ACG bans the ICC from its public meetings, CWO betrays solidarity between revolutionary organisations

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The ACG, Angry Workers, Plan C, and Communist Workers Organisation will discuss recent and forthcoming strikes in the UK and elsewhere. Plenty of time for q[uestions] and a[nswers] and discussion.”

This was how the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG) announced its public meeting of 12 May this year. The meeting aimed to “push the idea of grassroots organisations against the machinations of the union bureaucrats, who are hindering and obstructing strike action both here in the UK and abroad”.[1]


Who are the organisations cooperating in this meeting?

The ACG split from the Anarchist Federation (AF) five years ago on the question of the identity politics, in an attempt to put more emphasis on the authentic working class struggle. It took a basically internationalist stance against the war in Ukraine, although with clear weaknesses[2]

The Angry Workers of the World (AWW) is a more “workerist” group which began in West London, very close to the anarchist milieu in its ideas and methods. A year after the start of the Ukraine war, the group had still not formulated a collective position on it.  And despite a recent discussion on revolutionary defeatism, it still does not defend an unambiguously internationalist position[3].

Plan C is an overtly leftist organisation even without a particular ideology, typifying itself as experimental and non-dogmatic. On June 25, 2022 it held a meeting in “solidarity with the Ukrainian working class” (and not the Russian working class!), with speakers and a film about anarchists in Ukraine helping out neighbours and supporting the fighting soldiers

Finally, the Communist Workers Organisation (CWO) is an organisation of the revolutionary milieu affiliated to the Internationalist Communist Tendency (ICT) and has defended a clear internationalist position against the war.


The ICC banned from London ACG meetings

In October 2022, prior to a meeting of the ACG in London, the ICC received an email from the group which said: “If the ICC is thinking of coming along to tonight's public meeting, please think again as we have decided that your attendance would be detrimental”. We wrote back, asking the ACG for an explanation. But we received no reply.

As soon as we arrived at the ACG meeting on May 12, we were recognised as the ICC, and were ordered out of the meeting. We protested against this, reminding the ACG that it had been excluded from the Anarchist Bookfair last autumn because it opposes the war in Ukraine. We also rejected the excuse that the ICC “talks too much”, since our practice is to respect rules of the organisation hosting the meeting. Our objections were ignored, and we had no choice but to give out our leaflets and display our press outside.

We don’t know what motivated the ACG to organise public discussions with a leftist group like Plan C, but if it thinks that this will strengthen its capacity to defend proletarian positions, it is mistaken. Many examples from the history of the workers’ movement demonstrate that joint activity between a bourgeois organisation and a proletarian organisation (or in this case, an organisation seeking to orient itself around proletarian positions) is ultimately always to the detriment of the latter.

The clearest example of this was the CNT, which had been a revolutionary organisation of the proletariat and even considered applying for membership of the Comintern. But in the course of the 1920s it started to collaborate ever more with bourgeois political organisations, until it decided in 1936 to participate in the governments of both the Catalan Generalitat and the Madrid Republic. This turn was not an accident, since during WWII the CNT in France, gripped by anti-fascism, fought in the official armies of the ‘Liberation’ against German occupation. The CNT had definitively turned into a bourgeois organisation[4].

And today, the ACG is quite happy to hold a meeting together with those who have proved themselves incapable of taking a clear and collectively agreed internationalist stance, like the AWW, and, even more seriously, with a group like Plan C, which has shown itself to be in the camp of the bourgeoisie.

And at the same time the ACG excludes from its meeting an organisation which, just like the ACG itself, defends proletarian internationalism and the perspective of communism. How does the ACG explain this inconsistency?

Another inconsistency of the ACG is the fact that it formulates publicly a standpoint on the class struggle, but does not want to confront it in a public debate with that of the ICC, even though their position on this question is far from antagonistic to that of the ICC, as we see for instance in the following quote from an ACG article: “As more and more workers are forced by necessity to take industrial action, it becomes ever more necessary to create new forms of organisation. These should enable effective and unified struggle, bypassing the union bureaucrats and going beyond the trade unions”. [5] As everyone reading our press can see, this position is close to that of the ICC, although it is probably defended with different arguments. But a public discussion would show which arguments are the clearest. So, the questions are: why does the ACG avoid a political confrontation with the ICC and why does it think that a debate on the class struggle with the ICC is counterproductive for the development of a proletarian perspective?


The betrayal of the proletarian principle of solidarity by the CWO

The CWO is part of the same milieu of the revolutionary organisations of the Communist Left as the ICC. This milieu is founded on certain principles, which all organisations should respect. One of these principles is that an attack on one organisation is an attack on the whole Communist Left. Thus when one group in this milieu is attacked, boycotted or excluded, all organisations are under attack and should react as a unified whole. Because each attack on a revolutionary organisation contains a threat for the historic process of the construction of the party.

So, the ICC gave its full support when the Bordigist International Communist Party came under attack after it had published the booklet Auschwitz or the Grand Alibi. In 2015 it published a Statement of solidarity with the ICT when the militants of this organisation were targeted by former members of the ICT’s section in Italy. But what is the response of the CWO in the case of the ICC being banned from the public meeting of the ACG? The ICC had already written to the CWO on 8 November last year asking for its position on this issue, but never received a reply.

When comrades of the CWO came to a public meeting of the ICC following the initial ban by the ACG, we asked them to take position on the incident, but instead of doing so the comrades avoided the question, explaining why they thought the ACG had done this, what ACG members may have said to them about it, as if they were its apologists. But the ACG can speak for itself and the CWO has the duty to take a clear position.

The comrade who represented the CWO at this recent ACG meeting explained on his arrival that he did not know that the ICC had been ordered out of the meeting, nor did he know that the CWO was mentioned in the advertisement for the meeting as one of the participating groups. Did he realise that he was participating in a debate with an overtly leftist organisation? Ignorance is a bad argument to hide behind, but in the meantime, he had been informed by the ICC about its exclusion from the meeting and yet he took no clear stand.

It is clear, after the CWO has opened the door to parasitic groups and snitches, such as via the Paris No War But The Class War committee[6], it now opens the door to organisations openly defending bourgeois positions, such as Plan C. But revolutionary organisations cannot engage in a public discussion on the class struggle with organisations that do not defend an internationalist position. Such organisations are essentially hostile to the historic interests of the working class. But the CWO, wanting to have it both ways, does not have the guts to openly come out and say that it is it is seeking rapprochement with an “undogmatic” leftist group like Plan C, instead of expressing its solidarity or cooperating with the ICC.

In its policy of “openness” the CWO doesn’t want the ICC to be witness to its “romance” with anarchist or leftist groups. Therefore, it is ready to sweep the principle of solidarity within the Communist Left under the carpet and refuses to condemn the banning of the ICC by the ACG.

In the end, the CWO has demonstrated that it is giving up the principle of defending other organisations of the Communist Left against attacks from outside. “But no proletarian organisation can ignore this elementary necessity [of solidarity] without paying a very heavy price”.[7]


ICC, 2023-07-14