A "conference of left communism" in Brussels? A decoy for those who want to take part in the revolutionary struggle!

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In July of this year, we discovered that the Internationalist Perspectives group and the Forum for the Communist Left, “Controverses”[1] had instigated a "Conference" that had taken place at the end of May, bringing together some twenty participants, both individuals and representatives of political groups who, according to the organisers, belong to the "Internationalist Left" or to "Left Communism". The meeting was held almost secretly, on the basis of exclusive invitations with the participants selected by the organisers, bizarrely, for "strictly financial reasons". Here is what looks like a meeting of conspirators, but a conspiracy against whom and to what end?

Since its foundation and in line with the policy of the Communist Left, the ICC has always been a staunch advocate of discussion between revolutionary groups with a view to confronting and clarifying positions or adopting common positions faced with the development of the class struggle: With its still modest means, the International Communist Current has committed itself to the long and difficult task of regrouping revolutionaries internationally around a clear and coherent programme. Turning its back on the monolithism of the sects, it calls upon the communists of all countries to become aware of the immense responsibilities which they have, to abandon the false quarrels which separate them, to surmount the deceptive divisions which the old world has imposed on them. (…)  The most conscious fraction of the class, must show it the way forward by taking as their slogan: ‘Revolutionaries of all countries, unite!’[2]”.

Particularly following a proposal by the Internationalism group (in the United States) in 1972 to set up an international correspondence, the very constitution of the ICC was the product of a long process of open political confrontation between various groups on questions central to the development of proletarian struggle. Subsequently, the leading role played by the ICC in the organisation and holding of conferences of groups of the Communist Left convened by the Battaglia Comunista group in the years 1978-1980, and more recently in the publication of a "Joint Declaration by Groups of the International Communist Left on the War in Ukraine" in 2022, bear witness to the importance the ICC attaches to discussion between revolutionaries.

However, for the ICC, it has always been fundamental that these discussions are held in public, on a clear political basis of class positions shared between the invited organisations, and with well-established stated objectives that will help to contribute to the development of class consciousness: "The life of revolutionary groups, their discussions and disagreements are part of the process whereby consciousness develops in the working class; this is why we are radically opposed to any policy of ‘hidden discussions’ or ‘secret agreements’." [3]

Not only was this Brussels meeting organised "in secret", it also lacked any militant ambition whatsoever. If there was a "convergence of objectives" (as the organisers put it) between the participants, it was certainly not that of taking a stand as revolutionary militants on the crucial challenges now facing the working class: there was no joint declaration by these so-called "internationalists" taking a stand on a major historical event such as the war in Ukraine, the destruction and crisis of the climate or growing economic destabilisation. The bourgeoisie was clearer and more explicit at the Davos summit in early 2023 than these people! Nor is any position taken on the recent wave of struggles and its perspectives. How can elements who proclaim themselves to be "communists" remain silent on the issues of the day? For the ICC, militant concerns are an inescapable component for a conference of communists, insofar as it always aims to achieve a greater understanding of the world situation, of the crisis into which world capitalism has sunk, and the working class political perspective, as well as the tasks that this entails for revolutionary groups.

And what about the dynamics of the discussions? We are told that the participants met "to talk and listen to each other" and that they "were exposed to different ideas". However, no joint text was published before the conference to announce and prepare its objectives, or afterwards to present the fruits of its labours. Yet, for revolutionaries, the deepening of positions is a living process which implies a frank discussion of positions and the political confrontation of disagreements, insofar as this dynamic is part of the process of pushing forward the consciousness developing within the working class. The mere juxtaposition of showy analyses at the Brussels meeting, as well as the conscious avoidance of any confrontation of positions, reveal that it was no more than a trading of positions, a talking shop, each with their own hobby horse, one of those academic symposia of learned boffins, waxing in "theory". In short, it was the opposite of the tradition of political confrontation advocated by the Communist Left with the aim of clarifying political positions and the questions at stake in the class struggle.

In reality, a fruitful political confrontation is only possible if the political bases of the meeting are coherent and clear. For the ICC, while there is indeed "the fundamental necessity of working towards regroupment, it also warns against rushing into anything. We must resist any regroupment on the basis of sentiment and insist on the need to base regroupment on the indispensable coherence of programmatic positions as a first condition for regroupment"[4]. That "Resistance, a constant critical questioning of the Capitalist Mode of Production" was the basic theme of the meeting could only give rise to considerable confusion and disagreement over the framework for understanding the current situation of capitalism (whether it is in decline and, if so, since when?) This is a key to defending the orientations for the class struggle, as well as for understanding the general situation and the capabilities of the working class, including its means of organisation. With regard to this last question - dealing with the importance of revolutionaries, their role and their organisation - this meeting ignored it completely.

Moreover, on closer examination, there is clear common ground between most of the participants, which no doubt they would prefer to keep under wraps: it is the conviction that marxism and the acquisitions of the Communist Left over the last hundred years are obsolete and must be "supplemented" or even "surpassed" by recourse to various anarcho-councilist, modernist or radical ecologist theories. That's why they call themselves "pro-revolutionaries", seeing themselves as a kind of "a friendly association for the spreading the idea of revolution" and no longer as militants and organisations produced by the historic struggle of the working class. As a result, their unstated but real aim is to throw away the lessons of the last 55 years of workers' struggles and the results of a hundred years of fighting by the internationalist Communist Left, and to call into question its organisational achievements: the militant conception of the communist political organisation as the product of the historical struggle of the proletariat and as the political vanguard in the struggle, in favour of a vision of a circle of intellectuals reflecting on the future of humanity and dreaming of having a revolutionary impact on it.

In short, this meeting was indeed a "conspiracy" aimed at discrediting and devaluing the positions and struggles of the internationalist Communist Left, by replacing its "obsolete" political and organisational acquisitions with theoretical smoke and mirrors and organisational self-interest of a so-called "pro-revolutionary" pole. In the perspective of such destructive "revisionism", it was by no means an oversight or a "lack of space" or "funding", as they suggest, that the promoters chose not to invite the ICC to this conference. On the contrary, they did so deliberately and consciously: the aim being to avoid the political confrontation that the ICC would inevitably have sought with the denunciation of this clear deception, since the main objective of this "Potemkin" conference, the one on which most of the participants will fully agree, is not to clarify and deepen the positions, but rather to put forward a phoney left communism, to deploy an enticing decoy serving above all to mislead those seeking a revolutionary perspective. In this way, the conference has helped to build a "cordon sanitaire" to prevent them from engaging with the positions of the Communist Left and the ICC in particular. This deception is the opposite of an instrument for the class struggle; it is a barrier aimed at obstructing the development and the strengthening of the revolutionary vanguard.


The ICC, 15 September 2023


[2] Manifesto of the ICC, January 1976

[3]  “International conference called by the PCInt (Battaglia Comunista) May 1977”, International Review no.10

[4] Ibid.


Defence of the communist left