The 1980s are proving themselves to be the ‘years of truth' for the whole of humanity.
Through its inexorable aggravation, the world economic crisis which has been shaking capitalism for the last 15 years is more and more demonstrating that the system is in a total impasse. It is showing the reality of the historic alternative already put forward by the Communist International: either the proletarian response to the crisis, the development of class struggle leading to the revolution, or its bourgeois outcome: a generalized imperialist holocaust threatening the whole of humanity with destruction. Thus the revolutionary groups have a considerable responsibility as an active factor in the capacity of the proletariat to give a positive answer to this alternative. However, for the whole political milieu of revolutionary organizations, the acceleration of history in these past years has led us not to a strengthening of these groups, but to a series of internal organizational crises; to activist escapades, or to paralysis at moments of rising struggle (especially at the time of Poland 1980) and to tendencies towards demoralization, exhaustion and introspection when the struggle is in retreat. Instead of serving as a reference point, a beacon in the emerging social storms, the political vanguard of the proletariat frequently finds itself being buffeted and shaken by the turbulence of the historic crisis of capitalism.
In the short term, the counter-offensive unleashed by the bourgeoisie at the beginning of the 80s is hitting the revolutionary class, but also its political vanguard. This is all the more so because it has been unable to find the means for overcoming its dispersion and its divisions which are an inheritance of the terrible counter revolution which descended on the proletariat between the 20s and the 60s.
The international conferences of the groups of the communist left (1977-80) could have been a reference point on a world scale, a framework for trying to go beyond these weaknesses. But the weight of immaturity, of sclerosis and sectarianism, having kept these conferences ‘dumb' by refusing to take up any common positions, finally put an end to this effort.
In the present conditions, it is of the utmost importance that all revolutionary organizations see the gravity of the situation and the responsibilities they have; and in particular, they know how to mount a real, effective resistance to the pressures of a bourgeoisie with its back to the wall. These responsibilities cannot be carried out by the mere efforts of each group taken individually. It is a question of establishing a conscious co-operation between all organizations, not in order to carry out hasty and artificial regroupments, but to develop a will and an approach which centers its attention on a systematic work of fraternal debate and confrontation between proletarian political forces.
In this sense the work undertaken with the first three conferences of the communist left must be resumed. It must be based on the same criteria of demarcation which were used for these conferences, because these criteria weren't circumstantial but were the result of the whole historical experience of the working class since the revolutionary wave after World War I. It must also be based on the lessons of the failure of these conferences and notably on the fact that they must be seen not as simple forums of discussion but as a militant effort -- one of whose most notable tasks is to take a position on the main events in the class struggle and the life of society.
The time has not yet come for calling for new conferences of communist groups: there is much ground to be covered before the conditions for such an effort can exist. However, the development of such conditions is something that must be prepared right now. It is in this perspective that, at its Vth International Congress, the ICC issues an address to all revolutionary groups, calling on them to take up their responsibilities in the face of such a grave historical situation:
-- recognition of the existence of a proletarian milieu: communist groups must reject the megalomaniac pretensions of each one being the only holder of class positions;
-- systematic development of a spirit and a will towards debating and confronting political positions: this is the first precondition of a decantation and clarification in the milieu and the class as a whole, and it must take place in the respective publications, public meetings, etc;
-- in these debates, a rejection of dilettantism and irresponsible blather, of sectarianism and the systematic denigration of other organizations.
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.