With its 500th issue, after more than fifty years of publication, Révolution Internationale, our paper in France, continues its revolutionary combat in a determined manner. This round number, marking a remarkable longevity, might at first appear to be that of any old anniversary, an obvious pretext for a ritualistic celebration. In reality, this issue is for us the symbolic mark of a trajectory of struggle, of a constant effort to build an organisation, and evidence of our militant commitment. This is all the more important to emphasise, given that this issue is taking place in a totally new and unpredictable international context, one that is extremely serious.
On the one hand, the decomposition of capitalism is rapidly threatening to destroy humanity. On the other, the renewed struggle of the working class offers the prospect of revolution. Never have the stakes been so crucial as they are today, for both proletarian organisations and for the revolutionary press.
For our press and our paper RI, such a situation constitutes a real challenge, both on the theoretical level and in ensuring a regular intervention. We are therefore, along with the working class, at a kind of crossroads. More than ever, it's important to know where our press comes from and where it's going.
At its beginnings, in the heat of the international wave of struggles of May 68, Révolution Internationale took its first steps groping its way forward without any experience, without any organic links with the organisations of the past. The only thread that allowed us to establish continuity with the past was the solid experience of our comrade Marc Chirik and his patient efforts to transmit a militant spirit and a method of working.
At the outset, our publication was a duplicated, almost "home-made" magazine, sold in bookshops, markets, demonstrations and outside factories. It was the expression of the "Révolution Internationale" group, which would later become the French section of the ICC.
Its strength, as it was for all our movement, lay in its long-term activity, in the footsteps of our predecessors and their heroic publications, with a concern for the reappropriation and critical examination of the experience of the past, and a firm determination to anchor our struggle in the whole tradition of the workers' movement. Our source of inspiration was naturally that of the Bolsheviks, but also, and above all, the essential experience of Marc Chirik and his invaluable legacy drawn from the struggle of the Communist Left in the 1930s.
As workers' struggles developed, our writing and publishing work gradually intensified. Between 1968 and 1972, we published seven issues of our "old series". On the strength of this initial experience and these first steps, we embarked on a more extensive project. In 1973, with more confidence, “we launched the second series of our organ, still in magazine form. This was also the result of an effort to regroup revolutionary forces, since this new series became the instrument of an enlarged French organisation with the merger of three groups. From 1973 to the last months of 1975, the fifteen or so issues of RI which came out in less than three years undoubtedly reflected the acceleration of our organisational solidification, compared with the previous period. Being able to guarantee the regularity of our publication, an irrefutable test for revolutionary groups claiming to play their part in the working class, we moved from bi-monthly to monthly publication of our magazine. This adaptation heralded an even more important change, the transformation of the magazine into a paper. A paper implied a deeper political involvement in the class struggle. This change took place in February 1976, and was a sign of our growing awareness of the revolutionary tasks of the time".This progress was to be put to the test during the waves of international struggle in the 1980s. At that time, our paper was our main tool of intervention, essential for developing a whole range of revolutionary analysis and propaganda at the very heart of workers' struggles. In demonstrations, general assemblies, struggle committees and discussion circles that had emerged from the dynamic that opened up after 1968 - wherever possible and according to its strengths, the ICC took the means to be present with the paper to distribute and fight for our positions.
At the dawn of the 1990s, following the stagnation of workers’ struggles and the collapse of the Eastern bloc, our organisation was faced with a new challenge: to resist, over the long term, the decline in class consciousness and struggle and the huge media hype surrounding the alleged "death of communism". In the face of this ideological steamroller, our paper defended the workers' struggle and the revolutionary perspective by continuing to fight against the tide. This fight for communism enabled tiny minorities of the class to resist the global brainwashing, the biggest lie in history, which equated Stalinism with communism. It was during these difficult years that our paper was able to resist and our website came to the forefront of our publishing work. Subsequently, RI became bi-monthly (at the end of 2012) and then quarterly (in spring 2022), but that didn't stop us from continuing to intervene in struggles with the paper and our leaflets as tools of intervention.
Today, at a time when the proletariat is once again taking the path of struggle on an international level after decades of inactivity, in an increasingly unpredictable, dangerous and threatening context, our printed paper remains more than ever an essential compass, an irreplaceable tool for intervention, as it was, for example, during the major demonstrations in France against pension reform in 2023, where we systematically distributed it.
This paper is the embodiment of the living nature of our organisation, proof in itself of what clearly distinguishes it from all the online bloggers and chatterboxes. But far beyond the immediate struggles, RI remains a genuine tool for reflection for those seeking class positions and revolutionary political clarity, as well as for the proletarian political milieu as a whole.
Naturally, our paper would not be what it is without our readers. We would like to take this opportunity to salute them warmly and to encourage them both for their political and financial support and for the critical sense they have shown on various occasions. Even if we sometimes make mistakes in our articles, we can count on their fraternal criticism, just as we can count on the criticism of all serious working class political groups. Some of our supporters and contacts have not hesitated to write to us with their criticisms or their analyses. Whenever possible, we replied, adding to our "readers’ letters" section or engaging in polemics with other revolutionary organisations. A number of our supporters also took part in writing and translating articles. We thank them and encourage them to continue.
Today, RI is fighting with determination, complementing our other publications and our website. Our paper is continuing its work, participating in all the efforts we wish to develop to fuel a genuine international debate. In the words of Lenin, it remains "a weapon of combat" that we must support and defend.
ICC, 10 January 2024
1] Révolution Internationale 100 (August 1982).