Public Meetings of the ICT in France: a real political failure

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On 22 and 29 September, the Internationalist Communist Tendency held two public meetings, in Paris and Saint-Nazaire respectively. The ICC has always considered that discussion, debate and confrontation of positions is a fundamental task and responsibility of the groups of the Communist Left. That's why we took part in these two meetings, mobilising a large number of supporters to help ensure that the debate was as rich as possible.

But if the reports on these meetings published on the ICT website are to be believed[1], our attitude may have been motivated by a completely different intention.
In the Paris public meeting, "the meeting, which could have delved much further into all the aspects of the current situation and its practical consequences, was derailed somewhat by the comrades of the ICC". The Saint-Nazaire meeting was even worse: “the ICC’s intervention was coordinated in its aim of distorting the discussion, which was derailed in favour of their outright and delusional accusations against our positions. Despite our refusal to follow them down this path, the militants spoiled the debate by brandishing all sorts of unverifiable details completely devoid of any context, which were a thousand miles from the concerns of other attendees. "

In other words, the ICC is alleged to have hatched a deliberate plan to sabotage the proceedings of public meetings of an organisation of the Communist Left. These accusations, thrown around publicly and without the slightest argument, are fraught with consequences. So let's be a little more consistent and honest than the ICT and start by rectifying the many lies in these two reports.

I - Hijacking the discussion or fighting for a confrontation of positions?
At the Paris meeting, after listening for nearly an hour to the presidium's presentation (supplemented by two interventions from Battaglia Comunista and the Internationalist Workers' Group, two groups affiliated to the ICT), the ICC took part in the discussion. Our first intervention attempted to demonstrate that:

 - Contrary to the analysis developed in the presentation, imperialist war in the period of capitalist decadence is absolutely not a solution to the economic crisis. On the contrary, it only aggravates it and plunges humanity into a spiral of destruction and chaos. It is becoming increasingly irrational from the point of view of capitalism.

- Contrary also to the idea also developed in the presentation, we do not subscribe to the analysis of a tendency towards the formation of blocs prefiguring the course towards a third world war. Rather, we believe that the tendency for imperialist states to play each other off against each other can only lead to a proliferation of warlike conflicts, generating ever more chaos and destruction and potentially bringing about the end of humanity even in the absence of a world war.

This is why, as we pointed out both in Paris and in Saint Nazaire, the ICT’s abstract and erroneous analysis of imperialist war leads it to profoundly underestimate the seriousness of the situation!
But the ICC's alleged sabotage did not stop there, since we subsequently drew attention "to fairly secondary points" and tried to "divert the discussion onto the trade union question". If, in fact, at the Paris meeting, the ICC  intervened to assert that the unions and trade unionism belonged to the bourgeois state, it was precisely in the face of the ambiguity contained in the remarks of the Battaglia Comunista representative deploring the fact that the unions were not combative enough and did not do what was necessary to develop struggles. It was therefore not surprising, as the report on the Paris meeting indicated, that the member of the CNT/AIT (a libertarian organisation which sees itself precisely as a federation of trade unions) was 100% in "political agreement" with the ICT's position.

Moreover, we saw the same complacency towards the unions a week later at the Saint-Nazaire meeting, since the ICT did not really distance itself from the position defended by the representative of the leftist group Lutte Ouvrière, calling precisely for work in the unions! One of the CWO's speakers even went so far as to say that "it makes sense to join the union if all your colleagues are in it", suggesting that it would sometimes be necessary to be present in these state bodies.

Faced with such concessions on a position that is so important for the working class, it was essential to recall and reaffirm loud and clear what constitutes one of the programmatic gains of the Communist Left, which the ICT is supposed to share but which it is incapable of defending!

In any case, this "parenthesis" on the unions did not prevent us from intervening on the more central questions raised in the discussion. That's why, in both meetings, we also took a stand on the role of the organisations of the Communist Left in the face of the imperialist war.

In these interventions we defended

1 - The validity of the Joint Declaration of the groups of the Communist Left against the imperialist war. This approach, in continuity with the struggle of the Bolsheviks at Zimmerwald, is a concrete policy aimed at forming part of a process towards the regroupment of revolutionary forces through the defence of the principles and methods of the revolutionary movement[2] .

2 - The artificial and above all dangerous character of the policy of a "united front" with anarchist and leftist (so-called internationalist) groups, defended by the ICT through the promotion of the No War But the Class War committees[3] .

3 - That by referring to "The call for a united proletarian front" launched by the Internationalist Communist Party (ICP) in 1944, the ICT is following the opportunist approach contained in this call, which was implicitly addressed to the bases of the old workers' parties (Socialist Party and Communist Party)[4] .

It is unfortunate that the ICT did not take all this seriously and was content to label us, without the slightest argument, as "idealists" just good at making "platonic declarations".

II - "Sectarian frenzy" or clear demarcation from leftism?
In the end, all the shameless accusations made in the balance sheets: the " delusional accusations" of its positions, the "distortion of the discussion", the “grotesque attitude of provocation and accusation", the "parasiting of the discussion", etc. above all demonstrate a real aversion to those who have been able to defend clearly and with determination the principles and tradition of the Communist Left.

Driven by the desire to gain ever more influence and the spirit of rivalry, the ICT is prepared, on the contrary, to flatter anyone and compromise itself for anything! This suicidal approach even leads it to blur the class boundary with leftist organisations such as LO, whose member present in Saint Nazaire was addressed as a "comrade". We are even accused of having attacked him personally, when all we did was denounce Lutte Ouvrière as a leftist group whose function is to hijack internationalism.

In reality, maximum openness to everything to the right and a categorical refusal to discuss with the left is a typical opportunist approach. The same hostility was shown by the Left Opposition and Trotsky in the 1930s towards the left wing of the Communist Party of Italy, which embodied the clearest position against the opportunist degeneration of the Communist International.

III - The defence of proletarian principles and behaviour

Finally, we are reproached for "bringing up old issues from more than twenty years ago". The ICT is certainly referring here to the statement we read 30 minutes before the end of the Paris meeting in which we denounced the presence of two individuals expelled from the ICC in the early 2000s for having published information that exposed our comrades to state repression, an activity we have denounced as snitching[5].

The latter have never denied their behaviour. One has even been a member of the ICT for several years and was part of the presidium. In fact, it is above all this questioning that infuriates the ICT and that it is trying, very hard to hide by reducing it to simple "old stories with little political content" and by accusing us of having used this to "parasited the discussion".

Until there is proof to the contrary, snitches have never had a place in the revolutionary camp. That's why we feel it was our responsibility to challenge the ICT on this issue, defending, once again, the highly political principles of the proletariat. Instead, all the ICT militants present at the meeting preferred to cover their ears and defend these individuals. At least we have confirmation that this organisation, which claims to be involved in the formation of the future party of revolutionaries, is prepared to accept anyone into its ranks, including people who behave like cops and thugs!

This is not the first time the ICT has made pacts with dubious elements. In 2004, the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party (the forerunner of the ICT) published on its website the slanderous remarks made about the ICC by the notorious Citizen B and the "Circulo de Comunistas Internacionalistas", before quietly withdrawing them after realising that the statements were false[6]. However, the ICT never criticised this totally irresponsible move on its part and has therefore learned nothing from it.

IV - The ICT is unable to criticise past mistakes

Rather than face all these questions seriously, the ICT prefers to dodge them. Worse still, it urges us to put our disagreements aside and calls for a broad gathering and unity of all those who claim to be internationalists, whether near or far, without the slightest clarification of principles. This is an approach with which the workers' movement is familiar and which Bordiga denounced in 1926 to the Executive of the Communist International: “Experience has shown that opportunism always infiltrates our ranks under the guise of unity. It is in its interest to influence the largest possible mass, and it is therefore behind the screen of unity that it puts forward its most deceitful proposals."

It was with the same opportunist approach that the most distant ancestor of the ICT was founded in 1943, the Internationalist Communist Party (PCint), admitted into ranks, without a hint of criticism:
1- Elements of the minority of the Italian Fraction that had gone to fight alongside the Republicans during the Spanish War.

2- Vercesi and all those who, during the Second World War, had taken part in the Brussels Anti-Fascist Coalition Committee[7].

It is this very old political flaw that is the source of the ICT's opportunism today. As a result, its refusal to confront it head-on and its inability to criticise its own past condemns it to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

In the reports of the two meetings, the ICT calls on the ICC to pull itself together, and even urges us to apologise for any negative attitude we may have adopted during the discussions. Come on comrades, don't be ridiculous.

We think that during these two meetings we have demonstrated our responsibility to work towards the confrontation of political positions and to defend the positions and principles of the Communist Left. Unfortunately, we can't say the same for the ICT, whose evasion and refusal to debate, its compromise with leftist elements and its acceptance of the behaviour of cops and thugs are all symptoms of the disease that is eating away at this organisation and leading it inexorably towards oblivion! As Lenin said, "A defender of internationalism who is not at the same time a very consistent and determined opponent of opportunism is a phantom, nothing more."

ICC, 31 October 2023



[4] ibid

[5] For more details on the behaviour of these two individuals, see : Attacking the ICC: the raison d'être of the IGGC ICC Online, January 2023

[6] Open letter to the militants of the IBRP (December 2004), republished in International Review 167, Winter 2022

[7] This totally aberrant political move was particularly criticised by the Gauche Communiste de France in the article "A propos du Ier congrès du Parti Communiste Internationaliste d'Italie" in No. 7 of the review Internationalisme: "In the Italian Fraction, a minority broke away or was excluded, and joined the Communist Union, an ally of the POUM. This minority - which, from 1936 to 1945, remained outside the Fraction, around which the International Communist Left was formed, and which still claims to hold its positions - is today part of the new Party in Italy. In 1945, after 6 years of struggle against the marxist and revolutionary line of the Fraction, the Vercesi tendency created the Anti-Fascist Coalition Committee, where it collaborated, in an original sacred union, with all the parties of the bourgeoisie. As a result, pushing for the political and theoretical discussion, the Fraction was led to exclude this tendency from its midst. Today, this tendency, without having renounced any of its positions and practices, is an integral part of the new Party in Italy and even occupies an important place in the leadership. Thus, the Fraction - which had excluded the minority in 1936-1937 and the Vercesi tendency at the beginning of 1945 - found itself dissolved at the end of 1945 but united with the very people it had excluded; and this union is... the Party."


Defence of the Communist Left