Homage to Comrade Robert of the GPR

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The Proletarian Revolution Group (GPR) in Austria has asked us to publish this obituary of their comrade Robert, who died on 7 December. The ICC learned with great consternation about Robert's sudden death. We want to express our deepest solidarity to those who were close to him, especially his partner.

With Robert's death, the ICC has also lost a friend from a long way back. Thanks to his openness, his desire for political clarification and his great patience, he played an important role in the appearance of a pole of comrades who, at the end of the 80s in the German-speaking region, moved towards the positions of the communist left. Particularly in Switzerland, where a section of the ICC eventually emerged out of this process. 

Robert didn't go in the same direction. However, Robert, and the other comrades of the GPR, remained close comrades and political friends of the ICC in whom we had the greatest confidence.

One of Robert's best qualities was his capacity for solidarity and his consistent opposition to any spirit of competition between the different organisations of the communist left.

The ICC mourns the loss of Robert.

ICC, January 2010.


Our comrade Ro tragically departed from life on the night of 6/7 December. He was one of the founding members of the group which in 1983 was called the Gruppe Internationalistische Kommunisten (GIK), and which carried on the political and theoretical tradition of the Autonome Gruppe Kommunistische Politik (AGKP) which had dissolved itself. Its founder members had come together around an agreement that the political and theoretical acquisition of the AGKP had been to remove itself from the chaos of the capitalist extreme left that had come from the movement of 1968, and end up adopting left communist political positions.  The theoretical-political material of the communist left seemed to the founding members to be the only possible political orientation for anyone who wanted to situate themselves on the proletarian political class terrain, to fight for the organisational and political autonomy of the proletariat as a precondition for its future victory. Only the left communist current had succeeded in politically resisting the horrible counter-revolution which had taken the form of an almost complete control by social democracy, Stalinism, Maoism and Trotskyism, and in transmitting to us the political lessons drawn from this gigantic counter-revolution. Ro and his comrades in struggle felt they had the responsibility to put forward, within the working class in Austria,  the revolutionary theory that had initially been defended by the left communists in the face of the Stalinist counter-revolution, and, to the best of their capacities, to offer workers the possibility of renewing the link with their revolutionary traditions.     

Since we all come from the circle of sympathisers of the AGKP, it is incumbant on us to critically appropriate, on the basis of a profound examination, all the theoretical material of the AGKP and, to the extent that it appears to us to be insufficent, to go forward on the basis of the lessons drawn by the communist left, in order to set the group on the most solid political basis possible.

Since, during the 1980s, there were massive attacks on the working class, with the restructuring of industry (under the VÖST slogan), the group had to take up the task of carrying out a political intervention through leaflets etc within the struggles of the workers that were breaking out here and there. The difficult theoretical work, the discussions with the revolutionary milieu, the political positions gradually matured and were formulated in a platform, and in this process comrade Ro played a leading role. The GIK, which following a change of name is now called the GPR, owes a great deal to Ro's meticulous approach, to his capacity to ask questions, find out information, analyse and search rigorously for clarity, for the fact that it possesses a coherent platform (which we call lines of direction) that clearly rests on the acquisitions of marxism and the historical experiences of the class struggle. Ro leaves behind him a theoretically solid GPR which he stamped with his tireless commitment and whose political weapons he helped to forge.

The loss represented by Ro's death is immense. The group has lost one of its most passionate comrades who, through his proven political judgement, his political experience, his indefatigable capacity for analysing political events, enriched the group and its political work.     

We had all been looking forward to the return of his intellectual presence once his illness had been overcome. We mourn the loss of comrade Ro, which is heavy with consequences for our political practice.

We thank the groups of the revolutionary milieu of the working class for sharing with us the burden of the comrade's departure, for expressing their solidarity towards our political work , which is aimed at the emancipation, no doubt still far ahead of us, of the working class from economic exploitation and the political yoke of the bourgeoisie.

GPR, December 2009