International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party

The IBRP was founded in 1979 after the breakup (which its members engineered) of the Conferences of the Communist Left, in which the ICC had also played a leading role. Of its two founding groups, one (Battaglia Comunista) came from the 1952 split in the Internationalist Communist Party. International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party, originally constituted in 1984 by the Communist Workers Organisation (in GB) and the Partito Comunista Internazionalista (Battaglia Comunista in Italy: this organisation itself originates in a split in 1952 in the Partito Comunista Internazionalista founded in Italy at the end of World War II).

Postscript to Decadence of Capitalism XIII: Rejection and Regressions

The aim of the original article was to respond to the widespread trend among a number of currents in or around the revolutionary movement to reject the notion of capitalist decadence, a foundation stone for the class positions contained in our platform. We pointed out that this tendency has affected elements in the communist left as well as those coming from anarchism or ‘libertarian’ versions of marxism. 

Revolutionary Principles and Revolutionary Practice

A certain Cleto, who presents himself as a "comrade who agrees with the positions of the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party" made a critique, in the "Comunistas Internacionales" discussion forum, of our article ‘Notes for a History of the Communist Left' (originally published in International Review 9) that the moderator of the forum had  published. In this article we examined the first period (from 1943 to 1948) of the Internationalist Communist Party, during which this organisation, which claimed a continuity with the  communist left, made two serious mistakes in our opinion:  establishing contacts with the partisan groups, and participating in the 1948 elections.

Polemic with IBRP: The consequences of an opportunist policy of regroupment

The regroupment of revolutionaries, the unification of the proletariat’s political forces around the positions of the communist left must, in order to be successful, proceed at every stage according to the needs of the long term interests of the proletariat as a whole, rather than the particular or competitive interests of one group against another to the detriment of the whole movement and its future.

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.

IBRP: An opportunist policy of regroupment that leads to nothing but 'abortions'

One of the aims of this article is to set out some elements of an answer to this question: how is it, and not just once, that elements who have demonstrated their inability to integrate into the communist left should turn towards the IBRP after failing in their 'approach' to the ICC? The answer may be of some use to the IBRP, but will also be helpful for those coming towards the positions of the communist left and who might perhaps be impressed by the IBRP’s presentation of itself as the “only organisation with the heritage of the Italian communist left”. More generally, the article will try to understand why the IBRP has experienced a series of failures in its policy of regroupment of revolutionary forces at the international level.

In memory of comrade Mauro

We recently learned of the death after a long illness of Mauro Stefanini, one of the oldest and most dedicated militants of Battaglia Comunista, and himself the son of an old militant of the Italian left. We are publishing here extracts from the letter of solidarity which the ICC sent to the militants of the IBRP and from the letter of thanks written in reply by a militant of the IBRP in the name of his organisation.

In support of the ICC's struggle against parasitism and opportunism

Visitors to our internet site will be aware that in the recent period the ICC has had to confront a slanderous and shameful campaign mounted by the so-called Internal Fraction of the ICC (IFICC) and the Argentine Círculo de Comunistas Internacionalistas. One avowed purpose of this campaign has been to isolate our organisation and to discredit it in the eyes of all those who identify with the Communist left. The excerpts of letters that we publish here, are a clear demonstration of the failure of this campaign

Nucleo Comunista Internacional: an episode in the proletariat's striving for consciousness

The development within the class of a deepened reflection, even if this mainly below the surface today, which can be seen in the appearance of a series of elements and groups, often young, who are turning towards the positions of the Communist Left, is obviously of vital importance, since it is one of the preconditions for the formation of the future world wide revolutionary party.

3 - The theory of decadence at the heart of historical materialism, part iii

The decadence of capitalism is not the eternal repetition of its contradictions on a growing scale, but poses the question of its survival as a mode of production, according to the terms used by Marx and Engels. By rejecting the concept of decadence as defined by the founders of marxism and subsequently taken up by the organisations of the workers’ movement, some of whom deepened it further, Battaglia Comunista is turning its back on a historical materialist understanding.

Internationalist Notes underestimates the danger of LAWV

The November 2002 issue of Internationalist Notes (publication of the newly constituted Internationalist Workers Group regrouping the remaining sympathizers of the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party (IBRP) in the US and Canada) rejects the ICC's expression of solidarity in the face of the Los Angeles Workers Voice's (LAWV) parasitic attacks against the IBRP(see Internationalism 122). Readers will recall that in that article we not only defend the IBRP against the ludicrous LAWV accusation that it was no longer a working class organization, but also supported the IBRP's criticism of LAWV's reprehensible behavior on the organizational level and its headlong retreat from the political legacy of the communist left. Calling our article an "unfortunate intervention," IN criticizes specifically our criticism of the LAWV for violating revolutionary principles of fraternalism and organizational functioning because "they held secret and private political and organizational discussions in Los Angeles." Dismissing our expression of solidarity, IN writes:

Defense of the revolutionary milieu

The ICC is not the only organization in the communist left milieu to find itself under parasitic attack in the current period. A similar attack has been launched by the Los Angeles Workers Voice (LAWV) against the International Bureau of the Revolutionary Party (IBRP). All of this follows the collapse of the IBRP's American affiliate that had been inaugurated at a conference of IBRP North American sympathizers in Montreal in April 2000. The IBRP-sympathizing section was a regroupment of the Los Angeles Workers Voice (LAWV) with another sympathizer (AS), then based in Wisconsin, now in Indiana. This US regroupment, which organized around the name Internationalist Notes (a newsletter published for several years by AS), quickly began to unravel.

Class struggle in the periphery of capitalism

The IBRP has published Theses on Communist Tactics for the Periphery of Capitalism which put forward its position on the existence within capitalism of a division between the central and peripheral countries, and its consequences for the class struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat. The Theses give a response to the different questions about the national question and the proletariat, such as:

Marxism and opportunism in the construction of the revolutionary organisation

Over the last monthsthe IBRPhas published articles in its press on the need for theregroupment between revolutionary forces with a view to theconstruction of the international communist party of the future.One of these, "Revolutionaries, internationalists in the faceof the perspective of war and the situation of the proletariat"is a document produced in the period following last year's war inKosovo:

The scourge of sectarianism in the internationalist camp

The end of the year 2003 saw world capitalism take a new step towards the abyss - a step represented by the second Gulf war and the creation of a military quagmire in a strategically vital area of the globe. This war has been crucial in determining the new imperialist equilibrium, with the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq and the opposition to this move from various imperialist powers who are more and more adopting positions antagonistic to those of the USA. In the face of this new butchery, the main revolutionary groups who make up the international communist left have once again shown that they are capable of responding to the propaganda of the bourgeoisie by taking up resolutely internationalist positions. Against the ideological campaigns of the bourgeoisie, which are aimed at disorienting the proletariat, these groups defended the ABC of marxism. This does not of course mean that these organisations all defend the same positions. Indeed, from our point of view, the intervention of most of them has shown important weaknesses, in particular concerning the understanding of the phase of imperialist conflicts opened up by the collapse of the eastern bloc and the resulting dissolution of its western rival, and also when it comes to discerning what is at stake in these conflicts. These differences must be understood as the expression of the heterogeneous and difficult process through which consciousness ripens within the working class - a process which also affects the groups of the political vanguard. In this sense, as long as class principles are not abandoned, these differences should not constitute an element of frontal opposition between the components of the same revolutionary camp; rather they prove the need for a permanent debate between them. A public debate is not only the precondition for clarification within the revolutionary camp, but is also a factor of clarification which makes it possible to draw the line between revolutionaries and the groups of the extreme left wing of capital (Trotskyism, official anarchism, etc). It can thus help the new elements searching for class positions to orient themselves vis-a-vis the different elements of the proletarian camp. 

Revolutionary Debate in Berlin on the Causes of Imperialist War

Anarchy as an essential characteristic of capitalism

In Weltrevolution 124 we reported on the first of a series of public meetings of the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party (IBRP) in Berlin. The second meeting took place on May 15th. There, the causes of imperialist war were debated. A representative of Battaglia Comunista, the IBRP's section in Italy, made the presentation which dealt with the background to the Iraq War and the contemporary foreign policy of the USA. The comrade put forward the analysis of the IBRP, according to which the American "crusade against terrorism" mainly serves economic goals: the tightening of American control over the oil reserves of the world, in order to bolster the hegemony of the Dollar over the world economy, and thus to assure itself the cream of an additional "oil rent" profit. As a result of its waning capacity to compete, the USA has to rely on the parasitic appropriation of the surplus value produced world wide to keep its own economy afloat. In addition it was said that strategic considerations do also play a role, often in connection with the control of oil reserves, aimed at cutting off Russia and China from each other and from important oil fields, and at keeping the European Union weak and divided.

IBRP debates decadence: The need for a historical framework

In Revolutionary Perspectives no. 32 the Communist Workers' Organisation (CWO) introduce a "contribution to the debate on capitalist decadence", 'For a definition of the concept of decadence' written by one of the comrades of Battaglia Comunista. We welcome this debate first of all because of the importance of subject; as the CWO state in their introduction, "The notion of decadence is a part of Marx's analysis of modes of production." It is not just any part of Marx's analysis, but the basis of scientific socialism, as they showed in RP 21 (original series, November 83): "Marxism, unlike anarchism, has always recognised that before communism can be established capitalism must itself destroy feudal systems of production and create both an international proletariat and advanced means of production. In doing this capitalism is creating both the basis for communism and the class able to bring it into being. We therefore maintain, as did Marx, that capitalism has been a historically progressive mode of production. We regard history as a complex of processes in which opposites are struggling against each other. The dynamic of history is located in these struggles and their progress is the progress of history. The development of the struggles engendered by these contradictions leads to a historical period in which capitalism can be considered to be progressive and on in which its further development turns it into a barrier. We quote again from the Preface to the Critique of Political Economy. 'At a certain stage of their development the material productive forces of society come into contradiction with the existing productive relationships, or, what is but a legal expression for these, with the property relationships within which they have moved before. From being forms of development of the productive forces these relationships are transferred into their fetters. Then an epoch of social revolution opens.' This is a dialectical understanding of the process of development, not a mechanical one. The very idea of decadence, which we describe as a period in which the material pre-requisites for communism exist but the revolution has not been made (since the subjective consciousness is absent), is a notion which would be nonsense to a mechanical materialist since he sees causality as working directly from material conditions".

Marxist and opportunist visions of building the party: debate with the IBRP

A question of method in the discussion

A recent article of ours 1 was devoted "to replying to the thesis of the IBRP that organisations such as ours are 'estranged from the method and perspectives of the work that leads to the formation of the future party'. In order to do so we have taken into consideration the two levels at which the organisational problem is posed: 1) how the future International should be conceived; 2) what policy should be followed for the construction of the organisation and the regroupment of revolutionaries, and in terms of both we have shown that it is the IBRP, not the ICC, that has abandoned the tradition of the Italian and the international Communist Left. In fact the eclecticism that guides the IBRP's policy of regroupment is similar to that of Trotsky when he was taken up with building the IVth International; the vision of the ICC on the other hand is that of the Italian Fraction, which always fought for regroupment with clarity and on a basis that would make it possible to salvage elements of the centre and those with hesitations".

The need for rigour in debate within the proletarian movement

Recent publications of the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party, and discussions between the ICC and the CWO at the latter’s public meetings, have confirmed that the way debate between proletarian organisations is carried out has btions is carried out has become a political issue in itself.

Reply to the IBRP, Part 2: Theories of Capitalism's Historic Crisis

The International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party (IBRP) has replied in International Communist Review no.13 to our polemical article “The IBRP’s Conception of decadence in capitalism” which appeared in our International Review no.79. In International Review no.82 we published the first part of this article, which demonstrated the negative implications of the IBRP’s conception of imperialist war as a means for the devaluation of capital and the renewal of the cycles of accumulation. In this second part we are going to analyse the economic theory that sustains this conception: the theory of the tendential fall in the rate of profit.

Reply to the IBRP, Part 1: The Nature of Imperialist War

The IBRP has responded, in the International Communist Review no 13, to our polemical article “The IBRP’s Conception of Decadent Capitalism” which appeared in no. 79 of our International Review. The IBRP clearly expound their positions. Thus the article is a contribution to the necessary debate that must exist between the organisations of the Communist Left, which have a decisive responsibility in the struggle for the formation of the proletariat’s communist party.

Rejecting the notion of Decadence, Part 3

The future world Communist Party, the new International, will be built on political positions, which will supersede the mistakes, inadequacies, or unresolved questions of the old party, the Communist International. This is why it is vital that the organisations that claim their origins in the Communist Left continue to debate together. We consider that the decadence of capitalism is fundamental among these positions.

What method and perspectives for the regroupment of revolutionaries?

As a new recovery in proletarian combativity develops across the world, the need for greater unity within the revolutionary milieu is posed more sharply than ever. Consequently, it is important that revolutionary organisations should show themselves capable of drawing up a balance sheet of what has been achieved in this domain during the last few years, and of learning its lessons for the future.

Decantation of the PPM and the Oscillations of the IBRP

If we were to limit ourselves to a superficial examination of the state of the international political milieu, we could easily get depressed. Existing groups have split (A Contre Courant from the GCI, the Groppo Leninista Internazionalista from the OCI), are degenerating (Daad an Gedachte has capitulated to democratic frontism through support for the anti-apartheid front in South Africa, the EFICC has more and more put into discussion the programmatic bases of the ICC from which it emerged), or are losing their way (Communisme ou Civilisation has discredited itself by proposing in a completely unserious way to put out ‘communist journals’ with anyone who cares to listen to it; Comunismo, the former Alptraum Collective, has overnight decided that it no longer agrees with the concept of decadence, upon which all its positions were based). Or, more simply, they have just disappeared (self-dissolution of Wildcat, gradual disappearance through self-dissolution into the void of the numerous fragments which survived the explosion of Programme Communiste).

The Constitution of the IBRP: An Opportunist Bluff, Part 2

Our intention in the first part of this article (see IR 40) was to show that the formation of the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party by the PCInt (Battaglia Comunista) and the Communist Workers’ Organisation is in no way positive for the workers’ movement. This, not because we enjoy playing the part of the “eternal disparager”, but because:

-- the IBRP’s organisational practice has no solid basis, as we have seen during the International Conferences;

-- BC and the CWO are far from clear on the fundamental positions of the communist programme – on the trade union question in particular.

In this second part, we return to the same themes...

The Constitution of the IBRP: An Opportunist Bluff, Part 1

With the publication in English and French of the first issue of the Communist Review (April 1984), the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party, recently formed by the Partito Comunista Internazionalista (Battaglia Comunista) of Italy and the Communist Workers’ Organisation of Britain, has at last found a voice...
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