We republish here a letter we addressed to the IBRP in December 2004 following the appearance on its website of a declaration emanating from a mysterious “Circle of Internationalist Communists”, containing extremely grave accusations against the ICC. Despite the protests of our organisation, which it did not take into account, the IBRP did not make any attempt to verify the reality of this group or the content of the accusations in question.
Paris, 7th December 2004
Since 2nd December we have noted that some discreet changes have been made to the IBRP's web site. One at a time, the English version and then the Spanish version of the "Declaration of the Circle of Internationalist Communists (Argentina): against the nauseating method of the ICC" dated 12th October, that were present on the site for more than one and a half months, have disappeared (curiously enough, the French version of this declaration is still present at the time of sending this letter: does the IBRP have a different policy according to the specific country and language? In addition, the introduction to the "Position statement of the Circle of Internationalist Communists on the events at Caleta Olivia" present on the Italian pages of your site, has been reduced by a quarter because the following passage has been eliminated: "The International Communist Nucleus of Argentina has recently broken with the International Communist Current, which we have considered for a long time now to be a useless political residue, that is unquestionably unfit to contribute to the formation of the international party. The Argentinian organisation has also changed its name to 'Circle of Internationalist Communists." (“Recentemente il Nucleo Comunista Internazionalista di Argentina ha rotto con la Corrente Comunista Internazionale, che da tempo indichiamo come ormai inutile sopravvivenza di una vecchia politica sicuramente non adeguata a contribuire alla formazione del Partito internazionale. L'organizzazione argentina ha anche cambiato nome assumendo quello di Circolo di Comunisti Internazionalisti.”).
These changes show that the IBRP has (perhaps) begun to realise that it's stirred up a hornet's nest by taking as gospel what the so-called "Circle" has recounted in its various "declarations", in particular as regards the behaviour of the ICC, and by publishing them in an extremely imprudent way. In other words, the IBRP is no longer able to hide from itself, and above all, hide from the readers of its website, what the ICC has asserted for nearly two months: that the accusations levelled against our organisation are pure lies, invented by a shady element, an unscrupulous impostor who also a compulsive liar. However, the discreet and gradual removal of these "declarations" does not erase or correct in any way, the serious political error, let alone the indefensible behaviour, of your organisation. Quite the contrary.
That is why this letter is intended as a solemn appeal to the militants of the IBRP about the behaviour of their organisation, which has been absolutely scandalous and incompatible with the bases of proletarian conduct.
Let us briefly recall the facts:
Towards mid-October the IBRP published in several languages on its web site the famous "Declaration against the nauseating methods of the ICC" of the so-called “Circulo de Comunistas Internacionalistas”. The latter presented itself as the successor of the “Nucleo Comunista Internacional”, with which the ICC has been discussing for several months (including two meetings in Argentina between the NCI and ICC delegations).
What was the substance of this "Declaration"? It contained a series of very serious accusations against our organisation:
- the ICC uses "practices which don't belong to the legacy of the Communist Left, but rather to the very method of the bourgeois left and of Stalinism" with "the underhand intention to destroy our small nucleus [that is, the “Circulo”, the new name given to the NCI], or its militants in an individual way by provoking mutual distrust and by sowing the germs of division in the ranks of our small group";
- the ICC "engaged itself in a destructive dynamic not only against those who dare to defy the ‘unchanging law and theories’ of the gurus of this current but also against those who try to think by themselves and do say NO to the ICC blackmails";
- the ICC uses "the Stalinist tactic of the scorched earth policy, it means not only the destruction of our small and modest group, but also the active opposition to any attempt towards revolutionary regroupment which the ICC wouldn't be leading for its sectarian and opportunist orientations. And for that, it doesn't hesitate to utilize a whole series of repugnant ruses whose central aim is to demoralize its opponents and, thus, to be able to eliminate a 'potential enemy'";
- "lacking agreement with its positions which have nothing to do with the revolutionary tradition, the ICC tries to sabotage any attempt of revolutionary regroupment as it has been the case with the public meeting [of the IBRP] of October 2nd, 2004 in Paris (France) and (…) it aims today at destroying our small group of Argentina"
Any reader who has any experience at all relating to the Communist Left (or those who claim continuity with it) can recognise here the same kind of slander that the IFICC has been using against our organisation for several years. But the analogy doesn't end there. It is also to be found in the aplomb with which the grossest lies are spouted:
"At their unanimous request, the comrades that the ICC has called by phone in order to sow the germs of distrust and of destruction of our small group, propose to the whole members of the Circle of Internationalist Communists the total rejection of the political method of the ICC that they consider as typically Stalinist and whose central aim, aim of the present ICC leadership, is to avoid the revolutionary regroupment for which various currents and groups do struggle for ; they propose to denounce these intrigues to the whole currents who declare to be within the continuity of the Communist Left."
The reality is very different, as we have already said in other texts and as is stated in the NCI declaration of 27th October: we did in fact phone a comrade of the NCI but it wasn't at all with the intention of "destroying [the NCI] or its militants in an individual way".
The aim of our first phone call was to try and understand how the "Circle of Internationalist Communists" was formed. Also to ascertain why comrades who had shown a very fraternal attitude to our delegation a few weeks earlier and who hadn't expressed any disagreement with the ICC (especially in relation to the behaviour of the IFICC), should, on 2nd October, draft a "Declaration" that was particularly hostile to our organisation and turn their backs on everything they'd defended up until that moment. At the time we had doubts as to whether all of the comrades of the NCI were involved in this "Declaration" (in spite of what it says about the "unanimity" of the members of the NCI in favour of this trajectory). The telephone discussions with the comrades of the NCI made it possible for us to inform them of what was going on: that a "Circulo" had appeared that presented itself as the continuation of the NCI and which was attacking the ICC. We were also able to ascertain that these comrades had no idea of the new policy being carried out by citizen B (the only one with access to Internet) in their name. When we asked the comrades, whom we contacted first, if they wanted us to call again, they replied in the affirmative. They insisted that the calls be as frequent as possible and they suggested that we phone when they were with the other comrades, so that we could talk to them as well. So in fact there is "a unanimous request on the part of the comrades that the ICC call them": they by no means "propose to the whole members of the Circle of Internationalist Communists the total rejection of the political method of the ICC", instead they warmly approved it. And the method that "they consider typically Stalinist" is that of Señor B.
At the beginning of his 12th October declaration, this intriguing character warns us that what he states about the "methods of the ICC" may "seem like a lie". In fact, the "declarations" of Señor B may indeed "seem like a lie". There's a good reason for that: they really are lies, utter lies. Needless to say, the IFICC immediately believed this lie which looked like a lie. Anything that can enable them to fling mud at our organisation is all grist to their mill and they couldn't care less if the accusation "can seem like a lie". After all, lying is second nature to them, it's their trade mark (in addition to blackmail, theft and grassing). But what is incredible, by contrast, is that an organisation of the Communist Left, the IBRP, has followed in the footsteps of the IFICC by publishing on its web site the infamous flights of fancy of Señor B without any critical comment, which means giving them total support.
The IBRP is very fond of giving lessons to others, for example by giving its own interpretation of the ICC's crisis, taking the lies of the IFICC for gospel truth without even making the effort to examine seriously the analyses made by the ICC itself (see, for example, "Elements of reflection on the crises of the ICC" on the IBRP web site). On the other hand it doesn't like to receive suggestions on its own behaviour: "we reject the ridiculous warnings (of the ICC)", "We don't have to account to the ICC or anyone else for our political actions and the ICC's pretensions to represent the so-called traditions of the Communist Left is simply pathetic" (see “Reply to the stupid accusations of an organisation in the process of disintegration”, on the web site of the IBRP). Nevertheless, allow us to say how we would have behaved if we had received a declaration such as that of the "Circulo" raising serious doubts about the IBRP.
The first thing that we would have done, would have been to contact the IBRP and ask it what was its response to such accusations. We would also have checked the credibility and the honesty of the author of such accusations. If it had been demonstrated that the accusations were untrue, we would immediately have denounced this behaviour and have offered our solidarity to the IBRP. If the accusation were true, and we thought it necessary to make this known in our press, we would have asked the IBRP for a position statement in order to publish it alongside the document accusing them.
Maybe you think that these are empty words and that in fact we would have done no such thing. But our readers at any rate know that this is how the ICC reacts and that we already did so when LA Workers' Voice mounted a campaign denigrating the IBRP (see Internationalism n°122).
How did the IBRP react when it received the "Declaration of the 'Circulo'"? Not only was it content to support it by publishing it in several languages on its site without making the least attempt to verify its authenticity, but it also refused for more than a dozen days to publish the denial that we asked it several times to publish alongside the declaration of the "Circulo" (see our letters of 22nd, 26th and 30th October).
Publishing our denial was the least that the IBRP could have done (and something that any bourgeois newspaper is generally willing to do) but it took three letters before it was published; three letters and a number of incidents which began to make it clear that the "declaration" was lies. The inclusion of our denial was the minimum, but that doesn't mean that it would have been sufficient because, by failing to take a position itself on the declaration of the "Circulo", the IBRP continued to support its lies. That's why, in our letters of 17th and 21st November, we asked you "to publish immediately (that is, on receipt of this letter) on your web site the Declaration of the NCI of 27th October, which is published on our own site in all relevant languages". This declaration isn't an emanation of the ICC, which you may suppose capable of saying anything, but comes from the principal witnesses to the falsifications and slanderous lies of Señor B. To this day, you still haven't published this declaration of the NCI (which was sent to you by post from Buenos Aires), which you know quite well is true as you've gradually and discreetly withdrawn the declaration of the "Circulo" from your site.
For several weeks you've "played dead" when the ICC asked that the truth be established. Now that it is gradually coming out (not thanks to you), you choose the most hypocritical way possible in order to avoid getting sullied: you withdraw a document that has been slinging a load of mud at our organisation for nearly two months with the same silence with which you circulated it in the first place.
Comrades, are you aware of the seriousness of your behaviour? Are you aware that this attitude is unworthy of a group that lays claim to the tradition of the Communist Left but belongs rather to the methods of degenerated Trotskyism, if not to Stalinism? Are you aware that you are doing the same thing as Señor B. (whose recent negotiations with the site "Argentina Roja" demonstrate that he has returned to his old Stalinist loves), who spends his time making documents appear and disappear on his web site in order to try and hide his underhand manoeuvres?
In any case, as you've placed your means of communication at the service of slander against the ICC, it isn't enough to retract this slander discreetly as if nothing has happened. You have committed a very serious political error and now you must rectify it. The only way worthy of a proletarian organisation is to announce on your web site that the document that was to be found there for almost two months is a pack of lies and to denounce Señor B's intrigues.
We understand that discovering the truth must have been a bitter disappointment for you: the NCI hasn't broken with the ICC and the "Circulo", in which you had the greatest hopes (see your article in the October issue of Battaglia Comunista" In Argentina too something is on the move"), is no more than an invention of Señor B’s imagination. Nevertheless, this is no reason to avoid taking a position on the methods of this impostor. It is also a matter of basic solidarity with the militants of the NCI, who were the main victims of the infamous manipulations of this element who usurped their name.
Likewise, we understand that it would be painful for you to recognise publicly that once again (after your communiqué of 9th September 2003 on the "Radical Communists of the Ukraine") you have been the victims of a fraudulent invention. When this mishap befell you, the ICC made no comment. Rather than twist the knife in the wound, we thought that it was up to you, as a "responsible leading force" (in your own words), to draw the lessons of this experience. However, it did not surprise us given the set-backs that you have experienced in the past (in particular with the SUCM and LAWV), and this despite our warnings that you "reject as ridiculous". But today the problem is much more serious than suffering the ridicule of being taken for a ride. Behind the touching ingenuousness with which you believed the word of a swindler and a compulsive liar, there was also duplicity in the fact that you gave space on your site for this individual's infamy. This behaviour is absolutely unworthy of an organisation that lays claim to the heritage of the Communist Left.
The IBRP claims that the ICC has "forfeited any capacity/possibility to contribute positively to the indispensable process towards the formation of the international communist party" ("avendo cioè perso ogni capacità/possibilità di contribuire positivamente al processo di formazione dell'indispensabile partito comunista internazionale", “In Argentina too something is on the move”, Battaglia Comunista of October 2004). Unlike the IBRP (and the various denominations of the Bordigist current), the ICC has never thought it was the only organisation able to contribute positively to the formation of the future world revolutionary party, even if it judges that its own contribution will be the most decisive, of course. This is why, since its appearance in 1964 (even before the actual founding of the ICC), our current took up the same orientation as that of the Gauche Communiste de France and has always defended the need for fraternal debate and co-operation (obviously on the basis of clarity) between the forces of the Communist Left. Even before 1977, when Battaglia Comunista made the proposal to organise international conferences of the groups of the Communist Left, we had already proposed that it do so several times, but in vain. This is why we were enthusiastic about Battaglia's initiative and committed ourselves seriously and determinedly to it. That is also why we deplored and condemned the decision of Battaglia and the CWO to put an end to this attempt at the end of the 3rd Conference in 1980.
In fact, our opinion is that certain of the IBRP's positions are confused, erroneous or incoherent and that they can create or maintain confusions within the class. This is why we publish polemics criticising these positions regularly in our press. However, we think that the IBRP is a proletarian organisation because of its fundamental principles and that it makes a positive contribution within the working class against bourgeois mystifications (in particular when it defends internationalism against imperialist war). This is why up to now we have always thought that it was in the interests of the working class to preserve an organisation like the IBRP. You do not have the same analysis as regards our own organisation as, having stated in your meeting with the IFICC in March 2002 that "if we come to the conclusion that the ICC has become 'invalid' as an organisation, our aim would be to do all that is possible to push for its disappearance" (IFICC Bulletin n°9), you have now in fact done all that is possible to attain this end.
The fact that in your opinion the ICC constitutes an obstacle to the development of consciousness in the working class, and that it would be better for the struggle if the ICC disappeared, doesn't pose problems for us. After all, it's the position that the various denominations of the Bordigist current have always defended. In the same way, it isn't a problem in our view that you try to achieve this aim. The question is: what means do you use? The bourgeoisie too has an interest in seeing the ICC disappear, as it has an interest in the disappearance of the other groups of the Communist Left. This is why it has unleashed disgusting campaigns against the Communist Left by identifying it with the "revisionist" current, which is linked to the far right. For the ruling class ANY means are acceptable, including, and especially making use of lies and slander. But this isn't true for an organisation that claims to fight for the proletarian revolution. Just like the other revolutionary organisations of the workers' movement which have gone before it, the Communist Left isn't marked out only by its programmatic positions, such as internationalism. In its fight against the degeneration of the Communist International and against the opportunist deviation of Trotskyism, which led the latter into the bourgeois camp, the Communist Left has always defended a method based on clarity, and therefore on the truth, in particular against all the falsifications that Stalinism disseminated. Marx said "the truth is revolutionary". In other words lies, and slander in particular, aren't weapons of the proletariat but of the enemy class. So an organisation which uses them in its combat, whatever the validity of the positions inscribed in its programme, takes the path towards betrayal or at the least becomes a decisive obstacle to the development of consciousness in the class. In this case it is in fact preferable, from the point of view of the interests of the proletariat, that such an organisation disappear, much more than it would be because of errors in its programme.
We tell you frankly: if the IBRP persists in its policy of using lies, slander and, worse still, of "allowing" these to be used and abetting them by remaining silent when faced with the intrigues of grouplets, such as the "Circulo" and the IFICC, of which they are the trade mark and raison d'être, then it will have demonstrated that it too has become an obstacle to the development of consciousness in the proletariat. It will have become an obstacle, not so much because of the damage that it can do to our organisation (recent events have shown that we are able to defend ourselves, even if you think that "the ICC is in the process of disintegration"), but because of the damage and the dishonour that this kind of behaviour can inflict on the memory of the Italian Communist Left and thus on its invaluable contribution. In fact, in this case it would be preferable if the IBRP disappeared and "our aim would be to do all that is possible to push for its disappearance" as you so excellently put it. It is of course clear that to attain this end, we would use only weapons belonging to the working class and it goes without saying that we would never permit the use of lies or slander.
One last point:
The "Circulo's" declaration of 12th October, as well as the IFICC article in its Bulletin n°28, refers to our so-called "attempts to sabotage" your public meeting in Paris on the 2nd October. You are not yourselves strangers to this kind of accusation, as in the first version of your position statement on this public meeting which was published only in Italian (and not in French - yet another mystery of the IBRP!) you say: "the revolutionary vanguard, even where it is reduced in number, hampered in its emergence by the stink produced by an organisation in the process of disintegration, such as the ICC in Paris. This is why the IBRP will continue its work in Paris as well, taking all necessary measures to prevent and avoid sabotage, no matter where it may come from" (“le avanguardie rivoluzionarie anche laddove scarseggiano, ostacolate nel loro emergere dai miasmi prodotti da una organizzazione in via di disfacimento, come la CCI a Parigi. E' per questo che il BIPR continuerà il suo lavoro anche su Parigi, prendendo tutte le misure necessarie a prevenire ed evitare sabotaggi, da qualunque parte essi vengano”). In the end, you withdrew the final part of this passage (which shows that you weren't very sure of yourselves) and in particular the reference to our "sabotage". Nevertheless, a number of visitors to your site and the contacts to whom you send your communications by e-mail, have been informed of these accusations. Likewise, the IFICC and the "Circulo" continue to publish them on their own site and you make no attempt to deny them.
Comrades, if you think that we tried to sabotage your public meeting in Paris, say so frankly and explain why. This would make it possible to discuss the point in an argued way instead of being confronted with an underhand rumour.
To conclude. This letter is focused on one question alone, the publication on your web site of an infamous "Declaration" slandering the ICC. However, the use of lies and slander (in an active or passive way) as a way of combating the ICC doesn't end there. We remind you that we've written you two letters, in which, among other things, we asked you to take a position on a question of the greatest importance (if ever there was one) "Do you believe that, as the IFICC goes on repeating, the ICC is under the control of agents of the capitalist state (belonging to the police or a sect of free-masonry)?"
We also remind you that up to now, although you justify the IFICC's theft of our list of subscribers, you haven't explained how come these subscribers received an invitation to your public meeting by post although they hadn't given you their addresses. The only "explanation" that we've received was the one given at your public meeting in Paris on 2nd October by a member of the presidium, who said: "we didn't know that these invitations had been sent and we don't agree with it".
· If the IBRP didn't send these invitations, who did send them?
· Why don't you approve of this initiative if you approve of the theft of our list of subscribers?
Even if you don't want to explain to the ICC, we ask you at least to have the decency to give an explanation to our subscribers, who aren't necessarily ICC sympathisers.
We have raised here a number of questions that are still open in our view and we will place them on the table whenever necessary if you decide to use your usual policy of silence in response to our letters.
 Note to the English version: as we publish this translation on our web site (31/12/2004), we notice that – although the link to the French version of the "Declaration" remains active – the document itself has disappeared : incompetence, or another example of the IBRP’s "discretion"?
 This question concerns not only the date of the withdrawal of the 12th October "Declaration" but also its insertion onto the IBRP's site. In fact, this declaration has never appeared in Italian although two other texts of the Circulo have appeared in this language; "Presa di posizione del Circolo di Comunisti Internazionalisti sui fatti di Caleta Olivia" ("Position statement of the Circle of International Communists on the events of Caleta Olivis" and "Prospettive della classe operaia in Argentina e nei paesi periferici" ("Perspective of the proletariat in Argentina and the peripheral countries"). Paradoxically, these haven't been published in other languages by the IBRP. A little difficult to understand. We hope at least that the militants of the IBRP know the reasons for these surprising decisions.
 Note to the English translation: this text appeared in Internationalist Communist n°21, which has never been published on the IBRP web site.
 Note to the English translation: this text has appeared in French on the web site, but not apparently in English.
 Note to the English translation: Various fraudulent campaigns in the bourgeois press, especially in France and Italy, have tried to identify the internationalist denunciation of the “great anti-fascist war” by the Communist Left, with the theses of those “revisionist” historians who deny or minimise the existence of the Nazi concentration camps.