass struggles of this early workers’ movement against American capital.
Brazil is wracked by increased repression, growing poverty and greater insecurity, further attacks on workers, threats of war and risks of chaos, all linked to the new president, Jair Bolsonaro, who took office on 1 January, 2019. Bolsonaro symbolises the epoch in which we are living which produces the most sinister and repugnant elements. It is a law that we can be sure will be verified, whatever the political moves of the new president: the exploited will pay more than their predecessors and the crisis of capitalism will only get worse...
This report on the national situation in the UK was adopted by a recent general meeting. Its aim is to examine the historical background to the present political mess afflicting the British bourgeoisie.
Today on blogs and forums, in bookshops and kiosks, throughout Europe and in the world, a new nauseous campaign has resurfaced in order to again distort the image of the militant Rosa Luxemburg. Thus, from television programmes, Rosa Luxemburg again appears under the sole traits of a “woman” and a “pacifist”. The very-well known and acclaimed paper, Le Monde, published an article in September 2013, written by a certain Jean-Marc Daniel, a professor of ESCP Europe, with the very evocative title: “Rosa Luxemburg, marxist-pacifist”. This association of the words “marxist” and “pacifist” is gob-smacking: for the ruling class the “real marxist” is one who abdicates from the class war, renounces the insurrection and the overthrow of capitalism.
Ten years after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers: how the bourgeoisie tries to hide the breakdown of capitalism
In 2008, the financial crisis which hit the United States hard, with several banks failing one after the other, suddenly plunged millions of proletarians into misery. Among the main symbolic characters of the banking sector, Lehman Brothers, one of the great pillars of the American economic system, quickly fell into bankruptcy, provoking panic throughout the entire international banking system of which it was one of the star players. Today, when the threat of new financial storm appears again on the horizon, the media have a launched a devious propaganda around the ten-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Our comrade Elisabeth has left us at the age of 77. She died from breathing difficulties which provoked a cardiac arrest, on the night of Saturday/Sunday 18 November.
Contribution to a history of the workers’ movement in South Africa (iv)
In this article, we aim to show how the ANC’s project of rescuing and defending capitalist social relations in South Africa was implemented methodically by its successive leaders, in the first place by Nelson Mandela.
Communism on the agenda
Castoriadis, Munis and the problem of breaking with Trotskyism Second part: On the content of the communist revolution
In the previous part of this series, we re-published the article ‘Welcome to Socialisme ou Barbarie’ written by the Gauche Communiste de France in 1948. The article took up a clear position on the nature of the Trotskyist movement, which had abandoned its proletarian credentials by participating in the second imperialist world war. In this new article, we will seek to show how right the GCF were to be cautious in their welcome to SouB, and how difficult it is for those who have grown up in the corrupt milieu of Trotskyism to make a really profound break with its fundamental ideas and attitudes.
The series we are publishing on the radical differences (class differences) between on one hand the left and extreme left of capital and, on the other, the small organisations which claim the heritage of the Communist Left, has so far had three parts: an erroneous vision of the working class; a method and mode of thought at the service of capitalism and a way of functioning that is against communist principles. This fourth part is given over to the moral question in order to demonstrate the abyss that separates the morality of the parties which pretend to defend the exploited and the proletarian morality that any real communist organisation has to practice.
Work of the 23rd ICC Congress
We are publishing a number of documents emanating from the 23rd ICC Congress: reports that were discussed and ratified (or extracts from them) and resolutions that were adopted. We add to this collection a report aimed at updating our analysis of decomposition which was ratified by the 22nd ICC Congress and which provides a framework for some of the reports to the 23rd Congress.
We will also publish in due course a statement by the ICC on the work of the Congress.
75th anniversary of D-Day: A propaganda barrage against the proletariat
For the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944, the bourgeoisie has once again pulled out all the stops to exploit all the emotions stirred up by witness accounts of the slaughter and spread its nauseating nationalist propaganda. Yet another parade of the weapons of war, yet another mass spectacle. All the figureheads of the great powers were there, from Merkel to May and Macron, and of course Donald Trump. The aim is to glorify patriotic sacrifice and to justify the bloody carnage in the name of “freedom”. And thus capitalism hopes we will forget its daily exploitation and present itself as the highest point of civilisation. Let’s recall that no sooner had Europe been “liberated” than the “civilised world” rained atomic fire on Japan, and in the Cold War that followed the “peace”, the two newly emerging imperialist blocs engaged in numerous massacres by proxy and threatened to plunge the world into a third global conflagration. The real horror of the invasion has been covered in lies despite the official recognition, in the 1990s, of the civilian victims of the Allied bombings of the Normandy coast. But it’s not unusual for the bourgeoisie to own up to its crimes after the event, as long as it can present them as simple mistakes or painful necessities.
Today, it’s because the bourgeoisie continues to serve up the same lies that we thought it useful to republish the article we wrote to mark the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings. As well as denouncing the lies, the article aims to look at the significance of this historic event from the point of view of the working class.
History of Left Communism
To stimulate discussion around the formation of the future world party of the revolution, we are publishing two chapters of an article from Internationalisme no. 7 from January 1946, entitled “On the First Congress of the Internationalist Communist Party of Italy”
In the first part of this article we looked at some of the most important developments in the international proletarian milieu after the events of May 68 in France. We noted that, while the resurgence of the class struggle gave a significant impetus to the revival of the proletarian political movement, and thus to the regroupment of its forces, this dynamic had begun to run into difficulties by the beginning of the 80s. Here, we take up the story from this point.
An impossible choice between needing to make a living and needing clean water and good health. In this situation the division in the community created by this impossible choice is particularly destructive because it is dividing a mining community, which means dividing the workers, and when workers are divided they lose the one strength they have to struggle against capital.
No solution to the ecological catastrophe without the emancipation of labour from capitalist exploitation
It is not enough to examine the mounting threat to life on this planet through the lens of ecology, or the natural sciences, alone. To understand the underlying causes of ecological devastation, and the possibility of reversing it, we have to understand their connection to the existing social relations, to the economic system that governs the earth: capitalism. And for us that means using the only really scientific approach to understanding the structure and dynamics of human society – the method of marxism. One excellent point of departure here is Engels’ 1876 essay ‘The part played by labour in the transition from ape to man’, an unfinished movement that has been included within a broader unfinished symphony, The Dialectics of Nature".
We look at the environmental journalist's claim that he is now for the overthrow of capitalism as the only solution to the ecological crisis.
This article, written by a close sympathiser, examines a contribution by the group Internationalist Voice on the strengths and weaknesses of recent workers’ struggles in Iran.
A close sympathiser reviews a new book on the Chernobyl nuclear disaster which exposes the cynicism of the ruling class, whether in Stalinist Russia or the "democratic" west.
Crisis in Venezuela: Neither Guaido nor Maduro! The Workers Must Not Support any of the Rival Bourgeois Factions
The confrontation between the bourgeois factions in Venezuela - between Chavismo and the opposition parties - has undergone a qualitative leap since the beginning of 2019. It takes place in a context of an unprecedented worsening of the economic and social crisis, the most evident sign of which is the increase in poverty experienced by a large part of the population. But it is part of a scenario marked by worsening rivalries between the great powers - some giving their open support to the regime of Nicolás Maduro, others to the proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó. The US threat, as voiced by senior officials and Donald Trump himself, does not exclude a US military intervention, using "humanitarian aid" as a justification. Support for Nicolás Maduro has come mainly from countries such as Russia and China, the main allies of Chavismo. However, rather than a direct military confrontation between the great powers, the potential danger lies in the use of the population and workers as cannon fodder in a war between bandits.
In the two previous articles in this series, we have looked at the historic significance of the reawakening of the class struggle after decades of counter-revolution. In this article we want to look specifically at the evolution of the proletarian political milieu since 1968.
The world bourgeoisie against the October Revolution (part two): Social democracy and Stalinism forever in the bourgeois camp
Anti-Bolshevik propaganda poster 1919
In the first part of this article we highlighted the response of all the great imperialist powers to stem the revolutionary wave and prevent it from spreading in the major industrialised countries of Western Europe. In this article we look at the decisive contribution of social democracy to this reactionary project, and of Stalinism as one of the worst products of the isolation and defeat of the world revolution.
In November 2018 the two main groups of the communist left in Britain, the ICC and the Communist Workers Organisation, held meetings in London on the centenary of the German revolution. From both meetings it was evident that there is fundamental agreement on a number of key points arising from this experience. And yet there were also definite disagreements between our two organisations, which emerged at the CWO meeting and were further debated at the ICC meeting the following week, which was attended by a member of the CWO. This article looks at the principal differences that emerged.
Police violence, riots, urban guerrillas, looting... The real cause of chaos and violence is capitalism!
The real, organised, systematic violence on the streets of France in recent weeks was that unleashed by the state which had encountered the anger of "the people" folowing years of austerity. But this "popular revolt" of all the "poor" of "working France" who can't "make ends meet" is not as such a proletarian movement, despite its sociological composition, as the following article explains.
Revolution in Germany
A hundred years ago we were at height of the world revolutionary wave – more precisely, the outbreak of the revolution in Germany, a year after the proletariat took power in Russia, in October 1917.
Protests in the Middle East
An article from a close sympathiser showing that despite and even because of the omnipresence of war in the Middle East, the class struggle can still raise its head.
At the end of May this year a wave of strikes and protests by workers and unemployed in Jordan against tax increases, price rises and state corruption was widely reported in the media. In fact the movement by lower-paid workers against gas and electricity price increases began several months earlier in the provinces, building up to mass protests in the capital Amman...
In August Internationalist Voice posted a position on the ICC's web forum on the wave of protests in the Middle East affecting the countries of Jordan, Iran and Iraq. Here is a response from a close sympathiser of the ICC.
In a region scarred by imperialist war and sectarian divisions, the recent social protests in Iran, Jordan and Iraq offer hope that there is another possibility: the united struggle of the exploited against capital and its brutal violence. This article, written by a close sympathiser, looks at the massive demonstrations that have swept through central and southern Iraq.
Starting on July 8, 2018, a number of spontaneous protests broke out in central and southern Iraq involving thousands of demonstrators. It spread through eight southern provinces very quickly and, about a fortnight later, onto the streets of Baghdad. These followed significant protests in Jordan and Iran on exactly the same issues. The movement in Iraq would have been aware of these protests and inspired by them given the basic similarities.