History does not stand still and neither is a Marxist theoretical understanding of the world a static, immutable ‘program’, fit for all time. That said….In Point 6 of the 'Resolution on the International Situation (2019): Imperialist conflicts; life of the bourgeoisie, economic crisis' (1), we read:
“In the paradigm that defines the current situation (until two new imperialist blocs are reconstituted, which may never happen), it is quite possible that the proletariat will suffer a defeat so deep that it will definitively prevent it from recovering, but it is also possible that it will suffer a deep defeat without this having a decisive consequence for the general evolution of society. This is why the notion of "historical course" is no longer able to define the situation of the current world and the balance of forces between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.”
While any Resolution is a synthesis of discussion to which those outside the organisation are (quite rightly) not party, so to speak, nevertheless, as well as overturning theoretical axes which have been in existence since before the founding of the ICC (the notion of the Historic Course), this development, I believe, requires further erudition.
Is the class struggle, under the conditions of decomposition, no longer the ‘motor force’ of history? Can the proletariat suffer a ‘deep defeat’ (and is that different from a defeat so deep that it will definitively prevent it from recovering?) without “this having a decisive consequence for the general evolution of society…”?
If the parameters are no longer ‘war or class confrontations', what is the perspective, the general ‘line of march’ of society? Presumably the alternative of ‘socialism or barbarism’ remains valid but in which direction is society travelling? Are both (to me) diametrically opposed perspectives – that of communism or that of the disintegration of society – developing simultaneously, along parallel tracks? If decomposition is ‘the’ major factor defining the evolution of society, isn’t that tantamount to saying that the proletariat is no longer in a position to realise its character as the revolutionary class representing a new mode of production, that communism is off the historical agenda?
Two further elements of note from initial readings of this Resolution: Point 11, dealing with the rise of China, overturns an important plank of the ICC’s previous analysis which insisted on the “impossibility of any emergence of new industrialised nations" in the period of decadence and the condemnation of states "which failed to succeed in their ‘industrial take-off’ before the First World War to stagnate in underdevelopment, or to preserve a chronic backwardness compared to the countries that hold the upper hand."
This section – acknowledging the reality of China’s metamorphosis from ‘stagnation and under-development’ (and it’s not only China) to play the most destructively dynamic roles militarily, economically and in the degradation of the environment - is to be welcomed. The theoretical explanation – that it was the very stranglehold of tendencies toward dual-bloc imperialism between the late 1920s to the late 1980s that prevented the emergence of viable ‘new’ national centres of capitalist accumulation and that it was the implosion of this world imperialist order with the collapse of the eastern bloc in 1989 that has permitted the emergence of nations notably marked by decomposition – seems sound.
Similarly, Points 13 and 14 dealing with the change in orientation of US imperialism – from multilateralism to unilateralism, from globalisation to 'America First' – seem to be a correct recognition of social reality, the dynamics driving it and the implications arising.