French Communist Left

The French Communist Left (Gauche Communiste de France) was formed at the end of World War II by elements of the Italian Left, together with militants who had joined them in France. The GCF refused to join in the formation of the Internationalist Communist Party in Italy, on the grounds both that the historical period (one of deep defeat of the working class) meant that the formation of the party was impossible, and that the criteria for the formation of the party in Italy were profoundly opportunist. The GCF further developed the theoretical work already begun by the Italian Fraction. It is from the GCF that the ICC draws its main political heritage and organisational continuity

Communism is on the agenda of history: Castoriadis, Munis and the problem of breaking with Trotskyism

The overall judgment we made of this tendency in recent issues of Internationalisme, however severe it might have been, was absolutely well-founded. We must however make a correction concerning its definitive character. The Chaulieu tendency was not liquidated, as we presented it, but found the strength, albeit after a very long delay, to break with the Trotskyist organisation and form itself into an autonomous group. Despite the heavy weight of this heritage on the group, this fact represents a new element that opens the possibility of its later evolution. The future alone will tell us to what extent it constitutes a gain in the formation of a new revolutionary movement. But right now we must say to them that they won’t be able to carry out this task unless they rid themselves completely and as quickly as possible of the scars they have inherited from Trotskyism and which can still be felt in the first issue of their review”.

The revolutionary movement and the Second World War

We are publishing an interview with Marc Chirik in which he talks in some detail about the revolutionary movement during the Second World War. Marc, a founding member of the ICC, had also been one of that small handful of revolutionaries who stood up to the enormous ideological and physical pressures of the “war against fascism” and who throughout the conflict remained loyal to the fundamental principles of internationalism, defended by Lenin, Luxemburg and others during the “war to end wars” of 1914-18.

Nature and function of the proletarian party

The document we are publishing below first appeared in 1947 in the pages of Internationalisme, the press of the small group “Gauche Communiste de France” (Communist Left of France), to which (amongst others) the ICC has traced its origins since its foundation in 1975.

The text’s main object is to examine the historical conditions which determine the formation and the activity of revolutionary organisations. The very idea of such determination is fundamental. Although the creation and survival of a revolutionary organisation is the fruit of a militant will, aiming to be an active factor in history, the form that this will takes does not come out of the blue, independently of social reality and independently above all of the consciousness and fighting spirit present in the broad masses of the working class.

In the aftermath of World War Two: debates on how the workers will hold power after the revolution

In the continuing series on the nature of communism, we are publishing the "Theses on the nature of the state and the proletarian revolution" written by the French Communist Left in the aftermath of World War II, with a brief introduction to put the Theses into the historical context of the positions of Bordiga and Pannekoek on the subject.

The Italian Fraction and the French Communist Left

In the previous issue of this Review, we answered the polemic in Revolutionary Perspectives no.5 (publication of the Communist Workers' Organisation, CWO) entitled "Sects, Lies, and the Lost Perspectives of the ICC". We were unable, for lack of space, to deal with every question opened up by the CWO, and so limited ourselves to answering one of them: the idea that the ICC's perspective for the present historic period has completely collapsed.

60 Years ago: a conference of internationalist revolutionaries

In 2007 the ICC held its 17th International Congress. For the first time since 1979, the Congress was able to welcome delegates of other internationalist groups coming literally from the four corners of the earth (from Brazil to Korea). As we have pointed out in the article on the work of the Congress, this was no innovation on our part: the ICC did nothing other than adopt the same approach that had led to its own creation in 1975, and which it had itself inherited - as we will see - from the Communist Left and particularly from the French Communist Left (Gauche Communiste de France, GCF). Whence the interest of the article which we are publishing below, and which is the report originally published in Internationalisme n°23, of a conference of internationalists held in May 1947, just 60 years before our own 17th Congress.

Marc, Part 2: From World War II to the present day

The first part of this tribute to our comrade Marc, who died in December 1990, was published in the previous issue of the International Review, and dealt with the period from 1917 to World War II... In this second part, we will follow our comrade’s activity, first in the French Communist Left (“Gauche Communiste de France”, GCF), then during the last period of his life, when his contribution was decisive in the foundation and development of the ICC.

Marc, Part 1: From the Revolution of October 1917 to World War II

As readers of our territorial press will know already, our comrade Marc is dead. In the December issue of our French territorial press, we published, as usual, the list of donations; one was accompanied with these words: “In reply to many letters which have touched me deeply, and for a first combat fought and won, this donation for the ICC’s press...” As always, our comrade fought against his disease with lucidity and courage. But in the end, it was the disease - one of the most virulent forms of cancer - that had the upper hand, the 20th December 1990. With Marc’s death, not only has our organisation lost its most experienced militant, and its most fertile mind; the whole world proletariat has lost one of its best fighters.

Homage to our comrade Clara

Our comrade Clara died at Tenon hospital in Paris on Saturday 15 April, at the age of 88... Clara gives us the example of a woman who, throughout her life, fought alongside the working class and showed more than ordinary courage in doing so, notably by risking her life during the years of the counter-revolution. A woman who remained loyal to her revolutionary commitment and ideas to the end.

Campaigns against “Negationism”: Anti-Fascism Justifies Barbarity

In a number of countries, and particularly in France, the bourgeoisie is using the theme of “Negationism” against the development of working class struggle and consciousness (“Negationism” being the term used to describe the calling into question by certain writers, of the existence of the gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps)...

The International Conferences of the Communist Left (1976-80)

Twenty-five years ago, in May 1980, the cycle of international conferences of the communist left, initiated by the Internationalist Communist Party (PCInt, Battaglia Comunista) some four years earlier, ended in disarray and confusion. A brief glance at the sorry state of the proletarian political milieu today shows that we are still living with the consequences of this failure to create an organised framework for fraternal debate and political clarification among the groups of the left communist tradition.

The joint responsibility of Allies and Nazis in the Holocaust

The commemoration of the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp is providing the bourgeoisie with a new opportunity to obscure the responsibility of the "democratic camp" in the atrocities of World War II, by bludgeoning us with horrifying images and testimonies, bearing witness to the appalling and all too real horrors of fascism.

Manifesto of the Communist Left to the Workers of Europe, June 1944

It will soon be five years that imperialist war has raged in Europe, with all its misery, massacres and devastation.

On the Russian, French and Italian fronts tens of millions of workers and peasants are slaughtering each other for the exclusive interests of a sordid and bloody capitalism, which obeys only these laws: profit, accumulation.

1944 commemorations: 50 years of Imperialist Lies, Part 2

In the first part of this article we tried to bring out just how ignominious were the commemorations of the 1944 landings which in no way represented a “social” liberation for the working class. On the contrary they represented an unprecedented massacre in the final years of the war; misery and terror throughout the years of reconstruction. All the members of the different capitalist camps that fought one another were responsible for the war and it resulted in a redivision of the world between the great powers.

The Communist Left of France, 1944

We are publishing here a leaflet by the French Fraction of the Communist Left put out in August 1944 to oppose the general mobilisation launched by the Free French on 18th August, as well as the lead article of L’Etincelle, newspaper of the same group, also from August 1944. The French Fraction of the Communist Left was formed in Marseille at the beginning of that same year.

Around the Italian Fraction of the Communist Left (see our book The Italian Communist Left), reconstituted in Marseille in 1942, there formed a nucleus of about ten French elements: some of them had just broken with Trotskyism and others, still young, had only just moved towards revolutionary positions.

The Russian Experience: Private Property and Collective Property

The article we reproduce below was published by the Gauche Communiste de France (GCF) in no. 10 of their magazine Internationalisme, which came out in May 1946. Internationalisme saw itself as the continuation of Bilan and Octobre, published by the International Communist Left before the outbreak of the Second World War. The GCF had its origins in this current and maintained its general orientations. But Internationalisme wasn’t just a continuation of Bilan: it also went beyond it.

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