A Free Retriever’s Digest Vol.3 #4 (October – December 2019)


191020 A Free Retriever's Digest Nr 04.cover


40 pages (A4, pdf)

Available for free download here:

191020 A Free Retriever’s Digest Nr 04


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‘250 years of modern Capitalism’ (Project Update)

“I pre-suppose, of course, a reader who is willing to learn something new and therefore to think for himself. […] Every opinion based on scientific criticism I welcome.” (Karl Marx, Preface to the First German Edition of ‘Capital, critique of political economy’, 1867).

Taking up a longstanding concern of Marx’s that he was unable to fulfill, this work in progress treats the development of modern capitalism over the past 250 years with special attention to the classic country of its origin, Great Britain/the UK, at the hand of examined statistic sources and according to  criteria developed by Marx.

The original text is published in French language on the ‘Capitalisme & Crises Économiques’ website. Our translation is up to date with its actual version of August 10, 2019, and can be read on this blog:

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On the Turkish Invasion of North-East Syria

A first internationalist statement against the newly fanning flames of war over Syria has been published on the International Communist Tendency‘s website, which puts the latest maneuver by the Trump-administration, and its apparent complicity with the Erdoğan regime, in the context of global rivalries between the USA and Assad’s Russian patron reemerging as a great power in a regional alliance with Tehran.

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Meanwhile, at Iran’s backdoor…

About the creation of a Chinese-Russian bloc

The following article attempts to contribute to a discussion on the danger of the present imperialist tensions, conflicts and regional wars escalating into a world war. It criticizes positions taken by some internationalist groups who, while fully acknowledging the historic disintegration of both imperialist blocs of the “Cold War” period, tend to deny the possibility of an effective (counter-) tendency towards the formation of new imperialist blocs in a course towards a third world war, and/or fail to identify the latter.

Against the ICC’s theory of “decomposition, the highest stage of capitalism’s decadence” (1990), the author argues that a tendency towards “re-composition” of imperialist blocs is expressed by the formation of a new anti-US bloc around the axis Moscow-Beijing, strongly involving Iran as a regional power in its stand-off with the USA. It is claimed that this view is compatible with the approach of the question by the ICC’s proclaimed political ancestor, the Gauche Communiste de France (GCF) in 1946.

The article highlights some confusion in the joint declaration recently issued by the GCCF and Internationalist Voice, which has been inspired by the particular theory of capitalism’s “decomposition”. Last but not least, it calls for an open discussion at international meetings among “organizations from the communist Left” that need to be “invited on the basis of clear criteria”.

The Editor

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Freedom, Equality and Solidarity in the Dutch Health Care System

An Essay by Fredo Corvo

According to a critical commentary in this review, an article by ‘Nuevo Curso’ apropos of the self-chosen death of Noa Pothoven (a severely traumatized Dutch youngster) suggests that “‘(state) assisted suicide and euthanasia’ would be routinely practiced in the Netherlands by way of a cynical reply of the bourgeoisie and its state to a degradation of the country’s health service, to the extent of constituting ‘a real mass crime’ committed against the ‘damaged and unproductive’ and the elderly in particular”. (1)

The following essay takes up the challenge that “a debate among those who adhere to the cause of proletarian emancipation should also take into account that certain moral dilemmas based on the development of medical science and technology, demographic developments like increases in life expectancy, and changing patterns of need for cure and care, will not somehow be automatically resolved after a proletarian revolution, but will have to be taken up by the proletarians collectively under qualitatively different conditions.” (Ibid.)

From a layman’s point of view, this essay examines qualitative developments in medical care in the field of technology, medical ethics and budget cuts. However, in order to analyze the financial results of measures taken by the Dutch state for each medical condition, the expertise of a medical economist would be required.


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First Congress of Emancipación: One step forward, two steps back

At the end of June, Emancipación held its first congress. With this, the publisher of Nuevo Curso’, which releases a new article almost every day, has shifted its ambitions from the Spanish-speaking region to a global scale, from an organization around basic positions to one that puts forward slogans and statements to the actual situation. However, this step forward is not without problems related to the historical origins of this organization from what is often called the Spanish Communist Left around Grandizo Munis.

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Willy Huhn (1961): On the doctrine of the revolutionary party (2)

Willy Huhn poses the question how far Lenin has “directly taken up the doctrine of Marx and Engels in the question of the Party”, as his adversary Dracker puts it. Contrary to the latter’s a-historical approach, Huhn endeavors to explain how the organizational question arose in the practice of the 1848 bourgeois revolutions. In doing so, he shows that Lenin, in the (supposedly) bourgeois revolution in Russia from the outset of the 20th Century, represented a concept of organization that was substantially different from that of Marx and Engels.

Today more than 150 years have passed since the 1848 bourgeois revolutions; more than 100 years since the proletarian world revolution announced itself in the Red October of 1917, and more than 50 years since Huhn opposed Leninism in this text. The communist minorities again face the question of how to organize themselves to fulfill their function in the workers’ struggle. Huhn’s text advances  essential elements for a valid reply, even if it is still deeply influenced by the last years of the counterrevolution at the time.

In this second part of our translation Huhn continues his demonstration on the role of communist minorities at the hand of two speeches addressed to the Communists’ League by its central authority in the Spring of 1850 in view of reorganizing the League after the defeat of the 1848 democratic uprisings throughout Europe, with the expectation of a new upsurge soon to come.

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Spartacus and Trotskyism (1946)


After the Second World War, the Communists’ League “Spartacus” emerged from illegality in the Netherlands as one of the few groups in the world that put forward the struggle of the working class against all imperialist camps, i.e. against fascism, against bourgeois democracy and against Stalinism. They were also opposed to the Trotskyism of the so-called Fourth International, which took part in the Second World War in defense of Russian state capitalism.

The following text from the communist League’s weekly publication ‘Spartacus’ in 1946 shows how the Trotskyists tried to get a grip on the League and how they falsified the history of the latter’s main predecessors, the R.S.A.P., portraying the proletarian internationalists as ultra-radicals. This Trotskyist tactic is still relevant today.

With reference to this first time translation, we have added a concise glossary on the most important organizational expressions of the historical communist Left in the Netherlands.

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‘Nuevo Curso’ apropos of a failure of ‘youth care’ in the Netherlands

The following presents an article by ‘Nuevo Curso’ apropos of the tragic suicide of a youngster, that was immediately subjected to an international media campaign on “state sponsored euthanasia” in the Netherlands. Our commentary shows how easily one can fall into hawking a rant, when not observing minimal standards of verification. In a separate topic article we present the results of a first examination of official mortality statistics in this country by medical end-of-life decisions over the period 1995 – 2015.

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