20 years since 1968: The evolution of the proletarian political milieu, III

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In 1983 the proletarian political milieu was confronted with the resurgence of class strug­gle after three years of retreat - a reflux brought about in the west by the sabotage of the rank-and-file unionists, under the impulse of the left and leftists, and in Poland by the brutal repression of 1981, which had been pre­pared by the sapping work of Solidarnosc. Since that time, the new-found militancy of the prole­tariat has continued to affirm itself all over the world: after the massive strikes of the workers in Belgium in the Autumn of ‘83, there have been significant class movements in Holland, West Germany, Britain, the USA, Sweden, France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Korea, Poland ... and this list is by no means exhaustive.

What was the reaction of the proletarian po­litical milieu and the organizations who formed it; how did revolutionaries take up their re­sponsibilities, posed once again in a very sharp way by the development of the class struggle, ie the necessity for them to intervene in the struggles of their class?

What would be the consequences of the ac­celeration of history on all levels - economic, military and social - on the life of the proletar­ian political milieu? The re-emergence of the class struggle brought about the potential for the development of the revolutionary milieu. Would this revitalization of the workers' strug­gle allow the proletarian political milieu to overcome the crisis it had been through in the previous period; would it be able to go beyond the difficulties and weaknesses which had marked it since the historical resurgence of the class struggle in 1968?

A political milieu blind to the class struggle

"The huge class confrontations which are brew­ing are also a test for the communist groups: either they will be able to take up their re­sponsibilities and make a real contribution to the struggle, or they will stay in their present isolation and will be swept away by the tidal wave of history without being able to carry out the functions for which the class gave rise to them," (From the ICC ‘Address To Proletarian Political Groups' issued at its 5th Congress and published in IR 35, 4th quarter, 1983).

The ICC was to be the only organization to recognize fully in the movement of 1983 the signs of an international resurgence of the class struggle. For all the other groups of the prole­tarian milieu, there was nothing new under the sun. For the latter, the workers' struggles which had been growing before their eyes from1983 onwards had no significance: they remained in the grip of the union apparatus, thus they couldn't be the expression of a proletarian revival.

Outside the ICC, all the organizations of the proletarian political milieu which had survived the decantation and the crisis at the end of the1970s and beginning of the 1980s were as one ­man theorizing that we were still in the period of the counter-revolution.

The oldest organizations of the proletarian milieu, each in their own way, thus theorized that since the debacle of the 1930s, nothing much had changed. This was particularly the case with the groups descended from the Internationalist Communist Party of Italy founded in 1945 - ie the various groups of the Bordigist diaspora: on the one hand the ‘International Communist Parties' - Programme Communiste and Il Partito Comunista, and on the other hand, the ‘Internationalist Communist Party', Battaglia Communista, which was regrouped with the CWO from Britain in the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party. As for the FOR, which thought that the revolution had been possible in Spain in the ‘30s, a period of profound defeat for the proletariat, it saw only the weaknesses of the current workers' struggles!                   

The parasitic micro-sects, incapable of expressing their own coherence, either developed a totally sterile kind of academic Bordigism, like Communisme ou Civilisation in France, or fell into a form of anarcho-councilism. These two tendencies were not absolutely contradictory, as can be seen by the evolution of a group like the GCI. But the common denominator remained a stubborn denial of the reality of the present class struggle. Even the vestiges of the post-68 ‘modernist' milieu were now in their own way participating in this general negation of the developing combativity of the proletariat, as can be seen by the evocative title of an ephemeral publication in France: La Banquise, ‘the Ice Floe'.      

This view, quite general outside the ICC, that the course of history was still dominated by the counter-revolution, obviously expressed a dramatic underestimation of the class struggle since ‘68, and could only have negative consequences for revolutionaries at the essential level of in­tervention within the struggle. This situation was already evident at the end of the ‘60s, when the organizations which already existed, such as Programme Communiste and Battaglia Communista, were strangely silent about (since they couldn't see) the class struggle evolving in front of them and denied any significance to the workers' struggles of May ‘68 in France, which was actually the most massive strike the prole­tariat had ever launched. The problem was con­firmed again at the end of the ‘70s. The ICC's intervention in the wave of struggles which broke out at that time bore the brunt of the criticisms of the whole proletarian milieu, and the same thing has happened in an even more acute way since 1983.

The question of intervention at the heart of the debates

Since the beginning of the renewal of class struggle which marked the 1980s, the intervention of the revolutionary political organizations in the workers' struggles, apart, obviously, from the ICC, has been virtually non-existent. The politically weakest groups have of course been most absent from the struggle. After a burst of activism at the beginning of the ‘80s, the GCI, when the class struggle really began moving, fell into cosy academicism while the FOR, to justify its absence from the terrain of the class struggle, started taking refuge in a theorization of its lack of material means! It's highly significant that, despite their capacity for big talk, these groups have produced no more than a handful of leaflets since 1983 - and that's not to speak about their content.

The IBRP certainly expresses a greater political solidity than the groups just mentioned, but its own intervention in the struggles hasn't exactly shone. This is all the more serious when you consider that, outside the ICC, this organization is the main pole of regroupment in the international proletarian political milieu. The IBRP's real will to intervene during the long miner's strike in Britain in 1984 has not unfortunately shown itself in the struggles that followed: despite having members in France, the IBRP made no intervention into the railway workers' strike in 1986, and if Battaglia Communista intervened in the 1987 schoolworkers' struggle in Italy, it was after long weeks of delay and at the insistent exhortations of the ICC's section there.

This weakness in the IBRP's intervention has its origins in the erroneous political conceptions which were already at the heart of the debates at the International Conference of Groups of the Communist left which took place in 1977, 1978 and 1980[1]. This was expressed essentially on two levels:

-- an incomprehension of the present historical period, which involves an inability to grasp the characteristics of the class struggle. Thus the CWO could write as follows to the Alptraum group in Mexico about the struggles in Europe: " ... we don't think that the frequency and the extension of these forms of struggle indicate - at least up to now - a tendency towards a progressive development. For example, after the struggle of the British miners, of the French railway workers, we have the strange situation in which the most agitated strata are those ... of the petty bourgeoisie," and they go on to cite, among others, the teachers!

-- serious confusions on the question of the party, which translate into an incomprehension of the present role of revolutionaries. Thus the IBRP could write, again to Alptraum which pub­lished this letter in Comunismo 4: "There is no significant development of struggles because there is no party; and the party can't exist unless the class finds itself in a process of de­veloping struggles." Lucky are they who can understand this strange dialectic, but in these conditions, the decisive role of the intervention of revolutionaries is being glossed over while we wait for the Party, with a big P, to arise like a deus ex machina.

Throughout this period, the ICC - which un­like Battaglia Comunista, doesn't call itself a party - has tried to develop its intervention as far as its forces will allow, trying to carry out the historic responsibilities revolutionaries owe towards their class. There has not been a sig­nificant struggle in any country where the ICC has a section where revolutionary positions haven't been defended, where the intervention of the ICC hasn't tried to drive the workers' dynamic forward, to aid it to break out of the union trap, to push for extension, whether through leaflets, through speaking up in work­ers' assemblies, through the distribution of our press, etc. It's not a question of glorifying this fact or exaggerating it out of all proportion; readers can look at the ICC press to find the accounts of these interventions and the echo they have received. The point is simply to state what the intervention of revolutionaries has to be at a time when the proletariat is developing its struggle and thus when this intervention has greater possibilities.

In these conditions, it's not at all surprising that the debates and polemics between the dif­ferent communist groups on the question of in­tervention itself have remained rather meager. Given the vacuity of the intervention of other groups, there couldn't be a real debate about the content of an intervention which doesn't exist. So we've had to go back to the basic principles about the role of revolutionaries, principles the ICC has defended with vigor. As for the other groups' criticisms of the ICC, they have in general been limited to saying that the ICC is overestimating the class struggle and is falling into activism!

Because of this, the question of recognizing the existence of the class struggle today, and of the role of revolutionaries and the question of intervention, have formed the line of demarca­tion within the communist milieu in the ‘80s; all its debates have been polarized around those questions.

The debates in the ICC and the formation of the EFICC

This tendency to yield to the propaganda of the bourgeoisie, which has spent the past years imposing a black-out on workers' strikes in order to deny their existence, has kept the other proletarian organizations blind to the class struggle, but it has also exerted its pressure on the ICC itself. From the struggle within the ICC against these tendencies to underestimate the class struggle, there emerged a debate which had at its root the questions of class consciousness and the role of revolutionaries. This debate then expanded to pose:

-- the question of the danger constituted in the present period by councilism, which crystallizes a tendency to deny the necessity for the political organization and thus for an organized intervention within the class;

-- the question of the weight of opportunism as the expression of the infiltration of the rul­ing ideology within the organization of the pro­letariat.

The debates were to be the source of a po­litical strengthening, of some essential clarifica­tions within the ICC. They were to reinforce its capacity to intervene within the struggles by providing a better understanding of the role of revolutionaries and a clearer reappropriation of the heritage of the revolutionary fractions of the past, an issue that crystallized around a more adequate view of the process of the de­generation and betrayal of the organizations of the class at the beginning of the century and in the 1930s.

Feeling themselves reduced to a small hand­ful, more dilettantes than militants, the comrades in disagreement were to seize the first pretext that came along to withdraw at the very begin­ning of the 6th Congress of the ICC (late in 1985), to ‘free' themselves from the organization which they saw as a prison, and to form the External Fraction of the ICC, claiming to be the orthodox defenders of the ICC's platform. This irresponsible split expressed a profound incom­prehension of the question of organization and thus a grave underestimation of its necessity. More than all its theoretical quibbles and the heap of calumnies the EFICC has dumped on the ICC to justify its existence as a sect, what re­ally gave rise to this group was an underesti­mation of the class struggle and of the essential role of revolutionary intervention. Even if, since 1985, the EFICC sometimes formally recognizes the resurgence of class struggle since 1983, this grouplet has wandered into the same backwaters of academic passivity in which, as we've seen, most of the old organizations of the proletarian milieu are also wallowing. While proclaiming itself to be the orthodox upholder of the ICC platform, the EFICC has little by little developed a whole multitude of differences which represent so many departures from the coherence it purports to defend. The EFICC has opened a Pandora's box, and as we've seen with previous splits from the ICC, like the PIC and the GCI, it has entered into a dynamic in which, in order to justify its existence, it will be led towards more serious deviations that will put our whole plat­form into question.

The weight of social decomposition and the decantation in the revolutionary milieu

Was this new split the sign of a crisis in the ICC, indicating a political and organizational weakening of the organization that constitutes the main pole of regroupment within the proletarian milieu? On the contrary: what the EFICC represents is a resistance against the need for revolutionary forces to adapt to the needs of the class at a time when it is taking up its struggle in a determined manner and when the necessity for intervention is posed more sharply than before - a time not for ‘criticizing' the class struggle from a great height, but for be­ing an active part of the struggle, for defending the revolutionary positions that can begin to gain a real echo within it. It's because ICC was able to carry out the theoretical and the political clarification, as well as the organizational refinement required to enable it to play its role as an organization of class combat, that the elements who were least convinced of this, those who preferred academic discussions to the heat of the class struggle, have left it. Paradoxically, although the departure of any militant is never desirable, and although we can only regret the irresponsible split which gave rise to the formation of the EFICC, which can only bring a little more confusion into a milieu which has quite enough already, in the period since the split, the ICC has strengthened itself politically and organizationally. This has been ­concretized in its greater capacity to ensure the presence of revolutionary ideas within a class struggle that is developing all the time.

However, although the appearance of the EFICC didn't express a crisis in the ICC - which would mean, since it's the main organization in the milieu, that there was a crisis in the milieu as a whole - it did express the difficulties that have persistently weighed on revolutionary groups since the historic resurgence of the proletariat in 1968.

As we have seen, these difficulties have their ­origin in the fundamental theoretical and political inadequacy of the majority of the groups of the milieu, who are unable to see the class movement going on right in front of them and thus don't get revitalized by contact with it. But this isn't the only explanation. Organizational immaturity, the product of decades of organic rupture with the revolution­ary fractions that came out of the Communist International, has marked the milieu which arose after 1968 and has in particular taken the form of a preponderant sectarianism which gets in the way of the process of clarification and regroupment within the communist milieu. This immaturity has in turn been the channel for the infiltration of the dominant ideology in its most pernicious aspect - that of decomposition. One of the specific characteristics of the present historic period is that while the bourgeoisie's headlong flight into war is being held up by the combativity of the proletariat so that the door to a generalized war isn't open, the slow development of the crisis and of the class struggle hasn't made it possible for the proletarian perspective of the communist revolution to arise clearly in society. This ‘blocked' situation means that the system continues to rot on its feet, that there is a general decomposition of the whole of social life and of the dominant ideology. With the acceleration of the crisis at the beginning of the ‘80s, this decomposition has been accentuated more and more. It particularly ­affects the petty-bourgeois strata who have no future, but it also unfortunately manifests its perverse effects on the life of the proletarian milieu. It's the form that tends to be taken by the process of historical selection, of political decantation within the milieu in the present period.

The weight of the surrounding decomposition tends to express itself in various ways in the proletarian milieu. In particular we can point to:

-- the multiplication of micro-sects. In the last few years, the communist milieu has seen a number of small splits, all expressing the same weakness; none of them have brought anything to the dynamic towards regroupment by clearly situating themselves in relation to the existing poles of debate. On the contrary, they have locked themselves up in their specificities to bring new aspects of confusion to a proletarian milieu that is already too dispersed and scattered. Here we can mention, apart from the EFICC, which we've already talked about too much, a group like ‘A Contre Courant' which left the GCI in 1988. While ‘A Contre Courant' expressed a positive reaction against the degeneration of the GCI, it has been unable to go beyond the notion of returning to the original positions of the group, which already contained all the seeds of its later decay. The same goes for the recent split in the FOR which has taken refuge in false organizational quibbles without being able to publish any political argumentation. In addition, we've seen in France for example the reappearance or birth of a whole number of small parasitic sects like ‘Communisme Ou Civilisation', ‘Union Proletarienne', ‘Jalons', ‘Cahres Communistes', etc ... who represent almost as many points of view as the individuals who make them and whose flirts and divorces only feed confusion in the milieu and provide a sad caricature of what proletarian organizations should be. All these characteristics have the effect of repelling serious elements who are trying to move towards a revolutionary coherence.

-- a loss of the normal framework of debate within the revolutionary milieu. These last years have seen some serious polemical excesses in the proletarian milieu, targeted mainly at the ICC. Its perfectly understandable that the ICC should be at the centre of debates in that it consti­tutes the main pole within the revolutionary milieu. However, this can in no way justify the dangerous imbecilities which have been written about it recently. This applies to the bad faith and systematic denigration shown by the EFICC, whose only cohesion is to be anti-ICC; to the FOR, which has called the ICC "capitalist" be­ cause we're so "rich"! and worse still, the GCI, which published an article entitled ‘Once again, the ICC on the side of the cops against Revolutionaries.' These aberrations, rather than just indicating the stupidity of those who pen them, express a serious tendency to lose sight of the unity of the proletarian political milieu in the face of all the forces of the counter-revolution, an abandonment of the basic principles that have to be observed if the milieu is to protect itself;

-- the erosion of militant forces. Faced with the enormous strength of capitalist ideology, especially in its petty-bourgeois varieties, the tendency to lose sight of what revolutionary militancy means, to lose conviction and to withdraw into ‘family' comforts, is a phenomenon which has always weighed down on revolutionary organizations, But in the present period, the gnawing away at militant conviction by the dominant ideology has been further accentuated by the surrounding decomposition. Furthermore, a confrontation with the difficulties of inter­vening in the class struggle, often leads to hesitations among those whose convictions are the least firmly grounded and thus either to a pure and simple abandonment of militant life without any real divergences, or a flight into a sterile academicism, far removed from the class war. Such reactions express a fear of the practical implications of revolutionary combat: confrontation with the forces of the bourgeoisie, repression, etc ...

In these conditions its hardly surprising that the pressures of ideological decomposition affect first and foremost the groups that are the weakest politically and organizationally. In recent years, the degeneration of such groups has accelerated. The clearest example of this is the GCI: its morbid fascination with violence has increasingly led it towards anarchism and leftism, as can be seen by its support for the actions of the Shining Path in Peru, a Maoist organization if ever there was one; or more recently, by its irresponsible attitude towards the struggles in Burma, which have been dragooned behind the forces of democracy and in which the workers have been sent to get their heads beaten in by the army. The FOR, which continues to deny the existence of the crisis is a psychotic manner, is increasingly hard-pressed to hide its theoretical and practical emptiness. As for the EFICC, its systematic ‘critique' of the coherence of the ICC has pushed it into a growing incoherence, and in its, press, it seems to have as many points of view as it has members! The Bordigist diaspora hasn't recovered from the collapse of the PCI (Programme Communista) and vegitates, sadly, while at the same time providing succor to base unionism. All these groups, incapable of situating themselves in the class struggle today, because fundamentally they deny or profoundly underestimate it, are unable to be regenerated by contact with the struggle. They are already beginning to carry the nasty smell of the dust­bin of history.

The organizations which are the expression of real historical currents within the communist milieu in that they crystallize a greater theo­retical coherence and a greater organizational experience, are the best equipped to resist the pernicious influences of the dominant ideology. It's no accident that today, the ICC and the IBRP are the main poles of regroupment within the proletarian milieu. However, this certainly isn't a guarantee of immunization against the viruses of the dominant ideology. Even the most solid groups haven't escaped the consequences of the all-encompassing process of decomposi­tion. The most perfect example of this is the Bordigist PCI which, at the end of the ‘70s, was the main organization of the milieu (at least at the numerical level) but which definitively fell apart at the beginning of the ‘80s. In the last few years, we've seen the departure of elements from the ICC who formed the EFICC, or more re­cently, the bitter resignation of the elements of the northern nucleus of Accion Proletaria, the ICC's section in Spain; or again, the participa­tion of an element of the IBRP in France in a pseudo-conference in Paris with the EFICC, Communisme ou Civilisation, Union Proletarienne, Jalons, and some isolated individuals. This ele­ment, whose participation in the meeting gave a validity to the whole bluff, then left the IBRP when the latter disavowed his action. All these incidents show the urgent necessity for vigi­lance and for a struggle against the effects of ideological decomposition.

For its part, the ICC has always taken a clear position on such questions: diagnosing the crisis of the proletarian milieu in 1982, under­lining the danger of the infiltration of the dominant ideology which at the historical level, finds its political expression in opportunism and centrism, outlining the specificities of the pre­sent period and in particular the weight of the decomposition of bourgeois ideology. It has in so doing armed itself politically and strengthened itself organizationally. The IBRP on the other hand prefers to adopt the policies of the os­trich: its splendidly denied the crisis of the mi­lieu in the early ‘80s, declaring that it was just a crisis of the other groups. It's true that Battaglia Communista and afterwards the IBRP haven't had any splits, but is this an indication of the vitality of an organization? For long years, the PCI (Programme Communista) also didn't have any significant splits ... until it broke apart in 1983[2]. A lack of internal debate and political sclerosis generally don't express them­selves in political splits but in a growing political disorientation, and a hemorrhage of militant energies, a process of disenchantment which brings no clarification either to those who leave or those who stay. The IBRP's withdrawal from intervention, its theorization of the persistence of the counter-revolution, is disquieting fac­tors for the future of the organization.

Faced with this balance sheet of the difficulties the proletarian milieu has undergone, should we conclude that the communist milieu hasn't come out of its crisis at the beginning of the decade, a crisis whose main expression was the disappearance of Bordigism as the main pole of reference within the proletarian milieu?

With the resurgence of the class struggle, the development of the proletarian milieu

The situation of the proletarian milieu today is very different from the one which resulted in the crisis of 1982-83:

-- the failure of the Conferences of Groups of the Communist Left, even if it still has a weight seven years on, has to some extent been digested;

-- we are no longer in a period of retreat of the class struggle; on the contrary, we've had five years of resurgence;

-- the most important organization of the proletarian milieu is no longer a sclerotic and degenerated group like the Bordigist PCI.

In this sense, the proletarian milieu, despite the very serious weaknesses that continue to mark it, and which were just briefly outlined, is not in the crisis situation it went through in the early '80s. On the contrary, the development of the class struggle since '83, just as it lays the ground for a growing impact of revolution­ary ideas, also tends to give rise to new ele­ments within the proletarian milieu. Even if, like the class struggle which produces it, this emer­gence of a new revolutionary milieu is a slow process, it's nonethless significant of the pre­sent period.

The appearance of a proletarian political mi­lieu on the periphery of the main centers of world capitalism - in Mexico, with the former Alptraum Communist Collective, now known by its publication Comunismo, and the Groupo Proletaria Internationalista, which publishes Revolution Mundial, in India with the groups Communist Internationalist and Lal Patak a and the circle Kamunist Kranti, in Argentina with the group Emancipacion Obrera - is extremely im­portant for the whole proletarian milieu, seeing that for years there seemed to be no echo for revolutionary ideas in the under-developed countries. Of course, not all these groups express the same degree of clarity and their sur­vival remains precarious given their lack of po­litical experience, their distance from the politi­cal centre of the proletariat, ie Europe, and the extremely difficult material conditions in which they have to develop. However, their very exis­tence is a proof of the general maturation of consciousness going on within the class world­wide.

The appearance of these revolutionary groups on the periphery of capitalism highlights in a very clear manner the responsibility of the already-existing revolutionary organizations, those which embody the historical experience of the proletariat, something which is cruelly lacking among the new groups which have arisen with little knowledge of the debates which have animated the communist milieu for two decades, and without any organizational ex­perience. The dispersed situation of the old proletarian milieu, the heavy weight of sectarianism upon it, is a dramatic obstacle to the pro­cess of clarification which these new elements have to embark upon. Seen for a distance, it must be extremely difficult to situate oneself in the labyrinth of the numerous groups existing in Europe, to appreciate the real political im­portance of the different groups and of the ex­isting debates.

The same difficulties which affect the old proletarian milieu centered in Europe have an even greater weight on the new groups arising in the peripheries, as can be seen with the sectarianism of groups like Alptraum in Mexico and Kamunist Kranti in India. But it is extremely important to understand that the political confu­sions these groups might have are of a differ­ent order to those displayed by the existing groups in Europe: in the first place they ex­press the immaturity of youth exacerbated by the effects of isolation; in the second they are the expression of sclerosis or senile degenera­tion.

In these conditions, the influence of the old groups will be decisive for the evolution of the new ones, since the latter can only develop a coherence, strengthen themselves politically and break their isolation, by integrating themselves into the debates already going on in the inter­national proletarian milieu, and by attaching themselves to the historic poles which already exist. The negative influence of a group like the GCI, which denies the existence of a proletarian political milieu and which peddles some very grave confusion, can only weigh very heavily on the evolution of a group like Emancipation Obrera, reinforcing its intrinsic weaknesses. Similarly the academicism of a little sect like Communisme ou Civilisation, with whom Alptraum is now developing some kind of activity, can only lead the latter into sterility.

On the whole, the IBRP has shown a much more correct attitude to the new groups, but it remains attached to the opportunist organizational conceptions which presided over the birth of the IBRP, and for example, with the hasty integration of Lal Pataka as the IBRP's expres­sion in India. Furthermore, the serious under­estimation of the class struggle shown by all these old groups tends to hold back the evolu­tion of the new ones by depriving them of any real grasp of what gave birth to them: the workers' struggle.

The ICC, for its part, because its origins lay in an awareness of the passivity and political confusion of the groups which already existed prior to and after 1968 - notably Programme Communiste and Battaglia Communista - has taken to heart its responsibilities towards the new groups arising in the proletarian milieu. As with the intervention in the class struggle, so the intervention towards the groups born out of the class struggle is a priority for our organization. In the ICC press we have published, far from any sectarian spirit, texts by Emancipacion Obrera, Alptraum, The GPI and Communist Internationalist; we have mentioned all the groups in our press, after making their exis­tence known to the whole revolutionary milieu, helping to no small extent to break their isola­tion. There's not one group with whom we haven't maintained an important correspondence, not one which hasn't been visited in order to hold more in-depth discussions and so con­tribute towards a better reciprocal knowledge and towards the necessary process of clarifica­tion. We have done this not with the idea of re­cruitment and of pushing for a premature inte­gration into the ICC, but to allow them to en­sure their survival and develop their political solidity - an indispensable stage of regroupment, which we of course consider to be necessary, is to take place on the clearest possible basis.

While the appearance of new groups in countries far from the traditional centers of the proletariat is a particularly important phe­nomenon, highly significant of the current de­velopment of the class struggle and its effects on the life of the proletarian milieu, this doesn't mean that there is no corresponding develop­ment in countries where the political milieu al­ready exists. On the contrary. But this develop­ment doesn't take the same form: because the proletarian milieu and its organizations are al­ready present, the emergence of new forces tends to take the form, not of the appearance of new groups, but of new elements who move to­wards the already existing movement. In con­trast to the situation after ‘68, which was marked by the weight of the student milieu and which was concerned with general theoretical is­sues, the new elements today tend to come more directly out of the workers' struggle. Here again, the question of intervention is crucial in permitting these elements to join up with the proletarian milieu and to strengthen its militant capacities. The present development of struggle committees and discussion circles is the expres­sion of the development of consciousness going on in the class. For today's proletarian groups to underestimate the question of intervention is tantamount to cutting themselves of from what gives them life. This is particularly obvious when it comes to the question of increasing mil­itant resources, the infusion of new blood. The organizations which don't see this today con­demn themselves first to stagnation, then to sclerosis and regression. And finally, to demoralization and crisis.


With the renewal of the class struggle a new generation of revolutionaries is about to be born: not only the future but the present itself is bringing a new dynamic to the proletarian milieu. But this dynamic doesn't just mean that the relative isolation of revolutionaries from their class is about to be broken and that ev­erything is going to be easier. It means an ac­celeration of the process of decantation in the proletarian milieu. Nothing is won in advance. The future of the proletarian organizations, their capacity to forge the world communist party, which is indispensable to the victory of the revolution, depends on their present capac­ity to take up the responsibilities for which the class has produced them. This is what is at stake in the present debates and activities of the communist milieu. The organizations which today are unable to live up to their responsi­bilities, to become an integral part of the class combat, are of no use to the proletariat and will be condemned by the historical process itself.


[1] See the second part of this article in IR 54.

[2] See the second part of this article in IR 54.

History of the workers' movement: 

Recent and ongoing: