International ICC leaflet
War has always been a test for the working class and its revolutionary minorities.
The workers are the first to suffer the consequences of a war, whether through loss of life or through increased exploitation. At the same time, the proletariat is the only force in society capable of putting an end to its barbarity by overthrowing the capitalism which lies at its root.
This new Gulf war and the serious aggravation of imperialist tensions of which it is an expression are a reminder that the survival of this historically condemned system constitutes a mortal danger for humanity, knowing as it does no other way out of its economic crisis than a headlong flight into militarism and war.
Denouncing bourgeois mystification
The working class is today unable to respond to this situation through revolutionary struggle. It is nonetheless necessary that this new eruption of barbarism should serve to develop its consciousness. Unable to hide the imperialist nature of this conflict behind the pretext of humanitarianism or the defence of international law, the bourgeoisie is doing all it can to prevent it becoming a positive factor in the development of class consciousness. To this end, every country is putting to good use a whole arsenal of ideological and media brainwashing.
Whatever the opposing imperialist interests of the bourgeoisie’s different national fractions, their propaganda has at least two common themes: first, it is not capitalism as a whole that is responsible for the barbarity of war, but this or that state, this or that regime; second, war is not an inevitable expression of capitalism, because there exist ways of ensuring peaceful relations between states.
War, like revolution, is a moment of truth for revolutionary organisations. It forces them to take position clearly for the bourgeois or the proletarian camp.
Determined intervention in the working class
Revolutionary organisations are alone capable of defending a clear class viewpoint against this war and the deluge of pacifist propaganda that accompanied it: it was their responsibility to mobilise for a determined intervention in their class. It was their responsibility to denounce, loud and clear, this war’s imperialist nature – in common with all the wars since the beginning of the 20th century – to defend proletarian internationalism, to oppose the interests of every fraction of the bourgeoisie with those of the working class, to reject any support whatever for national unity, to put forward the only possible perspective for the proletariat: the development of the class struggle world-wide, until the revolution.
As far as the ICC is concerned, we mobilised our forces in order to assume this responsibility to the best of our ability.
We intervened with our press in the pacifist demonstrations that proliferated across the world during January, and the level of our sales is testimony at least to our determination to convince as to the validity of our positions. In some countries, our sections brought out supplements to the press, or distributed calls to extraordinary public meetings. In some towns, this made it possible to open discussion with new elements who had never heard of the ICC before.
The day after the first bombs fell we began the mass distribution (relative to our modest strength) of a leaflet directed towards the working class in the fourteen countries where we have an organised presence, in some fifty towns on every continent other than Africa. In India, the distribution of the leaflet in two industrial centres meant its translation into Hindi and Bengali. Many sympathisers joined our distribution, widening its extent still further. The leaflet was also distributed more selectively in some of the pacifist demonstrations. It has been translated into Russia for distribution in that country, where the ICC is not yet present. On the first day of the bombing, the leaflet was published on the ICC’s web site in English and French. It will shortly be made available in other languages, including those of some countries where the ICC has no presence: Portuguese, Farsi, and Korean.
Call on the revolutionary milieu to live up to its responsibility
Other organisations of the Communist Left have also intervened with leaflets, notably in the pacifist demonstrations. They have set themselves apart from all the hotchpotch of leftist groups by their intransigent internationalism against the war, making no concession to any bourgeois camp.
In accord with our conception of the existence of a revolutionary milieu made up precisely by these organisations, and in accord also with our practice since the foundation of our organisation, the ICC called on these groups to undertake a common intervention against the war. We suggested two forms for such an intervention: “to draw up and distribute a common document denouncing the imperialist war and the bourgeois campaigns which accompany it”, or “to hold joint public meetings, where each group could put forward, as well as the common positions which unite us, the specific analyses which distinguish it from the others”.
We are publishing below the full text of our appeal, as well as a preliminary analysis of the replies we have received – all of them negative. This situation demonstrates that the revolutionary milieu as a whole has failed to live up to its responsibility against the war, and even more seriously in the perspective of the necessary regroupment of revolutionaries in preparation for the formation of the future class party of the international proletariat.