Thousands of migrants trapped at the Polish border, abandoned to their fate in wet and frozen forests, without food or water. Belarus uses them as pawns in its conflict with the EU, while the German Minister of the Interior praises the “very important service” Poland is carrying out for Europe – in other words, by ruthlessly pushing back the refugees, Poland is doing the dirty work of the other EU states.
International class struggle
Struggles in the United States, in Iran, in Italy, in Korea... Neither the pandemic nor the economic crisis have broken the combativity of the proletariat!
In the past few weeks we have seen a fragile but real worldwide awakening of workers’ militancy and self-confidence, centred on the USA. In October the strike movement mobilised thousands of workers throughout the US, with the majority of experienced and “protected” workers fighting alongside their young colleagues who work in much more precarious conditions.
Workers’ struggles in the USA
The ICC has published an article on the recent signs of a renewed fighting spirit in the working class in a number of countries: Struggles in the United States, in Iran, in Italy, in Korea... Neither the pandemic nor the economic crisis have broken the combativity of the proletariat! The struggles in the US are particularly important, and this contribution from a close sympathizer there aims to examine them in more detail.
Pandemic, global warming, economic crisis, war
Albrecht Dürer, The Four Riders of the Apocalypse
The “end of the world” foreseen in ancient and mediaeval apocalypses really signalled the end of a particular mode of production, which was to be replaced by a new mode of production, a new form of class rule. But capitalism is the last class society, and its headlong drive towards the abyss faces humanity with the single alternative: communist revolution or the destruction of humanity.
The Tory government presents itself as the “People’s Government”, committed to a programme of “levelling up” of those workers who have been “left behind” by an economic crisis, which is blamed on “globalisation”. This populist world view is now being revealed in all its poverty and mendacity by the very measures being taken by the same government, which attack social benefits, wage levels, and job security.
Low wages and harsh working conditions are pushing HGV drivers out of the haulage industry. Due to the shortage of truckers and workers in other industries, large parts of the country are not being supplied: petrol stations are drying out, restaurants are closing, shelves in supermarkets remain half-empty and abattoirs cannot process meat. Planning by the national state brings no solution to the anarchic nature of the capitalist mode of production.
Under Biden the USA’s warlike approach towards China has continued and intensified. The explicit goal of the pact between the US, Australia and Britain, AUKUS, is to block the expansion of China in the region. But this circumstantial and ephemeral military alliance only further destabilises the world imperialist situation.
A child soldier in Yemen. The mobilisation of children for war is a growing feature of “modern” barbarism
Wars and instability continue to rage across the Middle East. The region is a free-for-all which the self-destructive dynamic of capitalism is exacerbating at all levels. This is very clear in the cases of Libya and Yemen, analysed here by a close sympathiser.
History of the workers' movement
We republish here an article from the ICC’s publication in Belgium, Internationalisme, (no. 188, 1993) which traces the general framework of the history of the Parti Communiste Belge. We will return in later articles in more detail to the different phases of its existence: the struggle for the foundation of the PCB after the betrayal of social democracy, the struggle against the growing opportunism within it and its definitive passage into the bourgeois camp at the beginning of the Second World War.
The Communards destroy a symbol of France's "colonial glory"
The 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune - above all in France - has seen a concerted campaign by the bourgeoisie to distort the real meaning of this seminal event in working class history.
Suppression of the Kronstadt revolt by the Red Army: a tragic error
After the Russian revolution in 1917, the revolution in Germany in 1918, the creation of the Communist International in 1919, we mark the hundredth anniversary of the tragic crushing of the revolt by the workers, soldiers and sailors of Kronstadt in March 1921 with a document “The lessons of Kronstadt” from International Review, in order to indeed draw the key lessons of this event for the struggles of the future.
IPCC report on the climate crisis
The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a grim picture of the mounting ecological crisis, but the governments of the world, loyal servants of capitalism, are incapable of addressing the roots of the problem. Faced with a looming catastrophe, competition between capitalist states can only intensify.
Decomposition of capitalism
Covid-19, climate catastrophe, chaos in Afghanistan... Capitalism's historic crisis is gathering pace
The global Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across all continents with all states unable to make a coordinated response. Indeed, the main events of the last two months confirm the deadly dynamic into which capitalism is plunging civilisation.
Class struggle in Mexico
The strike at the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) clearly shows that the proletariat has kept intact its capacity to fight for the defence of its living and working conditions, despite the many difficulties and obstacles in the current situation.
The hasty retreat of US and other western forces from Afghanistan is a stark manifestation of capitalism’s inability to offer anything but increasing barbarism. But as marxists we can’t just comment on events, we have to analyse their historic roots, which we aim to do in the following article.
This dossier contains many of the ICC's articles on the present COVID19 health crisis.
Demonstrations against the health pass and mandatory vaccination
The “defence of democracy” is not a vaccine against capitalism; it is a deadly virus for the proletariat
The exasperation expressed in “anti-compulsory vaccine” demonstrations around the world rails against being subjected to the diktats of arrogant government which has piled up inconsistencies in the face of the pandemic, imposing repeated lock-down confinements after continually opening up too soon or boasting of a scientific approach while what is in fact foremost is bourgeois negligence. But protests of this kind can in no way lead to a development of consciousness in the proletariat of the irremediable impasse of the capitalist system.
Heatwaves and floods
Flood damage, Germany
The conclusions of the draft report of the International Panel on Climate Change which was “leaked” to the press are chilling: “Life on Earth could recover from major climate change by evolving towards new species and creating new ecosystems. Humanity cannot”. For decades, scientists have been warning of the dangers of climate disturbances. We are right there now! It’s not just a matter of some species disappearing or of localised disasters. Cataclysm has now become permanent, and there is worse to come.
Aftermath of ethnic clashes in Lod
This is the first time that military conflict between Israel and Hamas has been accompanied by ethnic clashes and pogroms inside Israel, marking the acceleration of capitalism's decomposition.
We are publishing an article written by our comrades in Spain about the surge in lay-offs following in the wake of the pandemic. But as the article insists, “Lay-offs are not limited to Spain, they are happening all over the world”. Workers everywhere will not emerge from lockdowns to enjoy a “better world” but will be faced with increasing attacks on their living standards at all levels, demanding, as the article also insists, a unified response from the working class.
Protests in Cuba
US and Cuban flags symbolise the weight of nationalism in the recent demonstrations
Despite the real misery that sparked them off, the protests in Cuba were marked by an absence of working class autonomy
Mass killings and ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia, stirred up by the bigger imperialist powers, show up the false promises of a new economic prosperity in the Horn of Africa. A contribution from a close sympathiser.
The UK’s Northern Ireland problem
US and UK leaders at odds over Northern Ireland at the G7 summit
One thing that undermined the pretend unity at the recent G7 summit in Cornwall was the UK government's continuation of the war with the EU over sausages, nuggets and other chilled meats crossing the Irish Sea to Northern Ireland. This seemingly trivial row in fact exemplifies the weakening position of the British bourgeoise and indicates the various pressures confronting the very union of the United Kingdom.
The fight against parasitism and adventurism
Letter to the ICC: What method to use to understand the true nature of a group claiming to be from the Communist Left?
We publish here a letter from a close sympathiser expressing solidarity with the ICC’s struggle against parasitism and adventurism and for the defence of the Communist Left. The most important thing about this letter is that it points to the historical materialist method for approaching questions of behaviour, of slanders and maneuvres, which do such damage to the proletarian political milieu.
Polemic on the war in Israel/Palestine
Why confusions about the “Palestinian resistance” are an obstacle to taking up an internationalist position against the war in Israel/Palestine.
History of the workers’ movement
We are publishing here an article by the Italian Fraction of the Communist Left, celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Paris Commune. The interest of this article, written in the midst of the counter-revolution and the march towards the Second World War, is that it highlights the historical continuity between the Commune of 1871 and the October Revolution of 1917. The article illustrates both the proletarian character of these two revolutionary experiences, their international scope and the tragedy of their defeat.
Unlike the current Black Lives Matter protests, which channel anger against racism into the mire of bourgeois politics, the strike of February 1941 in occupied Holland shows that the working class can fight on its own ground against the persecution of minorities.
Labour Party election losses
Labour’s election losses help us understand what’s going on in the ruling class, but they are not a defeat for the working class, because the Labour Party has long been a party of capital.
Defence of the proletarian political milieu
The present article follows on from the ones we have already published which denounce an attempt to falsify the real origins of the communist left, emanating from a blog called Nuevo Curso (recently rebaptised Communia). This attempt is orchestrated by an adventurer, Gaizka whose aim is in no way to contribute to the defence and clarification of the positions of this current but to “make a name for himself” in the proletarian political milieu. Following our exposure, Gaizka remained totally silent. Furthermore, he received very little support; virtually the only one, and the most explicit, coming from the International Group of the Communist Left (IGCL), which before changing its name in 2014, called itself the Internal Fraction of the International Communist Current (IFICC). This is a group whose prime vocation, for the last 20 years, is to slander the ICC...
Decline of US imperialism
The USA: Superpower in the decadence of capitalism, today the epicentre of social decomposition. Part II
Second of two articles analysing the fact that USA’s rise to world dominance also coincides with the course of a world system in decline. The Biden administration has now been in power for 8 months and the difficulties of the American bourgeoisie in reversing the effects of decomposition on all levels have clearly been confirmed…
The withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban showed the decline of the world's only remaining superpower. British imperialism had been a part of the occupation since the invasion of 2001. The failure of the US was shared by the UK, which has been further reduced in its status among the second and third-rate powers.
Communists and the "race" question
C.L.R. James in 1938
In part two of this series on the proletarian struggle against racism in the U.S., we examined the positions in the Socialist Labour Party (SLP) and in the Socialist Party of America (SPA) at the end of capitalism’s ascendant phase. In the third part of the series, we look at how revolutionaries in the US analysed the problem in the period of capitalist decadence opened up by the First World War.
While the Covid-19 crisis has persisted for almost two years with its heavy health, social, political and economic impact on most of the world's states, this has in no way moderated their imperialist appetites. The rise in tensions has been particularly marked in recent months by a clear exacerbation of the opposition between the USA and China, highlighted most recently by the so-called “Aukus” agreement between the US, Britain and Australia, and explicitly aimed at China.
History of the revolutionary movement
100 years after the foundation of the Communist International: what lessons can we draw for future combats? (Part 4)
In the preceding parts of this series we have highlighted the opportunist weaknesses which were at the base of the constitution of the Communist International (CI), both on the programmatic and on the organisational levels. This part will tackle the final period of the CI as an organisation of the working class.
20 Years since the attack on the Twin Towers
To mark the 20th ‘anniversary’ of the September 11 attacks in New York, we draw our readers’ attention to our lead article from International Review 107, “New York and the world over: Capitalism sows death”. The article denounces the massacre of thousands of civilians, the majority of them proletarians, as an act of imperialist war, but at the same time exposes the hypocritical tears shed by the ruling class. As the article says, “The attack on New York was not an ‘attack on civilisation’, it was itself the expression of bourgeois ‘civilisation’”.
Decline of US imperialism
The first of two articles analysing the fact that USA’s rise to world dominance also coincides with the course of a world system in decline. In particular, it became a global superpower through imperialist war becoming the “way of life” of decadent capitalism.
Work of the 24th International Congress of the ICC
The focus of this report is on the general perspective: where is the world economy heading after the great cataclysm that erupted with the Covid pandemic?
We continue publishing the main reports on the world situation from the 24th ICC Congress. This report examines some of the main issues facing the international class struggle in the phase of capitalist decomposition: the problem of the politicisation of the class movement, the dangers posed by interclassism, the subterranean maturation of consciousness, and the meaning of defeats in this period.
In a way, "the communist left finds itself in a similar situation today to that of Bilan in the 1930s, in the sense that it is obliged to understand a new and unprecedented historical situation" (Resolution on the international situation of the 13th ICC Congress, 1999)
Science and Class Consciousness
We've commemorated this year as the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune. We must also celebrate the book of Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. The first edition of this book appeared in London on February 23, 1871, a few days before the working population of Paris transported to the heights of Montmartre, Buttes-Chartre and Belleville the cannons that Adolphe Thiers wanted to confiscate from them.
Response to readers’ letters
This article is a response to two letters published recently on the phenomenon of "uberisation” Are “uberised” employees part of the working class? It endeavours to place the issues in a historical framework by drawing on the foundations of marxism and the experience of the workers' movement.
Correspondence on the decadence of capitalism
We reply to a reader’s question: “How can the ICC maintain that capitalism is a decadent system since 1914 when there has been such enormous growth in the capitalist system since then?”
Explosion of Covid-19 in Brazil and India
Mass cremations of Covid victims in India
Uber Eats workers on strike
We are publishing below two letters from ICC sympathisers aimed at continuing the reflection that arose in a meeting in France on 15 May 2020 on the subject of the nature and composition of the working class. During this discussion some participants questioned what affect “uberisation” of work had on the composition of the working class. In other words, do the “uberised” employees belong to the working class? We welcome the comrades’ efforts of reflection and their willingness to express their concerns. The letters from the comrades make two contributions to this debate which will be continued at other ICC meetings.
Covid-19 and state measures
Poster of May 68 against state repression
In recent months there have been criticisms and misinterpretations of our positions regarding the state measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some have even concluded that the ICC in fact supports these measures. The ICC supports any proletarian struggle against the attacks by the state, but it doesn’t support demands to put an end to the anti-Covid state measures. Such demands have no other perspective than reinforcing illusions in bourgeois rule, whether democratic or openly despotic and only raise obstructions against the development of the class consciousness and the combativity.
Covid-19 in the UK
Soup kitchen queue, Glasgow, winter 2020/21
From health to housing, education to income, the working class has been hardest hit over the past 12 plague months. The economic crisis and social deprivations, accelerated by Covid-19, have roots deep in the decadence and decomposition of capitalism. However sections of the proletariat in GB, under the most difficult conditions, have nonetheless attempted a defence of basic class interests.
Imperialism and decomposition
Turkish military incursion into northern Syria, October 2019
Turkey’s ambitions to assert itself as a regional power in the Middle East is a clear illustration of the growing tendency towards every man for himself at the imperialist level; and it is above all the working class of Turkey and beyond which is paying the price in increased exploitation and bloody wars.
The truth is revolutionary - For a factual history of the Communist Left (Correspondence with the ICT)
In December last year the ICC wrote to the Internationalist Communist Tendency, asking them to publish a letter of correction of serious falsifications made about our organisation that appeared on the ICT website in an article entitled ‘On the forty-fifth anniversary of the Founding of the CWO’. The ICC does not request such rectifications from the bourgeois camp. We expect lies coming from this direction and simply denounce any such defamations as the trademark of the enemy class.
We republish here a letter we addressed to the IBRP in December 2004 following the appearance on its website of a declaration emanating from a mysterious “Circle of Internationalist Communists”, containing extremely grave accusations against the ICC. Despite the protests of our organisation, which it did not take into account, the IBRP did not make any attempt to verify the reality of this group or the content of the accusations in question.
Slavery and Racism
Colored National Labor Union Convention, 1869
The campaign around “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) has led many people to look for references in the history of the struggle against the oppression of and violence against black people. Among the most well-known black activist are Marcus Garvey, Malcom X, and Martin Luther King. But communists do not base their political orientation on activists fighting for equal rights within capitalism.
Social democracy and black workers
In the first part of this series we sketched out the first steps of the workers’ movement in dealing with the aftermath of a 350 years history of the enslavement. In this part we will examine how the socialist parties at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century took up the political defence of black workers. Although African Americans were only one of the many “nationalities”, they were subjected to a special regime, where the culture of slavery persisted. Therefore the struggle for the abolition of the system of two classes of workers, the division between white and black workers, was an important point.
International class struggle
Recent protests by students in France and the UK show that the struggle of proletarians around basic class interests has not been entirely buried by a whole series of marches and protests around the themes of "democracy" and "the rights of the individual" faced with the lockdown.