From leftism to modernism: the misadventures of the ‘Bérard tendency’

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The previous article in this series introduced the ‘communisers’ and drew out their relationship with the current emerging at the end of the 1960s which the ICC calls modernism. The article showed the bourgeois origin of the modernist ideology by looking at the beginnings and the development of this current. This second part will focus on one of its earliest expressions, the Bérard tendency, which was formed in 1973 within the group Révolution Internationale (RI), the future section of the ICC in France.

Bérard, a new prophet

Although there was an overestimation of the revolutionary dynamic, most of the groups of the proletarian political milieu existing at the time understood that May 68 in France and the Hot Autumn in Italy the following year could by no means be seen as a revolutionary situation. In spite of its combativity and the development of its consciousness, the working class was still dominated by illusions in capitalism and bourgeois democracy. Much time was still needed for its consciousness to be transformed in depth and to become capable of making the revolutionary assault. However, it was necessary to explain concretely why the revolutionary upsurge had receded in most countries by the middle of the 1970s[1].

In an attempt to explain this reflux, a militant of RI, Bérard (or Hembé), put forward the idea that the defensive struggles waged by the proletariat up until then had ended in an impasse due to the illusion that significant reforms in favour of the workers were possible, which prevented them from radicalising their struggles. He argued that if the proletariat were to go forward once more it had to reject, not only these illusions, but also demand struggles as such. His article was accepted as a contribution to the discussion and appeared in the journal RI (new series) no.8 (March-April 1974) under the title of “Lessons of the struggle of the English workers”. In it he defended the following slogans: “The dead-end of struggles for economic demands, the impossibility of reformism, the need for a qualitative leap towards the revolutionary unification of the class”. Everyone was agreed that the historical period for reforms had ended when the First World War broke out. On the other hand, Marx had emphasised the inadequacy of defensive struggles while by no means denying the need for them. Bérard however was definitely rejecting struggles for economic demands: “Demand struggles do not become revolutionary; it is the class that becomes revolutionary by going beyond and rejecting the immediate struggle”. Moreover, the proletariat would have to refuse not only its immediate struggles but also its essence as an exploited class. At first the proletariat appears as a “class for capital” but as it struggles “the class must begin to act as the negation of its relationship with capital, therefore no longer as an economic category but as a class-for-itself. Thus, it breaks the divisions that were a part of its previous state and appears no longer as a sum of wage workers but as a movement of autonomous affirmation, that is, the negation of what it was beforehand”. Bérard’s article takes up a classic marxist position: “the proletariat is an exploited and revolutionary class” only to immediately deny it in the following phrase: “So it is the very being of the class which constitutes the dynamic link between the various transitory phases, the movement that affirms and denies in different moments of struggle”. According to this conception, the repeated defeats of its resistance struggles must make the proletariat understand the need to negate itself. “Defeats are fruitful in as far as they unmask the institutions that are counter-revolutionary and sap the credibility of reformism”. And Bérard rejoiced at any significant workers’ struggle that made no specific demand .

This is in fact a voluntarist vision which ignores the material forces that make possible the transformation of defensive struggles into revolutionary struggles. Rosa Luxemburg, who participated in the 1905 revolution and who knew what she was talking about, explained that the mass strike is a tangle of economic struggles and political struggles, a dynamic composed of advances and retreats, in which the workers politicise and organise their struggles, acquire greater unity and a deeper consciousness, In fact, according to Bérard’s schema, the workers never returned to their struggle at the end of the 1970s. Yet in July 1980, it was the elimination of price subsidies on consumer goods (the price of meat sold directly to the workers at the work place increased by a dramatic 60%) that sparked off the strikes in the Warsaw suburbs and the Gdansk region. This triggered the mass strike in Poland, the most important battle in the second international wave of workers’ struggles.

Discussion began within the RI sections and, one after another, they adopted a position against Bérard’s conclusions. But at this point it was important to reply rapidly to Bérard’s modernist positions which were a total break with marxism. The reply to his article appeared in issue no.9 of RI (new series) of May-June 1974, under the title of “Why the working class is the revolutionary class”[2]. It reasserts the classic marxist position: The process by which the working class rises to the level of its historic task is not a separate process that is external to its daily economic struggle against capital. On the contrary, it is within and by means of this conflict that the working class forges the weapons of its revolutionary struggle.” So there are not two working classes but one alone that is both exploited and revolutionary. This is why revolutionary struggles are always preceded by a long period of demand struggles, and it is also why the latter always reappear during the revolutionary period.[3]And how could it be otherwise when we are dealing with the revolutionary struggle of a class, that is, with a set of men economically determined, united by their shared material situation?”.

As the new prophet of communisation,[4] Bérard stated in RI no.8 that in revolutionary struggles, “it is not wage labour that confronts capital, but wage labour in the process of becoming something else, of dissolving. The proletariat affirming itself is nothing other than this movement of negation”. Making wage labour dissolve in this way, when in fact it is present even during the phase of the international generalisation of the revolution, is typical of modernist speculation which confuses the departure point with its culmination, its ultimate outcome. In order to make value melt away, it is necessary to have a political organ powerful enough internationally to be able to overturn the system from top to bottom, destroy all economic categories and replace market control with planned production. The reply in RI no.9 had to give a reminder that given that capitalist production takes place on a world scale and that today every commodity is composed of goods from the four corners of the globe, the abolition of wage-labour can only come to pass when market exchange has been eliminated all over the entire planet. As long as there are parts of the world where the labour product must be bought and sold, the abolition of wage-labour cannot be fully achieved anywhere.”

For the modernists, the abolition of wage labour is just a pious wish because they reject the three conditions that make it possible:

  • The seizure of power internationally or at least in the most important countries of the world; this is what Marxists call the dictatorship of the proletariat, that is, the destruction of the State and the nation as the condition for the international power of the workers’ councils to emerge.
  • The process of the collectivisation (or socialisation) of production which makes it possible to destroy the divisions within capitalist labour and to redirect production towards the satisfaction of human needs.
  • The gradual integration of all members of society into associated labour which makes possible the definitive disappearance of the division of society into classes.

It is actually by the proletariat affirming itself, not by negating itself, that the dissolution of classes and the disappearance of the law of value is made possible The conflict between labour and capital is constantly present in the class struggle, from the smallest defensive struggle which timidly affirms the solidarity of the workers, to the mass strike, in which the workers have gained a degree of political consciousness and unity that enables them to force through their demands, and even up to the period of transition when they are changing production so radically that we can say with Marx and Engels: “the proletarians, if they are to assert themselves as individuals, will have to abolish the very condition of their existence hitherto (which has, moreover, been that of all society up to the present), namely, labour”.[5]

The ravages of individualism

The discussion was soon to fester. The minority, imbued with a sense of hurt pride, were furious at not finding any echo within the organisation. In issue no.9 of RI another article appeared, “Demand struggles and the emergence of the class-for-itself”, which this time was presented as “a text of the tendency”. This article confirmed the direction that the minority was taking: in view of the difficulties of the class struggle, it was necessary to invent a magic recipe for overcoming the divisions and breaking out of union entrapment. It became increasingly removed from the real world. “Demand struggles exist and are necessary. We have gone over this often enough not to have to repeat it. But our task is to understand and to state [that the working class] must go beyond them by rejecting them and by destroying the organisation that coincides with them (the unions)”. In reality, workers will be faced by the unions for a long time yet - up until the revolution - and it is not by decreeing that they vanish that they can be got rid of. The article is also completely wrong about the nature of the unions; they are not defenders of workers’ demands or the ones who negotiate a good price for labour power. Their function is precisely to encircle and sabotage demand struggles by rejecting the means that would enable them to win (even if this is always temporary): the geographical extension and politicisation of the struggle.

The minority takes a rather original “materialist” direction: “Either there are no demands or else no-one gives a damn about ‘demands’; it is not that material needs do not make themselves felt, on the contrary, general, social revolt expresses the only real material need felt by the class as a class confronted with the degradation of the whole of society, that is, the transformation of social relations”. Contestation, revolt; this is as far as the horizon of the petty bourgeoisie in May 68 extends. It is true that for us material necessity is manifested in the need for communism as the only possible solution to capitalist contradictions, but it is also manifested in the will to win immediate struggles as a condition for the generalisation of the fight. Because of its idealism the minority was unable to understand the dynamic described in the Manifesto of the Communist Party: “Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever-expanding union of the workers”.

As the discussion developed, the ‘tendency’ adopted an increasingly aggressive tone: it intervened in an irresponsible way in a Public Forum of RI and finally published a pamphlet externally (by this time it was calling itself “Une Tendance Communiste”: the pamphlet was entitled “The Revolution will be communist or nothing”. This way of proceeding is typical of those who want to save themselves as individuals rather than going forward collectively to clarify political questions.

Half of the pamphlet is dedicated to replying to the article in RI no.9. The tendency tries again to demonstrate that its position is the materialist one. Let us see how. “No-one can deny that wage labour and associated labour are, in a purely descriptive and static way, the two aspects of the proletariat’s situation in as far as it is an ‘economic category’. However, in our discussion this ‘description’ says nothing about ‘How the working class is the revolutionary class’ (title of the [RI] article) because, in order to understand the nature of the proletariat as a revolutionary subject in terms of the ‘concrete human activity’ that Marx talks about, the objective situation must be understood as a contradiction and not as a juxtaposition of fixed attributes. [RI] does not say that the class is forced to become revolutionary because the material relations and social objectives within which it exists have entered into contradiction, rather its explanation is that it is revolutionary because 1) it is exploited (wage labour); 2) it is associated (by capital)”[6] We can borrow from the assessment that Marx made regarding Proudhon: “A petty bourgeois of this kind deifies contradiction, for contradiction is the very basis of his being. He is nothing but social contradiction in action.”[7] Contradiction, as it is seen here, is completely sterile, and the concepts of qualitative leap and of negation, that are so important to marxist dialectic, are used here in a totally metaphysical way; they are a magic wand waved by the intellectual as he pretends to resolve the social problems that trip him up.

In order to look clearly at the contradiction and resolve it, we have to distinguish between what is discarded, what is preserved and what takes on a different meaning. Otherwise, the continuity of the movement as a whole is broken. This is what the marxist dialectic means by transcending what has gone before. This is what Rosa Luxemburg says about the meaning marxism gives to negation and the qualitative leap: “Socialism is the first popular movement in world history that has set itself the goal of bringing human consciousness, and thereby free will, into play in the social actions of mankind. For this reason, Friedrich Engels designated the final victory of the socialist proletariat a leap of humanity from the animal world into the realm of freedom. This ‘leap’ is also an iron law of history bound to the thousands of seeds of a prior torment-filled and all-too-slow development. But this can never be realized until the development of complex material conditions strikes the incendiary spark of conscious will in the great masses.[8]

Bérard began by rejecting the demand struggles of the proletariat, then its nature as an exploited class: the only way he can resolve his ‘contradiction’ is to quite simply throw out the proletariat itself. His intention was to distinguish himself from Camatte (who had already openly rejected the ‘theory of the proletariat’) and reinstate the proletariat as a revolutionary subject, but the notion of an immediate communisation without a period of transition leads inevitably to the rejection of class autonomy and to diluting the proletariat in the other classes. Thus, “There is a nucleus determined by material circumstances, in practice a vanguard of the class-for-itself (the workers of large businesses), but this nucleus, by abandoning capitalist relations, tends at once to precipitate ‘the imminent passage of the middle classes into the proletariat’ (Marx). […] The ‘danger’ of dissolving the proletariat into the population does not exist”.[9] The autonomy of the class has been a palpable principle of the proletarian struggle since 1848. It is the thread that ties the partial struggles of the workers to the dictatorship of the proletariat. The loss of class identity that we witness today makes the poison of interclassism even more dangerous. This demonstrates how modernism does the work of the bourgeoisie.

The anti-organisational prejudices of the generation of 68

There have been numerous tendencies throughout the history of the workers’ movement, but the Bérard tendency is a false one whose trajectory can easily be explained. All except one of its seven members came from the Trotskyist organisation Lutte Ouvrière. It was in fact an affinity-based regroupment around an element who had a certain charisma and it proved to be a real obstacle for its members as they engaged in the process of breaking with Trotskyism.[10] Immediately after the break with LO, at the beginning of 1973, Bérard wrote a pamphlet: The break with LO and Trotskyism, which described how Trotskyism had passed into the bourgeois camp after a long opportunist drift and its betrayal of internationalism during the Second World War. This very effective pamphlet had great success and three subsequent editions were produced. The last one came out in 1976 and included an introduction that corrected some ambiguities in the text.[11] But without doubt this document demonstrates the talents of its author, as does the article on “The period of transition”, especially the second part which appeared in Révolution Internationale (new series) no.8 (March-April 1974), which tackles the question of labour vouchers[12]. Carried away by his polemic with the Lassalliens, Marx considers the possibility that labour vouchers could be used in the period of transition from capitalism to communism as a means of individual payment based on the labour time given to society.[13] Bérard shows very well that this is a type of wage under another name and is a contradiction in terms that would act more as a fetter on the dictatorship of the proletariat than anything else. His argumentation is based on the criticisms made by Marx himself against the labour vouchers advocated by Proudhon (Poverty of Philosophy) or by Bray and Gray (Grundrisse). In the Grundrisse, Marx strikes a death blow to this panacea: “Because price is not equal to value, therefore the value-determining elementlabour timecannot be the element in which prices are expressed”[14] In other words, labour time cannot be measured in terms of itself. This critique of the illusions held on the question of labour vouchers that was made at the time by RI is today the position of the ICC. [15]

At that time Bérard was participating in the work of reappropriating the historic gains of the Communist Left current and his role was often a positive one, including in the discussions between the various groups that emerged in the United Kingdom.

However, such militant qualities can change from being a factor that strengthen the organisation to a factor towards its destruction. Very quickly, Bérard and his followers were to express extreme confusion and prejudice on the organisation question.

In the Spring of 1973, after five years of its existence, after the regroupment that took place in France,[16] the group RI felt that it was necessary to make another step forward in the construction of the organisation by reappropriating the proletarian principle of centralisation. Up until then there had been an International Commission that had the task of coordinating the discussions that were to lead to the formation of the ICC; the proposal was then made to create an Organisation Commission, whose responsibility it would be to structure and give an orientation to the group. The debates proved to be very lively as a significant minority was still influenced by the contestationist and councilist ideas of May 68. This is why the new Commission was appointed with only a small majority at the national meeting of November 1973. However, the discussion did make it possible to clarify a central principle of marxism: that the organisational question is a vital necessity and an entirely political question in its own right,

This is the question around which the Bérard tendency was formed (very soon after they had been integrated into RI), crying out against the danger of bureaucratisation and demanding safeguards that would give protection against this diabolical threat. This revealed a real hostility towards continuity within the workers’ movement and they distrusted totally the organisational measures proposed, mistaking them for the (genuinely) Stalinist practices of the Trotskyists. Contrary to the disinterested nature and devotion of militants of the class of associated labour, the ex-LO tendency was deeply imbued with individualism: “It’s enough to signal the fact that some days after the vote installing the Organisation Committee, to which Bérard was opposed, the same Bérard proposed to MC the following deal: ‘I will vote in favour of the OC if you propose me for it, otherwise I will fight it’. MC sent Bérard packing with a flea in his ear, but did not make it public in order not to ‘crush’ Bérard publicly and to allow the debate to go to the roots. Thus the OC only represented a danger of ‘bureaucratisation’ because Bérard was not put on it. No comment!” [17]

Past, present and future of the proletariat

Following the article “Demand struggles and the emergence of the class-for-itself”, published in RI (new series) no.9 (May-June 1974), the tendency published “Fractions and the Party” in issue no.9 of the Study and discussion bulletin (September 1974). It revealed its vision of the proletariat and the organisation of the communist vanguard. It is immediately obvious that there is a break with the continuity of the workers’ movement. “If we are to understand what the communist fractions were in this period [of counter-revolution], it will not be by starting off from an organic ‘continuity’ that does not exist; we must refuse concepts such as ‘inheritance’, ‘acquisitions’ which confuse the question. We must stop looking for a purely ideological continuity (ideas giving rise to other ideas). We must start from the actual experience of the proletariat, the need for the class to exhaust in practice all the consequences of the historic crisis of wage labour. We say in practice because the workers come up against, are ‘organised’ within, capitalist relations and it is in a very concrete way, through bloody defeats, that they come up against a new reality that they cannot yet grasp: the proletariat can no longer assert itself as long as it remains wage labour”. Here we can see the shadow of Proudhon, who rejected workers’ struggles because, according to him, they led to the legitimisation of the boss. The tendency came to the same conclusion as the councilists: “The old workers’ movement is dead”.

In his reply, [18] comrade MC began by reaffirming the importance of continuity. “As they are not very proud of their parents, they prefer to say that they are bastards, organically as well as politically. To be completely comfortable with this, they want the proletariat and the entire communist movement to do likewise. The presence of this ‘continuity’, of the ‘past’, of ‘acquisitions’ is a nightmare for these comrades who return to it time and again in order to create safeguards against it. They wrap everything up, as is their wont, in a jumble of words, in which there are ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ for every taste but they never manage to completely hide the aversion they feel at the very word ‘acquisitions’, almost as much as for the word ‘organisation’. This is understandable: continuity, acquisitions, organisation, all demand a framework and rigorous boundaries which sit ill with those who gossip and chatter about everything while actually knowing very little, and with the phantasies of those who are ‘hunting after originality’.‘Have nothing to do with the past’ is the rallying cry of all the contestationists of France and the rest of the world, and not for nothing! To talk of a new coherence without identifying where it comes from or on what established positions it is based, to talk of a new coherence ‘with no past’ betrays megalomaniac pretensions worthy of a Duhring. Wise words about it being ‘necessary to go beyond’ only serve in this case as a fig leaf; to go beyond is never the same as to obliterate, it always has a basis in the past. To talk about going beyond without first answering the question ‘what aspect of the past must be preserved and why’ is just a trick and the worst kind of empiricism”.

He then goes into the vital importance of the contribution of the Communist Left and of the living tradition that it embodies despite the divergences existing between the groups that are a part of it today. Splits or elements coming out of leftism have always had great difficulty understanding the question of the heritage of the Communist Left, seeing only various heterogeneous and confused communist lefts.[19] This demonstrates their blindness as regards the enormous step forward that the Communist International (CI) represented and the huge contribution made by all those who, while being part of the CI, were able to identify its opportunist drift and learn the lessons. Conditions at the time made it impossible to unify the various Lefts, but in fact they were united despite national boundaries and their divergences, in their work as a fraction against opportunism and the liquidation of the old party. This is why a tradition of the Communist Left exists today, that is, there is a method, a fighting spirit, a series of positions which distinguish it and which act as a bridge thrown across the abyss of time towards the future world communist party. “Hembé has got the wrong address. He thinks that he is still speaking within and to LO. The various currents of the communist left certainly had their weaknesses and inadequacies. They often groped around and stammered. But they had the undying merit of having been the first to sound the alarm against the degeneration of the CI, of having defended, in different ways but with force, the fundamental principles of revolutionary marxism, of having been at the head of the proletariat’s revolutionary combat, and their stammerings were, and still are, an enormous contribution to the theory and practice of the proletariat, addressing as they do the problems and tasks of the proletarian revolution”.

By publishing their pamphlet outside of RI and refusing to participate in the National Meeting of November 1974, which was to take stock of the situation as regards the divergences, the ex-LO tendency placed itself outside of the organisation. Given the importance of the organisational question and the destructive role of the ‘tendency’, the general meeting of RI decided to formally exclude its members. At the end of the 1980s Bérard was associated with the Cahiers du doute [Notebooks of Doubt], then he disappeared into the void after having been briefly an advocate of primitivist theses. An altogether logical trajectory, the doubt referred to being not creative scientific doubt but the reflection of an enormous weakness of revolutionary conviction.

Lessons of these first struggles against modernism

The first lesson we must learn is that it is necessary to have in-depth discussions with elements who apply for candidature on the profound significance of the culture of debate within communist organisations, as opposed to democratism which tends to be verbose and to have a fetish for divergence.

The second lesson is the importance of the organisation question and the principles that must guide us in the construction of the organisation and the perspective of the future world Party. A profound understanding of the organisation question must prevent the formation within discussions of grouplets, even informal ones, that are based, not on political agreement, but on heterogenous criteria such as personal affinity, dissatisfaction with this or that orientation of the organisation or the contestation of a central organ. The communist organisation is based on loyalty to the organisation and to revolutionary principles and not on loyalty to one’s mates.

The third lesson flows from the error committed at the time by RI, which was not sufficiently attentive towards elements who were breaking collectively from a leftist organisation. Such a split is not systematically destined to failure but experience has shown that it is difficult to bring it to term. Splitting from a cohesive counter-revolutionary entity does not automatically mean understanding and reaching the coherence of revolutionary positions.

Now we come to the final lesson. Communist militancy is based on devotion to the cause, on theoretic vigilance and on revolutionary conviction; this protects us from the sirens of empiricism and immediatism. Modernism and its communisation avatar are, on the contrary, a huge danger acting, as they do, to dissolve the proletariat in the icy waters of doubt and ignorance, which reflects today’s world of capitalist decomposition.

The article in RI no.3 (old series), “On organisation”, which was written for a meeting organised by Informations et Correspondance Ouvrières in 1969, could only set out the premises of the organisation question, by specifically recalling this obvious point: the degeneration and the betrayal of revolutionary organisations of the past does not in any way mean that they were useless or dangerous, In 1973-74 the organisation question was addressed more bluntly and concretely with the process of building the organisation that was taking place (regroupments in various countries, the creation of the ICC). In the face of this practical challenge there was opposition, one expression of which was the Bérard tendency. Because of an incomplete break with Trotskyism and affinity-based defects, the Bérard tendency raised the standard of revolt against centralisation and against the vital need to change from a circle of friends to a political group, to go from the circle spirit to the party spirit. It was the classic expression of the penetration of bourgeois and petty bourgeois ideology within the proletariat, which was concretely expressed by an explosion of individualism and opportunist impatience that looks for shortcuts to reaching the communist goal. The fury of the communisers against the revolutionary organisation and the communist programme makes them much more dangerous today than the unoriginal intellectuals who poisoned the movement during the 1970s.

To leave the concluding words to comrade MC: “What are we to think of these little gentlemen who stroll so casually through the history of the workers’ movement as if they were in some local café. From all their cheap and boastful proclamations, the only thing relevant is the following conclusion: ‘The need to make a critical break from now on with the past’. RI has always insisted on the need, after fifty years of reaction and counter-revolution, to renew, continue, and transcend the past in a critical way, towards the climax that is the revolutionary assault of the proletariat. [It has placed] as well the emphasis on the fundamentally historic unity of the class, [whereas] contestationist renovators of all stripes have no other desire than to break, efface, sweep away the past in order to start from a virgin present, a new beginning, in other words, themselves”. [20]



[1]   The ‘Resolution on the balance of class forces’ adopted at the 23rd Congress of the ICC in 2019, described and analysed the political swamp that emerged at the end of the 1960s as well as the three waves of workers’ struggles that followed and persisted up until 1989.

[2] This text has now been re-published on our website 

[3] Even in the period of transition, when the working class has to bear the scourge of the State. That the working class must defend its immediate interests during the dictatorship of the proletariat was demonstrated by Lenin during the debate within the Bolshevik Party on the union question in 1921. This position was taken up again and developed by the Italian Communist Left in the 1930s and by the French Communist Left (GCF) after the Second World War, See our article "Understanding the defeat of the Russian Revolution, 2. 1921 : the proletariat and the transitional state" in the International Review no.100, 1st quarter 2000.

[4] According to some theorists, Proudhon is the father of anarchism. The father of communisation is not Bérard but rather Jacques Camatte and the review Invariance, which split from the International Communist Party in 1966. We will come back to this in the next articles in this series.    

 [5] Marx and Engels, The German Ideology (1845-1846). Part 1: Feuerbach, Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook. D : Proletarians and Communism. Individuals, Class, and Community.

[6] The pamphlet of the ex-Lutte Ouvrière tendency (most of the members of this ‘tendency’ were former Trotskyist militants) has been republished in the anthology of François Danel, Rupture dans la théorie de la révolution [Break with revolutionary theory]. Textes 1965-1975 (2003), and on

[7] Marx. Letter of 28th December 1846 to Annenkov.

[8] Luxemburg. The Crisis in Social Democracy (1915). Chapter 1.

[9] Article of the tendency, "Demand struggles and the appearance of the class-for-itself", Révolution internationale n° 9, (May-June 1974).

[10]   See International Review no. 161 (Autumn 2018) and 162 (Summer 2019) : "Castoriadis, Munis and the problem of breaking with Trotskyism"

[11] The ICC subsequently brought out another pamphlet on the same topic, Trotskyism against the working class.

[12] Marx’s hypothesis is made within the framework of the process of socialisation that follows the seizure of power by the proletariat, not within the context of communist society but of a society « that is emerging from capitalist society». It has nothing to do with Proudhon’s position on labour vouchers.

[13] Marx, Critique of the programme of the German workers’ party (1891). This text is more commonly known as the Critique of the Gotha Programme.

[14] Marx, Notes of 1857-1858, known as « Grundrisse »

[15] In the 1930s the Group of International Communists (GIC), revived this position in favour of labour vouchers, expressed particularly in their pamphlet Principes de la production et de la distribution communiste [Principles of communist production and distribution]. See our critiques in International Review no. 152, (2nd quarter 2013) :Bilan, the Dutch Left, and the transition to communism (Part Two)

[16] Three communist groups fused in 1973 and took the name of Révolution Internationale. On this occasion a new political platform was adopted and was published in the first issue of RI (new series).

[17] "The question of organisational functioning in the ICC", International Bi no. 109 (2nd quarter 2002).

 [18] "In reply to the article ‘Fractions and the party’ » in the same issue of the Bulletin d’étude et de discussion, published by RI. It was soon to be replaced by the International Review when the ICC was created in 1975.

[19] One of the best examples is that of Éveil internationaliste which participated in the 3rd conference of the groups of the Communist Left in 1980. After breaking with Maoism, they wanted to maintain an ex-Maoist coherence and finally sank into oblivion. Certain of their members made another attempt to erase their Stalinist past but found no better solution than to join up with anarchism or the Human Rights League, garnishing this with a tired situationist verbiage.

[20] Marc Chirik, « In reply to the article ‘Fractions and the party’ », no.9, September 1974, Bulletin d’étude et de discussion pg.9.


Critique of the so-called “communisers” (Part 2)