Themes for reflection and discussion
Comrades will find here a number of articles which we have grouped in themes which seem to us important for the struggle of the working class, for the working class' understanding of its own history, and for its reflection on the future of which it bears the seeds.
We hope that these articles will provoke both thought and discussion. We encourage our readers to discuss them on the site's Forum and to make their own proposals for themes which could be treated here.
Long live the revolution!
- Russia 1905
This series of articles published in the International Review charts the course of the Russian revolution of 1905, and asks what lessons it has left the workers' movement 100 years on.
- Russia 1917
In February 1917, Russia’s masses overthrew the Tsarist regime, a byword for everything reactionary and retrograde, and opened the way to the workers’ seizure of power in October of the same year. Today, the revolution has been safely relegated to the history books and TV documentaries, and this is where the ruling classes would like it to stay.
But in reality, the problem posed in 1917 remains the problem of our times. By plunging the world into a war of unimaginable barbarism, the capitalist class demonstrated that its continued rule had nothing to offer humanity but blood and horror. The Russian workers showed the way towards a world wide overthrow of capitalism, and this will be their undying merit.
In 1917 the question was posed: socialism or barbarism? When we look at the world today, who can doubt that this question remains the fundamental one of our times, even if its terms have changed? In this sense, the future still belongs to the Russian revolution.
Today’s proletariat bashes keyboards as much as metal. But it is more than ever an international class, associated in a world wide process of production. The Russian revolution of 1917 belonged to the proletariat of the day. The world revolution to come will be the work of its heirs, the world proletariat of the future.
- Ten years that shook the world
Our aim in this series is an attempt to reconstruct this period using the testimonies and the stories of the protagonists themselves. We have devoted many pages to the revolutions in Russia and in Germany. Therefore, we are publishing this work on lesser-known experiences in various countries with the aim of giving a global perspective. Studying this period a little, one is astonished by the number of struggles that took place, by the magnitude of the echo from the revolution of 1917.”
- The state in the period of transition
One of the most difficult questions posed for communists after the defeat of the Russian revolution by the Stalinist counter-revolution was, and remains, the nature of the state power established after capitalism's overthrow.
Communism is not just a nice idea, but a material necessity
- Communism and the 19th century workers' movement
As the 19th century opened, the reflection of a nascent working class on its own perspective was dominated by the magnificent but still naive ideas of the Utopian socialists: Fourier, Robert Owen, and others. But the workers' movement won to its cause one of the century's greatest thinkers: Karl Marx. And in terms of thinking about the communist project, the rest of the century was largely dominated by the development of marxism, and by two great revolutionary efforts by the proletariat: the 1848 revolutions, and above all, the Paris Commune.
- The communist programme in the revolutions of 1917-1923
In 1917, communism was no longer a distant goal which could only be explored in theory on the basis of partial experiences like the Paris Commune. Suddenly, the question of what communism means and how to get there became urgent and immediate. In this section, we chart the answers - necessarily partial, given the circumstances - proposed by the revolutionaries of the day.
- Communism is on the agenda of history
Following the defeat of the world revolution, and the counter-revolutionary seizure of power by Stalinism in the USSR, the priority for the tiny internationalist groups that had survived the disaster was to understand the reasons for the defeat. This also meant understanding what a real transition to communism, and to some extent communist society itself, would look like. In these articles - which begin with a summary of the main ideas contained in the previous articles of the series - we concentrate on the efforts of the Italian Left in exile (around the Bilan group), and the Dutch and French Communist Lefts, during the dark years that before, during, and after World War II.
What is communism?
- The Perspective of Communism
A four part series on aspects of the 'Perspective of Communism', originally published in Revolution Internationale and World Revolution in the 1970s.
- Primitive communism and the emergence of the human
Two articles examine the role of women in the emergence of human culture and solidarity. The ideas developed here are based on a critical approach to the work of French economist Christophe Darmangeat and British anthropologist Chris Knight.
Decadence of capitalism
- The world on the brink of environmental disaster
From 1945 to 1989, the world was divided into two massively armed imperialist blocs: the USA and the USSR. Under these conditions, the critical question facing the working class was that of the balance of forces in the class struggle: would the working class be sufficiently strong to push back the threat of war, and impose its own solution to the crisis. With the collapse of the Eastern bloc in 1989, the danger of imperialist world war receded, but this can offer no comfort to the working class: if it fails to overthrow capitalism and establish society on a new basis, then there is a real danger that the whole of human society will collapse into a generalised decomposition, of which the ongoing environmental catastrophe we see around us is a part.
- Rejecting the notion of decadence...
A series of articles replying to Programma Communista and the IBRP on the dangers of rejecting the notion of the decadence of capitalism.
- The Decadence of Capitalism
The Decadence of Capitalism
- The Reconstruction boom post-1945
The articles grouped together here give an account of an internal debate within the organisation, on the origins and driving forces behind the Reconstruction boom that followed the 1939-45 world war.
- Religion and the question of Islamic fundamentalism
The question of the attitude that communists should adopt towards religion is by no means a new one, on the contrary it goes back to the beginnings of the workers' movement. In more recent times, the question of resurgent Islam has been posed since the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979. In these two articles, we examine the attitude of marxists to religion, and more specifically the way in which Lenin and the Bolsheviks approached the question at the time of the Russian Revolution. They then go on to study the resurgence of islamist movements since the 1980s
- Understanding capitalism's decomposition
The ICC's analysis of the final phase of capitalism's decadence, its phase of decomposition, was first published in the form of theses in International Review no62, third quarter 1990. These theses provide the framework for the articles that follow, and in general for the analysis of the effects of decomposition on capitalist society as a whole.
- Crises and cycles in dying capitalism
We bring together here two articles published in the publication of the Italian Left Fraction, Bilan in 1934
Questions of organisation and regroupment
- Party and Fraction in the Marxist tradition
At its foundation, the ICC's political principles as laid out in its Platform represented a synthesis of the different left fractions that had left, or been expelled from, the Third International. Organisationally however, the ICC looked above all to the experience of the Italian Fraction, and in particular to its conception of the Fraction as a "bridge" between an old Party which had failed or betrayed, and a new Party which must necessarily be created by the working class if its revolution is to be successful.
- The birth of bolshevism
This series, published on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the historic 1903 congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP), examines the debates around the organisational question and the circle spirit that opposed Lenin, Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg.
- 2002 - Confidence and solidarity, the functioning of an organisation
In 2002 the ICC held an Extraordinary Conference principally devoted to questions of organisation. This followed a serious crisis in the organisation, and the whole organisation felt the urgent need to go into greater depth on the subject: this meant examining how such questions have been posed historically in the workers' movement and in the ICC itself. This series includes an internal orientation text on organisational functioning which was originally adopted in 1993, and a text in two parts on "Confidence and solidarity in the proletarian struggle".
Gauche Communiste de France
- The Communist Left after World War II
A series of articles published in Internationalisme on organisational problems facing the left communist movement at the end of World War II
- Critique of Pannekoek's "Lenin as Philosopher"
The GCF was deeply committed to maintaining debate and correspondence with other groups of the Communist Left. Although accepting Pannekoek's critique of Lenin's philsophical works, the GCF disagreed with his conclusion: that Lenin's philosophy demonstrated the bourgeois nature of the Bolsheviks
- State Capitalism after World War II
Capitalism's economic situation as it emerged from war inevitably drew the attention of revolutionaries, since this was fundamental to understanding the perspectives facing them.
The Communist Left
- The Communist Left in Russia
The Miasnikov group formed part of what is called the Communist Left, on the same basis as other groups in Russia itself and in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe. The different expressions of this current found their origin in the reaction to the opportunist degeneration of the parties of the Third International and of soviet power in Russia. They represented a proletarian response in the form of left currents, like those that had existed previously faced with the development of opportunism in the Second International. We have published their complete Manifesto, previously unavailable other than in Russian state archives and for the first time in English, in several parts.
- The Mexican Communist Left
Texts published by the Marxist Workers’ Group (Grupo de Trabajadores Marxistas) in Mexico during the 1930s
How society evolves
- Historic Course
A collection of articles on the question of the historic course.
Internationalism against militarism and nationalism
- Balance sheet of 70 years of "national liberation" struggles
A three part series that evaluates the concrete results for the working class and the populations concerned, of 70 years of struggles for "national liberation" struggles.
- Communists and the National Question
A short series looking at how the national question was taken up throughout the history of the workers' movement.
- National liberation
Series of articles on the 'national question' from the International Review.
- The struggle in Britain against imperialist war
The first duty of revolutionaries in the face of capitalist war is to defend the interests of the whole working class, as expressed in the historic slogan of the workers' movement: "Workers of the world unite!". The defence of internationalism for revolutionaries has never been an abstract principle; it is an intensely practical struggle, involving a fight for clarity inside the political organisations of the working class, and more widely through intervention in its defensive struggles, often in difficult conditions of state repression and patriotic frenzy. This series, written by a sympathiser of the ICC, traces the development of a number of political currents within Britain through the period from the First World War, the Third International, the Second World War, and finally the enlisting of the Trotskyists in this war.
Class struggle and the workers' movement
- The class struggle in America's beginnings
In bourgeois mythology the first settlers to America were free men and women who built a democratic and egalitarian society from scratch in the New World. The reality is that the American proletariat was born into bondage and slave labour, faced barbaric punishment if it resisted, and was forced to struggle for its basic rights against a brutal capitalist regime that most resembled a prison without walls.
- The workers' movement in Africa
"Africa" in the media is generally synonymous with catastrophes, wars and permanent massacres, famine, incurable sicknesses, corrupt governments; in brief, endless absolute misery. The workers' movement is assumed either not to have existed at all, or to have been a mere appendage of the "anti-colonial" struggle for "national liberation". This series of articles, concentrating particularly on Senegal and South Africa, aims to set the record straight.
- What are workers' councils?
A series deepening on the question 'What are workers' councils?'
- Workers' movement in Britain
A series on the history of the workers' movement in Britain
Anarchism and syndicalism
- Revolutionary Syndicalism
This series of articles examines the history of some of the principle revolutionary syndicalist and anarcho-syndicalist organisations, notably the French Confédération Générale du Travail, the Spanish Confederacion Nacional de Trabajadores, the American Industrial Workers of the World, the early British shop-stewards movement, and others. Its aim is to examine from historical experience what value the "syndicalist" tradition has for the working class today.
- Left communism and internationalist anarchism
This series of short articles re-examines the ICC's attitude to, and cooperation with, internationalist anarchists.
- Sport in capitalism
For a long time sport has represented a phenomenon that cannot be ignored from the fact of its cultural breadth and its place in society. A mass phenomenon, it's imposed on us through the tentacles of many institutions and results in a permanent hammering from the media. What significance can we give it from the point of view of a historical understanding and from the point of view of the working class?
- US foreign policy since World War II
This series groups two in-depth articles by the late Jerry Grevin examining the evolution of US foreign policy since the war