Introduction by the ICC
Published below is an exchange of letters mainly between groups of the Communist Left, from the initial proposal to the drawing up, finalising and publication of the Joint Statement.
The correspondence within the marxist movement has always been an important aspect of its development and its intervention in the working class. The Communist Left has continued this tradition. The correspondence below is particularly significant because it makes known the process of contact and discussion between the constituent groups of the Communist Left about the principles and procedure for the achievement of a common action such as the Joint Statement on the war in Ukraine.
The fact that much of the correspondence is between the ICC and Internationalist Communist Tendency about the refusal of the latter to participate in and sign the Joint Statement will help readers to understand the conflicting arguments concerning the motivation for the statement, the criteria for the inclusion of the groups in it, the question of how to address the differing analyses of the imperialist situation in the statement, and other questions. Although the ICT brought this aspect of the correspondence to an end, the vital questions involved remain to be clarified and debated.
We also include here at the end correspondence with two groups who do not come from the Communist Left tradition: the KRAS, a Russian anarcho-syndicalist group, and Internationalist Communist Perspective from Korea. We asked them to support the Joint Statement because of their internationalist rejection of the war in Ukraine.
Otherwise the correspondence is presented in chronological order.
ICC to groups of the Proletarian Political Milieu 25/02/2022
The ICC to
- the ICT
- Parti Communiste International (Programma Comunista)
- Parti Communiste International (Il Comunista)
- Istituto Onorato Damen
- Internationalist Voice
- Fil Rouge
The imperialist war has once again struck Europe on a massive scale. Once again the war in Ukraine is a dramatic reminder of the true nature of capitalism, a system whose contradictions inevitably lead to military confrontations and massacres of the populations, especially the exploited. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the political organisations of the proletariat have, beyond their differences, united their forces to denounce the imperialist war and to call on the proletariat of all countries to engage in the struggle for the overthrow of the system which generates it, capitalism. The congresses of Stuttgart in 1907, Basel in 1912, the conferences of Zimmerwald in 1915, Kienthal in 1916 opened the way that would lead to the communist revolution of October 1917 in Russia and to the end of the imperialist slaughter.
During the 1930s and during the second imperialist slaughter, it is the honour of the Communist Left to have firmly brandished the banner of proletarian internationalism in the face of all those who called on proletarians to fight each other in the name of "anti-fascism", the "defence of democracy" or the "defence of the socialist fatherland". Today, it is the responsibility of the groups which claim to be part of this communist Left to firmly defend proletarian internationalism, and in particular :
- to denounce the lies of all the national sectors of the ruling class in order to involve the proletarians in the imperialist war or to associate them in their imperialist policies by calling them to side with this or that imperialist camp:
- to call on the proletarians of the whole world to refuse all the sacrifices that the ruling class and its states want to impose on them, to lead the class struggle against this system which exploits them ferociously and aims at making them cannon fodder;
- to recall the importance and the topicality of the old slogans of the workers' movement: "Proletarians have no country", "Proletarians of all countries, unite!
We are convinced that your organisation, like ours, will not fail to assume its internationalist responsibility in the face of the current war. However, the ICC believes that the affirmation of internationalism would have a much greater impact if the positions taken by each of our organisations were backed up by a common position of our organisations based on the fundamental positions we all share. We therefore call on you to vote on our proposal and, if you are in favour, to contact our organisation as soon as possible in order to prepare this common position.
Receive, comrades, our communist and internationalist greetings
Il Programma to the ICC 2022/03/01
Now is not the time for talk, but for putting into practice the unchanged and unchanging directives of revolutionary preparation: work to prepare for revolutionary defeatism, detach the proletarian class from bourgeois and petty-bourgeois hegemony and, in perspective, transform imperialist war into class war.
ICT to the ICC 02/03/2022
We have discussed your proposal. No-one can disagree with the need for the organisations of the Communist Left to respond to the new and even more dangerous course that this imperialist world has now taken and we have responded in various ways already ourselves.
Nor do we disagree with your outline of the basic proletarian positions.
"- to denounce the lies of all the national sectors of the ruling class
aimed at involving the proletarians in the imperialist war or at
associating them in their imperialist policies by calling them to side
with this or that imperialist camp:
- to call on the proletarians of the whole world to refuse all the
sacrifices that the ruling class and its states want to impose on them,
to lead the class struggle against this system which exploits them
ferociously and aims at turning them into cannon fodder;
- to recall the importance and relevance of the old slogans of the
workers' movement: "Workers have no fatherland", "Proletarians of all countries, unite!"
However, we need to go beyond these important propagandist points. We have in the past always found that our entirely different perspectives make any deeper joint statement impossible and this has become more pronounced rather than less over time. So though we are not in principle opposed to some form of joint statement we may find the same old problems arise. The question is where do you stand now on these perspectives? Would they allow us to produce a meaningful document which could be a guide for action?
Our second question concerns who else you are proposing this joint initiative with? We know that all the Bordigist parties will not only refuse but take pleasure in telling us that they are THE party. And it may be that it is also necessary to look beyond the "Communist Left" (which despite our recent growth remains sadly small) but to those who share our class perspective if not our precise politics. The slogan of "No War But the Class War" not only poses that question for other political groups but draws them further towards the perspective of the Communist Left. More importantly it is a call to fight for the wider working class, linking as it does the fight against the daily attacks of capitalism with the horrendous future capitalism is preparing for us. A future which seems to be closer than ever.
We have circulated the meeting announcement to all our comrades.
The International Bureau of the ICT
Reply of Internationalist Voice 3 March 2022
We welcome your initiative to make a joint statement on the war and agree with you that a joint statement would have a much greater impact. However, an essential point for us is who has received this letter, and we can trust you that only revolutionaries have received it.
A statement has already been published; see attached, and the English version will be available soon.
Letter of Istituto Onorato Damen 03/03/2022
We welcome your proposal.
We think, like you, that internationalist communists of all the world have the responsibility to clarify the causes of the imperialist war and to take a position on the war.
Our organisation believes that the communist political perspective, based on proletarian internationalism, revolutionary defeatism and rejection of all imperialist camps, increasingly represents the only possible response of the working class to imperialist slaughter and capitalist barbarism. It is the only possibility of a future for humanity, in a society that is finally humane: a communist society.
We welcome the idea that revolutionaries, beyond the differences between organisations, must be united in denouncing the imperialist war and supporting among the world proletariat the perspective of international communist revolution.
Our organisation therefore agrees to the preparation of a common statement, supported by different internationalist revolutionary communist groups, in addition to the statements and analyses that each organisation will publish independently.
It would represent a stronger internationalist voice; we also think that it could represent a step forward along the road of a fraternal and frank confrontation between communists, in the perspective of building the future World Communist Party, on the basis of programmatic clarity.
Regarding how to prepare this common statement, we suggest that the ICC prepare a draft on which to work together.
With our fraternal communist greetings
ICC to the Proletarian Political Milieu concerning the appeal 13th March 2022
ICC to :
Internationalist Communist Tendency
PCI (Programma Comunista)
PCI (Il Comunista)
PCI (Il Partito Comunista)
Istituto Onorato Damen
PCI (Le Prolétaire)
We write following our letter of 25 February 2022 proposing a common public statement of fundamental internationalist principles against the war in Ukraine shared by the tradition of the Communist Left as a whole.
We have received positive support for this proposal from Institute Onorato Damen and Internationalist Voice. The International Communist Tendency has also replied positively to the main principles that we proposed for the statement but had some questions regarding the analysis of the situation, the invitees and the possibility of other common initiatives. PCI (Programma) made a short reply rejecting the proposal saying it was ‘time for action, not talk’. The other invitees have not replied yet.
The main task for the Communist Left today is to speak with a united voice on the fundamental internationalist principles of our tradition concerning the imperialist nature of the war, the denunciation of pacifist illusions and the alternative perspective of the working class struggle leading to the overthrow of capitalism. We must affirm the only political tradition which has upheld these principles in tests of fire in the past.
In our view the function of the statement is therefore not to go into any depth into the analysis of the situation on which there are no doubt differences of appreciation between the organisations claiming the Communist Left; nor is the statement the place we think to go into questions of other common initiatives. A common statement by the groups of the Communist Left would, in any case, not be an obstacle to discussing differences and alternative approaches in other contexts.
The comrades of the IOD suggested that the ICC draft the common statement. In order to speed up the process we have accepted this suggestion and the draft appeal is attached with this letter. We have attempted to present the internationalist principles in a way in which all the signatories can accept. However, comrades are welcome to propose any alternative formulations to the existing ones in order to fulfil the common objective of the statement. But we hope that comrades, appreciating that time is pressing, will limit themselves to changes which they consider essential to fulfil the joint project, so that a final version can be quickly produced.
We are confident that the common statement of the Communist Left will make these principles and this tradition more widely known amongst the working class today.
Looking forward to your rapid reply.
ICT to the ICC 21 March 2022 21 March 2022
On the proposed joint statement on the war in Ukraine
Thanks for sending the draft appeal and informing us as to who you intended to sign it. Regrettably, we have to say that we cannot agree to either.
The proposed statement contains several flaws (as well as errors of fact which we will leave aside for now) and is inadequate as a political guide for the working class as to how we can fight against the war. In the first place it does not address itself to the actual significance of this war at this point in time. It also lacks a coherent analysis of what is actually going on. As such it provides no guide. It is a purely paper declaration and we need to offer more than this. As Lenin long ago stated “Without revolutionary theory there is no revolutionary practice”.
One example of this weakness is the draft statement makes reference to the fact that “the world’s working class cannot avoid developing its struggle against deteriorating wages and living standards” but does not say why, after decades of the reverse being the case, the class struggle should revive now. What links the current war and the continuing attacks on workers’ livelihoods is the capitalist economic crisis which after almost 50 years remains unresolved. This war is a new and clear indication that the strictly economic options are running out for capitalism, and the world is much further down the inter-imperialist road to its ultimate “solution”. There is no sense in the draft that this is a new and dangerous departure in capitalist history. (Confirmed, for example, by the absence of any reference to China and the fact that the war in Ukraine has already helped to define a clearer imperialist line up on a global scale.)
This abstract timelessness in the face of an emerging reality is reinforced by long passages about the history of the Communist left. Inarguable though the details may be, we don’t live in the same world as our predecessors and this document exudes the sense that it was written just for “the milieu” as you call it. The Communist Left may have a principled history of opposition to war which we can be proud of, but as the statement ultimately admits, we have little influence in the class today. From our current position of political obscurity, do you think announcing that
“Today, in the face of the acceleration of imperialist conflict in Europe only the organisations of the Communist Left have the right to hold up the banner of consistent proletarian internationalism, and provide a reference point for those searching for working class principles”.
is going to extend our influence? We are not living in the time of the Second or Third International when there was a mass following which ended with workers betrayed and led into imperialist war. Our task is not to react to historical betrayals by supposedly workers’ Internationals but to continue to lay the basis of a new International. We have a much more difficult task of rebuilding from the ground up.
Which brings us to your list of potential signatories. It is very narrow, and even narrower than it appears, given that we all know that every Bordigist “party” considers itself to be the only international party possible. You don’t elaborate on why this is such a narrow selection from amongst the groups of the Communist Left but on your website we find this.
“Controverses, IGCL, Internationalist Perspective, Matériaux Critiques and some others belong to the parasitic milieu and have nothing to do with proletarian internationalism, even if they write about it and even if they put forward exactly the same position. Their activity is characterised by the sabotage of the communist activities and stands in the way of the possibility of united action by the authentic Communist Left.
The groups that belong to the Communist Left are: Il Partito Comunista, Il Programma Comunista, Instituto Onorato Damen, Program Communiste, Internationalist Communist Tendency, and Internationalist Voice."
So what you are asking us to sign up to is your own particular definition of who is, or is not, in the Communist Left and, moreover, your long time rationale that any organisation formed by those who left the ICC must be guilty of “parasitism”. We have long criticised you for this destructive labelling. We have also criticised these groupings on occasion, but always in political terms with the aim of clarification, not a label aimed at annihilation of their right to exist.
In any case, your proposal is also too narrow. Even if we agreed on who was part of the Communist Left we do not have a monopoly of the truth on this issue. The influence of internationalist ideas (often as a result of all our past efforts in promoting internationalism) has penetrated political organisations coming from different traditions. In this situation we should attempt to draw them into a wider movement against the war.
In some ways the debate is a reprise of the one that the ICC held in the UK with the CWO over the promotion of No War But the Class War as an organised body of class resistance to the war. Indeed back then we were just as critical of your narrow approach as we are now. Then the CWO wrote that we recognised:
“the absolute weakness of communist forces world-wide and certainly in Britain. Unlike the ICC, we do not puff ourselves up with self-descriptions as an international movement which has survived longer than any of the three internationals in the history of the workers’ movement.
We recognise our central duty of safeguarding and developing communist theory and practice but this is an impossible task if we remain isolated and introverted.
Communists can only defend and enrich their programme and organisation by interacting with social reality. We need to recognise the actuality of developing forces and develop theory and practice to relate to those developments. This applies both to underlying developments in the world economy and to those elements who are caught up in all kinds of social movements and are receptive to the communist programme”. [See https://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2002-12-01/communism-against-the-war...
Today the ICT sees the promotion of this form of organisation on an international scale as the best way to contribute to a real class movement against the wars that this system inevitably produces. And as we said before, it is not enough to make paper declarations (even if they are a necessary start) we need to find ways to take the issue to the wider working class, and certainly to engage with its most concerned elements. There is not a lot of time left and, given the four decades retreat of the class, there are enormous challenges to meet. A new generation is coming to the communist left as the crisis mounts and we need to give them something they can work in to build a real movement. It means we need something clearer and more concrete than the proposal you are putting forward now.
The International Bureau of the Internationalist Communist Tendency
To the ICT from the ICC 22.04.2022
The ICC agrees with the fundamental internationalist principles contained in the ICT ‘No War but the Class War’ Appeal on the war in Ukraine. Since those in broad agreement are asked to respond to the appeal, we will underline our support for the Communist Left principles it contains:
- the war in Ukraine is entirely imperialist in nature and in no way a war of national defence. The working class cannot support any side in the carnage in which it is the principal victim;
- the present period of imperialist wars of capitalism, that the war in the Ukraine exemplifies, is bringing the extinction of humanity closer;
- only the overthrow of capitalism can end imperialist wars. Pacifist illusions in a peaceful capitalism buries the revolutionary perspective of the working class that is the sole solution to imperialism;
- the road to the proletarian revolution can only be based on the struggle of the working class to defend its living conditions (and against the unions as you point out) and engagement in the process that leads to the formation of the international political party of the working class. This process necessarily excludes the Social Democratic, Stalinist and Trotskyist counter-revolutionary traditions.
Having affirmed our fundamental agreement on these questions there is a problem related to the ICT appeal which is important to clarify:
Given this close agreement on questions of internationalist principle expressed in the ICT appeal it was perfectly possible for the ICT to sign the Joint Statement of groups of the Communist Left (published on the sites of the signatories) that was based on these very principles and left points of secondary disagreement between the groups to one side. The Joint Statement, from the point of view of internationalist principle, could have been signed by the ICT even if your organisation felt it was insufficient in itself for the struggle against imperialist war (we will come back in detail to the reasons you sent us in your letter of refusal to sign the Joint Statement).
Perhaps you feel that it is not appropriate to refer in such an appeal to the experience and tradition of the workers' movement since the Zimmerwald Conference and in particular to the tradition of the Communist Left. If this is the case, can you tell us why? If, on the contrary, you consider valid this preoccupation to inscribe the position of the internationalists on the war in Ukraine in continuity with those of our predecessors, we do not see, on the basis of the clear internationalist positions that we share, why you could not support the Joint Statement of groups of the Communist Left.
Perhaps the original proposal for a joint statement we sent you was insufficiently clear that it was not intended to be an exclusive initiative against the imperialist war. The signatories could have other activities - like the NWCW committees that you propose in your appeal for example - that the other signatories didn’t agree with or whose objectives and modalities were not yet clear to them.
The signatories could also disagree on their analysis of the world situation providing they nevertheless agreed that capitalism had no alternative than descent into barbarism.
But an important need in the situation is make a joint statement and therefore stronger affirmation of internationalism by the Communist Left. Of course, these common principles could have been reformulated or strengthened from the proposed draft (as they were in discussions with the IOD) and the criteria for groups signing the statement could have been discussed.
We therefore ask you to reconsider your refusal to sign the Joint Statement.
At the moment the ICT Appeal, as far as the ‘public’ is concerned, appears to be in competition with the Joint Statement, so that those coming to internationalist class positions of the Communist Left will be presented with two separate and rival ‘unities’.
Surely we can agree that this ambiguous situation is a weakness for the whole internationalist camp?
Looking forward to your suggestions for a way to resolve this problem.
Communist Greetings, the ICC
To the ICC from the ICT 24 April 2022
If you are really serious about trying to persuade us to sign your statement you are going the wrong way about it.
In the first place you don’t address the central point of our decision to decline to sign it which is that we do not accept your narrow definition of who is, and who is not, in the “milieu”. We have never agreed with your idea of “parasitism” and we do not wish to even implicitly approve it.
We also note that you accept the principles of the NWBCW appeal, but the aim of NWBCW is not to simply address the Communist Left but to bring together anyone or any organisation which is genuinely internationalist and against imperialist war in a practical way. We are approaching a critical point in world history where the capitalist system has taken a decisive turn towards new and wider conflicts. Taking a stance based on internationalist positions is a necessary starting point but the aim is to go beyond assertion of principles. We need to generate a movement amongst the wider working class which can prepare the way for a political response to the horrors the system is already visiting on some and will eventually bring to all workers.
We note that the version of the statement which you asked us to sign is not the version currently on your website. ou put up that version with the signatures of the other organisations on 6 April. Today the version on your site has been edited. Gone is the sentence we criticised in our previous reply which stated that: "only the organisations of the communist left have the right to hold up the banner of consistent proletarian internationalism".
Also deleted is the sentence which states that the: "persistent, conscious fight of the working class against the worsening austerity that imperialist war brings is therefore the only serious obstacle to the acceleration of militarism”.
There has been no public acknowledgement of this, and we don’t know if all the groups who signed the statement on 6 April were consulted about the changes. It is difficult to have a serious dialogue if the terms of the debate keep shifting.
In any case, our position on signing the ‘joint statement’ remains the same.
The ICC to the ICT 29 April 2022
Thank you for your reply of 24th April. We regret that you are still refusing to sign the Joint Statement of the Communist Left on the war in Ukraine.
You note that the final version of the Communist Left joint statement is not entirely the same as the draft we sent for your and other group’s approval on the 13th March. In this latter communication we asked the groups of the Communist Left for comments and alternative formulations to the draft, so it was quite normal and logical to then discuss changes to the draft with the willing co-signatories in order to agree on a final version of the joint statement. Obviously, the co-signatories were then consulted and the final version was changed as a result of a common discussion. You could of course have participated in this joint amendment process but you decided against the idea of a joint statement in your letter to us of 21st March.
(Incidentally we note that the first No War but the Class War appeal on the ICT website of 6th April had twelve points for agreement, while the second of 23rd April has only five. What happened to the other seven?)
Obviously, there was no need to publish the draft joint statement of the Communist Left; the whole point of a joint statement is for the co-signatories to agree on a final version before it is published, as an expression of their common action. So there was no ‘shifting’ of the terms of the debate as you allege. The terms remained the same from the first letter of the proposal for a joint statement to its final realisation.
In any case you admit that you would not have signed the joint statement anyway, so these changes from the draft to the final version were not the reason for your refusal to sign the common statement.
But what are the reasons for your refusal to sign the joint statement? Your letter is still obscure on this fundamental point.
Your letter brings up the ICT motivation behind the No War but the Class War appeal. Whatever the merits of this appeal - we agree with its underlying internationalist principles - or weaknesses, it was, and is, perfectly possible for the ICT to also sign the joint statement which contains the same internationalist principles. The Korean group, Internationalist Communist Perspective, has proved this option in practice. But your letter doesn’t respond to this possibility posed in our previous letter. Nor do you reply on the problem posed by the existence of two internationalist appeals that could be seen as in competition with each other.
The fundamental need for the revolutionary camp is for the Communist Left groups to not just produce internationalist statements separately but to combine their forces in the spirit of Zimmerwald and proletarian unity in action. Why do you resolutely reject this fundamental principle?
The conception of the Communist Left milieu behind the joint statement is too narrow for you. Was it really for the sake of leaving out fake Communist Left groups and bloggers who attack this milieu rather than the imperialist bourgeoisie, that you refused to sign the joint statement? While not agreeing with the description of the false communist left as ‘parasitic’ you have nevertheless recognised its negative role in recent correspondence with the ICC. So the rejection of the term ‘parasitic’ is hardly a reason to avoid the important responsibility of helping unify the genuine communist left against imperialist war.
Finally, you say that we are going the ‘wrong way’ about persuading you to sign the joint statement. Please tell us what would be the ‘right way’ to persuade you.
The ICT to the ICC 30 April 2022
We clearly stated in our previous correspondence that though we support all internationalist declarations against the war, your Appeal was defined by the narrowness of its aim. Not only do you exclude all groups you consider “parasites” but the initial document actually said that “only the organisations of the communist left have the right to hold up the banner of consistent proletarian internationalism” and this was the version you published on 6 April. Now you claim that your Appeal is of “the Communist Left” which puts you on the same level as the Bordigists.
We do not think you really share our concern about the gravity of the current situation. We note that there is an article on your site which states that there will be no general imperialist war as “the blocs have not been formed” [see https://en.internationalism.org/content/17151/ruling-class-demands-sacrifices-altar-war.] The world has taken a decisive turn towards the imperialist war the Communist Left knew would be the outcome of this long crisis of the cycle of capital accumulation. Even if they patch up a peace over Ukraine (daily looking less and less likely) it will only be a truce. The mounting contradictions of the system are now dictating the course that imperialist capitalism is taking us on. It has taken longer than we all thought but it is not the only issue of importance. As we said in our Call to Action, the working class has been in retreat for decades, and as we predicted there is no mass movement as yet which would lead to theoretical confluence of views that would produce a viable new International. Our idea around NWBCW is to try to bring internationalists of all tendencies together in a practical way to resist both imperialist war and all the fake responses from the capitalist left (including pacifism), as well as extend to the widest working class the internationalist critique of capitalism as the begetter of imperialist wars. In short whilst your Appeal looks inward, we are trying to look outward.
We certainly do not wish to be associated in anyway with your long-held view that certain other groups are “parasites” and it is dishonest of you to even imply that we share your view on this. We have made criticisms of other groups in the proletarian camp, but over specific issues (like the working class is holding back war, for example) but we don’t deny their right to political existence or believe, as you say in this letter, that they are “fake”. Similarly, we don’t judge other groups like you do. The Korean ICP can make their own decisions about what they need to do and we accepted the explanation that they sent us for signing your Appeal. The important fact is that they also can see the real value of trying to develop opposition to the war and capitalism in the widest way possible. In this regard we do not expect everyone to agree with all our twelve points in the “Call for Action” as this included the rationale of the ICT for calling for NWBCW committees. However, as in 2002 with the CWO’s NWBCW groups against the Iraq War, we always had a working set of internationalist criteria which would allow others to join them. Indeed, if we insisted on everyone agreeing to exactly how the ICT sees the world, we would be repeating your error.
This is our final word on this matter. So long as you are only prepared to regard only a chosen few as worthy of recognition there is nothing more for us to say. By contrast we have put out a Call to Action which gives every internationalist an opportunity to respond. In that way we might actually take a small step towards a real international class movement against capital before time runs out for humanity.
The ICC to the ICT 16 May 2022
Unfortunately, your most recent letter (30 April) again fails to adequately explain why the ICT consistently refuses to sign the Joint Statement of groups of the Communist Left about the war in Ukraine, even though your organisation, as part of the Communist Left, fully agrees with the proletarian internationalist principles of the statement.
We understand that the ICT wants a ‘Call to Action’ over the imperialist war, but don’t understand why, in terms of a common position of the Communist Left camp, the ICT remains inactive.
Your organisation wants a ‘wide’ appeal as opposed to the ‘restricted’ one of the Joint Statement. But in refusing to sign the Joint Statement you have restricted the wider impact of a common stance of the Communist Left.
Worse, because the ICT refuses to sign the Joint Statement, the No War but the Class War appeal of the ICT appears to set up a competition within the Communist Left. We asked for your response to this problem in previous letters, but so far, no answer to it has come from you.
The ‘Call to Action’ of the ICT, judging by your last letter, seems to be increasing in flexibility: those in agreement with it don’t have to agree to all its 12 points, providing the ICT holds a ‘working set of internationalist criteria’. But towards groups of the Communist Left, the ICT is implacably rigid in its refusal for a common statement.
You again pretend that you were misled about the content of the Joint Statement. The reality is that you refused the process of revising the draft statement that was offered when it was sent to you for alternative suggestions. The real problem for you was not this or that formulation but the willingness to have a common declaration, the very principle of a united effort, which you declined.
Again, the ICT’s differences of analysis of the world situation is brought up as a justification for refusal. But the differences over the interpretation of recent events is not an obstacle to making a common statement which the Communist Left shares concerning the bankruptcy of world capitalism and the inevitability of the spread and intensification of imperialist war. The Joint Statement which defends the fundamental common axis of the analysis of world imperialism by the Communist Left does not preclude subsequent debate on differences of interpretation of this axis. On the contrary the Joint Statement is the basis for such a debate, a vital precondition.
According to you the definition of the Communist Left in the project of the Joint Statement was too restricted and therefore impossible to sign up to because it excluded the parasitic bloggers and pretend political groups that falsely claim this tradition. But the ICT questioned the inclusion of the Bordigist Parties in the original proposal of the Joint Statement who are an important strand of the real Communist Left tradition with which you share a common origin. The exclusion of the Bordigist groups from the invitation to the appeal would have created a much narrower and indeed an inadequate basis for participation. Of course, the criteria for who is to be included in a joint statement of the Communist Left is an important discussion. However, this question of criteria can’t in itself be used as a justification for abandoning the attempt to forge a common statement of the Communist Left. Agreeing on these criteria is part of the process of discussion that leads to a joint position. What is essential is the will to achieve it, which has been consistently absent in the ICT’s attitude to the Joint Statement.
In an analogous situation the ICC, in responding positively to the appeal of Battaglia Comunista in 1976 to joint discussion conferences of groups of the Communist Left, expressed its willingness for the effort but regretted that Battaglia’s initiative contained no criteria for deciding which groups should participate in the conferences. This regret did not stop the ICC from pursuing the joint work and attending the first Conference. As we wrote to Battaglia at the time:
“In this respect we can only regret that you did not consider it useful to communicate the names of the groups invited to this meeting, nor on the basis of which criteria the choice of these groups was made. However, this lack of information does not prevent us from participating in this meeting with our best revolutionary will. Furthermore, we would have liked, as we have already expressed, that a bulletin containing the letters of response and other texts from the various groups invited, be prepared and distributed to the participants before the meeting.” 1 March 1977
Fortunately for the 2nd Conference of the Communist Left, a set of criteria proposed by the ICC was agreed and the Bordigist parties were invited. The lessons of this episode for the effort for joint work of this nature is that all its conditions are not necessarily completed in advance and that the disagreements that arise should not be used as an excuse for withdrawing from the project. What is vital, and one of the main lessons for the ultimate failure of the International Conferences in the seventies, was that the conviction in the principle of a joint effort and the will to maintain a forum for the discussion of differences in the Communist Left, was missing. Indeed the 3rd Conference of the Communist Left failed to make a joint internationalist statement, proposed by the ICC, against the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR at the time.
In your letter of 24 April 2022 you said that the ICC was asking you to reconsider your refusal to sign the Joint Statement in the ‘wrong way’. We therefore asked you in our reply what the ‘right way’ would be. Your last letter doesn’t reply to this question. In the recent public meeting of the ICC in London on Saturday 7 April the same question came up for the ICT: what should the ICC do to convince you to sign the Joint Statement of the Communist Left against the imperialist war? The ICT comrade at the meeting admitted he had no reply to this question either.
Is the lack of answer to this question why you also make the peremptory declaration that your last letter was your ‘final word’ on the subject?
For our part, the ICC remains open to discussion with you of our differences on the ICT’s refusal to sign the Joint Statement of groups of the Communist Left against the war in Ukraine.
The ICC to the International Communist Party (Il Partito)
We have read on your site the announcement of the Public Conference that you have organised in Genoa for Friday 22 April on the subject of the war in Ukraine. We have also read the five themes you suggest for the discussion, which we completely agree with in their basic approach. As you rightly say, war is a constant of capitalism, all the more so in this phase of historical decline. We therefore consider the choice of your organisation to hold a Public Conference on this issue an important and responsible choice to confront the bourgeois campaign that tends to push us to support one of the two sides in the struggle, in this specific case Ukraine, as a country under attack and therefore to be helped by sending ... arms. The bourgeois propaganda, through a guilty pacifism, is trying to entangle us all in the horror of the current war. All this must be denounced forcefully and we are sure that you will do so at your conference. Unfortunately, we learned late of the holding of this meeting and regret that we are unable to attend physically, nor do we see that remote participation via the internet is possible. However, allow us to send you the text of the Joint Declaration of the groups of the International Communist Left on the war in Ukraine, a declaration which we have also proposed to other components of the Communist Left and which we think is important to show to the proletariat today as an expression of what unites the revolutionary organisations in the face of the various bourgeois mystifications. As we wrote to you in a previous letter, we ask you to sign this declaration, not to make up a number, but to open, starting from the mutual recognition of belonging to the same revolutionary camp, a process of confrontation and public discussion capable of producing over time a decantation of positions and a political clarification in front of the class. We would also like to take this opportunity to announce the holding of our next public meetings on a similar theme, which will be held via the internet, therefore easily accessible, for the time being in Italian, on the 4th of May, and in English, on the 8th of May. The announcement of these meetings will appear as soon as possible - as early as tomorrow the one in Italian - on our website. We hereby officially invite you to these meetings, which could offer a precious opportunity for a confrontation between genuinely revolutionary organisations.
We look forward to receiving your reply and send you our fraternal greetings.
International Communist Current
From the International Communist Current to KRAS
We are sending you links to the joint statement on the imperialist war in Ukraine (in English and Russian), signed by three groups of the communist left and another group which is close to this tradition.
Joint statement of groups of the international communist left about the war in Ukraine | International Communist Current (internationalism.org );
Совместное заявление групп
войне на Украине | Интернациональное
We understand that you come from a different political tradition, but we have always recognised that you consistently and courageously - especially in the present conditions in Russia - defend internationalist positions against the wars of capitalism, and we have thus recently published your statement on the war in Ukraine on our website in several languages (cf “An internationalist statement from inside Russia”, International Communist Current (internationalism.org ))
We are thus asking for your support for our statement, whether by signing it directly or by announcing that you are in broad agreement with it in spite of any differences, and by publishing it on your own website and other means of communication open to you.
We would also welcome any comments or criticisms you may have about
Response of the Kras 14 Avril 2022
Thank you for spreading our statement on the war. We cannot join the statement that you issued jointly with other left-communist Marxist organizations - certainly not because we do not agree with its internationalist orientation, but because of theoretical disagreements, for example, the positive mention of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" - a concept with which we do not agree.
Nevertheless, we have translated and placed on our website (with a preface and a mention of disagreements) your text,"Аgainst the imperialist war - class struggle" with the assessments and internationalist approach of which we fundamentally agree: https://aitrus.info/node/5949
The ICC to the ICP (Korea)
We send you the introduction to the joint statement:
“The organisations of the communist left must mount a united defence of their common heritage of adherence to the principles of proletarian internationalism, especially at a time of great danger for the world's working class. The return of imperialist carnage to Europe in the war in Ukraine is such a time. That's why we publish below, with other signatories from the communist left tradition (and a group with a different trajectory fully supporting the statement), a common statement on the fundamental perspectives for the working class in the face of imperialist war”.
We will publish this as mentioned earlier on Wednesday, 06.04,
2) We propose to have as "signatories" the following groups:
International Communist Current
Istituto Onorato Damen
Internationalist Communist Perspective (Korea) fully supports the joint statement.
Is this ok for you?
 Some groups of the Bordigist PCI tradition invited to participate, like Il Partito and Le Proletaire/Il Comunista, didn’t reply to the letters of invitation so there are no letters from them. Il Programma only replied with a short refusal that is included here. Nor did the group Fil Rouge reply. The name of Il Partito was omitted from the addressee list in the original letter of proposal in error but the proposal was nevertheless sent to them. Their name was included in the addressees of subsequent letters. A further letter was sent to Il Partito, which is included toward the end, that contains a request to sign the statement, and the ICC asked Il Partito why it didn’t reply to the invitation to the appeal at an online meeting on the war in Ukraine of Il Partito on 22nd May. There was no response to these requests either.