Italian Left

The Italian Left was formed by the groups expelled from the Third International, and therefore from the Italian Communist Party, during the 1920s. Remaining true to the tradition of proletarian internationalism, the Italian Left (notably around the review Bilan) had two great strengths: its insistence on theoretical clarity and rigour, and on the importance of the organisational question. The ICC is the most important heir to the Italian Left today

Unravelling the Russian enigma: 1926-36

Understanding the nature of the Stalinist system is a key aspect of the communist programme: without such an understanding, it would be impossible for communists to outline clearly what kind of society they are fighting for, to describe what socialism is and what it is not. But the clarity that communists have today about the nature of the USSR was not easily attained...

Crises and cycles in the economy of dying capitalism, part 1

This article is the first part of a study published in the review Bilan in 1934, by the Left Fraction of the Italian Communist Party. The study’s aim was to “better penetrate the meaning of the crises which have periodically shaken the whole capitalist apparatus, and in conclusion to try to characterise and define as precisely as possible the era of definitive decadence which capitalism fills with the bloody upheavals of its death-agony”.

The Italian Left, 1922-1937

The Italian Fraction, founded in the Paris suburb of Pantin in 1928 by a group of militants in exile, saw itself explicitly as taking on the task of educating militants in preparation for the time when the rebirth of class struggle after the defeat of the 1917 Russian Revolution would reach a point when the creation of a new Party - a new International - would be both possible and necessary.

Bilan 36: The order of the day: Don't betray!

Our position can be utterly destroyed by a single sentence. Which? That when the Spanish workers are struggling resolutely against the fascist attack, fighting like lions against an enemy which gets its arms and ammunition from Hitler and Mussolini with the complicity of Blum and Eden; when they are making barricades out of their own bodies to stop the advance of the fascist hordes; when, in every country, there are hundreds and thousands of workers who are ready to join the battle front - your posi­tion serves only to demoralize the ranks of the fighters, facilitates the advance of the fascist enemy, and fragments the fronts where the workers are contesting every inch of the ground with Franco, behind whom stands the coalition of international fascism.

However, this sentence doesn’t constitute an argument...

Bilan 35: A slaughter-house for the proletariat in Spain

The fascists launch their attack in Spain. The traitors to the working class everywhere rush to their posts and demand that their governments send arms and muni­tions to the ‘legal government of the Republic’. This is very different from calling on the working class of each country to mobilize itself for a bitter struggle against ‘its own’ capitalists. That is the class struggle; that is the only way of expressing solidarity with the Spanish workers.

Bilan 34: Against the imperialist front and massacre of the Spanish workers

The simple general assertion that in Spain today there is a bloody struggle in progress between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, far from helping to take up a political position favourable to the defence and ultimate victory of the proletariat, could actually lead to the most terrible disaster and massacre of the workers. In order to arrive at a positive assessment it is first of all necessary to see whether the masses have been fighting on their own class terrain, and thus whether they are in a position to move forward, to develop the capacity to drive back the attacks of their class enemies.

Introduction to the texts from "Bilan"

By republishing these texts from Bilan (the publication of the Italian Fraction of the Communist Left) dealing with events in Spain between 1936-9, we do not pretend to be historians at pains to provide detailed and chronological descriptions of events as they happened. For the researcher look­ing for material, there are dozens of often well-documented history books available today that can amply fulfil his needs. Our aim is quite different. If the history of humanity has always been the history of class struggle, then yesterday’s struggles do not represent for the proletariat a ‘fixed’, ‘dead’ past, but are ever-living moments in the proletariat’s historic struggle for the revolutionary transforma­tion of society, a struggle that is always underway.


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