Just published! The Russian and British Communist Lefts

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The International Communist Current traces its origins to the unyielding struggle, against terrible odds and hardship, of the Left Communist groups who refused to accept both the outright counter-revolution of Stalinism, and the inadequate resistance to Stalinism undertaken by Trotsky and the Left Opposition.

The long night of the counter-revolution that followed the defeat of the proletarian power in Russia during the 1920s, meant that the Left Communists were reduced to small groups without any influence in the mass of the working class. But their efforts to understand the conditions of both the victory of the revolution in 1917, and its later defeat, are the only foundations on which a new, world wide political organisation of the working class can be built.

It is a fundamental duty of the new generation of revolutionaries to reclaim the work of their ‘forgotten’ ancestors, not only to demonstrate the continuity of their political traditions, but also because without a thorough assimilation of the work and concrete experience of the left fractions, it would be impossible for the new groups to develop the theoretical and organisational solidity they need if they themselves are to survive and grow. The ICC, which has always seen itself as the product of a synthesis of the clearest positions and analyses of the left fractions, has devoted a considerable amount of time and energy to this work. The International Review contains many studies of the various fractions, and a number of long-unpublished texts from the Italian, German, Dutch, Mexican and other expressions of the communist left. And on top of this we have published book-length studies of the Italian and the German/Dutch lefts.

We are continuing this task today with the publication of two new books, on the Russian and on the British Lefts, which both include a number of almost unobtainable texts (some of these, in the case of the book on the Russian Left, are translated into English for the first time).

The Left Communist currents in Russia bear comparison to the groups of the communist left in Germany and Italy, even if the speed and brutality of the Stalinist counter-revolution succeeded in burying the Russian left communists earlier and more thoroughly than their European counter-parts. For example, the Workers’ Group around Miasnikov and others, formed in 1923, formulated a critique of the Communist International’s opportunist tactic of the United Front and the Workers’ Government in terms very similar to those elaborated by Bordiga in the same period; and its understanding of the tasks of revolutionaries faced with the degeneration of the proletarian party are certainly on the same wavelength as the conception of the left fraction which was developed most coherently by Bilan in the 1930s. Other groups, such as the Democratic Centralists, had important insights into the process of the degeneration of the Bolshevik party and the Soviet state.

The British Left is better known since Sylvia Pankhurst and the Workers' Dreadnought group were targets of Lenin's pamphlet Left-wing communism, an infantile disorder (as it is usually known, though "a sickness of childhood" would be a more accurate translation). However, their struggle against the degeneration of the International has either been buried by the interested slander of Left Communism by Stalinists and Trotskyists alike, or distorted by the equally interested attempts of the anarchists to hi-jack the Left Communist tradition.

We believe that bringing the work of these two groups to the knowledge of the new generation of revolutionaries is a vital part of the tasks of our organisation, and we urge our readers to place orders for them at either our London or New York addresses.

Development of proletarian consciousness and organisation: 

History of the workers' movement: