Supplement to AFRD #03 (June – July 2018)

The G.I.C. and the Economy of the Transition Period – Introductory Article

As a supplement to issue #03 of A Free Retriever’s Digest we publish a two-part article that introduces the major political–theoretical work of G.I.C., and attempts to clarify the main misunderstandings that still mark its reception. It is freely available for download here. The following presents its summary.

The Fundamental Principles of Communist Production and Distribution by the Group of International Communists (GIC) is not just a historical text. On the basis of Marx’s views and the experiences in the revolutions of 1905 – 1923 in Russia and Germany, the GIC addresses the problems that will immediately come up after the seizure of political power by the working class. The text of the GIC was published in 1930 for the first time, in German language. Many translations and excerpts in multiple languages are based on this first edition. It is less known that the GIC published a final, revised and supplemented, edition in Dutch in 1935, in which it answered a number of critiques.

By lack of translations and due to partial excerpts and a lack of knowledge of the three preliminary studies to the ‘Fundamental Principles’, the debate on the transitional period between the positions of the Dutch and the Italian Communist Lefts has remained hampered until today. For the first time an attempt is made to eliminate the two most important misunderstandings and critiques by summarizing these texts, hitherto unknown outside the Dutch language area, and at the hand of quotations.

This concerns in the first place the ideals of ‘absolute equality’ that are wrongly attributed to the GIC, whereas the latter has pointed out the actual inequality in a distribution based on the number of hours worked, just as Marx had done in his critique of the Gotha program.

Secondly, on the basis of the preliminary studies and the edition of 1935, the political framework is sketched in which the GIC has posed the economic problems, contradicting its supposedly unilateral economic approach of the transitional period.

Particular attention is paid to the misconceptions that were first spread by Authier and Barrot (Dauvé) in the French language area, and that are continued by the views of the ‘communization’ movement. In reply, David Adam has already shown that the GIC is not Proudhonistic, but that its views on the end of wage labor and value match with that of Marx. Here it is demonstrated that Authier’s and Barrot’s reference to Bordiga is dubious and that, in the final pages of his work “The economic and social structure of present-day Russia”, Bordiga falls back on the same “labor stamps” that  Authier and Barrot have condemned.

Front cover of the 2nd, revised and supplemented edition in Dutch language (G.I.C., January 1935)

AFRD Vol2nr03 Supplement_GIC_1Article available for download here

(Current version: 1.1, May 4, 2019)