Communist Workers Organisation

Together with Battaglia Comunista, a founding member of the IBRP

The period of transition


Part I Political


The State

First, a few qualifying remarks. Historically speaking the State has appeared as an organ of class rule though, as Engels wrote in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (Moscow, 1968, p.65), it often appeared as standing above society, as a mediator between classes:

Profit rates and capitalist decadence - reply to the CWO

The first part of this article, published in the previous issue of the International Review, showed that the CWO's theory of the role of war in capitalism's decadence has little enough to do with the marxism of Marx. In this article, we will go on to show that it has equally little to do with empirical reality.

The “4th Conference of groups of the Communist Left”: a wretched fiasco

The three Conferences of the Communist Left held at the end of the 1970s provided a reference point for all the emerging groups and organisations of the time who were returning to the heritage of the Communist Left. After sabotaging the conferences, the CWO and Battaglia Comunista held a fourth - which turned out to be nothing but a miserable fiasco.

CWO Meeting: The need for serious debate between revolutionaries

Mass poverty within present day society is not accidental: capitalism creates poverty as an inevitable byproduct of its system of exploitation of the working class.  The extraction of surplus value leads to the grotesque polarisation of wealth and want at two opposite poles of society.  It also leads to economic crisis and imperialist war...

CWO pamphlet: Trotskyism was a proletarian current destroyed by opportunism

This short pamphlet, now available on the IBRP's website, aims to debunk the myths peddled by today's Trotskyists about the 'revolutionary' nature of their movement.

Trotskyism is in a state of disarray but retains influence, due in no small part to the status of Trotsky himself as the most important of the Bolshevik leaders of the Russian revolution to oppose Stalin. The CWO's pamphlet includes a lengthy section examining the positions defended by Trotsky and Trotskyism in the 1920s and 30s, contrasting their weaknesses and confusions to the much clearer contemporary struggle of the international communist left. It should therefore be welcomed as a useful propaganda weapon for groups of the communist left today.

Polemic with the CWO: Imperialist conflict or capitalist 'peace'?

The ideology of globalisation has generated many myths - as much by its ‘opponents’ as by its advocates. In particular there is the idea that multinational corporations are out of the control of nation states and can move capital to wherever they can make the most profit, regardless of the local circumstances. Ralph Nader wants to save capitalism from the big corporations. Noam Chomsky denounces unaccountable private power and the international institutions which impose the ‘Washington consensus’ of ‘neo-liberalism’. The power of ‘international capital’ (which can be used to mean the US, or big corporations, or the biggest powers, or just an abstract ‘evil’) is presented as being so great that it can even overcome the drive of national capitals towards war. In the words of a leftist group, the “pillage” of the poorest countries continues, not in the same way as the 19th century, but with “the urbane international banker replacing the colonial soldier and tax collector” (Workers Liberty, July 2000). To back up this view that the big global corporations now rule the world, it has been said that t has been said that ‘no two countries with a McDonalds have ever gone to war’.

The CWO and the Course of History: Accumulation of Contradictions

Inn°5 of Revolutionary Perspectives, the organ of the Communist Workers’Organisation (CWO), we find an article entitled “Sects, Lies, and the LostPerspective of the ICC”, which is intended as a response to our article “ARudderless Policy of Regroupment”, published in the International Reviewn°87 (this text itself being a reply to a letter from the CWO published in thesame issue of the Review). The CWO’s article deals with many questions,notably the method by which communist organisations should be built, to whichwe will return in a later issue of this Review. In this article we willlargely limit ourselves to one aspect of the CWO’s polemic: the idea that theICC is in crisis because of its mistakes in analysing the historic course.

Reply to the CWO: A rudderless policy of regroupment

The following letter was sent to the ICC and to other groups and individuals in reply to a polemic in the paper in Britain of the ICC, World Revolution, entitled "The CWO falls victim to political parasitism". This polemic argued that the demise of the Communist Workers' Organisation's paper Workers' Voice, their apparent regroupment with the Communist Bulletin Group (CBG), and their refusal to help defend a public meeting of the ICC in Manchester from attack, were concessions to parasitism. Such concessions can be traced back to the inadequate bases of the CWO's formation and the organisational weaknesses of its regroupment with the Internationalist Communist Party (Battaglia Comunista).

Polemic with the CWO: The International Communist Left

The history of the workers’ movement is not only that of its great revolutionary battles, when millions of proletarians have launched themselves on “the assault of the heavens”; it is not only two centuries of constant resistance, of strikes, of incessant and unequal combats to limit the brutal oppression of capital.  The history of the workers’ movement is also that of its political organisations – the communist organisations.

Third Conference of groups of the Communist Left

The Third Conference of left communist groups ended up dislocated. Two of the principal groups to have animated previous conferences (the Inter­nationalist Communist Party (Italy) and the Communist Workers' Organization (Great Britain)) made their participation in future Conferences dependent on the closing of the debate on the role of the revolutionary party[1]. The ICC rejected this condition.

For almost four years a number of revolutionary groups have tried to create a framework to facili­tate the regroupment of political organizations of the proletariat. Given the present situation, this effort can be summed up in two phrases:

  • there will certainly be no more conferences like the three which have already taken place;
  • in order to be viable, the new conferences must: 1. shake off the remains of sectarianism which still weigh heavily on certain groups; 2. be politically responsible.

Resolution on the Process of Regroupment

1) Since the beginning of the workers’ movement, one of the most fundamental concerns of revolutionaries has been for unity in their own ranks. This need for unity among the most advanced elements of the class is an expression of the profound, historic and immediate unity of interests in the class itself, and is a decisive factor in the process leading to the world-wide unification of the proletariat, to the realisation of its own being.

Second International Conference

At the end of 1978 an International Conference of groups of the communist left was held. This Conference, which had been called for by the Milan Conference of May 1977 organized by the Internationalist Communist Party (Battaglia Comunista) and attended by the International Communist Current, had the following agenda: 1. the crisis and perspectives; 2. the question of national liberation struggles; 3. the question of the party. Two pamphlets are being prepared, containing the correspondence between the groups, the preparatory texts for the Conference, and the proceedings of the debates. The most important step forward taken by this Conference was the fact that it had a broader participation. As well as the ICP (BC) and the ICC, the other groups involved were the Communist Workers’ Organization (Britain), Nucleo Comunista Internazionalista (Italy), the Marxist Work Group (For Kommunismen, Sweden). Two other groups agreed to participate but were unable to attend for various reasons -- Organisation Communiste Revolutionnaire Inter­nationaliste d’Algerie (Travailleurs Immigres en Lutte) and Il Leninista (Italy). The latter group wrote a contribution which will appear in the pamphlet. The Ferment Ouvriere Revolution­naire (France and Spain) left the Conference at the beginning and thus didn’t take part in the debates. Other groups invited refused to partici­pate (cf the article on this in International Review, no.12).

The Second International Conference of Groups of the Communist Left

IR 16, 1st Quarter 1979

In the second fortnight of November, the second Conference of communist groups met in Paris, to continue the work of the first, which took place in Milan during May, 1977, at the initiative of the Internationalist Communist Party (Battaglia Comunista). It is not our intention in this article to give a detailed account of the debates at this Conference. These will be the subject of a special pamphlet, to appear shortly in English, French and Italian, in order to allow all revolutionary militants to follow the effort at clarification undertaken through the confrontation of the groups participating at the Conference.


The life of revolutionary groups, their discussions and disagreements are part of the process whereby consciousness develops in the working class; this is why we are radically opposed to any policy of ‘hidden discussions’ or ‘secret agreements’. We are thus publishing our point of view on the international conference that took place in Milan on 31 April and 1 May on the initiative of the PCI (Battaglia Comunista). Above all, it is necessary to clarify the context in which this initiative took place and explain why we participated in it. We think that in the present climate of political confusion and of the weakness of revolutionary forces, it is very important to emphasize the necessity for the regroupment of revolutionaries.

The CWO and the Lessons of Regroupment for Revolutionaries

An important split has recently taken place in the ranks of the Communist Workers’ Organization (CWO), a revolutionary group in Britain that defends positions close to those of the ICC. Although the details of the split remain obscure, since the ‘seceders’ from the CWO have apparently failed to produce a single document explaining why they broke away...
Subscribe to RSS - Communist Workers Organisation